If Pope Francis Really Wanted to Fight Climate Change, He’d Be a Feminist

Sep 11, 2015

Erik de Castro / Reuters

By Katha Pollitt

 If the world consisted only of straight men, Pope Francis would be the world’s greatest voice for everything progressives believe in. He’s against inequality, racism, poverty, bigotry and, as his recent encyclical Laudato Si’made eloquently clear, the rampant capitalism and “self-centred culture of instant gratification”—including excessive meat eating—that fuel climate change and may well destroy the planet. He has a gift for adding warmth to harsh and inflexible dogma, as with his famous comment on gays: “Who am I to judge?” As I write, he has just announced a special year in which any priest may absolve a woman for having an abortion, as long as she is “contrite.” No wonder leftists and liberals and even secular humanists love him. Naomi Klein seemed positively starstruck in her New Yorker piece about her recent visit to the Vatican, where she spoke at a press conference and symposium about the encyclical. Indeed, she was so impressed with the pope’s “theology of interconnection” and “evangelism of ecology,” she forgot to mention that he had nothing to say about the gender inequality that undergirds and promotes our onrushing disaster.

I know I risk being the feminist killjoy at the vegan love feast, but the world, unlike Vatican City, is half women. It will never be healed of its economic, social, and ecological ills as long as women cannot control their fertility or the timing of their children; are married off in childhood or early adolescence; are barred from education and decent jobs; have very little socioeconomic or political power or human rights; and are basically under the control—often the violent control­­—of men.


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153 comments on “If Pope Francis Really Wanted to Fight Climate Change, He’d Be a Feminist

  • From Wikipedia about op-ed author Katha Pollit: Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights
    Her argument is built upon the idea that abortion is a “positive social good” for all women.[17] Pollitt argues that the context of abortion needs to change. It needs to be looked at as “back into the lives and bodies of women, but also in the lives of men, and families, and the children those women already have or will have”.[18] Furthermore, she argues that the access to abortion needs to be looked at more broadly. The issue does not start and end with abortion… Further the decision should not be looked at as the actions of a woman thinking independently because abortion requires the “cooperation of many people beyond the woman herself”.
    The target audiences of Pollitt’s book are those who she refers to as the “muddled middle”. The aforementioned includes those individuals who look at abortion through an opinion lens, those who do want restrictions on abortion, but don’t want it to be completely banned. Politt maintains that many of the “muddled middle” are usually very conflicted about the issue of abortion, which is further encouraged by mainstream media which tends to take on the same stance regarding abortion. She does not disagree that abortion can be a moral issue, but instead upholds that the choice is always a woman’s right. The moral decision lies within her own choice to terminate a pregnancy, not within the debate about the legal status of abortion.

    In my far less articulate comments on various threads, I’ve also promoted abortion as a “positive social good.” The legally sanctioned infrastructure for providing abortion should expand access, eliminate fees and encourage elective abortion for women with unwanted pregnancies through counseling and informed consent. A new wave of social consciousness must first sweep over humankind that not only relegates abortion taboo, shame and guilt to the ash heap of history but also the pseudo debates and controversy that currently inhibit the free, open and frequent practice of abortion.



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  • The problem is the church depends for new members on women having more than two babies per family. These new members are infinitely gullible. With sufficient early brainwashing that will keep donating no matter what scandals surface.

    Islam has the same feature. Only once religions accept that they will be gone in a century or so will they consider giving up forcing females to breed.



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  • What a refreshing article!

    It has special significance when listening to the rubes in Congress, fueled by the media juggernaut, talk about de-funding Planned Parenthood.



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  • 4
    Cairsley says:

    Unfortunately, Pope Francis will probably never get to read this article by Katha Pollitt, and, if he ever does, he will be able to dismiss it on the grounds that it does not recognize the superstitions upon which his own orthodox Catholic position on abortion and artificial birth control are based. Of course, Ms Pollitt would be mad to recognize those superstitions as having any validity, but she might have made her fine critique of the Pope’s latest encyclical even more effective if she had pointed out, in contrast to her own clear, fact-based argument, that the detrimental effects of denying so many women their right as human beings to full control of their own bodies spring from nothing more than the Catholic Church’s ignorance-based superstitions (such as unevidenced entities like subsistent souls, divine and angelic beings, preternatural life for humans, along with stories of judgement day, salvation and damnation, and the wondrous Christic mysteries). The Pope, quite frankly, is in no position to advise the world on how to deal with its problems; rather he and his superstition-mongering church are among the problems to be dealt with.



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  • The Pope […] and his superstition-mongering church are among the problems to be dealt with.

    Aha!

    Roll out the red carpet upon his u.s. arrival , straight to the interrogation room. Reverse Trojan Horse.



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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-34220944

    Cuban President Raul Castro met Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican in May

    Woo magic can have amazing effects on the decisions of the god-delusions of politicians!!

    Cuba has said it will release more than 3,500 prisoners in a goodwill gesture ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.

    The government in Havana says those to be freed include inmates due for conditional release next year, as well as a number of foreign prisoners.

    Those found guilty of crimes against state security will not be eligible, seemingly ruling out several high-profile political prisoners.

    Apparently, only real criminals, rather than political prisoners will be released!



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  • “…I’ve also promoted abortion as a “positive social good.”

    The abortion issue is so lop-sided in favor of a being-to-be; so often, the 18-year sentence of the afflicted is overlooked.

    Personally, I’ve always felt the men can have more of a say in the process when single-parent households headed by men approach the 50% mark.



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  • 8
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @OP:

    If the world consisted only of straight men, Pope Francis would be the world’s greatest voice for everything progressives believe in. He’s against inequality, racism, poverty, bigotry…

    No he wouldn’t. Not even close. There are a lot of things he’s against besides gay marriage that betray a stance that is anything but progressive.

    He’s against straight priests getting married (even to women) and against allowing women access to priesthood.

    He’s against abortion, contraception, sex education, premarital sex and any sexual activity other than for the purpose of reproduction.

    He’s also in favor of punching “Guiseppe” in the face if he insults his mother (a remark he made in reference to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists being responsible for the hatred they drew upon them). So he’s not exactly in favor of freedom of expression especially where criticism and parody of religion is concerned.

    This Pope may seem progressive when compared to other Popes but calling Pope Francis a “great voice” for progress is a bit inflated and sounds a lot like wishful thinking. Bergoglio is a progressive like a polar bear is a vegetarian: IOW, only when their respective environment leaves them no other choice.

    Oh and BTW, recognizing that man-made climate change is real doesn’t count a “being a progressive”. It only counts as “not being totally bat-shit insane”.



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  • This Pope may seem progressive when compared to other Popes…

    I agree, and therein lies the lure. Theists and non-theists alike need to keep reminding ourselves he is just a passing anomaly in the Catholic world, and his position on anything doesn’t mean jack shit, no matter how enticing it may seem.



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  • Vicki
    Sep 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I agree, and therein lies the lure. Theists and non-theists alike need to keep reminding ourselves he is just a passing anomaly in the Catholic world,

    Sceptics should quickly distinguish the plausible stories from friendly looking salesmen, from the reality of the quality of their marketed product!



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  • Vicki: Theists and non-theists alike need to keep reminding ourselves he is just a passing anomaly in the Catholic world, and his position on anything doesn’t mean jack shit, no matter how enticing it may seem.

    Perhaps “progressiveness” within a seemingly rigid Catholic hierarchy evolves from interactions between elites at the top and younger congregants, priests, and nuns massing at the bottom to issue calls for reform. Narrowly considered, Francis is a transient individual leader. More broadly considered, he may reflect a growing grass roots movement to take the church in a more liberal, tolerant and ultimately more secularized direction. More and more Catholics appear to support this trend -even the passive who are silently hoping.



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  • Melvin
    Sep 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Perhaps “progressiveness” within a seemingly rigid Catholic hierarchy evolves from interactions between elites at the top and younger congregants, priests, and nuns massing at the bottom to issue calls for reform.

    I think if you look at history, “progressiveness” in the Catholic leadership, is a process of being dragged along kicking and screaming, two-hundred years behind the rest of the population, by parts of their membership who have learned about morality and reality from other people!



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  • 14
    William says:

    I love this article, and I am pro-life. Why not skip any moral ambiguities by placing “unwanted” embryos in liquid nitrogen. Let everyone chill until we can use them to populate Mars. Sounds like a win-win.



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  • I think if you look at history, “progressiveness” in the Catholic leadership, is a process of being dragged along kicking and screaming, two-hundred years behind the rest of the population

    I take on board your point. My sense is that Alvin Toffler got it right in Future Shock. Social progress like technological progress is accelerating at an ever greater pace. Just review the last 100 years. The Catholic Church may look like a very different breed of cat landing on all fours 50 years from now. Marriage within the priesthood, ordination of women within the priesthood, acceptance of homosexuality and contraception may all be in the cards if the church wants to remain viable in future societies. It’s anybody’s guess.



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  • The catholic church’s sole agenda is the preservation of the catholic church. End of. As it becomes increasingly irrelevant and marginalised in the west then it must turn for new members to the south and east. Keeping them breeding like rabbits and nicely indoctrinated means continuing to marry women off as young as possible, maintaining the dominance of men and making sure contraception is never allowed. Their horrific claim that condoms don’t stop the spread of Aids has aroused condemnation in the west but it keeps breeding more converts than it loses to the disease. Net win for the church, no brainer.

    Of course Frank is against racism and poverty. In due course the church will be all brown anyway and he’ll want them as wealthy as possible. Poor people don’t build cathedrals.

    Little sops to western views like letting divorced people get an easy pass, for one trifling year anyway, are cheap to dispense and essentially meaningless. I’m sure he can trot loads of those out over the coming years. A slow trickle feed to make it look like one day the dam might actually burst while behind the scenes every spare hand is pouring concrete to reinforce the dam.

    We’ll know when anyone in the church’s hierarchy actually puts the needs of ordinary people first because that will be when it admits that contraception is no sort of evil in any sane person’s view and apologises for the harm its stance has done to the planet. Don’t hold your breath.

    It took the church 300 years to apologise for Galileo and it never has done for burning Bruno at the stake. It still hasn’t figured out that putting priests in dresses and forcing them into celibacy was never going to be a good thing for choir boys.

    The heads of churches are little different from the heads of political parties. They say what the flock want to hear and what best keeps the party going. Nothing else matters.



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  • @OP – Naomi Klein seemed positively starstruck in her New Yorker piece about her recent visit to the Vatican, where she spoke at a press conference and symposium about the encyclical. Indeed, she was so impressed with the pope’s “theology of interconnection” and “evangelism of ecology,” she forgot to mention that he had nothing to say about the gender inequality that undergirds and promotes our onrushing disaster.

    I think the pope and his Catholic apologists, are just trying to separate themselves from, look better than, and out compete, their rival evanginuts like Sarah Palin!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34168737
    Sarah Palin has said she would like to serve as energy secretary in a Donald Trump administration – in order to abolish the department.

    The former governor of Alaska and conservative activist told CNN that “energy is my baby”.

    “Oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind’s use,” she said.



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  • Even if one was stupid enough to believe that a deity was involved in “dumping” fossil fuels on Earth it now looks by far the most likely that it was Satan trying to tempt mankind to destroy the planet.



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  • Hi Melvin,

    I wholeheartedly agree. As did this guy:

    “The cure for poverty has a name, in fact: it’s called the empowerment of women. If you give women some control over the rate at which they reproduce, if you give them some say, take them off the animal cycle of reproduction to which nature and some doctrine—religious doctrine condemns them, and then if you’ll throw in a handful of seeds perhaps and some credit, the floor of everything in that village, not just poverty, but education, health, and optimism will increase. … Name me one religion that stands for that, or ever has. Wherever you look in the world and you try to remove the shackles of ignorance and disease stupidity from women, it is invariably the clericy that stands in the way … if I was a member of a church that had preached that AIDS was not as bad as condoms, I’d be putting some conscience money into Africa too, I must say.”
    Christopher Hitchens

    The above, incidentally, found at The Feminist Mystique.

    Also, yes, access to abortion is a positive social good. This was reported by Donohue and Levitt in 2001 – access to legal abortion reduces crime. It is an hypothesis that has stood the test of time.

    If the Catholic Pope – or indeed any of the other popes – really want(s) to free the World from poverty, Hitchens set out the agenda. Given the extraordinary riches of the Catholic Church, it actually wouldn’t cost them much … in purely monetary terms.

    If we want fact-based policy making this must, surely-to-goodness, count as Policy No. 1.

    The ‘Western World’ has succeeded in making great progress to less poverty within their borders because their secular democracies have freed women (note to any women readers: I appreciate that it’s a work in progress) and, as Christopher Hitchens also said several times, the above prescription has been shown to work time and time and time again.

    Yet the West has struggled to export this boon, and the information we have nearly all points to root causes in religions.

    So often we are bombarded by TV charities with images of helpless, starving children. Heartbreaking yes, and filthy, stinking, emotional blackmail too. What about that Mother and her other off-screen children? What about the lives they live in poverty and squalor because that Mother cannot follow Hitchens simple advice and cannot access the very ordinary and small things necessary to pull herself and her family from their pit of want and despair?

    I often wonder at the churches and the all-too-obvious inability to feel shame at their own disgusting repression of those who often look to them for practical help – only to have even the dream of hope of assistance crushed without even the courtesy of a second glance.

    Pope Francis is against poverty?

    Hah!

    We need to stop listening to Popes, they’re a waste of space – and they’re not shy to demonstrate it.

    If I may add just one twist of my own; women must also gain greater access to education. This is the only way to ensure a long-term improvement in the status of women, and that is the only way to ensure that those lifted out of poverty remain above the poverty line.

    Peace.



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  • The day the Vatican starts issuing birth control devices and advice, gratis, to every last one of its devotees, that’ll be the day I’ll start thinking about taking the Pope’s pronouncements on the environment seriously.

    That’ll be the day!



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  • Sarah Palin is a young earth Creationist who wants to drill for oil and gas.

    How long has it taken for fossil fuels to form Sarah?

    What is the sum total of one + one Sarah?

    It’s not her fault of course, but I think it is a rather good example of how religious indoctrination can addle the brain.

    But then, I don’t think Jesus or Mohammad ever suggested that people should think for themselves did they?

    That would have completely blown the gaff!



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  • 25
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Sarah Palin has said she would like to serve as energy secretary in a Donald Trump administration – in order to abolish the department.

    Once again, this pathetic ignoramus monumentally puts her foot in her mouth on TV.

    The most comical aspect of this ridiculous statement by Sarah Palin is that the US Department of Energy is not at all involved with the management of oil and gas resources. That’s the purview of the Department of Interior as Cenk Uygur explains in this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1yAEHc6AlA



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  • I heard that the council of Bishops that elects the Pope currently counts 42% of its membership from developing countries. The third-world block driven by demographic supremacy could easily rise to a controlling majority over European Bishops for the first time. My earlier optimism for progress has been dampened. Pope Francis, though progressive and reformist in his leadership style, is conservative on doctrine (contraception, abortion, homosexuality, women in the priesthood, etc.). I imagine that an elected Pope from a poor, backward country would continue to howl for more charity, foreign aid, medical services and asylum from “rich” countries while exacerbating the ignorant, superstitious, pro-life and impoverished pronatalism, fostered by the authoritarian “traditions” of the church in the teeming cities and hinterlands of these cesspools.



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  • Exactly – why are we endlessly debating the fact that this pope is a bit better / more open than the others. It does not change the fact that ALL popes and their rediculous existence is meaningless, useless, based on hokus pokus and has no positive impact on anything. Nothing that coudn’t be done without them. Utter nonsense – popes, church, religions … all

    Peace



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  • 28
    andrewmhayman says:

    The attention and accolades paid to the Pope in the USA are mindnumbingly awful. The Catholic Church has been responsible for the abuse and enslavement of women and he has got the cheek to suggest that governments need to do more. I despair that in the 21st century we are still discussing these matters. And what about the ridiculous new leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK. A self confessed Christian who voted against gay marriage and then claims he is a progressive. Please, please world wake up! Secularism is the only way to true freedom.



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  • 29
    fadeordraw says:

    Jesus, I’ve read the above about the current Pope and women. All so nothing has to do with the price of RC eggs. For the Pope, women are the pure Virgin Mary. It’s all about purity defined as birth without intercourse. While also pontificating that all offspring of intercourse must life out a live on the planet until death; the early years totally a woman’s preoccupation. And while dissuading the use of contraceptives or abortion. (And that death, it must not be by human design nor self-inflicted). And for that, women can’t be priest and priest can’t have intercourse with women. The current Pope’s pontification on climate concerns suggests he has some sort of scientific familiarity with the workings of homo sapiens on the planets. That’s good. It’s now theoretically possible that he could have a concern about the effects of RC models and roles for women. Let’s start with there’s aint no virgin birth (which was adapted from a pre-Jesus myth at any rate.)



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  • I think the feminists are just as bad as the Pope. Neither one has any bases in the natural sciences.
    I think the opening statement:
    “If the world consisted only of straight men, Pope Francis would be the world’s greatest voice for everything progressives believe in” is a very poor attempt at rhetoric. It attempts to implicitly convince the reader that the only interest straight men have in women is as a vehicle to pass on their genes and that is most definitely not true so this article in my opinion has no place on a sight that constantly talks about the need for scientists to speak the truth.

    Abortion is not a feminist issue and its not a “women’s issue”. It is a reproductive right and denying women access to abortion on demand denies that right to every body not just the women. It allows other people to force people of both sexes to have children.



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  • Meanwhile among the know-it-all ignoramuses, with skulls impervious to evidence and reason, in unmerited positions of power:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34342808
    Ignore Pope on climate, says Republican Marsha Blackburn

    One of the most influential US energy politicians says she will reject the Pope’s plea to tackle climate change.

    Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the second-highest ranking member on the House energy committee, says the jury is out on global warming.

    Pope Francis told a White House audience on Wednesday further action was needed as the problem could “no longer be left to a future generation”.

    Speaking as part of a forthcoming Radio 4 documentary series “Climate Change – Are we Feeling Lucky?”, she asserted that the earth had cooled in the last 13 years by 1F. And she said no evidence would persuade her of man-made warming.

    .She also rejected the theory of evolution. Scientists say her views are “complete nonsense“.

    “The jury is still out saying man is the cause for global warming, after the earth started to cool 13 years ago,” she says.

    When challenged that the earth’s surface temperature had not risen substantially in 13 years – but had definitely not cooled, she said – “I think we’ve cooled almost 1 degree (F).”

    The earth’s scientific authorities – including the US space agency NASA – say the earth is still warming, with ice melting, sea level rising and oceans warming.



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  • . . . . back in the real world, people are trying to cope with climate change!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-34344513
    New Zealand has deported a Kiribati man who lost a legal battle to be the first person granted refugee status on the grounds of climate change alone.

    Ioane Teitiota, 39, has argued that rising sea levels in his homeland meant his family would not be safe there.

    His lawyer, Michael Kidd, told the BBC: “He’s very disappointed obviously, he wants to be back in New Zealand.”

    Kiribati is among several low-lying Pacific nations threatened by climate change-linked problems.

    These include storm surges, flooding and water contamination.

    Mr Teitiota’s wife and their three New Zealand-born children also face deportation and are likely to leave next week, reported local media.

    Mr Teitiota’s appeal was dismissed in July. He was taken into police custody last week ahead of his deportation.

    Prime Minister John Key said this week that Mr Teitiota had overstayed and that his argument lacked credibility.



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  • Indeed, YES! It took the Catholic Church over 300 years to admit they were wrong about Galileo.

    How long will it take to admit they are wrong about birth control??



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  • “Why not skip any moral ambiguities by placing “unwanted” embryos in
    liquid nitrogen. Let everyone chill until we can use them to populate
    Mars. Sounds like a win-win.”

    No, it sounds more like run amok science fiction fantasy. There is no reason for populating the universe with humans. In addition, a fertilized human egg is in no way a thinking, feeling baby human.



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  • I hope that no one who reads these blogs truly thinks that run away exploding population growth is “pro life!” Uncontrolled population growth will eventually lead to massive deaths. Is that “pro life???”



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  • cbrown

    It’s odd isn’t it? Somehow the pro-life (anti-choice) bunch never seem to get past their ignorant indoctrinated mindset far enough to imagine what humans would face if every embryo came to full term, was born and developed into a full grown adult human. They are so micro-focused on a few dividing cells that they are rendered incapable of glimpsing the big evolutionary picture. It’s sad really. If these people had their way they’d do damage to individuals and massive damage on a societal level as well.



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  • The Catholic church hierarchy beginning with the so called “liberal” pope, all the bishops, archbishops, and cardinals have a culture of ignorance, dogma, and death.



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  • LaurieB
    Sep 29, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    It’s odd isn’t it? Somehow the pro-life (anti-choice) bunch never seem to get past their ignorant indoctrinated mindset

    Most of them have no idea what life is, could not tell a zygote from an embryo, have no understanding of spontaneous abortion, and would have no idea about telling a human zygote, blastocyst or embryo, from an other vertebrate one!

    http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/pdf/l_042_03.pdf
    See the diagrams on page 3 of the link.

    BUT! They “know” all the answers, even if they have no idea about the questions!!

    They are so micro-focused on a few dividing cells that they are rendered incapable of glimpsing the big evolutionary picture.

    Dogmatic god-delusions are not concerned with consequences to humans or social responsibilities! Those require deep thought!



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  • Its not really about the embryo is it? Is it not about controlling and moralising our sexual behaviour and relationships to their rules? About abstinence and marriage and sex as a religious noose and control of women?



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  • It has been absolutely excruciating to watch Pope Frank parading around New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. this past week. The shrieking and fawning over the old sexist bastard is intolerable. Thank fucking christ he’s gone back to his gorgeous palace the Vatican with its flaming gay Swiss Guards hopping around and the deluded masses twisting their necks for a view of Mr. nice guy – Pope Frankie.

    Meanwhile in the third world how many women have died in childbirth, cried themselves to sleep because their ten children have no food, contracted HIV because God hates condoms, were raped because their husband shouldn’t have to take no for an answer…on and on…

    Give me a few of those Vatican bank millions and I’ll start up clinics in Africa and South America. The first service I’ll offer is contraception. Then we’ll see some real progress.

    Bill Maher Please stop praising this Pope! You have a public access to point out the abuses of the Catholic church to women in the world. Please appeal to Catholic women to make demands on their church. I would prefer that they leave it and walk away but if they must stay, at least let the poorest women have the same methods of family size control that they themselves take advantage of. Stop the hypocrisy NOW.



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  • The new age mysticism that equates being a human person with consciousness is in need of some evidence. To simply assert consciousness as the defining trait of personhood is problematic on my fronts – but most importantly, it doesn’t acknowledge the fact that human beings grow and exist in different stages and environments. It privileges the human beings that live in the environment outside the womb.

    Aborting a human being is similar to detaching your partner during a tandem parachute jump mid-jump, all the while knowing that your partner has no emergency parachute to deploy that would slow her fall. You can pretend that you’re ignorant of how gravity works, but we all know that you’re pretending.

    I support the right of the preborn children getting a chance to reproduce – a real ‘reproductive right.’



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    The new age mysticism that equates being a human person with consciousness is in need of some evidence.

    Nothing to do with the asserted mysticism!
    Consciousness is the basic biological distinguishing feature of any thinking animal which has brain.
    This distinguishes it from other organisms such fungi, plants, bacteria etc. which do not have neurological processes.

    It privileges the human beings that live in the environment outside the womb.

    All human beings except some embryos in the late stages of pregnancy, “live outside the womb”. I hope we are not going back to negative proof fallacies and question begging assertions!

    You can pretend that you’re ignorant of how gravity works, but we all know that you’re pretending.

    . . .and forced analogies!

    Human societies do give their members certain rights and privileges.
    It is the rationality of considering the justice of interests of the members of such societies, and producing a balance of those interests, so as to avoid undue burdens on individuals, families or society, or forms of exploitation, which are likely to cause poverty and suffering. They also define qualifications for citizenship in those communities.

    One of the more enlightened ways of establishing such rights and laws, is for people to use their brains rationally to evaluate the consequences to individual members, families, and communities, of people exercising those “rights”.

    It is recognised that in order to exercise rights and privileges responsibly, certain mental capabilities are required. – Hence certain “rights” are not afforded to children or the mentally incapable, who need to have competent adults (usually parents or relatives) to take responsibility for them.



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  • Before you can establish the consequences to individual members, families, and communities and the people who excercise rights you first have to establish who those individuals, families and communities are. Who is doing the question begging here?

    You can try to turn rights into some utilitarian balancing act or fitness test but most people understand ‘rights’ to be universal, natural, and unearned. We have certain ‘fundamental’ rights such as a right to freedom of speech, etc. prior to any group of people or government bestowing them upon us. In the United States I believe some of your founding documents make this very point. These fundamental rights represent existential or natural rights – rights we have prior to any government bestowing them. Being born is one such right.



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  • Tell it, sister!

    This “cuddly” Pope will make it less likely that the three generation Malthusian train wreck that is Africa will get fixed, not more likely. He has proven spectacularly ineffectual so far and the Uber Conservatives have their concealing poster boy trained up after their recent PR disasters. He is just in time to smile through the miseries to come.



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    You can try to turn rights into some utilitarian balancing act or fitness test but most people understand ‘rights’ to be universal, natural, and unearned.

    Only if they are ignorant of history and legislation!

    We have certain ‘fundamental’ rights such as a right to freedom of speech, etc. prior to any group of people or government bestowing upon us.

    No we don’t. The “rights” are conferred by tribal traditions, legislated for by governments, agreed in international treaties, passed as resolutions by the UN etc.

    In the United States I believe some of your founding documents make this very point.

    I think you are referring to the “rights” in the constitution deliberated on and drawn up and approved by the European founders of the states.

    These fundamental rights represent existential or natural rights – rights we have prior to any government bestowing them.

    No such things! There may be a few traditions claimed for particular tribes or empires by ancient kings or priests, but these varied enormously from culture to culture.

    Being born is one such right.

    Did you just make that up? or could you quote me the legislation which says so, and name the jurisdictions in which it applies.



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  • When you’re on the wrong side of one your fitness tests get back to me. When one of your own fundamental rights is threatened by your own government, how fast will you resort to appealing to natural rights? What law did the judges at the Nuremberg trials have to rely on in order prosecute the war criminals of WWII?



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Before you can establish the consequences to individual members, families, and communities and the people who excercise rights you first have to establish who those individuals, families and communities are. Who is doing the question begging here?

    For those who understand history it really is quite easy!

    Roman citizens had certain privileged “rights” over the conquered peoples ruled by the Roman Empire! Other cultures had other variations on the “rights and duties” of their citizens.

    Modern countries afford certain rights to their citizens, some rights to citizens of those in their grouping of states (European Union, USA, British Commonwealth) and not to those of other countries.
    These are determined by legislation.



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  • These fundamental rights represent existential or natural rights –
    rights we have prior to any government bestowing them. Being born is
    one such right.

    You’ll have to do better than this. In the words of the great Carl Sagan, **there is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time…: We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

    And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.
    Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

    Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

    In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?**



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  • I have but on a serious note how far are you willing to go?

    ascetics who cover their mouths and sweep the ground before them with
    small brushes to avoid injuring the most minuscule forms of life



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  • I like this quote from Carl Sagan but it has to be read closely. For example, when he denies life begins at conception he is not denying that human life begins at conception but he is saying more generally, and rather cleverly and humourously, that ‘all’ life doesn’t begin at conception!!

    I can concede that there is a bit of human species self-centeredness going on in the pro-life argument but that is because the ‘pro-life’ argument is meant to counter the reality of women aborting human babies and not dolphins trapped in tuna nets. When human beings start aborting dolphins the ‘prolife’ argument will have to change to account for this new phenomena! In any event, since we have concern for species that don’t share our ’emergent’ human qualities perhaps we should begin to show concern for the human being in the embryonic stage that doesnt’ share all of our ‘human’ qualities – just think of the embryo as a different species.

    I also like that he clearly explains that a sperm and an egg are alive but are not human beings. Some people on this website try to equate sperm and embryoes since they both share the quality of being alive. These people do not even recognize the fundamental fact that a sperm is not a human being, while an embryo is. These people seem to think that there is a homunculus inside each sperm!

    The only problem I have with the above passage is the last paragraph – when he creates a straw man, and begins to talk of a fertilized egg being “a potential baby or a potential adult.” This is pure non-scientific nonsense (philosophy) coming from an eminent scientist! (It is funny how the philosophy of feminism can frighten and shame and fool even great men into babbling idiots.) He introduces the non-technical term ‘baby’ to cloud his fairly accurate reasoning done prior to this paragraph. “Development into a baby…” – good one Carl Sagan, good one.



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  • If the Church changed its position on this issue and became pro-abortion instead of being pro-life how many of the readers of this website would become pro-life the moment they heard the Church changed its position. Often the pro-choicer seems to be animated by virulent anti-Catholicism, rather than by a conviction of the correctness of their position.



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  • That is the stupidest thing you have uttered so far…

    Why not deal with the big issue?

    Condoms in Africa. Six live births per woman, agriculture working at 54% of its capacity and a UN predicted 4bn people in the continent by 2100 up from 1bn.

    Talk us through the morals of effectively shaming families for trying to take better control of their lives….



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    If the Church changed its position on this issue and became pro-abortion instead of being pro-life how many of the readers of this website would become pro-life the moment they heard the Church changed its position. Often the pro-choicer seems to be animated by virulent anti-Catholicism, rather than by a conviction of the correctness of their position.

    That view is total self delusion!
    It is comical to think that the atheist scientists on this site take any of their scientific views from the position of the Vatican.
    Historically, the Vatican has fought a rear-guard action until it has been dragged along kicking and screaming, decades or centuries behind scientific thinking! – As far back as Galileo, Copernicus and beyond! Even when they eventually accept scientific views of the universe, they don’t accept the scientific methodology which discovered the evidence on which those views are based.
    (Hence the pseudo-science quackery of “Theistic Evolution”!)

    Science makes its own progress based on objectivity and evidence, while the Vatican drags its feet until the last drops of credibility drain out of its “faith-based” supernatural claims!



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  • Condoms in Africa. Six live births per woman, agriculture working at 54% of its capacity and a UN predicted 4bn people in the continent by 2100 up from 1bn.

    And further Tyler. Religion, Catholicism, and the American Taliban through prohibitions on US Foreign aid, have contributed to the largest preventable genocide in human history. 30,000,000 Africans have died so far from preventable HIV infection and rising rapidly. Forget Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler. Those bearing the Cross have crucified millions. This is the consequences of a Pro Life policy by the religious who want to control what your dick does.



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    When you’re on the wrong side of one your fitness tests get back to me.

    Why would knowledgeable scientists ask for information from those who parrot dogma because they have no idea what they are talking about?



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  • Saying the Church shames people for trying to take better control of their lives is an utterly narrow minded way of looking at the Church’s position. The Church wants people to live happy and full lives – not lives full of guilt for killing your own offspring. You can call it shaming but I would think it is more accurately called informing.

    Killing human beings to save human beings doesn’t seem that morally appealing to me.

    The Church advocates chastity within a marriage if one partner has contracted an STD. This would, at least theoretically, work as good as condoms. Better to address the diseases that are killing the children in their youth when they’re young which is prompting African women to have six live births. From a pyschological perspective one of the most consoling and comforting things for grieving parents is to have another child. Why would you want to deprive African parents the right to have another child?

    The fact that many European countries are going broke, such as Greece, can be easily traced to their declining populations. A country can’t prosper for long if its citizens aren’t reproducing and it doesn’t permit mass immigration.



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  • Steven007
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

    As I pointed out earlier on this site: What distinguishes humans is a full set of human DNA, which is found in all human cells except haploid gametes.

    What distinguishes human beings is the body structure and brain.

    Most of those who claims to be pro-life have no understanding of the nature of life or of basic biology.
    They just parrot ancient theological misconceptions.

    Indeed if we blanked out the labels and the 3 later stages of development on page 3 of the link, they would have no idea which line of zygote to embryo to foetus, progression was human!

    http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/pdf/l_042_03.pdf

    Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago.

    Right down the evolutionary tree to the tip of the human branch, passing through numerous gradually changing successfully surviving individuals along the way.

    BTW: I wonder when the “ensoulment” of LUCA occurred? –

    and how the numerous spontaneously aborted zygotes are entertained in “heaven”?!!



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  • The Church didn’t create HIV, nor did the Church tell HIV infected people to have sex. To lay the blame of the HIV problem at the feet of the Church is very unfair and illogical. If the people did not know that they had HIV why would they wear a condom – especially if they wanted a baby? And if they did know that they had HIV then they should not have had sex!!!!! The brain is not located in the dick.



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Saying the Church shames people for trying to take better control of their lives is an utterly narrow minded way of looking at the Church’s position.

    I know! It looks at the poverty and squalor of large large families, without means of support, and the AIDS victims who could have been saved by condoms, inflicted on them by the dogmas and disinformation from the RC church.

    The Church wants people to live happy and full lives

    So it presses them into having impoverished large families they cannot support, to help overpopulate their lands and destroy their environment!

    – not lives full of guilt for killing your own offspring.

    Then it fills them with guilt about sexuality and ditching dogma!

    You can call it shaming but I would think it is more accurately called informing.

    Informing with destructive impoverishing disinformation, which spreads poverty, disease and misery, in the name of “happiness” is simply deluded charlatanism!

    I have a happy family, but then we are free from Catholic guilt and the inflicted poverty of mind and body.

    Fortunately the majority of educated Catholics have much more sense than the Vatican on the subject of family planning! Its just a pity that the church tries to fill them with guilt for taking an intelligent approach.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/154799/americans-including-catholics-say-birth-control-morally.aspx
    Americans, Including Catholics, Say Birth Control Is Morally OK
    PRINCETON, NJ — Eighty-two percent of U.S. Catholics say birth control is morally acceptable, nearing the 89% of all Americans and 90% of non-Catholics who agree.



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  • not lives full of guilt for killing your own offspring

    Should they blame ‘god’ for miscarriages or should they feel their sins are to blame. You just can’t seem get away from guilt no matter which way you turn in religion…



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    The Church didn’t create HIV, nor did the Church people tell HIV infected people to have sex. To lay the blame of the HIV problem at the feet of the Church is very unfair and illogical.

    You really must try to get a grip on what constitutes evidence and logic!!

    Catholic priests preached disinformation in AIDS areas in Africa on the protection of condoms for the purpose of discouraging their use.

    If the people did not know that they had HIV why would they wear a condom

    In high risk areas, I would have thought the answer as to why people would take a precautionary approach was obvious.

    – especially if they wanted a baby?

    Talk about begging the question!!

    And if they did know that they had HIV then they should not have had sex!!!!!!

    Since when do people need permission from the RCC priests to have sex, or to protect themselves from STIs???? – (Apart from altar boys and choirboys, where priests have made “special” arrangements.)



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  • If the people did not know that they had HIV why would they wear a condom

    You just aced yourself.

    Why do most people wear condoms?

    Besides infection prevention is bilateral.

    This crass stupidity is wickedness on stilts.



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  • The fact that many European countries are going broke, such as Greece,
    can be easily traced to their declining populations.

    Just a little research would really help here.



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  • Yes – I agree thinking that two people could love and trust one another is stupid. And wanting to have children is moronic! (No cynicism on this website.) Recreational sex is to die for, isn’t it?



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  • The Church didn’t create HIV..

    Your post is a defense of the indefensible. The immorality you display is a crime against humanity. The Catholic church stopped gullible followers of that religion from wearing condoms. They even spread false propaganda that wearing condoms contributed to AIDS. All because of some 2000 year old doctrine unsupported by a skerric of evidence. And that very action has killed millions, not just in Africa. Cause and effect. Don’t wear a condom because god doesn’t like it. Die.

    Your defense of this action makes me livid. This has been a knowing crime against humanity, worse than the other well recorded holocausts. And you dare to defend this action saying that uneducated African and sometimes primitive blind followers of your religion are free to choose. WRONG. When the priest tells them not to wear condoms, that is god speaking to them. They will do what the priest says.

    I would drag the Catholic Church, and supporters of this action before the World Court in the Hague and try them for crimes against humanity. You need to take a good long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Hold up your hands. The blood of a dead African baby is dripping from them.



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    When one of your own fundamental rights is threatened by your own government, how fast will you resort to appealing to natural rights.

    Ah the “right” to make rational decisions without “right-to-life”-religious delusions intruding and interfering, V the “right” of theists to impose irrational delusions on other citizens!

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-india-beef-bans-ignite-debate-over-religion-and-politics-1438853401
    KOLKATA—Sitting outside a tiny office beneath a colorful portrait of a bull, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Cow Development Cell relive their recent exploits: setting up road blocks, stopping cattle trucks and freeing cows bound for the slaughterhouse.

    We have to do it to save our cow mother,” says Subrata Gupta, head of the state of West Bengal’s branch of the group, an official arm of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political party.

    Across India, the status of the cow—an animal deeply revered in Hinduism—is emerging as a divisive issue. Conservatives emboldened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s BJP, which has Hindu nationalist roots, are seeking stricter limits on beef eating.

    The western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, this year expanded its ban on cow slaughtering to add bulls and bullocks to the list. The BJP-governed state of Haryana recently imposed stricter punishments to protect the cow.

    In March, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for a nationwide prohibition on beef, saying: “How can we accept that cows should be slaughtered in this country? We will do our best to put a ban on this, and we will do whatever it takes to build consensus.”

    Some Muslims contend the beef bans and other steps are aimed at them. “The BJP is trying to make Muslims feel like they’re not Indians,” says Siddiqullah Chaudhary of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, a national Muslim-rights organization.

    Ah! The “benefits” of theocratic government and laws based on god-delusions!

    Now if the ban had been on PORK! – I wonder what Muslim rights campaigners would be saying????

    BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli says that those who complain about efforts to end cow slaughter “should begin by reading the constitution of India.” That document, which guarantees freedom of religion,



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  • Tyler
    Sep 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Meanwhile human lives are threatened by religious delusions about sacred “life”!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-34398433

    A 50-year-old man in northern India has been killed in a mob lynching allegedly over rumours that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home.

    Mr Akhlaq’s family said the family had stored mutton, and not beef in their fridge. The police have taken the meat and sent it for testing, reports said.



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  • Doug
    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    What distinguishes human beings is the body structure and brain.

    Please cite a source for this assertion. (Really. I want to see it!)

    Could I recommend objective observation of individuals in the streets (Not including dogs, cats pigeons etc). Alternatively there are examples on this link!!!!

    https://www.google.com/search?q=human+being+image&biw=956&bih=468&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CDQQ7AlqFQoTCPzPgMTCnsgCFYtvFAodTIYIcQ



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  • The best part is Tyler trying to offload all this on atheists. He doesn’t seem to realise that all this abortion and ‘fornication’ is going on despite the majority being under the churches control through membership. It is their flock that has to put up with the conflict of woo and reality caused by the church.



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  • Tyler,

    here is a good Catholic

    Most Catholics among my friends agree with her. Most I read about do too.

    Do you suspect her do-gooding will damn her?

    Would you for a moment risk your own soul if you thought RCC dogma was mistaken and the gift of free will and moral authorship rather demanded you act upon your moral instincts and insight?



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  • Although I greatly sympathize with your concern for the suffering of HIV infected people I find your moralising on this topic hard to take seriously, especially when you would’ve been perfectly fine if the Church advocated killing those same HIV-African babies/children in the womb. Inside the womb – killing ok, outside the womb – largest tragedy since the holocaust. Why does your sympathy for these human beings only kick-in once they are born?

    Sorry Phil, I wasn’t thinking of condoms as directly killing your offspring. I was thinking of abortion. I apologize for raising that point without sufficient explanation.

    David, I apologize for following your lead in a previous post and repeating your less than civil language. Let’s try to keep it clean.



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  • I wasn’t thinking of condoms as directly killing your offspring.

    Tyler. I’m only interested in family planning here, so tell me why condoms are wrong.

    Read Melinda Gates in the previous post (below somewhere!) on how effective family planning improves outcomes for your own children.



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  • Phil you’re opening a large can of worms with this one. I would have to know about the situation and the specifics. I don’t know all of Melinda’s initiatives, and definitely can’t speak towards her motivations – that is for her conscience and God to decide.

    Some Catholics don’t see how following the Church’s teaching can be helpful or how following those teachings could remedy many of the problems found in the world today. The greatest obstacle to people understanding this in my opinion is due to the large amounts of cynicism in the world. Nothing blocks seeing the beauty and kindness of the Church’s teaching more than cynicism. Cherishing and using one’s free will responsibly, being faithful in marriage, restraint in sexual activity, cherishing purity, loving your neighbour, feeding the hungry, consoling the sad and the hurt – these are all things that the Church teaches, and many more. If they were all embraced the world would be a better place and preventable diseases such as HIV would not have the same impact as they do today. The success and ‘outcomes’ from following the Church’s teaching appear too distant, too far in the future, and people want to see ‘immediate’ or even instantaneous success (or, at least, ‘feel’ that they’re helping immediately). Lack of patience is the second greatest obstacle, in my opinion, to understanding the healing strength of following the Church’s teaching. But that is enough of my babbling – it is too hopeful for such a rainy morning.



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  • Condoms are morally wrong because they prevent the married couple from fully expressing love for one another. By wearing a condom a person is saying I like you enough to objectify you and to use that person for sex. It also says that that person will do everything in their power to make sure that they won’t create another human being with the person they profess to love so it reflects a distrust in God’s providence.

    The Church does address the use of condoms outside of marriage because the Church already teaches that pre-marital sex is wrong. The Church promotes abstinence outside of marriage.

    Phil, is the Church blocking access to condoms for non-Catholics and non-practicing African Catholics? Or is the Church just espousing its teachings?



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  • Nothing blocks seeing the beauty and kindness of the Church’s teaching more than cynicism.

    Cynicism which the RCC engendered by its spectacular recent moral failures. It wildly under-performed everyone’s expectations.

    If they had matched the intellectual and moral performance of the Quakers say, they might have greater reason to command moral authority. But no. Catholics continue to outperform their church on most moral fronts.

    You now must explain condoms and family planning as an evil given that family planning is not per se evil to the RCC, nor sex after fifty or for the infertile…

    Oops. You’ve answered just….Ah, no you haven’t.



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  • just espousing its teachings?

    So flip. If your teachings are about saving you from hell or being locked out from God’s Love and you live in a literalist and less sophisticated society, what are you going to do?

    When the Church lies about condom use, what are you going to do?

    Condoms are morally wrong because they prevent the married couple from fully expressing love for one another.

    This simply won’t do.

    Sex does not, of itself, objectify anyone. I think the Catholic Church is doing it wrong…



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  • Come on Tyler..You still haven’t addressed the real world issue. It is all fair and well wishing for heaven on earth but the urgent issues are not tackled with wishful thinking. How about a temporary amnesty on condoms, just until the we reach your ultimate goal, or, is suffering part of the deal?



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  • If its teachings are powerless on its own officers (and I’m talking about self serving cover up) and external outrage only brings them finally to their moral senses, I will go with the outside moral sensibilities.



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  • Condoms are morally wrong because they prevent the married couple from fully expressing love for one another. By wearing a condom a person is saying I like you enough to objectify you and to use that person for sex. It also says that that person will do everything in their power to make sure that they won’t create another human being with the person they profess to love so it reflects a distrust in God’s providence.

    -word salad



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  • A lethal word salad. For this millions of Africans will die. 4 billion in three generations will live where the current one billion are and in many areas teetering already on the brink of catastrophe.

    This with all the intellectual clout of a Hallmark card. If only the apologists were a little sweaty palmed over this..

    that person will do everything in their power to make sure that they won’t create another human being with the person they profess to love

    Its family planning….spacing them out….for the children’s benefit.

    it reflects a distrust in God’s providence.

    Every act of charity reflects a distrust in God’s providence.

    Children. They are like children



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  • If you wish to deny that the use of contraceptives affects the way we relate to other human beings more generally that is your perogative. However, I think it is a very limited way of looking at this issue. It is myopic. It ignores the mountain of evidence that is pop culture. And most likely ignores your own personal discovery of the benefits of personal responsibility and the peace of being able to trust the people who you are closest to.

    Like uncontracepted sex, charity is a cooperation with God’s providence – once again it is all about perspective. Indeed, acts of love are like children.



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  • I believe you think you’re making sense, but I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    What does this mean?

    Condoms are morally wrong because they prevent the married couple from fully expressing love for one another. By wearing a condom a person is saying I like you enough to objectify you and to use that person for sex. It also says that that person will do everything in their power to make sure that they won’t create another human being with the person they profess to love so it reflects a distrust in God’s providence.

    “morally wrong because they prevent the married couple from fully expressing love for one another”
    -huh

    wearing a condom says I like you enough to objectify you and use you for sex -what

    preventing pregnancy reflects a distrust in God’s providence -no idea what you mean



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  • 94
    Cairsley says:

    Tyler
    Sep 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

    … Like uncontracepted sex, charity is a cooperation with God’s
    providence – once again it is all about perspective. …

    And there, Tyler, you reveal the basic problem with the view on contraception that you have been advocating — that it is founded on an imaginary entity called God, whose providence should be trusted. Instead of dealing rationally with the issues of life we encounter in the real world, you would urge us to trust some fanciful All-Father, whose directives you claim quite groundlessly to be taught by the Roman Catholic Church.

    Marital sex is a matter of love between two people. The fact that some people inject the notion of God and his providence into it as well is entirely incidental and unnecessary and merely warps the understanding of the marital relationship with elements of superstition. The Roman Catholic Church has no authority or competence to be teaching people anything about real life. Its only competence concerns make-believe about an incarnate god, redemptive sacrifice, eternal souls, heaven, hell and so on. Decisions about real life cannot be made on the basis of such fanciful make-believe.



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  • “Condoms are morally wrong because they prevent the married couple
    from fully expressing love for one another. By wearing a condom a
    person is saying I like you enough to objectify you and to use that
    person for sex.

    That statement is so absurdly incorrect! That means vasectomies are also morally wrong even though two people truly love each other and that their having sex to achieve sexual fulfillment is a “grave sin.” (???!!!) Sounds like that kind of statement is coming directly from a bishop’s mouth. On the contrary, usually sex increases and intensifies love between two people.

    The RCC has always wanted people to feel guilt about their libido simply because it will make people to rush back to confessions about their “sins,” giving the RCC “moral authority” and control over people’s lives. That’s it!! CONTROL, not a desire to make people have a better life for them and others around them. The RCC does not care about providing a path to some delusionary “heaven.” They simply want CONTROL. It all goes back to that charlatan Augustine of Hippo, circa 300 AD..



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  • Tyler
    Sep 30, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Condoms are morally wrong because they prevent the married couple from fully expressing love for one another.

    Do you have any experience of this, or are you just parroting nonsense you have been told by priests?

    I have been married for decades, have three children, and have plenty of experience of sex with and without condoms, – and of my wife and I expressing our love for each other..

    By wearing a condom a person is saying I like you enough to objectify you and to use that person for sex.

    According supposedly celibate priests who are clueless about love within sexual relationships.

    It also says that that person will do everything in their power to make sure that they won’t create another human being with the person they profess to love

    Precisely! No more babies wanted when we were busy bringing up the twins and giving them the proper attention and support children need.

    so it reflects a distrust in God’s providence.

    As gods don’t exist outside of brain delusions, any claims about their “providence”, are irrelevant to the practical issues of life!
    Humanists care about people – not about god-delusions and their destructive dogmas!



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  • What distinguishes human beings is the body structure and brain.

    …objective observation of individuals in the streets…

    There are certain other places I’d sooner look (some conducive to further development, others not-so-much), as early as 5-weeks after conception.

    https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm

    https://www.google.com/search?q=embryo+at+5th+week&biw=1440&bih=787&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMI_92ZlOyfyAIViB0-Ch0jEAIu&dpr=0.75



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  • Cairsley the main point behind most of the Church’s moral teachings is the idea of sacrifice (Christ’s sacrifice) – putting the other person’s needs and wants before your own. That teaching should, with prudence, allow people to make better decisions. Even in the bedroom, putting the needs of your partner first is the best course of action. The teaching of sacrifice is the exact opposite of teaching ‘control.’

    Alan has yet to convince me of the truth that the negative fallacy applies in the case of atheistic evolution. To me, many of the people on this website speak with an absolute certainity that there is no God, and that evolution has no purpose, etc. However, there is no way for people to have certainity to such a degree. We are like characters in a play, we have no way of knowing whether the author exists or not.

    Natural science, among other things, has discovered that we are evolved creatures – natural science cannot ‘prove’ that evolution has no purpose. Natural science can only say that it has failed to discover one. Though some may call this distinction ‘splitting hair’, as lovers of natural science these people should respect this distinction because in this distinction/’space’ between being unable to ‘prove’ and noting our ‘failure’ lies the room to make future scientific discoveries. I believe that ‘space’ is the mystery of the natural world that you all like and appreciate so much.



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  • I want to apologize for this shitty remark I made in the comment above.

    flaming gay Swiss Guards

    It’s been bothering me all day and I want to make it right. As much as I rail against the RCC about their abysmal treatment of women, it’s not ok to throw another disadvantaged group under the bus while we’re fighting for reproductive rights. The gay community has suffered greatly from the homophobic policies of the RCC. In a parallel universe I imagine a march on the Vatican by a million pissed off women and a million pissed off gays. We will stage a palace revolution together.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHugEELD8o8



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  • 102
    Cairsley says:

    Tyler, putting other people’s need before one’s own is a very good practice recognized and encouraged by many a secular humanist. There is no need to posit the existence of a point-keeping god to encourage such altruistic conduct.

    The onus of proof is always on the one who asserts something. Asserting that there is a supreme being who created the universe according to some purpose which the universe and its inhabitants are to fulfil is a rather large assertion for which absolutely no evidence has been produced. It is therefore not an assertion that can be taken seriously by any reasonable person, nor can it be accepted as the basis for any moral or social programme. There are no grounds for attributing truth to it. It is simply not worthy of belief. It is like believing in fairy godmothers.

    The question is not one of certainty, since we are not dealing here with mathematics or logic, but of empirical facts. It is then a question of probabilities, which are assessed on the basis of facts observed in the world. This is actually the only way we have of explaining anything. Merely asserting that an entity called God made the world etc. provides no explanation, adds nothing to our knowledge and understanding of the universe and ourselves, for it is no more than a groundless assertion.

    The sciences have made impressive advances in knowledge and understanding of the universe (including us humans) in the last few centuries and especially in the last century. Evolutionary biology has explained the emergence of the vast array of lifeforms that inhabit this planet with its very simple and elegant theory of evolution by random mutation and natural selection, thereby displacing the myth of species originating in an initial act of divine creation. Physics has penetrated the wonders of subatomic reality and discovered that the line between existence and nonexistence is not as absolute as our traditional Aristotelian binary way of thinking had led us to believe. Reality, it seems, is much more puzzling and interesting than that.

    What remains clear, however, is that merely asserting that God made the universe etc. adds nothing to our knowledge and understanding of our world. It is high time to put away such childish notions as gods and devils, angels and demons, fairies and goblins in our efforts to understand and live in this remarkable world we find ourselves in.



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  • I really enjoy reading some of your phrases, such as ‘point-keeping God.’ Although I disagree with them, they do make me laugh.

    With respect to point-keeping, we have all experienced the failure of not living up to our ideals – of feeling we have not accumulated enough points for our efforts. I am not sure the removal of God is going to void the human experience of ‘falling short.’ Many things will try to replace God, and try to set themselves up as ‘the standard.’ Some people may even try to fill that void.

    The traditional ‘proof’ for God’s existence is the fact that there is something rather than nothing – and long story short – since most things have a cause, God created the universe and everything in it. We experience change, and biological life varies because God created it that way. He created change and ‘variation’, so although variation may operate randomly – the fact that it exists or happens at all is due to God. God, in the traditional sense, is ‘outside’ the universe and is not a created being within it, God ‘transcends’ the universe.

    How God differs from the fairy godmother is harder to explain. It may simply be something we intuit about God’s nature. That his nature has to be simple and one or something like that.

    I would agree that God adds nothing to our knowledge and understanding of the ‘physical’ world. His ‘explanatory’ power in the natural sciences is minimal and/or not needed, and seems reserved to the original act of creation. However, the existence of God may add something to our understanding of morality – especially, if we understand God’s initial act of creation as an act of love, as a gift. If God exists then our freedom may not be the most important thing in this life, but ‘returning’ his love may be the most important thing to do in this life.



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  • Tyler
    Sep 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Cairsley the main point behind most of the Church’s moral teachings is the idea of sacrifice (Christ’s sacrifice) –

    The doctrinal notion of the need for “Christ’s sacrifice”, arises from the “original sin” on behalf of which he needed to be sacrificed to “redeem” humanity!

    As the “Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, talking snakes, and magic apples, never existed, there was no “original sin, and to requirement for “redemption”!

    putting the other person’s needs and wants before your own.

    That is not the first priority of the Abrahamic religions.
    They teach that putting their versions of gods and dogma before people comes before empathy for fellow humans, and also claims that the environment “belongs to humans to do with it what they wish”. (As the Xtian right regularly preaches).

    That teaching should, with prudence, allow people to make better decisions.

    “Better” in terms of human quality of life, or better for spreading dogmas?
    Carefully checked, scientific evidence has long been established as the best, and only reliable source of information, on which to make decisions.

    Even in the bedroom, putting the needs of your partner first is the best course of action.

    The teaching of sacrifice is the exact opposite of teaching ‘control.’

    Sacrifice and theocratic control have been the mark of religions throughout history.

    Altruism and consideration for others in a community is in no way a monopoly of Xtanity. There are examples geographically and temporarily remote from Xtianity where human societies have exercised such empathy. –
    Some of them without the negative and destructive effects of priesthoods with know-it-all-dogmas.

    Alan has yet to convince me of the truth that the negative fallacy applies in the case of atheistic evolution.

    Evolution requires a depth of understanding of the mechanisms of evolutionary biology, ecology and genetics.
    Identifying negative proof fallacies, is a comment on the failures of logic in an argument and identifying where the the onus of proof lies.
    Negative proof fallacies are describing the failures of logic in unevidenced theistic claims for purpose evolution.

    To me, many of the people on this website speak with an absolute certainity that there is no God, and that evolution has no purpose, etc.

    No god? Which one(s)? Negative proof -fallacies!
    Do you seriously suggest that ALL the thousands of claimed gods throughout history, exist unless they have been refuted??

    There are no “default gods” which are exempt from evidence of existence – although their followers each claim their own is a default god, while other people’s conflicting gods are “false”!

    Confidence based on very high probability in evidence and the reasoning derived from the objective evidence, based on extensive knowledge of the subject matter, should not be confused with the certainly based on blind faith in preached dogmas of dubious origins.
    Most Christians have no idea about the origins or history of the Bible, or the gospels of the new testament!
    They totally erroneously treat it as a history book!
    Historians and honest scholars know and acknowledge it is not!

    Natural science, among other things, has discovered that we are evolved creatures – natural science cannot ‘prove’ that evolution has no purpose. Natural science can only say that it has failed to discover one.

    There is a failure to look beyond accepted preachings claiming creation of humans, is a purpose of nature, and the failure to discover any such “evidence of purpose”, even AFTER thousands of scientists have studied millions of species, looking at the mechanisms of evolution, ecology, and genetics, while cosmologists looking at the evolution of the universe, have found only progression according to the laws of physics, with some random triggers causing diversity. That leaves a very high probability that absence of evidence is evidence of absence!

    Human egos putting themselves as the flattering focus of their god(delusions), is a far more credible explanation, than almighty sky fairies creating universes, many many billions of times larger than the Earth, for a “purpose” derived from parochial ancient mythology!



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  • Reads like insurance small print Tyler. God is responsible for everything but nothing. We should pray to him but he is not able to give you anything back because he has done his bit and gone onto pastures new.



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  • but ‘returning’ his love may be the most important thing to do in this life.

    My dad loved me and let me go, proud to have spawned and raised someone (seemingly!) decent and at home in the world. My job he deemed was to move things on.

    Remember I proposed the RCC (a religious sect among others) will continue to contribute to the deaths of millions of Africans with Malthusian levels of overcrowding by their certainty that latex is evil whilst the rhythm method perfectly OK.

    “Returning his love,” sounds like a rather sick deflection in the absence of a reasonable account of the evil of latex. Can you understand how a Quaker, say, would see this as immoral?



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  • Tyler
    Oct 1, 2015 at 8:20 am

    The traditional ‘proof’ for God’s existence is the fact that there is something rather than nothing –

    Ah! The “Turtles all the way down hypothesis”!

    and long story short – since most things have a cause, God created the universe and everything in it.

    We experience change, and biological life varies because God created it that way. He created change and ‘variation’, so although variation may operate randomly – the fact that it exists or happens at all is due to God.

    Except of course, “randomly” means that the outcome is unpredictable, therefore a purpose of reaching specific outcome becomes impossible!

    God, in the traditional sense, is ‘outside’ the universe and is not a created being within it, God ‘transcends’ the universe.

    According to some totally unevidenced claims – mainly from people who don’t know what a universe is!

    How God differs from the fairy godmother is harder to explain.

    Or at least to explain with any credibility!

    It may simply be something we intuit about God’s nature. That his nature has to be simple and one or something like that.

    When you mention “intuition, you are getting nearer to the god-delusions in the indoctrinated brain.

    I would agree that God adds nothing to our knowledge and understanding of the ‘physical’ world. His ‘explanatory’ power in the natural sciences is minimal and/or not needed, and seems reserved to the original act of creation.

    That would be a deist view, which has absolutely nothing to do with all the mumbo-jumbo in Xtian doctrines, dogmas, claims of miracles, human relationships.

    However, the existence of God may add something to our understanding of morality –

    Or as objective history records the conflicting gods in different brains and different groups of brains, lead to religious wars, inquisitions, crusades, jihadism, and endless other crimes against humanity in the name of “dogmatic morality”!

    especially, if we understand God’s initial act of creation as an act of love, as a gift. If God exists then our freedom may not be the most important thing in this life, but ‘returning’ his love may be the most important thing to do in this life.

    Yes! It is loving the delusion in a believers head which blanks out all the real physical damage to other people, done by their actions, but keeping the almighty illusion of omnipotence, does keep the mental filters firmly in excluding detrimental effects on real people, but keeping that little god image happy!

    It is only a matter of time before the neuroscientists identify the physical locations and activities of those “spiritual gods”!

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”
    Johnstone measured the frequency of participants’ religious practices, such as how often they attended church or listened to religious programs. He measured activity in the frontal lobe and found a correlation between increased activity in this part of the brain and increased participation in religious practices.




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  • Tyler
    Oct 1, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Many things will try to replace God, and try to set themselves up as ‘the standard.’

    Only the indoctrinated need to replace gods with real knowledge.

    Some people may even try to fill that void.

    It is those who have substituted god-did-it, for real understanding who have this sort of gapologist void in the first place.
    Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.
    Those who use science continue to up-date their reliably tested knowledge throughout life.
    Those of “faith” just stand still, constantly reasserting ancient dogmas made up in ages of ignorance!



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  • “The traditional ‘proof’ for God’s existence is the fact that there is
    something rather than nothing-”

    It is difficult to believe that such nonsense is being sent on this web site. A supernatural “God” simply does not exist. You cannot “prove” anything especially by word games and philosophical arguments. Even scientists do not attempt to “prove” anything! Based on observations in the nature universe, scientists use the scientific method to TENTATIVELY propose a hypothesis and if evidence supports the hypothesis then it becomes a theory…..but only for now, as a theory is subject to further testing. The term “prove” is ambiguous and sounds very absolute. Nothing in science is absolute..

    “since most things have a cause, God created the universe and
    everything in it. ”

    Your word game does not “prove” anything.



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  • Tyler:

    We are like characters in a play, we have no way of knowing whether the author exists or not.

    Is that what we are Tyler, – characters in a play ? A wee entertainment to amuse the Almighty ? Does the Almighty have a lean and hungry look for the fools in his play ? Will Lepidus be chased off stage by a bear, or Enobarbus die of a broken heart ? I’ll take the part of Horatio, and Tyler can be Malvoleo, if the casting director agrees ?



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  • Hi DArcy,

    Not Twelfth Night, more As You Like It:

    ” All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts … ”

    Peace.



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  • Tyler.

    Its a simple test. You are a person in authority. You take an action which you know will unnecessarily kill millions of people. You can choose to take this action, or you can choose not to. It is a simple moral question. Do you choose to kill millions?? Well do you Tyler?

    Now insert religion into the same question above. Is the question any different. With knowledge aforethought, you choose to kill millions of innocents, because your personal god, out of the millions of gods that have ever been created, tells you so.

    HIV-African babies/children in the womb. Inside the womb – killing ok, outside the womb

    Conflating abortion and the African Aids crisis together is in the two wrongs don’t make a right category. Because someone has an abortion, is no justification for the catholic church killing millions of Africans. This is no defense for the church.

    The church teachings are obviously wrong. That you can’t see this, and continue to defend the churches actions, means you adopt their guilt. Hence my anger at your position.

    Go back to the top, and read the first question again.



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  • LOL. Olgun, you’re one funny and perceptive person. You sure make the atheistic persepctive attractive and appealing. applause That’s all I can offer because unfortunately I can’t return the favour of making you smile or laugh.



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  • When your Dad let you go, do you stop loving him or appreciating the gifts he gave you?

    Overcrowding – I would need some hard evidence for that claim. Perhaps, people are reading too much science fiction, and letting those imagined scenarios seep into their thoughts.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know the Quaker’s perspective on contraception. If you let me know their perspective I might be able to answer your question.



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  • Alan: Except of course, “randomly” means that the outcome is
    unpredictable, therefore a purpose of reaching specific outcome
    becomes impossible!

    Except you don’t know what the last random ‘variation’ will be. It could be miraculous! It’s unpredictable!!! (By the way, how do you distinguish between the word ‘miracle’ and the word ‘random’?)

    Blessedly, God provided us with two commandments: to love Him and our neighbour. So we should not love God to the exclusion of loving our neighbour. If we did, He would be unhappy.



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  • I agree with you that the knowledge brought to us by science has, for the most part, been beneficial to humankind. However, having ‘faith’ is an unavoidable part of being human. Some of the dogmas express universal and timeless truths (timeless for our current evolutionary state!).



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  • 119
    Olgun says:

    LOL. Olgun, you’re one funny and perceptive person.

    There is nothing funny about when its time to collect insurance after a misfortune, the company has never existed and you have been conned.

    You sure make the atheistic persepctive attractive and appealing.
    applause

    No need to sell it Tyler or make it look attractive. Its beauty is in its simplicity of fact. Eyes wide open beauty.

    That’s all I can offer because unfortunately I can’t return the favour
    of making you smile or laugh.

    Does nervous laughter count?



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  • Interesting comment cbrown. I would just say that scientists tend to look at the trees (evolution, particle physics, chemistry) and sometimes forget to take a step back and see the forest (all of creation – the something). Creation/existence is the evidence – and God is the hypothesis. Cosmological argument or Paley’s analogy writ large.



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  • Some very well crafted witticisms Alan!!

    Original sin represents the sin inherent in human nature. The RCC doesn’t read the Bible literally, as you know. (Your next comment should ask me what is ‘human nature’.)

    What kind of evidence are the scientists looking for? A handwritten letter from God saying that He created the universe? Really, you can honestly believe that natural scientists have been looking for evidence of God when conducting their research? If they were and they were Catholic they must have forgotten what the Church said about God – that He is spiritual, transcends the created world, etc… No Catholic scientist should be looking for God in the stars or amongst the genes.



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  • Yes that one. It was quite interesting. Did you watch it Bonnie? I didn’t realize that he had a disagreement with Mr. Dawkins. I found it very informative and well done.



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  • sometimes forget to take a step back and see the forest (all of creation – the something).

    Ockham’s Razor disposes of god. Just an unnecessary complication. Just because you are struck by the awe of the universe, and can’t understand it and you insert god, doesn’t mean that no one else can understand, and thus, doesn’t insert god. The view you put, that requires a god, is personal to you, and no other.

    Religion should be practiced by consenting adults in private and no longer has a place in the public square.



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  • A different perspective (which you must not assume is my own) – just to liven things up a bit. The two selected quotes are from The Concept of Anxiety. The author is Soren Kierkegaard, the most remarkable writer that ever existed.

    “If a person does not first make clear to himself the meaning of “self,” it is of no use to say of sin that it is selfishness. Only when the concept of the particular is given can there be any talk of selfishness, however, no science can say what the self is without stating it quite generally. And this is the wonder of life, that each man who is mindful of himself knows what no science knows, since he knows who he himself is, and this is the profundity of the Greek saying know yourself, which too long has been understood in the German way as pure self-consciousness, the airiness of idealism.”

    “There is only one proof of spirit and that is the spirit’s proof within oneself. Whoever demands something else may get proofs in superabundance, but he is already characterized as spiritless.”



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  • 128
    Cairsley says:

    Hello again, Tyler. I see that others have very soundly answered the points you raised, though you still seem not to grasp the basic problem with your position. Your comment that “God, in the traditional sense, is ‘outside’ the universe and is not a created being within it, God ‘transcends’ the universe,” indicates your awareness that this supreme being you base your worldview on is actually not accessible to our minds in any way. That is to say you concede, at least implicitly, that you have no grounds for claiming that it exists in the first place. What exists beyond the universe is (at least for the time being) quite literally beyond our ken, though some theoretical physicists have hypothesized on mathematical grounds the interesting idea that our universe is one of any number of universes in a multiverse. For the foreseeable future, however, we are capable of knowing only what exists in this universe, and even then perhaps not everything in it. To assert the existence of something beyond the universe as the basis of one’s worldview is plainly fanciful.

    But what is more to the point here, in view of your performance in this discussion, is the observation that having no grounds for believing something does not hold you back from asserting the existence of that something, and that you do so with breathtaking nonchalance, even when this rather basic difficulty with your position is plainly pointed out to you. If you wish to be regarded with respect, you should at least provide some substantiation of this basic claim of yours or withdraw you assertion. Is intellectual integrity too much to ask of you? A passing mention of causality does not suffice (– causality is actually of no avail in this question, since it pertains only to what is in the universe, and also because of the problem of infinite regress alluded to by Alan4d). Otherwise what you are saying might as well be about the fairy godmother, which even you have admitted to finding difficult to distinguish from your putative supreme being.

    A further remark of yours I would like to comment on is your attribution of simplicity and oneness to God (– how anyone, let alone yourself, ever found this out about God is left unexplained, but never mind). Your actual remark is: “That his nature has to be simple and one or something like that.” — not a very confident statement of thought. In order to be perfectly simple, a being would have to be one and absolutely changeless. Platonists are familiar with this description, and they would not prevaricate about it with a phrase like “or something like that”. They know precisely what they mean and they argue with faultless logic from such premises to a wide range of conclusions. If this is your conception of God — that it is one, absolutely simple, unchanging entity — you have a huge (I would suggest insuperable) problem in explaining how such a being has the requisite intelligence to design something and the mobility (capability of acting or changing) to bring its design into existence. But bear in mind, before you get carried away with such metaphysical puzzles, that you are still unable to establish that any such being exists in the first place. And bear in mind also that the only intelligence we actually know about is the intelligence generated by very complex ganglia called brains — hardly suggestive that the entity of vastly superior intelligence which you claim created the universe is absolutely simple and changeless. On the contrary, if you understood what you were talking about, you would see the need for an explanation of the existence of such an immensely complex being that had such superior intelligence; and then, as Alan4d said, it would be turtles on turtles. Either that, or you are merely parroting your church’s make-believe, instead of engaging in intelligent discussion.



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  • On the contrary, if you understood what you were talking about, you would see the need for an explanation of the existence of such an immensely complex being that had such superior intelligence; and then, as Alan4d said, it would be turtles on turtles. Either that, or you are merely parroting your church’s make-believe, instead of engaging in intelligent discussion.

    Hey Web Page Wrangler… We need a LIKE Button.



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  • Tyler
    Oct 1, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Yes that one. It was quite interesting. Did you watch it Bonnie? I didn’t realize that he had a disagreement with Mr. Dawkins.

    It is a difference of view between evolutionary biologists, on the technical differences of detail between kin-selection and group-selection in the evolution of altruism in animal populations.



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  • having ‘faith’ is an unavoidable part of being human.

    No. I work with my evidenced confidence. My Hebbian/Bayesian based cognitions embody the principle of induction and my daily heuristics (those good enough problem solving processes…don’t just step into the road), use this with with hardly ever a problem. But we have ample experience too that cognitions can be faulty because of cognitive bias, misapprehension, delusion, social and cultural driving….. Knowing this (and we can know this never having heard of Bayes or Hebb) we can better manage the world. Our faith that the road is unsafe is challenged when we see a motor car on the pavement/sidewalk.) No matter how confident we must be ready to be wrong.

    Many religious folk healthily qualify their faith with a capacity for doubt/skepticism. Faith is put on hold when outcomes suggest huge risk needing critical examination. Faced with the risk to many millions of African lives a blithe cleaving to faith (the evil of latex) becomes wicked.



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  • He issued no commandments to be loved. Nor do I to my kids. They asked for none of this. Love is earned. “Love” obliged is an ugly thing.

    The 4 billion by 2100 is the latest UN population projection. (Other sources have put this at 2.75 billion.) Why the science fiction jibe?

    Africa UN Population Projections

    The critical paper “Towards a Quaker view of Sex” 1963 was in the vanguard of modern cultural thinking on these matters. Contraception was not proposed as a moral problem. The Society of Friends do not promote dogma or dogmatic thinking and though some may oppose contraception it is uncommon.



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  • Tyler
    Oct 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I agree with you that the knowledge brought to us by science has, for the most part, been beneficial to humankind.

    Science is a basis of checkable knowledge. How it is used and applied is a matter of human objectives, but decisions taken contrary to scientific evidence, or rational induction or deduction, are errors which lead to unexpected and unpredictable outcomes which are failures of objectives. Any benefit from such decisions can only be co-incidental!

    However, having ‘faith’ is an unavoidable part of being human.

    Religious faith (1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence -http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith), should not be confused or conflated with confidence in checked scientific evidence and competent reasoning.

    Some of the dogmas express universal and timeless truths (timeless for our current evolutionary state!).

    Such are the assertions of believers, but this can only happen if they happen to get it right by chance! Belief in unevidenced mythology as a source of knowledge is fundamentally flawed, – which is why the diverse religions, have so many conflicting answers to the same questions!



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  • Tyler
    Oct 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Alan: Except of course, “randomly” means that the outcome is unpredictable, therefore a purpose of reaching specific outcome becomes impossible!

    Except you don’t know what the last random ‘variation’ will be.

    As all small steps in evolution build on the earlier small steps, all of which have random inputs. Because of these uncertainties, there is a wide range of random outcomes.

    It could be miraculous! It’s unpredictable!!!

    If you believe in magic fairies over-riding the laws of physics!

    (By the way, how do you distinguish between the word ‘miracle’ and the word ‘random’?)

    A dictionary is a useful tool!

    Blessedly, God provided us with two commandments: to love Him and our neighbour. So we should not love God to the exclusion of loving our neighbour.

    Actually one version of the new Testament written decades or centuries after supposed events provided that story – In the OT version neighbours were strictly fellow Israelites and excluded other tribes!

    If we did, He would be unhappy.

    Ah! – back to that faith-thinking, demanding god-delusion, which exists due to indoctrination, in your brain, but not in mine!

    No god-delusions are required for altruism and consideration of other the interests of other humans. Putting the happiness of imagined gods before the interests of our fellow humans, is just a destructive diversion from providing physical solutions to practical problems.

    If the pope cared about Global Warming and starvation, he would be prepared to deal with the issues of human over-population, over-consumption of resources by the increasing population and the inability of the existing agriculture to support the expanding populations which causes the extreme competition for resources and the miseries of the consequential strife and starvation.

    Promoting the escalation of the over-population problem, while putting sticking plasters on the symptoms, is NOT a moral or charitable approach, – but it does allow for religious recruitment from the desperate, to expand RCC numbers in impoverished areas!



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  • “I would just say that scientists tend to look at the trees
    (evolution, particle physics, chemistry)”

    Tyler, with words again, you have attempted to place me and other scientists into your own tiny black box. Obviously you have a very narrow view of “scientists.” We research the universe and all life by means of reductionism as well as using ecological thinking. Reductionists exam life (such as a tree) at the level of atoms. molecules, cells, and.tissues. However, population thinkers examine the ecological role the tree functions in the whole forest (exchange of nutrients, competition, parasitism, predation, seed production, and evolution of the population of trees in the past and present). Your narrow view of scientists does not seem to include physiological ecologists, paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, cosmologists, or quantum physicists (atoms to galaxies).



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  • Have you read Kierkegaard? (See my quotes above, if you want to.) He said, among other things, that “[ethical-religious] truth is subjectivity.” His conception of God was entirely moral and one based entirely on faith and his own truth (the truth of the individual). As long as people of “faith” know that their faith is irrational and unscientific and keep it to themselves, leave the rest of us alone, I don’t think that this (Kierkegaard’s) brand of faith is so bad. Then again, if too many individuals adopt this brand of faith, societies (which are aggregate of individuals) will be affected. In any case, I do feel some modicum of respect for people who acknowledge that their faith is their own and not to be imposed on others and know that there is no reasoned argument to support it.
    Hey Steve! How ya doin?
    Potassium supplements. I heard they’re good for you.



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  • Cairsley, thank-you for the very intelligent and perceptive reply. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say in response. There is probably quite a bit of truth in your accusation that I may be parroting my “Church’s make believe.” as you put it. I am engaged by these metaphysical puzzles when I have some spare time, and admit quite readily that they’re puzzles. My main point was simply that some of the writers on this site don’t admit that these puzzles exist and that they impact the atheistic worldview just as much as they impact the theistic worldview. Some of these writers seem to be simply parroting the thinking of Mr. Dawkins or other atheist thinkers and not acknowledging some of the difficulties of the atheistic position – while Mr. Dawkins does on occassion do this. Some seem to think atheism is synomyous with science.

    With that said, I did have some different questions for you. I am just curious as your background – do you have background as a social worker or philosopher? Also, a few posts back you mentioned that following superstitious doctrine was no way to make decisions in life, I was wondering what is the way you go about making decisions in life. (This is more of personal query.)

    In any event, I really appreciate your post and it has given me lots to think about. I hope to one day be able to engage it with a more thorough and satisfactory response. I apologize for not being able to do so at the moment.

    I should add – I do appreciate all of the responses that I have received and none of those who responded to me are guilty of supplying uncritical replies. I appreciate everyone’s engagement and will now try to spend some time digesting the feedback I received. I do think belief in God should be based on reason, even if there are other tenets of the faith that are beyond reason which can only justified by revelation, and for this reason I think you’re justified in asking me for my reasons for belief in God. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to supply it for you in my posts.



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  • me

    I was just kidding; I like links; just not a big fan of Rush.
    What is Six Degrees of WS?
    How am I supposed to figure out that acronym? I know the play Six Degrees of Separation. What’s WS? Please tell me. Otherwise I won’t be able to sleep.



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  • My main point was simply that some of the writers on this site don’t admit that these puzzles exist and that they impact the atheistic worldview just as much as they impact the theistic worldview.

    I think this is the distillate of the difference between your position and I will say mine, as I won’t speak for others on this site. If there is no evidence for the puzzles, then to use the word “Admit” is wrong. Again, my own words. It is easy to think of things for which there is no evidence. Fairies. But as a rational evidence based person, (not believing in god(s)) is a consequence of being rational and evidence based) it is not a case of ADMITTING to anything, but reserving any decision for a time when some evidence arises. Then my view will follow the evidence.

    As for “they impact the atheistic worldview“. They don’t. They don’t impact on anything if they don’t exist. Your first paragraph is the difference between a theist, and a rational person. You see things, which you think exist and are important, in your mind. You can find no explanation for these things. So instead of reserving judgement for a later time, when or if, evidence comes to light, you need an explanation today, so you insert god, the universal gap filler.



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  • Oh! Sheekspare! (The Earle of Oxford?—Nah.) I get the WS part, but what does Six Degrees mean and what does rush mean?
    “No great mind has ever existed without a touch of thick-headedness.”
    ― Aristotle



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  • Tyler, I’m very happy that for you these puzzles exist. I don’t actually want you to choose against God if you are unhappy to do so or feel your life may be impoverished.

    I would admit to some puzzles, why is there something other than nothing, why am I conscious. If you have more, so be it.

    But given that these are puzzles, how can we reasonably come to such extraordinary specifics as a binding moral imperative to discourage others (any others than ourselves) from condom use and that latex is evil? How, in the face of 400% more people than present with notable regional famines already, can we not be given pause over our moral certainty? How can we allow others to do all our moral deciding for us? How can we not want the moral proposition (am I reduced to a sex object by him using a condom?) tested by questioning women (and men asked to use one)? How is it possible that this most viable of averters of demographic disaster be condemned entirely by the data free philosophical musings of celibate old men?

    If ninety five percent of first world Catholic women have used physical contraceptive devices, though warned of being reduced to sex objects in their relationships, you have a wealth of data to test this philosophical musing, (created in the first place as a simple discouragement of promiscuity, and in the face of the wealth of data on the importance of intimacy and shared release in marriages for their robustness).

    Philosophy is what we do in the absence of having the data. We have the data.



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  • Tyler
    Oct 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Cairsley, thank-you for the very intelligent and perceptive reply. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say in response. There is probably quite a bit of truth in your accusation that I may be parroting my “Church’s make believe.” as you put it. I am engaged by these metaphysical puzzles when I have some spare time, and admit quite readily that they’re puzzles.

    They are only puzzles for those who think they can personally come up with quick answers.

    My main point was simply that some of the writers on this site don’t admit that these puzzles exist and that they impact the atheistic worldview just as much as they impact the theistic worldview.

    They don’t “impact on an atheistic view”! Theists attach god delusions to them but have established no reasoned connections between “We don’t know so god-did-it-by-magic”, and all the doctrines and dogmas, which can’t possibly be deduced from not knowing details of the cosmos.

    I am quite happy to understand a great deal about life, the Earth and Solar System, and am satisfied there is no credible evidence of activity of gods in their workings.
    For details of the more distant events of the cosmos, I am prepared to wait for the astronomers and cosmologists who have the proper technologies to investigate these, to explain them, as they are discovered.
    There is no evidence that they will suddenly begin to discover super-gods, super aliens, or magic.

    Some of these writers seem to be simply parroting the thinking of Mr. Dawkins or other atheist thinkers and not acknowledging some of the difficulties of the atheistic position

    There are difficulties with theist positions in that they conflict with many other theist positions and in some respects conflict with scientific evidence.
    There is no such problem for atheists rejecting unevidenced mythology or examining its credibility when it is compared to archaeological or historical records or its (lack of) compatibility with scientific explanations.

    Parroting dogma is done by faith! Confirming scientific answers should be done by induction and deduction, by those with a grasp of the subjects – who unsurprisingly come up with the same answers to the same questions not because they have parroted them, but because they have competently followed the process of reasoning and calculating, from objective evidence.

    – while Mr. Dawkins does on occassion do this. Some seem to think atheism is synomyous with science.

    Atheism is a natural consequence of a sound understanding of science, and habitually using scientific thinking and methodology. That is why the majority of the world’s leading scientists are atheists, and why the majority of “faith-thinkers” are theists – with theists holding a host of firmly believed conflicting answers to the same questions – according to the religion they copied them from during their indoctrination!

    Scientists up-date their views and bin refuted claims and theories, while the faithful constantly reaffirm theirs and concoct fallacies and mental gymnastics to try to justify them!



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  • 151
    Cairsley says:

    Greetings, Tyler.

    Others have already dealt very well with points you have raised, so I will not labor them further (and time does not permit it, except to remark that Revelation justifies nothing, for what is Revelation but groundless assertion by those claiming to have received the Revelation?).

    It is good to know that you have an appetite for study. I only hope that the subjects you study involve the search for facts as well as the use of reason. In any case may you find in your study much benefit and enlightenment.

    You asked about my background and about my way of making decisions. Of the former I will say here only that it is chequered and unconventional, and with regard to the latter it may be better, if you are seeking ways of improving your decision-making, to talk to someone about that whom you trust and whose competence and intelligence you have reason to believe would help you.

    Pax et bonum, Tyler, pax et bonum.



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  • While the media have been making a big issue of the pope inviting a homosexual ex-student and his partner, and hugging him at the meeting in the NY Vatican embassy, – with the P.R. exercise over, the RCC has been back to homophobic business as usual :-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34432701
    A senior priest at the Vatican has revealed he is gay, on the eve of a major meeting that will define the Catholic Church’s teaching on family.

    Poland-born Krysztof Charamsa, 43, said he wanted to challenge the Church’s “backwards” attitude to homosexuality.

    Msgr Charamsa said he was in a relationship and was “happy and proud” of his identity.

    The Vatican called his actions “very serious and irresponsible” and stripped him of doctrinal responsibilities.

    Msgr Charamsa’s statement came as bishops arrived in Rome for a synod that will discuss homosexuality, among other issues.

    In an interview with the Corriere Della Sera, Msgr Charamsa, said: “It’s time the Church opened its eyes and realised that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.

    He has been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – which is tasked with defending Church doctrine – since 2003.

    The Vatican said he would no longer be able to be a member of the body, while his future as a priest would be decided by a local bishop.

    In a statement it said: “The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure.”

    Do they mean the synod’s answers were pre-decided before discussions began??? Who would have thunk it??
    Having knowledgeable witnesses openly make “irresponsibly” informed statements to influence bigots with no idea!? Tut! Tut!
    I mean it’s not like discussing covering up for paedophile priests so they can continue as priests with trusting children, is it ???



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  • 153
    Cairsley says:

    Hello, Dan. I agree with you that Søren Kierkegaard’s kind of religious faith is not so bad as the kind espoused by Christian churches, which claims to teach the truth about objective reality. Why are you raising this point in the middle of this discussion? Any assertion about objective reality is open to contest, and asserting the existence of a metacosmic cause of the cosmos is an example of this. Christians, who have been indulged far too generously in this respect for far too long, need to get used to justifying their claims or shutting up.



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