Pope: Internet is a ‘gift from God’

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Discussion by: PY

"The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis said. "This is something truly good, a gift from God."

Beyond  reason is the continuing theft of science by a supernatural being that apparently has nothing to do with the application of human intelligence and the result of centuries of research. The simple statement from Pope Francis that the internet is a 'gift' from God reminds me of fundamentalists who put oil and gas in their cars, faithful churchgoers with new hip replacments or laser eye surgery, and terrorists who learn to fly airplanes into buildings. 

How do you even begin to counter this absurity? The casual arrogance of dismissing the hundreds of thousands of human hours put into creating and developing the internet as a supernatural 'gift' is a slap in the face of science. 

Further, if you accept that claim that  science is a gift from God, how can you deny science when it shows the age of the earth, the evolution of species and the impossibility of rising from the dead?

 

116 COMMENTS

  1. At least he has been sufficently honest not to say that “God invented the internet”. I mean, he’s the Pope, he believes his God, he thinks that everything good in the world God allowed it to be so in that sense “it’s a gift from god”.

    Best way to disprove it, if it’s what you’re aiming too, is using the same mindset to point to the fact that “Nuclear Weapons are also a gift from God” cause he allowed them to be.

    • In reply to #3 by Andrea R:

      At least he has been honest not to say that “God invented the internet”

      In context of full statementgod has furthered our way to communicate – let us be wise with its use, seems to be the message- basic netiquette, Christian style.

      …are also a gift from god

      Yeah, Pope left out the part: and on the flip side of the coin!

    • In reply to #3 by Andrea R:

      I mean, he’s the Pope, he believes his God, ….

      Is very unlikely the Pope believes in God. Anybody who studies Theology to be a priest is soon introduced to the many contradictions and errors in the bible. It is part of the gig for anybody turning pro in the Christian Religion business to go through the shock of discovering it is all largely fiction and then they have to resolve this conflict and decide to say in the Religion Business or not. Same as any other business. Look at politicians. It is taken as given that most of what they say is untrue because they are professional lobbyists.

      • In reply to #45 by Catfish:

        In reply to #3 by Andrea R:

        I mean, he’s the Pope, he believes his God, ….

        Is very unlikely the Pope believes in God. Anybody who studies Theology to be a priest is soon introduced to the many contradictions and errors in the bible. It is part of the gig for anybody turning pro in the Christian…

        You’re probably right in many in many cases, though I doubt that they could all be insincere. I imagine a lot of tortured souls amongst the clergy, trying to reconcile what they know to be true and the hogwash they have to come out with day in and day out. It must take a huge effort of will.

        • In reply to #46 by Nitya:

          In reply to #45 by Catfish:
          Is very unlikely the Pope believes in God.

          You’re probably right in many in many cases, though I doubt that they could all be insincere. I imagine a lot of tortured souls amongst the clergy, trying to reconcile what they know to be true and the hogwash they have to come out with day in and day out. It must take a huge effort of will.

          Maybe so. But really good sales people do not suffer much anguish about things like accuracy. My current employer is a natural. Sometimes we are in a meeting with a new perspective client and he can launch into the most outlandish exaggerations and untruths about our product without a hint of discomfort in his voice or demeanor. In fact the bigger the lie the more relaxed and confident he appears

          • In reply to #47 by Catfish:

            Maybe so. But really good sales people do not suffer much anguish about things like accuracy. My current employer is a natural. Sometimes we are in a meeting with a new perspective client and he can launch into the most outlandish exaggerations and untruths about our product without a hint of discomfort in his voice or demeanor. In fact the bigger the lie the more relaxed and confident he appears

            I know the type. :-)

          • In reply to #47 by Catfish:

            Maybe so. But really good sales people do not suffer much anguish about things like accuracy. My current employer is a natural. Sometimes we are in a meeting with a new perspective client and he can launch into the most outlandish exaggerations and untruths about our product without a hint of discomfort in his voice or demeanor. In fact the bigger the lie the more relaxed and confident he appears

            Reminds me of the great philosopher George Castenza: It’s not a lie if you believe it Actually, I think there is something to that, it fits in with the model of self deception that Trivers describes, people who are good liars are good at deceiving themselves as well, which can be a problem eventually, a good example was the Bush administration.

          • In reply to #52 by Red Dog:

            Reminds me of the great philosopher George Castenza: It’s not a lie if you believe it Actually, I think there is something to that, it fits in with the model of self deception that Trivers describes, people who are good liars are good at deceiving themselves as well,

            Ah! The “communal adoration” hormonal triggering of “true-lies”! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26771703 – Love thy delusion and stimulate lying for Jebus!!!

            When partaking in a financially rewarding task, groups given oxytocin nose spray lied significantly more than those doing the task alone. Those not given the hormone still occasionally lied, but a lot less.

            The study is reported in PNAS journal.

    • In reply to #4 by A3Kr0n:

      He’s the Pope. he’s supposed to say stupid things like that.

      I think, for once in all these centuries, a Pope has said something sensible. He is trying to say, in the way only he knows how, that Tim Berners-Lee is God…. I don’t think we should be arguing with that….

  2. This kind of compartmentalization has always puzzled me. I guess, most people just don’t think things through thoroughly. I think it’s obvious that religious people aren’t religious because they think it makes sense from an intellectual point of view. They are religious due to emotional reasons. Unfortunately they also get a lot of nonsense in the bargain, so to speak. I have yet to meet a religious person who actually became religious purely for intellectual reasons. This is why most religions are ultimately so counterproductive. At some time in the past I can imagine that the beliefs that religions like Christianity consist of were actually the best way to make sense of the world. People have emotional needs that we can’t ignore. The problem though is when religions survive only due to the emotional gratification they provide, while they at the same time promote an utterly obsolete world view. In order to get rid of religions and superstition we have to come up with alternative ways to satisfy the emotional needs of people without the obsolete garbage that most religions just can’t seem to get rid of. It’s not like you can choose just to get the emotional gratification. You get a lot of pseudo-intellectual nonsense in the bargain. EDIT: Or in some cases that seems to be possible. I have a few friends who change their religious view like others change underwear. They don’t seem very attached to their beliefs per se. They rarely find it important to defend their beliefs or even make them public. It’s more like a spiritual buffet, where they pick the parts that make them feel good and ignore the rest. But, most religious people are not like this.

    I think Francis Collins (known for his involvement in the human genome project) is a good example of this. He writes in his biography that he was out trekking and found a water fall that had frozen into three pillars. To him this represented the trinity and he fell down on his knees and accepted Jesus as his savior. If a highly educated and clearly intelligent person like Collins can become religious for such irrational reasons, we are all vulnerable. It’s obvious that Collins’ conversion to Christianity had nothing to do with intellectual arguments or reasoning. It was a purely emotional revelation. Once you get emotionally attached to a certain religion it’s very hard to break free. You start rationalizing your beliefs and engage in intellectual acrobatics to make sense of beliefs that clearly do not make any sense from a rational point of view. This kind of behavior is understandable when you realize that religious people aren’t really governed by their intellectual faculties with regard to their religious beliefs. Their beliefs are entirely based on emotions, which is why you see all these otherwise intelligent people turn into complete morons when their religious beliefs are questioned.

    To some extent, I think we all have experienced this phenomenon regardless of whether we are atheists or not. Imagine that you have a really strong belief that charity is something good. You have given a lot of money to certain charities for your whole life, and you feel this to some extent defines who you are. At least you are emotionally attached to these charities. You really feel you are doing good. Then, let’s say a study claimed that these charities (even though their intentions are good) have actually made things much worse for the people you were trying to help. I think it’s quite easy to imagine that you would have a hard time accepting this study as correct. The temptation to dismiss it out of hand would probably be quite strong. Studies in fact show that this is true for us all. We are not as rational as we think we are. With regard to cherished beliefs we tend to dismiss evidence quite easily while we are much more prone to accept evidence that verify our beliefs or refute conflicting beliefs. It’s basically the same mechanism at work as when the religious desperately defend their beliefs, regardless how silly these beliefs are.

    Sometimes this internal struggle can lead to really tragic consequences. For example theologians spending their whole lives trying to make sense of beliefs that ultimately are nonsensical. That is pretty much what theology is. I think it’s utterly tragic that intelligent people throw away their lives on such meaningless endeavors. It’s such a waste!

    • In reply to #0 by PY:

      how can you deny science when it shows… the impossibility of rising from the dead…

      As much as I would like to think that science has shown that it is impossible to rise from the dead, I have to say that it has not.

      I think you are confusing science with scientism.

    • In reply to #5 by Nunbeliever:

      “To him this represented the trinity”

      What would he have done if there were 5 pillars? Got down and worshipped satan (pentagram and all that)? Some people just don’t get it.

  3. In reply to #6 by EricFSM:

    In reply to #0 by PY:

    how can you deny science when it shows… the impossibility of rising from the dead…

    As much as I would like to think that science has shown that it is impossible to rise from the dead, I have to say that it has not.

    Technically you are correct because the claim “people can rise from the dead” is an empirical statement and empirical claims aren’t subject to proofs. Proofs are for the domain of math and logic. But all the science we have now absolutely provides very compelling evidence that people don’t rise from the dead. I feel silly even making the argument it’s so obvious but there is no credible evidence of anyone rising from the dead and it is completely inconsistent with what we know about biology and how the human body works.

    I think you are confusing science with scientism.

    “Scientism” is one of those words that people throw around without really giving a good definition of what it means. But if by scientism you mean believing in very rational things like that people don’t rise from the dead by all means count me in as an adherent of scientism.

    • In reply to #7 by Red Dog:

      “Scientism” is one of those words that people throw around without really giving a good definition of what it means. But if by scientism you mean believing in very rational things like that people don’t rise from the dead by all means count me in as an adherent of scientism.

      SCIENTISM
      2
      an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)

      There was a time when people could not imagine how the sun, moon and stars do not revolve around the Earth. Now they can’t imagine how a person could rise from the dead, but science is stranger than we can imagine and one day rising from the dead may be a normal everyday thing. For all we know this universe may be some sort of a hologram where anything is possible.

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        SCIENTISM 2 : an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)

        Defining scientism that way makes it just a strawman. No one will say “I advocate having exaggerated trust” in anything. But if we tweak your definition a bit to be “a belief in the efficacy of the methods of science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)” I will absolutely sign up for that.

        Look at my comments over the last couple of years. If fact most of what I’m most interested in and comment on is exactly that, that science has a lot to say about areas often considered to be only the domain of the social sciences and humanities. Ethics is the most obvious example and one that I’m most interested in. There are all sorts of applicability to understanding human ethics from biology, psychology, etc. Reciprocal altruism, kin selection, and game theory for starters.

        In fact I would go further, I would say that to the extent that anyone can claim to be doing research or enhance knowledge in the social sciences or humanities they are really just doing science. Other disciplines that claim to investigate these areas: Marxism, Postmodern theory, Freudianism, etc. are just pseudo-science. They fundamentally can’t really make progress because they ignore one or more aspects of the scientific method.

        Actually one of the things I liked best about The God Delusion was that Dawkins attacked the “non-overlapping magesteria” concept promoted by Gould. It’s a ridiculous and totally unfounded distinction that has stood in the way of making real progress in the social sciences. Of course it’s a lot harder to do science in the social sciences for all kinds of reasons. For starters you can’t put people in Skinner boxes or do a lot of the (questionably ethical but that’s another topic) intrusive and harmful experiments that we routinely do on animals.

        Also, people come to the study of the social sciences with all sorts of emotional preconceptions and beliefs they are reluctant to question. I consider myself a feminist but I sometimes get challenged for things I say here because I’ll state theories about sexual selection and child rearing that sound non-PC to many people.

        So yes the scientific study of the social sciences and the humanities is in its infacy and perhaps will never achieve the predictive rigor of disciplines like physics but that in no way means it’s not worth doing or impossible to do.

        • In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

          SCIENTISM 2 : an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)

          Defining scientism that way makes it just a strawman. No one will say “I advocate having…

          “Actually one of the things I liked best about The God Delusion was that Dawkins attacked the “non-overlapping magesteria” concept promoted by Gould. It’s a ridiculous and totally unfounded distinction that has stood in the way of making real progress in the social sciences.”

          I promised myself I would not comment again here. But couldn´t resist. Was Gould trying a Templeton prize? I sometimes follow cultural inniciatives from public institutions that promote science and once I critized someone that being a scientist (and religious at the same time) invited people for some event (actually to a conference where the author of Darwin´s Cathedral participated- the one who can only compare science to religion, no other idea occurs to his mind). Perhaps someone noticed my comment? (I would never participate in such an event it seems that someone understood my point and strengthened me offering a very discerned comment. Nope, the idea does not come from social sciences ( but Gould, just because was a renowned authority on science – wouldn´t be an authority in Sociology I am afraid. The fact is that the idea must be comfortable for people that are both scientists and religious. What made me more happy at the time was in fact to follow a real promotion of science by a a scientist for whom Gould was her mentor.( I attended those and the events were real great).

          • In reply to #31 by maria melo:

            I promised myself I would not comment again here. But couldn´t resist.

            That happens to me all the time.

            Was Gould trying a Templeton prize?

            What I honestly believe is that Gould is one of those people who just fell in love with being a celebrity and he was adept enough to guage the cultural climate of his time and he tuned what he said accordingly, in a way that would maximize his potential to be invited on to shows as a talking head expert and that would maximize his chances of getting good book publishing deals and getting the promotional support from his publishers required to make a non-fiction book a best seller.

            I’m sure Gould would never acknowledge that and I’m not saying he was a charlatan. It’s one of the things I’ve learned from Trivers analysis of self deception, we humans are really good at making ourselves believe the things that are in our best interest to believe. I’m sure Gould really believed all the things he said but I also think it’s possible he was motivated as I described without even realizing it.

            I sometimes follow cultural inniciatives from public institutions that promote science and once I critized someone that being a scientist (and religious at the same time) invited people for some event (actually to a conference where the author of Darwin´s Cathedral participated- the one who can only compare science to religion,

            I’ve posted this link before so I apologize if I’ve already mentioned this paper to you, but I like this one a lot:

            The Psychological Foundations of Culture Tooby and Cosmides

            There is an excellent discussion in that paper about why things like evolutionary theory must be considered when we study things like psychology, sociology, ethics, etc. and there are a couple of specific examples of Gould being kind of a jerk, where he criticizes people for stepping over the line he imagines keeps topics like ethics out of bounds for science and doing so in a way that is hypocritical and lazy (e.g., accusing an author of taking a position that that author clearly argued against).

        • In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

          that science has a lot to say about areas often considered to be only the domain of the social sciences and humanities. Ethics is the most obvious example and one that I’m most interested in. There are all sorts of applicability to understanding human ethics from biology, psychology, etc. Reciprocal altruism, kin selection, and game theory for starters.

          Yes, ethics is the most obvious example, but exactly opposite to what you are saying. Ethics is about what ‘ought’ to be, and science can only speak about what ‘is’. Check out the naturalistic fallacy.

          • In reply to #34 by EricFSM:

            Ethics is about what ‘ought’ to be, and science can only speak about what ‘is’.

            Ethics is a set of rules for achieving the objectives which humans have in common. Maslow’s pyramid gives one proposal for what our aims might be. ‘Science’ is an imprecise term. Does it include psychology, economics, the social sciences? In any case, academic investigation, in the sciences and the humanities, can provide information about how to achieve our moral objectives and the sources of the moral impulse in evolutionary biology. ‘Is’ and ‘Ought’ are inseparably connected, as Hume said (if I remember correctly).

          • In reply to #35 by aldous:

            ‘Is’ and ‘Ought’ are inseparably connected, as Hume said (if I remember correctly).

            I agree with everything else you said but couldn’t let that one slip by without comment, you have it a bit wrong, what Hume actually pointed out is that there was a fallacy in the reasoning of a lot of ethical philosophers before him (and after as well, at least IMO many people who came after Hume never really got the point). That fallacy being that they casually slipped from talking about facts about the world to talking about how the world ought to be without making any logical connection between the two. We’ve actually been talking about this a lot lately so I’m going to paste one of my favorite quotes from Hume where he lays this out:

            In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

            David Hume. A Treatise on Human Nature. 1739.

            Now, I think this is an interesting problem but, and why do people do this so often, it’s totally senseless to hold up some unsolved problem and then proclaim “Ha science hasn’t solved this so we can’t study this problem scientifically!” Also, btw I think there is a “solution” to the problem actually and it’s not what Harris thinks but explaining what I think the answer is would be another long post.

          • In reply to #37 by Red Dog:

            ethical philosophers…casually slipped from talking about facts about the world to talking about how the world ought to be without making any logical connection

            Hume’s view was that moral judgements were emotional and not rational. Human beings have an innate moral sense which causes them to feel approval of certain actions and disapproval of others. It follows from these emotions that we call some actions right and others wrong.

            However, he says that ‘ reason is and only ought to be the slave of the passions’. Therefore, our feeling of what ought to be leads us to ensure that it is the case. ‘Ought’, you might say, can lead to ‘is’, but not ‘is’ to ‘ought’ and the bridge between them is reason.

          • In reply to #34 by EricFSM:

            Yes, ethics is the most obvious example, but exactly opposite to what you are saying. Ethics is about what ‘ought’ to be, and science can only speak about what ‘is’. Check out the naturalistic fallacy.

            I know what the naturalistic fallacy is and I’m familiar with the Is Ought problem. I assume you have probably seen it but just in case you missed it there was a fairly lengthy discussion of these issues on this discussion topic that I created a while ago.

            If I had said something like “war occurs in various species in nature and so therefor it must be moral” then you would be right to criticize me for using the naturalistic fallacy. But I never said anything like that. What I said is that science can tell us quite a bit about where our moral intuitions come from and that it is foolish to turn away from that kind of research because of some made up imaginary line that says topics like ethics are off limits to science.

            I always like examples. Here is one of my favorite lectures ever posted on this site:

            Prof. Craig Palmer: Portrayals of Holocaust Rescue and the Puzzle of Human Altruism

            For me that is an existence proof that I’m right. That talk is clearly about science, at least to a large degree, of course it could also be considered philosophy, that’s my point really is that those divisions, is it psychology, biology, philosophy, are fairly uninteresting when you actually do research. What matters are asking meaningful questions.

            So that talk by Prof. Palmer clearly touches on issues of science: altruism, kin selection, etc. and also is clearly about ethics. Or pick up Sam Harris’s book The Moral Landscape I disagree with some of the conclusions Harris makes but I do think he has an excellent overview discussion of why science has things to say about ethics and why the traditional boundary that says ethics is only for study via the humanities is completely without any rational justification. Or another good book and overview of what science has to say on ethics is Marc Hauser’s book Moral Minds.

          • In reply to #36 by Red Dog:

            So that talk by Prof. Palmer clearly touches on issues of science: altruism, kin selection, etc. and also is clearly about ethics.

            You are right, so I will meet you half way, “Science can possibly speak to issues of moral epistemology”. But, would you then agree with me that “Science can NOT speak to issues of moral ontology“.

          • In reply to #53 by EricFSM:

            In reply to #36 by Red Dog:
            You are right, so I will meet you half way, “Science can possibly speak to issues of moral epistemology”. But, would you then agree with me that “Science can NOT speak to issues of moral ontology”.

            Well, I should just quit while I’m ahead and say yes,… but no not really I don’t agree. So first, let me be clear when I say knowledge I mean either Math/Logic or Science. Math/Logic is deductive reasoning Science is empirical. For me science can be everything from physics to political science or even aesthetics. I could give you links to work in both areas that I consider science. Also, I think the boundary between Math/Logic and science is a fuzzy one and not really all that important either.

            So now let’s get to “moral ontology”. As defined on that page essentially what that is talking about is the logical analysis of ethical questions. That falls in the Math/Logic area. Although it gets tricky because so much of what passes for “analysis” on these kinds of issues is just bullshit. Not all of it but most of it. So for example when Carrier says on that page you linked to: “Ontology is the study of “being,” i.e. what it means for something to “be” or “exist.” To me that is just bullshit. There is no solid theoretical framework he is using. He’s doing the same thing that another commenter on this site, Markovich loves to do, he’s playing word games with English and pretending it’s analysis. English is ambiguous. So you can find all sorts of puzzles and inconsistencies and apparent paradoxes if you analyze the way humans use English on any topic but especially on topics that are as divorced from conventional experience as God or the beginning of the universe.

            It’s no different than Postmodern theory, it all sounds deep and complex but it’s just going in circles and chasing your tail. Actual logical analysis isn’t all that complex, you can program computers to do it. You just need to rigorously define your terms and after that the logical implications just follow from the rules of logic.

            Now if you want to do something actually interesting when it comes to building ontologies, something that isn’t just high sounding word games but is rigorous and can develop actual models that can be analyzed, proven correct, etc. I recommend checking out the Protege ontology editor from Stanford

          • In reply to #55 by Red Dog:

            English is ambiguous. So you can find all sorts of puzzles and inconsistencies and apparent paradoxes if you analyze the way humans use English on any topic but especially on topics that are as divorced from conventional experience as God or the beginning of the universe.

            Wir könnten in Deutsch zu sprechen, wenn Sie lieber.

            “Ontology is the study of “being,” i.e. what it means for something to “be” or “exist.” To me that is just bullshit.

            Do I understand you to be saying that “to categorize human behaviour to be objectively right or wrong is just BS”?

          • In reply to #56 by EricFSM:

            Wir könnten in Deutsch zu sprechen, wenn Sie lieber.

            It’s funny, you probably know this, there have actually been people who advocated using one language or another for science because it was more rigorous and German was one that people argued for at some point. Of course I mean any natural language is ambiguous. BTW, that’s something you can actually quantify mathematically, that languages like English and even German are ambiguous in ways that computer languages or First Order Logic for example are not.

            Do I understand you to be saying that “to categorize human behaviour to be objectively right or wrong is just BS”?

            That statement by itself I think is not rigorous enough to be evaluated so I would say yes it’s just BS. What does it mean to say a behavior is “objectively right”? Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t think you can study ethics scientifically. It just means that when you do science you have to have meaningful questions. Asking about a behavior is it “objectively right” is not a meaningful question.

            Although with more definition I could see how a claim that some behavior is objectively right could at least be seriously considered. So for example, if Harris wrote a book and said “here are results from Neuroscience that demonstrate conclusively that people are most productive when they are in brain state X and doing behavior Y leads to state X so behavior Y is objectively right”

            I would be very skeptical of claims like this and of course you can always argue whether being productive (or happy or whatever) is the only or ultimate goal so in that sense, no it’s still not “objectively right”. That is what I’m really getting to, we shouldn’t get hung up about specific words, it’s the ideas that are behind the words that matter.

          • In reply to #57 by Red Dog:

            What does it mean to say a behavior is “objectively right”? Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t think you can study ethics scientifically. It just means that when you do science you have to have meaningful questions. Asking about a behavior is it “objectively right” is not a meaningful question.

            I will put it to you the way it was presented to me.

            To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them. Source.

            Then I will ask you, based on science, is the following statement true, false or other?

            If the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them then the Nazi anti-Semitism would still be morally wrong.

          • In reply to #58 by EricFSM:

            Source.

            W.L. Craig is not even in a position to discuss religious morality. There are some prior issues to address. It is evident that Yahweh, the god he is referring to, is one of a large number of gods. It is also evident that gods are mythological beings. Why the preference for the god of the culture he just happened to grow up in? How can a character in fiction dictate moral standards? We might as well — it wouldn’t be the worst choice–take our standards from Mr Pickwick. He would certainly be a better choice than Yahweh, a generally rather vile oriental despot. An even worse choice than Adolf Hitler, as a moral mentor..

          • In reply to #59 by aldous:
            >

            W.L. Craig is not even in a position to discuss religious morality. There are some prior issues to address. It is evident that Yahweh, the god he is referring to, is one of a large number of gods. It is also evident that gods are mythological beings. Why the pr…

            I suggest that you may want to check this out, Ad hominem.

          • In reply to #60 by EricFSM:

            In reply to #59 by aldous:

            W.L. Craig is not even in a position to discuss religious morality. There are some prior issues to address. It is evident that Yahweh, the god he is referring to, is one of a large number of gods. It is also evident that gods are mythological beings. Why the pr…

            I suggest that you may want to check this out, Ad hominem.

            I suggest that you may want to check this out,

            W..L. Craig is regarded as joke by serious philosophers and rational thinkers alike!

            His repertoire of fallacies and disingenuous deceptions, is monumental!

            Moral philosophies are relative, and representative of the communities in which they are found, and representative of the interests, traditions and objectives of those cultures – as anthropology shows.

            @58 – To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.

            Then I will ask you, based on science, is the following statement true, false or other?

            In the universe beyond inhabited zones, nothing is “right” or “wrong”. Is the planet Saturn right or wrong? No It simply exists and follows the laws of science.

            Science provides information on which to make judgements and predictions, but moral codes of conduct and laws, are human or animal constructs – based on vested interests , objectives, and subjects like reciprocal altruism, or pecking orders in social hierarchies. Some are biological, some are social and some are political, but most of them conflict with the morals of other cultures in numerous aspects – showing no consistent absolute “right or “wrong”!

          • In reply to #60 by EricFSM:

            I suggest that you may want to check this out, Ad hominem….

            Can you do an ad hom to a god? Or is it not Yahweh you are being defensive of? Irrespective of the merit you may think W.L.Craig has for, it seems, sharing your religious faith, the point I am making is that he hasn’t established that the diktats of an imaginary person are a basis for morality. Even if he could, the question would still remain as to which of the millions of fictitious characters should have that privileged position. Yahweh himself is vile, as the record of the Old Testament shows.

            However, despite the failure of W.L.Craig to make a case for morality being what his preferred celestial Hitler says it is, perhaps he makes some telling points against a humane, humanitarian and humanist source of morality. What do you think they are?

          • In reply to #58 by EricFSM:

            In reply to #57 by Red Dog:

            Then I will ask you, based on science, is the following statement true, false or other?

            If the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them then the Nazi anti-Semitism would still be morally wrong.

            If the psychopaths killed all non psychopaths or changed their brains to be psychopathic, then you have obliterated the population as we know it. The morals of a species of psychopaths would necessarily be very different from that which pertains in a world increasingly fueled by oxytocin and empathy. A race of super corvids would have very different and bizarre morals to our own.

            Every science fiction writer knows that an alien morality is built from the evolved workings of particular brains in particular environments. To not eat your dead father on the protein starved high plains of Senecrophage 3 is a serious breach of loving form.

            The thought experiment is poorly formed here, in my view, all set up to pull the rug when the brainwashed (or cowed and fearful) return to their senses. If all are truly (bizarrely) witless of the harms committed in their name and remain so then they must judge any other similar crimes the same. They are psychopaths.

            EDIT Wow all this from a genocide apologist, WLC! LOL.

          • In reply to #58 by EricFSM:

            I will put it to you the way it was presented to me. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them

            Now you are starting to get to a question that is a bit less generic (and hence perhaps has an answer). If you don’t mind let me rephrase your question just a bit (of course feel free to tell me if by rephrasing it you think I’m mangling what you mean).

            I think what you are getting at now is really a core issue about morality. Virtually all of us have strong opinions about moral questions. The question, which I think is absolutely a valid scientific question to ask, is: is there something more to morality than just emotions? Is it possible to define some system we could use such that we could objectively evaluate an action and say it is or it isn’t moral and claim that evaluation wasn’t just an expression of our cultural and emotional values but was in some sense objectively true the way say it’s objectively true that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second?

            I think it’s an open question. There is so much we don’t know right now about how the brain works and about human psychology. Learning more about that will inform our ideas about what emotions, values, intentions, free will, etc. are really all about and until we have a better understanding of those issues most of what we can say about morality is going to be speculation.

            But speculation is fun so I’ll give it a shot. What I think is that ultimately we can’t have a completely objective basis for morality. Because (and IMO this is really the essence of the Is Ought problem) what morality is all about are assigning values to the world. It’s one of the things that make humans different in the universe. Unlike rocks or particles or planets we have beliefs and desires and at the core of any system of beliefs and desires are some basic ideas about what things you want to have happen and what things you don’t. Trying to get justifications for those core things isn’t rational. That’s why they are fundamental beliefs, they don’t flow from anything else on the contrary they are the beliefs from which everything else you do (assuming you act rationally) can be understood.

            So as an example of a core value I would give “maximize well being” or the inverse “minimize suffering”. Unlike Harris I don’t think there is any objective basis for saying that minimizing suffering is inherently good. I do think it’s legitimate though to say “one of my core beliefs is that suffering is bad and I want to minimize it in the world” And once you have one or more core beliefs like that the rest can flow naturally. That’s the thing about the Is Ought problem it’s not really that hard to get around it. That’s why so many people after Hume and to this day like Harris just kind of ignore it for a second and that’s all it takes. Once you have just ONE belief that you take as good in itself you don’t have a problem anymore because everything else can flow from that core belief.

          • In reply to #62 by Red Dog:

            What I think is that ultimately we can’t have a completely objective basis for morality.

            You may well be right about that, especially concerning atheism. Since atheism has, it seems, by necessity a prior commitment to naturalism. And there could not possibly be any objective moral values existing outside of humans in nature. I think that you would agree with this short article.

            So, going back to our definition of objective morality, given that no such thing exists, we have to conclude that the Nazi Holocaust was not morally wrong. We can still dislike the Holocaust, but we would not have any basis in reality to condemn it.
            I think that we can also conclude that any talk about morality is simply an exercise in self deception or hypocrisy or both.

            For some this is a tough pill to swallow, but it is the admission price to enlightenment.

          • In reply to #70 by EricFSM:

            In reply to #62 by Red Dog:
            So, going back to our definition of objective morality, given that no such thing exists, we have to conclude that the Nazi Holocaust was not morally wrong.

            No we don’t. Not at all. For starters I just think it’s wrong to use emotional stories and “what ifs” like this in the first place. It’s something that Harris does all the time and it’s one of the things that really annoys me at times about some of his prose. Before he can talk about free will or Islam or whatever the actual topic is Harris will have page after page descriptions in gruesome detail, I swear at times I almost wonder if he’s getting off on it, of someone being gruesomely murdered or speculation about what you would do if a loved one was kidnapped by a psychotic torture loving sociopath. These kinds of emotional examples detract from thinking about things honestly and are a good example of why it’s hard to do science on humanities topics.

            But having said that I don’t agree at all that IF (and remember for me this is very much an open question) we determine that morality are nothing but emotions we then have to determine that “the Nazi Holocaust was not morally wrong” On the contrary I can still despise Nazis and people who support their policies even if I know that I have no ultimate objective foundation for it. If it IS just emotions that just clarifies for me that there are certain things I feel really strongly about and one of them is I hate Nazis.

            To me this is a lot like the free will debate. When you understand the problem certain things that you took for granted as true are clearly not really true. But the panic you feel that somehow you have to radically rethink things only requires a bit more thought. Because the requirement that you have a “free will” or an “objective morality” in order to believe in things like intentions or moral judgements was just too strong a requirement to begin with. And in both cases I think the confusion can be in large part traced back to the fact that as a society we are still using fiction books written by bronze age mystics as our main sources of wisdom for moral issues.

          • In reply to #71 by Red Dog:
            >

            No we don’t. Not at all. For starters I just think it’s wrong to use emotional stories…

            I have read your post a few times, and I don’t see you supporting your argument, in fact I don’t think you have an argument to support. You are desperately throwing out words to defend some fuzzy notions about morality. I know that you have spent a lot of time reading about this, but I think that all your studying the problem has only served to confuse you.
            I would suggest that you try to put your thoughts into the form of a syllogism, and if that syllogism obeys the rules of logic then all you have to do is support your premises and your conclusion will be guaranteed to be true. Only then can we hope to make some sense of what you are trying to say.

            Also, since this conversation is off topic here, I would suggest that you start a new discussion about how we can condemn the Nazi Holocaust beyond merely saying we dislike it for emotional or practical reasons. Personally I don’t think it is possible, but I would be very pleased if you could show me wrong.

          • Why isn’t emotional and practical reasons good enough? You seemed to be hung up on convincing the Nazi’s that the Holocaust was wrong. I could care less what the Nazi’s thought about the Holocaust. I personally, through the simple emotion of empathy, can say that I think it’s a terrible act to subject people to fear, torture, and murder and I don’t need the Nazi’s to validate that stance for me.

            In a godless universe you either give these issues your best shot and advocate for your position, or you can crawl into the fetal position and sit there until all the Nazi’s of the world magically agree with you. I’ll choose the former. And If you say atheist can’t use words like immoral or unethical, fine. Monsters, pieces of shit, and scumbags all convey quite nicely the way I feel about the Nazi’s.

            I apologize for the negative tone but these types of discussions with theist often annoy the hell out of me. So often there’s such a quitters mentality that permeates they’re posts on these matters. If important issues aren’t spelled out by some deity then screw it. Let’s all lie down, put paper bags over our heads and let civilization come crashing down because some Nazi somewhere might not agree with me.

            In reply to #79 by EricFSM:

            I would suggest that you start a new discussion about how we can condemn the Nazi Holocaust beyond merely saying we dislike it for emotional or practical reasons

          • In reply to #79 by EricFSM:

            how we can condemn the Nazi Holocaust beyond merely saying we dislike it for emotional or practical reasons

            Perhaps you are indifferent to being arrested, beaten, starved, gassed and thrown into a communal grave or totally lacking in empathy for your fellow human beings to whom this happens. For those of us who are human, our aversion to suffering, both our own and that of others, is basic to moral standards.

            The diktats of mythical gods are of no relevance.

          • In reply to #70 by EricFSM:

            So, going back to our definition of objective morality, given that no such thing exists, we have to conclude that the Nazi Holocaust was not morally wrong. We can still dislike the Holocaust, but we would not have any basis in reality to condemn it.

            The objective basis is an aversion to being tortured and killed and empathy for those who suffer it.. W.L.Craig thinks that torture and killing is just fine as long as his favourite character in fiction, Yahweh, is OK with it.

          • In reply to #70 by EricFSM:

            In reply to #62 by Red Dog:

            What I think is that ultimately we can’t have a completely objective basis for morality.

            You may well be right about that, especially concerning atheism. Since atheism has, it seems, by necessity a prior commitment to naturalism. And there could not possibly be any objective moral values existing outside of humans in nature. I think that you would agree with this short article.

            “Objective moral values”, can only be in terms of the objectives and interests of a particular tribe or culture, and compliance with those.

            So, going back to our definition of objective morality, given that no such thing exists, we have to conclude that the Nazi Holocaust was not morally wrong.

            The Holocaust is “not wrong”, in terms of the NAZI culture and ideology, just as seizing Palestinian lands by force is “not wrong”, in the view of a Zionist culture. Both are the memes of propagating and expanding a cult or “tribe” according to the “morals” meeting its objectives.

            Independent observers, who have a moral code of dealing even-handedly with people, empathy for others, or interests in political stability to avoid wars and suffering, may think otherwise, and seeing human interests in a wider perspective beyond the local tribe, may act otherwise – but that is simply a different moral code, which they may or may not be in a position to enforce! (Assuming that imposing that code is part of that code.)

            We can still dislike the Holocaust, but we would not have any basis in reality to condemn it. I think that we can also conclude that any talk about morality is simply an exercise in self deception or hypocrisy or both.

            We can condemn it according to our own moral culture, but we cannot objectively claim our moral culture is universal as some religions do. Some of these “universal” religious “god-approved” cultures actually supported the Holocaust!

            The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a German Protestantism movement aligned towards antisemetic principles of Nazism. The DC were sympathetic to Hitler’s goal of uniting the individual Protestant churches into a single Reich church. – The DC was first formed in 1931 and the flag was flown during marches and demonstrations.

            These files should also be interesting:-

            Decades of doubt over the role played by “Hitler’s Pope” under the Fascist regimes in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and 1940s may be answered if Pope Francis, as a close friend has suggested, opens the Vatican archives.

            For some this is a tough pill to swallow, but it is the admission price to enlightenment.

            Recognising that there are no “infallible god-given moral codes”, does not preclude any person or persons from drawing up their own – as many professions do in their codes of conduct.

            Debating the issue of what should be included in a code of conduct, is a totally different process from uncritically accepting indoctrinated dogma on “faith” – as religious fundamentalists and political ideologists do!

          • In reply to #75 by Alan4discussion:

            We can condemn it according to our own moral culture, but we cannot objectively claim our moral culture is universal as some religions do.

            We can claim that moral rules are only moral if they apply to all human beings. Of course, some rights such as the ‘right to abortion’ (if there is one) obviously are restricted by natural differences among humans. A humanist morality is universal and not ‘our moral culture’, in the sense of being the privilege of those of a particular race, creed or other supposed élite..

          • In reply to #76 by aldous:

            In reply to #75 by Alan4discussion:

            We can claim that moral rules are only moral if they apply to all human beings. Of course, some rights such as the ‘right to abortion’ (if there is one) obviously are restricted by natural differences among humans.

            This is simply not so. There is no “universal” agreement among humanists or atheists on what moral positions should be. ( There is no universal agreement among theists either.) There are however, moral codes accepted within particular cultures or groups.

            A humanist morality is universal and not ‘our moral culture’, in the sense of being the privilege of those of a particular race, creed or other supposed élite..

            Humanist morality tends to be geared to coping with whatever local culture the humanist lives in. From a study of populations, you would have no evidence of a “universal” humanist morality. – While there could be considerable over-lap in ideas, the evidence is quite to the contrary – both geographically and historically.

          • In reply to #77 by Alan4discussion:
            There are however, moral codes accepted within particular cultures or groups.

            Murder, assault, rape, and theft are universally considered serious crimes. However, moral philosophy is concerned with what ought to be the case, not what is the case. For example, there is capital punishment in some US states and not in others. In Texas, murderers are executed, in New Mexico they aren’t. What justification could there be for saying that capital punishment is right on one side of the state line and wrong on the other? The question of the death penalty is a practical one and one to which there is a correct answer, in principle.

            The moral standards which are upheld by law and public opinion are an important factor in determining the sort of society you live in. There seems no reason to think there is not a generalized human preference for living in societies that get into the top division of the UN Development index. Therefore, traditional views are not simply to be accepted without questioning whether they are compatible with universal aspirations for the benefits of global economic and technological advances, both spiritual and material.

            Even if issues can be argued to have no direct bearing on quality of life in a society, they are subject to the principle that there is a right and a wrong answer to moral questions and that there are consequences for how we survive and thrive as social apes.

          • In reply to #78 by aldous:

            In reply to #77 by Alan4discussion:

            There are however, moral codes accepted within particular cultures or groups.

            Murder, assault, rape, and theft are universally considered serious crimes. However, moral philosophy is concerned with what ought to be the case, not what is the case.

            That is simply not so – Hence the long history of inter-tribal genocides, raping and pillaging armies, slavery etc. There is a historical record of murdering and raping armies seizing properties and slaves from rival tribes/states and being celebrated within their own cultures – and expanding empires as heroes for doing so!
            Genghis Khan

            Even if issues can be argued to have no direct bearing on quality of life in a society, they are subject to the principle that there is a right and a wrong answer to moral questions and that there are consequences for how we survive and thrive as social apes.

            There are acclaimed “right” and “wrong” answers, but there is no consistency in what these are. – Hence the disputes and wars between religious groups and between states with different, cultures codes and objectives.

          • In reply to #80 by Alan4discussion:

            the long history of inter-tribal genocides, raping and pillaging armies, slavery etc. There is a historical record of murdering and raping armies seizing properties and slaves from rival tribes/states and being celebrated within their own cultures – and expanding empires as heroes for doing so

            Just so, but you must have noticed that the tribal era is fading into the past. This is the era of globalization, economically and culturally. There is only one tribe, the human tribe. Since the end of WW2, we are living under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international humanitarian law.

            This is not what is the case but this is what ought to be the case. How can you argue against equal rights for all humans without discrimination of race, creed or other divisive criteria?

          • In reply to #82 by aldous:

            In reply to #80 by Alan4discussion:

            the long history of inter-tribal genocides, raping and pillaging armies, slavery etc. There is a historical record of murdering and raping armies seizing properties and slaves from rival tribes/states and being celebrated within their own cultures – …

            Just so, but you must have noticed that the tribal era is fading into the past.

            Nope! In most of the world modern communications have made the tribes bigger, while in the oversized states (such as the US), internal sub-tribes are growing.

            This is the era of globalization, economically and culturally. There is only one tribe, the human tribe.

            I would approve this view, but the evidence shows it to otherwise in many parts of the real world.

            Since the end of WW2, we are living under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international humanitarian law.

            Laws are of no consequence unless enforcible. Human “rights” are only enforced as token gestures, and only when it suits political power-brokers. Like many “rights” they are purely cosmetic for most of the people, most of the time.

            This is not what is the case but this is what ought to be the case.

            According to an even-handed moral view, it should, but in reality, private greed and group prejudice, regularly act in their selfish biased interests.

            How can you argue against equal rights for all humans without discrimination of race, creed or other divisive criteria?

            I am not arguing against this as a moral objective recognised by certain cultures, but I recognise that it is not universally defined or accepted, and many political or religious dogmas applaud the abuse and exploitation of people in “out-groups” they regard as “different tribes”. “God’s/Allah’s chosen people”, come to mind!

            Hence the pope tries to claim the RC. “God’s ownership” of the internet!

          • In reply to #87 by Alan4discussion:

            In most of the world modern communications have made the tribes bigger, while in the oversized states (such as the US), internal sub-tribes are growing.

            In which countries are murder, assault, rape and theft the law of the land? More importantly, although we both acknowledge that these crimes are widespread, do you approve of them? There are 16,000 murders in the US annually, but who says murder is a good thing? Do you?

            Warfare has different moral standards. It’s positively good to kill the enemy. When American troops kill foreigners, they get medals. Yet, who says warfare is a positive good? All the nations of the world are signed up to the UN Charter, which recognizes that war is a scourge and something to be eliminated from human affairs. Don’t you agree?

            Accepting that murder and warfare are not positive goods is to acknowledge that ‘Though shalt not kill’ (even allowing for some exceptions) is a universal and absolute moral injunction.

          • In reply to #88 by aldous:

            In reply to #87 by Alan4discussion:

            In most of the world modern communications have made the tribes bigger, while in the oversized states (such as the US), internal sub-tribes are growing.

            In which countries are murder, assault, rape and theft the law of the land?

            They were in the example of the empire of Genghis Kahn which I linked @81, as they were under many warlords.

            http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/08/1-in-200-men-direct-descendants-of-genghis-khan/#.U0Qb1qIsFEc

            The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.

            “Murder” as a term for killing, is of course a circular terminology as it is specifically “illegal killing” according to the laws/morals of the culture involved, rather than killing in general. It excludes “authority approved killing”!
            They are frequently the de-facto law, – enforced in areas ruled by invading armies, or in the lawless land where banditry rules, or ruled in the past.

            Accepting that murder and warfare are not positive goods is to acknowledge that ‘Though shalt not kill’ (even allowing for some exceptions) is a universal and absolute moral injunction.

            It was not even a universal moral injunction when it was written in the Bible! It was “Thou shalt not kill your fellow countrymen, or tribes of believers”! Genocide, war and killing of rival tribes, rival faiths, and witches, was often demanded and applauded.

            You seem to have a fixation on some fictitious “universal” morality, which does not exist in the past or present diversity of human societies!

            Warfare has different moral standards. It’s positively good to kill the enemy. When American troops kill foreigners, they get medals. Yet, who says warfare is a positive good? All the nations of the world are signed up to the UN Charter, which recognizes that war is a scourge and something to be eliminated from human affairs.

            What politicians sign up to and things they do, are frequently two different things! History is full of agreements and treaties, reneged on at a later date!
            Dispensations for soldiers to kill “enemies” chosen for them by political leaders, is usually just an expedient variation on moral codes, which shows they are derived from commercial and political interests, rather than any “universal” morals!

            This is just a modern version of no-holds barred, tribal battles over assets over “in-groups” and “outsiders”.

            Don’t you agree?

            We can agree that certain items in moral codes are desirable, but to suggest that there is some sort of universal agreement on the details, is pure fantasy!

          • In reply to #89 by Alan4discussion:

            We can agree that certain items in moral codes are desirable, but to suggest that there is some sort of universal agreement on the details, is pure fantasy!

            The argument depends on making the distinction between descriptive and normative. It is correct to say that differerent societies have, or have had, different moral standards. Female circumcision is considered right in Egypt and wrong in the UK. Collecting the facts about moral attitudes can lead us to the view that there are many moralities. That favours a shrug of the shoulders and the comment, “It’s their culture, innit?”

            The issue, surely, is not that it is part of their culture (descriptive) but whether it should be (normative). I don’t think a practice is morally right because it is traditional. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a statement of what the situation is in every country but sets out standards which ought to be met.The basic premise is that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” . The universal character of moral principles is that they are applicable to all concerned because of their common humanity and that different treatment is not allowable simply on the grounds that it is traditional or decreed by some authority.

          • In reply to #91 by aldous:

            In reply to #89 by Alan4discussion:

            We can agree that certain items in moral codes are desirable, but to suggest that there is some sort of universal agreement on the details, is pure fantasy!

            The argument depends on making the distinction between descriptive and normative. . . . .

            The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a statement of what the situation is in every country but sets out standards which ought to be met.The basic premise is that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” . The universal character of moral principles is that they are applicable to all concerned because of their common humanity and that different treatment is not allowable simply on the grounds that it is traditional or decreed by some authority.

            I can only make the same point again. This is the present political culture at the UN, which may or may not be the position in the future. It is certainly not the position throughout the world, nor is it the position of the signatories when they find it inconvenient. It is also sufficiently vague to allow all-sorts double-talk and hypocrisy.

            While we may agree on the merits of particular moral stances, there are no “universal” moral positions. Moral positions should be judged in my view, on the merits of the outcomes on the basis of personal and collective responsibilities with respect for individual and group interests – including those of future generations.

            However that is not what happens in the real world, nor is there much prospect that human squabbles, short-termism, or personal or collective greed and irresponsibility will change any-time soon. Moral codes and legal systems reflect the present culture of the groups concerned as they have done throughout history.

            There are different moral and legal codes, and will continue to be disputes between groups where these conflict. – regardless of if some claim their versions have “UN approved” or “god approved”, stamped on them!
            Historically those which have claimed “universal jurisdiction” with “god-approved” stamped on them, have been a persistent and serious cause of wars with other groups who also claimed “universal jurisdiction” for their conflicting versions.

            Ultimately decisions at group and national levels are taken by politicians (and the courts where legal systems operate). There is not much sign in the real world, of politicians gaining power through their moral consideration of the whole of humanity!

          • In reply to #92 by Alan4discussion:

            While we may agree on the merits of particular moral stances, there are no “universal” moral positions

            The moral issue is not whether there is universal agreement about what is moral but about what argument there could be for not applying moral standards universally to all human beings concerned on the basis of their shared humanity.

            To pin you down on a specific question and help you out of the denialist loop where you continue to assert that what is right is what is decreed by tradition or political or other authority, let’s focus on female genital mutilation (as an example). Why, exactly, would it be right in Egypt and wrong in most of the rest of the world? If it is wrong for women to be subjected to and men to approve of, then it is something to be opposed with whatever means are appropriate. Do you give a shrug of the shoulders and say, ‘It’s their culture, innit’ or do you accept that it is morally wrong?

          • In reply to #93 by aldous:

            In reply to #92 by Alan4discussion:

            While we may agree on the merits of particular moral stances, there are no “universal” moral positions

            The moral issue is not whether there is universal agreement about what is moral but about what argument there could be for not applying moral standards universally…

            Standards of morality do not exist unless they are applied and enforced in a particular culture. Nor are there “one-size fits everything” rules which cannot be open to various interpretations. The quote I challenged @76 is a good example.

            aldous @76 -We can claim that moral rules are only moral if they apply to all human beings.

            There are currently no moral rules being “applied to all human beings”! I would however maintain that there are some very good moral rules being applied locally in some areas. I would also suggest that a moral overview, should apply to the environment and to other life-forms, but as I pointed out earlier, this is based on understanding an evaluating the outcomes of actions. Nobody is infallible at making such judgements, so with the best will in the world, moral rules are unlikely to remain fixed!

            aldous @76 – Of course, some rights such as the ‘right to abortion’ (if there is one) obviously are restricted by natural differences among humans.

            There is no universal unconditional “right to abortion”! Legal rights to abortion (where there are any at all), have specific details of rules and requirements, with compliance required by the local laws. There is no “universal” dogmatic moral position on this, although certain religions falsely claim their versions are “universal morality” which is fixed and not subject to modification in the light of new evidence. The foolishness and potential damage from of such positions, should be obvious!

            Moral positions are (or should be) based on balancing the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups. There are no easy or “universal” stock answers to such questions. To use a religious phrase:- The road to Hell can be paved with (ill thought-out) good intentions.

            Damaging “bad conduct” can be relatively easy to identify, (particularly with hindsight), but predicting actions leading to “good” outcomes, is much harder to get right, and much more prone subjective biases.

          • In reply to #94 by Alan4discussion:

            There are no easy or “universal” stock answers to such questions. To use a religious phrase:- The road to Hell can be paved with (ill thought-out) good intentions.

            How about whether Female Genital Mutilation is just fine in Egypt because it’s their culture and the law against it in the UK. Who is right in your opinion? And, if it is right to ban it, does that not mean, in your opinion, that it is universally wrong to practise it? Universality, means that all women are equal in this respect and cultural approval is morally wrong.

            ‘Stock answers’ and ‘ill thought out’ , indeed not thought out at all, answers are characteristic of traditional and cultural positions. What thought is given to Female Genital Mutilation? It’s just what’s traditionally done to women in Egypt and some other countries and communities. Rational, as opposed to traditional, moral positions are the result of debate on the basis of facts and logic and are open to revision. Religious and customary positions are justified on authority, not reason.

          • In reply to #95 by aldous:

            In reply to #94 by Alan4discussion:

            There are no easy or “universal” stock answers to such questions. To use a religious phrase:- The road to Hell can be paved with (ill thought-out) good intentions.

            How about whether Female Genital Mutilation is just fine in Egypt because it’s their culture and the law against it in the UK. Who is right in your opinion? And, if it is right to ban it, does that not mean, in your opinion, that it is universally wrong to practise it? Universality, means that all women are equal in this respect and cultural approval is morally wrong.

            …. according to European standards but not some African standards. Some Egyptians concerned, would be just as adamant that their practises are “moral”, as you and I would be in condemning them.

            As I have said in earlier comments we can agree that certain customs, deemed “moral” elsewhere, are bad in term of our views, but as I pointed out @94.

            @94 – Damaging “bad conduct” can be relatively easy to identify, (particularly with hindsight), but predicting actions leading to “good” outcomes, is much harder to get right, and much more prone subjective biases.

            We can condemn such activities according to our own moral codes, but there will be no “universal” acceptance without “universal” enforcement – which in itself carries all sorts of practical, military and political problems. Gratuitous blatant abuses of people are easy to condemn under most moral codes, but that does little to resolve all the other differences and uncertainties over actions, trade, property, conflicts, and outcomes. The greatest good of the greatest number (if that is part of a code) is not something which can be predicted with certainty.

            Are you going to have a blood-bath rushing to enforce the stopping of female genital mutilation in sovereign states in Africa? One-dimensional thinking rarely turns out well in the real world!

            “Pie in the sky”, stuff which does not translate into a positive balance of benefits on the ground, is just wishful thinking.

          • In reply to #96 by Alan4discussion:

            Are you going to have a blood-bath rushing to enforce the stopping of female genital mutilation in sovereign states in Africa? One-dimensional thinking rarely turns out well in the real world!

            The world community condemns the practice of Female Genital Mutilation on health grounds. The methods proposed to eliminate it are health education and the enforcement of laws against it. The ethical stance is that children are not the property of the communities they are born into but have rights as human beings.

            What grounds would you have for disputing that?

          • In reply to #97 by aldous:

            In reply to #96 by Alan4discussion:

            Are you going to have a blood-bath rushing to enforce the stopping of female genital mutilation in sovereign states in Africa? One-dimensional thinking rarely turns out well in the real world!

            The world community condemns the practice of Female Genital Mutilation on health grounds.

            The World Community is a desirable aspiration, but really a fantasy at present.

            The methods proposed to eliminate it are health education and the enforcement of laws against it.

            These are commendable targets from the World health Organisation (Not the ** World Community). They are making **a start on tackling the absence of a “universal” agreement that this is a moral objective in recognising the rights of others.

            Meanwhile backward cults are running campaigns (often enforced by terrorism) to push in the opposite direction and enforce Sharia etc..

            The ethical stance is that children are not the property of the communities they are born into but have rights as human beings.

            You continue to confuse the moral aspirations of the civilised and educated with “universal recognition”.

            What grounds would you have for disputing that?

            As I have said from the beginning, I consider such moral attitudes commendable, but dispute that there is any “universal” or “World Community” agreement on this. The W H.O. would not be having to make a start organising campaigns if there was such a “universal” view or code. The backward cling tenaciously to their indoctrinated versions of allegedly “moral codes”, as is also exemplified by the Vatican opposition to your example the “right to abortion” (in any form).

            It is notable that in the UK with it’s civil co-operation and well developed legal system, FGM was made illegal as political rhetoric, but a long time passed, with thousands of cases being ignored, before any prosecutions were brought. “Universal world community agreement and co-operation” across backward tribal cultures any-time soon?? Hardly!

            In reality, moral codes and “human rights” only exist in the real world, to the extent that people in communities follow them, and support them: – otherwise they are just words of no consequence, to make speechifiers sound and feel good!

          • In reply to #98 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #97 by aldous:

            These are commendable targets from the World health Organisation (Not the World Community). They are making a start on tackling the absence of a “universal” agreement that this is a moral objective in recognising the rights of others. Meanwhile backward cults are running campaigns (often enforced by terrorism) to push in the opposite direction and enforce Sharia etc..

            A4D, think of the W.H.O. as you regard the IPCC. It isn’t perfectly universal or absolute. To satisfy such needs try infallible Catholicism.

            UN Conventions and treaties are the closest we have to universal global standards. The Convention on the Rights of Children recognizes violent parenting is harmful to kids, yet only a few dozen countries have legislated for their protection from corporal punishment in the home. Both Australia and the US are delinquent.

            In reality, moral codes and “human rights” only exist in the real world, to the extent that people in communities follow them, and support them: – otherwise they are just words of no consequence, to make speechifiers sound and feel good!

          • In reply to #99 by Len Walsh:

            UN Conventions and treaties are the closest we have to universal global standards.

            The link to the W.H.O showed that the world community is indeed opposed to Female Genital Mutilation. In 2012, a unanimous vote of the UN General Assembly expressed opposition to FGM. All the governments of the world, regional associations and humanitarian organizations are opposed. It’s all there in the link. What is also there are the reasons for this opposition.

            On the other side, are some African communities, following traditional practices which only have any value, if they have any, within societies which have no place within the world community today in their present form.

          • In reply to #58 by EricFSM:

            If the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them then the Nazi anti-Semitism would still be morally wrong.

            Easily answered. Moral actions improve the well being of sentient creatures (ref. Sam Harris). Immoral actions reduce the well being of sentient creates. Prejudice, torture, murder, etc all reduce the well being of sentient creates and are morally wrong. Not only morally wrong but also untenable in the long run as anybody could easily see (except for a nutcase like Adolf). Hopefully the days of obscurantist babble about morals will come to an end one day soon and be viewed retrospectively as bizarre and childish as the tendency for citizens of the 21 century to cling to first century superstitions

          • In reply to #34 by EricFSM:

            Yes, ethics is the most obvious example, but exactly opposite to what you are saying. Ethics is about what ‘ought’ to be, and science can only speak about what ‘is’. Check out the naturalistic fallacy.

            The paper by Tooby and Cosmides I linked to in my previous reply to Maria is also directly relevant to our discussion. Actually that paper is a scholarly version of the argument I’m making, that science absolutely must be relevant to studying topics such as ethics and that the current approach in most humanities departments takes the wrong approach by trying to ignore science.

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        There was a time when people could not imagine how the sun, moon and stars do not revolve around the Earth. Now they can’t imagine how a person could rise from the dead, but science is stranger than we can imagine and one day rising from the dead may be a normal everyday thing. For all we know this universe may be some sort of a hologram where anything is possible.

        Well if you follow that line of reason you may as well believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. No one has proven (in the mathematical sense) that it doesn’t. We just have some really good theories and overwhelming empirical data that it doesn’t but I can imagine that it’s all wrong. The science that tells us that people don’t rise from the dead is just as solid as the science that tells us that the sun, moon, and stars do not revolve around the Earth.

        I can imagine all sorts of nonsense. The idea that we should take any nonsensical idea seriously because people were wrong about some idea at one point is just a rationalization for believing nonsense ideas that make people feel good and hence they don’t want to give up.

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        Now they can’t imagine how a person could rise from the dead, but science is stranger than we can imagine and one day rising from the dead may be a normal everyday thing

        For the time being it’s impossible to rise form the dead. If that makes me an adherent of scientism then by all means count me in! I’m sick of tired of armchair philosophers who think they have discovered something remarkable when they realize that science can’t show with absolute certainty that something is one way or not another. Well, if you want to live your life accordingly… then be my guest. I challenge you to jump out of a plane. It might be that everything we think we know about gravity is wrong and that you will not crash into the ground and die. This is the kind of bullshit that postmodernists and relativists deal with. Surprise, surprise they have not contributed with anything of real value to this world. This line of thinking is corrupt and will ultimately end in one place. That we really can’t say anything about anything. Which is ironically a contradiction since it is in itself an absolute statement.

        There’s a time and place for serious discussions about the limits of scientific methods and, to some extent, the scientific method as a whole. But, those discussions have nothing to do with claiming people who say it’s impossible to rise from the dead have an exaggerated trust in science.

        Since you are a friend of nitpicking I think it’s only fair to point out that “to rise form the dead” is not the same as if we in the future can turn dead bodies into living again. The very term “to rise” implies that we as humans transcend to another state of consciousness when we die. Because how could we otherwise rise? In the future we can perhaps “come to life again”, but that is very different from “to rise from the dead”. In order for you to say that it might be possible to rise from the dead you would have to accept that we have souls or that we somehow transcend the physical world when we die. Of course none of that makes any sense. The only reason some atheists like to point out that we can’t be completely sure that we can’t rise from the dead is because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of religious people. If we can’t say that it’s impossible to rise from the dead without sacrificing our intellectual integrity, then we really can’t say anything about anything. And as said, that is of no good to no one.

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        For all we know this universe may be some sort of a hologram where anything is possible.

        You don’t understand the hologram analogy. Its a metaphor, it’s not saying (assuming the hypothesis is correct) that the universe actually is a hologram it’s saying that the universe may exhibit some of the mathematical properties of a hologram. What you are doing is the equivalent of watching one of those intro to the expanding universe talks where the teacher uses an expanding balloon as a model for expanding space-time and coming away thinking that astrophysicists are claiming that the universe is a big red balloon.

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        In reply to #7 by Red Dog:

        “Scientism” is one of those words that people throw around without really giving a good definition of what it means. But if by scientism you mean believing in very rational things like that people don’t rise from the dead by all means count me in as an adherent of scienti…

        One last thing, kind of random but I thought you might find it interesting I just started a book this morning that relates a bit to the “Jesus bringing people back from the dead” topic. It’s “The Apochryphal Gospels” by Bart Ehrman. These are stories about the life of Jesus that for one reason or another never made it into the official gospels. The first one is The Infancy Gospel of Thomas telling the story of Jesus as a kid. And wow was he a handful! Yes, he brought back to life the occasional playmate who fell off a roof but he was even more likely to kill, cripple, or blind a playmate or teacher that pissed him off. He really was a terror according to this gospel, he goes around just maiming and killing people for the most trivial of reasons. I can see why this one never made the official list. Young Jesus as described there kind of reminds me of that kid in the Twilight Zone story who can “wish people into the corn field”. I can just picture his family and friends walking on egg shells and saying “it’s good that you blinded all those people Jesus, yeah real good”

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        In reply to #7 by Red Dog:

        “Scientism” is one of those words that people throw around without really giving a good definition of what it means. But if by scientism you mean believing in very rational things like that people don’t rise from the dead by all means count me in as an adherent of scientism.

        SCIENTISM 2 : an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)

        Scientism – as Red Dog says, is one of those words thrown around by people – particularly theists/fundamentalists seeking to cast doubt on scientific refutations of their claims.

        Definition of SCIENTISM – 1. : methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist

        It has that convenient ambiguity of two different definitions, – one of which is normal scientific methodology, – and the second more theistically common usage, maintaining a distrust in the scientific methodology employed.

        Theistic pseudo-philosophy, LOVES the fallacy of shifting meanings where equivocation and innuendo can be both used and denied. Mixing or merging the two definitions, side-tracks conclusive refutations into semantic arguments about definitions purely on the basis of asserting that evidence is unreliable “scientism”!

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        For all we know this universe may be some sort of a hologram where anything is possible.

        I hate this sort of reasoning as it stops the conversation dead! Perhaps we’re just microbes in a Petri dish! What then? We have to work with what we’ve got and use the methods that have proven themselves to be successful so far. If you want to continue living your life as if the whole of existence is a hologram or that the universe in contained in a Petri dish then go for it, but I don’t think you’re going to advance the collective wisdom of our species.

        • In reply to #26 by Nitya:

          In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

          For all we know this universe may be some sort of a hologram where anything is possible.

          I hate this sort of reasoning as it stops the conversation dead! Perhaps we’re just microbes in a Petri dish! What then? We have to work with what we’ve got and use the methods that…

          Totally agree. A similar fallacious line of reasoning is when someone says something that is contradicted by basic science and then replies “well they laughed at Einstein too”. Yeah, maybe they laughed at Einstein but they also laughed at a lot of crack pots who had no idea what they were talking about and there are a LOT more of those around at any point in time than there are Einsteins.

      • In reply to #9 by EricFSM:

        It is impossible, by definition, to ‘rise from the dead’
        .

        Uniform Determination of Death Act
        An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must
        be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

  4. If God is both omniscient and omnipotent why didn’t he just prophesy in the Bible that one day in the second half of the 20th century he would present a gift to the world called the Internet?

  5. In a way, this is a good thing. It gives me a new challenge theists can never pass: prove your god is more worthy of the name than is Tim Berners-Lee. (Technically the Internet predates his World Wide Web, but I doubt the Pope was referring to the pre-WWW Internet.)

  6. FFS! Will these religious wing nuts never stop to think? God is not interested in communication! If he was he’d have sent his prophets to China where the inhabitants could already read and print books instead of to a desert tribe who couldn’t find there way through a desert for 40 years. The internet is the product of the human mind – Tim Berners-Lee.

  7. Of course, if one does accept the infallibility of a deity as a major premise, as the Pope does, then presumably anything he created could be seen as a ‘gift from God’ – anything from smallpox to the child born without limbs.

  8. As someone who worked on the Internet I can honestly say that it is (and continues to be) the result of great human effort and ingenuity.

    If.the Internet is a gift of a god, then it can only have occurred as a result of that god interfering directly in many lives and we have no free will. QED.

    If we have no free will then Heisoos death on the cross for our sins was an empty and useless gesture, because the Catholic god has pre-ordained all.

    So according to The Pope … Christianity is a waste of time … ?

    To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens: If the Pope says “There’s a god in heaven” then your first thought is that the Pope is doing his job today. But when the Pope says: “Christianity is a hopeless case” you think: He just might be on to something.

    Thank goodness we can spare the Pope his blushes – because, of course, there’s no evidence for a supernatural realm that overlaps with nature and thereby steers human efforts … err …

    Peace.

  9. @OP – Further, if you accept that claim that science is a gift from God, how can you deny science when it shows the age of the earth, the evolution of species and the impossibility of rising from the dead?

    While the RCC has a long history of denying science – summed up in the confused double talk of the “infallible” Pope Pius IX, the present RCC CLAIMS to accept the findings of science on “the age of the Earth, the fossil record and the evolution of species”, but still insists on the double-talk that miracles and god-did-it, are an integral part of reality – , and that in science – “methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith”,

    The RCC “Truely scientific manner”, is of course the pseudo-science view through the “faith blinkers” of biased faith-thinking, which starts with dogma and doctrine, and then constructs a circular rationalisation which it claims is “science”. – Nothing to do with objective scientific methodology! Just another double-talk attempt hi-jacking words and subverting meanings. It also claims that there are aspects of reality which “are beyond science”!

    “TRRrrrooooo science” (according to the Vatican), is apparently that which ignores any evidence which contradicts RCC doctrines and dogmas, and credits their god with responsibility for anything of value.

  10. Of course the internet was invented by the US military to save the information onto other computers, if one was wiped out in an attack. What is it investors call it, – spreading the risk ? No doubt God was on the side of the US military ? The World Wide Web came later, and with a far more benign purpose, – to allow different computers to exchange information with each other.

    Of course all this “gift from God” nonsense means the Pope is just doing his job. All things bright and beautiful might well be attributable to God, – but then so would everything else be, including the nasty Ebola type viruses, parasitic worms, natural disasters and human suffering, including wars, famines and indescribable poverty.

    As usual with the Catholics, God takes the credit for all the good stuff, and all the bad stuff is down to original sin ! That bloody piece of fruit , and that talking snake !

    Just as an aside, IMO, Holy Jo is trying to show everyone how worldly he really is. He rode a motor bike, he was a bouncer, he kisses smelly feet, and now, on behalf of a fictional character, he claims the credit for yet another magnificent human achievement !

    This Holy Jo is more likeable than the previous Holy Joe, but he is just as insidious in his ruthless pursuit of Catholic doctrine.

  11. People are swayed by incredulity and credulity. Evolution is a hard concept to believe for most people, and the scientific explanation, though obviously true to a scientifically literate person like you or I, is too complicated to understand, much less believe. The concept of a deity magically raising people from the dead is en easy concept for these people despite that it is ridiculous to a person interested in science. Their brains work differently. They prefer rhetoric over logic and simplicity over complicated truth. To them, the existence of a deity is a given which many never think to doubt, just as they never doubt that the moon exists.

    As for how they can say that the earth is 6,000 years old, which the pope does not, it comes down to their belief in two types of science: observational and historical science. They say that observational science is what you can observe in real time, so you know it is true. For historical science, you were not there and therefore you cannot know. For matters of historical science you must refer to the bible. You or I can immediately tell that this is crap, but creationists are willing to believe anything that supports their “given” bit of information that the bible is literal truth. Their thought process, obviously, is completely different from mine and I cannot begin to understand it.

    As for Pope Francis, he believes that everything, even science, is gift from his deity. If those hundreds and thousands of hours, the intelligence of the scientists, the lives of the scientists, the materials they use, are all given from their deity, I understand why they would call it a gift from god. That I understand. What I do not understand is how they can rationally believe in this deity without any strong evidence. (I say strong evidence because they scrape the bottom of the barrel for evidence, it is just very weak and easy to refute)

  12. When I saw an interview with Tim Burners Lee, I thought I could see an ethereal glow. The pope has let it slip. The second coming is upon us. All hail Tim Burners Lee, saviour of the universe. (Or was that Flash Gordon according to the Queen song.) Whatever. If the pope wants to worship Tim, Peace be Upon Him, then knock yourself out Francis. It has the same evidentiary value as worshiping anything else. I wonder what Tim would say. “Back off man, HTTP is mine, all mine.”

    On risings from the dead, gospel style, there are about 8 from memory. All very casually mentioned. A bit ho hum. An explanation I like advance by Dr Barbara Theiring in Jesus the Man, is that a person who has upset the sect, is excommunicated, which is described as death as far as the adherents think. When a person repents, and returns to the sect, they are said to have “risen from the dead”. Ockham’s Razor would probably favour this explanation over the supernatural.

    Correct me, but don’t Mormon’s consider a person who has left the extreme end of that sect, to be dead as far as they are concerned, or is it some other crazy sect. So many sects. No little time.

  13. Of coarse, porn is just people making love isn’t it, i mean porn is a word invented by cult..orally religious people to discredit our natural instinct to fuck, unless its purely for reproduction. However they really seem to be enjoying all that recreational sex on the internet, please explain god?

    The word cult..orally above was invented by spell check too, the lord works in mysterious ways…

  14. Greetings All
    I’ve not read all the posts below, however the initial discussion was provocation enough for me to have my say, so I apologise if I’m repeating an argument that has already been well presented.
    For me the fact that the Pope has blurted out such rhetoric as this, is really not that surprising. After all we must realise that like the ‘Company MD or CE’ that he clearly is, he has to keep up the company image and try to uphold the delusion that has been the company policy for two thousand years. I’m not convinced however that the delusion is actually genuine, as alluded to in a previous post. A person of his intelligence and education is more likely to be simply ‘playing the game’ than actually a true believer. The true delusion and indoctrination is with the sad minions below him who fall for the non-factual rhetoric, on a daily basis. The secular way is important but be under no illusion that we have a fight on our hands before common sense and scientific thinking start to overshadow this archaic supernatural waffle!!

  15. To the Pope:-

    The internet is not a gift of God. It was made by people.

    God does not save toddlers trapped in wells; people do.

    Science was invented by people in order to learn things that God never told us.

    You have never done anything God, you fraud!

    Oops, sorry I shouldn’t have said that. In order to be a fraud you need to exist. But no, you can’t manage that. Go on, admit it, you don’t exist!. Oh, you can’t.

    How sad.

    (edited & reposted)

  16. “The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity,” Francis said. “This is something truly good, a gift from God.”

    How do you even begin to counter this absurity? The casual arrogance of dismissing the hundreds of thousands of human hours put into creating and developing the internet as a supernatural ‘gift’ is a slap in the face of science.

    I think actually you will find that the Pope would claim that God created man and gave him the gift of free will and rational thought. So yes God created the internet. He doesn’t mean it turned up over night with a lightening bolt from the heavens.

    Further, if you accept that claim that science is a gift from God, how can you deny science when it shows the age of the earth, the evolution of species and the impossibility of rising from the dead?

    Actually the Pope will be OK with these with some provisos:

    (1) Age of the earth — no issues. You are confusing the Catholic Church and Protestant literalism.

    (2) Evolution. No problem he will just add that humans have souls inserted by God at some point. There will be some mumbling when it comes to whether Adam and Eve where the only ancestors of all humans. The RCC hasn’t quite adjusted to the DNA evidence on that yet from what I can tell.

    (3) Rising from the dead. My guess is the Pope would agree that scientifically it is impossible but on very rare occasions God interferes with the natural order He has created and we have miracles like the Resurrection.

    Michael

    • In reply to #51 by mmurray:

      I think actually you will find that the Pope would claim that God created man and gave him the gift of free will and rational thought. So yes God created the internet.

      The point of having free will is that you are responsible for what you do with it. So ‘man’ created the internet.

      • In reply to #66 by aldous:

        In reply to #51 by mmurray:

        I think actually you will find that the Pope would claim that God created man and gave him the gift of free will and rational thought. So yes God created the internet.

        The point of having free will is that you are responsible for what you do with it. So ‘man’ created the internet.

        Fair point. Sorry for the late response. I haven’t been able to load comments for about four days. I guess God is stuffing with the atheist sites.

        Michael

  17. I I have a problem with the particular use of the word morality. I always believed in ethical ways of behavior as being the correct ways and ethics is based on logic And reasoning. Ethics should not be measured by some dogma some credence it should be measured by reality by what is right and wrong based on the obvious aspects . Does it cause harm? If It does it is unethical. When you attach morality as part of ethics it becomes a very gray area to look at because then those ethics are based on the religion that you’re basing the morality on. Morality is a fath based idea or concept. Ethics is what needs to replace the use of the word Morality.

  18. The Pope does talk a load of rubbish, doesn’t he ! The one thing in science which, as a woman, I appriecate, is family planning. The Pope makes no mention of this and is proberly agaisnt it ! Science has made my life very comfortable. I can chose not to have children. God has done nothing for Medical Science apart from telling me that I cannot have an abortion, no family planning, or the supporting of Gay marriage. All these things were fought and won by people with common sense.

    • In reply to #67 by ikinmoore:

      The Pope does talk a load

      Yes And what strikes me is that he likes to talk about the children and all the poor children in the world and how did they get that way ? mothers being forced to have them when they can’t even afford to feed them. And force them to have children under the worst circumstances even after being raped that is accepted? Can’t the pope see that one is tied to the other that the poor children in the world that the poverty and all the poor people there there because they were forced to be born and nobody could Afford to take care of them and they lived in terrible conditions all their life or died very young .it is a sad truth but it’s the way it is people that plan their pregnancies to do so for this particular reason , they want To be able to provide a proper life for their children…

    • In reply to #67 by ikinmoore:

      The Pope does talk a load of rubbish, doesn’t he ! The one thing in science which, as a woman, I appriecate, is family planning. The Pope makes no mention of this and is proberly agaisnt it ! Science has made my life very comfortable. I can chose not to have children. God has done nothing for Med…I agree. However, not just the Pope but the majority of Religious leaders globally. The Internet has bought us a wealth of knowledge, that those gone before could only dream of. It gives the “ordinary” people a forum to share science, knowledge and advancement. On the negative side, the Internet also provides a conduit for the “less savoury” in society. From God….No. I personally am grateful for the Human invention of the Internet. It provides me with the information that I need to know at the touch of a button. Obviously, I am intelligent enough to think for myself and filter the dross that people post on the net. Have to say ‘Bless him’, at least Francis tries to make us think his Company is hip and cool.

      • In reply to #117 by Chico2004:

        . ! The one thing in science which, as a woman, I appriecate, is family planning. The Pope makes no mention of this and is proberly agaisnt it !

        That’s an understatement!! Against it! He would have the world population double, nay treble in the blink of an eye!

  19. 100% sure that he is getting his facts mixed up again…..this is blatent lying….but even religious people know the truth on that one..I hope. However lets humour old popey….what else is clearly a gift from god ?
    The space station ? Hubble space telescope ? But because the pope says his god is so merciful…what about nuclear weapons ?

  20. (As usual I apologize for my self-arranged English.)

    Until it lasts … Internet is a ‘gift from God’

    —Joke—

    What do you do you Catholics today?

    Today we sell the “good” pope.

    (the day after)

    What do you do you Catholics today?

    Today we sell the “good” pope!

    (some days later)

    What do you do you Catholics today?

    Today we sell the “good” pope!

    Don’t you ever tire yourself?

    No! Once that you have guessed a good product why to change it? The publicity is free: mass media instantly arrive to every sneeze of the “good” pope and Internet repeats it everywhere.

    And what do you think about the economic crisis?

    To the devil the economic crisis! With the “good” pope we are always on the crest of the wave (or at least we try to give the impression to be there, at least until our spectators will not discover the trick.)

  21. You take the Pope too seriously, this man is just trying to put his institution’s signature on the creative effort of the thousands of people he would burn alive should his Inquisition was have been limited in their power through the civil laws.

    • In reply to #109 by Sceptic:

      You take the Pope too seriously, this man is just trying to put his institution’s signature on the creative effort of the thousands of people he would burn alive should his Inquisition was have been limited in their power through the civil laws.

      But you must remember that like his predecessors, he can work “miracles”! ( At least as far as re-writing history for sheeple-believers is concerned! )

  22. the old parson told me that all things on earth were MAN MADE and god was not responsible.Now all of a sudden the internet is a gift from god.Talk about cherry- picking!! Quite frankly it sickens me to hear it and it makes me loath the church even more.

    David Budgell
    Salisbury

  23. if the internet is a gift from god … then what was the plague ? the Ebola virus ? the boxing day tsunami ? Were they gifts from god too ?

    Where do we line up to give thanks ?

    PS: Did the pope get the message direct ? or was it redirected from the last pope ? god must be struggling with the change of address …

  24. The churches are clever enough not to flatly disagree with generally-accepted science. They make reasonable-sounding but actually unreasonable claims about it. They feign wisdom with statements like “The question (of the validity of the theory of evolution) may never be finally settled..The Church does not have an official position.”, statements like “The Church has infallibly determined that the universe is of finite age”, AFTER Hubble had used science to discover that it was so, and they hedge their bets, for example by holding open the idea that the earth might or might not have been created only a few thousand years ago which is hardly any better than saying that it certainly was, given the evidence. And because it is perfectly obvious that science has supplied humankind with huge material benefits, the church tries to claim joint ownership of the prize with these barmy claims that it was all a gift from God. The logical conclusion would be to claim that atheism itself, with its many intellectual and material benefits, is also a gift from God. It reminds me of the joke that if God had meant us to fly he would never have given us the railways…

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