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Christian or Agnostic?

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KeyserSozed
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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-17 20:08:31 Reply

At 6/17/12 02:45 PM, The-universe wrote:
At 6/17/12 12:37 AM, Scarface wrote:
At 6/16/12 04:50 PM, Sense-Offender wrote:
At 6/16/12 01:30 PM, X-Gary-Gigax-X wrote: I see it this way: Even if God doesn't exist, it doesn't matter, because people are nice to each other because of Him. Why are they nice to each other? Because if you accept God, you also accept that we are his children.
You don't need faith in a god to be a good person. And I find it slightly unsettling when people insist otherwise.
This. Morality is what causes you to be a good person. The idea that you should treat others well, because you too wish to be treated well.
Or even better it works without religion on an evolutionary sense. Because we are a heavily socially structured species, if everyone had the compulsion (or any species for that matter) to kill each other just by the sight of someone else, we'd be extinct.

Obviously it's not a perfectly working system because there's rivalry and violence in almost every species known, but it works nonetheless. Even different species have been known to work almost completely harmoniously with each other. A home grown example would be to buy a plecostomus and stick it in your fish tank and watch how it helps keep the tank clean by eating the algae and uneaten food (amongst other things) while being completely none aggressive to the other fish.

I disagree with your statement. Animals and humans are not, by nature, moral, especially in an evolutionary sense. Animals may work together and develop mutual relationships, but this is merely for the sake of survival, not because of morality. True altruism in nature is nonexistent. Organisms may engage in such behavior for mutual gain, or may assist, say, a close relative in the name of further spreading their genes, but otherwise, there is no reason to do so. With limited resources, organisms will not survive if they are charitable "for charity's sake." Organisms do survive, however, if they eliminate competition, reproduce as much as physically possible to spread genes, steal resources from other organisms, exert as little energy and as few resources as possible to survive, better themselves as a result of observation from another organism, consume as many resources as possible, due to their limited supply, and exert their dominance over other organisms in order to attract mates and further the spread of their own genes.

As a matter of fact, the immorality of nature has been one of the most prolific themes presented throughout literature in history. This is a concept introduced in the Bible, that humans, by nature, are immoral, and it is an inevitability for them to commit sin as a result of their innate nature. Religion seeks to control these desires, even though it is aware that humanity can never truly escape them, as they are bound to act as so as a result of nature. Sigmund Freud developed an entire concept of humanity struggling with its innate, primal desires and its moral obligations to society, which I am sure everyone is aware of. The point is, humanity, by nature, is immoral, but seeks to balance these primal desires with its obligations to society. It is only through struggling against nature that humanity can retain its morality, and it is only through balancing its morality and primal desires that individuals can remain human.

This concept extends to other literature as well. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the more famous examples. In this novel, Jekyll struggles between two identities: Mr. Hyde, who is described similarly as an animal and partakes in violence and other morally reprehensible acts, and Dr. Jekyll, a religious, logical man who is viewed very highly by society. By the end of the book, Jekyll admits that he had always had a "Mr. Hyde" within him, and sought to isolate the two identities through a potion. One of the prevailing themes of the book, however, is that because Jekyll isolates the two, instead of formulating a balance, he exerts both through extremes-- Dr. Jekyll is extremely moral, but Mr. Hyde is extremely reprehensible. This eventually reaches a boiling point where Hyde murders an individual. In the context of the setting of this novel, the Victorian Era, this makes sense; one of the motifs of this time was an emphasis on appearance and of suppression of desire. It doesn't just end at this book either; Lord of the Flies and The Heart of Darkness both sought to portray worlds where humanity succumbs to their primal desires, and makes note to the reader of the consequences that result in doing so.

I hear arguments from anti-religious individuals that religion plays no role in morality. These individuals claim that such concepts introduced by religion simply boil down to simple ideas such as "don't steal" and "don't resort to violence" and that humanity could easily have discovered this without religion. I look at evolution, literature, and philosophy and find this incredibly hard to believe. Even with religion acting as a moral base, humans continue to struggle with "simple" concepts such as these every single day. I find it hard to believe that religion plays absolutely no role in morality, when humans, by nature, are designed to be immoral in the name of survival. The existence of religion alone shows that humanity has the power to resist nature, instead of becoming enslaved by it. Quote out-of-context passages in the Bible about slavery and violence, but in the end, religion is one of several factors that differentiates humans from animals.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-18 04:43:16 Reply

At 6/17/12 08:08 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: I disagree with your statement.
Animals and humans are not, by nature, moral, especially in an evolutionary sense. Animals may work together and develop mutual relationships, but this is merely for the sake of survival, not because of morality. True altruism in nature is nonexistent. Organisms may engage in such behavior for mutual gain, or may assist, say, a close relative in the name of further spreading their genes, but otherwise, there is no reason to do so.

You say that Altruism is non-existent in nature, yet the wiki page you cited not only defines what altruism and kin selection is, but then lists over a dozen examples altruism happening at the bottom of the page!

Did you even read your own citation? It says that natural altruism happens in the first sentence on the first paragraph.

With limited resources, organisms will not survive if they are charitable "for charity's sake." Organisms do survive, however, if they eliminate competition, reproduce as much as physically possible to spread genes, steal resources from other organisms, exert as little energy and as few resources as possible to survive, better themselves as a result of observation from another organism, consume as many resources as possible, due to their limited supply, and exert their dominance over other organisms in order to attract mates and further the spread of their own genes.

That scenario would work if they had an unlimited supply of resources, which as you can tell they do not. If rabbit eliminated their natural predators, they would overpopulate and die off from starvation.

But nonetheless, your own first citation about altruism makes the rest of your post null and void. But I'll humour you with a TL:DR response for the remaining paragraphs.

Stop citing fiction and applying it to real world situations while completely ignoring the ludicrous aspects of it. Unless you want to admit that blacks are evil, magic potions exist and a pack of kids will turn murderous overnight even though most people who are put in survival situations do nothing of the sort.

Freud's work is theoretical.

And lastly, anti-religious people don't just say the bible has no play within morality, but also religion is immoral itself. Unless you also want to admit that butchering gays and disobedient kids is a moral act. Or giving away your daughters to violent gangs to save two complete strangers. Or chucking someone in a giant fish because he wouldn't convert thousands of people.

Need I go on?


It's not the lack of crimes that values your morality but your capacity for contrition.

Click this and one day I'll be worth bazillions.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-18 05:47:24 Reply

At 6/18/12 04:43 AM, The-universe wrote:
At 6/17/12 08:08 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: I disagree with your statement.
Animals and humans are not, by nature, moral, especially in an evolutionary sense. Animals may work together and develop mutual relationships, but this is merely for the sake of survival, not because of morality. True altruism in nature is nonexistent. Organisms may engage in such behavior for mutual gain, or may assist, say, a close relative in the name of further spreading their genes, but otherwise, there is no reason to do so.
You say that Altruism is non-existent in nature, yet the wiki page you cited not only defines what altruism and kin selection is, but then lists over a dozen examples altruism happening at the bottom of the page!

Did you even read your own citation? It says that natural altruism happens in the first sentence on the first paragraph.

You missed the entire point of why I posted the article. Yes, it states that altruism exists, but not true altruism, or "doing good for goodness sake" The entire reason why animals are altruistic is part of a game theory developed by evolutionists. Altruism exists solely for a strategic purpose in enhancing survival. Do you even know what kin selection is? It's the idea that organisms will attempt to aid their own kin, sure, but the reason organisms do so is to promote the spread of their own genes There are eight concepts explained in this article that support this notion. All of these concepts can be applied to the examples below.

Did you even spend more than five minutes reading the citation at all? There was even a link to the Selfish gene on there.


With limited resources, organisms will not survive if they are charitable "for charity's sake." Organisms do survive, however, if they eliminate competition, reproduce as much as physically possible to spread genes, steal resources from other organisms, exert as little energy and as few resources as possible to survive, better themselves as a result of observation from another organism, consume as many resources as possible, due to their limited supply, and exert their dominance over other organisms in order to attract mates and further the spread of their own genes.
That scenario would work if they had an unlimited supply of resources, which as you can tell they do not. If rabbit eliminated their natural predators, they would overpopulate and die off from starvation.

But nonetheless, your own first citation about altruism makes the rest of your post null and void. But I'll humour you with a TL:DR response for the remaining paragraphs.

Stop citing fiction and applying it to real world situations while completely ignoring the ludicrous aspects of it. Unless you want to admit that blacks are evil, magic potions exist and a pack of kids will turn murderous overnight even though most people who are put in survival situations do nothing of the sort.

Freud's work is theoretical.

And lastly, anti-religious people don't just say the bible has no play within morality, but also religion is immoral itself. Unless you also want to admit that butchering gays and disobedient kids is a moral act. Or giving away your daughters to violent gangs to save two complete strangers. Or chucking someone in a giant fish because he wouldn't convert thousands of people.

Need I go on?

Once again, you missed the entire point of the post. The point is that immorality being human nature has been tackled again and again and again by numerous authors, scholars, and intellectuals. The fact that so many of these works exist emphasize how prevalent it has been throughout history and human society. All of these authors and writers write to make a point about society, and these works have been prevalent throughout history.

Freud's work is "theoretical." It's hilariously ironic that you resort to rhetoric that fanatical fundamentalists use in order to discredit evolution. Freud's work has been discussed and analyzed for years.

And clearly all religion is evil. Buddhism, which teaches overcoming material gain and desires, strength through suffering, and overcoming of hardship is clearly evil. Christianity has clearly been a destructive force of nature, leading to some of the most influential developments in artand literature that are still ingrained in society today. Islam is evil too, with the word itself meaning surrender or submission in Arabic, after all. And its not as if there have been religions such as Jainism, which has sought to prevent the destruction of all life, even that of a household fly. Religion is obviously destructive to science too. There have never been any religious scientistsor mathematicians in history. Ever.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-18 06:54:45 Reply

At 6/18/12 05:47 AM, KeyserSozed wrote: You missed the entire point of why I posted the article. Yes, it states that altruism exists, but not true altruism, or "doing good for goodness sake"

Dogs often adopt orphaned cats, squirrels, ducks and even tigers.

So tell me exactly why they do this?

The entire reason why animals are altruistic is part of a game theory developed by evolutionists. Altruism exists solely for a strategic purpose in enhancing survival.

So you're saying that 'true' altruism is basically doing good for no reason at all? And because of this everything is immoral? Then in that case 'true' altruism is not presented in religions because most religions that bark orders offered a reward so it's a strategy as opposed to a goodness that causes altruistic habits.

Do you even know what kin selection is? It's the idea that organisms will attempt to aid their own kin, sure, but the reason organisms do so is to promote the spread of their own genes

But you've admitted that there's inner species relations while also saying that they will ruthlessly compete with one another.

Did you even spend more than five minutes reading the citation at all? There was even a link to the Selfish gene on there.

Yes, that discusses gene duplication. Not psychological characteristics.

Once again, you missed the entire point of the post. The point is that immorality being human nature has been tackled again and again and again by numerous authors, scholars, and intellectuals.

And your point in this sentence is? That it's been done so we shouldn't?

The fact that so many of these works exist emphasize how prevalent it has been throughout history and human society. All of these authors and writers write to make a point about society, and these works have been prevalent throughout history.

And the Jurassic Park novel is to emphasise that the elderly shouldn't climb steep hills, right? RIGHT?

Once again, the books you cited are FICTION.

Freud's work is "theoretical." It's hilariously ironic that you resort to rhetoric that fanatical fundamentalists use in order to discredit evolution. Freud's work has been discussed and analyzed for years.

Yes, and so has many other things.


And clearly all religion is evil. Buddhism, which teaches overcoming material gain and desires, strength through suffering, and overcoming of hardship is clearly evil.

Who said religion is evil? I said the bible is immoral.

Christianity has clearly been a destructive force of nature, leading to some of the most influential developments in artand literature that are still ingrained in society today.

And turning woman into stone, drowning ample amounts of people, turning cities to rubble and killing pretty much any child, woman, homosexual, slave etc etc etc who blinks wrongly. Right there in the text my old chum.

Islam is evil too, with the word itself meaning surrender or submission in Arabic, after all. And its not as if there have been religions such as Jainism, which has sought to prevent the destruction of all life, even that of a household fly.

Do we really need to carry on with your straw man?

Religion is obviously destructive to science too. There have never been any religious scientistsor mathematicians in history. Ever.

You're right, but the demographic of scientists and belief is always they're majority deist, agnostic or atheist. And who are the biggest critics of Science? Oh that's right, THE RELIGIOUS!


It's not the lack of crimes that values your morality but your capacity for contrition.

Click this and one day I'll be worth bazillions.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-18 15:41:29 Reply

At 6/18/12 06:54 AM, The-universe wrote:
At 6/18/12 05:47 AM, KeyserSozed wrote: You missed the entire point of why I posted the article. Yes, it states that altruism exists, but not true altruism, or "doing good for goodness sake"
Dogs often adopt orphaned cats, squirrels, ducks and even tigers.

So tell me exactly why they do this?

The entire reason why animals are altruistic is part of a game theory developed by evolutionists. Altruism exists solely for a strategic purpose in enhancing survival.
So you're saying that 'true' altruism is basically doing good for no reason at all? And because of this everything is immoral? Then in that case 'true' altruism is not presented in religions because most religions that bark orders offered a reward so it's a strategy as opposed to a goodness that causes altruistic habits.

Do you even know what kin selection is? It's the idea that organisms will attempt to aid their own kin, sure, but the reason organisms do so is to promote the spread of their own genes
But you've admitted that there's inner species relations while also saying that they will ruthlessly compete with one another.

Did you even spend more than five minutes reading the citation at all? There was even a link to the Selfish gene on there.
Yes, that discusses gene duplication. Not psychological characteristics.
Once again, you missed the entire point of the post. The point is that immorality being human nature has been tackled again and again and again by numerous authors, scholars, and intellectuals.
And your point in this sentence is? That it's been done so we shouldn't?

The fact that so many of these works exist emphasize how prevalent it has been throughout history and human society. All of these authors and writers write to make a point about society, and these works have been prevalent throughout history.
And the Jurassic Park novel is to emphasise that the elderly shouldn't climb steep hills, right? RIGHT?

Once again, the books you cited are FICTION.

Freud's work is "theoretical." It's hilariously ironic that you resort to rhetoric that fanatical fundamentalists use in order to discredit evolution. Freud's work has been discussed and analyzed for years.
Yes, and so has many other things.

And clearly all religion is evil. Buddhism, which teaches overcoming material gain and desires, strength through suffering, and overcoming of hardship is clearly evil.
Who said religion is evil? I said the bible is immoral.

Christianity has clearly been a destructive force of nature, leading to some of the most influential developments in artand literature that are still ingrained in society today.
And turning woman into stone, drowning ample amounts of people, turning cities to rubble and killing pretty much any child, woman, homosexual, slave etc etc etc who blinks wrongly. Right there in the text my old chum.

Islam is evil too, with the word itself meaning surrender or submission in Arabic, after all. And its not as if there have been religions such as Jainism, which has sought to prevent the destruction of all life, even that of a household fly.
Do we really need to carry on with your straw man?

Religion is obviously destructive to science too. There have never been any religious scientistsor mathematicians in history. Ever.
You're right, but the demographic of scientists and belief is always they're majority deist, agnostic or atheist. And who are the biggest critics of Science? Oh that's right, THE RELIGIOUS!

Alright. Allow me to reiterate.

The point is is that an animal does not act altruistic because of a need to be moral, or because of obligations to society. The only reason an animal will act altruistic is because of an ulterior motive that would somehow enhance its chances for survival. If you acted nice and friendly to a millionaire because you knew they would give you money if you did, how can you possibly say that is moral? Inter species relations exist because of ruthless competition.

One of the major reasons why literature exists is to send a message to society. Once again, it seems you continue to miss the point of my posts. 1984 is fictional, yet it is widely considered one of the most influential works of all time. Why? Because it introduced the dangers of a totalitarian society, censorship, and other issues that were not widely thought of until Orwell brought them up. But it's fictional, so therefore it's irrelevant, right?

The point of Jurassic Park wasn't "to avoid steep hills." It was to demonstrate the potential dangers of science and human ambition. But once again, because it's fictional, any message it tries to send to its audience must be completely irrelevant by your logic, right?

The same applies to other works of literature throughout history. Authors have written about the immorality of nature as a focal point of literature for hundreds of years. The fact that it is written so many times, by so many people, shows that it is prevalent. If thousands of people wrote about government corruption in books for the past decade, then what would that tell you? That government corruption is obviously a prevalent and relevant issue in society, because so many people feel the need to discuss it.

And you clearly stated that in your previous post, anti-religious individuals don't only think the Bible is immoral, but that religion is immoral as well. And then you turn around and state that you didn't say religion is immoral, only the Bible is? And then you claim that I made a straw man, even though I was directly addressing your previous point? What?

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-18 17:54:36 Reply

At 6/18/12 03:41 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: The point is is that an animal does not act altruistic because of a need to be moral, or because of obligations to society. The only reason an animal will act altruistic is because of an ulterior motive that would somehow enhance its chances for survival.

To an extent I agree, but after your extensive look into "evolution, literature, and philosophy" you seem to have come up short.

This is an old one, but I can easily show that several species other than our own have signs of empathy and will act upon it. Just like the dog in your wiki citation that you seem to keep glossing over repeatedly.

If you acted nice and friendly to a millionaire because you knew they would give you money if you did, how can you possibly say that is moral? Inter species relations exist because of ruthless competition.

But most religions do that! Look at Christianity, do good you get god and heaven. Do bad and you get hell and satan. What is good and bad is up for interpretation for the vary denominations but the basic principle is the exact same. You seem to be arguing that "true" altruism cant work without religion to be involved and now you've just slammed the door on that notion because the major religions teach the very thing you're arguing against.


One of the major reasons why literature exists is to send a message to society. Once again, it seems you continue to miss the point of my posts. 1984 is fictional, yet it is widely considered one of the most influential works of all time. Why? Because it introduced the dangers of a totalitarian society, censorship, and other issues that were not widely thought of until Orwell brought them up. But it's fictional, so therefore it's irrelevant, right?

The term 'fiction' doesn't seem to guide you much does it?


The point of Jurassic Park wasn't "to avoid steep hills."

Why not? Would've resulted in one less death.

It was to demonstrate the potential dangers of science and human ambition. But once again, because it's fictional, any message it tries to send to its audience must be completely irrelevant by your logic, right?

Yes, because having read it I know that the situation in Jurassic Park is impossible. And if you compare the cloning capability of Jurassic Park to the real world, we're about as archaic as the fragmented genomes they were extracting but even so we have heavy restrictions on it already! A crazed billionaire isn't going to be flying to a tropical island and cloning a bunch of prehistoric predators any time soon.


The same applies to other works of literature throughout history. Authors have written about the immorality of nature as a focal point of literature for hundreds of years.

As someone who's previously worked in a book shop, I can assure you, there's LIMITLESS book on any topic you can possibly ever imagine.

Stop. Cherry. Picking.

The fact that it is written so many times, by so many people, shows that it is prevalent.

I could list a pile of books as tall as your house on the detailed designs of the Enterprise.

Again: Stop. Cherry. Picking.

If thousands of people wrote about government corruption in books for the past decade, then what would that tell you?

The same thing as people who write romance, fantasy, science fiction, history etc etc. There's a butt fuck load of people writing about one topic.

That government corruption is obviously a prevalent and relevant issue in society, because so many people feel the need to discuss it.

Yes it would be, but it wouldn't be in the fiction section, would it?

Here's a fun fact. The best selling book series is Harry Potter. What social relevance is there to nit pick past the waving wonds and boiling cauldrons?


And you clearly stated that in your previous post, anti-religious individuals don't only think the Bible is immoral, but that religion is immoral as well. And then you turn around and state that you didn't say religion is immoral, only the Bible is? And then you claim that I made a straw man, even though I was directly addressing your previous point? What?

Right...so if I mention the Bible in the first part then I'm automatically branding it all?

If I mistyped it then I apologise, but to be honest I can do the same thing your posts. Like for example earlier you said "Yes, it states that altruism exists". Now you've said "an animal does not act altruistic." Yet I clearly knew what you meant in the latter quote, or should I just nitpick everything you say from now on?

If you want to play the semantics game, then play ball. If not, pack it in.


It's not the lack of crimes that values your morality but your capacity for contrition.

Click this and one day I'll be worth bazillions.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-18 19:15:11 Reply

At 6/18/12 05:54 PM, The-universe wrote:
At 6/18/12 03:41 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: The point is is that an animal does not act altruistic because of a need to be moral, or because of obligations to society. The only reason an animal will act altruistic is because of an ulterior motive that would somehow enhance its chances for survival.
To an extent I agree, but after your extensive look into "evolution, literature, and philosophy" you seem to have come up short.

This is an old one, but I can easily show that several species other than our own have signs of empathy and will act upon it. Just like the dog in your wiki citation that you seem to keep glossing over repeatedly.

If you acted nice and friendly to a millionaire because you knew they would give you money if you did, how can you possibly say that is moral? Inter species relations exist because of ruthless competition.
But most religions do that! Look at Christianity, do good you get god and heaven. Do bad and you get hell and satan. What is good and bad is up for interpretation for the vary denominations but the basic principle is the exact same. You seem to be arguing that "true" altruism cant work without religion to be involved and now you've just slammed the door on that notion because the major religions teach the very thing you're arguing against.

One of the major reasons why literature exists is to send a message to society. Once again, it seems you continue to miss the point of my posts. 1984 is fictional, yet it is widely considered one of the most influential works of all time. Why? Because it introduced the dangers of a totalitarian society, censorship, and other issues that were not widely thought of until Orwell brought them up. But it's fictional, so therefore it's irrelevant, right?
The term 'fiction' doesn't seem to guide you much does it?

The point of Jurassic Park wasn't "to avoid steep hills."
Why not? Would've resulted in one less death.

It was to demonstrate the potential dangers of science and human ambition. But once again, because it's fictional, any message it tries to send to its audience must be completely irrelevant by your logic, right?
Yes, because having read it I know that the situation in Jurassic Park is impossible. And if you compare the cloning capability of Jurassic Park to the real world, we're about as archaic as the fragmented genomes they were extracting but even so we have heavy restrictions on it already! A crazed billionaire isn't going to be flying to a tropical island and cloning a bunch of prehistoric predators any time soon.

The same applies to other works of literature throughout history. Authors have written about the immorality of nature as a focal point of literature for hundreds of years.
As someone who's previously worked in a book shop, I can assure you, there's LIMITLESS book on any topic you can possibly ever imagine.

Stop. Cherry. Picking.

The fact that it is written so many times, by so many people, shows that it is prevalent.
I could list a pile of books as tall as your house on the detailed designs of the Enterprise.

Again: Stop. Cherry. Picking.

If thousands of people wrote about government corruption in books for the past decade, then what would that tell you?
The same thing as people who write romance, fantasy, science fiction, history etc etc. There's a butt fuck load of people writing about one topic.

That government corruption is obviously a prevalent and relevant issue in society, because so many people feel the need to discuss it.
Yes it would be, but it wouldn't be in the fiction section, would it?

Here's a fun fact. The best selling book series is Harry Potter. What social relevance is there to nit pick past the waving wonds and boiling cauldrons?

And you clearly stated that in your previous post, anti-religious individuals don't only think the Bible is immoral, but that religion is immoral as well. And then you turn around and state that you didn't say religion is immoral, only the Bible is? And then you claim that I made a straw man, even though I was directly addressing your previous point? What?
Right...so if I mention the Bible in the first part then I'm automatically branding it all?

If I mistyped it then I apologise, but to be honest I can do the same thing your posts. Like for example earlier you said "Yes, it states that altruism exists". Now you've said "an animal does not act altruistic." Yet I clearly knew what you meant in the latter quote, or should I just nitpick everything you say from now on?

If you want to play the semantics game, then play ball. If not, pack it in.

True altruism does not exist in human society either, because humans are still bound by nature. Religion is fully aware of this, and takes note that every human will sin inevitably. Not even religion can make an individual truly altruistic, but what it can do is curb and control the primal desires that humans hold. How much it should control is still up for debate by philosophers and theologians to this day. This concept that mankind cannot escape his nature, but at least control it to an extent calls back, once again, to Freud. I'm sure I've stated enough about him at this point, but that is the entire concept of the Ego: a balance between primal natures and society's expectations. This, once again, calls back to my references to literature.

I don't think you understand what the concept of a "theme" is. A theme is a message that a writer or author tries to convey through a work. Whether the work is fictional or not is irrelevant; the point is is that the author is trying to convey that message. Jurassic Park is impossible, but it presents a scenario where human ambition and science is dangerous. Chrichton is, through this scenario, trying to introduce an idea to the audience that can be related to real life-- the dire consequences that may develop as a result of ambition and misuse of science. Through these messages, we can determine what issues and ideas were controversial or relevant in a certain period of time, to a certain group of people, etc.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-25 00:42:38 Reply

...Big debates aside! Atheist. Just got to "There's no real point in putting faith in something that makes no sense to me." It'd be the same as worshiping Tymora or Cthulhu, at least for me. But if you want to put your faith in/ worship some entity, by all means, have at it! As long as you don't attempt to force your beliefs into my brain/throat, you're fine in my book. (Unless you're a horrible, horrible person. In which case, you aren't fine in my book. :3 )

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-25 05:30:01 Reply

At 6/18/12 07:15 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: True altruism does not exist in human society either, because humans are still bound by nature. Religion is fully aware of this, and takes note that every human will sin inevitably. Not even religion can make an individual truly altruistic, but what it can do is curb and control the primal desires that humans hold.

I'll say this again for the final time, according to YOUR logic, religion cannot be 'truly altruistic' for the simple means it does not pertain to 'doing good for goodness sake'and your millionaire analogy proves this. So it's attempts are futile because according to YOUR logic it's the exact same as absolutely everything else you've mentioned.

But I dare say, exactly which religion has managed to inhibit these barbaric traits that you so cheerfully enjoy boasting about?


It's not the lack of crimes that values your morality but your capacity for contrition.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-27 14:36:01 Reply

I'm a lapse Catholic. I lost a lot of faith in the church as I've gotten older, but still believe in a God and the messages of Jesus. It's a weird spot in my life. I guess you could just lump me in as a generalized "Christian", though.


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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-28 08:59:09 Reply

At 6/25/12 05:30 AM, The-universe wrote:
At 6/18/12 07:15 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: True altruism does not exist in human society either, because humans are still bound by nature. Religion is fully aware of this, and takes note that every human will sin inevitably. Not even religion can make an individual truly altruistic, but what it can do is curb and control the primal desires that humans hold.
I'll say this again for the final time, according to YOUR logic, religion cannot be 'truly altruistic' for the simple means it does not pertain to 'doing good for goodness sake'and your millionaire analogy proves this. So it's attempts are futile because according to YOUR logic it's the exact same as absolutely everything else you've mentioned.

But I dare say, exactly which religion has managed to inhibit these barbaric traits that you so cheerfully enjoy boasting about?

No, you're missing the point. Humans cannot be truly altruistic, not religion, because as I've mentioned in almost all of my previous posts, humans are bound and limited by nature. Religion, once again, does not attempt to make humans 100% moral or truly altruistic, because it already realizes that humans are too flawed for this to be done. Religion attempts to have humans control these desires as a direct result of nature.

What religions control these primal desires, you ask?

In nature, in order to survive, an organism needs to gain as many resources as physically possible, even if it means stealing. We see theft in nature all of the time, with parasitism and animal behavior. In nature, it is advantageous to be greedy.

In Christianity, theft is heavily, heavily looked down upon, as it violates one of the Ten Commandments. Greed is considered to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Many books, such as Dante's Inferno, have emphasized the consequences that result from theft and greed.

One of the major beliefs in Buddhism is to control the desire for material wealth and gain. After all, one of the Four Noble Truths states that suffering is a result of attachment, especially towards worldy possessions.

Islam sees theft as a massive crime. There are countless stories in Islam about succumbing to to greedy desires, such as The Emperor and the Beggar

In nature, it is considered advantageous to reproduce with as many genetically able organisms as physically possible. For some species, it does not matter if the individual is genetically able.

In Christianity, Lust is considered to be, once again, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife", after all. Puritan society was entirely based off of suppression of these innate desires, entire books have been written describing this society. How many times have you heard the word "temptation"? This is one of many of these "temptations" that Christians discuss.

Lust is heavily looked down upon in Islamic society. This is the entire reason why women who follow Islam need to cover themselves to such an extreme extent-- to avert even lustful gazes.

Lust is Zoroastrianism is considered a vice that needs to be controlled, as well as envy and avarice.

In nature, it is advantageous to use violence in order to exert dominance over competitors and to eliminate competition.

Jainism vouches for non-violence with all organisms. It goes to extremes such as covering one's mouth in order to avoid accidentally swallowing a bug.

The point is, sin occurs in nature. It is advantageous to sin. The reason why we try to avoid sin is due to religion, either directly, by following a specific religion, or indirectly, as a result of culture and society's expectations, both of which have been influenced by religion through literature, art, etc. It is inevitable for humans to sin, but humans can control how often and to what lengths they sin-- and that is what religion aims to do.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-06-29 19:42:33 Reply

At 6/28/12 08:59 AM, KeyserSozed wrote: No, you're missing the point.

No, I'm quoting you and used your millionaires analogy to show that religion is altruistically synonymous with humanity because most religions offer reward for following it's actions. Now you're just trying to modify.

Humans cannot be truly altruistic, not religion, because as I've mentioned in almost all of my previous posts, humans are bound and limited by nature. Religion, once again, does not attempt to make humans 100% moral or truly altruistic, because it already realizes that humans are too flawed for this to be done. Religion attempts to have humans control these desires as a direct result of nature.

Wait a minute. If we go back to previous posts we find that every other species on earth is not 'truly altruistic' because it doesn't do good for goodness sake, but there are signs of morality in a verity of species (posted by you). But religion is not 'truly altruistic' because it doesn't do good for goodness sake, but there's signs of morality.

Gee Watson, looks like they're the bloody same!


What religions control these primal desires, you ask?

In nature, in order to survive, an organism needs to gain as many resources as physically possible,

I've already addressed this! Gaining resources is one thing, but if a species gains too much of a resource it will deplete. That's a reason why animals migrate, as to replenish their food supplies. But if they just kept consuming and populating, they'd eventually deplete it! I stated this in the rabbit scenario.

even if it means stealing. We see theft in nature all of the time, with parasitism and animal behavior. In nature, it is advantageous to be greedy.

This is from YOUR citation:
"Gibbons and chimpanzees with food will, in response to a gesture, share their food with others of the group. Chimpanzees will help humans and conspecifics without any reward in return."

"Mongooses support elderly, sick, or injured animals"

"Dolphins support sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time and pushing them to the surface so they can breathe"

I don't deny that greed exists, but according your link greed is not a consistent trait.

In Christianity, theft is heavily, heavily looked down upon, as it violates one of the Ten Commandments. Greed is considered to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Many books, such as Dante's Inferno, have emphasized the consequences that result from theft and greed.

Yep, like this gem in exodus:
"If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."

The bible has murder, rape, child abuse and slavery to name a few. But just in case you say that the old testament laws don't apply any more as I've heard from most who defend biblical genocide, the ten commandments are located in Exodus, the OLD testament.


One of the major beliefs in Buddhism is to control the desire for material wealth and gain. After all, one of the Four Noble Truths states that suffering is a result of attachment, especially towards worldy possessions.

Like laptops, smartphones, Ipods etc? Or the first world luxuries that are most likely crawling all over your house? Hows your central heating system?


Islam sees theft as a massive crime. There are countless stories in Islam about succumbing to to greedy desires, such as The Emperor and the Beggar

And there are massive crimes like don't make twitter posts or they'll be a facebook page demanding your death. Same as christianity, the texts are riddled with acts of brutality.


In nature, it is considered advantageous to reproduce with as many genetically able organisms as physically possible.

Then why are there several species that mate for life? Actually the link you offered in another section gave a brief mentioning about this. Although the irony is the christians have a higher rate of divorce than non-religious

Yes, some species are promiscuous, some aren't.

For some species, it does not matter if the individual is genetically able.

Yes, SOME SPECIES.


In Christianity, Lust is considered to be, once again, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife", after all. Puritan society was entirely based off of suppression of these innate desires, entire books have been written describing this society. How many times have you heard the word "temptation"? This is one of many of these "temptations" that Christians discuss.

Yes, and the result is obvious.


Lust is heavily looked down upon in Islamic society. This is the entire reason why women who follow Islam need to cover themselves to such an extreme extent-- to avert even lustful gazes.

Because that REALLY works well, doesn't it?


Lust is Zoroastrianism is considered a vice that needs to be controlled, as well as envy and avarice.

And most of them get married at 15. But not to mention it's practically a dictatorship that Ahura Mazda controls.


In nature, it is advantageous to use violence in order to exert dominance over competitors and to eliminate competition.

The very religion you speak of above was wiped out by the achaemenid empire and eventually replaced with islam. The religions you speak of are prime examples of people fighting for resources, being violent and banging everything that moves.


Jainism vouches for non-violence with all organisms. It goes to extremes such as covering one's mouth in order to avoid accidentally swallowing a bug.

And whistles quietly if a tiger tries to eat their face.

There's a huge difference between being peaceful and defence. If I start punching your face it requires some force, regardless of how much to avoid being struck or attempting to stop me from doing it.


The point is, sin occurs in nature.

You're right it does, there are gay dolphins in the wild. So as the bible says, they must be stoned until dead.

It is advantageous to sin. The reason why we try to avoid sin is due to religion, either directly, by following a specific religion, or indirectly, as a result of culture and society's expectations, both of which have been influenced by religion through literature, art, etc. It is inevitable for humans to sin, but humans can control how often and to what lengths they sin-- and that is what religion aims to do.

All religion is apparently doing is marrying children so they're allowed to boink or murder anything that disagree's, or treat woman like shit and even the glorious ten commandments are written just above a passage that tells you how to treat a slave.

All you've managed to do is prove that nature is nebulous and religion isn't as squeaky clean as you thought it to be.


It's not the lack of crimes that values your morality but your capacity for contrition.

Click this and one day I'll be worth bazillions.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-06 06:17:07 Reply

Agnostic.


Don't mistake my attitude towards you for my character. My character is who I am. My attitude depends on what you are.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-06 10:53:33 Reply

I really doubt there is a god and that it would be a specific religions idea of god because its the most reasonable take on religion I can think of.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-08 17:26:06 Reply

At 5/30/12 11:23 AM, Ericho wrote: I am in fact a Christain. I admit that it would probably take me a long time to really explain what I mean by that, in the same sense it would take awhile for Trey Parker of "South Park" to explain what he means when he says he's religious. He said something that basically sums up my feelings, which was of all the ridiculous religious stories, he thought the strangest was that life had no meaning. I'm pretty much the same way. Let's just say I'm religious and Christian and leave it at that?

Um no. Let's not, because you didn't.

I can't believe, after years, you're still making an incredibly insulting use of that quote, and still have the nerve to pair it with a smiley face, as if nothing you've said is in any way demeaning.

Smiley face emoticons don't make you a nice guy, and what you say makes you a prick.


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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-08 17:48:57 Reply

At 6/17/12 08:08 PM, KeyserSozed wrote: Animals and humans are not, by nature, moral, especially in an evolutionary sense.

Is this meant to read as follows?

"Animals and humans are not truly altruistic."

Is it equivalent to say that something is only moral (by nature) if it is "truly altruistic"?

Or is this "true altruism" thing one big fat red herring?


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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-08 18:15:28 Reply

At 7/8/12 05:26 PM, Bacchanalian wrote: I can't believe, after years, you're still making an incredibly insulting use of that quote, and still have the nerve to pair it with a smiley face, as if nothing you've said is in any way demeaning.

To emphasise your point I took a browse through his post history and found these.

"Trey Parker (from of course "South Park") said perhaps the greatest thing about religion ever. He said that he'd heard a lot of truly ridiculous stories about religious belief. Then he heard the notion that there's this big universe and it's expanding and collapsing...just because. To him, that was the most ridiculous story out of all of them. Wouldn't you say he's right? Granted, he's no fundamentalist, but I think this is one of the most thought-provoking things ever said."

Or probably this one.
"Like I've said before with Trey Parker of "South Park", "Basically, out of all the ridiculous religion stories, which are all greatly, wonderfully ridiculous, - the silliest one I ever heard is, 'Yeah, there's this big giant Universe and it's expanding and it's all gonna collapse on itself and we're all here just 'cause, just cause'. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever. So I think we have a big atheism show coming"."

Or this one,
"I still remember what Trey Parker said. Of all the ridiculous religious stories, which are all, truly, wonderfully, ridiculous the silliest one is that there's big Universe and it's collapsing and we're all here just because, just because. That was the most ridiculous explanation of all."

Now it's just getting silly.
"Check out "South Park". Trey Parker has stated that he believes that of all the ridiculous religious stories, which are all truly ridiculous, the silliest one of all of atheism as it teaches that things are happening just because."

Okay, last one.
"The best defense against believeing in God is something like this to me, "Of all the ridiculous religious stories, which are all truly wonderfully ridiculous, by far the silliest one is, 'Yeah, there's this big Universe and it's expanding, and it's collapsing on itself and we're all here just cause...just cause. That to me, is the most ludicrous explanation ever". Trey Parker said that. I was actually going to make that my signature, but it was too long."

I lied.
"Basically, out of all the ridiculous religious stories, which are all truly wonderfully ridiculous, by far the silliest one is "Yeah, there's this big Universe and it's expanding and it's collapsing on itself and we're all here just cause, just cause". That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation of them all."
- Trey Parker

And I lied again. God will not be happy.
"Bascially, of all the ridiculous religious stories, which are all truly, wonderfully, ridiculous, the silliest one I've heard is, 'Yeah, there's this big Universe, and it's expanding and it's gonna collapse on itself, and we're all here just cause...just cause'. That, to me, is the most ludicrous explanation ever." - Trey Parker

Whoops, done it again.
Trey Parker
"Basically ... out of all the ridiculous religion stories which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous - the silliest one I've ever heard is, 'Yeah ... there's this big giant universe and it's expanding, it's all gonna collapse on itself and we're all just here just 'cause ... just 'cause'. That, to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever."

Baring in mind I haven't gone through his entire post history and these are just his quotes of Trey Parker. I found an awful lot more paraphrases with alarmingly bizarre levels of hero worship.

So in short Ericho, shut the fuck up!


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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-10 22:00:11 Reply

Sorry for the delayed response. I've been gone for a while and kinda forgot this thread existed.

At 6/29/12 07:42 PM, The-universe wrote:

stuff

This thread has dragged on for a while, and I'm kind of tired of responding, so this will be my last post.

After looking more in depth at your original post, I admit that I jumped the gun a bit. There are scenarios in nature where an animal may subconsciously act moral, even though it is not with best intentions. However, I still do not believe nature is moral, or ideally shapes other organisms to be moral. An animal will consume as many resources as readily available. You're right, it would not be advantageous to nature if said animal succeeded, but that animal is still engineered to do for the sake of survival. A deer without any predators would not think "I better not eat this grass here, because if I, and the rest of my species do, we'd be overgrazing." There are many scenarios of organisms without predators consuming excess resources, even though this would not be advantageous to nature.

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word "sin", but rather amorality. Looking back, I admit that some of my examples were hamfisted and hastily written, but there is still a point to them. The point is, in nature, it is free game to do whatever it takes in order to survive. Even if it means actions that our current society may find reprehensible. That was the point I was trying to make. Even to this day, there are many, many cases where humans will do whatever it takes to gain whatever they want. I have never claimed religion is perfect, but I was trying to claim that religion is not nearly as reprehensible as you may believe it to be, and has played an important role in shaping culture and the conventions of modern society. Religion, at its core, tries to level this playing field and establish rules, even though it is inevitable that the players will break them from time to time. It establishes that we cannot do anything it takes to survive, or get what we want, even if it is in our nature to do so. That was the point I was trying to convey.

I'm sorry for any confusion this might have caused, and for jumping on your post. Anyways, I'm done here.

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-23 19:35:35 Reply

I'm Christian but I would like to go to other places of religion just to see what they are like. I just want to learn about other religions not necessarily join and become Buddhist, Hindu, Satanist, etc. I agree when saying kids shouldn't choose religion but I think they should be only allowed to start exploring at a certain age because at 5 I don't think the child may care.


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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-25 23:10:11 Reply

I'm sort of an agnostic leaning toward atheist. I mean, if god really did exist, why would he not make his existence more obvious rather than giving us one book, in which more than half of the theories have been proven wrong. If we use his name in vein and don't believe in his existence we go to hell, right? So why not just prove that he exists? Does heaven get too full or something?

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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-07-26 06:17:30 Reply

At 6/8/12 01:05 PM, SteveGuzzi wrote:

(she thinks some version of the "ancient astronaut theory" is 'probably true', but she doesn't act like she's 100% certain about it) but she does maintain some Jewish traditions and customs. Neither parent forced any particular system of belief on me. I'm not agnostic, but I'm not especially 'religious' either. It's more a philosophic thing for me.

Could she possibly be talking about the Annunaki?

I am Muslim in case anyone is wondering.


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Response to Christian or Agnostic? 2012-08-01 00:46:58 Reply

I am agnostic. I believe religions were formed to help control the masses, just simply tools to advertise ideals and get people to do what other people want.

I do believe the lessons taught in religion are nice though. But i wont follow a religion or go to church on a regular basis.