published Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Bennett finally gets it right — and more letters to the editors

Bennett finally gets it right

I have been very quick to criticize editorial cartoonist Clay Bennett for his terribly offensive drawings and comments.

Considering my advanced age, I was convinced I would never live long enough to agree with anything this man offered. However, his Sept. 28 cartoon about the reinstated police officers was right on the money, and I applaud him for it.

To say that I was shocked to see these men have been absolved of all blame and reinstated with full pay is a gross understatement. The only thing more surprising would have been if they were appointed school resource officers.

I saw the video and it was like something in a Third World prison. How the man survived it I do not know. This judge is either an incompetent or a sadist.

These two guys do not need to ever be in positions of authority anywhere!


Thanks for Civil War celebration, coverage

The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga was commemorated in grand style at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

From the time-line walks, bus tours, and children’s programs, to ranger-guided hikes covering the battlegrounds, the staff of the Park Service came through with flying colors.

In addition, the Friends of the Park did a wonderful job with the rededication of the Lytle Monument (honoring the Union General/ poet) and the weather-blessed Pops in the Park presenting the Chattanooga Symphony.

The Park, a great economic asset to this area for decades, drew tens of thousands of visitors from over 40 states and several overseas countries. Hats off to the dedicated park staff, the Friends, over 3,000 volunteers, and others who joined in.

Finally, the Times Free Press is to be commended for its 56-page Sesquicentennial insert with its rich collection of articles, biographies, and maps of this unforgettable historical experience.


Animals need to be protected

Looking through my calendar of national observances, it appears that October is turning into “food month,” beginning with World Vegetarian Day and World Day for Farm Animals on October 1-2, continuing with National School Lunch Week on October 14-18 and World Food Day on October 16, and culminating with Food Day on October 24.

World Day for Farm Animals Day (, on October 2nd, is perhaps the most dramatic of these. It celebrates the lives, exposes the abuses, and memorializes the slaughter of billions of sentient animals raised for food. Recent undercover investigations showed male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, pigs clobbered with metal pipes, and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious.

Moreover, a recent Harvard study of more than 120,000 people confirmed once again that meat consumption raises mortality from cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Animal agriculture accounts for more water pollution than all other human activities. A 2011 United Nations report recommends eating less meat to reduce greenhouse gases.

The good news is that our meat consumption has been dropping by nearly 4 percent annually! Enter “live vegan” in a search engine for lots of useful transition tips.


Rebuttal to fossil evidence

As a rebuttal to the writer of a recent letter titled “Evolution evidence grows and grows,” I would like to say this proves nothing.

This supposed evidence by fish called Tiktaalik found in a fossil layer is hardly evidence that fish evolved into land dwelling creatures. It's all about your belief system.

Go to answers in Genesis web site and type in Tiktaalik and you can will get some answers! I don’t think that creation of fossils is very difficult either — rapid deposition lack of oxygen not millions of years. (What does that prove?)

You might want to believe in God’s word and not man’s.

P.S. You might title this “No proof of evolution.”

CARROLL WADDLE, Fort Oglethorpe

Spelling errors spotted often

I have noticed numerous times lately the automatic option of your paper’s spellcheck needs to be turned off. Surely your reporters are not that illiterate.

Is there not an employee who proofreads your articles before they go to print? If not, then you need to hire someone, and not a machine.

DEBBIE PATAKY, Lookout Mountain, Ga.

Same-sex benefits are not Biblical

The case of the Collegedale same-sex benefits and church discipline has faults in several areas.

Collegedale offering health care benefits to same-sex partners is a statement of believing same-sex unions are of the same benefit to society as one-man/one-woman marriages. That simply is not true. Countless studies show the best environment for children is a home with their married, biological parents. This is why marriage is rightly promoted by granting certain benefits like tax breaks and health care.

According to the Bible, the homosexual behavior engaged in by the Collegedale police officer is sinful. While the Bible prohibits me from judging an individual, it also requires me to judge between right and wrong behavior and to choose right. (If your pastor refuses to recognize homosexual behavior as sin, please find a church that really believes the Bible.)

My understanding of Biblical church discipline is to confront an individual found to be practicing unrepented sin. If the individual refuses to repent, then the church may break fellowship with that individual. The case of the parents of the lesbian police officer does not seem to fit this pattern because the parents are not the ones practicing sin — they simply showed their daughter unconditional love.

DENNIS URBANIAK, Signal Mountain

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librul said...

Carroll Waddle - Your blinkered opinion is less than proof of nothing -- other than your pitiful ignorance gifted to you by a creationist website. Crawl back ubder your devolutionist rock.

October 3, 2013 at 6:38 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. DENNIS URBANIAK, Signal Mountain, Church doctrine teaches that Homosexuality is sin and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

The Cooper family was opposed to this Biblical doctrine. This from Kevin Hardy another Free Press writer in his piece:

"Hunt Cooper said his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice. And his wife, along with her brother and sister, believed repentance would be hypocritical. So the decision to leave, devastating as it was, was a simple one."

The Cooper family would not yield to Biblical doctrine and chose to leave.

October 3, 2013 at 7:15 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Between the Bible-Bangers' belief in the hocus-pocus of Genesis to the mindless rants of Gawd's own closeted gay homophobes I get a big laugh at the sheer ignorance of religious fundamentalism.

One can only imagine the rolled-back eyes, the spittle issuing forth, and the cockroach quivers these mindless minions of devolution present in person.

Is this the face of education for teaching Creationism as science? Are these the leaders of tomorrow or throwbacks to puritanical Calvinism and theocracy?

Humanity doesn't go forward with these people. It regresses to mindless worship of failed deities and dogma with these self-styled Jokers for Jesus.

October 3, 2013 at 8:49 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Conservative it isn't "Biblical doctrine" that is involved, it is the dogma of that particular congregation. Church doctrine is normally called dogma. Being a human interpretation at least one step removed from scripture, dogma is always something prone to error.

October 3, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.
conservative said...

On the contrary inquiringmind it is Biblical doctrine that is involved for the doctrine of Scripture is that no practicing Homosexual will inherit the Kingdom of God 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Those who teach otherwise are false teachers.

October 3, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"Those who teach otherwise are false teachers."

Those who believe the Bible is inerrant, scientific, and historically 100% true are idiots.

Conservative has a long history of mental perversion, intellectual impotence, and probably has the largest collection of gay "research" material in the Bible Belt which he studies religiously.

Keep your children and pets away.

October 3, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.

In Regards to 'Same-sex benefits are not Biblical'***

In Regards to 'God predicted persecution'

Quoted from, I believe, Billy Graham:

If God doesn't judge the United States of Gomorrah, i mean America, then, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!"

For just one example, look at what many in the homosexual community (Jesus Christ calls this an abomination are actively engaged in an pursuing, like 'BUG CHASING' (purposely trying to contract the HIV/AIDS Virus). Suicidal under the guise of 'Brotherhood/Sisterhood...Huuuhhh!

For those who have not yet learned that I only utilize the most scientific citing/references, I offer this PUBMED~ NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH ..REFERENCE: (This in regard to the infectious disease causing homosexual practice of fecal matter interactions behavior).

Homosexual 'Felching'. Just one of among many of their hidden behaviors.


The homosexuals ingest the sperm/semen mixed with fecal matter and the blood from the tearing of the intestines due to the kind of sex they (many,many,many) prefer.


October 3, 2013 at 10:22 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

So tell us, Orr. Where did you get your scientific credentials. You promised to tell everyone about those. You also promised to tell everyone about your credentials as a mental health therapist too. But again you've never produced a shred of evidence.

You're still a liar and fraud, Orr. A sick, pathological liar hiding behind the facade of fundamentalism. Other than Conservative there's no one of this forum who's such a demented, creepy pervert.

You're the person our parents and teachers warned us about.

Shame on you. Shame on you for the continuing embarrassment you bring upon your family and community. You are the proverbial dirty old man.

October 4, 2013 at 7:15 a.m.
TAGrules said...


You appear to have fixed morals that guide your words. You seem absolutely sure of your opinions. Am I correct in my observation?



October 4, 2013 at 8:45 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

My opinion is always subect to change with evidence.

October 4, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.
TAGrules said...


Thank you for your kind reply. So, if I may ask, you are certain that observable evidence should be the only foundation for morals?



October 4, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"So, if I may ask, you are certain that observable evidence should be the only foundation for morals?"

I never said that. You wish to make a religious statement? Please come to your point. This is not a Socratic dialogue.

October 4, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.
TAGrules said...


I did not intend to misrepresent you in any way. Would it be more correct to say that observable evidence is only one part of the foundation for your morals? If so, what are the other elements of the foundation upon which you base your morals, if I may ask?

Certainly, I understand if you do not have time or desire for a lengthy philosophical dialogue regarding metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, especially with a perfect stranger.

This conversation does go much better over a nice, cold Newcastle, my personal favorite these days.



October 4, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

No time for philosophical discussion at this point. I subscribe in a non-absolutist way to the message of Karl Popper - you use the best theory you have now, until a better theory comes along, as it inevitably will.

That is why I abandoned Christian fundamentalism at age 12. That is way I am an atheist about all gods so far described.

October 4, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.
TAGrules said...

Thank you for sharing about Karl Popper. Do you recommend a particular introductory primer on his materials?

Perhaps you have a moment for a question regarding your most recent post? When you describe yourself as an "atheist", are you claiming there is no god, or are you saying you have yet to see evidence of a supreme being? I just wonder if perhaps your position is more accurately described as "agnostic" rather than "atheist"? The agnostic is humble enough to admit they do not have the personal capacity to disprove the existence of a limitless being.

For the purpose of good and open exchange, I will share with you that the materialistic interpretation of reality, usually promoted by atheists and agnostics, is not intellectually satisfying to me. First, I can't understand how a purely physical, material universe could lead to the existence of clearly immaterial items such as emotions and thoughts and perceptions and laws of logic and language. Also, how can everything originate from nothing? Then, how can all this newly existing, disordered matter become self-ordering? How can ordered-matter become complex spontaneously? How can complex matter gain life and reproductive capacity spontaneously? How can simple single-celled non-nucleated life become extremely complex, nucleated cells with multiple interacting intracellular organelles that perfectly order the inner world of the cell and its interactions with other cells? How can these (almost) infinitely complex cells then develop into multicellular organisms of so many types? How could these complex species then come together in a synergistic way to form ecosystems that are self-sustaining? I find that it takes much less faith to believe in an intelligent creator than to believe this all just happened by accident, by chance. Even our best scientific observations confirm the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, at least in the period of recorded history, yes?



October 4, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

For the purposes of earth's gods, I am an atheist. Complete knowledge is not possible, but Jehovah as described in the BIble is not real. Never was, but that was the best tribal groups could do.

An atheist doesn't necessarily subscribe to a materialist reality only. Read Hume, Kant, and Schopenhauer.

Karl Popper -google him. The Open Society, Refutations, and Bryan Magee's book about Popper.

Christian fundamentalism and other fundamentalist religions all fail when attempting to make their deities reality and to make the myths as historical events. That's nonsense.

Religious texts are correctly read today as metaphors for the mystery of existence, the masks of gods are not gods. They point to a nounmenal reality. Religions that attempt to place their gods in the world of phenomena are stuck in a non-scientific past and social restrictions on knowledge and progress.

The belief in an inerrant Bible doesn't work, but is superstitious dogma.

Newton's theories worked fine, until Einstein came along. And one day Einstein's theories will be renovated as well.

Falsifiability is the keystone of science and social interactions. The fundamentalist dogma is stagnant as is all revealed religion.

October 4, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.
TAGrules said...


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I am familiar with Kant and Hume, and will look into Popper and Schopenhauer. I really love learning about this stuff. It seems to me that if more folks took the time to really understand one another, and learn together, then our conversations could be a lot more productive and irenic.

I know you probably don't have any more time to spare, but I can't help but voice my continued confusion. Maybe I'm just slow (I am from Tennessee), but I can't reconcile how your foundational standard ("you use the best theory you have now, until a better theory comes along, as it inevitably will") gives you the metaphysical confidence to make conclusive epistemological statements such as "complete knowledge is not possible" and " not real" and "religious texts are correctly read today as metaphors for the mystery of existence" and "the belief in an inerrant Bible doesn't work" and "the fundamentalist dogma is stagnant as is all revealed religion." It seems to me that your metaphysic should not allow for confidence in stating your epistemological and ethical positions. It seems to me that your metaphysical standard should require you to preface all of your opinions with something like, "I am really not sure about this, but according to my current operating theory, which certainly will change someday, I believe...." Not at all meant as a jab or insult, just pointing out what appears to be some tension between your metaphysic and your epistemology/ethic. Such internal inconsistencies (if my observation is correct) will significantly reduce the persuasion power of your arguments.

If we were at a nice pub, I would say the next round is on me....



October 4, 2013 at 6:25 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

There is nothing about the biblical Jehovah that wasn't co-opted by the writers. Creation stories, floods, miracles, sacrifices, god's wrath, all can be found in stories before the writer's time. Just like messiah stories. Jesus wasn't the only messiah in the first century. Turn over a rock and there was another messiah, just like today (some are politicians).

Study the history of the Bible, how it came to be. I don't preface the tales of Grimm, Mother Goose, Elmer Fudd, or H.G. Well's stories with, "I am really not sure about this, but according to my current operating theory, which certainly will change someday, I believe...." as the possibility that they are truth, historical and scientifically accurate. Nor do I say that about the Bible.

I can say there are ideas, information about human relationships, and parables contained within those works of fiction that are instructive, just as I say that about Aesop's fables. But I don't believe that foxes and crows really talked in those stories either. They are metaphors.

Myths are instructive, constructed to bring to the mind the mysteries that are beyond the myth. That people take the BIble as anything other than pointing to those mysteries as fundamentalists do, is simply incredulous.

There is an inevitable tension in life between what is the reality of existence and the reality of a thing in itself — that which can only be hinted at, but never known.

Frankly, the God of the BIble, Jehovah, is lessened by fundamentalism's attempt to make their deity a reality. When they attempt to do so, they diminish their God. In doing so they make their God a puny, petty tyrant.

All life in the universe came from a Big Bang, everything we are, see, touch, and experience. Science is till trying to theorize about the "before the BIg Bang." I accept that. But the rehashed story that a deity named Jehovah "poofed" the universe into existence is no different from other creation stories. Simply explanations for events in the environment of the people telling the stories were living in.

That's the reason I say that today's best theories will be bettered by more correct theories in the future. I hope so as that's humanities progress.

Science reveals wonders everyday. Old, tired Jehovah stories stopped thousands of years ago.

October 4, 2013 at 7:09 p.m.

I believe the truth is that most people are so full of pride that they will not accept Jesus Christ, Who is Anselm's 'Greatest Great of Whom there exists No Greater Great'.

They refuse to change their immoral lifestyles. They just 'won't cut the mustard', not, they just 'can't cut the mustard'.

Whodo...Who do You think You're foolin'???

Ken ORR knows, Jesus Christ Is Lord of All

October 4, 2013 at 7:43 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Why don't your post your science credentials and your mental health credentials, Orr? Don't you think your God would want you to prove what you said you would? You gave your word of "honor" you would. Is being a fraud and liar pleasing to your God, Orr?

Aren't you ashamed? Why do you find it necessary to lie and perpetuate your fraud?

October 4, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

Dayton and Tag, nice dialog, very thoughtful and enjoyable to read. Thank you for sharing! Would that we could have more of that here.

October 4, 2013 at 9:04 p.m.
degage said...

Hunter, I was surprised At the dialog. I have always wondered what made DD tick. His insights made me understand him more and my thanks TAGrules for his input. although I don't agree DD's stand, he gave his reasons for his stand and I have to respect him for that.

October 5, 2013 at 9:12 a.m.
TAGrules said...

Hunter_Bluff and degage,

I am indeed pleased to know that others have enjoyed the dialogue with DD (DaytonDarwin, is that ok with you, it is easier to type...) as have I. I enjoy understanding others and being understood by others. We are all human, none of us with all of the answers, each of us with our own areas of strength and weakness. I am thankful to God to learn from all men (all are made in His image) whether they acknowledge Him or not. I have learned from DD, and I hope to continue to learn from him, as time allows. All men bear the image of God, from which we can all learn, if we will look and listen with respect and contemplative humility. So sad that our disagreements so often divide us and cause us to miss out on learning from one another.

I hope to continue my dialogue with DD as time allows.



October 5, 2013 at noon
TAGrules said...


Thank you again for your lengthy response, and for sharing your views. As we enter into more of this conversation, I indeed hope that we can respect one another and focus upon understanding, rather than persuasion. If I ever communicate anything that appears to disrespect you, please let me know. We do have significant differences in how we understand the world, and my goal in this exchange is for us to each have the full opportunity to express our own metaphysic, epistemology and ethic, and also fully explore the other's. (I call this combination of metaphysic, epistemology and ethic a "worldview")

Do you agree with this approach to understanding another person? Or do you have another framework in mind? I think this approach works well, and it has helped me to change as others have pointed out internal inconsistencies in my own worldview. While many others find the Biblical worldview exceedingly unsavory and personally objectionable, my hope is that they will be able to submit my and their worldview to the laws of logic. Thus far in my personal searchings (again, just one limited human being talking here...), I have found that only the Biblical worldview explains the universe and passes the test for logical internal consistency, and I will be happy to lay myself and my beliefs bare before you to analyze, with one point of emphasis for you to ponder. That is, will you be willing to consider that I feel sad and possibly personally disrespected when you speak ill of the God that I love? While you may find the God of the Bible laughable and deserving ridicule, do you find the quest for friendship worth setting aside words of disrespect toward God? I will continue to interact with you even if you insist on mocking God, but just know that you will also be making a choice to sadden and mock me as well. Perhaps this doesn't matter to you, but I just wanted you to know this before we move on.



October 5, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.
TAGrules said...

Now, to my question from your latest post, as your time allows:

I still do not understand enough about your foundational metaphysic to then understand how you can make confident statements about reality. For example, how can you be confident that being a tyrant is bad? Why is it wrong to be petty? And, for goodness sake, no one would ever want to be a PETTY TYRANT!! How can your worldview substantiate the belief in right and wrong? If, as you say, everything came into being spontaneously and instantaneously in a Big Bang, and then randomly rearranged itself into living creatures that then evolved via natural selection into you and me, how can we justify the claim that immaterial items even exist? Laws of science, laws of morality, thoughts, affections, love, hate, envy, joy, language- all of these items are IMMATERIAL. How could a purely physical and material pile of matter randomly rearrange itself into anything at all, much less a living, breathing human being that can ponder and experience the idea of "immaterial"??

It seems to me that according to your foundational metaphysic, you must admit that perhaps the next stage of theoretical improvement could prove that being a petty tyrant is the height of moral excellence. So, shouldn't that cause you to pause a bit, at least according to your worldview, before you express things in such black and white moralistic language?

Philosophy makes me hungry. Hmm, I think leftover pizza and a cold Newcastle will be just right for lunch in the Carolinas today.

Respectfully, as always,


October 5, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"If I ever communicate anything that appears to disrespect you, please let me know. "

I take no disrepect at anything, even what others may consider disrespect. I'm thick-skinned as to my own self.

While many others find the Biblical worldview exceedingly unsavory and personally objectionable, my hope is that they will be able to submit my and their worldview to the laws of logic. Thus far in my personal searchings (again, just one limited human being talking here...), I have found that only the Biblical worldview explains the universe and passes the test for logical internal consistency, and I will be happy to lay myself and my beliefs bare before you to analyze, with one point of emphasis for you to ponder."

Here's where I will have difficulty. I do not accept any of the Abrahamic religions in their fundamentalist form as anything approaching reality or logic. I am quite familiar, having been raised as a fundamentalist, with the fundamentalist answers given in support of Biblical inerrancy, a literal interpetation of the Bible, with the Biblical God as the three big Os, with the supernatural miracles of both Old and New Testaments, and so on. In my life there has never been any change in those answers, just the same answers. Even as a child while still a believer, I was amazed that other fundamentalist denominations could claim to have the truth as I knew that my group had the real answers, the real truth.

"That is, will you be willing to consider that I feel sad and possibly personally disrespected when you speak ill of the God that I love? While you may find the God of the Bible laughable and deserving ridicule, do you find the quest for friendship worth setting aside words of disrespect toward God? I will continue to interact with you even if you insist on mocking God, but just know that you will also be making a choice to sadden and mock me as well. Perhaps this doesn't matter to you, but I just wanted you to know this before we move on."

Again, here's where I will have a problem. I do not consider religion as sacrosant, and as beyond difficult and often sacrilegious questions (though as long as it's the other group, whether Jews, Muslims, Catholics being prodded Protestant Christians don't seem to care).

October 5, 2013 at 5:53 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Here's why by way of analogy.

If an adult insists that Harry Potter books are literally true, I would think his logic and reasoning is suspect. While small kids believe in a real Santa Claus, if they persist in that belief as an adult, or if they watch Sesame Street and believe as little kids that Cookie Monster and Elmo are real, but persist in that belief as adults, I think their reason, logic, and belief system is very askew.

It's the same with those who interpret the Bible as reality. I can not accept that. To those who view the Bible stories as metaphor, as instructive with lessons for life, I can have a reasoned dialog. The same as I can with someone who uses "Huckleberry Finn" for instructive lessons in morals, justice, and relationships. That my view may seem disrespectul to you is beyond my control. I only can control my thoughts, my will, and my opinions. Your reaction is only controlled by you.

"I still do not understand enough about your foundational metaphysic to then understand how you can make confident statements about reality. For example, how can you be confident that being a tyrant is bad? Why is it wrong to be petty? "

There are somethings if which I have confidence. The earth goes around the sun (Catholic Church doctrine said it didn't). The earth is spherical (the Bible indicates it was flat and Church doctrine didn't accept a spherical earth until the 1500s).

There are many things I accept in confidence until proven different. Up is one. On earth, up is towards the sky. But in space, up doesn't apply. Gravity is another. When the apple falls, gravity pulls it down. In reality, the earth is also affected by the small apple and rises to meet the apple.

For centuries gravity was considered the strongest force in the universe. But within the past decade, dark energy was discovered to make up over 90% of the universe and is what keeps the universe expanding. New theories posit it may be pockets of anti-matter. But on earth I am still confident of the strength of gravity.

The questions I am not confident is are more philosophical, but to me, worth study. Why is there something rather than nothing? The answer given by fundamentalists relates to some deity, yet the question remains where did the deity come from? Still no answer by science or religion.

But religions, particularly fundamentalist religions in the Abrahamic tradition, say have faith. But that's again where there's a problem.

October 5, 2013 at 6:23 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

If you say you have faith, that's fine. I can accept that. But then, fundamentalists attempt to explain their faith by quasi-science that fails, but the faithful are expected to believe as proof. As Joseph Campbell said, "If you have proof, there's no need of faith."

I have no faith in gravity, I have proof. I have no faith that the earth revolves around the sun; I have proof. In science we ask for evidence towards the truth. In fundamentalism you ask for faith then attempt to make that evidence. It doesn't work that way. remember that science works on falsifiability; fundamentalism does not. That's the stagnant waters of revealed religions.

If you're serious in your studies, read Stephen Hawking and watch his TV programs. He's brilliant and makes difficult theories understandable. If you are serious about myths in religion read Joseph Campbell's "Myths to Live By." Professor Campbell also did a series of interviews with Bill Moyers that are first-rate in explaining the connections of myths with all religions and why myths are used as metaphors that point to the divine, the mysteries, and the unknowable. To have a narrow belief that Jehovah is the be-all and end-all of the universe takes away from the mystery, the noumenal, the majesty of existence.

Morality doesn't need real gods. It didn't in ancient cultures and it doesn't today. Some one who claims that without a God humanity would descend into chaos tells more about himself and his morality than others. The Bible is full of Jehovah approved genocide, rape, slavery, forced submission by women, cruelty to others, and other actions that would be considered for Nuremberg-type trials today. There is morality without deities.

Rabbi Hillel was once asked the main tenet of the Torah. He replied, "That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it." The same could be said of the New Testament. and centuries before both the New Testament and Rabbi Hillel, it was expressed by the ancients. The "golden Rule" is moral, but doesn't need a deity.

I have no problem expressing freedom for others as long as they do not upend the rights of others, don't steal, do not use offensive force. I believe in the rights of people to worship as they wish as long as those same rights are extended to those who do not choose to worship. A secular government protects everyone. A religious government does not.

That finishes me up for this evening.

October 5, 2013 at 6:43 p.m.
TAGrules said...

DD, thanks again for the dialogue. Good stuff indeed. I have learned from Hawking and Dawkins and other certain atheists and still find myself unable to understand their level of confidence in their current assertions, just like I have stated about when I read your thoughts and beliefs. And, I understand your lack of belief in the God of the Bible and know that I do not have the capacity to persuade you (or anyone else for that matter) to believe the Bible. Thus, persuasion is not my goal in our dialogue. I just hope that after our interaction, you could get a good glimpse into the intellectual workings of a man committed to the Bible and be able to say, "I knew a Christian once who loved logic and reason also." I wholeheartedly agree with you that much, much of fundamentalist American "churchianity" has refused to address important theological challenges with anything other than, "just have faith." They forget that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to love him with all of our heart, soul, MIND and strength. This unbalanced churchianity provides ample fodder for easy ridicule.

Now, let me see if I understand your worldview properly. You do not believe that a metaphysic is necessary in order to justify a particular approach to knowledge and morality? Or, put another way, you do not believe that an ultimate authority is needed in order to obtain knowledge or to know right from wrong? Is that correct?

But, also, if I read you right, you treat logic as the standard we all must submit ourselves to in order to be mature and act properly. Is this a correct view of your position toward logic?

If my observations are correct, please help me understand because I see you saying on the one hand that no metaphysic is necessary in order to justify a particular approach to knowledge and ethics, but on the other hand you seem to be saying that all must submit to the laws of logic if they are to be mature, wise and good.

This, to me, looks like a discrepancy in your inner world.



October 5, 2013 at 10:07 p.m.
TAGrules said...

DD, (Continued from above)

And, if my observation is correct about your requirement that religion must be proven according to the laws of logic, then I must ask you to please prove to me, without using logic, that logic is a standard that we must all submit ourselves to. (just like you would require me to prove God to you without appealing to His existence) Don't you see? Within the confines of your stated worldview, you cannot even justify the existence of the laws of logic, and even if you could justify the existence of such immaterial items in a purely materialistic and random universe, you certainly then could not prove that me or anyone else is required to submit to your standard. What if I told you that your belief in logic is nothing but man-made mumbo jumbo delusions? Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe in the existence of logic, and I believe that the existence of logic is easy to explain within a universe created by a logical supreme being. But, if I may say so, you are borrowing from the Biblical worldview when you require me to submit my religious views to logic. According to your worldview, best I can make out, there is no way to be confident about any assertion, most especially assertions that involve immaterial items such as the laws of logic. So, unless you can provide justification for the existence and authority of logic's laws within your stated worldview, should I or anyone else feel compelled to provide you with any proof? To me, your kind of appeal-to-logic argument is like a man in a free-fall, extolling the glory of gravity, but denying the existence of any solid matter, and calling those on solid ground silly for believing in what they feel beneath their feet.



October 5, 2013 at 10:08 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I believe you should define the term metaphysic as you are using it. I read your use as some type of deity. I use the term in the philosophical tradition without need of a deity.

This is one reason why there are no grounds for reconciliation of science and religion, particularly with Abrahamic fundamentalists.

Science is an open system. Philosophy is an open system.

Fundamentalism is not science. It is not philosophy. It is a closed system of thought that always points back to itself.

Science looks for better answers. Philosophy (since Socrates) looks for better ways to live a good life. Neither science or philosophy claims the final word as there is no final word.

But fundamentalism does. And whether that word is Yahweh, Allah, or Jehovah, it is narrow and mental simplification. That is what many people want.

But the great progress of humanity is from asking questions, even those that can not be answered in the world of phenomena. Fundamentalism always has the answer to any question — God. Which God, I don't know. There's been at least 3000 different gods in recorded history; thousands more before. Yet it was by abandoning those gods and those constricted views that humanity progressed. Again, if the fundamentalist answer is so plain, why are there thousands of denominations, each claiming to be the ones worshiping the one true God?

As I stated before, science is falsifiable. That's what makes it work. Fundamentalism is not falsifiable. That's why it fails.

October 5, 2013 at 11:16 p.m.
TAGrules said...

Greetings again, DD. Busy weekend, just finished a long day at work.

In my understanding, metaphysic is that place of authority used to ground and justify a particular theory of knowledge which then is used to justify a particular set of ethics or morals. Philosophers of different stripes have different metaphysics, but they all end up embracing something as their seat of authority. Without a grounded authority, then knowledge claims become speculative, and without firm knowledge, moral and ethical claims are just more speculation. Thanks for asking. This is my understanding of how authority, knowledge and ethics fit together in the worldview philosophy of any human being thinking according to the laws of logic.

I have read the full Wikipedia entry about Popper. Would you agree that this is an accurate article about him and his philosophy? If so, I appreciate how he rejected legal positivism and saw behind the mask of Marxism, but his critical rationalism and "falsifiability" emphasis are not entirely clear in that article. Could you tell me what you mean when you speak of science being "falsifiable"? Could you teach me its meaning and give me some examples, because I am not sure I really understand what is meant by that. I would appreciate your thoughts.



October 8, 2013 at 6:36 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

This is no grounded authority in philosophy. You are looking for what doesn't exist.

By falsifiability that means that science, in what ever current field of thought, never rests on having found the complete truth of its subject. That another event or theory can come along which replaces that theory as more exact, closer to the truth.

Science, at one time, thought there was no such things as germs., Advances proved there were. Science once thought ulcers were completely food and stomach fluids related. Now science knows that a bacteria can cause ulcers.

Science once thought the sun went around the earth. Now science says it wasn't true.

New theories come along that are closer to the truth.

That's where religion, particularly fundamental religions fail. That already have their version of the truth. That's a closed system.

Science never has the complete truth. It's always searching and that's an open system. Theories can always be proved wrong.

Science also relies on repeatability of results. What is science is always testable.

Revealed religions are not subject to repeatability and are not testable by others.

Science thrives and advances on criticism.

Revealed religions and fundamentalism does not.

A quick response would be that morality is the consequences of behavior. It doesn't take deities to be moral.

What denomination are you?

I have not read the WIki article on Popper, but Bryan Magee's book on Popper is a fair assessment.

October 8, 2013 at 7:11 p.m.
TAGrules said...


Thank you for taking the time to teach me about falsifiability. If I am understanding correctly, is falsifiability the concept that in order for something to be considered scientific, then it must be capable of being proven insufficient? (Insufficient could be wrong, inaccurate, incomplete or some other form of not fully and accurately describing the object or event in question.) Or said conversely, if any claim about reality also claims to be infallible, then by definition, it cannot be scientific? I think this is what you mean by a "closed system" verses an "open system." In order to be an "open system", those involved in study must admit that their current theory cannot be complete and perfectly accurate. Whereas, those stuck (to use your perspective) in a "closed system" are unwilling to admit that their operating theory(ies) is(are) not complete and perfectly accurate. Am I accurately understanding this important part of your worldview?

"There is no grounded authority in philosophy" certainly seems like a universally authoritative declaration. To claim that an ultimate authority does not exist anywhere in the universe- past, present or future- certainly seems like an ultimately authoritative statement to me. What am I missing? Teach me how my inaccurate (according to you) worldview is causing me to perceive such statements as inherently self-contradictory. Or, is your philosophy not submitted to the laws of logic, and where you say something that appears self-contradictory, that's ok because your worldview is somehow meta-logical. Am I somehow tied down by the laws of logic, according to your worldview? Or, is my logic flawed in this observation? Or, something else?

And, to put it your way, is your statement, "Science never has the complete truth" subject to the requirements of falsifiability? It seems to me that such universal truth claims are not possibly subject to the falsifiability requirement, according to your definition. (if I am understanding correctly) If I am correct, then how is "Science never has the complete truth" different from "You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength." Neither claims seem open to falsifiability. I do not say this to be snide or to take a jab or to try and insult. I am truly not seeing how all this adds up inside of your worldview, and I am truly trying to see how all the parts of your thinking and acting fit together in a coherent and non-contradictory fashion.

No denomination is perfect, but Presbyterianism is the closest. ;-)

Hmm, Zaxby's chicken for lunch, I think. My son really likes it.

For what it's worth, I like spicy food to go with my cold beer.



October 9, 2013 at 11:58 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I am unable to respond tonight due to a busy work load. But a quick question.

What brand of Presbyterianism? There's several flavors from liberal to Calvinist/Christian Reconstruction.

A couple of quick statements. I think it would be helpful if you knew Kant's main ideas, then an understanding of Schopenhauer in regards to the dual aspect of reality, the noumenal and the phenomenal. It takes effort to read Kant, but Schopenhauer is in my estimation the most delightful philosopher of modern times, easily read (though quite often misunderstood).

Science seeks to explain the world of phenomena, it can not explain the noumenal. No one can; not science, not religions. It can be pointed to, hinted at, but is unknowable.

Kant and Schopenhauer can fill you in on the details.

Fundamentalists and evn some more liberal Christian denominations take a deity and place it in the world of phenomena and a religion's claim of a knowable god. But a knowable god in the reality of phenomena is subject to scientific falsifiability.

It may be easier to think of it this way. Science isn't so concerned with absolute truth as much as finding something to be false. By eliminating whatever is found to be false, you arrive closer to the truth.

That's why the Bible does not stand up to science as an inerrant book if read as literal.

One of the early pre-socratic philosophers, Xenophones said that the sun was not the god Helios, rather the sun is composed of numerous fiery particles massed together. Pretty good for 550 BC. While not exactly correct, it was much better than the previous belief. Now we know much more about the sun and other stars, and past scientific theories are shown to be false. Still not the complete truth, but closer.

Commonsense in science and philosophy works only to a point. Many of the great discoveries in science are not common-sense such as quantum physics, quantum entanglement, quantum tunneling.

Even out bodies that appear solid (common sense) are not. There's many gaps in that solid-appearing body.

So there's many thing that appear as of now to be illogical and contradictory. That's because of the limitations of the bodily apparatus, and quite possible will always be that way. But that doesn't mean science cannot speak with authority of what has been learned so far. It does mean that the door is always left open.

October 9, 2013 at 10:17 p.m.
TAGrules said...


Conversations and relationships that are meaningful take time and thought and attention. I have been studying the ideas of Kant and Schopenhauer very closely, along with taking myself through a detailed overview of the history of western philosophy, all so I can respect you by really understanding the ideas that you hold dear. Hopefully, after I have educated myself to these ideas, we can continue this enjoyable exchange, learning from one another.

So far, I can say that many of the worldview questions I have posed to you have not been answered by Kant's transcendental idealism. He shifts the philosophical problems to different areas, but the problems seem to remain, kind of like Crick's directed panspermia does with the hard questions on origins.

October 17, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
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