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The Fail of man

Today I want to discuss a specific issue. For those who follow me on Twitter you might have noticed as of late that a lot of my discussions involve the (supposed) Fall of man into sin. I have come to realize that at a certain point the arguments from Christian apologists just keep repeating themselves so I decided to post this as a set of arguments which shows that the doctrine around sin (specifically Genesis 3) is irrational. I do this, if for nothing else, than that I can just bypass their bad arguments and get to the ones which are actually sensible, though I doubt they even exist. I also hope that this might inspire some of the readers out there to succesfully argue what I am about to argue. That said let’s kick things off:

The first question we have to ask ourselves is the following: If God is supposedly perfect (Matthew 5: 48 among others) then why did he create humans which have flaws? Perfection means that you are without any flaws. Yet it is self evident both under Christian doctrine as well as the real world that humans do have flaws. Now you might attribute this to the Fall but this is merely shifting the problem back to another level: If Adam was created by a perfect being then it stands to reason that he himself was perfect. As was Eve. Why then was it possible that both could be corrupted by a deceiving snake? Flawlessness implies great amount of wisdom as well as knowledge and intelligence. Why would man in any way shape or form be deceived by a snake with but 2 sentences? This implies a great flaw within the thinking capabilities of Eve and it reflects upon her maker who created her to have such an embarrasingly gullible nature. If a perfect being created her we ought expect better and the fact of the matter is that him not making her immune to deception of a snake is a flaw and a direct result of his work.

Even if Christians could bypass this objection though there is still the following issue: Why make us physically capable of sinning? I have said this before and I will say it again: Humans are physically incapable of flight. Try as I might, no amount of moving my arms up and down or whatever direction would work is gonna make me able to reach the clouds. Evidently this status of my existence does not violate the free will of man which Christians often elect to attrbiute the Fall to. Otherwise Adam would not have had Free will from the outset and would therefore not be elligible for blame. Who would then be? God (but we’ll get to that). If me being physically incapable of flight does not violate free will (it clearly doesn’t) then me being physically incapable of murder, rape stealing does not violate free will either. Yet God, from a Christian perspective, did create us with an ability to commit those actions despite him disapproving of them. Him not doing so would have prevented the suffering of millions nay billions of living entities which, as Christians tell me, is desirable for God. This has not been accounted for and it is in dire need to be accounted for.

Furthermore let’s move the discussion back to the topic of Genesis: What would stop God of simply planting the tree of knowledge on the moon or making us physically incapable of eating the fruit? Let’s say the fruit was simply too large to fit into our mouths and it was made of elements which are simply not penetrable by our teeth. This would have prevented the Fall and it would have spared billions of lives. Why not go that route, God? Planting the tree on the moon would be another way: We only have been able to go there after close to 6000 years after the supposed Creation and as the story of the tower of Bable teaches us, God has no issues with corrupting our projects when we wanna reach for the sky and beyond (which makes me wonder why planes exist but that is another issue).

 

But let’s just say that the apologist has reasons which allow him to circumvent this issue as well: At the very least God would be responsible for the wiring of our minds, no? For our desires, our goals and all of that stuff. He could have gone a different route even then: Why create us with even the slightest desire to rebel against him? Think about it: We as humans have no desire whatsoever to cut our arms off. In extreme situations we might if we have no other choice but generally speaking the prospect of this is not something which we would speculate about. Why not make disobeying him, and by extension make murder rape etc. equally undesirable as cutting off our arms? Again this would spare billions of lives and billions of rape victims and this would most definitely have prevented Eve from eating this darn fruit. It would not even have crossed her mind. Let me reiterate again: Nothing about this violates our precious free will. Me being unwilling to cut my arms off does not violate my free will so Adam being unwilling to disobey God does not and cannot violate his free will.

 

I see no way around these three objections but one objection which I frequently hear from Christians to rationalize this is the following: God planted the tree as a way to test us. He wanted to make sure that we chose him in favor of sin. Well aside from this issue clearly falling prey to what I already brought up, namely why not wire our minds such that not loving him would be akin to cutting our arms off, why would he devise such a test to begin with? What do we need one for? We are already in Paradise in eternal allegiance with our maker. All the animals which Adam named are there. Goal accomplished end of story. This was the desired outcome. This is what heaven is supposed to be like. Why allow for the possibility for this to be screwed up? This runs opposite to God’s desired outcomes.

Furthermore, why allow the animals to be affected by this? The animals had no way to get themselves out of the predicament which Adam supposedly created. Nor is Jesus sacrifice elligible for them. They play no part in this. Man (and God) are to blame but they are innocents in all of this. Yet God sees it fit to kill them by the millions if not billions in a gigantic Flood and he sees it fit to kill them by way of drowning and of course he pays them no mind when they end up as our lunch. If you wanna turn a blind eye to this then be guest but I will shift the blame squarely where it belongs under Christian theology: on the almighty himself.

 

Finally when all is set is done there is good news isn’t there: A man without sin died for us, so that might save us since we are not capable of it. But why? Why the need for a savior? Why can we not save ourselves? Sure we are under sin but so what? Well yes okay we might not be able to be in HIS presence otherwise but why is the only other option hell. Let’s talk about landlords: God is capable of simply making another dimension and build a few houses so that we might live there absent his presence. He can build infinite amounts of them no questions asked. We woul not be in his presence and yet live our comfortable eternal lives. We wouldn’t even need to pay. If I had an infinite amount of houses I’d be gracious enough to let people live there for free. Especially if I myself have no need for any money at all since I am omnipotent. Sorry God but the myth of you being oh so forgiving and oh so gracious has resided long enough in our heads for free and as far as I am concerned, rent is due Bitch!

Additionally why is it that we cannot save ourselves? Why can we not it on our own? Why devise a circumstance in which we have no control? Analogy:

If I had a son who was 3 years old and I made him take a chemistry exam which typically takes 3 hours but yet I give him 5 minutes then I’d be unreasonable. If I said that he needs to get an A or he’ll be spanked and grounded for an entire month then I assuredly would not be Daddy of the month. On the contrary I’d be arrested for child abuse if this comes out. Yet Christians hold God to a lower standard than that. We are expected to live perfectly. No lies, no sexual thoughts no nothing? Despite the fact that I can easily generate a picture of you seeing two hot women kissing within your imagination just by me telling you to. I made you sin. It’s that easy. For that you supposedly DESERVE eternal torture. Why? Well because God made you that way. Is that just? Didn’t think so.

 

Sin as a concept and all the doctrine surrouding it is irrational. I am open to counter arguments if you have any. For your own well being: Emancipate yourself from your myths. There’s life after God and you do not need your shackles. Be free.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Resurrecting Atheism: A rebuttal to an embarrassing obituary

Today I want to an article as a response to an article I was provided with on Twitter. The person in question challenged me as well as others to rebutt this and while this is not necessarily worth my time, I haven’t written on here for a long time and the article has some very popular misconceptions which need to be taken care of.

First the author introduces us to what Atheism is:

“Atheism is not “a lack of belief in God,” as atheists are so fond of saying. If you lack belief in God, but don’t deny God’s existence, you’re agnostic (neutral position), not atheist (negative position).”

He supports this by citing various sources such as the Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy as well as other unnamed dictionaries.

Well that may all be true and well but we who identify ourselves as Atheists choose how we define the term. When I say “I am an Atheist” then what I mean is that I do not believe in deities or the number of deities I believe in is zero. You may think of us as agnostics in that case if we are not willing to defend positive Atheism but the arbiter of the label are those who embrace it. Whether you rebutt an agnostic or a self described Atheist whom you’d put in the category of “agnostic” isn’t really of any relevance now, is it?

He moves on to say this:

“There is zero compelling evidence for atheism. If there were, then atheists would be quick to point it out. When asked to defend it atheists must play make-believe agnostics, retreating into the safe space of neutrality. This allows them to dodge their own burden of proof: offering a stronger explanation for existence than God. (this isn’t to say theists don’t also have a burden of proof. Of course they do.)Anyone who’s ever had debated an atheist knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Atheist “God does not exist, you stupid theist!”
Theist“If you say God doesn’t exist, what evidence do you have for God not existing, and for a better explanation for existence?”
Atheist“I don’t need evidence, I merely lack belief in God’s existence.”

Explicit denial of God’s existence (atheism) when on the attack. Then they get challenged. Then they retreat into lack of belief in God (agnosticism) when on the defense. It’s a textbook bait-and-switch tactic. There is a secondary motivation for conflating atheism and agnosticism: to inflate the number of atheists.

Think about it . . .

If simply lacking belief in God makes one an atheist, then all agnostics are atheists. And if all agnostics are atheists? The U.S. (and the world) has a lot more atheists than we thought.”

Well in reality there actually is compelling evidence for Atheism (we’ll get to that) but the main point is this:

One need not offer alternative explanations to god(s) in order to be justified in not believing in god(s) or for that matter to even be justified in believing that no god(s) exist. Allow me to present an analogy mirroring the dialogue from his article:

R: “Whales aren’t birds , you scientifically illiterate buffoon!”
J“If you say whales aren’t birds, what evidence do you have whales what not being birds, and what alternative do you have to offer?”
R“Well long story short there is no evidence to suggest that whales are in fact birds. That is something you need to demonstrate and since such a Hypothesis as whales being birds was never warranted to begin with I need not lend it more credence than the existence of Santa.”

The God Hypothesis has not been shown to deserve its spot on the table of ideas. The same is true for fairies, Santa, Unicorns etc. . It is up to you to first of all define what you mean by God, show that such a thing is logically and physically possible and that this thing of yours has any more basis in reality than any other fantasy I could just randomly dream up.

 

He goes on with the following:

“Atheism Offers No Positive, Testable Argument. To be credible, a worldview must offer a positive, testable argument. You can’t say it’s true and leave it at that, you’ve got to show it’s true. If I told you that a purple alligator named Hector had created the universe, you’d demand positive evidence for this claim. If I couldn’t produce it (spoiler alert: I can’t), you’d reject it, and rightfully so.

“What does this have to do with atheism,” you might ask. It’s simple . . .

Atheists claim God does not exist, yet offer no supporting evidence. It’s a bald assertion; a claim with nothing to back it up. As the late atheist Christopher Hitchens was fond of saying:

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Lots to unpack here. There is positive testable evidence against God’s existence. There are various arguments I have written down hereherehere and here which disprove various conceptions of God among which would be the Christian version. There are various other arguments in deductive atheology which demonstrate various God concepts to be incoherent. Yahweh, Allah (who is defined to be a merciful humiliator in the 99 names of Allah) as well as other deities have been shown to be impossible. We also have positive evidence for the proposition that deities are man-made. It is therefore unlikely that deities have a basis in reality. Is this conclusive proof? No. But the existence of a god has been dreamed up and invented by humans and is therefore improbable.

As far as his following assertion goes:

“Ah, but there’s more, folks. In claiming that God does not exist, atheism logically entails that something other than God must be responsible for why something (rather than nothing) exists. If God didn’t create existence, then something else had to. Makes sense, right? And if you deny that God created existence, as atheists do, then you must believe something else did, right? Let’s break it down in point-by-point fashion:

  • Fact: existence exists (if I didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this right now).
  • There must be an explanation for this fact.
  • Atheists deny one possible explanation: God.
  • In denying the God explanation, atheism entails that some explanation other than God must be true.
  • Atheists refuse to say what this other explanation is, let alone offer evidence in support of it.
  • Thus, we’re left with a cold, hard conclusion: Atheism is a blind faith; a position with no evidence supporting it.

 

It is simply not true that something must explain existence. It may just be that existence is a brute fact. Existence just is the same way that God just is in a theistic worldview. In his argument then I reject P2 right out of the gate. There need not be an explanation. If he insists that I must account for existence then he must maintain that he must account for God (he can’t). P3 has not been established. It has not been shown that God is a possible explanation and dependent on the God in question, P3 might actually be outright false rather than just unsupported. P4 is rejected for the reasons already stated. P5 is kinda true: We have various Hypotheseses some Atheists would support but in general we tend to be humble about the claims we make.

 

As far as science from the perspective of theism goes he has this to say:

“Don’t Believe The Hype: Atheism Has Given (Almost*) NOTHING To Science

Atheists like to pretend that science is their domain. And sure, a lot of modern scientists are atheists (relative to the population as a whole).

But the claim that atheism and science go hand-in-hand? It couldn’t be further from the truth.

Atheism is anti-science, and anti-reason.

Before any atheists reading this scream at me, please allow me to elaborate.

Science “works” for two reasons:

  1. The universe is comprehensible. That is, it follows a set of orderly guidelines (laws) which allow it to be understood by cognitive observers (that’d be us).
  2. Cognitive observers exists (hi, mom!).

This makes perfect sense from the perspective of theism.

Theists believe that God is the designer of the universe; a “cosmic engineer,” so to speak. Most theists also believe that God wants to be discovered. This would mean that science is the reverse engineering of the cosmic engineer’s work.

Sure enough, reverse engineering the universe perfectly described what science is and does. We study the various parts of nature and figure out how they work. That’s reverse engineering.”

 

I agree that science works but this does not make sense from the perspective of theism. At least not if we posit an interventionist God. If God can mess with the laws of nature as he sees fit at any given time then we cannot be sure of our results: Is this gravity really a thing or is it just God messing with us constantly? Sure the results may be X but how can we tell that God not simply intervened to make it X because he just enjoys this outcome over the natural one? Notice how uniformity of nature goes out the window here.

Then he goes on to pontificate on Atheism:

“None of this makes any sense from the perspective of atheism.

Atheism entails mindlessness. Mindlessness entails chaos. Chaos is the opposite of science. Our minds are not chaos, and our universe is not chaos. If they were, science would be impossible.

Is it any wonder, then, that God-fearing men have built science over the centuries? From the scientific method, to nearly every branch of science, they’ve all came from the blood, sweat, and tears of God-believers. Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Max Planck . . . name a great scientist throughout history, and I’ll show you a believe in God.”

 

I am not convinced that mindlessness entails chaos and am not aware of any argument in support of this. He acts like nature can only be uniform if it was designed to be uniform. But why would he do that? Why are we to assume that utter chaos is the default position for everything and that there needs to be an agent to order things? Why assume that the force of gravity would change by whim every second if there’s no deity making sure that it doesn’t? There is no good reason to assume this. Is it so inconceivable that gravity just has the properties it has and that they do not change and that we can therefore describe its behavior through science and mathematics? That’s an atheistic account for science and it seems much more sensible than saying “Goddidit” .

 

Then he puts out a challenge:

“If you question any of the above, then I have a challenge for you:

  • Make a list of all branches of science founded by theists.
  • Make a list of all branches of science founded by atheists.
  • Compare the two to see which is the more impressive list.

What did you find?

If you did the above challenge, and did it honestly, you’ll find exactly what I found: Science was built on the foundation of theism, and in particular, Christianity.

Atheism, on the other hand, hasn’t given science anything of note.

It turns out that believing all of existence is one great big directionless accident isn’t a great heuristic for discovering truth. A shocker, I know.

But science isn’t the only area atheism has failed in. Oh, no . . .”

 

Well I think we ought to ask ourselves whether this is due to Atheism itself failing or whether it might possibly be….. and I am just spitballing here…… due to the fact that Atheism has not exactly been a prevalent view throughout the centuries. Let’s be real here: Christianity has had the western world in a stranglehold for the better part of 2000 years so it should not come as a surprise that most scientists during that period were Christians.

I will skip the next bit titled “Atheism Has Given Nothing To Humanity (But Taken A Whole Hell Of A Lot From It)” as this is merely the Atheist atrocities fallacy and really has nothing to do with whether Atheism is reasonable or not one way or the other.

Then he argues the following:

“Atheism Shrinks As Knowledge Grows

As I demonstrated above, atheism lacks a positive supporting argument. This is because when you dig in and really examine atheism, you’ll find that it’s little more than an argument from ignorance.

Atheism, in a nutshell:

  • I know of no evidence for God. (this is the ignorance)
  • Therefor, there is no evidence (here’s some more)
  • Therefore, God does not exist. (atheism’s argument from ignorance)
  • Therefore, the universe self-created via magic. (the logical consequence of atheism’s argument from ignorance)

The problem with this sort of argument is that it becomes weaker the more we learn.

Atheists once claimed the universe was infinite. If the universe was infinite, than it had no beginning. If it had no beginning, then we don’t have to explain how it came to be; it was always there.

This worked for a while. Then along came a little something you might have heard of: the big bang.

What the data behind the big bang proved was that the universe had a beginning, which meant something had to precede it; something had to cause it.”

 

This is a profound failure of Big Bang cosmology. The Big Bang does not entail that the Universe began. It is a popular misconception but simply not true. The Big Bang is the beginning of the Universe as well as time and space as we know them. However let’s say it did. If the Universe began then time itself began with the Universe which means that nothing could have preceded it. Not only is it not necessary that something had to precede it is not possible that something did. But what the necessity of it being caused?

Well it may seem intuitive to us in daily life that things which begin to exist are caused. But when we talk about the Big Bang we talk about something we have no experience with. Things within the Universe require a cause to begin existing but we do not know that this principle within the Universe applies to the Universe itself and to maintain otherwise commits the fallacy of composition. Watch this:

argument 1:

P1 Humans consist of atoms

P2 Atoms can‘t talk

C Humans can‘t talk

argument 2:

P1 Finite things within the Universe are caused

P2 the Universe is finite

C The Universe was caused

 

If you can see the flaw within argument 1 you should be able to see it within argument 2.

 

The rest of this section he spends on arguing against evolution by citing Dr Wells from the discovery Institute. Now I accept evolution but evolution does not pretain to Atheism. I could in theory accept Intelligent design and remain as atheistic as I ever was. Likewise nothing about evolution goes against the idea of a god in general. So in essence this is little more than a red herring.

Finally he has this to say:

“My Challenge To Atheists: Either Put Up Or (For God’s Sake!) Shut Up

Show us the evidence for atheism. You claim to be rational, logical, and only accepting of things proven true, so this isn’t an unreasonable demand. Don’t hide behind the “lack of belief” lie, which is just intellectual cowardice. Don’t try to change the subject and demand evidence from theists (we have overwhelming evidence, which you ignore).Most of all, don’t shout out how you “don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!” (especially not with spit flying out of your mouth; it makes you look insane) Instead, just show us a better explanation than God for why something, rather than nothing, exists.That’s it. It’s that simple.If you want to go into even deeper detail, then great!Explain to us how nature arose from whatever it is you believe nature arose from. Explain to us how the laws of nature came to be. Explain to us the origin of life. Explain to us the origin of the laws of logic and of mathematics. The more atheism can explain, the stronger it will become, and the more people who adopt it as their worldview.If you can do these things, and do them compellingly, then you will have taken atheism from an irrational blind faith in a what appears to be little more than non-testable magic, to a legitimate, credible worldview on par with–maybe even superior to–theism. I’ll abandon my theism and proudly wave that scarlet A flag, as will all other reasonable theists. But you won’t do any of those things. You won’t do anything of those things because you can’t do any of those things. And that is why you get so angry when you’re asked to. Unlike a man named Jesus Christ, atheism won’t be rising from the grave. Atheism is dead, and it’s staying that way.”

 

Well it seems like I did just that within my article. Unlike belief in Jesus acceptance of Atheism is reasonable and while the author may think he has buried Atheism it is his mythical Messiah who shall remain dead.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

 

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Unplugging justified: In defense of the Violinist thought experiment

Today I am going to write about an issue that is though not directly related to the God debate certainly something that is influenced by God belief: The abortion debate. Now, there is one particular argument in favor of the pro choice position which I have presented many times and which I find really compelling. It is called the Violinist thought experiment.

One of my interlocutors on Twitter pointed me out to a supposed rebuttal of the argument which you can find right here . I plan on debunking this article within this piece.

While this article itself gives a fairly decent presentation of the argument I wanna introduce it to you again:

Suppose you find yourself in a room and right next to you is a famous Violinist who is plugged to your body. As it turns out he has a kidney ailment. You have been abducted by the society of music lovers because the two of you share the same blood type. If you unplug yourself it will mean certain death for the violinist. You can however choose to stay plugged for nine months after which he will have recovered.

The question then becomes: Are you morally obligated that you will remain plugged? The obvious answer is no. If we admit this pro choice advocates argue we must likewise admit that a woman is not obligated to stay plugged to her unborn baby.

 

The author of the article Greg Koukl objects and he offers his objection for us to consider:

“First, the violinist is artificially attached to the woman. A mother’s unborn baby, however, is not surgically connected, nor was it ever “attached” to her. Instead, the baby is being produced by the mother’s own body by the natural process of reproduction.

Both Thompson and McDonagh treat the child—the woman’s own daughter or son–like an invading stranger intent on doing harm. They make the mother/child union into a host/predator relationship.

A child is not an invader, though, a parasite living off his mother. A mother’s womb is the baby’s natural environment. Eileen McDonagh wants us to believe that the child growing inside of a woman is trespassing. One trespasses when he’s not in his rightful place, but a baby developing in the womb belongs there.”

 

Now I think it is irrelevant whether somebody else surgically connected the two humans together or whether this developed naturally. I mean let’s take  another example from nature: Siamese twins. Let’s say one of the twins was unconscious all his life while the other is normally healthy aside from him being attached to his brother. It is possible to seperate them but in order to do so the unconscious twin would have to die while the other can ejoy the rest of life in his happiness. I take it to be fully morally permissable that the conscious twin can choose to be seperated.

The appeal to “nature” is not a relevant argument. It doesn’t matter how the situation came about it only matters what the situation is.

Yes the baby is in its natural environment inside the woman but that doesn’t make the baby less of an attacker on her body. This doesn’t mean that the baby can just feed off of her consent free. Just like the siamese twin is in his/her natural environment being attached to his brother. Now I get of course that in these cases consent is not always possible but if it is, it must be given and if it isn’t given then that is too bad.

 

Koukl has a second objection though along with a disanalogy:

“Thompson ignores a second important distinction. In the violinist illustration, the woman might be justified withholding life-giving treatment from the musician under these circumstances. Abortion, though, is not merely withholding treatment. It is actively taking another human being’s life through poisoning or dismemberment. A more accurate parallel with abortion would be to crush the violinist or cut him into pieces before unplugging him.”

There are two ways for me to tackle this both of which I will execute: I can either adjust the analogy in order to make it fit his objection and ask again if the situation has now changed in respect to the person’s right to unplug himself from the violinist or I can present a Hypothetical concerning the current medical situation of abortion and ask whether or not abortion would be permissable given that his problems with are solved.

Let’s start with an adjusted analogy. I dub the following the “violinist in a SAW trap thought experiment” :

Let’s say the violinist and our victim were not abducted by the music lovers society but by John Kramer the “Jigsaw Killer” from the movie franchise SAW. So now the victim finds himself connected to the violinist in a dark room. A TV goes off and Billy the puppet says the following:

” Hello Rene, I wanna play a game. As you might have noticed you are physically attached to a stranger. This woman before you is Lindsey Stirling a famous violinist. Throughout your life you have been continiously selfless and I wanna test just how far your selflessness will reach: If you choose to stay plugged to Lindsey for nine months you both will get to live. Meanwhile I will make sure that you are properly fed so your survival will be ensured. I give you my word. However if you choose unplug yourself then the device consisting of Samurai swords which you see on the ceiling will slice Lindsey into a thousand pieces in the matter of seconds. Her fate rests within your hands.

Live or die, the choice is yours.”

Could anyone argue that now, since Lindsey is not just gonna peacefully die but will be cut into a thousand pieces through my hands, I would not have the right to unplug myself but would instead have to remain plugged to this person for nine months? I don’t think so.

 

Likewise if we developed abortion methods which would ensure that the fetus is merely removed but not damaged and we would then simply have the fetus die due to lack of life saving support would Koukl and other pro lifers now argue that abortion is perfectly fine? If he takes his argument seriously it would follow that he would have to but I have my legitimate doubts.

His third objection is this:

“Third, the violinist illustration is not parallel to pregnancy because it equates a stranger/stranger relationship with a mother/child relationship. This is a key point and brings into focus the most dangerous presumption of the violinist illustration, also echoed in McDonagh’s thesis. Both presume it is unreasonable to expect a mother to have any obligations towards her own child.

The violinist analogy suggests that a mother has no more responsibility for the welfare of her child than she has to a total stranger. McDonagh’s view is even worse. She argues the child is not merely a stranger, but a violent assailant the mother needs to ward off in self-defense.

This error becomes immediately evident if we amend Thompson’s illustration. What if the mother woke up from an accident to find herself surgically connected to her own child? What kind of mother would willingly cut the life-support system to her two-year-old in a situation like that? And what would we think of her if she did?”

 

Well let’s just say that I think that if the woman is surgically attached to her own child she has the right to unplug herself in this situation as well. Would it be the most noble thing: No. Would it be justifiable that the woman needs not tolerate a two year old feeding off of her body without her consent even if it is her own child? Yes.

You may not like her decision and I certainly wouldn’t but you have to respect her decision.

 

But allow me to present another Hypothetical: Let’s say we have a woman who gets an fetilized egg planted inside of her. She thinks it is her future baby but unfortunately the hospital messed up and as it turns out the egg inside of her is not her baby. The two are unrelated. Would pro lifers in this situation draw exception? They would have to were they consistent but again I don’t think Greg would agree.

His fourth and final objection is this:

“Blood relationships are never based on choice, yet they entail moral obligations, nonetheless. This is why the courts prosecute negligent parents. They have consistently ruled, for example, that fathers have an obligation to support their children even if they are unplanned and unwanted.

If it is moral for a mother to deny her child the necessities of life (through abortion) before it is born, how can she be obligated to provide the same necessities after he’s born? Remember, Thompson concedes that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. If her argument works to justify abortion, it works just as well to justify killing any dependent child. After all, a two-year-old makes a much greater demand on a woman than a developing unborn.

Thompson is mistaken in presuming that pregnancy is the thing that expropriates a woman’s liberty. Motherhood does that, and motherhood doesn’t end with the birth of the child. Unlike the woman connected to the violinist, a mother is not released in nine months. Her burden has just begun. If Thompson’s argument works, then no child is safe from a mother who wants her liberty.”

 

Now if the faultiness of the argument isn’t immediately apparent then allow me to reciprocate with this:

There is such a thing as refrain from assistance. The mother is not obligated to take care of her child (what do you think adoption is for?) but she and the father are always and in any case legally obligated to help a person who is in life danger and they are obligated to not kill the person who is not threatening their legal goods lest they wanna spend time in jail. Killing a child is not in any case the most harmless way to stop it from being a burden. In the case of abortion the most effective and ONLY way to stop the baby from threatening the woman’s legal goods in form of the right to her body is killing it. I do not wish this to be so but it is so. A woman does not necessarily have the right to kill the baby but she does have the right to defend her rights and if exercising self-defense means killing the baby then unfortunately that’s the way it is.

 

In the last section of his article he raises points which I consider to be 1) irrelevant or 2) adequately covered by my previous points.

 

In closing I wanna say this: I have yet to encounter a coherent rebuttal to the thought experiment. The reason it is so effective and so strong is because it can be adjusted to the objections of pro lifers. If we agree with the violinist experiment then we should also agree with the pro choice position. At least in general. It is largely irrelevant when life begins as the argument concedes pro lifers what they think is what they need to establish. But as I know the nature of the debate the two camps are talking past each other. I have my suspicions why this is so but in the end the debate is not about emotions it is about cold hard logic. And I maintain that it is on my side.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

On communication with God

Today I am not addressing any particular Bible verse or any particular argument for the existence of God but I do wanna challenge the testimonies of people I think we are all familiar with. There is a not too small group of people out there who aren’t merely Christians or Muslims or whatever because they happen to believe in the claims their particular holy book makes bt who are claiming to have personally experienced God or even heard God’s voice. In principle you would think that these testimonies should be compelling seeing that a multitude of people claim to have knowledge and in fact communicated with a person it would be reasonable to assume that said person really exists, right?

Well today I want to elaborate on the reasons why that doesn’t convince me.

First of all I think we all have been in a position before where we were sure to perceive something with our eyes or ears only to find out later that what we perceived most likely had no basis in reality whatsoever. Let me give you an example from my personal life:

When I was about 12 years old me and a few friends of mine went into a small forrest within my village. When we went in their we saw something which we perceived to be a demon. We quickly walked away and when we talked we all pretty much saw the same thing: A sort of black entity with sharp teeth and red glowing eyes.

Now in retrospective I don’t believe that this really happened but at that time we all were convinced. Add to that the element of conformity namely that I wasn’t the only who saw it and I came to believe that really easily.

Upon reflection though I came to reject what I think I saw for 2 reasons: Except for the red eyes this thing looked really similar to the symbiote within Spider-man 3 a movie which came out just 2 years earlier before my experience. I think it is therefore much more reasonable to assume that my brain concucted a frightening beast based on these familiar patterns rather than that what I saw indeed existed. The second reason is that this thing made no efforts at all to have anything but visual impact: It didn’t make sounds, it didn’t attack us when it saw us, it didn’t follow us it had no manifestation except a visual one. The other people seeing what I saw (or at least claiming that they did) also played a role in influencing me and may very well have shaped my memories of what I saw.

Another experience of mine happened when I was 8 and I was on holiday with my parents. In the middle of the night I saw a stranger inside our room who after 4-5 seconds left it. Now I know that I didn’t dream that because I immediately woke up my parents. It turned out though that nothing was stolen and no one within the hotel be it employees or guests fit the description of the person I saw.

What I am saying is that on occasion at least we think that we perceive things that actually aren’t there. I am sure many of you have had one or two similar experiences.

Likewise the same can be said for hearing voices: I have lost count on the times where I heard a voice calling my name and it turned out that it didn’t happen. Now you might be tempted to say that this was God calling me but suffice it to say that this voice isn’t always the same and isn’t always male.

Now I get it why believers might be inclined to believe it when “God” tells them that he loves them but for me as an outsider it is much more likely that the person in question is hallucinating. Especially since this voice never seems to convey any useful information:

He doesn’t reveal to us how quantum mechanics works he doesn’t tell us what happened before the Big Bang he reveals none of that to us. It’s always information that believers could’ve easily found for themselves.

In the end there are and have been various believers throughout history who claim to have communicated with a god and this god is not always the same. These anecdotes aren’t convincing when we consider the fact that our brain quite frequently tricks us.

Last but not least (and this is kinda embarrassing) I have taken the steps that believers asked me to take in order to arrive at the result they arrived at namely God speaking to them. I ended up empty handed every single time. When I still held to a belief in a god and when I prayed, though I didn’t pray often I never felt the presence of anything but the air surrounding me.

If hearing God’s voice is strong empirical proof for you that he exists, then getting no results from praying and even praying in a way that believers tell me I should is strong empirical evidence that there is nothing there to which can be prayed. Maybe just maybe the reason why I felt nothing when I prayed (even at the time when I needed it to work the most) and why different believers experience different deities has nothing to do with an actual deity and everything to do with your brain playing tricks on you, which of course are reinforced by taking certain actions.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation