Religious nutjobs spread the blame for Aurora shooting

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posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 10:18 PM
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Originally posted by charles1952
reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 


Once one says that they are religious nutjobs, why even listen to anything they say? For that matter why listen to anything any type of nutjob has to say?


I don't. But alas many people do.


But are they nutjobs? One seems to be saying that society has cheapened human life until it's worth no more than an animal's.


And is he right with that? I dont' know of any atheist, me included, who says that human life is only worth teh same as an animals. Except maybe some PETE nutjobs.......but nutjobs are nutjobs...

so I am persisted off that that particular idiot has slandered everyone who dares to not belive in god with his stupid proposition that that is THE CAUSE for this tragedy.



Another seems to be saying that since we're weakening belief in an afterlife with possible punishments, we have removed one more limit (however small) to peoples' bad behavior. You might disagree, but someone can hold that position and not be a nutjob.


Aghain - he is saying that is THE CAUSE for this massacre. And TBH IMO anyone who thinks good behaviour is helped by fear of hell isn't in a good palce to start with.




posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 

Dear Aloysius the Gaul,

Thanks, it always helps me to listen to you. I suspect some of our conversation is caused by differing opinions.

My own personal belief is that this particular case was caused by insanity, but I don't have enough information to be sure. Is it possible that these men were speaking about violence in society as a whole? Besides games like "Knockout King" where random people get beaten and sometimes killed, and other "senseless" violence, I don't think it's a stretch to say that at least a portion of society sees violence as a way of life, no big thing.

Yes, atheists can be as non-violent as anyone. They often see a deep value to a human life. But that belief seems to be in jeopardy, at least with some people.

I'm not sure he's charging that that was THE cause of the attack, but that an atmosphere has been created where violence is, what, more acceptable? More routine?

I suspect that was what the other fellow was trying to get to, from a different angle. If you are right, that both are saying that they have THE cause for this particular incident, I disagree with them. (At least based on what I know now.)

I may not be in a good place then, because at least in my life I have paused and asked myself if Jesus would approve of what I was going to say or do. It's helped me. Oh, sure, we can say I'm anthropomorphising the Natural Law, or my conscience, but it works for me sometimes.

Anyway, I'm getting a lot from the discussion, thanks.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 11:20 PM
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reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 


I'm not surprised really. I mean didn't they say the same things about Columbine? There are so many convenient enemies they can pick on, from homosexuals, communists, atheists, even to different factions/sects of Christianity.

I've never understood the whole idea of evolution making people immoral because it gives them permission to act like animals and I used to be an old earth creationist back in the day. Even in the height of my ignorance I never made such a stupid argument. Anyone who studies animals knows that most species, especially social ones who work in groups, have a sort of instinctive morality. The fact is that most of our behaviors are not vastly different from those other animals undertake. Chimpanzees, for example, have even been known to use crude spears and go to war over territory, sounds awfully human to me.



It is clear that most of our behavior is not as novel as we would like to believe and evolution best explains both the parallels between animals and humans and the differences (technically we are animals, but you know what I mean).



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 11:29 PM
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Originally posted by Aloysius the Gaul
I dont' know of any atheist, me included, who says that human life is only worth teh same as an animals. Except maybe some PETE nutjobs.......but nutjobs are nutjobs...


Maybe you've missed Richard Dawkins, chief voice of the New Atheists, who believes that humans are simply "Gene Machines", same as any other. Man... badger... dandelion... your only purpose is to produce progeny, there is no other meaning to life.


QUESTION: Professor Dawkins, could you explain your belief that human beings are just "gene machines"?

MR. DAWKINS: When I say that human beings are just gene machines, one shouldn't put too much emphasis on the word "just." There is a very great deal of complication, and indeed beauty in being a gene machine. What it means is that natural selection, Darwinian natural selection, which is the process that has brought all living things to be the way they are, is best seen at the gene level, is best seen as a process of differential survival among genes, and therefore living organisms and their bodies are best seen as machines programmed by the genes to propagate those very same genes. In that sense we are gene machines. But it is not intended to be at all a demeaning or belittling statement.
(Source)

Take some comfort in that last line... "it is not intended to be at all a demeaning or belittling statement."

You teach people that they, and those around them, are nothing more than animals, is it any surprise when some of them begin to act as such? When you convince them that love and other emotions are just meaningless chemical reactions in their brain, should you be surprised when they treat others with disdain or indifference?
edit on 22-7-2012 by adjensen because: oopsies



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 11:38 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by Aloysius the Gaul
I dont' know of any atheist, me included, who says that human life is only worth teh same as an animals. Except maybe some PETE nutjobs.......but nutjobs are nutjobs...


Maybe you've missed Richard Dawkins, chief voice of the New Atheists, who believes that humans are simply "Gene Machines", same as any other. Man... badger... dandelion... your only purpose is to produce progeny, there is no other meaning to life.


QUESTION: Professor Dawkins, could you explain your belief that human beings are just "gene machines"?

MR. DAWKINS: When I say that human beings are just gene machines, one shouldn't put too much emphasis on the word "just." There is a very great deal of complication, and indeed beauty in being a gene machine. What it means is that natural selection, Darwinian natural selection, which is the process that has brought all living things to be the way they are, is best seen at the gene level, is best seen as a process of differential survival among genes, and therefore living organisms and their bodies are best seen as machines programmed by the genes to propagate those very same genes. In that sense we are gene machines. But it is not intended to be at all a demeaning or belittling statement.
(Source)

Take some comfort in that last line... "it is not intended to be at all a demeaning or belittling statement."


So....nothing in there at all about considering people on the same level as animals.

And of course as "gene machines" it means our genes are actually quite keen on preserving us and our kind over others - which means...oh...yeah......not treating humans at the same level as animals!



You teach people that they, and those around them, are nothing more than animals,


since we have now established that is not the case....


is it any surprise when some of them begin to act as such?


Because no-one ever acted like an animal until evil atheists started saying we are only gene machines?? Hmm........I don't think that is quiet true. I'm pretty sure people have acted like animals all throughout history.

But feel free to show me I'm wrong.....


When you convince them that love and other emotions are just meaningless chemical reactions in their brain, should you be surprised when they treat others with disdain or indifference?


chemical eractions do not actually have to be meaningless - As an atheist I am quite happy that my chemical reactions are meaningful. What's moer I put human life ahead of animal life - how could that possibly be??


As I have already said - you may have to get meaning in your life from a fairy, but I do not - I am quite happy to get my meaning from being me.



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 11:42 PM
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Originally posted by charles1952
reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 

Dear Aloysius the Gaul,

Thanks, it always helps me to listen to you. I suspect some of our conversation is caused by differing opinions.

My own personal belief is that this particular case was caused by insanity, but I don't have enough information to be sure. [/quoet]

Likewise on both counts for me.



Is it possible that these men were speaking about violence in society as a whole? Besides games like "Knockout King" where random people get beaten and sometimes killed, and other "senseless" violence, I don't think it's a stretch to say that at least a portion of society sees violence as a way of life, no big thing.

Yes, atheists can be as non-violent as anyone. They often see a deep value to a human life. But that belief seems to be in jeopardy, at least with some people.


And I have no problem with people who can use religion to help them lead a nice peaceful and happy life. Indeed I heard a adio programme recently about a new Bishop in Wellington, New Zealand, who sounds liek a paragon of virtue & a real nice chap - extremely religious.....and not a nutjob. He has no need to make the whole world anglican (AFAIK) - would be happy if it was (but only if they were all as nice as him!!) 7 I probably woudn't either!


I'm not sure he's charging that that was THE cause of the attack, but that an atmosphere has been created where violence is, what, more acceptable? More routine?


That may be an argument in general f'sure


I may not be in a good place then, because at least in my life I have paused and asked myself if Jesus would approve of what I was going to say or do. It's helped me. Oh, sure, we can say I'm anthropomorphising the Natural Law, or my conscience, but it works for me sometimes.

Anyway, I'm getting a lot from the discussion, thanks.


Fair enuf..and u r welcome



posted on Jul, 22 2012 @ 11:49 PM
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reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 


Yes, you're just not getting it.

Some people need meaning in their lives. They need to feel that they are more than "Gene machines", that there is more to life than that. When people like Dawkins take that away, when they deprive people of dignity, of value, there is some segment that may react, violently, to that worldview.

We have here, possibly, a Neurology student, who has had it pounded into his head that he means nothing to no one, as a result of his studies and the currently popular scientifically recommended philosophy.

Regardless of whether a theistic/non-theistic/anti-theistic viewpoint is foremost, can you not see a potential correlation to his actions? I'm not saying that Dawkins is right or wrong, but, rather, that this whole "disproving Christianity by dehumanizing people" message is flat out wrong.
edit on 22-7-2012 by adjensen because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 12:08 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




Man... badger... dandelion... your only purpose is to produce progeny, there is no other meaning to life.


Dawkins is a biologist and I can assure you that while he may speak for many atheists he does not always speak for all of us. Atheists are a very diverse group, many are free thinkers, and with that comes a great deal of difference of opinion on various subjects. That's because the tenuous thing that atheists have in common, the only thing you need to be an atheist, is the absence of a belief in gods.

Life, on the base level, does seem to be all about reproduction. You have to admit that, even from a Biblical arguing point, being fruitful and multiplying seems to be what life is all about. In fact reproduction is one of the things that all lifeforms have in common, from the single-celled to the multi-cellular.

However we must not confuse biological function with the philosophical issue of finding meaning in life (or the meaning of life). For example, the biological function of having sex is obviously reproduction but that doesn't stop such intimate actions from having powerful emotional, physiological and some might argue spiritual aspects. Scientific understanding of a subject doesn't have to cheapen our subjective attachments to things. Understanding how a rainbow forms doesn't need to detract from it's beauty and in the same way understanding evolution doesn't need to detract from seeing beauty or meaning in the natural world.

Personally I don't believe in any overarching meaning of life, like the sort that might be imposed upon us by an advanced alien race or a god, such a meaning, I feel, would only cheapen the smaller things that we find meaningful. What meaning can a Father's bond with his children have if the meaning of life is to serve God or have a relationship with Jesus? (for example) Or if getting to Heaven is the meaning of life then anything that doesn't serve that goal becomes meaningless. We humans ascribe meaning to things on Earth independent of any overarching destiny or purpose that may or may not exist and while it is subjective meaning I think that subjective meaning is far more valid than a purpose imposed upon us by outside forces.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
Life, on the base level, does seem to be all about reproduction. You have to admit that, even from a Biblical arguing point, being fruitful and multiplying seems to be what life is all about. In fact reproduction is one of the things that all lifeforms have in common, from the single-celled to the multi-cellular.


Hello, my friend


As you might expect, I would take a bit of a point here. If we are to claim that reproduction is of utmost importance, what are we to make of those who do not reproduce, whether of their choice, or nature's?


However we must not confuse biological function with the philosophical issue of finding meaning in life (or the meaning of life).


I agree, but what philosophy does Dawkins espouse with his "gene machine" claim? Or the OP, with his anti-religious rant? Philosophical Naturalism supports Dawkins -- there is no real meaning, apart from the dispassionate "Gene machines" perspective. We are nothing but our instinctual drive to produce offspring.

Whether he is representative or not (and I appreciate your point of view, trust me, it is important to me,) Dawkins is teaching that anything, beyond pure and simple genetic progression, is mere philosophic dreaming, and I believe that this perspective has a negative impact on sensitive individuals, who apply the "we are nothing but animals who are somehow aware of our own mortality" to their own lives and begin to view those around them as nothing more than similarly valueless sorts.

Few, of course, will respond in a horrifically violent manner, but all it takes is one to make us think about what we are teaching people.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 12:43 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




what are we to make of those who do not reproduce, whether of their choice, or nature's?


See this is what I mean by keeping the biological function and the values separate. Life seems to be all about reproduction but that hasn't stopped us from building pyramids, writing symphonies and compiling great works of fiction. Most of the species before us were altered by their environment, human beings are one of the first intelligent to, for lack of better terminology, forge our own destiny. The biological function of life may be to reproduce but that is not the full extent of life's potential, beauty, experience, etc.



We are nothing but our instinctual drive to produce offspring.


We are nothing WITHOUT our instinctual drive to produce offspring, by that I mean that without generation after generation after generation before us having that drive we would not be sitting here with the intelligence necessary to engage in this kind of discussion. One might say that we are more than the sum of our parts.




and I believe that this perspective has a negative impact on sensitive individuals, who apply the "we are nothing but animals who are somehow aware of our own mortality" to their own lives and begin to view those around them as nothing more than similarly valueless sorts.


I will admit that such a viewpoint could lead the more melancholy and naturally misanthropic among us to see life that way. It was fear of death, fear of admitting that we were all just animals lost on a speck of dust in space, that led me to wallow in a form of agnostic-theist limbo for some time after leaving Christianity. I didn't want to think of life as hopeless, I wanted to think that at the end of it all some grand architect would pull aside the curtain and show the inner-fabric of it all or at the very least deliver a clever punch-line to the cosmic tragedy. But once I became an atheist it didn't take long to see it differently.

If we are all just animals some would say that we are lowering ourselves to their level, but if you look at the way animals behave you can see that we're already on that level in most respects. Only those who consider animal life to be worthless would say that lowering ourselves to animal level would cause us to lose sight of the value of human life.

I do understand what you're saying, some will listen to what science has to say and misapply it. All we can do to prevent that is try to articulate science better. Rather than devalue life science should be about enriching lives. Evolution can just as well have a connective effect as it eventually did with me, suddenly I was part of this chain of life stretching back eons, connected, a part of nature not apart from it.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 



See this is what I mean by keeping the biological function and the values separate.


I don't disagree with that, but, according to Dawkins, where do those values come from?

Evolutionary biology does NOT provide a reasonable basis for values -- I would welcome a refutation of that, but even "The Moral Landscape" doesn't provide a reasonable basis for it. Harris fails to demonstrate that his "is/ought" philosophy has anything but a relativistic perspective, and that's invalid.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 01:09 AM
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All I gotta say is - - - raised Christian. Spent 60 years searching for truth in God - - - actually finding real truth.

I finally stepped completely out of the "God Circle" - - - what a relief. A huge weight was lifted off me.

I was now 100% responsible for me. There was no "go to guy" to make excuses for me.

EVERYTHING was on me alone.

How I treated people was on me alone. It was 100% my responsibility and/or failure. There was no: "God made me do it" excuse/fallback.

It is so enlightening!



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 01:13 AM
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reply to post by Annee
 




How I treated people was on me alone. It was 100% my responsibility and/or failure. There was no: "God made me do it" excuse/fallback.


Even when people hold belief in God, how can one say God made them do it? You are still responsible whether you believe in God or not.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 01:16 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Actually evolutionary biology explains moral values pretty well. The basis is simple, we are a social species. The heart of it can be captured in the old idiom, "It takes a village to raise a child". Human beings are a social species, we survive better in groups than we do as individuals. This has likely been true for our ancestors going back millions of years and it is certainly still true today, so it makes sense that we would develop a natural instinctive empathy. I would argue that this natural empathy forms the basic moral framework of our species.

Altruism and empathy both occur outside of humans in nature and both have obvious evolutionary advantages. Another idiom that helps embody this is the phrase, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

Behaviors which harm an individual in the group inevitably harm the group and these behaviors are generally considered immoral while behaviors which are benign or which benefit the group are generally permitted.

Obviously this is a simplified version, there are a great many moral values which don't seem to have direct connection to empathy. For instance many culturally subjective rules exist, such as the Jewish and Muslim restrictions from eating pig. With the advent of complex language and writing things are a bit more complicated, we can now have discussions, varying opinions and differing values. We have achieved something I call Societal Collective Morality, a general loosely bound consensus about our values and morals that continues to change and evolve as society changes and evolves. In my opinion this subjective value system works best when it is bolstered by the framework of natural empathy and reason and is superior to any objective morality imposed upon us by some other source (gods, aliens, etc). Our morals aren't absolute and that means they can improve.

You might well argue that all of these instincts, the evolution of empathy itself, is just a survival mechanism designed to help us reproduce and keep the next generation alive but that doesn't make empathy suddenly invalid or murder suddenly permissible. As I said a better understanding of how and why things are the way they are doesn't need to fundamentally change who and what we are... in fact understanding how we evolved to be moral agents, if anything, explains why we are the way we are and gives us insight into how we might improve our values, not degrade them.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 01:31 AM
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Originally posted by jhill76
reply to post by Annee
 




How I treated people was on me alone. It was 100% my responsibility and/or failure. There was no: "God made me do it" excuse/fallback.


Even when people hold belief in God, how can one say God made them do it? You are still responsible whether you believe in God or not.


Uh yeah! That's why there are confessionals.

I'm telling MY experience. It was a weight lifted off me when I completely stepped out of the God circle.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 08:49 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
reply to post by adjensen
 


Actually evolutionary biology explains moral values pretty well. The basis is simple, we are a social species. The heart of it can be captured in the old idiom, "It takes a village to raise a child". Human beings are a social species, we survive better in groups than we do as individuals. This has likely been true for our ancestors going back millions of years and it is certainly still true today, so it makes sense that we would develop a natural instinctive empathy. I would argue that this natural empathy forms the basic moral framework of our species.


Nope, that's a separate matter -- social evolution is not biological evolution, and they're still arguing about that, what it means and whether it's even a valid assumption (witness the recent dust-up between Dawkins and Wilson.)

Are values instinctual, or are they imposed? If they are instinctual, how is it that they change en masse and in a very short period, neither of which speaks to evolution? If they are imposed, who sets the rules and why?

Someone recently pointed out that, as offensive as it sounds, a serial rapist would benefit more from natural selection in passing along their genes than a do-gooder monogamist, so if all we are is gene replication machines (no matter how grand Dawkins tries to make that sound,) saying that our social structure is organized around the care and wellbeing of society, as a whole, just doesn't make sense. Given a choice between a male impregnating the whole world, or just impregnating one woman and then sticking around to (hopefully) see said progeny to adulthood, natural selection would always choose the former, in a world that had a significant infant mortality rate, which ours did, of course, until the last century.

And yet, we don't have the instinctual values one would expect from natural selection, which results in the gyrations around social evolution, in an attempt to explain it, because the obvious answer -- that values are imposed -- doesn't work so well in a Darwinian world view.

There is a leap there, it seems to me. One doesn't need religion or God to fill in that hole, it is just notable that there is one.
edit on 23-7-2012 by adjensen because: clarification



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 09:43 AM
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"Religious nutjobs" do this every time there's a disaster - natural or man-made. They use it as an excuse to lay blame on things that are completely unrelated and use FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to convert more to their way of thinking.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 09:54 AM
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Reply to post by adjensen
 


Biology DOES explain morals because we are social animals. Our brains are wired to experience compassion, empathy, mirroring, to identify who our 'tribe' is, and to protect it. Those very basic emotions we experience as a result of our brain reacting to outside stimulation are at the core of why we have morals and values.


 
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posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by jhill76
reply to post by Annee
 




How I treated people was on me alone. It was 100% my responsibility and/or failure. There was no: "God made me do it" excuse/fallback.


Even when people hold belief in God, how can one say God made them do it? You are still responsible whether you believe in God or not.


Its a completely different feeling.

There is no "safety net". No one to pray to for forgiveness. No "I'll be good so I can get my reward at the end".

It is very very freeing.



posted on Jul, 23 2012 @ 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by acmpnsfal
Reply to post by adjensen
 


Biology DOES explain morals because we are social animals. Our brains are wired to experience compassion, empathy, mirroring, to identify who our 'tribe' is, and to protect it. Those very basic emotions we experience as a result of our brain reacting to outside stimulation are at the core of why we have morals and values.


But how and why would those emotions evolve? Sure, there is safety in numbers, but one doesn't need to have values to be part of a herd, and certainly not specific values that are contrary to survival, like empathy or altruism.

If you compare a group of humans to a generalized herd of some sort of animal, most, if not all of the differences would have to come down to the higher intelligence or sentience on the part of the humans, right? For example, we don't kill wimpy offspring because we recognize that they have value, beyond their physical limitations -- is that instinctual, or is that learned?





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