Patterico's Pontifications

7/5/2014

Just What Does “Natural Rights” Mean?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:54 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Leviticus poses a very thought-provoking definition of the concept of natural rights:

I was thinking this afternoon about what the phrase “natural rights” means, and drifted quickly towards the idea that you have a natural right to do anything you could do if you were the only human being on the planet. And whatever you could do if you were alone on the earth, the government could not stop you from doing. Period. Natural rights – with all else necessitating the consent of the next person you add to the equation.
I’m curious as to the group’s thoughts on this definition, if the group is at all interested in discussing it.

There has already been some good back-and-forth about this topic, and I encourage everyone to continue it here.

- JVW

206 Responses to “Just What Does “Natural Rights” Mean?”

  1. Leviticus #38 (on the old thread) – it is good to see you expressing understanding and wisdom …

    When the current administration and the Democrat Party violate your definition of natural rights by preventing people from expressing political opinions freely (by limiting campaign funds), and from walking freely in the White House or National Parks …

    When they violate your definition of natural rights each time they try to throw out so much of the history of this country to prevent people learning the whole story, warts and all (whether American Indian upon American Indian slavery or the reason the US Marines were founded (to combat Barbarous Islamic slavery and piracy)) …

    When they try to prevent the free exercise of religion by doing their best to ban it from the public square; when they do these things …

    I know you are going to be among the first to work to defeat their suppression of natural rights as you define them …

    Right ?

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  2. (Belated DING !)

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  3. “But if your standard is that “natural rights” are what people can get away with because there’s nobody stopping them, then weren’t the southern slaveholders merely exercising their “natural rights” by keeping slaves ?…you know, since nobody was stopping them ?”

    - Elephant Stone

    It’s not that there’s “nobody stopping them” – that’s just legitimizing all the possibilities of force (which is fairly realistic, but not particularly defensible).

    It’s about developing a conception of natural rights that accounts for our freedoms and our restrictions within a single conceptual framework. At first blush, I like this conception: It makes sense to think of our “natural” rights as the rights we possess in nature, and it gives us something like a categorical imperative to utilize day to day. And, importantly, it paints government in a harsh light – as (more frequently) an abuser of natural rights than a facilitator of them.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  4. Alastor,

    I don’t support any of those things, would agree that each of them violates the definition of natural rights I’m considering, and have been a critic of the Obama administration for as long as it has existed.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  5. Leviticus,

    I don’t think your hypothetical “last man on Earth” scenario is a good starting point for discussion of natural rights because this last man would, in principle, own the entire planet. So he could obviously ignore borders, at least until he was eaten by wolves or mountain lions or polar bears, and some other species became dominant.

    In the real world, property rights balance natural rights. The mistake in slavery is assuming that one could have property rights in another person.

    GaryC (93fb17)

  6. As I certifiable right-winger, I usually look to Edmund Burke when presented with questions about what consistutes “natural rights.” I don’t know that Burke would necessarily disagree with you, but he would also certainly add that natural rights only exist where man is in harmony with God’s laws. So your point,

    [W]hatever you could do if you were alone on the earth, the government could not stop you from doing. Period. Natural rights – with all else necessitating the consent of the next person you add to the equation

    would have to be weighed against the question if what you were doing as the only person on Earth still managed to conform to God’s laws. So, for example, cruelty to animals or despoiling nature would certainly continue to be a violation of natural rights, even if there were no one around to be directly affected.

    JVW (feb406)

  7. Leviticus #4 – until being a “critic” rises to “Throw the bums out !” and one *acts* upon that with one’s votes, then the criticism simply gives tacit support for each and all of them …

    By your definitions, they are just exercising *their* “natural rights”, after all …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  8. JVW #6 – If I read you correcctly, then you seem to be saying that a volcano erupting and killing plants and animals with its lava flows is a violation of natural rights … is that what you mean to say ? Isn’t that being cruel to animals and despoiling nature ?

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  9. “By your definitions, they are just exercising *their* “natural rights”, after all …”

    - Alastor

    Not by my definition, no. Could a man speak freely if he were the only man on earth? Yes. Could a man restrict the speech of another man if he were the only man on earth? No, logically. Then, when there are two men on earth, we can say confidently that each of those men has a natural right to speak freely and neither has a right to restrict the speech of the other.

    That’s the nice thing about the definition. It makes rights strictly personal, and not societal or communal. Duties and obligations are another (complicated) issue, but could easily be seen to preempted by natural rights where the two conflict.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  10. If I read you correcctly, then you seem to be saying that a volcano erupting and killing plants and animals with its lava flows is a violation of natural rights … is that what you mean to say ? Isn’t that being cruel to animals and despoiling nature ?

    No, that’s a natural occurrence (by that I mean one that happens within nature without any external cause). A human making the decision to practice cruelty to animals or to burn down a forest is acting well outside of his natural rights is the point I am trying to make.

    JVW (feb406)

  11. “I don’t know that Burke would necessarily disagree with you, but he would also certainly add that natural rights only exist where man is in harmony with God’s laws.”

    - JVW

    I am a Christian, and I respect the impulse, but I am at a point in my life and faith where I don’t know that the phrase “God’s laws” makes sense to me anymore. “God-given rights,” yes. But the concept of law is inherently tied to coercive force, and I don’t believe that that is God’s way.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  12. But the concept of law is inherently tied to coercive force. . .

    I don’t think that necessarily has to be the case, though. An example is the idea that God’s Law commands us to keep the Sabbath holy. Many (if not most) of us fail to do this at all times, yet there is no coercive force that compels us to keep this law or punishes us if we do not (with the exception of moms who yell at us for sleeping in and skipping church).

    Even today there are plenty of things that are permissible under the law but are morally suspect. I think Burke’s point is that natural law only exists where man is behaving in a moral fashion. Remove the idea of God from the equation, and I think even an atheist can support that notion (though the question of what constitutes “moral behavior” is naturally a tricky one).

    JVW (feb406)

  13. “A human making the decision to practice cruelty to animals or to burn down a forest is acting well outside of his natural rights is the point I am trying to make.”

    - JVW

    I see your point with this comment, though.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  14. Leviticus #9 – where does your definition of “natural rights” stand when the solitary human speaks freely, catches the attentions of a tiger or a lion or similar predator, and said predator chooses to restrict the free speech of said solitary human by eating said solitary human ?

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  15. JVW #10 – how is a solitary human (doing whatever) any less a natural occurrence than a volcano ?

    (OK – where did said solitary human ‘come from’ ? Not exactly “natural”, dontcherthink ?)

    Or are we getting into Creationism ? (grin)

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  16. “Where does your definition of “natural rights” stand when the solitary human speaks freely, catches the attentions of a tiger or a lion or similar predator, and said predator chooses to restrict the free speech of said solitary human by eating said solitary human ?”

    - Alastor

    Since when is the wisdom of exercising a right co-extensive with the right itself? The solitary human being has the natural right to speak freely. If a tiger or a government kills him for it, that’s another matter. We won’t fault the tiger, or maybe even the government (if we believe, as I am starting to believe, that that’s the nature of government); but we will certainly acknowledge them as predators, at that point, and try to avoid them if we’re smart.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  17. Arguably the best definition is that you have a natural right to do anything that flows from the proposition that you own yourself, and that you can own property.

    Patterico (325878)

  18. That is exactly the definition of “natural rights”. Life, liberty, property. What a person has if no one else interferes; but which of course can be lost in the course of nature.

    These are, basically, negative rights: not to be killed; not to be fettered or imprisoned; not to be robbed.

    Positive rights of citizenship include the right to vote, the right to protection under the law, and the right to properly conducted due process.

    The “right” to receive food, education, housing, and health care are “positive rights”. There is a natural right to get them by one’s own efforts, but no natural right to have them provided by the efforts of others.

    Rich Rostrom (b5a64e)

  19. JVW #10 – how is a solitary human (doing whatever) any less a natural occurrence than a volcano ?

    Easy. Humans have the ability to reason and make decisions. Volcanos do not.

    JVW (feb406)

  20. I don’t see how the concepts of ownership or property fit into the definition I’m considering – which isn’t to say that I’m not interested in discussing them, by any means. If fact, I think they’re critical.

    What a man would could do, alone on earth, is farm the land and obtain the fruit of his labor – bunt, fish, gather, etc. Anything that interferes with that ability interferes with a natural right. But what does it mean to “own property” as a solitary soul?

    In that light, “property” is either a concept we developed because we didn’t believe that we could enforce the natural right to subsistence without it, or a concept we developed because we wanted a method for obtaining more than “natural” rights would allow.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  21. L.-
    Since my earlier prediction has come true, (the one that you’d get considerable pushback on your lone inhabitant of the earth scenario) I am wondering if you are willing to make any adjustments to your definition based on the input you’ve received so far . I’m sorry that, as I explained on another thread, I’m basically otherwise engaged this afternoon and just don’t have much time to participate in any of the discussions.

    elissa (7bd3b5)

  22. JVW #19 – you cannot tell by watching how the Senate is being run, nor by how the Executive Branch is being run …

    Making decisions, the Executive Branch is doing (except on Keystone, right now) … “ability to reason” ??? Not so much …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  23. Since no one here can quite say it properly — ladies and gentlemen, The Teacher:

    A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

    The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

    Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

    The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

    Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

    “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 93

    “Rights” are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

    ibid, 92

    Man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective—as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross; . . . these rights are man’s protection against all other men.

    “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 83

    The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.

    Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 182

    Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind.

    “What Is Capitalism?” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 17

    Individual rights is the only proper principle of human coexistence, because it rests on man’s nature, i.e., the nature and requirements of a conceptual consciousness. Man gains enormous values from dealing with other men; living in a human society is his proper way of life—but only on certain conditions. Man is not a lone wolf and he is not a social animal. He is a contractual animal. He has to plan his life long-range, make his own choices, and deal with other men by voluntary agreement (and he has to be able to rely on their observance of the agreements they entered).

    “A Nation’s Unity,” The Ayn Rand Letter, II, 2, 3

    A right is the sanction of independent action. A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission.

    If you exist only because society permits you to exist—you have no right to your own life. A permission can be revoked at any time.

    If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society—you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right.

    Do not make the mistake, at this point, of thinking that a worker is a slave and that he holds his job by his employer’s permission. He does not hold it by permission—but by contract, that is, by a voluntary mutual agreement. A worker can quit his job. A slave cannot.

    “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 83

    The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal, individual happiness and to work for its achievement, so long as he respects the same right in others. It means that Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness.

    “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84

    Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

    For instance: a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do.

    “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84

    It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a “compromise” between two rights—but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society—but from your own inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society—but is implicit in the definition of your own right.

    Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute.

    “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 85

    A right cannot be violated except by physical force. One man cannot deprive another of his life, nor enslave him, nor forbid him to pursue his happiness, except by using force against him. Whenever a man is made to act without his own free, personal, individual, voluntary consent—his right has been violated.

    Therefore, we can draw a clear-cut division between the rights of one man and those of another. It is an objective division—not subject to differences of opinion, nor to majority decision, nor to the arbitrary decree of society. No man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man.

    “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 85

    There is no such thing as “a right to a job”—there is only the right of free trade, that is: a man’s right to take a job if another man chooses to hire him. There is no “right to a home,” only the right of free trade: the right to build a home or to buy it. There are no “rights to a ‘fair’ wage or a ‘fair’ price” if no one chooses to pay it, to hire a man or to buy his product. There are no “rights of consumers” to milk, shoes, movies or champagne if no producers choose to manufacture such items (there is only the right to manufacture them oneself). There are no “rights” of special groups, there are no “rights of farmers, of workers, of businessmen, of employees, of employers, of the old, of the young, of the unborn.” There are only the Rights of Man—rights possessed by every individual man and by all men as individuals.

    “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 97

    If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.

    Any alleged “right” of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.

    No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as “the right to enslave.”

    “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 96

    A group, as such, has no rights. A man can neither acquire new rights by joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations.

    “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, 102

    Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

    “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, 104

    When individual rights are abrogated, there is no way to determine who is entitled to what; there is no way to determine the justice of anyone’s claims, desires, or interests. The criterion, therefore, reverts to the tribal concept of: one’s wishes are limited only by the power of one’s gang. In order to survive under such a system, men have no choice but to fear, hate, and destroy one another; it is a system of underground plotting, of secret conspiracies, of deals, favors, betrayals, and sudden, bloody coups.

    The end does not justify the means. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others. (Any of this starting to sound familiar?)

    “The Roots of War,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 37

    The concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully—and two hundred years have not been enough for other countries to understand it. But this is the concept to which we owe our lives—the concept which made it possible for us to bring into reality everything of value that any of us did or will achieve or experience.

    “A Nation’s Unity,” The Ayn Rand Letter, II, 2, 3

    Go ahead. Refute her.

    I dare you.

    J.P. (bd0246)

  24. Why in all of human history, have there been so few benevolent regimes, because they come to believe they are the providor of rights;

    narciso (24b824)

  25. Haha WTF

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  26. I’d rather ignore her.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  27. The last man on earth situation is not a good way to examine natural rights, as it is not natural. It’s fantasy that eliminates all the problems and benefits of human interaction. It’s not as bad as saying “Suppose you were alone in space with an unlimited supply of food and air” but it’s pretty close.

    Natural rights are those that exist without any government. What rights do you have in a state of nature, with respect to other humans? Note: you may have to defend those rights, but you have them.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  28. Our once great country used to understand the importance of our Rights. Now we are more interested in rights.

    JD (222480)

  29. So…
    You have the right to your life.
    You have the right to chose what to do with your life.
    You have the right to such property as you can build or otherwise acquire.
    You have the right to the direct fruits of your labors.

    You also have problems that are entirely yours to solve.

    You have to find or grow food.
    You have to find/build shelter from the elements.
    You have to defend yourself from other humans who may wish to solve their problems by robbing you.

    And you cannot stay a hermit. If you don’t group with other humans, some other group will overwhelm you. You probably want a mate, and children if only for the help they will be. You also need a way to reduce your tasks, to insure against disaster by working as a group, and to releive the unremitting boredom of an isolated life.

    Hobbes Leviathan discusses most of these points, pointing out in the most quoted phrase, “the life of man [in a state of Nature], solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  30. “Natural rights are those that exist without any government. What rights do you have in a state of nature, with respect to other humans?”

    - Kevin M

    I’m fine with this hypothetical as well, but it’s not really any more realistic and I think the answers it produces have roots in the sort of hypothetical I’m proposing. I don’t think Locke was thinking much about societal interaction when he postulated that property was created by mixing one’s labor with the earth. Put another way, I think most of these sorts of discussions have to begin in some kind of social vacuum and work their way forward.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  31. Natural rights are rights that are grown organically, without chemical pesticides or genetically modified organisms in the vegetable section; grass-fed, free range, and no antibiotics in the vegetable section.

    I’m not joking. “Natural rights” is the same abuse of language, indulged in by certain libertarian philosophies, as the same abuse of language indulged in by health food stores. It’s not even a term of art like “negligence” or a legal fiction like “fertile octagenarian” or even “same sex marriage”. It’s a “‘Why?” — ‘Because!’” thought spiral.

    Nature tells us be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth until something eats you. Because we have brains and opposable thumbs Nature also tells us, “Organize and cooperate for your common defense, nutrition and shelter year-round, indoor plumbing, and hot running water. Otherwise your lives will be nasty, brutish and short, and so will you.”

    Whatever “rights” we have, without redefining the definition of “rights” into a meaningless anything, exist only in our voluntary interactions with other human being. They are mutually understood and agreed upon codes of behavior. And they are variable, from society to society, from place to place, from time to time, just as our world, and the steps we take to adapt to it and to adapt it to us, is.

    nk (dbc370)

  32. grass-fed, free range, and no antibiotics in the vegetable egg and dairy section.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. I assume you mean Locke’s Second Treatise. IIRC (it has been a very long time), Locke has just destroyed the idea of Divine Right of Kings in the First Treatise and is then discussing what kind of government to have instead, and goes back to the idea of a State of Nature, which he concludes is, as Patterico suggested, the right to life, liberty and property, modified by not infringing on those of others.

    As for what he was thinking about various passages, I have no idea, but he was obviously working towards what governments were legitimately instituted. Jefferson’s summation seems pretty close.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  34. In “Starship Troopers”, Heinlein suggests that natural rights are a chimera. You are in the middle of the Pacific and treading water, What are your natural rights?

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  35. You are in the middle of the Pacific and treading water, What are your natural rights?

    Exactly.

    However, if you just fell off that Navy ship, you have a “right” to be thrown a line by your fellows aboard if they know you’re there. Those are the rules.

    nk (dbc370)

  36. Oddly enough, I’m more OK with the Hobbesian notion of “rights” that you guys are discussing than the idea that a Constitution produces “rights” and a majority of the Legislature produces “laws.”

    Still, I think there is utility to distinguishing “rights” from “laws,” even if that utility is purely rhetorical.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  37. I suppose you have, or come real close to having, an “unalienable” right to your labor. You can be as lazy or as uncooperative as you like. You can choose to starve to death if you don’t want to look for food; you can choose to be whipped to death if you don’t do what your master says; but in the end it’s your decision to get up off your behind or to lift a hand.

    nk (dbc370)

  38. The conservative/originalist notion of the Ninth Amendment is helpful there. It is not, like the selective incorporationists say, a list of rights that a Justice Douglas likes, but fundamental concepts and expectations understood by all members of society, and which underlie the enactment as well as the interpretation and enforcement of laws.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. 31.I’m not joking. “Natural rights” is the same abuse of language, indulged in by certain libertarian philosophies, as the same abuse of language indulged in by health food stores. It’s not even a term of art like “negligence” or a legal fiction like “fertile octagenarian” or even “same sex marriage”. It’s a “‘Why?” — ‘Because!’” thought spiral.

    ALL “definitions” of “rights” are like that.
    They all come down to a declaration that something is “self-evident”.
    From that they describe certain principles that are “clear”.
    From those they express policies that proceed “naturally”.
    Said policies then “prove” what was first expressed which is why it is “self-evident”.

    That is the same for every single secular ideology and every single religious theology.
    They all rely on declaring their own first principles are so obvious that they do not need to be proven and so they won’t but they could be referring to themselves in a perfect circular self-justification.

    What is left is then trying to find any objective value in the subjective assertions between human-derived “positivist” assertions of rights versus divine-”derived” “natural” assertions of rights crossed against a range of inclusive acceptance of dissenters versus exclusive dehumanization of dissenters.

    From what I’ve seen, from the scope of history, the best results come from acknowledging “natural” rights as a basis from which people make their best efforts to derive laws that are inclusive of dissenters. They will not be perfect, but the restraint of an external limitation, however proven or unproven, serves better than an absolute acceptance of defining morality by mere popular vote, committee, or secular “prophet”, while the mandate for inclusiveness precludes tyrannies of minorities as well as majorities.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  40. There’s no beginning and there’s no end. Which is ok if they understand that what they are doing is just throwing a plank in the river, not that they’re building a bridge.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. Locke was not totally off the wall in his concept of labor; essentially that you have a right to what you wrest from nature.

    You can use your forebrain and opposable thumbs to fool Nature for a time. If I am to lazy to run down a deer, I make a bow and arrow; when Oog-Oog comes around to make me hunt for him, I put the arrow in his eye. I do this until my muscles and eyesight are too weak to use the bow and I have no teeth to chew the meat with, then Nature exercises its right to make me rejoin the food chain. My children and grandchildren may gift me a reprieve but it’s only a reprieve.

    nk (dbc370)

  42. Leviticus,

    I don’t think that a Constitution provides rights, but rather protects them. Jefferson stated it thus:

    “[Men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

    There are those that say that the Declaration ws just a throat-clearing, but it was the state reason for America’s separation and founding, and was considered to be informative at least until slavery became the Big Issue and that “all men have rights” stuff became a problem. Jefferson’s time bomb. The Radical Republicans returned it to vogue until their star waned, too. The Cruikshank-Plessy gang didn’t much care for it either. But it remains a pretty succinct statement of natural rights.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  43. There are “rights” that are in no way natural rights, but REQUIRE a government to enforce. Copyright, for example. If you write a book in an anarchy, and want to publish it, there is no way to force people to pay you for the Nth copy. Only a government can secure you payment. And a government might well ask you “Why should we?”

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  44. Some people say that the meat is in the list of grievances further on down, and that the Constitution does try to avoid doing what King George did. Well, ok then. Gold star for effort.

    nk (dbc370)

  45. i’m not sure what natural rights are exactly but how joan rivers exercises her ones is very america i think

    it’s on drudge right now

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  46. And having said all that ….

    Science has no aversion to assumptions if they’re useful, and neither do I. It is entirely a matter of indifference to the Earth and the Sun if Greenwich 0:00 hour. It is invaluable to people trying to cross the ocean. We can have assumptions in law. If they’re useful.

    nk (dbc370)

  47. Et tu, happyfeet? Mark brought that up in another thread, but you’re a sapient being. What makes Joan Rivers more worth listening to than the hobo at the Seven-Eleven?

    nk (dbc370)

  48. i like her she’s a conservative for one thing plus her husband blew his head off or whatever, so when she talks about the nexus of horror and humor it’s very compelling, especially while she’s juxtaposed with a vapid CNN propaganda slut

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  49. Un-natural rights seem to be the play.
    Natural rights have become to expensive.

    mg (31009b)

  50. like the Brooklyn accented hamster in the Sprint TC ads say ‘I don’t know what to with that’

    narciso (24b824)

  51. When I finished my first year Constitutional Law class, I firmly believed that all laws must be subjected to strict scrutiny and be the narrowest means to accomplish a compelling state interest. I had not paid attention in class to the “evolution” of “Due Process”. I learned better quick enough, and wondered why my professor had given me a B instead of failing me like she should have. The only explanation I can think of is that she was the district director of the ACLU and graded me for attitude. ;)

    nk (dbc370)

  52. The notion I’m proposing has real difficulty accounting for the natural right of self-defense against another human being. That’s one thing that’s bugging me about it.

    But, to make reference to the other thread, it seems that we would agree (regardless of our theory) that men have a natural right to move freely across the face of the globe. If we want to deny that, we have to accept the legitimacy (not simply the reality) of governments that impede that movement.

    Leviticus (7a73ef)

  53. governments have an interest in shielding their populace from horrific parasitic diseases what attack you face

    i have a natural right to unblemished skin, and so do you my friend

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  54. And then we seem stuck up against it

    Leviticus (7a73ef)

  55. What are “Natural Rights”?
    I would start here:

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...”
    (emphasis added)

    I think that in our tradition, those Natural Rights are the basis of Mr. Jefferson’s celebration of “…certain unalienable Rights…”, and are further backstopped by Mr. Adams’ statement that
    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”, relying upon the religious principles celebrated and observed in a Christian Nation generally, and one who believes in a Judeo-Christian Monotheism particularly.

    Or, as said by John Wayne as J.B. Books in The Shootist:
    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    I do think that sort of sums up what a just society observing Natural Rights would look like.
    Sort of Libertarian-ism without a kooky foreign policy; or, as Walter Russell Meade would describe as Jacksonian-ism.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  56. That’s the problem with philosophical cul de sacs, but self-defense is an easy one to cut a trail for. Take your choice:

    1) Mutual consideration in the social contract, you do to your violator what he would have done to you if you let him;
    2) Society does not approve of what he wants to do and thanks you for preventing him for doing it and punishing for it;
    3) He forsake the social contract and he now exists in a state of nature, himself, like any rattlesnake or hydrophoby skunk, where your labor can convert him to your ends. I think both Locke and Hobbes would approve of this. ;)

    You can probably think of a couple more.

    nk (dbc370)

  57. *from* doing it

    nk (dbc370)

  58. I’m trying to reject the social contract, as an exercise.

    Leviticus (7a73ef)

  59. But, man is by nature a social animal – except for the sociopaths that need to be culled.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  60. Fine. Nature has gifted you with a forebrain and opposable thumbs to more usefully utilize your labor and to face Nature’s perils which include cannibalistic members of your own species. Are you upset that our DNA includes cannibal genes? Is that the real problem? We can’t legislate against that anymore than we can legislate against the law of gravity, but we can have handrails, safety harnesses and non-skid soles.

    nk (dbc370)

  61. Would you like to start a religion?

    The bonzes of Padme — especially we of the Isavest Ordainment — are sworn to altruism. We render constructive service to any living thing, and under certain circumstances to inorganic objects as well. We feel that the principle of life transcends protoplasm; and in fact has its inception with simple — or perhaps not so simple — motion. A molecule brushing past another — is this not one aspect of vitality? Why can we not conjecture consciousness in each individual molecule? Think what a ferment of thought surrounds us; imagine the resentment which conceivably arises when we tread on a clod! For this reason we bonzes move as gently as possible, and take care where we set our feet.

    ;)

    nk (dbc370)

  62. Natural Rights are those which may not properly be taken from you by others. Life is the first and prime. Protection of life/self-defense is second. Justly-acquired property would be third.

    By your actions, you may forfeit your Natural Rights. You kill another without cause? You lose your right. You grab another’s property without just cause? say food-bye to your right to property. And so on.

    Because man is inherently flawed (original sin) he does not enjoy any absolute right.

    JD – thank you for your long post with the many Rand references.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  63. Ugh. Say good-bye* Apologies.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  64. I am just up to comment #11.

    First, I want everyone to try to discern the difference between a “right” and “free will”. God gave everyone free will. It was after the fall of man that man tried, themselves to make laws to try to define what may be permitted, tolerated, etc. I am going to say that such a poor job was done that God, demonstrating great mercy, gave us the Ten Commandments (cue music). This Decalogue is “God’s law”.

    But truly, I believe that all of reality which we try to understand (and describe) by way of the scientific method in systems such as chemistry, physics, etc., is also God’s law,in which we find nature to be most obedient.

    ” I am a Christian, and I respect the impulse, but I am at a point in my life and faith where I don’t know that the phrase “God’s laws” makes sense to me anymore. “God-given rights,” yes. But the concept of law is inherently tied to coercive force, and I don’t believe that that is God’s way”.

    Leviticus, you are right when you say that coercive force is not “God’s way”. It never has been. Coercive force is OUR WAY. Love is God’s way and there is no love without free will.

    So what is a right? If we can’t precisely say what a right is, then we are already lost in understanding what a “natural” right is.

    felipe (960c75)

  65. I stand with J. B. Books.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  66. “17.Arguably the best definition is that you have a natural right to do anything that flows from the proposition that you own yourself, and that you can own property”

    I completely agree, sir! However, I would not add property to the mix because it confuses people with property – which is how we get slavery!

    I have said before that people do not own themselves. Why? Because we have a property unlike any other created thing: Likeness in God’s image. This gives us a dignity that cannot be separated from our nature because it is our nature.

    What can be property? Not people.

    felipe (960c75)

  67. Astounding. Of all comments and quotations of famous people (Burke, Rand, Jefferson, Heinlein, Hobbes [HOBBES?!?!]), the best that can be done regarding John Locke is a vague reference and an “IIRC”. If you remember correctly?! “It’s been a long time”? Why? You’re commenting on a thread about the definition of natural rights while possibly misremembering Locke? Read it.

    Everyone read it. If you don’t have a copy, why not? What on earth are you folks about, writing and postulating and theorizing? Stop writing. Stop contemplating. Start READING.

    That anyone would think it bright to comment on this topic without having their own copy of Locke’s Second Treatise, OPEN, before them as they read comments or type their own is ….. well, it’s just dumb.

    Locke is very lucid. Read him. The post and thread of comments is useless without reference to Locke’s Second Treatise. The answer is there. Read it.

    I don’t mean to single out Kevin M. In fact, Kevin seems, at worst, in need of a refresher skimming of the text. Some of the other commenters are far out.

    Yuri (fb1745)

  68. Likeness in God’s image.

    Suppose I don’t believe that. It seems arrogant of man to assume that he is made in the image of the God that created this vast cosmos. I would certainly hope He is of better character, at least.

    In any event though, basing a philosophical principle on a debatable point of religion seems to beg the question.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  69. Yuri, it’s been more than 40 years and I really don’t have willingness to do more than touch on some internet references. Sorry if my cavalier attitude offends you.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  70. I’m into a gallon of chocolate ice cream. Deep.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  71. ice cream is a sometimes food

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  72. “In any event though, basing a philosophical principle on a debatable point of religion seems to beg the question”.

    I believe that philosophy are religion are complementary to one another. You assume that they are not. If they are not, then you are correct. But if you are wrong, then you are not using all the tools at your disposal in the search for truth.

    I am willing to entertain the idea that you are right. Are you willing to entertain the idea that you are wrong?

    felipe (960c75)

  73. 71. My ‘sometimes’ is every night I work. Low blood sugar compels me.

    Now I got go feed and water the cats and service their litter boxes. I don’t pretend to know whether its their ‘right’, I guess its just a routine of mine.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  74. I am not adequately well-read and edumacated to contribute significantly in this discussion with reference to political philosophers (some of whom have been mentioned) nor theologians (which have not been mentioned, but I imagine Augustine, Aquinas, Chesterton, CS Lewis, and many others).

    But I do have a few comments/observations:
    1) narciso (24b824) — 7/5/2014 @ 4:59 pm
    LOL, I love those commercials, almost as much as I love brunch…
    2) Sam (e8f1ad) — 7/5/2014 @ 4:08 pm
    I think I agree that all views on the “fundamentals” of existence, whether one recognizes them as “religious” or not, are based on a set of “givens”. As I think about it, one then looks at the various options, what their givens are, what the logical consequences would seem to be, how it all “hangs together” or not.
    Then you are left with the trial in Brothers Karamazov, where the evidence can be put together in at least two convincing ways.
    3) Leviticus, by all means I think your exercise is worthwhile and reasonable (not that you need my approval, but I’m giving it). It is a technique of rhetoric, philosophy, and science even, make a somewhat limited (and artificial) situation and see what you can learn from it, then see what can be generalized,
    but, in what sense do you describe yourself as a Christian and then attempt to understand “natural rights” without reference to God?
    I suppose you are thinking on how to work the construct in such a way as any person who follows the dictates of logic and reason can ponder the issue on an equal footing, regardless of religious conviction. That certainly is a reasonable desire in trying to come to agreement in a pluralistic society.
    If there are such things as “natural rights” (I’m not saying there aren’t, but just follow along), they are something of the “reality of the universe”, and whatever the “reality of the universe” is, trying to understand basic principles apart from other basic principles may get tricky. I imagine one can understand some things about chemistry without referring to atoms and molecules, but one will be quite limited. I think trying to understand aspects of morality and the rights and responsibilities of man is also limited by ignoring God (“assuming there is one”).
    One aspect of this was pointed out, that whatever a person is free to do in the absence of other people with respect to interactions with people, it has nothing to say with how that person relates to the universe around him, if that universe actually belongs to someone else.
    Recognizing the limitations, I think it is useful.
    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness seems like a pretty good description, especially depending on what one means by “the pursuit of happiness”. (Years ago I heard a quote from a person regarded as wise claiming that statement was ridiculous, that there was no right to pursue “happiness”. Perhaps so if one thinks of “happiness” as self-centered pursuits that momentarily entertains me, but not if one thinks of “happiness” as a state of being resulting from the pursuit of “what one was made to do”, including the practice of virtue and meaning in life. This I was just reminded of by an interview on Hewitt, where it was said Aristotle, for one, had defined happiness in this way.)

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  75. Yuri treads heavily, but I agree. Reading is a good thing. Also, both Locke and Rand (Ayn, not Paul)are lucid writers. Persuasive is another matter.

    felipe (960c75)

  76. Leviticus,

    Natural rights are rights inherent to each human being, endowed by our Creator.
    They exist exclusive from what any Government, any politician, any philosopher, or any law school student says they are, or are not.

    The fact that your first impulse (in the previous thread) was to play the natural rights are what you might do if you were the last man on earth card, suggests that you are not particularly comfortable ascribing inherent rights to people in a world populated by people, groups, or government.
    But that my friend, is the entire irony…because the truth is, if a person is the last person on earth, then natural rights become a moot point because there is nobody there to infringe upon them.

    I do not know why that is such a difficult concept for you to grasp.

    Elephant Stone (55b56d)

  77. felipe,

    Yes, of course. And religion must inform one about the word. This is more so when many religions have similar viewpoints. In this particular case, though, I have a spirtual belief that whatever the Creator is, His exact nature is beyond my ken. The universe that I can observe, or hear tales of, seems so vast and amazing that saying that man is in any way like the Creator is hubris raised to a very large power.

    But that’s NOT my point. My point is that you are attempting to base something that IS understandable in terms of something that is, to me at least, not. So your argument must fail, with me.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  78. *worLd.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  79. nk (dbc370) — 7/5/2014 @ 6:03 pm

    From what I recall from my philos of religion class, this is similar to what Jains believe, who may breath through a mask to keep from inhaling any insect and sweep the ground before them, lest they step on something.

    gary gulrud (46ca75) — 7/5/2014 @ 8:13 pm
    They think it is their right, and should you decide to drop it as a routine of yours, they will protest by starting to pee in places other than their litter box.
    Of course, then they may find that their belief in the right to live in your house was not so absolute after all…

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  80. Everyone in the world believes they have a “natural right” to enter our country, but just try entering their country without the proper paperwork and see what happens.

    Then again, if you were the last person on earth, there wouldn’t be much of a problem.
    Jesus.

    Elephant Stone (55b56d)

  81. MD, just knocked one out of the park. Not bad for an unedumacated person.

    Yes, I’m a member of the “MD fan club”, any problem with that?

    Official MD fan club song: (sung to the tune of big rock candy mountain)

    In the great big MD Fan club,
    Our clinics will make you grin.
    And you can walk right out again,
    As soon as you are in.
    There ain’t no rectal examinations,
    No scalpels, saws nor pricks,
    You get to have your way
    Where you sleep all day,
    Where they hung the jerk
    That invented work
    In the great big MD Fan club

    felipe (960c75)

  82. saying that man is in any way like the Creator is hubris raised to a very large power.

    Well, I see your point, and if one thinks the Bible is nothing more than words written by men I would tend to agree. If (big if, agreed, but it is the flow of the argument) the Bible is inspired by God and not merely human, then it is not hubris if God was the one who said it.
    Of course, in that case it only starts the question of what in the world is meant by that.
    In a very small and inadequate analogy, I could say that I can play basketball like Michael Jordan. That would be true if “like” was defined by being able to dribble the ball, shoot it at the basket, and jump (you call that a jump?) for a rebound. If “like” was defined as being on the same level in accomplishment, not so much, even in my prime…

    There is a difference between something being beyond one’s grasp yet knowable to a degree, and something beyond understanding, as in “ineffable”.
    Understanding what light is in its essence is beyond me, yet not so much that I have no idea what it is. I don’t understand how it can be both a particle and a wave at the same time, but I can note its presence and absence and how it impacts things around it.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  83. Felipe,

    You crack me up, fanboy.

    Elephant Stone (55b56d)

  84. 83 comments already…I didn’t vread them first, so someone could have already said this….

    My position is, if you are the only person on Earth, you are living in a state of nature, and have no rights, natural or otherwise. You only have rights when there is a social contract, implicit or explicit.

    gahrie (a05ed4)

  85. Well, I admit that I appreciate encouragement as much as anyone..
    if one considers a song to the tune of “Big Rock Candy Mountain as encouragement… ;-)

    While I spent most of my time learning math and science, and too much of my reading was sci-fi, I am one of those kids who never grew out of the “Why?” phase, so I think and try to make sense of stuff, as I have ability and experience grace in my efforts.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  86. “But that’s NOT my point. My point is that you are attempting to base something that IS understandable in terms of something that is, to me at least, not. So your argument must fail, with me”.

    I agree, Kevin, that my argument must fail if it is true that God is totally unknowable. What do you make of all of the history that has been recorded about Man’s search for truth? Why are there so many people (more than ever) convinced that the Earth is flat God exists?

    I am not trying to convert you to theism or anything, Kevin, The search for truth is Important. It is the most important thing you can do for yourself. I encourage you in your pursuit.

    felipe (960c75)

  87. IF I were the last man on earth, I wouldn’t pay my taxes. I guess I would be able to say I was exercising my natural rights according to my friend Leviticus.
    Fortunately, there wouldn’t be anyone around to haul me off to jail for breaking the law.
    And to celebrate my tax savings, I’d go to a pub.
    But I guess there wouldn’t be anyone there to serve me.
    So I’d serve myself by going behind the bar.
    In that case, would I be wrong for not leaving a tip on the bar ?

    Where’s our man Colonel Haiku, to help us out with an episode of “Deep Thoughts” !!?

    Elephant Stone (55b56d)

  88. I had to look up Jainism, MD. The quote was from a Jack Vance short story. He’s more entertaining than John Locke. It could be worse for Yuri, it could have been the Marquis de Sade he read at an impressionable age. ;)

    nk (dbc370)

  89. Did you know that Aristotle wrote that women had two teeth less than men, BTW? At first I thought, he was married twice, couldn’t he have been bothered to count his wives’ teeth? Then I thought, all these guys (philosophers) thought they could just think out the world. But the explanation more likely is that due to no dental care at that time, nobody knew how many teeth anybody had.

    nk (dbc370)

  90. Nk, I read de Sade while in college (on my own, not a class)- what was I thinking? It took me over a decade to get that crap out of my head!

    felipe (960c75)

  91. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hi, everybody. I hope you’re all having a great Fourth of July weekend.

    I want to begin today by saying a special word to the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, who represented America so well the past few weeks. We are so proud of you. You’ve got a lot of new believers. And I know there’s actually a petition on the White House website to make Tim Howard the next Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it.

    manginawhoretwatloser

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  92. With all due respect to our disrespectful ingrate President Obama, it’s going to take much more than Tim Howard to improve our nation’s defense.
    For one thing, ISIS is much more deadly than Belgium.
    And they don’t wear uniforms identifying themselves as combatants.

    Elephant Stone (55b56d)

  93. “Natural Rights” are those thing that you are willing to die for.

    Hopefully the concepts underlying your passions will have some “redeeming social value” beyond that which the Supreme Court finds in rather banal cinetmatic creations. But in the end, that is up to you.

    bobathome (4c87a1)

  94. Elephant Stone,

    Since it’s so easy for you to parrot the idea that natural rights are those ones endowed by our Creator, perhaps you could list a few of them.

    Leviticus (7a73ef)

  95. 74. 2) Sam (e8f1ad) — 7/5/2014 @ 4:08 pm
    I think I agree that all views on the “fundamentals” of existence, whether one recognizes them as “religious” or not, are based on a set of “givens”. As I think about it, one then looks at the various options, what their givens are, what the logical consequences would seem to be, how it all “hangs together” or not.
    Then you are left with the trial in Brothers Karamazov, where the evidence can be put together in at least two convincing ways.

    Pretty much.
    Or at least, that’s what one might expect to produce the best results, with of course the results varying.
    Of course it usually winds up with people getting all hyper-partisan and throwing any pretense of actual consideration out the window in favor of just screaming/shooting at each other.
    Which I suppose is why philosophers or their advocates that like to talk about “reason” the most amuse me the most since they tend to use it the least.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  96. MD,

    I’ll try to respond more thoroughly to your comment tomorrow – I’m on a phone right now, and it’s a pain to write anything lengthy. What got me thinking about this in the first place was the thought of Adam in the Garden, then the addition of Eve, and the idea of the fulfillment (and end?) of the Law with Christ.

    Leviticus (7a73ef)

  97. As difficult as it is to hear (and write) we have no “natural” rights. Sure it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to think that somehow I am special and I was given rights by the creator of the universe but there is no good reason to think that.

    I think it is up to us to grant rights that will promote maximum human well being. After that we should pass the minimum required laws, get out of the way and allow people to pursue their desires

    Credit where its due – the Christian background hit upon some excellent rights to be “self evident”. The reasoning behind may not be perfect but we were given a great start by the founders who knew we would be able to improve on The Constitution in the future.

    Gil (27c98f)

  98. What got me thinking about this in the first place was the thought of Adam in the Garden, then the addition of Eve, and the idea of the fulfillment (and end?) of the Law with Christ.

    Hi Leviticus.

    Im not sure if you mean as a thought experiment or if you literally hold the story of Adam to be true. If the latter, to me it seems you should backtrack.
    Today we know that there never really was a “first person” as told in the Garden of Eden story. Rather it was a slow gradual change where eventually our species differentiated itself enough from the other hominids to the point that we could only reproduce with ourselves. Other hominids died off, we (through luck? chance? brainpower?) survived then flourished.

    Gil (27c98f)

  99. Felipe @ 86,

    I agree, Kevin, that my argument must fail if it is true that God is totally unknowable. What do you make of all of the history that has been recorded about Man’s search for truth? Why are there so many people (more than ever) convinced that the Earth is flat God exists?

    I would back up the bus and ask why does man search for truth in the first place? What compels that universal and timeless drive to find it?

    Dana (4dbf62)

  100. To live in a land with room, few neighbors without loud habits or derelict cars, who keep their nasty dogs leashed and are reknowned for their women’s graces.

    This is my natural desire.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  101. Dana (4dbf62) — 7/5/2014 @ 11:41 pm

    Precisely, Dana.

    felipe (960c75)

  102. Rather it was a slow gradual change where eventually our species differentiated itself enough from the other hominids to the point that we could only reproduce with ourselves.

    Actually, current evidence supports the idea that we interbred with at least two different hominids often enough that certain human populations still carry their genetic heritage.

    gahrie (a05ed4)

  103. I always enjoy Gil’s anti-Christian rants.

    JD (09a679)

  104. His skill in missing the point, and then boasting, ‘I work here is done’ is remarkable,

    narciso (24b824)

  105. If humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?

    Kathleen Madigan (7fc17e)

  106. Boom!! Take THAT, Darwin!

    Leviticus (7a73ef)

  107. They tell us that
    We lost our tails
    Evolving up
    From little snails
    I say it’s all
    Just wind in sails

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  108. To live in a land with room, few neighbors without loud habits or derelict cars, who keep their nasty dogs leashed and are reknowned for their women’s graces.

    This is my natural desire.

    gary gulrud (46ca75) — 7/6/2014 @ 12:09 am

    Then what the Hell are you doin’ living in Minnesota, gary?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  109. @ Leviticus,

    What got me thinking about this in the first place was the thought of Adam in the Garden, then the addition of Eve, and the idea of the fulfillment (and end?) of the Law with Christ.

    Can you clarify this? As Christ was (and is) the fulfillment of the law, is this what you are referring to?

    Dana (4dbf62)

  110. Imagine there are no people,
    it’s easy if you try
    no one to post on FaceBook,
    above you only sky…

    Imagine only one person
    living life in peace, woohoo…

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  111. I remember some time ago reading where people at the Univ. of Michigan (dubious source, I know ;-) ) who made the claim that all humans descended from one mother, FWIW.

    But, it is an example of my previous discussion with Sam. Some folk have some observations, then from there take a path that leads to certain conclusions, all somewhat plausible, but also requiring many (often unspoken) assumptions, but none of the conclusions are established beyond “plausible”. Sounds good until the “opposing attorney” begins the cross-examination and demonstrates how much the given evidence can be interpreted in alternate ways.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  112. A Muslim immigrant goes to a doctor in Dearborn, Michigan, and says, “I feel terrible”.

    The doctor examines him, and then says, “You need to urinate and defecate in a bucket for a week, then throw in a dead fish and a rotting cabbage. Put a towel over your head, hold your face over the bucket, and inhale the vapors several times a day for 3 days. Then, come back in for a check-up.”

    The Muslim leaves the doctor’s office, goes home and does as the doctor instructed.

    After 10 days, the Muslim goes back to the doctor, and says, “I feel wonderful! What was wrong with me?”

    Doctor said: “You were homesick.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  113. I would back up the bus and ask why does man search for truth in the first place? What compels that universal and timeless drive to find it?
    Dana (4dbf62) — 7/5/2014 @ 11:41 pm

    As you probably know, but others who might be interested don’t, this is a major point in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Also somewhat mentioned in Peter Kreeft’s Making Sense Out of Suffering.
    I guess it is probably mentioned by many others as well, as it is, as you point out, a common if not universal theme.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  114. Appreciate the laugh, Col.

    mg (31009b)

  115. If humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?

    Kathleen Madigan (7fc17e) — 7/6/2014 @ 10:12 am

    Evolution “science” used to say we evolved from apes. Somewhere along the line they changed it to say we and apes have a common ancestor.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  116. narciso (24b824) — 7/6/2014 @ 10:48 am

    Interesting, but I guess in some sense of “fairness”, I don’t begrudge what the guy gives himself as a salary. He essentially is the reason people donate, to pay him to stamp out religious expression where he finds it, as opposed to the other organizations that exist to directly benefit others in some way.
    Of course, perhaps his job is a little more “dangerous” than he realizes. He sounds reminiscent of one Saul of Tarsus, who also went around looking for expressions of Christian faith to stomp out. He had a happy ending, though not at all what he intended it to be.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  117. ==Boom!! Take THAT, Darwin!==

    LOL Leviticus@107.– For those who take every word in the entire Bible as literal and as the literal word of God (Adam and Eve etc.), there will never be a discussion to be had on almost any subject, I’m afraid. For the many Christians and Jews who believe that all or parts of the Bible are divinely inspired and filled with important parables and lessons and philosophies, but nonetheless are subject to the errors of imperfect man’s interpretations and understanding both at the time it was set to “paper” and in subsequent translations and printings, then discussion may be contentious but at least possible.

    One of my greatest of pet peeves on this or any comment section is when someone makes the unequivocal statement “Christians believe”. Sometimes I go, “yeah that sounds about right”. But many times I think, “No. Please do not speak for me. I am a Christian and I try to be a good one. But that’s not what I as a Christian believe at all.”

    FWIW, for the discussion at hand I sort of liked Gahrie’s short and sweet statement: “if you are the only person on Earth, you are living in a state of nature, and have no rights, natural or otherwise. You only have rights when there is a social contract, implicit or explicit.” While I disagree with Leviticus’ starting premise, I think this was an interesting topic to put forth. Thanks Leviticus, and thanks JVW for creating the thread in which to do so.

    elissa (e00883)

  118. MD,

    Yes, I was aware of this in Mere Christianity.

    It’s important to establish (or at least, attempt to…) firstly, why man is driven to find out truth, meaning and the reason we are here, for the answer to this will inform what we believe to be natural rights and why we are endowed with them in the first place.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  119. If he were like Condell or Hithchens, I might have more understanding:

    http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/04/military-religious-freedom-foundation-sharing-the-gospel-is-like-rape/

    do you have shirts for your fan club, MD>

    narciso (24b824)

  120. #119

    The Christian faith, if you want to retain the minimum essentials, has a problem if you throw out a literal Adam and Eve.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  121. elissa,

    I hope and assume you feel free to speak up if you think I overextend my comments, though I am not sure how much we agree on some fundamentals or not.
    When I say something about “what Christians believe”, I am usually stating what I think would be a point of historical truth, something which has been accepted over the centuries, consistently, as what one who is “a little Christ” (originally I believe more of a derogatory term) would believe, just as I would say “what Muslims believe” or “what Hindus believe”. Of course, one realizes that there are different “streams” of thought, such as Shia and Sunni (which I know very little about).

    As has been discussed here before in other settings, if a word can be made to mean so many different things that it no longer means much of anything, then it is no longer very useful.
    So, when I state my understanding of “what Christians believe”, I am thinking of the basic things that those who were originally known as disciples of Jesus would agree on, things like Jesus was a historical figure, that he had a miraculous birth, that he died and rose again. If one does not believe those things, I would say that either the person is not a Christian, or the word “Christian” is no longer a useful term.
    Perhaps the later is more the reality, which is why some will characterize oneself as a member of a denomination, or as something like a “born again” Christian, or a “God follower” or a “Christ follower”. I prefer to stick with the original use, so that a person who desires to live by the Golden Rule may be a very commendable person and a joy to be with, but if they think Jesus was some guy who said some wise things before he was put to death, I wouldn’t call that person a Christian. Not to be flippant, but just because someone likes to speak with a (practiced and developed) English accent, I wouldn’t call them English.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  122. narciso (24b824) — 7/6/2014 @ 11:27 am
    I don’t know, as the T-shirt thing hasn’t worked out too well around here (still waiting for mine for SPQR’s Cabal).
    On a more serious note, he misses the point that some, including milhouse, have noted, that to believe what a Christian (in the historical sense as above) believes regarding the human condition, to not vocalize one’s faith is unloving.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a) — 7/6/2014 @ 11:28 am
    I would agree. I would say that other aspects of how one understands the account in Genesis of Creation, such as the age of the universe, is much more open to a difference in understanding.
    But to disbelieve the Creation of people as morally perfect, then the fall, is to essentially destroy the foundation of much of what Jesus taught, as well as much of the rest of the NT.
    At least I have seen no one make a believable argument as to how one can dismiss Adam and Eve and have left anything more than “Christianity” being a series of moral teachings. If a series of moral teachings is what one considers Christianity to be, that is not what the New Testament as the sourcebook says it is.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  123. I don’t want to take away or move away from this thread on “rights”. I’ll address Gerald A. and Kathleen Madigan with this short excerpt from a much longer piece that works toward understanding and reconciling science and theology, which I find to be both personally necessary and useful.

    Peacocke: I think many theologians, certainly in most of the 20th century, have not taken the story of Adam and Eve as a literal story. They’re taking it as a great myth – that is, a story which is told to convey a theological truth, namely about the alienation of human beings from each other, from nature, and from God……..

    Ayala: I find the doctrine of original sin and redemption one of the most hopeful in all of Christian theology and Christian tradition. First, with regard to the scientific side of it, I refer to what I just said a moment ago about [what] the literal interpretation of the Bible means. The doctrine of Adam and Eve, I think, in terms of what we know nowadays, cannot be taken literally in the sense of implying two particular human individuals from which we are all descended.

    We know that our ancestors were never at any time just two individuals. Modern genetic analysis allows us to conclude that through millions of years of our history, there have been always at any time at the very least several thousand individuals. So we don’t descend from a single pair.

    The content of our descendence from Adam and Eve is that we are all members of one single species, the same humankind, and we are all equal in that we are the children, as it were, of the same ancestors. To me, that’s a very strong statement for equality in general, and very importantly, against any kind of racism or segregation based on ethnic preferences.

    It says that members of different ethnic groups are all brethren and we are all descended from the same ancestors. We should consider ourselves equal in all relevant aspects.

    The doctrine of original sin, as I understand it, implies that we humans, because of the possibility of having free will, are inclined to behave in ways that often are not virtues, that often imply sin. I think that even the greatest saints or prophets, at least at some moment or another, have sinned.

    And the doctrine of original sin and redemption, to me, tells that we can accept sin, the fact that we sin. Now we can think about ourselves individually. That doesn’t mean that we should be condemned or living with the moral consequences of sin forever. There is hope. There is the possibility of redemption, and redemption, of course, in the case of Christianity, comes in the form of Jesus Christ. More generally, in the context of the Bible, it comes from the Messiah. So the Messiah establishes, as it were, a covenant with God for all of us that makes it possible for us to be redeemed and therefore to be saved from our own follies and our own sins.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/religion/faith/discuss_03.html

    elissa (e00883)

  124. #124

    MD,

    Getting rid of the original sin of Adam – and the result that all life must die (not just people) – makes the reason Jesus had to die on the cross inoperative.

    Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

    by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin

    For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive

    If one believes evolution then death preceded the first humans. They did not introduce death into the creation at all and Jesus did not have to die to atone for that first sin.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  125. elissa,
    Certainly what you quote is the view of many.

    The doctrine of original sin, as I understand it, implies that we humans, because of the possibility of having free will, are inclined to behave in ways that often are not virtues, that often imply sin. I think that even the greatest saints or prophets, at least at some moment or another, have sinned.

    To me, saying one thinks that even the greatest of saints and prophets have sinned at one moment or another is to simply be in disagreement with the flow of basic theology in the book of Romans. One can think Romans is a bunch of bull or merely seriously flawed, but I don’t think one can believe that call oneself a “Christian”, as I would use the word, as a matter of simple logic.
    I think it is not logical to base one’s view of anything on a Messiah who based his reasoning on things one at the same time dismisses. It’s like saying we trust in Jesus, it’s just that He was wrong about so much.

    If one rejects the Apostles’ Creed, I don’t see how one can claim to have the same faith as the Apostles.
    Maybe I will need to come up with a different term to use than “Christian”, if indeed the meaning no longer is what I think it was.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  126. To me, saying one thinks that even the greatest of saints and prophets have sinned at one moment or another is to simply be in disagreement with the flow of basic theology in the book of Romans

    To clarify, because the OT and NT both say that we all like sheep have gone astray, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. To imagine the possibility that perhaps one or another great saint or prophet didn’t sin is to simply not have the most fundamental understanding of the message of the NT as the NT itself describes it. It is people making up what they think the NT should say, like people making up what they think the Constitution should say.

    Maybe they are the ones who are correct, after all, but if they cannot say the Apostles’ Creed and mean it, then they do not believe what the apostles believed and taught, whatever one wants to call it.
    Sort of like Obama taking an oath to uphold the Constitution, when he thinks it is a flawed document and that America needs to be transformed (from following it).

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  127. If we are veering into theology, then consider the following …

    “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” – I believe that, for some observant Christians, “die” refers to being within God’s Grace as compared to being outwith God’s Grace … thus, by eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam (and thus mankind) fell out of God’s Grace … Jesus choosing to die on the Cross restored the possibility of mankind again being in God’s Grace … (YMMV) …

    The Teaching Tales, the myths and legends of cultures, are there to teach the young of a culture important cultural and moral lessons … they are seldom literal as in word-for-word … why should the Bible have to be any different ?

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  128. I dunnae knae wha ou’re talking aboot, Alastor.

    Steve57 (efd576)

  129. MD–please don’t anything I said as a criticism of your beliefs which I know are firmly and genuinely held, or as an indication that I think my Christian beliefs (to the extent some may be different from yours) are “righter” than yours. Not at all. Mine was a general comment–not addressed to you specifically– and I do very much respect that you believe what you believe and say it boldly. My only observation was with style, and that maybe when discussing Christianity or expressing Christian beliefs it would be useful for a commenter to say something a bit narrower like, “Catholic Christians believe ” or Evangelical Christians believe” or some such. I think there are good reasons that participation in multiple denominations and versions of their religions by both Christians and Jews have come to be.

    elissa (e00883)

  130. MD in Philly – the English language is very heavily contextual … is “Christian” referring to practising Christians ? Born-again Christians ? Cultural Christians ? Secular Christians ? Philisophical Christians ? Rice Christians ? (bonus point for understanding the context of that last one)

    Each has its context … I tend to be in that segment of Christian which does not align with an organised Church … I believe in the teachings, yet I do not require an intercessor between myself and the Deity … for others, the Nicene Creed and/or the Apostle’s Creed are a requirement …

    In the context of this discussion of “natural rights”, I see/feel/experience those as the rights afforded to us/humans by Nature … the right to be affected by gravity, by sunlight – the right to compete within Nature with other predators and prey – to try to be the former and *not* the latter … and I see the “right” not to be enslaved as being a variant on the “right” not to be prey …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  131. Steve57 #130 – that’s why your name is Steve, not Ken !

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  132. Oh, that’s what it is.

    Steve57 (efd576)

  133. Sharia employers enjoying SCOTUS.

    dan (a49902)

  134. @JD
    I was not ranting.

    @Dana

    It’s important to establish (or at least, attempt to…) firstly, why man is driven to find out truth, meaning and the reason we are here, for the answer to this will inform what we believe to be natural rights and why we are endowed with them in the first place.

    It is our nature – perhaps wired in by evolution. We seek to accurately understand reality. Those who came up with accurate predictive models would have survived more often. For example using the stars to help predict seasons & migratory patterns of animals. A better understanding can mean better economic success too as in understanding the earth was round in the time of Columbus – or maybe a Jewish man who understands that keeping the Sabbath is a bad reason not to take a higher paying job requiring him to work on Saturdays. The search for meaning and reason is very similar. We are a pattern seeking species.

    It seems to me wrong to claim that the answer for quest for truth will reveal what natural rights are and why we have them. A claim is being made about the answer based on the assumption of what the answer is or is desired to be. Instead of asking “what is the reason we are here”, we should ask “is there a reason that we are here”. Instead of asking “what natural rights do we have” we should backtrack and ask “do we have natural rights”.

    @ Gerald & Kathleen


    If humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?

    Evolution “science” used to say we evolved from apes. Somewhere along the line they changed it to say we and apes have a common ancestor.

    We did not evolve from monkeys. Our evolution is through a common ancestor we share with other apes. Even if the body of knowledge is constantly being refined, it is not in controversy. As scientists learn more, corrections are made and ideas become more accurate. Evolution science is used to make predictions about where some fossils will be found. See Neil Shubin’s book “You’re Inner Fish” in which he tells the story of predicting where he could find a fishlike fossile with armlike appendages, and did just that with “Tiktaalik”. If we can predict where we will find a fossil from a few hundred million years ago, what is evolution if not a science?

    Gil (27c98f)

  135. Here are some interesting quotes. I won’t say who said them.

    I confess I soon lose my way when I try to follow those who walk delicately among “types” and allegories. A certain passion for clearness forces me to ask, bluntly, whether the writer means to say that Jesus did not believe the stories in question, or that he did? When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that “the Flood came and destroyed them all,” did he believe that the Deluge really took, place, or not?
    If Adam may be held to be no more real a personage than Prometheus, and if the story of the Fall is merely an instructive “type,” … what value has Paul’s dialectic.

    .
    .
    .
    It becomes clear now that the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None.

    .
    .
    .
    Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  136. in which he tells the story of predicting where he could find a fishlike fossile with armlike appendages, and did just that with “Tiktaalik”. If we can predict where we will find a fossil from a few hundred million years ago, what is evolution if not a science?

    How do we know he actually predicted it in advance? In science predictions are made in some formal peer reviewed paper. Further if evolution is genuinely science, which it isn’t, then any failed prediction falsies evolution, except they actually don’t.

    Rather it was a slow gradual change where eventually our species differentiated itself enough from the other hominids to the point that we could only reproduce with ourselves.

    Like most evo stories, that doesn’t actually make any sense. There was an “us” that wasn’t much different from other things and was reproducing with them. Somehow “we” already existed, and then “we” somehow differentiated ourselves even while continuing to reproduce with something else. But even before we started only reproducing with ourselves, “we” already existed.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  137. How do we know he actually predicted it in advance? In science predictions are made in some formal peer reviewed paper. Further if evolution is genuinely science, which it isn’t, then any failed prediction falsies evolution, except they actually don’t.

    He took a team to a specific remote location for 3 years, they got funding based on his ideas, people joined his team to do this. But perhaps your right. Its a giant conspiracy of everyone involved to make Evolution seem real when it isn’t. A failed prediction does not falsify anything. It only shows that we have misunderstood something. What falsifies things is evidence. Find one fossil in the wrong place. Find one human bone with a dinosaur. Find a rabbit in the Cambrian period. It just doesn’t happen.

    Like most evo stories, that doesn’t actually make any sense.

    What you should do is go to a library and truly look into it. Im not the best explainer. But you can find hundreds of books and articles in peer reviewed journals discussing the theory of evolution. Compare these evidence based studies to the assertions you find in things from creationist / intelligent design sources such as the discovery institute or answers in genesis. Who has actual evidence on their side and who has nothing but questions, red herrings, and strawman arguments? Be honestly open minded about it.

    Gil (27c98f)

  138. Next, circumcision.

    JD (41da8c)

  139. ==”To me, saying one thinks that even the greatest of saints and prophets have sinned at one moment or another is to simply be in disagreement with the flow of basic theology in the book of Romans. One can think Romans is a bunch of bull or merely seriously flawed, but I don’t think one can believe that (and) call oneself a “Christian”, as I would use the word, as a matter of simple logic. …If one rejects the Apostles’ Creed, I don’t see how one can claim to have the same faith as the Apostles. Maybe I will need to come up with a different term to use than “Christian”, if indeed the meaning no longer is what I think it was.”==

    MD-I can see from this comment that the idea that “saints” could “sin” and could need to be redeemed bothers you a lot and you can not square that with your beliefs and your church upbringing. I get that. But you are, I think, looking at it through the single lens of your own theology when in fact there may be others which are valid and logical to Christians who have been raised in churches which use other lenses to view saints and prophets. I’m going to post another short excerpt here, which suggests that some Protestant churches in which congregants recite fully, and fully believe in the Apostles Creed, and consider themselves to be fully Christian, do interpret who the “saints and prophets” are somewhat differently or perhaps more broadly than you have here when you cite the book of Romans.

    The “communion of saints” is another term from the Apostles’ Creed that troubles some Protestants. (But) “Saints” in the New Testament refers to baptized believers in a local congregation, such as the saints at Corinth, or Ephesus, or Colossae. Some of these believers were far from saintly in their behavior, but they were holy by virtue of their participation (communio) in Christ. The New Testament also recognizes “a great cloud of witnesses” made up of men and women of faith who surround us as we walk the path of faith. Each community within the Christian tradition has its own “saints” in this sense. Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon, along with many missionaries and martyrs, are held in great honor by evangelical Christians. Each Christian tradition can offer its own special “saints” to the entire body of Christ. In this way we can respond to the biblical call to holiness and also be drawn closer to one another as we look to Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

    Timothy George, the author, is dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, a senior editor of Christianity Today, and a member of the Christian History advisory board.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/asktheexpert/ask_apostlescreed.html

    elissa (e00883)

  140. @JD
    I take requests….

    Next, circumcision.

    “Oh look a beautiful baby boy, go bring me that dull stone so that I might fulfill my covenant with the invisible man in the sky.”

    Gil (27c98f)

  141. Well is Paul enough of an authority;

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+7&version=NIV

    One can also refer to St. Augustine’s early live as examples, there was only one perfect man, and he walked the earth, nearly 2,000 years.

    narciso (24b824)

  142. The Piltdown Man was a piker when it comes to missing links. I be the real transitional fossil! Just ask the last scientific hoax.

    Java Man (f7d5ba)

  143. Leviticus, my old friend…

    I have always argued that “natural rights” are those that occur as a direct result of the fact of your birth. At some point, when you have become able to survive on your own, without the direct assistance of others, then those rights begin. The only difference in our definitions in my eyes is how or when that “date” might occur. But I do agree that there comes a moment in time that those rights take hold, and they are not dependent upon anyone but yourself to use and develop those rights.

    Fight on my reasonably liberal friend!

    reff….Lynn

    reff (495770)

  144. I haven’t taken any comment as critical, and certainly not as attacking, (except Gil’s, of course, but that is as he intends it).

    MD-I can see from this comment that the idea that “saints” could “sin” and could need to be redeemed bothers you a lot and you can not square that with your beliefs and your church upbringing.

    I think perhaps we are completely misunderstanding one another, that in my hyperbole of sorts I did not make myself clear.
    My problem was not with the idea that “saints” could “sin”, but with the idea that perhaps there were saints who at least came real close to not sinning but must have slipped up once or twice.
    The original statement was:
    I think that even the greatest saints or prophets, at least at some moment or another, have sinned.
    My objection to the comment was that it didn’t need to be said by a Christian theologian, and to say it almost would make one question what the speaker thought Christianity was about, after all. As I said before, and narciso links to a similar passage, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Christianity is all about the redemption of sinners, even the idea that perhaps some came close to not sinning is an idea that to me makes no sense. In my previous analogy of my playing basketball with Michael Jordan, it’s like saying that one time I just barely lost, I almost beat him.
    Since I am not Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, I guess that makes me Protestant. In all of my Protestant circles, the phrase “communion of saints” has never been a problem, because to be a “saint” as described in the NT appears simply to be one who has been redeemed, one who has become a believer in salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In all of my circles, the problem with the term “saints” is when it is used of people who were supposedly “particularly holy”, that concept seems to diminish the work of Jesus as redeemer.

    As an aside, I came to faith while a junior at college, and my religious exposure prior to college was minimal. Had you asked previously, I would have said I was a Christian because I was an American and not something else.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  145. Alastor-
    In my experience, the discussion has often been about being a cultural or “nominal” Christian as opposed to a “committed” Christian, as in one who takes it seriously, I suppose, as opposed to one who goes to church out of habit but really doesn’t believe it.
    I personally do not like that term, because it brings in the idea of, “OK, just how committed are you?” That then allows to creep in the idea of some of us being “better”, “more committed” Christians than others, and that is antithetical to the Christian message.

    I prefer this version of the Apostles’ Creed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVTop7pzqcM
    A version from Rich’s “last concert”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3k_LEdAB38

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  146. “If one believes evolution then death preceded the first humans. They did not introduce death into the creation at all and Jesus did not have to die to atone for that first sin”.

    No, sir. Jesus did not die to atone for original sin. Original sin is forgiven by Baptism. Jesus died for the forgiveness of all sins, past, present and future.

    Gerald, Catholics may believe or not believe, the theory of evolution. There is nothing anti-Christian a about it, any more than the Higgs boson. It is only the misinterpretation of what these two things mean that is anti-Christian.

    The story (myth if you prefer) of creation (and there are two, BTW) in the Bible, does not tell a Christian how God made everything, but why God made everything; God is love, and love is fruitful.

    Evolution, like the Higgs boson are just the tools that God makes use of. Consider the following quote:

    SO, IS IT (Higgs boson) “THE GOD PARTICLE?”

    The short answer is “no.” Imagine for a moment that you’re on an archeological dig on the outskirts of Rome. Standing in your carefully excavated hole, your spade strikes a metal box. Inside you discover a small, worn chisel, and a note written in 16th Century Italian: “Herein lies my favorite chisel.” The note is signed, “Michelangelo Buonarroti.”

    Well, if you’re an art historian, what you now hold might be priceless. If you’re also a person of faith who has viewed the magnificence of Michelangelo’s Pieta, you may treasure this forever as one of the tools used to create a work of artistic genius. Your discovery might land on a shelf with your name on it in the Vatican Museum. There will be no doubt that what you discovered is a tool used to create an inspired work of art, but it is not itself the art’s creator.

    What does the discovery of the Higgs boson mean for faith in a Universe created by God? Absolutely nothing. To say that the Higgs boson and gravity are responsible for the creation of our Universe is sort of like saying that Michelangelo did not sculpt the Pieta, his chisel did. The discovery of the Higgs boson, or Stephen Hawking’s conclusions about gravity, say nothing more to persons of faith beyond the fact that God has devised some exquisite tools and science has just encountered one of them. Reading about the complexities of the Higgs boson is no challenge to faith, but rather fills my limited mind with wonder about the miracle of Creation.

    -Gordon J. MacRae

    felipe (960c75)

  147. MD,

    I’m getting confused: you do believe that *all* have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, right?

    It’s ironic, but in my experience as a believer for almost 35+ years, the worst sinners (meaning those most prideful and thus in denial of their offenses) were pastors in the pulpit.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  148. “… it would be useful for a commenter to say something a bit narrower like, “Catholic Christians believe ” or Evangelical Christians believe” or some such”.

    Yes, MD, just like my comments. I agree with Elissa and would like to go further and say that your bold witness is an inspiration to me. But, Elissa, possible misunderstanding notwithstanding (heh), MD’s comments are beautiful in that way. They (imho) prefigure the unity among Christians that Jesus prayed for at the last supper.

    felipe (960c75)

  149. I don’t believe Gil is interested in a discussion, by his own statements he is sure of what he knows to be true,
    but in case there are any observers who are undecided and swayed by his dogmatism, a few things:
    1) Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel
    Nagel is an award winning philosopher at NYU who is “strongly averse” to the idea of a divine being, but he thinks the current scientific understanding of nature is woefully inadequate. Since he has no need of God, he is left begging the question as to what a more true understanding of the universe is, but looks forward to future insight and discovery.
    An interesting (though difficult, for me anyway) read from a secular person who has the intellectual honesty to admit the problems.
    2) Up until not that long ago, most biologists thought that the majority of DNA in a cell was “junk”, residue from evolutionary history that no longer had function or purpose. They assumed evolution was true, and assumed they understood something because of their belief in evolution.
    On the other hand, a scientist working from an Intelligent Design reference point would have been quicker to say, “Just because we know it doesn’t code for protein and don’t know what it does, that doesn’t mean it is junk” and would have looked for purpose, reverse engineering as it were.
    Guess what? It is now known that a large percentage of the “junk” DNA actually is involved in regulatory function.
    3) If we were to detect a pattern to some kind of radio signal from space, something that suggested the structure of language, we would assume an intelligent source, not a random event.
    The DNA of a cell is essentially a language. Not only that, but it is a language that gets translated into another language which is similar (RNA) then into another language quite different (protein). These languages arose by chance, complete with the ability to translate one into another?

    Perhaps a poor analogy, but it could be that evolutionary theory is a lot like global warming, there are many little items here and there that one can interpret as related to some larger principle, but in reality the larger principle has very little going for it.

    Don’t settle for the first argument by someone that says Behe or others are wrong until you have also seen Behe’s or other’s responses.
    Don’t accept Behe or others either, for that matter, look for serious discussion of both sides and judge them together.
    Here’s some engineering for you:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbycQf1TbM0

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  150. Dana, you are right. Jesus warns them with harsh words in many different places in scripture. but this should not surprise, nor scandalize you. You want irony? Jesus paid the price of sin for all of them, and He was sinless.

    felipe (960c75)

  151. Dana (4dbf62) — 7/6/2014 @ 8:13 pm

    I agree with you, at least that all have sinned, and that sometimes pastors can be the worst offenders (but I would not say all pastors are among the “worst” sinners).
    It seems that we do not understand how to live out the fact that living righteously comes from a dependence on the power of God, and that to depend on God we must be humble, which means recognizing our sin and looking for God to give us grace for obedience.
    It’s an old problem, as Paul in Galatians asks the question, “Having begun in the Spirit, do you now continue in the flesh?” It’s like we have this corruption in our thinking that now that we’ve been forgiven for our past, we need to straighten up and get our act together, and that is a great misunderstanding.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  152. Heh. My comment is apparently in moderation.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  153. Dana, you scoundrel!

    felipe (960c75)

  154. I know! …not that it was all that riveting… but am too lazy to type it all over again, will wait and see if it shakes loose.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  155. @MD

    I am interested in discussion. I do not think I have attacked in my posts in this thread. I have in others though so I suppose it’s fair for you to have your ears up. Kudos for resorting to the dogma card, as if science was my religion. Its not. Let me answer some of your points:

    1) Thomas Nagel’s book: I havent read it. But my first thought here is that he is a philosopher, not a scientist and certainly not an evolutionairy biologist. That it is his opinion that Neo Darwinism is wrong is nice but is akin to a historian saying that in his opinion quantum mechanics is bunk.

    2) This “Junk DNA” claim is very prominent in the ID / Creationist cloud. Dont be confused by this distraction. The term came to use during a funding battle back in the 70s and 80s when money for resarch grants was hard to find, and it took very long times to sequence DNA. During the battle, scientists argued that sequencing DNA responsible for genetic coding was more important than the DNA that was non coding. The term “Junk DNA” was used to describe it even though back in the 70s the idea that it had a function was circulated. Its just the function was not as interesting. It makes and stores proteins and at the time it was not known what the proteins did. In summary nobody believed it to actually be “Junk DNA”. But that doesnt stop Intelligent Design proponents from being dishonest about it does it?

    3)DNA is not a language. Languages communicate concepts from one mind to another. DNA does not do this. DNA helps carry out chemical interactions that follow the physical laws of nature. There are millions of chemical interactions happening every day. Are those languages? Is it a language every time someone pours vinegar on baking soda? If the contention is that DNA required intelligence to create, then it needs to be demonstrated. It is an argument from ignorance to say “hey that is really complicated. I cant think of a better way that it came about, so it must need God / Creation / Intelligent Design”

    Behe’s “irreducable complexity” ideas are suffisticated upgrades to Pailey’s famous watchmaker question. I dont have the particular expertise needed to respond to them. I can make this point: Complexity is not the hallmark of design – simplicity is. We recognize design not based on complexity but by contrasting the object in question with other known cases – were those designed to? Do those occur naturally to our knowledge?

    I agree with MD dont settle for the first argument against Behe. Settle on the dozens you will find. Also ask yourself where is his evidence? This is not a cabal, there is no more conspiracy at work here to keep him out of the mainstream. A good analogy would be an alchemist trying to tell chemists they have it wrong.

    Gil (27c98f)

  156. @felipe

    What can be property? Not people.

    Have you checked The Bible lately on this subject? See Exodus & slavery.

    Original sin is forgiven by Baptism

    Ive always wondered about this – What happens to those who are not baptized? Why are there conflicting views on this if Jesus clearly said that you need to believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16)?

    Evolution, like the Higgs boson are just the tools that God makes use of.

    Isnt this akin to me saying “Electrons, and opposing charges are the tools Zeus uses to throw lightning bolts down to the ground”?

    Gil (27c98f)

  157. You forgot smegma, Gil. And to tell others what they believe.

    JD (285732)

  158. @MD

    I left out one more response regarding:

    These languages arose by chance, complete with the ability to translate one into another?

    This is a typical strawman objection to evolution. Nowhere does anyone claim that the complexity we observe today came about by chance. Evolution only addresses how life became complex by various mechanisms most famously known – natural selection.

    As to the origin of life Evolution has nothing to say on the matter. Nobody claims it happened by chance either – the origin is currently unknown and is under investigation (there are some interesting results search abiogenesis). To jump from “we dont know” to “it couldnt have happened by chance because i cant conceive of it” is another argument from ignorance.

    Gil (27c98f)

  159. Gil,

    1. Yes. The Bible is against it. God made man, man made slaves.

    2. The same thing that happened to all the unbaptized up to the time of Christ. Don’t know what that is? Try educating yourself.

    3. No, the truth is not akin to your blathering on about anything.

    felipe (960c75)

  160. You forgot smegma, Gil. And to tell others what they believe.

    Youre right JD. Im trying to play nice this time.
    Hey why dont you weigh in as a non-partial observer. How am I doing so far?

    Gil (27c98f)

  161. Hey felipe!

    Patterico (9c670f)

  162. ” To jump from “we dont know” to “it couldnt have happened by chance because i cant conceive of it” is another argument from ignorance”.

    Speaking of strawmen.

    felipe (960c75)

  163. Hello, Pat!

    felipe (960c75)

  164. Just wanted to let you know, all is well. See where I left a comment about Sam Adams. You’ll figure it out.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  165. Hi felipe

    1. The Bible (inspired by God) sets forth the rules by which we can own slaves, including when and how hard we may beat them, and what damages are required to be recompensed for them. I would expect if the Bible were against slavery it would say “Though shalt not own people”. What am I misunderstanding?

    2. Im trying to. I dont understand why various Christian denominations have different positions on baptism being a necessary condition for redemption. I was asking your thoughts.

    3. Ok, how did you come to the conclusion you have the truth?

    Gil (27c98f)

  166. 1. You are misunderstanding that Moses allowed these things because of the hardness of men’s hearts – not God. The Pharisees sought to trip up Jesus (God) in the same way when they asked why Moses allowed divorce. Jesus set them straight, that this was not God’s doing.

    2. Now you have them. It good to ask for info, but it is better to read authoritative works. The same way that it is good to ask a friend about a plumbing problem, it would be better to consult a plumber. I am not a plumber, but I can point you to one.

    3. The same way you or anyone else does. You first discern the appropriate question. Second, form a hypotheses, test that hypotheses. Then when/if you get results, you look for confirmation from peers. Can/do they get the same results? Pilot ask Jesus “What is truth”? If one will not listen to the truth, no one can tell them. Theist, or atheist, a closed mind does not lead one to the truth.

    God can be and is known to us. It is entirely appropriate to ask the question “If God exists, why doesn’t God just say so”? Well, look around you. Just like the background radiation that led us to the big bang, there is background radiation of God’s appearance to man in history.

    I tell you what. Go somewhere to be entirely alone and in a quiet place (especially in your head). Then, without any deceit (even self deceit) ask aloud, “God, are you there”? And just wait for His answer in your heart.

    felipe (960c75)

  167. Hi Felipe

    1. Thats a good answer, but a few questions:

    Gil (27c98f)

  168. Oops

    1. Good answer a few follow ups:
    Could Moses have allowed any transgressions to the 10 commandments?
    Does it follow that slavery is lower on God’s list of important rules to guide your life by than any of those 10 including even thought crime (covetting)?
    God surely knew slavery would be allowed by Moses and the apostles (“slaves obey thy masters”) etc. Why did he allow for that to be a scourge on the earth for as long as he did. Again if he was truly not ok with it surely we would see a commandment against it.

    2. Ok so you have no thoughts on the matter of how and why scripture is so obviously missinterpretted even in such a seemingly obvious case. How can anyone get anything right from the onset?

    3. That is not a good way to find truth. For example the discovery of infra-red was not made by someone asking what spectrum of electromagnetic radiation were in creation. It was made by scientific experiment. Is it possible to set up an experiment to find God? No? Then he is not truly knowable. I mean there are millions of people who think there are other Gods who have honestly asked this same question. If that is a good method to find truth it sure is not accurate.

    Gil (27c98f)

  169. 1. “Could”? I think we are searching for the limits of Moses’s authority, here. Strictly speaking, yes, Moses could have tried that – A close reading of Moses’s own complaints to God about the “stiff-necked” people leads one to believe that he took his cue from God about what he could get away with. But remember that the term “allowed” would not have made it any more right than his allowance of divorce. Also, remember that Moses was a “murderer” (the Egyptian) but God chose Moses to do His will, so there was something very special about Moses, but not so special that Moses did not incur God’s anger for disobeying Him in the desert, and thus, not getting to the promised land. So this, no doubt, informed Moses as to the limits on his discretion.

    There was a scandal that Moses had to settle, and fast! You see, the people were enduring all these snake bites putting lives at risk. God told Moses to make a metal serpent on a pole. The people, when bitten, would need only look at the serpent and be healed of the bite. Of course, after awhile, people started to get confused about it, thinking that the serpent was healing them, not God. So Moses destroyed the serpent. Think about that.

    I am glad that you understand that there is an order of importance concerning the ten commandments. Yes, the first is the most important, and the tenth the least important, relatively speaking. You can be sure that the Hebrews tested the limit and letter of the law as soon as they received it. Which was why Moses had to make all those additional rules concerning all the day to day affairs. The fact is, a lot of them (even a lot of people today) did not get it a the time. Really, if you follow the first commandment, you don’t have to worry about the other nine – if you get the law in the first place. Jesus, even reduced the Ten Commandments down to two. It’s all about love.

    Isn’t it just like a child to ask “but what about this”? concerning a rule. It speaks to their desire to have their own way. After all, “rules are made to be broken”, right?

    Slavery, is an invention of man. It is man, not God, that allows it. More to the point, it is you and I that allow it. A good friend of mine is an atheist who once asked me why God allows child abuse. I said “whoah, wait a minute. If there is no God why do think He has any say in it? You should be asking why we allow it. If God were real, it still wouldn’t shift the blame”. We know God is not “ok” with any sin. The real, always avoided, question is why are we ok with it. And you answer “I am not ok with it”, what are you doing about it?

    2. I have plenty of guesses as to why someone would want to “interpret” scripture to justify their own agenda. So do you. How can anyone get anything right from the onset? Easy; education.

    3. You are mistaken. What I described is the scientific method. Every scientist knows this; it is how science is conducted. you forget that you asked me about truth, not God. You are correct that no scientific experiment is possible to “find” God. God is the Creator. But it does not follow that God is unknowable because we cannot devise an experiment that could measure Him, anymore than love is unknowable because we cannot devise an experiment to measure it.

    We know about God because God revealed himself to us. You are missing the fact that those millions of people have found their God. Hardly evidence in support of your position that God is unknowable.

    I know a former atheist who found God in exactly that way. He asked God for proof of His existence and got it.

    felipe (960c75)

  170. Isnt this akin to me saying “Electrons, and opposing charges are the tools Zeus uses to throw lightning bolts down to the ground”?

    That was the Olympian heresy, not Orthodox Gaean. We know, scientifically, that lightning goes up from the Earth. Gaea and Uranus had a nasty divorce. Really, really nasty. Gaea got one of her sons, Kronos, to attack Uranus with a big knife, cut his whatsises off actually. Like many divorced women, who just cannot let go, Gaea lets off lightning bolts, to let Uranus know what she thinks of him, once in a while. She also got a restraining order for Uranus to stay away, and her other son Atlas to stay around to enforce it, but I think she did it to embarrass him publicly and to ruin his political chances, not because she is in any danger from him. An old story. The Olympians, being by the third generation a pretty bourgeois “what will the neighbors think” bunch, were embarrassed at the antics of grandma and grandpa and put out the story that it’s Zeus throwing down the lightning bolts to punish uppity mortals.

    nk (dbc370)

  171. nk, that was funny! Of course you knew that Uranus is going by a new name, right. He answers to “Urectum”, now.

    felipe (960c75)

  172. Gil- perhaps you should read Nagel’s book before you write him off.

    “Science” is not the high priest of human knowledge, it is simply one aspect of human endeavor that informs us about the world around us. To assume that the world around is all that there is, and that the study of it is what matters most above all else, is just that, an assumption. Above my pay grade here, but I think the rules of logic are independent of science and give a framework to science, not the other way around.
    This is what I said previously about forests and trees. One can be very good about studying trees, but not realize what forest they are in. Philosophy in being reflective can put science in perspective, yet philosophy, too, is of necessity limited to what humans can perceive and think as part of the universe we live in. The most “clear-cut” science (but not only) as done by the “classical” scientific method as taught in school is when all variables can be controlled in a lab and the results of one change at a time can be observed. There is no way we can step out of our universe and look back on it in the same way. Since we cannot do that, we are limited to our understanding of the universe we live in by looking from within, looking at “clues”, seeing which assumptions hold up best. That is not an argument from ignorance, that is an argument of logical necessity.
    (Note, my use of terms are generic, not as a “professional philosopher” would use them.)

    Here is the basic plot line as seems to make sense to me (and not just to me).
    God created the heavens and the earth, the details are at this point sketchy, and perhaps always will be.
    God made man in His image, have a conscious mind that thinks, to be creative, to be a moral agent. This explains the best of humanity.
    God did this out of the overflow of His goodness and abundance, that His creation would enjoy an unbroken relationship with Him.
    Humans exercised their moral agency and turned away from God.
    This explains the worst of humanity.
    This was not a surprise to God, but He from the beginning (even before the beginning, actually) had a plan to overcome this obstacle.
    The rest of history is the story of how God restores the unbroken relationship with humans, and ends in Revelation with “the dwelling of God with man”.
    The in between part is redemption. What is, is. Moral guilt is, and consequences must be paid, just as sure as gravity exists and projects its hold on material objects.
    In Jesus, God took it upon Himself to pay the consequences of moral guilt.

    When one breaks a law of the state, the rulers of the state can grant a pardon (but not in the “laws of the Medes and the Persians”), because they made the laws, they can suspend them.
    The moral law is not like that. It Is. It cannot be set aside. God cannot make Himself what He is not. So He found a way to pay the price to function as a pardon.

    The details of why some tragedies happen is beyond me, like how light is both waves and particles at the same time, always. It is not that light is sometimes waves and sometimes particles. It is always both, but we do “practical” science and technology in solving problems by invoking its behavior as a wave in some situations, and as a particle in others. Even if one came up with an equation that “explained” how light is both, that does not mean my mind could comprehend it.
    What I do know is that God Himself suffered more intently and more unjustly than any person ever has or will, and that He has promised to personally wipe away every tear (for those willing to accept the “plea bargain”). As Lewis says, once in God’s presence the worst of human experience will be as “one bad night in a cheap hotel”.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  173. felipe, I do not debate Gil seriously. He is not a child; he is not innocent. He has the Commandments, he has the prophets. He has the Word and chooses to mock It. Maybe Christ can chase after strayed sheep, but I’ll just go and get another cup of coffee and make my grocery list.

    nk (dbc370)

  174. You are a wise man, nk. I will remember your words.

    felipe (960c75)

  175. As usual, MD, inspires.

    felipe (960c75)

  176. Yes, he does. And you also know what they say about whose quality patience is.

    nk (dbc370)

  177. If you want to know what natural law and natural rights mean, try reading What We Can’t Not Know.

    http://www.amazon.com/What-We-Cant-Not-Know-ebook/dp/B004O4BZ4I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404741614&sr=8-1&keywords=What+you+can%27t+not+know

    Tanny O'Haley (87b2aa)

  178. That looks like a great book, thanks for the recommendation. I had heard of his previous book The Revenge of Conscience, but it looks like he has authored several interesting reads.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  179. nk (dbc370) — 7/7/2014 @ 6:42 am

    Edumacate me, nk, I don’t get it.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  180. @ MD,

    It seems that we do not understand how to live out the fact that living righteously comes from a dependence on the power of God, and that to depend on God we must be humble, which means recognizing our sin and looking for God to give us grace for obedience.
    It’s an old problem, as Paul in Galatians asks the question, “Having begun in the Spirit, do you now continue in the flesh?” It’s like we have this corruption in our thinking that now that we’ve been forgiven for our past, we need to straighten up and get our act together, and that is a great misunderstanding.

    So, my disappearing response: Yes, it is an old problem, and one we will struggle with as long as we walk the earth. I have found that the most difficult proposition is humility. Our pride is a force that only God can reckon with and upon revealing it to us in its full ugliness, are we able to understand how fallen we truly are. I think our urge to get our acts together and straighten up is simply another form of us attempting to be in “control” rather than yielding to His will. It’s self-deception, of course, but that is our base nature. It’s extraordinarily difficult to fully grasp that it is a walk of grace we are now on. It is not because of anything we do, because if anything, we’ve already proven that what we can do falls way short. The most critical part of course, is not about who we are or who we strive to become, rather it’s about the transforming power of God. It becomes all about Him, which is in complete opposition to the natural man, wherein it is all about us. The transformative power of God, a divine heart surgery.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  181. He has the patience of a ______.

    nk (dbc370)

  182. felipe @172 So Moses destroyed the serpent

    No, Moses did not destroy the serpent. King Hezekiah of Judah did, almost 750 years later. The serpent looks to me like a sort of way fro Moses to repent for not speaking to the rock.

    What happened with the rock is that Moses played it safe, and did not have confidence that God would do as he said, and it would look like Moses believed (wrongly) that a rock had independent will.

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  183. 171. Gil (27c98f) — 7/7/2014 @ 3:55 am

    Again if he was truly not ok with it surely we would see a commandment against it.

    No, we don’t see a commandment against slavery (although it appears definitely not to be a good thing for the slave) but only a commandment never to return an escaped slave to his master, and what’s more, a special law, listed first in the list of statutes, that has people do to a slave who did not wish to go free, exactly what was done in Babylonia to a slave who tried to escape!

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  184. 171.. . .
    God surely knew slavery would be allowed by Moses and the apostles (“slaves obey thy masters”) etc. Why did he allow for that to be a scourge on the earth for as long as he did. Again if he was truly not ok with it surely we would see a commandment against it.

    There is a commandment against slavery:
    “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

    It is amplified in the commentary in the Talmud:
    “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”

    That seems pretty clear to me, but YMMV.

    As for allowing it to exist for so long, the Creator has not done so – we have.
    The Creator gave us rather clear instructions on not enslaving others, even while allowing rather parsed exemptions during the most brutal of times, but always under the umbrella instructions of proper behavior and directions to justice.
    Why then blame the Creator for a failing of men?
    Do you blame all parents for the crimes their children commit, particularly when the parent takes such extreme steps to properly educate the children in the proper manner of behaving towards their fellows and going so far as to refuse to associate with the ones that will not turn from committing crimes?
    That seems rather unreasonable to me, though again, YMMV.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  185. 61 nk (dbc370) — 7/5/2014 @ 6:03 pm:
    Would you like to start a religion?

    “The bonzes of Padme — especially we of the Isavest Ordainment — are sworn to altruism. We render constructive service to any living thing…”

    For some unusual interpretations of “constructive”, as Magnus Ridolph deduced.

    Rich Rostrom (06e025)

  186. Why then blame the Creator for a failing of men?
    Do you blame all parents for the crimes their children commit, particularly when the parent takes such extreme steps to properly educate the children in the proper manner of behaving towards their fellows and going so far as to refuse to associate with the ones that will not turn from committing crimes?

    I do not blame parents for sins of their parents or distant ancestors (#original sin). I must admit my wording was poor here. I recognize that slavery as an institution is created and was maintained by man. The objection if I may clarify is that it is not forbidden by the ultimate source of morality. There is a commandment against a mere thought crime (coveting), but not against the possession of people?

    Gil (27c98f)

  187. I do not blame parents for sins of their parents or distant ancestors (#original sin). I must admit my wording was poor here. I recognize that slavery as an institution is created and was maintained by man. The objection if I may clarify is that it is not forbidden by the ultimate source of morality. There is a commandment against a mere thought crime (coveting), but not against the possession of people?

    There is a commandment against the possession of people as I noted. One that, depending on how you look at, at a status above the 10 Commandments.
    And the Noahide Laws require the establishment of just laws, which would also preclude slavery, and which apply to everyone.

    This would mean that the problem is not an absence in the Law but in your knowledge and appreciation of its full scope. (Which is a problem for most people.)

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  188. A failed prediction does not falsify anything. It only shows that we have misunderstood something. What falsifies things is evidence. Find one fossil in the wrong place. Find one human bone with a dinosaur. Find a rabbit in the Cambrian period. It just doesn’t happen.

    Gil (27c98f) — 7/6/2014 @ 4:30 pm

    Karl Popper developed the philosophical criteria for true science, which hinges on falsifiability. And what does falsifiability hinge on? One or more predictions which are testable. Without a prediction there is no falsifiability.

    This is how Hawking described it:

    According to Popper’s way of thinking, a scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested. If the predictions agree with the observations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proved to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory.

    Evidence like fossils in the “wrong” place only falsifies evolution if evolution predicted it shouldn’t be there. Otherwise we have no basis for saying it’s in the wrong place in the first place. This is just basic logic.

    In fact evolution does not predict the places where fossils will be found. The reverse is true – they formulate evolution theory by observing the fossils. Therefore finding a fossil in the “wrong” place can’t falsify evolution. They will just modify the theory, or come up with some ad hoc explanation.

    There are all sorts of fossils which weren’t found in the correct strata – and (surprise!) theories have been devised to account for it. So your premise is wrong.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  189. No, sir. Jesus did not die to atone for original sin. Original sin is forgiven by Baptism. Jesus died for the forgiveness of all sins, past, present and future.

    Gerald, Catholics may believe or not believe, the theory of evolution. There is nothing anti-Christian a about it, any more than the Higgs boson. It is only the misinterpretation of what these two things mean that is anti-Christian.

    The story (myth if you prefer) of creation (and there are two, BTW) in the Bible, does not tell a Christian how God made everything, but why God made everything; God is love, and love is fruitful.

    felipe (960c75) — 7/6/2014 @ 8:04 pm

    felipe, original sin introduced death into creation according to both the old and new testaments. It is in that sense that Jesus had to die to reverse original sin. Of course it covers other sins as well.

    If evolution is true then death preceded sin, death does not flow from Adam’s sin and the points Paul made in Romans and Corinthians are erroneous. In fact death created us under evolution theory. Jesus dying to save us from death wouldn’t make any sense.

    Yes Catholics don’t really adhere to the Bible so whatever the Bible says doesn’t really mean anything, unless the Magisterium says something in it does.

    There is only one creation account in the Bible. The argument that there are two, which implies some kind of contradiction, is a non-sequitur. The “two” accounts just contain different information. So what?

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  190. ==If evolution is true==

    Evolution is true. Many respected theologians and devout Christians in many sects and denominations around the world have no problem accepting that God’s wonderful creation occurred over great time and space instead of just 7 days. You are welcome to your beliefs and to your literal interpretation of everything that’s said or translated in the Bible that you read. Many people believe as you do. No one here is going to try to convince you to change your belief. But please return the favor by not dissing people of faith who come from a different branch of the same essential Christian faith as yours.

    elissa (b62c4b)

  191. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNyeMyTaDBY

    Japanese drum group “Tao”

    Another off topic post.

    Steve57 (efd576)

  192. elissa,

    I wasn’t dissing felipe. I think I’m just stating a fact. I’m open to correction if I’m wrong.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  193. #191

    Also it is not apparent to me what exactly would have been falsified had they not found the fish in that location, other than the trivial point that it wasn’t in that location. Would the theory of evolution had to have been modified? I think not.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  194. Hello, Gerald. You are right about original sin. My comment is not at odds with what you said, including your comment about the “two” creation stories. I agree with your sentiment of “so what”?

    However:

    “Yes Catholics don’t really adhere to the Bible so whatever the Bible says doesn’t really mean anything, unless the Magisterium says something in it does”.

    It depends on what you mean by “adhere”. If you mean that Catholics do not think that some parts of the Bible are not meant to be taken literally, then you are absolutely right! However, you would be mistaken if you thought that Catholics took nothing literally in the Bible.

    When Jesus says, “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have no life within you”. We take it literally! The “Magisterium” is the whole Church – the laity and the clergy. You give too much weight to the Magisterium, it could never change any of Jesus’s teachings, so you will never see in the Catholic Church what is seen in churches that have Gay marriage. Not even the Pope can change Jesus’s teachings.

    felipe (960c75)

  195. I know you were not dissing me, Gerald. We’re good.

    felipe (960c75)

  196. Thanks, Elissa. You are a mensch! Am I using that term correctly?

    felipe (960c75)

  197. ==You are a mensch! Am I using that term correctly?==

    You’ll have to ask Sammeh about that. On second thought, please don’t!

    elissa (b62c4b)

  198. No, felipe, you’re not using it right. You can call a girl a “good guy”, I suppose, but what’s wrong with “lady”?

    nk (dbc370)

  199. A few thoughts,
    It is a poor analogy that does not hold up to detailed scrutiny and analysis, so please don’t do it,
    but, I would personally suggest that belief in “evolution” is like belief in “Global Warming”, many people and the loudest voices claim one thing is true, but not all do, and for reasons that vary from the trivial and absurd to ones which are serious charges (though obviously YMMV). Also, some of the discussion may have to do with differences in understanding of the terms and associated factors, which is why someone can claim “97% of published scientists agree with Global Warming” (or whatever the exact phraseology was/is) and be perhaps not lying but also entirely misleading. That 97% included things that really had nothing to do with anything, people who agreed that the climate is changing but not sure what role humans played in it, people who thought humans had a role but who weren’t at all sure it was a problem, and if so, how big and what to do about it.
    When one says “evolution”, if one means that a type of organism through time comes to display different characteristics in a response to adapting to its environment, sure, few people, even 6 Day creationists, have a problem with that. Tiger populations that are geographically isolated become different subspecies (not sure if that it currently the exact term), bacteria become resistant to some antibiotics, finches on the Galapagos islands take up different physical characteristics to fill ecological roles that other bird species do elsewhere.
    That is a very far cry from getting from non-life to living, living single cell to worms, worms to things with backbones, things with backbones that don’t appear to do much other than instinctively eat, reproduce, and try to avoid dying to things with backbones that can think “I think, therefore I am” (Nagel’s contribution).
    Many people who have a hard time with the second version have PhD’s from reputable universities in appropriate fields. Of course one can have “crackpots” with degrees, but it seems to me that to write off someone with a PhD from Caltech or elsewhere by saying “they don’t understand science” is a bit simplistic.

    Considering interpretation of the Bible, what does one mean when they say a “literal” interpretation?
    A truly “literal” interpretation would suggest that God is a big bird, since the Psalmist writes, “He hides me under the shadow of His wing”. I don’t think anyone believes that.
    I heard one person say that a better term to use would be “authoritative”, though that in itself raises other problems. Such a view of the Bible would say that one is meant to interpret it for what it “plainly says” and let the plain meaning have authority. So, things that are clearly poetic are seen as poetic (God’s wings, eg), things that are parables or allegories are such, and things that are general history general history, and things that are given as specific historical fact are specific historical fact.
    Genesis pushes the limits on this, because discussion is to some degree justified as what is meant by the “Days” of creation. There are people who think the creation account is very ambiguous and “lacking in detail” up until Adam and Eve. And Adam and Eve is seen as historical not just because of the Genesis account, but by how that account is referred to by Jesus and the Apostles.

    Gerald A. makes the point that the whole foundation of belief that Jesus came to save us from our sin as most clearly and directly described in Romans is undermined and thrown aside if one takes Adam and Eve to be some figurative myth.
    One can believe that if they want, one can call it part of being a Christian if they want, but that is not what the people first called Christians in the first century believed and were willing to die for.
    (The fine point that I heard a person raise, was whether or not it is possible that there was death of animals and plants prior to the fall. The fact that only humans are described as being made in the image of God gives some room to think it was the death of man that came into being with Sin; but that does not fit with the idea that “the whole of creation was subjected to futility” and is “groaning”. But I think there is plenty of lack of detail to say that some of these passages are unclear as to how much is detailed fact as opposed to more metaphorical language).

    It is interesting how this discussion really does relate to other discussions about different specifics; what do words mean, how does one decide, how do you decide who has reliability in making judgments.
    In one way Supreme Court justices are like “theologians”, people to whom is entrusted much respect and responsibility, who sometimes just want to find ways to justify what they believe already.
    One could, I guess, substitute the word “conservative” for “Christian”, and get a lot of discussion as to what the term means.
    Though I think there is a historical and logical framework to determine the meaning of “Christian”, at least as to what it originally meant, if not how it is used in popular culture today.

    The issues about Roman Catholic doctrine that have been brought up I am purposefully ignoring.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  200. let my clarify myself
    Gerald A. makes the point that the whole foundation of belief that Jesus came to save us from our sin as most clearly and directly described in Romans is undermined and thrown aside if one takes Adam and Eve to be some figurative myth.
    I agree with Gerald A. on this. There is a flow of logic based on specific “givens”, and if you discard the givens, you discard the argument.
    One can believe that if they want (that there were no historical Adam and Eve), one can call it part of being a Christian if they want, but that is not what the people first called Christians in the first century believed and were willing to die for
    Paul in Romans is the “horse’s mouth”. This is the Christian Faith as it historically began, based on the given precepts and reasoning. If people want to call something else “Christianity” today, there is no stopping them, but it is not the Historic Christian faith of the Apostles and early church.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  201. felipe (960c75) — 7/8/2014 @ 6:47 am

    As a matter of doctrine the Catholic church does embrace the ENTIRE bible. I shouldn’t have worded it that way felipe.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  202. Darwin suffered from 1) lack of a good advertising campaign and 2) lack of sophisticated consumers who were used to Apple bringing out its new models every six months. He was ahead of his time that way. People understand new models and upgrades a lot better now.

    nk (dbc370)

  203. I, personally, never considered the concept of God as Demiurge (He Who Causes To Be) heretical*, so I am not too bothered by evolution.

    *Although some offshoot cults who have, in effect, created new religions around it are pretty wacko.

    nk (dbc370)


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