Moral Darwinism

There was a storm of protest last summer when a documentary appeared on American TV linking Darwinism to the Holocaust. Some Jewish groups were understandably upset at what they felt to be a cynical attempt to use the shoah for an ideological attack on Darwinism. Supporters of Darwinian evolution, on the other hand, were naturally outraged at the theory being posited as the direct cause of the Holocaust. Indeed, when Richard Wikert published his book arguing that Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection directly led to the Holocaust, the book was bitterly attacked and vilified by the theory’s ardent supporters. For most, if not all evolutionary scientists, the connection between Darwin’s theory and the racial policies of Nazi Germany and the Tremendum are accidental, the product of a deliberate perversion of Darwin’s ideas by the Nazis, rather than a result of those ideas themselves. Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most ardent opponents of the racist appropriation of Darwinism, certainly felt this way, and expressed considerable outrage at the way it had been so used by Fascist ideologues.

Such views are not universal, however. Roger Liddell, the British agnostic journalist and broadcaster, in his polemic against atheism, The Trouble with Atheism, broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 a year or so ago, spoke to an historian at Reading University in the UK who was very much of the view that Darwinism was a cause of the Holocaust. He taught a course, ‘From Darwin to the Holocaust’, and showed Liddell Galton’s own writings on race and eugenics, including his photographs of Jewish boys from the East End of London, taken as part of Galton’s massive research into measuring and evaluating the biological characteristics of the human race. And however much the ideologues of the Far Right may have twisted Darwin’s ideas, they were extremely well-read in them and mainstream racial anthropology, and were able to use this to support their own vile doctrines.

The writings of the British Fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley, show this familiarity with Darwinism and contemporary racial anthropology. Mosley had started his political career as a Conservative, before joining the Labour Party. Impatient with that party, he split off in the early 1930s to form the New Party. Impressed with Mussolini, and convinced that the Italian Fascist leader had solved the labour problem, he then turned to Fascism, reorganising the New Party as the British Union of Fascists. He was interned in the Tower of London during the Second World War. After the War, he attempted to revive Fascism and forge alliances with the post-War European neo-Fascist parties. However, he found himself increasingly isolated and overtaken by a new generation of right-wing extremists, and so eventually retired to Nice in France.

It’s questionable how racist Mosley was. He always denied being an anti-Semite, and the BUF’s stewards were trained by the Jewish boxer, Ted Lewis. Nevertheless, he loudly denounced Jewish opposition to Fascism, and the BUF certainly drew on anti-semitism as part of its programme. A Jewish journalist for the British middle market tabloid, the Daily Mail, interviewing Mosley in the 1970s before his death found him unrepentant about the Holocaust. He was also a staunch opponent of racial intermarriage and advocated the introduction of race laws similar to those of Apartheid South Africa. Despite the rejection of the spurious pre-War racial anthropology by biologists and anthropologists after the War, Mosley nevertheless cited respected and respectable scientists, including Darwin himself, to support his odious opinions on race.

In Moseley’s 1961 book, Right or Wrong?, written to promote his post-War political programme, the would-be Fuhrer quotes Darwin’s the Descent of Man, T.H. Huxley’s Man’s Place in Nature and E.B. Tylor’s Anthropology on the immense physical, intellectual and moral differences between the various human races. 1 He quotes the contemporary geneticist, C.D. Darlington, on how ‘Galton had uncovered the process of racial differentiation in its simplest instance much as Mendel had uncovered the process of recombination in its simplest instance.’ 2 He Further quotes Darlington from the latter’s book The Facts of Life and an article in The New Scientist for 14th April 1960 to argue against racial mixing: ‘ The future of mankind rests with those genetically diverse groups … which can practise mutual help and show mutual respect. neither of these habits can be assisted in the long run by make-believe of any kind, certainly not by a make-believe of equality in the physical intellectual and cultural capacities of such groups.’ 3 Other authorities cited by Mosley to support his arguments for profound differences, including mental and moral, between the different varieties of humanity, include the 1946, 1947 and 1959 editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica;  Juan Comas of the Mexican School of Anthropology and G.M. Morant in the 1956 UNESCO symposium, The Race Question in Modern Science; Ashley Montagu, the rapporteur to the UNESCO committee that drafted the Statement on Race, in his book Man: His First Million Years; Amram Scheinfeld’s You and Heredity; Dr. R. Gayre, editor of The Mankind Quarterly, in the January 1961 edition and the eugenicist G.C. Bertram’s West Indian Immigration. 4 Now I am not accusing any of the above scientists cited by Mosley of being Fascists. However, it is clear that despite the campaigns against eugenics and the discrediting of scientific racism after the rise of the Nazis, many eminently respectable scientists nevertheless held views on race that stressed difference and argued for segregation or separate development, based very much on Darwin and Galton.

Now Darwin himself held liberal views for his time. He was an opponent of slavery and imperialism. He was not, however, an observant anthropologist. Listening to the three Yahgan Tierra del Fuegian amerindians taken aboard the Beagle, Darwin concluded that their whole language had only about 100 or so words. By contrast, Thomas Bridges, who was in charge of the Christian mission to the Fuegian amerindians from about 1863 onwards, made it his business to learn their language. His son, Lucas Bridges, considered the Yahgan language to be ‘within its own limitations … infinitely richer and more expressive than either English or Spanish’ with a vocabulary of about 32,000 words and inflections. 5

Darwin also believed in a literal struggle for survival, and saw the deliberate extermination of native peoples like the Amerindians of Tierra del Fuego by White farmers almost as the result of natural forces. This struggle was vital for human advancement. He declared that ”It may well be doubted whether the most favourable [circumstances for advancement] would have sufficed, had not the rate of increase [of population] been rapid, and the consequent struggle for existence severe to an extreme degree.’ 6 The result of this was that ‘Darwin and the theorists of social evolution reinforced belief in European superiority just at the time when European countries and the United States scrambled for territory in the rest of the world. Political imperialism; popular culture, Darwin’s name and belief in social evolution were closely connected.’ 7 Moreover, such evolutionary theories viewed the acquisition of rational knowledge – interpreted as science – as a crucial development in human culture. ‘In effect civilisation was equated with the acquisition of a scientific outlook and scientists were the personification of progress. The comparative, evolutioanry method was one means by which Western society constructed a social theory of its own nature. At the same time, this theory represented the value of progress actually held in the West as the natural law of social development. Thus, Victorian values were not added to the human sciences but were intrinsic to the framework of these sciences.’ 8 Evolutionary theory also rationally justified the classification of society and institutions on a scale from primitive to advanced. Through its equation of rationality with science and portrayal of the way science had supposedly emerged from primitive superstition ‘it deeply challenged religious faith by treating religious customs and beliefs as evidence of the stage that a people has reached. The anthropologists implied that monotheistic Christianity, though advanced as a religion, is only one stage on man’s progress towards reason, as Comte had earlier argued. Anthropology made religion a subject of scientific study and in the process altered the authority that religious beliefs themselves could command.’ 9

The result of this was that scientists, rather than religious clergy, were increasingly seen to have the definitive truth about the human condition, and their statements undercut religion’s moral authority. The result was that the Nazis and other radical groups could attack Christian humanitarianism as unscientific while justification the sterilisation and extermination of racial and social undesirables.

Darwin believed in the unity of humanity through descent from a common ancestor, yet his insistence on their divergent evolution undercut this unity by stressing their difference. Earlier anthropologists who adopted a more Biblical view of humanity laid greater stress on their unity. The British anthropologist, James Cowles Prichard, explained the emergence of the different types of humanity through the passage of time, and influences of climate, custom and the diffusion of the individual peoples. He believed that all nations were originally Black, from which the White peoples had emerged. Although he equated the White peoples with civilisation, ‘he referred to race merely as a cluster of characteristics caused by climate, not a rigid quality; and his use of the word ‘primitive’ connoted man’s closeness to Adam rather than the apes.’ 10 His family were Quakers, though Prichard himself became an Anglican and was a staunch supporter of the abolition of slavery. Against attacks on the Biblical depiction of the origin of humanity, he nevertheless argued against racial differences from the psychic unity of humanity. 11

The 19th century assumption within Darwinism and evolutionary theory that science was the pinnacle of human rationality no doubt explains the furore and extreme hostility with which any criticism of evolution from a religious direction is greeted. Religion, supposedly demonstrated by evolutionary theory to be a relic of previous evolutionary epochs, is construed as attacking the very essence of human rationality itself. Thus there are the statements by atheist groups that belief in God is somehow holding back human evolution. The other point is that, despite evolutionary science being, in Tylor’s view, a reformist’s science, the naturalistic grounding it offered to ethics attacked traditional Christian morality and paved the way for those totalitarian regimes that saw this as an obstacle to be cleared away by force and violence.

If Darwinism had merely been a mechanical theory that explained how God created the wonderful creatures that occupy this beautiful world, as envisaged by Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus, and Bishop Baden-Powell, an Oxford professor of Mathematics without making any statements about the existence of God or the nature of morality, then it would arguably have been much less controversial and the 19th and 20th centuries far less brutal. But it didn’t. Instead, it allowed scientists to make pronouncements on ethics that were far outside their field or competence. Instead of leading to greater morality, it lent support to regimes based on a ruthlessly mechanistic view of humanity and a naturalistic ethic that justified mass murder and violence. Now this does not mean that evolutionary theory is wrong. It does mean, however, that evolutionary science does not have an automatic moral authority and that moral claims made by its practitioners should not be accepted without scrutiny. Science rightly, can and should inform the moral debates and positions of philosophers and theologians. It cannot, however, replace them.

Notes

1. Oswald Mosley, Right or Wrong? (Lion Books, London 1961), p. 118.

2. Mosley, Right or Wrong?, pp. 118.

3. C.D. Darlington, The Facts of Life, cited in Mosley, Right or Wrong?, p. 119.

4. Mosley, Right or Wrong?, pp. 122-123.

5. Lucas Bridges, The Uttermost Part of the Earth (London, Century 1948), p. 34.

6. Roger Smith, The Fontana History of the Human Sciences (London, Fontana Press 1997), p. 474.

7. Smith, Human Sciences, p. 481.

8. Smith, Human Sciences, p. 482.

9. Smith, Human Sciences, p. 479.

10. Smith, Human Sciences, p. 397.

11. Smith, Human Sciences, pp. 396-7.

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32 Responses to “Moral Darwinism”

  1. Rich Says:

    There were atrocities before Darwin. Seems a silly subject to me,bad people will use religion, fear, whatever floats their boat to justify evil.

  2. Feyd Says:

    Seems a silly subject to me, bad people will use religion, fear, whatever floats their boat to justify evil.

    I partly agree with you Rich but its important to robustly counter the prolific atheist propaganda that tries to place the blame for mans inhumanity to man largely on religion!

    Religious differences have sometimes sparked conflict but in the main religion promotes tolerance and mutual respect. Unlike the pseudo scientific interpretations of Darwinism that were pervasive throughout the first half of the 20th century!

    OK with the holocaust jealousy and greed doubtless played there part, Jews were generally seen as disproportionately wealthy. But what about some of the other ethnic minorities that the Nazis went after? The Sinti and Roma were among the poorest people in Europe. Overall the non Jewish civilians the Nazis murdered totaled over 3 million. Stalin had carried about similar atrocities against minorities prior to WWII. Oh and not for nothing did Hermann Goring call WWII the “Great racial war!”

    Also Rich, its not enough to say the Nazis committed their atrocities ‘cos they were bad. Prior to the rise of the 3rd Reich, the Germans were rightly regarded as one of Europe’s most cultured peoples. I’ve worked for German companies for most of my career and for me at least Germans are more obviously ethical than most other nationalities I’ve dealt with. The Germans became bad as they fell under the sway of an evil ideology – one that has been derived largely by rational thought , was underpinned partly by Darwinism, and which had explicitly rejected Christian morality. Fascism was successful in pulling the wool partly because its polemicists spoke with the authority of science!

    So much tragedy could have been avoided if only the power of the church hadn’t declined and the Germans had continued to value revealed truth and Christian morality.

  3. Feyd Says:

    Instead, it allowed scientists to make pronouncements on ethics that were far outside their field or competence. Instead of leading to greater morality, it lent support to regimes based on a ruthlessly mechanistic view of humanity and a naturalistic ethic that justified mass murder and violence.

    Beast, RESPECT!

    You’ve eloquently captured exactly the point I’ve been trying to make in some of my previous comments.

    No ones trying to denigrate reason itself. But given our fallen nature ideas that purport to be grounded purely on logic and empirical observation so often turn out to be dangerous. Methodological naturalism has its place in most scientific disciplines, but in the political , social and commercial sphere there has to be a place for the revealed truth of the Bible , for tradition and intuition.

  4. Rich Says:

    A few, unstructured musings.

    Any atrocity is artificial selection, not natural selection. The Spartans used to do it to themselves. It predates ‘Darwinism’.

    I believe Dawkinis points out (it might be Hitchens, sorry, I can’t remember the source) That is you think you have a divine mandate then you may be able to justify atrocities to yourself. ‘God rhetoric’ certainly seems common in wars.

    Religious differences certainly seem to be a factor in some wars and long standing disputes.

    Martyrdom seems a concept that has been twisted by certain faiths for the purpose of atrocities.

    I agree that a lot of ‘science’ was either over-reaching, not science or both.

  5. Rich Says:

    Off topic:

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_kelly_o__080115_muslims_suppressing_.htm

    What’s your take on this?

  6. beastrabban Says:

    Thanks for the appreciation, Feyd! I’m really glad you agree! 🙂 I also agree with you that a total reliance on human rationality to the exclusion of the truths of Christian revelation is dangerous considering humanity’s fallen nature.

    I was also interested in what you had to say about the very moral character of the Germans. That is what gives the Holocaust its chilling, horrific character, beyond the simple, brute fact of the orchestrated, industrial deaths of millions. Historians like Joachim C. Fest and Karl-Dietrich Bracher have pointed out that what drove the Nazis was a twisted morality, not a Nihilistic destire for evil. And the fact that it occurred in the most cultured nation in Europe cast severe doubt on the validity and humanity of European civilisation as a whole. This was, after all, the nation that had produced the brilliant philosophy of Kant, Hegel and Schopenhauer, the sublime poetry of Goethe, Novalis and Rilke, and the music of Brahms, Mendelsohn, Schuhmann and Buxtehude. How secure – how good – was European civilisation, indeed, how civilised was Europe, when one of its leaders in that civilisation had committed such barbarism?

    I also agree with you that the Nazis plans for extermination went far beyond the Jews. After destroying the Jews and Gypsies, they planned to work the conquered Slav nations to extinction. Indeed, the Nazis had their origins in a ‘yellow’ trade union set up by German employers to protect ethnic German labour from competition by Slav workers.

    Rich, regarding your comment There were atrocities before Darwin. Seems a silly subject to me,bad people will use religion, fear, whatever floats their boat to justify evil , this is an important question so I’ll devote a second blog post to it. 🙂

  7. beastrabban Says:

    Rich, regarding your comments on the religious justification and component in wars, this is another good question, though it’s actually one Dawkins and Hitchen’s distort, so I’ll deal with it in another blog post. 🙂

  8. JOR Says:

    “Any atrocity is artificial selection, not natural selection. The Spartans used to do it to themselves. It predates ‘Darwinism’.”

    This is true in the sense that anything that results from what humans do is ‘artificial selection’.

    In purely evolutionary terms, the survival capacity of Jews declines sharply when the environment takes a sudden shift towards murderous anti-Semitism. This is a perfectly naturalistic thing to say. The first mistake, the mistake made by 19th and 20th Century Darwinists, was to think evolution can say more about ethics; the mistake implied by your assertion above is to think it has nothing to say about events that have ethical content. It has plenty to say, but it must abstract from ethics.

  9. Rich Says:

    But from a causal standpoint, you are either having your tail wagging your dog, arguing to consequences or possibly both? The implications (or not) of ‘darwinism’ existed before the codification of the theory.

  10. JOR Says:

    True, but the ‘Darwinists’ didn’t help much.

  11. Ilíon Says:

    Sure they did! They helped us realize that when we cast off the intellectual shackles of “archaic, immutable truth claims” we can stop (metaphorically) beating ourselves over the heads for merely “doing what comes naturally!”

  12. Feyd Says:

    Rich,

    Just a quick one on your link about an atheist web side being banned in Turkey. I think that’s very regrettable , just as it is that some Christians have a similar antipathy towards atheists , especially in America.

    Atheists should be allowed to express their views freely. This actually serves Gods purpose I feel – it helps evangelists who feel a calling to preach to the unbelievers to identify their audience.

    I guess there’s a fear in some quarters that atheism will spread if its not suppressed. In reality atheism can only flourish when its propaganda is left unanswered. As regular readers of Beast’s blogs will know, on many issues the facts are so overwhelmingly against atheists that they have no chance of capturing widespread public support. On balance it’s a good thing to let atheists air their views, not to mention the right thing if you believe in free speech.

  13. Rich Says:

    “In reality atheism can only flourish when its propaganda is left unanswered”

    Apostasy is punishable by death in these countries. Wanting to be free of this brutal, idiotic ‘faith’ in not “propaganda”. And they don’t get into heaven as martyrs. They do it because they love humanity.

  14. beastrabban Says:

    Rich, I don’t know much about Turkish law and the background to the creationism controversy over there to say anything very much about the article you linked to, but here is my perspective on some of the issues that I know a little about.

    Firstly, Turkey isn’t an Islamic state. Ataturk and the Young Turks, when they created modern Turkey in the 1920s, wanted to create a modern Turkey along the lines of the Western liberal democracies. This meant a separation of mosque and state, similar to the separation of church and state in western countries. The Young Turks viewed the religious nature of the Ottoman state as the reason for its decline and failure to modernise. They wished to create instead something like an Islamic version of Christian America – a state in which the majority of people would be muslim, but whose state institutions and law would be secular. There was a drama-documentary about the young Ataturk made and broadcast on Turkish television a few years ago in which the founder’s defiance of the mullahs who taught him at school was strongly featured. This means that under the Turkish constitution the atheists there do have a right to express their beliefs. Indeed the article states that they would be at liberty to do so, if they weren’t afraid of having to reveal their identities for legal reasons, because of reprisals from militant Muslims. We aren’t talking state oppression of atheists here, especially as Turkey has banned a succession of Islamic parties for the threat they have posed, or been perceived to pose, to Turkish democracy and secularity. If Turkey was an Islamic republic, like Iran, they wouldn’t have been able to set the website up in the first place.

    Now I’m really not impressed with the atheists living in fear of their lives, for the simple that I, like the vast majority of Christians, believe in freedom of conscience. There’s a difference here between Christianity and Islam. There were no Christian states until after the conversion of the emperor Constantine, and Christianity has no explicit doctrine of the state. Indeed, the great early Christian apologist Tertullian stated that ‘the Christian does not even desire the aedileship’ to assure pagans that Christians did not pose a political threat to the state, or wish to use force to impose their religion on unwilling pagans. This rather different from Islam, where Mohammed himself set up an Islamic state in Medina, now the second holiest city in Islam. This was, however, at the invitation of the citizens. Nevertheless there is a distinct religious conception of the state in Islam. Part of the problem with militant Islam in Britain, France and elsewhere in the West is that Islam demands the state actively support religion and enforce religious observance. One British Muslim writer commenting on the Satanic Verses affair, stated that while Western society views state indifference to religion as preserving freedom, Muslims see it as neglect. Hence the demands amongst radical Muslims for the establishment of sharia law.

    Now the atheists you mentioned aren’t the only people to live in fear of their lives in Turkey because of militant muslims. There are instances of Christians being horrifically martyred in Turkey for preaching the Gospel. Nor are they alone in having to disguise their identities, and other atheist from Muslim backgrounds elsewhere in the world have had to do the same. many of the contributors to Ibn Warraq’s book on Islam, published by Prometheus press about a decade or so ago now, similarly had to remain anonymous for fear of violent attacks.

    However, this does not mean that the atheists’ website wasn’t propaganda. It was set up to promote a particular religious view, even if that view is that religion is false. This is a statement of a religious position, and is as much a statement of faith as any religious website. Yes, I’m sure that the atheists themselves put the website up because they love humanity. So do those Christians who strive to promote the Gospel. For the early Church, martyrdom was a supreme demonstration of Christian love. And while Christians believe that they will enter heaven, they don’t follow Christ because of the rewards of heaven, but because they believe that their beliefs are right and just.

  15. Rich Says:

    And yet you spend your time bashing atheism, not Islam.

    Oh right, we wont come to your house and blow ourselves up.

  16. beastrabban Says:

    No, Rich – I criticise atheism because I believe it is wrong, and it makes claims about the nature of Christianity that I, as a Christian, wish to refute, and secular prejudice towards Christianity is more prevalent in Britain than Muslim hostility. I don’t criticise atheism because atheism doesn’t in the West doesn’t have suicide bombers.

  17. Rich Says:

    Er, the Muslims make claims about Christianity, your place in the afterlife what should happen to those who don’t convert. Christianity makes some claims as well, although I’m sure I must be misreading the bible as always, eh?

    It feels like some pact of the deluded. You might not have the one-true imaginary friend, but at least you’ve got one…

    I don’t break the “no god before me”commandment. Muslims do.

  18. beastrabban Says:

    Rich – yes, Muslims do make claims about Christianity, and as a Christian, I don’t accept them. And no, there is no ‘pact of the deluded’ going on here, except that atheism makes deeper and mroe questionable truth claims regarding the nature of the universe than Islam. In Islam there is spiritual dimension to the cosmos, and humans are not merely the products of the blind process of mindless evolution, but creatures with an intrinsic dignity. Atheism denies this reality. As for not breaking the ‘no God before me’ commandment, clearly you don’t. Muslims don’t see themselves as doing that either. For them, Allah is God, the God of the ahl al-Kitab the Peoples of the Book – Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians. Stating that atheists don’t break the first commandment is irrelevant – they don’t believe in God at all, which is completely counter to the Bible and theistic religion, so it’s immaterial which commandment they violate.

  19. Rich Says:

    Atheism’s truth claims are by-and-large “we don’t know” – please give me a more honest viewpoint. Spiritual is a bit of a fuzzy term. Deep emotional feelings? I don’t doubt this. Angels and demons? *points and laughs*.

    Ah, but Muslims break *one more* commandment than me (in your opinion), so why not direct your efforts at them? I’d suggest the more commandments you break, the more help you need.

  20. beastrabban Says:

    Atheism’s truth claims are by-and-large “we don’t know” – please give me a more honest viewpoint. No, ‘we don’t know’ is agnosticism, and your comment is negated by ‘please give me a more honest viewpoint.’ This assumes that you know that the one being advanced is dishonest. So, even by your confused statement, atheism involves making the claim that God does not exist.

    Angels and demons? *points and laughs*. If you confess that you don’t know if God exists or not, then why should angels or demons be problematic? Again, your agnosticism actually betrays a level of certainty that you deny exists in atheism.

    Ah, but Muslims break *one more* commandment than me (in your opinion), so why not direct your efforts at them? I’d suggest the more commandments you break, the more help you need.

    No, I didn’t say they broke one more commandment than you. I said they broke a different commandment. And as I said, I’m not interested in attacking Islam. I am interested, however, in attacking atheism which makes direct truth-claims about Christianity in the West, and has a level of support that Islam does not.

  21. Ilíon Says:

    BR,
    You’re a better man than I (I don’t have the patience, nor do I partiticularly want it for myself, much as I admire that you have it, to be patient with this sort of continuous intellectual dishonesty).

  22. beastrabban Says:

    Thanks, Ilion, though it’s probably not patience so much as just a dogged desire to have the last word.

  23. Rich Says:

    Again, (ag)nosticism addresses the epistemological question. You can be an agnostic theist. lots are.

    You misread my comment, although I apologize for the ambiguity. I am suggesting ‘don’t know’ is honest, if you don’t!

    Angels and demons are possible, just very unlikely IMHO based on the zero positive evidence for their existence.

    Ah, pick-and-choose evangelism!

  24. beastrabban Says:

    Rich, let’s take your comments.

    Again, (ag)nosticism addresses the epistemological question. You can be an agnostic theist. lots are.

    It’s also a distinct theological position in its own right, and is increasingly defining itself against atheism. John Humphrey’s In God We Doubt does this, as does a recent book by Mark Vernon.

    Angels and demons are possible, just very unlikely IMHO based on the zero positive evidence for their existence. No, there’s a lot of evidence for them, including research by non-christian parapsychologists.

    Ah, pick-and-choose evangelism! Sorry, you’ve lost me there! This is a non-sequitur, from what I can see.

    Also, I’ve deleted your last commented as it wasn’t any kind of reply, just abuse. You could have replied to him without the insult, for example by challenging the statement about ‘intellectual dishonesty’. You didn’t, however.

  25. Rich Says:

    “Also, I’ve deleted your last commented as it wasn’t any kind of reply, just abuse.” – it was a justified observation.

    Let’s see your evidence, chief. Link me up, please!

    All atheists are agnostic, silly-billy. Can’t prove a negative. Some may self identify as “gnostic atheist”, but I don’t think they’ve thought it through:

    decent read:

    http://bruceraverant.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-gnostic-atheism-bothers-me.html

    Wrt “pick-and-choose evangelism” you’ve targeted us smart and handsome atheists but not those Muslim types. Lucky us?

  26. beastrabban Says:

    it was a justified observation.

    No, it was just abuse. As I’ve said, plenty of people praise others of the same view for tackling an opponent in a debate. This doesn’t necessarily constitute sycophancy, nor does it warrant using a vulgarism like ‘brown-nosing’.

    All atheists are agnostic, silly-billy. Can’t prove a negative. Some may self identify as “gnostic atheist”, but I don’t think they’ve thought it through:

    Nope – regardless of the philosophical issue of not proving a negative, they still believe they can say with certainty that there isn’t a God, however it’s hedged around with philosophical issues.

    Wrt “pick-and-choose evangelism” you’ve targeted us smart and handsome atheists but not those Muslim types. Lucky us?

    ‘Smart and handsome atheists’? Well, in your imaginations, may be. But that phrase is telling. Christians and other people of faith don’t pretend to be more intelligent or beautiful than anyone else. Indeed, Christianity says that Christ came for the ‘wretched of the earth’. But your statement that atheists are ‘smart and handsome’ clearly speaks of a need for atheists to feel they are clever and beautiful, more so than anyone else. It’s just narcissism, covering up a threadbare philosophy beneath.

    As for ‘pick and choose’ evangelism, well, I notice that you’re here, amongst Christians, trying to spread atheism and not on a Muslim website. Is it because, as a rule, Christians don’t go suicide-bombing? When was the last time you heard your local Anglican vicar demanding a holy war against the infidel? Clearly, Rich, you’ve got your own set of double standards.

    And as I said, I’m not interested in attacking Islam for the reasons I stated. And the fact that you’re spending so much time on this issue suggests to me that it’s a diversionary tactic to get away from some of the real issues.

  27. Ilíon Says:

    … that it’s a diversionary tactic to get away from some of the real issues.

    Bingo!

  28. Rich Says:

    “they still believe they can say with certainty ”

    do you see the word believe in what you’ve written?

    I rest my case.

    “Smart and handsome” was *very* tongue in cheek. I’m not sure what to make of the reaction, I’ll let readers make up their own minds. *Big Cyberhug* just in case.

    I see you advance Tu quoque. Duly noted.

    Ilion – don’t let me be diverted any longer. Bust out that proof of god, sunshine!

  29. Ilíon Says:

    Don’t you think that “Duly noted” is one of the more silly tropes (no matter who it is that is duly noting)?

  30. Rich Says:

    Let’s look at the content of your last three posts, Ilion:

    A back-pat, another back-pat and an unrelated observation. Are you BR’s cheerleader. I’d still love to see your proof of god, but it is unlikely as you have a history of making claims in the Internet and not substantiating them.

  31. Ilíon Says:

    But, Rich, you are (as we both well know) deliberately making false statements about me.

  32. M Says:

    Note how Rich only responds to the most trivial of commentary. Beast and others will write two pages of responses and Rich will only tackle 2 sentences.

    It’s rather telling of a troll.

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