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Go to: "In Your Image" (sex columnist Dan Savage's response to a reader's letter)

phatbat's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by phatbat

Comment 48 by BanJoIvie

Great post - textbook forensic dissection of a very confused position.

I see he hasn't admitted defeat but can't be bothered to point out your error.

Thu, 21 Oct 2010 17:56:46 UTC | #536875

Go to: Appearance and reality

phatbat's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by phatbat

Comment 67 by Tony123

You are being pedantic.

Evolved matter in the form of sentient species has the potential to destroy itself and other, less evolved, matter. In time a sentient species will gain the ability to destroy itself, its entire biosphere, even its home planet and who knows, maybe its entire star system. If the universe is teeming with sentient races, then the potential for the self destruction of evolved matter in the cosmos is vast.

If the behaviour of sentient species is simply blind nature working through electrical pulses and chemical changes within the brain, how would we account for their capability to destroy on such a vast scale? Why would blind nature motivate sentient species to acquire that capability? And once it is acquired, why would blind nature motivate them to use it, since it would result in the premature destruction of what nature had painstakingly constructed?

How can nature be against nature, which would be the case if natural laws determined the behaviour of sentient species leading them to acquire vast destructive power and possibly use it? It doesn't make sense; it is absurd. The only way it would make sense is if sentient species were not influenced by the operation of natural laws within the brain, but instead had the ability to make decisions independent of those laws.

Being independent of natural laws, the decision to acquire vast destructive power and possibly use it to the great detriment of nature would no longer be a contradiction of the operation of nature within the universe. In making that decision sentient species would still be acting against nature, but their motivation for doing so would not come from nature itself. Instead it would come from an altogether different source - their free will.

What on earth makes you think that if nature was without agency it would be in a position to either care or try to avoid the destruction of species, solar systems or any other particular unit of matter?

Where do you think this planning and intention would happen?

Do you even realise what you are saying?

Thu, 30 Sep 2010 22:11:54 UTC | #527422

Go to: The "Atheist" fallacy (one god more than you)

phatbat's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by phatbat


Both are equally likely, and we have no evidence to favour one over the other. Whether you believe in one or the other is simply a matter of preference and nothing more.

Except for the fact that we know the universe exists but we have no evidence or even a descrpition of this postulated god thing that you've decided to just invent, and then present in a false dichotomy with the lack of belief in gods.

So we have a very good reason not to beleive in this indefined entity.

Fri, 17 Sep 2010 12:48:05 UTC | #519806

Go to: Christopher Hitchens debates Berlinski

phatbat's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by phatbat

Comment 38 by foundationist

At the risk of repeating myself: Nazism was clearly not an atheist-movement. It was clearly not a religious movement.

Agreed, it was a Nazi movement.

Some theists (Most of those I know wouldn't do this) have started a petty game.

You can call it a game if you want, but what they certainly have done is make some statements about the Nazi regime which are either true or false. It is neither silly, nor pointless to counter those unfounded statements with actual evidence that they are wrong.

Maybe it is right and good not to let them get away with it.


But to try and turn Nazism - or Stalinism for that matter - into a religion is just as petty and factually wrong.

No Nazism wasn't a religion, but who said it was? Why are you trying to slightly adjust/exaggerate what is being said by people on this side of the issue?

Most people here aren't in any doubt that it is the unquestioning acceptance of silly ideologies that create the dangerous in-group/out-group thinking that causes so much harm in the world. It is just that silly ideologies like Nazism and racism no longer have social acceptance and respect among the majority of people today. Religions on the other hand do.

But none of this is relevant to whether it is worthwhile countering factually wrong statements about Nazism and communism.

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 20:36:57 UTC | #514136

Go to: Christopher Hitchens debates Berlinski

phatbat's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by phatbat

Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

If you do a search for the word Darwin in the entire text of Mein Kampf, you will not find it. Not one single, solitary mention. Plenty of mentions of God, however.


Indeed and when he does talk about evolution it seems to be to render himself indistinguishable from a creationist, who finds evolution implausable:

"The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. i, ch. xi "

For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x

From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump , as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today. - Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier)

And here's how the Nazi Party communicated with their public:

"Finally, a word to those who reject our racial policy as "unchristian." God has chosen to create humanity in the form of various races, as he has done in all of the rest of nature. Those who ignore race and its laws are not acting in a Christian manner, but rather we claim to be following the will of God, who has created the various racial types of this world so that each may maintain the greatest possible racial purity that will enable to develop its particular strengths."


"To those who claim that we act in an unchristian way, sinning against the will of God, we reply that we are convinced that we are acting consistent with the will of the creator when we prevent unhealthy life from being propagated, saving children and their children from new and enormous misery. The creator himself established the laws of life, which harshly and brutally let all that is unworthy of life to perish to make room for the strong and healthy to whom the future belongs. This is necessary for the preservation and development of all that lives on this earth"

From a Nazi educational book called Faith and Action

And here is an excerpt from a speech by Dr. Gerhard Wagner - at the Nuremberg Nazi Party Rally in 1936:

We can only say to these learned critics that our genetic and racial thinking stems in the end not from our scientific, but rather from our National Socialist convictions, and that it was not learned scientists, but rather our F├╝hrer Adolf Hitler, and he alone, who made genetic and racial thinking the center of our National Socialist worldview and the foundation of the rebuilding of our people's state. The doctrines of blood and race are not first of all an important and interesting piece of biological science to us, but rather above all else a political-ideological attitude that fundamentally determines our attitudes to things and to the questions of life.

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 19:05:02 UTC | #514078

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