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Do un-beliefs contribute to our belief systems? - last commented 08 August 2011 10:39 AM

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Go to: Should Young Earth Creationists be Allowed to be Doctors?

lswanson's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by lswanson

Evolution explains why so many humans have back problems: we evolved to walk on four legs, and relatively recently we began walking on two legs. However, natural selection hasn't changed the "design." Isn't that understanding important for an orthopedist?

Interesting that you would use that example, when it is a really good example of how ideas on evolution have hindered medical science and practice. Take, for example, Richard Porter - Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 1990–95. He pointed out that evolutionary theory can be unproductive for research:

‘For example, the curve of the lumbar spine towards the front—the lordosis—was thought by evolutionists to be a problem, the result of man having recently adopted an upright position. So, some researchers blamed back pain on this, saying the spine had not yet evolved satisfactorily. If therapists have the wrong starting assumption, then it’s not surprising that treatments for lordosis are unhelpful. If a spine fracture causes a lumbar kyphosis (curvature in the opposite direction), that spine is significantly weakened.’

He added that the creationist perspective has always been foundational to his research:

‘I start from quite a different position. From my understanding of human anatomy and physiology and my understanding of God, I say that the form of God’s creation always matches its function. So you can be sure that the form of the spine is perfectly designed for its function. God has made a wonderful spine. If you start with that premise, it gives you a head start when trying to understand the mechanism of the spine.

‘When you start to examine the biomechanics of the curved spine, asking why it’s that shape, and what’s good about it, you find that the arch of the spine has a beautiful purpose. Like the arch of a bridge, it adds strength. Because of that arch in the lumbar spine, a person with a lumbar lordosis can lift proportionally more weight than a gorilla with its kyphotic (opposite curvature) spine! So it’s not surprising that treating back pain with postures and exercises that restore the lordosis works exceedingly well.’

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 05:31:40 UTC | #542362

Go to: [UPDATE 19-OCT] Morals Without God?

lswanson's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by lswanson

Comment 10 by flipingsweet778:

There is a simple rational rule to live by, that originates from empathy. Treat others how you would like to be treated. In my opinion nothing is immoral as long as it does not negatively affect another human being in an obvious fashion.

You have highlighted the problem with "naturalistic morality" - key words: "In MY opinion." Likely, you are of sound mind and judgement, and your opinion of what is right and wrong might line up pretty closely with what a deontologist claims is right and wrong. What about me? What if I'm a schmuck? What if my opinion differs? What if I think it's ok to rape and pillage your house and neighbourhood? What if I even think it's GOOD for you and your neighbours? Does your opinion matter more than mine? How do you know?

At the same time you have made a claim of absolute morality - an act that negatively affects another human being in an obvious fashion is wrong. How do you know?

If I can use an example, what if someone wants to take my children away to educate them because in their opinion, my teaching them about God, creation and the Bible is abusive? How do you measure "negative effects"? Is the negative effect of them being removed from their parents who love, nurture and care for them balanced out by the "enlightenment" that they will ultimately receive?

So the means of judging him would be to see that he has negatively affected the life of another human being. We ourselves would not like to be affected in the same matter so we view his act as bad.

There is a huge chasm between saying that something I did made you feel bad (or hurt you, even) and saying that now I must pay the price for what I did. I can't see any justification for punishment for crime in a naturalistic viewpoint. I see how one can theorise, in naturalistic terms, how social constraints and punishments might have arisen. But to say that crimes ought to be punished is an entirely different matter, and one that I have yet to see verified within the framework of a naturalistic morality. Anybody?

I agree with you

Tue, 19 Oct 2010 06:44:15 UTC | #535398

Go to: [UPDATE 19-OCT] Morals Without God?

lswanson's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by lswanson

Interesting article.

There is a common insinuation in these threads on morality, which itself is interesting: I am moral; I don’t believe in God; I don’t need God to be moral; therefore, God does not exist. This fails to acknowledge that if there is a God who created you as a moral being, regardless of whether or not you believe in Him, you are going to be able to execute “good” or “moral” behaviour.

Frans de Waal makes a good point: morality is not just about sentiments derived from an act – it’s about the justification, monitoring and punishment that go along with behaviour. The theist’s claim is not that an atheist is incapable of behaving morally. It’s that without God, there is no ultimate basis for claiming that an action is truly “good” or “bad” (as differentiated from how an action makes one feel), and no grounds for judging, monitoring or punishing. In other words (if I can put it as a question), no, the average atheist may not have an inclination to go and rape his neighbour, but if he does, what are the grounds for judging and punishing him?

Tue, 19 Oct 2010 05:22:03 UTC | #535388

Go to: Where do atheist morals come from?

lswanson's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by lswanson

The question in the OP is a little hazy - are you asking where the reader derives his/her personal morals from? Or are you asking, more generally, what an atheist believes is the ultimate source of human morality? Using an atheistic framework, there are no absolutes about what is right or wrong, good or bad. We are left only with sensations regarding what looks, sounds, tastes, feels or smells good/bad to determine what is right/wrong. Some here have claimed empathy to be the source of their morality. I would agree that empathy is a wonderful human sensation and a tremendous motive for helping others. But, again, using a naturalistic/materialistic worldview, one cannot claim absolute goodness about empathy nor absolute goodness about any actions that might arise from empathy. Nor can one condemn an individual who lacks empathy or fails to carry out any of these perceived "good" actions. An absolute morality can only come from outside of nature which is why any claims about absolute morality necessitate the existence of a Creator.

Tue, 28 Sep 2010 06:51:33 UTC | #526044

Go to: Does god have a monopoly on hope?

lswanson's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by lswanson

WOLFE117, I wonder if his point was that if you have ever hoped to "make it through alive" you must believe in God, because making it through alive will at times be beyond your control. Is he challenging you to consider what your hope is in when you are hoping to make it through alive? Hope is having the confidence that something will happen/be avoided/be achieved before it is yet seen. In your case, as a soldier in a war zone, your hope is the confidence that you will survive your time there. So in what do you put this confidence? Is it in yourself - that you will do all the right things that would promote your chances of survival & avoid making mistakes that would hinder the same? You would know better than most here that even this does not ensure survival in a war zone. Is it in the random sequence of events of a given day or situation (that they would favour your survival)? Confidence in random events is quite the contradiction of terms. I would suggest that what your comrade has suggested is that genuine hope can only be confidence in the God who made us, loves us, who goes before us, walks beside us and never leaves us. Any other sort of "hope" is counterfeit and nothing more than wishful thinking.

You are courageous to have served as you have.

Wed, 22 Sep 2010 06:51:25 UTC | #523175

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