Krauss on God and Newtown

Several readers have sent me this (thanks!), so perhaps you’re all aware of it already. But if you’re not, do read Lawrence Krauss’s CNN Opinion piece on the pervasiveness of religion after the Newtown school massacre, “Why must the nation grieve with God?” I was appalled at the official faithfest that followed the killings, with one person after another, including Obama, trying to console the grieving by assuring everyone that the murdered children were in heaven. Even Obama, whose talk was otherwise very good, had to end with these words:

“’Let the little children come to me,’ Jesus said, ‘and do not hinder them – for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’

“Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.

“God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.

“May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort. And may He bless and watch over this community, and the United States of America.”

We all know that the little children are not at “home,” nor with Jesus (and were all the children Christians?), and I deplore the ritual prayer for God to bless the U.S.

Krauss’s call for reason was something that badly needed to be said, with few people bold enough to say it.

I swear that as time passes, Krauss gets more and more “strident,” as the accommodationists put it. He once seemed mild, almost conciliatory, on faith and science, but that all ended with his book, A Universe from Nothing, which spent a lot of time going after theologians (in fact,  too much for even my taste).  Krauss’s naturalism has become uncompromising now, and is eloquently shown by this timely piece. A few excerpts:

But why must the nation grieve with God? After Newtown, a memorial service was held in which 10 clergy and Obama offered Hebrew, Christian and Muslim prayers, with the president stating: ” ‘Let the little children come to me,’ Jesus said, ‘and do not hinder them. For such belongs to the kingdom of Heaven.’ God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on.”

Why must it be a natural expectation that any such national tragedy will be accompanied by prayers, including from the president, to at least one version of the very God, who apparently in his infinite wisdom, decided to call 20 children between the age of 6 and 7 home by having them slaughtered by a deranged gunman in a school that one hopes should have been a place of nourishment, warmth and growth?

We are told the Lord works in mysterious ways but, for many people, to suggest there might be an intelligent deity who could rationally act in such a fashion and that that deity is worth praying to and thanking for “calling them home” seems beyond the pale.

. . . But the question that needs to be asked is why, as a nation, do we have to institutionalize the notion that religion must play a central role at such times, with the president as the clergyman-in-chief?

. . .Why does television automatically turn to clergy for advice on how to meet our needs, spiritual or otherwise?

Later on television, I saw media Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who used to claim to be the personal spiritual guide of Michael Jackson, until that presumably became less sellable. I also once had the displeasure of debating him on the subject of evolution, which he essentially rejects, offering admonition to those who, with very good reason, may question a God who could willingly allow the slaughter of children. I would argue that times like these are very good times to question your faith in deities. . .

If instead of automatically assuming that prayers to a deity callous enough to allow this sickness, or worse, to encourage it out of divine retribution, are what families in grief need from their president and from the media, that we focused on rational grief counseling and community support, including better mental health care combined with sensible gun control, we as a society might ultimately act more effectively to stop this madness.

Indeed.  I had a conversation last night with a friend, and we discussed the problem of evil. Although she questions the existence of God, she maintained that the free-will explanation for evils (i.e., “God gave humans free will, and with that came the possibility that they would do immoral deeds”) was a good one.  But of course that defense cannot apply in the case of sufferings not caused by human action, including the sufferings of children with cancer and the mass slaughter of people by tsunamis and earthquakes.

There are 6402 comments, a good cross-section of American conversation on faith.  And it’s heartening that there are many nonbelievers among those commenting (of course, this is CNN).  Here’s one exchange:

Picture 5

94 Comments

  1. Posted December 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    The sons of israel in the good book said the same prayer and god din’t hear them and they were closer to the creator if one existed than we can claim, why does the media, the president and the general population think god is going to stop playing dice and attend to their problems?

  2. Matt G
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I am usually very pleased with the number of nonbelievers who comment on articles about religion. It may not be representative of the US, but it is encouraging.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      “Atheists own the internet.” ;)

      • gravelinspector
        Posted December 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet at least the price of a good glass of fine whiskey that the internet was largely designed and constructed by atheists and remains largely maintained by them. Certainly by comparison to the general population.

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          “I rejected [Christianity] just after being ‘confirmed’ and told how essential it was to believe in all kinds of unbelievable things.”

          Tim Berners-Lee 1998

          • gravelinspector
            Posted December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            Useful … but TB-L invented his Hypertext Transfer Protocol (and associated implementation of a mark-up language) well over a decade after the main structures that make up the Internet (IP, DNS, TCP, Telnet, FTP, SMTP …) were in place and (relatively) solid. More abbreviated, or more secure versions of some of these protocols are now available (e.g. there is a change from IP version 4 to IP version 6 in progress at the moment) but that shouldn’t need to be visible to end users.
            TB-L’s invention was intended to act as a substitute and “wrapper” for a variety of other protocols such as Veronica, Gopher, FTP and Archie, bringing them into one coherent user interface.
            “WWW” != “Internet” ; I was having to set up an FTP service for a client last week. My colleague was freaked out that I could interface with it by typing things into a screen that looked like a Hollywood hackers interface when he knew that his computer had none of these tools on it because it was brand-spanking new. Children!
            That TB-L de-confirmed so soon after his “confirmation” suggests that someone (his priest, his parents, whoever) wasn’t really paying much attention to what he actually believed, while hammering liturgy into his head. Or there was some other political reason for doing it (to secure entry to a school, perhaps?). If I were into biography … well TB-L might get my attention if it were the only book in the Ulan Batar Airport bookshop, but I’d read it after (say) Vint Cerf’s biog, because what Cerf is doing in inter-planetary networking is really bleeding-edge stuff. TB-L’s work, while important, is only really about the money-making aspects of computing. Cerf … different league.

  3. Veroxitatis
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes, and it’s all so one sided. I didn’t notice anyone praying for the “soul” of the murderer or comforting his brother.
    After the Falklands War the Bishop of London wanted to commemorate the dead Argentinian soldiers and have the Lord’s Prayer repeated in Spanish but Mrs. T simply refused to permit it.
    As Bob Dylan said – Did Judas Iscariot have God on his side.

  4. Diane G.
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I so hope others will write similar opinion pieces and further the conversation Krauss has so brilliantly started. If there were ever a moment to question the evil “logic” of the Bible, this is it!

  5. Posted December 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Christmas morning (while I celebrate it as a holiday I am certainly not religious – hey..I like the sparkles and pretty lights!) I couldn’t help but think of those families in Newton – I checked the news and saw some article about how the families were doing ok because they were a largely Christian community. What??? I am dumbfounded that people who had their babies brutally murdered could even possibly continue to not only believe in such a deity but even lavish praise upon it. In one sense I am glad they are not hurting as much as I would be in a similar situation (knowing that my baby is forever gone and not waiting for me in heaven- I am not saying that I AM hurting more for them, but in that context of the believer vs atheist they have hope where I would have none). But in another sense you would think if anything could make them question their god it would be this. That people in those communities are flooding the churches is beyond me. This God guy can do no wrong – even if it’s actively allowing a classroom of babies to be slaughtered. Well..he’s good at that baby killing bit anyway I guess.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      In my experience many believers simply will not think about it, even if you clearly describe the gross conflicts between a loving god and one who kills children by the dozen to inspire its flock to worship it. They will only think about it long enough to determine that you are an awful person for even hinting at any such thing.

      It is an automatic defensive response. They refuse to reason, or, rather, they never get past the defensive emotional reaction in order to be able to apply reason in the first place. This kind of reaction to criticism of strongly held beliefs that are central to a persons self image and their place in their society is not, of course, limited to religious believers. But religions are about the most concentrated amalgams of ridiculousness created by humans, and their believers use them as guides on how to behave. That so many of them can not be convinced to even reason about how their religion conflicts with what the typical human would consider to be reasonably decent behavior is both scary and tragic.

    • Marta
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      The only religious idea left that shreds me is the perceived comfort that believers get from their religion. Belief can’t comfort me, but it comforts others. I don’t have it in me to take this away from people who are suffering and grieving. Grief is profound and humbling. It makes you thin and brittle, and anything that allows a person to grab a robe out of that hole, I have to leave that alone.

      • Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        I think we can all sympathise with that. But, there’s always going to be something a bit patronising about propogating beliefs, just for their comfort value, and dangerous too if the state is complicit in it (Marx’s opiate). And who’s to say that atheists have more problems coping with the slings and arrows than believers do?

        • Marta
          Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          No, I don’t mean promulgating belief. Alleviation of pain and suffering, as important and necessary as this is, is not best accomplished by encouraging (especially where already absent) belief in stuff that isn’t there.

          But for people who already believe and who’ve been driven to their knees by grief, I think their religion mitigates their pain, and I’m willing to leave this alone. And aren’t we all?

          • Posted December 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            Yes, but I don’t think many people would advocate hunting down those with comforting delusions, wherever they might be hiding: It’s only when they engage on public forums and especially when they attach discriminatory beliefs that they wish other people to adhere to, that their religion becomes a problem.

            • Marta
              Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

              yes. Quite agreed.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    the free-will explanation for evils (i.e., “God gave humans free will, and with that came the possibility that they would do immoral deeds”)

    That is the reason the religious make a big deal over that. The only reason, that I can see. Sadly, it seems to make perfect sense to them.

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that is supposed to be God’s ultimate defence. Evil is inspired by Satan but humans don’t have to be fallen. We fell freely.

      Genesis is literally taken as true here for sophisticates and fundies alike.

      Actually there is psychological truth locked in to this story. The truth is the opposite to the free will bull. This murderer acted in accordance with his will, but his will was devilish in its effect upon others.

      Nobody can be other than what their genes and their circumstances make them be. Science knows this. Eve and Adam were tempted because they didn’t know what the result of disobediance would be until they tried it. Like children. They found out that in their case it wasn’t worth it. Hard lesson. What hard lessons can do is lead to evil will or good will depending on the totality of gene-environment interaction. Depending on the balance of good and bad lessons – as perceived by the individual – people become good or bad. They do or don’t fit in to greater or lesser degrees with others.

    • papalinton
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:51 am | Permalink

      The ‘free will’ maneuver is the christian get-out-of-jail card. It is a convenient strategy for denying personal responsibility for one’s own actions, externalizes the blame and duck-shoves any criticism of their nonsensical and utterly bankrupt belief system into the compartmentalized sector of their brain reserved for mitigating cognitive dissonance.

      • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:40 am | Permalink

        The problem, as I’ve posed it to rudely evangelizing Christians, is that God created Free Will, God created Man, God created Satan, and so, God created Evil. He’s responsible for it all. He can’t be Creator of All and not be responsible for all he created.
        That gets them talking in circles…
        I wonder what they do, when they get home and sleep on it…

  7. Paul S
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Not to harp on the god given free-will thing, but if your claim is that god doesn’t interfere with free-will and god gave us all free-will, doesn’t that mean that god doesn’t interfere, ever. That means no instructions to Moses, no baby making with Mary, no Jesus, no prophets getting instructions etc. Maybe I’m being too simplistic?

    • Matt G
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      If you accept that miracles occur (and they do believe this) then you can ask why god didn’t intervene. We’re the children not deserving of a miracle?

      • Leigh Jackson
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        This is where God gets all mysterious.

        • freegrazer
          Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          We are the children not deserving of a miracle? If you say so. I don’t really care, I make typing and grammar errors all the time.

          • Matt G
            Posted December 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Oops! Either I mistyped, or my iPad’s autocorrect function is trying to embarrass me again. I haz good grammarz!

  8. Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, “Bob Bales” was the name of a talk.origins creationist, way back about 20 years ago. I wonder if it’s the same guy?

  9. Sophy
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Christmas time with its strong emphasis on ‘family’ can be incredibly difficult for those whose family is broken or damaged. I would imagine that a lot of those going to church are doing for the sake of being with a supportive community more than for a belief in god.

    • Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      I think it’s more for psychological regression to childhood, some moment in time when they felt safe and protected. Then, even if momentarily, they can wrap their brains in protective covers, like psychollgical bandages, under protection of which healing can begin to occur. Otherwise, the constant bombardments of life can feel like punches to an already bruised self, exaggerated by the previous injury/injuries…

      When we, as atheists, step back and allow such behavior, for others or even for ourselves, it is a good thing. As healing progresses, questions and challenges to those methods learned in childhood can be more safely and sanely addressed and, perhaps, effectively replaced with better coping mechanisms.

      • Chuck
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

        This is an insightful point.

  10. Al Hiebert
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The best answer I know to Krauss’ “Why…God?” is the same as the answer to why God permitted tens of thousands of young children (besides older children and adults) to be incinerated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 by the nuclear bombs Americans dropped on them: God gave free will to all the perpetrators involved in each massacre. Clearly ours is a very imperfect world due to human sin.

    Many metaphysical naturalists argue that this fails to address the ~230,000 that perished in the Dec 26, 2004 tsunami. That complaint is based in their failure to understand the curse on nature brought on by human sin. Of course the notion of human sin makes no sense on the basis of metaphysical naturalism, nor does the notion of a curse on nature brought on by human sin. Clearly ours is a very imperfect world due to human sin.

    God’s critics always demand that He stop the free will of others but permit their own – a double standard.

    Does naturalistic evolution provide a better answer? Millions of educated and intelligent Americans think not. More than a century of tax-based education promoting naturalistic evolution has not convinced millions of educated and intelligent Americans that metaphysical naturalism is a better answer.

    Metaphysical naturalism offers no hope for ultimate justice. Theism does offer hope for ultimate justice. Why should anyone regard the former as somehow more noble?

    • Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I think you forgot “quantum” in there somewhere.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Okay, Mr Hiebert, since you’re a theist I will ask you the question I require all theists to answer: why are you so certain that God exists, and also that your faith, as opposed to others (I presume you’re not Muslim or Hindu) is correct?

      And where on earth did you get the idea that there was a curse on NATURE brought on by human sin? How did that create plate tectonics, which presumably didn’t exist before the fall?

      There is nothing in Scripture that says that Nature became imperfect because of human sin. You are, in fact, just making that stuff up.

      Now, please give us your evidence for God.

      • Al Hiebert
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Let me attempt a concise case for belief in God, though the details fill books.
        1. Origin of the cosmos
        a. If something exists now (and it does), then something must have existed from eternity; alternate version: Whatever begins to exist must have a cause (a common Principle of Intelligibility – spontaneous generation is an unwarranted untenable myth);
        b. Our cosmos began to exist some 13.8 billion years ago (all relevant data indicate this);
        c. Therefore our cosmos must have a cause; call that a Creator.
        2. Fine-tuning of the cosmos
        a. Our cosmos evidences amazing constants & other characteristics indicating purposeful design (all relevant data indicate this);
        b. Purposeful design imply intelligence in the Creator of our cosmos (unintelligent matter and energy cannot generate meaningful patterns).
        3. Moral dimensions of the cosmos
        a. Our cosmos evidences persons who appeal to objective moral judgments about some really right and really wrong choices (e.g., all moral outcries over the recent Newtown, CT massacre indicate this);
        b. Appeals to objective moral judgments imply moral intelligence in the Creator of our cosmos (unintelligent non-moral matter and energy cannot generate objective moral judgments).
        4. Historical evidences re Jesus of Nazareth
        a. Fair assessments of the NT documents evidence that they are decent credible accounts of events re Jesus of Nazareth, with corroborating accounts from ~42 non-biblical historical sources (e.g., far more documentary evidences indicate this than documentary evidences for any other person prior to ~1500AD);
        b. The vast majority of professional historians with special competence re events in Palestine around the time of Jesus of Nazareth agree that: 1) he was crucified near Jerusalem by the Romans about 30AD, 2) three days after his burial, his tomb was empty; 3) a few weeks later his formerly terrified disciples boldly reported in Jerusalem that they had repeatedly seen, heard & touched him alive and that these empirical observations convinced them that he was our Creator incarnate as he claimed & that his death provided a just atonement for human guilt for all who would accept that atonement.
        c. Since no other worldview offers such a public empirical warrant for a demonstration of the Creator God of our cosmos, those others need to be rejected and this one accepted as in fact true. As an inductive cumulative empirical warrant, this case shares all the limitations of other inductive cumulative empirical warrants, though such limitations need not imply unwarranted lack of confidence.
        5. Atheism is also a belief system with a need to provide evidences that it is in fact true. Without omniscience this is humanly impossible to do, given that no atheist can provide adequate warrants for what a Creator God would need to be like (were one to exist); how, where & when a Creator God would need to reveal himself; what are the limits of human knowing a Creator God who chose for any reason to reveal himself or not to do so; etc. Agnosticism seems to be self-contradictory in that re God it claims implicitly to know this: that knowledge of God is humanly impossible. Skepticism is a stable non-theist option with a moral imperative to pursue possible knowledge of God in case such is available & may have significant personal consequences.
        Is this helpful?

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          Oh, wow, there’s not enough popcorn in the world for this!

          • Leigh Jackson
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            Perfect!

        • Posted December 28, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

          Old chestnuts that have been handily refuted, every one. Do get out a bit and read something more than your own sude’s propaganda.

          Let me just address 5. Atheism is not an assertion that needs proving. It is the null hypothesis. I’ll consider the alternative hypothesis just as soon as positive, reliable evidence is produced – and the bible ain’t positive, reliable evidence. Neither are sloppy, weak logical arguments about prime movers or contingent/non-contingent whatsits or arguments from design. Don’t you know what Darwin showed about the argument from design?

        • Mattapult
          Posted December 29, 2012 at 12:22 am | Permalink

          re 2a: the Bible does not indicate 13.8 billion years since the beginning of creation. Or is that not relevant data?

        • Graham Martin-Royle
          Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:30 am | Permalink

          c. Therefore our cosmos must have a cause; call that a Creator.

          And what created the creator?

          2. Fine-tuning of the cosmos

          Not very good tuning considering that the vast majority of the universe is hostile to life.

          b. Appeals to objective moral judgments imply moral intelligence in the Creator of our cosmos

          First off is the unwarranted assumption of a creator, second is the assumption of objective morality.

          4. Historical evidences re Jesus of Nazareth

          There is pretty much none.

          5. Atheism is also a belief system

          Atheism is a non-belief in the existence of gods.

          Such a long post for such a comprehensive fail.

          • Al Hiebert
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            To Graham Martin-Royle:
            1. “And what created the creator?” I referred to a creator who did not have a beginning, not to one who did. If something is now, then something must be from all eternity (if spontaneous generation is an unwarranted myth). Your common atheist reply misses this point.
            2. The universe is not as fine-tuned as you would prefer. So what? Who might do better & by whatever criteria of “better” & how might these criteria be established? The cosmic fine-tuning is stunningly amazing within very narrow ranges of options on too many dimensions. This requires explanation. “Lucky accident” is not a scientific explanation.
            3.If there is no objective morality, then why all the outrage over the Newtown massacre? So Adam Lanza (Ted Bundy, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.) had a different morality than the rest of us. Perhaps natural selection has failed us here. Even Obama’s speech & prayer can fit in here. Can we deal with that? That’s the real world. Dawkins suggests it’s that’s a more noble option.
            4.Reading the history of Jesus of Nazareth involves many choices (i.e., acts of will). You are free to dismiss all the data that you wish, but you & I can do the same concerning every other person or event, including the Newtown massacre. It’s really not particularly rational to do so.
            5. “Atheism is a non-belief in the existence of gods.” Sorry, the late Christopher Hitchens’ rhetoric may impress some, not others. Atheism really is actually a belief in the real non-existence of gods of every sort,time & place; a belief that all evidences of a creator of the cosmos we know & of a creator of first life are invalid; a belief that all religions are unwarranted, false and now to be dismissed as “dangerous,” etc.
            Can you see how these responses to my post fail?

            • Mattapult
              Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

              re 1: you are trying to answer the question, “why is there something rather than nothing?” If god is a something rather than a nothing, you need to explain where he came from. You have the added burden of explaining how he acquired all the other impossible attributes, like infinite wisdom, infinite love, omniscience, omnipotence, the ability to create nearly a trillion galaxies, did he have a “garage” to put them all in? And, if he has been around for eternity, how long did he wait to create the universe? If he waited a trillion years, a trillion times over, he still hasn’t come to close to waiting since the beginning of eternity.

            • Mattapult
              Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

              As for fine tuning, I’d like to hear your summary of which parameters are fine tuned, and what effects their unbalancing would cause.

              I have a decent understanding of fine-tuning and admit some parameters are quite fine indeed; and I admit there are unanswered questions. But every fine-tuning-proves-god argument I’ve read has been plagued by misrepresentations, misunderstandings and quote mining. Is your arguement any better?

            • Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

              As to last point – you can’t mandate what we believe or don’t believe! For most of us atheism is technically strong agnosticism as explained by Dawkins in the God Delusion: i.e. that gods have as little evidence as fairies or unicorns.

              In the case of the Christian (and similar) gods one can take a stronger atheistic position, since, for instance there is no coherent answer to the problem of evil and god’s superpowers are incoherent.

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          Ok Mr Craig … errh Hiebert:

          1. Spaghetti monster, in any case no conceivable connection to Yahweh.
          2. Constants implied by deeper theories (e.g. inflation may explain flatness) / not constants i.e. values vary over universe.
          3. Morality isn’t absolute.
          4. Insufficient data (to say the least).
          5. Atheism not a belief system, it’s the absence of belief.

          Nothing new here…

          • Al Hiebert
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            To Roq Marish:

            1. Sorry to disappoint you, but I have argued as I do here since some time before Craig’s first publication.

            2. The Flying Spagheti Monster is clearly a mocking piece of fiction. Mocking does not constitute reason; it merely discredits the mocker as disrespectful of others to the amusement of his fans.

            3. Amazing cosmic constants imply intelligent intent, regardless of their other relationships.

            4. If morality is not objective, there is no stable ground for addressing social injustices like slavery, racism, human trafficking, or even irresponsible access to automatic weapons, etc. I agree that some moral norms are not absolute (e.g., some civil disobedience is moral where laws are immoral).

            5. Space limitations here don’t allow rehearsal of much data, so, yes, any data reported here will need to be insufficient.

            6. Sorry, Roq your belief that ”5. Atheism [is] not a belief system, it’s the absence of belief” is unwarranted. Though Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, et al urge this rhetoric, that does not make it true. It may impress some, not others. Atheism really is actually a belief in the real non-existence of gods of every sort,time & place; a belief that all evidences of a creator of the cosmos we know & of a creator of first life are invalid; a belief that all religions are unwarranted, false and now to be dismissed as “dangerous,” etc.

            Can you see how these responses to my post fail?

            • Posted December 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

              Amazing cosmic constants imply intelligent intent, regardless of their other relationships.

              Arguments from personal incredulity are especially pathetic. Just because you lack the intelligence nor imagination to comprehend something doesn’t mean that anybody else is going to take your explanation that your invisible friend did it.

              Sorry, Roq your belief that ”5. Atheism [is] not a belief system, it’s the absence of belief” is unwarranted.

              So, that must mean that Patrick Stewart hair is colorful and that he has a hobby of not collecting stamps.

              More to the point, it is not active disbelief in your favored gods that makes one an atheist, but a lack of belief in all gods that makes one an atheist.

              You know how utterly, laughably idiotic you think it would be for a modern urbanite bow down before the altar of some minor long-forgotten tribal god from the African savannah? How you dismiss Ra, the supreme Egyptian Sun god without a second thought? How you would be horrified should you learn that somebody wished to revive the cult of Quetzalcoatl?

              As an atheist, we share your disbelief in all those gods. The only difference is that we see your own gods as equally idiotic and bizarre.

              You see the Bible as some sort of great profundity, but the rest of the world sees it as a collection of third-rate faery tales, opening with a story about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry wizard; prominently featuring a talking plant (on fire!) that gives magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero; and concluding with a truly bizarre zombie snuff pr0n fantasy in which the antihero gets his kicks by ordering his thralls to fondle his intestines through his gaping chest wound.

              And, yes. I’m mocking you. But, whether you do it aloud or not, I have no doubt but that, at least in your thoughts, you similarly mock Hindu gods with all their dozens of arms and blue skin and giant phalluses and crazy antics and what-not. Be thankful we at least have the honesty to mock you to your face, rather than patronize you by patting you on the head and complimenting you for your skill at deluding yourself into acting like a fool as you prattle such painfully immature nonsense as Christianity.

              Cheers,

              b&

            • Posted December 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              Thanks Ben – I’ll just address Heiberts’s 4. morality:

              You are right – there isn’t a stable ground for addressing moral issues, we have to make do with Hamlet’s: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” and *think* what kind of society we wish to live in. For me, and many others now, that’s a compassionate, fair society that doesn’t depend on the ancient dogma of any religion – and certainly not the god of the old testament.

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          Al you must be taking as for a joyride, if you can know logical fallacies then you must be aware of all the rebuttals to the arguments you have just given unless you are being willfully ignorant.
          A thing that necessarily exists does not need a cause.
          your argument 1. what eliminates your god from having a beginning?

          • Chuck
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            He is simply parroting the leaders he thinks are smart (e.g. William Lane Craig). It is sophistry to protect his preferred superstition. And by that observation it is dishonest and immoral.

            • Al Hiebert
              Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

              Naturally atheists repeat arguments already expressed by other atheists (continually on this site & elsewhere); likewise theists repeat arguments already expressed by other theists. I fail to see any sophistry, dishonesty or immorality in such practices. Can you enlighten me?

          • Al Hiebert
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Sorry, Makagutu, I do not claim to “be aware of all the rebuttals to the arguments [I] have just given.” They continually arise in new formulations. Hence, I am not “being willfully ignorant” of any or of them all. Some rebuttals that I have read strike me to be wildly fallacious, others may have some rational merit in a certain worldview context, which may lack warrant. I do have other demands on my time.

            I agree that “A thing that necessarily exists does not need a cause.” If by this “thing” you mean a Creator, I would agree. If by this “thing” you mean our cosmos,I would disagree, since all empirical evidence indicates that it is not a “thing that necessarily exists,” — it came into existence some 13.8 billion years ago (i.e., it is a contingent, not a necessary being). No logically compelling deductive argument can identify our cosmos as a “thing that necessarily exists.”

            • Posted December 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

              Your notions of causality are millennia out of date, as poorly suited to the real world as Xeno’s Paradox is to studies of motion.

              Quantum events abound, and most emphatically are not the result of any form of causality, intelligent or otherwise. There is no cause for a particular nucleus to decay, for a particular virtual particle to manifest.

              And Krauss and Hawking have recently demonstrated that the Big Bang is the same type of spontaneous quantum fluctuation as we see in radioactive decay and the vacuum. The Big Bang simply was, the same way that a lump of pitchblende simply sets off a geiger counter.

              Search for Lawrence Krauss and “A Universe From Nothing” for details, especially including some excellent introductory-level lectures that Krauss has given.

              b&

            • Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              Actually, it was only our own, observable universe that came into existence some 13.8 billion years ago. The cosmos? We don’t yet know. But some hypotheses (e.g., eternal inflation) do without the need for any act of creation.

              /@

              • Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

                Hi Ant :). WL Craig likes to argue that Bord, Guth, Vilenkin’s paper (2003) shows that any process of eternal inflation must have had a beginning (i.e. can be eternal in the future, but not the past); although of course, he (Craig) doesn’t point out that eternal inflation might also solve fine tuning problems (cf Linde). In any case as Sean Carroll points out any bets on what might have happened before the inflationary process might have started are off, since we have no way of looking back that far without a theory of quantum gravity.

              • Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

                I must have missed the part where WLC got is doctorate in physics…

                /@

          • Al Hiebert
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            Sorry, Makagutu, I neglected to comment on your query: “your argument 1. what eliminates your god from having a beginning?”

            If something exist now, & if spontaneous generation is unwarranted myth, then something must exist eternally. Since our cosmos has clearly not exist eternally, if its creator also did not exist eternally, then we still have not arrived at that “something [that] must exist eternally” to account for the “something” that exists now. To account for the origin of our cosmos, parsimony suggests that its creator is the “something [that] must exist eternally.”

            Is this helpful?

            • Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

              Your creator is hardly parsimonious though is he? On the contrary he has every conceivable power and a son called Jesus. That’s what makes these cosmological arguments so utterly irrelevant to your religious claims.

              If you are going to take a leap of faith, just jump, none of these arguments are going to stop you falling on your fanny.

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Fair assessments of the NT documents evidence that they are decent credible accounts of events re Jesus of Nazareth, with corroborating accounts from ~42 non-biblical historical sources (e.g., far more documentary evidences indicate this than documentary evidences for any other person prior to ~1500AD)

          Oh, what bullshit.

          Pure, utter, unadulterated bullshit.

          For Jesus, even by the sorriest of Christian apologetics, there is nothing from the first half of the first century. Then we get that which is in the Bible, which is unabashedly purest fantasy, what with all the zombies and transmutation and levitation and necromancy and sorcery and what-not. Then we get the Pagans laughing at the idiot Christians and their wacky beliefs, and the Christians defending said wacky beliefs by equating each and every one of them with an equally wacky Pagan belief, all of it in excruciating detail that leaves no room for Jesus to have been anything other than a patchwork syncretic quilt of Pagan demigods. And, of course, there are entire libraries written before, during, and after the period in question by people who were there and didn’t notice a thing. Oh — and not a single sliver of physical or archaeological evidence, either.

          Compare that with Gaius Julius Caesar. You can buy for yourself a coin minted on his authority during his lifetime with his official portrait on it, and spend about as much for it as you do on a month’s rent / mortgage. There are busts and statues and monuments and commemorations and roads and canals and buildings and more all dated by multiple independent means to the right period, each of which bears his likeness or his name. He wrote his own biographical account of his conquest of what is today France (where’s Jesus’s autobiography?) and, if you do an archaeological dig at one of the places he describes, you’ll find the detritus of a Roman military encampment matching Caesar’s description. We have letters he wrote and that others wrote to him and that still others wrote mentioning him. And, oh-by-the-way, we’ve got far more historians writing of Caesar in the following generation and every generation ever since than ever wrote of Jesus.

          And we’ve got similar museums full of evidence for each of the other of the Twelve Caesars, and for Anthony and Cleopatra and for people before and after.

          “Best-evidenced figure from ancient history” my ass.

          b&

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          Ooh, goody.

          “The vast majority of professional historians with special competence re events in Palestine around the time of Jesus of Nazareth agree that: 1) he was crucified near Jerusalem by the Romans about 30AD,”
          -True.

          “2) three days after his burial, his tomb was
          empty;”
          -Almost certainly untrue. I’d have to see a good review of the various books on the Historical Jesus that have been published in the past twenty years to accept this claim.

          “3) a few weeks later his formerly terrified disciples boldly reported in Jerusalem that they had repeatedly seen,”
          -Maybe not the vast majority, but probably a majority.

          “heard & touched him alive”
          -Probably not “touched”.
          “and that these empirical observations convinced them that he was our Creator incarnate ”
          -Nope.
          “as he claimed”
          -Nope. Might not even be a majority position.

          “& that his death provided a just atonement for human guilt for all who would accept that atonement.”
          -I am too ignorant to comment here; I have not researched Pauline and pre-Pauline Christian theology in sufficient depth.

          • Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            We have to judge ancient writings according to the scale of things that are affected. We can say of Troy that it probably existed (Schliemann), but not reliably that Odysseus escaped from a one eyed giant dressed as a sheep… Similarly, if Jesus existed at all, that says nothing about the validity of the miracles in the bible, which would (and should) be rejected out of hand in any other historical context or by any non christian historian.

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          “a. Fair assessments of the NT documents evidence that they are decent credible accounts of events re Jesus of Nazareth, with corroborating accounts from ~42 non-biblical historical sources (e.g., far more documentary evidences indicate this than documentary evidences for any other person prior to ~1500AD)”
          -Pure, unadulterated bullshit. Your “fair assessments” are my credulous ones. For a refutation of your last claim in this quote, see http://celsus.blog.com/2012/10/14/ten-reasons-to-reject-the-apologetic-1042-source-slogan/

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes etc. are all natural events and indeed essential to the continuation of the earth. It stands to reason that if humans are in the vicinity of these events then some will get killed. So you are telling me that had Adam not sinned the natural consequences of getting in the way of such natural events would not be harmful, far less fatal. Oh yeah!!!!

      • Al Hiebert
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Logicians regard this type of objection as the Fallacy of Hypothesis Contrary to Fact. Had things been different in the past, then surely they’d be different since. Who is to say how?

        • Scote
          Posted December 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          Really? You know what a logical fallacy is, yet you use special pleading in your first cause argument. Hmm… Physician heal thyself.

          • Chuck
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            + 1

    • Posted December 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Why is living in reality in the natural world nore noble? Because it means this fleeting moment in time we have together is all we have – it makes THIS life matter – it means we have to work harder to make THIS life count, and it means we have to account for the injustices done the world over in THIS lifetime. It makes no difference to me that Adam Lambert is rotting in the ground right now. Do I wish he could suffer eternally? My kneejerk reaction is hell yes. But what would be the point of that? It wouldn’t do anything to change the fact that these babies and teachers were horrifically cut down by a sicko with a semi automatic. Why is it more noble to live in reality? Because we are better than wishful thinking, tricksy philosophy, and juvenile notions of justice and rewards.

      • freegrazer
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t Adam Lambert that gay guy from American Idol? Adam Lanza

        • Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          OH FFS. Sigh. I DO NOT wish Adam Lambert eternal suffering.

          • Uncle Ebeneezer
            Posted December 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            Well maybe not eternal, but he definitely deserves some suffering for the damage he’s done to my ears ;)

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha ha, perfect Poe! Or where you serious?

      Let me see:

      – “Human sin”, “free will”. Neither observed nor sufficient to get around the problem of “evil”. If your gods were omnipotent, why wouldn’t they create a world where there were no misfortune (or “sin”)?

      – “Double standard”. With no “free will”, there is nothing such. We all have a mind, is all.

      – “Naturalistic evolution”. I assume you mean the science of biology here. What has that got to do with misfortunes?

      – “Metaphysical naturalism”. A religious term for what we call science. What has that got to do with misfortunes?

      – “Ultimate justice”. Do not parse. And what has that got to do with misfortunes?

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Oops. “Were” serious.

  11. horrabin
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The free will argument is moot even for cases of human evil: I’m not asking a benevolent god to change the mind of murderers or force them to be good, I’m asking god to stop or prevent the harm they cause. If you were able to wrestle the gun out of the hands of the Newtown killer before he shot anyone, you haven’t made him into a robot or taken away his free will.

    • Matt G
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Or turn it into a flower, or an ear of corn.

  12. Charles Sullivan
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    One of the standard replies to the existence of natural evil (earthquakes, floods, etc) is that it allows us to cultivate virtuous qualities of character in relation to those who suffer through kindness, generosity, comradeship, etc.

    • raven
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Well OK.

      You convinced me.

      You get hit by a tsunami or crushed in a building after an earthquake and I will:

      camradeship-feel sorry for you
      generosity-give you a cookie
      kindness-call 911

      Do round up a few of your friends if you are feeling martyrish. I won’t be one of them. Someone has to bring the cookies and call 911 after all.

      • Charles Sullivan
        Posted December 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        I never said it was my position, raven. I have no need of a theodicy since I’m a nonbeliever.

        What I said was that it’s “one of the standard replies.”

        I wasn’t trying to convince you or anyone else. I was just explaining the standard reply to the problem of natural evil.

        • raven
          Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          I wasn’t sure but thought it likely that it was not your actual beliefs.

          It’s a monstrous doctrine to say the least and makes no sense.

          God kills, wounds, mutilates, and impoverishes innocent people so that other people have a reason to do good things.

          While it is senseless, it is in the bible. In Isaiah 45, god claims that he creates evil and misfortune.

  13. Mel
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    We haven’t seen any news stories recently about the two Sandy Hook adults still in the hospital recovering from their wounds. When we do see the stories of recovery, you can bet the pious will be out on the Internet giving credit to God’s grace.

  14. marycanada FCD
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    sub

  15. Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Obama said what did because he wanted to have a successful four more years as president. I’m glad he did because we need him. He is just playing the game as it must be played today. Tommorow will be different.

    • freegrazer
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure about that? I read an interview where Obama said he was a Christian, confirmed in Jesus Christ. He also said that he respected other peoples faith and religions, and that he felt they were all worshiping the same God. He has already been re-elected, why would he need to play it up in Newtown if he didn’t believe it. Also it hasn’t helped him one bit be successful in getting the Republicans to play ball. What do you think he will say tommorow that will be different? That whole interview was about what he believed and where his faith was and I found it very interesting, I pretty much have the same beliefs that he claimed in that interview. Have we ever had an athiest president?

    • Mark Fuller Dillon
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      I’m waiting for Obama to shed pious tears for all the children killed by drone attacks.

      I suppose that I’ll be waiting for a long, long time.

  16. Mel
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Excellent point Krauss made about the “calling them home” nonsense. So, God sent a killer to shoot kids multiple times in a school they had no reason to think wasn’t perfectly safe and at a time when they were excited about Christmas. All of this while plunging the rest of us into a hurt we’ll never forget.

    One of the victims, 6 year old Jessica Rekos was known by her parents for “carefully thinking things out.” Instead of following her lead, we got a binge of religion — quite the opposite.

  17. Susan
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    @Charles,

    I know it’s a standard reply and read it in the spirit that you typed it.

    I wasn’t under the impression that you were arguing for it.

    It’s a ridiculous and horrifying reply. All the death and suffering that’s ever occurred and still occurs on an ongoing basis on this planet by non-human sentient beings is merely a backdrop so that SOME of our species can demonstrate acts possibly morally sufficient to overcome some of it, but NEVER tecnically sufficient to make up for all of it.

    Thank you for reminding us that that’s all they’ve got. Also, there’s Plantinga and Craig with their argument that we can’t PROVE that there isn’t a morally sufficient reason that is beyond our scope for baby mammoths getting eaten alive by sabre-tooth cats while their mothers look on helpless.

    Crappy epistomology. Crappy philosophy. Crappy morality. That’s all they have.

    There is no “god”. Even if we called the whole ball of wax that is reality “god” through tortuous logic, that “god” is not good.

    I just wish they weren’t allowed to teach this stuff to children before children were old enough to see that it is the ugliest castles built on imaginary sand.

    • Charles Sullivan
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      From Charles Darwin:

      “That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Some have attempted to explain this in reference to man by imagining that it serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is nothing compared with that of all other sentient beings, and these often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create this universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the suffering of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time? This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent First Cause seems to be a strong one; whereas…the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.”

  18. ColdThinker
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    “(Or, to put it more bluntly, “If you don’t invite me to the party, I will kill your kids!”) If this were remotely believable, who would want to pray to such a fickle and pompous deity?

    Krauss makes an excellent point. I have always wondered why it is so ubiquitous in the US to worship a personified deity, who clearly is a cruel and vengeful tyrant? I kind of would understand this given the cultural background in, say, China, Russia and many sad countries in Asia and Africa. But in the US, a country founded on democracy and opposition to despotism?

    Then again, in Europe non-belief is the norm and religion is mostly reduced to charming traditions, although the European daily life is culturally very similar to the US in most other ways.

    So, could it be exactly because the European history has had a long history of tyrants and despots, while the US has been a democracy since its beginning? Is it perhaps that in this uncertain world, the majority of Americans harbour some primal psychological yearning for a strong despotic leader, an all-powerful father figure — while we Europeans have developed a strong aversion against anything even remotely resembling a despot or a tyrant?

  19. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    I know there is an argument that having religion in cases like this helps to comfort people and helps to sooth away their grief, trouble is, that doesn’t make it true.

  20. FormerComposer
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Since I heard Obama’s comment about calling the children home, I have been so pissed that I haven’t known where to begin. So, I’ve held my tongue. The only pithy response (as opposed to the well written responses of others like Krauss) I’ve been able to have is:

    If god wanted to call them home, why didn’t he have the decency to use a limo — or at least, a taxi.

    • FormerComposer
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      I ended my comment with pseudo-HTML ‘close bitterness’ tag that didn’t come through.

  21. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Even if one puts aside horrible public tragedies like Sandy Hook, I can’t see why people keep insisting that religion is a source of solace. I’ve read or heard many religious explanations of and responses to tragedy and mostly they strike me as trite or pat. There are people, both religious and nonreligious, who are equipped to provide comfort, but religion? Hardly.

    Two years ago I sat in a church and watched my wife deliver a beautifully inspiring eulogy on the occasion of the death of her best friend. She said very little about God or religion. In contrast, the pastor of the church (who had known the deceased for many years) gave a ritualistic sermon – devoid of emotion and significance. The only purpose of his words, as far as I could tell, were to use the death of my wife’s friend as another occasion to proselytize and to numb the mourners with ritualistic, generic incantations. After my wife spoke, even he must have sensed the shallowness of everything he’d said.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      “The only purpose of his words, as far as I could tell, were to use the death of my wife’s friend as another occasion to proselytize and to numb the mourners with ritualistic, generic incantations.”

      That has been the case at every funeral I have attended in my life so far. I have always found it thoroughly disgusting. On at least one occasion I had to leave the room so that I wouldn’t go off on the sorry sanctimonious self important sycophant of yahweh delivering the sermon.

      This type of thing is what illustrates for me how religion conditions people to accept what they would otherwise consider immoral as moral and appropriate. I can’t think of many things more insulting than what you described, and yet the xians sit there and lap it up. And they believe they are more moral than non xians.

  22. Chuck
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The first step away from religious belief is to practice logic on the affirmed belief. If one forgets a self-centered reality (which religious belief asks) then the comfort provided by faith becomes irrational within human suffering. People believe because it allows for a socially sanctioned delusion that affords emotional comfort in the face of random cruelty. That the pious define this comfort-taking as the highest moral road is galling and immoral.

  23. Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    great read and everything Krauss said really struck home for me, yet another thing that inspires my own personal journey at http://tomslostpants.com

    • Posted December 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Using the bible to lose weight… Sounds really profound and strikes at the core meanings of life. OTOH, you could try eating less or taking exercise, which might be even more effective!

  24. gravelinspector
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Why are people assuming that “Ghod” is grieving over the most recent massacre? Observationally it seems obvious to me that it is all part of his big plan, and therefore one would expect him to be celebrating this successful outcome to one of his projects.
    I just realised how one-sided that it. Of course it is always plausible that “Ghod is coming, and boy is she pissed-off!”, as the feminists say. Though given the gender imbalance in the committers of these massacres, the probability of the responsible “Ghod” being male is relatively high.

  25. Stephen Lawrence
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    “Why must it be a natural expectation that any such national tragedy will be accompanied by prayers, including from the president, to at least one version of the very God, who apparently in his infinite wisdom, decided to call 20 children between the age of 6 and 7 home by having them slaughtered by a deranged gunman in a school that one hopes should have been a place of nourishment, warmth and growth?”

    We know the christian answer, which is god didn’t do it, the gunman did of his own free will.

    Not only this but this is what is behind the stupid “guns don’t kill people people do”

    Sadly atheists seem to be oblivious to the problem of belief in Libertarian free will, whilst we tend to target belief in god which pales into insignificance as a negative influence on our behaviour.


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