Friday, July 27, 2012

Rabbi Moshe Averick explains to us how he doesn't understand evolution or atheism.

I've written about Moshe Averick a few times before.  Every so often he like to make some inflammatory  post over at the algemeiner about how atheists are amoral and so on.

So he decided to chime in over Rick Warren's tweet about the Colorado shootings.  I do not believe Warren's explanation about how it was really referring to premarital sex, but even if it was, it wouldn't really make the tweet less stupid.  His ignorance of evolution is still there for all to see.

Anyway, Averick's post is the usual inane ramblings about how we atheists have no reasons to not be pedophiles, but there are a few points to bring up.  First, atheists do not say we are animals, biology says that, and it wouldn't matter if there were no atheists, hell it wouldn't even matter if evolution turned out to be false, we would still be animals.  Further, this fact has no bearing on how we should behave, nothing to say about how we form our ethical framework. 

He tries to argue further that without god we are only accountable to ourselves so we can do whatever we want.  However this is simply not true.  Our ethics are formed through a complex process of biological and societal influences, and further refined by our own observations about the results of our actions and the goals we set in our society and as individuals.

Certainly we can choose to shirk the accountability of those systems and ignore the results our actions cause, but what exactly stops theists from doing that too?  Couldn't we tell god to fuck off as easily as society?  Sure he may punish us the afterlife for it, but if your only motivation for behaving is a possible punishment then is that really morality?  Plus we have no experience of said afterlife punishments anyway so how much of a impetus for good behavior could it be?  Psychology shows that most humans are more scared of knifes than guns because most people have been cut but never shot, a pain you have never felt is not a very useful threat.

In any case, statistics don't lie on this, theists are no less likely to commit crimes or behave immorally than atheists.  This is a fact that is roundly ignored or sidestepped every time this topic is brought up.  To claim that the reason for this is because we atheists were raised in a Judeo/Christian society, as Averick claims, demands evidence which he seems reluctant to give.

Of course one of the reasons Averick gives for his claims is that after all, atheistic philosophers agree with him on this.  (argument from authority anyone?)  Of course he backs this claim up with a quote from Philosopher Dr. Joel Marks from an article here.
“I have given up morality all together! [I] have been laboring under an unexamined assumption, namely that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I now believe there isn’t…I experienced  my shocking epiphany that the religious fundamentalists  are correct; without God there is  no morality…Hence  I believe there is no morality…The long and short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and  since I am an atheist, I must  therefore embrace amorality…even though words like “sinful” and “evil” come naturally to the tongue as a description of, say, child-molesting, they do not describe any actual properties of anything…there are no literal sins in the world because there is no literal God…I now maintain nothing  is literally right or wrong because  there is no morality…”
Well, there you have it folks, Marks agrees with Averick completely. It does seem like pretty damning evi....wait what are those three little dots at the end?  Could it be that there is more to the quote?  Lets read the rest.
...Yet, as with the non-existence of God, we human beings can still discover plenty of completely-naturally-explainable internal resources for motivating certain preferences. Thus, enough of us are sufficiently averse to the molesting of children, and would likely continue to be so if fully informed, to put it on the books as prohibited and punishable by our society.
OK, the rest of the quote starts with a "yet," This usually implies that he is going to say something different, and he does.  I can't personally say I totally agree with Marks even here, but still this completely undoes Averick's argument that Marks agrees with him.

I would like to give Averick some room here and say that maybe he just didn't realize that he was quote mining this guy like a political speech writer, but it is hard to believe that he could have accidentally missed the guy completely contradicting Averick's argument here.  Here is a tip, when you see the words like "yet" or "but" there is probably something important there for you to read. 

He then continues his weird line of quotes by quoting Jeffery Dahmer, as if the fact that a psychopath used evolution as a rationalization for his crimes says something important about the science of biology. 

What was I just saying about theists having no better ethics than atheists?

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