Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"The Devil ... no, my genes made me do it"

According to Study finds fidelity is in the genes, new scientific research shows that two of every five men lack the genetic aptitude for monogamy: "In other words, if a man's culture, religion and family background each have a seat at the conference table that determines his attitudes toward marital fidelity and monogamy, his genes might well sit at the head of the table."

I'm reminded of St. Paul's admonition to live according to the Spirit rather than according to the flesh - although he had something other than gene variants in mind.

Does the study undermine the notion of moral choice? No, because inclination can't invalidate a promise. If someone vows to "forsake all others," then keeping that vow is the moral choice. The choice to remain faithful might be easier for some than others, but that doesn't make it morally optional.

Our genes -- like the culture and family we are born into -- are the building blocks of our life. What structure we build with those blocks depends on the choices we make.

So what do you think? Has "The Devil made me do it" been updated into "My genes made me do it"? Is biology destiny? How do you determine what is moral conduct?


j. said...

I think while genes have much control over our biological lives,culture also has a large role.

I believe humans have the capacity to make moral choices and behave ethically with honesty,dignity, intergrity,compassion and empathy if we have models and incentives for such behavior. And we do... by 100's of thousands of years of acquired trial and error knowledge through our physical and cultural evolution.

I do not believe we have any proof that we are influenced by supernatural forces or beings... evil or otherwise. In my opinion, attributing supernatural forces as having power over us is another way we use to avoid personal responsibility for our actions.

Pete said...

This study shows that many men shouldn't commit themselves to just one woman.

Bill said...


Where were you and this study when I needed help during that Monica Lewinsky thing?

Yep, an alpha-male like me could have then told the plain, simple truth and spared this nation all that flap:"Yes, I had sex with that woman, and I'm thinking about having sex with yours, too."

Big Mc said...

I heard that.

D.J. Williams said...

The notion that genetic predisposition = moral acceptability is a strange one - however, if j. is right and there is no God, I don't see how you can argue otherwise.

As one who sees morality as necessarily coming from a source external to humanity - namely God - genetic predispostion in no way excuses poor moral choices. If we were to discover a similar genetic disposition to pedophelia, would that legitimize the behavior?

Soli Deo Gloria

pornstudent said...

If getting a divorce is immoral, then it would be better if most people never married. There's nothing wrong with living together and having sex without being married.

Danbo59 said...

We were placed here on this Earth to be above the natural order. It is a choice, genes notwithstanding, to sink to the level of or beneath it.

Danbo59 said...

pornstudent wrote, "There's nothing wrong with living together and having sex without being married."

There is everything wrong with it.

Danbo59 said...

Gov. Palin closed her speech last night with, "God bless you!" I don't recall a single Democratic speaker closing in such a manner. Revealing, isn't it?

Iztok said...

Danbo: "There is everything wrong with it."

So what do you suggest we should do with those who have sex without being married? Should we publicly shame them? Is destigmatization of having children outside marriage bad (as Gamecock suggested)?

DJ: "As one who sees morality as necessarily coming from a source external to humanity"

Why is it necessarily that morality is coming from external source? Is it possible at all that morality is perfectly natural occurrence in sentient species?

Anonymous said...

Levi's definitely got those genes.


Bob said...

A natural morality is possible, but not very probable. In nature, male humanoids would maximize replication of their genes by having sex with as many females as possible and tricking the cuckolded males into caring for as many offspring as possible. Females would maximize their gene replication by establishing a stable relationship with the strongest male available, while having a little sex on the side (to cloud paternity in case the main man is killed). Hence, throughout history, the stud has enjoyed a different status than the strumpet. Men and women, on average, become jealous in different measure and for different reasons (e.g., physical versus emotional infidelity). And, no matter what, the cuckold is always a joke. This is what a natural morality would look like. One would expect humans to outgrow this moral programming at some point. But it would be very difficult to overcome it even at the margins, because it involves hard-wired behavior, rather than something thought-out. So, a moral code accompanied by an air of external authority (whether God or tradition or what have you) would be a more effective corrective regimen than one supported only by something as measly as ad-hoc reasoning, political correctness or what have you.

Plus religion has had a lot more practice, and the houses of worship are already built. So, get over it, Iz. They win again.

j. said...


That scenario you described sounds like the mentally deluded fundamentalist women in the Texas(and Utah and Idaho)religious cult who let a sex addicted older man inseminate themselves and their daughters.

Though this is a exceptional case it looks like even having a belief in a god can give you convenient excuses for your sick behavior.

Iztok said...

Bob: "A natural morality is possible, but not very probable."

So you base this on probability?

So let me ask you, if natural morality is not very probable, how probable is non-natural morality?

Basically what you are saying is that we are not very probable event (which is right by itself) thus you need to add another entity to the equation. This by itself makes this even less probable by definition. You make your own argument even less probable then original you somewhat dismiss due to low probability.

Basic math would help you out here.

BTW: Religion is one of the things that evolved with humanity and is still evolving. Let me ask you, would religion look any different if it would be evolved (like I claim) vs. something externally pushed? And if so in what way?

Also, your explanation of sex behavior is wrong and anyone with basic biology knowledge would know that. Simply said our ancestors did have behavior like you described for the most part and only fairly recent in human history did it evolve into what we have now. Even what we have now is not uniformly spread around humans and different cultures have different moral standards that apply to their daily lives. This too is product of human/cultural evolution over long period of time.

You do understand the basics of evolution, right? Many, many small changes over long, long time produce big changes at the end. We are different from our ancestors not because of one big improbable change but because of tons of small more probable changes. Even majority of Christians admit evolution is true. Just some that haven't evolved critical thinking still don't understand the basic principles of evolution. (Keep in mind that evolution and evolution theory are two different things as well.)

pornstudent said...

Nature always wins. Religion thinks it subdues Nature, it doesn't. It is evident that religion's faux morality is secondary to our genetic makeup and Nature when you look at reality. Even in a society that considers adultery a sin and immoral ...

More than 50% of all spouses have had sex with someone else while married. -

"Conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair." -

"34% of married moms is in the midst of, or has already had, an affair." -

"Obtaining accurate data about human infidelity is difficult because people lie about it... Various studies indicate it is quite common, with 50 percent of men confessing to at least one affair and 30 percent to 50 percent of women admitting that behavior." -

The above statistics don't include the huge amount of sex among the unmarried. Some unmarried and living together stats:

"Cohabiting couples now make up almost 10% of all opposite-sex U.S. couples, married and unmarried." -

"41% of American women ages 15-44 have cohabited (lived with an unmarried different-sex partner) at some point." -

Even in a society that spends millions a year teaching abstinence ...

75% of Americans have had premarital sex by age 20. 95% percent have had premarital sex by age 44. -

pornstudent said...

If trust and honesty are important to you, I suggest that you not make promises that you'd not likely keep.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least religion has taught people to be better liars.


Danbo59 said...

Izzie asks, "So what do you suggest we should do with those who have sex without being married?"

Do? What's to do? Stupid question.

Iztok said...

So if there is nothing to do, why bother to say anything about morality of actions?

See, Gamecock suggests we should stigmatize those who are having babies outside marriage. Well at least he disagrees with destigmatization. He suggests shame.

The Heretic said...

I don’t think it is anyone’s right to tell anyone else they can’t have sex outside of marriage. And I think folks have the right to have children without marrying.

BUT I do believe that the individual(s), not society, should bear the responsibility and financial burden for the results of their actions.

Nowadays young men without job skills impregnate young women without job skills, then move on to the next young female, leaving Grandma and mom with the kid, and for some reason society has decided it’s “moral” for you and me to pitch in a lot of our tax dollars for their support. A whole culture has arisen as a result – one that apparently feels such behavior is “moral”, because no one has done anything to curtail it. (Such as putting the burden on the couple who couples in or out of wedlock to provide for the result).

My great-great grandmother found a way to raise four young children when great-great grandpa died unexpectedly in his late twenties. That was long before food stamps, state or county welfare, aid-to-dependent children, child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and Social Security.

Bob said...


The science behind my earlier post, including the experimental support, is summarized in The Moral Animal by Robert Wright. The basics of evolutionary psychology are also explained in the book. I suggest you read it before you make yourself look even more Iztokian.

Iztok said...

Bob, you avoided to answer the question about probability of morality being non-natural vs. natural.

So tell us the following:

What is the probability of our morality as we have it now?

What is the probability of our morality as we have it now AND probability that it was given to us by some non-natural being?

For those of us with basic math skills we know that the second is less probable then first.

Bob said...


I doubt anyone else finds this interesting, but here goes: It is possible that societies could have morality without resort to an external authority (whether religious or otherwise), but I do not think the project would be very likely to succeed. It is not very likely to succeed because (I think the scientific evidence supports the proposition that) evolution has bequeathed modern humans with a rather feeble moral programming. It is therefore logical to rely on some external authority, even if it has to be invented, to give morality the oomph it needs to modify (biologically inherited and therefore very stubborn) human behavior. If anyone wants to draw a parallel to Original Sin, I won't argue (but I could understand why religious people might want to keep their distance from the likes of me in polite discourse).

To answer what I perceive to be your question about probabilities, I myself do not find it very probable that God exists in the sense that you conceive of God (as an invisible super-being that either lives somewhere in our universe or doesn't exist anywhere in our universe). As I have said before (to the amusement of the under-intelligentsia and to the general disinterest of everyone else), I personally conceive of God as being, not as a being whose existence or non-existence can be profitably discussed in terms of relative probabilities. But I don't mind if other people conceive of God in more concrete and personal terms. I find their approach time-efficient and rational (so long as the benefits of belief outweigh the costs). I cannot say the same about your obsession with disproving the existence of an Invisible Man in the Sky.

Iztok said...

Bob, as human beings we act in a selfish manner as species. (In biological sense.) What that means is that it is beneficial for our species to behave more or less moral as opposed to immoral. So it is selfish behavior of our species that drives us towards higher morality over time.

Gamecock said...

And the main purpose of that shame is to lower the number of children without a father and mother in a committed relationship dedicated to the rearing of that child.

And the best alternative when a child is conceived before marriage is that a marriage take place before the child exits the womb.

Shame helps maximize same.

I find it ironic that it is now the secular left that afixes scarlett letters and its Christians that assign grace.

Gamecock said...

Great points Heretic re the responsibility of men, even if Uncle Sam serves the role.

Civilization begins with a woman saying no with her legs closed in concert with same.

Iztok said...

"I find it ironic that it is now the secular left that afixes scarlett letters and its Christians that assign grace."

Nah, you missed the point, we are just holding you the mirror so you can see how big of a hypocrites you are.

Funny how you are all about shaming young unwed mothers until it is one of yours, then it is "private family matter".

We are just asking that you apply the same standards consistently. Which for faithful it is hard to do. On one hand they accept things w/o evidence, on other hand they request evidence for other things. Crazy world of dual standards.

BTW: Still no one showed me where is the Creation theory that many want to teach in science class explained. It is no where to be found. Perhaps it is not even a theory?

We also have a term for such a marriage you propose. I guess members of NRA like to be members of NSWA (National Shotgun Wedding Association) as well.

Iztok said...

"Civilization begins with a woman saying no with her legs closed in concert with same."

Other option is to not accuse girls like Bristol as uncivilized but to actually step up to our responsibilities as parents and teach them not only abstinence-only education (which apparently didn't work with Bristol) but also how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and potentially lethal sexually transmitted diseases. I understand some of you don't want to educate your children as knowledge is the singles biggest reason why people drop out of religion but we owe it to our kids.

Bob said...


Excellent point on scarlet letters and grace. Mea culpa from this leftist.

pornstudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pornstudent said...

"Civilization begins with a woman saying no with her legs closed..." - Gamecock

If this were true, then the United States isn't much of a Civilization because 75% of Americans have had premarital sex by age 20 and 95% percent have had premarital sex by age 44.

Female animals "say no" to less desirable males and refuse sex until the "moment is right." It doesn't have much to do with the beginning of civilization. Sex for fun, birth control, STD protection, safe abortions and porn are benefits of advanced civilizations.

Anonymous said...

It's just interesting that the "legitimacy" of a "child" is not determined until after birth.

The fetus is a child, but cannot be a bastard until it is born.

Is the fetus a "legitimate" child if the parents aren't married?


Bob said...

Knowledge may be the singles biggest reason why people drop out of religion, but it's not the onlyest.

Gamecock said...


Yes, the increase in promiscuity is a sign of decline of our western civilization and abortion is pure barbarism.

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure what would have helped Bristol Palin. Just an all around ignorant environment.

Both Bristol and Levi had web pages that exposed them as total morons.

When you have kids that stupid maybe the best tactic is to train them like dogs, rather than treat them like intelligent human beings.

The Christians just may have a better understanding of their own children than we suspect.


bsty74 said...

"BTW: Still no one showed me where is the Creation theory that many want to teach in science class explained. It is no where to be found. Perhaps it is not even a theory?"

Grammar much?

Many would show you where is the Creation theory that many want to teach in science class explained, but many cannot construct sentences using a devolved form of English so you would understand. But, forgive me, as it must be your genes which leads you to forsake English for Izthokerish.

Bob said...

Now, now. Give Iz credit. He could have been speaking in tongues.

pornstudent said...

"... increase in promiscuity is a sign of decline of our western civilization..."

Our civilization has mostly advanced, eg, science, education, medicine, technology, democracy and civil rights. Although I won't argue that promiscuity is the reason for our success, the freedom to choose when and who to have sex with without having children and making a life long commitment is as much an improvement in our society as being able to choose an occupation and religion.

Iztok said...

"Yes, the increase in promiscuity is a sign of decline of our western civilization and abortion is pure barbarism."

Far cry from the barbarism sanctioned/ordered/committed by OT God.

Iztok said...

bsty74, English is the fourth or fifth language I've learned in my life. While my grammar is far from perfect you failed to answer the question.

Show me the Creation theory. I claim that it doesn't exist.

Gamecock said...


I agree all should have the freedom to be promiscuous, of course. Freedom means you can't be fined or jailed for the act. It does not mean others lose their freedom to criticize your acts.


Gamecock said...


cool mea culpa

you are a good man seeking the truth and harmony

I need you!

pornstudent said...

Yes, Gamecock.

bsty74 said...

Iztok - Regarding your challenge of Creation Theory:

You have posted frequently your hatred of everything Christian, as you probably were brought up Eastern, Greek, or Russian Orthodox and have now denounced your affiliation with any Christian religion.

It is pointless to argue with you because you will never give up your position, nor will a true Creationist give up their's. What evidence could possibly convince you, even if that evidence was obtained by scientific process? You are not willing to submit to any God, or admit there is Someone greater than man.

The most shocking thing is related to your disclosure of your commendable act of adopting special needs children. If you hold so tight to evolution, then you have discord between your thoughts and actions, because you are not letting nature weed out the “weaker or infirm.”

Wouldn’t you rather see your children as a gift from a Creator who knew you and your wife could provide the perfect home of love and care for them? Such foreknowledge is never a tenant of heartless evolution.

Iztok said...

bsty74, again, no creation theory disclosed, can we hear it? Or is there one?

You further go in false assumptions about my past. I was never forced by my parents to accept anything without reason. I was born an atheist and remained as such. No unnatural acts such as baptism took place in my life. Interesting enough is that my parents at one point thought I converted to Christianity because I was exploring what this "church thing" was all about for extended period of time.

About my adoption of special need child. There is no discord between my thoughts and actions. In fact I walk the walk not just talk the talk. I stepped up to the plate and adopted one of the 13 thousand kids that are in DSS custody in NC. While I am pro-choice I mostly disagree with adoption and was willing to adopt a child that was about to age out of the system and be on her own and not equipped to deal with life. Her special needs are not genetic but due to years of neglect and abuse (she was raised in "Christian" family and bounced from one "Christian" family to another for years) and car accident. She is not "gift from creator" or any such appalling idea. She was not put in our home as some sort of "grand plan". She was put in our home as a result of hard work of many people involved in this adoption. This is not "live happily ever after" story. This is hard continuing work of my wife (foremost) and me and several others to try and work against odds to undo many years of bad parenting. Unless you want to call threats with knife (by our daughter), destruction of property and frequent visits from police and to the hospital(s) and other medical professionals some sort of "perfect plan"?

You asked "What evidence could possibly convince you...", this is very simple. Something that we would consider true miracle. For example human amputee growing new limb (w/o help of medical science). (Does God hate amputees?)

Iztok said...

bsty74, one more on the evidence that would convince me.

Opposed to religious most atheists are atheists because we don't have enough (or any) evidence to believe.
We trust reason vs. faith. Most of us know exactly what would convince us of existence of such thing as deity.

Let me ask you. What evidence do you have to conclude God exists? Or do you take it on faith?

What type of evidence would convince you that God doesn't exist? (Not that one can prove universal negative here.) Would fallacies in the Bible be enough? Would omniscience being ever say Pi=3.0? Or that Earth is circle? Would it ever suggest that women shouldn't be heard?

bsty74 said...

No, you don’t get that. I refuse to give you something on your terms in your way. You really would believe if you saw an arm or a leg grow? Why stop there? What if you saw a whole body come back to life? Choose the Old or New Testament and you will find resurrections. Aw, I just ruined it by referencing the Bible. Well, that is where I come from, so you prove from the Bible every theory of evolution is true.

Oh, and when Jesus fed the 5,000 men, he created each meal (fish and bread) right there in front of the nearly 10,000+ people. They didn’t believe He was God, so why should I be convinced that you would?

Pete said...

Jane asked, "How do you determine what is moral conduct?"

Moral conduct is loving. Jesus wants us to love each other. There's a reason sex is called making love. There's touching, sharing, communication and trusting. Making love with many people is good because it's loving many people.

In most marriages there is the promise to only make love to your marriage partner. It isn't loving to break promises. But it would be OK if the marriage partners agreed that it would be OK to make love with others.

Iztok said...

bsty74: "I refuse to give you something on your terms in your way."

Blah, blah, blah... still no creation theory info... it looks like it doesn't exist.

"What if you saw a whole body come back to life?"

Sure thing. But it must be clinically dead first by modern standards.

"Choose the Old or New Testament and you will find resurrections."

OT and NT are unreliable. Full of myths and made up stories. (Many borrowed from other religions and mythologies to "one up" them.)

Here is one thing you could do about resurrection stories. Take this challenge and give us the narrative:

The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul’s tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.

Here are few questions to help you along the way:

1. What time did the women visit the tomb?
2. Who were the women?
3. What was their purpose?
4. Was the tomb open when they arrived?
5. Who was at the tomb when they arrived?
6. Where were these messengers situated?
7. What did the messenger(s) say?
8. Did the women tell what happened?
9. When Mary returned from the tomb, did she know Jesus had been resurrected?
10. When did Mary first see Jesus?
11. Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection
12. After the women, to whom did Jesus first appear?
13. Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples?
14. Did the disciples believe the two men?
15. What happened at the appearance?
16. Did Jesus stay on earth for a while?
17. Where did the ascension take place?

So bsty74, are you up to it or will you admit that it can not be done?

Bob said...

The Gospels are not supposed to be reconciled, Iz. They are supposed to be contrasted. They are different takes on "good news," not a single biography. The whole point is to compare the different views of what the "news" is and why it's "good." (BTW, Mark ends at 16:8. The rest was added later.)

A better inquiry:

Is there any "evidence" that "honor" exists, apart from one's own subjective feelings and the effect that a shared belief in (at least a vague concept of) honor has on peoples' lives? Unless you believe in the fairy tale that humans reasoned society into existence through an imaginary primordial contract, honor and similar virtues presumably arise from a genetic disposition toward (a limited amount) of reciprocal altruism. Reciprocal altruism, in turn, is a tendency that was programmed into humanoid genes by natural selection at a time when natural selection played more than a negligible role in human evolution. The problem is that there is a lot of other naturally-programmed behavior that is savagely immoral. On balance, the natural inheritance is not pretty.

This evolutionary explanation may differ from the idea that God gave humans original sin and allowed them to acquire a (defectively used) moral sense, but how much really? Given that (in its current state) evolutionary psychology is largely a series of "Just So" stories supported only by plausible conjecture, why fuss at the ancient folk tales from which we have learned so much? Is it any less of a fairy tale to suppose that humans are evolving (apparently by some heretofore unknown means of non-gene-based-selection)into "higher" morality? What was the Twentieth Century, a bump in the road? If I have to choose, I'll take the imaginary God (to whom humans get, even are obligated, to talk back) over the hopelessly naive mythology of the neo-Social Darwinists.

Iztok said...

Bob: "The Gospels are not supposed to be reconciled, Iz. They are supposed to be contrasted. They are different takes on "good news," not a single biography. The whole point is to compare the different views of what the "news" is and why it's "good.""

This is just poor excuse to apparent inconsistencies that are to big to be reconciled. They are showing that all was made up. If one is telling the truth then there is no problem remembering things correctly if one is telling a fib one has to remember details for a long time. It is hard to keep up with the lie and that is exactly what is showing in the Easter story.

As far as the rest of your question is concerned, perhaps you should read The Selfish Gene to find good explanation.

j. said...

In my opinion,since there is so much of the universe we do not know or fully understand;then the notion that we can proclaim this or that religion or philosophy or even scientific theory as absolute truth is very naive and hubris.

I agree with Bob that we can take and use what reasonable ideas religions have given us to be better humans, but that does not mean we have to accept dogmatically that our particular belief is the complete and irrefutable truth. It does not mean we have to believe that there needs to be a god which controls the universe,much less our lives.

I feel that our reliance(no matter how personally comforting)on various supernatural explanations of reality though immensely hampers us from finding commonality as a species. Though science does not have all the answers,(it probably never will) I find it a great tool to try to discern physical reality from a very common perspective because it deals with the things which are in common to all of us.

This is subjective also,but when I look at the universe through science and in trying to use rationality,I see something that is always showing incredibly rich connections to everything else and not walls of seperation and exclusivity.

In my view,science opens your mind to see beyond the walls that our everyday ideas of culture and religion have erected to divide us.

Just because I see these rich connections does not mean though the universe is here just for my contemplation and use. It does not mean I am a special creation.
It does not mean that this is a privliged planet as one ID book is titled.

Nature can be incredibly "violent" and "uncharitable" and unpredictable from a human viewpoint. We have been around only a infintesimal amount of time and we have no certainity that our species had to evolve as it did and no assurances we will persist.

Nature as far as we know is neither inherently heartless or just is as it is.

Genetically and culturally we have many sides to us including the capacity to be terribly violent to each other as well as remarkably kind and generous.

Our human consciousness,admittedly another mystery,is what defines subjective concepts of the universe we perceive and I am grateful that over time humans have developed concepts that help to protect us and promote harmony and fairness, but we have no proof that these ideas are embedded in the fabric of the universe.

We can measure and quantify the universe but we have no objective common way as yet to really know the deep "why" of the universe. Maybe even asking this form of "why" is simply a peculiar part of our evolved inquistive consciousness which is impossible to satisfy adequately because consciousness is so individualized.

Anonymous said...

Ten teenage couples hop in an outrigger looking for a new island to settle. After they arrive, the alpha male, Tooka, appoints himself chief. Since there are so many things this tribe doesn’t know, and his tribespeople have such a fear of the unknown, he appoints his brother-in-law Pooka to the all-important post of Priest-Liaison With the Unknown.

First things are rosy in this church-state. Then Tooka, who is LooLa’s regular mate, decides his hormones have told him that he needs a little more variety in his sexual diet. He has a dalliance with MooLa, wife of Dooka. “Duke” eventually hears about this and one night throws a bucket of lionfish onto the unfaithful twosome, ending that inequity.

The vice-chief Hooka, who has been dallying also, is now worried he might find lionfish in his bed. So he gets with Pooka, who decides the best way to preserve their naturally promiscuous society without further bloodshed is to place a religious taboo on promiscuity and/or murder. Problem solved! Fear of the wrath of the Great Unknown will keep folks in line. They wink at this.

The natural tendency is self-preservation, mainly so we can replicate ourselves as fast if not faster as the bunnies. (Unless we are to believe that Ceiling Cat and other spiritual lords have also told members of their species to “Be fruitful, etc. etc.” , and that every living thing is abiding by that command instead of hormonal lust.)

Altruism is selfless concern for the welfare of others. I think Hooka and Pooka had their own preservation in mind, not necessarily the tribe’s welfare. Maybe that’s what Bob means by reciprocal altruism: Do unto others what you’d have others do unto you, at the risk of terminating your own reproductive role in the gene pool if you’re caught.

In the end, those who are most adept at self-preservation and reproduction will rule the universe. All other endeavors are distractions from our real purpose. Nature eases the pain of failure of the many with mind games, so that they won’t interfere with the alpha humans.

-Not Anon-1

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could put religous taboos to good practical use (since they are so effective in controlling sexual behavior).

Disposal of radioactive waste has always been a problem. One of the concerns is how to keep future generations away from the radiation.

We cannot assume that future generations will always be literate(especially in the U.S.), so how should these sites be marked?

Perhaps ignorance and superstition could be re-united again in an attempt to create a global mythology making radioactive waste dumps "taboo".

Those who violate the taboos would, of course, burn in hell, only they'd probably start their blistering on earth.

Then, no one could argue that religion and myth have good practical survival benefits.


Bob said...


Not bad. But there's a flip side. The most successful strategy in the pre-civilized environment presumably would be (a) to cooperate to the extent necessary to secure needed cooperation in return, (b) to be selfish enough to get the edge, but (c) not to be so selfish as to trigger counter-productive resentment. This programmed balancing act produces a "happy" gene and a neurotic human, doomed by biology to the contradictory fate of competing for cooperation for a reason he knows not. The misery of the human is, of course, of no concern to the "selfish" gene. Religion at least tries to deal with the neurosis. You can argue about the success, but at least it tries. Our neo-Social Darwinists, on the other hand, assure us that the neurosis is a great thing (because it's natural), and that things will only get better and better if only we drop all the religious comfort and insight. I don't buy it myself.

Iz: I have already read the Selfish Gene, but thanks for the tip. I also make no excuses for the Gospels. Why should I? I don't care if they are true or not. I merely read them in the manner in which they were written and in which they were understood by their original readers. Consider the start of Mark, where he says he is giving "the beginning" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does that sound as if he is trying to start (or continue) a conversation or trying to finish one? Read the beginning of Luke, where the author says he is giving a different take on the Jesus story than has been told previously (by Mark apparently, and possibly by Matthew or some source common to both). You think the author of Luke did not know exactly where and exactly why he was departing from the text in Mark or Matthew? Get real. Pointing to differences in the Gospels is child's play. Actually learning something from them requires literary sophistication you can't just Google.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is fairly clear is that religion is not very effective at controlling so-called "immoral" behavior.

Especially where sex is concerned.

I'm not sure if it ever was very effective, but it seems to be less so today, especially where Christianity dominates.

The policies of teaching abstinence only and "just say no" are failing, so what's their "moral" alternative?

I think modern Christians really don't believe what their religion teaches or have given themselves enough loopholes that they feel immune to any bad consequences to their behavior.

In religion, morals are imposed from the "outside": God, church, community, shame, embarrassment, etc.

There seems to be very little internal awareness/knowledge guiding behavior.

In fact, that sort of knowledge is discouraged in favor of just following the rules.

The only problem is, most people don't really "feel" this God thing watching them, so as long as the community doesn't catch them in the act they don't worry.

Plus they are taught that Jesus will forgive them for the simple act of believing.

So if Jesus "forgives" them, what's to worry about?

Especially if they can now see that the religious community will parade them around as fonts of virtue.

It seems to me that the "absolute" moral values of Christians aren't that different from the "relative" values of others and may actually be worse at achieving the goals they say they want.


Anonymous said...


So you see religion as a coping mechanism?

Sure, why not. If it works, use it. If it doesn't, don't.

For some people it probably causes more problems than it cures or worse neuroses than the one you mentioned.

I don't think everyone should drop their religion, just as I don't think everyone needs one.

Besides, I think that knowing about the "selfish gene" (or any other double-bind situation you may find yourself in) makes it easier to cope with any problems they may generate.


Bob said...

Anon 1:

I guess I see religion as one of the humanities. Coping mechanism sounds so Oprah. But I definitely agree that understanding selfish-gene theory is helpful.

Anonymous said...

Can't really argue with religion being one of the humanities.

It is even considered part of a "liberal" education and necessary to understanding much of art, literature, and philosophy.

But, heck, who can make a buck outta that.


Bob said...

Anon 1:

As someone said in another context, that's what I've been trying to tell you. We can't swipe the benefits of their religions unless they can make a buck creating them, and they can't make a buck creating them if everyone has been convinced that the whole thing is a fool's errand (because there is no Invisible Man in the Sky). We do have some enclaves, though (Ethical Culture, Unitarianism, some Reform Judiasm) where we can be candid about this, for those annoying people who insist on being candid.

On the subject of absolutism versus relativism, riddle me this: In a society where values are shared as absolute, the individual can order his affairs efficiently if he can reasonably estimate how likely it is that his associate will cheat and the harm that the cheating is likely to cause him. In a society where values are relative, the individual needs to estimate both of those things, plus he must determine how his associate defines cheating in the first place. Not impossible, but certainly more work. In the main, therefore, absolutism would be more efficient, though its overbreadth would produce unpleasing results at the margins. The trick would be to convince the absolutists to modify where needs be, and, ironically, this appears to be done most effectively where certain counter-values (e.g., free speech, the pursuit of happiness) are characterized as being self-evident propositions that require no proof. Kind of like absolute values. So, if religion looks a little screwy at times, maybe it is because the whole shebang is a lot screwy all the time.

Nick said...

Anonymous said: "In religion, morals are imposed from the "outside": God, church, community, shame, embarrassment, etc. There seems to be very little internal awareness/knowledge guiding behavior.
In fact, that sort of knowledge is discouraged in favor of just following the rules."

He almost gets it. The New Covenant (per Jeremiah 31:31) is based on an internal law written on hearts, not an external law written on tables of stone.

Paul, in Romans 7, wrestles with his own human nature, concluding that he can't keep the law (external), but that the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is a higher law, and through that he is able to meet the righteous standard of God.

The fact that people continue to fail in this does not invalidate it. Paul failed; he admitted it. But he says we're in transition from the old to the new.

I realize I'll probably get blasted for quoting from the Bible, but, hey - this is the "Sacred Space" blog, right?

Anonymous said...


Usually the "absolute" vs. "relative" question is regarding the source of the rules, not the rules themselves.

I don't see where the source makes much difference. If the rule is "do not murder", then the source of the rule doesn't seem to matter.

Those who think it comes from "God" don't seem to commit less murder than those who just think it is the law of whatever society they happen to live in
for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

Quote the Bible all you want.

Apparently, having laws "written on the heart" don't seem to matter much.

And "higher laws" are often just excuses to break "lower laws".

It's like playing Monopoly, but only the religious can have "Get Out of Jail Free" cards.


Anonymous said...

Maybe using a fairly simple analogy of would help.

I don't think it matters if you think the rules behind red=stop, green=go come from the state or some "higher power" (or your "heart") as far as your chances of obeying them go.

If the laws make sense, people will tend to follow them, if they don't, they probably won't.

The benefits of the rule are fairly obvious during regular traffic, so most people follow them; no divine intervention needed.

But there probably isn't much difference between the "absolutists" and "relativists" on whether to run a redlight at 2 am on an empty street (i.e., when there are few "human" consequences).

I think the same applies to "moral" rules, especially when sex is involved.


Gamecock said...


One of the chief characteristics of Christians, as commented on by non-Christians in the Roman empire was their sexual morality in and out of marriage.

Societies have always had to struggle with ways to prevent illegitimacy as babies without fathers are a burden on the rest of society.

Surely you don't suggest that there would have been less of same throughout history ABSENT the moral arguments made by Christians and Jews in western society.

Gamecock said...

Who created Mae and Mac? Liberal democrats. They did serve a purpose for a long time. But they got too big and so now we will have to re-create smaller such entities. Guess who had been warning of this?


Anonymous said...

This says it all.... you are all totally nuts !
The only difference between you Whackos and the Taliban is that legally they wont allow you to behead anyone........ YET.

I can just see it in 10 years. You will be able to hang a man because he is gay or behead someone if they smoke pot in the good old USA.

Anonymous said...

So what was Palin's contribution to the Fannie/Freddie discussion.

Last I heard she didn't even know
they were private until this week.

If you are referring to her "too big for the taxpayers" comment, that wasn't true until this week when Bush made them so.

I don't think either of the Republican candidates have much of a background in economics.

McCain at least admits it.


Anonymous said...

I have no idea how illegitimacy would have differed in western society without Judeo-Christianity in the mix.

No one does.

I just know it isn't very effective now.

Maybe it worked fine for a small community 2000 years ago in comparison to Rome, but so did horse-drawn chariots.

I don't know that it did much later, especially as clerics became a privileged class.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone doubt that the real reason groups are seeking to prevent operation of the new European particle accelerator is not because they fear it will create black holes, but because they fear it may reveal how the universe was created?

Heaven forbid that Adam and Eve solve yet another mystery on their lonesome.

Not Anon-1

Anonymous said...


I think you might find a history of prostitution in Medieval Europe of some interest in the religious sexual morality question.

It wasn't until syphilis became a real problem that churches cracked down on it.


Nick said...

Anonymous - sure it matters. You never hear about people who didn't do this or that, you only hear about people who did. It's only those who mess up that get your attention.

Gamecock said...


I saw her discuss Mae and Macs on cspan months ago.

Gamecock said...

Anon, I think you would benefit for studying history in the first instance.

Bait and switch is unbecoming.

Anonymous said...

Oh, if you mention history of 2000 years ago, it's relevant, but if I mention history of 500 years ago, it's "bait and switch"?

When did Christianity have a greater control of western civilization, in ancient Rome or in Medieval Europe?


Anonymous said...

OK now I have something to check for Palin's economic insights.

CSPAN, months ago. It's a start.


Anonymous said...

God wants us in the Iraq War and to build a new natural gas pipeline through Alaska...... just ask Palin.

You are all F'ing nuts !

Bob said...

No. Just me.

Anonymous said...


Please direct me to the exact Cspan interview in which Palin discussed Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac.

Preferably a transcript, so I don't waste time.

I just watched about 25 minutes of Palin talk about Alaska oil, moving the Alaskan capital, the Exxon Valdez, Polar Bears, and snowmobiling from some governors convention back in 2/28/08 from CSpan.

Not a single word was uttered about housing/credit or Mae/Mac.

So far, I'm not convinced that she had much to say on this before the last week or so.


Gamecock said...

CSpan is hard to search for specific comments. I don't have the time. I remember it.

Gamecock said...

Anon, the history I mention is all of human history and the lesseons learned. If you want to stick by the position that paganism produces less illegitimacy, then you fail the history test.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, about the only person I've seen lately who doesn't seem to have his head up his rear regarding the economy is Jim Rogers.

He lives in Singapore now, for what I think are damned good reasons.

I have no idea what his political/religious affiliations are.

He just seems to have his head screwed on right regarding economics.

Used to work with George Soros.


Anonymous said...

Gamecock, your memory may not be perfect regarding the Cspan interview. I just watched it.

Nothing about Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, gamecock, if you can't remember a recent Cspan interview with your favorite pitbull economics expert, I don't care if you think I fail history or not.

So I must defer to your expertise on "all of human history" because I would never make a statement about something so ridiculous.


Gamecock said...

There have been many interviews and appearances. Some on Washington Journal. This was on a Saturday am. I gace up looking for it. My memory is fine. My time is finite.

Gamecock said...


All you have to defer to is death and taxes. Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy! You may begin by having the last least until Election Day, when my new team bats .700 since 1968 and 1.000 when facing a known liberal pitcher.


Think carefully. There will be no response from me.

Anonymous said...

I think the first thing President Obama shold do after taking office is to send federal troops to South Carolina to bring about desegregation. Maybe he'll be able to pull that state into the 20th century.

(They're too far behind to hope to get up to 21st century standards. That will have to wait until his second term.)

pornstudent said...

Conservatives keep looking back, wanting to conserve what was. Science gives us the eyes to see what is real and gives us more knowledge of ourselves and how to make a better future.

Even though "two of every five men lack the genetic aptitude for monogamy," conservatives insist these men should be monogamous. Genetic aptitude isn't a license to do whatever we want, but even conservatives know there is a big difference between murder and having more than one sex partner. If they insist all "sin" is equal, then they aren't fit to govern, teach or do anything else that requires good judgment.

The argument that monogamy is necessary so that society isn't burdened with "illegitimate" children fails because we can have sex without having children. It also fails because most Americans aren't monogamous, yet we aren't overwhelmed with abandoned babies.

pornstudent said...

Would conservatives make sex outside of marriage illegal? Adultery is against the law in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maryland. North Carolina is one of seven states that prohibits men and women from living together unless they are married (source). Consenting adults are arrested for making porn if it has no other value than being sexually exciting.

Conservatives talk of less government and more individual responsibility, yet they want obscenity laws, they want the government to pay for sex abstinence education, they stigmatize women who chose to have premarital sex, and they call a baby "illegitimate" if it's not born in what they consider the morally right way. What conservatives want is more of the same. They don't really want government to leave us alone and they are threatened by individuality.

Anonymous said...


You're the only one exposing your ignorance here.

You claimed Palin had some great insight into the Freddie and Fannie debacles.

Frankly, I don't put much "faith" in your memory. It's yours to reflect upon.

You and your offspring will the ones who will be stuck with those taxes and the results of your ignorant choices, not me.


Anonymous said...


You look at this too much like a sporting event, my team vs. your team.

We've gone past that now for sure.

Neither team is going to be able to dig us out of this one.

The teams are fighting to see who can stay out of last place, not who will win first.

We're not in the gold, silver, or bronze competition.

We dropped the baton.


Anonymous said...


You're right about one thing.

Conservatives "talk" about small government.

What they "do" ensures we'll all be paying as if we had "large" government, even if we get nothing in return.

We're spending like drunken sailors and don't get the booze.

Bob said...


You may be right about those recent seasons. But don't forget: Our team has a pretty good percentage when we're facing screwballs from Arizona. You could look it up.

Gamecock said...

America is overwhelmed with children without fathers and this trend started soon after the pill was made available.

Iztok said...

"America is overwhelmed with children without fathers and this trend started soon after the pill was made available."

Post hoc ergo proper hoc.

Gamecock said...

PS, you raise good questions

The illegality of adultery served a purpose in its non-enforcement. As an attorney I am very familiar with it. It was only raised as a threat in divorce cases and was useful in getting adulterers to settle cases without trial. It also sent a message to people of how serious we consider betrayal of the family.

Gamecock said...


Good one re '64. I can't think of a more unique election though, given the assassination and the beginning of a new movement in Goldwater.

I would say that Goldwater's movement did eventually mature in Reagan and Gingrich.

The movement began in '72 with McGovern has mostly maintained the historic FDR new deal coalition in Congress but it seems to me the leftist baby boomers population is peaking now. They couldn't even oust Bush43 in 2004 after a year of bushlied rhetoric.

Bob said...

Okay, Okay. Softballs from Arizona. But I swear it's not as funny.

pornstudent said...

"America is overwhelmed with children without fathers..." - gamecock


"and this trend started soon after the pill was made available."

You blame birth control for fatherless homes? Disagree.

Society would do better if we didn't pressure men and women to be monogamous. We should suggest to the many who lack the genetic aptitude for monogamy that they would be happier not married. We should educate everyone about birth control and STD protection.

Bob said...

How come, after 100 posts, none of the atheists has told us how he/she determines what is moral?

Iztok said...

Bob: "How come, after 100 posts, none of the atheists has told us how he/she determines what is moral?"

Bob, we have discussed this. Basis for our morality is empathy as well as enlightened self-interest.

Now let me turn this around. Many religious (not just Christian) claim that source of morality is God. This tells me two things.

1. They are moral because God entices them or scares them to do good. Such thing is not moral by itself. It is more moral for person to be good because of wanting to be good then to please someone.

2. If at one point someone would prove once and for all God doesn't exist such religious people would lose their basis of morality and turn into murderers and rapers and whatnot.

Either way, sounds bad to me and I feel sorry for those who think they need God to be moral.

Bob said...


When you spread those silly lies about Sarah Palin's last child, was that empathy or self-interest? Was that an example of how your smug system works? Would you pity someone who eschewed spreading malicious lies because he thought God does not want us to spread malicious lies, no matter how much we hate our enemies? I thought Protestants tried to do do what is moral simply for the glory of God, not to obtain reward or avoid punishment. That is what predestination and justification by grace are all about, no?

pornstudent said...

I have an instinct of what is moral. Sex outside of marriage and non-monogamous sex, per se, have nothing to do with morality.

Some quotes from Albert Einstein:

"I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it."

"The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority less doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action."

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees."

Bob said...


Didn't you also instruct us earlier that it is impossible to prove that God does not exist, because one cannot prove a universal negative?

Bob said...


Instinct cuts both ways, of course, but you have given a lot better answer than Iz. But query: to what extent are (ideas about) sympathy, education, and social ties merely borrowings from religious traditions, without attribution? If I thought a belief in the supernatural were "necessary," I would have one, too. But the climb looks pretty steep without their support.

Iztok said...

Bob: "When you spread those silly lies about Sarah Palin's last child"

I was clear with my post on that. Go back and read it.

"Didn't you also instruct us earlier that it is impossible to prove that God does not exist, because one cannot prove a universal negative?"

Yes. So? What does this have to do with question posted?

"That is what predestination and justification by grace are all about, no?"

You seriously believe in predestination?

I am however waiting for you to tell us why "giver of morals" is needed for us to have morals.

Gamecock said...

e policy in the late 60s for the increase in faltherless children as well as the culture slouching towards gomorrah that the pill was a major part of. The man was kicked out of the hosue and Uncle Sam became daddy. Reead McWhorter's Losing the Race, Bork's Slouching and my column:

Originally published January 16, 2007 in The Charlotte Observer.

Achieve King's dream with equal treatment
Misguided liberal policies assume blacks are inferior victims
Special to the Observer

"Daddy, why would somebody want to shoot a preacher?"

That was a precocious little boy's first reaction upon seeing the headline of The Spartanburg Herald announcing the assassination of the 39-year-old leader of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr.

No holiday cries out for a progress report more than the one President Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1983 and that America celebrated yesterday. Where do we stand nearly 39 years after King's death on April 4, 1968?

Brandon Woolfolk, a 23-year-old African American junior at UNC Charlotte presently working as a hotel clerk, told me last week that "One change is that back then blacks feared whites. Today, they fear other blacks."

Dewey Tullis, a life-long educator and prominent black member of the Spartanburg County Democratic Party, told The Wall Street Journal before last fall's election he was supporting the Republican running for South Carolina's top education post because, "Frankly, I'm tired of seeing our young black men graduate high school without knowing how to read and write."

One main reason for these disturbing assessments: the well-intentioned but misguided liberal policies implemented immediately after the race-based "Jim Crow" laws were abolished. New race-based laws were passed, old non-race-based laws were misinterpreted by liberal judges, and new welfare policies kicked the black father out of the house and made Uncle Sam daddy.

Character building a priority

By contrast, King's dream was that people be judged based, not on skin color, but rather on the content of their character. There is hope, however.The Charlotte-Mecklenburg African American Agenda conference earlier this month, whose agenda "priorities" could have been written by whites, shows that more and more blacks get it and are about the business of character building. Event organizers even invited as a featured speaker National Public Radio correspondent and Fox News commentator Juan Williams, author of "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It."

Now, what about Caucasians?

I became active in the Democratic Party mainly due to my disdain for the racism I saw in the 1970s. Happily, I watched most of the Republican racism melt under the weight of King's mainstream American and Judeo-Christian moral arguments. Unhappily, I watched disturbing pathologies develop within my party and its members.

Then, during my five years in Atlanta before moving to the Queen City, I experienced what I call a "conservative epiphany," in large part due to the covertly racist behavior of fellow liberal Democrats in their treatment of blacks as inferior victim dependents and their overt disdain for the Christian faith that inspired King.

Radio talk show host Dennis Prager recently described being shown a video of people reacting to a talk show organized by a firm that specializes in analyzing such shows for their producers. Prager noticed that the carefully chosen panel included no blacks. The firm explained that in their previous experience they discovered that after a black person gave their opinion about a show, white people would rarely offer differing opinions for fear of being deemed racist.

This condescending and misplaced white guilt and fear of the Political Correctness Police must end.

Face down the PC crowd

I don't remember Daddy's answer to his eldest son's innocent inquiry some 39 years ago, but there is nothing I better remember than the way he lived his life. Dad employed the non-race-based Golden Rule found in Matthew's Gospel as he coached some of the first racially integrated little league baseball teams in my hometown and insisted that blacks employed with him at Southern Railway be held to the same standards as whites.

King based his civil rights message largely on that New Testament passage, which admonishes us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which acknowledge equality before our Creator and require equal treatment under the law.

Quite simply, whites must stop treating blacks as inferiors, and muster the courage to face down the PC crowd to make King's dream more of a reality.



Gamecock said...

Bob, thanks for joining lonely me in calling Iz out for spreading the vile palin child rumour.

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "Bob, thanks for joining lonely me in calling Iz out for spreading the vile palin child rumour."

I was clear that this was (at time) rumor. What it turned out is that Bristol in fact is pregnant unmarried teen. And as such according to Gamecock should be shamed and stigmatized.

pornstudent said...

When I was about twenty I no longer believed in God. It soon thereafter occurred to me that I am free to do whatever I want and that kind of frightened me because some of the possibilities are horrible. I realized that I don't have to worry about being a monster because I don't want to hurt people. Some would rape and kill without their belief in God, but I don't think their crimes would be noticeable in the FBI's Crime Reports.

I haven't spent any time thinking about moral education, but a useful question might be, "Would you kill someone if there were no God and you could get away with it?" Assuming the answer would be negative, discussion could proceed with, "Why not?" Other questions might be, "How do you want to live your life? What is important to you?" Discussion would lead to the knowledge that we care about others and it gives us some pleasure to make others happy.

With good, scientific explanations of human nature I think civilization would improve without belief in a personal God. The past failures of atheistic societies don't mean the future without God can't be better. Consider the path that civilization is now on.

When/If China and India begin polluting the Earth as much (per capita) as Americans do, human life will become "poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Christian morality isn't stopping the consumerism and greed that is causing the pollution.

Nuclear proliferation continues and it is a matter of time (hundred years?) until there's a nuclear holocaust. The millions of Christians believing in the necessity of Armageddon before the second coming of Christ aren't going to stop it.

Americans aren't going to stop believing in God. Fine. But would you all put things in perspective? Questioning the morality of sex habits and preferences distracts from the stuff that really matters.

Bob said...


Spreading rumors as vile and ridiculous as yours, with reckless disregard as to their truth, is the same as spreading a lie. At least to adults. The Bible, which you disdain, counsels against bearing false witness. I rest Gamecock's case.

Iztok said...

Bob: "The Bible, which you disdain, counsels against bearing false witness."

You assume Bible is not made up here. Which is bit too much to assume.

You didn't address the shame and stigmatization encouraged to kids like Bristol by Gamecock.

So let's compare:

1. Iztok mentiones that there is a rumor about Sarah's child being Bristol's.

2. Gamecock implies we should shame and stigmatize kids like Briston (being unwed pregnant teen).

Anonymous said...


The ideas of Confucius do address sympathy, education, and social ties without particular reference to the supernatural.

In fact, Confucius deflects most questions about death, spirits, and the supernatural as less important than the way people treat each other on earth.

That doesn't mean he was an atheist, just that religion had little influence on his ethics.


Anonymous said...

Here's how Iztok prefaced the Palin baby story:

"Rumors has it that Palin's latest child might actually be a grandchild."

He pretty clearly states that it is a rumor.

That's different from spreading the rumor as "truth".


Bob said...

Iz and company:

The distinction you make between rumor and a lie is immoral.

As to the rest: I do not believe in the Protestant doctrine of predestination, but I admire it because of its egalitarian implications and because it frees morality from the carrot-and-stick mentality which you casually ascribe to all Christians. I don't really see all that much difference between my (atheist) lack of interest in the afterlife and a Christian doctrine that leaves all that to the grace of God. Truth be told, that would be my second choice.

Iz also expressed (perhaps mock)concern that, if somebody ever proves that God does not exist, all hell would break loose. I countered that we need not worry about anyone proving the impossible anytime soon. But, more to the point, we have the historical evidence that every country which has ever made a self-conscious effort to do away with religion (revolutionary France, Russia, China, Cambodia) has unleashed a torrent of the very murder, etc., from which he supposes religion does nothing to protect us.

One more thing: If empathy plays an important role in your ethics/morality, why trash a Bible that is so full of human pathos? Why not try to learn from it as literature (as even Dawkins recommends). Read the parts where the prophets challenge God to do justice. Read Revelation for what it says about present conduct, even if you can't appreciate apocalyptic literature in its historical context. Appreciate the eerie literary breakthrough that is the Gospel of Mark. Feel for Peter when he denies Jesus three times and weeps. I'm not even going to get into the Passion. (I'm getting too passionate here already.) But quit trashing my cultural inheritance with your jejune New Atheism. No matter how much you think we need you, we don't need you that much.

Iztok said...

Bob: "I do not believe in the Protestant doctrine of predestination, but I admire it because of its egalitarian implications and because it frees morality from the carrot-and-stick mentality which you casually ascribe to all Christians."

First you complain about our morality and distinction between rumor and a lie then you pull out the ultimate immoral thing - predestination. Wow, I am shocked.

Anonymous said...


So if you label a a rumor as a rumor, it's immoral?

What should you call it? A lie?

That would be a lie unless you knew the rumor to be untrue, wouldn't it?


Anonymous said...

Personally, I prefer to leave the rumor-mongering to the National Enquirer.

They are the professionals.


Gamecock said...

Would you kill if there were no God?

We can never know that there is no God. One cannot prove a negative in this context. We have great evidence that there is God. Many witnesses incl the Universe itself; Nature and Nature's laws; the Bible; and the Church. We have within nature's laws the law of human nature that is one's conscience.

It is God in your head that won't leave you be in your denial that informs that you should not kill.

We also know from history that the Hebrew law and Christianity reduced violence in the pagan world into which they were launched.

The death penalty itself deters in broad and profound way by communicating to us as children how much life is worth that to kill a life may require one to sacrifice their own.

pornstudent said...

"Would you kill if there were no God?"

Not looking for any proof, just a little self reflection.

The Christian support of the death penalty indicates they are confused. The idea that children are shown the value of life by needlessly taking it is scary. How much life are they willing to take to prove its value? Keep them out of the White House!

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "Many witnesses incl the Universe itself; Nature and Nature's laws; the Bible; and the Church."

Wow if there was ever a stretch of the truth.

How would Nature's laws be witnesses of God? You fail to provide ANY evidence for God. What you mentioned either looks natural or man made.

Even Bible and Church look exactly what we would expect if man made it.

BTW: Gamecock, so how is shaming Briston going? You doing a good job? Or you are saying we shouldn't shame kids like Bristol (unwed pregnant teens)?

pornstudent said...

How do you determine what is moral?

pornstudent said...

You did say unwed pregnant teens should be shamed. Have you changed your mind? Politics does that to people.

pornstudent said...

Politics doesn't change people's minds as much as it gives them reason to lie.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I might add that I previously mentioned rumors about Barack Obama being Muslim and the AntiChrist.

Was that also immoral?


Iztok said...

Aren't we glad that our secular morals evolved past stigmatizing young unwed mothers (to be)? Gamecock would have us believe that stigmatizing such girls is perfectly OK. Good for Bristol Palin our society is past this and we believe destigmatization is progress in our moral behavior.

Anonymous said...

Gamecock wrote:

"We also know from history that the Hebrew law and Christianity reduced violence in the pagan world into which they were launched."

I guess you're excluding the Crusades from this since Muslims aren't technically pagan.


Nick said...

Come on, guys - you can't have it both ways. The death penalty shows a disregard for life, but abortion is OK?

Bob said...

Anon 1:

The moral thing to do would have been not to spread malicious rumors under any label. (I was out last week knocking doors for Obama, so you don't have to tell me about what rumors can do.) But the really moral thing to do would have been to humble oneself, admit the error, ask forgiveness, and move on. Those whose humility skills are evidently rusty should be hesitant to criticize those who at least have had the wisdom to build an artificial practice field.


My moral code? Unfair question! We were discussing your deficiencies, not mine.

My best shot is to say I think Richard Rorty has the right general idea. You ask "is it good for you too?" and genuinely care about the answer. But this is a very mushy guide and prone to all kinds of self-delusion and rationalization, as the defenders of rumor-mongering have now so ably demonstrated. So, given my weakness, I am inclined to borrow liberally from those you have been on the practice field for centuries and not fuss if some of their ideas strike me as arbitrary, or even dumb. Don't ask me to elaborate because I'll probably just contradict myself.


I thought you liked the idea of doing good for its own sake. That's what the doctrine of predestination promotes. It takes salvation out of human hands and puts the focus on doing right here and now, even if there is no salvation for the just at the end. You are amazed that I like this doctrine only because you are superficial.j

Gamecock said...


One should be ashamed of conceiving a child out of wedlock. One can redeem oneself of course. Choosing life is redeeming, as is marrying the father.

Its about the baby.

Gamecock said...

Abortion kills innocent life.

Capital punishment avenges the killing of innocent life by taking the life of the guilty.

The difference is stark. The lesson is the same: Protect innocent life.

Those that refuse to admit that the reason they want abortion legal is so they can have their cake and it it too, are in denial.

pornstudent said...

I disregard the lives of the executed as much as I do embryos and starving babies in Africa. Since it costs as much to execute a prisoner as to keep him in prison for life and capital punishment doesn't deter crime, I don't see a reason for the executions. Making abortions illegal, however, would cost society money because of enforcement, lost work and child welfare. If we educated everyone on the use of birth control and encouraged its use and had men and women wanting to adopt the fetuses, I'd be OK with making abortion illegal. So, how is it that those who believe in the sanctity of life kill harmless prisoners? They do seem confused.

I'm googling Richard Rorty. Thanks.

One needs to be shamed in order to feel ashamed. If an unwed pregnant teen isn't ashamed, would it be your Christian duty to shame her?

Vengeance trumps sanctity of life?

Bob said...

Porn Student:

I'd recommend "Contingency, Irony and Solidarity." There's also a more recent one about politics in which he amusingly argues for Greek paganism as the ideal religion for a democracy. But I forgot the name.

Anonymous said...

btsy74 "Oh, and when Jesus fed the 5,000 men, he created each meal (fish and bread) right there in front of the nearly 10,000+ people."

and Harry Potter defeated a Troll, jsut because it is in a book does not make it true.

Gamecock said...

Societies in the past came to shame unwed pregnancies due to the burden on the rest of society. Welfare reform has the promise of helping to restore responsible behavior, but given the large fed govt, it will take time.

Yes, judeo-christian values have been under attack in this country since the 60s.

Now, under the new morality and political correctness people are shamed for obtuse reasons. The atheists on this site are exhibits a, b and c.

Iztok said...

"You are amazed that I like this doctrine only because you are superficial."

No I am amazed that anyone likes the doctrine considering how immoral it is.

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "Its about the baby."

So it is your "duty" to stigmatize victims like Bristol?

Yes, let's stigmatize and shame victims. Way to go!

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "Yes, judeo-christian values have been under attack in this country since the 60s."

Oh really? Somehow it is the other way around. Christians are oppressing other religious and especially non-religious/unchurched since 50s. Trying to fit "under God" every where in our secular country. Managed to change the pledge (and being ignorant about it as Sarah "if it was good for founding fathers it is good for me" Palin), put things on our currency, trying to ban books on their "values", impose censorship...

The worst thing is that you are still playing being persecuted when in fact you are the persecutors.

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "Yes, judeo-christian values have been under attack in this country since the 60s."

Especially values like:

1 Timothy 2:11-15
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.

Anonymous said...


Sorry, but I don't see any reason to apologize for labeling a rumor as a rumor.

As for what the Bible says, maybe someone can parse the Hebrew and do the research on ancient Jewish legal systems for us all to see what they really meant (in context)about "bearing false witness".

Or do all believers agree on that?

The main reason I don't argue Bible quotes is that the "meaning" is always so slippery that it rarely works as an "absolute" basis for much of anything.


Bob said...

How about looking at the polls and admitting it was a mistake? I'll settle for that.

Bob said...


In Romans 16, Paul praises the leadership of women in the church. Scholars think that 1 Timothy was written by followers who either misunderstood him or were pursuing their own agenda.

Anonymous said...


what do polls have to do with admitting a mistake?

Are you talking about the rumors?

There are tons of rumors out there and if they turn out to be false, they are mistakes.

Unless, of course, you are a professional rumor-monger like Karl Rove, in which case the "truth" of your rumor is whether it furthers your political goals.

If you want to monitor the rumors check out Urban Legends and Snopes.

The Palin baby rumor was false. The Barack Obama Muslim rumor was false.

Jury's still out (and probably always will be) on the Obama AntiChrist rumor since it presupposes a whole bunch of
unproven nonsense.

I'll just say "I don't believe" that AntiChrist rumor...


Bob said...

You convinced me. Some people spread lies and rumors to hurt their enemies. Some don't. It's not that one way is better than the other. They're just different.

Anonymous said...

Well, my main point was that there's a big difference between saying "Barack Obama is a Muslim" and saying there is a rumor about that.

To me, rumors are unproven statements, so I don't believe them.

They are to be proven or debunked.

Some are like a hypothesis, an attempt to explain facts.

Others are malicious.

Some people will believe anything that supports their biases, and there is nothing that will help that.

I would rather see the rumor identified and analyzed.


Gamecock said...

Gentlemen and Lady, could we get back to Lady Pope's topic.

Clearly it is the Devil, and not genes, that make Democrats do it!

Iztok said...

Bob: "Scholars think that 1 Timothy was written by followers who either misunderstood him or were pursuing their own agenda."

So you are saying that *gasp* Bible is not inerrant?

Iztok said...

Gamecock: "Clearly it is the Devil, and not genes, that make Democrats do it!"

Gamecock, what makes the Republicans (i.e. John McCain) do it?

Bob said...

Anon 1:

No one can say that your apology for rumor-mongering is unexceptional.


I was correcting another of your (gasp!) errors. If I thought the Bible was inerrant, I would not cast my pearls before swine.

Iztok said...

Bob, it was pointed here several times about Christian morals (and its source - Bible).

If 1 Tim is questionable, how about 1 Cor?

1 Corinthians 14:34-35
"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

Granted Bible speaks contradictory on many things including role of women in Church.

It points that women can have leader roles in Church:

Acts 18:26
"Priscilla ... expounded unto him the way of God."

Romans 16:1
"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church."

("I commend you to our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church." -- The Revised Standard Version)

Romans 16:7
"Junia ... of note among the apostles"

But overall I would say Bible is very sexist and doesn't deserve to be moral compass for anyone.

If anyone doubts the above, perhaps we should distribute the following book Illustrated Stories From the Bible to our children and let them make up their mind.

Bob said...

Wrong again, Iz. Scholars think that 1 Cor. 14:34-35 was not written by Paul either, but was inserted later by a scribe who wanted the letter to sound more like Timothy. (Bart Ehrman is my source on this.) As you now seem to grasp (gasp!), the Bible contains more than one tradition about women (and about many other topics). This facilitates discussion about which ones, if any, work best today. That invalidates the entire anthology's moral utility only for people who don't like to think before they argue.

Nick said...

Pornstudent said "Making abortions illegal, however, would cost society money because of enforcement, lost work and child welfare."

So you put a monetary value on human life. How much is a life worth? Is it worth $100? $1,000? $1,000,000? When you're old and infirm and it costs more to keep you alive than your net worth, will you change your mind?

Apparently any cost to save a life is not worth it to you - "making abortions illegal, however would cost society money." Any money spent to preserve a life is wasted money in your estimation.

You have a god, and it is money. It determines the value and worth you place on people. The end result of such thinking is too horrible to contemplate - a world where the sick, the feeble, those who can't produce, are eliminated because they're not worth it.

I would hope that we as human beings are capable of better than that.

Gamecock said...

What makes Conservatives do it?

informed thought and values

pornstudent said...


We all put a monetary value on human life.

"Hunger and poverty claim 25,000 lives every day.

"Every five seconds a child dies from hunger.

"Almost five million children die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrehoea and measles.

"Every minute, a child under 15 dies of an AIDS-related illness. Every minute, another child becomes HIV-positive.

"In a 1970 UN Resolution, most industrialised nations committed themselves to tackling global poverty by spending 0.7 percent of their national incomes on international aid by 1975. Only Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark regularly meet this target." - From the World Food Programme.

"The Iraq war costs American taxpayers $195 million per day. One day in Iraq could feed all of the starving children in the world today almost four and a half times over." -

As long as there are people dieing from lack of food or medicine and we spend our money on cable TV, air conditioning or anything else we don't need, we are choosing that which we don't need over a human life.

Think about what you wrote, Nick, and maybe comment again with more honesty and less self-righteousness.

pornstudent said...

More about money and the value of human life:

22,000 American adults died in 2006 because they did not have health insurance. -

Obama's solution would cost between $50 billion and $65 billion. McCain wants to give individuals $2500/yr and families $5000/yr to buy insurance. - CNN

My moral instinct is willing to pay more taxes so that everyone has health insurance.

Nick said...

Pornstudent - you can't have it both ways. You don't want to make abortion illegal because of the associated costs, but you want to pay more taxes so everyone can have health insurance.

Where is your honesty? And your self-righteousness is self-evident.

To be honest, I have air conditioning but not cable TV. And I don't buy porn.

pornstudent said...

We can have it both ways because we value some lives more than others (my honesty). I value the lives of thousands of Americans who die because they don't have health insurance more than aborted embryos and executed prisoners. I do value the lives of starving children in Africa, but not enough to give up my air conditioning.

But if you value all human life equally (really?), then I'd think you would be as concerned about the starving children in Africa, uninsured Americans and executed prisoners as you are about embryos.

Iztok said...

pornstudent: "We can have it both ways because we value some lives more than others (my honesty)."

You are absolutely right. Anyone who claims that they care for everyone's life equally are dishonest and full of themselves. Fact is that our society evolved so we value those who are closer to us more then those who are not so close. Our brains are equipped to deal with somewhat small group of people in time and space. Seeing religious murdering few thousand people in religious zeal of 9/11 hit home, on the other hand massacres of hundred of thousands another group of religious zealots in Africa doesn't.

For those who truly read the Bible it is clear that God in this particular book values certain lives over other (even if others are children who did nothing more then teas a bald man).

pornstudent said...

By the way, Nick, how much would you pay to save an embryo? $100? $1,000? $1,000,000? How many embryos would you save before you reached your monetary limit? How many have you saved?

Just to make a point that I'm not self-righteous, I wouldn't pay $10 for an embryo unless I could sell it for $20.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is to see how the payments to the 9/11 WTC victims were "compensated" vs. the Virginia Tech shooting victims.

I'm not talking about insurance, but money from funds set aside for the victims by gov't or donors.

WTC victims sums were calculated based on some variable calculation of their life's "worth" while Virginia Tech dead were all given the same amount whether student/professor or whatever their position.


Gamecock said...

I'm going to violate my rule against commenters so unimaginative that they choose anonymous rather than a barnyard animal or color...

What is your point about WTC victims and VaTech victims?

I only ask that because I opposed any government payments to 911 victims due to the precedent.

more later after your response

And all you anony mouses, what are you afraid of? You don't have to give your name (mine's Mike DeVine, btw). You can use a nickname.


pornstudent said...

"If someone vows to 'forsake all others,' then keeping that vow is the moral choice." - Jane

A broken promise is a lie. If you say you will do something then don't, you lied. People have reason to mistrust people who lie and break promises. There are good reasons to lie, but is there a kind of lie that is immoral? What about the lies told during a presidential campaign. If a candidate really thinks he is the best person for the job, would it be OK for him to lie for the sake of the country? Whether the lies are immoral or not, it's hard to trust a liar.

For examples of a candidate's lies, see Paul Krugman's Blizzard of Lies.

Nick said...

Pornstudent, you're the one who placed a monetary value on life, saying that it would cost too much to make abortion illegal. I'm the one who said that life can't be judged in monetary terms. So when you ask how much I'd pay to save an embryo you're really asking me to agree with you, which I'm not willing to do. You're the one who thinks of life in terms of money.

As y'all pointed out to me on another post, the Declaration of Independence says that life is an unalienable right endowed to all men by their Creator. One shouldn't have to pay to secure a right, in this case the right to life.

Iztok said...

Nick, you do know that the Declaration has no other then historical value? It is not a legal document in extent our constitution is.

Anonymous said...

Why do you care whether we post as anonymous or not?


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see any documented example of our Founding Fathers claiming the "right to life" or
any other right for that matter, before birth.


pornstudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pornstudent said...


How much of a tax increase are you willing to accept in order to prevent the deaths of thousands of Americans who don't have health insurance? $500/yr, $1000/yr, $2000/yr?

Do you think the United States should spend 0.7 percent of its national income on international aid?

How much of a lower GDP are you willing to accept in order to stop global warming and the human deaths that it will cause?

Of course, life is more than money, but money saves lives. Call it putting a "monetary value on life" or call it charity, fetal adoptions, social security, health care, environment policy, etc..

Many people say embryos should have rights and many others want to be able to abort them. I don't care one way or the other, so I don't want to spend money saving them. But I said, "If we educated everyone on the use of birth control and encouraged its use and had men and women wanting to adopt the fetuses, I'd be OK with making abortion illegal." You ignored this possible way of preventing abortions and instead criticized me with, "Apparently any cost to save a life is not worth it to you... You have a god, and it is money. It determines the value and worth you place on people."

Because of our little exchange, Nick, from now on, for what it's worth, I'll support pro-choice, even after condom machines are placed in every high school lavatory.

Anonymous said...

You only have to look at a country like the Philippines to see what effect making abortion and contraception illegal has on a population.

The rich ignore the laws and work around them while the poor suffer the with little recourse.

Maybe Sarah Palin and others like her can raise and care for all the children they can bear, but for others another child means splitting the food rations to include one more mouth to feed.

Right now the focus is on abortion, but banning contraception is also part of the same agenda throughout the world.


Gamecock said...

Can't follow conversations with multiple Anonymouses.

Gamecock said...

I don't see an age/trimester modifier on Life in the Declaration, Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amerndment.

Shouldn't the burden of proof be on those that want to kill?

Gamecock said...

One of those anonymi says "the poor suffer with little recourse"?

Ever heard of keeping the legs together and/or putting the tikes to work on the family farm!

Iztok said...

"I don't see an age/trimester modifier on Life in the Declaration, Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amerndment."

One would think Gamecock would know Declaration is not legal document. I guess one would be wrong considering the above.

Fifth Amendment: It talks about persons. Not fetuses.

Fourteenth Amendment starts with: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States..."

Constitution of US is pretty clear that we are talking about persons that are born.

Gamecock said...

The Founding Fathers wrote and signed the Declaration. I was responding to this statement from an anon:

"I'd like to see any documented example of our Founding Fathers claiming the "right to life" or
any other right for that matter, before birth."

I rest my case.

Bait and switch is a tactic of a man that just lost the substantive argument.

Iztok said...

Gamecock: Let us start ...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."

Still failed to provide evidence for "before birth" part.

I think bait and switch was attempted by you and failed.

Gamecock said...

"men"? Ok, so only those in the (18yrs x 3 + 3) 54th trimester are save from an abortionist according to the Founders?

Btw, I must say, in my divorced start, I do appreciate how much you care about what I utter.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, you know that "men" and "person" in our legal system most of the times is considered interchangeably.

I just pointed out that document you mentioned are far stretch from your claims.

Plus your math seems on par with math in the Bible.

18 years = 72 trimesters (not counting the pregnancy trimesters)

Gamecock said...

Ok, yes, 18 x 4 + 3 (3 trimesters in the womb) = 75.

So you think only men have the inalienable right to life? Men are 18 and up or 12 and up or 16 and up. So you think the Founders considered 5 yr olds as killable at will with no consequence.

Got it.

Iztok said...

"So you think only men have the inalienable right to life?"

Hm.. apparently you've missed what I said: ""men" and "person" in our legal system most of the times is considered interchangeably"

Again you are trying to bait and switch. Where did founding fathers talk about unborn?

Anonymous said...


Where's the "before birth" part?

Surely our Founding Fathers knew about birth and the concepts of "before" and "after".

Especially if they studied the laws of their time (which they did).

You can even go to Blackstone's Commentaries to see how often "birth" and "born" are used to delimit rights and responsibilities.

Not a thing about the unborn, the pre-born, the stillborn, or the never-to-be-born.

Just the born.

The plain, boring, simple born.

Isn't that interesting?

I guess they didn't have the "Pro-Life" crowd to tell them what was right and wrong about that.

Are you trying to put stuff in those documents that aren't there?

Or is this like that Sarah Palin interview you "remember" seeing where she talks about Fannie/Freddie (pre-VP selection), but can't be bothered to find a reference outside your head?


Anonymous said...

Gamecock says,

"Ever heard of keeping the legs together and/or putting the tikes to work on the family farm!"

Ah, if they have no bread, let them eat cake!

Work on the family farm, what a joker you are.

I'm talking about the Philippines and "good" Catholic families, not slutty little unwed teens living a privileged life on the government payroll.

They don't all have family farms.

Some of them live in garbage dumps.

They dig through other poor people's trash.

I'm sure their kids dig through trash as well since it doesn't take much training or equipment.

They are suffering the consequences of Catholicism run rampant in a poor country where the elected officials are also Catholic and will not oppose the Catholic Church and its policies.

These people do not have enough money to buy condoms.

All they have is the rhythm method and abstinence.

And it's not working.


Iztok said...

"All they have is the rhythm method and abstinence."

Since about 40% of all embryos don't get implanted one could say that rhythm method is responsible for large number of dead embryos.

Gamecock said...

The conversation was not about the legal system, except the one you have been having with yourself.

Of course, before Roe most legal systems treated the fetus as a person, but I digress.

I answered a question from an anon about the Founders. The Founders also wrote and signed the Declaration.

That is three times now that I have had to point that out.

The last time.

Life is short.

Gamecock said...

States protected the unborn before Roe.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, so could you point us to the documents where unborn are mentioned? Declaration and both amendments you've mentioned are talking about men/persons not about fetuses/unborn. They are even specific on using word "born".

Anonymous said...


You have shown nothing from our Founding Fathers about rights before birth.

Your "answer" is just like your answer about the Palin interview,
pure evasion.

Sorry, but your mere assertions don't prove anything.


Anonymous said...

Protecting something doesn't make it a person or give it rights.

You can also protect property.


Anonymous said...


It's just ridiculous watching people try to make this stuff up when it is fairly obvious that the science/technology promoting their views did not exist 200 years ago.

Fetal rights would have seemed ridiculous to someone who had never seen what we can see with modern medical imagery, particularly within the last 50 years.

But, a lot of these same people are also opposed to conferring new, "special rights" and adding things to the Constitution which weren't in the original intent.

What we know now simply wasn't known 200 or 2000 years ago.


Gamecock said...

Asked and answered. Go back upthread. I answer questions one time. Some people don't like the answer. You can find another lawyer that will take your money and give you the answer you want. Beware.

Iztok said...

Gamecock, it was asked about unborn and you answered with born. Missed the target. So not answered.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Scalia's answer (from 60 Minutes interview last night):

"My job is to interpret the Constitution accurately. And indeed, there are anti-abortion people who think that the constitution requires a state to prohibit abortion.

They say that the Equal Protection Clause requires that you treat a helpless human being that's still in the womb the way you treat other human beings.

I think that's wrong.

I think when the Constitution says that persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws, I think it clearly means walking-around persons,"

Thanks for your pro-bono opinion, Gamecock, but I took it to a higher court.


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