December 26, 2012

WL Craig Christmas Message: How Christmas Got Real

Over the years, the celebration of Christmas in society seems to have become more and more diluted by consumerism and a focus on some of the more superficial trappings of the holiday. However, this year, the Sandy Hook school shooting seems to have served as a kind of wake up call regarding the deeper meaning of Christmas.

I noticed a Christmas message by William Lane Craig that seemed to echo points others have been making this year. For example, one blogger wrote a post, "the year Christmas got real." The following is an excerpt:

"This year, more than ever, Christmas is real to me. A world, evil and cruel. Systems that oppress. People who cut short the lives of others. Abuse. War. Famine. Death. And in spite of this.  In the midst of this.  Because of this…hope. The promise that everything – yes, even these things – will be set right."
 
In his video presentation, Craig describes Christmas as "God's entry into a world that is fallen." Christmas is "not just happiness, gift giving and the festiveness of the holiday, but the hope that is given to us who are lost in an otherwise evil and unspeakably wicked world." The presence of God is real. The joy of God is real. The peace of God is real. But so are pain, suffering and trials. Depending on how we view these realities, we may appreciate Christmas on a deeper level.



Addendum

Many atheists have taken umbrage with the above video presentation and have offered their opinions that Craig, and any Christians who believe the Bible is true, are morally wretched for believing that God can use terrible situations for good, as outlined in Romans 8.28. The following are some examples. Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers Blog offers, "He is a moral failure on all levels and doesn’t deserve any respect whatsoever." PZ Myers offers, "Was he [God] sending us a message about the nature of the world and doing his best to extort us into believing in Jesus" Myers extorts, "...saying it reminds you of a passage in your bible doesn’t really explain anything." I would like to remind Myers that his "moral tools" have yet to explain any difficult moral questions regarding morality from an atheist perspective.

I find it hypocritical for Myers to criticize a person who does take time to explain his moral perspective when Myers refuses to explain his own. Myers has stated, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..." However, when I asked him by email to clarify what these conditions are and why they would be considered moral, Myers declined to answer. Apparently, Myers is unable to even address any difficult moral questions with anything but a one or two sentence blurb. Let's face it, atheists have yet to come up with an objective basis for morality. And, just because atheists do not understand how God interacts with humanity differently in different dispensations of history, this does not mean that God's existence, the basis of true morality, does not qualify as a logical basis of morality.


(updated 12/29/12)

Tags: How Christmas got real, intense Christmas message, deeper meaning in Christmas message, Sandy Hook school at Christmas, Newtown Christmas message, Newtown at Christmas, God as the basis of true morality.

54 comments:

  1. So uh, what then? Those kids had to die to make the rest of us appreciate xmas more? Yeah, something is evil about that...

    I keep forgetting that Craig is the same guy who had sympathy for the soldiers who killed babies in ancient Israel's alleged wars as opposed to sympathy for the babies themselves.

    Sociopath. And it seems that it's his religion that has made him that way.

    Do those religious morons ever figure where "evil" came from in the first place?

    When the devil rebelled, instead of tossing him and his all into hell right off the bat, god allegedly just chucked them all onto earth. The same earth that he was going to place man.

    Then when the devil allegedly tricked adam and eve into eating some fruit (the knowledge of "good and evil"). God cursed them, cursed nature, etc. instead of just maybe snuffing those two out and starting over with two other people. That's not mercy here, folks. That's letting a contagion spread!

    Indirectly, god is himself one of the main sources of evil.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Reynold, you bring up the "problem of evil" with respect to God. This question goes back to questions of free choice and even secular philosophers tend to agree that Alvin Plantinga resolved this question adequately:

    "According to Chad Meister, professor of philosophy at Bethel College, most philosophers accept Plantinga's free will defense and thus see the logical problem of evil as having been sufficiently rebutted."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantinga%27s_free_will_defense

    Any other questions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I notice you carefully omit the next sentence, and the lengthy section on "criticisms" from your quote.

      Also, you seem to be citing Chad Meister as both an unbiased source and, perhaps, a "secular" philosopher.

      To quote Mr. Meister: "CM: My manager at HP, a Hindu from India, challenged my Christian faith — so much so that I began to question everything. It was this reevaluation of what is true in religion that led me into the fields of philosophy, theology and religious studies."

      He now has a Master's in Theology. So, if you're citing him as "secular", you're wrong. And if you're citing his claim, you should look at the disagreements in the *next* *paragraph*.

      I notice you're back to using your familiar weasel-word "tend" -- meaning "I found something I can cite!"

      So, no, this citation is not a sufficient refutation of Reynold's claims about the problem of evil -- indeed, even in the article described, it observes that Plantinga is only making a claim that the problem of evil is not a logical contradiction. (It is also worth noting that Plantinga also circumscribes "omnipotence" and "omnibenevolence" in very specific ways in order to do so.)

      Delete
    2. Beh. Plantinga has been dealt with at least two other blogs by people with a better, or more honest anyway, understanding of philosophy than you.

      Delete
    3. Reynold,

      Do those religious morons ever figure where "evil" came from in the first place?

      - By what objective standard do you, or any other atheist, decide something is evil or immoral? Is your basis of morality 'cultural moral relativism' or some other basis?

      Delete
    4. Empathy (putting oneself in another's shoes), looking at the consequences for the victims and society itself.

      Better than the bible by far where slavery, genocide are endorsed!

      Delete
    5. - By what objective standard do you, or any other atheist, decide something is evil or immoral? Is your basis of morality 'cultural moral relativism' or some other basis?

      Rick, we've been here before, plenty of times; if you want I can dig up references to the last time we answered this question, though it will require a bit of work, and you'll probably just ignore it.

      Delete
    6. >Empathy (putting oneself in another's shoes), looking at the consequences for the victims and society itself.

      - I see. PZ Myers also offered empathy as the basis of his morality:

      [3] Interview with PZ Myers, at approximately the 6.20 mark in the interview, PZ offers that empathy is the basis of moral decisions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgW9vJ4QyFw

      Please explain, Reynold, how empathy offers an objective moral basis on a subject such as bestiality. PZ Myers refuses to clarify his own opinion. Let's see yours.

      Delete
  3. Reynold, I was wondering if PZ Myers ever took the time to clarify what he meant when he wrote, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/05/reply-to-pz-myers-objective-moral-tools.html

    He didn't seem to want to answer my email. Perhaps he has written a post at his Pharyngula blog in order to elaborate on his moral understandings?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you wonder why people call you obsessed, Rick? This is why.

      You're asking someone about a third party and a question you asked them quite some time ago, while not bothering to answer other people's questions because you find them "uncivilized".

      Why should PZ answer you, when you have been far worse to him than people you claim are "uncivilized" have been to you?

      Delete
    2. Not to mention this is a 100% red herring. This has nothing to do with the problem of evil

      Delete
    3. Just out of curiosity, by which objective standard are you claiming that God is the main source of "evil" Reynold.

      Or, are you a supporter of moral relativism? Do you favor individual moral relativism, cultural moral relativism or some other variant?

      Delete
    4. I find it interesting that you are responding to Reynold in response to a comment from me, rather than back where Reynold actually challenged you.

      I'll let him answer, but I do believe his "objective" source is the Bible you claim to believe in.

      Delete
    5. As imnotandrei said. Your god does not consistently follow his own rules. And if you reply that he doesn't have to, then let me ask you this: How then can you judge "god" to be "good" at all? If he doesn't follow the rules that he lays down for us then what rules does he follow? How do you know that he ocnsistently follow them?, etc.

      As for cultural relativism, please. Xians are among it's biggest practitioners. How else would you describe the butcherings in the past as ordained by your god and your claim to be "pro-life" now?

      Delete
    6. Warden
      Reynold, I was wondering if PZ Myers ever took the time to clarify what he meant when he wrote, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."
      Are you still on that? For god's sake man...go do a sheep already if you're that obsessed. Actually, no. Imagine the poor sheep.

      Get some bloody psychiatric help! It's It's your illness, not Myer's. He's responded to you all that he needs to. You just won't accept his answers and this claim that he's never answered you.

      Let me quote him though I know it won't help:
      In another example of the dishonest Christian gotcha, lately a thick-skulled Christian idiot name Rick Warden has been pestering me with email and comments demanding that I justify support for bestiality. Seriously, dude? What the fuck is wrong with you?

      Mr Warden is so obsessed with bestiality that he even claims the Friday Cephalopod is a “weekly animal sex post” in one of his incessant whines about my odious imaginary support for bestiality. He’s a shockingly dishonest asshole; he does fit my expectations of Christian liars for Jesus, though, who think nothing of accusing atheists of being moral nihilists who approve of torturing toddlers, or of being promiscuous goat-rapers.


      And now for the money quote:
      I do not support bestiality. No one I know does. But we are capable of assessing it objectively, unlike these wretched Christians and their brains full of lies and disgust. Let’s apply my moral tools to the problem.
      Myers then talks at length about this which should answer any doubts you may have.

      Well, if you were honest.

      As for Myers "not answering you" in the format you want him to (email) read what imnotandrei wrote:

      Why should PZ answer you, when you have been far worse to him than people you claim are "uncivilized" have been to you?


      Delete
    7. Warden...why did you even start in on Myers here anyway? I didn't even mention him here until of course you did...I know that Myers once wrote about Craig's sociopathic views, but also: There is Craig's writings themselves which expose him. Why did you not just think of the original Craig article but rather about Myers?

      Actually, never mind...you kind of answered that already didn't you?

      Delete
    8. Reynold,

      >As imnotandrei said. Your god does not consistently follow his own rules.

      - In this respect, you are assuming that you adequately understand the context of dispensations. As far as my question is concerned, none of you apparently have an answer:

      According to what objective standard do atheists claim that the God of scripture, or people who believe in this God, act immorally?

      So far, no answers from the peanut gallery.

      >As for cultural relativism, please.

      - Is that not the prevailing secular humanist position on morality?

      >He's [PZ Myers] responded to you all that he needs to. You just won't accept his answers and this claim that he's never answered you.

      - If that is true then why can't anyone answer my simple question:

      When Myers wrote, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..." what kind of conditions was he referring to?

      Myers evidently has not sufficiently responded to the question. Why do you pretend that he has?

      >Warden...why did you even start in on Myers here anyway?

      Before I mentioned Myers at this post, you mentioned me at Myer's post:

      "Oh, christ…get a load of how that sick character Warden views that same message. Different worldviews, all right."

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/26/the-true-meaning-of-christmas-involves-dead-children-anyway/comment-page-1/#comment-521637

      So what are you whining about?

      I notice that you commented at his blog and this would imply you may be knowledgeable of whether or not Myers has ever clarified his views on bestiality. Your recent comment at PZ Myer's blog is in the context of the exact same video of WL Craig I posted. And, I find it extremely hypocritical that Myers would critique Craig for elaborating on his view on a controversial moral subject when Myers refuses to do the same.

      Delete
    9. Warden
      Reynold,

      >As imnotandrei said. Your god does not consistently follow his own rules.

      - In this respect, you are assuming that you adequately understand the context of dispensations.

      Then show that I have not. Try to be consistent morally as you do so. Because from what I see, xians can't be morally consistent. See for example "pro-lifers" and William Craig's having no problem with god-ordered baby-killing!

      As far as my question is concerned, none of you apparently have an answer:

      According to what objective standard do atheists claim that the God of scripture, or people who believe in this God, act immorally?

      Answered more than once: His own standard which he set up for us. I ask again: What standards does god have then? How can xians tell whether this "god" of yours is moral, much less "morally perfect". Remember after all, Matthew 5:48 where commands us to "be perfect, even as god is perfect".

      That sounds like the standards for god and us are the same after all, with the implication that "god" is better at following them. As is shown, he ain't.

      So far, no answers from the peanut gallery.
      Wrong, again. I use his own standards which he lays out for us. Not our fault if you keep dismissing them, as you seem to do with anything you don't like!


      Warden quoting me:

      Warden...why did you even start in on Myers here anyway?

      Before I mentioned Myers at this post, you mentioned me at Myer's post:

      "Oh, christ…get a load of how that sick character Warden views that same message. Different worldviews, all right."

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/26/the-true-meaning-of-christmas-involves-dead-children-anyway/comment-page-1/#comment-521637

      So what are you whining about?

      I "whine" about nothing. I was merely pointing out that you are as effed in the head as Craig is, when it comes to the value of human life.

      Your obsession with Myers and bestiality had nothing to do with it: It was about Craig. You brought bestiality up, and you even admitted that you had already been thinking about it!
      Warden
      Reynold, I was wondering if PZ Myers ever took the time to clarify what he meant when he wrote, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."
      From that article that you can't seem to understand, Myers went on to say:
      So, to answer clueless thick-skulled Christian idiot’s question, I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions, but do not support it in any way
      Your question demanding that he lists those conditions implies that there is some cases where Myers would support it. He has said several times that he does not.

      End of point.


      Warden
      I notice that you commented at his blog and this would imply you may be knowledgeable of whether or not Myers has ever clarified his views on bestiality. Your recent comment at PZ Myer's blog is in the context of the exact same video of WL Craig I posted. And, I find it extremely hypocritical that Myers would critique Craig for elaborating on his view on a controversial moral subject when Myers refuses to do the same.
      Myers has made his views quite clear, as my link and quoted showed.

      Delete
    10. Hope you don't mind if I pitch in, Reynold, even if it's talking to a wall. ;) We have many of the same answers, as it happens.

      As far as my question is concerned, none of you apparently have an answer:

      According to what objective standard do atheists claim that the God of scripture, or people who believe in this God, act immorally?


      Inconsistency. The only moral standard that can explain the multiple different behaviors of the god of scripture is the simple "If God does it or says it, it's OK." -- which is moral relativism, of the individual sort, as it happens.

      So far, no answers from the peanut gallery.

      Now you have one. Answer it, or stop claiming "No one can answer." Just because you don't like where the answers are coming from doesn't mean there aren't answers.

      >As for cultural relativism, please.

      - Is that not the prevailing secular humanist position on morality?


      Citation, please.

      >He's [PZ Myers] responded to you all that he needs to. You just won't accept his answers and this claim that he's never answered you.

      - If that is true then why can't anyone answer my simple question:

      When Myers wrote, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..." what kind of conditions was he referring to?


      Because we're not mind-readers, and because we choose not to answer
      for third parties? Especially given your history of quote-mining, this seems an eminently reasonable position.

      Myers evidently has not sufficiently responded to the question. Why do you pretend that he has?

      Actually, we don't. We assert that he's given you all the answers you deserve, because you have no more claim on answers from him than, say, I have on you -- and we see how much claim you think I have upon you for answers.

      >Warden...why did you even start in on Myers here anyway?

      Before I mentioned Myers at this post, you mentioned me at Myer's post:

      [link deleted]

      So what are you whining about?


      The fact that Reynold was on-topic there, while you drag Myers into a discussion where he is not relevant, purely to engage in an attack ad hominem on Myers and anyone associated with him, a line of attack you used to specifically decry.


      And, I find it extremely hypocritical that Myers would critique Craig for elaborating on his view on a controversial moral subject when Myers refuses to do the same.

      He's not critiquing Craig for elaborating on his view -- he's critiquing Craig's *view*. There is a difference.

      If Craig had refused to answer Myers' questions, that would be one thing -- then you could claim some similarity. But Myers was not saying "He shouldn't elaborate" -- he was saying "What Craig said in his elaboration was repellent."

      As usual, I am unimpressed with your efforts to twist and dodge points in order to assure that you are Always Right.

      Delete
    11. R:According to what objective standard do atheists claim that the God of scripture, or people who believe in this God, act immorally?

      Denial is not a river in Egypt, Rick. I told you before what my moral system is in details and what is my objective standard. My standard is happiness (and yes, it is completely objective, check for the thousand time maslow s theory of needs).

      R:So far, no answers from the peanut gallery

      Liar, I explained to you my moral system in details at least three time or maybe even more.

      R:Is that not the prevailing secular humanist position on morality?

      Order a detailed social study to answer that question, Rick. Secular Humanists do not have a single moral system. However, cultural relativism seem to be a minority point of view. The only kind that seems to be spread is the descriptive moral relativism, which explains why such or such community have different moral systems. However, it does not say what moral system a society OUGHT to have.

      R:If that is true then why can't anyone answer my simple question: When Myers wrote, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..." what kind of conditions was he referring to?

      It was answered to you that we do not know and do not care to know. Most likely Myers is not even sure himself what those conditions would be. You are a liar by pretending you did not receive an answer.

      R:Myers evidently has not sufficiently responded to the question. Why do you pretend that he has?

      An answer you do not like or understand is not the same as not receiving an answer.

      R:Before I mentioned Myers at this post, you mentioned me at Myer's post

      You being mentioned on Pharyngula was relevant to the discussion. However, I believe that bestiality has little to do with christmas or the problem of evil.

      R:And, I find it extremely hypocritical that Myers would critique Craig for elaborating on his view on a controversial moral subject when Myers refuses to do the same

      The is a red herring and an ad hominem, Rick. It does not matter if your opponent does not "elaborate his view on a controversial subject" in relevance to the accusations of Craig.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous,

      >Denial is not a river in Egypt, Rick. I told you before what my moral system is in details and what is my objective standard.

      - As I've explained to you before, claiming that happiness and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs are the basis of your morality does not mean that you actually have an objective standard. For the unteenth time, happiness is subjective, not objective. And you have not identified in any way how Maslow has provided an objective standard for morality. If you have, show the link. Yes, denial is more than just a river in Egypt and you seem to be swimming in it.

      >Liar, I explained to you my moral system in details at least three time or maybe even more.

      - Your long-winded explanations and actual, valid answers are two very different subjects entirely. Do provide at least one link where you have definitively demonstrated that you have an objective standard for your morality. All comments at this blog are link-friendly.

      Delete
    13. Warden
      - Your long-winded explanations and actual, valid answers are two very different subjects entirely. Do provide at least one link where you have definitively demonstrated that you have an objective standard for your morality. All comments at this blog are link-friendly.
      Translation: I don't like your answer, therefore you have not answered at all.

      Delete
    14. R:For the unteenth time, happiness is subjective, not objective. And you have not identified in any way how Maslow has provided an objective standard for morality. If you have, show the link.

      Sigh...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

      Do tell what is subjective about those needs, Rick. They are completely objective, i.e. independent from the individual.

      Not once have you provided any explanation why happiness should be subjective.

      Delete
    15. >Do tell what is subjective about those needs, Rick.

      - Using such a list offers ultimately a pragmatic approach to ethics and values. The question comes down to, "What is the basis for deciding the greater good for the individual and society?" This answer is always subjective. There is no scientific explanation for "the greater good." For one person, smoking bestiality and and sadomasochism may be the most pleasurable and "happy" experiences, for another these are seen as destructive. Who is to say that smoking is immoral if it knocks a couple of years off his life? Pragmatism ultimately offers subjective answers and this is the reason why PZ Myers cannot define specifically the "very limited set of specific conditions..." in which his bestiality should be acceptable.


      >Not once have you provided any explanation why happiness should be subjective.

      Most people don't need proof and links in order to understand that happiness is subjective, but here you are:

      Subjective well-being (SWB) refers to how people experience the quality of their lives and includes both emotional reactions and cognitive judgments.[1]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjective_well-being

      Delete
    16. R:Using such a list offers ultimately a pragmatic approach to ethics and values.

      So you are unable to tell which of those criteria from maslow s list are subjective?

      R:For one person, smoking bestiality and and sadomasochism may be the most pleasurable and "happy" experiences, for another these are seen as destructive.

      Wrong. Pleasure and happiness are not the same things, Rick. A drug addict can find pleasure in cocaine, but they will not find happiness with that. Same thing with smoking, bestiality and so on.

      Furthermore, there is a huge difference between smoking and murder impulses of people like Tedd Bundy. The impact from those actions are on a different scale and the gravity of those actions are not the same.

      R:Who is to say that smoking is immoral if it knocks a couple of years off his life?

      Because it will decrease the overall amount of happiness by decreasing the lifespan of a normal human being. On the other hand, smoking does not provide ANY benefit that healthier alternative cannot.

      R:Pragmatism ultimately offers subjective answers and this is the reason why PZ Myers cannot define specifically the "very limited set of specific conditions..." in which his bestiality should be acceptable

      Rick... Go screw a plushy sheep and lay off the bestiality theme. No one can speak for PZ besides himself. I already explained to you what makes bestiality immoral from my point of view.

      And since you are a dishonest person, that will feign ignorance about my answers, I will repeat my reasons:

      1. Animals cannot offer consent
      2. They are unaware of the consequences of their actions
      3. It is physiologically and psychologically harmful for both parties.

      R:Subjective well-being (SWB) refers to how people experience the quality of their lives and includes both emotional reactions and cognitive judgments

      Rick, you are an idiot. At leaset read the link before posting it.

      It is not about whether happiness is objective or not. It is about ONE of the ways to evaluate happiness (through self-reports). It is the easiest (even if very flawed) way of gathering information about the emotional condition of the population.

      In no way does SWB undermine Maslow s hiearchy of needs. One is about evaluation, while the other is about the cause. On the contrary, SWB mostly confirms Maslow s theory of needs.

      Delete
    17. Anon,

      The thing you will have to admit eventually is that there is no objective, scientific basis for determining a person's happiness from an atheistic perspective. It's a philosophical issue that deals with the question of meaning in life.

      A person like Christopher Hitchens chose to smoke because it made him feel inspired to write productively and creatively. Who are you to say this was immoral because it harmed his health? For him the meaning and "happiness" of his life was enhanced by smoking.

      Delete
    18. R:The thing you will have to admit eventually is that there is no objective, scientific basis for determining a person's happiness from an atheistic perspective

      Read about positive psychology, Rick. Stop bragging about you ignorance.

      R:Who are you to say this was immoral because it harmed his health? For him the meaning and "happiness" of his life was enhanced by smoking.

      I have answered that question both in the thread about Sam Harris and here in my other post.

      Delete
    19. P.S. You also failed to point out what is subjective about Maslow s theory of needs. To prove happiness is subjective you need to prove the criteria for happiness are subjective. I have repeatedly asked you to so, but you have been relying purely on bold assertions so far.

      Delete
    20. Anonymous,

      >So you are unable to tell which of those criteria from maslow s list are subjective?

      -If you read critiques of the list at Wiki or wherever, you will find that the order of the list, the content of the list and the relevance of the list are all subjective and somewhat arbitrary.

      >R:Who is to say that smoking is immoral if it knocks a couple of years off his life?

      A:Because it will decrease the overall amount of happiness by decreasing the lifespan of a normal human being.

      As noted in my latest blog post, the atheist countries that tend to rank high in "happiness" also tend to rank high in suicides.

      You have a fundamental paradox. If happiness is based mainly on health, then people will want to end their lives when they become less healthy. For these kinds of reasons, "length of lifespan" cannot be used an an objective basis for morality in your worldview.

      >To prove happiness is subjective you need to prove the criteria for happiness are subjective.

      - Go to Wikipedia and read all the criticisms of Maslow. Secular humanist critics have ripped his theory up well enough. Or do I need to repost each point for you?

      logical Philosophical explanations, meaning and significance - things not described at all in Maslow's hierarchy list, are real and valid human needs, even if you wish to pretend they are not.

      Delete
    21. R:If you read critiques of the list at Wiki or wherever, you will find that the order of the list, the content of the list and the relevance of the list are all subjective and somewhat arbitrary.

      Sigh...Sorry, Rick. I keep forgetting about your stupidity and laziness... You really should read about the problem or at least try to voice the criticism as you understand it.

      1. Maslow theory has been improved since 1943.

      2. The dynamic characteristics of the hiearchy of needs does not cancel out the needs themselves. Depending of the circumstances the priority can change, but by not much. A person dying of thirst is unlikely going to think about morality or sex, but that does not mean those needs do not exist

      3. Geert Hofstede s criticism is also about the priorities and not about the content itself. He is speaking about how self-actualization can differ, depending on a culture. However, that does not cancel out the need for self-actualization be it through familly or work.

      R:As noted in my latest blog post, the atheist countries that tend to rank high in "happiness" also tend to rank high in suicides.

      Corrolation does not equal causation, Rick. You need to prove the reason is a lack of religion to make your point.

      R:You have a fundamental paradox. If happiness is based mainly on health, then people will want to end their lives when they become less healthy. For these kinds of reasons, "length of lifespan" cannot be used an an objective basis for morality in your worldview.

      Rick...You are an idiot. Life expactancy is only ONE of the many factors taken into account.

      Read Maslow s paper, goddamit!

      http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

      R:Go to Wikipedia and read all the criticisms of Maslow. Secular humanist critics have ripped his theory up well enough. Or do I need to repost each point for you?

      You never bothered to read Maslow s paper or the criticism of his work, Rick. The point is the criticism is about minor points and not about the fundamental ideas behind the theory.

      R:logical Philosophical explanations, meaning and significance - things not described at all in Maslow's hierarchy list, are real and valid human needs, even if you wish to pretend they are not.

      This only proves you did not read Maslow s paper and are vaunting your ignorance as always, Rick. Those would go into the self-actualization category.

      Delete
  4. Due to the fact that atheists on the Internet seem to be interested in turning Craig's Christmas message into an opportunity for their own philosophical posturing, I decided to add an addendumAddendum

    Many atheists have taken umbrage with the above video presentation and have offered their opinions that Craig, and any Christians who believe the Bible is true, are morally wretched for believing that God can use terrible situations for good, as outlined in Romans 8.28. The following are some examples. Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers Blog offers, "He is a moral failure on all levels and doesn’t deserve any respect whatsoever." PZ Myers offers, "Was he [God] sending us a message about the nature of the world and doing his best to extort us into believing in Jesus" Myers extorts, "...saying it reminds you of a passage in your bible doesn’t really explain anything." I would like to remind Myers that his "moral tools" have yet to explain any difficult moral questions regarding morality from an atheist perspective.

    It is quite hypocritical for Myers to criticize a person who does take time to explain his moral perspective when Myers refuses to explain his own. Myers has stated, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..." However, when I asked him by email to clarify what these conditions are and why they would be considered moral, Myers declined to answer. Apparently, Myers is unable to even address any difficult moral questions with anything but a one or two sentence blurb. Let's face it, atheists have yet to come up with an objective basis for morality. And, just because atheists do not understand how God interacts with humanity differently in different dispensations of history, this does not mean that God's existence, the basis of true morality, does not qualify as a logical basis of morality. to the post:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. It is quite hypocritical for Myers to criticize a person who does take time to explain his moral perspective when Myers refuses to explain his own.


      Nonsense. Myers is refusing to answer your specific questions to your satisfaction. Craig put his statements out and is a proselytizer by *profession*. Craig putting his statements out in public is an invitation to critique -- that he got it is not "hypocritical" on the part of people pointing out his problems.

      I do not need to have a definitive solution to the current economic crisis to say, for example, that slashing taxes and spending even further is a bad solution.

      Let's face it, atheists have yet to come up with an objective basis for morality.

      THey've come up with several on this blog alone -- indeed, you wrote an entire post on one. That you don't *like* them is not saying they don't have them.

      And, just because atheists do not understand how God interacts with humanity differently in different dispensations of history,

      In other words, because people do not accept the ad-hoc framework you've put together to explain the contradictions in your model...

      his does not mean that God's existence, the basis of true morality, does not qualify as a logical basis of morality.

      The "dispensations" do not explain why morals based on an individual subjectivity, divine or otherwise, are allegedly "logical" and "objective". Try explaining it, instead of waving your dispensations around and claiming they fix everything -- or acknowledge that your "logical" basis is no more logical than the other ones you've been presented with. Rick.

      And finally, until you answer my questions, you have no standing to whine about what PZ Myers does or does not do.

      Delete
    2. Warden
      Due to the fact that atheists on the Internet seem to be interested in turning Craig's Christmas message into an opportunity for their own philosophical posturing, I decided to add an Addendum
      And in another display of hypocrisy, Warden doesn't like atheists being opportunistic in regards to Craig's message, but of course he's said nothing about various xians (like Craig himself and Huckabee) to use tragedy to promote their views and to scapegoat atheism while they're at it

      We have tried to explain how atheists deal with moral issues, Warden. You just keep on disregarding them as is evidence by this statement here:
      Let's face it, atheists have yet to come up with an objective basis for morality.
      Bull. We have explained it over and over again. It is you christians who have no right to claim "objective" morality since pretty much anything that is considered wrong in today's society (slavery, rape, killing of babies, etc) is at some point or another ordered by biblegod.

      This is subjective morality. And it's xian morality.


      How does Warden excuse this cock-eyed thinking?
      And, just because atheists do not understand how God interacts with humanity differently in different dispensations of history,...
      Uh..."situational ethics" anyone? All Warden has done here is prove my point that xians don't have "objective morality". Here's a clue as to how true objective morality works: If something is wrong for one person to do it, it's wrong for others to do it, period. Warden is appealing to situational ethics at best.

      ...this does not mean that God's existence, the basis of true morality, does not qualify as a logical basis of morality. to the post:
      How does "god's existence" justify "true morality"? If "god" wants you to kill babies then it's ok to do it? So if someone just believes that "god" has told them to do something than they'd have to be left off the hook according to their thinking (ex. Susan Smith)

      How can a being who's moral behavior is so inconsistent as "biblegod" be used as a "logical basis" for morality?

      And if Warden brings up that "different dispensations" crap again, I'll just point out (again) that it just amounts to "situational ethics" which is basically one of the ways that secular morality is figured out.


      Remember: When Warden (and pretty much any theist apologist says that:

      Let's face it, atheists have yet to come up with an objective basis for morality
      that means that they don't give a damn about things like "empathy", "looking at things from the victims point of view" or "seeing how society as a whole is affected" -- all things I mentioned before) then the theist is admitting that he or she does not care about any of that!

      In trying to attack atheist's morality, all the theist like Rick, has done is expose their own lack of it.

      It wouldn't be so bad except: That is what they are teaching to others, including children.

      Ever wonder why the crime rates in Scandanavian countries have less crime?

      Perhaps it's because they are taught the reasons for morality that I've outlined earlier, and that the existence of "god" or "gods" is not relevant. In the states and other "xian" countries, you get clowns like Warden saying basically that "without god, there's no reason to be moral". Guess which set has the higher crime rates?

      Delete
    3. R:Due to the fact that atheists on the Internet seem to be interested in turning Craig's Christmas message into an opportunity for their own philosophical posturing, I decided to add an addendumAddendum

      Isn t it hillarious how many christians use the shootings in schools to preach? But when atheists object to this, they are using it as an "opportunity for their own philosophical posturing".

      Delete
    4. As my addendum to this: Remember this link from above about "marketing opportunities"? Read a little bit of it:

      Here’s the thing, though. Christianity doesn’t, in actual fact, own morality. Christians didn’t invent ethics, the Bible didn’t invent laws, and if there is actually no God, no amount of fervently believing in a non-existent God will make the frequently terrible teachings of the Bible in any way objective. At best what this person is demanding is that we assume that the particular brand of morality she believes is true, and order everyone else to follow it uncritically, without stopping to ask themselves whether some aspects of those rules might be corrupted or harmful.

      What she’s said here doesn’t even make any sense from a secular point of view. “A 20 year old who has become a law unto himself”??? A lunatic with a gun has no claim to be “a law,” any more than a Christian with delusions of theocratic utopia has the right to go around lynching homosexuals for the glory of her God.



      As a further note:
      Warden said earlier here:
      It is quite hypocritical for Myers to criticize a person who does take time to explain his moral perspective when Myers refuses to explain his own. Myers has stated, "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..." However, when I asked him by email to clarify what these conditions are and why they would be considered moral, Myers declined to answer.

      Maybe the reason is that since he's said that he does not agree that it is actually moral? Maybe he was only speaking hypothetically about those "specific conditons"? Necessary evil, in other words. Even so, he couldn't name them. I can however, though I have to borrow from Warden's morality for real this time:

      God telling you to. It's not the worst thing he's commanded.


      You're dishonestly taking his statement to mean that he thinks that there are situations where it may be outright moral as you just said in the part of your quote I bolded above.

      Myers has never claimed that.

      Delete
    5. Reynold,

      >Maybe the reason is that since he's said that he does not agree that it is actually moral?

      - Get real, Reynold. I personally find bestiality immoral on all occasions and therefore unacceptable on all occasions. Period. The same goes for torture in my book. Myer's however, has stated he is not opposed to bestiality under a "very limited set of specific conditions..."

      Reynold, do answer a simple question for me:

      Do you personally find bestiality or torture acceptable under a "very limited set of specific conditions..." why or why not?

      At least with torture you can come up with some unethical "torture one to save a thousand" scenario. But, under what possible conditions, Reynold, will bestiality help the greater good?

      Myers has revealed his "moral tools" just aren't cut out for the job, because Myers cannot address difficult moral questions. Contrary to his scientist fantasies, science cannot answer the tough questions on morality but he won't admit it. Pragmatist ethics and morals are always ultimately subjective, as I explained to Anonymous:

      The question for pragmatists comes down to, "What is the basis for deciding the greater good for the individual and society?" This answer is always subjective. There is no scientific explanation for "the greater good." For one person, smoking bestiality and and sadomasochism may be the most pleasurable and "happy" experiences, for another these are seen as destructive. Who is to say that smoking is immoral if it knocks a couple of years off his life? Pragmatism ultimately offers subjective answers and this is the reason why PZ Myers cannot define specifically the "very limited set of specific conditions..." in which his bestiality should be acceptable.

      Delete
    6. The same goes for torture in my book.

      Except, of course, you're in favor of torture as punishment, or at least so it appears, since you accept the existence of Hell.

      So, no -- it's not "unacceptable on all occasions" -- it's unacceptable except when God says it's OK. That's the problem you have.

      The question for pragmatists comes down to, "What is the basis for deciding the greater good for the individual and society?" This answer is always subjective. There is no scientific explanation for "the greater good."

      Well, when Sam Harris proposed one, you ridiculed it. But claiming this answer is "always subjective" is no more valid than saying "What is the basis for deciding which god to worship, and hence which morals to follow?" The answer to *that* question, since it is up to each individual person, is always subjective -- and there you have subjectivity injected into religious morality.

      this is the reason why PZ Myers cannot define

      Don't confuse a "can't" with a "won't". After all, you won't refute my points -- from your logic with respect to PZ Myers, that means you can't.

      Delete
    7. Warden
      Get real, Reynold. I personally find bestiality immoral on all occasions and therefore unacceptable on all occasions. Period.
      Is that why you kept asking if it was immoral even if the sheep seemed to be enjoying it?

      I and Myers have given our reasons for why we think it's wrong.

      You never seemed to accept them. That's when you asked for instance, if it was wrong even if the animal was enjoying it, you sicko.

      Warden
      The same goes for torture in my book.
      Then the lake of fire that god throws sinners into must be a moral outrage to you. So in fact, must be the instances in the OT where the virgin midianite women were ordered by god to be taken by the Isrealite soldiers who had, again, under god's orders, killed off the rest of their families.

      Nope. You claim that this "god" of yours is somehow the objective source of morality, yet you pretend to be appalled by the same kind of actions when it's humans giving the orders.

      As you said to me: Get Real


      Warden
      Myer's however, has stated he is not opposed to bestiality under a "very limited set of specific conditions..."

      Maybe the fact that he's never listed them means that he couldn't think of any? That he was speaking hypothetically?

      Look: I have quoted over and over again just how Myers feels about it: He is against it, period. Even with that quote of yours, he has never said that it is moral.

      Get the fuck over it.


      Warden
      At least with torture you can come up with some unethical "torture one to save a thousand" scenario. But, under what possible conditions, Reynold, will bestiality help the greater good?
      Hell if I know...maybe if I was a god-believer and he told me to? As I said: It's not like it'd be the first time biblegod has ordered atrocities.


      And now you start complaining about our "subjective morality"? You hypocrite.
      The question for pragmatists comes down to, "What is the basis for deciding the greater good for the individual and society?" This answer is always subjective. There is no scientific explanation for "the greater good."

      When god has babies and women killed, it's ok in the apologist book...when people do it, it's an atrocity. How can you possibly claim that your morality is "objective"? It's not even consistent, you fool.

      Your god doesn't consistently follow the rules that he set out for us, yet you clowns have no problem saying that he's "just" and "holy". How do you know? How can you judge that? I've asked that many times....no answer from you.

      Delete
    8. Furthermore: Your blathering about the different ages of dispensation amounts to nothing more than situational ethics, which is what you deplore when "pragmatists" use that as a basis for morality.

      Xians have no basis for objective morality. Stop pretending that you do.

      Delete
    9. >I and Myers have given our reasons for why we think it's wrong.

      - You, Reynold, have done a slightly better job at trying to explain your personal views than Myers has. As far as I understand your views, you believe that bestiality is immoral on all occasions and not morally acceptable on any occasions. Is that correct, Reynold?

      >You never seemed to accept them.

      - Reynold, you yourself have just underscored why Myers' answers are inadequate:

      "Maybe the fact that he's never listed them means that he couldn't think of any? That he was speaking hypothetically?"

      Why would someone offer morally repulsive behavior as non-objectionable under certain circumstances if there are no apparent examples that could possibly support such an opinion, Reynold?

      Personally, I can think of no hypothetical situations wherein bestiality would be morally acceptable and would contribute to the greater good. How about you, Reynold?

      Still no answers? I suppose that would qualify his answer as inadequate and your defense of his answer as inadequate. But, you must defend the mighty Myers' answers anyway - no matter how inadequate or unsupportable.

      >Your god doesn't consistently follow the rules that he set out for us,

      - The objective nature of morality has to do with the objective nature of God, not how God has revealed himself down through history. I will elaborate on this point in a post if you want to consider it as a separate subject. The critique of God, by the way, does not make atheist morality objective.

      Delete
    10. The critique of God, by the way, does not make atheist morality objective.

      No, but it does render your critiques of a lack of objective morality from atheists irrelevant, since if a god-based morality is not "objective", then *no one* has an objective basis for morality, by your claim.

      But, you must defend the mighty Myers' answers anyway - no matter how inadequate or unsupportable.

      No -- he's under no obligation to do so. Or at least, if he *is* under any obligation to do so, you should be under obligation to defend your own answers to *me* -- an obligation you are shirking.

      Delete
    11. Warden
      As far as I understand your views, you believe that bestiality is immoral on all occasions and not morally acceptable on any occasions. Is that correct, Reynold?
      Yay, he got something right.

      Warden
      - Reynold, you yourself have just underscored why Myers' answers are inadequate: --followed by blather
      Why would someone offer morally repulsive behavior as non-objectionable under certain circumstances if there are no apparent examples that could possibly support such an opinion, Reynold?
      As I said: Ever hear of hypotheticals? If you hadn't acted like such a prick to Myers and his daughter (by your totally misquoting her), maybe he'd deign to answer you. Your problem, not mine.

      Personally, I can think of no hypothetical situations wherein bestiality would be morally acceptable and would contribute to the greater good.
      In that it'd seem that you'd be in agreement with Myers since he's never done so either.

      How about you, Reynold?
      I already answered that: One such situation would be if biblegod commanded me to do it. As I said, that would be par for the course for your "objectively moral" god.

      Yet you claim, after asking that question for the second time:
      Still no answers?

      Sigh. Are you stupid Warren, or just dishonest?


      You however seem to be hooked on this topic. I wonder now if some really weird shit didn't happen to you when you were a kid.

      Warden, quoting me:
      Your god doesn't consistently follow the rules that he set out for us,


      The objective nature of morality has to do with the objective nature of God, not how God has revealed himself down through history.
      Yeah, because he's so damned morally inconsistent, that's why you can't base an "objective moral" code on how he's shown to be acting throughout history!


      If you can't tell from how god has revealed himself through history that he's objective, how in blazes than can the xian say that god is the objective source of morality?

      I will elaborate on this point in a post if you want to consider it as a separate subject. The critique of God, by the way, does not make atheist morality objective.
      I never said it did. You people just pretend to have an "objective" moral code when in reality, it's just subjective.

      You're going to have to elaborate, because you're just sounding stupid at this point.

      Delete
    12. Reynold,

      Based on your answer, you and I seem to have the same moral opinion on bestiality, while PZ Myers has a different one.

      And yet, Reynold, you offer that I am in "agreement" with Myers because he has not offered any specific examples of why he believes bestiality is non-objectionable?

      You've got serious mental disconnect going on, Reynold. Read again your response to my comment:

      Rick: "Personally, I can think of no hypothetical situations wherein bestiality would be morally acceptable and would contribute to the greater good."

      Reynold: "In that it'd seem that you'd be in agreement with Myers since he's never done so either."

      Um, no, Reynold.

      If PZ Myers were to say, "I find that torturing babies for fun is non-objectionable under certain circumstances..." but he didn't actually name those circumstances and then I were to say: "I do not find torturing babies for fun under any circumstances"

      Would that mean, Reynold, that I am in agreement with PZ because no one has named any specific circumstances?

      Please, are you serious? Need some coffee or something? Having a really bad day?

      Delete
    13. Well, for you it would be hell, Rick. Torturing babies in hell for fun is perfectly ok by your standard

      Delete
    14. Anonymous, you are changing the subject. Are you willing to admit that your moral system is ultimately based on subjective decisions?

      I'll get to the ethics from a Christian perspective and you can then offer your best criticisms of Christian ethics.

      Delete
    15. R:Anonymous, you are changing the subject. Are you willing to admit that your moral system is ultimately based on subjective decisions?

      No, I have told you that SWB does not udermine Maslow s theory of needs and I even explained why. You, however, just ignored my response as always.

      And you did lie about the fact you find the torture of babies being wrong on all occasions. You do not have any problem with babies being tortured in hell.

      Delete
    16. Anonymous, I described how your approach is pragmatic and ultimately leads to the question,

      "Who decides what the greater good is in deciding pragmatic ethical questions?"

      You did not adequately address my point. You wrote:

      "Pleasure and happiness are not the same things, Rick. A drug addict can find pleasure in cocaine, but they will not find happiness with that. Same thing with smoking, bestiality and so on."

      1. Who are you to say that a person cannot find more happiness in choosing to smoke, even if it means other health problems?

      2. Who are you to say the value of smoking pleasure is less than the value of health for a person in terms of overall happiness?

      3. What makes you believe you understand the sum total of a person's happiness?

      This is a subjective judgement that you cannot make for another person. Get over it. You cannot tell another person what makes him happy.

      Christopher Hitchens proves your theory is wrong:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-sam-harris-human-flourishing-is-not.html

      Delete
    17. Great, let me repeat the same thing again and again until it sunks in.

      R:Who are you to say that a person cannot find more happiness in choosing to smoke, even if it means other health problems?

      I am not relying on authority, Rick. I am just informing of the consequences of such actions.

      R:Who are you to say the value of smoking pleasure is less than the value of health for a person in terms of overall happiness?

      Again, I am not relying on authority. I am just pointing at the consequences. Smoking will diminish a person s life without giving any benefits that healthier alternatives cannot.

      Yes, it all boils down to the individual and their level of stupidity. Some do not understand what are the consequences of their actions even when it is explained to them.

      R:What makes you believe you understand the sum total of a person's happiness?

      We base our understanding on human nature. Psychology, neuroscience, paleonthology and so on do their job.

      R:This is a subjective judgement that you cannot make for another person. Get over it. You cannot tell another person what makes him happy

      I have already talked about Hitchens and his cheap excuse to keep smoking. Sometimes people behave irrationally and immorally. Deal with it, Rick.

      Delete
    18. P.S. Threats of hell or promises of paradise also do not seem to work to force people to behave the way you like, Rick.

      Delete
  5. Warden
    Reynold,

    Based on your answer, you and I seem to have the same moral opinion on bestiality, while PZ Myers has a different one.

    I invite you to once again read what I had quoted from him earlier. You are trying to make a mountain out of an anthill just so you can construct an ad-hom attack on the man.

    If he knew of some circumstances, he'd tell you, except you went and pissed him off by attacking his daughter.

    And yet, Reynold, you offer that I am in "agreement" with Myers because he has not offered any specific examples of why he believes bestiality is non-objectionable?

    You've got serious mental disconnect going on, Reynold. Read again your response to my comment:

    Rick: "Personally, I can think of no hypothetical situations wherein bestiality would be morally acceptable and would contribute to the greater good."

    Reynold: "In that it'd seem that you'd be in agreement with Myers since he's never done so either."

    Um, no, Reynold.

    If PZ Myers were to say, "I find that torturing babies for fun is non-objectionable under certain circumstances..." but he didn't actually name those circumstances and then I were to say: "I do not find torturing babies for fun under any circumstances"


    As imnotandrei said:

    Don't confuse a "can't" with a "won't". After all, you won't refute my points -- from your logic with respect to PZ Myers, that means you can't.

    Or, it could be that Myers himself can't think of any, but was rather just speaking hypothetically.

    Warden
    Would that mean, Reynold, that I am in agreement with PZ because no one has named any specific circumstances?
    Caught lying I see: I did name a specific circumstance: God ordering a person to do it!

    It's annoying how much you ignore the content of people's posts like that, Warden. Just ask imnotandrei!



    Warden
    Please, are you serious? Need some coffee or something? Having a really bad day?
    Uh, Warden: You are the one who (once again) dragged bestiality into a completely unrelated post and then proceeded to harp and harp on it.

    Not me.


    Now, back to the topic at hand, here's an article about how morality changes through time, even in the bible, thus shooting down the xian claim of an unchanging, "objective" morality.

    It is also wholly unpersuasive to claim, as some try, that God’s values have always been the same even as he has given his people moral codes that fit their times or their understanding at each of their stages. Such a claim quite conveniently, but with no evidence so unpersuasively, reads divine guidance back into what is observably a haphazard, unguided, organic process of cultural evolution, indistinguishable from other naturally explicable processes of social progress.

    Such a claim leaves us with a truly weird kind of “morally perfect” God who first creates humans totally unequipped by their nature to figure out how to be morally ideal and civilized on their own and then guides them towards greater culture only through the use of barbaric, inferior, training-wheels moral codes which are so crude and awful by ideal standards that in a few thousand years they look outright embodiments of evil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reynold,

      I'm glad to see you are gradually making a little bit of progress.

      Let's see, you've gone from

      "He's responded to you all that he needs to." (December 28, 2012 6:04 PM)

      to

      "If he knew of some circumstances, he'd tell you."(January 1, 2013 2:55 PM)

      We still have quite a ways to go, however, until you acknowledge that you are, and have been in, a state of denial. Admission is the key to success, Reynold, at least to the AA 12 step program.

      Let's review your progress:

      PZ Myers has stated the following:

      "I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions"

      Your previous answer has been that it does not matter whether or not he can say why he does or does not object to bestiality. And that this is apparently an adequate answer.

      Now, however, you are at least willing to admit the possibility that he does not know of any actual circumstances wherein his bestiality would be non-objectionable.

      I'm glad to see you are making a little progress, Reynold.

      Delete
    2. Now, however, you are at least willing to admit the possibility that he does not know of any actual circumstances wherein his bestiality would be non-objectionable.

      I'm glad to see you are making a little progress, Reynold.

      Uh, what? his bestiality?

      Ok. He's said that he does not support it. As you always do, you ignore what doesn't support your points and focus on just what you want to, to try to "win" an argument.

      Let's see: You ignore the fact that it was YOU who started all this by accusing the man's daughter of supporting it, then when she says that she was taken out of context, you refused to admit it, then when Myers steps in to defend her, you start attacking him!

      You've made no progress at all. You're bloody fixated. This goes beyond looking for an ad-hom attack, you need some bloody help.

      Delete
    3. Now, can we possibly get back to the topic of how effed-in-the head Craig's little X-mas speech is? Or should I start ignoring your little fetish until you finally get it out of your system?

      Delete
  6. Ah.
    I get it.
    Famous words from the authors of Leviticus, translated via Greek and thence to German and finally into English, and then interpreted by Rick is all that stands between Rick and bestiality. The rest of us are repulsed by it. But having not felt that repulsion, Rick denies that the rest of us do and thus claims a god as the only reason bestiality isn't widespread--while seizing upon the topic as an opportunity to show off his bigotry.
    Either that, or he's having us all on in a brilliant demonstration of Poe's Law.

    ReplyDelete

You are welcome to post comments but, please, no uncivilized blog abuse. I reserve the right to ignore any comments that are abusive, off-topic, or patently false. I don't have time to waste feeding the trolls.