Sunday, 14 April 2013


Rape, the Bible and atheist responses so far...

I'm quite happy to stand corrected but from the feedback I have received from atheists on YT so far, since my discussion with EssenceofThought (EOT), I am yet to hear an atheist tell me they disagree with EOT and they wish to also affirm that rape is something which is morally wrong beyond a personal denouncement.

Instead there have been a few complaints that I was 'out of order' to ask EOT his personal view on rape during our discussion about it.

One reply to the discussion which has appeared is this one by the user 'CheekyVimto08' (CV). Although he does not mention me directly and so might have some other people in mind I think it's fair to assume it's aimed largely at me since it's linked to my discussion with EOT and appeared shortly after.

CV tries to suggest that theists are being underhanded by asking atheists about their metaethics (ohhh-ahhh - how dare they?). Clearly on this point he failed to even listen to my discussion with EOT since I made it very clear I was only asking EOT out of interest and that it would not be part of my defence of Deuteronomy. I made it quite clear what my own view was and, if you listen carefully you will hear EOT claim this is highly significant to the discussion. So if I am stating my view clearly up front from the beginning it is surely a matter of interest what EOT's views are? But even so I made it painfully clear that a counter metaethical attack was not going to happen once we got onto the biblical passages and it did not. CV fails on this criticism therefore.

At around 1 minute CV states that "objective oughts are a very difficult notion" which is a very interesting thing to note given that he is lecturing his audience on the oughts of proper discourse. That sounds very much like giving instructions in ethical behaviour to me. Is CV simply stating his preference for discussion etiquette then? Well his language certainly sounds otherwise. He appears to be suggesting the theist is doing something objectively wrong and that they OUGHT not ask the atheist their view even out of interest.

[A small aside. Whilst I accept that the atheist might cause a problem by pointing to an internal inconsistency in the theist's worldview, please note that this is atheistic presuppositional apologetics of the very kind they so often complain about when done to them. They stand back and insist they have a null hypothesis whilst the other person must defend their worldview. This is using the kind of Hovind basterdized presuppositional method in many ways. Notice the advice given in the blurb to his video:

"Turn any challenge to your moral ontology on its head. Don't try to discuss honestly with propagandists, as your explanations will be ignored."

Does that not sound like the very tactics employed by the likes of Hovindites?]

CV then complains that the theist fails to appreciate that a subjective or quasi-subjective moral ontology cannot be "meaningful" [c.1:30] but this is not relevant to the discussion I was having with EOT in the slightest and I never suggested one could not have a meaningful ethic if it is not a morally realist one. So why CV brings this in I don't know.

At around the 1:40 mark CV complains about appeals to emotion (oh the irony) but this does not happen in the discussion and so my head scratching continues.

At 1:58f. he says:

"It also seems amazing to me that our fundamental sense of morality should stand or fall with our success in giving a philosophical explanation of it as though philosophical problems are solved every other day."

This is a very curious sentiment and one which I doubt he would extend to a Christian arguing for moral realism!!

Then he gives a very curious complaint that he feels theists never really explain what they mean by 'objective' or their claim to moral realism. Perhaps CV is unaware that I have bothered to do exactly this in my following video which was dedicated only to such definitions in order to be as clear as possible in my ethical discussions with people:

CV then chides anyone who dares question the metaethics of people who do not "make pretentions" to have philosophical knowledge! (3:30 ish) Surely CV cannot be talking about his mate EOT at this stage? Not the same EOT who made a four part series on morality entitled respectively:

1. The Morality Of The Godless: Episode 1 - The Development of Morals, Values and Social Norms.
2. The Morality Of The Godless : Episode 2 - The Biological & Evolutional Explanations behind Society.
3. The Morality Of The Godless : Episode 3 - The Socio/Psychological Explanations behind Society.
4. The Morality Of The Godless : Episode 4 - Explanations For Social Conflicts & Wars.

Ironically the previous 'Therefore God' show had been on the very subject of metaethics as well. Suddenly, when rape is the issue, metaethics is now not allowed to be talked about! When it was an atheist on the show that was different.

CV then makes the ridiculous claim that I was repeating "You think rape isn't objectively wrong" for emotional effect. The reason this is ridiculous is that he could not personally know my motive for doing that in the first place. Secondly it would mean not taking me at my word during the discussion where I explicitly said the purpose was to find out if we were both in agreement on the matter. Ignoring what people actually say in a discussion and attempting to project motives on them there is no evidence for is not good form. How ironic that CV continues to take the tone of a moral sermon at this juncture.

From about the fourth minute onwards he attempts to give the atheist a few easy quips to equip the atheist in a discussion on morality with a theist. I encourage atheists to try them out and see just how helpful they are. However, coming up to the seventh minute in, he then suggests that atheists don't even bother getting into discussion on metaethics at all. A very interesting tactic CV!

He then finishes with some bold assertions about what theistic ethics can and cannot achieve without giving any real justifications for these conclusions. This is a poor way of finishing a video. It would be akin to spending an entire argument arguing for x and then claiming, in your conclusion that you have demonstrated y. The careful listener will spot this but some who might be lacking in such skills might not notice this at the end of this nearly 9 minute sermon.

To finish I think it is worth noting that despite all his talk of insisting the job of the theist was to show there is no internal contradiction his video did not once admit I had done that very thing and that the vast majority of the discussion was about this. On such matters he had absolutely nothing to say in his video. EOT completely failed in his burden of demonstrating ANY such contradiction existed in the Christian worldview. A Christian is not contradicting their view on rape as being objectively wrong even when they are conservative in their view of scripture since there is absolutely zero evidence of rape being advocated as something other than a wrong act in the entire Bible. EOT was shown to be using a contentious passage with various possible readings as a proof-texting venture and to be arguing from silence when, in pure desperation, he attempted to use Lot at the end.

I suggest theists keep asking atheists to justify their metaethics. The clear message is they have problems in this area and wish to avoid it by always throwing it back on the theist. The default setting of the You Tube atheist is that he will only want to attack your views. Don't allow the atheist to do that. Ask them to explain what they are proposing. If atheists are finding rape a difficult issue to explain in terms of its wrongness then this is one reason to have doubts about atheist ethics I think.


For more on the utter desperation of online atheists to misrepresent their opponents see this video:

Described as a video in response to my (supposed) view that I hold to "spousal rape"!!! Such people simply do not care about the positions they are attacking and have no qualms about creating straw-men. They know their viewers won't research the matter for themselves and read on both sides of the topic. Instead they will take what he says as being true without question. Obviously I never defended rape in any way and, prior to this pathetic attempt to misrepresent me, even said the complete opposite in discussion with EOT where I went on record denouncing rape as both objectively and absolutely wrong in all circumstances. Since I made myself so abundantly clear and DA has refused to take this video down, despite knowing he has misrepresented me, I think you get a very good insight into the way this man operates.


  1. I respect the depth you went to in this discussion and analysis. Clearly you are the victor in this debate. However, I would like to point out that presuppositional apologetics is not descended from Hovind, but from Van Til and Bahnsen. Neither is the presuppositionalist relegated to a mere discussion of consistency, but can also use evidentialist apologetics to present the case for Christ.

    Presuppositionalism is powerful, and so is evidentalism, I believe both should be used, indeed everything possible should be used, to win people for Christ.

    Thanks for the educational blog post.

    1. Thanks Jason. Yes I would agree that presuppositional spologetics is not originally from Hovind [senior or junior]. They have actually watered it down into something really quite ridiculous. It is a far cry from Van Til, Dooyeweerd and Kuyper. Indeed some trace it back to Calvin himself of course. I think there is a place for the styles of presuppositionalism found in the likes of Kuyper and Van Til - I just hate the abuses of it found in Hovind. Thanks for visiting.

    2. I sympathize with your attitude towards the Hovinds, but what they do is not worthy of the name presuppositionalism. I’m no expert myself, and I’m nowhere near your level of philosophical knowledge either, but the Hovinds demonstrate no philosophical knowledge at all.

  2. have been meaning to breakdown(disprove) my views on secular morality from Discovering Religion's channel. I have this major problem though. Bias. I can only assume that I can be only defensive of the concept of secular morality. Even if I don't mean to. So the best person I can think of to present it to is you.

    Secular morality is defined by Discovering Religion as:

    Starting with two assumptions.
    1. Life has more value than death.
    2. Happiness and well being has more value than pain and suffering.


    Assuming that those two concepts are true apply the rules:

    1. Do not violate people's autonomy.
    2. Do not do what is detrimental to society.

    I have applied these concepts to my daily life. So far it has served me well and I am able to even teach my step-children with them.

    Applied to rape. I would deduce that rape is wrong because it violates autonomy and causes pain, chaos, suffering and a general sense of discourse.

    So I would like to know what you think. Keeping in mind that I am indeed paraphrasing the concepts of the proposed secular morality from Discovering Religion, and I am not a philosopher but just an atheist who is willing to learn.


    1. Well I think DR's project is naïve at best I'm afraid. Even if I allow him his two assumptions (though if he's basing them on naturalism I see no compelling reason for them) there are still numerous problems. 2 suggests a certain notion of "well being". Well what does that mean? What does it mean for a human to be in possession of "well being" exactly? Then the two 'rules'. 1. Really? What? Never? I'm not even sure anyone in modern western society even has complete autonomy over themselves so that gets violated all the time but we don't think that wrong. 2. Again - who gets to decide what is 'detrimental'? His program is far too obtuse to be meaningful I'm afraid. As for rape - well denying a serial rapist his right to rape is a denial of his autonomy is it not? So whose autonomy matters more? The serial rapist or the victim and why? The serial rapist is caused pain by not being permitted to live life as he sees fit. Do we think much of his pain? What if there was a scenario where more pleasure than pain was caused by permitting rape? Would we think it a good action then? 'Discovering Religion' is not a serious philosopher. If I were you I would listen to some more serious sources than that popularist stuff. Thanks.

    2. I am a bit confused by your response, but if I can just narrow it down to the serial rapist. I would only say that he is not able to apply secular morality because he is not able to grasp the idea that pain, suffering, hate, chaos, fear etc. is of lower value than happiness, joy, and well being.

      Continuing, if we still agree (begrudgingly or not) on the first two assumptions.

      So, I would only be able to say that he would not be able to apply secular morality. I can't go any further with the thought experiment with the rapist. I wouldn't even be able to get to the point of discussing the serial rapists autonomy because it seems he does not grasp the assumptions. Maybe he didn't get enough hugs from mommy and daddy as a kid or something?

  3. I’ve been doing research on presuppositionalism. I see some use for it but not much. I can’t find any interpreters of Van Til who don’t think he claimed that Christianity was presupposed when we reason and that Christianity is the only consistent system of thought. Such an idea is bold to say the least, the most ambitious project in epistemology I’ve heard of quite frankly. Problem is, I just don’t see the goods from what presupp’s give. Arguments like the TAG argument, while making some excellent insights and at least 1 good argument for the existence of God, just do not come close to proving that logic and reasoning itself requires one to presuppose Christianity. What is so great then about Van Til’s work then?


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