Monday, 19 September 2011


Now that the riots have calmed, and the papers and newscasters have left the subject behind, I have some questions about it all.
I have listened to the Prime Minister and various Politicians all talking about the fact that this was just gang culture, it is robbery, and that is it.  I did hear a couple of people asking what the causes are of what is going on.  But not a lot of comments were coming back on that score. Some have cited cuts and closures but I would like to ask some other questions and I think my questions just might touch on causes.
The last government spent a large amount of money on trying to cut down underage and very young age pregnancies.  They failed, the figures went up.
 Question one:  How many of our rioters come from very young mothers who really are possibly only children themselves?
We have terrible figures for marriage breakdowns, I note that the prime minister said, lots of the rioters have come from dysfunctional families, maybe, and if so…
 Question two: What make those families dysfunctional?
I noted that the Education Minister was saying that it isn’t education that is to blame.
Question Three:  If you are taught that you are just a machine, or a collection of genes that all arrived by accident, is there really any need to take responsibility for my actions?  Just asking.
Question Four:  Jim Wallis in his book  Why the American Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it - states that a budget is a moral document, is he right?
Question Five:  And talking of Morals, where do they come from? Are they truly there, and if so can we talk about them? Is there a law giver and ultimate judge?  Can I make my own mind up as to what is right and wrong?  And if I should decide that looting is right who is to say I am wrong?
One young lady with a tee shirt covering her face when asked by a reporter,”How do you feel about robbery, do you feel good about what you have just done?” Replied, I’m only getting some of my taxes back!”
Question Six:  Many have said, these rioters have nothing to lose, maybe they haven’t if they are just machines in an accidental universe, which is what they have been ‘educated’ to believe.  Are they right?
Just in case you think I live in an ivory tower, I actually live in Wood Green, many of my family live in Tottenham, I am white, but personal friends who are black had to take their small child and run from their flat just above the first carpet shop that went up in flames in Tottenham!
Also I am involved in trying to help NEET young people (Not in Education Employment or Training) and its true that many of them have given up on themselves, do not know where they fit in, or feel they do have not stake in society and nothing to contribute.  Not knowing that God loves them and regards them as highly valuable, and has purpose for their lives.
Question Seven:  All the politicians and police have talked about the fact that this is gang related.  I meet some of the gang youngsters who are afraid to go out of their post code in case they get attacked because they are in the wrong place.  Our training centre is in the wrong place for some of them and we have had to give them rides to and fro so they can improve their education. But here is the question, why are they in those gangs? Is it because their family is dysfunctional and family life is not there and so they need to belong, they need a family even if that family is a gang?
Question Eight:  Is it my imagination or am I right in thinking that if you talk about right and wrong, or dare I say Evil and Good, or worse still Sin, then the PC crowd and government is  on it like a ton of bricks, telling you, ‘No its just behavioural; and you should not talk in those terms!’
Question Nine:  Dr Donald Howard an American Educationalist said that discipline is not something you do TO someone; it is actually something you do FOR someone. Am I right in thinking that this is now out of fashion, discipline that is, and very un PC?
Question Ten:  Do we need to find a purpose in life, do we need to look for a lawgiver, is it possible that even though our families are dysfunctional there is a family that wants to include us, and bring us into responsible relationship?
I look forward to your comments.

Adrian Hawkes
Edit: Technicolour Text
11th August 2011
W. 823 
Some questions that people forgot to ask following the riots.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Morals,Where Do They Come From?

Morals, where do they come from?

Looking up something recently on Wikipedia I discovered lots of comments about myself in discussion with Richard Dawkins.  Many of the comments following on from the discussion are statements like, ‘how ridiculous to think that morals come from any kind of God’.
Usually, in this kind of debate, there is a tendency to ridicule things that I have said, well that’s fine, I guess it goes with getting involved and not being afraid of what I  believe and understand and being sure that it holds water and can stand up to cross-examination.
I suppose I do get somewhat irritated in debates when people tell me what I believe and then tell me how ridiculous it is to believe it and attempt prove how stupid I am.  But all the time I am thinking, ‘I never believed that in the first place, and you have not given me space to say what I really do believe, or think.’  It’s what I call destroying straw men, you put up an argument and then knock it down, but if it was no argument in the first place what is that?
In TV debates, especially those that are not live, there is the possibility that what was said is on the cutting room floor.  I remember in one debate with Richard Dawkins, he said to me that he was more moral than me because he did not rape or pillage and he did not need a God to stop him doing those things whereas I did.  My reply, which I think must be on the cutting room floor was, ‘bully for you, you ought to watch the news more often.’
If you watch the news you can see that there is an awful lot of inhumanity and suffering in the world, I live in one of those areas where young people can be stabbed or shot just because they happened to have strayed into the wrong post code area.  My questions are; Why are we so awful to each other?  And what has happened to a moral basis?  I would argue that as we move away from an understanding of a God, who ultimately will judge and question our life responses, then we become more selfish and less inclined to care for each other or have any basis for moral decisions, our moral compass deteriorates.
The humanist argues that our morals come from the fact that we are simply human, and it develops out of our selfishness and survival needs, or as Richard Dawkins would argue the selfish gene is simply protecting itself by being moral towards others.
I often ask the question why do we have right and wrong, where do we get such concepts.  The arguments on Wikipedia, in answer to what I said about morals, seem to conclude that it’s just because we are human, I’m sorry, but that just will not do.  If doing wrong gives me an advantage and I can avoid getting caught why not go ahead and do it.  Morals like that don’t seem to me to be moral at all.
In a discussion on morality, Richard Dawkins was asked: "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?” 
Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?  I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question, but whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.” 
The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied.  He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."
 Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism

It brings us back to the question, who is the law giver?  If there is no ultimate lawgiver, or God, then morals become irrelevant; we are left with anarchy. If we can get away with it then why not?  Whatever it is right and wrong are just words with no meaning.  What is right for you might be wrong for me, but so what!  
Dr. Bahnsen says that, “if the God of the bible does not exist, all principled or moral complaint about what Hitler did to the Jews is irrelevant.  In a godless universe, what one “animal” does to other “animals” is ethically irrelevant.  There is no basis for indignation or outrage.  What happens happens: period. We are left with others feelings and desires versus the feelings and desires of Hitler – with neither having any more “right” than the other.”
If we support liberal freedom, then in a true atheist worldview we should defend Hitler’s freedom to do as he desired!
Dr. Bahnsen sets forth a rational, objective case for the existence of the Christian God, a case which fully takes into account the crucial function of one’s worldview in his reasoning.  He is quoted in the tabloid for the Tabash debate as saying:Pursued to their consistent end, the pre-suppositions of unbelief render man’s reasoning vacuous and his experience unintelligible; in short, they lead to the destruction of knowledge, the dead end of epistemological futility, and to utter foolishness.”

I question here the argument that atheists and humanists do as much good in the world as the likes of Robert Raikes, Wilberforce, Shaftsbury, Cadburys, Fry’s, Rowntree and the  reality is that the Christian ethic, the moral bias of serving a living God gives us great reason to  care  for His world and the people created in His image.  Interestingly Dinesh D'Souza took Richard Dawkins to task for engaging in historical revisionism when it comes to the atrocities of atheist regimes and declared Dawkins, "reveals a complete ignorance of history".
In a recent interview D'Souza declared:
“Richard Dawkins argues that at least the atheist regimes didn't kill people in the name of atheism. Isn't it time for this biologist to get out of the lab and read a little history? Marxism and Communism were atheist ideologies. Stalin and Mao weren't dictators who happened to be atheist; atheism was part of their official doctrine.
It was no accident, as the Marxists liked to say, that they shut down the churches and persecuted the clergy...
Dinesh D'Souza stated in another interview:
“As one writer put it, “Leaders such as Stalin and Mao persecuted religious groups, not in a bid to expand atheism, but as a way of focusing people’s hatred on those groups to consolidate their own power.” Of course I agree that murderous regimes, whether Christian or atheist, are generally seeking to strengthen their position. But if Christian regimes are held responsible for their crimes committed in the name of Christianity, then atheist regimes should be held accountable for their crimes committed in the name of atheism. And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they did their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a “new man” and a religion-free utopia? These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration, they were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist.” Joseph Stalin's atheistic regime killed tens of millions of people.
The thing that I noted most as I looked through Wikipedia and other web sites and the arguments against my moral perspective was that no one seemed to talk about ‘conscience’, that strange inner-voice with which we are all born.  No one asked, “where does that come from?” The Bible says in John chapter 1 that there is, “…a light that lights every man.” John is talking about Jesus in his Gospel, however there is also that ‘conscience’ light that every person has, and why would that be a surprise?  If, as I believe, we are made in the image of God, why would it be strange that there is that a part of us that is God-like, telling us about good and bad, right and wrong?  Conscience is a strange thing, it tells us these things but does not make us do the right thing or stop us from doing wrong.  Dinesh D’ Souza says it much better than me:

The Surprising Fact of Morality
Evolutionists have some ingenious explanations for morality.  But do they work?  Morality is both a universal and a surprising fact about human nature. When I say that morality is universal I am not referring to this or that moral code. In fact, I am not referring to an external moral code at all. Rather, I am referring to morality as the voice within, the interior source that Adam Smith called the “impartial spectator.” Morality in this sense is an uncoercive but authoritative judge. It has no power to compel us, but it speaks with unquestioned authority. Of course we can and frequently do reject what morality commands, but when we do so we cannot avoid guilt or regret. It is because of our capacity for self-impeachment and remorse that Aristotle famously called man “the beast with the red cheeks.” Aristotle’s description holds up very well more than 2,000 years later. Even people who most flagrantly repudiate morality — say, a chronic liar or a rapacious thief — nearly always respond to detection with excuses and rationalizations. They say, “Yes, I lied, but I had no alternative under the circumstances,” or “Yes, I stole, but I did so to support my family.” Hardly anyone says, “Of course I am a liar and a thief, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.” What this means is that morality supplies a universal criterion or standard even though this standard is almost universally violated. 
Morality is a surprising feature of humanity because it seems to defy the laws of evolution.  Evolution is descriptive: It says how we do behave. Morality is prescriptive: It says how we should behave. And beyond this, evolutionary behaviour appears to run in the opposite direction from moral behaviour. Evolution implies that we are selfish creatures who seek to survive and reproduce in the world. Indeed we are, but we are also unselfish creatures who seek the welfare of others, sometimes in preference to our own. We are participants in the fame of life, understandably partial to our own welfare, while morality stands aloof, taking the impartial, or “God’s eye,” view, directing us to act in a manner conducive to the good of others. In sum, while evolution provides a descriptive account of human self-interest, morality provides a standard of human behaviour that frequently operates against self-interest.
So if we are mere evolutionary primates, how to account for morality as a central and universal feature of our nature? Why would morality develop among creatures obsessively bent on survival and reproduction? Darwin himself recognized the problem. In The Descent of Man, Darwin argued that “although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe, yet . . . an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another.”  Darwin’s point is that a tribe of virtuous patriots, with each of its members willing to make sacrifices for the group, would prove more successful and thus be favoured by natural selection over a tribe of self-serving individuals. This is the group-selection argument, and for many decades it was considered an acceptable way to reconcile evolution with morality.

But as biologists now recognize, the argument has a fatal flaw. The question we have to ask is how a tribe of individuals would become self-sacrificing in the first place. Imagine a tribe where, for instance, many people shared their food with others or volunteered to defend the tribe from external attack. Now what would be the fate of individual cheaters who benefited from this arrangement but hoarded their own food and themselves refused to volunteer to fight? Clearly these scoundrels would have the best deal of all. In other words, cheaters could easily become free riders, benefiting from the sacrifices of others but making no sacrifices themselves, and they would be more likely to survive than their more altruistic fellow tribesmen.
So do I still think morality or conscience is something that comes from the ‘God who is there,’ after reading all that is said about my opinions in the various discussions, Wikipedia and otherwise?  Even more so!

Adrian Hawkes
W. 2133
Editor: Technicolour Text

There is no such thing as right or wrong!
There is no such thing as right or wrong!