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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

After that debate between Tzortzis and Lawrence Krauss that was overshadowed by the disgraceful anti-egalitarian exhibition of Muslim misogyny, iERA is now trying a new tactic: they’re releasing tiny snippets of the debate that they believe they can spin into anti-Krauss sentiment. Here’s a perfect example, Krauss’s reply to a question about the morality of incest.

The audience gasped when Krauss said it’s not clear to him that incest is wrong, and then he went on to argue that there are biological and societal reasons why incest is not a good idea, but that he’d be willing to listen to rational arguments for sexual and emotional interactions between siblings, for instance…not that he’d encourage such behavior. It’s a nuanced and complicated reply in too short a time, but otherwise, he’s not wrong.

But you know what Tzortzis is thinking: this is a perfect clip to play to the dogmatic mob, his people, who don’t do complicated and nuanced, and don’t care about rational arguments, only absolute dictates.

I’d add two other arguments that might sink in.

One is that religions also rationalize incest. Here’s the Protestant Christian example:

Since Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs [Genesis 2:21-22], she would have been a clone of Adam and, had there been any genetic mutation in Adam, this would have been reproduced in Eve and expressed in their offspring. However, we may reasonably conclude that there were no mutations, and the very first commandment given to them was “to be fruitful and multiply” [Genesis 1:28]. However, the business at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil took place long before there were any children.

The account then continues where God confronted the guilty pair at the tree, but they did not confess their guilt or plead for forgiveness [Genesis 3:1-13]. God then cursed the serpent, imposed reproductive difficulties upon Eve and “cursed the ground for [Adam's] sake” [Genesis 3:17]. From that moment, everything that Adam – and mankind since – ate had grown in the cursed ground. Cell by living cell, Adam began to very slowly change from his initial state of eternal perfection to mortal imperfection, and he finally died at the age of 930 years [Genesis 5:5]. Nevertheless, Adam and Eve’s immediate offspring would have been very close to physical perfection while brother-sister marriages were the only unions possible! Further, according to the genealogies given in Scripture, pre-flood longevity was about the same as that for Adam, so families were very large compared to those of today. Brother-sister unions were not only unavoidable, but they undoubtedly became traditional and expected.

Catholics make a similar argument.

Incest was not a problem for the immediate descendants of Adam and Eve. It became a problem when the deterioration of the gene pool meant that there was an increased likelihood that the offspring of the unions of near relatives would inherit physical or mental problems. Adam’s immediate descendants inherited perfect or nearly perfect genes, so the unions of near relatives were not a problem. Besides, near relatives were the only people who existed.

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Replies to This Discussion

Krauss made a mistake by thinking he was dealing with honest people!

Which is why honest communication doesn't happen anymore. Twisting someone's words or taking them out of context is more fun I guess.

I take my hat off to Krauss for not giving a simple answer to a complex moral question. Most questions about morality are complex. It is no surprise that they took this opportunity to cherry pick what he said to make him look bad. As Neal said, it's impossible to hold an honest conversation with interlocutors who are not honest themselves. 

This could be an explanation:

Hahahaha!

Hahaha!

Excellent. =)

I think Krauss could have won the debate without even saying a word.

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