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Honest Conversations About Faith with Jacob Hansen & Bill Reel – Session 1 – Morality: MD: 381

Honest Conversations About Faith w/ Jacob Hansen & Bill Reel: Session 1: Morality Rarely in Mormonism do people in disagreement sit down to enter conversations about the issues upon which they disagree with understanding and healthy dialogue being at the forefront. But LDS Faithful believer Jacob Hansen and Ex-Mormon atheist Bill Reel sit down to discuss Morality. The goal of this conversation as well as any that may follow is to create a space where both parties seek to best understand the other’s point of view and to have a safe space to add clarity and context to one’s perspective to ensure as little misunderstanding as possible. The hope is that these conversations give listeners a well rounded view of controversial issues so that they might be able to work out their own thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives in a safe environment and to show both sides that healthy disagreement can in fact happen.

Jacob Hansen Bio: Jacob is a Life long member of the LDS Church (His Mom is a convert) He served a mission in Argentina 2005-2007 Jacob graduated at BYU Hawaii with a Business Degree He is a Podcaster, Youtuber, Blogger He is the only one of his 8 siblings still active in the church. He has served primarily in the young men’s organization in his ward for the past 10 years including recently serving as 2nd and then 1st counselor in ward bishopric. Primary interests: Philosophy, History, Religion, Sailing, Surfing, JiuJitsu, Hunting, Adventures. He married his college sweetheart in 2010 and they have 4 kids.

Bill Reel bio: Bill was a convert to the LDS Church at 17 years old. He served as a Bishop in that same ward from the age of 29 to 34. While a sitting Bishop, Bill had a faith crisis and began deconstructing his beliefs going so far as to deconstruct Christ and God. While Bill is satisfied with the label of Atheist he also considers himself a mystic and drawn to secular Buddhism. Bill is the Executive Director for the Non-Profit Mormon Discussion Inc and host/co-hosts several podcasts including Mormonism LIVE and the Almost Awakened Podcast. Bill and his wife have been married 25 years and they have 4 children and 3 grandkids and they reside in Washington Utah


2 thoughts on “Honest Conversations About Faith with Jacob Hansen & Bill Reel – Session 1 – Morality: MD: 381”

  1. At time stamp 1:34:40 Bill makes the claim based upon a conversation with a geneticist that it is demonstrable that same sex attraction is caused by genetics or epigenetics. This claim is not true.

    The article entitled, “Do shared etiological factors contribute to the relationship between sexual orientation and depression?” Written by B. P. Zietsch, K. J. H. Verweij, A. C. Heath, P. A. F. Madden, N. G. Martin, E. C. Nelson and M. T. Lynskey, published by the journal of Psychological Medicine issue 42 pp 521-532 (2012) completely debunks Bills claim about genetics causing homosexuality. This study included 4,942 sets of twins for a total of 9,884 individuals. Specifically, from pages 525-526 it states:

    “Factors associated with sexual orientation – The proband wise concordance rate (i.e., the probability that a twin is non-heterosexual given that his or her co-twin is non- r heterosexual) was greater for MZ pairs (24%,95%, CI17-31) than for DZ pairs (13%,95%, CI 7-18) suggesting a genetic component to sexual orientation. “

    In other words, if genetics caused sexual orientation there would be a concordance rate in the 60% to 90% range for same sex attraction in monozygotic (identical twins), whereas this study showed only a 24% concordance rate. The concordance rate for dizygotic twins was 13%. This 9% difference is the basis for suggesting a genetic component to sexual orientation. These 7 highly educated scientists who conducted this highly renowned study, with PhD’s in the fields of genetics, biology, and psychology concluded, that the data “suggested a genetic component” of same sex attraction. A suggestion based on a small difference in percentage is not scientific proof of what causes sexual orientation. No where do the scientists claim it is demonstrable that genetics cause it. Genetics is a minor factor. There are many studies by reputable research scientists that validate this study. For example, “Opposite-Sex Twins and Adolescent Same- Sex Attraction”: Peter S. Bearman – Columbia University, Hannah Bruckner – Yale University.

    (note: 95% is the degree of confidence and the confidence interval ranges are preceded by the label CI) (note: the non-proband concordance is even lower).

    Furthermore, BYU microbiology professor, Dr. William Bradshaw, gave a lecture in 2010 explaining how there was very little evidence that epigenetics was the basis for homosexuality: . To date, science has not been able to ID a single epigenetic factor that compels same sex attraction. Dr Bradshaw touts the antibodies produced by a pregnant mother caused by the X chromosome of the male fetus as a possible epigenetic factor that can be identified as having a reproductive effect on male children and implying to the attendees that such “reproductive effect” could cause same sex attraction. However, at time stamp 26:51 of the video he correctly states, “there is not very much evidence of this”. Not very much evidence is a far cry from being demonstrable.

    That fact of the matter is that there is no evidence that any antigen, any protein or antibody, any peptide or lipid, or any amino acid, or nucleic acid is the epigenetic catalyst triggering a marker switch, which when attached to a gene, can switch on the same sex attraction biological response in a human. Until there is a firm identifiable antigen, protein, or antibody etc. which triggers the same sex attraction response it is false to claim same sex attraction is demonstrably genetic.

    Bill you need to retract your false claims.

  2. If you watch this podcast, you will see that Bill Reel had a conversation with Jacob Hansen about where morality comes from. Bill argued that morality came from the physiological evolution of the human species which he claims evolved from a primordial soup. He further argues that only scientific studies which document the moral evolution running parallel with the physical evolution of the primary building blocks of the species such as DNA, genes, chromosomes etc. are valid to legitimize a moral code . He doesn’t believe morality comes from God. Bill Reel’s concept of morality is a mishmash of confusing statements and claim that are internally inconsistent and in the final analysis are gobbledygook.

    While this view of morality is not unique to Bill, there are of course no scientific studies that have been done nor can be done to legitimize his viewpoint. There are highly educated philosophers and social scientists who proffer a similar view, Bill’s explanation of them is very thin. He somehow thinks that since there are philosophers and social scientists who espouse such a view that it gives his notion of morality a scientific imprimatur.

    For example at time stamp 11:56 Bill says he absolutely believes morality is based in the concept of Social Darwinism. Then he qualities it to not be absolute but only to a degree. So he is arguing it is both absolute and not absolute simultaneously. There are no scientific studies that demonstrate Social Darwinism is a valid moral construct. Evolution itself has some valid concepts which come from historical discoveries of skeletal remains, fossil discoveries and living species which unique characteristics that paleontologists , archaeologists and biologists and other scientific disciplines that have examined the data can agree on, indicate that a degree of evolution has existed. However, there are significant holes in making logical extensions of todays human beings originating from a single cell bacteria like organism coming into existence 9 billion years after the Big Bang. Scientists believe humans took another 4 billion years to evolve from single cell organisms to today’s humans.

    This science of physical evolution has been used as a model for explaining social evolution or social Darwinism but it is not scientific proof that social Darwinism is a valid construct. Social Darwinism is of course an unprovable theory many have posited over the past hundred or so years. It was the basis for the morality of nazism, and every social theory from bolshevism and fascism to democracy and theocracy can in part be explained by one tenet or another of the social Darwinism theory.

    So while Bill never quite defines how he absolutely believes social Darwinism does in part legitimize his morality, he goes on to explain at time stamp 12:39 that a social collective agreement of a group of individuals sets the morality for the group. You then believe that Bill has just stated that it takes a majority of people in a society to agree on what is moral for it to become moral. However, you would be wrong because Bill goes on to explain that just because a majority believes something to be moral that doesn’t make it moral.

    A few minutes later he goes into a convoluted explanation of how a majority of members of a community in the Middle Ages can set a morality for the community that is actually immoral. He does this by claiming a small percentage of the community may hold a different viewpoint than the majority that is as equally moral as the majority’s but since it goes against the majority’s concept of morality the majority thinks it has a moral right to kill the group with lesser support because it’s the minority who is truly immoral and that immorality of the minority justifies their being put to death to expunge their immorality which in reality is moral. You can extrapolate Bill’s nonsense to a Middle Ages community that has a 51% majority that believes in one morality and ten groups of other individuals in the community each of which have a different view of what is moral from the 51% majority. Now each of these 10 groups of people who hold a different view of what is moral from the majority group can also have a differing morality from each of the other 10 groups having minority opinions. So if the largest group of individuals with a different moral belief (as compared to the moral beliefs of the 51% group) wants to kill the individuals in the second largest group of individuals with a different moral belief (as compared to the 51% group) which to them is a smaller group than themselves, does that mean that the largest group’s (that is the largest group with a morally less than the 51% majority) morality is really immoral? So, if each morality group with a successively smaller percentage of support is to be killed off by the morality group above them which has a higher percentage of support from the community, is the morality of any of the groups of individuals with a different moral view a justified morality or simply another immoral group of people.

    So the logical extension of Bill’s convoluted explanation is that the majority view of what is moral is not not moral. However if there is a moral view by a lesser than majority group of people there view of what is moral is also not moral. Using Bill’s analysis either every group’s view of what is moral is valid or every group’s view of what is moral is invalid regardless of the percentage of support for their particular group within the community. Under Bill’s method of thinking you can’t tell the valid morality from the invalid morality.

    But if you go back to time stamp 12:14 he again argues the majority opinion of what is moral is valid. He says on effect that “the majority of individuals on earth all through time have had a pretty good gage of what is truthful from a moral standpoint and what isn’t”. This statement is belied by thousands of years of history on every continent on earth. Kublai Kahn and his millions of followers didn’t have a pretty good idea of what was moral in Asia in the late 1200’s AD. The people of the Roman Empire didn’t have a pretty good idea of what was moral from the first century BC to 1400 AD. Jie, the king of the Xia Dynasty in 1600BC China, was said to be immoral, lascivious, and tyrannical. King Di Xin of the Shang Dynasty used an army of slaves to fight his battles against rival kings in the 10th century BC. The Ashanti Empire which existed in sub Saharan Africa from 1700 to 1900 conquered neighboring African tribes, through war, murder, and slave labor. They didn’t have a good idea of what was moral. The Ashanti empire captured and sold to European Slave traders 80% to 90% of the African slaves sold to American slaveholders.

    In pre-Colombian Mesoamerica, The Mayan and Aztec civilizations both practiced slavery. Warfare was important to the Mayans because raids on surrounding areas provided the victims required for human sacrifice , as well as slaves for the construction of temples. Most victims of human sacrifice were prisoners of war or slaves.
    Many of the indigenous peoples such as the Haida and Tlingit which lived in the Pacific Northwest for 15,000 years prior to the arrival of Columbus were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave-traders, raiding other indigenous tribes to acquire slaves as far as south as Southern California.

    Bill is just wrong in his assertions about the origins, validity, and legitimacy of what constitutes morality. Moral societies existing anywhere on earth throughout history were rare. Bill can’t even construct an intelligent internally consistent argument. He simply doesn’t know what he is talking about.

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