A Friendly Dialogue With Atheist Dr. Hector Avalos Pt. 2

As Continued from Part 1


Avalos and Burnett Dialogue:



Dr. Avalos Responds:
Pastor Harvey Burnett, 
I am glad you mentioned the Weikart debate. Others, have come to different conclusions after listening to that debate, as is the case here: 
http://www.soulsprawl.com/2011/07/16/oxygen-of-respectability-the-avalosweikart-debate/ 
“Avalos pretty swiftly and promptly debunked Weikart’s more outlandish claims and was fairly thorough in presenting a case for anti-Semitism being the main perpetrator in fueling the Nazi fire. I’m more interested in the actual implications of having such a debate in the first place.” 
You mention Weikart’s claims, but conveniently omit the fact that I refuted those claims, and, to my knowledge, he has never responded to my specific refutations. In fact, you simply repeat Weikart’s claims and assume they are true. But do you really have sufficient knowledge of German racialist literature to verify Weikart’s claims? 
To test whether you do have such expertise, let me give you one example to which you apparently refer when you state: “Hitler uses the term ‘higher evolution’ in Mein Kampf.”
Weikart does suggests that “Höherentwicklung,” which he translates as “higher evolution,” is a sure sign of Darwinism. In fact, he seemingly wants to translate all occurrences of “Entwicklung” in Mein Kampf as “evolution” in opposition to Ralph Manheim, whose standard English edition often has “development” instead. 
It is true that “Entwicklung” is used to describe evolution in German, even though the word “Evolution” is also found in German. 
However, it would be misleading to say that “Höherentwicklung” is necessarily or exclusively Darwinian. It can be translated as "higher development" and is so used to describe concepts that existed BEFORE Darwin in German literature. 
In fact, this very phrase has been used to describe the work of an earlier Germanocentric philosopher named Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), who wrote a work called Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (“Ideas for the Philosophy of the History of Mankind,” 1787-1791). This work is described as follows: 
“...in denen er seine Vorstellung von einem Prozeß der stufenweisen Höherentwicklung der Menschheit darlegt...” 
My translation:
...in which he [Herder] outlines his introduction to the stepwise process of the higher development of mankind.
Source: http://www.zeno.org/Literatur/M/Herder,+Johann+Gottfried/Biographie 
Herder has been directly linked to Nazi policies. Thus, the prominent philosopher of history, R. G. Collingwood (The Idea of History [New York: Oxford, 1946], p. 92 ) said: “Once Herder’s theory of race is accepted, there is no escaping the Nazi marriage laws.” 
So, please answer these questions: 
1. Given the use of the same German word in other pre-Nazi and pre-Darwininan literature, why is the use Höherentwicklung a sign of Darwinism to you? And please don't just repeat what Weikart says without telling us how you verified that what he said is true.
2. Why is the reference Deuteronomy in Mein Kampf not a sign of the use of biblical principles by Hitler to you?
He also added this:
Rev. Burnett, 
I promised to answer you questions, and so here are my answers: 
1. “Do YOU believe that killing babies and infants is wrong always? “
No. I can envision certain situations in which human beings, including infants, are in cases of terminal illnesses, where families might be forced to remove life sustaining technologies. In such cases, we must have scientific evidence of that infant’s condition.

What I do not accept is that one can kill infants because someone believes an unverifiable being, like God, told them to do so, which is something you seem to support. 
2. “[A]re there ANY materialistic principles that speak to that and why are materialists absent on the issue whereas Christians are not?” 
I don’t know what you mean by “materialistic” principles, since I don’t think that your system is any less materialistic or human-based than mine, except that you BELIEVE that there is something call a “spirit.” 
In any case, a secular ethical system believes that we should make ethical decisions on the basis of verifiable causes and verifiable consequences. That is a basic principle. 
The debate about whether aborting a fetus constitutes murder depends on how one defines personhood, and that is a debate that exists even within Christianity. Thus, having a God-based morality will not save you from that debate. 
I believe in a graduated view of personhood that corresponds to different embryological stages, much as is acknowledged in Roe v. Wade. 
In addition, Exodus 21:22-25 indicates that the life of a fetus was not held to be equal to that of an adult. Such an interpretation may be found even in the work of evangelical Christian scholars. One example is the following article in a journal published by by Dallas Theological Seminary, an evangelical Christian institution: Robert N. Congdon, “Exodus 21:22-25 and the Abortion Debate,” Bibliotheca Sacra 146 (April-June, 1989):132-147. 
Dr. Congdon states the following (p. 146): “God chose to place a higher value on some lives than others...He placed a lesser value on women than men, on young children than adults. This should help understand how in Exodus 21:22 the life of the fully human fetus might receive a monetary valuation instead of the life-for-life edict.” 
If you are familiar with Hebrew and Near Eastern legal materials, I can explain why Dr.Congdon is probably correct in his interpretation.
He also added this (in effort to bury me-smile)
Rev. Burnett, 
I think you are confusing pushing back “the standard” with simply correcting your chronology. If you argue that Practice/Idea X derives from Darwin, then it is perfectly legitimate to show that Practice/Idea X existed before Darwin. That is a chronological correction, and not a case of pushing back a standard. 
Otherwise, such historical corrections are no more disingenuous than pointing to evidence for the existence of the radio before the lifetime of Steve Jobs when someone claims that Steve Jobs invented the radio. 
Similarly, you are attributing to Darwin many practices and ideas that existed before Darwin, and all I am doing is showing you clear evidence that such ideas did not need to derive from Darwin at all because they were there hundreds if not thousands of years before Darwin. So how is showing you such evidence “disingenuous”? 
On the contrary, it is disingenuous to say Darwin is responsible for ideas that pre-existed him in Christian history. 
In fact, my standard is quite consistent. I call “biblical” what can be found in the Bible, but you call “Darwinist” things that you cannot find in Darwin’s writings. So how is it not disingenuous to call something “Darwinist” that is not found in Darwin’s writings?
Thus, I pointed out that Mein Kampf appeals to biblical support because I can find a very clear reference to Deuteronomy.

On the other hand, you have yet to provide any clear references to Darwin in Mein Kampf or ANY of Hitler’s writings, despite repeated requests. All you do is say that Dr. Weikart says that there are such references. 
The fact is that I have already addressed in some detail Dr.Weikart’s seven specific reasons for calling some of Hitler’s ideas “Darwinist,” some of which you also cite (e.g., “against population growth, the elderly, persecution of multiple races, pro-natalists, and the disabled were prevalent in the Darwinian ethic and presented in Darwinian terms”). I do so here:
http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/06/avalos-contra-weikart-part-ii-weikarts.html
Therefore, let me know which specific refutation of mine given there is not correct, and I will be glad to address it.
RE: “Thanks for the link, but I don't need an atheist to redefine what I heard and can hear with my own ears.”

You seem to express a relativist view of truth here, where truth depends on whether an atheist says X or whether a Christian says X. But objective truth, if you believe in such a concept, does not depend on the status of the person making the claim, but on the evidence provided by the person making the claim. 
In this case, all I am asking is that you provide specific evidence for why you believe Dr. Weikart is correct in his claims. There has to be more than “Dr. Weikart said-so” because I can do the same with any authority for my side.
He then added this (to place the nail in the coffin-smile)
Pastor Harvey Burnett, 
You have not shown that Ezra thinks of “spiritual” in the same way you do. Nor are spiritual and materialistic reasons mutually exclusive. Breeding and sex could seen as physical phenomena in ancient Israel, and the same with purity. 
In any case, it does not matter even if “so that you may be strong” was meant in what you call a “spiritual” sense in Ezra 9:12. The point still remains that selective PHYSICAL breeding was being used to enhance a human feature (spiritual or physical), and that is a form of eugenics by any other name.
Pastor Burnett's Response
Dr. Avalos, 
Historical parallels can be drawn between anything. Just because something "exists" prior to certain events DOES NOT facilitate that it, or the current use of it is the same. What we do to understand the use of anything, whether it be language or whatever, is look at the historical context in which what we are looking at was used and what it meant or how it was commonly used at that time. Your assumptions are genetic fallacy in that you believe that there must be a hard-line and unchangeable connection between things we initially observe and what they ultimately become over time. It's funny that someone who IS an evolutionist would not believe in evolution as it pertains to views and even use of language over time. 
Secondly, allow me to say, you're unreasonably asking me to restrict my opinions to what I have personally found on the issue as opposed to outlining what Dr. Weikart teaches through two extensive books on the subject, and what other resources say regarding the issue as well. Well, through these authors, those are my personal finding. As I stated, I don’t read German and my conclusions are only as good as my sources and my sources have proven to be of rather superb nature and value. On the other hand, all I know is what you state say and have written as well. I find that to be of superb value also, but I also see the deficiency of your arguments when the two are compared. So I fail to understand what makes you think that either Dr. Weikart's research is less valid than yours or that you are to have more credibility on the issue because you have written articles at Debunking Christianity...My being able to read and know the German language is not a prerequisite for being able to examine scholarly works in which these ideas and interpretations have been set forth, including yours. 
With that said, you previously asked me:>>>>"1. Given the use of the same German word in other pre-Nazi and pre-Darwininan literature, why is the use Höherentwicklung a sign of Darwinism to you? And please don't just repeat what Weikart says without telling us how you verified that what he said is true."<<<< 
Dr. Weikart has taken the time to respond to Robert Richards in an article at Evolution News and Views here:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/11/rallying_to_dar053511.html
In that article not only does he document that the word "Höherentwicklung" during that time meant "evolution", he explains that more specifically in the context that it was used in public education and state sponsored documents and at least 7 other state endorsed types of use where the word specifically referred to Darwinian evolution. So he all but obliterates arguments to the contrary with an overwhelming amount of evidence in support of his position. He states these facts regarding Richard's objection to his translation of the word which is eerily similar to your objection. This is what he says specifically in section 3 of his 7 major arguments against Robert Richard's objections: 
"Richards is completely wrong, however, with his statement: "By the end of the nineteenth century the term [Entwicklung] as meaning evolution had declined in use both in Germany and England." I don't know where Richards got this tidbit of misinformation, but I have examined the biology journals and biology textbooks of the 1930s and 1940s, and they were still regularly using the term Entwicklung for evolution." 
He goes on to say: 
"I could give hundreds of examples to prove this, but hopefully this interesting instance will suffice. It is the manual discussing the official Nazi biology curriculum, Erziehung und Unterricht in der Höheren Schule: Amtliche Ausgabe des Reichs- und Preussische Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung (Berlin: Weidmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1938). This publication used the term Entwicklung repeatedly to refer to evolution. On p. 160 it stipulated, for example, that in the eighth class teachers should cover: "Overview of the Entwicklung of life in the course of geological history." Here Entwicklung quite obviously means biological evolution, and if anyone doubts this, he should go look at the context. Immediately after this comment the manual discussed evidence for biological evolution and told teachers they should cover "Darwinismus." The very next point it instructed them to teach was the "Origin and Entwicklung [obviously meaning evolution] of humans and human races. 
One hopes it will not be necessary, but I can produce hundreds of more examples from biology journals and textbooks proving that Entwicklung was indeed one of the preferred terms used by biologists and biology teachers for evolution in the first half of the twentieth century.
Another point about translating Entwicklung as evolution: Although the translator of Mein Kampf never translated Entwicklung as evolution, the translator of Hitler's Second Book did sometimes translate Entwicklung as evolution (see an example below in number 3). Translators of Hitler's speeches also sometimes translate it as evolution. 
This proves that evolution could be a proper translation of Entwicklung, but none of this proves that my translations are correct. How, then, can we decide if my translations are a "sly trick," as Richards claims, or an accurate rendering? The only way to decide the question is to examine the context, thus determining if Hitler meant the transmutation of species, or if he meant some other kind of development. Every time I translated the term Entwicklung as evolution, I tried to make sure from the context that it was clear that Hitler indeed meant the transmutation of species. 
Let me just give one example of a passage where I translated Entwicklung as evolution. In the chapter on "Nation and Race" Hitler discussed on pp. 312-13 (German edition, 1943) the struggle (Kampf) between organisms that occurred because of hunger and love. He explained that this struggle leads to the defeat of the weak and sickly, while the healthiest win the struggle and are thus able to mate and reproduce. (By the way, doesn't this sound a lot like the struggle for existence, whether or not he actually used that official terminology?) He then stated that the struggle is the means to produce health and is the cause of Höherentwicklung. Höher means higher and Entwicklung means development or evolution. Immediately after this statement Hitler wrote that nature selects the best (isn't this natural selection?). Is it really unjustifiable, as Richards claims, to translate Höherentwicklung as higher evolution in a context that is discussing the improvement of biological species through natural selection by the struggle for existence?"

So I think that your counter argument that "religion did it first" is not applicable here and neither is your argument against the use of the word meaning something other than evolution compelling in light of what amounts to be an avalanche of evidence to the contrary.
And I was brought back to life with this:
 Dr. Avalos, 
Now, I won't overstate my argument, because external Now, you say the Ezra's statement were specifically the basis for eugenics and that those statements were

"The point still remains that selective PHYSICAL breeding was being used to enhance a human feature (spiritual or physical), and that is a form of eugenics by any other name." 
Here you EXPAND the meaning of eugenics and seem to accept my "spiritual preservation" argument while attempting to maintain your argument that physical consideration were the basis of the prohibition also indicating that this proves eugenics for race purification was a biblical practice.

Upon examination we note that sanctification, behavior and actions were an object of God's prohibition against intermarrying and that doesn't begin in Ezra, it begins in the Pentateuch.
The words that Abraham spoke to his "servant" In Genesis 24 about not marrying the "daughters of Canaan" was a precursor to what would be revealed through the Law of Moses in Deut. 7:3-4 which states: 
3-Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. >>>>4-For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.<<<<< 
That sentiment was later restated even more clearly in Deut. 17:7 ~ "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, >>>>that his heart turn not away:<<<<< neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." 
CLEARLY the prohibition against intermarrying HAD NOTHING to do with eugenics or race purification, but it had EVERYTHING to do with spiritual purification and practice as it pertains to the worship of God. 
Genesis 34:14 Dina's father and brother's initially refuse her to be married to Shechem because he was "uncircumcised" and to do so would be a "reproach". Later when Shechem's brothers and family think they can get along, they go through the right of circumcision so that they can been considered ripe and ready to intermarry, only to be thwarted by the vengeance of Dina's family. Shechem's family was killed, >>>>NOT because they were purifying the race, but because they had "defiled their sister" spiritually before God.<<<< Once again, this had NOTHING to do with race purification or keeping a certain bloodline "clean", but it had to do with the practice of SIN which is a spiritual problem brought on in conjunction with physical practices. 
There are at least two other things that can be pointed to regarding this from a biblical standpoint: 
In Exodus 12, when it came to celebration of the Passover, other races and nationalities were WELCOME to partake of the most holy feast among the people of God, only they also had to do through the right of "circumcision" to do so. Circumcision was indicative of a SPIRITUAL relationship with God, not an ethnic condition. There was no call to ethnically cleanse individuals.
Then there was Solomon, who was told not to intermarry with "strange women" or non Israelite women, not because of any potential breakdown of the gene pool, but because of issues of SPIRITUAL defilement: 
1 Kings 11:1-2 ~ "1-But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2-Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, >>>>Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods:<<<< Solomon clave unto these in love." 
I could go on, but I think one thing should be clear, is that NOWHERE in Ezra, do we see God establishing eugenics, ethnic cleansing, race preservation, gene pool purification or whatever you want to call it. We see that all prohibitions against intermarrying with "gentiles" was for seasons of spiritual purification and worship so that the Children of God would not follow or duplicate the worship practices of the surrounding pagan nations. 
Now, any agreement I have with you is limited to this, external practices in worship were not those that God wanted preserved when it came to worshiping him. So if there was an external "cleansing" it certainly was geared toward eliminating pagan practices of worship, not pagan peoples in the sense that we are discussing. I will also agree that anyone could have MISINTERPRETED these prohibitions to include some type of social or ethic moral. However, as I stated earlier, anyone could also misinterpret you books to seek revenge fro racism as well.

Was ethnic cleansing or eugenics a teaching taught by biblical leaders or scripture itself...NO!

Thank you.
Dr. Avalos Response:
Pastor Harvey Burnett I will address your arguments about Ezra in more detail in another post. For now, I would like to know what you mean by
this statement: "So if there was an external 'cleansing' it certainly was geared toward eliminating pagan practices of worship, not pagan peoples in the sense that we are discussing." So please answer these questions: 
1. Did your god instruct that certain Canaanite nations had to be physically exterminated in Deut. 7:-1-4? Yes or No?
2. Is this what you mean by "external" cleansing geared toward eliminating pagan worship practices?
3. Do you think it is ever justified to kill people to eliminate their spiritual worship practices? Yes or No?
4. If yes, why do you need to physically exterminate people for something that is only "spiritual" in your opinion?
Please do answer #4 with a clear principle that we can apply.
Pastor Burnett's Response
Dr. Avalos, 
Like the soldier you are, you would connect on what you "thought" to be your best point. Let me make this easy, it is clear to add that God demanded the destruction of 7 Canaanite nations (possibly 8-I'm working from memory) Why would he do this? Partially because those same people were involved in the most deplorable practices imaginable under heaven. They were baby killers themselves, for example, offering their live, post birth and young aged children to Molech in solemn fire rituals...In addition their practices of worship was even more deplorable having illicit and ritualistic sex and all kinds of other mind bending practices in their places of worship. This was in SPITE OF the goodness of God calling them to do otherwise and allowing them a chance for repentance.

So I'm not really afraid of the "moral monster" argument because there is yet a lot of history that remains uncovered, but what we do know affirms my assertions regarding pagan practices and I think that may even be sanitized.

So tell me, in your opinion, would God have been "good" to simply allow Israel to exist as his "blessed" people while right next door, these people were doing all that they were doing with God's knowledge? Are you seriously trying to suggest that leaving them alone, being silent, or minding one's own business was a better moral ethic than destroying them all, especially since there was no movement for change within that community...in other words ALL of them from the most aged to the youth thought they were right and that was a way of life??? 
Now, Joe Paterno, just lost his job based on the silent, do my own job rationale. Do you think that's the way to go? 
Let me put it this way, you mean to tell me that if you saw a family building a bon fire preparing to formulate some ritual to kill their 4 small children and the law was not readily available, that you wouldn't do all that you could to stop it even if that meant in conflict that you had to take someone out if they tried to get you first? 
I am pressed to believe that like me, you would do something even to your own hurt. I mean look, I haven't hurt one person with anything that I say, do or live and you're trying your best to convert me to materialism.

Now, I understand too, that you would probably do something but you would say, "I wouldn't kill the kids" to wit I digress and agree, but, the point is that neither of us would sit silently...Why would we expect God to do the same? The "killing them all" part as we can see was more related to practice and not purification of the genome.

So far as spiritual practices and the elimination of diversity in worship, I don't believe that's a Christian value or anything that we are commanded to do within scripture especially from a Christian worldview. Although the Catholics interpreted such and seems that Muslims did too, I can't see where "earnestly contending" equates with killing those who don't agree with you.
Paul seemed to take the path, "let'em go to hell then" rather than make them submit. Also noone has a "kill all atheist in the name of the Lord campaign" either.

Whereas we do have atheists calling for the destruction of all religion...Tell me, why is that if atheism is so "tolerant" while at the same time and on the other hand condemning of God's demand for spiritual purity historically???

In addition, I don't know of any mass Christian campaigns to kill a bunch of people to make them submit to Christianity whereas Islamic Jihad, for example, seems to be arguably religiously inspired to beat a person into following Allah. 
I think that should answer your questions.
Dr. Avalos Response:
Pastor Harvey Burnett, 
RE: "you would probably do something but you would say, "I wouldn't kill the kids" to wit."
If I understand you, you are proposing that in order to stop pagan parents from killing their kids, then your god decided to kill the kids, along with the adults.  
If that is the case, then please answer these questions: 
1. Are you saying is is sometimes justified to kill innocent infants in order to stop their parents from killing/sacrificing those infants?
2. If so, then how is the act of killing infants to save them from their parents not a horrendous act in itself to you?
Pastor Burnett's Response
Dr. Avalos, 
You're good at asking questions but you deliver no answers to questions when asked. So before I answer another question of yours, I think your answer to at least some of my questions are in order: 
To re-frame, I asked this: 
In light of a practices which included not only killing children in open fire ceremonies, but also the endorsement of open sexually immoral practices and more:

1- Are you suggesting that leaving that situation alone, being silent, and minding one's own business is a better moral ethic than taking action, even if that means killing in absence of an available legal authority when lives are immediately at stake?
2- Isn't the call for the obliteration of all religion by atheism a sort of spiritual eugenics? Yes/No
3- If yes, isn't it the same sort of eugenics that you criticize the God of the bible for as it pertains to the purification of religious and moral practices? Yes/No
Dr. Avalos Response:
Pastor Harvey Burnett, 
RE: “...but you deliver no answers to questions when asked.” 
I have answered your questions, and quite directly, as this example shows: 
“1. ‘Do YOU believe that killing babies and infants is wrong always?’ 
No. I can envision certain situations in which human beings, including infants, are in cases of terminal illnesses, where families might be forced to remove life sustaining technologies. In such cases, we must have scientific evidence of that infant’s condition.” 
If you have more questions you wish me to address, I will be glad to do so. It is better to group a few at the end of your posts to ensure that I don’t confuse them with just rhetorical questions in your main text. 
Here are answers to your latest questions: 
1. “Are you suggesting that leaving that situation alone, being silent, and minding one's own business is a better moral ethic than taking action, even if that means killing in absence of an available legal authority when lives are immediately at stake?” 
No. I am suggesting that killing children in order to stop child sacrifice is both needless, especially if you believe in an omnipotent god, and it destroys the very persons you are trying to protect. That makes no sense even logically.

Second, I don’t think that the Canaanite situation was as you portray it. The destruction of the Canaanites was not done to save children because their “lives were immediately at stake.” Where are you getting that from?

The genocide Canaanites was pre-meditated and has to do in part with land acquisition promised hundreds of years earlier (by traditional chronology) to Abraham in Genesis 12:6-7 (RSV):
[6] Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
[7] Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, "To your descendants I will give this land."

Deuteronomy 7, then simply puts that plan into effect.
[1] "When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Gir'gashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Per'izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb'usites, seven nations greater and mightier than yourselves,
[2] and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them.
[3] You shall not make marriages with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons.
[4] For they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 
Notice here that nothing is said about destroying the Canaanites because Yahweh thought that the lives of Canaanite children “were immediately at stake.” On the contrary, the reasons given include: 
A. “entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you.” (v. 1).
B. “they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods” (v. 4).
C. If the Hebrews followed other gods, it is YAHWEH who would kill the Hebrews (v. 4).
In A, the motive for this ethnic cleansing/genocide is linked to land acquisition promised earlier, not some urgent danger to Canaanite children. 
Note that in B, genocide is also not said to be because Canaanites are killing their children, but rather because the biblical author thinks it a sin to follow any other religion. In other words, the killing of Canaanite men, women, and children is motivated by religious intolerance.

In C, the danger is not destruction from the Canaanites, but destruction from Yahweh. So, It is following other gods, not child sacrifice, that the biblical author cites as one of the motives.

Besides, you are just accepting the word of the biblical author about Canaanite religion. There is no independent evidence that the Canaanites were doing all the things you say. I discuss supposed archaeological evidence for Canaanite “corrupt” religious practices here:
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/genocide.cfm
In sum, you are simply trying to whitewash this horrendous genocidal ethic by saying it was really for the sake of children whose “lives are immediately at stake,” when even the biblical text of Deuteronomy 7 does not say that. 
2. Isn't the call for the obliteration of all religion by atheism a sort of spiritual eugenics? Yes/No 
No. If you read my book, Fighting Words, you will see that I advocate EDUCATION, not selective breeding or killing, to help society separate religion from government. That is why I write books, and try to educate through the media. On the other hand, Deuteronomy 7 and other biblical passages advocate killing entire populations, including women and children, in order to prevent people from worshipping other gods.

Do you not see a difference between using peaceful EDUCATION and GENOCIDE to accomplish particular goals? 
Here are my questions for you: 
1. Do you think it is ever justified to kill people to eliminate their spiritual worship practices? Yes or No?
2. If yes, why do you need to physically exterminate people for something that is only "spiritual" in your opinion?
3. Are you saying it is sometimes justified to kill innocent infants in order to stop their parents from killing/sacrificing those infants?
4. Is it your view that it is sometimes justified to kill infants physically to save the spiritual life of others?
p.s., I use capitals for emphasis, not for shouting :-)
Pastor Burnett's Response
Dr. Avalos, 
Thanks for the "attempt" in answering my questions but you really didn't do so. Given a situation where your neighbor is preparing to kill someone, even their children, I asked: 
1. “Are you suggesting that leaving that situation alone, being silent, and minding one's own business is a better moral ethic than taking action, even if that means killing in absence of an available legal authority when lives are immediately at stake?” 
I asked what was YOUR moral value. To wit you responded what a person with a Christian moral value should be: 
"No. I am suggesting that killing children in order to stop child sacrifice is both needless,>>>>> especially if you believe in an omnipotent god,<<<< and it destroys the very persons you are trying to protect. That makes no sense even logically."

So you DIDN'T answer the question. 
Now, granted we both AGREE that killing the children or those in danger is nothing that should be done, but take it out of the frame of religion. This is your next door neighbor. What do YOU do if legal authority is unavailable and children or anyone has been targeted with your knowledge for destruction? Do you live peaceably, mind your own business or take action which may mean taking life? How is either action justified?
Dr. Avalos Response:
Pastor Harvey Burnett, 
I thought a simple yes or no + an explanation was a clear answer from me. But let me try again. 
RE: This is your next door neighbor. What do YOU do if legal authority is unavailable and children or anyone has been targeted with your knowledge for destruction? Do you live peaceably, mind your own business or take action which may mean taking life? How is either action justified?- 
My answer is that, if I see an act of deadly violence being committed by a neighboring parent on a child, I will try to stop the perpetrator, with deadly force if necessary, without killing the child. Is that clear enough? 
But, the action we were discussing is the killing of children to save them from parents who want to kill them for religious reasons (e.g., sacrifice), as was suggested by your original argument to justify biblical genocide.

You then switched to a completely different analogy where I am supposed to stop some other type of violence that does not involve having to kill children to save them from their parents.
So, let's move from this enormous logical deflection you have used to actually answering questions that pertain the the claims YOU made about why it was justified to kill Canaanite children: 
1. Do you think it is ever justified to kill people to eliminate their spiritual worship practices? Yes or No?
2. If yes, why do you need to physically exterminate people for something that is only "spiritual" in your opinion?
3. Are you saying it is sometimes justified to kill innocent infants in order to stop their parents from killing/sacrificing those infants?
4. Is it your view that it is sometimes justified to kill infants physically to save the spiritual life of others?
Pastor Burnett's Response
Dr. Avalos, 
You did answer another question I had. I asked and you answered as follows: 
“1. ‘Do YOU believe that killing babies and infants is wrong always?’ 
>>>>>No. I can envision certain situations in which human beings, including infants, are in cases of terminal illnesses, where families might be forced to remove life sustaining technologies. In such cases, we must have scientific evidence of that infant’s condition.”<<<<<< 
So you don't have an absolute moral that "killing babies" is wrong. The only verification that you need is "scientific verification". Now aside from the fact that sentiments along those lines (from a human standpoint) is very ambiguous, partially because "medical necessity" is undefined even in the medical field, you would then defer to both individuals and systems which had more knowledge than you and yield to their determinations.

How is that rationale any better than a biblical rationale in light of the fact that GOd is omniscient?

Now notice what you didn't say: You DIDN'T say that you are required to know and or fully understand or even comprehend the "science" , you simply want the science to be valid. How is your position any different than mine, since in absence of full comprehension, I rely on God similar to the fact that you are simply relying on science? 
In fact one reason that a Dr. recommends abortion of fetuses is Downs Syndrome. There is an observable and empirical SCIENCE behind this right? Well my child and children were born normal, perfectly healthy and without any mental defect AT ALL...The observable, empirical SCIENCE, that YOU would rely on to make decisions said Downs. The doctor recommended accordingly. The RESULTS were nothing close.

Following your moral value of scientism, I would have killed two perfectly healthy children and would rationalize it in my mind, if I were bound under your worldview as being justified.

How is YOUR GOD science better than mine by "pretending" to know all when it can be proved that it doesn't?
END PART 2
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