Intelligent Design

Bass Ackwards Darwinism

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There are people who believe that because Darwin provided a theoretical basis that humans and animals have a common ancestor it becomes a rationale for treating humans more like animals. Thus we get things like Nazi Germany and the holocaust.

I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.

Another equally valid way of looking at it is that common ancestry becomes a rationale for treating animals more like humans. Thus we get things like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

It’s all a matter of how you choose to look at it. It’s really more a reflection on your own soul which way you choose to see it.

Good people do good things. Evil people do evil things. Knowledge (like Darwinian evolution and the recipe for dynamite) is inanimate and can be employed by good people for good things and evil people for evil things.

45 Replies to “Bass Ackwards Darwinism

  1. 1
    jjcassidy says:

    I don’t buy it. I don’t see how Darwinism suggests anything but that you treat either animal or human based on your–or your group’s–survival.

    It also doesn’t matter how you treat anything that doesn’t impact your survival. I can imagine that there is more reason for live animal testing under Darwinism, then without it.

    To give one example: was it better to be a cow in India with the Hindi, or in Russia with the Bolsheviks?

  2. 2
    SeanSean says:

    Actually, I think it’s that Darwin got rid of any meaningful morality if he was right. Also, knowledge (or pseudo-knowledge) can animate others. If I’m told that I’m nothing but the result of mindless forces, and that my conception of right and wrong has been found useful by natural selection (hard not to bring in teleology with a name like natural selection), then why the heck should I not murder? Especially if I can get away with it because I have a bigger stick than everyone else. So, my question is, how does a neo-Darwinist get so far as to say “A is good, and B is evil.” It has been a source of unending amusement to see avid neo-Darwinists such as Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens condemning things as wrong. Especially since Dawkins has said he’s a determinist (yet he blames people for what they do, and he blames the ideas that drive their actions).

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    You choose how to interpret Darwinism according to your own prejudices. My sense of ethics flows from within, not without. I consider religions to be little more than sometimes productive and sometimes counter-productive mythologies. Near as I can tell I was born with the so-called golden rule as an instinctive behavior. The rule extends to all life not just my own species or my own personal survival. I believe this is what separates me from the rest of the animal kingdom. If I see an animal that’s hurt and could use some compassionate aid I’ll give it under the assumption that kindness given often results in kindness returned. I saved an abandoned puppy once. That puppy grew up and saved my daughter’s life. God works in mysterious ways. Or maybe evolution did. Who knows. All I know is that good people do good things, evil people do evil things, I instinctively know the difference, and choose to do good instead of evil.

  4. 4
    Brent says:

    Dave, as much as you are obviously an intelligent guy, it is impossible not to come to the conclusion that you are living in conflict with your own stated beliefs as you continue to attempt to defend the morality question for Darwinism.

    What one believes will determine how he behaves. If you are honest about an inward golden-rule, bravo. Others, however, are either not honest about it or (and most often I think) need considerable nudging to find it. Darwinism would only serve to nudge in the wrong direction, however.

    The problem as I see it is that, “None are righteous …”, and to the degree that one wishes to live unrighteously he justifies and rationalizes his actions by whatever ideas would seem most likely to free him of responsibility for his actions. You may be right that Darwinism and/or the idea of common ancestry doesn’t drive immoral actions, but you’ve broken through the ice to try to say that they don’t facilitate them. They clearly do.

  5. 5
    jjcassidy says:

    Actually, I’m sticking pretty close to the implications of Darwin’s theory, without much elaboration–leaving plenty of room for each man to do what seems “highest and best to him” . Altruism and live animal testing are just different avenues of survival.

    If survival by saving puppies and survival by live animal testing are roughly equivalent in success then there is little discernible difference, and they are roughly equivalent as survival strategies. Both will sustain those that choose to adopt them.

    Darwinism doesn’t say a lot about treatment of anything. There is the advantage of societal attachment and its reciprocal nature. Darwin shares some notions that it will all turn out all right. (But each of us can chose what is “highest and best” for ourselves.)

    BTW, I was watching Maneaters on Animal Planet the other night, it told one story of a group of suburban dogs that formed an impromptu pack, got caught up in the latent thrill of chasing a kid, and ate the poor kid’s arm and ear off. They instinctively knew he was food.

  6. 6
    Upright BiPed says:

    I sometimes think the key is to not rush to engage – not that things don’t need judgement, without question they do – but the rush itself sometimes adds its own mark. It certainly has with Expelled.

    I can understand why the producers of the movie added the Darwin/Eugenics/Hitler thing to their movie – they are all pieces of a clear error in worldview.

    When Darwin removed the Supreme reason from humanity, he gave the credence of modern Science to a rather old activity – men killing each other for their own reasons. In Hitler and the Nazis, the error and the activity found fertile ground.

    At the same time, the argument being attacked by Expelled isn’t Nazism, its the stifling of debate over Intelligent Design.

    One might wonder. Moving the debate to the big screen was certainly a strategic flank (a move into uncontested territory), but the message of the movie was (just as clearly) a frontal attack. If I remember strategic axioms, one of the keys to a frontal attack is to not broaden your forces. The idea being that to be successful is to be aware of the defended position, attack on a narrow front, and stack your resources against the weakness in strength.

    Expelled was certainly successful at these, yet I think that a great deal of energy has been spent on the Nazism angle – as correct as it may be – but off the narrow front.

    Perhaps the key now is to refocus on the weakness in strength (the unequivocal evidence of Design) and make the side debate useful in some other way.

  7. 7
    Jon Jackson says:

    Dave,
    The real question is not whether Darwinism will lead to the Nazis or Stalin but whether it has. Historically, over a roughly one hundred year period it has. Over a two thousand year period Christian culture hasn’t. Have there been exceptions? Yes. Are those exceptions the norm? No. So based on experience (dare I say repeatability?) I’ll take Christianity, thank you very much.
    As to your assertion that your sense of the golden rule is inborn… I’m afraid I would have to consider that naive at best. Dave, you live in the long shadow of the resurrection. Even though many in our culture refuse to acknowledge Jesus as lord, they still benefit enormously from the influence of his teachings. Cultures which have tried to institute Darwinian principles have, however, not fared so well. There you find not just the state committing wholesale murder but individuals turning others over to the state for various motives.

  8. 8
    Jason Rennie says:

    Umm … Dave, the people at PETA are frickin crazy. Have you seen the sorts of ideas they endorse ? They are not good people at all, they are anti-human zealots.

  9. 9
    the wonderer says:

    If Darwin is true, should our only concern for other species be “what do they taste like?”

  10. 10
    DaveScot says:

    It seems a bunch of you are saying the only way a person can have an acceptable standard of ethics is to get it out of a book written by men thousands of years ago.

    Ignore the fact that there are many books which claim divine inspiration. Ignore the fact that there are more interpretations of the one true book of God than Carter has little liver pills.

    Is that how God works now? We don’t have the ability to tell right from wrong until we read the proper book and make the proper ritual motions?

    Spare me.

  11. 11
    DaveScot says:

    Jason

    Are you really going to try to compare PETA to Nazis?

    That should be stupid to the point of slapstick comedy. Please proceed.

  12. 12
    DaveScot says:

    jjcassidy

    BTW, I was watching Maneaters on Animal Planet the other night, it told one story of a group of suburban dogs that formed an impromptu pack, got caught up in the latent thrill of chasing a kid, and ate the poor kid’s arm and ear off. They instinctively knew he was food.

    You say that as if you’re unaware of gangs of humans doing random acts of violence. Try googling “drive by shooting” to get an idea of the violence that packs of humans get into. At least dogs don’t tend to prey on other dogs. Humans seem to be rather unique in nature in that they inflict willful violence on their own species and, sadly, they’re masters at it, having advanced far beyond mere tooth and claw to weapons of mass indiscriminate death and destruction.

    The thing of it is that people can choose to be ethically better or worse than animals and it seems to have little to do with religious beliefs and lots to do with sympathy (or compassion or empathy or whatever you want to call that which makes *some* of us follow the golden rule). Darwin called this sympathy that which is the most noble part of our nature. I guess some people are just more noble than others, huh?

  13. 13
    duncan says:

    DaveScot

    Great posts!

    All this stuff about Darwinism and (im)morality is so weak. And, more particularly, I think it really hurts ID. As I read on another post, ‘the Nazis used the theory of gravity to drop bombs, which was bad, so hey, the theory of gravity must be false! (‘intelligent downwardness’, anybody?)’.

    It’s really a rod for our own back.

  14. 14

    The problem is not common descent as it is the underlying naturalism which removes any basis for objective morality. It removes the brakes making anything ok. Treat people well…fine. Treat them like cattle, that’s fine too.

    But the overall point that good people do good things, etc. is taken and is true.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    geoff

    There is a problem only when you think being descended from animals means you should act like an animal.

    No matter where it came from we have the ability to reason and put ourselves in the place of others. Darwin called that “sympathy” and described it as the noblest part our nature. This is what other animals cannot do, or it’s at least not obvious they can, is to put themselves in the place of others, imagine we feel what another feels, and govern our actions as if the shoe was on the other foot. This is the basis for the golden rule. Unfortunately it seems a large number of humans cannot or will not rise above animal instincts even when they have the choice. In my opinion that makes them worse than animals. It’s also pretty darn convincing evidence that humans are not just descended from animals but many still ARE animals. I can’t blame a tiger for acting like a tiger. The tiger doesn’t know better. I can blame a human for acting like a tiger. The human knows better. Or at least I think they should know better. Maybe I’m giving more credit to humanity for the capacity to rise above animal behavior than humanity deserves.

  16. 16
    selectedpete says:

    Dave – Great issues, and refreshing to see you bring these things up against a scientific theory (I guess it’s not illegal after all to discuss morals and Darwin)

    I have to agree that the issue of common descent is quite secondary to the issue of removing a creator (really the crux of the whole issue).

    This quote is telling:
    “My sense of ethics flows from within, not without.”

    Dave, absent a god with moral absolutes, that “sense of ethics” which flows from within evil people like Hitler is no less valid. If God is absent, then who gets to say which one of these “senses” is the more noble? Darwin? You? I hope for my sake it is you, by the way ;0)

    Then this:

    “All I know is that good people do good things, evil people do evil things, I instinctively know the difference, and choose to do good instead of evil.”

    Again – by whose measuring stick?

    That’s the rub – when you take that logic, it is the same logic employed by the moral relativist who claims all points of view are valid on one hand, but who proceeds to join like-minded men and women protesting [insert favorite social injustice here].

    I don’t mean to be pejorative here, but I don’t think you can honestly espouse both. Intellectually honest atheists like Provine realize this – many others do not.

    Is it not possible that we instinctively know good and evil because we feel guilt over some things and not others? Where might this guilt “thing” come from?

    Golden rule does not work here absent a god because without “a god” all you have is a social construct, and Hitler has his, Mr Provine his, and so on. Then it becomes a cage match of the constructs where might makes right.

    The next logical point of dicussion is: well, if morals come from “a god” then which one? That is a whole ‘nother barrel of monkeys, and I’d relish talking with you on that some day ;0)

  17. 17
    duncan says:

    DaveScot at 15 is (at the risk of sounding sycophantic!) right again, in my opinion.

    Geoff, the Darwinists would argue that it is precisely the naturalism that allows for morality. Humans have evolved reason, memory and imagination, and the combination of these produces critical thinking from which stem ethics and morality.

    It’s why Dawkins called his book ‘The Selfish Gene’, not ‘The Selfish Organism’. You can’t commit suicide by holding your breath. If you don’t eat you’ll get hungry. These things are involuntary. It doesn’t mean that you can only make self-serving decisions.

  18. 18
    duncan says:

    selectedpete(16)

    Who to believe, Hitler or DaveScot? A dilemma for us all (lol) !

    But seriously, exactly the same concern can be levelled at God – why can we presume that God is making the right moral judgements?

  19. 19
    Charles says:

    DaveScot @ 15:

    Maybe I’m giving more credit to humanity for the capacity to rise above animal behavior than humanity deserves.

    In fact, you are.

    Absent any moral authority which is recognized by everyone, there is only what each individual deems to be moral on their own authority, which ultimately always comes down to a ‘might makes right’ argument.

    As was noted above, you benefit (and adopt your morality) from living in the long shadow of Christian morality, an authority that is rejected by many (atheists) but a morality nonetheless that originated in Judeo-Christian biblical precepts. Don’t conflate your rejection of the authority with your adoption of the morality.

    Secular moral laws (e.g. legal abortions) are merely man’s definition of what is moral enforced by might-makes-right and, as we all know, what is secularly “moral” today will change with expediency tomorrow (e.g. euthansia).

    Conversely, a divinely imbued morality backed by divine authority and judgement transcends mortal group-thought and might-makes-right, and it is that same transcendant authority that deserves the credit, not only for true morality (an absolute definition and basis for distinguishing good from evil beyond what any one individual relatively, self-servingly decides) but for having created creatures with moral awareness (us) in the first place.

    Darwinism is inherently immoral as it denies the absolute basis for morality. Darwinism per se isn’t sufficient to account for Nazism or the holocaust but, as Demski noted, it is a necessary prerequisite. And Darwinism per se need not have been policy of the Nazi’s, but the Nazi’s in fact made Darwinism a part of (if not the basis for) their policy.

    The Nazi’s were able to hijack Darwin’s theories, in spite of Darwin’s arguments for man’s nobility, because Darwin’s arguments for such nobility have no basis in any recognized aboslute morality (the carry no weight beyond Darwin himself), because the underlying absolute authority (God) is rejected, leaving only an animalistic might-makes-right basis. Which basis the Nazis’ hijacked with cherry picked “just so” stories.

    The lesson from Expelled is not that Darwin’s theories always lead to the holocaust, rather the lesson is that “just so” propaganda and suppression of dissenting opinion, coupled with military force and atheistic amorality, always leads to genocide (for the utopian “greater good” imagined by the despot du jour).

    The lesson from Expelled is that if you don’t want to repeat pitting one human race against another (as exemplified by Nazi genocide) then don’t suppress scientific opinion that dissents against “just so” stories.

  20. 20
    Charles says:

    correction to my own post:

    “Darwinism is inherently immoral”

    should have been

    “Darwinism is inherently amoral….”

  21. 21
    DaveScot says:

    Charles

    Actually I grew up on a native American indian reservation and that probably influenced my view of how to live a good life as much as anything else.

    Say, did you hear the one about the zen buddhist who ordered a hot dog from a street vendor in Manhattan? He said, “Make me one with everything, please”.

  22. 22
    Borne says:

    “Is that how God works now? We don’t have the ability to tell right from wrong until we read the proper book and make the proper ritual motions?”
    Indeed the moral sense is inner. Put it this way,

    “For one man is not different from another before God. All those who have done wrong without the law will get destruction without the law: and those who have done wrong under the law will have their punishment by the law; For it is not the hearers of the law who will be judged as having righteousness before God, but only the doers: For when the Gentiles, without the law, have a natural desire to do the things in the law, they are a law to themselves; Because the work of the law is seen in their hearts, their sense of right and wrong giving witness to it, while their minds are at one time judging them and at another giving them approval” Rom 2:11

    The mistake you make Dave, is that without a written law, there is only conscience. However, some have seared their conscience or damaged it by persistently refusing to follow it. Others have their conscience seared by their belief systems which allow them to view the world through amoral eyes. Atheism is one such system. Most atheists, in spite of their claimed beliefs, still use the inner law while denying the outer w/o which the inner could never exist.

    Nor atheism nor Darwinism can account for the existence of such an inner law or conscience.

    If naturalism were true all thoughts whatever, including moral, would be the result of non rational causes. Non rational causes cannot account for the existence of the rational moral sense let alone reason.

    That’s also seen in the fact that atheism cannot account for the existence of logical absolutes – only theism can.

    You have to agree with selectedpete.
    Any rule of action requires a measure. What is the measure you use for determining which action is right vs wrong? If it is only personal and unexplainable natural conscience then each mans conscience may well lead him in opposite ways.

    And then who is to say which way is right? A man like Stalin or Hitler would never think what they were doing was wrong! Indeed Hitler thought he was redeeming the race from bad genes and inferior species!

    All real moral law also demands sanctions. This is inescapable. No sanctions = no law.

    No external, objective rule means no objective rule of measurement is possible whatsoever. You cannot have law without a measure of rightness and wrongness to determine it by. Collective conscience is totally insufficient. The collective may be wrong. How do you know? A reference to the external law is always necessary.

    This has been said time and again on this site. I’m rather surprised you’re still going back to morality step one!

    As Lewis said,

    “Whenever you find a man who says he doesn’t believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later.”

    And indeed we do see this over and over again. And you yourself are almost doing it here!

    As far as written rules goes, virtually all of the major religions has always agreed upon the basics.
    Do as you would be done by
    Do no murder
    Do not steal
    Do not rape
    Do not act unjustly
    Do no adultery etc.

    I can give you as many refs. as you wish.

    The only religions that have ignored or twisted the basic rules are those who have been polytheistic or demon worshiping. Atheism has no grounds for any rules whatsoever because it is system of mere denial of reality.

    As Paul stated, the whole of the Moral Law is summed up in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” That is, love as seeking the highest good as best as one can understand it.

    Iow, all of us will be judged according to the light we have – the inner rule. The more light the more scrupulous the judging process. And Christ is the light of the world.

    That’s where the book comes in – helping to see the highest good when the light of conscience and reason alone are insufficient. The book also aids in shaping conscience into maturity and forming habits of proper moral thinking.

    Therein the inner rules joins the outer rule and forms a unit of complete moral light.

    Ever seeking more light is also part of the rule! Willful ignorance is unacceptable.

  23. 23
    Charles says:

    DaveScot @ 19:

    Actually I grew up on a native American indian reservation and that probably influenced my view of how to live a good life as much as anything else.

    And yet, as reprehensibly as America has treated the native Indian, had that reservation been in China or North Korea, do you believe the amoral values of those surrounding cultures would not have negatively affected your childhood “view of how to live a good life”?

    Conversely, how much of your childhood views as taught on the reservation were reinforced by the Judeo-Christian ethics of honoring parents, not murdering, stealing or lying, faithful stewardship of what has been entrusted, charity, foregiveness, etc.?

    That’s not to say, sadly, that those ethics were in fact applied to native Americans by America but, by way of illustration, that in contrast to the ethics that would have been applied by China or N. Korea, can you not see/acknowledge a significant difference between the influences of atheistic culture and theistic culture?

  24. 24
    DaveScot says:

    What is the measure you use for determining which action is right vs wrong?

    Glad you asked.

    The golden rule. It’s common in quite a few philosophies and religious traditions. See here:

    Ethic of Reciprocity

    I try to extend it towards all living things and if I may be so bold I’m pretty sure Christ would approve of that.

  25. 25
    StephenB says:

    —–Dave: “No matter where it came from we have the ability to reason and put ourselves in the place of others. Darwin called that “sympathy” and described it as the noblest part our nature. This is what other animals cannot do, or it’s at least not obvious they can, is to put themselves in the place of others, imagine we feel what another feels, and govern our actions as if the shoe was on the other foot. This is the basis for the golden rule. Unfortunately it seems a large number of humans cannot or will not rise above animal instincts even when they have the choice. In my opinion that makes them worse than animals. It’s also pretty darn convincing evidence that humans are not just descended from animals but many still ARE animals. I can’t blame a tiger for acting like a tiger. The tiger doesn’t know better. I can blame a human for acting like a tiger. The human knows better. Or at least I think they should know better. Maybe I’m giving more credit to humanity for the capacity to rise above animal behavior than humanity deserves.”

    Every word you have written here is true. We really do have the innate capacity to reason, place ourselves in others’ shoes, and formulate some semblance of the golden rule. It is also true that humans possess free choice, which provides them with the opportunity to accept or reject these promptings. It is most definitely true that only humans can pervert their nature and act like animals and even act worse than animals. There is no such thing, after all, as a sadistic dog. Even “mean” dogs are so inclined only because sadistic humans forced them to be that way.

    You are not giving “too much credit to humanity for the capacity to rise above animal behavior.” They most certainly can do that if, as you have pointed out on other occasions, they are given the right training. You are, however, giving too much credit to an impersonal, materialistic process for producing that capacity. That “noble instinct” that you allude to is the human “conscience” or the “natural moral law” planted in the human psychic by the creator. It is not simply a “feeling” but rather a subjective faculty which allows humans to perceive or detect the objective moral law which the creator also “designed” in nature. In other words, the creator designed [A] the human capacity to apprehend the natural moral law and [B] the natural moral law itself. You seem to want [A] without [B], but that is not the way things work. Unless the natural moral law is real (objective component), then our sentiments about (subjective component) it are just that—sentiments. Someone has to set things up so that [A] corresponds to [B]. If [B] isn’t real, then [A] can’t be real either.

  26. 26
    SteveB says:

    DaveScot says:

    It seems a bunch of you are saying the only way a person can have an acceptable standard of ethics is to get it out of a book written by men thousands of years ago.

    No. The key point is that absent a transcendent standard that defines what “good,” “ethical,” or “moral” means, who’s to say that PETA’s perspective on animal welfare is better than Michael Vick’s? It’s all just subjectively held opinion. Your earlier argument comes down to just that—personal opinion:

    Near as I can tell I was born with the so-called golden rule as an instinctive behavior. The rule extends to all life not just my own species or my own personal survival.

    If someone else has different instinctive (ie, idiosyncratic, personal and subjective) convictions, who or what arbitrates between them?

  27. 27
    dreamwalker007 says:

    “If I’m told that I’m nothing but the result of mindless forces, and that my conception of right and wrong has been found useful by natural selection […], then why the heck should I not murder?”

    I find it hard to believe that you have the constant powerful urge to kill everyone just because. Is the only thing stopping you from committing murder the idea that a god doesn’t want you to? That’s a truly bleak view of morality.

  28. 28
    SteveB says:

    DaveScot said:

    What is the measure you use for determining which action is right vs wrong?
    Glad you asked.
    The golden rule. It’s common in quite a few philosophies and religious traditions. See here:
    Ethic of Reciprocity

    So, “a book written by men…” (#10) is unacceptable as a standard of ethics.

    But a web page written by men is acceptable as a standard of ethics.

    Add to this the double irony that the web page you cite quotes extensively from many of same books “written by men thousands of years ago” that you rejected earlier, and that it is hosted by the same “zealots” you recently criticized for their distortion and censorship. (http://www.uncommondescent.com.....s-zealots/)

    You’ll have to forgive me for not being impressed with this line of reasoning.

  29. 29
    DaveScot says:

    steveb

    If someone else has different instinctive (ie, idiosyncratic, personal and subjective) convictions, who or what arbitrates between them?

    Well now. We reach the crux of the problem. Unless some obviously god-like being descends from on high to dictate the rules we are left having to come to some kind of consensus on what those objective rules really are. While we might agree on some or all just based on the golden rule we’re definitely not going to agree on them all. What then?

  30. 30
    JPCollado says:

    DaveScot:
    “It seems a bunch of you are saying the only way a person can have an acceptable standard of ethics is to get it out of a book written by men thousands of years ago.”

    But Dave, I haven’t found one ancient book yet that has outrageous admonitions like loving your enemy or giving him/her your coat when they ask for your sweater (OK, so I’m changing it a bit to suit our modern customs) and wishing them well in your prayers, even as they hurl insults and pernicious atrocities.
    Eliticist
    These almost senseless, out-of-this-world pronouncements are ideals that no animal coming from a dark, cold evolutionary abyss of selfishness and wantonness will ever be capable of conceiving, let alone putting into action. Even in our most civilized and progressive societies such morals are frowned upon and viewed as disingenuous superlatives. It is no easy thing, I must admit, to wish someone good who at the same time intends nothing but evil on you.

    And yet, it is from these incredible injunctions that followers of the religion have drawn their energy to build hospitals and schools and similar such systems and other works of charity all for the betterment of the fellow man, in the midst of hardships and persecutions. There are countless real life stories of self-sacrifice to fill dozens of libraries to prove the point. For one, read the exhilarating biography of Bruce Olson just to glean an example of one person’s love and dedication to a certain group of people in spite of the costs and maltreatments. This is the legacy of Christianity to the western culture, nay the rest of the world.

    No darwisciple can claim an equivalent.

  31. 31
    SteveB says:

    Not so fast. The point of the argument was to establish the logical necessity of a transendent standard. Are you saying that you accept this? If not, any attempt to find some kind of consensus just comes down to “I like chocolate but you like strawberry” preferences talking past each other.

  32. 32
    DaveScot says:

    steveb

    “The point of the argument was to establish the logical necessity of a transendent standard. Are you saying that you accept this?”

    A logical necessity? Possibly! Where does it come from and how do we know if it’s really transcendent or just stuff we made up?

    I will however agree there appears to be a practical necessity for a transcendent moral standand such that if such a thing doesn’t exist we end up inventing them and agreeing for a while that it’s the proverbial final answer.

  33. 33
    EJ Klone says:

    I applaud DaveScot for talking candidly and openly about a topic that is often assumed amongst fellow IDists – that Darwinism means the end of morality, or that it means that there cannot be absolute morals. Darwinism as a scientific hypothesis doesn’t say anything about these things, and in some cases, darwinists try to uphold their own views of morality with talk of altruism and evolution. Yet, many IDists, borrowing from creationists, espouse the idea that accepting common descent turns the world into a beat-up-on-the-little-guy free-for-all blood-bath.

    The implication is that Intelligent Design provides an alternative. How? How does recognizing the design in nature translate into establishing an absolute morality in nature as well? Sure you could talk about implications, such as, well, if this flagellum was made with a purpose (function), then my person was made with a purpose (life calling), which is an equivocation – two different kinds of purposes. Or if the Designer(s) made life on this planet, they must have had control over the moral fabric of space-time?

    Life was designed, I’m quuite sure of it. But given that I’m not religious (as is DaveScot), I don’t automatically assume that the Designer(s) are an omnibenevolent deity with us in mind – those are religious and not scientific beliefs. The same goes for statements of the absence of purpose if Darwinism is true, or the presence of purpose if ID is true.

    What if we were to discover, say, that the Designers intentionally made us as a reality-TV show (like in South Park) to kill each other for their entertainment? That would be a wicked purpose, and I don’t think anyone here would subscribe to it after finding it to be true. Indeed, there is no evidence one way or the other, going from the design induction, to the existence of an omnibenevolent deity, nor an absolute morality that we would recognize as being moral.

    Indeed, I could envision a version of ID that could lead to horrible atrocities – for example, given that selective breeding is a form of human design, what’s to keep people from deciding that others are “less well designed” than others? This assumption that our morality proceeds from whether or not life was designed is absurd.

    Michael Behe has come a few steps down the path to realizing this, IMHO. He accepts common ancestry, although considers it to be guided. But more so, he recognizes that many pathogenic organisms on this planet were intentionally designed. Designed to make people suffer or get sick. Can we not find more cases or malicious design in the world?

  34. 34
    DaveScot says:

    jp

    Perhaps if you’d followed the link I left to the ethic of reciprocity you’d have been led to some of those other books.

  35. 35
    DaveScot says:

    Borne

    Do no murder
    Do not steal
    Do not rape
    Do not act unjustly
    Do no adultery etc.

    I don’t believe that religion has a monopoly on these. They are simple, reasonable, logical rules for peaceful coexistence that are not difficult to come up with. Heck, lots of species of birds and mammals follow those rules by instinct alone at least when dealing with others of their own kind.

    Religion has a monopoly on stuff like worship no other idols before me, keep the sabbath holy, and stuff like that. Everyone seems to forget about peaceful coexistence when their own version of the sacred cow is gored.

  36. 36
    Jason Rennie says:

    “Is that how God works now? We don’t have the ability to tell right from wrong until we read the proper book and make the proper ritual motions?”

    No Dave. You can tell right from wrong, that is a thing called Natural Law, but Natural Law is incompatible with the sort of materialism that is pushed by Darwinists.

  37. 37
    Jason Rennie says:

    “Are you really going to try to compare PETA to Nazis?”

    It depends on what you mean.

    They are both a bunch of fanatics with an ideological agenda and a profound hatred of anybody that disagrees with them.

    Also, PETA has never come out and strongly condemmed the actions of groups like ALF and others.

    PETA is full of crazies and their agenda for “animal rights” is dangerous.

  38. 38
    Vladimir Krondan says:

    [KJ Klone] that Darwinism means the end of morality, or that it means that there cannot be absolute morals. Darwinism as a scientific hypothesis doesn’t say anything about these things

    Of course it does. Haven’t you read chapter 5 of Descent of Man? Or some of the countless other expositions about morality written by Darwinians?

  39. 39
    Vladimir Krondan says:

    [DaveScot] Knowledge (like Darwinian evolution and the recipe for dynamite) is inanimate and can be employed by good people for good things and evil people for evil things.

    If Darwinism is a legitimate science, then why does Uncommon Descent exist?

  40. 40
    DaveScot says:

    Vladimir

    If Darwinism is a legitimate science, then why does Uncommon Descent exist?

    Because Darwinism is not a complete theory of evolution just like Newtonian mechanics is not a complete theory of physics.

  41. 41
    DaveScot says:

    Jason

    So is PETA pretty close to rounding people up and putting them in concentration camps in your asinine inane considered opinion?

    Here are the PETA Storm Troopers at the Norfolk Virginia Head Quarters. Pretty scary. Don’t let the smiles fool you.

    PETA

    Here they are ready to destroy this Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. They’re concealing a V2 rocket launcher behind those innocent looking placards. That KFC is going down in flames.

    PETA1

  42. 42
    Vladimir Krondan says:

    [DaveScott] Because Darwinism is not a complete theory of evolution just like Newtonian mechanics is not a complete theory of physics

    That’s an interesting statement. It seems, at least prima face to be incompatible with the mission statement of Uncommon Descent, which speaks of replacing Darwinism, not completing it. Perhaps you can explain how a theory which posits man to be a meat byproduct of natural selection is to be respected as legitimate science? How is this view of Darwinism as legitimate science (comparable to Newtonian mechanics, you say) compatible with the preamble Uncommon Descent holds that…“?

    But maybe something odd has happened here during my prolonged absence.

  43. 43
    DaveScot says:

    Vladimir

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

    This is the definition of ID that has been on this site unchanged for at least 2 years. Note the first sentence say design is the best explanation for CERTAIN features.

    Maybe you should go pick up a copy of Behe’s new book “The Edge of Evolution” to see the latest thinking in where Darwinian evolution stops and Intelligent Design starts.

  44. 44
    Vladimir Krondan says:

    [DaveScot] This is the definition of ID that has been on this site unchanged for at least 2 years.

    It says “ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory”. According to you, Darwinism is legitimate science. Therefore, if we were to adopt your view, then ID is in “scientific disagreement” with legitimate science. Perhaps you could change that definition of ID, though, to avoid such ridiculous contradictions with your views about Darwinism.

    If what you say is true, that Darwinism is a legitimate science analogous to Newtonian mechanics, and that ID seeks to complete Darwinism, then the mission statement of Uncommon Descent is quite misleading. For it speaks ID as an alternative to Darwinism. Perhaps you can ask Mr Dembski to change that, so that it more correctly reflects your point of view. Or maybe I will ask him to do so.

  45. 45
    EJ Klone says:

    Vladmir, please give me some quotations, because I don’t have that book on hand.

    I do know that many darwinists say that evolution supports their versions of morality, including altruism. At the same time, you have people who highlight the “competition” part of evolution to support the idea that, say, capitalism is justified by nature.

    So you have two views of the same thing, and I wanted to point out that you can have those same two views of Design. Are you willing to go out on a limb and admit that Design does not automatically mean there is absolute morality? It only means that if you assume the designer was an omnibenevolent deity, but that is religion. ID is science.

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