Darwinism Intelligent Design

Darwin’s Final “Resting” Place

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Over at Larry Moran’s blog, where I am identified as one of the ID movement’s stellar idiots, there is a picture of Darwin’s tombstone with the caption: “Here’s a photo of Darwin’s final resting place in Westminster Abbey.”

I posted the following comment:

Darwin doesn’t have a resting place. When he died he entered eternal oblivion. Nothing he did, and nothing that any of us do, has any lasting significance or meaning.

One day our sun will turn into a red giant. When that happens its corona will expand beyond the orbit of the earth. The earth’s atmosphere will be stripped away, the seas will boil away, the sands will fuse into glass, and all life will be exterminated. There will be no record of anything anyone has ever done, created, or thought.

For those familiar with me at UD, the irony should be self-evident.

41 Replies to “Darwin’s Final “Resting” Place

  1. 1
    Borne says:

    Indeed, why do Darwinists buy coffins and tomb stones at all.

    If nihilism is neo-Darwinism’s logical outcome why bother?

    What will the evo “psychologists” come up with on this one? Another survival or fitness trait? Ha!

    Another vestige from religious beliefs and superstitions? They are vehemently against these so go figure.

    No matter what the inane answer the evo. psychos will invent, I bet they’ll still continue paying a lot of $$$ for burying their dearly departed or conserving the ashes, for some non materialistic reasons that belie their true inner beliefs.

    “He has put the idea of eternity in their hearts” Ecc. 3:11

    And they just can’t get rid of it! 😉

  2. 2
    crandaddy says:

    I feel sorry for folks like Larry. I really do.

    BTW, I’ve been meaning to tell you what a fantastic pianist you are, Gil. Your masterful performance of Liszt is especially impressive! Bravo!

  3. 3
    j says:

    Gil, your post reminded me of this:

    “…the fact that one’s life eventually will come to an end casts doubt on the meaningfulness of life. Consider: The day will come when you will die. A hundred years later, everyone you ever knew will also be dead. When there is no one alive who remembers you, will it make any difference how you lived your life?

    But, you may say, I expect to become a famous person. My memory will survive. Perhaps. But how many people are remembered two or three hundred years after their deaths?

    Moreover, the day will come when the entire human race will become extinct. Even if we avoid nuclear war and other immediate threats, the universe will, according to physicists, eventually either collapse into a black hole or else continue to spread out and cool until it is just one vast, lifeless expanse. Either way, the universe will then contain no life and no evidence that life ever existed. When that day comes, will it make any difference how you lived or even whether you lived?

    (James W. Kalat, Introduction to Psychology.)

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    Great summation, Gil.

    And if life has no ultimate purpose why do they get so upset with us?

  5. 5
    trystero57 says:

    “If nihilism is neo-Darwinism’s logical outcome why bother?”

    Indeed, but it isn’t.

  6. 6
    russ says:

    Here’s an interesting quote from your link to Larry’s blog:

    “Of course GilDodgen can’t resist taking a few other potshots at Monod. After all, Monod is French, an atheist, and (gasp!) a socialist to boot. Those evil socialist evolutionists, where do they get off caring for the downtrodden and the oppressed?”

    I’ve just started reading “Who Really Cares?” by Arthur Brooks, who started researching charitable giving patterns among conservatives and liberals in the USA, expecting confirmation of the stereotype that the former are stingy and the latter generous. To his surprise, the data show that conservatives are much more likely to give to charity, while liberals are more likely to advocate government assistance. However, he shows that it’s religious practice–not mere political affiliation–that made the difference. Liberals who practices some sort of religious discipline, regardless of what it is, were just as charitable as conservatives who practiced religion.

  7. 7
    JGuy says:

    [kind of related topic]

    I saw this article on Yahoo news today….

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200.....embrace_dc

    Should the archaeologist, upon discovering this… decide to not disturb the remains much further?

    ..or at least keep the orientation correct.

    In a sense, I almost feel like it almost be wrong to do so.. that’s just a feeling of mine.

    State a perspective and thoughts…anyone?

    ———

    BTW Gil:
    Excellent post to the blog. Maybe, someone will think about what you wrote.

  8. 8
    JGuy says:

    I meant to say:
    “In a sense, I almost feel like it would be wrong to do so.. that’s just a feeling of mine.”

  9. 9
    jmcd says:

    “If nihilism is neo-Darwinism’s logical outcome why bother?”

    “if life has no ultimate purpose why do they get so upset with us?”

    For one to arrive at said conclusions simply because they do not have a firm belief in an afterlife shows such frailty of character.

    Can one not define their own purpose?

    Does one stop seeing beauty in life because they do not believe that there is necessarily a loving and forgiving God waiting to welcome us into its bossom when our time here ends? For most people the answer is of course not silly goose.

    Where the notion comes from that nihlism is the logical endpoint of darwinism I can not fathom. I could see how a few people might be led down that path, but again I would call that a failure of character.

  10. 10
    Borne says:

    “If nihilism is neo-Darwinism’s logical outcome why bother?”

    Indeed, but it isn’t.

    I eagerly await your reasoning since virtually every Darwinist/atheist says as much or implies it, including Dawlkins, Provine, Lewontin, Gould…

    Denial of reality is the atheist/Darwinist’s main stance in life.

    Darwinist atheists live on borrowed morals and think that feeling the suffering of the death of a loved one is a mere survival trait.

  11. 11
    jmcd says:

    Borne:

    Okay I’ve read a fair amount of Gould and I would love to see where he says that nihilism is a necessary consequence of darwinism or anything of the sort.

    He was anything but a nihilist. Neither to the best of my knowledge is Dawkins. By your reasoning people like Carl Sagan should also be nihilists. Either there is a flaw in the logic somewhere or the vast majority of darwinists are too dumb to know what they should believe.

  12. 12
    TerryL says:

    Typically, Darwinists are usually oblivious to the implications of their own theory. Thus the irony: if Darwin was right, he HAS no “resting place,” because there’s nothing left of him that rests.

    I was watching a re-run of an episode of “Star Trek, the Next Generation” which began with a funeral service. The alien presenting the eulogy, rather than end his speech with the traditional verbage about the Resurrection Day and the return of “our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” simply assured one and all that the deceased would “live on in our memories.”

    At which point I had to ask, “So what?” If there’s nothing akin to an afterlife, then what’s the point of telling ourselves that we can at least comfort one another with our memories of the Dearly Departed? After all, WE’RE going to die, too. Doesn’t that mean that our memories of the DD are going to die just as surely as the DD himself?

    Indeed, IF the universe is just a big cosmic accident, and IF life is just the accidental offshoot of an accidental universe, how can we attribute any kind of meaning to living?

    The only option, if Darwinism is true, is to adhere to Nihilism.

    But Darwinists invariably try to have it both ways. Life is an accident, yet it has meaning. Death is the end of existence, yet here’s Darwin’s “resting place.” And to acknowledge the logical fallacy of such a viewpoint is to render oneself a “stellar idiot.”

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  13. 13
    tribune7 says:

    Does one stop seeing beauty in life because they do not believe that there is necessarily a loving and forgiving God . . .

    The beauty can still be seen because the loving and forgiving God exists regardless of one’s belief in Him.

  14. 14
    jmcd says:

    “The beauty can still be seen because the loving and forgiving God exists regardless of one’s belief in Him.”

    That may well be the case, but the fact that the beauty can still be seen does lend itself to the idea that people are capable of creating their own purpose without the benefit of a belief in eternal life.

  15. 15
    austinite says:

    Given that Intelligent Design does not postulate the nature of the designer, how can we know whether or not our lives have any more eternal significance than is ascribed to by atheists?

    Perhaps we were all just designed to be meat and nothing more anyway. Human beings create thousands of throw-away designs every day.

    Or does this post have nothing to do with Intelligent Design?

  16. 16
    Fross says:

    I don’t agree with the statement that meaning has to be long lasting or eternal in order for it to be meaningful.
    I’ve heard the exact opposite point being made using an analogy of a diamond. A diamond is only valuable because it’s not plentiful and it’s very rare. If life is temporary and short, it should be cherished and you should fill it with as much meaning as you can while you are here. That’s just my positive spin on it.
    Let’s say you find out tomorrow that you absolutely cease to exist when you die. Will you suddenly not find meaning in being a friend, a sibling, a parent, a son or daughter, etc?
    Besides, accepting Darwin’s ideas on the diversity of life does not make you an atheist. There are plenty of “theistic evolutionists” out there.

  17. 17
    intp147 says:

    “That may well be the case, but the fact that the beauty can still be seen does lend itself to the idea that people are capable of creating their own purpose without the benefit of a belief in eternal life.”

    I would suggest, rather, that people are capable of living _as though_ they had purpose, even if the logical implications of what they claim to believe deny it.

    And yes: people can certainly “create their own purpose,” if one allows a very limited sense. One man might deem it his purpose to be a good role model for his kids. A woman might consider it a worthy purpose to author a book on a subject about which she feels passionately. These are good things, obviously; yet if one’s belief is that everything ultimately perishes, then one must acknowledge that none of this has ultimate meaning or value. Ultimately, it makes no difference whether one was a Hitler or a Mother Theresa.

    Obviously those who have hope of eternal life don’t have a monopoly on a sense of purpose; however, their sense of purpose is consistent with their belief.

  18. 18
    franky172 says:

    intp147
    yet if one’s belief is that everything ultimately perishes, then one must acknowledge that none of this has ultimate meaning or value.

    What does it mean to have “ultimate meaning or value”? Ultimate meaning or value to whom?

  19. 19
    nullasalus says:

    Actually, do you even need to be a theist to believe in a life after death? Check out the transhumanists – freezing themselves, postulating conversion into AI (Well, ‘killing themselves and making an AI copy’ anyway), who knows what else.

    I often wonder if a resurrection of the body can and even will be achieved through ‘man-made’ methods. We may have billions of years to try for such – for all I know, even a deity may be intending that as a result.

    That’s all useless speculation on my part. But the point is – even atheists can hope for an eternal life and a life after death. Though I think the ones that do instinctively are more pleasant than the ones we all think of. I believe Dawkins himself has said even the hope for an afterlife ‘leads men to evil’. Hmm, I wonder how he’d react to atheists who have that hope.

  20. 20
    jmcd says:

    re:#18
    “Ultimately, it makes no difference whether one was a Hitler or a Mother Theresa.”

    I hardly think that the people involved at the time would agree.

    Just because you have a singular definition of purpose does not mean that others do not have different purposes. Budhists must often have a sense of purpose. Is their sense of purpose as empty as a secularist’s sense of purpose in your view?

    Even if darwinism necessarily led to atheism, which it certainly does not, atheism does not at all lead to nihilism. By your way of thinking nihilists are the only thinking darwinists even though being a thinking darwinist appears to be an oxymoron to many here. That does not seem likely as I have met, conversed with, and read from many intelligent, thinking darwinists. Not a one of them was a nihilist. The closest I have ever come to experiencing nihilists is The Big Lebowski.

    Now either there is something missing in the strain of logic that leads you to believe that the lack of eternal life implies a lack of purpose or so many of the world’s greatest thinkers just don’t get it.

  21. 21
    intp147 says:

    “A diamond is only valuable because it’s not plentiful and it’s very rare.”

    This implies that rarity itself confers value, which is untrue: does the sufferer of a very rare disease consider himself fortunate simply because the disease is rare?

    This does not mean that we ought not to cherish life; however, it does mean that to hold one ought to do so because it is “temporary and short” is a fallacy.

    “Let’s say you find out tomorrow that you absolutely cease to exist when you die. Will you suddenly not find meaning in being a friend, a sibling, a parent, a son or daughter, etc?”

    No, of course not. But the “meaning” you find will be entirely subjective. People will have value to you because you’re that sort of person. However, what if someone tends naturally to be a recluse or even a bit misanthropic? Is there any special reason why that person ought to hold human life in any regard? Suppose a person who is a racist gains political power. If he then exercises his power to persecute a certain group of people, a lot of us might not “like” it, or might think he is evil and despicable; however, why should he care what anyone thinks? Why should he not do as he likes?

    “Besides, accepting Darwin’s ideas on the diversity of life does not make you an atheist.”

    No, obviously it doesn’t–perhaps largely because people are susceptible to and often oblivious to inconsistency in their beliefs. But one would have to ask what “god” the one who accepted Darwin’s ideas professed to believe in–and on what rational basis.

  22. 22
    jmcd says:

    “No, obviously it doesn’t–perhaps largely because people are susceptible to and often oblivious to inconsistency in their beliefs”

    To that I will offer a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”

    I think what he meant by that is there are many levels of truth and trying to incorporate them all on the same level necessarily leads to notions, that are verbally at least, inconsistent.

    Point being the world is far too complex for people to truly understand so that all we can really hope to do is create or borrow pragmatic paradigms that allow the world to appear to make sense to us. Since these paradigms are necessarily approximations or partial glimpses at the truths they attempt to illuminate, many will inevitably end up to seemingly contradict each other. The effort to make all these slivers of truth consistent is therefore largely an exercise in futility.

  23. 23
    GilDodgen says:

    It was asked what relationship this post has to ID. The great divide between Darwinism and ID (besides minor details, like the evidence) is the notion of purpose versus no purpose. ID claims that there is design, and therefore purpose in nature, and Darwinism claims that design is an illusion. As a consequence, purpose in nature must be an illusion as well. If there is no underlying purpose in nature, there is no underlying purpose in our lives. We can make stuff up if we like, but we’re just fooling ourselves. If purpose in nature is illusory, so is purpose in our lives ultimately illusory.

    Darwin provided the long-awaited creation story for the death-of-God and materialism movements of the 19th century, as well as the logical positivism movement of the 20th century. He is revered and worshiped as one of the great prophets. I find it ironic that Darwin provided much fodder for the philosophical conclusion that none of this stuff ultimately means anything anyway.

  24. 24
    Fross says:

    “This implies that rarity itself confers value, which is untrue”

    which was my point. On the other side of that coin, eternity doesn’t confer value/meaning either. Meaning is subjective.

  25. 25
    DaveScot says:

    int

    This implies that rarity itself confers value, which is untrue: does the sufferer of a very rare disease consider himself fortunate simply because the disease is rare?

    Little or nothing undesireable is valuable so your objection seems rather shallow. The value of anything desireable is indeed in direct proportion to its rarity.

  26. 26
    tribune7 says:

    people are capable of creating their own purpose without the benefit of a belief in eternal life.

    Sure. Stalin did.

  27. 27
    Borne says:

    “He was anything but a nihilist. Neither to the best of my knowledge is Dawkins. By your reasoning people like Carl Sagan should also be nihilists. Either there is a flaw in the logic somewhere or the vast majority of darwinists are too dumb to know what they should believe.”

    In that case your 2nd option is the correct one.

    All atheists are or logically ought to be nihilists. Where do you think the term comes from?

    Nihilism (From the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position which argues that the world, especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value.

    IOW, atheism cannot but lead to nihilism of some form or antoher.

    All you have to do is read anything Dawkins etc, have to say about what Darwinism really means. Apparently you don’t read the sayings of your high priests.

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.

    ~ William Provine

    [Darwins’s notebooks] include many statements showing that he espoused but feared to expose something he perceived as far more heretical than evolution itself: philosophical materialism — the postulate that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products.

    ~ Stephen Jay Gould

    The truth is that once you embark on Darwinian nihilism there is no resting place. If there is no point in life, everything in the end has to go — duty, laws, arts, letters, society — and you are left with nothing, except ‘proceeding’.

    – Paul Johnson (The Spectator, 23 April 2005)

    Quotes by Darwinians on this are plentiful. Maybe you ought to learn the theory you think you believe?

    ’nuff said

  28. 28
    shaner74 says:

    “Let’s say you find out tomorrow that you absolutely cease to exist when you die. Will you suddenly not find meaning in being a friend, a sibling, a parent, a son or daughter, etc?”

    By this, I’m taking it to mean no God, no afterlife, no intelligence pre-existing matter. To be perfectly honest, to a point I just might not be able to find meaning, even though the prospect of eternal life scares the heck out of me. If indeed we are the result of mindless matter, then really what is life worth at that point? Life is just the lucky organization of atoms – not really important or valuable, since we have an abundance of them. If I was to find out tomorrow that there is absolutely, positively nothing beyond matter I would have a very difficult time finding meaning in life. But hey that’s just me.

  29. 29
    scordova says:

    Gil,

    I noticed you pointed out your professional credentials to Moran. Actually, imho, when people like Moran are knocked off of their elistist horse by a lowly peasant, it’s a more satisfying victory. It’s more fun when people like Moran get taken out by people they view as their inferior….

    Here is a parallel in the annals of miliatry history. Although I like the French (no hard feelings whatsoever), I recall the battle of Agincourt where the English King Henry V had an army of peasants armed with long bows. Henry V’s army was badly outnumbered by Charles VI army (perhaps more than 3 to 1) of well-trained professional soldeirs and knights.

    Henry’s army aws out numbered, sickly, starving, and out-skilled by the the forces of Charles the VI. One would think Henry’s peasant army had no chance. But it turned out, Henry V underdog peasansts routed Charles VI elitist knights.

    The brute fact was the English long bow fired from the arms of a barely-trained peasant could vanquish a well-trained armored Knight. In fact, especially insulting to the knights was the fact these peasants were picking off knights at a ratio of 10 knights to 1 peasant if not more. The bowman could shoot 10 arrows a minute from a range of 300 yards. The first wave of Knight who made a charge against the bowman did not even make contact with the English line. Peasants 1000, knights 0…..

    AGINCOURT AND A SHORT OVERVIEW OF THE ENGLISH LONGBOW!

    Like the long-bowman, the brute facts are on the side of ID proponents. Though we are outgunned and outskilled, because the facts are on our side, we will prevail against the forces of Charles.

  30. 30
    jmcd says:

    Do we really have to go there again? Do you really think genocide was a secular or facist invention; or 20th, 19th, 12th, or 1st century invention? Read the Book of Joshua and see how the men, women, and children of caoptured villages were treated. We can look at civil wars in China where entire provinces lost upto 70% of their inhabitants. Genocide is an unfortunate part of the human experience.
    We would be foolish to think that any religious perspective or lack there of makes us immune.

  31. 31
    GilDodgen says:

    Sal,

    Good point. However, in the case of Moran, he thinks that anyone who doubts Darwin is a rube and a simpleton who should be flunked out of college for no other reason. He should be made aware that it is possible to doubt Darwin and still be capable of rational, logical thought.

  32. 32
    JGuy says:

    Gil,
    I downloaded osme of your music, and look forward to listneing later.

    Also, saw the checkers program. How many monkey w/ typewriter hours did it take?

  33. 33
    paraklete says:

    To Fross and jmcd and other non-afterlifers,

    Have you ever done some work, or some task, and then had it completed wiped away? Maybe it was a task assigned to you by your boss, and after you did it he decided not to do anything with it. Or maybe you made a sand castle at the beach and the waves destroyed it immediately. Have you ever had the thought, “I just wasted my time.” If you have, why does this sense of “wasted time” apply to events in our lives and not to our lives as a whole, or to the universe as a whole? In other words, if everything will eventually be wiped away, if there is no afterlife, then how can we avoid the conclusion that it was all a waste of time? How might you persuade someone to avoid this “wasted time” conclusion, given your worldview?

  34. 34
    GilDodgen says:

    JGuy:

    Also, saw the checkers program. How many monkey w/ typewriter hours did it take?

    The checkers program is 65,000 lines of C and C++ code, and the databases were generated by another program that is about the same length. I estimate that I put about 3,000 hours into the project over a period of years.

    The full-blown version requires 12 gigs of disk space. The eight-piece win/loss/draw database has information for 111,387,534,401 endgame positions. This database and the perfect-play databases took almost three months to compute, running 24 hours per day on a machine with two CPUs and four gigs of RAM.

    I thought about the monkey approach, but decided that it would take too long.

  35. 35
    tribune7 says:

    Genocide is an unfortunate part of the human experience.
    We would be foolish to think that any religious perspective or lack there of makes us immune.

    Ahh. But if one can create one’s own purpose in life, why is genocide wrong?

  36. 36
    JGuy says:

    Gil,
    “The full-blown version requires 12 gigs of disk space. The eight-piece win/loss/draw database has information for 111,387,534,401 endgame positions.”

    You could make a larger database, store it online, and charge a small monthly fee to play against the online database. Also, it might free up peoples hard drives from installing a full blown version.

    Also, I heard there was a checker program that learns while it plays.. and remembers lessons…and mistakes.. ever hear of this?

    Regarding the monkeys, you say it would take too long.. just use an unlimited number of monkeys. Duh! ;)Darwinists have unlimited resources, why can’t we, other than the fact that we prefer reality and numeracy vice stories and mathemagics.

  37. 37
    jmcd says:

    RE # 36

    I guess by you are essentially asking without God as an author how can you have a moral code. I would answer by saying that morality predates any monotheistic religion and even predates any civilization. Morality is a necessary by product of social beings coexisting.

    If you ask why major wars are not likely to happen any time soon it is not because world leaders have decided that God does not want them to go to war. In fact in our current relatively minor war it was just the opposite. When Peter Jennings asked W Bush if HW Bush supported his decision to go to war in Iraq W Bush answered “well Peter, I take direction from a higher father.” Major wars do not happen today because they are impractical and exceedingly unlikely to yield positive results for a state.

    This is largely because of the precedent set after WWII of nations supporting one another should they become the victim of malicious attack. Now internal struggles are still another issue and nations are not nearly as willing to involve themselves in such conflicts.

    In short wars and genocides have happened regardless of religion and they have been prevented for a-religious reasons. Religion is for individuals not state policy. State policy has often found ways to coerce religious views in support of conflict desired by the state.

  38. 38
    jmcd says:

    paraklete

    I would say you avoid the wasted time feeling by seeing the results of your work/actions/ideas on the people and world around you. I prefer feeling good to bad and I surmise that most other people are similar in that regard. If I can enable people to feel more joy or at least experience less suffering then I feel good. A gradual accumulation of these experiences builds up feelings of pride and self respect which are not nearly as fleeting as the temporary ups and downs that happen day to day. Eventually you cultivate a joy and appreciation for your existence. I do not know how someone with that sense of well being could possibly regard their life as wasted or pointless.

    p.s. There is obviously a lot more that goes into cultivating that sense of well being but for brevity’s sake I kept as simple as possible.

  39. 39
    tribune7 says:

    I guess by you are essentially asking without God as an author how can you have a moral code.

    Actually, I wasn’t.

    I would answer by saying that morality predates any monotheistic religion and even predates any civilization.

    Which squares with neither natural selection nor history.

    Evolutionary therory teaches us that decisions are made based on fitness for survival. That means any evolutionary based system of morality would be contingent on circumstances.

    History tells that acts that we would both regard as immoral went unpunished in this life and, in fact, the perpetrators were greatly rewarded. The Delano family — from which FDR sprung — earned their fortune as drug smugglers. Rome was founded on murder and rape.

    Stalin died a natural death.

    If one can pick one’s purpose in life then how can there be a transcendal moral code?

    Suppose if one choses to make one’s purpose in life
    an absolute ruler knowing full well he will have to lie and murder and terrorize and be generally cruel to acheive it.

    Someone died on a cross and rose from a tomb to show us that while we have choice, our purpose is rather limited.

  40. 40
    1of63 says:

    Ahh. But if one can create one’s own purpose in life, why is genocide wrong?

    Is something wrong only because God says it is wrong or can it be wrong in and of itself?

  41. 41
    tribune7 says:

    If something is wrong there is a reason why it’s wrong.

    Why is genocide wrong? And if it’s wrong, why is it often successful? If it were violating some intrinsic principle of nature that would not be the case.

    Genocide (well speciesocide) occurs all the time according to Darwinian evolution.

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