Intelligent Design

Hitler as a Darwinist?: Prof accused of academic dishonesty

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Recently, several people have generously devoted considerable time to padding the comments section of the Post-Darwinist on the question of whether Hitler was a creationist or a Darwinist. Now, one recent commenter, Mitchell Coffey, went over the top, accusing Cal State prof Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler, of being dishonest.

Critiquing my position, he scolds, in part:

This is to be expected if you rely on the immorality of dishonest academics like Richard Weikart. Most of his assertions about Darwin’s beliefs are contradicted by the historical sources — often by the historical sources he himself cites for support! In one case, he out-and-out lies about what he calls Darwin’s “system.”

But if you want to see a straight-out lie by Prof. Weikart, locate his one quote from H.G. Wells. Weikart makes extravagant claims about the significance of the quote, which Weikart wants you to believe meant that Wells believed in killing off “inferior” races.

Weikart, who is fluent in German, replies,

Mitchell Coffey’s claim that I engaged in academic dishonesty is patently ridiculous.

I should note that my overall argument in no way depends on the Wells’ quotation, since the vast majority of my book is about German thinkers, and most of my quotations are from primary sources, unlike the Wells quote, which I provided to show that Germans weren’t the only ones advocating racial extermination. If anyone can show that my primary source quotations are wrenched out of context, this would be troubling indeed. To date, no one has raised such a criticism, despite many reviews by historians in historical journals.

(The question hinged on how to interpret another scholar’sview of Wells.)

To me, the really interesting aspect of this whole exchange is why it should matter so much to some people whether Hitler was a Darwinist, a creationist, or something else. After all, what if Pol Pot was a Darwinist and Idi Amin a creationist? Do we think the better or the worse of mass murderers on such an account? So I asked Weikart for some thoughts, as he deals frequently with such attacks.

His reply was interesting:

The reason why people care about Hitler being a Darwinist was because his version of Darwinism influenced his murderous ideology. It wasn’t incidental to his mass murder, as it might be in the other cases you mentioned. Darwinists have to distance themselves from his social Darwinist views, so they campaign against it as against heresy. Also, it’s remarkable how many websites run by atheists and anti-religious people prominently feature articles about Hitler being a Christian, and they blame Christianity for Hitler and the Holocaust.

It’s also remarkable that many Darwinists idolize Darwin so much that they cannot come to admit that he was a social Darwinist (though many scholars, to their credit, have conceded this).

Hmmm. I have often suggested that Darwinism would repay study by social scientists. It does come with a worldview, including a number of positions on hotly contested but apparently unrelated topics. For example, I would like to hear from a single serious Darwinist who disapproves of stem cell research on discarded human embryos on ethical grounds. It is easy to find non-Darwinists who disapprove such things.

89 Replies to “Hitler as a Darwinist?: Prof accused of academic dishonesty

  1. 1
    tmundie says:

    “I would like to hear from a single serious Darwinist who disapproves of stem cell research on discarded human embryos on ethical grounds.”

    I know one. A microbiologist that worked for me is a militant Darwinist. He wanted to name a student award after Darwin and would stand and yell at me when I made a presentation on IDT. BUT, he was Catholic and was against stem cell research on ethical grounds. To his credit, he knew it didn’t make sense.

  2. 2
    DaveScot says:

    Capitalism is an economic system based on Darwinian principles. It isn’t always a bad thing.

    I can’t blame Nazi eugenics entirely on Darwin. The observation that superior parents tend to produce superior offspring is ancient and that is the principle behind the science of eugenics. The problem comes about when we apply scientific principles unleavened by compassion.

    I blame Nazi eugenics on people like Thomas Aquinas as much as I blame it on Darwin. Aquinas equates animals to organic machines and their cries of pain no more or less than the noises of a machine with a worn or broken part. Combine this horrific lack of compassion for animals, taught by Aquinas and embraced by so many religious people, with a science that convincingly equates people to animals and what do you get? Nazi eugenics.

    There’s nothing morally repugnant about equating people with animals so long as you feel compassion for animals too. It’s said that God feels every sparrow that falls from the sky. There’s a lesson for us there.

  3. 3
    Carlos says:

    Aquinas equates animals to organic machines and their cries of pain no more or less than the noises of a machine with a worn or broken part. Combine this horrific lack of compassion for animals, taught by Aquinas and embraced by so many religious people, with a science that convincingly equates people to animals and what do you get?

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that Aquinas holds this view. Aquinas, if he was as good an Aristotelian as I’ve been led to believe, would have accepted Aristotle’s view that animals have a soul, although not a rational soul.

    Descartes, on the other hand, did hold the kind of view ascribed above to Aquinas. But between Descartes and Aquinas there’s a huge difference!

  4. 4
    Carlos says:

    The reason why people care about Hitler being a Darwinist was because his version of Darwinism influenced his murderous ideology.

    Exactly. It was his version of Darwinism.

    It was not what Darwin actually said — as if that matters — nor was it what contemporary scientists (Dobzhansky, Mayr, Maynard Smith, Gould, Dawkins) and philosophers (Kitcher, Sober, Dennett) have said.

    Judging Darwinism by Hitler is exactly the same as from judging Thomism by Torquemada. If the latter is unfair, then so the former; if the former is fair, then so is the latter.

  5. 5
    DaveScot says:

    Aquinas didn’t abide animal cruelty ONLY because he believed it encouraged cruelty to humans. He promoted animal compassion ONLY because he believed it encouraged compassion towards human. Regardless, he believed as Descartes that animals are mere organic machines and fully backed the Catholic doctrine still vibrant today that animals were created by God for human use and that animals have no rights against humanity. He believed that “Thou shalt not kill” meant “Thou shalt not murder” thus leaving the door open to justifiable homicide and killing of animals.

    Contrast this with God saying that when his kingdom returns to the earth the lion shall eat straw as an oxen, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, and there will be no more destruction on his mountain. The along comes Christ who never in his perfect life killed anything or anyone. I think and feel that God’s vision of an ideal world pretty clearly has no killing of any kind in it. Made in his image we should at least attempt to reach that ideal.

    Any scripture that appears to accomodate killing I believe is human authors at work mading edits for expediency. A religion that prohibits killing of any kind was unlikely to be embraced in the part of the world where Abraham lived. If that had been a demand of Christianity there’d probably be nothing left of the religion today except a few small outposts of Christian Monks practicing non-violence and vegetarianism. The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, the main Essene scripture, quotes Christ as saying: “Before all things is love, love ye one another and all the creatures of God, and by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.” I believe the Essene scripture to be correct inasmuch as it got the meat (pun intended) of Christ’s message right.

  6. 6
    Carlos says:

    It’s one thing to say that animals are only machines (where “machine” means, among other things, “not having a soul”). It’s another to say that humans may do to them whatever they wish. Descartes held both views. Aquinas — please correct me if I’m wrong — only held the latter.

    Interestingly, one of the foremost philosophers of animal rights, Peter Singer, is regularly villified because he denies that there’s any reason to value human life, just because it is human, over the lives of what he calls “non-human persons” (most mammals, some birds). And he’s villified because he thinks that Darwin made possible the destruction of the myth of human uniqueness.

    Personally, I’m fond of Dobzhansky’s quip, “all species are unique, but humans are the uniquest.” I just wish I had a good handle on that means!

  7. 7
    russ says:

    Capitalism is an economic system based on Darwinian principles.

    Comment by DaveScot — September 15, 2006 @ 10:28 am

    I disagree. In capitalism, no one receives anything of value unless they freely agree to provide another person with something of value. Hardly a “survival of the fittest” system, is it? In capitalist societies, “extinction” is caused by a failure to meet the needs of others, not from someone with longer arms grabbing the last banana on the tree. Creatures in Darwin’s world compete for limited, pre-existing resources, while members of capitalist societies use work and creativy to create new and improved goods and service that other people want/need.

    Jonathan Wells goes into this in some detail in P.I.G. to ID & Darwinism.

  8. 8
    kvwells says:

    Exactly, Carlos. We all know that moral consequences of a scientific theory is not admissible as evidence for the veracity of the theory. But, of course social darwinisn is a philosophy and is subject to this test.

    Interesting thing about Torquemada and Hitler (along with all despotic types) is that they practised the philoshpy of megalomaniacal self-deification, and it is this philosophy that is antithetical to Christianity (more so, I would argue, than even atheism). For these sorts of people, the philosophical timbre of the day is a means to an end: to raise oneself to the highest place using the backs of other people.

  9. 9
    Carlos says:

    But there are interesting parallels between a Smithian account of markets and a Darwinian account of nature.

  10. 10
    taciturnus says:

    DaveScot,

    You’ve made a lot of accusations about Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher I’ve read extensively. I think your understanding of Aquinas is both simplistic and anachronistic. Are your views of Aquinas based on an actual reading of Aquinas? If so, where does he say something like:

    “Aquinas equates animals to organic machines”

    Cheers,
    Dave T.

  11. 11
    DaveScot says:

    From The Nazarene Way

    After my departure there will arise the ignorant and the crafty, and many things will they ascribe unto Me that I never spake, and many things which I did speak will they withhold, but the day will come when the clouds shall be rolled away, and the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth with healing in his wings

    The Gospel of the Holy Twelve (a.k.a. Gospel of the Nazarenes; The Essene New Testament)

    Section 4, Lection 34

    Love of Iesus for All Creatures.

    1. WHEN Jesus knew how the Pharisees had murmured and complained because he made and baptized more disciples than John, he left Judea, and departed unto Galilee.
    2. AND Jesus came to a certain Tree and abode beneath it many days. And there came Mary Magdalene and other women and ministered unto him of their substance, and he taught daily all that came unto him.
    3. And the birds gathered around him, and welcomed him with their song, and other living creatures came unto his feet, and he fed them, and they ate out of his hands.
    4. And when he departed he blessed the women who shewed love unto him, and turning to the fig tree, he blessed it also, saying. Thou hast given me shelter and shade from the burning heat, and withal thou hast given me food also.
    5. Blessed be thou, increase and be fruitful, and let all who come to thee, find rest and shade and food, and let the birds of the air rejoice in thy branches.
    6. And behold the tree grew and flourished exceedingly, and its branches took root downward, and sent shoots upward, and it spread mightily, so that no tree was like unto it for its size and beauty, and the abundance and goodness of its fruit.
    7. AND as Jesus entered into a certain village he saw a young cat which had none to care for her, and she was hungry and cried unto him, and he took her up, and put her inside his garment, and she lay in his bosom.
    8. And when he came into the village he set food and drink before the cat, and she ate and drank, and shewed thanks unto him. And he gave her unto one of his disciples, who was a widow, whose name was Lorenza, and she took care of her.
    9. And some of the people said, This man careth for all creatures, are they his brothers and sisters that he should love them ? And he said unto them, Verily these are your fellow creatures of the great Household of God, yea, they are your brethren and sisters, having the same breath of life in the Eternal.
    10. And whosoever careth for one of the least of these, and giveth it to eat and drink in its need, the same doeth it unto me, and whoso willingly suffereth one of these to be in want, and defendeth it not when evilly entreated, suffereth the evil as done unto me; for as ye have done in this life, so shall it be done unto you in the life to come.

  12. 12
    Ekstasis says:

    DaveScot,

    Additional comment on “Capitalism is an economic system based on Darwinian principles. It isn’t always a bad thing.”

    Adam Smith developed the theory of Capitalism in his 1776 book “The Wealth of Nations” long before Darwin. Darwinism is more likely based on Capitalism than the other way around. Darwin’s thinking was colored by the British obsession that flowed from Capitalism at the time — one person or group out-competing others, plus the imperialism involving one group dominating another. Ah, yes, Darwin was a man of his time. And those times, they are a changing!

  13. 13
    taciturnus says:

    Dave,

    Since you seem to view Jesus as a proto-animal rights activist, I wonder what you make of Mark 5:8-13 and Mark 11:21?

  14. 14
    DaveScot says:

    taciturnus

    I’m taking those conclusions from secondary sources. Is the organic machine attribution the only one you have a problem with and you thus agree that Aquinas’ prohibitions against animal cruely was based solely on a belief that the practice would carry over into cruetly against humans? Or that he believed in Catholic doctrine that animals have no rights and were created by God for our use? Maybe you can tell me how how Aquinas interpreted Genesis where it says that God gave Adam & Eve seed bearing plants and fruit of the trees as their food.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    taciturnus

    “I wonder what you make of Mark 5:8-13 and Mark 11:21”

    At the risk of being too blunt: fiction.

  16. 16
    tribune7 says:

    Dave — Capitalism is an economic system based on Darwinian principles.

    If you are depending on a bank to randomly drop money on you to capitalize your enterprise you are going to be a pretty unsucessful captialist 🙂

  17. 17
    mynym says:

    Any scripture that appears to accomodate killing I believe is human authors at work mading edits for expediency.

    The first mention of vegetarianism and so on is here: “Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. …you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal.* And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.”

    *That undermines the notion that animals exist as a little more than just means to our own ends. Darwin often commented on the injustice of it all and noted that therefore the God of the Bible must not exist. So it is ironic that the God of the Bible may not think it just that a parasitic wasp eats the brains of a spider and so on either. On the other hand, Jesus later uses entire categories of animals as metaphors for evil anyway.

    Note that animals certainly are treated as means to our ends at times in scriptures, just or no. In general there is the whole notion of animal sacrifice found in scriptures and then ultimately there is the Lamb of God and so. Note that the views typical to anti-Christians on “animal rights” and man’s relationship to animals are not historically accurate:

    …characteristic of Puritan sentiment is [a] sixteenth-century condemnation of bear-baiting which, remarkably…makes a test of genuine Christian confession: “What Christian heart can take pleasure to see one poor beast to rent, tear and kill another, and all for his foolish pleasure? And although they be bloody beasts to mankind, and seek his destruction, yet we are not to abuse them, for his sake who made them, and whose creatures they are. For notwithstanding that they be evil to us, and thirst after our blood, yet they are good creatures in their own nature and kind, and made to set forth the glory and magnificence of the great God and for our use; and therefore for his sake not to be abused… we are not in any wise to spoil or hurt. Is he a Christian man, or rather a pseudo-Christian, that delights in blood?”
    From the 1640s the English Puritans had some opportunity to legislate against cruelty. Bearbaiting had been attacked as a full ugly sight as early as 1550, and Parliament ordered its suppression in 1642. Cockfighting was attacked by Perkins among others and finally prohibited by Cromwell in 1654. […] Opposition to animal cruelty resumed with the Methodists and evangelicals of the eighteenth century who inherited a strong Protestant sentiment opposed cruelty and were again able to bring their theology to bear upon public policy. Horace Walpole is said to have remarked in 1760 that a certain man was known to be turning Methodist; for, in the middle of conversation, he rose, and opened the window to let out a moth. […]
    As the eighteenth-century Christian Humphry Primatt wrote: If I know that a man is cruel to his beast, I ask no more questions about him. He may be a noble man, or a rich man. . . or a church man, or anything else, it matters not; this I know, on the sacred word of a wise king, that, being cruel to his beast, he is a wicked man.

    (Six Modern Myths About
    Christianity & Western Civilization
    by Philip J. Sampson :84-85)

    I’m reminded of Nietzsche, as the fellow really didn’t get that far beyond good and evil. E.g.

    [Nietzsche] caused a public—and in reality humanely beautiful—scandal, which led to his transfer to the asylum for nervous diseases in Turin: Nietzsche interfered in Turin with a cab driver who was mistreating his horse, as so often happens in Italy. Nietzsche embraced the horse’s neck and prayed that it be beatified in the name of God. Then he collapsed.

    (Nietzsche and After, by Robert Rie
    Journal of the History of Ideas,
    Vol. 13, No. 3. (Jun., 1952) :366)

    Animals are still sacrificed daily, it’s just a little easier to forget to be thankful for sacrificial pain and loss when it is packaged by McDonalds and the like.

    A religion that prohibits killing of any kind was unlikely to be embraced in the part of the world where Abraham lived. If that had been a demand of Christianity there’d probably be nothing left of the religion today except a few small outposts of Christian Monks practicing non-violence and vegetarianism.

    History shows that those back closest to the source of Christianity didn’t tend to spread it by the sword, instead they were often those put to the sword, yet Christianity increased exponentionally in such times anyway.

  18. 18
    taciturnus says:

    Dave,

    Your bluntness is something I’ve always appreciated about you. I was just wondering if you thought your views could be reconciled with the NT, or if your take on Jesus was idiosyncratic.

    Cheers,
    Dave T.

  19. 19
    mynym says:

    Adam Smith developed the theory of Capitalism in his 1776 book “The Wealth of Nations” long before Darwin. Darwinism is more likely based on Capitalism than the other way around. Darwin’s thinking was colored by the British obsession that flowed from Capitalism at the time — one person or group out-competing others, plus the imperialism involving one group dominating another. Ah, yes, Darwin was a man of his time. And those times, they are a changing!

    Apparently Darwinism came about naturally enough:

    A natural setting. If Darwin’s metaphor was a reflection of late-nine teenth-century capitalism as Marx suggested, I want now to highlight the other side of the coin: that same capitalism recognized itself in Darwin’s metaphor. Darwinian evolution was useful to certain social groups in their struggle for existence—useful in very concrete, practical ways. First, it promised a sure foundation for ideas of progress. As Spencer had foreseen, it was because of evolution that “progress is not an accident, but a necessity civilisation. . . is part of nature.” But the ideology of Darwinism could also be used to justify dangerous work, low wages and the exploitation of other countries. It provided an argument against reformers, many of them Christians, who wanted a framework of law to protect weaker members of society such as children and the poor. It was all of this, and yet it could also claim the status of a science.
    The language of Darwinism found its natural application in legitimating unrestrained capitalism and colonialism, because its language was drawn from capitalist competition and the social survial of the fittest. Social Dar winism, by reflecting back to society the very same ideology that the theory of evolution had drawn upon in the first place, justified that society. Darwin’s language and that of capitalism were the same.
    So Darwin’s metaphor was well adapted to the aggressive capitalist environment of the late nineteenth century, and the theory of natural selec tion was naturally selected by businessmen, colonialists and generals. The “meme” of Darwinism replicated in the lay population, where it found its natural environment. Evolution evolved.
    In recent decades, evolution has faced a change in the social conditions that bred it Unregulated competition no longer seems so desirable as it once did, and the contemporary economy is more mixed and varied. The everyday competitive language of Victorian capitalism that favored the rep lication of the Darwinian meme has been replaced by images of symbiosis, cooperation and coevolution. The single metaphor of the “survival of the fittest” finds itself in a different, less supportive social environment…

    (Six Modern Myths About Christianity & Western Civilization
    by Philip J. Sampson :64-65)

    Noting in passing here:

    Huxley naturally realized that, as examples of Darwinian competition for life among humans, hypothetical ancient fights between Hobbesian bachelors were not nearly good enough. What was desperately needed were some real examples, drawn from contemporary or at least recent history. Nothing less would be sufficient to reconcile Darwinism with the obvious facts of human life [evidence of cooperation]. Accordingly, Huxley made several attempts to supply such an example. But the result in every case was merely embarrassing.
    One attempt was as follows. Huxley draws attention to the fierce competition for colonies and markets which was going on, at the time he wrote, among the major Western nations. He says, in effect, “There! That’s pretty Darwinian, you must admit.” The reader, for his part, scarcely knows where to look, and wonders, very excusably, what species of organism it can possibly be, of which Britain, France, and Germany are members.

    (Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution
    by David Stove :7-9)

  20. 20
    taciturnus says:

    Dave,

    My initial objection was that attributing the notion of “machine” to Aquinas (or any other medieval philosopher) is anachronistic since “machine” is a modern notion that came about around the time of Descartes. A machine has no more moral value than any other non-living thing. Aquinas recognized a hierarchy of being, starting at the bottom with inanimate matter and ending at the top with God. Man and animals are somewhere in the middle with, yes, man higher than animals, but animals certainly more “noble” than brute matter or, I am sure, a machine.

  21. 21
    O'Leary says:

    From moderator Denyse:

    How on earth did we get into a wrangle about the Bible or what sound to me like apocryphal texts? Or capitalism? Does anyone want to comment on why people think that Hitler being a Darwinist is or isn’t important? – cheers, Denyse

  22. 22
    taciturnus says:

    Denyse,

    Sorry for getting off-topic, I felt called on to defend the honor of my favorite saint.

    Hitler is our only culturally available icon of evil. Everyone else is in dispute. No one cares whether Stalin was a Darwinist, for example, even though Stalin killed more people than Hitler. So if you want to make a culturally significant statement that something is evil, you’ve got to somehow associate it with Nazis. That’s why atheists try to make Hitler a devout Christian, and creationists Hitler a Darwin disciple.

    Cheers,
    Dave T.

  23. 23
    Ekstasis says:

    Denyse,

    Just for the heck of it, why not say something on topic occasionally?

    Maybe it is not so much whether Hitler was or was not a Darwinist, but rather the conditions that were necessary for large numbers of people to follow him. Certainly we must admit that there was a huge streak of racism in Europe, and America for that matter, going on at the time. The whole “master race” certainly did catch on with the German people. And “race” was not just construed as skin color. No, much more. Aryan really meant something to these people.

    So, one must stop and ask why. Darwinist thinking that one race was more “evolved” than another certainly must have been a primary cause. Oh, sure, the feeling that one’s tribe is better than another pre-dates Darwin. But, how does one justify it and make it such an overriding factor unless one truly believes that one’s tribe is superior in some real way? And how is this the case without the whole evolution thing serving as a foundation? Certainly not from Christianity, where “there is neither Jew nor Greek”?

    Now of course there were other factors contributing to Hitler’s popularity, e.g., how Germany was treated after WWI. Still, it is hard to conceive that the “superior race” thing was not central, and that this did not flow from the philisophers that in turn based their thinking on Darwinism.

  24. 24
    Charlie says:

    Just passing through, offering no off-topic comment, just a quick link on the roots and rise of capitalism.

    http://www.google.com/search?c.....8;oe=UTF-8

  25. 25
    Carlos says:

    21. Well, we could go back to my 4 . . .

    Does anyone want to comment on why people think that Hitler being a Darwinist is or isn’t important?

    Firstly, I think the evidence for “Hitler is a Darwinist” still seems pretty weak. He was neither a Darwinist, nor a Christian. He was a variety of Gnostic (by way of Theosophy) with strong pagan elements drawn from Teutonic mythology (thanks, Wagner!) and from the self-mythologization of the Roman Empire.

    He may have drawn on Darwinian lines of thought here and there, but — let’s be honest — Hitler was not the sort of person interested in ideas. He was interested in provoking emotional responses. If people believed in Darwin, he would use Darwinian imagery to provoke a response. If they believed in Christ, he would use a Christian imagery to provoke a response. He wasn’t working at the level of beliefs and implications — that wasn’t his bag. He was working at the level of directly programming the limbic system, by means of whatever cortical pathways available to him.

    Secondly, the “Darwinian” influence on Hitler — bearing in mind, of course, that we’re talking about Haeckel’s influence on Hitler — shows the same thing that’s shown by Aquinas’ influence on Torquemada, or the Koran’s influence on the Taliban — that is, nothing of substance.

  26. 26
    Rude says:

    Carlos in 9: “But there are interesting parallels between a Smithian account of markets and a Darwinian account of nature.” There may be. But then why cite this egregiously silly article? There is no irony in the fact that the Marxists (and Stalin himself) were staunch Darwinists and that the Soviet Union and statists everywhere wish to instantiate Darwin by state power and yet freedom loving ordinary folk have always found Darwin rather stupid. The author commits what Phil Johnson called “Berra’s blunder”—technology and here the free market are the product of blind forces and not of Intelligent Design. Oh? The design is of course too complex for some central committee of idiot commissars—the decisions must be made at the grass roots where a system of liberty lets the Intelligent be responsible for the Design.

    John Allen Paulos wrongly thinks that “the argument from design . . . dates from the 18th century” and that it “has been decisively refuted”—but he doesn’t bother telling us how because “Those who reject evolution are usually immune to such arguments.”

  27. 27
    jmcd says:

    Ekstasis

    The dominance of Europe in the world and fervent nationalism couldn’t have provided a basis for seeing Germans as the supreme race? Why should people need rational reasons for irrational beliefs? How on Earth would they determine that they were more evolved than a Briton? I just do not see how a case can be made that Darwin had to come along before there could be the idea of a master race. How on Earth did people ever justify slavery before Darwin came along?

  28. 28
    DaveScot says:

    How on earth did we get into a wrangle about the Bible or what sound to me like apocryphal texts? Or capitalism? Does anyone want to comment on why people think that Hitler being a Darwinist is or isn’t important? – cheers, Denyse

    This is how:

    Given that

    1) Darwinism equates people to animals
    2) Certain instantiations of Christianity treat animals as having no rights
    3) Eugenics are based on principles of animal husbandry

    Nazi eugenics therefore is a combination of convincing science (1 and 3) that people are animals combined with religious teachings that animals have no rights. Compassion goes out the door and in the door comes the idea that the human race can be improved by selective breeding and that such a thing is a good thing – the ends justifying the means.

    My further quotations of “apocryphal” scripture are in support of the thesis that animals being creations of God to be used for our convenience is a man-made corruption of Christ’s teachings. If anyone prefers to think that Christ somehow condoned the destruction or killing of any of God’s creation that’s certainly their right but it makes neither logical nor heartfelt sense to me and I reject it thoroughly. Furthermor, to bring it back around to Hitler, I think if the Christian church had remained faithful to Christ’s teachings it render moot the scientific conclusions that people are animals. If animals were accorded the treatment that I believe Christ *actually* espoused it wouldn’t matter a bit whether we considered ourselves animals or not as we’d still be obliged to treat each other lovingly.

  29. 29
    Rude says:

    Carlos in 25: So you think Richard Weikart is all wet? That the racism and eugenics of the thirties owed nothing to Darwin? I often wonder why it is important that Hitler was so completely original and that all alone without any latent influences in the culture he was able to do what he did such that he alone stands guilty.

  30. 30
    DaveScot says:

    Carlos

    But there are interesting parallels between a Smithian account of markets and a Darwinian account of nature.

    Of course there are and our language is replete with commonly used phrases attesting to the nature of capitalist culture: “it’s a jungle out there”, “the corporate jungle”, “clawing your way to the top”, “dog eat dog”, and “top of the food chain” to name just a few that come immediately to mind.

  31. 31
    Ekstasis says:

    DaveScot,

    One interesting note to add to your thoughts are the lives of Saint Francis and Saint Ciardan (Irish saint pre-dating St. Patrick). They were amazing lovers of animals, and always treated them with respect and dignity. And the animals had an uncannny sense of their peaceful spirit, and even those from the most wild species (with their genes not even tranposed!!) would approach them.

    Of course, you may scoff at this notion, and that is your free will choice to do so (if you believe in free will!). However, regarding the wild wolf that Saint Francis tamed — his skull is preserved in a small town in Italy to this very day. There’s empirical evidence for you!!

  32. 32
    JasonTheGreek says:

    I know of no strain of Christianity that holds to the idea that animals have no rights. Animals here for our purpose is one thing, them having no rights isn’t the same thing. I’d think most people on earth, being meat eaters for the most part, believe animals are here for our use- whether they’re religious or atheists.

    The argument from outrage against Christ, because he doesn’t fit your own ideal version of him doesn’t work out too well. Arguments from outrage hardly ever do. To claim he was some card-carrying PETA member would mean throwing out much of what he said, the miracles of the fish, the miracle of walking on water while the others fished, that his apostles were fisherman, the OT laws in regard to what meat could and could not be eaten, etc. Basically, to make the claim, you have to throw out both OT and NT and stick with your ideal version of a Christ that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

    I’m not sure, but it seemed as if you were saying the majority view of Christians somehow also lead to Hitler, because of their view that animals are here for men to use. I hope that isn’t what you were saying. It sounded that way, though.

  33. 33
    Carlos says:

    26: If Stalin were a “stauch Darwinist,” I very much doubt he would have given Lysenko the power and control that he did.

    yet freedom loving ordinary folk have always found Darwin rather stupid.

    Therefore, those who do not find Darwin stupid do not love freedom. For example, Woodrow Wilson. Or John Dewey. Or the vast majority of Europeans. Yep, those Europeans sure do hate freedom a whole lot. Uh huh.

    the decisions must be made at the grass roots where a system of liberty lets the Intelligent be responsible for the Design.

    And yet, mathematical models show that intelligence is not required for the sorts of patterns seen in economies. (See here.)

    John Allen Paulos wrongly thinks that “the argument from design . . . dates from the 18th century” and that it “has been decisively refuted”—but he doesn’t bother telling us how because “Those who reject evolution are usually immune to such arguments.”

    It is not wrong that the argument from design dates from the 18th century. And the decisive refutation is in Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. I know, I know, Dembski has a chapter on Hume in The Design Revolution. I’ve read it. But I’m not sold on the criticism of Hume. And even if I were, there is still the problem of Kant’s “critique of teleological judgment” in the Critique of Judgment.

  34. 34
    DaveScot says:

    \”throwing out much of what he said\”

    Let us clarify that. Much of what he PURPORTEDLY said.

    And yeah, I do throw it out. I do not believe he said it.

    Your claim that I am making an argument from outrage is itself a straw man fallacy since I quoted from the Gospel of the Holy Twelve in support of what I wrote as well as several passages from the old testament which you also conveniently ignored.

  35. 35
    tribune7 says:

    Carlos, Firstly, I think the evidence for “Hitler is a Darwinist” still seems pretty weak.

    You can make the case that the evidence that Jefferson was a Christian was weak, but it is inarguable that Jefferson was admired and was greatly influence by Jesus and his teachings.

    Hiter may have had his own spin on Darwinism and evolution but he breathed its zeitgeist and accepted its guidance on many major points, as did Stalin.

  36. 36
    Carlos says:

    Not that I want to get bogged down in Biblical exegesis, but there’s one point worth making. In Genesis 9: 2-5, God commands Noah that he may eat meat, but not with the blood in it. Most commentators take this to mean that, before the Flood, people were vegetarians, and that this is a rule change. But seeing this in light of Genesis 2, it seems that (a) animals were created as companions for humanity, only none of them worked out and (b) even after the exile or “fall,” the don’t-eat-the-animals rule stayed in effect.

    Presumably, if the coming of the Messiah means a return to an Edenic state, that would include vegetarianism. Although it would also include nudity. Maybe not such a good argument after all?

  37. 37
    tribune7 says:

    About Stalin, in an authorized biography he said reading Darwin that cause him to become an atheist as a teenager. The doesn’t necessarily mean he continued to accept the science or if he even understood the science or came to feel that science should take a back seat to political manipulation.

  38. 38
    Carlos says:

    You can make the case that the evidence that Jefferson was a Christian was weak, but it is inarguable that Jefferson was admired and was greatly influenced by Jesus and his teachings.

    Granted. (Though the Jefferson Bible is a very short book.)

    Hitler may have had his own spin on Darwinism and evolution but he breathed its zeitgeist and accepted its guidance on many major points, as did Stalin.

    Here’s where the analogy breaks down: Christianity is an ethical and metaphysical system; it’s action-guiding from the get-go. So when Jefferson turned up his nose at the metaphysical parts, he was able to keep the ethical parts. (I’d be interested to hear what Barry has to say about this.)

    But Darwinism is not an ethical system. It’s a scientific theory. It does not and cannot tell us what to do. The whole idea of an “evolutionary ethics” is a mirage. (The latest attempt at evolutionary ethics, Moral Minds by Marc Hauser, was nicely demolished by Richard Rorty in the NY Times.)

    So if Hitler, or anyone, thinks that they can get ethical guidance from a scientific theory — whether it be Darwin’s or Einstein’s — they’ve made a serious mistake.

    On the other hand, some scientific theories — such as Newton’s, Darwin’s, or Einstein’s — have metaphysical implications. But even that doesn’t affect the ethics, unless one thinks that the ethics and metaphysics stand or fall together. As Jefferson shows, they do not.

  39. 39
    tribune7 says:

    But Darwinism is not an ethical system. It’s a scientific theory.

    Darwinism in not just a scientific theory. If it were there would be positive excitement about challenges to it rather than numbing hostility. It is a world view which reinforces an ethical system based on pragmaticism, and of course, as with any system of pragmaticism, what is pragmatic to the one who acquires the guns is not necessarily pragmatic to you.

  40. 40
    David vun Kannon says:

    DaveScot,

    There is a remarkable coincidence between the texts which you find sacred and untainted by editorial excess and your personal preferences. It seems that your position is that if you dislike the consequences of the text, it must be a late emendation. Is it simply that you feel the G12 is a more authoritative text than Mark? Have you arrived at a conception of Christ from accepting a text, or did you have a pre-existing and personally arrived at conception of Christ that has affected which texts you will accept as personally relevant and sacred?

    I hope you don’t take any personal offense by the question. I mean none. I know many Christians with entirely ahistorical systems of belief.

  41. 41
    Carlos says:

    If it were there would be positive excitement about challenges to it rather than numbing hostility.

    There is positive excitement about some challenges to it. The complexity theory work of Kauffman and Goodwin and others is really shaking things up! And there’s no shortages of interesting and exciting debates among evolutionary theorists, as we’ve seen in another recent thread here. This is a very interesting time to be a biologist! We’re very close to seeing the connections between development and paleontology! This is cool, man — and very controversial!

    The problem is that intelligent design — the challenge to dogma which you happen to prefer — has not received the recognition you think it deserves. The reason for this is that intelligent design hasn’t yet produced what it would need to in order to get recognized. And the arguments that have been produced thus far really aren’t very good. This has been shown. If you want ID to succeed, you’d better hope that it can produce something better than what it has so far.

    It is a world view which reinforces an ethical system based on pragmaticism, and of course, as with any system of pragmaticism, what is pragmatic to the one who acquires the guns is not necessarily pragmatic to you.

    I’m sorry to come across so strong, but I find this absurd. Do you really think that it follows from natural selection that might makes right? How?
    Notice: it’s one thing for people to believe that it follows. People believe all sorts of strange things. It’s another thing for it to really follow.

    For another thing, none of the American pragmatists — Peirce, James, or Dewey — thought that “might makes right.” The loss of moral absolutes does not entail moral anarchy or “it’s all meaningless! aaahh!”

    For a nice quick intro in what pragmatist thinking does (and doesn’t) do, I highly recommend The Abuse of Evil: The Corruption of Politics and Religion Since 9/11. You won’t like it, and you’ll find very little in there with which you can agree, but you’ll also find, I think, that pragmatism is not what you think it is.

    Again, I’m sorry to come across so strong, but my dander is up!

  42. 42
    tinabrewer says:

    David vun Kannon: Does your question to Dave mean, by extention, that you force yourself to believe things which don’t make sense to you because they are a part of the accepted canon? Or do you just happen to jibe with everything in the accepted canon, and so for you, orthodoxy presents no problems?

  43. 43
    DaveScot says:

    Carlos:

    The problem is that intelligent design — the challenge to dogma which you happen to prefer — has not received the recognition you think it deserves.

    You need to get out more. The whole country is talking about it. Every talk show, the president, governors, the paper boy… everybody.

    The reason for this is that intelligent design hasn’t yet produced what it would need to in order to get recognized.

    No, that’s not right. It hasn’t produced what it would need to divest chance worshippers of their holy dogma. I’m not sure anything at all could accomplish that – dogmatic faith being what it is.

    And the arguments that have been produced thus far really aren’t very good.

    I’m unimpressed by your opinions thus far.

    This has been shown.

    Unilateral declarations of victory are so cute. Do you stand up and shout while making them?

    If you want ID to succeed, you’d better hope that it can produce something better than what it has so far.

    If you want to ID to remain censored you’d better hope you can continue to find sympathetic judges who will agree it is a violation of the establishment clause to even criticize chance worship dogma in public schools. Absent that, NDE is a dead duck.

  44. 44
    Rude says:

    Carlos 26: As for Lysenko—Darwin-Shmarwin with a bit of Lamarck—all the same pseudo-science in my opinion—and given the ear of a Stalin there’s no telling what today’s Darwinists might have done to a Dr. Richard Sternberg—and as for John Dewey!?! Isn’t he the father of the government monopoly that’s destroyed the American school system? And the attachment to freedom by “the vast majority of Europeans”—one is not so sure these days (you might see http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....coMainPage and http://www.jewishworldreview.c.....91506.php3). Anyway if you still think Hume and Kant have coherent arguments against the design argument—and don’t find Dembski convincing—there’s little I can say–except that if biological organisms really were designed (which is a logical possibility) and we blind our eyes to this possibility for philosophical reasons . . . well of course we’d never find out, would we? To each his own . . . maybe we’d best just agree to disagree.

  45. 45
    DaveScot says:

    David von Kannon

    There is a remarkable coincidence between the texts which you find sacred and untainted by editorial excess and your personal preferences.

    My modus operandi is always to take the raw data, arrive at my own conclusions, then go see what conclusions others have reached. There is a remarkable coincidence in this case.

    It seems that your position is that if you dislike the consequences of the text, it must be a late emendation.

    Yes.

    Is it simply that you feel the G12 is a more authoritative text than Mark?

    Yes.

    Have you arrived at a conception of Christ from accepting a text, or did you have a pre-existing and personally arrived at conception of Christ that has affected which texts you will accept as personally relevant and sacred?

    The latter.

    I hope you don’t take any personal offense by the question. I mean none. I know many Christians with entirely ahistorical systems of belief.

    None taken. I’m of the belief that what God wishes you to know is conveyed to you internally rather than delivered to you on paper by self-proclaimed prophets or their publishers. Everyone has the option of knowing the difference between right and wrong (you first have to want to know) and then choosing whether or not to do what’s right after you’ve heard the answer (which comes from within). God doesn’t need human scribes to speak for him. Why anyone would believe an omnipoent God can only deliver his messages through human intermediaries is beyond me – non sequitur city.

  46. 46
    Rude says:

    Way to go Dave Scott 43!!

    “You need to get out more. The whole country is talking about it. Every talk show, the president, governors, the paper boy… everybody.” Yeah, was at a scientific conference in August . . . in conversation everyone would bring up ID . . . with a number confessing that they’d like to kill the US President and all “fundamentalist Christians”.

    Yes, and even if they do “continue to find sympathetic judges who will agree it is a violation of the establishment clause to even criticize chance worship dogma in public schools” we still win. For if it takes the Gestapo to protect Darwin then we’ll all know that “NDE is a dead duck.”

  47. 47
    tribune7 says:

    And the arguments that have been produced thus far really aren’t very good.

    Says evolutionary dogmatists who treat evolution as a religious tenet rather than a possibility.

    Do you really think that it follows from natural selection that might makes right? How?

    Now you are completing a circle. Was Hitler a Darwinist? Yes, basically. Why did he do what the did? Because he felt it was right. Why did he feel it was right? Because he concluded that some types of men were no different than animals. Why did he do this? Because of the influence of Darwin, as has been established.

    How does natural selection justify “might makes right”? If the goal is to love God and neighbor, a particular series of actions is justified. If the goal is for the fittest to survive, a different set of actions is justified.

    The loss of moral absolutes does not entail moral anarchy

    The problem is not the “anarchy” but the absolutes imposed by the people with the guns.

    Quick quiz: Where do our rights come from?

  48. 48
    tribune7 says:

    If you want to ID to remain censored you’d better hope you can continue to find sympathetic judges who will agree it is a violation of the establishment clause to even criticize chance worship dogma in public schools. Absent that, NDE is a dead duck.

    Ditto that, Dave.

  49. 49
    Rude says:

    Quick quiz from Tribune7 in 47: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . .” Imagine writing that from a Darwinian perspective.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    DaveScot says:

    If a person causes the death of other living things that person is a killer. It’s not rocket science. There’s no twisting of words. If you kill you’re a killer.

    If a person can look at another warm blooded creature that is hurt or dying and not be struck by profound empathy for it then you’re lacking in compassion. There’s no question about this either. You’re cold hearted.

    If you cause the death of another warm blooded animal and don’t feel profound remorse and wish you hadn’t done it then you’re a cold hearted killer.

    If the shoe fits, wear it. You know who you are.

  52. 52
    BarryA says:

    Animals have no rights in the legal sense. If one kills an animal in a humane way, one does not go to jail. The animal killer may have to respond civilly in damages to the animal’s owner, but killing an animal is generally not a crime.

    The right to life subsumes all other rights. If one has no right to life, a fortiori, one has no other rights.

    You ask, if animals have no rights why do we have criminal laws preventing cruelty to animals?

    The answer is these laws protect of animals incidentally to the promotion of human morality.

  53. 53
    BarryA says:

    Carlos writes: “So when Jefferson turned up his nose at the metaphysical parts, he was able to keep the ethical parts. (I’d be interested to hear what Barry has to say about this.)”

    As I understand his beliefs, Jefferson rejected the incarnation, the atonement and the resurrection. Ergo, he was not a “Christian” if one defines that term (as it has been defined for nearly 2,000 years) as one who affirms the great creeds of the faith. Was he a “Christian” in some other sense of the word? I don’t know, and it is not a question that interests me.

  54. 54
    DaveScot says:

    Well Barry, there’s man’s law and then there’s God’s law. If you think the messiah you worship would approve of cold blooded killers I’d have to say you’re in denial and badly in need of some serious soul searching.

  55. 55
    DaveScot says:

    Without fail every time I point out that Christ wasn’t into blood sports the pious Christians who dream about that next trophy buck even in church have a conniption fit. If you kill, you’re a killer. If you enjoy it, you’re an abomination in the eyes of God. That’s just my opinion, and I could be wrong, but methinks the Christian deer slayers doth protest too much…

  56. 56
    todd says:

    DaveScot wrote,If a person causes the death of other living things that person is a killer. It’s not rocket science. There’s no twisting of words. If you kill you’re a killer. If a person can look at another warm blooded creature that is hurt or dying and not be struck by profound empathy for it then you’re lacking in compassion.

    What if one kills out of compassion, say to put an animal out of suffering? If that is moral, does it extend to humans? If not, why not?

  57. 57
    BarryA says:

    DaveScot, my analysis was strictly limited to “man’s law” as you say. I would have thought that was obvious.

  58. 58
    DaveScot says:

    This is Jesus.

    This isn’t.

    If there are no questions about the difference I think I’m about done with this topic.

  59. 59
    jmcd says:

    Tribune7 post 47

    Nothing in life is ever close to as simple as you make the chain from Darwin to Hitler sound. Also, since when is divine law absolute. It requires us to interpret it and different Christian religions interpret moral absolutes differently. Is one faith right and the believers of other faiths all apostates? You can say that killing your fellow man is a universally held wrong among Christians, but it also is among every other major religion and among secularists and atheists as well. If you get into the territory of whether or not homosexuality is a sin things get a bit murkier. You always will have fallible people making judgements on just what the moral absolutes are.

  60. 60
    tinabrewer says:

    jmcd: just because people are fallible in their ability to perceive and act upon absolutes does not in any way mean there aren’t absolutes. “Divine Law” IS. Religions are just attempts, of greater or lesser value, to get at what is.

  61. 61
    mentok says:

    The nazi eugenic plan was not solely their own. It was a worldwide confederation of scientists and politicians and academics and corporations who saw the fruition of their ideas fully expressed by the nazis. In fact the nazis were the envy of the eugenics movement. The eugenics movement started in America and was exported to Germany and was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation who financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists. For people to deny the direct chain of causation from Darwin to the nazis is simply a sign of ignorance or denial. The eugenics movememnt was a direct offshoot of Darwinism and created by Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton. Eugenics became the preferred bioethical ideology of the western establishment and was seen as a way to aid evolution. The nazis had their own racial ideas coming from older occult sources such as atlantis was the original home of the aryan (nordic) race, based on the writings of Helena Blavatsky, as well as ideas coming from other occult traditions; Hitler in a conversation with Hermann Rauschning asks “How can we arrest racial decay? Shall we form a select company of the really initiated? An Order, the brotherhood of Templars around the holy grail of pure blood?” That would be the basis of the SS. It would be the eugenics movement which was imported into Germany by the American and British establishment which would actually be the main cause of nazi racial extermination policies.

    For details on the eugenics movement there is no better source then this http://www.waragainsttheweak.com/

  62. 62
    Alan Fox says:

    Late to the feast as usual, but playing catch-up, I notice a few references to Lysenko and Stalin. Lysenko’s theories that inheritable characteristics could be acquired (e. g. “vernalization”) were supported by fraudulent field tests and his ideas were subsequently accepted and put into practice as part of the enforced collectivisation in the Ukraine in the early thirties. This resulted in famine and the deaths of possibly 30 million Ukrainians. The subtext may have been that Stalin used Lysenko’s bogus ideas to starve Ukraine into submitting to Soviet domination. This was naked politics, not innocent pursuit of a mistaken scientific theory.

  63. 63
    DaveScot says:

    Barry

    If one kills an animal in a humane way, one does not go to jail.

    Oh yeah?

    Go humanely kill a few spotted owls or bald eagles and see where it gets you.

    Or go to the San Diego Zoo and humanly kill some of the animals there and see if you can avoid jail.

    Oh how about this – go to the home of a judge you know and humanely kill his dog. See if that lands you in the hoosegow or not.

    A quick google indicates you probably better not try these in Georgia as there’s no question as to the risk of incarceration. Your answers in this thread have been rather shallow. I suggest you exercise a modicum of due diligence or remain silent.

    GEORGIA ANIMAL CRUELTY CRIMINAL PROVISIONS16-12-4. Cruelty to animals.(a) As used in this Code section, the term:(1) “Animal” shall not include any fish nor shall such terminclude any pest that might be exterminated or removed from abusiness, residence, or other structure.(2)”Conviction”shallincludepleasofguiltyornolocontendere or probation as a first offender pursuant to Article3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 and any conviction, plea of guilty ornolo contendere, or probation as a first offender for an offenseunder the laws of the United States or any of the several statesthat would constitute a violation of this Code section ifcommitted in this state.(3) “Willful neglect” means the intentional withholding of foodand water required by an animal to prevent starvation ordehydration.(b)A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when heor she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or sufferingto any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. Anyperson convicted of a violation of this subsection shall beguilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that:(1) Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequentviolation of this subsection shall be punished by imprisonmentnot to exceed 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, orboth; and(2) Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequentviolation of this subsection which results in the death of ananimal shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravatednature and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less thanthree months nor more than 12 months, a fine not to exceed$10,000.00, or both, which punishment shall not be suspended,probated, or withheld.(c)A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty toanimals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes death orphysical harm to an animal by rendering a part of such animal’sbody useless or by seriously disfiguring such animal. A personconvicted of the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals shallbe punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more thanfive years, a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both, providedthat any person who is convicted of a second or subsequentviolation of this subsection shall be punished by imprisonmentfor not less than one nor more than five years, a fine not toexceed the amount provided by Code Section 17-10-8, or both.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Page 3
    (d) Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction under thisCode section, the sentencing judge may require psychologicalevaluation of the offender and shall consider the entirecriminal record of the offender.(e)The provisions of this Code section shall not be construedas prohibiting conduct which is otherwise permitted under thelaws of this state or of the United States, including, but notlimited to, agricultural, animal husbandry, butchering, foodprocessing,marketing,scientific,research,medical,zoological, exhibition, competitive, hunting, trapping, fishing,wildlife management, or pest control practices or the authorizedpractice of veterinary medicine nor to limit in any way theauthority or duty of the Department of Agriculture, Departmentof Natural Resources, any county board of health, any lawenforcement officer, dog, animal, or rabies control officer,humane society, veterinarian, or private landowner protectinghis or her property.(f) (1)Nothing in this Code section shall be construed asprohibiting a person from:(A) Defending his or her person or property, or the person orproperty of another, from injury or damage being caused by ananimal; or(B) Injuring or killing an animal reasonably believed toconstitute a threat for injury or damage to any property,livestock, or poultry.(2) The method used to injure or kill such animal shall bedesigned to be as humane as is possible under the circumstances.A person who humanely injures or kills an animal under thecircumstances indicated in this subsection shall incur no civilor criminal liability for such injury or death.

  64. 64
    Karl Pfluger says:

    DaveScot wrote:

    If you cause the death of another warm blooded animal and don’t feel profound remorse and wish you hadn’t done it then you’re a cold hearted killer.

    Dave,

    I hadn’t thought about it before, but does this mean you’re a vegetarian?

  65. 65
    Robo says:

    DaveScot wrote: “The along comes Christ who never in his perfect life killed anything or anyone.”

    Christ said: “Go, prepare the passover.” Kill the fattened vegetables…

  66. 66
    DaveScot says:

    Karl

    I’d be a vegetarian if I had to first kill what I eat. I can look a steak in the eye sitting on the shelf at the grocers and not feel anything. It’s already dead but I know I’m complicit if I eat it and will probably pay for my complicity come judgement day (the shoe fits).

    Barry

    Upon further reflection of going to a judge’s home and humanely killing his dog (or any other animal he owned for that matter) if you did that in Texas at night you’d be lucky if it only landed you in jail instead of the morgue. At a minimum, the animals are property and killing them a property crime. Even if you didn’t kill the animal and just tried carrying off a chicken under your arm at night you could be legally gunned down for trying to flee at night with stolen property. I’m of the understanding that this is true for most western and southern states.

    § 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is
    justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
    tangible, movable property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the
    other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
    deadly force is immediately necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of
    arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
    nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
    immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
    robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
    property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or
    recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to
    protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
    another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

    Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
    Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,
    1994.

  67. 67
    filmGrain says:

    DaveScot wrote:

    “Capitalism is an economic system based on Darwinian principles. It isn’t always a bad thing. I can’t blame Nazi eugenics entirely on Darwin. The observation that superior parents tend to produce superior offspring is ancient and that is the principle behind the science of eugenics.”

    It all depends on how you define “superior”. In the case of Nazism, “superior” meant little more than “blond hair, blue eyes.”

    Capitalism is a system based on social cooperation through division of labor; rule of law; individual rights; right of private ownership (including ownership of the means of production). While it’s easy to claim that the element of competition is inherently “Darwinist”, it’s important to note the significant differences. First of all, most of ID persons would agree that Natural Selection is almost always defined in such a way as to be a tautology: those who survive are defined as “fit” and those that are “fit” survive. This, by the way, was even admitted to be so by C. H. Waddington, a renowned Darwinist.* It’s a tautology because there doesn’t seem to be an independent criterion for “fitness.” Not so, however, for capitalism. “Fitness” under capitalism is not simply those that survive but those that satisfy consumer demand; a state that may lead to survival but need not (unlike the purely necessary connection between “fitness” and “survival” in Darwinism).

    Additionally, capitalist economics assumes from the outset a teleological cause of action; what Ludwig von Mises called “Human Action” or praxeology. “Fitness” is not a matter of adapting to circumstances, but of looking forward to an expected future state of affairs (an end) and then calculating which of many different means will best reach that end. The term “calculating” will usually mean a money calculation but it need not; and the term “best” will usually mean “most efficient from the standpoint of those performing the calculation” but again it need not. The very fact that capitalism must assume a teleological connection between ends and means makes it, I believe, quite different from Darwinism, which discounts any considerations (or even the reality) of teleology. Consider, too, that every “economic mutation” in capitalism is teleologically driven: when consumer demand changes, prices change; when prices change, producers adjust accordingly. Unlike Darwinism, where these is no necessary connection between a point mutation and fitness (a mutation, being random, can be beneficial, neutral, or injurious) all “mutations” in capitalism (i.e., changes in demand) result in a reordering of value hierarchies to try to maximize profit.

    * “Darwin’s major contribution was, of course, the suggestion that evolution can be explained by the natural selection of random variations. Natural selection, which was at first considered as though it were a hypothesis that was in need of experimental or observational confirmation, turns out on closer inspection to be a tautology, a statement of an inevitable although previously unrecognized relation. It states that the fittest individuals in a population (defined as those which leave most offspring) will leave most offspring. Once the statement is made, its truth is apparent. This fact in no way reduces the magnitude of Darwin’s achievement; only after it was clearly formulated, could biologists realize the enormous power of the principle as a weapon of explanation.” [C. H. Waddington, 1960, “Evolutionary Adaptation,” an article from an anthology titled “Evolution After Darwin” edited by Sol Tax, University of Chicago Press, 1960)

  68. 68
    Robo says:

    From Carlos in Comment 41…

    Carlos wrote: “I’m sorry to come across so strong, but I find this absurd. Do you really think that it follows from natural selection that might makes right? How?”

    Rob replies: “Perhaps ‘might makes right’ cannot be proven to be from Darwin. But Darwinism (if true) certainly proves that ‘might makes right’ is not wrong.

  69. 69
    Carlos says:

    (47)Says evolutionary dogmatists who treat evolution as a religious tenet rather than a possibility.

    I’m not saying that a good argument for ID is impossible. Some future version of ID theory could come along and blow the entire post-Darwinian research program out of the water, and we’ll say, “how stupid not to have thought of it before!” All I’m saying is that time is not yet.

    Now you are completing a circle. Was Hitler a Darwinist? Yes, basically. Why did he do what the did? Because he felt it was right. Why did he feel it was right? Because he concluded that some types of men were no different than animals. Why did he do this? Because of the influence of Darwin, as has been established.

    I disagree. Hitler did what he did because he was accepted the Theosophist doctrine of “root races,” that there were only two pure races — Jews and Aryans — and that it was necessary to destroy the Jews in order to restore humanity to its Aryan purity. This is pure Manichaean/Gnostic dualism, “people of light” vs. “people of darkness.” Try to find this in The Descent of Man. Or The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Gould)? Heck, is it in The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins) or Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (Dennett)?

    Here’s the point: Hitler was not drawing an inference from Darwinism. He was not, so far as I can tell, even capable of drawing an inference at all. His was not a rational mind, and Nazism was not an intellectual project. He was an utterly deranged person who successfully converted an entire country to his peculiar madness — to the point where war without end seemed just dandy. It is not only individuals who can go mad. Societies can, too.

    The whole talk of a Darwinian “influence” on Hitler is too vague. Was it an “influence” on him? Sure. And schizophrenics who are influenced by Christian imagery have visions of angels and devils. So what? He was utterly mad, yet (in his own way) quite brilliant, able to captivate huge audiences and send them into a quasi-hypnotic trance.

    How does natural selection justify “might makes right”? If the goal is to love God and neighbor, a particular series of actions is justified. If the goal is for the fittest to survive, a different set of actions is justified.

    This claim rests on an equivocation between two sense of “goal.” The ‘goal’ of a biological system is the regularity it requires in order to maintain its form as matter and energy are transmitted through it. The goal of a plant is to attain a proper balance of sunlight, water, air, and minerals, to photosynthesize and respire, to reproduce, etc.

    The ‘goal’ of an ethical system is the norm accepted and acknowledged by the people on whom that system is binding. These norms can be teleological (as in virtue ethics) or not, but it is the acknowledgment of the norm as binding that makes it binding. In the vast majority of cases, if not all, the acknowledgment is social (there no private moral codes, for the same reason that there are no private languages) and mediated through symbols, stories, or (sometimes) theories.

    The two cases are very different. Now, it’s an open question — and a very interesting one! — whether one could provide an account of discursive norms (ethical, scientific, political, etc.) in terms of biological regularities. For a long time I felt convinced that one could. Now I’m not so sure. They’re looking more and more like apples and oranges, the harder I look.

    The problem is not the “anarchy” but the absolutes imposed by the people with the guns.

    Is your concern here that if Darwin is right, we won’t have anything to say in defense when the fascists come to take us away?

    Quick quiz: Where do our rights come from?

    Do they need to come from anywhere? I regard rights as inventions that protect us from the abuse of power. Of course, the first theorists of rights held that rights were given to us by God. And given their metaphysical beliefs, that made perfect rational sense.

    Now, are there any inalienable rights? There are inalienable rights wherever there is inequality, or in a word, where ever there is sovereignty. And sovereignty has been with us for a long time. But there was a time when there were no sovereigns, presidents, lords, kings, or chieftains — and in that time, there were neither rights nor a need for them. That’s one thing that the social contract theorists got right.

    I’ve been saying, more or less consistently, that I don’t think that the ethical and political system suddenly collapses when the metaphysical buttress is removed. Here’s a little story that may help clarify where I’m coming from here.

    A few years ago, I wrote a doctoral thesis on Nietzsche. One of the things that interested me was the influence of Darwinism on Nietzsche. As I wrote, it became clear to me that Nietzsche thought that the ethical story and the metaphysical story stood or fell together. He thought that Darwinism showed that the metaphysical story was false. The consequence, however, was that people continued to maintain the old ethical code — only they no longer knew why. Nietzsche wanted to show that the ethics only makes sense in relation to the metaphysics, so if the latter is rubbish, so too is the former.

    Nietzsche’s mistake was twofold: to think that the only interpretation which could be given of social norms like rationality, equality, justice was the Platonic interpretation, and to think that the only alternative to Plato was Homer. He didn’t see that alternative interpretations of these social norms were possible, and in part that’s because he didn’t clearly see the difference between the interpretations and the norms themselves. I ascribe this to the absence of a sense of society, of the reality of other people, in Nietzsche’s thinking; his loneliness introduced fundamental distortions into his philosophy.

    What I’ve tried to do since then is tease out and reconstruct the various post-Nietzschean philosophers who accept his criticism of the Platonic interpretation of ethical and conceptual norms, but who try to provide an alternative interpretation. (The Girondists to Nietzsche’s Jacobin, if you will. Or perhaps Nietzsche is Robespierre. Anyway . . . )

    I know I’m probably not going to win over any hearts or minds in this venue, and I’m not trying to. All I want to do is indicate that the problem-space to be explored — the implications of science for culture, and vice-versa — is a lot bigger and more interesting than some of us here may have otherwise thought.

  70. 70
    Robo says:

    DaveScot wrote: “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

    Reply: So I guess you don’t wear leather shoes, Dave? 😉

  71. 71
    tinabrewer says:

    uh oh. I was starting to get really taken in by your passionate commitment to animals, Dave, until you confessed to your hypocrisy. I actually don’t think that eating meat and loving animals for their own sake is intrinsically hypocritical. There has been a significant movement in this country and elsewhere to begin cultivating animals for their meat in a more humane manner (pasture fed beef, cage-free chickens, etc.) It seems there is a clear distinction in nature between wanton murder and killing humanely with the intent to eat what is taken, something which can be done without spiritual detriment, IMO.

  72. 72
    tinabrewer says:

    Carlos: I’ve just gotta say it now…what is so bad about Plato?!? 🙂 You seem to have a mind which is positively bent upon making what is simple complex, what is clear fuzzy, and what is obvious obfuscated. Why? (I say this with all due respect) Lighten up! Maybe we really DO have something other than molecules, maybe not. BUt heck, everything makes a helluva lot more sense if we do, so do you ever give yourself the freedom to just GO with that thought, wherever it might lead? Just wondering. why. you. are. against…Plato… 🙂

  73. 73
    Carlos says:

    Tina,

    As I approach the question, it’s not “are we more than molecules?” but “are we more in a molecules in a different way than that in which molecules are more than quarks and electrons?”

    If you’d like, I can explain my attitude towards Platonism — and towards Plato — later on. But I’m logging off for the night.

  74. 74
    filmGrain says:

    “Thus, anti-Jewish feelings and convictions had to be inculcated in every German and, beyond that, in every person anywhere in the world. This end, the Nazis knew in their German deference to scholarship, could be effected only through science.

    The scheme was simple and yet fascinating. The law of nature concerning ‘the survival of the fittest’ should be presented so as to admit no exceptions. The unfit is doomed to Ausmerze (extinction) and if he does not go voluntarily, he must be helped out of existence. This law of nature would be, the, made to apply also to groups or, in a more mystical term, to races; and in the order of fitness the Jews would appear as the lowest group predestined for Ausmerze, while the top folk of the Germans would emerge as the crown of creation.

    In the Thirties, selection (Auslese) and extinction (Ausmerze) are the pivots of the racial doctrines that dominate German political and intellectual life. In the Forties, Ausmerze is used, as we shall see, to designate and, with the air of scientific authority about it, to sanction the annihilation of the Jewish people all over Europe. The concept had not been developed in vain.

    …[W]e may now turn to Dr. Ernst Rudin, for many years Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Munich. He not only served Nazism with his pen by contributing to and editing a two-volume work on ‘Genetics and Eugenics in the Folk State” and several smaller books but also actively participated in preparing German racial legislation…Rudin’s name appears together with two others on a rather early commentary on German eugenic legislation intended primarily for physicians [Arthur Gutt, M.D. and Falk Ruttke, doctor of jurisprudence and author of the Nuremberg Laws]. The leading ideas of the authors were expressed in the introduction to the volume:

    ‘Our whole cultural life for decades has been more or less under the influence of biological thinking, as it was begun particularly around the middle of the last century, by the teachings of Darwin, Mendel, and Galton…. Though it took decades before the courage was found on the basis of the initial findings of the natural sciences, to carry on a systematic study of heredity, the progress of the teaching and its application to man could not be delayed any more. It was discovered that the natural laws discovered for plants and animals ought also to be valid for man, and this could fully and completely be confirmed during the last three decades both through family research and through the study of bastards and twins.’

    One of the Nazi leaders, Hans Schemm, who until his death in 1937 was a Bavarian cabinet member, aptly epitomized the situation by stating: ‘national socialism is applied biology.’”

    [“Hitler’s Professors – The Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes Against The Jewish People” by Max Weinreich. Yiddish Scientific Institute – YIVO, 1946]

  75. 75
    tribune7 says:

    Some future version of ID theory could come along

    So what exactly would you say that would require?

    I disagree. Hitler did what he did because he was accepted the Theosophist doctrine of “root races,”

    Why would you discount Professor Weikart’s book?

    These norms can be teleological (as in virtue ethics) or not, but it is the acknowledgment of the norm as binding that makes it binding.

    That illustrates the point I’m making. If ethics are simply what man acknowledges then any act is justifiable. If there is a universal law, however, it is binding whether it is ackowledged or not.

    I regard rights as inventions that protect us from the abuse of power.

    And you are wrong. If they are mere “inventions” they are not much protection. If they are an an aspect of this universal law, however, a state that recognizes this will be a happy one.

    As I wrote, it became clear to me that Nietzsche thought that the ethical story and the metaphysical story stood or fell together. He thought that Darwinism showed that the metaphysical story was false.

    Exactly.

    The consequence, however, was that people continued to maintain the old ethical code — only they no longer knew why.

    Carlos, they did not main they maintain the old code. They justified the invasion of Russia and the murder of 12 million Jews, Gypsys and Slavs.

  76. 76
    Carlos says:

    Why would you discount Professor Weikart’s book?

    Because I’m not convinced that it’s right; because it doesn’t jive with other things I believe, on the basis of authorities I consider thoughtful.

    That illustrates the point I’m making. If ethics are simply what man acknowledges then any act is justifiable. If there is a universal law, however, it is binding whether it is ackowledged or not.

    I’m not so sure you can side-step the reflective moment of the argument. When you say, “there is universal law which is binding whether acknowledged or not,” this is a specific way of expressing your commitments, which is to say, you are acknowledging that you are so bound. But it is nevertheless possible for you to be not bound in this way, if you were to take up a different — perhaps radically different — social identity, i.e. if you were to undergo a “loss of faith.” You would become a different person, with a different form of life.

    The fact of cultural pluralism itself tells you that there are many different ways in which a community can be organized, and many different ethical codes whereby behavior is coordinated. This is precisely what leads to fundamental moral disagreements between members of different societies and between members of different cultures within a society. Now, that fact does not, by itself, show that moral relativism is true (or false). (In fact I think that moral relativism is false, but I don’t claim to have shown that it is.)

    In some sense, I suppose, I think of ethics as like a marriage. One is married if one says one is, if one makes a commitment to another person and publically acknowledges that commitment. On the other hand, ethics is unconditional, whereas a marriage could be dissolved. So perhaps ethics is like a marriage one cannot get out of. But it is nevertheless something that is also assented to, freely — not compelled, not forced. We are free, we have dignity, we are not slaves to any master or to any sovereign. (Nor to God — because God is not a sovereign.)

    Carlos, they did not maintain the old code. They justified the invasion of Russia and the murder of 12 million Jews, Gypsys and Slavs.

    I was speaking of Nietzsche, who wrote in the 1870s and 1880s. At that time, he was concerned about a European culture that insisted on telling a different metaphysical story — a Darwinist and Hegelian one — in justification of the same old ethical standards. We’re talking Bismarck’s Germany and Victoria’s England.

    The mass murder you mention happened sixty years later, under a different political organization and very different moral and spiritual climate. And before we start wandering down the Nietzsche-Hitler road, believe me, I’ve been there and done that.

  77. 77
    avocationist says:

    Way to go Dave Scott 43!!

    No – way to go Dave Scot 45.

    Barry – the Eastern Orthodox church, which I think is the oldest and most venerable, does not teach the doctrine of atonement in which we are given a pass into heaven because, as Billy Graham put it, “God demanded a death.”

    Taciturnus, why would a guy who said:

    “In order that the happiness of the saints will be more delightful … they are permitted perfectly to behold the sufferings of the damned. … The saints will rejoice in the punishment of the damned … Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed, while the pains of the damned will cause it indirectly…”

    be anyone’s favorite saint?

  78. 78
    avocationist says:

    “The answer is these laws protect animals incidentally to the promotion of human morality.”

    That is illogical. If there is no reason not to be cruel to animals, then in what way can that have any thing whatsoever to do with human morality?

    Dave, I also eat meat, but it bothers me quite a lot to know that our animals are treated so badly, like inaminate objects rather than as animate beings, just because they are destined for slaughter or as milk makers. We have humane treatment laws, but they don’t really extend to “livestock.” Therefore, I try to buy grass fed beef and free range eggs. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how badly milk cows are treated. But I buy my milk from a (religious) family farm, which has become illegal to do in my state.

    Many tribal, hunter-gatherer peoples, all of whom ate meat, loved and respected animals, and were humble and grateful to receive their lives. So it is possible. I am not sure what the right answer is.

  79. 79
    DaveScot says:

    Filmgrain

    “Fitness” under capitalism is not simply those that survive but those that satisfy consumer demand;

    Ah. Like Microsoft and Intel. Got it. It isn’t the companies that satisfy their shareholders. It’s the ones who satisfy their customers.

    Seriously now. While satisfying customers is usually an important thing it isn’t the core of capitalism. The survivors are the ones that provide a superior return on invested capital. A company that owns a gold mine doesn’t satisfy customers at all – it sells an unbranded commodity at current market rate – and it may or may not outcompete the mining operation on the next claim over. The only thing that matters is making enough profit for the owners to keep their capital invested in it instead of pulling out and investing somewhere else.

  80. 80
    DaveScot says:

    Carlos

    I disagree. Hitler did what he did because he was accepted the Theosophist doctrine of “root races,” that there were only two pure races — Jews and Aryans — and that it was necessary to destroy the Jews in order to restore humanity to its Aryan purity. This is pure Manichaean/Gnostic dualism, “people of light” vs. “people of darkness.” Try to find this in The Descent of Man. Or The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Gould)? Heck, is it in The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins) or Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (Dennett)?

    Why don’t we look for it instead in Darwin’s writings. Let’s try “The Origin of Species by Natural Selection”. First of all, let’s look at the subtitle: “or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.

    There, I think we’ve read enough in just the subtitle.

    Any questions?

  81. 81
    DaveScot says:

    tinabrewer

    Technically there’s nothing hypocritical. Any meat I eat is already dead, butchered, and offered for sale to the general public. I took no position about it being bad or good to EAT meat. The G12 and many vegetarians stake out the claim that meat poisons the body which I don’t believe at all. The position I took was entirely about killing. One can make a point that by purchasing the product I’ve contributed in some measurable way to the profit of an industry that kills. In this case it’s a diminishingly small way and my abstinence wouldn’t change it. I have no objection in principle to eating animals that died of natural causes which is something still prohibited by the G12 and most vegetarians I know. If you keep chickens for the eggs or goats for the milk – everything dies eventually and why should the body be wasted when the inevitable happens?

  82. 82
    mentok says:

    Carlos you wrote:

    I disagree. Hitler did what he did because he was accepted the Theosophist doctrine of “root races,” that there were only two pure races — Jews and Aryans — and that it was necessary to destroy the Jews in order to restore humanity to its Aryan purity. This is pure Manichaean/Gnostic dualism, “people of light” vs. “people of darkness.” Try to find this in The Descent of Man. Or The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Gould)? Heck, is it in The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins) or Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (Dennett)?

    To blame theosophy for nazi ideology is inaccurate. Theosophy and it’s spinoffs were very popular amongst the upper classes, nazi beliefs included some aspects of theosophy but rejected others. Your idea about there being only “two pure races” in those beliefs is in error. Semetic people were seen as offshoots of aryans, many other “races” are considered to be lower then semetic people and similar to animals. Theosophy did not teach it was necessary to destroy the jews.

    Where we do find these ideas is from the eugenicists who believed that they were aiding evolution because human progress was harming natural evolution and the future of human society. This had it’s earliest roots in Thomas Malthus. The idea (a thought experiment by Malthus) was that there is not enough natural resources to provide for humanity over time because human population was growing exponentially. Therefore the solution was to cut the population down. He suggested that instead of helping the needy the opposite should be done, they should be actively done away with. Malthusisan ideas became a central plank in Darwins theories and also a major preoccupation with the western elites. Many of them came to believe that medicine for the needy, charity, or helping the poor in anyway, was only going to increase the destruction of society based on Malthusian precepts. They wanted to kill off the needy, not help them. At the same time Darwinism was giving them a “scientific” vision of “survival of the fittest” as natures way of evolving the species. These two ideas combined into social darwinism and eugenics. It was from the leading spokesmen from these groups where Blavatsky and others got their ideas of evolving root races. Theosophy did not invent anything other then a mythology to accompnay the popular science of the day, this was because Blavatsky and others were trying to appear as if their made up doctrines were based on accepted scientific reality.

    See “Influence of Malthus and Darwin on the European Elite” at http://www.trufax.org/avoid/manifold.html

    The nazis were directly educated and funded by the eugenics movement in America and Britain, see http://www.waragainsttheweak.com/

  83. 83
    tribune7 says:

    Carlos — When you say, “there is universal law which is binding whether acknowledged or not,” this is a specific way of expressing your commitments,

    No, I’m expressing your commitments too. You are bound by the same universal law. You may not rob, kill and rape even if you should just declare it ethical.

    I was speaking of Nietzsche, who wrote in the 1870s and 1880s.

    And what he prophesized happened. When a society reached the point where Darwin was accepted as the authority about right and wrong over the Bible, you ended up with Nazi Germany. Even in America, Darwinism was responsible for great evil — forced sterilizations, the Tuskeegee Experiment etc. — although it never entirely held the field as it did in Germany.

  84. 84
    Carlos says:

    (83) No, I’m expressing your commitments too. You are bound by the same universal law. You may not rob, kill and rape even if you should just declare it ethical.

    Here’s what I was trying to get at. Suppose a secular professor of biology says “NDE is true!” And an ID advocate says, “No, it isn’t; ID is true!” What one does here is consider the arguments and evidence presented by both sides, as fairly as one can (taking into account the biases and limitations of human reason). And then one decides, and takes a stand, one way or the other.

    But no one put a gun to your head. And both the biologist and the design theorist will say, “here’s why you should listen to me and not the other guy!” So it’s on you, it’s your intellectual responsibility, to decide where you stand, based on your considered views. And in doing so, you put yourself in “the space of reasons”: now you’re responsible for defending the views and beliefs that you’ve adopted, and you’re responsible for responding to criticisms of those beliefs. And so on.

    What I’m saying here is that morality is just like this: the asking for and giving of reasons for one’s beliefs and actions. In ethics, as in science, one adopts a stance and is responsible for it. There’s no passing the buck. There’s no “God put a gun to my head!” God doesn’t coerce, doesn’t threaten, doesn’t demand. That is a demonic god, a sovereign. But God is not a sovereign. God is an unconditional call, and it is on us, on our responsibility, whether to respond to that call or not.

    The one who kills or rapes is refusing that call, because God calls to us through the face of the other person — the face that says, whether spoken or not, “do not kill me! I am also a person! See me!” It is because the one who kills or rapes doesn’t respond to the call that we can hold him or her responsible for his or her actions. (Except in those extremely rare cases where he or she is incapable of responding to the call of the face of the other, whether due to genetic difficulties or due to inadequate psycho-social development. But even in those cases, we have the right to protect ourselves from such persons.)

  85. 85
    tribune7 says:

    What one does here is consider the arguments and evidence presented by both sides, as fairly as one can (taking into account the biases and limitations of human reason).

    But that is a philosophical debate not a scientific one. In a scientific one, the biologist would say “This is true because if I do this this will happen everytime. Watch. Do you want to see it again?”

    The one who kills or rapes is refusing that call, because God calls to us through the face of the other person

    Exactly!! 🙂

  86. 86
    filmGrain says:

    DaveScot wrote:

    “Ah. Like Microsoft and Intel. Got it.”

    Yes, precisely like Microsoft and Intel. (The notion that Microsoft does NOT satisfy consumer demand is more than just a bit absurd.) I invite you to demonstrate how Microsoft, Intel, Coca-Cola, IBM, or any other company can prosper if people don’t buy their product; and then to demonstrate why people would buy their product if it didn’t satisfy their demand for it. I’m sure that all those corporations and small businesses that go out of business every year for precisely that reason would be very interested.

    “Seriously now. While satisfying customers is usually an important thing it isn’t the core of capitalism. The survivors are the ones that provide a superior return on invested capital.”

    Good grief, all those investors willing to sink their capital in a risky investment (and it must be risky if they want a high return) are obviously fools. Imagine a venture capital group investing a billion dollars in a new company called “Microsoft” or “Intel” or “ABC Gold Mining” after attending a road show by the young, cocky CEO, who (along with the investment bankers) shows them his business plan and says “Guys, I promise that if you give me a billion dollars, I’ll return that investment a hundred-fold…but no one is actually going to buy our product.”

    Seriously now.

    A group of economists that included Carl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, and others, were the first to point the highly structured nature of capitalism (given, of course, the prior existence of rule of law, individual rights, property rights, etc.). The free market is the exact opposite of an “anarchy of production” as asserted by Marx. These economists demonstrated that it was, in fact, non-market forces – usually in the form of government regulation or government privilege – that cause distortion in market information and, therefore, dislocation of capital and labor. The economy of the former Soviet Union, for example, was truly an anarchy of production since, without private property, there was no meaningful exchange; without meaningful exchange, there were no meaningful prices; without meaningful prices, there was no way to determine which things were highly valued by consumers and which were not. Hence, the constant shortages of essential goods (“essential” meaning “highly valued by consumers”) combined with gluts of things nobody wanted.

    “A company that owns a gold mine doesn’t satisfy customers at all – it sells an unbranded commodity at current market rate”

    A gold mine sells ITS gold – which is the brand – to middlemen who create jewelry, coins, ingots, electrical conductors, etc., all of which compete with one another to satisfy buyers of these things. Not only that. Consumer demand for gold jewelry actually helps to determine the price of OTHER consumer gold items, such as coins, gold teeth, etc.

    Demand determines everything. It is the expected future demand for wine that determines the price of wine and the demand for grapes; which determines the price of grapes and the demand for vinyards; which determines the price of vinyards and the demand for grape pickers; which ultimately determines their wages. This is a system based on and presupposing the reality of “final causation,” i.e., of teleology: consumers are goal-oriented, and because of that, producers are, too.

    But we’ve strayed from the original point of this thread.

  87. 87
    DaveScot says:

    Filmgrain

    I’m afraid you really don’t know enough about how businesses and markets work to understand my response. Microsoft and Intel are virtual monopolies. They don’t really operate by satisfying customers as much as they operate by limiting customer choices through ruthless elimination of the competition. Both are constant targets of anti-trust watchdogs.

    You fail to understand that gold is an unbranded commodity and make up stories about how gold mines sell gold directly to craftsmen making jewelry. That isn’t how gold mines sell gold and is as ridiculous as saying that oil wells sell oil directly to consumers. To help you understand what an unbranded commodity is – take any piece of gold jewelry you or someone you know has and tell me what mine the gold came from. If the gold was branded you could tell me. The fact of the matter is that gold isn’t branded, you can’t tell me what mine it came from, and the most relevant bit is NO ONE CARES what mine it came from because gold is gold is gold.

  88. 88
    improvius says:

    It certainly seems like a mistake to ignore the long history of Christian anti-semitism in Europe as a major contributing factor to the Holocaust. It’s not like “getting rid of the Jews” was an original idea for Hitler.

  89. 89
    Carlos says:

    “Christian anti-semitism” is very slightly misleading, because anti-semitism can come in different flavors and with different causes. In the 19th century, religiously motivated anti-semitism became (“evolved”?) into a combination of religious and nationalistic anti-semitism.

    The Dreyfus Affair in France, for example, was motivated by the thought that a Jew could not be a good French citizen, and so must have been a traitor — but one of the hallmarks of being a good French citizen is that one is Catholic. So religion and nationality feed back into one another.

    The same could be said for Germany, where discussions of “the Jewish problem” go back to the early 19th century, at least. “The Jewish problem” was a problem both for Jews and for Germans. For Jews, the problem was how to enter into mainstream society without abandoning traditional Jewish identity; for Germans, the problem was how to permit the Jews into mainstream society without abandoning traditional German identity.

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