Intelligent Design Naturalism

Ideologies that devalue human life – with historian Richard Weikart

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You can go away screaming I suck! at an uncaring universe if you like or else you can look at evidence-based alternative views.

What is the value of human life? So many atheist thinkers argue it is nothing. Life has no value.

Confronting this destructive ideology, these five videos feature talks by Richard Weikart, author of The Death of Humanity And the Case for Life, given at the European Leadership Forum in 2018.

Is Human Life a Cosmic Accident?

Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, atheist and agnostic thinkers (i.e., materialists and positivists) have considered everything, including humans, as merely the product of accidental processes. This means that human life no longer has any value or moral significance. This talk examines the way that many thinkers, such as the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell, espoused this view, but also contradicted themselves by implying that humans are important.

Does Darwinism Devalue Human Life?

Many aspects of Darwinian theory have implications for the value of human life, and Darwinists themselves have acknowledged this. Darwinian theory rejects teleology, and often reduces humans to just another animal. Many Darwinists consider morality itself the product of chance evolutionary processes. Human evolution also implies human diversity, which has led many to embrace human inequality. Finally, Darwinism implies that death is a positive force in the universal struggle for existence.

Did my genes make me do it?

The notion that human behavior is shaped primarily by our hereditary predispositions has become a powerful force in Western thought in the past century. Many sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists today claim that behaviors, such as kindness, marital bonding, and self-sacrifice, but also marital infidelity, incest, infanticide, abortion, and even rape are programmed into our psyche by our evolutionary heritage. This reduces human agency and relativizes morality.

Did my upbringing make me do it?

Secular thinkers who reject biological determinism often embrace the view that human behavior is primarily the product of our upbringing and education. This became a powerful current in the nineteenth century, influencing Marxism and other forms of socialism. The behaviorist psychologists John Watson and B. F. Skinner powerfully promoted this idea in the twentieth century, claiming that humans are little more than a machine responding to stimuli. This view still has many prominent adherents in the social sciences.

Did Nietzsche, Foucault, and Postmodernism open the door for the Death of Humanity?

Nietzsche, subsequent existentialists, Foucault, and other postmodernists have contributed to the secular assault on the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic. Nietzsche had utter contempt for the masses of humanity and argued that Superman figures should oppress and even eradicate those deemed inferior. Foucault admitted that the Nietzschean death of God also meant the death of humanity, and Foucault glamorized suicide as a result. Both existentialists and postmodernists reject any human rights or objective morality.

Note: A quintuple hat tip to Philip Cunningham, for sending in these five vids.

See also: Believing in purposeful universe is good mental health

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8 Replies to “Ideologies that devalue human life – with historian Richard Weikart

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    You can go away screaming I suck! at an uncaring universe if you like or else you can look at evidence-based alternative views.

    And in that line of thought, the later half of this video looks at the scientific evidence that, in over the top fashion, confirms that our lives, contrary to the utter degradation that Atheists would like to visit upon it, do indeed have intrinsic Meaning. Value and Purpose.

    Thus in conclusion, on top of Dr. Craig’s very persuasive philosophical argument, we can now add a fairly impressive amount of empirical evidence that, in over the top fashion, confirms Dr. Craig’s philosophical argument that our lives do indeed have objective meaning, value and purpose.
    – Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video (review of the scientific evidence starts at the 13:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/aqUxBSbFhog?t=782
    Paper:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Hu8PN0cpLbWZyRD9zGbTfcjZAVOBqLJ7ifM_sfTtu9g/edit

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    What is the value of human life?

    To whom? God? Us? Is there intrinsic value – in which case it doesn’t matter what believers, atheists or gods think – or is value, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? Even if there is no God to value us, why can’t we value ourselves?

    Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, atheist and agnostic thinkers (i.e., materialists and positivists) have considered everything, including humans, as merely the product of accidental processes. This means that human life no longer has any value or moral significance.

    No it doesn’t. See above. This is a sloppy and ill-defined formulation of the question.

    This talk examines the way that many thinkers, such as the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell, espoused this view, but also contradicted themselves by implying that humans are important.

    Again, see above. Even if there is no Creator God in whose eyes we have value how does that prevent us from valuing ourselves?

    Many aspects of Darwinian theory have implications for the value of human life, and Darwinists themselves have acknowledged this

    Darwinian theory may have implications for the value of human life when co-opted by religious and political forces for their own unscientific purposes but only if they make the illicit jump across the chasm which divides what ‘is” from what ‘ought’ to be.

    Darwinian theory rejects teleology, and often reduces humans to just another animal.

    To quote Thomas Huxley:

    A man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there was an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man — a man of restless and versatile intellect — who not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them with aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice.

    I am aware that we do not know what Huxley said exactly but I entirely agree with the tenor of that remark. I don’t consider I am being ‘reduced’ in any way to be ranked with other animals on this planet and I would rather be associated with them than with those who display an unwarranted arrogance concerning alleged human superiority.

    Human evolution also implies human diversity, which has led many to embrace human inequality

    Which quietly ignores that fact that racism existed for centuries before Darwin published his theory and has probably been around for as long as humans have been human.

    Finally, Darwinism implies that death is a positive force in the universal struggle for existence.

    Positive in what sense? It is a fact of life. At present, we have no choice but to accept. Besides, doesn’t Christianity also imply that death is a positive event in that it is the gateway to a better and eternal life?

    Many sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists today claim that behaviors, such as kindness, marital bonding, and self-sacrifice, but also marital infidelity, incest, infanticide, abortion, and even rape are programmed into our psyche by our evolutionary heritage. This reduces human agency and relativizes morality.

    The Old Testament also teaches us that marital infidelity, incest, infanticide, racism, rape, ethnic cleansing and genocide, to name but a few, were approved behaviors and in a period when humanity was graced with the benefits of direct divine guidance and intervention. I don’t see Weikart addressing the adverse effects of some aspects of Christianity on humanity with the same assiduousness he has approached the alleged effects of Darwinian theory. If that’s the case then the politest thing I can say about it is that he is being one-sided.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “why can’t we value ourselves?”
    ^^^^^
    Sev. defends tooth and nail a materialistic worldview that resolutely denies, among other things, teleology. Then acts as if true value and purpose for his life can be pulled out of his imagination.

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Even if there is no God to value us, why can’t we value ourselves?

    It would be inconsistent and illogical. To say that a human being is not more significant than a snail, or a toadstool and then later to say “but I value human beings”, wouldn’t make sense. You said recently that you value your cat more than some human beings, and if there is no God, then that would make sense. You would assign value to various beings for whatever reasons you may have. But you didn’t create those beings. None of them actually “belong” to you in that sense. If there is a God, and He created us, then we belong to Him. Then God tells us the value He sees in all human beings. Even in your own self, you did not create yourself. It sounds strange but your self doesn’t even “belong” to you in that sense. You didn’t create it and you don’t really own it. You can’t know the value of it.

    I don’t consider I am being ‘reduced’ in any way to be ranked with other animals on this planet and I would rather be associated with them than with those who display an unwarranted arrogance concerning alleged human superiority.

    You’re “ranked” with other animals not on a hierarchy of values. Evolution does not say that animals are greater than any other organism. If there is a God, you are ranked in heaven, with divine beings (a little less then them but at an incredibly high value, destined to live forever with God). In the Darwinian view, you are ranked with bacteria, snails … any organism. You are only different because of different adaptations and features acquired through natural selection. So, the “reduction” in value from the one to the other is massive.

    If there was an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man …

    He is ashamed of man, but not of his ancestor the gorilla. If people acted like gorillas, would he be less ashamed? He’s obviously using something other than his own Darwinian philosophy to judge the value and merits of man, and therefore to be ashamed for some reason.

  5. 5
    KJul3s says:

    The consequences of an idea have nothing to do with the truthfulness of it.

    You can either discourage people from thinking about certain things because they lead to something awful OR you can tell them to follow the evidence wherever it leads and to seek truth. You can’t do both because they are at cross-purposes.

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KJul3

    The consequences of an idea have nothing to do with the truthfulness of it.

    In a very pure sense, I would disagree. The consequences of a lie are that people have told a lie and people will believe a lie. The consequences of the truth are that people can tell and believe the truth.
    By nature, as given (cannot be proven by science or philosophy) we place a higher moral value on truth than on falsehood.

    So, the truth about things has a goodness built into it.

    You can either discourage people from thinking about certain things because they lead to something awful OR you can tell them to follow the evidence wherever it leads and to seek truth. You can’t do both because they are at cross-purposes.

    This assumes that we understand absolute truths without the need for interpretation or understanding. If we have access to absolute truths, where did these truths come from? Why does falsehood exist? What is the “something awful” that we would fear, and why would we fear it? Why should we value the truth? I have explained above that truth is a transcendent first principle – evidence of the existence of God. Obviously a lot of people disagree. But if they disagree, why should we want the truth about things? What good is it? It depends on what you think the purpose of life is. To follow the truth wherever it leads means that there is some meaning in life and we should find it.

    Ultimate truth is the fulness of being, and that’s what we call God.

  7. 7
    KJul3s says:

    You are changing the subject. The inherent badness of lies was not the topic. Your post, does not refute my earlier point, in fact it strengthens my argument. Just because an idea is scary, depressing, “dangerous” or has consequences for society that someone might not like doesn’t mean we should resist that idea. Precisely because truth has a goodness built into it we should pursue it no matter the outcome.

    Trying to scare people away from ideas because they are unappealing or “dangerous” is incompatible with following the evidence. That’s social/political agenda driven thinking, not truth seeking. You can only pick one.

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    We don’t always know directly what the truth is about something. If a philosophy is true, it will not have negative consequences to all of humanity. We don’t know that the philosophy is true, but we point out that it has negative consequences.

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