36 Replies to “Which T-Shirt Would You Rather Wear?

  1. 1
    CJYman says:

    How ’bout,

    “I was intelligently designed to be naturally selected”

  2. 2

    Or, “I was naturally selected to think I was intelligently designed.” Michael Shermer likes that one. Question: Is natural selection stupid if it gets the vast majority of us to think we were intelligently designed?

  3. 3
    Frost122585 says:

    How about one that says “I selected to be intelligent” and it shows a picture of the bacterial flagellum (as in ID) and/or the double helix (as in panspermia theory).

    That slogan is philosophically a better match to “I was naturally selected” because it calls the theory dumb in the process of plugging ID.

  4. 4
    Frost122585 says:

    C’mon, that was a good one! ^

    hahaha.

  5. 5
    PannenbergOmega says:

    So new students get to choose which t-shirt they want to wear? Cool.

  6. 6
    mike1962 says:

    “I Was Front-loaded”

  7. 7
    Frost122585 says:

    Dembski says,

    “Question: Is natural selection stupid if it gets the vast majority of us to think we were intelligently designed?”

    To answer your retorical pun, no. In that case natural selection would be very intelligent because, regardless of human misunderstanding NS still evolved the useful concepts of intelligence and design. That would then turn natural selection into the esoteric “intelligent selection.”

    How about that as a compromise in public high school biology classes? Of course that would have both sides confused and outraged (and outrageously confused), yet it would be a wonderful cooperative compromise.

    Think they’d go for that? I dont either.

    The world is grey! Or so they taught me.

  8. 8
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    I think the subtitles are missing:

    I was Naturally Selected
    (and can do as I please)

    I was Intelligently Designed
    (and know right from wrong)

    Or something to that effect.

  9. 9
    bFast says:

    Rzeppa — well said!

  10. 10
    Jack Krebs says:

    to Gerry: No, in neither case.

    1. There is no philosophical reason that evolution (which encompasses much more than natural selection, by the way) is not a part of a process that also has a moral component, and conversely,

    2. There is no philosophical reason that intelligently designed life has to be the product of, or be embedded with, a moral sense.

    Your point is based on your preconception that evolution is an exclusively materialistic concept and that intelligent design is a theistic concept, but neither of those is necessarily true. (And furthermore, even for one who is a materialist, the idea that one can do whatever one wants, is false.)

  11. 11
    Jack Krebs says:

    P.S., in the above post, by theistic I meant more specifically the God of Western monotheism.

    (Sorry we can’t edit posts.)

  12. 12

    Great answers. I was thinking the film Expelled should offer a choice from two ticket colors:

    Red ticket: I support academic freedom
    Blue ticket: I do not support academic freedom

  13. 13
    StephenB says:

    —–1. “There is no philosophical reason that evolution (which encompasses much more than natural selection, by the way) is not a part of a process that also has a moral component, and conversely,”

    Evolution cannot produce [A] an objective moral universe, [B] a subjective moral will to play out the drama and [C] a correspondence between the two? Take away any of the three elements and either there is no will or else there is nothing on which the will can exercise itself.

    —–2. “There is no philosophical reason that intelligently designed life has to be the product of, or be embedded with, a moral sense.”

    A thing is moral (or good) if it operates the way it was designed an intended to operate. That means it can be either good or bad depending on whether it realizes its final end or destiny. If a thing is not designed, it has no destiny. If there is no destiny to pursue, there is no morality. You can only be good or bad if there is some objective moral standard to meet that is outside of yourself.

  14. 14
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    “A thing is moral (or good) if it operates the way it was designed an intended to operate. That means it can be either good or bad depending on whether it realizes its final end or destiny. If a thing is not designed, it has no destiny. If there is no destiny to pursue, there is no morality. You can only be good or bad if there is some objective moral standard to meet that is outside of yourself. – StephenB

    Nicely put. Thanks.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    Jack

    You miss the point but I’ll allow that Gerry didn’t make it as clear as it could be.

    “I can do anything I want” should be qualified with “as long as it’s okay with me and as long as I don’t get caught breaking any laws.”

    The thing about a belief in God, or even just a healthy suspicion that there might be a God, is that even if you reasonably believe you won’t get caught by your peers you won’t escape getting caught by God. The notion that you might have to account for your actions to an all seeing presence tends to curb behavior that ostensibly would be looked upon unfavorably by someone who is ultimately in control of your fate.

    This isn’t just a silly mystical belief. It’s a founding principle of the United States of America – all men (later amended to explicitely include women) are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Governments composed of men serve to protect those rights not to grant them. In this view the creator is the ultimate authority to which all men must answer. Absent a creator all men only answer to themselves and other men. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but if the ultimate authority is some twisted POS like Saddam Hussein and his sadistic sons then it becomes a big problem. It’s also a big problem if the creator is some asshat who commands that a woman be stoned to death in the public square for adultery.

    There are really good reasons in the here and now totally unrelated to salvation of immortal souls to not go out of our way to quash belief or even suspicion that’s there’s an all seeing creator who prescribes some basic rules of conduct like not killing, not stealing, not coveting, loving one’s neighbor, being kind, charitable, forgiving, and stuff like that. Even if it doesn’t end up saving your immortal soul it makes the life we have now a better thing.

    In my view science as currently practiced is stepping far afield in making up stories, plausible or not, about how life formed and diversified and presenting these stories as fact wherein the only people who don’t accept it as fact are stupid, dishonest, or wicked and even criminals if they voice skepticism of the law and chance faith in a public school. No one knows how life formed or diversified. There are no witnesses to it and saying it’s all a matter of law and chance is not science, it’s a faith, and it’s a faith that few find based on credible evidence but rather a faith based on a scientific bandwagon driven by post-modern scientists who are no longer acting as scientists but rather as evangelicals in a religion where law and chance are substituted for a purposeful creator. The chance worshippers are up in arms because their new law and chance God is a house of cards that’s never convinced a majority and worse is crumbling in the face of the evidence the same scientists are working so hard to gather. If the design of life is an illusion it should have been exposed as such when more and finer details were exposed. Just the opposite happened. The deeper we look all we see is increasingly complex machinery that’s increasingly difficult to explain as an illusory result of law and chance but is easy to explain by way of intelligent agency because the only way anyone has ever witnessed a machine being formed where none existed before is through intelligent agency. An honest objective person with no hidden agenda or faith based prejudices would simply admit that the so-called illusion of design didn’t go away but just keeps getting stronger the deeper we probe into the details of life. I understand how frustrating it must be for chance worshippers to have their own hard-earned discoveries come up not supporting their faith in law and chance but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. You don’t always get what you want.

  16. 16
    ellijacket says:

    I prefer this for my shirt:

    http://www.findamuralist.com/m.....4%2012.jpg

  17. 17
    vjtorley says:

    “A thing is moral (or good) if it operates the way it was designed and intended to operate. That means it can be either good or bad depending on whether it realizes its final end or destiny. If a thing is not designed, it has no destiny. If there is no destiny to pursue, there is no morality. You can only be good or bad if there is some objective moral standard to meet that is outside of yourself.” – Stephen B.

    Sorry, Stephen B., but I have to disagree with you. There are two kinds of finality you need to consider: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic finality refers to the tendency of living beings to attain certain built-in ends, which are said to be good for them. Extrinsic finality refers to the end intended by the intelligent designer of an entity.

    What this means is that a creature’s destiny lies within it. In order to discover what is good for a being, we simply need to identify what is conducive its flourishing – in other words, its intrinsic finality, rather than its extrinsic finality. This can be done on an empirical basis. For instance, imagine the case of an astronaut who travels to Mars, discovers a biological life-form which resembles blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), and then attempts to grow it in a medium, supplying it with water and simple sugars. Much to her dismay, the Martian life-form wilts and almost dies. Suddenly, the astronaut recalls an article she read at http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/p.....610093.pdf suggesting that Martian organisms might thrive on a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide rather than plain water. She tries this, and the organism recovers. The astronaut now knows that the mixture is good for the life-form.

    The identification of human ends is not as straightforward as it is for bacteria. The identification of some human goods, such as friendship, art and knowledge, requires a careful examination of human beings’ natural psychological inclinations, as well as the effects that the attainment of these goods has upon human society. Nevertheless, the fact that there is a substantial overlap between the human goods identified by different natural law theorists is a positive sign.

    Natural law theorists have differing opinions about precisely how we can derive moral statements from a knowledge of the basic human goods. On this issue, I would recommend the article on the Natural Law Tradition in Ethics in “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy” (online) at http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....aw-ethics/ to interested readers. However, there is one point that I would like to make in passing. Extrinsic finality per se CANNOT serve as a basis for morality. The fact that an intelligent agent I designed X to do A does not imply that it is good for X to do A; all it implies is that I wants X to do A. However, the designer might be malevolent.

    The foregoing considerations might sound rather anti-religious in their overall tenor. After all, who needs God if we can derive morality from intrinsic finality? And even if God designed us with certain ends in mind, why should we obey His wishes? How do we know he is not malevolent? However, these shallow objections miss the point. Even if we can derive morality from intrinsic finality, we still need to explain the astonishing fact that we are capable of reliably drawing rational inferences about various creatures’ ends – including our own. Humans are frail creatures, and our capacity to reason can be inhibited by all manner of things – from whiskey to extremes of heat and cold. What grounds our capacity to engage in moral reasoning? In everyday life, we have no choice but to simply assume that our capacity for moral reasoning works properly, but if we ask ourselves what kind of Being could guarantee this fact, the only satisfactory answer is: a Being whose nature it is to know and love perfectly. That is what we mean by God. The defining attributes of God are perfect knowledge and love, not omnipotence (a secondary attribute, which derives from the fact that this omniscient and perfectly loving Being keeps all other beings in existence). No other Being but a God whose nature it is to love perfectly could serve as an adequate ground for our moral compass.

    Now we can answer the question regarding why we are bound to obey God’s wishes, given that He designed us with certain ends in mind. Our obligation does not stem from the fact that God DESIGNED us; rather, it stems from the fact that GOD designed us – i.e. we were designed by someone whose nature it is to know and love perfectly. Such a Being has a perfect grasp of our nature, and according to His own Nature, desires that which is in fact best for us. If any other being had designed us, we would NOT be bound by its wishes or dictates, because it would capable of being malevolent. Only God is perfectly good by His very nature.

    So, is the objective moral standard that we are bound to live up to inside or outside us? It depends on how you look at it. God is the Exemplar of Perfection and the Author of our being, but He has made human beings with certain built-in ends, as well as a rational capacity to identify and pursue those ends.

  18. 18
    larrynormanfan says:

    Message-bearing T-shirts, like bumper stickers, are in almost every case meant to declare the superiority of the wearer (or driver). So, no messages on my shirts at all, thanks.

  19. 19
    StephenB says:

    —–vorley: “So, is the objective moral standard that we are bound to live up to inside or outside us? It depends on how you look at it. God is the Exemplar of Perfection and the Author of our being, but He has made human beings with certain built-in ends, as well as a rational capacity to identify and pursue those ends.”

    vorley: Creatures cannot create their own morality. Yes, I am aware of “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” morality. What a thing must do to survive is a different question than what it must do to be good. Remember the problem that JK posed: Is morality and design connected? I am answering the question in that context and the answer is yes.

    Consider my opening paragraph in a slightly different context: God created [A] rational minds and wills, [B] a rational universe and a moral stage, and [C] a correspondence between the two realms. Someone has to create those two realms and set up that connection. Morality is possible only if both realms exist and that they can interact. You have to have a stage and you have to have players. Darwinism makes the stage and the players one and the same. That is what is called “monism.”

    The outside standard for humans is the Ten Commandments or the “natural moral law.” Someone outside of us must create the standard to be met. That requires two realms of existence. Since Darwinism allows for only one realm, the only morality possible under those circumstances is subjective or relativistic morality, which is tantamount to no morality at all. Also, Darwinism’s monism excludes the two realms necessary to get the whole thing started in the first place.

  20. 20
    StephenB says:

    Sorry, I meant “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” FINALITY.

  21. 21
    jstanley01 says:

    DaveScot and vjtorley:
    Thanks for the thought-provoking posts. Discussions of this caliber are why I keep coming back (albeit mostly to lurk — or to put my foot in my mouth! 🙂 ).

    Although I’m no philosopher, I believe a good argument can be made that mankind’s (sorry, too old to change to “humankind”) conscience (moral sense) and rational faculties were self-evidently designed to give human beings the free-will capacity to either accept or reject revealed religion (e.g. “I am the Way.”)

    Jack Krebs:

    …even for one who is a materialist, the idea that one can do whatever one wants, is false.

    I believe that history bears me out on this: that the only real limitation isn’t philosophical, it’s practical. “I can do whatever I want” is true, just so long as, “No one has a bigger club than I have.”

    Just try arguing against the premise with Xerxes. Or Tamerlane. Or Pol Pot.

    larrynormanfan:

    Message-bearing T-shirts, like bumper stickers, are in almost every case meant to declare the superiority of the wearer (or driver). So, no messages on my shirts at all, thanks.

    And what are snide messages on Internet bulletin boards meant to convey?

  22. 22
    jstanley01 says:

    StephenB:

    The outside standard for humans is the Ten Commandments or the “natural moral law.” Someone outside of us must create the standard to be met. That requires two realms of existence. Since Darwinism allows for only one realm, the only morality possible under those circumstances is subjective or relativistic morality, which is tantamount to no morality at all. Also, Darwinism’s monism excludes the two realms necessary to get the whole thing started in the first place.

    Well put.

  23. 23
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    ““I can do anything I want” should be qualified with “as long as it’s okay with me and as long as I don’t get caught breaking any laws.”” -DaveScot

    The situation is asymmetrical.

    For the materialist, not getting caught — or getting caught but having a big enough club so he can’t be prosecuted — is the limiting factor.

    And I agree with you that fear of getting caught by God in the end can act as a deterrent, as anticipation of reward from God may motivate fallen men to be less despicable than they naturally are, but…

    For believers, it’s not “getting caught” that concerns us. It’s the revealed knowledge that “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”, Proverbs 14:12. It’s the nagging and proper suspicion that the Designer’s way is the only way that really and fully works that makes us adopt His way over our own mistaken “compromises” and “shortcuts” to happiness.

  24. 24
    DaveScot says:

    Gerry

    Aside from getting caught by someone else one is automatically caught by oneself so one’s comtemplated action must always pass through the introspection filter with the caveat that some actions may bypass that filter in the way of temporary or permanent insanity or some other mechanism whereby normal meditated intent is bypassed. Atheists argue that introspection filters exist with or without being informed by revealed religion. I agree to some extent as I know some very decent people with highly developed sense of right and wrong who didn’t get it from religious revelation per se. I question whether they just picked it up by osmosis from parents or peers and it isn’t really something they were born with. On the other hand I know people who are well-informed on religious revelation, present themselves as believers, but their actions betray them as less moral people than some I know who claim no religious inspiration at all. These are the facts on the ground and are not contestable in my point of view. Given these facts how should I interpret them?

  25. 25
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    “Given these facts how should I interpret them?” – DaveScot

    Probably as J. Budziszewski does in his book, What We Can’t Not Know, a dissertation too long to fit in this little box. But here’s a glimpse:

    Budziszewski distinguishes between synderesis (deep conscience, common to all men) and conscientia (surface conscience). The latter, which we typically observe in others, being derived from the former — correctly or incorrectly, by means honest or dishonest. “It can be erased, mistaken, and can vary from person to person,” he says. “It can blur and err in at least nine different ways.” Which he lists as:

    1. Insufficient experience, where we don’t know enough to reach sound conclusions;

    2. Insufficient skill, where we have never learned the art of reasoning well;

    3. Sloth, where we are too lazy to reason;

    4. Corrupt custom, where it has never occurred to us to do so;

    5. Passion, where we are distracted by strong feelings from reasoning carefully;

    6. Fear, where we are afraid to reason because we might find out we’re wrong;

    7. Wishful thinking, were we include in our reasoning only what we are willing to notice;

    8. Depraved ideology, where we interpret known principles crookedly; and

    9. Malice, where we refuse to reason because we are determined to do what we want.

    In short, the evidences you site must be considered, not absolutely, but within the framework of the universe as we know it: a universe that has all the marks of a good thing gone bad. All “facts” do not carry equal weight because some are incomplete, some are misleading, and some are just plain lies.

  26. 26
    jstanley01 says:

    DaveScot:

    Given these facts how should I interpret them?

    Romans 2:13-15 says:

    (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

    Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

    When it comes to morality “accusing or else excusing one another” sums up human thinking in a nutshell, quite nicely I’d say. Meanwhile Isaiah 64:6 shows the prophet’s (and hence, God’s) view on the subject:

    But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

  27. 27
    GilDodgen says:

    How about: “I was intelligently designed to be intelligent enough to discern design.”

    This is an awkward formulation I will admit, but it gets to the essence of the idea.

  28. 28
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    Gil –

    How about:

    “I was designed to recognize design.”

  29. 29
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    Or if you’re into alliteration:

    “Designed to Discern Design”

  30. 30
    JT75 says:

    I don’t understand the above discussion on intrinsic and extrinsic finality as it bears on morality.
    The point, I thought, was that we humans discover an internal moral standard that is objective and not created by us. Just like we discover our thoughts our coherent based on the laws of logic we also discover objective moral rules within that are “built in.”

    If this is true then such laws are in some sense “intrisic” (we find them in ourselves, unlike discovering, say, the germination pattern of some flowering plant which is wholly external); but they have a source that is “extrinsic,” which is why we find them so disturbing. In a world that questions the idea of God, it is unsettling to discover within our own mind and heart evidences of “tampering from without.”

  31. 31
    irreducible_complacency says:

    I would prefer “I was specially created”. It seems to me that since humans have a purpose, the term ‘intelligently designed’ doesn’t go far enough. It might describe other features of the natural world such as why Brassicaceous plants make such good foods for people, or the laws of nature that make water densest at 4 C and not 0, thus allowing all sorts of biological phenomena to proceed with the minimum of disruption. But the purpose of humans is to glorify god and for that we were not intelligently designed to glorify god, but specially created to glorify god.

    to the materialists this distinction will carry no water, since they can’t believe in a transcendent god by simple definition. but in terms of communicating the Good News to the World it is important that we do not allow the anti-god side the opportunity to frame the debate around their own terms. In my view ‘intelligently designed’ people does just that, it does not go far enough in denying the lie of goo to you and amoebas to taxi drivers.

  32. 32
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    “…it is important that we do not allow the anti-god side the opportunity to frame the debate around their own terms. In my view ‘intelligently designed’ people does just that, it does not go far enough in denying the lie of goo to you…” – irreducible_complacency

    I fully agree, in spite of the alternative t-shirt mottos I offered above. Disingenuous atheists frame their proposals in scientific terms when they are actually talking about philosophical and theological matters, and many believers, unfortunately, limit their responses to that constricted context.

    We’re the Home Team here, folks. We’re not only allowed to appeal to the whole man (intellect, emotions, conscience, will, etc), and to employ evidences of every kind (including the revelations of Holy Writ), but it’s our duty to do so.

    Anything and everything that has ever been or ever will be studied is either God Himself or His works. And God has specially equipped us know Him through those works. But we can’t do it properly with only some of our faculties. And we certainly shouldn’t agree to shut our spiritual eyes just because the blind insist that we should…

  33. 33
    PannenbergOmega says:

    My question is. Given the choice, who would want to believe in Darwinism? It is such a cold and sterial ideology.

    Darwinism is Depressing.

  34. 34
    PannenbergOmega says:

    * blah, sterile.

  35. 35
    StephenB says:

    —–Gerry Rzeppa: “Anything and everything that has ever been or ever will be studied is either God Himself or His works. And God has specially equipped us know Him through those works. But we can’t do it properly with only some of our faculties. And we certainly shouldn’t agree to shut our spiritual eyes just because the blind insist that we should…”

    A very interesting observation that unifies several related issues into a singular theme. In that context, your T-Shirt sound byte was apt enough. Concise little phrases are not designed to include every possible nuance. That us why they pack such a punch.

    And yes, it’s true. Whoever frames the issue wins the debate. As G. K. Chesterton once remarked, “Grant me this one assumption, and the rest will be easy.

  36. 36
    scordova says:

    I’m so proud of these kids. They can do high school algebra, which is more than what Darwin could do.

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