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They said it dept: ID objector JLA inadvertently underscores the absurd logical/worldview consequences of evolutionary materialism . . . QED

One of our frequent objectors, JLA, has listed the consequences of evolutionary materialism, by way of objecting to BA’s further reply to the current crop of remarks at TSZ. (NB: I at first thought he might be being satirical, but, sadly, he is actually playing a straight hand. {Let me make this plain: FULL MARKS for sheer raw honesty. That needs to be respected and JLA must be treated with dignity. From what he says below, he is exposing what he sees as the too often unacknowledged consequences of evolutionary materialism, as what we could call an agnostic in transition.} )

I excerpted his list, and added some remarks on what the points reveal about evolutionary materialism. Not, because JLA is an opinion leader on the subject, or that he is saying something that has not been said by the likes of a Lewontin or a Provine or a Crick or even a Dawkins [cf. the just linked], but because in so speaking, he is frankly {U/D: and knowingly] exposing the consequences of the influence of such leading spokesmen on ordinary people.

And thereby inadvertently confirming the cogency and relevance of the concerns about the absurd and potentially destructive consequences of evolutionary materialism that have been put on record since the days of Plato in The Laws, Bk X.

As well as, exposing the telling relevance of Jesus’ classic warning about thinking oneself enlightened when in fact one is en-darkened because one’s eyes [reason and conscience] have gone bad; in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [NET]

Or, if you will, we can put it in terms of Plato’s Parable of the Cave, here viewed in terms of living by the false light of the artfully set up shadow shows in the cave (and onlookers may enjoy the “duppy story” here . . .  as, the ghosts of Plato and Socrates came by for a visit recently):

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So, while I apologise in advance for embarrassment that may be caused, with all due respect, I need to hold up a mirror so that those willing to awaken will be able to see what is really going on.

From my response in the thread, which excerpts several of JLA’s points and comments on them on points:

_____________

>> No objective, absolute, inherent meaning in life or the universe
• No objective, absolute, inherent purpose in life or the universe
• No objective, absolute, inherent value in life or the universe>>

1 –> Thus, no basis for good/evil etc, and so one may not use evil as an objection to anything. Might and manipulation make ‘right.” This is what Plato pointed out in The Laws Bk X.

2 –> Kindly highlight these to TSZ for me as they will not believe it from the likes of me.

>>• We are the cobbled together Frankensteins of billions of years of trial and error>>

3 –> First point of direct trouble empirically, as we are anything but cobbled together, from the cellular molecular nanotech level up, what we see is elegant and sophisticated evident contrivance.

4 –> This is part of why the first stage of my challenge to such materialists is kindly explain on empirical evidence, OOL.

>>• No objective, absolute, inherent morality in life or the universe. No good, no evil, no right, no wrong>>

5 –> Thus, amorality and nihilism as Plato warned. But this flies in the teeth of the undeniable fact of moral governance, and is unlivable. (Cf here.)

>>• No objective, absolute, inherent truth in life or the universe
• No objective, absolute, inherent knowledge in life or the universe
• No objective, absolute, inherent logic in life or the universe>>

6 –> Absolute — untainted, undiluted truth and knowledge are a little different from objective [warranted, credibly so].

7 –> The first test is Royce’s assertion, Error exists, E. It is easy to show that by forming C = { E AND NOT-E}, that C must be false. On meaning,t hen NOT-E is false, and so E is undeniably true. This is an objective truth warranted to undeniable certainty, so that it is absolutely true.

8 –> Warranted, true belief is actually strong form knowledge, and so knowledge also exists.

9 –> As for logic and first principles of right reason, simply reflect on the self evident status of the identity cluster and the principle of sufficient reason, and one sees that likewise such collapses. [Cf. here.]

10 –> A world view that asserts confidently things in the teeth of such foundational self-evident truths is irretrievably irrational and false.

>>• We have no free-will, mind, consciousness, rationality or reason. They are illusions and our very personhood, identity and humanity are not real.>>

11 –> No ability to reason and to think straight. That is reductio ad absurdum.

>> • The emotions we express are just chemicals in our brain. The very things we seek in life like happiness, peace, contentment, joy are just chemicals reducing us to nothing more than chemical addicts.>>

12 –> if emotions are just chemicals, so is thinking, and the rest collapses again. Chemical interactions are not even in the same category as consciousness linked experiences such as love, or perceiving the truthfulness of Pons Asinorum in Geometry.

>>• We are no more important than other animals. A dog is a rat is a pig is a boy. >>

13 –> So, we can kill off people like rats if they get out of control? Do you really want to go there? As in, let us note (in the teeth of the recent JME proposal for “post-birth abortion) from over 30 years past where Schaeffer and Koop gave warning in the series, Whatever Happened to the Human Race:

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___________

I had wondered if JLA, of course , may be writing satirically here. Unfortunately, he removed all doubt. (Caution, vulgar language used.)

He really meant the above , and really did not seem to be aware of the full consequences of such thinking. Inadvertently exposing the systematic gaps in our education and the popular media presentations of issues (as well as highlighting the sophomoric nature of New Atheist bombast . . . ), in an era of mass, media-fanned scientism.

QED.

I trust the TSZ denizens are noticing. END

PS: I suggested to JLA, that he may want to see [1] how a worldview level analysis leads to the credibility of generic theism, and how onwards, [2] one may find good warrant to hold to Judaeo-Christian theism. The comments here in reply to Dawkins’ attempt in a Playboy interview to dismiss the historicity of Jesus, may also help.

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90 Responses to They said it dept: ID objector JLA inadvertently underscores the absurd logical/worldview consequences of evolutionary materialism . . . QED

  1. F/N: I had hoped this was satire, but sadly, it seems not so. Let us ponder the implications of evolutionary materialism.

  2. I was actually encouraged by his post. It shows he is really grappling with the implications of throwing away his faith and he has not completely given up on God yet.

    In the context of his post, he is arguing against a guy who was coming across as a Materialist! Turns out this buy claims to believe in some kind of a god, but JLA was showing him the clear implications of materialism and it seemed to have a real impact on the other guy.

    If someone understands the true implications of materialism, I honestly don’t see how anyone can really believe it. Deep down in our hearts, we all know that life has real meaning. It seems foolish to deny this because no one can live as it that is true. Maybe inconsistencies like that don’t matter in a purely materialistic world, but that would bother me.

  3. TJ: We have to give JLA full marks for honesty. I hope TSZ’s denizens are paying attention. I trust JLA will be able to see the reductio and will recognise that he can rebuild his worldview and life on a better foundation. I suggest here on, as is linked above in the PS to the OP, as a start. (The discussion pivots on first principles of reason and a pivotal warranted, credible, generally acknowledged and undeniable truth: Josiah Royce’s “error exists.”) And yes, this starts with worldview issues, that is the basis for all else including science. KF

  4. “this starts with worldview issues, that is the basis for all else including science.” – KF

    Even FSCO/I?

  5. FSCO/I has more scientific rigor behind it than anything unguided evolution can provide.

  6. G: While you have some amends to make, I will tolerate the above. Worldview foundations and issues of principles of right reason, starting from common-sense level and moving on to a more consciously examined basis are prior to all other reasoning. And, to doubt the concept of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, you have of course provided an example in point, 103 ASCII characters constituting a text in English. The reality of FSCO/I is not in doubt, nor is the only empirically warranted source. Design. However, this is a discussion on much more serious worldview matters and I will gavel a tangent that pulls off track. There are other places in easy reach, even at UD, to discuss FSCO/I. KF

  7. Following the link in #5 in kf’s piece (Cf, here) I came across a treatise by John Hick called “Evil and soul-making” (here) which caught my interest. It envisions that man is on earth to “learn,” to first evolve biologically and eventually spiritually into a person in “fellowship with God.” Evil and good are here for man to have free will and thus learn from his mistakes to eventually evolve into a spiritual being.

    In the light of modern anthropological knowledge some form of two-stage conception of the creation of man has become an almost unavoidable Christian tenet. At the very least we must acknowledge as two distinguishable stages the fashioning of homo sapiens as a product of the long evolutionary process, and his sudden or gradual spiritualization as a child of God. But we may well extend the first stage to include the development of man as a rational and responsible person capable of personal relationship with the personal Infinite God who has created him. This first stage of the creative process was, to our anthropomorphic imaginations, easy for divine omnipotence. By an exercise of creative power God caused the physical universe to exist, and in the course of countless ages to bring forth within it organic life, and finally to produce out of organic life personal life; and when man had thus emerged out of the evolution of the forms of organic life, a creature had been made who has the possibility of existing in conscious fellowship with God.

    I would first like to point out that Hick accepts evolution as the first biological step in man’s development. In fact, the biological evolution of man as a gradual process seems to form part of the basis of his tenets. But let’s set that aside for now. He may have used it “metaphorically?”

    But there is a more fundamental problem with this notion. This idea looks at “man” as one entity, rather than millions and billions of men and women who have evolved and died before they entered the second stage of “fellowship with God.” What happened to all these people who lived and died over the millennia? Are they reincarnated to continue their evolution, or are they no more? It seems to me that at the very least the notion of reincarnation needs to be involved here in order to give each individual soul, not the aggregate species that the above notion conflates, a chance to evolve.

    Then there is the issue of God’s punishment, as proposed by Christian religions. In Hick’s treatise, man is seen as an evolving creature, both biologically and spiritually, as a child who is in the process of learning good and evil.

    Such critics as Hume are confusing what heaven ought to be, as an environment for perfected finite beings, with what this world ought to be, as an environment for beings who are in process of becoming perfected.

    Men are not to be thought of on the analogy of animal pets, whose life is to be made as agreeable as possible, but rather on the analogy of human children, who are to grow to adulthood in an environment whose primary and overriding purpose is not immediate pleasure but the realizing of the most valuable potentialities of human personality.

    And,
    The question that we have to ask is rather, Is this the kind of world that God might make as an environment in which moral beings may be fashioned, through their own free insights and responses, into “children of God”?

    So if God’s plan is to allow us to learn, both from our mistakes and our good choices, in a process of biological and spiritual evolution, where does eternal damnation come in, pray tell? Why would such a God send someone to Hell for an eternity for making a mistake? Would you or I use capital punishment for our children? Are we more benevolent and merciful than God? Would we even have a Hell?

    The conclusion is that we must throw out the idea of a Hell altogether, otherwise the whole concept of learning from our mistakes and evolving into “children of God” falls apart.

    It is interesting that other religions (Buddhism for example) don’t have a concept of Hell in which souls are punished for mistakes performed in life.

    Another issue comes up, though: The idea of “soul making.” This notion, first of all, implies time. Time exists in this physical universe, but does time exist in the spiritual world? If a soul is “made” in the sense implied in Hick’s piece, it means that there was a time in which man’s soul did not exist. Then God created it. This means time exists in God’s world. But I thought God exists outside of time and space. Even today’s cosmologists theorize that time began at the big bang. What does eternal time mean? How does one exist eternally but with the passage of time?

    The above treatise also does not address the immortality of the soul. It implies that only through the fellowship with God do we gain eternal life. But what of those souls who are not yet evolved to that point? Don’t they have a second, fifth, 100th chance? Isn’t the point of evolving toward a “fellowship with God” a gradual process of learning? Again, the treatise treats “man” as one entity evolving over time to reach a certain point of spiritual wisdom. But that is not what we have. Man is not one entity, but billions of entities, all of whom learn their lessons at different rates and abilities. Everyone starts out ignorant at birth and begins to learn from ground zero, from ignorance, and has to learn all the lessons of life on his or her own.

    So is the soul of man immortal or not? Since it was “made” by God, it means it did not always exist, so it is not eternal, at least not going backward in time. It may be eternal going forward in time, at least those who have attained “fellowship with God” in one lifetime. But all this implies time exists in “Heaven.”

    The idea that souls are here to “learn” has many problems. If souls are immortal and eternal, they already “know” everything. If they are not, then it brings up all the other problems I delineated and a myriad others I have not.

    Back to the drawing board.

  8. If evo mat is true, then life is merely a glorified Monopoly game. JLA’s logic is sound. Richard Dawkins and William Provine both made similar statements: ultimately, there is no good or evil or morality in a purposeless universe.

    Look at the effects evolution has had on philosophy and politics. Why does one nation succeed in conquering another nation? Why does one race prevail over another race? The Origin of Species, with its emphasis on natural selection and survival of the fittest, gave explanations that stirred the leading philosophers of the 19th century.

    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Karl Marx (1818-1883) were philosophers who had a profound effect on politics. Both were fascinated by evolution. “Darwin’s book is important,” said Marx, “and serves me as a natural scientific basis for the class struggle in history.” Historian Will Durant called Nietzsche a “child of Darwin.” The book Philosophy—An Outline-History summarized one of Nietzsche’s beliefs: “The strong, brave, domineering, proud, fit best the society that is to be.”

    Darwin believed—and wrote in a letter to a friend—that in the future “an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.” He used as a precedent the European conquest of others and chalked this up to “the struggle for existence.”

    Thus, “survival of the fittest” took on philosophical, social, and political overtones, often to an absurd extent. “To some war became ‘a biological necessity,’” said the book Milestones of History. And this book noted that during the next century, “Darwinian ideas formed an integral part of Hitler’s doctrine of racial superiority.”

    Really, of what benefit is it when man can travel to the moon but cannot solve the basic problems of the human family? Did the invention of increasingly destructive weapons, such as the atom bomb, bring an end to wars and ethnic violence? Have the accomplishments of science significantly diminished crime, family breakup, sexually transmitted diseases, immorality, illegitimate births, corruption in high places, poverty, hunger, homelessness, drug abuse, pollution? No, science has, if anything, made some of these things worse. Abandoning God and substituting evolution and science, the human family has not helped its situation but has hurt it.

    Not surprisingly, many are having second thoughts about the theory that man evolved from apelike creatures, as opposed to there being a God who created the first humans. A Gallup poll in the United States revealed that only 9 percent of Americans hold to the belief that man evolved with no divine intervention; 47 percent accept the idea that God created man in his present form.

  9. F/N: Part 3 of Scheffer’s video series is briefly discussed and exhibited here. Food for sobering thought in light of “A dog is a rat is a pig is a boy.” KF

  10. But Barb, are you suggesting we abandon science? You want to go back to millions of people dying from the plague? Science is not the problem, man is. Science is knowledge. What man does with it is his burden. What you are saying is that man has not evolved spiritually as quickly as he has evolved scientifically. I think everyone agrees and bemoans that fact. The answer is to gain wisdom, not forego knowledge. There really is only one direction, that’s forward. Forward toward acquiring wisdom together with scientific knowledge.

  11. BM: You may find that this, on the problem of good and evil, gives helpful perspective. Note the Plantinga response to the problem. KF

  12. BM: Science, is not to be equated to a priori materialism a la Lewontin, which is close to the issues highlighted in the OP. Methinks, there are some serious implications of Evo Mat on the table — issues that are not commonly acknowledged much less soberly discussed — that need to be squarely faced, not diverted from. KF

  13. I’m with Barb on this one. This idea that Hicks espouses is an interesting idea, but that’s all one can really say about it. It goes against the clear teaching of God’s Word.

    In the light of modern anthropological knowledge some form of two-stage conception of the creation of man has become an almost unavoidable Christian tenet. At the very least we must acknowledge as two distinguishable stages the fashioning of homo sapiens as a product of the long evolutionary process, and his sudden or gradual spiritualization as a child of God. But we may well extend the first stage to include the development of man as a rational and responsible person capable of personal relationship with the personal Infinite God who has created him. This first stage of the creative process was, to our anthropomorphic imaginations, easy for divine omnipotence. By an exercise of creative power God caused the physical universe to exist, and in the course of countless ages to bring forth within it organic life, and finally to produce out of organic life personal life; and when man had thus emerged out of the evolution of the forms of organic life, a creature had been made who has the possibility of existing in conscious fellowship with God.

    Not sure how you determine what modern anthropological knowledge is. That seems a bit difficult in that we are dealing with the unobservable past. Modern anthropological “knowledge” is here seen to trump the very Word of the Creator and this is not “Christian” at all. It is God’s Word that is truth, not the ever changing musings of modern anthropologists.

    Man was created in God’s image directly from the dust of the ground and Eve was created from the side of Adam. That is the clear teaching of the Creator. There was no two stage creation involving either a sudden or a gradual spiritualization as a child of God as far as the Bible is concerned.

    Even Jesus Himself said that God created them male and female at the beginning of creation – not after billions of years of evolution.

    So as an interesting idea, it is fine, but let’s not pretend it is a Christian idea.

    If that is really your view, then it seems like you think the Bible is quite pliable and can be made to fit with any secular ideas of “knowledge.” But that is not what Jesus thought of God’s Word. So I think you have to decide which is going to bend to accommodate the other – the Bible to anthropology or the interpretations of anthropologists to God’s truth.

    Sorry for getting of the “scientific” track here, but when we are dealing with origins, God’s Word has to come into play as well. Evolutionary science is not the arbiter of truth by any means.

  14. billmaz @ 10:

    But Barb, are you suggesting we abandon science? You want to go back to millions of people dying from the plague? Science is not the problem, man is. Science is knowledge. What man does with it is his burden.

    No, of course not. But those who practice science should be held accountable for what they do, whether good or bad.

    What you are saying is that man has not evolved spiritually as quickly as he has evolved scientifically. I think everyone agrees and bemoans that fact. The answer is to gain wisdom, not forego knowledge. There really is only one direction, that’s forward. Forward toward acquiring wisdom together with scientific knowledge.

    The problem with gaining wisdom is that it begins with fearing God, according to the book of Proverbs. How many scientists can you think of that have that type of wisdom?

    There’s a great scene in the movie “Jurassic Park” where the chaotician played by Jeff Goldblum tells Hammond that “Your scientists were so busy creating dinosaurs because they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should!”

    Ideas and actions have consequences. Scientists should be aware of this fact. If evolution is truly only a scientific theory, then it shouldn’t be applied to philosophy or politics or society (i.e., social Darwinism). However, the notion that Darwin’s theory allowed for God to disappear from the world scene has had (and is having) far-reaching consequences.

  15. Yes, my 15 minutes of fame. I would like to thank the academy, my parents, my wife for being so supportive and all the fans. This one’s for you :)

    Seriously, I’m best described as an agnostic right now. I was actually being somewhat serious in all my comments. I’m sick and tired of atheists accusing theists of being in a delusion but not recognizing there own. At the same time, even though the implications are horrible doesn’t mean God exists. Like Nietzsche said

    “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

    Either we live as if there is a God or we live as if we are a God. Either way is a delusion and the only truth to follow is Nihilism no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Nietzsche was at least honest.

  16. The faithful referred to him as “The Light of the World.” He was born of a virgin who was referred to as “Mother of God,” he was part of a Holy Trinity, celibate throughout his life, extolled justice, renounced riches and sensual things, had twelve apostles and viewed life as a struggle between the forces of Good and Evil. He preached that there will be a Judgment Day at which time the dead will be resurrected, the earth will experience a final conflict between the forces of light and darkness and the present order will be destroyed. Thereafter, light will forever reign on earth. This duality continues in the afterlife in the form of Heaven and Hell. After he completed his earthly mission, he had a Last Supper with his twelve apostles and ascended to Heaven, after which his followers conducted ceremonies that included the drinking of wine and the eating of bread to symbolize his blood and flesh. Baptism was practiced as a ritual of purification. December 25th was celebrated annually as his birth and Sunday was the holy day of the week.
    No, it isn’t Christianity, but Mithraism, the last pagan religion of the Roman Empire. It began in Persia in the 6th or 7th century BCE and eventually spread through India to China and throughout the Roman Empire. Relics of the Mithraic religion have been found in Britain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia and throughout North Africa. It was the favorite religion of the Roman soldiers because it celebrated brotherly love and physical action in the name of justice and truth. It lasted over three hundred years and was then overtaken by Christianity, which didn’t hesitate in borrowing a few items along the way.
    Christianity borrowed from many traditions. The virgin conception by a god was a very familiar theme in ancient religions. Hercules, Perseus, Theseus, and Achilles were all said to have had a god for a parent. Dionysus, son of Zeus, worshipped in Jerusalem during the 1st Century, was of a virgin birth. Followers ate bread and drank wine to symbolize his blood and flesh, and his birthday was celebrated on December 25th. Oh yes, and a star shone above the site where he was born.
    Attis, a Phrygian god from Asia Minor, was born on December 25th to a virgin mother, later was crucified at Easter and descended for three days into the underworld. He rose on Easter Sunday to save humanity from eternal damnation. His followers symbolize eating his flesh by eating bread on holy days.
    Adonis, born of a virgin, was killed by a wild boar and resurrected.
    In India, “Krishna the Savior,” not dissimilar to Christ the Savior, was born on December 25th when Vishnu sent a thought into the womb of the virgin Devaki.
    Buddha was born of a virgin mother named Maya after she was visited by the “Holy Ghost.”
    In Tibet, Indra was born of a virgin.
    The prophet Zoroaster was also born of a virgin.
    Death and resurrection is also old territory: Osiris, Adonis, Balder, and Dionysus all died and were resurrected.

  17. JLA:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Pardon if they are a bit embarrassing to be shared. Forgive, it is necessary to face issues.

    I see you are taking a bit of distance from the thoughts, which is good.

    Before I head off, I note on your:

    At the same time, even though the implications are horrible doesn’t mean God exists.

    True enough as it stands, albeit, it is a classic point in logic that if the acceptance/ rejection of an idea leads straight and sure into absurdity, rethink that acceptance/ rejection.

    And, on the table here is the undermining of reason itself as a consequence of evolutionary materialism. Let me clip again Haldane’s point on that:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)]

    I have already highlighted in the OP and elsewhere, where you can access a ground up worldview grounding exercise. And, one clear conclusion of that is that theism is a very reasonable worldview to take; on many grounds. Even, Judaeo-Christian theism, not just God of the philosophers.

    Which patently is a lot more than can be said for evolutionary materialism in light of the highlighted problems.

    I hope this exchange can be helpful to all around, and again, full marks to you for sheer raw honesty.

    KF

    PS: One of the important issues to observe is that God is a serious candidate to be a necessary being, unlike the spaghetti monster (an obviously composite being) or the like. That implies that if God is not, it is because God is an IMPOSSIBILITY. That’s a pretty stiff standard of warrant to meet, for those who would deny or dismiss the existence of God. And nope, it is not even seriously on the cards to play the no belief in god default view game. We are dealing with worldviews here, not debate games. Every tub must stand on its own bottom in light of comparative difficulties.

  18. BM: The copycat gods thesis has long passed sell-by date. Many of the claims above and many other similar ones are outright false, and the rest are ill grounded and speculative, indeed often reflecting a reading back from known Christian views or beliefs that reshapes pagan ones in ways that are unwarranted. For one instance, as I recall, Krishna’s mother was married, not a virgin, that is an example of the sort of reading back game. From Wiki, confirming: “By the time of conception and birth of Krishna, Devaki was married to Vasudeva and had already borne 7 children.” Some fact checking will show the problems. Similarly, the NT view of Jesus’ birth EXCLUDE Dec 25th or thereabouts as birthday, as Shepherds would not be in the fields. The day was chosen as an “official” birthday to fit more or less the Winter Solstice, giving cheer at that darkest time of year without having to get involved with pagan festivities. And the degree of light in the North increases steadily to Pentecost, highly symbolic to those familiar with the imagery in John. KF

  19. KF: Christ’s mother was married too. And Christ had brothers. Why don’t you address the other examples I cited, Mithraism for one, which seems to be the closest to Christianity.

  20. billmaz writes:

    Christianity borrowed from many traditions. The virgin conception by a god was a very familiar theme in ancient religions. Hercules, Perseus, Theseus, and Achilles were all said to have had a god for a parent. Dionysus, son of Zeus, worshipped in Jerusalem during the 1st Century, was of a virgin birth. Followers ate bread and drank wine to symbolize his blood and flesh, and his birthday was celebrated on December 25th. Oh yes, and a star shone above the site where he was born.

    Christianity might have, but not all Christian denominations follow such traditions. Jesus himself condemned the religious leaders of his day for making the word of God invalid by their slavish devotion to man-made tradition.

  21. BM: This is taking the thread off track again, but Mary was the espoused wife — a super engagement only breakable by divorce, but during which there was no going in the window — of Joseph, not his wife taken into his home via an official ceremony, and by the time he took her fully to wife she had been with child by miracle, per the scriptures. The validation of which on such matters, pivots on the resurrection in fulfillment of centuries old prophecies in the scriptures of what we know as the OT e.g. c 700 BC Isa 52 – 53, cf here on. That is the context of his intent to put her away, he was persuaded by miracle. The cases are simply not comparable. Mithraism’s claimed parallels are similarly grossly exaggerated [as are those of Egyptian paganism and so forth], as you can check — and BTW pagan gods’ lustful proclivities for pretty girls (often to the discomfiture of their goddess wives, hence e.g the story of how the Milky Way got its name after one of these scandalous legends . . . ), is utterly distinct from the virginal conception of Jesus — you are seeing a paralle tha tis not there, I have to go now. Later, this is off topic. KF

  22. Bill

    Don’t know if this is helpful but I thought I would share. Take it as you will.

    http://www.ceisiwrserith.com/mith/index.htm
    http://www.thedevineevidence.c.....ities.html

  23. Thanks, JLA, they are very helpful.

  24. F/N: BM, again this is off-topic; I suggest you look at my notes here on the general issue of the pagan copycat thesis, and here where you will find more details on Mithraism in particular. The general notion of syncretism of Judaism with pagan thought has long been exposed as not credible — the worldviews are simply too far apart in the first instance. They cannot mesh, period. Worldviews thinking saves us from many errors. Christianity, is the same — its roots are distinctly Hebraic and Hebrews the most influenced by Greek thought (and simultaneously the most militantly Hebraic text in the NT at the same time) was written to undercut same decisively, with a clear eye on what was going on in Alexandria. To see the degree of distance, go read the Maccabees, which in C1 was in effect like a record of the last successful uprising against pagan overlordship. Observe just how militantly the Hebrews rejected syncretism. And when he was in Athens, Paul had a “paroxysm” when he saw the idols, a viscerally hostile reaction. His “objects of veneration” in Ac 17 on Mars Hill was very diplomatic language, probably said while bridling his tongue sharply from what he would have probably liked to say if he gave his feelings free course. That Paul would lead a pagan synthesis of Hebraic thought is positively laughable. That he would find points of contact and use them to convey the gospel to pagans so they could at least get his point, is record. Now, I trust we can get back on topic — this is beginning to take on the tones of a side-track (though that m=is probably not a deliberate intent). KF

  25. That list is absolute [--> you were warned on language, KF]. If thats what you think life is without god, then youre implying god gives us all those things.
    Id rather find them for myself.
    Cmon people you can be a good person without bringing god into it.

  26. Walked straight into that one huh billmaz? ,,, Though not as detailed and concise as kf’s notes on the copycat myth, here are my notes on the authenticity of the shroud of Turin:

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Condensed notes on The Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/15IGs-5nupAmTdE5V-_uPjz25ViXbQKi9-TyhnLpaC9U/edit

    Of particular note:

    Shroud Of Turin – Photographic Negative – 3D Hologram – The Lamb – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5664213/

    Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram – Face And Body – Dr. Petrus Soons – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5889891/

  27. of note: This following video solidly debunks the internet pagan myth of Osiris and Horus being parallel to Jesus;

    Jesus and the Story of Osiris and Horus (William Lane Craig) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIGPF2U1Rhw

  28. 28

    No objective, absolute, inherent morality in life or the universe. No good, no evil, no right, no wrong

    The more I see these debates and discussions, the more convinced I’m becoming that such modifiers, especially the term “objective,” have no actual meaning in this context. They are empty signifiers, having no real meaning. The terms sound good and give a certain “oomph,” but nothing more.

    I believe that morality comes from empathy and reason. I’m not sure if I would say that morality is objective or not (since I don’t even know what that would mean; I understand what it means to say that the moon is objectively larger than a bread box, and that 2 + 2 = 4, but what does it mean to say that something is objectively morally wrong?) But I would say that there’s certainly an inter-subjectivity on morality.

    In what way does the existence of God make morality objective? Assuming that there is a God, who has rules for us, what about those rules would be morally objective? In what way would “right and wrong” exist if there is a God as opposed to if there isn’t?

    For instance, why is rape wrong? Is it only because the Bible says not to? If the Bible neglected to mention anything about rape, I doubt anyone that currently believes rape to be wrong would think it was ok. And when asked why rape is bad, Christians will usually give reasons that have empathy and reason as the basis.

    If there is a God who created the universe, I would agree that it’s probably a good idea to follow His rules. If I believed the Bible, I would try to follow its rules and teachings. But the basis for my morality wouldn’t change. I would follow the rules for my own subjective reasons – because I believe that God knows what’s best for us – in other words, because of reason and empathy (although fear of Hell would be an additional motivation).

  29. CD:

    Kindly, watch your language. (As, you have been warned by the blog owner already.)

    The first thing that is good, is that you recognise that the pattern of statements, would be a most undesirable feature of a worldview, to the point where you tried to dismiss with a vulgarity and thought this was being made up and pasted unto evolutionary materialism by those who do not accept it. As you will see in a moment, the first part is good, you undeniably reject the sort of picture being painted. The second part, is going to be a surprise for you, on the actual source of that summary.

    You are also failing to address the underlying issue, worldview foundations and implications. That is actually what the author JLA, was drawing out.

    Now, JLA has been bringing out what he understands, as an agnostic, is the implication of an evolutionary materialistic view. He patently does not like the implications, but that is what he sees as the consequences of such a worldview.

    And, he is not at all alone in such a conclusion.

    Here are a few thoughts on the subject, from far more senior spokesmen for the view . . . as you will see I explicitly cited JLA above as showing the implications as they affect ordinary people, not as a primary source by any means. That primary source is the inherent logic of the evolutionary materialist view, on its assumptions about root reality, cf my in-a-nutshell here and onward here.

    But there are significant figures among those who advocated evolution and even evolutionary materialism as world class spokespeople who have admitted much the same point:

    1: Haldane, a leading evolutionary thinker and Marxist who was a major voice a generation ago:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    2: William Provine, well known Cornell U prof of the history of biology, speaking at the 1998 Darwin Day event in U of Tenn:

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

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

    –> A whole train of consequences cited in the OP flows directly from the two highlighted implications.

    –> Which, note, save for absence of free will — which IS a logical implication of evo mat, just hard to swallow in the teeth of our experience of the reality of choice . . . — are not even controversial among naturalistic thinkers.

    3] Sir Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, and Nobel Prize holder, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    –> This fleshes out the “no free will” point by Provine.

    –> Some argue “emergence” or “compatibilism” but these have a habit of falling back into reductive materialism of the Crick kind, or else end up unacknowledgedly moving away from materialism.

    4] Dawkins — yes, him, writing in Sci Am in 1995:

    The true process that has endowed wings, eyes, beaks, nesting instincts and everything else about life with the strong illusion of purposeful design is now well understood.

    It is Darwinian natural selection . . . . The true utility function of life, that which is being maximized in the natural world, is DNA survival. But DNA is not floating free; it is locked up in living bodies, and it has to make the most of the levers of power at its disposal. Genetic sequences that find themselves in cheetah bodies maximize their survival by causing those bodies to kill gazelles. Sequences that find themselves in gazelle bodies increase their chance of survival by promoting opposite ends. But the same utility function-the survival of DNA-explains the “purpose” of both the cheetah [--> i.e. predator] and the gazelle [--> i.e. prey] . . . .

    In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [[ “God’s Utility Function,” Sci. Am. Aug 1995, pp. 80 - 85.]

    If you compare the list JLA compiled, you will see that it is strikingly parallel to such statements, and for no surprising reason: the implications are pretty obvious.

    So, you are in a vice of your own making.

    On one jaw you have viscerally rejected the description and list of consequences of evolutionary materialism. On the other, you (having mistakenly thought these were projected unto evo mat by objectors . . . ) are now in a position to know that the logic of the case and the stated opinion of leading voices confirms the accuracy of the implications.

    So now, you have to face the worldview level absurdity of evolutionary materialism, knowing that if it holds true, it directly implies severe undermining of reason and morality.

    KF

  30. GUN:

    Kindly take a moment to look in the dictionary as a first reference, before trying to subjectivise “objective” and turn it into little more than a rhetorical trick appealing to emotions:

    objective [?b?d??kt?v]
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions are there objective moral values?
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc. [Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003]

    That is, in this context, objective has to do with empirical and logical warrant that supports the credibility of the conclusion that a claim or belief or assertion is true, i.e. accurately describes that which exists as reality.

    In short, objectivity here is a major device for giving assurance that something is credibly a case of knowledge, not delusion or opinion that rests on mere tastes and preferences.

    At worldviews level, you are looking at ultimates, and at comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power. If you wish to trace morality to senses of empathy etc, you need to ground that, e.g. on the perceived equality, value and worth of the other.

    But that is exactly what is often at stake, from two directions.

    Equating animals from rats to pigs to boys leads to the challenge I posed by direct parallel to rats getting out of control. Instead, viewing things as being at distinct levels then runs right into the life unworthy of being lived challenge that had such destructive consequences seventy odd years ago.

    And so forth.

    KF

  31. 31

    Kindly take a moment to look in the dictionary as a first reference, before trying to subjectivise “objective” and turn it into little more than a rhetorical trick appealing to emotions:

    I’m not sure how the first definition listed is supposed to help. I’m not questioning whether the Biblical rules exist. They obviously do. Islam and Buddhism’s systems also objectively exist. All systems of morality objectively exist, whether or not any God exists.

    That is, in this context, objective has to do with empirical and logical warrant that supports the credibility of the conclusion that a claim or belief or assertion is true, i.e. accurately describes that which exists as reality.

    Right, what does it mean to say “murder is wrong” is true? Or at least “true” in the same objective sense that we would say that diamond is harder than graphite?

    In short, objectivity here is a major device for giving assurance that something is credibly a case of knowledge, not delusion or opinion that rests on mere tastes and preferences.

    In this context, knowledge of what?

    At worldviews level, you are looking at ultimates, and at comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power.

    (There’s another of those empty signifier words – “ultimate”)

    If you wish to trace morality to senses of empathy etc, you need to ground that, e.g. on the perceived equality, value and worth of the other.

    Other what?

    Equating animals from rats to pigs to boys leads to the challenge I posed by direct parallel to rats getting out of control. Instead, viewing things as being at distinct levels then runs right into the life unworthy of being lived challenge that had such destructive consequences seventy odd years ago.

    And so forth.

    None of that has anything at all to do with “objectivity” or anything I’ve said. In fact, it’s purely an appeal to emotions.

  32. I’d like to stand up and cheer for JLAfan2001.

    Even if we disagree now, I applaud this kind of honesty. When I was an atheistic materialist, at least I – Like JLA – had the huevos to admit to myself what my atheistic materialism necessarily meant.

    Bravo!

  33. JLAfan2001 @15:

    LOL! Thanks for accepting the award, and thanks for your good-natured approach! :)

  34. 34
    Chance Ratcliff

    JLAFan @15, I second William’s and Eric’s comments above. That answers the question I asked last night:

    “JLAfan2001, given our past exchanges on this blog, I confess to being intrigued by some of your comments. Are you accepting the implications of atheism as a matter of fact, or are you taking issue with those implications by noting their absurdities? Either way, your thoughts are appreciated.”

    I understand you bit better now. ;)

    “God is dead.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882
    “Nietzsche is dead.” — God, 1900

  35. GUN: Let’s start with, it is objectively wrong to kidnap or take hostage, torture, rape and murder innocent children, say, a la Beslan, just as a warm-up exercise for calibrating “eyes.” Then, we can extend from that, noting for instance what Schaeffer and Koop exposed in episode 3 of Whatever Happened to the Human Race as being directly relevant to the matters of concern in the OP — remember, „Lebensunwertes Leben“ is directly involved in the history and concerns in mind. Now let’s see if we can have a straightforward agreement, or whether there will be a cloud of obfuscations once the matter begins to bite home. KF

    PS: It would be a good idea as well to listen to the ghosts of Socrates and Alcibiades, here, especially on “the ignorance which has conceit of knowledge.”

  36. F/N: Just to keep things in balance, observe the search of a son for the fate of his father in the 1930′s Stalinist Gulag. Also, this news discussion. Note the “blood up to my elbows” confession and hope of penitence of Khrushchev.

  37. First of all, I don’t see why the process of evolution of biological species need necessarily apply to human social interaction. Just because we have evolved as a species in this brutal biological fashion does not force us to live that way once we have developed a mind which can both reason and decide, as others have already stated, on moral tenets (even without the need for a higher being handing them down to us).

    Secondly, no matter what the social and philosophical consequences of the theory of biological evolution are, we cannot deny scientific facts just because they have negative philosophical and social implications (if followed in social interactions). It’s like saying we deny the scientific truth of nuclear science because we don’t like the fact that they can, and have, been used to produce a bomb.

    In terms of the objectivity of moral laws, we know from studies of various societies, both advanced and primitive, that some moral laws vary depending on the society in question. In the Spartan society it was deemed “good” for society to kill all babies that were malformed. Today we would look at that with horror, but in the Spartan society, which was a very militaristic society, it was seen as a necessary act for their survival. In the old testament of the bible, for another example, men had many wives. Polygamy still exists in several Islamic societies today. In ancient Greek societies, as well as in later societies, (Japanese, the Western Renaissance, and later) honor was paramount, the loss of which demanded either a retraction or a duel to the death. Today we sue for slander. If I take the time, I can find countless such moral laws that are conditional on the times, the religious views and the specific conditions of that society. Moral laws, however, have nothing, I propose, to do with scientific facts. We can create a society with the best moral laws even though we may have evolved by a biological process which doesn’t follow them.

  38. 38

    KF,

    I’ve been saying that I don’t know what “objective” means in the context of morality” and asking what it means (with claims, oddly, that I’m “appealing to emotion” for asking such questions). In response, I’m asked (even more oddly) if I would agree that kidnapping, torture, murder, etc are objectively wrong (with yet more appeals to emotion.)

    This is an example of why, as I’ve explained, that the more I’m in these discussions, the more I don’t believe that “objective” has any actual meaning in this context.

    Well, if you are defining “objectively wrong” by meaning “God said its wrong,” than no, I don’t believe its wrong in the sense that “God said its wrong” since I don’t believe in God (and, as I explained, even if I did believe in God, I don’t know that I’d see such rules as “objectively moral” even though I would agree that it’d probably be a good idea to follow such rules). I don’t believe that that’s what you mean by objectively wrong, however, since I think you would still believe it to be wrong to kidnap, rape, etc even if the Bible neglected to mention them. If you do mean it in some other way I’d be interested to hear what that is, and I’ll let you know if I agree that they are objectively wrong.

  39. CharlieD writes:

    If thats what you think life is without god, then youre implying god gives us all those things. Id rather find them for myself. Cmon people you can be a good person without bringing god into it.

    For those who believe in God, then the answer is yes, God does give us all those things (i.e., morality) because we are created in his image.
    Goodusername:

    The more I see these debates and discussions, the more convinced I’m becoming that such modifiers, especially the term “objective,” have no actual meaning in this context. They are empty signifiers, having no real meaning. The terms sound good and give a certain “oomph,” but nothing more.

    When we speak of objective standards of morality, we’re using this definition (from Merriam Webster online)
    : expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations
    In other words, we are not making up morals as we go along; we have definitive moral guidelines in place that show us what we ought to do.

    I believe that morality comes from empathy and reason. I’m not sure if I would say that morality is objective or not (since I don’t even know what that would mean; I understand what it means to say that the moon is objectively larger than a bread box, and that 2 + 2 = 4, but what does it mean to say that something is objectively morally wrong?) But I would say that there’s certainly an inter-subjectivity on morality.

    Morality certainly can come from empathy; reason, not so much, because reason is concerned with facts and logical thinking. Morality, empathy and sympathy are concerned with emotions. We emphathize with people because we feel for them, not because we’re concerned about appearing reasonable to them.
    If something is objectively morally wrong, taking the definition given above, it means that something lies outside of the moral guidelines we have in place.

    In what way does the existence of God make morality objective? Assuming that there is a God, who has rules for us, what about those rules would be morally objective? In what way would “right and wrong” exist if there is a God as opposed to if there isn’t?

    The existence of God allows for objective morality because you have a universal standard of good—God himself. He is described as being merciful, holy, and righteous. The rules set out by God would be morally objective because we have a standard, God, by which to measure our behavior. Right and wrong would necessarily exist because God would determine which behaviors are right versus wrong, as opposed to making up moral guidelines depending on one’s cultural background, societal values, or family traditions.

    For instance, why is rape wrong? Is it only because the Bible says not to? If the Bible neglected to mention anything about rape, I doubt anyone that currently believes rape to be wrong would think it was ok. And when asked why rape is bad, Christians will usually give reasons that have empathy and reason as the basis.

    I’m going to initially respond to this as a woman. If anyone asked me “why is rape wrong” I would immediately think that somebody’s parents made a serious error in raising their children. How would anyone, atheist or believer, justify rape?

    Oh, wait. They have. From Wikipedia: A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion is a 2000 book about rape by biologist Randy Thornhill and anthropologist Craig T. Palmer. It proposes that rape should be understood through evolutionary psychology,[1] and criticizes the argument, popularized by Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will, that rape is not sexually motivated.[2] Thornhill and Palmer believe that the capacity for rape is either an adaptation or a byproduct of adaptative traits such as sexual desire and aggressiveness.[1]

    So, according to evolutionary biology, rape is perfectly normal behavior. Then why does nearly every single nation in Western civilization have laws against it?

    Believe it or not, there are many people who would rape if they could get away with it (http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/sa_rape_support.html):
    - In a survey of male college students:
    • 35% anonymously admitted that, under certain circumstances, they would commit rape if they believed they could get away with it (ref 6,7).
    • One in 12 admitted to committing acts that met the legal definitions of rape, and 84% of men who committed rape did not label it as rape.(ref 6,7)

    Now, to answer you as a Christian woman, rape is wrong because it violates God’s standard of sexual morality. Sexual relations are restricted to married couples (James 4:4). Men are not to behave violently towards women, but to treat them with “chasteness” (1 Timothy 5:2).

    If there is a God who created the universe, I would agree that it’s probably a good idea to follow His rules. If I believed the Bible, I would try to follow its rules and teachings. But the basis for my morality wouldn’t change. I would follow the rules for my own subjective reasons – because I believe that God knows what’s best for us – in other words, because of reason and empathy (although fear of Hell would be an additional motivation).

    I don’t think fear of Hell should be a motivating factor in determining morality. Wanting to do what’s right, love of neighbor and love of God should be the motivating factors. If you believed the Bible, you would realize that your morality does stem from empathy—because God designed you that way, in his image, reflecting his qualities.

  40. Billmaz @ 37:

    First of all, I don’t see why the process of evolution of biological species need necessarily apply to human social interaction. Just because we have evolved as a species in this brutal biological fashion does not force us to live that way once we have developed a mind which can both reason and decide, as others have already stated, on moral tenets (even without the need for a higher being handing them down to us).

    Social Darwinism is a philosophical and political failure, however, the blame for its appeal can be placed on Darwin, who removed the objective moral standards of the God of the Bible and replaced them with “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection”.

    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Karl Marx (1818-1883) were philosophers who had a profound effect on politics. Both were fascinated by evolution. “Darwin’s book is important,” said Marx, “and serves me as a natural scientific basis for the class struggle in history.” Historian Will Durant called Nietzsche a “child of Darwin.” The book Philosophy—An Outline-History summarized one of Nietzsche’s beliefs: “The strong, brave, domineering, proud, fit best the society that is to be.”

    Darwin believed—and wrote in a letter to a friend—that in the future “an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.” He used as a precedent the European conquest of others and chalked this up to “the struggle for existence.”
    The powerful were quick to latch on to such statements. H. G. Wells wrote in The Outline of History: “Prevalent peoples at the close of the nineteenth century believed that they prevailed by virtue of the Struggle for Existence, in which the strong and cunning get the better of the weak and confiding. And they believed further that they had to be strong, energetic, ruthless, ‘practical,’ egotistical.”

    Thus, “survival of the fittest” took on philosophical, social, and political overtones, often to an absurd extent. “To some war became ‘a biological necessity,’” said the book Milestones of History. And this book noted that during the next century, “Darwinian ideas formed an integral part of Hitler’s doctrine of racial superiority.” Of course, neither Darwin, Marx, nor Nietzsche lived to see how their ideas would be applied—or misapplied. Indeed, they expected that the struggle for existence would improve man’s lot in life.

    Secondly, no matter what the social and philosophical consequences of the theory of biological evolution are, we cannot deny scientific facts just because they have negative philosophical and social implications (if followed in social interactions). It’s like saying we deny the scientific truth of nuclear science because we don’t like the fact that they can, and have, been used to produce a bomb.

    We cannot and should not deny scientific facts. Taking a scientific theory such as Darwinian evolution and applying it to the human race from political and sociological perspectives, however, leads to racism and eugenics if left unchecked. The facts of history show this; people took Darwin’s theory out of the science classroom and applied it to everyday life. The results are all around us.

    As I stated before, scientific progress is a good thing. But science and scientists should be held accountable for what they do, whether it is good (penicillin) or bad (the nuclear bomb). Just because you can create a hydrogen bomb doesn’t mean that you have to, or that you should. Just because you can clone an animal or a human being doesn’t mean that you have to, or that you should. Ideas have consequences, just like actions do, and scientists above all else should be aware of this simple fact.

    In terms of the objectivity of moral laws, we know from studies of various societies, both advanced and primitive, that some moral laws vary depending on the society in question. In the Spartan society it was deemed “good” for society to kill all babies that were malformed. Today we would look at that with horror, but in the Spartan society, which was a very militaristic society, it was seen as a necessary act for their survival. In the old testament of the bible, for another example, men had many wives.

    And as pointed out earlier, an objective standard of morality would prevent societies from overstepping moral boundaries.

    Polygamy still exists in several Islamic societies today. In ancient Greek societies, as well as in later societies, (Japanese, the Western Renaissance, and later) honor was paramount, the loss of which demanded either a retraction or a duel to the death. Today we sue for slander. If I take the time, I can find countless such moral laws that are conditional on the times, the religious views and the specific conditions of that society. Moral laws, however, have nothing, I propose, to do with scientific facts. We can create a society with the best moral laws even though we may have evolved by a biological process which doesn’t follow them.

    Your last sentence is a paradox. If we evolved from a biological process which does not recognize morality or follow any moral guidelines, then where, when, how, and why did we evolve a system of morality? What steps were needed for this to take place?

    It would violate one of Gandhi’s seven social sins—‘politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, education without character, commerce without morality, worship without sacrifice and science without humanity.’

    Sometimes people use science as a cover for deeper motives. Consider what atheist Aldous Huxley wrote: “I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none.” What were his motives? “For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality.”

  41. 41

    Barb,

    In other words, we are not making up morals as we go along; we have definitive moral guidelines in place that show us what we ought to do.

    If that’s how you’re defining “objective” than instead of agreeing with the OP, I’d say you were closer to being on the side of the opposition.

    Surely even materialists can rigidly follow moral guidelines – which you describe as meaning that one has objective standards of morality. But this is precisely what the OP is arguing against – he argues that materialism would mean there are no objective moral standards.

    If something is objectively morally wrong, taking the definition given above, it means that something lies outside of the moral guidelines we have in place.

    Which is precisely what those who argue that even with materialism that we can have objective moral standards argue.

    How would anyone, atheist or believer, justify rape? Oh, wait. They have.

    No, they haven’t. At least not in this case. Even IF their claims are right that rape evolved (which I REALLY doubt), I can’t fathom how someone could take that to mean that they are claiming that rape is justified.

    If you believed the Bible, you would realize that your morality does stem from empathy—because God designed you that way, in his image, reflecting his qualities.

    I do realize that morality stems from empathy. As I said, whether Christian or materialist, the foundation of morality – empathy – is the same. I’d say we’re mostly in agreement.

  42. Barb#40: I think we agree, to some degree. We agree that scientific facts and theories should not be applied to social engineering. We agree that scientists need to be careful in what they research and how they use their discoveries (not just scientists, of course, but society’s leaders), and we agree that moral laws are needed in a society.

    What we don’t seem to agree on is my last “paradoxical” sentence. As I pointed out, moral laws existed before there were Christian laws. How were they developed? They were not handed down by God, or at least not by the God we observe, but were developed by the mind of men and women. They were deemed appropriate to their times and societal conditions. Today we look upon war as generally evil, but not always. We have fought religious wars which have been deemed just by the Church. In fact, an argument can be made that religion, in all its forms, has caused much of the atrocities that have plagued mankind for millennia. You will say that they were misguided. But you don’t propose doing away with religion as a result. In the same vein, I can say that some scientists and social “engineers” have been misguided, looking on science to guide them in everything. But you seem to blame science more, or scientists, for our social ills than you do religion for all the wars and social ills (the Inquisition comes to mind) that it has engendered.

    I don’t believe God’s laws were handed down to Moses. For one thing, many are redundant, poorly phrased. For another, many if not all of them existed before Moses, in one form or another. Ancient Athens for example.

    I don’t particularly care what psychological problems Aldous Huxley had. It has no bearing on the discussion of the benefits of science or of morality. He was one person with his own particular problems. I don’t measure “Man” by the worst or the best examples. We, as a species, muddle along trying to find out who and what we are using the only method we know, i.e. the scientific method, and create our own moral codes to help us live together. In the future, I’m sure our moral codes will be different from the ones we have today (war will be unthinkable, for example, or marriage may no longer fit our needs). Who knows?

    As an aside, I find it difficult to understand how, on the one hand, ID wants to argue for its point of view on the scientific arena, and then argue against science on the other. If we accept the scientific methodology then we need to go where it leads us, in terms of knowledge, not necessarily its application.

  43. All:

    An interesting set of exchanges, with mixed results. But at least the issues of the OP are now on the table as the focal concern.

    The point of evolutionary materialism, is that it assumes or asserts that reality is exhausted by matter and energy in space-time, driven by blind, non-foresighted forces of chance and mechanical necessity, from hydrogen to humans. This is not just a set of scientific findings and claims, it is a worldview frame.

    Indeed, it CANNOT be a matter of scientifically established, practically indisputable “fact.”

    Yes, I know, I know, there is a common talking point that the chain of claimed evolutions from Hydrogen to Humans is a fact as certain as gravity or the roundness of the earth or the orbiting of the planets around the sun etc. Duly pronounced by august figures in lab coats and drummed into now generations of students as so beyond dispute. So much so that as BM just showed, it is commonly perceived by those “safely” in the evo mat fold, that to challenge evolutionary materialism is to be against science. Not at all, it is to expose the ideological, question-begging, manipulative wolf in the lab coat and to call for its expulsion from the halls of genuine scientific inquiry on grounds of distorting the ability of science at its best to fearlessly seek the truth about our world in light of empirical evidence, cogent reasoning and free but mutually respectful discussion among the informed. (Not by unjust smearing and career busting as has become too much a feature of current events on origins science research, but exposure of a distorting ideology and removing its undue influence on the way science works.)

    For classic example, here is Lewontin again:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated . . . [["Billions and billions of demons," NYRB, Jan 1997. And if you imagine that this is "quote mined," kindly compare the fuller cite and notes at the just linked. The very fact that this has to be pointed out to correct a typical atmosphere-poisoning, issue clouding rebuttal, itself underscores what has been going wrong. To be elaborated below.]

    The problem is, all of this ideological a priori imposition of materialism is a plain case of the ignorance that has the conceit of knowledge, as Socrates is said to have rebuked Alcibiades, in Alcibiades I.

    (And yes, while this dialogue is probably spurious, it does capture the essence of a good slice of the debates over the rise of evolutionary materialism in Athens in the 400′s BC. yes, that is what Plato pointed to as the avant garde of thought in his day. That is where the clip from The Laws Bk X I commonly refer to begins.)

    In short, pace BM and others of like ilk, our very understanding of science, its methods and the degree of warrant attaching to key announced results have become warped and corrupted.

    Why do I say so?

    Because, there is a category error in the common comparison. One driven by a failure to recognise key distinctions in the methods and level of warrant on findings in science. Specifically, the roundness of the earth, the orbiting of the planets and the laws of gravitation are matters of current observation of the actual course of events. Some have used the term, operational science to highlight this. By contrast, the deep past of origins, and its attempted “historical” reconstruction on traces in the present and forces, circumstances and factors that seem to give similar traces per inference to best — most plausible — current explanation, is a different kettle of fish. Some have used the terms, origins or historical science, to mark that.

    We simply were never there to see the ACTUAL deep past beyond record.

    Fact.

    So, the confidently projected reconstructions are all MODELS of the past, not actual pictures of it.

    They are simply not in the same category as direct observations and measurements of the experienced, observed present and the past of record passed down to us by those who were there. And to pretend or project otherwise while figuratively or literally wearing the lab coat, in textbooks, museum displays, films, books, television, on the Internet etc, is to continue a misrepresentation in the teeth of duties of care to accuracy and disclosure of limitations on findings. Already a major moral challenge: LYING by creating or perpetuating a misrepresentation that ought to instead be corrected. And in a case, where right at the root of the Darwinist tree of life, origin of life, OOL, is simply not explained on the evo mat model, but where there are traces from the past sufficient to show that it is highly credible that we are dealing with cell based life using DNA codes and molecular nanotech systems similar to living forms today.

    Where also, such is full of functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I. In a further context where it is easily shown that the only observationally warranted and sampling-theory credibly adequate cause of such FSCO/I is design.

    That is, one would be properly warranted by the canons of origins science and the inductive logic of inference to best explanation, in many ways, to conclude that the origin of the cell is best explained on design as causal process. Stoutly resisted and widely denounced because it cuts across a controlling materialistic a priori that demands that nothing but blind chance and mechanical necessity be allowed to explain, OBFUSCATING WHAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE QUITE DECISIVE EVIDENCE ON THE EXISTENCE, CAPABILITIES AND CREDIBLE SIGNS OF DESIGN AS AN EMPIRICALLY RELEVANT CAUSE. Another case of willful misrepresentation used to manipulate those not n a position to otherwise be aware of the balance on the merits.

    You will see that I used OUGHT.

    Yes, that is the pivotal issue on matters of morality.

    Namely, we evidently are under moral government and face the compelling force of ought, to the point that a particularly common human interaction, quarrelling, pivots on the premise that we intuitively know we have a duty of care to truth, accuracy, fairness, etc, and that we should recognise a spark of equal worth in the fellow human being — exactly what evolutionary materialist schemes cannot ground and exactly what led to the totalitarian and abuse of law horrors of the century just past. To the point where when I presented cases in point on the subject of objective examples of what OUGHT not to be done in reply to the suggestion that morality is not objective, there was side-slipping, dodging and the like.

    Barb was right to speak up as a woman, that if someone is not willing to acknowledge that rape is plainly and objectively wrong, that person is monstrous. Something is warped.

    To that, I add that if your view cannot ground why Beslan, the 30 million dead Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians, the 5 – 6 million dead Poles (including half of the Jewish Holocaust, e.g. Warsaw being at the time a leading Jewish city in the world), the 20 – 30 millions murdered by Stalin and co, t6he was it 70 millions by Mao and co, etc etc, not to mention the 53 – 55 millions dead in the wombs of North America since the US Supreme Court ruling of January 1973, are cases of wrong, of what OUGHT not to have been done, then it is hopelessly monstrous. [NB: The willful, misleading manipulation of the language of rights and choice to create the widespread perception that wrong is right in the case of the notorious 1973 US Supreme Court ruling is especially heinous and has contributed to a generation with consciences benumbed by mass blood-guilt, the most corrupting, conscience-benumbing de-moralising influence in the world . . . ]

    And so we come to the IS-OUGHT gap.

    Hume’s pretended “surprize” that all of a sudden there is a shift in discussion from IS to OUGHT, without evident grounds, does highlight one key point.

    Namely, that there is but one place where OUGHT can find grounding in a worldview. Its very foundations or roots. (And I need not detain us here on why I hold, strongly, that worldviews held by humans as finite, fallible, struggling and too often ill-willed creatures, MUST be based on finitely remote foundations, and should take steps to secure such, per comparative difficulties, from worldview level question-begging. Cf. here on.)

    Evolutionary materialism posits that he world is rooted in matter and energy, interacting by blind, non-foresighted forces of chance and/or mechanical necessity. Leading to an onward blind evolution from Hydrogen to humans, shaping everything by forces that are irrelevant to truth, reason, soundness, or morality. These forces and factors, patently, cannot ground OUGHT in any objective way. Why, they cannot ground the reasoning, rational, warranting, knowing mind, reducing mind to self-referential incoherence as already cited from indisputable sources at 29 above. (That line of objections was promptly dropped, I see.)

    That is the point the OP draws out, as JLA is seeking to work out his basis for a worldview, and is squarely facing the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism. Full marks for such grim honesty.

    So, we are at worldview foundations level, and we are in search of an IS that has the capacity to objectively ground and warrant OUGHT.

    Cutting to the chase scene, there is just one serious candidate, the necessary being, the inherently good and just Creator God. Yes, Him whom Lewontin and co shudder to think of casting his shadow on the door step.

    Well, then let Lewontin hear and soundly answer Provine and others from Plato on, on the implications of so trying to a priori lock such a One out. Amorality and radical relativism, opening the door to ruthless nihilistic factions that operate by the premise that might, intimidation, bullying, manipulation and clever misleading make ‘truth,’ ‘knowledge’ and ‘right’ as well as ‘rights.’

    By utter contrast, observe the justly famous second paragraph of the US Declaration of Independence, which is demonstrably in the main rooted in Biblical, Christian soil:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 - 21, 2:14 - 15], 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, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .

    And, when Locke, one of the conduits by which that link came about, set out to ground what would become modern democratic self government on firm principles, he had resort to “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker,” in that worthy’s Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on. Here we cite and augment, from the second essay on civil government ch 2, sec 5, a passage that somehow “mysteriously” generally does not make it into the textbooks:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, "ch." 8, p.80. Where of course the point is that we are made equally in the image of God and so have inherent equal dignity and rights that ought to be respected.]

    And indeed, Locke had more to say, rooted in biblical soil, on moral knowledge, here in Section 5 of his intro to his essay on human understanding, yet another of those passages in major authors that somehow — “mysteriously” — does not make it into our textbooks:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 - 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 - 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 - 2 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 - 21, Eph 4:17 - 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 - 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 - 14 etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 - 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke's allusions and citations.]

    So, we see also that the tendency to trot out long, one-sided litanies of complaints — cf. here on — on the real and imagined crimes and sins of Christendom, and to pretend that the Christian faith (so caricatured) is a blind, irrational and delusional devotion to an imaginary, destructively capricious and even murderous bronze age sky god, is a willfully manipulative distortion of the balance and core of Biblical teaching, the history of the Christian faith in our civilisation, and its contributions to the rise of modern liberty and democratic self-government. There is even a pretence that wants to suggest (even after being publicly corrected and having to concede, cf. comment here) that Jesus of Nazareth was probably imaginary and that the moral teachings he clearly drew forth from the Mosaic deposit, were an anomaly in the barbarisms of that remote era. Not to mention an atmosphere poisoning distraction from the issue of the vital importance of adequate worldview foundations for morality.

    Such is unworthy.

    So, we are back to the point that we must needs ground OUGHT in IS, right in the foundations of our worldviews. And, we see that there is but one serious candidate to do so. The inherently good, wise, just Creator God. Exactly, the being at the focus of the historic Judaeo-Christian worldview.

    On this alone, such faith is not irrational or inherently suspect and dangerous, but a LEGITIMATE AND SERIOUS WORLDVIEW OPTION. This should be plain, epecially once we understand the core of the relevant moral tradition and the contributions it has made to progress in our civilisation through many reformations.

    Yes, that civilisation subject to such prophetic intellectual and cultural leadership — quite often, Bible in hand and heart — also has its fair share of sins, crimes and follies.

    Given that we are finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed sinners, that is unsurprising.

    Given also that power tends to corrupt and that power without effective accountability and limits corrupts without limit, benumbing conscience and blinding minds, it is again no surprise that too often power elites have been the locus of abuse and worse.

    That is a general challenge of power elites in all times and places, and it is one of the most powerful reasons behind the second paragraph of the US DOI of 1776, the birth certificate of modern democratic self government and a call to accountability and reformation in government. A document which, IIRC, had direct impacts as far away as then secluded Japan.

    A document that points out the way that objectivity of morality is grounded: certain moral truths are self evidently so:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 - 21, 2:14 - 15], 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 . . .

    Self evident truths are rooted in our common sense experience of ourselves and our world. When we examine such a claim in our world as going concern, we find that, first, on understanding the claim in that light, we immediately and intuitively see that it is so. We further see that it MUST be so, on pain of immediate, patent descent into absurdity and incoherence.

    The right to life in light of our common understanding of ourselves as equally human and equally valuable, is the premise of all other rights, so to rob one of life without just cause, is patently wrong.

    Hence, many of the examples cited above.

    Hence also, the strong and all too commonly seen tendency to dehumanise, stereotype, scapegoat, denigrate and demonise the intended victim of murder or the like robbing innocents of their lives. (This also highlights how destructively wrong the rhetoric of such dehumanisation, denigration and demoralisation is. Privileges for me, no rights for thee is self-evidently deceptive and destructively evil.)

    Similarly, we observe the warning-signs the US founders emphasised as calling for reformation of power arrangements and institutions:

    when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [us] under absolute Despotism, it is [our] right, it is [our] duty, to throw off such Government [or, we may safely add: governance], and to provide new Guards for [our] future security . . .

    Pivotal to all this is a design inference.

    Namely, on evidence of systematic abuse and usurpation pointing to oppression and subjugation under it, we the people have a right and a duty to act, in our own defence and the cause of our children. First, to speak out in protest and to call for reformation and accountability over and correction of wrongs already done — hence the significance of rights to freedom of expression, publication, association, conscience and petition for redress of grievance.

    Second, where there is resistance and where there is targetting and retaliation against such spokesmen, we have a further right to act in our own self defence. Through the courts or other means of redress.

    But sometimes these too have become corrupted.

    In such a case, we have a right to withdraw from existing institutions and to set up new ones, whether education, media, cultural, community or whatever. Including, new political groupings, targetting both corrupt policy and corrupt or incompetent policy makers.

    Where — by abuse of the power to tax or the like — if there is a further targetting of such alternative institutions, that is a yet further warning sign.

    The next level of resort is the ballot box, the hard- bought, paid for in blood means of peaceful accountability in government and thus also of peaceful revolution.

    Yes, of peaceful revolution.

    Governments and institutions that become corrupt and abusive, resistant to reformation, require replacement.

    Replacement by sound alternatives.

    WHICH IN TURN AGAIN REQUIRE FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION, PUBLICATION, CONSCIENCE AND EXPRESSION, IF THEY ARE TO BE ESTABLISHED AND TO GROW TO A POINT WHERE THEY HAVE ENOUGH CREDIBILITY TO BE SERIOUS ALTERNATIVES.

    Which, points to the terrible significance of the sort of poisonous, targetting tactics that have been used so consistently and routinely by the evolutionary materialist establishment in recent years, in science, in the academy, in the media, through career busting, in court and even in parliaments.

    The current wave of scandals in the US over abuse of taxing authorities, is symptomatic, and a warning on the sort of issues, abusive misuse of office and influence, and the resulting major concerns that we now face.

    All of which brings us full circle to the indictment JLA has put on the table above.

    His concerns are patently well warranted.

    They have a long, long, long and sorry track record. (All the way back to Plato in The Laws, Bk X.)

    So, we must now face them, and we must now face the signs all around of a dangerous degree of corruption of key institutions in our civilisation by ruthless nihilistic factions energised by the undue cultural prestige of evolutionary materialism dressed up in the lab coat.

    It is time for reformation.

    For, on evidence of a long train of abuses and usurpations, further delay may well be fatal.

    KF

  44. F/N: It is probably necessary to cite Plato’s remark in The Laws, Bk X:

    __________

    >> [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say
    that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and
    stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate
    existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some
    inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with
    cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all
    the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by
    necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by
    art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different
    places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that
    the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind
    are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of
    authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made
    .- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license
    and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth.
    They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary
    materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual
    contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here],
    these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to
    nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such
    amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless
    tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . >>
    __________

    Grim reading.

  45. F/N: I have updated headline and OP to reflect more correctly what JLA has said about his perspective. KF

  46. KF: I feel like the lawyer who asks for one document from the opposing side and is given ten boxes of documents, mostly irrelevant to the search, to sift through. So I will focus on just one, my main point. Scientific methodology.

    Your main problem with the scientific methodology, from what I can gather, is that scientists, and the scientific establishment, have a bias of materialism. Well, why is that so surprising? Scientific methodologies were created in order to study the physical world. If the science, in which I include math and physics, obviously, point to something we, until now, have relegated to faith and religion, science acknowledges to it. A prime example is “consciousness” in quantum physics. BA has give us more quotes than we can humanly handle on the subject. I’ll give you just two.

    “British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington (5) said that “physics is the study of the structure of consciousness. The ‘stuff’ of the world is mindstuff.” In the same article Max Planck, the “father” of quantum physics, is quoted as having stated, “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as the result of my research about the atoms, this much: There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together … We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”

    “Fred Alan Wolf, former professor of Physics at San Diego University and author of Taking the Quantum Leap and several other bestsellers, said in a 2008 interview (6): “there seems to be the presence of something called Mind, or something outside of the physical world, which seems to be needed or present in order to explain, completely, the observations of reality that we have been able to carry out up to now. And, there seems to be no way to get out of that.”

    The point I am making is that science has rules and tools. By their very nature these rules and tools are limited, first to measuring only what is measurable , and secondly by the progress science has made in its tools. If by using these rules and tools it arrives at a conclusion that there is something called Mind, which Andrei Linde, Professor of Physics at Stanford University (and one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory, eternal inflation and the inflationary multiverse), has even proposed exists in its own “brane” as a force independent of matter, then scientists have no problem in acknowledging it.

    The problem the scientific community has with ID, I think, is that it sees ID as being too eager to ascribe scientific findings to other-worldly causes. In medical school, one of the first things we are told is never ascribe a patient’s physical symptoms to psychological causes before you have exhausted all possible physical causes for the symptoms. That is, psychological causes are the last resort. And even then, we have, over the years, found that what we previously thought were psychological causes actually had a physical basis to them. So we go back and revise our diagnosis. I think the same argument holds here. Scientists can’t measure God. It can only measure what it can measure with its tools. So all they are saying, it seems to me, is exhaust all possible physical explanations for the data before you jump to non-physical causes. In addition, what we can measure, and what we can discover through math and physics, is always changing. Let the progress play out. Let the scientific methodology play out. Truth will come out, eventually.

    In the case of quantum physics, they used math to hypothesize that consciousness, a non-physical force, has a pivotal role in the universe. All well and good. But they arrived at that conclusion through their tools (math), not by jumping to the conclusion because they didn’t have any other explanation. Your argument that design is the best explanation we have so far is the SO FAR part. It is premature. And it is untestable by our scientific tools. Yes, I know that some in the community have claimed that mathematically it is impossible for evolution to have created everything. Fine, let the mathematicians argue about it. I’m not one of them. If it turns out to be true, then all will acknowledge it. But until now, the main scientific community has not agreed.

    All the other points you are making are for another time. Thank you for sharing your obviously vast knowledge on the subject.

  47. BM: It seems you are not interested in the underlying worldview issue at stake, not a good sign. Also, are you aware that I am a scientist/science educator in my own right and have no problem with inductive logic and epistemology, but do have a problem with imposition of question-begging, historically, logically and philosophically unwarranted, evidence-suppressing, truth hampering a prioris? Cf. here on on the implications of what Lewontin, the US NSTA and the US NAS et al have put on the table, and understand what such means in terms of twisting science into being applied atheistical ideology, and science education into atheistical proselytisong, given the range of sobering concerns in the OP. As, I have long since spoken to here on, with a discussion of sound scientific methods — there is no single, one size fits all scientific method (never mind the oversimplification taught in school) — here. Moreover, the pivotal issue is not attachment of “science” as a word-magic prestigious label, but the underlying logic and epistemology of warrant. Finally, this thread, given the issues at stake, is inherently about worldview level issues that are even more important than the logic and epistemology. The chemists in I G Farben was it were doing technically good chemistry put to utterly evil ends when they perfected Zyklon B as a “human insecticide.” Similarly, in the early phases of WW II, no army excelled the German one in technical, science and engineering driven prowess, but they were a part of one of the wickedest schemes ever devised. I just saw for instance where if Barbarossa had succeeded, the intent was to simply confiscate the produce etc from the conquered so that an estimated 30 millions would have starved that winter, creating the Lebensraum desired. Wake up, man! KF

  48. billmaz:

    The problem the scientific community has with ID, I think, is that it sees ID as being too eager to ascribe scientific findings to other-worldly causes. In medical school, one of the first things we are told is never ascribe a patient’s physical symptoms to psychological causes before you have exhausted all possible physical causes for the symptoms. That is, psychological causes are the last resort. And even then, we have, over the years, found that what we previously thought were psychological causes actually had a physical basis to them. So we go back and revise our diagnosis. I think the same argument holds here. Scientists can’t measure God. It can only measure what it can measure with its tools. So all they are saying, it seems to me, is exhaust all possible physical explanations for the data before you jump to non-physical causes. In addition, what we can measure, and what we can discover through math and physics, is always changing. Let the progress play out. Let the scientific methodology play out. Truth will come out, eventually.

    I don’t agree with you.

    First of all, science is not only about things that can be measured, but about anything that can be observed.

    Consciousness is part of reality, it can be observed (in ourselves) and its interactions with reality can very well be observed. So, consciousness must be part of science.

    Science has to be empirical, but in no way it has to be bases on a materialist worldview. That is a serious cognitive bias.

    Scientism is the imposition of an ideology (reductionist materialism) on science, and it creates huge limitations to an open scientific thought. The difficulties that many intelligent neo darwinists have to simply grasp the fundamental concept of CSI is a good example of prejudice and bad thinking.

    CSI, or dFSCI, is a valid empirical tool to study the interactions between consciousness and matter, and the nature of biological information. To deny the ID theory because “Truth will come out, eventually” is serious dogma, and has nothing scientific.

    In the same way, traditional physicicsts could have denied quantum theory because they preferred to explain things with their traditional tools.

    ID theory is a fundamental step in understanding the nature of design, and how consciousness, and only consciousness, can give unique form to matter. It is empirical and sound. Neo darwinists deny it only because they are dogmatic, and they are not doing any good science with that.

    Your idea that in medicine we should give priority to physical explanations, and deny the importance of psychological factors, is strange indeed. Psychological factors do have great importance, as do physical factors. Medical theories can be wrong in both directions, as any scientific theory. The important thing is to remain empirical, not to remain materialist, as you seem to believe.

    In the end, truth will come out only if we look for it with honesty. Empirical, honest science can certainly help us to find some truth by our humble theories. ID is empirical, honest science. Neo darwinism is not.

  49. 49

    First of all, science is not only about things that can be measured, but about anything that can be observed.

    Consciousness is part of reality, it can be observed (in ourselves) and its interactions with reality can very well be observed. So, consciousness must be part of science.

    Science has to be empirical, but in no way it has to be based on a materialist worldview. That is a serious cognitive bias.

    These simply words, along with an individual’s innate curiosity to seek knowledge, entirely empty the materialist’s enforcement over science in irrational belief.

    GP, it is always a great pleasure to see your contributions here.

  50. Thank you, UB. Always a joy to hear from you!

  51. What proof does anyone have that humanity is important in anyway, shape or form? You are one person out of a billion people, people are one species out of hundreds on this planet, the planet is one out eight planets in the solar system, the solar system is one out of hundreds in this galaxy, the galaxy is one out billions in the universe and the universe is one out of countless. The only place where humanity matters is in our brain and no where else. According to neuroscience, our brain produces nothing but illusions like mind, free will conciousness and reason. By extension, the importance of man is also an illusion. Nature can wipe us out in so many ways at any time without a second thought. The universe lived before man and it will live after man. It doesn’t need us. In fact, the only solution to ALL of man’s problems is extinction.

  52. GP:

    Good to hear from you.

    Your view as a physician is always useful, and your general thinking is also very helpful.

    I am noticing here how, when there is a thread on science issues and evidence it is often dodged, or the substance is diverted from. Notice BM at 6 there, only a few weeks back, looking at a thread on inferring design as causal process on empirical evidence and demanding to make the matter about who is the designer.

    Put one up on worldview and worldview foundation issues (this one) — thus explicitly on the wider phil concerns that DO address who would be a credible designer of the cosmos and particularly one with morally governed reasoning creatures — and the complaint is, you don’t deal with sci, and are opposed to sci.

    Sadly revealing.

    The obvious conclusion is BM is playing at promoting deceitful talking points on ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo. He knows or full well should know, that THE CREATIONISTS OFTEN OBJECT TO DESIGN THEORY PRECISELY BECAUSE IT, AS SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION, IT STOPS WHERE SCIENCE STOPS: WE CAN INDUCTIVELY WARRANT INFERENCE TO DESIGN AS CREDIBLE CAUSAL PROCESS, BUT THAT DOES NOT NECESSARILY TELL US WHO OR WHAT THE RELEVANT DESIGNER IS.

    As to the design inference is to the supernatural canard used to provide plausibility for the ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo talking point, at this point with anyone who has been around long enough to access just the UD correctives, I have to take that as at best willful blindness and ideological strawman projection the better to stereotype and dismiss.

    At worst, willfully calculated knowing deceit.

    From Plato in The Laws Bk X on, the design inference on sign has been an inference to most credible explanation as causal process. Where the relevant contrast is nature acting by chance and/or necessity vs the ART-ificial.

    So, BM, either leg of that dilemma, is revealing the significance of the concerns on undermining of moral principle and practice that is the main focus of the thread.

    It is entirely in order for us to ask, what someone who accepts an ideology — evolutionary materialism — that entails (as JLA is clipped as saying, cf. OP):

    No objective, absolute, inherent morality in life or the universe. No good, no evil, no right, no wrong

    No objective, absolute, inherent truth in life or the universe
    • No objective, absolute, inherent knowledge in life or the universe
    • No objective, absolute, inherent logic in life or the universe
    We have no free-will, mind, consciousness, rationality or reason. They are illusions and our very personhood, identity and humanity are not real
    The emotions we express are just chemicals in our brain. The very things we seek in life like happiness, peace, contentment, joy are just chemicals reducing us to nothing more than chemical addicts.
    We are no more important than other animals. A dog is a rat is a pig is a boy.

    . . . is likely to do in a rhetorical situation where he perceives an advantage from spreading a false but likely poisonously effective accusation.

    Maybe, on the years long track record of far too many objectors to design theory, we don’t have to ask.

    Certainly, that would go a long way to explaining a long train of abuses and usurpations, smears, slanders, willful distortions, deceptions, continued misrepresentations in the teeth of correction, blatant big lies, outing attacks on innocent family held hostage and the like.

    In short, what BM tried to brush aside as irrelevant is all too directly on target.

    KF

  53. 53

    JLA,

    The design inference is not based on the importance of mankind. It’s based on observations of cause, effect, matter, and energy.

  54. JLA:

    At this point, we are dealing with worldviews. Even in the narrower circle of scientific investigations, we are dealing with observations and explanations in light of experiences. a largely inductive world. Where we must ever bear in mind how Newtonian dynamics ran into a wall some 100 years ago.

    Strictly, proof — a slippery term that in a selectively hyperskeptical age easily slides over to demanding levels of evidence only Math can deliver — is not relevant to matters of observed and reported fact, or to inductive warrant of explanations as best so far, etc. Yes, we often find reliable findings, but they are ever provisional. Life is like that for the finite, fallible, morally challenged, and too often ill-willed. Us.

    Hence the force of Locke’s point about the candle set up in us.

    Worldviews are addressed on comparative difficulties, and it is the cumulative warrant for the view that would have capacity to give high confidence to our belief that we have rights, binding moral expectations that others treat us in accord with our common human dignity.

    And in the context of such warrant, a view that leads to implications that we have no reliable minds, no credible basis for reason or confidence in truth, or no basis for moral principles, is going to be deeply suspect.

    Indeed, it is largely the prestige conferred by wearing the lab coat that has given credence to such a view. However, it should be noted that there is a vicious circle at work, once we have a priori materialism being inserted into definitions of science and its methods.

    As is plainly happening.

    I suggest, again, that you may wish to read here on.

    KF

  55. Billmaz writes,

    If that’s how you’re defining “objective” than instead of agreeing with the OP, I’d say you were closer to being on the side of the opposition.

    No, actually, I agree with the OP. The view expressed by JLAfan2001 is that of strong nihilism and that is basically what evolution leads to: a purposeless existence.

    Surely even materialists can rigidly follow moral guidelines – which you describe as meaning that one has objective standards of morality. But this is precisely what the OP is arguing against – he argues that materialism would mean there are no objective moral standards.

    Materialists can rigidly follow moral guidelines. My point is that they have no objective source for these guidelines. They are simply following whatever their culture or society teaches them, which can vary. Conversely, the objective guidelines found in scripture apply to all people no matter where they live: “thou shalt not kill” applies equally in the United States, Europe, and Egypt.

    Which is precisely what those who argue that even with materialism that we can have objective moral standards argue.

    No, see above. Materialists only have the material universe to work with; they cannot claim inspiration from any other source.

    No, they haven’t. At least not in this case. Even IF their claims are right that rape evolved (which I REALLY doubt), I can’t fathom how someone could take that to mean that they are claiming that rape is justified.

    Their claims are that rape is simply a by-product of evolutionary biology. Perhaps justified is the wrong word to use, but the book argues that rape should not be classified as criminal behavior because it is simply a manifestation of our genetic code.
    Interestingly, I have yet to see anyone—believer or non-believer—argue that their thesis is correct. I also linked to a university website which discussed rape and assault—did you notice that many men answered (honestly) that they would rape someone under certain circumstances? Now, if rape is always objectively wrong, then where are these men getting their morality from?

    Barb#40: I think we agree, to some degree. We agree that scientific facts and theories should not be applied to social engineering. We agree that scientists need to be careful in what they research and how they use their discoveries (not just scientists, of course, but society’s leaders), and we agree that moral laws are needed in a society.

    Absolutely. If evolution is truly a scientific theory, then it should stay in the laboratory and not be applied to political or social systems.

    What we don’t seem to agree on is my last “paradoxical” sentence. As I pointed out, moral laws existed before there were Christian laws. How were they developed? They were not handed down by God, or at least not by the God we observe, but were developed by the mind of men and women.

    I found it paradoxical simply because you are stating that something without purpose and developed by blind chance somehow became purposeful and developed sight. There is no discussion anywhere of the how, when, why, and where of this happening. How did a purposeless universe become populated with beings who search for the meaning of life?

    They were deemed appropriate to their times and societal conditions. Today we look upon war as generally evil, but not always. We have fought religious wars which have been deemed just by the Church. In fact, an argument can be made that religion, in all its forms, has caused much of the atrocities that have plagued mankind for millennia.

    Violence of any sort is generally thought to be evil. The Church’s justification of war does not mean that the victorious armies had God’s blessing. You could argue that religion has done a great deal of harm to humankind throughout history, but this pales in comparison with atheistic leaders such as Stalin and Lenin and Pol Pot, who murdered millions more. Remember that Communist leaders such as Stalin and Lenin were influenced by the writings of Marx, who in turn was influenced by the writings of Darwin. That is where their moral guidelines come from.

    You will say that they were misguided. But you don’t propose doing away with religion as a result. In the same vein, I can say that some scientists and social “engineers” have been misguided, looking on science to guide them in everything. But you seem to blame science more, or scientists, for our social ills than you do religion for all the wars and social ills (the Inquisition comes to mind) that it has engendered.

    All the wars and social ills of humankind cannot be traced back to religion alone; my above comment about Communist regimes proves that.

    I don’t believe God’s laws were handed down to Moses. For one thing, many are redundant, poorly phrased. For another, many if not all of them existed before Moses, in one form or another. Ancient Athens for example.

    Ancient Athens most certainly did not come before Moses. You’re arguing that the laws could not have come from God because of their phrasing; how would you know what God intended? Remember he was giving his laws to a nation of uneducated people who formed an agricultural society. A nation needs laws. The Israelites were therefore given ten basic laws, commonly known as the Ten Commandments, as well as an additional 600 or so regulations. (Exodus 20:1-17) It was a law code based upon fundamental truths that have always applied to true religion, and still do, even in our 20th century.
    Were these laws based upon the already existent Code of Hammurabi? Some people might think so, since Hammurabi, king of Babylon’s first dynasty, ruled well over a century and a half before Israel became a nation. In 1902 his law code was found copied on a stela that had originally been in the temple of Marduk in Babylon. The book Documents From Old Testament Times concludes, however: “Despite many resemblances, there is no ground for assuming any direct borrowing by the Hebrew from the Babylonian. Even where the two sets of laws differ little in the letter, they differ much in the spirit.”

    I don’t particularly care what psychological problems Aldous Huxley had. It has no bearing on the discussion of the benefits of science or of morality. He was one person with his own particular problems.

    You should care, because his writings influenced other people to think the same way he did. Ideas have consequences.

    I don’t measure “Man” by the worst or the best examples. We, as a species, muddle along trying to find out who and what we are using the only method we know, i.e. the scientific method, and create our own moral codes to help us live together.

    We do not use the scientific method to determine our morality. That makes no sense. Humans need a standard of morality to guide themselves with; simply “muddling along” leads to dissatisfaction and unanswered questions. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, wrote that man needs to have meaning in his life. You do not develop meaning from doing experiments and developing hypotheses.

    In the future, I’m sure our moral codes will be different from the ones we have today (war will be unthinkable, for example, or marriage may no longer fit our needs). Who knows?

    Moral codes may change, but this partially proves my point: materialists have no objective standard for morality. If they change moral codes like marriage, for example, then their morality is subjective.

    As an aside, I find it difficult to understand how, on the one hand, ID wants to argue for its point of view on the scientific arena, and then argue against science on the other. If we accept the scientific methodology then we need to go where it leads us, in terms of knowledge, not necessarily its application.

    To me, ID isn’t arguing against science at all. As we discussed earlier, scientific theories (ID or evolution or gravity or whatever) should have no bearing on societal values or morality.

  56. F/N: A comment at 28 in the previous thread, to BM, May 3, 2013 at 12:23 am:

    ___________

    >> I see the underlying philosophical and theological issues that drive what you are wanting to discuss. And in its context, that is fine.

    In the context of science as an empirically grounded investigation,
    however, trying to force grand metaphysical debates before inspecting
    facts on the ground and seeking to discern patterns in those facts, has
    historically been deeply counter-productive. Indeed, it has often ended
    up — as arguably is happening right now with the evolutionary
    materialist school of thought that currently dominates origins science
    studies — imposing ideological orthodoxies that hamper the responsible
    investigation of the world as it is.

    Yes, I know, I know, that is the sort of “anti-science” accusation
    typically projected against people of theistic worldviews nowadays
    [which BTW has played a role in more than one unjustified bit of career
    busting by the evolutionary materialists and fellow travellers]. But to
    imagine the problem is confined to — or even most likely to be found in
    the context of — theism is proving to be a mistake. The problem is the
    dead hand of a dominant orthodoxy multiplied by the sort of agendas
    that see themselves justified in resorting to “all means necessary”
    tactics and abusive power reinforcement.

    By contrast I suggest you may want to ponder this summary of what
    science at its best is about:

    science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and
    intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led
    pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable
    description and explanation of it), based on:
    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting
    accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical —
    real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,
    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional —
    abductive explanation of the observed facts,
    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using
    logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational
    imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e
    thought experiments],
    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments,
    observations and measurement; and,
    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of
    fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And,
    especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing
    lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the
    informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild
    of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a
    particular field at any given time.)
    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit
    provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or
    control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    (And yes, this comes from the same IOSE.)

    There is something quite reasonable and self-justifying, in
    accepting the commonsense experience that we live in a world that is
    reasonably orderly and intelligible, grounding empirically based
    investigations seeking to elucidate the driving patterns, the laws,
    forces, constraints and factors that make the world tick. Then,
    investigating on effectively public observable facts and working out
    the driving patterns of reality. Cf. the design inference filter
    flowchart in the OP.

    It is in that context that it is reasonable to ask whether objects
    of interest can show signs that show causes tracing to chance,
    mechanism and design.

    Which is what design theory investigates.

    So, there is nothing disingenuous or hidden agenda about this, it is
    a matter of the question of what can be warranted on empirical facts
    open to in principle public inspection. Then, we can infer on best
    explanation of such facts to find out what is the most satisfying
    causal account.

    That the world of life seems replete with signs pointing to design
    is significant, but it is not in itself a proof that the cell based
    life we have examined, life on this planet, is caused by anything more
    than a molecular nanotech lab several generations beyond Venter et al.

    Going beyond, there is a considerable body of evidence that we live
    in a cosmos with a finitely remote in time beginning, which implies
    causal dependence on an underlying necessary being as root of
    existence. The nature of that cause is not specified by that finding,
    but it sure gives pause.

    To multiply by signs of fine tuning that sets up the sort of life
    enabling cosmos we live in, does raise the issue of design by a
    designer with the skill, power and knowledge to create a cosmos. That
    is discussed in a linked from the OP, here.

    In my view, if that is what you want to explore the proper place for
    it is cosmology.

    KF

    PS: On your worldviews level concerns you may want to look here on. >>
    ____________

    In short, he has already been directly answered on substantial science-related matters, at adequate length with pointers to further resources. Now that we have taken up worldviews issues, he suddenly wants us to switch to answering on science and methods, with accusations or insinuations of being anti-science.

    Given the above, that accusation does not ring of someone doing due diligence to truth and fairness. Instead, it sounds suspiciously like parrotting talking points calculated to poison the atmosphere and distract attention from the principal matters now on the table.

    Surely, BM can do better than that.

    KF

  57. Barb #55. The first four quotes you ascribe to me are not mine.
    The quote you misunderstood regarding science and moral codes did not imply that we use science to develop moral codes. We use science to try to understand our world and we also develop moral codes. The “and” is the key.

    Then, the paradoxical sentence. I find no logical necessity in saying that a mind can only develop a moral code if it sprang from a moral universe. That’s why we have evolved intelligence. To say that only Christians can develop a moral code is plainly wrong, historically. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, etc. can develop moral codes too, and they have. Good ones. The fact that you and KF can find examples of atheistic power-hungry, brutal leaders who haven’t doesn’t prove anything. You can find examples of power-hungry brutal religious leaders too.

    I agree that man has to have meaning in life. Some find it in religion, others in humanity, others don’t ever find it. But let’s not conflate science with faith or meaning. Yes, if you take materialistic evolution to its extreme it implies a meaningless universe. But that is a shallow reading of a scientific hypothesis that doesn’t address meaning and was never meant to, never mind what Darwin may have said. My point still stands: leave science in the laboratory and don’t try to make it into a world view. It was never meant to be one. If others do it, it should be condemned.

    The reason we have FAITH is because it implies a LEAP of faith. A leap beyond fact or reason. We choose to believe in God despite there being no proof. Fine. I may be a believer in a higher being, too. But this LEAP has no place in the laboratory.

    KF: I have never impugned your honesty or your honor. I expect the same from you. I don’t personalize my comments. The reason I can’t address all of your points is that I don’t have the time to spend all day on this blog, as apparently you do. The short answer is that I agree that scientific views do effect world views. How can they not? But to draw the conclusion of a meaningless universe with no moral code from the theory of evolution is to misuse and misunderstand its limitations. We can easily say, as I quote Hick’s paper in another posting, that God created evolution to create man in order for man to reach a union with God. You don’t need to deny evolution to have God, in the same way you don’t need to deny quantum mechanics or gravity. And if evolution is wrong, so be it. I’m not wedded to it. I just need proof of another, better, hypothesis.

    I don’t actually understand what you propose to be the solution. Do you want to infuse faith and religion into science? Do you want scientists to start with the assumption of a designer and go from there? How will that help us? We live in a physical universe. We use physical and mathematical laws to understand it. The introduction of a spiritual cause is not something that science can or was meant to deal with, at least not at this point.

  58. F/N 2: Notice how studiously BM side steps several specific cases of objectively evil acts, starting with the Beslan incident. Let us hear him argue that this matter illustrates how there is nothing more to morality than personally or culturally relative norms. Which of course, points straight to the moral absurdity, the amorality inviting nihilism, of evolutionary materialism. In fact, the objectivity of morality is first recognised on a common sense basis, then it is examined in the context of wider worldviews warrant. On such, per comparative difficulties, we then see what best makes sense of the obvious fact that we find ourselves under moral government: “you unfair me!” The suggestion that differences of opinion on morality are somehow of greater weight than those on mathematics — i.e. error is possible but does not mean there is no correct, well-warranted answer — and reduce us to clashes of views, points again to the amorality at the heart of evolutionary materialism. So, let us go to obvious cases: Beslan and co. Are these plain or not. If so, the relativising objection collapses by counter example. If one actually is willing to look a grieving community including survivors in the face and suggest that what happened was just a clash of opinions, that would immediately expose the absurdity and the dangerous moral hazard. The alternative, of course is to rhetorically duck and get back to talking points. The above therefore speaks for itself. KF

  59. BM:

    With all due respect, just above, I again see the resort to loaded, strawman caricatures in the teeth of previous correction, here associated with the pretence of wounded innocence.

    Let me clip an example:

    Do you want to infuse faith and religion into science? Do you want scientists to start with the assumption of a designer and go from there?

    At what point have I tried to convert inductive, observation-anchored investigation of the world with the ASSUMPTION of a designer, or where have I sought to a priori inject the supernatural into science, or call for conformity with the theocratic agenda that is the insinuation behind your reference to faith and religion?

    The answer is, nowhere.

    Just look again at the post from a month ago here, where I laid out the basic scientific basis and rationale for the design inference.

    Let me add my summary remarks in the just linked post of a month ago, after laying out in outline the basic framework of induction and the pattern of evidence:

    FSCO/I is such a sign, reliably produced by design, and design is the only empirically grounded adequate cause known to produce such. Things like codes [as systems of communication], complex organised mechanisms, complex algorithms expressed in codes, linguistic expressions beyond a reasonable threshold of complexity, algorithm implementing arrangements of components in an information processing entity, and the like are cases in point.

    It turns out that the world of the living cell is replete with such, and so we are inductively warranted in inferring design as best causal explanation. Not, on a priori imposition of teleology, or on begging metaphysical questions, or the like; but, on induction in light of tested, reliable signs of causal forces at work.

    NOWHERE have you engaged this substantially on the merits [just as you are currently ducking issues on grounding morality], but — on fair comment in light of a strawman caricature — you have taken what I did write and twisted it into a toxic caricature, which you have then pretended came out of my mouth. Using, the subtlety of asking loaded questions to get the insinuation pushed in my mouth.

    It does not belong there and you know it or should know it.

    But, there is a toxic talking point that has been spread far and wide by those who know better and who ARE admittedly inserting an a priori censoring assumption into the definition of science and its methods they are willing to accept and pretend have historical warrant and philosophical standing on inductive logic.

    Namely, a priori materialism.

    So, the fair conclusion is that I am highlighting materialistic, question-begging censorship that prevents science from being an unfettered investigation that follows the evidence from the remote past, and instead insists that science must only reason in ways acceptable to a priori materialists.

    Just to quote Lewontin — you glided by that so neatly already as though it were irrelevant, when your behaviour here shows exactly how relevant it is:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated . . . [["Billions and billions of demons," NYRB, Jan 1997. (If you imagine this is a bit of quote mining or is idiosyncratic, cf here on, including especially the assertions by the uS NAS and NSTA.)]

    Now, a full month ago, I laid out the scientific context of the design inference in a nutshell here, where by comment 6, you were trying to pull off track, and to demand that design theory address what the inductive logic does not allow it to do. That was pointed out to you with great patience. Obviously, you paid little or no attention, or you could not in any valid sense of fair comment, suggest that the point of design theory is to inject “religion” etc into science, on the prior “assumption” of a designer.

    Those are very familiar toxic, slander laced strawman tactic tlking points, and they are deceitful. It now matters but little whether you did not know that when you first came to UD, as you had ample opportunity to correct yourself. A month, at minimum. You refused, and you have come back pushing talking points you knew or should have known were slanderous and designed to poison the atmosphere.

    Now, you have a thread that is dealing with wider worldview concerns and in particular with the issues of the nihilism invited by evolutionary materialism as worldview or ideology. AGAIN, you are trying to pull off track, and are refusing to respond to cogent and relevant answers.

    So, at this point, it is very hard for me to do other than conclude that you are not here to discuss in good faith. For reasons that should be quite plain.

    Instead, on fair comment, it is quite evident that you are acting very consistently with the implications of evolutionary materialism and the tendency of ruthless factions that it invites, starting with the following patently absurd views exposed and refuted in the OP:

    No objective, absolute, inherent morality in life or the universe. No good, no evil, no right, no wrong

    No objective, absolute, inherent truth in life or the universe
    • No objective, absolute, inherent knowledge in life or the universe
    • No objective, absolute, inherent logic in life or the universe
    We have no free-will, mind, consciousness, rationality or reason. They are illusions and our very personhood, identity and humanity are not real
    The emotions we express are just chemicals in our brain. The very things we seek in life like happiness, peace, contentment, joy are just chemicals reducing us to nothing more than chemical addicts.
    We are no more important than other animals. A dog is a rat is a pig is a boy.

    So, you will see why I am responding to your nihilist, Alinsky tactics behaviour in accord with the evidence in front of my eyes, over the past month.

    If you wish me to adjust my estimation, you will need to decisively correct your misbehaviour and make amends sufficient to show a change of path.

    Otherwise I will have further reason to draw a stronger conclusion.

    KF

  60. F/N: I should amend one of BM’s remarks appropriately:

    We live in a physical universe [--> as minded, enconscienced, designing creatures who find ourselves to have to trust our minds to be able to apprehend truth and reason, instead of being playthings of blind chance and mechanical necessity, who also make responsible choices]. We use physical and mathematical laws to understand it [--> where such laws are appropriate, and to arrive at such we use logical methods that include inference to best explanation on reliable, empirically tested sign; where also the question of the design inference is not inference to the SUPERNATURAL, but instead inference to blind chance and/or necessity vs that to the ART-ificial, as has been explicitly on the table since Plato in The Laws, Bk X; this is also reflected in the design inference explanatory filter that you should have directly seen in the post from a month ago . . . ].

  61. KF: adjust your estimation, correct my misbehavior, make amends? You must be speaking in Biblical tongue to some acolyte. This conversation has now ended.

    __________

    BM: A conversation is a two-way, mutually respectful interaction. With all due respect, on fair comment rooted in the evidence of the past month [cf. here above], you have consistently played the part of the unscrupulous inquisitor, here to accuse using stock false accusations and to find things that one can hang further accusations on; while refusing to acknowledge the cogency of corrections. Just above, I exposed the pattern sustained across over a month. Instead of addressing the misbehaviour identified, you have now chosen to walk away in a pretence at woundeed innocence. That, sadly, speaks volumes. KF, thread owner

  62. Sorry, billmaz. I confused your post with that of goodusername’s.

  63. billmaz @ 57:

    Yes, if you take materialistic evolution to its extreme it implies a meaningless universe. But that is a shallow reading of a scientific hypothesis that doesn’t address meaning and was never meant to, never mind what Darwin may have said.

    It’s really not taking it to the extreme, nor is it shallow. It’s following the data and coming to a logical conclusion.

  64. B, sadly you are right. And, JLA is showing just how rare his attitude is, in admitting and trying to face it. KF

  65. KF

    I’m all about the honesty. Sadly, I too may have to live the lie of finding meaning in life. The only other alternative is suicide and I don’t really want to fade from existence. On the other hand, perhaps suicide is a form of natural selection culling the weak who can’t handle the realities of life.

  66. JLA: Have you ever considered that the meaninglessness you perceive is a consequence of a system of thought, a worldview; and not necessarily reality? Just because it comes to us dressed up in a lab coat does not mean that it has captured the full panoply of actual reality. On that a salutary lesson was the fate of Newtonian dynamics, which hitherto had seemed ever so unassailably true. That is why I again invite you to look at the worldview level from a different angle. In short, there is hope. KF

  67. Yes! Dont believe those crazies in the white coats! Come with us to the light side where we praise the magic-man in the sky!

  68. JA: Perhaps it has not dawned on you that in my own right, I am entitled to the white coat. Second, what was objected to is an a priori ideology pretending to be science, as Lewontin, Coyne, US NSTA ans US NAS all document, cf. here on. Third, you have therefore played the set up and knock over the strawman game. Fourth, you are failing to address the pivotal matter on the merits, the logical consequences of evolutionary materialist ideology. Fifth, your mockery does not even begin to address the worldviews grounding challenge, as may be seen say here on. Sixth, it does not seem to have dawned on you that there are literally millions of people in the world today, and across the ages who have met God in life-transforming power, which instantly exposes the hollowness in the sort of mockery you indulged. FYI, were it not for such encounters, I literally would not be here to type this post. To someone like me, your hollow mockery simply exposes the emptiness and want of sobriety in the tone and substance of what I see from you. In short, your irresponsible, sophomoric attempt at dismissal by strawman caricature fails. When you sober up from drinking largely from the fountain of learning, maybe you can begin to face the real issues on the table. Please, wake up. KF

  69. The only white coat youre entitled to is the one with the really tight straps.
    _______

    JA this is rude and trollish behaviour, utterly without warrant. Your choice at this point is to apologise and make amends or leave this thread and any I post in future. KF

  70. The only white coat youre entitled to is the one with the really tight straps.

    You can tell when someone’s lost the debate by the insults they begin flinging around. It shows that they have no valid points to make.
    ______
    B, thanks for watching my 6. KF

  71. Or I just couldnt care less when it comes to conversing with pompous windbags on their high-horse.
    _______
    It continues and gets worse. JA is not a civil participant in a civil discussion. KF

  72. The only pompous windbag here is you, Joealtle. You are a sad little troll. And I pity you.

  73. Thank you, that means a lot coming from you.

    ___
    Your behaviour shows that you have nothing of substance to contribute on the merits, at this point. You know your options. KF

  74. NOTICE: Commenter Joealtle — as the above documents in clear details — has shown trollish, insulting and disrespectful conduct instead of engaging serious matters on the merits, becoming rude when corrected. His choice is apology for misbehaviour, or departure from threads I own. KF

  75. To BillMaz-

    The ONLY rule science should employ is the rule that all science cares about is reality- as in there is only one reality behind our existence. Science cannot be hindered by useless philosophies such as materialism.

  76. Rude when corrected? No ones “corrected” me on anything.
    _______
    Patently false, and of course JA has ignored the notice above. He is requested to leave this thread and any other that I am owner of. KF

  77. No thats the whole truth. Not a single person has been able to correct me on anything here. If you have an example of where i am wrong then show me.

  78. Joealtle-

    You equivocate and obvioulsy you do not understand ID.

  79. Thats lovely Joe. I understand enough of ID to see it for what it is: a psuedoscientific turd parading around as an intellectual.

  80. Jokealtle-

    You don’t know jack wrt ID. As for psuedoscientific turd, well just take a look at evolutionism.

  81. You mean evolutionary biology? The scientific field that thousands of well-educated scientists are currently studying and constantly finding information in support of? Weird.

  82. Joealtle-

    Not one scientist can demonstrate unguided evolution producing multi-protein configurations. They don’t even know how to test the claim.

    Heck they don’t even know what makes an organism what it is!

    Weird, indeed.

  83. Joe, Ive already talked to your bornagain friend about this absurd requirement for science to reproduce the entire process of evolution to study the evolution of a single protein.
    Your lack of knowledge in the different fields of biology is getting in the way here. Sorry.

  84. LoL!@Joealtle!

    Evolutionism can’t even muster a testable hypothesis. And it is NOT absurd to ask that something claiming to be science actually have some scientific support.

  85. I ask for ONE multi-protein configuration and I get an evoTARDgasm instead.

    No, Joealtle, asking for one multi-protein configuration is not the same as asking for science to reproduce the entire process of evolution. And only a moron would try to make that comparison.

  86. So youre looking for scientific support of evolution? Its no surprise to me that you arent aware of any of it. But thats ok, may I suggest you read up on the topic before speaking about it? That would be a good idea dont you think?
    Your problem is that you get your information on evolution from this website and other unscientific sources.

  87. You want a multiprotein configuration? How about the basal transcription complex?
    Were you going somewhere with this or what?

  88. Joealtle:

    You mean evolutionary biology? The scientific field that thousands of well-educated scientists are currently studying and constantly finding information in support of? Weird.

    Truth is not determined by how many people believe in a particular concept. A billion people could believe that the earth is flat, and a billion people would be wrong. This is the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum. It proves nothing.

    So youre looking for scientific support of evolution? Its no surprise to me that you arent aware of any of it. But thats ok, may I suggest you read up on the topic before speaking about it? That would be a good idea dont you think?
    Your problem is that you get your information on evolution from this website and other unscientific sources.

    Ad hominem argumentation proves nothing. Do you have anything substantial to add, Joe? No?

    You want a multiprotein configuration? How about the basal transcription complex?

    DNA is amazing. DNA fulfills both the roles that your cells require of genetic material. First, the DNA is accurately duplicated so that information can be passed on from cell to cell. Second, the DNA sequence tells the cell what proteins to make, thereby determining what the cell will become and what function it will serve. However, DNA does not carry out these processes on its own. Many specialized proteins are involved.

    DNA alone cannot create life. It contains all the instructions needed to make all the proteins a living cell needs, including the very ones that copy DNA for the next cell generation and the ones that help DNA to make new proteins. Still, the incredible amount of information stored in the DNA genes is useless without RNA and the specialized proteins, which include ribosomes, needed to “read” and use that information.

    Neither can proteins alone produce life. An isolated protein cannot generate the gene that has the code for making more of that same type of protein.

    So, what has unraveling the mystery of life shown? Modern genetics and molecular biology have provided ample evidence of the highly complex and interdependent relationships between DNA, RNA, and protein. These findings imply that life depends on having all these elements simultaneously. Thus, life could never have come about spontaneously by chance.

    Recent findings of two British scientists confirm that the genetic code is not simply the product of random chance. “Their analysis has shown [the genetic code] to be among the best of more than a billion billion possible codes,” notes New Scientist magazine. Of the roughly 1020 (1 followed by 20 zeros) possible genetic codes, only one was selected early in the history of life. Why this specific one? Because it minimizes errors made during the protein-making process or errors caused by genetic mutations. In other words, the specific code guarantees that laws of heredity are strictly followed. Although some ascribe the selection of this genetic code to “strong selective pressures,” the two researchers have concluded that “it is extremely unlikely that such an efficient code arose by chance.”

  89. You want a multiprotein configuration?

    No, we have plenty. I asked for evidence that unguided evolution (natural selection, drift) can produce a multi-protein configuration

    How about the basal transcription complex?

    How about it? How can we test the claim that unguided evolution produced it?

    Were you going somewhere with this or what?

    For one I am demonstrating your inability to follow along. And if this pans out then I will demonstrate your ignorance wrt ID and evolutionism.

  90. So youre looking for scientific support of evolution?

    No, I am looking for positive evidence that unguided evolution can actually produce something.

    Your problem is that you get your information on evolution from this website and other unscientific sources.

    Your problem is that you are an ignorant bluffing fool.

    I received my information about evolution by reading Darwin, Dawkins, Mayr, Gould, Shubin, Coyne, J. Shapiro, Carroll- and many others. I received my information wrt biology by reading biology textbooks and whatever I can find on the internet and in libraries.

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