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Invasive species: When environmentalists shove Darwinism under the bus

At boston.com (July31,2011), Leon Neyfakh reflects on “The invasive species war”. Asking “Do we protect native plants because they’re better for the earth, or because we hate strangers? A cherished principle of environmentalism comes under attack”:

The reasons to fight invasive species may be economic, or conservationist, or just practical, but underneath all these efforts is a potent and galvanizing idea: that if we work hard enough to keep foreign species from infiltrating habitats where they might do harm, we can help nature heal from the damage we humans have done to it as a civilization.

Anyone who has witnessed one of these popular non-native species eradication programs (the author mentions a local “Operation: No More Water Chestnuts” as a case in point) is put in mind of traditional groups conducting a ritual hunt for “evil.” But is eradicating evil from nature an appropriate task? How does the species go from a mere problem to “not having the right” to be there?

As a biologist, Davis studies competition between plants, focusing on what makes some ecosystems more vulnerable than others to invasion, and how certain species of trees and grass interact. The author of the 2009 Oxford University Press book “Invasion Biology,’’ Davis has been a leader in the small but vocal group of thinkers who argue that nativeness is simply the wrong lens to use when we think about the environment.

“We need to learn to accommodate change, and change our attitude rather than try to garden nature and keep things the way they are,” Davis said recently. Species migrate, he said, and some end up thriving while others go extinct. This would happen whether people were involved or not, and Davis emphasizes there’s no reason to believe that the best version of an environment – whether that’s defined as the most diverse, or the most useful for humans – is the one that happened to exist just before we meddled with it.

What’s curious is that in a society where we are constantly informed that humans are “just another species that need not have existed,” our alteration of the environment is considered an evil in principle. An uneasy tension, perhaps, between Darwinism and the creationist view that man was created to tend nature? With environmentalists taking the latter view … but then jumping off a cliff with it. Treating more successful species as evil and less successful ones as good.

Some will ask, what about all the damage done by invasive species? Well, … what about all the damage done by native species? If we consider a species’ effect on the environment to be damage, we can take limited action for clearly identified, this-worldly goals, and otherwise withhold judgment about the “rightfulness” of the species’ claims to live here. Call it modified creationism if you like.

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37 Responses to Invasive species: When environmentalists shove Darwinism under the bus

  1. semi OT as to environmentalism:

    Microbes Consumed Oil in Gulf Slick at Unexpected Rates, Study Finds
    Excerpt: “Our study shows that the dynamic microbial community of the Gulf of Mexico supported remarkable rates of oil respiration, despite a dearth of dissolved nutrients,” the researchers said. Edwards added that the results suggest “that microbes had the metabolic potential to break down a large portion of hydrocarbons and keep up with the flow rate from the wellhead.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111752.htm

    And exactly why should they be surprised that the stunningly sophisticated micro-miniaturized factories of bacteria would start cleaning up the toxic spill with such efficiency unless they were in fact operating from the wrong foundational Darwinian worldview in the first place???

    “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.” – Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers
    http://www.bioinf.uni-leip?zig.....g_2008.pdf

    i.e. Exactly why would microbial life even care that higher life-forms exist???

  2. I would have to say that the majority of the Senior Evolution Defenders on here and on combat boards around the globe hail from the 1960s Counter Culture Protester gang. I lived thru that period and i remember that was pretty much the birth of the Ecology Movement , Earth Day, etc, etc, etc. Even alot of the pop music back then was influenced by such strong emotions for love of nature.

    I have often wondered where all these people have gone. There certainly are not the large Eco Crowds as there use to be. In fact, it should be noted that evolutionary philosophy has destroyed much of the Ecology Movement. Google any number of boards these days and Evolutionists are even criticizing Green Peace which I never thought of as being anything but evolutionists.

    Here’s a number of real world examples which illustrate what evolution has done to movement of Eco-World. On these boards anyone who would dare believe in an intelligence as accomplishing life on our planet is continually condemned as being anto-science. This is a total lie, but I understand their own religious motivations. To show how much this degenerative thinking has infected science in other fields, take the hideous company Monsanto. Some months back they came out with a piece on their blog that anyone who demonized Genetically Engineered Organism research was give the lable Anti-Science. Now the question is: Where’s the old time traditional Evolutionist when such falsehoods are boldly made ???

    Instead, they actually are in fact now defending Dr Josef Mengele type research in creating FrankenOrganisms, something that would have been forbidden in the past by alot of Evo-worlders. Why ??? Because in the view of such Religious Cult leaders like Richard Dawkins, – “The universe 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 blind pitiless indifference.”

    And with a truckload of other quotes which have indoctrinated the present day faithful, we understand that morality is a matter of opinion and ones personal defintion. We are all the product of passionate animalistic selfish genes. So selfishness and greed rule today. In defending Monsanto, these people believe they are doing nothing wrong that it is scientific progress. Scientists know exactly what genetics are all about and there are no consequences. Yet universities across the globe are finding that there has been much environmental harm and genetic pollution turned loose on Earth’s enviroment.

    In the old days they would condemn Capitalistic Pursuits, but now they wholeheartedly support them. Like evolutionary biologists, Monsanto researchers have lied and mislead about their findings. It takes lawsuits in court to get them to admit they did know after all about the dangers of their products. No need to list here, this company has a bad reputation that goes back multiple decades.

    Here’s a couple more from the present gang.

    continued

  3. Over at Cornelius Hunter’s blog there was a discussion about Argentine Ants. It was pointed out that on the West Coast of the United States this invasive species of Ants was killing off many of the different native Harvestor Ant species. This has dominoed and resulted in a dramatic decline in Horn Toad lizard populations, because Harvestor Ants are it’s main meal. I know because I use to study them. Unfortunately, in defending Darwin, this crackwise disconnected comment was made by one of it’s most ardent defenders.

    Without any regard for a balanced environment of nature and lack of acknowledgement in Selfish greedy Human error which caused this completely irresponsible condition in the first place, here’s what user “Pedant” proudly stated:

    “Another excellent example of natural selection at work.”
    —-

    Here’s another prime example of an Evo-Defender so caught up in it’s own religious worldview, and despite otherwise pimping political causes like Global Warming, here’s what an Evo-world promoter said about Homosexuality being normal to the natural world “Nature”.

    Zachriel:
    ” . . promiscuity and homosexuality occur throughout human culture, and even in other species.”

    He then references the article below as proof of homosexuality in Nature.

    http://articles.sfgate.com/200.....y-penguins

    In 2009 several other articles out in the Media were celebrating this same thing. Homosexuality in Nature. Yet as far back as the early 1980s, Theo Colborn and other scientific researchers were warning about the dangers chemicals like Nonylphenols, Bisphenol-As and others which were distroying the genetic information of developing fetuses of fish, birds, crocodiles, etc and causing Gay behavior which was creating extinctions in many areas globally. It’s actually worse now. Al Gore did the forward for this book called “Our Stolen Future” in 1996. Go to their website and it will take you months to go thru the total tonage of info on how bad it really is NOW. Yet evo defenders are immune to this type of info. In view of the religiosity of their position, it must be dogmatically defended even if they come off as fools in the process. It would be heretical to do otherwise.

    The Demonizing of geneticist Marcus Pembrey whose work on Epigenetics or genomic imprinting where bad consequences result to present day people from bad actions of their forefathers doesn’t set well with the orthodoxy who have issues with accountability and resentment of definitions of morality that doesn’t meet their standards.

    Seriously, look up the video “The Ghost in your Genes”

    Also watch the documentary, “The Disappearing Male”

  4. 4

    Why is this a moral issue at all? From a human-centric point of view (and what else could we have?), we’re looking at utility; whether the invading species is producing changes we humans find more or less useful. It’s a matter of whether or not we prefer the changes.

    And there’s always a tendency for people to come to prefer what’s familiar, and to find change (at least, change outside our control) deeply disconcerting. Not to mention, we exploit existing conditions to maximize our food supply, and changes will upset that situation and require adaptation, which is going to cost someone some money, every time.

    Most environmentalists are working to prevent changes to any given environment, whether those changes are caused by human activity or invasive species. The underlying presumption seems to be that all changes are ipso facto changes for the worse. But there is no “ideal environment” anywhere, to use as a yardstick.

    Of course, there are environmentalists whose goal is to caution us, or try to prevent us, from shooting ourselves in the foot. Many people make environmental changes that many OTHER people find harmful. Or that they themselves find harmful later on. We can try to learn from our mistakes, but there is no such thing as “right ecosystem”, there’s only a history of change.

  5. Wow! A topic right up my alley! Among several of my activities, I do ecological analysis and invasive species management in a wildlife preserve.

    A few thoughts on the subject:

    “We need to learn to accommodate change, and change our attitude rather than try to garden nature and keep things the way they are,” Davis said recently. Species migrate, he said, and some end up thriving while others go extinct. This would happen whether people were involved or not, and Davis emphasizes there’s no reason to believe that the best version of an environment – whether that’s defined as the most diverse, or the most useful for humans – is the one that happened to exist just before we meddled with it.

    Davis is certainly correct and I and other managers/volunteers at the preserve note this visitors. However, there are invasive species and there are invasive species. That is to say, there’s a number of reasons that certain plants and animals are considered invasive.

    There are also differences in the current flow of organisms around the globe via man importing and exporting and the flow of organism via nature modes of transportation. Habitats can absorb a certain amount of foreign invasion and can accommodate imbalances between species booms and busts over general periods of time, but man’s transportation of organisms and efforts to intentionally alter ecosystems completely overwhelms such checks back to balance.

    Take the white-tailed deer (please!) for example. Most folks think of white-tailed and pretty darn cute animals to have around and see on hikes. No argument here. They are actually native too, which makes some folks wonder how anyone could use the term “invasive” in a sentence that includes them.

    The problem is, in the vast majority of places white-tailed dear roam these days in the US and Canada, they no longer have any predators except man, so their populations sky rocket now. Option 1 is certainly to just leave the populations alone, but as Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and New York state discovered, doing that means loss of nearly all understory plants in the forests and orchards leading to a loss of pollinators, increased spread of things like Lymes Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, increase of Varroa – the mite that contributes to Hive Collapse Disorder, the spread of English Ivy – one of the key breeding site for the Asian Tiger Mosquito (and consequently a vector site for West Nile Virus), to say nothing of the amazing number of carcasses from starved deer that show up during winter.

    Now, as some point out – so what? Won’t the ecology adjust a la evolution? Sure. In several thousand years things will hit an equilibrium again, but the question is, how comfortable will it be waiting for that? Further, this just deals with the impact of one particular invasive species – waiting for equilibrium given the number of invasives established in just the last 10 years would take closer to 10,000 years or so. Is it worth the wait? I know a number of farmers grocery store shoppers who are beginning to think perhaps not.

    Now this point otoh –

    Some will ask, what about all the damage done by invasive species? Well, … what about all the damage done by native species? If we consider a species’ effect on the environment to be damage, we can take limited action for clearly identified, this-worldly goals, and otherwise withhold judgment about the “rightfulness” of the species’ claims to live here. Call it modified creationism if you like.

    then makes the rest of the post moot. There isn’t an invasive species out there that does not damage the environment, depending, of course, on how one defines “damage”. Certainly there is no invasive species I’ve encountered thus far that does not have an economic impact on human living. So if this truly is the view of folks hereon, I’d suggest boning up on what constitutes an invasive species and working to manage such.

    Then there’s this:

    What’s curious is that in a society where we are constantly informed that humans are “just another species that need not have existed,” our alteration of the environment is considered an evil in principle. An uneasy tension, perhaps, between Darwinism and the creationist view that man was created to tend nature? With environmentalists taking the latter view … but then jumping off a cliff with it. Treating more successful species as evil and less successful ones as good.

    I’ve not heard invasives referred to as “evil” in the areas I’ve worked in the conferences I’ve attended. The groups I know focus solely on the economic, ecological diversity, and health costs.

    Ironically, many of the groups I work with note the biblical command to tend nature and note that the rise in invasives indicates a distinct lapse in the responsibility of the tenders. Consider just a backyard vegetable garden – who’s going to agree that letting such a garden go unmanaged, allowing weeds and pests to take over, constitutes “tending”? How is putting non-vegetables that out-compete the vegetables “tending”?

    Tending takes work – it requires an awareness of consequence of action, determining what actions are in the best interest of those who benefit from the garden, and then a concerted effort to engage in those desired actions. The plethora of invasive species throughout the world demonstrates a disregard for the above.

    This isn’t about invasives being evil according to “evolutionists”; it’s about most people being too busy or lazy or ignorant to care what goes on in the natural world around them.

  6. David W. Gibson,

    Most environmentalists are working to prevent changes to any given environment, whether those changes are caused by human activity or invasive species. The underlying presumption seems to be that all changes are ipso facto changes for the worse. But there is no “ideal environment” anywhere, to use as a yardstick.

    This is a good point, David. I run into this perspective not infrequently. I’m not sure where it comes from either, but at any rate I try to point out that stasis can be just as damaging as invasive change unmanaged. Ecological stasis can radically reduce the nutrient content of a given environment leading to a rapid collapse to a desert. Most environments exist in an equilibrium of cycles – such as forests that go through fire clearing, new growth, adolescence, early maturity, old growth – and these cycles in turn go through changes as the climate goes through cycles.

    Anyway, I agree with your point here – good intentions towards the environment can go too far as well.

  7. Why is this a moral issue at all?

    Because humans are moral beings, even when they deny the reality of transcendant morality. When humans do all they can do to deny the reality actual morality, then their moral impulse must needs manifest itself as ‘moralism‘ about something not directly a part of morailty.

  8. Dove:

    “I’ve not heard invasives referred to as “evil” in the areas I’ve worked in the conferences I’ve attended.”
    ====

    There are no “evil” invasive species. They just do what they do. If the checks and balances don’t exist then you can’t blame the invasive plant, insect, animal, bird, fish, amphibian etc. You can only blame human ignorance or stupidity.

    In the case of the Argentine Ants, they most likely came up from South America by way of nursey container stock as part of some commercial venture.

    In Southern California there is a USDA Agricultural Inspection Station at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, CA. Here is where all of the imports of flowers and other plants come through. If the inspectors find just one bug or infectious disease on any of the items by a particular shipper, they fine them $10,000 and suspend their importing rights for a couple of years I believe. Perhaps things have changed, but they defend the area from the standpoint it be taken care of at the point of origin, not once it arrives.
    —-

    Dove:

    “Ironically, many of the groups I work with note the biblical command to tend nature and note that the rise in invasives indicates a distinct lapse in the responsibility of the tenders.”
    —–

    Absolutely agree with this. A lack of proper responsible custodialship is a must. This is not hard to figure. But I’m not seeing the numbers of people who care anymore like I use to years ago.
    —–

    Dove:

    “Tending takes work – it requires an awareness of consequence of action, determining what actions are in the best interest of those who benefit from the garden, and then a concerted effort to engage in those desired actions. The plethora of invasive species throughout the world demonstrates a disregard for the above.
    —-

    Totally agree.

    —-

    Dove:

    “This isn’t about invasives being evil according to “evolutionists”; it’s about most people being too busy or lazy or ignorant to care what goes on in the natural world around them.”
    —-

    Again I totally agree here. One big time disappointing thing to me is the politics made of the present Global Warming crisis. I think both sides are guilty on this. I think it’s sad that it’s not the so-called Bible believers who are taking the lead in making fun of the crisis and insisting nothing is wrong with the planet, when clearly there are many things wrong with the natural world now.

    Sadly the GW folks are focusing on a mere symptom and not dealing with the cause. The like any medical ailment the symptom of course makes more money and political leverage in the bar room brawl of life in Demo vrs Repo. No matter who wins, nature still loses.

  9. Eocene,

    “I’ve not heard invasives referred to as “evil” in the areas I’ve worked in the conferences I’ve attended.”
    ====

    There are no “evil” invasive species. They just do what they do. If the checks and balances don’t exist then you can’t blame the invasive plant, insect, animal, bird, fish, amphibian etc. You can only blame human ignorance or stupidity.

    Totally agree.

    In the case of the Argentine Ants, they most likely came up from South America by way of nursey container stock as part of some commercial venture.

    In Southern California there is a USDA Agricultural Inspection Station at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, CA. Here is where all of the imports of flowers and other plants come through. If the inspectors find just one bug or infectious disease on any of the items by a particular shipper, they fine them $10,000 and suspend their importing rights for a couple of years I believe. Perhaps things have changed, but they defend the area from the standpoint it be taken care of at the point of origin, not once it arrives.

    Sadly this only stops about 10% of the non-native spread. Most agriculture inspection focuses upon direct threats to farm produce. Not that this isn’t important, mind you, it’s just that there are other impacts on our lives and livelihoods than produce. For example, stowaways pose the largest problem. Seeds can lay dormant for years; insects can do so for months. The current abundance of stink bugs in the US (that are now affecting peach, apple, and cherry production) are the result of a few stowaways from Asia that managed to get started in Pennsylvania. The Brown Tree Snake was accidentally transported from the South Pacific to Guam sometime before 1952.

    Then, as you note, there are those plants and animals imported and exported for commercial ventures – like Argentine Ants. English Ivy, Russian and Autumn Olive, and Multifloral Rose were all brought in to the US for erosion control in the 1960s-1980s. Japanese Honeysuckle was brought into the US as an ornamental plant. Kudzu got loose from from a Japanese Pavilion at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia. Snakehead fish in Virgina and DC and Burmese Pythons in the Everglades are the result of pet releases.

    But, I think you’re right – we are becoming more aware and beginning to stem the issue at entry rather than dealing with it after it becomes a problem. I hope that expands in due course.

    Absolutely agree with this. A lack of proper responsible custodialship is a must. This is not hard to figure. But I’m not seeing the numbers of people who care anymore like I use to years ago.

    That may be true. I have no real feel for the work being done on a global scale. There are some hints of awareness in a more global sense though. I think that the Hive Collapse Disorder got a lot of people’s attention as far as our connectedness to nature and our need to tend it better. I know that the influx of the stink bug on the US East Coast has really brought a lot more attention to how creatures move around and how quickly some can become pests. Of course whether this gets people more active remains to be seen.

    Again I totally agree here. One big time disappointing thing to me is the politics made of the present Global Warming crisis. I think both sides are guilty on this. I think it’s sad that it’s not the so-called Bible believers who are taking the lead in making fun of the crisis and insisting nothing is wrong with the planet, when clearly there are many things wrong with the natural world now.

    Hmmm…I agree with you on this as well.

    My biggest disappointment as far as Global Warming Goes is that when the public began to become more aware of the concepts and the media began to publicize the concept more, the phenomenon of climate change and global warming immediately became mixed up with the policy discussions. As you say, it became a politicized issue. At this point, it’s not even about facts anymore, which is sad.

    What I still don’t understand is why the issue of whether Global Warming is man-made, man-influenced, or non-man-involved even makes a difference. Seems to me the questions should be a) is it occurring, b) is it going to have an impact on quality of life, and c)if yes to b, is there anything we can to manage and minimize the impact. The question of whether man is majorly contributing to the phenomenon seems rather superfluous to me.

    Sadly the GW folks are focusing on a mere symptom and not dealing with the cause. The like any medical ailment the symptom of course makes more money and political leverage in the bar room brawl of life in Demo vrs Repo. No matter who wins, nature still loses.

    Good point.

  10. 10

    Ilion

    Because humans are moral beings, even when they deny the reality of transcendant morality.

    According to your transcendent morality are homesexuals moral or immoral?

    When I asked this of KF he deleted my post!

  11. Oh…another point worth mentioning: human behavior has an interesting correlation with invasive species spread.

    For example, most people in the US want a nice, big, lush lawn. Americans spend big bucks on maintaining lawns. The kick is that the vast majority of popular grasses – bentgrass, bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass – are not native to the US (the varietals almost all come from Europe or Asia).

    To maintain the lawns, folks have to add a vast amount of “food” to the soil. Why? Two reasons. One – the soil is not the native environment that the plants are used to and two – most folks don’t want a lot of wildlife wandering across their lawns pooping and dying (which adds nutrient to soil) or having other plants dying and rotting (which adds nutrients to the soil) on their beautiful, pristine lawns.

    Ahh…but adding food isn’t enough. We also pour money into the number one lawn occupation – battling weeds.

    For most Americans, a lawn “weed” is any of a variety of broad-leafed plants. Dandelions, violets, geraniums, clover, poison ivy, Virginia Creeper, foxtail, chickweed, ground ivy, wild strawberry, etc.

    Now here’s the punchline: most of those are native perennials many of them – poison ivy, foxtail, Virginia Creeper, clover, wild geraniums, violets, and dandelions – provide food, shelter, and nest sites for an abundance of wildlife, including (you guessed it) honey bees.

    So, in an indirect way, the American lawn lifestyle is contributing to the demise of the native pollinators, which in turn leads the native plants declining, providing easy take over for non-native invasives.

    This is all well and good if you really like a green lawn, but American green lawns are not particularly nutritious or tasty. And personally, I happen to like clover honey.

  12. I forget. What’s the Darwinian explanation for homosexuality? It seems counter-productive, if you ask me.

  13. 13

    Mung,

    What’s the Darwinian explanation for homosexuality?

    Why don’t you go look it up? Does everything have to be spoon fed to you?

    In any case, what’s the ID “explanation” for homosexuality?

    It seems counter-productive, if you ask me.

    I’m betting that you don’t do a job where you get paid for your insights.

    Did you know bacteria commit suicide sometimes in order for the group to achieve certain goals? That seems counter-productive, if you ask me.

  14. Surely with all the evolutionary explanations of moral behaviour running around out there there are also plenty of evolutionary explanations for immoral behaviour as well.

    I’d be surprised if there wasn’t an entire website dedicated to the subject out there somewhere.

    Google here I come!

  15. Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn et al
    free PDF here:

    http://www.indymedia.org.nz/us....._Myers.pdf

  16. WilliamRoache:

    Did you know bacteria commit suicide sometimes in order for the group to achieve certain goals?

    Are you comparing homosexuality to suicide?

  17. I’m betting that you don’t do a job where you get paid for your insights.

    Insight is it’s own reward.

  18. 18

    Mung,

    Are you comparing homosexuality to suicide?

    Obviously!

    But what about you Mung. Is homosexuality immoral according to the transcendent morality you presumably believe in?

  19. If I feed you will you keep coming back for more?

  20. 20

    Will: “According to your transcendent morality are homesexuals moral or immoral?”

    I have a (long) story about this kind of thing.

    My neighbors are a gay couple and one of the guys, Todd, is Mormon. His partner Lance, is not. He said he always considered himself a deist or agnostic. But just recently, after a few drinks when Todd left the room, Lance admitted he was once very lost, and in a stuck in a dark place for many years until he met Todd. He then attributed his turnaround in life, in his words, “to Todd’s Mormon Jesus.” But then he quickly added, “But don’t ever tell him that or he will keep pestering me about reading all that Mormon book.”

    When I first met Todd, I asked him about the Mormon church, and their views on gays in general, he said: “The Mormon church does not have a problem with gay people in church, but they just will not recognize a gay relationship etc. But I don’t care what they say, I’m not giving up my faith. No one has exclusive rights to Jesus.”

    What I find in general in the US is that many of the radical liberal people in this country utilize issues of this nature to advance their worldviews. The radical liberal types generally hate religion and will attach themselves to any cause and use it as an ideological crowbar to pry the God of Abraham from the public’s good graces. I see this with how they use gay people, black people, and at times women of all shades. They are behind gays and blacks as long as gays and blacks can be utilized as Molotov cocktails to fire bomb their political enemies. This motive becomes clear as soon as the gay or black introduces a disagreement to their political and ideological worldview cravings. Then the radicals turn on them. Blacks become uncle toms the gay person’s rational is called in to question.

    Case in point: A friend of mine married an American girl who sympathizes with the ideas of Marxism.

    I invited them over for a dinner with with my fiance and neighbors Todd and Lance. My friends wife was all exited to meet the “gays.” During dinner everybody was having a good time, until Todd made a passing reference about JC. My friends wife laughed thinking he was being sarcastic. But then added that he was a Mormon. Her faced dropped. Ever since that night, she never wanted to hang out with the “gays” anymore. The issues, the struggle, all of it didn’t matter because Todd was a “Jesus freak” in her eyes now. As noted, this is also a persistent theme with black people in this country. If you succeed and do not register as a radical liberal, well then you are an uncle tom. If you are a women who succeeds and you are pro-life, well then you are subservient douche setting women back to the dark ages.

    This is most evident with the cloaked US Marxists.

  21. some intellectually dishonest person trying to play “Gotcha!” when he has no interest in understanding, much less accepting, the truth:According to your transcendent morality are homesexuals moral or immoral?
    When I asked this of KF he deleted my post!

    Even KF – who is a real trooper about denying he sees dishonesty when he sees it – has limits to how much dishonesty he will put up with.

  22. Invasive species?

    Whatever happened to the evolutionary arms race?

  23. 23

    Mung,

    If I feed you will you keep coming back for more?

    Ilion,

    Even KF – who is a real trooper about denying he sees dishonesty when he sees it – has limits to how much dishonesty he will put up with.

    It’s a simple question. You claim to have access to a transcendent morality and I’m simply asking you a question about how that moral system views a certain group.

    You see, the problem is that many religious people also want the sort of power held by (nominally) secular institutions.

    So if you were to gain that sort of political power I’d like to know what sort of world that would lead to.

    If homosexuality is immoral then that will be a different world if it’s not. A world more like a certain European country in the 40′s.

    So, the fact that you simply won’t say “it’s moral” speaks volumes about your actual attitudes.

    The fact of the matter is that if you really have access to a transcendent morality and it says that homosexuals are immoral you are presumably being immoral by denying that fact.

  24. Mr Roache:

    I see you have a bee in your bonnet about homosexuality and homosexuals, and have called my name up in a thread where I was not even monitoring.

    And, apparently part of a threadjack attempt. Precisely what, after warnings, I disciplined you in my thread for.

    Apparently you think you have a “right” to hijack discussions to suit yourself, or is it that you think that if you can get away with it, it makes it just as “right” as anything else is? (Namely, “might makes right.”)

    I remind you — again, and despite your evident swallowing of the “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” slanderous talking point — that UD is not a theology blog nor primarily about debating particular topics in ethics.

    Of course, that evolutionary materialism is inherently amoral, having in it no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT beyond might makes “right,” is a relevant matter on the broad worldview issues, but that is not a scientific matter either. But it is a legitimate part of the wider cultural debate.

    You want to debate the ethics or otherwise of homosexual behaviour and homosexualist advocacy (or for that matter porn behaviour and porn advocacy, as those who recently threatened my family were advocating for), I suggest the proper place to do so is fora where such is a material issue and topic.

    UD is not about such debates.

    As you have been repeatedly told.

    If you want to debate on ethics here at UD, you have to start a bit before bringing up particular wedge issues in isolation.

    Provide sound warranting grounds for ethics, relative to your evident evolutionary materialism, or acknowledge its inherent amorality. Then, allow others to draw their own conclusions from that IS-OUGHT gap, such as this from Hawthorne:

    Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ [[the 'is' being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces]. (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

    Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an ‘ought’. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there’s no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.

    Add a further uncontroversial assumption: an action is permissible if and only if it’s not the case that one ought to refrain from performing that action . . . [[We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it’s permissible to perform that action. If you’d like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan ‘if atheism is true, all things are permitted’.

    For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible. Many atheists don’t like this consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

    Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions). Since the conclusion of the argument denies this, there must be a problem somewhere in the argument. Could the argument be invalid? No. The argument has not violated a single rule of logic and all inferences were made explicit.

    Thus we are forced to deny the truth of one of the assumptions we started out with. That means we either deny atheistic naturalism or (the more intuitively appealing) principle that one can’t infer ‘ought’ from [[a material] ‘is’

    Now, perhaps you can answer that, and do better than any number of materialistic philosophers.

    If so, go ahead.

    If not, understand that (on very serious grounds) we have a right to hold that your whole purpose here is most likely simply emotional manipulation — divide and rule — by trying to push a wedge issue in a context where on your own apparent view, NOTHING you or your ilk can get away with is “wrong.”

    So, if you ask me what I think is evil, AMORALITY that tries to turn evil into political wedge issues and to then free load on what remains of our civilisation’s ethical foundations even while it tries to undermine it fatally, is what is primarily wrong in our time.

    For it fatally undermines rights, as well as right.

    And as the descendant of slaves, who knows what it took to win the freedom of my forebears, I take serious umbrage at such tactics and agendas.

    For very good reason.

    I know pretty well who will be first in line for the new slave huts, or the new “showers.”

    So, first the vampire of amoral secular humanist evolutionary materialism must be stopped in its tracks.

    Including in its ongoing attempt to hijack science through a priori imposition of materialism as a question-begging censoring straightjacket. As Lewontin said in his infamous NYRB 1997 article:

    . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    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 [[another major begging of the question . . . ] 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. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [And if you think the immediately following words JUSTIFY what I have just clipped, I suggest you read on here.]

    Philip Johnson’s retort is apt:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    And once that vampire has a solid enough stake through its heart, we can then turn to relatively minor problems of people struggling to understand and to do the right, in all sorts of aspects of their lives.

    before one can tackle specific ethical issues, one must first ground the very basis for judging things right and wrong.

    And, as we just saw, that puts the worldview level assumptions and implications of evolutionary materialism up front centre.

    So, do you have a foundational IS that can take the weight of OUGHT?

    If not, then the issue is not homosexuality and related sexual practices and advocacy or even my particular views on such matters, but the issue is that there is a major movement in our civilisation that would undermine that moral governance that is at the heart of being human.

    Including the foundation of rights and justice, the very basis of sound, just and legitimate government.

    And, in the name of “science.”

    GEM of TKI

  25. WilliamRoache:

    You see, the problem is that many religious people also want the sort of power held by (nominally) secular institutions.

    “My kingdom,” replied Jesus, “does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my subjects would have resolutely fought to save me from being delivered up to the Jews. But, as a matter of fact, my kingdom has not this origin.”

    So whatever you think about me, it’s probably wrong.

    So you’re trying to figure out who all here are nascent Nazi’s by asking them whether they think homosexuality is immoral? Do you plan to ask everyone? Or just ID supporters.

    Hypocrite.

  26. WilliamRoache:

    If homosexuality is immoral then that will be a different world if it’s not. A world more like a certain European country in the 40?s.

    So you believe that the Nazi’s had access to a transcendent morality, and that this is what led to their treatment of homosexuals, while you also deny that any such access to a transcendent morality exists. How logical is that?

    I’m wondering, why aren’t you asking people whether being a Jew is immoral?

  27. 27

    Mung,

    Do you plan to ask everyone? Or just ID supporters.

    No, generally I only ask those people who claim that they have access to a transcendent morality. But I thought I’d ask you as well.

    So you believe that the Nazi’s had access to a transcendent morality, and that this is what led to their treatment of homosexuals

    No, rather I’m pointing out that if people who believe that homosexuality is immoral obtain power then they will translate that viewpoint into action.

    Why would they not?

    I’m wondering, why aren’t you asking people whether being a Jew is immoral?

    Many bigots believe that. But it’s not the point I’m making.

    The point is simply those who claim to have access to a transcendent morality should all give the same answer to the same question.

    I don’t have access to nor do I believe there is such a thing.

    So I’m interested in what this transcendent morality says about one of the more contentious issues of our time.

    So, Mung, why not put all doubt out of the picture and just say what you think?

    I’m happy to say that I don’t believe homosexuals are immoral simply because they are homosexuals. What’s so hard about that?

  28. 28

    KF,

    I remind you — again, and despite your evident swallowing of the “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” slanderous talking point — that UD is not a theology blog nor primarily about debating particular topics in ethics.

    Yet in the very next comment Mung quotes from the Bible.

    And in almost every thread BA77 posts his long posts that nobody reads in an attempt to win just one more soul for Jesus. Yet I don’t see you telling him that this is not a blog about theology.

    I notice you carefully avoided answering my question however. You were happy to spew 100′s of words but could not bring yourself to answer the actual question.

    In any case, I already know what your answer would be. I’ve read your “always linked” where you say:

    widespread sexual immorality and homosexual perversion are strong marks of a nation’s rebellion against God and his judgement

    No qualifier there. Homesexuals = perverts = immoral.

    Bigot.

  29. 29

    Also KF you might want to reconsider this paragraph in light of recent, tragic events:

    Also, we must reckon with the fast-approaching islamist tidal wave from the East, as the ideology of jihad is now being ever more wedded to our resentment over our history of slavery and colonialism, in the writings of certain revisionist historians (such as Dr Sultana Afroz of the UWI History Department), to energise Islamist revolution. For, we must not ever forget how, in 1990, we saw in Trinidad just how suddenly and bloodily such an outcome can be precipitated by a jihadism-maddened radical such as Abu Bakr and a tiny circle of heavily indoctrinated, armed — even if poorly so — followers.

    Islamist tidal wave? It’s taking it’s time, you wrote that some considerable time ago.

  30. 30
    material.infantacy

    Stalker.

    Suggesting that someone is immoral for stating that homosexuality is immoral is most definitely immoral. And bigoted. And immoral.

  31. Onlookers:

    Observe that Mr Roache has yet to deal with his basic problem of moving from IS to OUGHT.

    So we may freely infer that he is just using emotionally loaded words to try to trollishly derail discussion of the matter in the main for the thread which is plainly uncomfortable to him.

    As to his attempt to smear me as a “bigot” in 28, for my taking a principled, philosophically and theologically grounded view of homosexual behaviour as abnormal and disordered relative to the proper and obvious role of sex — and made in a context where that is indeed relevant, that speaks volumes on the motives and attitudes involved on his part.

    He plainly wishes to rewrite moral principles in accord with his desire and to decree that if you differ with him, you are therefore wrong and a bigot. Sorry, Mr Roache has not even managed to ground that there is an IS that can ground OUGHT so his fulminations fall to the ground as little more than his attempt to impose his views by name-calling.

    In his haste to cast mud, he also has failed to take time to think about why — in an appropriate context that he refused to link — I used a very specific term IslamIST, and named a very specific scholar and advocate [who has tried to do nothing less than rewrite Jamaican and Caribbean history by extension in service of the IslamIST agenda], in a site — not the linked web page briefing note — that addresses a broad range of topics. (For information, IslamISTS are not to be confused with the majority of Muslims, usually being estimated as a radical ideological fringe of up to about 10%, i.e. the former bin Laden and ilk, and the like in the various sects of Islam.)

    Perhaps it has also escaped Mr Roache’s notice that the first suicide bomber from this part of the world was a Caribbean person [and the first headlined unsuccessful one too], or that several Caribbean persons are in fact significant figures in IslamIST agendas, e.g. Sheik El Feisal who was gaoled for sedition in the UK and deported tot he region, and El Shukrijumah, on whose head a multi million dollar reward has been put. Not to mention the intended JFK airport bombers, and more. Much more.

    But if he can stir up controversies by casting the notion that those who differ with him could not have good reasons for doing so, Mr Roache is plainly happy to do so.

    The distract and derail trollish agenda could not be plainer.

    It has been dealt with sufficiently for this thread.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  32. 32

    KF,

    As to his attempt to smear me as a “bigot” in 28, for my taking a principled, philosophically and theologically grounded view of homosexual behaviour as abnormal and disordered relative to the proper and obvious role of sex — and made in a context where that is indeed relevant, that speaks volumes on the motives and attitudes involved on his part.

    Abnormal? Don’t be so modest. Immoral and perverted were the words you used on your own website, why not use them here too?

    He plainly wishes to rewrite moral principles in accord with his desire and to decree that if you differ with him, you are therefore wrong and a bigot.

    Not at all. You can disagree with me all you want, it does make you a bigot.

    What makes you a bigot is your attitude to those who were born differently to you. As a black man I’m surprised you are willing to oppress others for characteristics that they had no choice about.

    Bigot: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

    Sorry, Mr Roache has not even managed to ground that there is an IS that can ground OUGHT so his fulminations fall to the ground as little more than his attempt to impose his views by name-calling.

    I’m not attempting to impose my views. I’m attempting to discern what your transcendent morality says about actual things that actually matter.

    And it seems that your answer is plain.

    But if he can stir up controversies by casting the notion that those who differ with him could not have good reasons for doing so, Mr Roache is plainly happy to do so.

    I’m always happy to poke a bigot in the eye.

    So tell me KF, what reason do you have for calling all homosexuals perverts?

    You do know that according to a recent study those who profess anti-homosexual views are aroused by gay pornography?

    Methinks you doth protest too much!

  33. Yet in the very next comment Mung quotes from the Bible.

    So shoot me.

    Mr. WilliamRoache, could you please tell us why you think a belief that one has access to a transcendent morality is a prerequisite for committing heinous acts?

    Could you please tell us why you think the Nazis were immoral?

  34. 34

    Mung,

    Mr. WilliamRoache, could you please tell us why you think a belief that one has access to a transcendent morality is a prerequisite for committing heinous acts?

    I don’t. Both atheists and theists are more then capable of heinous acts. It’s just that theists can make the claim that they are doing god’s work.

    Could you please tell us why you think the Nazis were immoral?

    Let me see. As I don’t believe in your transcendent morality I have no basis for calling anyone immoral or even moral because my beliefs have no grounding. Therefore I cannot object to the Nazis on any basis.

    I know that’s where this is going.

    So, do you think homosexuals are immoral Mung?

    How old do you think the Earth is Mung?

  35. Onlookers:

    Re Mr Roache:

    Don’t feed the trolls . . .

    He set out to willfully derail a thread on an important SCIENTIFIC issue.

    He was challenged on the only aspect of the issue that is really relevant to the design theory matter, on the worldviews side.

    He proved plainly unable to ground his moral agendas on an IS that can bear the weight of OUGHT.

    Failing that, he resorted to outright namecalling [i.e. if you dare disagree with my ill-grounded whims and agendas, I will try to brand you a bigot, and I and my ilk will set out to rob you of freedom of conscience and principle by playing that dirty card . . . ], rather than dealing with even this matter on its relevant merits.

    He thus proved himself a troll, and along the way showed how those caught up in amoral systems operate on matters of morality: might and manipulation make “right.”

    That should suffice to give us a clear warning.

    With that, the matter on its merits can be returned to.

    GEM of TKI

  36. F/N: The derail continues. This time via a burden of warrant-shifting turnabout. (If that concerns you, start here on, on building a worldview that CAN bear the weight of ought.)

    Unfortunately, once a thread has been derailed it is hard to get back on track.

    Which is the precise point of such a derailing attack.

  37. KF:

    “The derail continues. This time via a burden of warrant-shifting turnabout. (If that concerns you, start here on, on building a worldview that CAN bear the weight of ought.)

    Unfortunately, once a thread has been derailed it is hard to get back on track.

    Which is the precise point of such a derailing attack.”
    ======

    But it clearly and boldly illustrates and sheds the spotlight on the one thing that is most important more than anything else. It’s NOT about the science, it actual never is. Notice the subject ??? It’s about anger and vicious resentment against the idea of being accountable to a supreme being and furious with foundational definitions of what morality is.

    The arguement is hardly an old one. In actual fact, the Father of the Lie statred it all with that symbolic “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad.” In otherwords, if there is indeed a creator who gives life to free moral agents, does he have the universal right to set limits and holds in establishing what is moral and what is immoral. What is bad and what is good. And we’re not talking a lengthy laundry list here of do&don’t rules. Just some main guidelines for experiencing and maintaining an orderly peaceful life.

    The subject of science here is nothing more than a mask for convincing themselves that all is well and they have nothing to fear. Yet, take a look at the miserable condition of the world of humankind. As has been stated before, they wallow in imperfection and error. Ever notice that even their arguements for Evolution usually involve copying errors, mistakes, no direction or guidance. Mutations from a perfect original and so on.

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