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Will Evolution Weekend Sermons Discuss Alleged Murderer Amy Bishop?

Today is the closing day of “Evolution Weekend”. The weekend is promoted by The clergy letter project. This is a weekend dedicated to glorifying Darwinism in churches.

Curiously one of the scientists on call to help clergy and parishioners promote the glories of Darwinism was Amy Bishop, she is listed here:

Name: Amy Bishop, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor
Address: Department of Biological Sciences
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Huntsville, AL 35899
Areas of Expertise: neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, evolution of the human brain
Email: ——[email protected]

Amy Bishop was charged in the murder of several people recently. Now, there are some very fine Darwinists like Francis Collins, and I don’t mean to say Amy Bishop is representative of all Darwinists. But I’d recommend that if the Clergy Letter Project wishes to put on a good face for Darwinism, they might consider disassociating themselves from Amy Bishop.

They may not want to promote “survival of the fittest” in their sermons today. That would be kind of poor taste in light of the fact a presumed societal degenerate (Bishop) is the “fittest” survivor while 3 (possibly 4) innocent victims are the “unfit” dead. Think I’m overstating the case against Darwinism? Consider what Evolutionary Psychologist David Buss argues in his book The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill

murder is the product of evolutionary forces and that the homicidal act, in evolutionary terms, conveys advantages to the killer.

NOTES:
Here is the Fox10′s report on Amy Bishop Biology professor charged with murder

A biology professor at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus was charged with murder late Friday in the shooting deaths of three fellow biology professors at the campus….
Amanda Tucker, a junior nursing major from Alabaster, Ala., had Amy Bishop for anatomy about a year ago. Tucker said a group of students went to a dean complaining about Bishop’s performance in the classroom, and Tucker signed a petition complaining about Bishop.

“When it came down to tests, and people asked her what was the best way to study, she’d just tell you, ‘Read the book.’ When the test came, there were just ridiculous questions. No one even knew what she was asking,’” said Tucker.

Andrea Bennett, a sophomore majoring in nursing, was in one of Bishop’s classes Friday morning.

Bennett said nothing seemed unusual, but she described Bishop as being “very weird” and “a really big nerd.”

“She’s well-known on campus, but I wouldn’t say she’s a good teacher. I’ve heard a lot of complaints,” Bennett said

There are also now questions about why liberal congressmen Delahunt (then a District Attorney for Braintree Massachusetts) had her released from police custody after shooting her brother in 1986. See: Professor Amy Bishop Shot & Killed Her Brother in 1986 Dem Rep. Delahunt Made Call to Release Bishop

A Massachusetts police chief is now saying that UAH shooting suspect Amy Bishop shot and killed her brother during an argument, and the case may have been mishandled by the police department more than two decades ago when the fatal shooting occurred.

The Boston Globe reported that Amy Bishop, a biology professor at UAH who is accused of shooting and killing three colleagues yesterday, accidentally shot her 18-year-old brother, Seth M. Bishop, in the abdomen with a 12-gauge shotgun in December 1986.

The report said Bishop was asking her mother, Judith, how to properly unload the gun when it when off and a shot struck Seth.

Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier is now offering a different account of the shooting to The Globe: “Bishop had shot her brother during an argument and was being booked by police when the police chief at the time ordered the booking process stopped and Bishop released to her mother,” the paper reports on its Web site. Records from the case have been missing since 1987.

Braintree officers who remember the 1986 shooting said that former police Chief John Polio dismissed detectives from the case and ordered the department to release Amy Bishop after a telephone conversation with former district attorney William Delahunt.

Delahunt is currently a U.S. congressman from Massachusetts.

HT: my good friend Mike Gene for uncovering the book by David Buss and Amy Bishop’s entry in the Clergy Letter Project

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154 Responses to Will Evolution Weekend Sermons Discuss Alleged Murderer Amy Bishop?

  1. It is 1:23 EST February 14, 2010. Let’s see how long the clergy letter project keeps Amy Bishop’s name on their list.

    If they remove it from the website, I recommend writing the organizers to confirm that indeed they removed her name.

  2. How I did enjoy shooting

    Charles Darwin

  3. scordova, sadly you have still not grasped what this whole ‘survival of the fittest’ is actually about. If you had, then you would have actually referenced the number of times each of the people involved in the incident had reproduced.

    But, in the end, I always love these post: darwinist killer, liberal congressmen, removal from websites, …

    Things only get complicated if she was a biology professor AND a Christian AND a active church member.

  4. hrun0815,

    “survival of the fittest” is a near useless concept, I’m giving it about as much credit as it deserves.

    I point out, there are cases where the fittest die (namely the parents), if the children are genetically deteriorated: Nachman’s Paradox Defeats Dawkins Weasel.

    So it is a worthless insight in the end.

  5. [Amy] Bishop was asking her mother, Judith, how to properly unload the gun when it when off and a shot struck Seth.

    Gee Amy, don’t point the barrel at another human being while trying to safely unload the gun. And don’t do the following as reported by the police:

    WCVB Report

    Frazier said Amy Bishop shot her 18-year-old brother, Seth Bishop, in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun at the family’s home in Braintree, then ran into the street and aimed the gun at a passing vehicle before fleeing from the scene. Amy Bishop, who was 20 at the time, was arrested at gunpoint by Braintree officers.

  6. If you had, then you would have actually referenced the number of times each of the people involved in the incident had reproduced

    Amy Bishop: 4 kids

    Seth Bishop (whom she killed): 0 kids (presumably)

    There, did the fittest survive?

  7. Isn’t it more about differential reproductive success within a species population than the circumstances relating to any single individual?

    I believe some people have a problem understanding even first things about the theory of evolution. I may be wrong but believe I am not.

  8. Darwinists sing an old evergreen here – those who do not accept their fantasies actually do not understand “theory of evolution”.

    In this point they take after another naturalists – marxists. Marxists used the same argument incarcerating their enemies. They “didn’t understand revolution”.

    Both naturalists love struggling – be it “struggle for life” or “class struggle”. Also their liking in “evolve” calques – either rEVOLution or EVOLution is striking.

    Both parties even call their fantasies “science”, marxists established “scientific communism”, darwinists called their fantasies “scientific theory of evolution”.

  9. All I know is this:

    We should all be careful to insert terms like “alleged” and “allegation” when we refer to claims about Amy Bishop, however well-sourced we think they may be.

    Whatever she did will be the subject of a court case under English Common Law, a far more stringent rule of evidence, and vastly superior, to what counts as “science” today – as Climategate so clearly shows.

    The best thing the English-speaking peoples ever did for the world was English Common Law.

    By comparison, what counts as “science” today is often garbage.

    Now, I have no reason to doubt that Darwinism can (puzzlingly) lead to massacres in the cause of supposedly helping “evolution.”

    I’ve always thought that, if Darwinism made any sense, we should just not get involved in what lives and what dies.

    But then, I hadn’t considered “cosmic Darwinism” or “evolutionary psychology”, had I?

    Silly me. Jobs for useless profs, if you ask me.

  10. I just don’t get the connection between crime, psychopathy, irrational behavior or child abuse, and evolutionary theory.

    People just go crazy for whatever reasons they happen to have and that applies to all of us regardless of creed, faith, atheism, evolutionism or creationism. One doesn’t even have to understand ID or even evolution to see that.

    Or is there a theory that says Darwinians are more vulnerable, that Darwinism is some sort of mental disease?

  11. I always love these post: darwinist killer, liberal congressmen, removal from websites,

    Well . . .

  12. Whatever she did will be the subject of a court case under English Common Law, a far more stringent rule of evidence, and vastly superior, to what counts as “science” today – as Climategate so clearly shows.

    That one’s gotta hurt.

    Great point, O’Leary. LOL.

  13. Gee Amy, don’t point the barrel at another human being while trying to safely unload the gun

    And repeat the action at least twice as per the link

  14. Or is there a theory that says Darwinians are more vulnerable, that Darwinism is some sort of mental disease?

    Cabal, the point isn’t that holding a particular view of nature makes you more inclined to violence — at least as an individual, a societal basis being a much different matter — it just that it doesn’t make you less inclined to violence or irrationality as some insist on claiming.

    What’s more of a concern is why a district attorney got involved in covering up a murder 24 years ago and how that D.A. got elected to Congress.

  15. I have to admit that I find the smug tone of this thread a bit distasteful.

    This poor messed-up woman shot dead four even-more unfortunate people. It’s no occasion for scoring points against Darwin.

    Even if the link between being a Darwinist and committing this atrocity were to be proved—and I’m sorry scordova, but your case is pretty weak—some restraint is appropriate when some people will be burying their loved ones this week.

    Don’t think I’m being fussy. ID has the potential to reshape the intellectual landscape of the world my children grow up in. But this site also has a tendency to degenerate into a triumphalist, opinionated, conspiracy-riddled talking shop at times, and this *seriously* detracts from its credibility.

    I am a long-time follower of this site and have benefited from it greatly, but I have written here only a few times so please resist your native urge to heckle me.

    (Incidentally, as I don’t appear here often—I am UK, PhD, ID/TE marginal.)

  16. Cabal: “I just don’t get the connection between crime, psychopathy, irrational behavior or child abuse, and evolutionary theory.”

    The husband of one of the victims summed it best:

    Sammie Lee Davis said his wife ………had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as “not being able to deal with reality” and “not as good as she thought she was.”

  17. Isn’t it more about differential reproductive success within a species population than the circumstances relating to any single individual?

    Survival of the fittest is a misleading term!

    I believe some people have a problem understanding even first things about the theory of evolution.

    Agreed, and most of the misunderstanding is by Darwinists.

    On average, the fittest (as in most functional genomes, functional in the engineering sense) can die out.

    Reasons for this are natural disasters, mutational meltdown, random “selection” etc.

    There absolutely no guarantee differential reproductive success leads to inevitable progress toward comlexity. NONE!

    UD has posts on Gambler’s Ruin, Nachman’s Paradox, and No Free Lunch. Darwinists like Dawkins can’t seem to get it, that “survival of the fittest” is a misleading term.

    If “survival of the fittest” only means those that survive, it is a superfluous notion.

    If “survival of the fittest” means differential reproductive success on average, there is no guarntee it leads to improvement or increase in complexity, it’s a meaningless statement as far as the question of the emergence of biological compexity.

  18. I just don’t get the connection between crime, psychopathy, irrational behavior or child abuse, and evolutionary theory.

    For the record, I’m not arguing evolutionary theory necessarily leads to a degenerate character.

    The point of this thread was to highlight how ironic it is that any churches (especially those claiming to encourage love and charity) would be trying to celebrate Darwin’s theory as inspiration for hope and love!!!!!

    I think Dawkins has a better and more honest grasp of what Darwinism really means: ”

    The universe we observe,” he says, “has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.”

    Of all people, note what Darwinist Steve Barr has to say:

    The root of Dawkins’ philosophy is the insight, derived from neo-Darwinian theory, that life has no ulterior purpose, biologically speaking. Mosquitoes exist to replicate mosquito DNA and dung beetles to replicate dung beetle DNA. The whole drama of life is a meaningless genetic competition. Not surprisingly, many people find Dawkins’ vision of a pointless universe rather repellant. He has been accused of spreading a cold and joyless message, a pessimistic nihilism. The present book seems to have been written to respond to these charges. Its preface begins thus:

    A foreign publisher of my first book confessed that he could not sleep for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless.

    This preface filled me with the keenest anticipation. I had always wondered what consolations could be found in a philosophy like Dawkins’. What would he have to say to that sleepless publisher or that desperate girl? Not what you might have expected. Here is a passage from chapter one, in which he is describing the time-line of life on earth:

    Fling your arms wide in an expansive gesture to span all of evolution from its origin at your left fingertip to today at your right fingertip. All across your midline to well past your right shoulder, life consists of nothing but bacteria.

    Many-celled, invertebrate life flower’s somewhere around your right elbow. The dinosaurs originate in the middle of your right palm, and go extinct around your last finger joint. The whole history of Homo sapiens and our predecessor Homo erectus is contained in the thickness of one nail clipping. As for recorded history; as for the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Jewish patriarchs, the dynasties of Pharaohs, the legions of Rome, the Christian Fathers, the Laws of the Medes and Persians which never change; as for Troy and the Greeks, Helen and Achilles and Agamemnon dead; as for Napoleon and Hitler, the Beatles and Bill Clinton, they and everyone that knew them are blown away in the dust of one light stroke of a nail file.

    Vivid, striking, accurate, but hardly consoling.

    Steve Barr
    Prophet of Pointlessness

  19. from WCVB report above:

    the gun accidentally went off into a bedroom wall when her daughter was trying to teach herself to use it in case the home was burglarized. Amy Bishop then asked her brother to help her unload the gun when it went off again, killing him in front of her, Judith Bishop told the newspaper

    Let me see, the gun just went accidentally off into the ceiling. What did Amy Bishop say to her brother Seth.

    “I just fired off the gun accidentally into the ceiling. Will you stand here with your chest infront of the barrel and help me unload it?”

    I’d think Amy would drop the gun first rather than brandish it around the house, shoot her brother, and then carry it into the street and threaten passing drivers!

  20. I’ll be curious to see if there’s as much outrage over this act of violence as there is when a supposed Christian or religious person commits a crime.

  21. Cabal: “I believe some people have a problem understanding even first things about the theory of evolution.”

    An incredible statement considering how much money is poured forth in its furtherance via public schools, museums, popular media, etc., as well as its being held as the grand-daddy theory of ‘em all, where “nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of Evolution.”

  22. Barb,

    You are late.

    “Things only get complicated if she was a biology professor AND a Christian AND a active church member.”

  23. How many people that are female, with kids, holding a hard-science PhD, and teaching as professor, have ever been accused of homicide, let alone a triple homicide? Mrs. Bishop is a “black swan.” (A statistically improbable, but highly meaningful occurrence.) It would seem hard to explain her behavior apart from free will, something which she probably didn’t believe in.

  24. Things only get complicated if she was a biology professor AND a Christian AND a active church member.”

    Some anti-semeitic websites speculate she is jewish.

  25. Nature’s Fearless Fighting Machines

    Often the fighting is between alpha males who are looking to secure dominance over a single female or perhaps even a group. The dominance of the alpha male will ensure that it is his genes that are passed on to the next generation. In many species, when a new alpha male takes over, he will deliberately seek out and kill and offspring which he has not sired. Why should he bring up other people’s kids? In other species such as the meerkat and Prairie dog it may be the females who occasionally commit infanticide in the fight to get their genes in to the next generation.
    ….
    The fighting is often about the right to mate. The old idea of the survival of the fittest is an everyday fact of life in the animal kingdom,
    ….
    Fighting among males is not only restricted to mammals. Dragonflies are highly territorial and if a male strays in to the wrong territory then it will definitely mean a fight. In years when the population is large that can mean that territory can be disputed by more than one dragonfly at a time.


    Of course, there is one animal that has been shown to be consistently the most violent animal on the planet. Occasionally conflict is caused by the desire of two males to show affection to the same female but the species Homo sapiens finds – so it seems – any reason to fight depending on the mood of the aggressive male. Almost unique in their ability to use tools as weapons, this species is widely regarded as the most volatile and dangerous on the planet.

    To the evolutionists here at UD, is this conception of reality not consistent with the notions of Darwinism? Was Amy Bishop possibly exhibiting behaviors consistent with Buss’s evolutionary theory?

    My point is, how can the Clergy project do justice to Darwinism and still put together a message of love and charity?

    To that end Dawkins is at least more philosophically consistent than members of the Clergy project.

  26. scordova @ 16

    For the record, I’m not arguing evolutionary theory necessarily leads to a degenerate character.

    Hardly a convincing disclaimer, given the gloating tone of what you have written. It reads much more as if you have seized gleefully on the story of this tragedy as further ammunition in your campaign of anti-Darwinian propaganda.

    Barb has asked us to monitor press coverage of this incident to see if it is given the same prominence as that of religious murderers. This reminds us that there is no shortage of such crimes to be exploited for propaganda purposes if evolutionists were so minded. There have been a number of killers who were strongly motivated by their religious beliefs.

    But the more thoughtful in both the pro- and anti-evolution camps recognize that the actions of these disturbed individuals say nothing about the core beliefs or the theoretical soundness of either side. The moral values at the heart of Christianity are still worth upholding regardless of those individuals who choose to ignore some of them. Equally, the theory of evolution stands as a sound scientific explanation regardless of whether abhorrent political regimes have tried to argue it as a justification for their atrocities.

    What has happened in the case of Amy Bishop is as much a tragedy for all concerned as it was in the cases of Paul Jennings or Scott Roeder. It does no one any credit to try and exploit them for partisan advantage.

  27. This all begs the questions:

    What is degenerate behaviour?

    Who gets to decide and why them?

    As for the theory of evolution being a sound scientific explanation- only if a scientific explanation can be void of science…

  28. The shootings not only took place during “Evolution Week”, but happened on February 12th – Darwin Day.

    Interesting.

  29. JPCollado: The husband of one of the victims summed it best:

    Sammie Lee Davis said his wife ………had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as “not being able to deal with reality” and “not as good as she thought she was.”

    Richard Dawkins had a sex-change?!

  30. the theory of evolution stands as a sound scientific explanation regardless of whether abhorrent political regimes have tried to argue it as a justification for their atrocities

    Nuclear theory’s truthfulness is not dependent how people use or abuse it.

    Thus, I thoroughly agree that evolutionary theory’s truthfulness (or lack thereof) is not dependent how people use it or abuse it.

    However, advocating Darwinism has no place in Sunday sermons. Dawkins position is more philosophically consistent with Darwinism than is a world view of love and charity.

    I took the opportunity to cite how the behaviors of one of the members of the clergy project would be interpreted through the eyes of Darwinism, nameley, that according to Buss, murdererous tendencies can lead to Darwinian advantage.

    I asked if this is a wrong inference given the supposed immutability of Darwinism. Is not the phenomenon of murder completely consistent with evolutionary theory as Buss (and others) argue?

    If murder is consistent with evolutionary theory, why then should the Clergy Project be promoting sermons that celebrate Darwinism? Kind of a stretch.

    Wouldn’t Dawkins ideas be a more intellecutually honest way to describe the implications of Darwinism than the way it is portrayed by the Clergy Project?

    If the Clergy Project declares Amy Bishop’s behavior a tragedy, how can they justify that inference based on Buss’s work and the natural implications of Darwinism?

    In the world of Darwinism, survival of the fittest is a good thing, it takes priority over the suffering of individuals.

    In a world view where love, life, and charity are special, “survival of the fittest” might be something to lament, not celebrate.

    Darwinism has overtaken culture not merely because Atheists have promoted it, but rather because Clergy have sanctioned and encouraged it!

  31. scordova@24:

    My point is, how can the Clergy project do justice to Darwinism and still put together a message of love and charity?

    In the same way they can do justice to plate tectonics and a message of love and charity – the two have little or nothing to do with each other.

    Except for those who are trying to make ridiculous associations to create a negative connotation around a concept they don’t like.

  32. Sev “This reminds us that there is no shortage of such crimes to be exploited for propaganda purposes if evolutionists were so minded.”

    Hrun “Things only get complicated if she was a biology professor AND a Christian AND a active church member”.

  33. Sal, you set the tone of this thread with your opening posts, so you really can’t wriggle out of it by claiming “For the record, I’m not arguing evolutionary theory necessarily leads to a degenerate character.”

    If you were not making that very point, why did you toss in the quote about how much Darwin liked to shoot?

    People of all persuasions, backgrounds and beliefs do reprehensible things.

  34. Lewontin: “materialism is absolute…”

    Sagan: “the cosmos is all that is…”

    Monod: “Chance alone…”

    Sev in another thread: “The fact is no one has a satisfactory theory of origins”.

    - – - – - –

    Then…Sev to Scordova: “Hardly a convincing disclaimer”

    Back at ya Seversky, back at ya.

  35. What I read here regarding the rate my professor.com comment

    http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/93802/

    is so typical of SO MANY left wing teachers all throughout the country.

    Their curriculum is usually as debased and deluded as they are:

    Quote from article:

    “When it came down to tests, and people asked her what was the best way to study, she’d just tell you, ‘Read the book.’ When the test came, there were just ridiculous questions. No one even knew what she was asking,’” said Tucker.

    Furthermore, these very common types usually do not care to enlighten or teach students hardly at all- and what they teach is often absurd opinions bordering on absurdities and lies presented as facts which must be regurgitated back to them in order to get a passing grade- and for those who sell their souls to play along with the least criticism and the most displayed positive agreement to the bias of the curriculum are the ones who usually get the best grades. So much for critical thinking and the free exchange of ideas. What about those inalienable rights to freedom of speech, religion etc. But then again they usually don’t like the preamble either- especially that invocation of creationism.

    In effect the only religion that is being protected- or perhaps even authoritatively enforced- in a majority of the classrooms across the country is that of the teachers union’s orthodox clergy. Seize the power- get the tenure- control the culture. Sound familiar?

    No wonder scientific progress has been experiencing a recent moderate stagflation compared to the progress of the enlightenment, industrial revolution through the tech boom as of recent. And all this is in some direct correlation with the take over of power in state schools by the 1950s 60s and 70s opportunist leftists. And this is of course despite the billions of dollars in federal and state education and research grants. They call themselves progressives.

    Alas, these types make it clear that their world view of nature leaves very little room for the value and potential of free thinking “critical” discussions- and they deny the obvious innate prowess and role that novel intelligence plays in the order and products of nature.

    Is it any wonder that the left wing politics shared by Stalin, Mao, Trotsky and the like(all followers of the doctrine designed by Karl Marx who dedicated his work “Das Kapital” to the man Charles Darwin himself) are the politics of infiltration, superstatism, enforced authoritarianism, anti-libertarianism- and most notably VIOLENT revolution?

    It’s indeed an interesting and important line here from the article that s probably worth thinking about…

    “Bennett, an athlete at UAH, said her coach told her team Bishop had been denied tenure and that may have led to the shooting.”

    Also worth reading

    http://blog.al.com/breaking/20.....hooti.html

  36. Frost122585:

    is so typical of SO MANY left wing teachers all throughout the country.

    Their curriculum is usually as debased and deluded as they are:

    Quote from article:

    “When it came down to tests, and people asked her what was the best way to study, she’d just tell you, ‘Read the book.’ When the test came, there were just ridiculous questions. No one even knew what she was asking,’” said Tucker.

    Even if these comments are an accurate reflection of her teaching (which isn’t entirely clear) how can you say this is unique to “left wing teachers”? I would call this “bad teaching” regardless of political stripe – unless you think conservative teachers have some innate ability to be better instructors.

    I could turn around and say, based on the Freshwater case, that conservative teachers are more likely to burn crosses on their student’s arms.

  37. Muramasa, Seversy, hrun, other evoltuionists: Thank you for your participation.

    Given what you know about Darwinism, do you disagree with Buss’s inference from evolutionary theory?

    murder is the product of evolutionary forces and that the homicidal act, in evolutionary terms, conveys advantages to the killer.

  38. Scordova,

    I would disagree with that inference and I assume you do too.

    Hard to see what advantages this homicidal act will convey to Amy Bishop.

    I don’t really get this. You don’t accept Darwinian evolution so how can this act of murder be somehow a product of it? (If that is what you are saying).

  39. Mike, I made the case that these tendencies are usual among teachers of the left wing persuasion. I did not say that right wing or independent types would not have any of these characteristics. But the relationship that I have personally experienced in college- and a life time of school- supports by view. My post is indeed partly anecdotal- and achedemic- actions of left wing teachers seem to correlate with the nature of their philosophies- which are more about the search for power than for truth.

    And it is more than interesting that Amy Bishop lost it after being denied the atrocious benefit of tenure- which in its current form is the most abused privilege among bureaucrats. In my view lifetime appointmens should only be considered when you are talking about extremely thorough back ground investigations such as those associated with the Supreme Court- and even there the results are sometimes highly regrettable.

    I take the position of great limits on authoritative power among people. I do not think that ANY politician, in fact, should serve for more than 8 years. This certainly would go a long way to fixing the current political system for the better.

    The best authorities are principles (for myself based in theology, for others based in philosophical theory)- such as limited governmental power- an inherently anti-left wing notion- instead of positions of high power held only by a few indefinitely.

    And it has been my observation that when I have had the rare libertarian/conservative teacher, their open-mindedness, emotional disposition, and overall understanding, is much easier to take than the typical left wingers which form up the vast majority- and their curriculum is usually more objective- while at the same time “more appreciative and accepting” of opposing points of view- even on tests.

    I could name teacher and experiences to support my claim but this is not the forum to bring up irrelevant personalities. I was just putting forth my opinion and perspective on all of this which is based on years of personal experience. It is just a generality which I find true- supported by some specifics (connection of political philosophy with position of authority).

  40. Sal

    Thank you for clarifying that you were not sincere when you claimed not to be associating evolutionary theory and degenerate character.

    Would killing a rival potentially give me some reproductive/survival advantage? Sure. I can also gain survival/reproductive advantage by working cooperatively with my community to ensure adequate food supplies and protection from danger.

    Are you actually suggesting that Ms. Bishop (allegedly) killed in order to obtain some benefit from an evolutionary standpoint?

  41. scordova @ 29

    However, advocating Darwinism has no place in Sunday sermons. Dawkins position is more philosophically consistent with Darwinism than is a world view of love and charity.

    I am not aware of anyone, from the Clergy Letter project or elsewhere, who is advocating that the theory of evolution be taught from the pulpit. I certainly do not.

    There is no conflict between the theory of evolution and sentiments of love and charity. We are social animals. We have a better chance of surviving as individuals if we co-operate in social groups than we would as solitary individuals. Whatever their other value, at a functional level love and charity promote social adhesion and cohesion. As for Dawkins’s views, as you may know, in 2005 he answered an Austrian journalist’s question as follows:

    No self-respecting person would want to live in a Society that operates according to Darwinian laws. I am a passionate Darwinist, when it involves explaining the development of life. However, I am a passionate anti-Darwinist when it involves the kind of society in which we want to live. A Darwinian State would be a Fascist state.”

    Dawkins is clearly aware, as I am sure you are, of the is/ought fallacy

    I took the opportunity to cite how the behaviors of one of the members of the clergy project would be interpreted through the eyes of Darwinism, nameley, that according to Buss, murdererous tendencies can lead to Darwinian advantage.

    I asked if this is a wrong inference given the supposed immutability of Darwinism. Is not the phenomenon of murder completely consistent with evolutionary theory as Buss (and others) argue?

    Buss found that most of us would be prepared to kill in certain circumstances, such as in self-defense or the defense of family and friends and it is arguable that there is an evolutionary advantage in that willingness.

    He also commented that many of us are alive today because many of those who contemplated murder calculated that the personal cost was too high. In other words, committing murder could be harmful from the evolutionary perspective of the murderer if it resulted in their incarceration and/or death.

    As we all know, however, murderers are not always restrained by such considerations. But then neither are they by faith. The “BTK” killer Dennis L Rader, for example, was a Lutheran of some 30 years standing who had been elected to high office in his local church. Are we to assume that Lutheranism is irredeemably tainted by the perverted crimes of one man?

    If the Clergy Project declares Amy Bishop’s behavior a tragedy, how can they justify that inference based on Buss’s work and the natural implications of Darwinism?

    If by “the natural implications of Darwinism” you mean the moral implications then I refer you again to the is/ought fallacy. There is no valid way to derive moral prescriptions from the theory of evolution.

    In a world view where love, life, and charity are special, “survival of the fittest” might be something to lament, not celebrate.

    Unless valuing love, life and charity in the context of society promoted your survival and that of your fellows, in which case that world view would actually be the fittest and one that you could justifiably celebrate.

  42. Given what you know about Darwinism, do you disagree with Buss’s inference from evolutionary theory?

    murder is the product of evolutionary forces and that the homicidal act, in evolutionary terms, conveys advantages to the killer.

    Yes.

  43. I followed the link to where Ms Bishop is listed as a science adviser to help clergy. I found this to be a bit lopsided (putting it lightly), implying perhaps that clergy need help to come around to or to be more fully indoctrinated into Darwinist evolution, while Darwinist evolutionists need no help from clergy…on anything. I believe recent events suggest otherwise.

    There is an email address on that page for a certain Michael Zimmerman, presumably to submit application for being a “scientist on call” to help clergy.

    I emailed Mr. Zimmerman with the following.

    “Dear Mr Zimmerman

    I happened to run across the Clergy Letter Project website page advertising “Scientists On Call for Clergy”. My forthcoming suggestion is highly politically incorrect, yet in light of recent current events, necessary. Please, in the interest of good science, and our safety from scientists with the moral constitution of one of your listees, Amy Bishop, create a web page on your site entitled…

    “Clergy On Call For Darwinists”

    Thank you.”

    To this day, I have not received a reply.

  44. If the drive to commit the murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

    Was the drive to commit the murder immaterial? Was it free will?

  45. If the drive to commit the murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

    What drive to commit murder? Looking around in the human world and the rest of the animal kingdom I see murder being a quite rare occurrence.

    So the appropriate question would be: If the drive NOT to commit murder is not the result of materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

  46. Darwinists like Dawkins can’t seem to get it, that “survival of the fittest” is a misleading term.

    Yet another funny statement. Wasn’t it YOU who used survival of the fittest in the OP, while you were trying to make a point. And you used it knowing full well how misleading the term is.

  47. Seversky,

    You wrote:

    “There is no conflict between the theory of evolution and sentiments of love and charity.”

    The message of Christ was not simply about love and charity- in fact he says in Matthew 10:34 – “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword.”

    Christ’s message- to believe in him true man and true God- is to try and live a certain way which is “impossible” for man- unless he has absolute faith. Not just charity and love- but at levels of impossible expectation- and also to live a virtuous life of grace and avoidance of sin. Avoidance of sins which in secular ways may seem to have many benefits in the materistic world- but at the cost of the salvation of the soul.

    There is a supernatural goal to Christianity that transcends any materialistically supportable ideal.

    First, what we need to understand is that we are not talking about morality in a secular philosophical context here- we are talking about “Christianity”- and the essence of Christianity goes BEYOND what is beneficial to the progress of the individual- that is, Christianity asks us to operate in a certain altruistic way of grace. The point that is being made is that if Darwinism is to be the locus of truth for the nature of the world then there is truly no benefit to living in this self denying way. In fact one is forced to accept that either their religion is a myth- because the miracles in the Bible do not square with a secular reality of Darwinism and thus recent their faith in the name of reality- or that they are choosing to blindly believe in something that does not square with REALITY and hence must choose knowingly to live a LIE.

    This is why Romans makes the point that for those willing to see that there is the work of a God apparent in the creation- hence squaring the faith with the reality.

    To expect people to do things which are not in their interest- or not relevant to reality- undercuts the legitimacy of the faith, plain and simple.

    And talking around this point is does not suffice for obvious reality of the relationship between Darwinism and true faith.

    ID will strengthen most people’s faith- and DE will corrode it. It is no coincidence that Darwin hopelessly muddled- and that Bill Dembski and Stephen Meyer are self proclaimed men of apparently strong faith.

    On a side not of the supposed men of faith and Darwinism like Francis Collins- I saw that he has a book out called “The Language of “Life”.” I thought it was interesting that after his first book faced the controversy of rejecting ID but at the same time seeming to make an ID argument- that his new book is almost like a step away from the faith- trading the religiously stronger word God for the more secular word Life.

    I personally believe that Collins is just an opportunist who used the title of his first book to kind of CASH IN on the ID and apologetics movement afoot doing well in book sales. He can claim he is a man of faith and still reject ID or whatever- but to be he is a wishy washy man of little faith- based on the quotes I have read from him in the past on this subject.

    And this is what you would expect from a man claiming to hold essentially both Darwinism and a Christian faith.

    To me reality is one domain- and it is not entirely sane to live in two separate realities at once. It is contradictory.

    It is also not entirely sane to live in a false single reality where miracles can happen either if it does not reflect truth. This is why as Christians people feel the weight of carrying their cross. The humility and difficulty of maintaining the light of faith in a world full of temptation and ridicule surrounded in spiritual darkness.

    That is, at just one level, what it means to be a Christian.

    And this is also why the Bible makes it clear that it is talking about one reality- and not an imaginary or make believe reality along side that of the real world. Not a parable about what an ideal morality should be- but a historical account of a supernatural change in the history of man.

    Nowhere does it say that it is a work of fiction.

    Christ’s resurrection was an act of both spirituality as well as a physical mystery and miracle. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not believe in the absolute truth of the real resurrection is not a Christian to me and historically would not be one by the ancient Church standards of thousands of years- not by almost any standards accept very recent modern and post modern secular ones.

    So defining “being Christian” is absolutely essential- because depending on what constitutes a Christian terminologically, is decides the result of the discussion. You can tell me you are a Saint – but if you live a life full of sin without repentance- your claim is frivolous.

    It is conceivable that one could be “partially” in the faith- but by classical standards there is no partial Christian- you either believe in the truth of the faith or do not.

    If someone was in between true faith and not believing then that is what that person is- “a partial believer”. Let him call himself what he is. Let us call them what they are..

    SO when Collins or someone claims to be a Christian and essentially a Darwinists at the same time he is either lying or mistaken by classical standards- or modern standards of fundamentalists. Simple as that.

    There is a clear conflict between the domain of materialism and especially miracles of the prophetically fulfilled nature. This also separates the Darwinians from the Christians.

    I should add though that obviously you need not be a Christian to believe in a God- but even if you are a general Theist you will be hard pressed to find any way of reasonably conciliating the derivation of a Theistic faith from a Darwinian reality.

  48. Frost122585:

    Mike, I made the case that these tendencies are usual among teachers of the left wing persuasion. I did not say that right wing or independent types would not have any of these characteristics. But the relationship that I have personally experienced in college- and a life time of school- supports by view. My post is indeed partly anecdotal- and achedemic- actions of left wing teachers seem to correlate with the nature of their philosophies- which are more about the search for power than for truth.

    While my experience, from some of the same sources, suggests that the ability to instruct effectively is generally independent of political views, and that the philosophies of the right are more about power than truth. Such is the joy of anecdotal evidence.

  49. hrun #42

    I’m sorry, but I missed your answer to the question in #41. What I see seems to be an attempted punt of the question, as oppossed to an answer to it. Surely you are not suggesting the murder was uncaused.

    A theory of murder was given (and disputed):

    murder is the product of evolutionary forces and that the homicidal act, in evolutionary terms, conveys advantages to the killer.

    So again, if the drive to commit this murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

    Was the drive immaterial? Was it free will?

  50. Was the drive immaterial? Was it free will?

    Unfortunately, I am not able to invest the time to discuss free will and whether or not it is compatible with materialism. Scores of books have been written on the subject.

    I’m sorry, but I missed your answer to the question in #41.

    I am not weaseling out, I simply have trouble understanding the underlying facts: Let’s say we have a population of animals that runs away when faced with predators. Now, every now and then we observe and individual that fails to run away. Is it reasonable to assert that ‘failure to run away in the face of a predator must be the product of evolutionary forces and convey and advantage to the individual’?

  51. What’s with the Darwin “shooting” quote, Sal? It’s seems like a very slimy quote-mine. Was Darwin talking about target shooting or hunting, or was he talking about shooting people? Somehow I think it was the former. How many Christians do you think enjoy target shooting or hunting, do you think?

    So my question for you: do you feel at all ashamed to quote-mine so egregiously?

  52. So my question for you: do you feel at all ashamed to quote-mine so egregiously?

    Is his answer to the question even relevant. Simply look at past behavior and judge for yourself.

  53. Mike@45,

    Agreed. That is the beauty of the freedom of speech and press etc- which is to express one’s own experiences through their own anecdotal points and arguments- and being from the right we like a world where there is an open market for ideas and opinions so they can be heard and rejected by the people at the same time.

    There is a story about Thomas Jefferson when he was in power and a French political leader of some note brought to him an American newspaper with all kind of slanderous things being said about him and people in his party- and when the Frenchman asked why this as allowed and why Jefferson did not have these people arrested for treason- or at least for slander or sedition? and Jefferson replied “take this paper home with you and save it- and if anyone should ever question the liberty and freedoms of this country, you may pull this out in rebuke. There is a certain imeasureable weight to a example like that.

    You could not exactly do that in Stalinist Russia though- nor could you do that if the far left Democrats in congress had their ideal way- which would be to try and usurp the constitution and limit the free exercise of speech in places like talk radio by mandating so called balance. A synthetic “balance” which they would authoritatively define though – of course. There would of course be nothing fair about the fairness doctrine though.

    In the US freedom and liberty act as a quint essential built on balancing mechanism that keeps the oppressive nature of the slim majority at bay- while finding the sensible middle ground needed to get the most necessary things done.

  54. Sal, what precisely is the point of this post? It seems to me you are making the following assertions:

    A1) Amy Bishop is a member of the consultant group for the Clergy Letter Project

    A2) Amy Bishop is alleged to have murdered three of her colleagues and seriously injured three others by shooting them

    A3) Charles Darwin indicated that he enjoyed shooting (target unspecified)

    There appears to be considerable evidence in support of these assertions. However, it is also clear that your intention in making these assertions is the following:

    I1) Amy Bishop is an evolutionary biologist

    I2) Evolutionary biologists enjoy shooting

    I3) Some evolutionary biologists enjoy shooting their colleagues to death

    And from this you appear to be strongly suggesting the following conclusion:

    C1) The practice of the science of evolutionary biology predisposes people to commit murder by shooting their colleagues to death.

    It is a matter of simple historical record that many of the regular commentators at this website agree with something very similar to C1. Indeed, they waste no opportunity to state it as an incontrovertible fact, and cite this “fact” as a reason to reject the methodology, conclusions, and (by implication) the character of the practitioners of evolutionary biology, and especially Charles Darwin.

    Let me therefore construct an exactly equivalent line of “reasoning”:

    A4) Andrea Yates was a member of a Christian worship group led by the itinerant Christian preacher, Michael Peter Woroniecki

    A5) Andrea Yates was convicted of murdering her five children by drowning them in a bathtub

    A6) John the Baptist indicated that he enjoyed submerging sinners in water

    Again, there appears to be considerable evidence in support of these assertions. Using the line of reasoning you seem to be promoting here, it would be equally “reasonable” to make the following inferences:

    I3) Andrea Yates is a Christian

    I4) Christians enjoy submerging people in water

    I5) Some Christians enjoy murdering their children by drowning them

    You should therefore be very willing to accept the following conclusion:

    C2) Christianity predisposes people to murder their children by drowning them.

    Please correct me if I have somehow misconstrued your intentions here. Also, please explain how your training in science and scientific reasoning leads you to make arguments of this form.

    And,while you’re at it, please let me know how you can look at your own reflection in the mirror after making arguments like this.

  55. P.S. Not all evolutionary biologists are “leftists”, nor do most of us practice our science in the pursuit of power, nor do we generally murder our colleagues by shooting them during faculty meetings (even after being denied tenure). But don’t let that stop any of you from constructing vicious “just so stories” like Sal’s. After all, there is no such thing as “reality” if it contradicts your prejudices, right?

  56. hrun,

    In your fist reply at #42 you blatantly tried to change the subject instead of answering the question. Now in your second reply, you’ve simply (and quite desperately) repeated the same avoidance.

    What do running animals have to do with the question you took a pot shot at?!

    The question is:

    If the drive to commit the murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

    Was the drive to commit the murder immaterial? Was it free will?

    Now if (after being asked for a clarification) you have decided that you simply don’t care to answer the question, then just say so. But don’t then tell me that you’re not trying to “weasle out”. That is very obviously and demonstrably not the case.

    You say that you (“unfortunately”) don’t have the time to “invest” in the answer to the question. Yet, I notice you are still here making comments on this and other threads.

    Well, okay…

    By all means, make yourself at home. Feel free to comment on anything you wish. Pick and choose what responses to your comments you’ll ignore and those which you’ll engage.

    I, for one, want you to feel completely at ease.

  57. Now if (after being asked for a clarification) you have decided that you simply don’t care to answer the question, then just say so. But don’t then tell me that you’re not trying to “weasle out”. That is very obviously and demonstrably not the case.

    “If the drive to commit the murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come? ”

    Have you considered that the answer might be that it has a ‘material’ cause but that it was not the ‘forces of evolution’? Again, I think the question is simply non-sense.

    You say that you (”unfortunately”) don’t have the time to “invest” in the answer to the question. Yet, I notice you are still here making comments on this and other threads.

    That’s not what I said. I said that I did not have the time to discuss ‘materialism’ and ‘free will’.

    By all means, make yourself at home. Feel free to comment on anything you wish. Pick and choose what responses to your comments you’ll ignore and those which you’ll engage.

    That’s exactly what I will do. Thank you for approving.

  58. hrun0815: “Looking around in the human world and the rest of the animal kingdom I see murder being a quite rare occurrence.”

    Only humans are capable of committing murder as we are the only beings imbued with and possessed of a moral constitution. The rest of the animal kingdom is bound by instinctive forces beyond the control of reasoned judgment and so the subject has no relavancy to them.

  59. lol @ ShawnBoy # 28. I think the wig did the trick.

  60. Just to point out, most of those who think that materialism and free will are compatible, do so by redefining free will. A case in point is Nancey Murphy, who is probably at the forefront of this line of inquiry. She defines free will not in terms of freedom (which is naturally what one assumes when speaking of free will), but rather in terms of whether or not the reasons we do things are the same as the reasons we think we do them for.

    So, yes, there have been scores of books written on the subject (Murphy has written at least three of them), but they do not reconcile materialism and free will — instead they redefine free will to mean something else, and then reconcile that to materialism.

    A few others do so by fudging on materialism – by using the “materialism” terminology but, when you look at what they are saying, they are usually invoking a non-material component or a pantheistic component. In this case, neither of these options are truly materialistic.

  61. Have you considered that the answer might be that it has a ‘material’ cause but that it was not the ‘forces of evolution’? Again, I think the question is simply non-sense.

    Perhaps you forgot; I did not posit the theory of murder being discussed. The evolutionary psychologist David Buss did.

    It was then asked if one might agree with his assessment. An answer given was in the negative. I then asked if it was not the “materially explicable forces of evolution” that lead to such impulses, then where do they come from?

    We are told that mechanics of biological evolution are at the heart of all things that exists biologically. To my knowledge there isn’t a list of things that are off the list. I also have it on good authority that there are entire throngs of leading evolutionary thinkers that agree wholeheartedly with the very concise premise that “nothing makes sense except in the light of evolution”. And I have seen for myself entire selections of books written about biological entities (both their physical being as well as their behavior) that suggest that this is exactly the reigning belief.

    I see now that you would perhaps like to suggest otherwise. Can you please illuminate the other biological things (both physical phenomena and species behaviors) that are excluded from evolutionary theories. That is, of course, if you have the time.

  62. Perhaps you forgot; I did not posit the theory of murder being discussed. The evolutionary psychologist David Buss did.

    Who cares who posited the theory. You asked the question here. I am explaining to you why I think the question does not make any sense.

    It was then asked if one might agree with his assessment. An answer given was in the negative. I then asked if it was not the “materially explicable forces of evolution” that lead to such impulses, then where do they come from?

    And here again I ask you, why would you believe they have to be explicable by evolution?

    We are told that mechanics of biological evolution are at the heart of all things that exists biologically. To my knowledge there isn’t a list of things that are off the list.

    Maybe you should look again: For example, behavior that strongly deviates from the norm of a species does not necessarily have to have to be explicable by evolution. It is the absence of that behavior in the majority of the population that is explicable by evolution.

    I see now that you would perhaps like to suggest otherwise. Can you please illuminate the other biological things (both physical phenomena and species behaviors) that are excluded from evolutionary theories. That is, of course, if you have the time.

    For example, a rare brain defect might explain why some people turn into murders while the majority does not. Let’s say, it might be caused by a random blood clot in the brain.

    Evolution can explain the normative behavior of the species. Going around murdering people appears to be a behavior that is not conducive to the overall survival of human beings.

    Heh, and I did find the time.

  63. hrun,

    Who cares who posited the theory. You asked the question here. I am explaining to you why I think the question does not make any sense.

    Your explanation does not seem to square (make sense) with modern evolutionary psychology. I find it odd that you see one behavior as being completely explicable by evolutionary theories, but not another. You’ve propsed this idea twice now. Can you tell us the distinction between the two?

    Maybe you should look again: For example, behavior that strongly deviates from the norm of a species does not necessarily have to have to be explicable by evolution. It is the absence of that behavior in the majority of the population that is explicable by evolution.

    Really, thats just brilliant. So not committing some act is explicable by evolution, yet commiting that same act is not explicable. Astounding! (And hey, what a great insulator from having to address any potentially awkward questions). Can I have a citation so that I too can research this phenomena – where not commmitting an act is explicable by evolution, but comitting it falls outside what evolution can explain? You DO have a citations for this thesis, correct?

    For example, a rare brain defect might explain why some people turn into murders while the majority does not. Let’s say, it might be caused by a random blood clot in the brain.

    So you’re suggesting that evolutionary phsychologist such as Mr Buss should stop wasting time with evolutionary theories about about murder and start looking for brain clots and such instead? And if we find an errant spouse dead in neighbor’s bed in the middle of the night, look for brain clots! And if we come upon a desceased individual with a bag of fake cocaine in an ally, we should look for brain clots again.

    Oh, this will create quite a stir. Human beings acting upon impulses such as envy, greed, lust, power, hubris, racism…those are all second-rate explanations now.

    Evolution can explain the normative behavior of the species. Going around murdering people appears to be a behavior that is not conducive to the overall survival of human beings.

    Get a map of the United States and start sticking thumbtacks into it. In the first day put about 4600 in it. Do the same number on the second day. Follow that pattern for 365 days. Now do it every year you are alive, growing a little each year to account for population growth.

    Now, is murder a normative behavior for humans? The only reason I am asking is because you failed so miserably at the question above, I thought I’d throw you a bone and you can tell us how many people that 16,500 murders each year represents by population and argue that its not “normative” at all.

    Your welcome.

  64. edit:

    “map of the US” –> World Map

    “16,500″ –> 167,000

  65. Found a sock did ya?

    Nice.

  66. Barb @ 19:
    “I’ll be curious to see if there’s as much outrage over this act of violence as there is when a supposed Christian or religious person commits a crime.”

    scordova @ 29:
    “Darwinism has overtaken culture not merely because Atheists have promoted it, but rather because Clergy have sanctioned and encouraged it!”

    Matthew J. Murray in Arvada, Colorado. Google it. Apparently the Clergy at Youth With A Mission have something to answer for.

  67. Can you tell us the distinction between the two?

    I have attempted multiple times: One is the ‘normal’ behavior of the species (i.e. majority of people don’t go around murdering people) to the ‘abnormal’ behavior (i.e. some rare subset of people does go around murdering people). It’s not difficult to understand.

    Really, thats just brilliant. So not committing some act is explicable by evolution, yet commiting that same act is not explicable.

    Thank you. But really, it’s again not that difficult to understand. For example, there are some behaviors of physical objects that are explicable by gravity, but other behavior of physical objects are not. Does that bother you as well?

    (And hey, what a great insulator from having to address any potentially awkward questions).

    What type of awkward questions would one ask? The same type of awkward question one can ask of gravity after a person falls off a mountain and gets their head bashed in?

    So you’re suggesting that evolutionary phsychologist such as Mr Buss should stop wasting time with evolutionary theories about about murder and start looking for brain clots and such instead? And if we find an errant spouse dead in neighbor’s bed in the middle of the night, look for brain clots! And if we come upon a desceased individual with a bag of fake cocaine in an ally, we should look for brain clots again.

    That’s not what I said. How come I have to continuously point out to you that you are not reading properly what I am saying.

    I gave you an example of what physical causes of a behavior might be excluded from an evolutionary explanation (i.e. the formation of a blood clot acting on a brain).

    Now, is murder a normative behavior for humans? The only reason I am asking is because you failed so miserably at the question above, I thought I’d throw you a bone and you can tell us how many people that 16,500 murders each year represents by population and argue that its not “normative” at all.

    Let’s say that all 16,500 murders are committed by different individuals. In my book that seems to say that approximately 0.0054% of the population of the US are murderers. So the answer is clear: Murder is not a normative behavior of this population. How could you possibly argue otherwise? (And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that the 16,500 murderers also do not go around murdering people for the vast majority of their life.)

    But thanks for throwing me a bone.

  68. “map of the US” –> World Map

    “16,500? –> 167,000

    Ahh, thanks for strengthening my point. So only 0.0025% of all people in the world are murderers. The behavior is even rarer than I indicated in my previous post. So the answer can be give even more emphatically: Murder is most certainly not a normative behavior of human beings.

  69. Only humans are capable of committing murder as we are the only beings imbued with and possessed of a moral constitution. The rest of the animal kingdom is bound by instinctive forces beyond the control of reasoned judgment and so the subject has no relavancy to them.

    Fine, give all the other animals a free pass. It doesn’t change the argument: Murderers are exceedingly rare (either looking at just humans or among the whole animal kingdom).

  70. hrun0815: “Murderers are exceedingly rare (either looking at just humans or among the whole animal kingdom).”

    Again, murder has no meaning to the rest of the animals. It is almost a non sequitur.

  71. hrun0815: “Murderers are exceedingly rare”

    I imagine you are basing this claim on carefully researched statistics. What are the numbers for, say, Mexico, Colombia, or the more than forty countries in Africa?

  72. btw, I must add that these murder rates dramatically go up when you factor in the crimes associated with all the wars that are now and have been going on for awhile now.

  73. When humans kill other animals is it murder or just dinner?

    If another animal kills a human is it murder or just dinner?

  74. hrun:

    Murderers are exceedingly rare (either looking at just humans or among the whole animal kingdom).

    So are new complex proteins emerging in an existing species today (in fact they are rarer than murderers). Yet that doesn’t prevent Darwinists from declaring that Darwinian processes were definitely responsible.

    Do you see the problem with your line of argumentation? :-)

  75. I asked:

    Given what you know about Darwinism, do you disagree with Buss’s inference from evolutionary theory?

    murder is the product of evolutionary forces and that the homicidal act, in evolutionary terms, conveys advantages to the killer.

    Serversky responded:

    Yes.

    To educate our readers, can you offer reasons why you disagree. Buss seems keenly insightful. I’d like to see reasons from evolutionary theory as to why he is wrong.

    Thank you by the way for responding.

  76. Do you see the problem with your line of argumentation?

    Nope. The existance of those rare proteins is not explained by evolution. Only their increase or decrease in frequency in the population.

    But what do you care? The reason for your OP (and many similar posts) is blatantly obvious. You know it. I know it. And most everybody commenting in this thread knows it.

  77. When humans kill other animals is it murder or just dinner?

    If another animal kills a human is it murder or just dinner?

    The answer is trivial. Just look up how ‘murder’ is defined.

  78. Maramusa:

    Sal

    Thank you for clarifying that you were not sincere when you claimed not to be associating evolutionary theory and degenerate character.

    Would killing a rival potentially give me some reproductive/survival advantage? Sure. I can also gain survival/reproductive advantage by working cooperatively with my community to ensure adequate food supplies and protection from danger.

    Are you actually suggesting that Ms. Bishop (allegedly) killed in order to obtain some benefit from an evolutionary standpoint?

    Maramusa,

    Thank you for clarifying that you were not sincere when you claimed not to be associating evolutionary theory and degenerate character.

    I was not arguing belief in evolutionary theory necessarily implies a degnerate character, however that not preculde that evolutionary processes will ensure the perpetuation of degenerates. For example long before Darwinism was an accepted belief, there were degenerates like Ghengis Khan.

    He was an alpha male that killed his competitors and then mated with their widows. By the standards of evolution, he was reproductively successful. I gave examples in the animal kingdom that reflect this principle. Now it would be hard to argue that Ghengis Khan or the examples given of alpha males are Darwinists!!!! Thus your complaint against me is misplaced. One does not have to be a Darwinist for evolutionary forces to make them a killer.

    Maramusa:

    Would killing a rival potentially give me some reproductive/survival advantage? Sure.

    So things like new proteins, new behaviors which confer survival advantage are natural and part of Darwinian processes.

    So is the propensity to mark out territory, to take resources from fellow individuals (like food, mates, tenure positions) be as natural as a giraffes neck?

    If this bleak picture is the way life is so be it. There are lots of truths that are upleasant in science (like say the eventual death of the universe).

    However, my issue with the Clergy Letter project is that they are being disingenuous, misleading, and self-contradictory. Why pick Darwinian evolution to celebrate science.

    Why not pick the second law of thermodynamics to preach on? Or how about the first law? Or how about the field of chemistry? The Darwinian conception of reality hardly makes one think of God, imho.

    Thus the clergy project rather than promoting science is shilling for Darwin. Nothing wrong with shilling for Darwin. But at least be honest about it and self consistent.

    As I said, Dawkins is more philosophically consistent than the members of Clergy Letter project.

    It just so happens, Amy Bishop was part of the Clergy Letter Project. Her membership only helps highlight the strange and self-contradictory nature of the Clergy Letter Project.

  79. UprightBiPed,

    If the drive to commit the murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

    Was the drive to commit the murder immaterial? Was it free will?

    I believe it is an exaggeration to portray the forces of evolution as ‘materially explicable’. Be that as it may, who who knows, maybe she’s a victim of child abuse? Lots of people are, many of them commit murders, even become serial killers.

    Oh, child abuse can be traced to evolutionism?

    Where does love and compassion come from: ‘free will’, or evolution?

    How come even animals display clear signs of compassionate behavior?

    Maybe behavioral psychology in an evolutionary context provide the better answer.

    BTW how free is our will? Who can laugh, cry, be depressed, exalted, hungry or sleepy, by will alone? Why isn’t our will free, in spite of the claims that we have a free will?

    I can stop my breathing by will alone, at least for a while but it takes no will to keep breathing.

    Maybe will, free or not, is a subject that require proper study if we really want to know?

  80. Nope. The existance of those rare proteins is not explained by evolution. Only their increase or decrease in frequency in the population.

    Well then, by that line of argumentation, when a new protein emerges, it is at first rare, therefore according to you, its origin or presence is not explained by evolution. :-)

    Your line of argumentation appears a bit shaky.

  81. Buss seems keenly insightful.

    This statement (and in fact the whole post) explains why I have no desire to engage in discussion with you, Sal.

    I doubt very much that you believe that Buss is ‘keenly insightful’. In fact, I highly doubt that he even ‘seems’ insightful to you. So why phrase your question that way?

  82. hrun:

    Just look up how ‘murder’ is defined.

    A flock of crows.

    I don’t see the problem :)

    I see murders every day where I live

  83. At issue is whether the moral universe is as immutable as the aspects of the physical universe.

    For example, in physics, there are principles that are considered universal.

    Dawkins has proposed the tendency toward charity and love are mere adaptations (therefore they would not be universals).

    If so the revulsion toward killing is only an adaptation, it does not necessarily have any significance in the order of the universe sice such things are merely adaptations (thus subjet to change).

    Such a view of moral character is hardly the stuff of sunday morning sermons.

    What might be a better view for sunday morning? Francis Collins ideas…

    Francis Collins beleives moral character comes from God because it is inconsistent with Darwinian processes!

    The tendency toward murder (and all the the sins listed in the ten commandments), could well be part of natural tendencies. That is perfectly consistent with Christian theology (that the natural man has tendency to do these things).

    If Collins is correct, then moral character (both human and even in the animal kingdom) come from a higher power.

  84. Buss seems keenly insightful.

    This statement (and in fact the whole post) explains why I have no desire to engage in discussion with you, Sal.

    I doubt very much that you believe that Buss is ‘keenly insightful’. In fact, I highly doubt that he even ’seems’ insightful to you. So why phrase your question that way?

    So when Dawkins claims (as he did in his debate with lennox) that our altruism is orginated through evolutionary processes, you have issues with the notion that selfish tendencies(like killing for the sake of selfish advantage) are not due to evolutionary processes?

    Am I misuderstanding you, or do you agree with Buss.

    This statement (and in fact the whole post) explains why I have no desire to engage in discussion with you, Sal.

    But don’t you want to teach our readers about evolutionary theory. Isn’t the origin and evolution of our behaviors and attitudes an important topic.

    Personally, I do think bad behavior is a natural tendency, and evolutionary forces only make them worse.

  85. Sal,
    Have you heard any word on Dr. Sanford’s testing of ancient bacteria?

  86. hrun,

    You are not too snappy on this topic are you? I’ll try to spell it out.

    Of all the murders that take place, how many do you think are the result of brain tumors? And how many do you think are the result of envy, anger, greed, hubris, jealousy, racism, the thirst for control, the lust for power, etc etc etc ????

    Now stay with me a second…

    Are envy, anger, greed, hubris, jealousy, racism, the thirst for control, the lust for power, etc, “normative” of humans?

    Start putting tacks on your map and stop at the number of people who experience envy, anger, greed, hubris, jealousy, racism, control, the lust for power, etc and then tell me if these are normative.

    Now is it even possible you could miss this point?

    Murders are the overwhelming result of emotions we all have. They are not the result of an un-named impulse; a rare “murder emotion”, and the rarity of murder is not the question and it never was.

    If evolution is to explain these emotions, then it is also what explains the emotions that lead to murder.

    A thesis from an evolutionary psychologists was offered in evolutionary terms:

    murder is the product of evolutionary forces and that the homicidal act, in evolutionary terms, conveys advantages to the killer.

    You disagreed with it.

    So again I asked:

    “if the drive to commit murder is not the result of the materially explicable forces of evolution, from where did it come?

    Was the drive immaterial? Was it free will?”

  87. Personally, I think both bad and good behavior have natural tendencies that are partially the result of natural selection. Therefore, I agree with T. H. Huxley, who wrote

    “Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating [evolution by natural selection], still less in running away from it, but in combating it.”
    [http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE9/E-E.html]

    This is essentially the same as Dawkins’ position, as quoted in comment #40:

    “No self-respecting person would want to live in a Society that operates according to Darwinian laws. I am a passionate Darwinist, when it involves explaining the development of life. However, I am a passionate anti-Darwinist when it involves the kind of society in which we want to live. A Darwinian State would be a Fascist state.”

    To reiterate a basic principle of ethics (one which many commentators here either do not understand or chose to either ignore or deliberate misrepresent for propaganda purposes):

    is ? ought

    There is no contradiction in either Huxley or Dawkins’ positions vis-a-vis the distinction between what evolutionary theory says about our behavioral tendencies and our moral obligations. Conflating the two is to misrepresent both and thereby to potentially commit very great evil.

  88. sorry: the ? mark showed up on my monitor as a “does not equal” sign

  89. is = ought

    The way I understand it, in a purely materialistic philosophy there is no inherent reason (logically speaking) for “ought” as far as moral decisions. What is an “Ought” becomes an adaptation, and thus subject to change.

    Whereas in a universe where morals are not rooted in material entities, there is a sense of right and wrong that transcends adaptation (i.e. Ghengis Khan’s behavior will always be morally reprehensible, even though it was favored by selection in some respecdts).

    My understanding is that you do not regard yourself as a materialist.

    PS
    Forgive the delay in your comments showing up. Had I known you were visiting I would have been speedier to respond (and as I said, even I an restrained by the software, if you notice, my comments don’t appear on other threads!).

    I will be driving to class shortly and be gone for the rest of the day. I hope to be around this evening. I’ll try to be prompt in assisting display of your comments. One of the mods can pick up the slack in my absense.

    Thank you for your comments, always nice to see you.

  90. Personally, I think both bad and good behavior have natural tendencies that are partially the result of natural selection.

    Agreed, although I think (because I believe we are deteriorating), that we have a stronger tendency to evolve to be worse (physically, mentally, morally), not better. i.e. Ghengis Khan

    This gloomy view is consistent with Christian theology:

    There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.

    They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

    2 Tim 3

  91. “are partially the result of natural selection”

    What else?

    This is an equivocation. If matter is all there is, then matter is all there is. The opposite (and passionately argued) view results in matter and purely material processes ending in a phenomena that is more than matter because it requires more than matter to explain it.

    Best regards…

  92. Oh yes, it’s always nice when moral lecturer Allen MacNeill arrives to echo Dawkins in calling those who disagree with him either ignorant or liars.

    if is doesn’t = ought then where do oughts come from in a world of only is?

  93. Let me clarify …
    it is most emphatically true that is does not = ought.

    So is the accusation that someone here doesn’t understand this or is lying about it relevant and anything but a red herring?

  94. 94

    From a purely materialistic paradigm, what biological mechanism allows one to combat “natural tendencies?” This is like saying that good and bad behavior is dictated solely by instinct. If this were the case your instincts would be in constant conflict, and we would be unable to give one credence over the other, let alone discern which should hold more intrinsic value. Dr. MacNeill, you quoted Dawkins here, but I’m really not seeing how he can reconcile this statement:

    “No self-respecting person would want to live in a Society that operates according to Darwinian laws. I am a passionate Darwinist, when it involves explaining the development of life. However, I am a passionate anti-Darwinist when it involves the kind of society in which we want to live. A Darwinian State would be a Fascist state.”

    How can he choose when Darwinian “laws” apply, and when they do not unless one accounts for some other natural function which allows for this (again, this depends on the materialist worldview, which Dawkins subscribes to)?

    Specifically, how does one combat natural selection?

    As I’m writing this I see now that I’m merely echoing Upright BiPed’s objection in post 89.

  95. In #87 Sal wrote:

    “My understanding is that you do not regard yourself as a materialist.”

    You are correct.

  96. In comment #89 upright biped wrote:

    “If matter is all there is, then matter is all there is.”

    I do not subscribe to this view.

    The opposite (and passionately argued) view results in matter and purely material processes ending in a phenomena that is more than matter because it requires more than matter to explain it.

    Succinctly put; this is precisely what I think is the case. Please note, however, the order in which this statement is placed: matter and energy interact, producing phenomena that are not completely “reducible” to matter and energy. In other words, such “non-materialist” phenomena are emergent properties that arise out of the interactions between matter and energy.

    I stress this because it is my perception that a significant fraction of the commentators here would reverse this pattern of causality, arguing that the “non-materialist” phenomena (lump them under the term “meaningful information” if you like) exist before the interactions between matter and energy, rather than arising out of such interactions.

    The first view – that non-material phenomena such as meaningful information are emergent phenomena – is fully compatible with evolutionary theory. Indeed, it was the core of Ernst Mayr’s metaphysics of biology, as presented in his book, Toward a Philosophy of Biology.

    The second view – that non-material phenomena can somehow exist without (i.e. before) a physical (i.e. matter + energy) medium is completely outside the domain of science and must (for metaphysical reasons) forever remain so.

  97. Allen MacNeill,

    The second view – that non-material phenomena can somehow exist without (i.e. before) a physical (i.e. matter + energy) medium is completely outside the domain of science and must (for metaphysical reasons) forever remain so.

    Metaphysics is ruled out then, and cannot be used as a reason to do science.

  98. It has been my experience, both at this website and elsewhere (including most pro-evolution websites) that the vast majority of people tend to conflate “is” statements (i.e. empirical descriptions) with “ought” statements (i.e. moral prescriptions). I apologize if I gave the impression that this fallacy (called by G. E. Moore the “naturalistic fallacy”) is associated uniquely with ID supporters. It is common with almost anyone who has had little or no training in ethical theory, and causes no end of misunderstanding. Indeed, carried to its logical extreme, it has resulted in both “social darwinism” and the horrors of the first half of the 20th century.

    However, I disagree with Sal on his pessimism. I believe that a long view of history (such as that provided by historical anthropology, as exemplified in Robert Wright’s book, Non-Zero) provides the opposite perspective: despite some setbacks, human social interactions have generally improved over the past 40,000 years.

  99. In #95 Clive Hayden wrote:

    “Metaphysics is ruled out then, and cannot be used as a reason to do science.”

    I agree: that’s why its called “metaphysics”, to distinguish it from “physics”. To be as precise as possible, the domain of metaphysics is entirely outside the domain of the empirical sciences. That is, one cannot “reduce” metaphysics to (nor derive it from) the findings of the empirical sciences.

    On the contrary, metaphysics (i.e. the analysis of the assumptions that provide the foundations for our understanding of reality) provides the basis (i.e. the “rationale”) for the pursuit of the empirical sciences. I am currently writing about this relationship in a book, to be entitled Biologic: The Metaphyical Foundations of the Biological Sciences. And yes, the homage in that title to my old friend and mentor, Edwin Arthur “Ned” Burtt, is not accidental.

  100. MacNeill:

    Please note, however, the order in which this statement is placed: matter and energy interact, producing phenomena that are not completely “reducible” to matter and energy. In other words, such “non-materialist” phenomena are emergent properties that arise out of the interactions between matter and energy.

    Metaphysical speculation and it still doesn’t result in any oughts … just another asserted is.

  101. Update from Bantay @42

    Mr Zimmerman (from the Clergy Letter Project site) finally replied to me today. Instead of acknowledging that “scientists on call to help clergy” is condescending, he merely scoffed at my idea to make a web page entitled “clergy on call to help Darwinists”, and he had the gall to accuse me of being “crass and insensitive”.

    The front page of the Clergy Letter Project website advertises compatibility between religion and science…but not intellectual equality for each position. There is some blurb on the same page advertising how this site will “elevate the quality of the debate”.

    No, I don’t think so. Websites like the Clergy Letter Project do not elevate the quality of the debate. It just demonstrates the gullibility of a few clergymen.

  102. Methodological Naturalism (The study of what is accessible to us in nature) has now been extended well beyond just matter and energy, as our materialists friends would like to maintain, and has now been expanded to include TRANSCENDENT INFORMATION itself as a physical, “natural”, entity which has clearly displayed dominion and transcendence of any matter/energy basis. Though quantum entanglement first highlighted this fact, quantum teleportation has clearly elucidated, in non-compromising terms, that information is its own unique entity. Thus for a materialist to stay consistent within the methodological naturalism framework, with what is currently revealed to our understanding, through quantum mechanics, then the materialist must try to argue that the “transcendent information” is based on a foundation of random chaos, instead of being based on the order of “the Mind of God” as the theist presupposes.

    Koonin’s “many world’s” paper comes to mind as a prime example of what the line of proper argumentation ought to be for the materialists if he is to stay current with what science has revealed.

    The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution – Eugene V Koonin
    http://www.biology-direct.com/content/2/1/21

    Koonin tries to account for the origination of the massive amounts of functional information, required for the Cambrian Explosion, by trying to access an “undirected” mechanism of Quantum Mechanics called ‘Many Worlds’. Besides Koonin ignoring the fact that Quantum Events, on a whole, are strictly restricted to the transcendent universal laws/constants of the universe, it is also fair to note, in criticism to Koonin’s scenario, that appealing to the undirected infinite probabilistic resource, of the quantum mechanics of the Many Worlds scenario, actually greatly increases the amount of totally chaotic information one would expect to see generated. Though Koonin is correct to recognize that the infinite probabilistic resource of Quantum Mechanics does not absolutely preclude the sudden appearance of massive amounts of functional information in the fossil record, he is incorrect to disregard the “Logos” of John 1:1 needed to correctly specify the “controlled mechanism of implementation” for the massive amounts of complex functional information witnessed abruptly and mysteriously appearing in the fossil record. i.e. he must sufficiently account for the “cause” for the “effect” he wants to explain.

  103. Upright:

    “are partially the result of natural selection”

    What else?

    To be fair, there are other evolutionary mechanisms aside from selection such as plain old mutation without selection.

    There is debate in secular quarters which mechanism dominates:

    1. mutation followed by natural selection (Darwin, Dawkins, others)

    2. mutation without any selection (the neutralist and mutationist school: Kimura, Nei, many top names)

    Most think there is some of each. I believe the “mutation without selection” school of thought has the better case.

    Of course, I believe humans were intelligently designed in a moment of special creation, so I believe most of the complex features were not evolved.

    As far as the origin of human mis-behavior, I think there was a fall from grace, but the details of the mechanism are not clear. I do believe natural selection over time will favor more selfish, rather than co-operative and charitable behaviors over time. But that is my personal speculation.

    Recall, the idea of Natural Selection originated with creationists like Blyth. But Blyth thought its role in nature was limited.

  104. The second view – that non-material phenomena can somehow exist without (i.e. before) a physical (i.e. matter + energy) medium is completely outside the domain of science and must (for metaphysical reasons) forever remain so.

    Agree in the formal sense, but it does not preclude a circumstantial speculation based on the evidence.

    Bill Dembski lays out the circumstantial evidence here: The Last Magic

    The notion of what “ought to be” is often at variance with what “is”. Thus it seems idealization of what ought to be pre-exists even before we perceive something. Somehow we know when a note is wrong even though we might not have ever heard a certain performer performing an unknown piece….

    It is a working assumption by most that the math we discover would still be true independent of the existence of one universe or another. This is certainly the case with physicists who assume a multiverse or many worlds!

    Thus even materialists assume some sort of transcendent reality! They cannot come up with a philosophically consistent system if they did not assume a transcendent reality decoupled from the material universe.

    Life, like math, like software, are transcendent objects.

    There were certain projects I worked on when we were building software for physical devices which did not even exist. In that sense a non-material entity (software) pre-existed before it was actualized in the eventual universe (the target computer) where it was eventually to reside.

    In that sense, it does not seem outrageous that idealizations and concepts can pre-exist the universe we now live in.

    If life is software, then it would seem morals are rules which would govern it, much like software must be gramatically and semantically correct. The rules that govern software organization ( like the syntax and spelling rules) pre-exist the formation of software.

    So in the world of software, there is definitely the notion of pre-existing ideals, even before the sofware is written. Thus I argue that certain moral notions could pre-exist even before the first human life came to be.

    In Christian theology, the natural world (what “is”) is constantly compared to “what ought to be”. Orthodox Chrisitan theology views the natural man as inherently flawed, he is not what he ought to be.

  105. In comment #102 Sal wrote:

    “I do believe natural selection over time will favor more selfish, rather than co-operative and charitable behaviors over time.”

    There is a growing cadre of evolutionary biologists who strongly believe the opposite. Check out Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, by Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson. I have a copy I could send you, if you like (it’s filled with my annotations, but otherwise readable).

    David is a good friend of mine, and has written extensively on this topic. I also recommend reading the Wikipedia article on George R. Price (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_R._Price), the Price Equation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_equation), and the short biography of Price that appeared in Lingua Franca in 2000 (http://www.kuleuven.ac.be/bio/.....tz2000.pdf)

  106. that non-material phenomena can somehow exist without (i.e. before) a physical (i.e. matter + energy) medium is completely outside the domain of science and must (for metaphysical reasons) forever remain so.

    I disagree with that statement because it is possible to directly infer the conservation of transcendent information by the demonstrated dominion of “transcendent information” over photons of energy. This is since we know, by the first law, that energy cannot be created or destroyed by any material means. Thus clearly it is fair to infer that anything that demonstrates complete dominion of energy, as transcendent information is clearly doing in these teleportation experiments, then information, by logical necessity of causal adequacy, cannot be created or destroyed. i.e. all information that can possibly exist for all events of energy, past, present and future, already must exist for the first law to remain consistent with itself.

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://www.research.ibm.com/qu.....portation/

    Unconditional Quantum Teleportation – abstract
    Excerpt: This is the first realization of unconditional quantum teleportation where every state entering the device is actually teleported,,
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....2/5389/706

  107. Sorry, the site editor picked up the closing parenthesis in the URL. The correct links are:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_R._Price

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_Equation

    http://www.kuleuven.ac.be/bio/.....rz2000.pdf

  108. 108

    “such “non-materialist” phenomena are emergent properties that arise”

    -poof-

    Now have a bite of cake.

  109. There is a growing cadre of evolutionary biologists who strongly believe the opposite. Check out Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, by Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson. I have a copy I could send you, if you like (it’s filled with my annotations, but otherwise readable).

    Allen thank you for the comment. Yes indeed there is a sentiment regarding group selection, and David Sloan Wilson is an excellent researcher who has advocated that group selection is the reason religious belief may confer selective advantage to believers.

    Also price was an evolutionist turned creationist. Price’s theoretical work is highly regarded.

    I have only speculations to offer on the matter of selfish selection versus group selection, and you are most certainly more qualified than I on the topic.

    It would seem if competition works at the individual level, it can work at the group level.

    The question is under what conditions group selection will take sufficient precedence over individual selection.

    For example, Salthe points out the situation where individual selection favored certain individuals. The population becomes at risk of extinction because of the lack of diversity. In a sense the “weaker” individuals ought to have been favored (in the sense their presence might be valuable in the future, but not in the present), but because individual selection does not have foresight into the future it makes a shortsighted decision. There was an absence of group selection pressure to confer foresight.

    He mentions this in passing here:
    WhyEvolution

    There are two major theoretical prongs in neoDarwinism: the Fisherian dynamical approach and the Wright-Dobzhansky kinetic approach. Neither delivers real long term evolution. In Fisher’s version, which does track over many generations, we begin with a population having a degree of variability in characters that could link to fitness. The environment changes, and, as a result of differential reproduction, some variants are discarded from the population while a few increase in frequency of representation. This process, generation after generation, results in a net decrease in population variability in fitness as population fitness with respect to the altered environment improves (Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection). This genic improvement could reasonably be linked to some phenotypic evolutionary trend. By the time the population has achieved an adaptive gene pool configuration (if it hasn’t gone extinct for lack of appropriate variability), it has lost variability to the extent that, if the environment should change again, extinction would be a likely result. The population has become overspecialized. In this model, evolution leads to the brink of extinction.

    In other words, group selection can happen, but whether it will occur when it is needed is anyone’s guess. Group selection seems often absent when it would be most useful to long term survival.

    The most poignant example of this is the absence of group selection in somatic cells in the human body during the lifetime of a person.

    Somatic cells “evolve” from conception to death of a person. This is often suggested as a micro-example of evolution.

    Selection describes well B-cell hypermutation in the immune system (this is often cited as a micro-example of Darwinian evolution). In contrast, cancer cells when multiplying unabated seem to not have any group selection pressure foresight!

    If the bad cells would altruistically die out in our body, we’d all live a lot longer.

  110. This thread represents a low point for the ID advocates that skulk around here. Truly pathetic.

    Let us apply your ID logic universally – we will now see that it was Jesus – I mean, the Intelligent Designer – and Scouting that drove Dennis Rader (Eagle Scout,member of the Luteran Church for more than 30 years) to bind, torture, and kill all those women.

    But I am sure that my application of your ID logic will be assailed and I will be attacked.

  111. derwood,

    Where in this post have I said belief in Darwinism leads to degeneracy of character?

    I merely point out the irony of the Clergy Letter Project trying to celebrate “survival of the fittest” in church when one of their own members went on a shooting rampage, which according to Buss, was partly the result of eons of evolution instilling murderous attitudes. Don’t you appreciate the irony?

    This would be about as bad as the Clergy Letter Project celebrating the science of nuclear energy and its benetifs right when an atomic bomb explodes. Yes, the science of nuclear energy is real, but is that the stuff of national campaign to have churches celebrate it on a particular sunday?

    What I take issue with is that the Clergy Project is only pretending to promote science when in fact they are promoting a specific idea: “survival of the fittest”. If they were pro science, why not celebrate other theories like chemistry, physics, geology, etc.?

    It seems more like a cultural ploy than real science. It seems highly disingenuous. That’s what I take issue with.

  112. Sal, could you kindly point out where the Clergy Project people “celebrate” or “promote” survival of the fittest, i.e., the process as distinguished from our understanding of it, as you apparently claim?

  113. The Clergy Letter Project has finally removed Amy Bishop’s name from their rolls.

    Yesterday, it read:

    872 scientists

    now it reads

    871 scientists

    With Amy Bishop’s name removed.

    I think the Clergy Letter Project should publicly acknowlege the free public relations advice I offered, encouraging them to remove her name.

    See, if I weren’t quick to point Bishop’s role in the Clergy Letter Project, the cover up, ahem, I mean deletion from The Clergy Letter Projects’ rolls, might have gone un-noticed.

  114. Sal,
    “Chemistry, physics, and geology” are not theories, as I’m certain you’re aware. Of course, the Clergy Letter Project has no reason to “celebrate” theories such as relativity, quantum mechanics, or plate tectonics because Christian fundamentalists have not yet set their sights on these theories as they have on the theory of evolution. After the years you’ve spent debating this issue you seem more than a bit disingenuous in not acknowledging this dichotomy.

    Michael

  115. Sal, you’re not fooling anyone. Your intent with this thread was simply to try to associate evolution with this psychotic person, thereby insinuating in an underhanded fashion that believing in evolution predisposes one to murder.

    Have you noticed that pretty much none of the UD regulars have come to your defense? I think there’s a reason for that. Also, you have yet to explain why you posted that quote mine about Darwin enjoying shooting. Why did you?

    In any case, your dishonesty and guilt-by-association tactics are unbecoming to anyone, much less someone professing to be a Christian.

  116. Michael T.

    Sal,
    “Chemistry, physics, and geology” are not theories, as I’m certain you’re aware.

    Of course your are correct, and I wrote sloppily. Thank you for the correction.

    My earlier comment should read:

    theories like those in chemistry, physics, geology

    instead of

    theories like chemistry, physics, geology

    Thanks.

  117. you have yet to explain why you posted that quote mine about Darwin enjoying shooting.

    Because it seemed more relevant than this one:

    I was much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, and this was always done for the sake of causing excitement

    Charles Darwin

  118. richardc in comment #111:

    “Sal, could you kindly point out where the Clergy Project people “celebrate” or “promote” survival of the fittest”

    Sal can’t do this because nowhere on the website of the Clergy Letter Project is anything remotely like “celebrating” or “promoting” survival of the fittest or evolutionary theory in general mentioned. The purpose of the Clergy Letter Project is

    “…an endeavor designed to demonstrate that religion and science can be compatible and to elevate the quality of the debate of this issue.” [http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/rel_evol_sun.htm]

    But elevating the quality of debate on the issue of the relationship between religion and science is exactly the opposite of what Sal (and O’Leary and many other regulars at this website) want. On the contrary, one of the most frequent topics for both original posts and comments at Uncommon Descent is the assertion that religion and science are necessarily diametrically and intrinsically opposed, and that this is especially the case for evolutionary biology.

    Here’s O’Leary on this very subject:

    “Of course you can’t be a Darwinist and a Christian, because Darwinism is about survival of the fittest and Christianity is not.” [http://www.uncommondescent.com/christian-darwinism/coffee-clergy-letter-project-return-to-sender-please/]

    That would be news to Ronald Aylmer Fisher, Sewall Wright, and Theodosius Dobzhansky, three of the founders of the “modern evolutionary synthesis” and all three Christians. But, of course, O’Leary’s (and Gil Dodgen’s) predictable response is that “no true Christian/Scotsman” would ever believe in the theory of evolution:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-347931

    Would someone please explain to me how this kind of bigotry is supposed to support the view that

    ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project

    as opposed to the widespread and growing perception that UD is the home of religiously motivated bigots whose primary concern is religious orthodoxy and whose chosen means of promoting such orthodoxy is deliberate, consistent anti-scientific propaganda, as vividly demonstrated by this thread and the related thread at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....er-please/ ?

  119. Sal, it seems difficult to believe, but you have stooped even lower with comment #116. You are aware, of course, that in this quote Darwin was writing about himself as a little boy (i.e. under the age of ten), and speaking specifically about his childish attempts to convince a friend of his that he had caused flowers to change color by placing them in colored water and his attempt to convince his father that he had found a cache of pilfered fruit (see http://darwin-online.org.uk/co.....;pageseq=4 ]

    This is, like your quote about shooting, a deliberate quote mine, intended to cast aspersions on the character of Darwin and, by extension, the character of evolutionary biologists in general.

    In sum, it is apparent to many readers here (including some ID supporters) that you have deliberately and with malice aforethought attempted to exploit what any intelligent, compassionate person would consider to be a tragedy (i.e. the UAH shooting) as a means of discrediting a scientific research program with which you disagree, but which you cannot attack using rational, scientific arguments and evidence.

    Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  120. This is, like your quote about shooting, a deliberate quote mine, intended to cast aspersions on the character of Darwin and,

    I do believe Darwin has character issues that reflect badly on his work. His actions as a little boy seem to anticipate some of the conduct he had later in life.

    by extension, the character of evolutionary biologists in general.

    I think highly of several evolutionary biologists, you among them. I think more highly of the field because of people like you and Richard Sternberg.

    Darwin’s character however drags the field down. One can’t get away from that. The portrayal of him as virtuous and capable is suspect.

  121. This is, like your quote about shooting, a deliberate quote mine, intended to cast aspersions on the character of Darwin

    That is correct, but that is not the same as arguing against the theories of evolution.

    It is merely pointing out I don’t think the guy was on the up and up.

    Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker disgraced Evangelicals. I don’t get bent out of shape when their character is criticized. I join in.

    Newton was a genius, but his insensitivy left much to be desired. I don’t get bent out of shape when some of friends say he was a “s–t head”. I like his theories, I don’t approve of his behavior.

  122. scordova @120,

    Darwin’s character however drags the field down.

    Darwin doen’t drag his field down and Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker don’t drag down theirs.

  123. Darwin doen’t drag his field down and Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker don’t drag down theirs.

    Of course they do, and hence in the Evangelical world we don’t have “Ted Haggard” days or “Jim Bakker” days.

    Which is more than I can say for the Clergy Letter project which celebrates Darwin Day.

    Darwin took and received credit for ideas that weren’t his.
    His conduct doesn’t necessarily mean evolutionary theoreis are wrong, but it does cast doubt on how much he should be receiving credit. I certainly don’t think churches should be honoring him!!!!

    Here is Hiram Caton’s analysis:

    Hiram Caton on Post Darwinist

    Then there is the balanced Biography of Darwin by DI Fellow Wiker:
    The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin

  124. scordova,

    I don’t think less of Evangelicals because Ted Haggard was one and I don’t think less of evolutionists because Darwin was one.

    That would be like saying all ID followers are Hovindists, (after Kent Hovind), to try and discredit them.

    If you believe in ID, you’re not going to start evading your taxes like Hovind did.

    Should we start calling all IDers Hovindists so we can smear them by looking into Kent Hovind’s private life?

    There are some people who do that with Darwin and evolutionists.

  125. Hmm, I’d like to see a quote from Abraham Lincoln as to the inferiority of non-Caucasoids. Did Lincoln ever say anything in regard to Darwin’s “Origin of Species”? Lincoln lived six years past the publication date—so did he in any way agree? or did his respect for the Scriptures preclude such? or do we know?

  126. Allen MacNeill:

    Sal, it seems difficult to believe, but you have stooped even lower with comment #116.

    Personally, I am holding out to see if he quotes Darwin (out of context, of course) about beating a puppy. It would be the Triple Axel of quote mines. I don’t believe one has ever been landed in competition before.

  127. Darwin took and received credit for ideas that weren’t his.
    His conduct doesn’t necessarily mean evolutionary theoreis are wrong, but it does cast doubt on how much he should be receiving credit. I certainly don’t think churches should be honoring him!!!!

    How come you have so much against a great scientist and author like Darwin? Didn’t he accomplish anything, why still all the flak and ridicule 150 years later?

    Seems he must have made a lasting impact.

    None of us have, or ever will.

  128. Sal said:

    “Because it seemed more relevant than this one:

    I was much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, and this was always done for the sake of causing excitement

    Charles Darwin”

    Wow, what a non-sequitor. Of course the only thing relevant about what you quoted was the word “shooting,” which you took egregiously out of context, and you know it.

    You then said:

    “It is merely pointing out I don’t think the guy was on the up and up.

    Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker disgraced Evangelicals. I don’t get bent out of shape when their character is criticized. I join in.”

    Except that people criticize Haggard and Baker for legitimate things. You have to stoop to quoting Darwin out of context, struggling to find anything to criticize him about. It’s a fundamentally dishonest activity that you’re engaging in, and you should be ashamed, if you have any concern for morals.

    Of course it all brings up the question of whether Darwin’s character has anything to do with evolutionary theory. It doesn’t. No one believes evolution because Darwin proposed it; they believe it based on evidence. You try to weasel out of this bad logic by stating that your real purpose is to get people to stop honoring Darwin. Of course your real purpose is to try to cast aspersions on the theory of evolution through guilt by association tactics. Again, you fool no one.

  129. 129

    “…it all brings up the question of whether Darwin’s character has anything to do with evolutionary theory. It doesn’t.”

    Ah yes…but does the character or private life of, say, Bill Dembski have anything to do with ID theory?

    The answer coming from the Entrenched is “Hell Yes!” It’s a refrain that has been sung more times, in more ways, than can possibly be counted.

    How about Micheal Behe?

    How about Thaxton?

    How about Gonzales?

    How about Kenyon?

    How about Meyer?

    How about the members of the Dover school board?

    The unabashed twisting of words, the misrepresentation of arguments, the motive mogering, the out-and-out lying that materialist ideologues have heaved onto, say, Micheal Behe is pathetic.

    The double standard is so thick it is impossible to miss.

  130. 130

    In the past on UD, when the religiously-oriented became a little too talkitive for his taste, Dave Scott use to remind them that “people in glass houses…”

    You might want to keep the general idea in mind. When motive mongering and willfull misprepresentation are the key pillars of the Anti-ID Marketing Campaign, you might want to keep you disdain in check.

  131. Of course it all brings up the question of whether Darwin’s character has anything to do with evolutionary theory.

    Darwin’s character doesn’t have anything to do with the correctness (or lack thereof) of his theories.

    However, it does have bearing on whether he should be venerated in churches as if he were some saint or held up for society as some example for kids.

    Here is how Darwin Day is to be celebrated according to some:
    How to Celebrate Darwin Day

    Be a naturalist for a day or longer.

    Go for a nature walk and study everything you see. Draw pictures of leaves and trees in a notebook and look them up when you go home. Watch any animals you see and track their behaviors. Learn about the wondrous world around you and see what surprises it has in store for you.

    Step 2

    Darwin Day partyHold a birthday party.

    Have fun with Darwin Day by throwing a birthday party in Darwin’s honor. Have cake, decorate, the whole nine yards. Make up party games about Darwin’s life and give everyone fossils as party favors. Check out a few of the Darwin Awards on the computer and guess what will happen to the people before you finish the story. The person closest to the manner of demise, is the winner. Just have fun with it.

    Step 3

    Origin of the SpeciesRead the Origin of Species.

    If you haven’t already done this, or it’s been a while, read the book that changed the world and rewrote our idea of human history. It’s a great read and much more interesting than you would normally think. Everyone knows about the finches and tortoises that he saw and discussed, but there is a lot of stuff that Darwin talked about that you may not know.

    Step 4

    Galapagos Island IguanaEducate your children about evolution and the world around them.

    • Print out some coloring pages and games for your kids and discuss the different species shown on the pages.
    • Look for pictures of tortoises, finches, llamas, and other species that Darwin saw aboard the Beagle and talk to your children about why he thought they were important and how they’ve evolved to match their environments.
    • Get the kids thinking by having them try and think up traits that the animals have that relate to their homes.
    • Challenge the older ones to come up with as many evolutionary traits as possible.

    Step 5

    One of Darwin’s finchesVisit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and see Darwin’s finches.

    The CalAcademy has the actual finch specimens that Darwin collected on his visit to the Galapagos Islands on display in their new museum, which is worth a look anyways.

    Step 6

    A wonderful Natural History MuseumVisit a natural history museum near you.

    Go by yourself or with children and see what exciting things there are in the world now and in the past. If you have children with you, make a game wherein everyone tries to point out at least one evolutionary trait on each animal. On whales, it could be the vestigial legs, on ammonites, it could be how they changed from a curved suture pattern to a wavy one.

    Step 7

    Darwin lectureSee if there are any lectures going on at your neighborhood college.

    Many colleges and universities are holding lectures about Darwin and his Theory of Evolution in celebration of Darwin’s legacy.

    Step 8Watch Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life.

    First airing on February 9th on BBC, this one-hour special, hosted by David Attenborough, spotlights nature and how evolution is evident all around us, as well as discussing many of the perceived obstacles to evolution. See additional resources for a link to the trailer.

    Step 9

    Endangered TortoiseFinancially adopt a Galapagos species such as a tortoise.

    This is a great way to honor Charles Darwin’s memory while at the same time helping the world around us. These endangered animals need help and donating to their care will help rescue their species from extinction.

    Step 10

    Darwin statueParticipate in some of the Darwin Day events.

    Check out the Darwin Day Celebration link below to see if there are any events in your area in honor of Darwin’s birth. Cities all over the world are celebrating the birth of Charles Darwin this year. There have been songs written in his honor. Museums and institutes of higher learning are holding lectures and seminars about him and his legacy. There are probably a few Darwin Day events located near you.

    Step 11

    The beautiful Galapagos IslandsTake a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

    This is a great excuse for a trip there. Where better to honor Charles Darwin’s memory than to visit the epitome of his voyage of knowledge. It was at the Galapagos that Darwin put together the pieces and realized what he was seeing.

    I can’t remeber any other scientist venerated in this way.

    Why wouldn’t it be more in Darwin’s steps to do some of what he did?

    1. Get a gun and shoot birds like Darwin did just for fun

    “I do not believe that anyone could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds” –Darwin

    2. lie for the thrill of it like Darwin did as kid (and likely as an adult)

    3. beat puppies like Darwin did when he was boy

    Regretably, it looks like the Darwin Day Slayer, Amy Bishop had her own ideas of how to spend Darwin Day.

  132. How come you have so much against a great scientist and author like Darwin? Didn’t he accomplish anything, why still all the flak and ridicule 150 years later?

    Hiram Caton’s litany of what Darwin wrongly gets credit for (with Denyse’s comments):

    Belief that the Origin was a ‘revolutionary’ scientific breakthrough conflicts with the fact that public opinion was at the time saturated by the evolution idea. It was so widespread that in 1860 the showman P T Barnum put on display a freak, Zip the Pinhead, alleged to be the ‘missing link’ between apes and humans. In the Historical Sketch preface to the Origin, Darwin acknowledged 34 prior evolutionists.

    [When I was in school 45 years ago, we learned that Evolution was a big, general idea in mid-nineteenth century Britain. It wasn't until I had to listen to wearisome rants by new atheists and Darwin lobbyists seeking funds that I discovered that Darwin had invented the idea.]

    ++The natural selection principle was not Darwin’s world-changing discovery. It was first stated in 1831 by Patrick Matthew and was independently discovered in 1836 by Darwin’s colleague, Edward Blyth. Herbert Spencer came close to a formulation in 1852, and Alfred Russel Wallace formulated it in 1858. Aware that natural selection did not explain racial variation, Darwin devised sexual selection as a supplementary principle.

    [And we know where that led. To all kinds of silliness, actually. = "You cheatie on your sweetie because of your 'selfish genes'" - classic, stupid Valentines Day story]

    ++The Origin did not found modern biology. By 1850 it was a thriving cluster of cell biology sciences whose leaders were Matthias Schleiden, Theodor Schwann, Louis Pasteur, Rudolph Vircow, and Robert Koch. Darwin, a naturalist, was not involved in this research mode. His unfamiliarity with cell biology is manifest in his Pangenesis theory of the basis of organisms. Conversely, evolution did not become a parameter of experimental biology until August Weismann set out his germ plasm theory of inheritance in 1884.

    ++The Origin did not instigate a ‘revolutionary’ disruption of science from religious belief. That antagonism became a major cultural force thanks to the French Revolution. Utilitarianism, positivism, and socialism were the main drivers. By the 1830s these secularists began to add evolution to their rebuttals of religious beliefs. By 1860 this position was widespread throughout Europe and Latin America. Conversely, numerous scientists and clergy believed in the compatibility of science and religious faith, including the discoverer of the first quantitative biological laws, Gregor Mendel.

    [Well, Mendel was a monk, right? I suppose he must have thought that the laws of inheritance were compatible with being a good Catholic ... otherwise .. ?]

    ++The Origin did not set out a single paleontological sequence of evolved species. Reason: methods for empirical analysis of fossil evidence were meager, a predicament that remained until the 1890s. The discovery of the Burgess Shale fossil deposit in 1909 could have supported a blossom of paleontology, yet that did not happen for another half century. The rudimentary level of human paleontology is expressed in the acceptance, in 1912, of the Piltdown Man as a genuine fossil. The hoax was not exposed until 1953.

    [Hiram, I have always wondered about the fact that the Piltdown hoax took so long to be exposed, because a smart high school student could have exposed it. I casnnot believe that many people did not know. A sociologist might be able to explain why it was so important to keep the fraud going. Steve Fuller? ]

    ++Although Darwin opposed slavery from an early age, he did not believe in racial equality. In the Descent of Man and in correspondence, he arranged humanity in a hierarchy, with Caucasians at the top, and he believed that the extinction of ‘lower races’ was on course and would continue. This widely-shared view was integral to Euro-American imperial domination. Abraham Lincoln is among the anti-slavery proponents who so believed. Post-Civil War America imposed segregation on the freed blacks and Amerindians, while imperial powers treated colonial subjects in that vast empire as inferiors.

    ++The only application of evolutionary theory with practical effect was eugenics, devised by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton. Three of his sons were dedicated to the cause, and one, Leonard, was the long-term President of the Eugenics Society who claimed to advance his father’s views. He was also patron of a key figure in the creation of neo-darwinism, R A Fisher, who also supported eugenics.

    [indispensable reading follows:]

    Charles Robert Darwin http://www.darwin-legend.org
    a.. The Darwin Legend
    b.. Getting Our History Right – Six Errors about Darwin and His Influence
    c.. The Origin of the Origin of Species: Revolution or More of the Same?
    d.. Darwin’s Illness
    e.. The Syllabus of Errors
    f.. Darwin’s Cathedral
    g.. Three Minilegends
    h.. Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln and Race
    i.. Darwin’s Biggest Fib
    j.. Soren Lovtrup’s Rebuttal of Darwinism
    k.. Review of Carroll’s On the Origin of Species
    l.. Review of Mayr’s One Long Argument
    m.. Review of Dempster’s study of Patrick Matthew

    [Well, thanks, Hiram! I don’t expect to see this on typical school curricula, which are still fronting Darwin legends and vilifying anyone who doubts them.

  133. efren ts,

    I don’t know what the Triple Axle is, but looks like you got it..

  134. The Triple Axle is a jump in Olympic figure skating, once thought to be impossible (it involves doing three and a half rotations in the air).

    And, indeed, this thread (and it’s author) now holds the new Olympic record for the most despicable exploitation of human tragedy for propaganda purposes at UD to date.

    By the way, the woman who stopped Amy Bishop from shooting any more of her colleagues at UAH (Dr. Debra M. Moriarity) is also on the Clergy Letter List:

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/alab.....id=9849055

    But don’t expect to read about Sal mentioning this obvious contradiction to his detestable ad hominem.

  135. But don’t expect to read about Sal mentioning this obvious contradiction to his detestable ad hominem.

    But where have I said that belief in Darwinism necessarily makes someone a killer? I don’t believe that.

    I object to the veneration of Darwin (a professed enemy of the Christ), especially in churches claiming Christ’s name.

    This is not a scientific discussion but a cultural one.

    Debra was heroic.

    But I’ll be sure to point out that Amy Bishop was also on the Clergy Letter Project list lest Clergy Letter Project tries promote the fact Moriarty is on their list as well.

    Cancer may be an empirical fact, but no need to venerate it in churches.

    Even if natural selection, as Darwin conceives of it, is fact, no need to venerate his ideas in church any more than we’d venerate the empirical facts of disease.

    The Clergy Letter Project attempts to venerate someone who has a rather low opinon of Christianity and religion.

    I’m only pointing out the irony that they are trying to inspire their parishioners to appreciate science by venerating not only a suspect idea, but a rather nasty one if true.

    The Christian Churches among the Clergy Letter Project could decide of course to withdraw their affiliation with Christendom, and I’ll have much less issue with them at that point.

    The UU’s, I have less issue with.

    I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished.

    And this is a damnable doctrine.

    Charles Darwin

  136. One other thing, I take issue with the Clergy Letter Project’s insinuation that people who disagree with Darwin are somehow deficient in reconciling science and religion, when in fact someone’s scientific conscience might be the cause of the opposition for Darwinism. This is definitely the case with evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg.

  137. when in fact someone’s scientific conscience might be the cause of the opposition for Darwinism. This is definitely the case with evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg.

    One may still consider that something is wrong with his science. BTW, everything’s OK with your scientific attempts?

  138. This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent first cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.

    Charles Darwin

    Darwin doesn’t appreciate the irony of his statement. He argues that the existence of suffering is evidence against the existence of an intelligent agency having influence on the world.

    Yet consider if one said, “Darwin acts cruelly by savagely shooting birds for his own entertainment, therefore an intelligent being like Darwin doesn’t exist.” One would think that is a ridiculous argument. Darwin doesn’t realize he’s relying on an comparably flimsy argument against design, namely one which says: “cruelty exists in the world, an intelligent agency can’t be responsible for such cruelty, therefore an intelligent agency that created the world doesn’t exist.”

    He decides to shoot birds and then says the existence of cruelty originates better from a theory of selection than a theory of intelligence. He is an excellent counter example to his own theory.

    Personally, I think the Intelligent Designer can inflict quite a bit of pain on humanity. One might conclude that the Intelligent Designer doesn’t care (that is another discussion), but the mere existence of cruelty doesn’t argue against intelligent design any more than Darwin’s cruelty to birds argues against the existence of Darwin’s intelligent mind or Darwin’s intelligently designed actions (like aiming a gun in order to kill a bird).

    The irony there is rich.

    Which leads me to criticize The Clergy Letter project:

    numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith.

    It is not fully harmonious with religious faith if the faith is inspired by the design argument, or if the faith rejects Darwin’s claims, or if Darwin’s claims are scientifically and logically wrong (and I have just demonstrated some of Darwin’s illogic).

    Darwin’s own words suggests he does not view his theory of natural selection as compatible with certain religious views (like those that are sympathetic to the design argument).

    That the Clergy Letter Project prominently displays his picture as some hero of faith seems out of place in light of Darwin’s own views.

    Finally, look at how the Clergy Letter labels those who disagree with Darwin as ignorant and almost sinners. It seems like it is almost a creed:

    We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.

    Clergy Letter Project as signed by certain Christian Churches

  139. One other thing, I take issue with the Clergy Letter Project’s insinuation that people who disagree with Darwin are somehow deficient in reconciling science and religion, when in fact someone’s scientific conscience might be the cause of the opposition for Darwinism. This is definitely the case with evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg.

    I am sorry but I find it extremely difficult to believe that, considering things like his role in the Stephen C. Meyer publication and his affiliation with
    the Baraminology Study Group, Bryan College, Tennessee (“Bryan” after William Jennings Bryan, defence for the creationists in the Scopes trial http://www.law.umkc.edu/facult.....s/menk.htm
    )

    http://www.creationbiology.org.....e_id=36813

    dealing with such interesting scientific subjects as

    The Serpent in Genesis 3:15 is a Snake
    Kennard

    Genesis Kinds: Creationism and the Origin of Species: Proceedings of the Eighth BSG Conference
    ed. Sanders

    Baraminic Distance, Bootstraps, and BDISTMDS
    Wood

    Frontiers in Creation Research: Proceedings of the Seventh BSG Conference
    ed. Sanders

    All Creation Groans: Proceedings of the Sixth BSG Conference
    ed. Sanders

    Bishop John Wilkins, F.R.S. (1614-1672) and his discussion of Noah’s Ark
    Wood

  140. Sal said: “Finally, look at how the Clergy Letter labels those who disagree with Darwin as ignorant and almost sinners. It seems like it is almost a creed”

    Some of those who “disagree with Darwin” quote out of context for the malicious purpose of character assassination and to employ guilt-by-association tactics. This is essentially bearing false witness, and bearing false witness is indeed a sin.

  141. 141

    Hilarious.

    My heart goes out to the poor receptionist at the Darwinian Marketing Department. Just when the phone stopped ringing off the wall because evil Sal was caught painting outside the lines, deep-thinking Cabal shows up to blow the cover story.

    After all, stupid Sternberg went to a college that was named after somebody.

  142. 142

    Yes Retro, malicious character assassination and guilt by association are tactics only those evil Jesus people employ.

    Darwinists, members of their national marketing arm, biology professors, and ideological bloggers would never stoop so low.

    Just ask Behe.

  143. Upright BiPed,
    I regret being so stupid, your reply made it clear to me that Sternberg’s background and religious beliefs have absolutely nothing with his scientific views to do.

    It just so happens that science says creationism is true and Sternberg’s scientific integrity in accepting that is unrelated to his faith in the Bible. His faith is residing in a different compartment.

  144. 144

    Cabal,

    No need to live with regret. I am not sure its selected for anyway.

    http://www.rsternberg.net/BSG.htm

  145. Upright BiPed, your tu quoque attempt to distract from Sal’s tactics is ineffective. Whether or not biologists and bloggers use the same tactics has nothing to do with the current discussion. Someone else’s misdeeds don’t discourage yours.

    In fact, such a blatant fallacy is disappointing. This thread seems full of them.

  146. Upright BiPed @141,

    Yes Retro, malicious character assassination and guilt by association are tactics only those evil Jesus people employ.

    You seem to be justifying one’s behavior based on someone else’s behavior.

    According to bible teachings, if a husband commits adultery, is his wife allowed a free affair?

  147. 147

    Retro,

    You completely misunderstand. I am not covering for Sal, nor do I give a flying shit about Charles Darwin shooting a bird as a kid. I shot a bird as a kid. When I got over to it, it was dead, and that particular childhood thrill was over.

    What I do find interesting is the self-rightous display when materialists form groups, organize national associations, stack peer-review, conduct e-mail campaigns, circle the legal wagons, and build websites for the sole purpose of assassinating the charater of anyone who would dare have the unmitigated temerity to question them in light of the observable evidence, then go into apoplectic shock if someone spits back.

  148. I shot a bird as a kid.

    I once (ok serval times) ate McDonald’s chicken McNuggets made from birds that were supposedly killed.

  149. Whether or not biologists and bloggers use the same tactics has nothing to do with the current discussion.

    So do you disapprove of PZ Myers referring to me as a Slimy little Sewer Goblin. Or do you approve?

  150. The Clergy Letter Project has finally removed Amy Bishop’s name from their rolls.
    Yesterday, it read:
    “872 scientists”
    now it reads
    “871 scientists”
    With Amy Bishop’s name removed.

    Hmmm…this is interesting (he said, wryly).
    Is Michael Zimmerman, the head of the Project, confusing “is” with “ought?” Just because she stands accused of murder doesn’t detract from her knowledge of neo-Darwinism or her ability to help clergy become more scientifically literate, does it? After all, she’s not standing by to assist clergy with moral dilemmas, right? She’s just there to give clergy a better understanding of “what is,” if I understand correctly.

    Besides, isn’t she entitled to be considered innocent of the charges against her until proven guilty? So in removing her from the list, why wouldn’t Dr. Zimmerman be considered as “crass and insensitive” as he accused Bantay of being?

    If she was worthy of being “on call” to help clergy understand neo-Darwinism on February 11, why would she be unworthy of being on call today? Again: all this is completely orthogonal to any considerations about morality, right? The list is there to demonstrate that “science” can be “ fully harmonious with religious faith,” right? (Removing tongue from cheek now…)

  151. 151

    Lute,

    Good to see you on UD again.

  152. Sal, I disapprove of such name-calling.

    Now let me ask you another question:

    Do you approve of quoting an author out of context for the purposes of character aspersion? Do you approve of trying to make a theory seem wrong by attacking the person who came up with it rather than providing evidence that it’s wrong?

  153. Do you approve of quoting an author out of context for the purposes of character aspersion?

    Yes, if done for humor like:

    I beat a puppy simply, I believe, from enjoying the sense of power.

    Charles Darwin

    Darwin does not deserve to be de facto cannonized in churches by the Clergy Letter project.

    Do you approve of trying to make a theory seem wrong by attacking the person who came up with it rather than providing evidence that it’s wrong?

    No I don’t approve of that, and if you are accusing me of that you’re accusing me something that is not happening in this thread.

    Criticizing Darwin’s character and life have nothing to do with weighing the merits or demerits of his theory.

    That is not my purpose in showing Darwin’s less flattering side or that of Darwinists like Amy Bishop.

    He and his ideas are being venerated in churhes, and I’m showing that this is objectionable for a variety of reasons. That’s all.

    His theories will die on their own scientific demerits.

    I’ve criticized his theory on scientific ground many times. And if you’re unable to grasp the the theoretical and empirical problems with Darwinism, that is your issue not mine.

    Your lack of comprehension of the problems with Darwinism doesn’t give you liscense to accuse me of resorting to character assasination as a means of discrediting his supposed “science”.

  154. scordova @153,

    Do you approve of quoting an author out of context for the purposes of character aspersion?

    Yes, if done for humor like:

    I beat a puppy simply, I believe, from enjoying the sense of power.

    Charles Darwin

    aspersion:

    1 : a sprinkling with water especially in religious ceremonies
    2 a : a false or misleading charge meant to harm someone’s reputation b : the act of making such a charge : defamation

    So by your actions, you’re permitting us to defame you provided it’s funny?

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