Home » Darwinism, Evolution » Darwin’s valiant defenders contradicting themselves

Darwin’s valiant defenders contradicting themselves

I’ve reported on this blog Coyne’s NewRepublic review of Coulter (go here) and Hotz’s LATimes review of Quammen, Brockman, an Shermer (go here). There’s an interesting contradiction between the two reviews. See if you can catch it.

Compare Jerry Coyne’s insistence that 

The real reason Coulter goes after evolution is not because it’s wrong, but because she doesn’t like it–it doesn’t accord with how she thinks the world should be. That’s because she feels, along with many Americans, that “Darwin’s theory overturned every aspect of Biblical morality.” What’s so sad–not so much for Coulter as for Americans as a whole–is that this idea is simply wrong. Darwinism, after all, is just a body of thought about the origin and change of biological diversity, not a handbook of ethics. (I just consulted my copy of The Origin of Species, and I swear that there’s nothing in there about abortion or eugenics, much less about shtupping one’s secretary.) 

with Quammen’s assessment of Darwin as endorsed by Hotz:

As Quammen so ably documents, Darwin clearly understood the challenge that natural selection posed to the conventional Victorian Christian faith that sustained his friends and family. No one was more reluctant to espouse it publicly or more distressed by its implications. Indeed, it steadily undermined his own belief in God, drove a wedge in his marriage and nearly broke his health. He brooded privately over his findings for 21 years before making them public.

 

Yet he finally embraced his brainchild, impelled by an unflinching intellectual honesty, the weight of the evidence and the imperative of an undeniable idea. “There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection,” Darwin wrote, “than in the course which the wind blows.” 

 

As one of my colleagues asks, “Does anybody detect a problem here?  Coyne treats as perfectly obvious something that is the complete opposite of what Hotz regards as perfectly obvious.  And Hotz would be regarded as being on the same side as Coyne.  How long can the Darwinists get away with this?”

 

 

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

56 Responses to Darwin’s valiant defenders contradicting themselves

  1. I read the excerpts three times and still don’t see a contradiction.

    I’m guessing that the perceived contradiction is between these two statements:

    “Darwinism, after all, is just a body of thought about the origin and change of biological diversity, not a handbook of ethics.”

    “As Quammen so ably documents, Darwin clearly understood the challenge that natural selection posed to the conventional Victorian Christian faith that sustained his friends and family.”

    The challenge that Darwinism presents to Victorian Christianity is empirical, not moral. Rejecting the Victorian creation story does not require one to jettison Christian morality, any more than rejecting Bacchus requires one to be a teetotaler.

    Darwinism was indeed a challenge to Victorian Christianity, but it does not prescribe a system of ethics.

  2. Good question about the contrast between the two articles. Even within just the second review there’s an ironic inconsistency: Darwin’s “unflinching intellectual honesty” is portrayed as highly virtuous. Maybe it wasn’t entirely clear yet to him how what he was publishing would contribute to eroding the footing on which ethics stand. It’s more clear now (and Coyne is just plain wrong about this). So Darwin’s “virtue” was his courage in contributing to making virtue meaningless.

  3. I must admit, I am horribly confused. I thought Intelligent Design was a new, bold scientific theory. Does pointing out that two book reviewers might disagree on a non scientific matter count as scientific research these days?

  4. Ah, and here I agree with you for what may be the only time. Darwin most certainly was very concerned about the effect his ideas would have on the faith of his wife and others like her, whose lives were predicated upon the bible being the revealed word of god. What the reviewer of Coulter’s book says is still true, however. Darwin doesn’t discuss ethics or anything of the sort, as it pertains to his theory of the biological nature of the change in species over time. He simply does what a good scientist does and lays out his thesis and then the very substantial body of facts and explanation behind it.

    But hold a moment: Both reviews are correct. Darwin doesn’t posit any sort of moral or ethical dimension to the way the natural world works. He simply describes it. At the same time, he well understood that his description of it, if correct — and he certainly felt he was correct — contradicted the strongly held views of many people he loved well concerning how the world they shared actually worked. And, far from the demon he is so commonly portrayed as in certain circles, Darwin the man was a sweet, loving husband and father, who troubled himself greatly at the possibiliy that his life’s work would upset his friends and family. He troubled himself but chose the course of truth, making him not only an outlandishly insightful man of his time, but also a great model for times to come.

  5. 5

    William Dembski said –
    — As one of my colleagues asks, “Does anybody detect a problem here? Coyne treats as perfectly obvious something that is the complete opposite of what Hotz regards as perfectly obvious. And Hotz would be regarded as being on the same side as Coyne. How long can the Darwinists get away with this?” —

    I don’t agree that Coyne and Hotz appear to be in disagreement here — Coyne asserts that Coulter is wrong for rejecting evolution because of a conflict with religion and Hotz asserts that Darwin was wrong for initially rejecting evolution for the same reason. Also, Coyne spoke about Darwin’s theory overturning “every aspect of Biblical morality” whereas Hotz spoke about Darwin’s theory undermining “belief in God.”

    Also, I think that it is unreasonable to expect that either Darwinists or anti-Darwinists always be consistent with each other in their views.

    BTW, the insistence that Darwinism is compatible with religion constitutes a failure to recognize that a literal interpretation of the Bible (or some other religious source) is actually part of the religious beliefs of some people.

  6. I fail to see any contradiction. To see a contradiction you would need to see “Darwinism, after all, is … not a handbook of ethics” as being inconsistent with “Darwin clearly understood the challenge that natural selection posed to the conventional Victorian Christian faith that sustained his friends and family.”

    One would have to create a chain of reasoning that says that evolution disproves God’s revelation to us which in turn disproves all of God’s moral teachings to us.

    Challenging the conventional Victorian Christian faith is not exactly the same as challenging God’s revelation in general let alone the actual existence of God. It could if one had completely static views of the divine I suppose, but it does not necessarily present such challenges.

    Like many Americans I found a Christian worldview to be compatible with evolution. I see science as our quest to understand how nature works. I also believe that God created the universe with intent and purpose. The fact that I cannot discern evolution’s path or purpose does not make me believe that there is no larger purpose or intent in the process. It just means that I have come to the conclusion that there is no reason that I would believe myself to be capable of comprehending a power as great as God’s. Hence the methods of creation may always be beyond our understanding. There is therefore no great dichotomy to overcome. We can understand nature to a certain extent, but to use that paltry understanding to make judgements about the divine seems foolish.

    I also believe that the origin of morality, whether mortal or divine, is quite irrelevant to morality’s obvious utility in human society. Human society cannot exist without it. Human civilization is unimaginable without it. The more of us you pack into a space the more important, and complicated it becomes. Every religion incorporates it and every state codifies a limited version of it. Even if evolution disproved God’s revelation, and I obviously do not feel that it does, it would not affect the apparent utility of morality. If I am honest with myself I realize that most of the time I treat people well because I generally like people, want people to like me, and want to make others feel good. I am not trying to be a better Christian or get closer to God, even though I should be. That would not go away even if all my faith disappeared.

  7. Is there really a contradiction? Coyne refers to Coulter’s assertion that “Darwin’s theory overturned every aspect of Biblical morality”, and states that “Darwinism, after all, is just a body of thought about the origin and change of biological diversity, not a handbook of ethics.” He is not referring to Darwin’s conflict with the biblical creation account. As to Hotz/Qammen’s assessment, it deals with Darwin’s struggle with the creation story; I don’t see any ethical or moral implication in the description of Darwin’s thought process.

  8. Coyne needs to realize that Darwinism most certainly has moral and ethical implications. Change over time does not. But the NeoDarwinian dogma which asserts that we are the product of random natural processes which did not have us in mind, certainly does. And history has demonstrated this to be the case.

  9. I think it’s interesting that Quammen used the term “Victorian” to modify Christianity. Darwin came to the conclusion that evolution had to be true because the world around him did not match the idealistic beliefs *specific* to the Victorian Anglicanism of his day.

  10. The contradiction is obvious and not so subtle: either the puposeless processes which bring about life threaten the idea that we are intentionally created, or they do not. I find that Christians who claim to accept the random and purposeless aspects of Darwinism, do so only with the caveat “they are not really random and purposeless”, which in effect makes them IDers with a little i’s and little d’s. THis in-between position may be fine and may turn out to be true (in other words, it may turn out that we can not actually reliably detect design) However, what this in-between position definitely is not is standard neo-Darwinism. This should be clear. I go around and around on this one. I wish someone out there who is an “in-betweeny” could clearly articulate for me, in their own terms, how they can simultaneously believe in purpose and purposelessness with regard to the same object at the same time. If they cannot, then they do not genuinely accept the modern version of Darwinian evolution.

  11. Larry Fafarman said:
    “BTW, the insistence that Darwinism is compatible with religion constitutes a failure to recognize that a literal interpretation of the Bible (or some other religious source) is actually part of the religious beliefs of some people.”

    You are not quite precise with your statement. You emphasized/bolded “literal” in your statement. You should also bold “some people”. (sorry, I don’t know how to change the font from regular to bold)

  12. The contradiction involves the fact that Coyne apparently doesn’t understand the implications either of Xianity or his own world view, while Quammen apparently does. Namely, the naturalism on which Darwinism is built says that “anything considered supernatural is either nonexistent, unknowable, or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses” (wikipedia). For Coyne to suggest that Xian morality has any meaning at all when the God upon whom all of it is based is nonexistent, betrays a level of ignorance that is surprising even for him.

  13. Scott: “Coyne needs to realize that Darwinism most certainly has moral and ethical implications. Change over time does not. But the NeoDarwinian dogma which asserts that we are the product of random natural processes which did not have us in mind, certainly does. And history has demonstrated this to be the case.”

    Sorry for being dense, but what are those implications?

  14. The argument about Hitler, Stalin and Mao being the worst ever is a little tired. The unprecedented population of the 20th century coupled with technology’s unprecedented potential for slaughter helped make it the bloodiest century. There have been plenty of rulers of nearly every faith that had equally callous regard for human life. You can blame the ideology if you want but you also have to implicate nearly every religion on the planet if you wish to do so.

    There is also the point that the vast majority of evolutionists are not blood thirsty, Nihlistic tyrants bent on human destruction. Maybe all those people are simply intellectually lazy people who will fail to follow their worldview to its inevitable end and never realize their full atheistic mass murdering potential, but somehow I doubt that.

  15. Strangelove said, “Sorry for being dense, but what are those implications?”

    If life arose out of a random, purposeless process, then it is only natural for people to believe that their lives are random and purposeless. This was realized by Sartre (when he called all life “nausea”). Darwinian evolution has also been used by Nietzche to apply the survival of the fittest to everything. Hitler used Nietzche’s ideas of the “Superman”, a people who had evolved to be superior to other humans, and transformed that idea into the “Master Race” belief. Hitler made Nietzche required reading in Germany.

    The connection between Marx’s love for Darwin’s work is also worth noting.

  16. Ryan beat me to the punch. And he is spot on.

    If we are merely molecules in motion then there is no absolute standard with which to juxtapose morality or the lack of it. We can do whatever feels good and not be concerned with accountability. It may be so that most atheists choose to adhere to moral standards, but in principle there is no reason they should. The issue here is not what people actually do, but rather it is with the “oughtness” in principle. If we are without purpose then there is nothing we “ought” to do with regard to morality.

  17. Ryan: “If life arose out of a random, purposeless process, then it is only natural for people to believe that their lives are random and purposeless.”

    It sure seems like it would be this way. But it just isn’t. All of the atheist/agnostic people I know treat their lives and the lives of everyone on the planet with great respect. Sartre and Nietzche are responsible for their own words. They do not speak for everyone.

    Every person that ties Hitler with evolution always neglects to mention the famous “Gott mit uns” beltbuckles. Does that mean christianity leads to genocide? Genocides are as old as mankind. It was the infrastucture and technology of 20th century that allowed them to become so brutal. Attempting to blame it on the Theory of Evolution belies your bias.

  18. 18

    Of course there’s a contradiction. Coyne is clearly saying that NDE doesn’t conflict with the morality, the second author says that it clearly does. Tho, Darwin didn’t lose his Christianity due to his theory. He lost his faith long before his voyage ever took place, and it was due to an argument from outrage that some of his family members who weren’t Christian would end in damnation.

    The “Gott mit uns” beltbuckles were, of course, a use of propaganda. Nazi Germany was never any part Christian. They used the Vatican in the same way- you can’t come out and let everyone know you’re a madman, else no sane person would be fooled into following you. Hitler wanted to use Christians, claim he was on their side, and get them to support him. It worked. He was sly- that’s why he got as far as he did.

    As for atheists- they clearly live a contradiction. Most atheists, at least. I’d guess that most claim meaning in their lives and that they aren’t just purposeless accidental meat puppets, when deep down they know that their atheism leads to that very idea of life.

  19. strangelove: see my post (#16). Again, the issue is not how people choose to conduct themselves. I don’t take issue with what you say about how most people choose to behave. The issue is that they in principle, have no reason to behave a certain way. It is all meaningless if we are the result of purposeless mechanisms.

    And I don’t think there are too many historians who would agree that Hitler was a friend to Christianity. He paid lip-service to it in order to achieve his political and ideological goals. I thought everyone was aware of this.

  20. it seems pointless to me to make a big deal out of the ethics which supposedly develop from a Darwinian perspective for two reasons: one, it is easily demonstrable, from a cursory glance at history, that the extremes of religious belief are also perfectly capable of serving as the basis for evil behaviors. trying to put the numbers killed by this and the numbers killed by that on a scale and saying “see, that one is worse!” doesn’t make a good case for the superiority of non-materialist morality. Secondly, ethics are obviously possible without one holding to the idea that we are designed/created. Otherwise, atheists would all be noticeably immoral and without a principle upon which to draw. This is clearly NOT the case. So, why does the idea of purposelessness in the development of life matter so much? I think it lies in the realm of the ultimate meaning in life: ethics work just fine for this life, making things go along smoothly to a greater or lesser extent. But what they cannot do is inform the deepest human urge to believe that our existence has a transcendent meaning which goes beyond the limits of matter and the limits of a short life on earth.

  21. Strangelove,

    JasonTheGreek and Scott hit the nail on the head. Atheists and agnostics live in an inconsistent way (Thank God!). The issue here is the logical conclusions of your belief system. The logical conclusion of atheism (or any metaphysical materialism) is moral nihilism, the belief that morals are non-existent and that man is nothing more than a carbon-based “thing”, no better than the dirt we walk on.

  22. Strangelove,
    “All of the atheist/agnostic people I know treat their lives and the lives of everyone on the planet with great respect.”

    I’m inclined to agree with this, as it is often–though not always–my observation as well. The question that intrigues me is not whether they treat people with respect, but whether such actions are consistent with their presuppositions.

    We’re told over and over again that life in the Darwinian model is unplanned and non-teleological. Millions of random events were pieced together by natural selection to create the dazzling array of life forms that we see today. And throughout uncounted millennia down to the present day, life continues in its undirected course as it always has, with we people as one of the millions of arbitrary results. Nothing special about us. No Intent. No Planning. And by all means, no Design.

    And yet, the individual naturalist stands on the pinnacle of this immense accidental iceberg and almost inevitably says something to the effect of “My life is meaningful,” or “I treat people with respect” (implying that their lives are meaningful), like you have.

    It’s not that they don’t do this, it’s that they don’t have a _basis_ to do it, because it fundamentally contradicts their stated world view. And I think this is inconsistent and, yes, even a leap of faith. I’m wondering how you reconcile this.

    -sb

  23. Tina I could not agree with you enough.

  24. 24

    Actually a great any athists ARE immoral. They are known as liberals. I am sure Ann Coulter would agree. Isn’t she a national treasure and beautiful besides?

    How do you liberal Darwinian mystics like them apples?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  25. Scott: “Again, the issue is not how people choose to conduct themselves. I don’t take issue with what you say about how most people choose to behave. The issue is that they in principle, have no reason to behave a certain way. It is all meaningless if we are the result of purposeless mechanisms.”

    We all have consciences. We don’t need religion in order to set up a moral code that prevents us from killing each other. Example: the complicated social structures of animals. (I’m assuming that animals don’t have a religion.) Yet, they don’t kill each other randomly. Many higher animals exhibit types of mourning behaviour even. In principle they have no reason to behave this way, as they have no religion or moral codes. Yet, they do. And I think that how people behave is more important than the reasons they behave that way. I’d rather have someone randomly and purposelessly donate to the poor than someone righteously kill an “infidel.”

    Scott: “And I don’t think there are too many historians who would agree that Hitler was a friend to Christianity. He paid lip-service to it in order to achieve his political and ideological goals.”

    Hitler was also no friend of science. He paid lip-service to it in order to achieve his political and ideological goals. I’m not arguing that religion should be blamed for the holocaust. But in the same vein, I’m arguing that evolution is not to blame either.

    Tina, I agree with your post 100%. But, I do not see the importance of a belief “that our existence has a transcendent meaning which goes beyond the limits of matter and the limits of a short life on earth.” I understand that many people do find it important. And I have no problem with that and I do not wish to undermine it. I just don’t like it when I’m told that I should find it important, too.

  26. 26

    Tina said
    “Secondly, ethics are obviously possible without one holding to the idea that we are designed/created. Otherwise, atheists would all be noticeably immoral and without a principle upon which to draw. This is clearly NOT the case. So, why does the idea of purposelessness in the development of life matter so much?”

    to me problem with atheism or materialism isn’t that the people who hold such views could( or should) be immoral.. its the systems that such people create which are largely immoral.. when it comes to a individual, he is guided by his innate spiritualilty which overrides most times his/hers worldview.. but when it comes to groupthink, its the worldview which dominates… there will then be numerous valid justifications( as per the atheistic worldview) trotted out that will easily justify Nazi like crimes…

    left to atheists alone, they sure are gonna devise a system that saves the earth from its problems by ensuring only the worthy 10% survive( as has been espoused by darwinists)…

  27. Ryan: “JasonTheGreek and Scott hit the nail on the head. Atheists and agnostics live in an inconsistent way (Thank God!). The issue here is the logical conclusions of your belief system. The logical conclusion of atheism (or any metaphysical materialism) is moral nihilism, the belief that morals are non-existent and that man is nothing more than a carbon-based “thing”, no better than the dirt we walk on.”

    I’m reminded of an essay by the amoral, agnostic Kurt Vonnegut, from his book Palm Sunday. In the essay he compares the merits of Divine Law, Natural Law, and Human Law. Let me just mention the crux of his essay. Divine Law is irrefutable, Human Law is imperfect. The problem with ruling the world with Divine Law is that every group of humans believes in a separate Divine Law. (Christian morals don’t jive well with Muslim or Hindi morals, etc.) But, the nature of Divine Law allows for no compromise, resulting in perpetual clashes until only one religion survives (how Darwinian!). Human Law, however, is known to be imperfect. It allows for change, compromises, and improvements. Not only that, but it can remain current (how much of Divine Law regards the trading or selling of goats?!). I, of course, can not put it as well as Vonnegut. But, I’m curious as to what you think of such ideas.

  28. SteveB’s comment bears repeating:

    Strangelove,
    “All of the atheist/agnostic people I know treat their lives and the lives of everyone on the planet with great respect.”

    I’m inclined to agree with this, as it is often–though not always–my observation as well. The question that intrigues me is not whether they treat people with respect, but whether such actions are consistent with their presuppositions.

    We’re told over and over again that life in the Darwinian model is unplanned and non-teleological. Millions of random events were pieced together by natural selection to create the dazzling array of life forms that we see today. And throughout uncounted millennia down to the present day, life continues in its undirected course as it always has, with we people as one of the millions of arbitrary results. Nothing special about us. No Intent. No Planning. And by all means, no Design.

    And yet, the individual naturalist stands on the pinnacle of this immense accidental iceberg and almost inevitably says something to the effect of “My life is meaningful,” or “I treat people with respect” (implying that their lives are meaningful), like you have.

    It’s not that they don’t do this, it’s that they don’t have a _basis_ to do it, because it fundamentally contradicts their stated world view. And I think this is inconsistent and, yes, even a leap of faith. I’m wondering how you reconcile this.

    -sb

  29. Strangelove: I didn’t mean to imply that you, too, should desire transcendent meaning. I just meant that it is a near-universal impulse among humans, who are, as far as we know, the only species capable of, or interested in, looking into “the other side”.

    I know you asked Ryan, and not me, but I think Vonnegut makes a nice point without it really mattering much ultimately. In other words, if God’s law IS, then it doesn’t much matter if we get it or not, or if we have a thousand different false interpretations of it. IT IS, and so it must be the basis of any human institution which hopes to endure. Its like the law of gravity. It just is. If we want to avoid falling to our death as a result of gravity, we had better understand its basic action and obey it. Otherwise, we are going to suffer some pretty unpleasant consequences. It won’t help us, ultimately, to pretend ignorance of gravity’s action, or make up all kinds of arcane philosophies to get around the simple fact that it pulls toward the center of the earth. If we try to build bridges upon such philosophies, these bridges, like the human institutions built on laws other than God’s laws, will eventually collapse.

  30. Strangelove: “The problem with ruling the world with Divine Law is that every group of humans believes in a separate Divine Law. (Christian morals don’t jive well with Muslim or Hindi morals, etc.) But, the nature of Divine Law allows for no compromise, resulting in perpetual clashes until only one religion survives (how Darwinian!).”

    I would not call the truth claims of the different religions exactly a Darwinian struggle of the fittest, but you’ve stumbled onto the heart of the human dilemma. There can be only one true God and, in the end, only His religion will prove to have been the right one.

    “Human Law, however, is known to be imperfect. It allows for change, compromises, and improvements. Not only that, but it can remain current (how much of Divine Law regards the trading or selling of goats?!).”

    Try Leviticus 19:35 (Christian Old Testament) for general principles on trade: “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin . . .”

    Or Proverbs 11:1 “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.”

  31. strangelove,

    “Human Law, however, is known to be imperfect. It allows for change, compromises, and improvements. Not only that, but it can remain current (how much of Divine Law regards the trading or selling of goats?!).”

    (I assume that we are discussing moral law on a utilitarian basis. [That is, how well it helps society to function.])

    That’s right. Human law changes with humans which means that moral law is determined by society. This was the great hope of the humanistic philosophers of the 17th and 18th century such as Hobbes, Rousseau, and Voltaire.

    The problem with this view is that once society determines moral law, then there is no basis upon which to challenge the morals of society, or as Francis Schaeffer put it, “Society becomes absolute.” Following the philosophy of those 17th and 18th political theorists mentioned above, the French atheists started the French Revolution. The end result was a bloodbath, and anyone who did not agree with the government (towns in western France for example) were slaughtered by the revolutionary army. The end result is totalitarianism.

    The greatest example of this is communism. If the state determined that it would be monetarily beneficial to exterminate 12 million people (like the Ukrainians starved under Stalin), then it was done. What basis does someone have to question it? It’s human law, formed by a consensus of society. Only absolute/transcendent morality can establish the basis upon which to judge society, and that can only come from revealed monotheism.

    It is worthy to note that the humanistic governments of the 20th century (Nazi Germany [founded on Nietzchean philosophy], the communists [founded on Marxist philosophy], etc.) have killed close to 150 million people (and that mostly during peace-time). I don’t know what the numbers are, but I believe that they have killed more people in 100 years than all the wars of religion combined.

    Compare that to the founding fathers of the U.S. who (whether Christian or deist) emphasized Divine Law as the basis for a functioning society.

  32. tina: “In other words, if God’s law IS, then it doesn’t much matter if we get it or not, or if we have a thousand different false interpretations of it. IT IS, and so it must be the basis of any human institution which hopes to endure. Its like the law of gravity.”

    Therein lies the problem. God’s law seems to pull in different directions. Yet representatives of each direction will honestly say that it is his direction that is God’s one true direction. There is no compromise with that direction. How do you know your direction is correct? Faith. Everyone other religion has that same answer, though. It is the lack of humility that drives me away.

  33. I somehow missed SteveB post, and Scott’s reiteration of it. Let me answer their question now.

    “It’s not that they don’t do this, it’s that they don’t have a _basis_ to do it, because it fundamentally contradicts their stated world view. And I think this is inconsistent and, yes, even a leap of faith. I’m wondering how you reconcile this.”

    Let me start by saying that I am not a philosopher. I haven’t studied it, read it, or really even care for it. But I will put on my tiny, moth-eaten philosopher hat to answer this question.

    First of all, I don’t believe that I am standing on an immense accidental iceberg, that is your stated worldview, not mine. The universe is how it is. And I am here. I don’t think it could’ve happened any other way. I heard a great quote regarding physics the other day: “If it is not forbidden, it is required.” The physics that makes me tick, makes me feel alive, gives me consciousness, etc, may not be understood in the present day, but I do not believe it is supernatural.

    I do not view my life as a worthless accident. For it sure feels like it’s worth alot to me. In that same regard, I would prefer that others around me view my life as having some worth. So, in typical golden-rule fashion, I feel that the lives around me are worthwhile. They interact with me and improve my life. In doing so they carry great worth to me, so I don’t have to work hard at pretending lives around me are worthwhile. They really are worthwhile to me. In other words I feel my life is meaningful (it’s the only one I’ve got). And so, other lives around me are meaningful (for they greatly enrich my life). I am able to reconcile all of this without resorting to a belief in divine intervention, leaps of faith, or contradictions. I have no problems with a belief in divine intervention however. For I understand that others are unable to reconcile the same way as I. But, once again, I do not like being told that my life is worthless without divine intervention. For it sure doesn’t feel worthless to me.

  34. A few brief comments:

    Some seem to think that meaning in life comes from how we got here; while others think meaning comes from the opportunity that we have, by whatever means we got here, to live. I fall into the latter camp.

    Hitler used and abused Christianity just as he used and abused science. I do wish both sides would drop this silly “Hitler mentioned what you believe in therefore it must be wrong” argument. Stalinism did not favour Darwinism, it espoused Lysenkoism – which disagrees with Darwinism. I have no idea what model of biological change Mao used and abused to push his repulsive agenda, but it is irrelevant. There are good reasons we speak of Stalinism and Maoism as opposed to just calling those regimes Atheist.

    “left to atheists alone, they sure are gonna devise a system that saves the earth from its problems by ensuring only the worthy 10% survive( as has been espoused by darwinists)” We know who you are referring to, and Pianka does not support the killing of anyone. He was warning us of potential consequences of overpopulation. You know, a bit like the Book of Genesis has a strong moral story about thinking of the consequences of your actions otherwise bad things may happen to you and your kids.

    Deep breaths everyone. Play nice. :)

  35. 35

    srrangelove

    The issue is that people do not choose. That is the whole point. We are “born that way.” That is what Einstein meant:

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting ARE NOT FREE but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.” my emphasis

    I happen to agree with him and it is an important ingredient in the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. I hope that you can forgive me for agreeing with Albert Einstein. I accept his judgement that “Everything is determined… by forces over which we have no control.” That includes not only how and what we think but all of organic evolution, indeed everything in the universe. It is my conviction that we are the ultimate products of a completely determined scenario in which chance and accident have played no role whatsoever. I hope you can forgive Albert and I for our shared heresies. If you can’t that is fine too. I am used to rejection and silence. Indeed I thrive on it as it is the best evidence I am on the right track.

    Speaking of both ontogeny and phylogeny:

    “Neither in the one nor in the other is there room for chance.”
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 134

    “Any system that purports to account for evolution must invoke a mechanism not mutational and aleatory.”
    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 245, The sentence is in italics.

    That is precisely what the PEH does.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  36. Ryan wrote:
    “The logical conclusion of atheism (or any metaphysical materialism) is moral nihilism, the belief that morals are non-existent and that man is nothing more than a carbon-based “thing”, no better than the dirt we walk on.”

    As an atheist, I hear this a lot, and it always baffles me.

    Some questions for Ryan and those who share his belief:

    1. If you became convinced tomorrow, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God did not exist, would your sense of morality change? Would you lose your aversion to murder? Would you be able to inflict suffering on others with callous indifference?

    2. If you became convinced, again beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God wanted you to persecute, injure and kill innocent people, for no other reason than his own satisfaction in their suffering, would it be right to obey him? If you did obey him (out of fear of his wrath, for example), would you not feel any misgivings?

    In light of these two questions, I’d be interested in hearing how you justify the idea that atheism inevitably leads to moral nihilism.

  37. Hey Strangelove,

    Thanks for the reply. I’m not a philosopher either. I do think about my life though and enjoy exchanges like these. Hope you do too.

    So, first, apologies if I made incorrect assumptions about your world view. But you did say in your reply that you don’t accept a supernatural. If not supernatural, then natural is the reasonable alternative, right?

    And so, here’s a representative quotation from a prominent naturalist, Carl Sagan, who says:
    “Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.”

    I said previously that naturalists consider the universe (and everything in it, including us) to be essentially meaningless in the sense that it is unplanned, unintended and undesigned. Shermer, Dawkins and many, many others have said similar stuff such that I’m pretty comfortable that I haven’t misunderstood or misrepresented the perspective. This is uncontroversial naturalist orthodoxy.

    The problem is that that most naturalists’ hearts, in my experience, don’t line up with their heads. They start with the grim reality of an insignificant and meaningless rock floating around in vast empty space, which against all odds happens to have sprouted life, and then follow it up (as you have) with something like “I do not view my life as a worthless accident. For it sure feels like it’s worth alot to me.”

    But we’re made up of the same matter, and have been cobbled together by the same unthinking, uncaring processes that have given rise to everything else. When everything else is “insignificant, humdrum, lost and forgotten” (give Sagan and others credit here for telling it like it is) what basis do we have for believing that we’re any different?

  38. John A. Davison,

    Einstein wasn’t always correct. Believe it or not, he made some mistakes, as I’m sure you’re aware. Just because he said it, doesn’t it make it so. And unfortunately, there is no way to test the “we have no free will” philosophy he is describing here.

    “I hope you can forgive Albert and I for our shared heresies. If you can’t that is fine too. I am used to rejection and silence. Indeed I thrive on it as it is the best evidence I am on the right track.”

    That’s pretty convenient. If people agree with you, you think you’re on the right track. If people disagree with you, you think you’re on the right track. How’s that working out for you? You can put me in the second camp.

  39. stranglove: we’ll have to agree to disagree. You seem to be having a disconnect regarding “oughtness” and how people actually do conduct themselves. It still stands that if we are merely molecules in motion, there is no reason in principle to behave any particular way. If possible, try to ignore the source of these articles on this subject, the substance of the arguments are sound and convincing:

    http://www.str.org/site/News2?.....38;id=5237
    http://www.equip.org/free/DC753.htm

  40. SteveB: “I said previously that naturalists consider the universe (and everything in it, including us) to be essentially meaningless in the sense that it is unplanned, unintended and undesigned.”

    And here is where you make your logical fallacy: equivocation. You point out that the universe is meaningless in a particular sense (unplanned, etc) then you use another definition of meaningless in another sense (pointless, etc.) to make your point. I’m sorry but unplanned does not equal pointless.

    There was a previous post on UD about equivocation.

    Scott: “It still stands that if we are merely molecules in motion, there is no reason in principle to behave any particular way.”

    I thought I provided reasons why I act a certain way “in principle”. Can you show me where my logic is flawed?

  41. zapatero,

    “In light of these two questions, I’d be interested in hearing how you justify the idea that atheism inevitably leads to moral nihilism.”

    I said that moral nihilism was the *logical conclusion* of atheism. This means that all moral *boundaries* are eliminated. This is not to say that atheists take their belief to its logical conclusion; in fact, many (if not most) don’t (thank God!). However, the fact that you don’t live the logical conclusion of your belief system points to the falsity of your worldview.

    [If you still doubt me, then pick up any philosophical critique of materialism. Many atheist philosophers such as Sartre and B.F. Skinner (just to name a small few out of many) have realized this is the logical conclusion, not to mention those that have implemented it (Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, etc.)]

  42. Strangelove,

    BTW: I responded to your above post in post #31.

  43. “I’m sorry but unplanned does not equal pointless.”

    OK, but this is hair-splitting in the extreme. How about we just stick to Sagan’s language, which will allow us to avoid the linguistic legerdemain. “Insignificant, humdrum, lost and forgotten” is how at least one expert describes the materialist universe. I’d call that pretty pointless, but then again, maybe you’re right and I’m just equivocating. ;-)

    If any materialist in that universe is to argue that his particular life somehow differs from the whole of everything else that is around him, the onus is on him to explain why this is justified–and to do so in a way that’s more substantial than your previous, “…it sure feels like it’s worth alot.”

  44. 44

    The best evidence that free will is a myth resides in the intractable positions revealed on internet forums every where one goes on the internet.

    In an interview with students the paleontologist David Raup put it this way:

    “Both sides will continue to LIE, cheat and steal to make their points.” (my emphasis).

    Amen

    We are all victims of “prescribed” fates. Some of us have been luckier than others. Naturally of course, I regard myself as one of the lucky ones.

    “Every boy and every girl,
    That is born into the world alive.
    Is either a little liberal,
    Or else a little conservative.”
    Gilbert and Sullivan, Iolanthe

    The correlation between political liberalism and chance-worshipping Darwinian relativism is perfectly obvious to anyone who, like myself, spent most of his life in academe.

    “Intelligence was an evolutionary accident.”
    Stephen J. Gould

    “Evolution is like a drunk, reeling back and forth between the gutter and the bar room door.” I think I have that right.
    ibid, from a book with the title “Full House.”

    You see what I mean?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  45. “The best evidence that free will is a myth resides in the intractable positions revealed on internet forums every where one goes on the internet.”

    I agree that it’s the _best_ evidence. I just don’t think it is _good_ evidence.

    Besides, in taking up your intractable position, aren’t you just doctoring your own evidence?

  46. SteveB/Strangelove: …Carl Sagan, who says: “Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.”

    Whom should we believe? The limited human, Carl Sagan and his argument from incredulity, or The One who claims to be the very initiator of the cosmos? Carl Sagan who now on the other side of death knows the truth he never found while alive, or The One who claims the power of everlasting life and definitively declared planet earth to be extremely significant?

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish [at the end of time] but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16.)
    —-
    “A past evolution is unproven by the evidence, a present evolution indemonstrable.”

  47. Ryan wrote:
    “I said that moral nihilism was the *logical conclusion* of atheism.”

    Yes, but you didn’t explain why. More importantly, you didn’t explain what it is about theism that rescues you from moral nihilism. My earlier questions were an attempt to understand this.

    Let me try again, more directly:

    1. Our moral sense is our sense of right and wrong. If I were able to truly convince you that God doesn’t exist, you would nevertheless continue to think it was wrong to torture babies or to enslave your neighbors for personal gain. In other words, you would continue to have a sense of right and wrong, a moral sense. If so, in what way can your moral sense depend on your belief in God?

    2. You might respond by saying that our moral sense would persist even if we were convinced God did not exist, but that morality itself is distinct from the moral sense, and that morality depends on God. If so, I would ask what it is about God’s existence that gives morality its validity:

    a. Is it the fact of God’s power? If so, what if God used his power to create gratuitous pain? Does that become moral merely because God is powerful?

    b. Is it the fact that God created the universe? Does anything go if you are the creator?

    c. Is it the fact that God is perfectly good? If so, then you are acknowledging that God has an external standard to live up to, just as we do — a standard that would remain in effect even if he did not exist.

    d. Is it that whatever God does is defined as good? If so, then you are acknowledging that it is not only permissible, but genuinely good, for God to inflict suffering on a whim. On the other hand, if you assert that God is loving and would therefore never do such a thing, you are back to imposing an external standard of behavior on him.

    All of these problems prompt me to ask: What sort of meaningful morality depends on God’s existence?

  48. zapatero,

    “you would nevertheless continue to think it was wrong to torture babies or to enslave your neighbors for personal gain. In other words, you would continue to have a sense of right and wrong, a moral sense”

    I can’t tell you what I would be like because I don’t know. Apart from God, I have also been influenced by my culture to think it wrong to kill without warrant. Cultures such as the (pre-Christian) Romans, Huns, Mongols, etc. did not believe it was wrong to slaughter people just for the sake of showing off their power.

    If there is no heaven to gain or hell to shun, then anything goes.

    If materialism is true, then the person who lives a loving life and a person who is a mass-murderer will end up in the same place: the grave (and that’s the end). The logical conclusion is that one can do as much evil as one pleases as long as it makes them happy and they can get away with it.

    “If so, what if God used his power to create gratuitous pain? Does that become moral merely because God is powerful?”

    God is not arbitrary or fickle. He does not make His moral laws by pulling them out of the air. Rather, He is bound by His nature to hate all that is unrighteous (which is again defined by His nature). This also means (because it has been revealed in Scripture that it is so) that God will not inflict gratuitous pain. Of course, the fact that all men have sinned and fallen far short of God’s standard (Rom. 3:23) means that all mankind deserves death at the hands of God followed by eternal conscious punishment. Thus, this life, no matter how much suffering is in it, is still a blessing and a showing of mercy.

    So, to answer your question, God’s moral law flows from His unchanging nature. Because He is omnipotent and omnipresent, He enforces those laws without error. His laws are a single, absolute standard which all mankind must live by or suffer the consequences.

    They are not arbitrary or relative to each individual like man’s are. Furthermore, it is preventative because if a man does not suffer equal punishment in this life (Hitler or perhaps Stalin, for example, who killed millions and lived the rest of his life in relative peace), he will suffer justly in the next.

  49. Ryan, sorry, your comment was back-placed as it went through the moderation queue after mine, and I missed it.

    “The problem with this view is that once society determines moral law, then there is no basis upon which to challenge the morals of society,…”

    Human law does adapt though. Abolition, miscegeny, prohibition, woman’s suffrage… These are some of the famous moral laws in the US that greatly been changed since it’s inception. And it was not changed because our supposed Divine Law changed. 170 years ago, it was completely normal to have slaves picking your cotton down south. Can you imagine how people would act today if I employed slave labor on US soil? It’s almost as if our morals somehow changed in those years. And that’s my point. But, Divine Law would tell me that if I beat my slave to death, but it takes him a couple of days to die of his injuries, I am without fault. (Do you want me to get the bible verse?)

    As I’ve shown, our own gov’t's moral codes have changed, relatively smoothly and without resulting in totalitarianism (yet).

    You say this: “Only absolute/transcendent morality can establish the basis upon which to judge society, and that can only come from revealed monotheism.” While our own country’s morals have changed. So they must’ve changed in relation to the absolute morality. Should we instill slavery again to get back to our basics? I sure hope you aren’t arguing for that.

    “It is worthy to note that the humanistic governments of the 20th century (Nazi Germany [founded on Nietzchean philosophy], the communists [founded on Marxist philosophy], etc.) have killed close to 150 million people (and that mostly during peace-time). I don’t know what the numbers are, but I believe that they have killed more people in 100 years than all the wars of religion combined.”

    First of all you’re just making up numbers here. Second of all, you’re only showing that totalianarianism is a dangerous form of gov’t, without establishing that these are humanistic gov’ts. Thirdly, I’m not stating that ALL humanistic gov’ts are superior to gov’ts set up to run under Divine Law. I’m stating that Human Law is allowed to adapt and change (which it demonstratable has) while Divine Law is rigid, and it’s not clear which Divine Law to use.

    “Compare that to the founding fathers of the U.S. who (whether Christian or deist) emphasized Divine Law as the basis for a functioning society.” Another falsehood. They purposely set up a flexible gov’t. Divine Law isn’t flexible. Human Law is. Otherwise, why would they need to allow for amendments? God sure isn’t changing his mind any time soon.

    Let’s think of some groups that ARE setting up Divine Law as a form of gov’t. The only ones I can think of are in the Middle East. Iran has Divine Law. The Taliban enforces Divine Law. Should they be applauded for their efforts of setting up a gov’t based on an absolute moral system?

  50. Strangelove: don’t mistake Divine Law with religious law. Many people have, and continue to do so, with terribly bad consequences!

  51. Zapatero,

    I’ll try to provide some straight answers to your questions. It’s a shame that so much of the rebuttle put forth by the ID people so far in the comment section seems to be rehearsed responses and out of context quotes instead of real and meaningful dialog.

    1. Our moral sense is our sense of right and wrong. If I were able to truly convince you that God doesn’t exist, you would nevertheless continue to think it was wrong to torture babies or to enslave your neighbors for personal gain. In other words, you would continue to have a sense of right and wrong, a moral sense. If so, in what way can your moral sense depend on your belief in God?

    Answer 1a. My belief in God is in part because of our sense of right and wrong. My belief of the universe is a belief in an existing God so if I were to think God didn’t exist I would imagine the universe being different than it is now. We wouldn’t have a consience.

    Answer 2a. If I could be convinced that things could be as they are now and that there is no God I would indeed still have the same sense of right and wrong. In fact I would act and live as I had when I believed that God existed. If there were no God (and how can one know for certain and convey that knowledge to another) if there were no Heaven and no Hell I would still try to live by “God’s” morals because when I do live by them I find happiness and I see my value to those around me as being increased.

    Here’s where you might be tempted to smile and say “aha, he said there are morals without God!” On the contrary I think that our conscience, our knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, and our desire to live a life beyond self gratification is perhaps the strongest proof that there is a God.

    2. You might respond by saying that our moral sense would persist even if we were convinced God did not exist, but that morality itself is distinct from the moral sense, and that morality depends on God. If so, I would ask what it is about God’s existence that gives morality its validity:

    I’m going to go with a combination of c & d. God is good and anything and everything he does is good. The source of his goodness isn’t the result of some rulebook he consults with a list of do’s and don’ts it’s a result of His infinite wisdom. Imagine for a minute that you are God that you spoke the universe into existance and created this solar system and our planet Earth. Now imagine your knowledge is as wide as anything anyone has ever thought or written before or anything that will come in the future. Now since you created and are rather found of your creation you prefer peace and joy for your creation above war and depression, obviously. So you begin working throughout the universe and among the people of earth (after sin, and sin was just someone trying to say that selfishness is the road to joy) to enlighten them as to how to achieve this peace and joy both individually and collectively. Why? Because it’s good. Good for your creation. Good only arose though after you created and cared for your creation. It wasn’t before God, it sprang forth because of God and his actions and He holds true to what is good not because He must but because He’s wise.

    If you follow your conscience and act selflessly to the better of those around you. Then you are a disciple of God for you walk in his way and you will find the joy and peace we all desire (even if you say “there is no God”). If you pursue selfishness then you are foolish and you will find great misery and discontent follow every selfish thing you do.

    So to sum up, forget about asking if there is a God or where morals come from for there is no doubt that they do exist. Try following the teachings of Jesus, the road of selflessness and see if there’s joy there that you had never known before. If you find that, you can ask about God. But perhaps don’t ask us. It’s always better to go right to the source.

  52. Tina, do you care to Euclidate the difference for me and others?

  53. Strangelove,

    First of all, I’ll only defend Christian theism. Muslims can defend their own religion.

    Second, I never advocated theocracy. I merely stated that a nation’s laws should be based upon Divine moral laws. That’s the only way to prevent totalitarianism and the treatment of human beings like dirt. [Although it sometimes fails to do that (due to imperfect people who either misapply it or are downright evil), the alternative, humanistic law, has no bounds.] Also, I take a libertarian stance in some areas (I don’t think we should ban some immoral things because it would only make things worse). There should be a careful balance.

    Third, I won’t defend the misapplication of Divine moral law. For instance, some slavery supporters tried to give a basis to slavery from the Bible. You know that. What you probably don’t know about is that northern theologians (who were descendants of the Puritans) so thoroughly refuted the pro-slavery people (from the Scriptures) that the pro-slavery Bible argument was never made again (at least not widely used).

    Fourth, those regimes/governments *were* humanistic, and I’ve never met anyone who denied that. The French atheistic revolutionaries followed Voltaire and “worshipped” “goddess ‘Reason’ “, a personification of humanistic rationalism. Hitler, while somewhat part of the neo-Pagan movement in Germany, followed the philosophy of Nietzche (the guy who said, “God is dead.”). The communists, following Marx (the guy who said that “religion is the opiate of the peoples”), had the official religion of their states made atheism.

    Fifth, I did *not* make up the numbers of people killed. The *U.S. Congress* determined that (at the time) the communist regimes of the world had killed close to 130 million people (and most of them in peace time).

    I’ll leave you with this thought: if man is nothing more than “ooze that’s oozing into ooze and oozing back into ooze” (to quote the atheist J.P. Sartre), then what rights does he deserve? Does ooze deserve human rights? On what basis can we call him human anymore (other than to designate him and differentiate him from bacteria or a worm)? If materialism is true, then man is nothing more than the sum of the material he is made out of. Does a hunk of carbon deserve rights? Does water have the right to live and persue happiness? This is why atheism (or any humanistic view without reference to God for that matter) cannot have any form of absolute morality. All humanists can do is make *subjective* (limited to time, culture, and place) moral judgments.

  54. Ryan: “Second, I never advocated theocracy. I merely stated that a nation’s laws should be based upon Divine moral laws.”

    What’s the difference? Divine moral laws are inflexible. They come from a divine source. The only problem is that different religions seemt to have different divine sources.

    Ryan: “That’s the only way to prevent totalitarianism and the treatment of human beings like dirt. [Although it sometimes fails to do that (due to imperfect people who either misapply it or are downright evil), the alternative, humanistic law, has no bounds.] Also, I take a libertarian stance in some areas (I don’t think we should ban some immoral things because it would only make things worse). There should be a careful balance.”

    This is a confusing paragraph. You claim Divine Law is the only way to prevent totalitarinism, but it doesn’t always. Yet, many humanistic gov’t's treat people with great respect on this planet, without resulting in totalitarianism. They must be the flukes in your mind. So Divine Law is good, but sometimes bad. The same goes with Humanistic gov’ts.

    Ryan: “Third, I won’t defend the misapplication of Divine moral law. For instance, some slavery supporters tried to give a basis to slavery from the Bible.”

    The thing is, the Bible DOES give a basis for slavery. It discusses how one should properly treat slaves, including the punishments one recieves for accidental deaths after beatings (they weren’t very harsh). People no longer make that argument, but not because the Bible has changed in any way. They’ve realized how horrible that section is and quietly dismiss it. Which is applying human sensibilities to the Divine Law. The Bible has not changed, and slavery was afforded by God in the Bible. Plain and simple. It is our morals that have changed, not the absolute morals of God.

    Ryan: “Fourth, those regimes/governments *were* humanistic, and I’ve never met anyone who denied that.”

    Your correct. I don’t know why I attempted to argue this point. But, just as you do not have to defend the misuse the rigidity of Divine Law, I do not have to defend the misuse of the flexibility of Human Law. But, I do wish to remind you that while Hitler may have based his society on “God is dead,” he made sure that God was with them on the belt buckles of his soldiers. Blaming the holocaust on atheism is probably one of the most biased views I’ve come across.

    Ryan: “I’ll leave you with this thought: if man is nothing more than “ooze that’s oozing into ooze and oozing back into ooze” (to quote the atheist J.P. Sartre), then what rights does he deserve? Does ooze deserve human rights? On what basis can we call him human anymore (other than to designate him and differentiate him from bacteria or a worm)? If materialism is true, then man is nothing more than the sum of the material he is made out of. Does a hunk of carbon deserve rights? Does water have the right to live and persue happiness? This is why atheism (or any humanistic view without reference to God for that matter) cannot have any form of absolute morality. All humanists can do is make *subjective* (limited to time, culture, and place) moral judgments.”

    Why do you expect me to defend the words of an atheist? Or anyone for that matter? Would it be fair for me to expect you to defend the words of any prominent Christian? I’ll answer your questions nonetheless. Ooze deserves the rights of ooze. Humans deserve human rights. That makes a certain amount of sense, you must agree. Carbon has the right to be carbon. Water has the right to be water. Of course atheism doesn’t have an absolute morality. But, that is why it remains so powerful. It is claiming to be falliable. It allows for adjusting. Divine Law does neither, despite how ridiculous it can be. Most of Divine Law makes complete sense, but some of it completely bogus. Unfortunately, those who prescribe to Divine Law don’t have the right to pick and choose the good stuff. How much of the Divine Law do you stand behind? All of it? I’d love to hear you justify some key points.

    Look, I have no problem with people basing their morals on Divine Law. I do have a problem with people pretending that it is infalliable. And if some of Divine Law is infalliable, then all of it can be. Resulting in the same infalliable Human Law that I do stand behind. If you are truly for Divine Law, then it all must remain infalliable. Thank God that such a system has never been implemented in this country.

  55. 55

    In response to the question addressed to me by strangelove in comment 45 -

    NO!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable”
    John A. Davison

  56. strangelove: In my view, Divine law is analogous to the natural law we observe in material creation. Actually, more correctly stated, the material laws we observe are but the lowest, most dense ramifications of the Divine Law. In science, many things are called “laws” which are in fact but regularities which are themselves effects of some unknown, underlying principle. The underlying basic principles which govern spiritual and material life might be seen as Divine Law. Religion, by way of contrast, is the human attempt to understand and reconnect with this law or basic underlying truth. This endeavor, being a product of humans, is necessarily flawed, even if it contains grains of truth or inspiration. Does this make clear what I mean? Even if we, as a species, never properly understand Divine Law and order our world accordingly, it will keep functioning in its inexorable way, and we will keep experiencing the effects of this, for good or for ill, until the end.

Leave a Reply