Home » Evolution, Intelligent Design, Religion, Science » FaithandEvolution.Org

FaithandEvolution.Org

[This just in:]

New Website on Faith and Evolution Explores
if the Two are Friends or Foes?

Find out at FaithandEvolution.Org

SEATTLE – In recent years, debates over faith and evolution have continued to intensify. On the one hand, “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins have insisted that Darwinian evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. On the other hand, “new theistic evolutionists” like Francis Collins have assured people that Darwin’s theory is perfectly compatible with faith and need have no damaging cultural consequences.

Who is right? And why does it matter? A new website being launched today at www.faithandevolution.org by the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute explores the issue in-depth.

“FaithandEvolution.Org is for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the scientific, social, and spiritual issues raised by Darwin’s theory, but who is tired of the limited options they are currently being offered by the media,” says Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center.

“Increasingly, the only voices being heard in the faith and evolution conversation come from two wings of the evolution lobby: atheist evolutionists like Richard Dawkins, and a handful of theistic evolutionists like Francis Collins. But there are a lot of thoughtful scientists and scholars who are skeptical of Darwin’s theory whose views aren’t being heard.”

“Thus, the first goal of FaithandEvolution.Org is to present the scientific information about evolution and intelligent design that is typically left out of the discussion,” says West. “A second goal is to tackle tough questions that are usually ignored about the consequences of Darwin’s theory for ethics, society, and religion.”

Visitors to FaithandEvolution.Org will find information addressing such questions as: Does evolution undermine belief in God? Are there scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution? What is the scientific evidence for intelligent design? And does Darwinism devalue human life?

FaithandEvolution.Org is packed with free tools and resources, including:

* Audio, video, and articles featuring leading scientists and scholars, including biologists Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells, mathematicians William Dembski and David Berlinski, and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer.
* A questions page answering people’s top questions about evolution, intelligent design, and related issues; and topics pages addressing key topics such as theistic evolution, evolution and science, evolution and ethics, and evolution and culture.
* Curriculum ideas and discussion questions for small groups, Sunday School classes, adult educational programs, and private school science classes.
* A searchable database of thousands of articles about evolution and intelligent design, and a glossary of key scientific terms.

West notes that unlike most pro-Darwin sites dealing with faith and evolution, FaithandEvolution.Org contains a prominent section titled “Debates” highlighting the views of both supporters and critics of Darwin’s theory on a variety of contested issues.

“It’s ironic that many of the pro-Darwin groups that claim to be promoting ‘dialogue’ about science and religion are really offering only a monologue,” says West. “They do their best to exclude those who disagree with them. But we have nothing to fear from a free and open exchange of ideas. That’s why we decided to have a section of our site where people could explore divergent views on such issues as the evidence for intelligent design, the limits of Darwin’s theory, and the connection between Darwin’s theory and Social Darwinism.”

West explains that since its inception in 1996, the Center for Science and Culture has devoted most of its resources to supporting research, publication, and education about the scientific aspects of the debate over Darwinian evolution and intelligent design.

“Nothing is going to change that,” he says, adding that much of FaithandEvolution.Org is focused on presenting scientific information in a clear and understandable manner.

“But we’ve always been clear that science has larger worldview implications, and so we want to encourage open and informed discussion of the implications of Darwin’s theory as well. This has become especially important in recent years as both the ‘new atheists’ and the ‘new theistic evolutionists’ have tried to monopolize the faith and evolution conversation. FaithandEvolution.Org is an effort to inject some balance back into the discussion.”

For more information:
www.faithanevolution.org
www.evolutionnews.org
www.intelligentdesign.org

For Immediate Release
Contact: Anika Smith
Discovery Institute
(206) 292-0401 x155
[email protected]

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

98 Responses to FaithandEvolution.Org

  1. I see the usual stuff about how we must all be amoral if evolution is true. However, some quite recent research suggests (yet again) that other animals have morals (just like us) which is exactly what you would expect from an evolutionary model. Being nice to others in our group is good for our survival. Whats so hard about that ?

  2. Being nice to others in our group is good for our survival. Whats so hard about that ?

    It’s not natural.

  3. On the one hand, “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins have insisted that Darwinian evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. On the other hand, “new theistic evolutionists” like Francis Collins have assured people that Darwin’s theory is perfectly compatible with faith…

    I don’t necessarily see a conflict between these two viewpoints. In this statement, Dawkins was saying that evolutionary theory is necessary to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist, not that it is sufficient. Although he does also state that he believes that evolution is corrosive to religious faith.

  4. Dr. Dembski informs us:

    A questions page answering people’s top questions about evolution, intelligent design, and related issues…

    Unless I overlooked something, there doesn’t appear to be anywhere on the site to post questions. I am therefore curious as to how the “people’s top questions” were arrived at.

  5. Mr Tribune7,

    What is not natural about something good for survival? It seems to be basic kin selection theory, ne?

  6. Nakashima-san What is not natural about something good for survival?

    What is not natural is being nice to others in one’s group. Consider that you are the stud happily procreating with 7 or 8 females, and some poor young critter comes along wanting one of them — perhaps even the ugliest one — and you drive him off by pounding his head in.

    Now, that’s not very nice. It may not even be good for survival — it can be argued either way.

    But it is natural.

    And you can find other examples — animals eating their offspring (or the offspring of sexual competitors), killing their mates after fertilization, abandoning the weak etc.

    Nature is not nice.

  7. 7

    Tribune7, your claim that “it’s not natural” to be “nice to others in our group” is supported only by your assertion that natural actors are sometimes not nice. Your assertion does not support your claim, because natural actors may be “nice” at some times and “not nice” at others.

  8. Graham: Nothing hard about that as this is an aspect of the fallen natural world that sometimes we can be “moral” or Nice which is often a behavior masking an ulterior motive that may not be so nice. However, this has effectively Nothing in compatibility with Christianity except in how all men should behave. What the world needs now – right? (You know the song) I think if you really assess human nature you might even come to this -”I’ve never had a selfless thought since I was born” C.S. Lewis

    So – your comment begs a question – Do you even know what Christianity is? – as your comment indicates an extreme misunderstanding which is the main tenant of this new website.

    Just in case the subject morphs into “faith” it is helpful to realize that “Golden Calves” are everywhere and Christianity is not about “faith”, but about “The Faith” and the Faith of Christ in the redeemed.

    Evolution has NOTHING in common with this Truth, not to mention the real truths of nature, its origins and its ability to adapt to changing conditions for survival.

  9. Mr Tibune7,

    Showing that nature is sometimes not nice is not the same as demonstrating that it is always not nice (for reasons x, y, and z…). Even within your male with a harem example, there is the care and protection that the male is giving the harem females. You haven’t answered the question at all.

    It is just not true that every encounter between creatures of the same species and same sex is attempted murder, and same species and different sex is attempted rape. Eusociality, altruism, sharing of resources occur at all levels and scales in nature.

  10. Did anyone else hear the fawning interview of Francis Collins on Laura Ingaham’s radio show this morning? ID was bashed, of course, and the conservative, Catholic host reminded us that her religion doesn’t have a problem with evolution.

  11. I would say at least 99% of American adults don’t understand what the actual problems are with Darwinian evolutionary theory. The NY mayor was visiting Ida, the recently unveileved (and much-hyped) fossil, and, I’m sure regurgitating some words he read in an article or bulletin on the way to the event, he said the findings “just cement the basic principles of Darwin’s theory”. I’d be fascinated to hear Bloomberg’s account of how another fossil suddenly proves that filtered mistakes can produce wildly complex molecular machinery and genetic code (beyond the dreams of any human engineer or programmer). But we’d probably have to wait until he read the next “science”-backed statement, since he probably has no clue about any of that. Yet this is who informs the general public about this issue: Clue-less politicians and talking heads reading generic crap from teleprompters and regurgetating lies from bulletins. And of course a mayor is going to say this, and not just due to ignorance of the actual issues. How could he be relected if he questioned a dogmatically accepted and vehemently propogated pillar of materialism, err, I mean “science”? He wouldn’t, hence his posing for pictures with innocent children, vain smiles and generic statements about issues he has no clue about

  12. Mr Uoflcard,

    I’ve met Michael Bloomberg, while he was merely a billionaire entrepreneur, not a clueless politician. Believe me, he is not clueless.

  13. Sounds like a worthwhile project. Hope it gets well visited by those who need it most.
    Admins, please note the typo,

    For more information:
    http://www.faithanevolution.org

    is missing a ‘d’.

  14. 14

    tribune7,

    You’re exactly right, nature is not nice. But what is left for these materialists to take their cues from? They have to extract some precept from nature on everything that they do and think. Our closest relatives (I say this with sarcasm) will raid other camps, kill the males and the young, and then the females will mate with the invading male who just filled her young. Ummm…that doesn’t sound very nice to me, nor does it sound like survival is the paramount aim of the group. It’s actually death as the end to which they fight. Besides, whatever the evolutionists deem “good” for survival, in reality, covers a multitude of sins.

  15. Mr Hayden,

    You are making the same mistake as Mr Tribune7. Sometimes selfish is not the same as proving always selfish. It is not true that every animal interaction is attemped murder or rape.

    Mr Graham was actually careful to state “in the group”, while your examples are of out-group violence. In general, I think you do a disservice to “materialists” by ascribing to all of them a belief that our minds are beholden to our genes.

  16. 16

    Nakashima,

    ——”Mr Graham was actually careful to state “in the group”, while your examples are of out-group violence. In general, I think you do a disservice to “materialists” by ascribing to all of them a belief that our minds are beholden to our genes.”

    Actually, the scenario I was discussing, was within a group. The group of chimpanzees splits off arbitrarily, and becomes two groups, depending on how you want to define groups. It could still be considered one group, and the violence occurs. But, even more broadly, within a group before splitting, there is violence and rape and infanticide.

  17. Tribune7 and Clive,

    I’m amazed that you’re even disputing this when the facts are so readily available, including on the Web. Parents of hundreds of species care for their young. Worker bees take care of the queen and her offspring. Ravens alert other ravens when they find food. Vampire bats share blood with hungry roost-mates. Meerkats stand guard while others forage.

    Is all of this news to you?

    lars writes:

    Sounds like a worthwhile project. Hope it gets well visited by those who need it most.
    Admins, please note the typo,

    For more information:
    http://www.faithanevolution.org

    is missing a ‘d’.

    It’s no use, lars. I pointed that out yesterday, along with two errors (a misattributed and redacted quote) in the opening video at the new website. Both of my comments were deleted.

  18. 18

    beelzebub,

    ——”I’m amazed that you’re even disputing this when the facts are so readily available, including on the Web.”

    As am I amazed when the other side of the “truth” of animal behaviour is so readily available. And especially considering, not meerkats, not worker bees, not bats, but the alien behaviour of our “closest” relatives. They’re not my closest relatives in relation to proximity, my dog is. They’re not my closest relatives in relation to descendancy either.

  19. Clive,

    No one here has denied that nature is nasty as well as nice. You need look no further than Darwin’s example of the Ichneumonidae for that. We just can’t understand why you and tribune7 would insist, in spite of massive contrary evidence, that being nice is “not natural”.

    It’s also amusing that in so doing, you undercut the many creationists who point to “nice” behavior in attempting to argue against Darwinian evolution. A bit of “friendly fire”, eh?

  20. Nakashima-san

    I guess my statement can be taken as nature is never “nice”, so I’ll clarify it. Nature can be nice. Mothers sacrifice their lives for their young. Fawns play together. Maybe even children can be raised by wolves.

    But to think “nice” is the norm in nature means you should have have watching Bambi when you should have been watching Old Yeller.

  21. And I’m amazed that someone who uses the handle the Lord of the Flies is defending “niceness” in nature.

    There is book you should read. Guess what the title is!

  22. Nakashima-san

    That should be:

    But to think “nice” is the norm in nature means you have been watching Bambi when you should have been watching Old Yeller.

  23. Tribune7 writes:

    But to think “nice” is the norm in nature means you should have have watching Bambi when you should have been watching Old Yeller.

    Except that nobody has claimed that it is. We were just startled to see you make such a sweeping and obviously mistaken claim, so we corrected you.

    Nice is clearly not the norm in nature. There’s lots of horrible waste and cruelty. It makes you wonder what the Designer was thinking.

  24. Mr Tribune7,

    Interestingly, I did read Old Yeller as a child, but have never seen or read Bambi. But I have seen many Godzilla movies!!

    I’m not sure what your point is about it, though. Literature is a poor lens for nature.

    I think we should circle back to Mr Graham’s point – helping other animals in your group can increase your own genes’ survival. “I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins.”

    I would be wary of calling this “moral” or “good” behavior, when it occurs in animals. These words have too much excess baggage. Is it “good” when bees sting, killing themselves for the good of the hive? I think this is part of the problem of reading agency into nature.

  25. Graham, Learned Hand, Beelz,

    Walking an old lady across the street is a ‘nice’ thing to do but has very little to do with supporting group survival. She is in the twilight of her years and my niceness has no power whatsoever to alter that reality. It will however help reassure her when she crosses over.

    Likewise, spending hours of my free time helping a neighbor build a house is a nice thing to do but has little bearing on group survival. That neighbor would survive with our without my nice effort.

    Niceness if qualitative, not quantitative.

  26. As nobody has yet responded to how peoples’ top questions were arrived at, maybe I could ask a question that occurs to me, that might have been my “top question”, had there been somewhere on the site to ask one.

    What useful contribution has Intelligent Design made to scientific endeavour?

    More specifically, what avenue of scientific research has been proposed that would not have otherwise been undertaken?

  27. On nature and self-interest. Is Christian charity altruistic? Surely, it is delayed self-interest, with the expected reward of salvation. Only the atheist can be truly altruistic, as there is no possibility of heavenly recompense.

  28. 28

    Alan,

    Altruism is not really a Christian value anyways. Christ choose who he would heal often based on their faith.

    As far as ID and science- it is important to understand what ID is about and what it is not claiming to be about. ID simply posits and tests of intelligent design in nature. Dembski likes the definition:

    “ID is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the product of design.”

    Dembski has written about examples where inferences to design are very real- such as SETI and fraud detection regarding financial data analysis. The theories on probability theory and information theory relay primarily on quantifiable statistical analysis. There is however a very real qualification part to ID as well.

    However if you think about physics in terms on construction and engineering as opposed to random or indifferent natural processes you can go about doing science differently.

    Newton believed God designed the world and it was especially evident in the formation of the solar system which he thought was beautiful. This inspired him to look for laws within it. So a perspective on origins guides our meta-reasoning to a certain extent- that is the reasoning that helps lead us to choose our scientific starting points.

    Also Behe brought forth the flagellum as a possible IRC machine. This lead to hypothesis about how it may or may not have evolved.

    SO at the very least ID can bring a new and different perspective to science- it can also inspire some people to see further.

  29. 29

    excuse me,

    Correction:

    “ID is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the product of (Intelligence).”

  30. Frost:

    Altruism is not really a Christian value anyways.

    Well, no, that was rather my point.

  31. Since repetitive and annoying (as well as ignorant) questions are permissible here I thought I’d ask a few of my own (which are still probably much less ignorant).

    Have Darwinbots ever added anything meaningful to further the concept of Intelligent Design or to a discussion in general?

    Can Darwinbots ever realize anything beyond their Darwinian containment? (ie: their Darwinian “shoe box” fantasy world).

    Has Dr. Dembski, Robert J. Marks etc… ever relied on Darwinbots to investigate and further the concept of Intelligent Design?

    I have many more, perhaps these will do for now.

  32. Presumably in response to my question:

    “What useful contribution has Intelligent Design made to scientific endeavour?”

    Frost gives some specific examples where ID has spurred scientific endeavour.

    1) SETI.

    2) Newton’s Laws of Gravity.

    3) Behe’s suggestions about the impossibility of the evolution of the bacterial flagellum.

    2) is unresolvable as Newton is dead and, as with Einstein, it is fruitless to speculate on his motives and inspiration.

    1) What input from ID is/was there in the SETI project?

    3) What research on bacterial flagella was done following suggested avenues from Behe? Perhaps some work resulted from an effort to refute his suggestions on IC. If so, perhaps you have a point.

  33. @ ab,

    Is not the site announced by Dr Dembski intended to furnish information about Intelligent Design?

    If so, would it not be an idea to respond to questions that actual critics of Intelligent Design ask. Otherwise, as another commenter points out, it is merely preaching to the choir.

    And if your questions are more than rhetorical, you could try asking them at a site that has some input from evolutionary biologists. Have you tried MacNeill’s blog?

  34. 34

    Alan,

    The Behe flagellum sparked a debate about how the type 3 secretory system came about. Behe argued that it was a degenerative trait where Kenneth Miller and other argued it was aboriginal to flegellum. I ma not sure who ended up with the stronger argument thought Stephen Meyer said Behe was probably right.

    But the point is in this case ID clearly sparked scientific interest and research. ID is to a science stopper.

    Now as far as SETI is concerned the whole project was basically an ID experiment or based on an ID theoretical framework. They looked for radio waves that had patterns in it- certain codes I think even as simple as a set of prime numbers. Funny how for Alien intelligence we will accept anything little thing but for transcendent intelligence even molecular machines in the cell aren’t good enough.

  35. @ Alan Fox #27:

    On nature and self-interest. Is Christian charity altruistic? Surely, it is delayed self-interest, with the expected reward of salvation. Only the atheist can be truly altruistic, as there is no possibility of heavenly recompense.

    I think you have it backwards. Salvation is not a reward it is a gift! Charity is not necessary or sufficient for salvation(read Mathew 25). Christian charity is what I think something we do for the Lord and each other, not to deserve salvation, but to be more like Him or how we where supposed to be in the first place. So Christian charity is not reward driven, but selfless(though far from perfect).

    Atheistic altruism, or humanism, on the other hand is not necessarily selfless. Since we are just a cosmic burp there is no purpose to live other than enjoying live. So humanism is nothing more than a way of making yourself feel better by making others feel better and therefore not “truly altruistic”(whatever that means).

    I’m not saying Atheists can’t be moral and Christians always are, but I just don’t agree with your comment. (though when I read all 15 of Richard Dawkins’ 10 commandments I really have trouble to control my laughter, http://atheismisdead.blogspot......ments.html )

  36. Mr ab,

    I’m not sure if I qualify as a Darwinbot, but if you go back to the first thread on Drs Dembski and Marks’ LCI paper you can see that I made several constructive suggestions for improving it.

  37. Mr Oramus,

    There are many examples of human altruism. Here I will reserve the word altruism for actions beyond the survival of our own genes. It is a wonderful triumph of our minds over our genes that we have been able to expand the “in-group”, and constrain the inclination to kill which we sadly share with other primates.

    However, that is irrelevant to Mr Graham’s original comment. Showing that we are sometimes better than other animals at sharing, doesn’t negate the fact that other animals do sometimes share and support each other.

  38. Nakashima,

    I’ve met several billionaires, CEOs, etc., even worked for a billionaire closely. So what?

    I’ve found that being good in business does not translate to knowing if a Lemur is a missing link.

    Is Bloomberg clueless? No, but he’s not well informed about the outrageous propaganda of Ida either, is he?

    He’s simply jumping on the bandwagon as fanfare for his city. Just like being at Time Square for New Years. Simple as that.

    And the fact that he gives weight to this discovery as some missing link shows he’s not aware of the controversy or does not care.

    I’m not sure which is worse; ignorance or knowingly hyping what is all but another small branch wilted on a dead tree. But in today’s world of lies and deception, it is par for the course.

    Remember, only the richest 5% of the people will be taxed in America.

    I’m curious if such deception takes place so much in Japan? Do you really believe it is OK to hype a lemur as a missing link that is unproven? Are you really defending such propaganda for science?

  39. As to nature…

    Tribune7 has a good point that cannot be knocked down so easily as some think.

    Why must females protect the offspring all the time? Males of all variety kill offspring every season, routinely as if it is a matter of doing daily business.

    It doesn’t just happen sometimes. It happens all the time.

    To pull morality out of jackals, lions or hyenas is silly.

    But what can materialist do? They’re stuck in a hole of immorality. Thy must fabricate stories. They are master story tellers. But attributing conscious morals or altruism to a beast on some failed, magic Darwin tree is not an answer. It is a story.

    Natures Morality

    On the otherhand, human males have helped murder over 45 million babies in America thru the Margaret Sanger Darwinian Eugenics program for the unfit, poor and minority races. Her program has succeeded wildly at great cost to minorities, especially blacks whom she hated.

    And according to most Materialist, this murder is ok and moral. Just like lions, human males help murder babies. They don’t murder the little cubs themselves today.

    They’ve “EVOLVED” to using “Doctors” to murder the babies by escorting the woman to Planned murderers Non-Parenthood row. Many women unfortunately have joined the infanticide bandwagon at the urging of their sophisticated Darwinian believing males.

  40. Mr DATCG,

    In Japan, evolution is not seriously challenged, unless you go to some seriously far right sites that venerate the Emperor as descended from the gods. instead we have woo like blood type based personality tests, and New Age cults. But no Shinto YECs arguing that the national creation myth should be taught in science class! The big scandal of education in Japan is right wing suppression of the true history of WWII.

  41. DATCG,

    Many women unfortunately have joined the infanticide bandwagon at the urging of their sophisticated Darwinian believing males.

    It’s tragic how many of today’s women seem to emulate their Darwinist brethren. I blame a lot of this on the expulsion of Jesus from our public classrooms. As William Holmes McGuffey said:

    The Christian religion, is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.

  42. Nakashima-san

    I’m not sure what your point is about it, though. Literature is a poor lens for nature.

    I think I was reacting to the word “nice” (not one I chose).

    I think we should circle back to Mr Graham’s point – helping other animals in your group can increase your own genes’ survival.

    Maybe, although that is not the traditional way of considering it via Darwinism, and leaving it solely to Darwinism, “let the strong survive” is still the more persuasive argument, I think.

    I guess you can say that charity only makes sense after a revelation.

    But I have seen many Godzilla movies!!

    I’ve always wanted to see him fight Ultra-Man :-)

    And speaking of Japanese culture, it is my understanding that the Japanese tradition is one of devolution– a near perfect world degrading into chaos. That makes more sense to me.

  43. Alan Is Christian charity altruistic? Surely, it is delayed self-interest, with the expected reward of salvation.

    Not to be theological, but the salvation occurs before the charity. I can’t think of any denomination that would claim that one can be saved by works. Not even pre-reformation Catholicism.

  44. And who is primarily responsible for keeping Jesus out of our public classrooms? The ACLU, America’s Taliban of course. Pat Boone has an excellent piece under this title at WND today:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?f.....geId=98916

  45. What useful contribution has Intelligent Design made to scientific endeavour?

    Scientific endeavor :-)

  46. #12 Nakashima

    Mr Uoflcard,

    I’ve met Michael Bloomberg, while he was merely a billionaire entrepreneur, not a clueless politician. Believe me, he is not clueless.

    I didn’t mean clueless in general. I’m sure he is a very intelligent man, fully capable of understanding the issues we despute. But I seriously doubt he actually knows what the true issues are (correct me if I’m wrong). Heck, go to Pharyngula – even the majority of the people there don’t know what the issues are! 4 out of 5 posters just assume ID is some type of “fundy” attack on the public school system, and they spend hours each day cussing out and berating “xians”. As I said earlier, I would be willing to bet that 99% of the general public does NOT know the issues at the heart of the debate. Plenty disagree with Darwin, but most are based on theological grounds, or an “incomplete fossil record”, or something else like that. Rarely would you hear someone talk about how random mutations, filtered through selection, is incapable of producing complex (much less extremely complex), highly functional information.

    Bloomberg proved that he’s clueless on this issue (or he just decided to issue a generic public statement even though he knows better). He said the fossil just proves Darwin’s theory, when it has ab-so-lutely nothing to do with the contentions of ID

  47. May I make a proposal?

    I noticed that the Web page http://www.faithandevolution.o.....inkers.php listed some key thinkers in the various camps. At present, Francis Collins is the only theistic evolutionist listed. A more complete list of theistic evolutionists can be found here . So who’s next? Obvious candidates include Kenneth Miller (too big to ignore, no matter what you think of his views), Simon Conway Morris (whose 2005 Boyle lecture can be found here) and Alister McGrath, whose Gifford Lectures for 2009 are here .

  48. Nakashima-san:

    I think we should circle back to Mr Graham’s point – helping other animals in your group can increase your own genes’ survival.

    I’m not sure if this is presented as a method for grounding “nice” actions, but if it is then the “in your group” part seems problematic. Ethnocentricity isn’t usually seen as a very “nice” thing. You seem to recognize this when you later post:

    It is a wonderful triumph of our minds over our genes that we have been able to expand the “in-group”, and constrain the inclination to kill which we sadly share with other primates.

    But this is rather confusing to me. If survival of genes is the basis for “nice” behavior, then in what way can mind’s (or anything’s) triumph over the gene be said to be a wonderful thing? How is it a wonderful thing? And why should the inclination to kill (provided it increases one’s own gene’s survival) be constrained? Is it just as wrong for a primate to kill, or is it only sad? You seem to indicate the latter:

    I would be wary of calling this “moral” or “good” behavior, when it occurs in animals. These words have too much excess baggage. Is it “good” when bees sting, killing themselves for the good of the hive? I think this is part of the problem of reading agency into nature.

    Did you mean, “…when it occurs in animals [other than humans]?” Also, what is meant by “nature” in the last sentence? Are you claiming that there is no such thing as agency to be found in nature? Or did you mean the anthropomorphized Nature? Or perhaps you meant the nature that doesn’t include humans? It just seems odd to me how you implicitly set man up as an exception (and not just one of degree), but I can see nothing in the materialistic worldview that would ground such a stance.

  49. 49
    CannuckianYankee

    Graham:

    “I see the usual stuff about how we must all be amoral if evolution is true. However, some quite recent research suggests (yet again) that other animals have morals (just like us) which is exactly what you would expect from an evolutionary model. Being nice to others in our group is good for our survival. Whats so hard about that ?”

    The typical response to this on this thread seems to be to call into question weather animals have morals. It’s a moot point. Graham has just given us another Darwinian so-so story. Everything fits a Darwinian framework, even when it doesn’t. That’s what makes Darwinism bankrupt as an explanatory paradigm. “It’s exactly what you would expect from an evolutionary model” is the new mantra of the Darwinists, because they really can’t explain anything. The circularity of such arguments is apparently not apparent to them.

    Even if animals have morals in the same way that humans do, in no way strengthens the Darwinian model. It in fact weakens it. Morality is something that you wouldn’t expect if our makeup is generated by unplanned, natural selection. Even a survival need does not really explain morals and altruism. If it’s survival of the fittest, then it’s every man (or creature) for him/herself. That’s what I would expect. This is why I’m always puzzled by Darwinian explanations.

  50. 50
    CannuckianYankee

    I meant to say “just-so” story.

  51. Should be: “Is it just as wrong for (other) primate(s) to kill, or is it only sad?

  52. One question often raised by the religious is why ID doesn’t integrate into religion. Why doesn’t ID get with all the truth? Why this Big Tent that embraces agnostics and disparate religions and religious heretics? Well—besides the obvious answer that ID is a limited empirical investigation—there are good sociological reasons as well.

    Those on the left often pursue ecumenism that ends up a pabulum—in fact, isn’t that what the TEs have done? In the interest of just getting along they have to choose with whom to get along, and that somehow never means the Darwin doubters.

    So does ID’s Big Tent represent a similar compromise? Is there a danger that we are ceding too much to the other side in the culture war? I say not!

    At the apex of the culture war is the question of whether we will concede the possibility of purpose, the legitimacy of even looking for design. All the principles that traditionalists would want to uphold, all the doctrinal squabbles of the doctrinaire, all of it means absolutely nothing if there is no design. All is but politics if there is no purpose, just the drive for power and prestige by who possess that drive.

    If we see design as the central issue and refuse to compromise on it, then we end up not some bland pabulum of the politically correct, but rather an interesting menagerie of characters with the chutzpah that’s required “to speak truth to power.”

    You want to question authority? Then question Darwin!

    Question the “Christian right” and you can bathe in praise.

    Without purpose there is only politics and demagoguery and disrespect for the traditions that have given us our liberty. Those traditions were rooted in religion, in the notion that our rights are not conferred by the state but rather by God. It is a tradition that sought to limit politics and maximize the freedom of the individual, a tradition for which a great many have paid with their lives. Nobody is saying that materialists cannot be moral—not at all! But history has proven that an officially atheistic state will not respect individual rights.

    Let me suggest that the way folks divide over Darwin is a pretty good indicator of where they stand on abortion, cloning, euthanasia, individual liberty, moral responsibility, infanticide, marriage, postmodernism, property rights, statism, and almost any other “hot button” issue you can name.

    Why would that be?

  53. Upthread Christiacrof and Tibune7 correct my misconceptions of Christian altruism. I blame Nietzsche and lack of diligence in Sunday school classes.

  54. 45
    tribune7
    05/28/2009
    8:27 am

    Sorry, Tribune7, I don’t get the joke. Though reading the linked essay, I wonder why Bacon was ever proposed as the “real” Shakespeare!

  55. Alan, the fellow who brought us modern science demanded a fidelity to the acceptance of a designer.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read Novum Organum — and I’ll grant that it is not Shakespeare — but it is fascinating as to how little some things change.

    You will get ammunition for your position too, with regard to how Bacon addresses using Genesis and Job as a basis for the study of nature (see chapter LXV in Book I)

  56. No, not read it. At 82,700 words of 17th century English, I need persuading!

    You will get ammunition for your position too,…

    I don’t really have a position to defend, I first became aware of ID in early 2005, and followed the events at Harrisburg with interest. I am curious to see how things pan out for the ID movement, but the issues don’t affect me personally.

    …with regard to how Bacon addresses using Genesis and Job as a basis for the study of nature (see chapter LXV in Book I)

    He seems to share my opinion of Aristotle, quote:

    Aristotle, who made his natural philosophy a mere bond servant to his logic, thereby rendering it contentious and well-nigh useless.

  57. To Cannuckian Yankee (#50)

    Morality is something that you wouldn’t expect if our makeup is generated by unplanned, natural selection. Even a survival need does not really explain morals and altruism

    But thats exactly what the survival need does produce. If I eat the babies in my group, the group doesnt survive.
    The social group is widely observed (humans, dogs, Elephants etc etc etc) because it is a succesful survival strategy. Now, to function properly, individuals in the group need to moderate their behaviour to satisfy the groups survival (rather than the individuals survival), because that, in turn, enhances the chances of the individuals survival. The end result is that we have evolved a pattern of behaviour that encourages us to respect others, nurture babies, defend the group etc.
    I think you and others have split off some of this to some higher esoteric form called ‘moral’ behaviour that cant be explained by nature, and must have come from the Bible or something. I would suggest that it is just another expression of the same innate behaviour.

  58. Mr Phineas,

    Please be patient with me. I think your questions deserve some thoughtful and carefully worded answers, so I am going to have to cite a lot of your text. I apologize for the length of my response.

    I’m not sure if this is presented as a method for grounding “nice” actions, but if it is then the “in your group” part seems problematic.

    No, just a little cat-herding to try to stay on topic! In an earlier post I said I don’t think morally judgemental words are particularly helpful to apply to other animals (or plants, or bacteria, etc). I think in-group resource sharing (including risk taking) is well established, and there is a solid theory to explain it. It is just enlightened self interest on the part of shared genes.

    Ethnocentricity isn’t usually seen as a very “nice” thing. You seem to recognize this when you later post:

    It is a wonderful triumph of our minds over our genes that we have been able to expand the “in-group”, and constrain the inclination to kill which we sadly share with other primates.

    But this is rather confusing to me. If survival of genes is the basis for “nice” behavior, then in what way can mind’s (or anything’s) triumph over the gene be said to be a wonderful thing? How is it a wonderful thing?

    We can look down on ethnocentricity today, but it was not so long ago that even nation-state level fraternal feeling was not a given. “We must all hang together or we will all hang separately!” Our ability to think beyond our genes is slow and gradual in coming.

    And why should the inclination to kill (provided it increases one’s own gene’s survival) be constrained?

    Nature, in doing a blind and contingent search, can only acheive a local optimum. Nature evolved feet, we invented the wheel. Nature evolved flapping wings, we invented the propeller. Our minds can invent solutions that nature cannot arrive at.

    In this case, we can start from in-group sharing that we share with other primates, and by processes of abstraction and analogy expand that in-group. That is what a phrase like ‘we are all brothers’ is doing, trying to convince you to use your genetic predisposition at a higher level.

    So humans could live in a Hobbesian world of a war of all against all, living lives that are nasty, brutish, and short. Our genes might urge that. But this trick of fooling our genes into smelling brotherhood where none exists is doing a damn fine job of preserving genes also!

    Is it just as wrong for a primate to kill, or is it only sad? You seem to indicate the latter:

    I would be wary of calling this “moral” or “good” behavior, when it occurs in animals. These words have too much excess baggage. Is it “good” when bees sting, killing themselves for the good of the hive? I think this is part of the problem of reading agency into nature.

    Sad. Sad is a description of my internal feelings, not a moral judgement of the world. I know there is research on “animal morality”, but I don’t know it well enough to say more.

    Did you mean, “…when it occurs in animals [other than humans]?”

    Yes, other than humans.

    Also, what is meant by “nature” in the last sentence? Are you claiming that there is no such thing as agency to be found in nature? Or did you mean the anthropomorphized Nature?

    I meant our tendency to project our own humanity onto both inanimate nature, and other living things. Everything from Zeus throwing thunderbolts to bees and ants as models of thrift, economy and hard working industriousness.

    Or perhaps you meant the nature that doesn’t include humans? It just seems odd to me how you implicitly set man up as an exception (and not just one of degree), but I can see nothing in the materialistic worldview that would ground such a stance.

    But I do think it is one of degree. We can think better than our nearest relatives, and everything else. If fewer of our relatives were extinct, the shading of ability might be clearer. It is like looking at fossil whales, and then blue whales.

    We can outwit our genes. That is a marvelous thing. Not only can I love my neighbor as myself, I can love Iraqis as myself. I can love endangered species as myself. I can love aliens from another planet as myself. (And they don’t even have DNA!) Wow!

  59. 59
    CannuckianYankee

    Graham,

    I appreciate your attempt at giving an explanation. However, I sense that your answer does not really have any explanatory power that gives Darwiniism an advantage over any other explanation. When I hear the typical Darwinian explanation, I can’t help thinking “why survival?” Why do biolobical organisms have this innate drive to survive? I know that Darwinians have an explanation for this, but only within the accepted assumption-mold of Darwinian thinking. You can’t go outside that mold and give an explanation for where the need for survival comes from. All you can really say is that the “survival instinct” is something that developed in species, but you can’t state exactly where it comes from. I find all of your answers frustrating and circular regarding this one issue. Why don’t we have a drive to not survive? Certainly an unplanned natural process would give us either of these two drives if the beginning of evolution were a random process. I know you’re going to tell me that it isn’t random, but it is. Random processes don’t select survival over non-survival. Why don’t some organisms have a drive towards death and destruction? I know it’s an absurd question, but that’s the point – there is no real explanatory power to the notion of survival from a Darwinian standpoint, because survival is the only option that makes any sense, no matter what your viewpoint, and Darwinism does not really explain it. All Darwinism says is “see, things survive. Let’s use that to explain how natural selection can lead to their survival.” It’s “just-so” story telling at its best. And all of the explanations regarding morality and altruism stem from this sort of baseless argument of survival.

    ID offers a much better place to start. ID does not offer a non-explanation like “survival.” It offers information. It is information that is the driving force behind complexity in nature, not survival. Survival says absolutely nothing about how complexity develops. Survival just is. Survival is not so much a value, but a simple dead-end fact. Information, on the other hand leads us to ask many more questions. Thus, it is Darwinism that is the true science stopper, because we can answer all questions in context with a survival drive. ID is the true science expander, because the information ID seeks is (potentially) infinitely vast, and we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg.

    You say that I and others on this thread attribute moral behavior to the “Bible or something.” No, I think most of us attribute morality to something more than just a suvival instinct, which has no explanation. I think most of us believe that morality comes from information – the same as complexity comes from information. As such, there must be an information giver. That’s all. You want to say the Bible is the source of that information – fine. you want to call God the information giver – fine too, but ID doesn’t start there, it starts with the observation that information is needed for all of this, and that information seems to be intentional, not random. As such, morality based on intentional information, is not relative, but has some absolutes. Not all morality is absolute, but all morality is based on certain absolute truths about what is right and what is wrong. All Darwinism can give us is a non-answer like “survival instinct.”

  60. Graham wrote:

    I see the usual stuff about how we must all be amoral if evolution is true. However, some quite recent research suggests (yet again) that other animals have morals (just like us) which is exactly what you would expect from an evolutionary model. Being nice to others in our group is good for our survival. Whats so hard about that ?

    You are making a category mistake, in my opinion. Animals are born with a huge repertoire of preprogrammed social behaviors that are tuned to their survival. As an example, some birds are born with the ability to recognize predators even if they had never encountered them before. Likewise, territorial animals are born with an innate mechanism for population control whereas humans are not. We will multiply ourselves to extinction unless we are forcibly regulated.

    Now, whether or not this is due to evolution is besides the point I want to make. The point is that humans are not born with this huge genetic behavioral programming. Our morality is learned during the course of a lifetime and even then, a huge proportion of humanity are either morally bankrupt or have fallen short of perfection.

    Evolution cannot explain morality in humans for the same reason that it cannot explain their inordinate enfatuation with music and the arts.

    Evolution is only partially true, and only a very small part of it at that.

  61. To CannuckianYankee (#59)

    Why don’t some organisms have a drive towards death

    In the past Im sure some did, and thats just what they did … die. That why we dont see species with a death wish. A species with a life wish, however, will survive. Further, the species with a stronger survival urge will survive better, thats what evolution is all about. Its not some ‘desire’ or ‘plan’ that comes from anywhere, its just logic 101.

  62. 62
    CannuckianYankee

    Graham,

    You seem to think that we on this thread who are of a different philosophical persuation than you don’t accept the survival instinct. We do – we just don’t think that it’s a good explanation for how morality and altruism exist. I sense that a lot of your answers are based on speculation about how evolution might have happened – which is not really a satisfying answer either. I don’t think organisms ever had a death wish as you say. I think survival has always been a part of nature, and it didn’t develop from natural selection. Something else gives species the will to survive, and it is something that is outside of the explanatory abilities of Darwinism. This is because Darwinism narrows all possible explanations to purely natural processes. Any attempt to explain even survival by Darwinists, therefore, is lacking in any real eplanatory power.

    The will to survive could not have developed as you infer, because where does the will to develop the will to survive come from? It’s a problem with infinite regresses again. True logic 101 tells me that a species that naturally has a death wish does not develop through natural processes into a new species with a will to survive – and that a will to survive is the driving force behind that development. Can you not see the logical fallacy behind that? “I have a natural death wish, but I’m going to overlook that because I want to develop a survival mode, and I can’t survive if I die. I think I’ll therefore, selectivly turn of my death instinct.” That’s essentially what you’re saying.

  63. At 82,700 words of 17th century English, I need persuading!

    It is rewarding :-)

    And it doesn’t have to be taken all at once.

  64. 64

    herb (#44) reports on “The ACLU, America’s Taliban… Pat Boone has an excellent piece under this title…”

    The Taliban are religious fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic religious law. Christian Reconstructionists want to impose the Old Testament, replacing the Constitution – they are much closer to being “American Taliban.”

    Pat Boone (or any other fundamentalist) equating the ACLU with religious fundamentalism is as absurd as those fundamentalists who insist that evolution is a religion or that atheism is a religion.

    And the ACLU has defended American Nazis right to parade, as well as Rush Limbaugh’s right to privacy in his recent drug abuse case. Pat Boone somehow didn’t mention that the ACLU also defends the rights of right wingers.

  65. Here’s something to consider with regard to free speech, censorship and the ACLU:

    If a school taught the God Delusion, the ACLU would either not oppose it or join in accusing those trying to remove it of censorship.

    If the school taught the Bible, well. . .

  66. No origins narrative that discounts God as creator is compatible with the gospel message. If God did not create the heavens and the earth—if there is no logos in being—then “the way” does not exist. The meek do not inherit the earth. The last will not be first. The admonition to remain “completely meek and humble” is muddle-headed madness.

  67. Tribune7,

    I know a quote that plays on the irony of your statement =P

    “Let the children…be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.”

    -Dr. Benjamin Rush
    (In an open letter to the citizens of Philadelphia.)

  68. PaulN,

    If a teacher posted Dr. Benjamin Rush’s letter on the classroom bulletin board the ACLU would, well . . .

  69. 69
    SaintMartinoftheFields

    Professor Dembski also has a new book on the way. It looks really interesting.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

  70. 70

    tribune7 (#65) opined: “If a school taught the God Delusion, the ACLU would either not oppose it or join in accusing those trying to remove it of censorship.”

    Can you quote an ACLU position statement proving that statement? Or can you cite an ACLU case which supports your opinion? Or did you just make it up?

  71. 71

    “SaintMartinoftheFields” (#69) wrote: “Professor Dembski also has a new book on the way. It looks really interesting.”

    A book titled “The End of Christianity,” published by Holman Bible Publishers (previously Broadman & Holman Publishers, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources), authored by a recognized intelligent design proponent who is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and who is known to be interested in the “Bible Code” and faith healing does not sound like a book that will correctly illustrate the differences between intelligent design and religion.

  72. 72

    PaulBurnett,

    ——”A book titled “The End of Christianity,” published by Holman Bible Publishers (previously Broadman & Holman Publishers, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources), authored by a recognized intelligent design proponent who is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and who is known to be interested in the “Bible Code” and faith healing does not sound like a book that will correctly illustrate the differences between intelligent design and religion.”

    You don’t know Dr. Dembski.

  73. PaulBurnett–

    Here are similar cases:

    In this the ACLU took a position

    In this the ACLU was silent

    Did the ACLU object to this? How would “Coming Out Day” not be a violation of the religious freedom of Evangelicals or Devout Catholics or Orthodox Jews or Moslems?

    The agenda of the ACLU is not one of free speech.

  74. 74

    Clive Hayden (#72) wrote: “You don’t know Dr. Dembski.”

    That’s true – I only know the “Hero of Dover” (whose testimony would have swayed Judge Jones to rule in favor of intelligent design) by his works (and non-works).

    I was pointing out that his next book doesn’t seem to have much to do with science, which, as he is a leading intelligent design proponent, might tend to blur the connection of intelligent design with science, and diminish the precious differentiation some still try to maintain between intelligent design and religion. Just sayin’.

  75. 75

    “tribune7″ (#73) wrote: “Here are similar cases: In this the ACLU took a position…In this the ACLU was silent…Did the ACLU object to this?”

    In those three cases the ACLU is not mentioned in two of the three articles. If the ACLU is not invited to participate, it typically does not participate. How is its non-participation then its “fault”?

    “tribune7″ continued: “The agenda of the ACLU is not one of free speech.”

    “Free speech” is only one of the ACLU’s agenda items – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACLU#Positions for a more complete list.

    The ACLU’s mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Do you oppose that?

  76. 76

    tribune7, you might be interested in the ACLU’s Statement on the Bible in Public Schools, which reads in part:

    First, while it is constitutional for public schools to teach children about religion, it is unconstitutional to use public schools to advance particular religious beliefs.
    . . .
    Second, the structure of the specific course curriculum, including the choice of textbooks, supporting materials, and teacher outlines, should be developed with a conscientious effort to avoid advancing particular religious beliefs.
    . . .
    Third, if public schools decide to offer religion or Bible courses, teachers should possess the relevant academic training and should teach the course as a proper academic subject.

    FWIW, I would support a school teaching The God Delusion in certain contexts, like a philosophy class, but would oppose efforts to teach it in a science class.

  77. 77
    SaintMartinoftheFields

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to confirm that “anyone” can comment here at Uncommon Descent as long they are respectful of others.

    There has been some confusion about this.

  78. PaulBurnett–The ACLU’s mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Do you oppose that?

    I don’t believe that’s the ACLU’s position. I think they are being dishonest about their agenda, and I think it’s a bad agenda, namely the claim that rights come from laws rather than God as per the DOI.

    I have a big problem with that, and you should too.

    With regard to the requirement that the ACLU be invited, how do you know they weren’t, firstly, and, secondly, what does it seem they are only “invited” to certain cases? Why does the ACLU involve themselves in lawsuits demanding school boards prohibit references to God in commencement speeches . They can certainly turn down the invitation to participate.

    The ACLU is not interested in liberty.

    David, again, I don’t the the ACLU is an honest broker.

    I think courts should stay out of the school curriculum whether it be Dawkins or Dembski or the Bible or Nietzsche. Leave it to legislative bodies.

    Now, they do have an obligation to defend the right of conscience, prohibit requirements and tests for belief. But there is nothing wrong with giving a Christian an understanding of Nietzsche or an atheist an understanding of Scripture.

    Of course, what we teach the children will be upon what society ends up being based.

    Personally, I would much prefer one based on the axiom that there is a universal law to love our neighbor to which must one day account, than one based on the idea of efficient production for the benefit of the collective as determined by those who successfully navigate an incestuous credentialling system.

  79. 79

    I quoted the ACLU’s mission statement “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

    …and “tribune7″ wrote: “I don’t believe that’s the ACLU’s position.”

    That’s your opinion, your belief.

    “tribune7″ continued: “I think they are being dishonest about their agenda, and I think it’s a bad agenda, namely the claim that rights come from laws rather than God as per the DOI.”

    They defend the rights that come from the documents and laws they mention. They don’t defend rights that come from any particluar religion or god, because that would automatically seem to bias them against any other religions or other gods. Or is that your problem?

    “tribune7″ continued: “The ACLU is not interested in liberty.”

    Again, that’s your opinion. They have had the word “Liberties” in their name since 1920, and have over a half-million members whose opinion differs from your opinion.

  80. Phin: But this is rather confusing to me. If survival of genes is the basis for “nice” behavior, then in what way can mind’s (or anything’s) triumph over the gene be said to be a wonderful thing? How is it a wonderful thing?

    Nakashima: We can look down on ethnocentricity today, but it was not so long ago that even nation-state level fraternal feeling was not a given. “We must all hang together or we will all hang separately!” Our ability to think beyond our genes is slow and gradual in coming.

    There seems to be an implied “ought” or two in your statment. Am I just projecting this, or are they actally there? Why should we think beyond our genes? Again, why is this a wonderful thing? I’m just not catching how your response addressed the question.

    P: And why should the inclination to kill (provided it increases one’s own gene’s survival) be constrained?

    N: Nature, in doing a blind and contingent search, can only acheive a local optimum. Nature evolved feet, we invented the wheel. Nature evolved flapping wings, we invented the propeller. Our minds can invent solutions that nature cannot arrive at.

    That’s an interesting way of looking at the issue, but it seems to fall just a bit short to me. In your example, our inventions do not seem to be in opposition the way they are when it comes to the issue at hand. So, nature invented the selfish gene, and we invented unselfishness?

    N: We can outwit our genes. That is a marvelous thing. Not only can I love my neighbor as myself, I can love Iraqis as myself. I can love endangered species as myself. I can love aliens from another planet as myself. (And they don’t even have DNA!) Wow!

    Maybe we can. Speaking for myself, I find doing so a constant, uphill battle. In the face of such a struggle, I’m looking for something that can take me beyond “can” to “should” or even “must.” Otherwise, why struggle? You write as if you assume a “should” exists, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how you are arriving at it.

  81. Mr Phineas,

    Purely as an appeal to your selfish genes, you ‘should’ be interested in a better local optimum.

    Yes, it is an uphill battle. Your genes control a lot of the chemistry of your thinking and it takes a lot to impose your will on them. That is why enlisting them with “brotherhood” thinking is important. Common descent teaches us that we share genes with every living thing on the planet. I can justify (to my selfish genes) my stewardship of the biosphere on the basis of brotherhood (aka selfishness).

    Of course, using the classic “scaffolding” analogy of Cairns-Smith, we can dispense with this crude argument later on.

  82. 82

    PaulBurnett,

    ——”I was pointing out that his next book doesn’t seem to have much to do with science, which, as he is a leading intelligent design proponent, might tend to blur the connection of intelligent design with science, and diminish the precious differentiation some still try to maintain between intelligent design and religion. Just sayin’.”

    Maybe read the book first?

  83. 83
    CannuckianYankee

    I just wanted to comment about the ACLU. If indeed they’re mission is to uphold freedom of speech, and such mission is invited upon by those who feel their free spech has been violated (I will assume no ill will on their part in accepting invitations from people of differing socio-political pursuations), then could it be that they tend to defend people on the left primarily because they are invited to? (long sentence, I know). I’m not going to be quick to judge this any one way or the other. I think perhaps that right-leaning organizations or individuals are hesitant to “invite” the ACLU to defend them because of the perceptions gained by a history of successes defending liberal causes.

    I wouldn’t put it past them to defend more conservative causes if the invitations came their way. Am I wrong about this?

  84. …and “tribune7? wrote: “I don’t believe that’s the ACLU’s position.” That’s your opinion, your belief.

    Well, yes. And it’s based on observing inconsistencies in their actions as I noted.

    They defend the rights that come from the documents and laws they mention. They don’t defend rights that come from any particluar religion or god, because that would automatically seem to bias them against any other religions or other gods. Or is that your problem?

    I have a big problem with the notion that rights come from laws. Why don’t you?

    Again, that’s your opinion. They have had the word “Liberties” in their name since 1920 . . .

    LOLOL That means a lot!

  85. tribune7,

    I don’t see how a lawsuit challenging having the government pay for Boy Scouts events is “anti-speech,” but whatever.

    I think it’s more notable in this context that the ACLU defends the free speech rights of the KKK and Fred Phelps.

    (The ACLU filed an amicus brief before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Phelps’s behalf seeking to overturn a $5 million judgment for defamation and intentional inflication of emotional distress won by the family of a U.S. Army solder killed in Iraq. The case was argued in January 2009 and should be decided fairly soon).

  86. 87
    CannuckianYankee

    Tribune, I’m afraid I agree with Ludwig on this, and I’m a conservative Christian. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the Boy Scouts to expect the government to provide them a place for its jamborees. It’s not the job of government to do so. It’s not an issue of free speech, because the Boy Scouts are quite free to find an adequate and appropriate private piece of land for their jamborees, and I don’t thinkt the ACLU or any other organization could find an objection to that.

    I think that conservative Christian organizations often go too far in believing that because traditionally these things have been allowed, for someone to say “hey, wait a minute….” is an example of discrimination. To prefer the Boy Scouts for the use of this land over any other organization, is an example of misuse of government land – fair and simple.

    In fact, I would say that it’s a practice of good stewardship and responsibility for religious organizations to be separate from any influence whatsoever from the government. By expecting favors from government, they violate this ideal. Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world,” and “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” This implies to me a complete separation of religion from government.

    I wouldn’t, however, go so far as to say this implies that government officials cannot allow their moral imperatives to drive their official and legislative duties.

    Now I support what the boy scouts are doing, but they have the freedom and responsibility to do it somewhere else, without infringing on the equal rights of others. If they did that, then I would support them even more. My faith is not jeopardized because the Boy Scouts can no longer use government land.

    I noticed, however, that the lawsuit was struck down – but on a technicality.

  87. I don’t see how a lawsuit challenging having the government pay for Boy Scouts events is “anti-speech,” but whatever.

    Because the only reason they are suing is because of the Boy Scouts claims with regard to God and, maybe, it’s opposition to homosexual scout leaders.

    They are seeking to end a tradition solely because of speech. That is anti-speech. You don’t need to be Clarence Darrow to see this.

    ACLU defends the free speech rights of the KKK and Fred Phelps.

    I guess if I wanted to be snide I could note that Phelps is a Democrat (and one-time Al Gore delegate) and the KKK has been a traditional arm of that party. Maybe that one was for Old Time sake.

    The Klan and Phelps are without any following or significance. If the judgment against Phelps is overturned it would mean nothing to anybody but Phelps and the plaintiffs.

    When they tell a school board it must keep God out of a commencement address, every district in the country must take notice.

    When they harass Boy Scouts, they are attempting to get them to change policies.

  88. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the Boy Scouts to expect the government to provide them a place for its jamborees.

    They’ve been doing it at Fort AP Hill since 1981.

    Actually, they’ve been doing it since 1937 when the government let them camp at the Washington Monument.

    And the place to levy objections is not the courts but with the Congress or the President.

  89. I think that conservative Christian organizations often go too far in believing that because traditionally these things have been allowed, for someone to say “hey, wait a minute….”

    OK, hey wait a minute. . . why are kindergartners at a public school being subjected to a “Coming Out Day”?

  90. Hey, wait a minute! Let’s see if the ACLU gets involved with this one.

    And if they do anybody care to take odds as to which side?

  91. 92
    CannuckianYankee

    Tribune7: “OK, hey wait a minute. . . why are kindergartners at a public school being subjected to a ‘Coming Out Day’?

    Now I agree with you on that one, because it is obviously a government support of a particular ideology. The Boy Scout example, on the other hand is not. It is government attempting to avoid an endorsement of a particular ideology, and rightfully so. We have to pick our fights wisely.

  92. 93
    CannuckianYankee

    “It is government attempting to avoid an endorsement of a particular ideology, and rightfully so.”

    Sorry, I realize that the lawsuit was leveled by the ACLU and not the government per se.

    Whatever motivations the ACLU had in this lawsuit (they could have had more levelhanded motivations and a better premise), I think they would have won the lawsuit on the government support of ideological organizations alone, without the appeal to religious speech. If they had worded it differently they might have won. I think you are right in pointing out their motivations, but ultimately, they were right in objecting to this governmental preference.

  93. Cannuckian,

    Why do we think the BSA is an ideological organization?

    There is nothing wrong with government endorsing certain values i.e. duty, trustworthiness kindness etc.

    In fact, a society that doesn’t demand it’s government endorse those values is a society that is going to fail.

    In fact, if

  94. Nakashima,

    I asked you about the facts surrounding Ida and the propaganda. The controversy is not a right wing/left wing issue.

    So why the insults and sarcasm about dead Japanese gods to your people? You lost me on your point.

    Pleaes read factual criticism from a scientist, an evolutionist…

    “Other researchers think rollouts like this one are just too risky. ‘On the one hand, I view it as a major task for scientists to translate their work for the public at large,’ says Beard. “On the other hand, when you make these breathless statements, you have to have the goods to back it up. Otherwise, we all lose credibility with the public. The only thing we have going for us that Hollywood and politicians don’t is objectivity.”
    —Christopher Beard, paleontologist, commenting in article by Ann Gibbons on last week’s media circus over Ida (05/19/2009), Science 29 May 2009: 324:5931, pp. 1124-1125, DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1124.

    They have lost objectivity in the propaganda roll out of Ida. They sold their souls for nothing but a lemur and another empty branch. The actual research paper is more realistic and not propaganda.

    You don’t need to worry about right wing politics. I got this directly from places like New York Times – a fading, far left cauldron of haters who still have some good journalist left that tell the truth. Ida is a joke. It is not a missing link, just missing evidence.

    You need to review all of the evolutionist knocking this fiasco for what it is. Nothing but Hollywood fiction writing and bamboozling of broadcast TV.

    Much of science today is losing credibility because in fact they have teamed with hollywood and far left politicians, going to extremes in many cases acting like fascist.

    Americans are losing their memories since WWII.

    But when Orwellian thought minders from the NSCE start telling scientist what they can or cannot write in a research paper, then it is the far left we must worry about.

    And don’t forget, Hitler came from the National Socialist German Workers Party(NAZI in German), with Darwinian Eugenics, hating Christians and Jews

    So you can rant all you like about right wing, but the reality is in America today and Germany in the past, it was the Socialist Left Workers Party, the Marxist Stalinist that ruined the world.

    And today, the ACLU, a Communist inspired organization in America, close down all discussions and limit speech, attack and charge lawsuits against our cities, our states, our schools.

    You have no real argument politically, or it seems logically.

    How would u like it if some organization said you are not allowed to use a specific word in a publication?

    Wouldn’t you be outraged?

    Well, that is what the far left groups are doing here, Darwinist, Atheist at the NCSE.

    It appears you could not defend Ida, so you attacked a strawman.

  95. Mr DATCG,

    I’m not happy about the media circus that erupted around Ida! However, you asked about Japan, so I wanted to answer you.

  96. Nakashima,

    Thank you. The reason I asked specifically about Japan is I’m very curious if the same deception is going on in other countries.

    This story was paid for by the BBC in England and Discovery in America. This makes them biased participants, unworthy of fair coverage. The media circus is more than just hoopla, it is deception. That is my concern. Unfortunately, today in America people get their information from TV and few other sources. Most would not know where to go for actual research paper, or take time to find out.

    I am fairly informed about the European countries, but not Asian. In case there was any confusion it was not my intention to make this personal. I am genuinely curios about your professional opinion and the climate in Japan on how research like this is handeled in general. I think over the last several years the Darwinist organizations in Europe and America have felt more pressure to make grand statements of missing links in TV and print. When behind the scences the research and debates among experts are much more reasoned, slower to make such broad claims and are largely unheard of in popular media here.

    And I love people to get excited about science, just not misled intentionally when the dust has not settled yet and final assignments, test and reviews not made.

    And please, no need to address me as Mr. unless you want to keep it formal and like me to do the same. Let me know if you do.

  97. Purely as an appeal to your selfish genes, you ’should’ be interested in a better local optimum.

    Is there anywhere else that I can ground an appeal? In addition, I’m not sure I understand “better local optimum,” but we can return to that later.

    Yes, it is an uphill battle. Your genes control a lot of the chemistry of your thinking and it takes a lot to impose your will on them. That is why enlisting them with “brotherhood” thinking is important. Common descent teaches us that we share genes with every living thing on the planet.

    Is not my will all about chemistry as well? Do genes have less control over my will than my thinking? You’ve said we can outwit our genes. Is this out-witting something that is inherited? How is it inherited if not through my genes?

    So, my genes can outwit my genes? And my chemistry can exert control over my chemistry? That sounds a bit like pulling myself up by my own bootstraps.

    I can justify (to my selfish genes) my stewardship of the biosphere on the basis of brotherhood (aka selfishness).

    Right, because of the “better local optimum” thing. Perhaps you could help me understand what you mean by this. Can you please order the following according to which will lead to a better local optimum?

    a. Loving my neighbor

    b. Loving Iraqis

    c. Loving endangered species

    d. Loving aliens

    e. Killing or sterilizing persons who might pollute the local gene pool
    f. Controlling breeding to enhance positive traits

    Note that demonstrating that one item on the list might be more successful than another at reaching a better local optimum doesn’t really get me to “should,” only to “maybe I should and maybe I shouldn’t.”

Leave a Reply