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George Orwell’s New Europe

Here are extracts from the Council of Europe’s Draft Resolution against ID, Creation, and anything that does not toe the materialist line. Note the passages in bold.

A. Draft resolution

1. For some people the Creation, as a matter of religious belief, gives a meaning to life. Nevertheless, the Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist ideas within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies. If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights which are a key concern of the Council of Europe.

5. We are witnessing a growth of modes of thought which, the better to impose religious dogma, are attacking the very core of the knowledge that we have patiently built up on nature, evolution, our origins and our place in the universe.

6. There is a real risk of a serious confusion being introduced into our children’s minds between what has to do with convictions, beliefs, ideals of all sorts and what has to do with science, and of the advent of an “all things are equal” attitude, which may seem appealing and tolerant but is actually disastrous.

7. Creationism has many contradictory aspects. The “intelligent design” idea, which is the latest, more refined version of creationism, does not deny a certain degree of evolution but claims that this is the work of a superior intelligence. Though more subtle in its presentation, the doctrine of intelligent design is no less dangerous.

17. Investigation of the creationists’ growing influence shows that the arguments between creationism and evolution go well beyond intellectual debate. If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council’s parliamentarians to react before it is too late.

B. Explanatory memorandum. Report of Mr Guy Lengagne (revised).

6. The first major upheaval came about as a result of the work of John Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), a French biologist. At the beginning of the 19th century, Lamarck presented his basic theory of “transformism” in a work entitled Philosophie Zoologique. A few years later, on 29 November 1859, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published a work entitled “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, in which he also put forward the idea that species evolve. Today, it is considered the founding work of the theory of evolution. According to this theory, which contrasts sharply with the knowledge and fears of the time, the biological characteristics of living beings evolve in the course of time and genuine natural selection operates for the survival of species. Through his activities and this work, Darwin proposed to the people of his time a new hypothesis concerning the evolution of species and human beings. His works mark the end of the agreement between natural history and the Christian tradition, as well as the birth of anti-evolutionist movements1.

7. From then on, there were two camps that faced one another: those who were convinced that Darwin had to be opposed in order to defend Christian theology and those who thought that the theory of natural selection would enable humankind to put an end once and for all to the theoretical foundations of “religious obscurantism.”

24. As Guillaume Lecointre, a professor of zoology at the National Natural History Museum in Paris, points out, science is the totality of operations that produce objective knowledge. A statement on the world can only be described as objective if it has been verified by an independent observer. This verification depends on three factors: scepticism, rationality and logic and, finally, methodological materialism. These three pillars ensure the objectivity of a scientific result.

27. In addition, as Hervé Le Guyader emphasises, evolutionist thinking now pervades all areas of biology and, through the historical dimension of the process of evolution, also affects the sciences of the Earth and the universe. The advances in evolution research have in fact resulted in broadening the basis of this theory, so that today the evolution of populations, including human populations, is only part of evolution as a whole. Research being done on evolution is still providing more evidence for the truth of the theory of evolution.

35. The last quarter of the 20th century was marked by an appreciable resurgence of creationist ideas. In the light of the setbacks they had sustained against the supporters of the theory of evolution, the creationists tried to adapt, and did so to such an extent that in the current statements of the “neocreationists” references to God and the Bible are, or at least it would appear, totally absent. There is no longer any question of divine creation. The neocreationist movement, which mainly consists of the advocates of “intelligent design”, defends the hypothesis of the intervention of a so-called superior intelligence. Describing it as scientific, the supporters of intelligent design demand that their ideas be taught in biology classes alongside the theory of evolution.

36. However, in 2005 the intelligent design creationists also suffered a setback when the Pennsylvania judge John Jones declared that the teaching of intelligent design in schools violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

46. Guillaume Lecointre has shown that they [creationists] have been somewhat cavalier with regard to elementary rules of science. The first breach of these rules is their lack of scepticism. In every creationist experiment, faith imposes a preconceived idea of the expected result. Faith does not permit them objectively to accept the result of a scientific experiment if it does not correspond to their beliefs, so it would seem impossible to reconcile faith and science. The second breach noted concerns the fact that even if the creationists seem to comply with the principles of logic, that logic is based on false premises, indeed on a tendentious selection of facts. Finally, mention may be made of a large number of breaches of the principles of methodological materialism and experimentation. As G. Lecointre emphasises, scientific creationism is by definition the very opposite of science because it denies the need for recourse […] to material realities […] in order to establish truths. However, let us repeat: it is not possible to establish knowledge without scientific evidence and without verifying its objectivity and scientific character by the reproduction of experiments and/or observations. The creationists make a number of claims that cannot be scientifically tested and are thus not provable. It is therefore easy to see through the deception of the creationists who claim to follow scientific principles. This deception is all the greater as, being aware that it is impossible for them to prove scientifically what their dogma advocates, some creationists even go so far as to fabricate facts and evidence. Thus, apart from the absurd interpretations put forward by some creationists, it would seem that others do not hesitate to fabricate “pseudo” evidence to try to prove the scientific nature of their statements.

48. Similar criticism can be made about the “pseudo”-scientific character of the intelligent design ideas. Its supporters present the Darwinian theory of evolution not as a scientific theory but as an ideology or a “natural philosophy” and therefore think it either cannot be taught in schools as a “science” or that the intelligent design ideas must be taught at the same time. There is consequently a tendency to justify the inclusion of the intelligent design ideas, which are presented as scientific because of the total lack of any reference to the Bible and God, in the school curricula. However, as G. Lecointre has shown, the intelligent design ideas are anti-science: any activity involving blatant scientific fraud, intellectual deception or communication that blurs the nature, objectives and limits of science may be called anti-science. The intelligent design movement would seem to be anti-science for several reasons. Firstly, the nature of the science is distorted. Secondly, the objectives of the science are distorted. The writings of the leaders of this movement show that their motivations and objectives are not scientific but religious.

49. The intelligent design ideas annihilate any research process. It identifies difficulties and immediately jumps to the conclusion that the only way to resolve them is to resort to an intelligent cause without looking for other explanations. It is thus unacceptable to want to teach it in science courses. It is not enough to present it as an alternative theory in order to have it included in the science syllabus. In order to claim to be scientific, it is only necessary to refer to natural causes in one’s explanations. The intelligent design ideas, however, only refers to supernatural causes.

89. The creationists claim that evolution is only one interpretation of the world among others, but that is not the case. The scientific nature of evolution remains irrefutable today. However, it must be repeated that the science of evolution cannot claim to give an explanation as to “why things are” but tries to explain how things are happening or have happened. The theory of evolution constitutes a body of knowledge fundamental for the future of our democracies and cannot be arbitrarily challenged.

90. It is important to point out that the theory of evolution has had a profound effect on science in general, philosophy, religion and many other aspects of human society (for example, agriculture). Evolution has also entered the field of psychology: evolutionist psychology is a field of psychology that aims to explain the mechanisms of human thought on the basis of the theory of biological evolution. It is based on the fundamental hypothesis that the brain, like all the other organs, is the result of evolution and thus constitutes an adaptation to specific environmental constraints, to which the ancestors of the Hominidae were forced to respond.

93. Creationism has many contradictory aspects. “Intelligent design”, which is the latest, more refined version of creationism, does not completely deny a degree of evolution. However, this school of thought has hardly provided any fuel for the scientific debate up to now. Though more subtle in its presentation, the doctrine of intelligent design is no less dangerous.

104. A detailed study of the growing influence of the creationists shows that the discussions between creationism and evolutionism go well beyond intellectual disputes. If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be in danger of being directly threatened by the creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council’s parliamentarians to react before it is too late.

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53 Responses to George Orwell’s New Europe

  1. Such a sadness that people writing these resolution only talk about natural selection, forgetting the three other evolutive forces (for example, mutation and migration, but also environment, coevolution, and so on)! Evolution is not only about selection, of course.

    Guillaume’s definition of Science is very clear, even if it was already given by Robert Shapiro in his book The Origin of Life: not a corpus of fact, but a method to analyse facts. Contraty to what you may think, the keyword in his definition is not “methodological materialism”, but of course “objectivity”.

    Even if I don’t always agree with Guillaume’s and Hervé’s points of view (what I try to hide, knowing that one of them will eventually choose to give me money for my research…), I must conceal that they are very strict when it comes to Science and reflexion. It’s no surprise that they are refered to by this text.

    The main critic to be made against this resolution is the belief that the theory of evolution (and, may I ask, which theory exactly are they refering to? I hop it’s Jay-Gould’s) is important for democracy. It is only important to Science, and Education.

  2. I guess they missed that whole thing with Hit^ler trying to wipe out the inferior races since they were not as “evolved” as the “master” race.
    In case anyone still clings to such false thinking:
    Here is evidence for the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in man himself.

    Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.”

    Thus the younger races of humans have demonstratively lost genetic information for diversity in the genome and have also visibly lost information for skin color (I argue lost information for shape as well)!! This clearly seems to be loss of information from parent species of Africans!

    Thus much to the contrary of rac^ists thinking… Europeans are in fact actually degrading, as far as information in the genome is concerned, when compared to Africans!

  3. There is a reason why many people have left Europe to settle in other countries.

    The real danger is with the people who could concoct such a resolution.

    Next they will want everyone to “goose-step”. That is the only way to walk. To bend one’s knees is dangerous I tell you!

  4. bornagain77

    48. (above)
    Its supporters present the Darwinian theory of evolution not as a scientific theory but as an ideology or a “natural philosophy”

    And this is exactly what you have just done in your comment!

    Darwinism is either true or it isn’t. To conclude it justifies or otherwise some extraneous objective is entirely divorced from the veracity of the theory. You’re doing down Darwinism because you don’t like (what you identify as) the implications, irrespective of whether it is true or not. I’m afraid you have proved their point, at least with regard to this aspect.

  5. An amazingly amateur scientistic polemic.

    All knowledge, all truth, in fact, is gained exclusively through scientific means and must conform to naturalism.
    This is not science and methodology but philosophy.
    #5, #24, #46

    And any denial of this scientistic, materialistic worldview, is a danger to morals and values – which, of course, are adaptive and evolved, and discovered only scientifically.

    It’s nice also to get an admission from such an esteemed body that the defence of evolution (neo-Darwinian, modern synthesis, ToE, what have you …) is motivated by a reaction to a perceived religious point of view and a desire to eradicate it. #7

  6. That’s a lot of paranoia for the world capital of liberl theology.

  7. I wonder of this same body has any document regarding Anthropogenic Global Warming as well. It would be interesting to see how “scientific” they are…

  8. I get it now. Materialism is true because science backs it up. And you can tell if the science is true by seeing if it adheres to materialism. Brilliant!

    That’s pretty much what this convoluted, horrible rhetoric in this resolution argues. I have to say I am really stunned by how dogmatic and illogical it is.

  9. [...] 27, 2007 Europe gone wild? Posted by James under intelligent design   You better like our materialism… or else! [...]

  10. [...] George Orwell’s New Europe UD has some quotes and comment on the coming draft resolution on Id/creationism from the Council of Europe. A. Draft resolution [...]

  11. Duncan you stated:
    You’re doing down Darwinism because you don’t like (what you identify as) the implications, irrespective of whether it is true or not. I’m afraid you have proved their point, at least with regard to this aspect.

    I disagree with Darwinism first and foremost because, after thoroughly examine the evidence in an impartial manner, I find it is blatantly false and the most ridiculous excuse for a scientific theory that exists in today’s society period…
    As far as the ideology that has been generated by this “all prevailing” theory that explains everything and yet explains nothing, I think the eugenics movement, abor^tion on demand, and the holo^caust tragedy speak for themselves in this matter…

  12. From the article:

    The first breach of these rules is their lack of scepticism. …faith imposes a preconceived idea of the expected result. Faith does not permit them objectively to accept the result of a scientific experiment if it does not correspond to their beliefs… that logic is based on false premises, indeed on a tendentious selection of facts. …some creationists even go so far as to fabricate facts and evidence. …do not hesitate to fabricate pseudo evidence to try to prove the scientific nature of their statements.

    Sounds like Darwinism to me.

  13. Any activity involving blatant scientific fraud (false embryo drawings), intellectual deception (ignoring mathematical problems with origin of life) or communication that blurs the nature, objectives and limits of science (like Dawkins The God Delusion) may be called anti-science.

    The NeoDarwinian Evolutionary movement would seem to be anti-science for several reasons. Firstly, the nature of the science is distorted. Secondly, the objectives of the science are distorted. The writings of the leaders of this movement show that their motivations and objectives are not scientific but religious. (eg Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins)

  14. Wow! Scary stuff. Honestly, what is wrong with Europe? Seems every few decades or so, some crazy thinking gets a foothold there and then all hell breaks loose. At least it’s clear to see they’re absolutely petrified of ID.

  15. Today I am a sad, disappointed European, but what do you expect if one of the EU nations has Darwin on their 20 Pound note? Fight on!!!

  16. “There is a real risk of a serious confusion being introduced into our children’s minds between what has to do with convictions, beliefs, ideals of all sorts and what has to do with science, and of the advent of an “all things are equal” attitude, which may seem appealing and tolerant but is actually disastrous.”

    That passage made for an ironic chuckle. How the chickens have come home too roost.

  17. [...] Council of Europe has Draft Resolution Against ID. Ick. The Council of Europe has an icky (to the power of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000: one in that number is an estimate of the probability of forming a single protein by chance in a pre-biotic soup for which there is little evidence for but much against. Shockingly origin of life scientists no longer look to chance as an adequate explanation for life. They are in search of a naturalistic theory that works.) draft resolution against ID which can be found here. [...]

  18. [...] take a look at the Council of Europe. I’ve posted about this before, but after seeing this on Uncommon Descent I just had to mention it again. Dembski’s right… this sounds as Orwellian as you can [...]

  19. I don’t understand the referene to human rights.

  20. bornagain77

    Thanks for responding to my post.

    If you think Darwinism is false, that’s fine. I visit UD myself looking for persuasive critiques of it. But it’s either correct or not and, of itself, that’s all. People can drown in water – that doesn’t mean we can attach any ethical values to the qualities of water.

    Your comment about Hitler made no reference to the accuracy or otherwise of Darwinism (how could it?), and I still think it was an example of precisely the complaint raised in section 48 of the document.

    As for eugenics, etc “speaking for themselves” – I think this is a smokescreen. This is like saying that the scientific discovery of electricity is responsible for torture (administering electric shocks is prevalent in torture, I believe). Surely, the theory of Darwinism has no more to say about values than does the fact that water is wet and electric shocks hurt?

  21. Perhaps 9/11, the catch all “war on terrorism” and the fundamentalist views of millions of Muslims in Europe have something to do with this. Perhaps the EU is attempting to calm the storm of rampant extreme-religion in any form. And in way, I can see the logic of this. Some countries in Europe are going to have Muslim majorities in the coming decades and if any extreme religious view gains a foothold it could be very dangerous, to the EU and the entire planet. So, trying to make the materialistic view the official one could be an attempt to educate the young against extreme religion.

    If not that, then what would be the point of something like this? What would it serve other than to dissuade people who might be inclined to become more “fundamental” in their beliefs?

    Then again, what do I know?

  22. xtreme camera, the problem is they are defining any belief in anything non-materialistic as “fundamentalist religion”. To them, intelligent design is an extreme religious view even though it doesn’t evoke a supernatural creator. They are tightening the scope of permissible thought.

    And fundamentalist religion itself should be fully acceptable as long as its not imposing on others’ rights.

  23. Ashame to be an european citizen…

  24. “Faith does not permit them objectively to accept the result of a scientific experiment if it does not correspond to their beliefs…”

    hmm…I’d love to see the experiment which confirms unguided evolution and makes materialism true. What a joke these people are – completely consumed by their insane fundamentalist beliefs.

  25. “Faith does not permit them objectively to accept the result of a scientific experiment if it does not correspond to their beliefs…”

    Does this amount to a rejection of NOMA?

    I guess the whole resolution amounts to that.

  26. Perhaps 9/11, the catch all “war on terrorism” and the fundamentalist views of millions of Muslims in Europe have something to do with this. Perhaps the EU is attempting to calm the storm of rampant extreme-religion in any form.

    I think there is likely much truth in this.
    Imagine the idiocy of this thinking and strategy and the inability to discern truth or act appropriately demonstrated by the authors of the resolution.

  27. Gehman, the reference to human rights is what is most surprising. That is what stuck me most in this “liberal” European debacle of unreason. Over the decades the issue of human rights has been used to promote all sorts of pernicious liberal (or rather anarchic) stuff, so it is becoming clear that the ID has now been drawn into this political “left-right” or “democrat-republican” or “liberal-conservative” or “culture of life vs. culture of death” dichotomy. Yet, in the long run, it may not be a bad thing if it forces people to associate the ID with what is “right” and thus to choose what is right over what is wrong.

  28. Duncan you stated:
    Surely, the theory of Darwinism has no more to say about values than does the fact that water is wet and electric shocks hurt?

    As such, If evolution/materialism is the basis of your overall ideology, then values can become whatever you can reason (want) them to be.

    Justification and rationalization of the human mind replaces the moral absolutes of religion.

    Before evolutionary thought took over Europe gen^ocide of an inferior race was unthinkable,,,yet when evolution gained ideological in Germany the rationalization and justification to eliminate the d “inferior” races was unfettered by any old superstitious religious morals!!
    For you to deny that Darwinian thought gave the overriding “scientific” okay for genocide in Germany is to blatantly ignore the facts of history…
    Even when Luther called for the Jewish people to be forcefully converted to Christianity (By pain of or house burning) the overriding morality of the bible, to Love one’s neighbor as yourself, prevented this insanity of Luther’s from getting too far out of hand, whereas when completely unfettered by Theistic Ideology there was no check to the German Government of the second World War…
    Ask any recovering alcoholic Duncan,,,rationalization and justification are no way to run ones life!!!!
    Much less a society!!!!

  29. Sometimes you just have to shake your head, wring you hands, and sigh at the foolishness of some people.

    Can otherwise intelligent people be so stupid?

    Yes, it happens all the time.

    It’s call Ideology with an emotional, financial, and political motivation.

    Such nonsense would never be tolerated in the U.S.A. Too many level headed people here.

    Thank God Almighty for the good old US of A.

  30. duncan,

    You wrote:

    Surely, the theory of Darwinism has no more to say about values than does the fact that water is wet and electric shocks hurt?

    bornagain77 has already dealt with the use that has been made of evolution/materialism to relativise moral absolutes. I have only this to add.

    From the fact that water is wet, or the fact that electric shocks hurt, it does not follow that one may therefore kill one’s neighbour and, moreover, do it with a self-righteous sense that one is thereby helping to make the world a better place.

    On the other hand Darwinism says that progress is made through survival of the fittest. It does follow from there that, if Darwinism is true, then progress is impeded when we facilitate the survival, and especially the breeding, of the unfit. And it does follow from there that if one’s neighbour is “unfit” (however that is judged) and if one wants “progress” (however that is judged) then prevention of the breeding of the “unfit”, and even prevention of their survival, should be one’s goal.

    Darwinism doesn’t just have something to say about values, it cries out for value judgements about human lives to be made and acted on. If it were not for Darwinism would we ever have had a Peter Singer or a Jack Kevorkian or any other of the murderous, materialist, demagogues and human hygienists who have infested our planet during the last 100 odd years?

  31. A few observations on this draft resolution.

    Firstly, it does indeed seem to have a political basis. It’s origins appear to lie with the French Socialists and there are some very Francocentric assumptions in the document. It namechecks Lamarck, for example, but does not mention Erasmus Darwin, who came up with a theory of evolution which predated him. To do so would undoubtedly change the complexion of the document, as Erasmus Darwin believed that evolution made the existence of God ‘mathematically certain’. Similarly, although Adam Sedgewick bitterly attacked Thomas Chambers’ evolutionism, he noted that Chambers used teleological arguments for God in his conception of it. This dimension to evolution has been excluded, and probably deliberately.

    The underlying assumptions here is that evolution is secular, and supports a secular system. Now the official French doctrine of church-state relations is ‘laicisme’ – secularism. My guess is that Lagagne and the other deputies formulating this notion are attacking ID and Creationism because they are perceived as a threat to the secular basis of French society, which has been projected onto Europe as a whole.

    I also suspect that the posters here are right, and that a fear of Islam is part of this. Most Creationists in Europe are Muslims, and I suspect that the assumption here is that if belief in the divine origin and production of living things is strengthened, this will lead to increased Islamic hostility to European secularism and the demands for the establishment of sharia Islamic law.

    All of these assumptions are highly dubious and can be heavily criticised.

    Firstly, there is the issue of the separation of Church and State. Lagagne seems to feel this rests on evolution, because the French revolutionaries who instituted it were Deists or atheists, uner whose aegis evolutionary theory was first developed. Yet the doctrine of the separation of church and state has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with evolution. In the Anglophone world it began with the Puritan minister, Richard Baxter’s The Bloody Tenent of Persecution during the British Civil War between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. Baxter settled in New England, and his ideas influenced the Founding Fathers when they instituted this as part of the constitution. As far as I know, however, Baxter was not an early evolutionist. Thus, the doctrine of the separation of Church and State predates evolutionary theory, and so a rejection of evolutionary theory does not necessarily entail a rejection of the separation of church and state.

  32. Secondly, the compilers of this draft document seem to be under the impression that ‘Creationism’ or ‘ID’ are a threat to democracy. Again, the underlying assumption here seems to come from the French experience of the establishment of democracy in France at the same time evolutionary theory was being formulated. However, Rousseau took his model for democracy from the Swiss cantons, who were democratic long before evolutionary theory was first formulated. Indeed, several scholars have seen the origins of democracy not in secularism, but in Christian egalitarianism: in the way the presbyters and elders of Presbyterian churches were elected, a system which goes back to the primitive democracy of the Early Church, where the bishops and priest were chosen by their congregations. Some archaeologists will take the origins of democracy back even further, to the ancient Near East. Daniel E. Fleming in his book Democracy’s Ancient Ancestors: Mari and Early Collective Governance , whilst recognising the personal authoritarian nature of much Mesopotamian rule, also points to collective components in government and tribal and collective allegiance, and views this as the germ from which democracy developed. Now this is long before evolution. Thus, a challenge to evolution does not equal a challenge to democracy, and indeed, given democracy’s basis in certain types of religious experience, a revival of religious may even strengthen the democratic process and consciousness.

    Regarding the issue of Islamic Fundamentalism, I suspect that Lagagne doesn’t understand it or the motives that drive it. Not all Islamic militants are hardline anti-evolutionists by any means. Dr. Akhtar, one of the British Islamic militants who was prominent during the controversy over Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses made it very clear in his pamphlet Be Careful with Mohammed that Islamic Fundamentalism was not about rejecting evolution, and he sneered at this as a distinctly Christian phenomenon.

    However, a renewed religious basis in European government and politics could actually strengthen democracy in the Middle East. Democratic reformers and opponents of the Qajar shahs in Persia in the 19th century looked to Britain as a model of democracy and humane and responsible government. British laws were praised as being based on those of Islam. Now clearly, this is a misinterpretation. However, the British constitution, by allowing religious leaders – the bishops – in the House of Lords, clearly had some similarities to the Islamic majlis, the assembly of scholars whose advice was sought by Ottoman sultans, and which did intervene in the 16th century when one of the Pashas attempted to convert his Christian subjects by force. A renewal of a genuine religious component to European government and democracy could strengthen it in the eyes of some Muslims, because of the close relatiionship between Christianity and Islam as ‘Peoples of the Book’. Europe and Islam have also shared in the immense cultural heritage of the Classical world, which Muslim scholars and scientists were instrumental in developing and passing on to Europe. ID as a democratic Christian spirituality could strengthen democracy in the Dar al-Islam by showing that democracy and an awareness of the power of God in Earth are not directly opposed. Indeed, Islamic modernists have pointed to Mohammed’s government of Medina as the first Islamic state, and noted that Mohammed was invited there to establish Islam by its leaders. He did not conquer it by force.

  33. One can even question the very narrow relevance of evolution to the party politics, which Lagagne and the other compilers of the draft document feel is under threat. Lagagne is a member of the Socialist party, and so it seems that his attack on ID and Creationism is partly from fear of religious support for the political Right. Yet Socialism in its broadest sense as the communal ownership of goods long predates secularism.

    In Britain, the radical Digger and leveller sects of the Cromwellian Interregnum, whose best-known spokesman was Gerard Winstanley, stressed communal ownership of property based on what they saw as Biblical principles. In the late 18th and early 19th century, one of the first British utopian socialists was Thomas Spence. Spence had been a Glassite, a Northumberland sect who preached, and who practised to a certain extent, the common ownership of property. Although Spence later became a Deist, many of his arguments for this primitive form of socialism still cited Biblical passages and authority.

    Such religious sentiments also informed some early 19th century Zionists. Sir Isaiah Berlin in his The Life and Opinions of Moses Hess discussed how Hess, a Jewish German from the Rhinelands, whose wife was Roman Catholic, wished to see the establishment of a socialist Israel. He based his ideas on the perception of ancient Israel as a socialistic state, because it was established accorded to transcendent law and the repeated concern for the widow and the orphan.

    French socialism has its origins in the radicalism of Gracchus Babeuf and the Conspiracy of Equals during the French revolution, but other forms of Socialism predate French Revolutionary and Marxist materialism.

    Now I am not arguing that Socialism is necessarily Christian. Conservative evangelical scholars have produced good arguments to show that the supposed theological basis for the compulsory communal ownership of property are based on a misunderstanding of the Bible. What I am saying is that for those Christians who believe that the best form of Christian political witness is expressed in left-wing economics, evolution has nothing to say to them. Socialism predates evolution, and while Marx was enthusiastic about it, others do not have to submit to such materialism.

    Indeed, Creationism is a better support for socialism than evolution, as the signs of a Creator and the existence of a divinely appointed order within the cosmos is precisely the type of transcendent law which socialists like Hess saw as the true foundation of a just, Biblical state. The evolutionism of Dawkins and Jacques Monod, by reducing life to an accident and man as ‘a gypsy’ in an absurd universe, effectively undercut and attack the foundations of a socialist consciousness even though materialist socialism, such as Marxism, is a product of it. Thus evolution cannot be seen as necessarily supporting socialism, nor can ID or Creationism necessarily be seen as a threat.

  34. Now a few comments on the EU itself.

    In Britain there is widespread apathy and a resigned hostility to the EU. While many Brits are far from xenophobic, the EU itself is distrusted because of its bureaucracy, corruption and the nationalistic double standards of some states in passing regulations. There is a perception in Britain that much European legislation has been passed with the deliberate intention of excluding British manufactures and products from entering continental European markets, while opening Britain up to theirs. I suspect that, despite the perception on the continents of the British as being particularly anti-Europe, many of these feelings are shared by the citizens of other European nations about how their countries have been treated.

    Furthermore, despite French secularism, other European nations have their own solutions to the problem of church-state relations. Many EU countries have state churches, and in Greece the favourite subject of university students at one time was theology, because of the centrality of the Orthodox Church to Greek nationality. By collapsing science with political secularism in this draft document, it could be considered that the EU political class is attempting to impose a Europe-wide model of scientific and church-state relations based on the French model on nations who have developed other models and systems according to their particular history and social and economic conditions. This would certainly reinforce the idea, in Britain at least, of the European parliament as fundamentally out of touch and hostile to the wishes and identities of individual member states.

    Lastly, for legislation to become effective, it has to be enacted by individual member states. What tends to happen is that countries sign up to various European resolutions to express their solidarity and common EU identity, then quietly forget, or don’t quite get round, to implementing this legislation at home. There remains the distinct possibility that whatever gets passed in the EU, a number of countries will quietly ignore it in practice. Having said that, Britain has a track record of incorporating European legislation which other countries, such as Germany and France, sign up to at EU level, but tend to be tardy in incorporating nationally. So unfortunately, whatever gets drafted here will probably end up being enforced on the British people.

  35. duncan:

    Surely, the theory of Darwinism has no more to say about values than does the fact that water is wet and electric shocks hurt?

    Surely you don’t believe that?! If you do your thinking is entirely superficial.

    Not to mention that you need to take a look a Richard Weikart’s “From Darwin to Hitler”. As well as Beate Wilder Smith’s “The Day Nazi Germany Died” and at least 10 other books on the influence of Darwinian reasoning on the actions of the Nazis.

    “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism, especially in its social Darwinist and eugenics permutations, neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy. Darwinism – or at least some naturalistic interpretation of darwinism – succeeded in turning morality on its head.” – Weikart

    You need to wake up and smell the death and realize that ideas have consequences. Ideas, even supposedly scientific ones, having implications including moral implications.

    Darwinism didn’t create racism, but it certainly justified it based on Darwin’s polyphyletic descent views.
    Monophyletic (the more modern approach) alleviates the Darwinist dilemma somewhat but still leaves them without precious little defense.

    You can not claim that humans are “mere animals sharing a common heritage with earthworms” and needing no divine figure’s intervention to create them, without immediately implying that all morality is a mere evolutionary adaptation for survival. Which in turn implies that there really are no objective moral values, which implies that killing humans is not wrong.

    W. Provine states in no uncertain terms that “there is no ultimate foundation for ethics”.

    But no one in their right mind actually believes such. Thus as Sir Fred Hoyle stated, Darwinists are “mentally ill”.

    Recent history of mass murders under atheistic, Darwinist regimes is proof enough of that. The perpetrators of such acts consistently held up Darwin’s theory as the underlying “scientific” support for the correctness and guiltless nature of their actions.

    But survival for survival’s sake is useless and powerless.

    You ought also to educate yourself on what the Darwinian high priests actually say about the matter.

    “we are animals”‚ so that “sex across the species barrier ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.”
    Peter Singer, “Heavy Petting, 2001

    Rape is “a natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage, ” Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, “A Natural History of Rape : Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion” – 2000

    “As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will…. In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding.” O. Wilson and Michael Ruse, “The Evolution of Ethics” 1991

    See HEREfor more. We could easily add long lists of quotes but you should do your own homework before making ignorant and faulty statements.

    Was stuck in moderation for quite a while so I changed the time stamp so people notice it. – P

  36. duncan,

    There are two issues with the consequences of Darwinism.

    If a medicine or physical device had some negative side effects (like addiction for the medicine and shock hazards for the device) that were potentially dangerous and these were not laid out to users and then there were harmful and maybe deadly consequences of the use of these items, would you be so cavalier? I doubt it. There has been some obvious side effects of Darwinian thinking in the human area and these have not been pretty. Now it is my opinion that the eugenics movement, Nazi race policies and communist ideology have not been nice policies and many of the related policies followed from Darwinian thinking.

    The second consideration is supposed the medicine isn’t even very good or the electrical device provides little benefit then the reaction to the negative effects of the items gets considerably more “revolting.” Our argument here is that Darwinism is mostly bogus science let alone good science. So to witness such bad effects from a bad product with little positive good is over the top for a lot of people. Again, my opinion.

    So even if Darwinism was good science, there still should be significant warnings associated with it. But because it is bad science it goes beyond the pale to allow it use.

  37. I’m not so sure what the “Darwin-Hitler” connection is supposed to show. Consider it this way: suppose it’s true that the Nazis used social Darwinism to justify their policies. What does that mean?

    Firstly, it’s important to bear in mind that the Nazis were completely willing to make use of wildly different, even incompatible, philosophies. E.g. paganism and Christianity, Nietzsche and Wagner. This wasn’t a social movement that cared for intellectual consistency, so far as I can tell. Any idea could be made to fit the Nazi mold, because the core of Nazism is resentment, hatred, and rage — not an intellectual proposition.

    Secondly, the chain of associations from Darwin to Hitler is only relevant to our assessment of Darwinism if the inference is actually valid. The mere fact that people thought it was valid, and found it persuasive, doesn’t mean that it actually is valid. Logic isn’t based on consensus; people can very often be persuaded by a bad (invalid) argument, especially if there’s a strong emotional appeal — as there undoubtedly was in Nazi rhetoric.

    In short, merely showing that the Nazis believed that they were justified by Darwinism isn’t enough — one also needs to show that they were right in believing that, i.e. that the inference from Darwinism to Nazism is actually valid.

  38. I think it interesting they not only speak of the scientific theory of evolution but also refer to the term “evolutionism” as a thing to be defended. Ruse had this to say:

    Popular evolution–evolutionism–offered a world picture, a story of origins, and a special place for humans in the scheme of things. At the same time, it delivered moral exhortations, prescribing what we ought to do if we want things to continue well (or to be redeemed and a decline reversed). These things hardly came by chance or in isolation. In asking about origins, evolutionism was answering a question posed by Christianity (and Judaism before this), and in focusing on the status and obligations of humans, evolutionism was trying deliberately to do better than Christianity.
    . . .
    To use a phrase invented by Thomas Henry Huxley’s biologist grandson, Julian Huxley, the evolutionists were truly in the business of providing a “religion without revelation”–and like all fanatics, they were intolerant of rivals.

  39. Carl, it would seem that Darwin himself wanted to revise ethical standards with his so-called scientific innovations. What do you think of this quote from “The Descent of Man:”

    Indeed, it appears that“At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla” (1874, p. 178).

    Is that enough to seal the deal for you?

  40. Now let’s turn the the Draft Proposal’s assumption that ID is a science stopper on its head. Actually, it can easily be considered that the real science stopper here is European-wide scientific diktats imposing a politically motivated scientific uniformity on the member states.

    A precedent can be cited here from ancient Rome. It’s become fashionable of late to look at the Roman Empire for the similarities it offers to the modern European project. The British Conservative MP and former editor of The Spectator , Boris Johnson, takes such an approach in his book, The Dream of Rome . Regarding science, Roman intellectuals were concerned about the way scientific research had actually declined after the establishment of the multi-state Roman Empire, in contrast to the wealth of research that had been conducted when the member states had still been independent entities.

    Pliny, for example, observed the situation thus:

    ‘More than twenty Greek authors of the past have published observations about these subjects. This makes me all the more surprised that, although when the world was at variance and split up into kingdoms, that is, sundered limb from limb, so many people devoted themselves to these abstruse researches, especially when wars surrounded them and hosts were untrsutworthy, and also when pirates, the foes of all mankind, were holding up the transmission of information – so that nowadays a person may learn some facts about his own region from the notebooks of people who have never been there more truly than from the knowledge of the natives- yet now in these glad times of peace, under an emperor who delights in the advancement of letters and science, no addition whatever is being made to knowledge by means of original research, and in fact even the discoveries of our predecessors are not being thoroughly studied. The rewards were not greater when those ample successes were being contributed by many students, an din fact the majority of these made the discoveries in question with no other reward at all save the consciousness of benefiting posterity. Age has overtaken the character of mankind, not their revenues, and now that every sea has been opened up and every coast affords a hospitable landing, and immense multitude goes on voyages-but their object is profit not knowledge, and in their blind engrossment with avarice they do not reflect that knowledge is a more reliable means even of making profit.’ (N. Lewis and M. Reinhold, eds., Roman Civilisation Vol. II: Selected Readings – The Empire (/i)(New York, Columbia University Press 1990), pp. 210-211.)

    Now there have been similar concerns expressed by contemporary observers of the European education system. One of these is that continental European universities are turning away from research to become effectively training institutes for the future members of the political and civil service classes. In this instance, originality of research and thought is being sacrificed to state ideology and personal careerism, just as Pliny observed that the establishment of the Roman Empire had led to a decline in the personal interest in science, and the neglect of science as a subject in favour of immediate personal profit and advancement, regardless of the potential of science for personal profit.

    Clearly the imposition of a European-wide ban on ID or Creationism in favour of a uniform philosophy of science similarly threatens to impose an equally sterile uniformity on the pluralistic approaches to the scientific project in the European member states.

  41. Carl Sachs,

    Your comments if modified slightly could just as well be applied to Soviet communism and their track record leaves the Nazis in the dust. Just a different equally warped nilhistic philosophy. It could also be applied to modern day atheism. We just do not know what modern day atheism will lead to except the EU is starting to show signs of it. Does the document at the top sound like that of an enlightened tolerant crowd?

    You make the point that Darwinist science is not valid but yet it/was overwhelming accepted as valid science so it thus could/did enable future/past mass negative movements. Why just brush it off when if it was considered nonsense it might have lessened support for Nazism in one of the most rational of all places, Germany. After all you should know by what you read here that getting rid of Darwinism should not lead to a fundamentalist Christian state. The two are not related especially if the masses understand the validity of the science and its rejection is not tied to religion but to good science.

    Also from what I understand Darwinism was prevalent in Germany starting in the last part of the 19th century and affected some of their militarist thinking prior to World War I. On this I am certainly not an expert nor have I read anything specific to confirm this but have heard it discussed as a basis for beginning of the Christian fundamentalist movement here in the US. Anyone want to comment.

    (PS: My guess is that the modern day EU will go nowhere since Islam will skewer it before it gets very far but if not for Islam it could become a very intolerant conformist place. My additional guess is what I just said is not true either because the economics of socialism would also skewer it before long.)

  42. StephenB,

    The quote you’ve helpfully provided from Darwin certainly seems to “seal the deal” for you, and I wonder why.

    Here Darwin ventures a prediction as to what is likely to happen as a result of European imperialism. But firstly, Darwin does not, in the passage provided, present this claim as derived from the theory of natural selection. If there’s an argument that natural selection implies that European imperialism will result in the destruction of Africans and the apes, I don’t see it. Secondly — and this touches on the question of values — Darwin does not seem to endorse or disapprove of this prediction — he merely reports on it.

    The most one could say about this passage is that it implies a picture in which Africans are “less evolved” than Europeans. I’m willing to concede that as a deplorable belief on Darwin’s part. That doesn’t tell us whether the inference from “Darwinism” to racism is correct or not.

    Consider: there have been Christian (and Jewish, etc.) racists. No one in their right mind would declare that racism is the valid or correct conclusion to be drawn from the ethical and metaphysical doctrines of Christianity! So likewise, even if there are racists who appeal to “Darwinism” for justification — and even if Darwin himself was a racist! — that still doesn’t show that the inference is correct.

    (N.B.: I am personally agnostic as to whether or not Darwin was a racist. My point is that even if he were, it wouldn’t matter for the point I’m trying to make.)

  43. Carl,

    1. Evolution results in the simple becoming complex and the primitive becoming cultured.

    2. Evolution results from survival of the fittest.
    3. Evolution proves that the God postulate is unnecessary.

    4. German people produced one of the world’s great high cultures.

    Therefore:
    a) German people are highly evolved.

    b) German people are more fit than people of lesser cultures.
    c) Laws can be whatever a people decides they should be.

    Therefore:
    i) German people can do whatever they want to do to ensure their continued survival.

    ii) To ensure their continued survival it would be beneficial for German people to enslave less evolved peoples who are capable of work and to kill those who are not.
    iii) German people can use whatever methods or philosophies will enable them to ensure their continued survival.

    I’m not a formally trained logician but I think that’s a valid argument. That the initial premises are false does not necessarily make it invalid. If I’m wrong I expect to be corrected in short order.

    Apart from that I don’t think it’s reasonable to appeal to what ordinary, uneducated, people might have thought was logically valid. Long before Hitler almost everyone with a higher education was spouting this garbage and their views strongly influenced government policies related to things like immigration, whether the mentally infirm should be sterilised or not and how people of “primitive” races should be treated.

    My guess is that a greater proportion of those formerly influential, educated people would have been trained in logic than is the case among tertiary educated people today.

  44. Jerry, I think that you misinterpreted my remarks above. I wasn’t claiming that “Darwinism” itself is invalid; I was only claiming that the inference from “Darwinism” to fascism might be invalid — at any rate, that I hadn’t seen a valid version of that argument. Otherwise, I agree that the inference from “Darwinism” to Communism is just as questionable.

    Janice, you’re right to point out that a valid argument can have false premises (in which case one would say that the argument is valid but not sound).

    Having said that, the only premise above which is uncontroversially part of “Darwinism” is premise (2). Whether there is a tendency from simpler to more complex life-forms is a hotly debated question (e.g. between Gould and Dawkins), and in any event, “Darwinism” as I understand it is simply silent about “the primitive” and “the cultured”.

    Premise (3) may be a consequence of “Darwinism” but is certainly not a part of it, as the ongoing debates between theistic evolutionists and atheistic evolutionists attest — they are not disagreeing about the theory itself, but about whether the theory is compatible with certain metaphysical commitments.

    In any event — and here’s the real heart of the matter! — the above argument commits what is called “the naturalistic fallacy”. This means that it derives some statement about how things ought to be (i.e. how the Germans ought to treat other peoples) from some statement about how things are (i.e. that all living things struggle for existence).

    I myself am not too sure whether the naturalistic fallacy is genuinely fallacious. Sometimes I worry that it pushes the realms of fact and value too far apart. But I also think that something like the naturalistic fallacy has got to be right.

  45. Carl Sachs,

    Trying to sort out the logic. Supposed Darwinism is used to support a policy. It does not make any difference whether the theory is true or false, the fact that it used and believed is the only thing of relevance. If it was not believed generally, then it would tend to undermine the proscribed policies. So whether it is true or false maybe somewhat irrelevant in the short run when all that matters is perception.

    So I have to disagree with you and say that there is a direct relationship between belief in Darwinism and such nilhistic philosophies as nazism and communism, both variants of socialism. If Darwinism was not believed, then it would have been harder to justify either of the two. You could also make an argument that the Nazis learned from the communists since the later had already implemented their system by the time the Nazis arrived on the scene. The Nazi oppressed people were the Jews and some other non-Aryans. The communist oppressed people were a more eclectic group but equally and brutally oppressed.

    Yes, each had a host of other bogus underpinnings to their systems but that does not make Darwinism not relevant. One may be able to argue that the other underpinning might have fallen apart logically if Darwinism was not true. You seem to want to make the argument that Darwinism was of little consequence. Why try to wave away the obvious.

    Now consider the case that Darwin is not true science and those who espouse it then become enablers to those like the Nazis and the communist.

  46. But perception is not all that matters. Truth and reason also matter. Or don’t they?

    If truth and reason don’t matter, then sure, it’s all about “spin” and public perception. In that case, then you’d be right — the mere fact of psychological association would be enough to convict “Darwinism.”

    But if truth and reason do matter, then what is believed isn’t enough; we also want to know if people have good reasons for their beliefs.

    I’m not saying that “Darwinism” doesn’t have implications for metaphysics, for ethics, and even for politics. But we had best be very careful in distinguishing between logical implications and socio-psychological (causally mediated) effects, to the degree that it is possible to make such a distinction.

  47. This is sad, It might infringe on human rights to conclude that victorian era biology is not correct in all aspects?

    And what a pitiful ideology they follow instead.
    Darwin’s belief in glorious creation is so repulsive it’s as though he believed there was beauty in a permanent sense.

    In one breath he acknowledges the human eye is flawed and in the next he then uses that same organ to tell what is wonderous about the physical world.

    I guess that could be said about all of science though.

    “Oh these are facts beyond any range of doubt, never mind any data that is gathered is still subject to our completely flawed interpretation. Reality is my way and no one else’s!!!!!!!!!”

    The scientific method will always be limited to the human mind assembling the evidence…

    I wonder though, what evidence is there that existence operates in the consistant manner we think it does beyond our own conception of that existence?
    What is the proof that reality is anything greater than the day dreams of some lazy being?

    Of course there is no answer to that argument because I am already stating that the issue is beyond us but still… People take their truths to a level that is absurd.

    If reality is so orderly and easily defined I guess paradoxes and contradictions are just a figment of my imagination.

    And since Darwin relied on survival of the fit we should hand out kill off the mentally handicapped and put to death anyone who presents competition to us….

    Yeah the world of diplomacy will do much better with that idiotic concept of self importance.
    (Hey!, maybe that’s why my country does so poor on the political stage… they’re Darwinists!!)

    “Submit to my will or die! muahahaha”

    Darwin’s racist views are funny…
    I’m the opposite of Darwin there is nothing beautiful to behold. None of us are special, all matter is made of the same basic components and therefor one human being is worth no more than another or than the dog crap I scraped off my shoe on the way in for that matter.

    Everything you are and everything you will ever accomplish will one day be forgotten and you like the leaves on the trees outside will wither and rot…

  48. A question for everyone who thinks Darwinism leads to genocide: -

    Assume Darwinism is categorically proven to be true (hard to do, you may think, but use your imagination) – should it be suppressed?

  49. Carl Sachs,

    I would love to discuss the validity of Darwin’s ideas as science and so would most of the contributers here. gpuccio just made the following comment on another thread a couple hours ago

    “That’s the problem with darwinian “arguments”: you never get a true answer when you make specific objections, only retorical, vague or self-referential discussions, or just the conformistic referral to established authority.”

    So there are always many issues floating around here and the one at the core is whether neo Darwinism in any of its variants represents good science. And as I said above, if it doesn’t then those who promulgate it are enablers to a lot of nasty things that have happened and may happen in the future.

    We believe that neo Darwinism is invalid and those who defend it are “spinning” in some of the most egregious ways imaginable.

    If you want to debate either,

    1. that neo Darwinism is bogus science

    2. those who defend it are doing nothing but spinning

    proceed. It essentially is repeated here daily but there is always something to learn.

  50. Jerry,

    Truth be told, I’m not really interested in debating whether or not “neo-Darwinism” is true. (Although I could be goaded into such a discussion, I guess.)

    My training is in epistemology and history of ideas. I’m much more interested in discussing the implications of neo-Darwinism, and especially in distinguishing between valid inferences drawn from neo-Darwinism and invalid (but still psychologically powerful and persuasive!) associations.

    But that’s just me and where I’m coming from.

  51. Carl Sachs,

    We do a lot of goading here. What’s interesting is that those who believe neo Darwinism is valid science initially assume they are on the correct side of the science and those who support ID are not. I think it comes from their initial prejudice that ID is creationism and creationists are working with bogus science.

    I do not think many of those who come to challenge ID leave here with that initial impression. A lot get angry, a lot just disappear but the interesting thing is that few stay and see/admit our point of view is worthy of consideration.

    I understand you are a philosophy teacher and my aptitude for philosophy was not very high though I have come to love Plato even when he is wrong he was thinking clearly. Just in 400 BC he didn’t have all the knowledge we have today.

    I also love history whether it be science, ideas or just events. I have been to Greece twice both times exploring what happend 2500 years ago. But I certainly could not debate anyone on epistemology. It was always an elusive subject.

  52. “A question for everyone who thinks Darwinism leads to genocide: -

    Assume Darwinism is categorically proven to be true (hard to do, you may think, but use your imagination) – should it be suppressed”

    I think the fact that there are: suicidal people who are clearly not trying to cling to life, homosexuals who are clearly not intent on reproducing, Rich people who still number fewer than lower classes and organisms who help one another for a mutual good rather than going at one another’s throat is darwinism(at least from a philosophical perspective) refuted.

    Another thing next time you’re in a super market or public place look at who it is who usually has the most children, is she the most beautiful looking mate or is she simply some cheap fluzie?
    Trying to pay for juice and chips with her W.I.C. food stamps that reak from cheap beer and vomit from the night before?

    Humanity contradicts Darwin and an ideology contradicted is an ideology dead.

    The west has been living with a corpse for the past 80 years. Waiting for it to preach messages of progress and hope but all in all they have no more comfort after his death than they did before it.

    They wish to link themselves to nature to find peace and a place in the world, to find purpose and meaning.
    In reality the only thing we have in common with the other organisms of this earth is that our beauty and glory is fading.

    There is nothing worth beholding, there is nothing worth saving,
    There is no superiority,
    there is though equality.
    It exists in the cemetary.

  53. Carl,

    You wrote:

    Whether there is a tendency from simpler to more complex life-forms is a hotly debated question

    The whole Darwinist deal is that simple life forms eventually become complex. If it were not so how could human beings have arisen from unicellular organisms? Dawkins and Gould can argue as much and as ridiculously as they like (or could, if they were both still alive) but it doesn’t alter the fact the whole point of Darwinism, a point that is understood by almost everyone in the entire world who has had at least a secondary education, is to explain how life developed into all its myriad, complex forms from something that was so simple that it was alive and that’s about all that can be said about it.

    As for premise (3) not being part of Darwinism, it was, for Darwin, crucial. See Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s biography of the man (“Darwin”) where, on page 623, they quote him as writing that if the “plain language” of the New Testament were true then it would seem, “to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.”

    Furthermore, regarding the naturalistic fallacy, I know that ordinarily one cannot say from what “is” what “ought to be” but this is not, nor has it ever been, about the bare facts of natural processes. This is nothing like arguing whether or not water ought to be wet or whether electric shocks ought to hurt. It has always been about the “progress” of living creatures, about moving forward and becoming more highly evolved, i.e., getting “better”. For most people, even post Hitler, it still is. There are still people who, like Teilhard de Chardin, are expecting us to eventually evolve into something less physical and more “spiritual”. So I have to ask the question my mother used to ask me when I was a rebellious teenaged girl, “Is the whole world wrong and you right?” In other words, just because there is such a thing as the naturalistic fallacy which says that “is” should not be conflated with “ought” what reasons do you have for thinking that it applies in this situation where, from the beginning, “ought” was a foundational consideration?

    There comes a point when academic quibbling becomes less a search for clarity and more a source of confusion.

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