Language is Not Infinitely Malleable
|March 18, 2013||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
In this post I predicted that history will not be kind to people like Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins who insist that the fundamental questions in biology have been settled and all that is left is to fill in the holes. A commenter going by “thaumaturge” demurred, insisting that Coyne and Dawkins have never said this. The other commenters started posting direct quotes demonstrating that Coyne and Dawkins believe that evolution is a “fact” as well proven as the fact that the earth goes around the sun. Not good enough, thaumaturge insisted. More quotes showing the same thing were posted. Still not good enough according to thaumaturge.
I am seeing this tactic more and more in our debates with the materialists. They deny a proposition and when confronted with incontrovertible proof they continue to deny it and refuse to concede they were wrong. I suppose that if one believes we live in a universe in which– in Dawkin’s famous words – there is no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference, the words that we jumped up monkeys use really do have no inherent meaning, and there is no downside to denying the obvious. But we don’t live in a universe like that. I suspect that if someone took a bat and on a whim swung it with all their might and broke thaumaturge’s arm he would say, among other things, that was “wrong,” and when he used the word “wrong” he would have a specific moral truth in mind. And he would be right. No one – especially the materialists themselves – believes the drivel they spew out about there being no such thing as objective morality. No one – including the materialists – believes words can mean any old thing we want them to.
Nevertheless, the violence to language done by materialists and their fellow travelers is infectious, and the infection has spread to all areas of our culture, including law, education, philosophy, even religion. Some time ago I was talking to a man who said that he was no longer going to give to his church. I asked why, and he told me he had just read a book in which the author explained that the “real” intent of the Bible verses telling us to give was to support “ministry,” and what greater “ministry” does a man have than to his own family? Therefore, he explained, it was better for him to spend his money ministering to his family by taking them to Disney World (his example) than to give it to the church.
All those verses enjoining us to give sacrificially really mean we should keep the money and spend it on ourselves. Who knew?