Peppered moths

Among creationists, in the past decade or so it has become popular to claim that much of evolution is less than sound science. In order to support that claim, specific points of evolution theory are often distorted, and specific evidence that strongly supports the theory are questioned and denied.

In a famous hoax, Jonathan Wells wrote a book, Icons of Evolution, in which he claimed ten popular stories about evolution were false.

Wells spent a chapter denying the work of H. B. Kettlewell — the famous peppered moth research, in which Kettlewell discovered a classic case of natural selection at work over a 150-year period in England. When air pollution darkened the bark of trees, peppered moths in industrialized areas with the darkened trunks, also darkened. Kettlewell ran several experiments to see whether predation by birds might be a driver of this selection event, and concluded that the lighter moths stood out on darkened tree bark, and that it was likely that predation by birds or other moth predators pushed the rise of the darker moths.

Kettlewell’s conclusions were spectacularly borne out when cleaner air lightened the trunks of the trees, and lighter moths reappeared. The selective pressure ran back toward lighter moths.

Kettlewell’s research was groundbreaking in its pioneering of new ways to study evolution in the wild. But because he was at the cutting edge, questions arose about the exact nature of his conclusions. Kettlewell tried several different methods to count moth predation, finally settling on a system of release and recapture, and counting the moths that were not recaptured as casualties to the predator. Kettlewell released moths in the presence of English titmice, who promptly found moths colored wrongly to hide, and ate them. Tits are not the chief predators of these moths, some argue, and critics wondered whether Kettlewell could accurately conclude what the predator was. Ultimately, it has become clear that Kettlewell’s conclusions are accurate regardless the predator. Scientists like Majerus and Jerry Coyne — fierce rivals now, showing the unanimity of science support for Kettlewell’s conclusions across the spectrum of science views — urge more research to refine what we know about the moths.

Critics claimed some of the steps in some of the experiments as faulty, and extrapolated that the entire conclusions are faulty. In reality, because Kettlewell got similar results with different methods, his conclusions are more robust.

When I took Wells’ chapter on moths and tracked down the citations, I discovered that each person he cited disputed Wells’ conclusions — some quite violently.

Over the past decade, while Wells and the Discovery Institute have continued their assault on science, some of the refutations of his work have fallen by the wayside.

In this page, I hope to preserve the arguments showing Wells’ work’s problems, and preserve some of the publications that have become difficult to find.

Creationism controversy in Pratt, Kansas

In 1999 the school board in Pratt, Kansas, considered biology curriculum and book changes. In what now appears to be practice for future fights, the Discovery Institute of Seattle, Washington, descended on Pratt with Jonathan Wells and others , urging the school board to dilute evolution in the curriculum or eliminate it, and using a variety of unusual arguments on the science to buttress their claims that the science of evolution was somehow in question.

Specifically, Wells introduced his claims on Kettlewell’s work. When they heard of the incident, some researchers scrambled to present the view of science. Bruce Grant of William and Mary College, and Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago, wrote letters to the local newspaper, The Pratt Tribune, defending Kettlewell’s work and questioning Wells’ tactics and conclusions. Evolution is solid science, they said, and should be taught undiluted to students.

These letters were available on the internet at the time, but have recently become difficult to find. I reproduce them here:

Dr. Jerry Coyne is professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago.

The Pratt Tribune, December 06, 2000

Original:
http://www.pratttribune.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2000/December/06-663-news91.txt Accessed in 2003

Jerry A. Coyne: Criticism of moth study no challenge to evolution

I have learned that the Pratt school board, apparently responding to creationist pressure, has recently revised its tenth-grade biology curriculum to include material that encourages students to question the theory of evolution. In reading the standards, I see that one of my articles – an article constantly misrepresented by creationists – is included as a supplementary reading used to cast doubt on evolution.

Except for a few creationist dissenters, the community of professional biologists has long accepted evolution as an essential theory supported by innumerable pieces of evidence. To make students think otherwise is as harmful as urging them to question the value of antibiotics because there are a few people who believe in spiritual healing.

My article appended to the Pratt standards is a re-evaluation of a classic evolutionary story in which rapid changes in the proportions of color forms of peppered moths occurred in only about 100 years. This evolutionary change is thought to be a response to air pollution, changes in the colors of trees, and increased bird predation. My only problem with the peppered-moth story is that I am not certain whether scientists have identified the precise agent causing the natural selection and evolutionary change. It may well be bird predators, but the experiments leave room for doubt.

Creationists such as Jonathan Wells claim that my criticism of these experiments casts strong doubt on Darwinism. But this characterization is false. All of us in the peppered moth debate agree that the moth story is a sound example of evolution produced by natural selection. My call for additional research on the moths has been wrongly characterized by creationists as revealing some fatal flaw in the theory of evolution.

In reality, the debate over what causes natural selection on moths is absolutely normal in our field. It is not uncommon for scientists to reexamine previous work and find it incomplete, or even wrong. This is the normal self-correcting mechanism of science. Textbook examples may be altered as additional data are found. Creationists, on the other hand, neither air their disagreements in public or admit that they were wrong. This is because their goal is not to achieve scientific truth, but to expel evolution from the public schools.

It is a classic creationist tactic (as exemplified in Wells’ book, “Icons of Evolution”) to assert that healthy scientific debate is really a sign that evolutionists are either committing fraud or buttressing a crumbling theory. In reality, evolution and natural selection are alive and well, with new supporting evidence arriving daily.

I strongly object to the use of my article by the Pratt school board to cast doubt on Darwinism. And I feel sorry for the students who are being misled by creationists into doubting one of the most vigorous and well-supported theories in biology.

Jerry A. Coyne
Professor of Ecology & Evolution
The University of Chicago

Dr. Bruce Grant was professor of biology at William and Mary University, now emeritus.

The Pratt Tribune, December 13, 2000
Original:

http://www.pratttribune.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2000/December/13-653-news92.txt

Accessed 2003

Bruce Grant: Charges of fraud misleading

In recent weeks your newspaper has printed letters debating revisions in high school biology curricula. Some of the correspondents have leveled charges of fraud directed at evolutionists for attributing changes in the colors of peppered moths to natural selection. As I am one of the evolutionary biologists who study peppered moths, I feel obliged to comment. Charges of fraud cannot be left unchallenged.

Some background about peppered moths is necessary. The common form of this moth species is pale gray. About 150 years ago, a black specimen was discovered near an industrial city in England. Over the years, the black (melanic) form became ever more common as the pale form became rare. By 1900 the black form exceeded 90 percent in peppered moth populations throughout the industrialized regions of England. The phenomenon was dubbed industrial melanism.

Because people knew that birds eat insects, scientists as early as 1896 suspected that birds were eating the different color forms of peppered moths selectively based on their degree of conspicuousness in habitats variously blackened by industrial soot. Extensive experimental work supports this view, although questions remain. Other scientists proposed that moths responded to the presence of pollutants by developing darker body colors. We now know from genetic analysis that the colors of adult peppered moths are determined by genes; thus, the changes in the percentages of pale to black moths over generations reflect changes in the genetic makeup of moth populations.

As industrial practices have changed in many regions, we have observed black moths plummet from 90 percent to 10 percent in the just the past few decades. Once again, we have observed significant genetic changes occur in moth populations. Evolution is defined at the operational level as genetic change over time, so this is evolution. Of the several factors known to produce evolutionary change, only natural selection is consistent with the patterns of the changes we see occurring in moth populations. Evolution examined at this level is as well established as any fact in science.

We still have work to do. We do not all agree about the relative roles of contributing factors, such as the flow of genes between moth populations in different regions, the importance of lichens on trees, where on trees moths might hide from predators, how important is differential predation, and so on. As in any branch of science, participants endlessly debate interpretations. Such wrangling is the norm, and it stimulates additional research. That is how we make progress.

Our debates have never been secret. For recent overviews of the controversies, please see http://www.wm.edu/biology/melanism.pdf [now at http://bsgran.people.wm.edu/melanism.pdf] or www.els.net/elsonline/html/A0001788.html [ now http://mrw.interscience.wiley.com/emrw/9780470015902/els/article/a0001788/current/abstract, subscription required]. Yet, unwarranted charges of fraud, fakery and cover-ups repeatedly appear in letters printed in newspapers. In your paper, Ms. Katrina Rider “asserts” the peppered moth story is a hoax. She conveys the impression that dead moths were glued to trees as part of a conspiracy of deception. She seems unaware that moths were glued to trees in an experiment to assess the effect of the density (numbers) of moths on the foraging practices of birds. Taken out of the context of the purpose of the experiment, the procedure does sound ludicrous.

But, should we blame Ms. Rider for her outrage upon learning that moths were glued to trees? No. Instead, I blame Dr. Jonathan Wells, who wrote the article she cites as her source of information. While he has done no work on industrial melanism, he has written opinion about the work. To one outside the field, he passes as a scholar, complete with Ph.D. Unfortunately, Dr. Wells is intellectually dishonest. When I first encountered his attempts at journalism, I thought he might be a woefully deficient scholar because his critiques about peppered moth research were full of errors, but soon it became clear that he was intentionally distorting the literature in my field. He lavishly dresses his essays in quotations from experts (including some from me) which are generally taken out of context, and he systematically omits relevant details to make our conclusions seem ill founded, flawed, or fraudulent. Why does he do this? Is his goal to correct science through constructive criticism, or does he a have a different agenda? He never mentions creationism in any form. To be sure, he sticks to the scientific literature, but he misrepresents it. Perhaps it might be kinder to suggest that Wells is simply incompetent, but I think his errors are by intelligent design.

Bruce Grant
Professor of Biology
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia

_____________

Update, September 2012: Creationists appear never to learn. The hoaxed “controversy” on peppered moths continued well after these exchanges back in 2000, which I collected when creationists tried to block science in textbooks in the great Texas State Board of Education Wars of 2003. Even after losing that fight, creationists continued to carp.

Publication of Of Moths and Men, nominally a history of Kettlewell and his experiments, revived the creationist claims of error — without evidence, as the author of the book noted, but since when have creationists ever changed course because of evidence?

In the midst of the flap, Michael Majerus went back to basics. He re-ran Kettlewell’s experiments, essentially. Of course, he discovered Kettlewell was right. I blogged about it earlier, but I failed to update this post. See these other posts at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Also, WordPress has improved since 2007; it finds relevant links, and related stories through Zemanta.  I’ve added links above, and related articles below.

More, and Further Reading:

 

90 Responses to Peppered moths

  1. […] detailed information with regards to the peppered moth saga is available on Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub . Ed Darrell kindly carefully collects and compiles information to aid people’s ability to […]

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  2. Mudz says:

    Seems rather deflating after all that writing I did.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    And I’ll be a hundred percent straight up here. Mike Majerus could have spent seven years confirming cow farts, for all the weight I allow his reaffirmation on its own. I read his paper, I read the study, and various other bits of web-paper I came across. Nothing I have read has convinced me that this is an event extraordinary beyond that of something like say, being told that because all the buffalo died out, there’s less buffalo.

    Yes, that’s clear. No amount of evidence could possibly penetrate your brain, and cause you to change your mind to a view supported by the evidence. Got that.

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    I think the fact that it’s made ‘legal’ has comforted you against what I would think is plainly obvious, by evolutionists and creationists, that it is not evolution.

    It’s not speciation – yet. It’s natural selection in an easily observable situation, confirmed, replicable, and exactly as Darwin described how it would work.

    Natural selection is one of the key drivers of evolution. (Darwin called it evolution “by natural and sexual selection.”)

    I don’t think anyone has argued that this is a case of evolution, slam the book, case closed. It’s always been presented as a very clear and interesting case of natural selection in action.

    That is all.

    It is.

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  5. Mudz says:

    * fistularias?

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  6. Mudz says:

    I know they’re not new! That’s what makes me laugh. :D
    I wonder how long ago it was someone said ‘Is there a God?’

    And I’ll confess, I have a copy of Origin of Species, but I’ve only skimmed it (aside from looking up references).
    I have, however, read the material on the subject. I think I have Mike Majerus’ paper on my hard-drive (I know I have something of his, anyway). I tend to save that stuff. And Icons of Evolution and all that jazz.

    It’s sort of funny, you’ve gotten the impression that I do understand evolution, at least not in the sense it’s meant to be understood (because it’s apparently as difficult for people to articulate as complex metaphysics is for a four-year-old), because of an understanding of evolution that I was mocking.

    It was wikipedia that added the comment (as I said) that the melanic form must have arisen from a mutation somewhere in the past. A rather useless comment, since all species are supposed to be mutating regardless, and every species is meant to be here, thanks in part to mutations, those constant friends of nature. I mentinoed it, because it was the very best (out of an almost non-existent) selection that might justify the word ‘evolution’ coming anywhere near the Peppered Moths.

    I hope you understand if I don’t refute your remaining explanation, since I agree with it?

    Not that I mind, I’ve been at least several times that I do not understand evolution (I’m sure that it’s not all predicated on the fact that I think it’s a weak theory). The first time was from a fellow who didn’t understand what ‘spontaneous generation’ alluded to.

    So, Michael Majerus re-ran the experiments did he? And as a neutral party, who neither believed or had a vested interest either for or against evolution or creation, his conclusion shocked the unprepared half into insensibility?

    I think the fact that it’s made ‘legal’ has comforted you against what I would think is plainly obvious, by evolutionists and creationists, that it is not evolution.
    Bush might ‘legally’ have invaded Iraq, but it was still wrong.

    Actually, just to flip back for a second. It’s kind of awesome how you (quite patiently) sat down and explained to me how speciation probably occurred before wonderful identifying mutations.

    Because apparently I was labouring under the impression that mutations must of necessity and without equivocation, first divide a species by visible colour and traits before allowing their DNA to diverge enough to make them non-interfertile. Or rather, I simply didn’t understand the *frequency* with which speciation *probably* occurs before distinctive divisions. And reality just could not progress until you made sure I did understand.

    Realising as I do now that you’re a teacher, perhaps these qualities of patience and the desire to educate come too naturally to you, even if the manifestation is somewhat inexplicable to me. Although your insight also seems quite remarkable. One post from me which barely touched on my understanding of evolution, and you’ve already appraised my breadth and limits. All that I do not, as well as that what I do, know. The former being admittedly longer than the latter, I well imagine.

    And is there something objectionable about writing after the tenth grade? As teacher, do you have some sort of pathological aversion to it? Too self-indulgent after that age perhaps? Don’t worry, I seem to have skipped right over that phobia. I’ll confess I don’t actually know what the equivalent in my country is of the ‘tenth-grade’, but I’m moderately confident I’ve surpassed it. :) Your concern is quite warming, however. I don’t doubt your students flourish underneath your care.

    Crap. You’ve got me started on a roll, and it’s really hard to stop. :D It’s my love of irony that’s doing me in.

    And you’re right. I was just saying to my friend the other day about how not being chased down and torn apart by wild jackals has really helped me to evolve.

    And forgive me, but is the fact the people figured out that the moths were becoming darker because of a genetic factor rather than a love of rolling themselves in the dirt, intended to impress upon me that evolution must thus be invoked?

    Actually I’m going to stop for a moment. You’ve gone from providing a cursory update to what evolution is, then told me about thet natural selection acting on the moths, then told me only a fool follows the dark side. You even threw in some more variations of the melanic biston butalarias or whatever it’s called. (That’s from memory so give me some leeway.)

    You were supposed to explain how Peppered Moths were an example of evolution weren’t you?

    I think you were being so patient that you forgot to put in that cross-connect.

    And I’ll be a hundred percent straight up here. Mike Majerus could have spent seven years confirming cow farts, for all the weight I allow his reaffirmation on its own. I read his paper, I read the study, and various other bits of web-paper I came across. Nothing I have read has convinced me that this is an event extraordinary beyond that of something like say, being told that because all the buffalo died out, there’s less buffalo.

    To reiterate and to be honest, this is all I really needed to write:

    Natural Selection != Evolution.

    It’s obvious, isn’t it? I mean, what’s failing in this dialogue? Are people ‘denying’ natural selection? Because we’re dubious that the winner of a race is the one that comes first? Or is that that there’s there deep mystical connection between seeing an example of natural selection, and the affirmation that evolution also occurs. ‘Ye have summoned thy god, o most glorious one that likes birds being naturally selected! Praise be!’ Something like that?

    Perfect natural selection is just like perfect something else that’s irrelevant and tautological. I mean I know the meaning of evolution is almost all-inclusive in the biological world these days, but it still needs to adher to linguistic logic. 2 + 2 will not equal 5, even though they’re all perfectly valid numbers on their own.
    And… I’ll allow you to fill in any and all further cliche analogies necessary.

    Hunh. You’re apparently not the only one who makes a jump from natural selection to ‘proof of evolution’ without any obvious cognitive dissonance. (Love that term.)
    I suppose that means that if I see a shoe, it must of necessity mean there’s a foot in it.

    I don’t know if I’ll pop back on this site (busy guy that I am), so don’t feel bad if I don’t. Feel free to make your reply though.

    If I do come back, I’ll be sure to go through every post comment in minute detail. I intended only to share my love of frivoloty where the Peppered Moths are concerned, and I tend to assume that the comment thread will simply reiterate all the things I’ve read before, seeing as we’ve all read the same material.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Gee, Mudz, where to begin?

    1. Who told you evolution requires a dramatic new mutation? Someday you really ought to read Darwin’s book, Origin of Species. The first few chapters deal with evolution in pigeons, rock doves. One the points of the great detail there is that what we now call the genome of many animals already contains the variation needed for speciation. Reality is that speciation probably occurs often before mutations that later make it easy to categorize two closely-related species.

    If you don’t want to read Darwin — he was literate, and his writing is above tenth grade — pick up a copy of Steve Jones’s Darwin’s Ghost at your library, or check out one of my favorites, Jonathan Weiner’s The Beak of the Finch, a story of evolution in our time.

    One of the key ways to determine junk science or crackpot science is to look to see whether the practitioner has bothered to understand why or how scientists now think that the hypothesis to be debunked, works. In other words, for your criticism to be valid, you’d better understand what you’re criticizing. I don’t think you do. Mutations drive evolution over time, but new mutations generally are not required to create new variation before a species can take advantage of variation to change.

    2. The existence of different melanic forms of the moths — amply evidenced in collections of the moths over about two centuries in various museums — is part of the case for evolution. What was observed in the work after World War II was the driving mechanism that changed the domination of the lighter melanics to domination by darker ones. Evolution? Yes, in action, right before our eyes, and well and amply documented in collections. The question is not, “did other colors exist before?” The question is, why did the moths change from mostly light, to mostly dark? What was the mechanism of that change?

    Turns out it was birds preying on the moths, not the bark of the trees. Students of evolution understand that avoiding being eaten is a key driver of evolution throughout time. True natural selection: Birds used to eat the dark moths more than the light ones, driving evolution towards more light moths than dark ones; but when soot darkened the bark of trees, birds could see the light ones better than the dark ones, and they ate the light ones instead. The dark ones came to predominate.

    It’s a classic case of natural selection.

    Do not fret over the example, and your skepticism of it. Weiner and Jones offer dozens of other examples — especially Weiner with his stunning and loving description of the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant of Princeton, who tracked every individual in three species over more than 30 years and watched evolution occur, literally before their eyes. Still, wacko and brain-dead creationists argue it’s not evolution. Kettlewell was out of favor with his department chair, who questioned whether Kettlewell had cooked his results (no, it turns out), and creationists and other conspiracy nuts latched onto that criticism for years.

    So, the late Michael Majerus re-ran the experiments.

    The results were quite interesting — you’ll enjoy reading about them, I’m sure:

    You’re welcome.

    P.S. – Also see updates above, and you could learn a lot reading through this thread, particularly the carefully written and reasoned responses to creationists who have stumbled by here since 2007. The answers were good then, and still are. You’ve got no new questions.

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  8. Mudz says:

    Hahaha, peppered moths. It still makes me laugh. I would actually have taken evolutionists more seriously as the intellectuals they self-advertise as, if they had been the first to go, ‘no, this isn’t really what we’re talking about’. But instead it became, ‘you know when I was telling you that evolution took millions of years? Scratch that! Check out these awesome moths! They change colooooorrrrrr. I’m putting it right next to my butterfly that evolved from a cocoon.’

    Natural Selection is not Evolution. It’s simply a cited mechanic *of* evolution. When white supremists kill off a bunch of black dudes, the world population isn’t evolving to a whiter species.

    I’m not sure if Peppered Moths even really qualifies as a good example of natural selection, since both ‘forms’ are still around.

    Just from the top of my head, although I’m certain it’s been said already:

    Melanic forms of peppered moths already existed prior to the industrial pollution that provoked the demographic slide (like 2% of all peppered moths I think). No new genetic information was thus introduced. The blacker moth ‘version’ of the black-and-white peppered species just became more populous because of racist birds picking on the high visibility of the whiter (still peppered) versions. No new/different species ever became involved, and as far as I know, all the alleles were present in all the moths, just the allele expressions changed thanks to Recessive Genes 101 type stuff (presumably to a frowny face).

    The only part in this whole story which gets a whiff of evolution, was an off-hand comment on wiki (last I looked), that we must surmise that the melanic expression of moths must have been a mutation somewhere in the unspecified and unobserved past. Kind of like how we must surmise we all evolved from electrocuted soup, somewhere in the distant past. (Unless no-one likes that theory any more? It’s hard to keep up sometimes.)

    Since the melanic mutation was neither observed nor part of the study conducted, it’s a bit of a non-issue, even if it would indicate macro-evolution, rather than just another part of biological design.

    How long ago was this anyway? Decades? It’s such a simple and obvious thing to take so long to not get resolved. (Though one could say the same of evolution, I might not unpredictably add.)

    Of course I presume it’s because creationists cannot be allowed to be conceded any sort of intellectual victory, even if it means sacrificing your own integrity. Give them no quarter, type stuff, because we’re just so gosh-darned threatening to life, reason, and the American way.
    You know, ‘take the kids out of the hands of their parents, teach them the truth of evolution and brook no dissent(!) until they can chant it in their sleep, because we *don’t* want them to be indoctrinated’.
    (Kind of makes me think of a thug jumping into a bank waving a gun and going: ‘alright, nobody be religious, and you won’t get hurt’)

    That’s just a guess though. It could be that 98% of the evolutionists I talk to, really do, deep down inside, believe that dirty trees made Peppered Moths evolve.

    It shall be of sociological fascination to people in the future, I reckon.

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  9. [...] Peppered moths [...]

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  10. [...] Nobody can argue against microevolution. The most common explanation that I’m aware of is the work of  H. B. Kettlewell and peppered moths. But for many, making the leap from microevolution, which has been seen again [...]

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  11. prasad says:

    Your articles are nice and helpful,…If you like to share your articles in forum..go here,,..
    http://www.buddysforum.com

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  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah, Simpson’s got it wrong again, another indication that it takes intelligent design to screw things up regularly.

    Simpson won’t let me post there. I suspect he’ll ban anyone else there who corrects him on his errors.

    Pray for his children, if you’re a praying sort.

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  13. Ed Darrell says:

    The photos were taken with the correct species of moth against the correct species of tree. That’s all the photos ever purported to show.

    But:

    1. The photos were taken in the wild, on live trees. That’s why the dead moths had to be glued down.

    2. Had they been studio photographs, they would still be accurate (you can tell from the lighting they were natural light photos).

    3. Claiming inaccuracy of these photos is similar to claiming that an x-ray cannot show cancers in lungs — after all, they must be taken in a lead-lined area, with the subject squished up against the plate. Clearly that’s not natural, and by Wells’s atrocious reasoning, somehow inaccurate.

    4. Three subsequent studies have confirmed that the moths hang out on that bark exactly as portrayed in the pictures, no less than 25% of the time at a minimum, and in one study, 86% of the time.

    5. The birds in the controlled area studies and in the wild, uncontrolled area studies, found the moths easily when the moths were on the contrasting bark. The photos appear to be an accurate representation of what the birds actually see. That’s the vital issue.

    6. The moths were portrayed in places where they naturally land. In the studies with the preying birds, the moths selected their landing sites, and the birds preyed most effectively on the moths against the contrasting background.

    7. The photos show what the birds see, but not moths involved in the real-time, in-the-wild study; in the wild study, the results are absolutely unaffected by the photo, since neither the birds nor the moths ever see the photographs.

    8. The photos show only Kettlewell’s moths. What about the other 30 experiments by other researchers, in other places, sometimes with other moths, and the almost exact replication of Kettlewell’s results in the American peppered moth?

    So what’s your gripe? How could the photos have skewed the study in any way?

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  14. Mike says:

    Threadjack here, Ed, but Neil Simpleton is at it again, this time with disguised Fred Hoyle: http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/what-are-the-odds-of-that/

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  15. Papa Giorgio says:

    .

    Quickley, those moths are dead, and not on real live trees in the wild, but in a photo studio.

    .

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Those photos are “fabricated” the same way the photo of you in the avatar is fabricated. In other words, it’s a valid, unretouched photo that demonstrates the difficulty of finding a dark variant moth on the darkened trunks.

    Since we know the false claims of Wells that moths don’t land on the trunks of trees have been debunked, I’m curious what research you’re relying on to say they don’t. Since Wells’s claims that Majerus and Coyne disagreed with Kettlewell have been exploded, not least by Majerus’s rerunning Kettlewell’s experiments, and since Hooper notes in Moths and Men that Wells and his fellow evolution deniers are frauds, and that everyone who has any expertise agrees that the peppered moths demonstrate natural selection, I gotta wonder just what you’re relying on.

    The photos show real moths, resting in real trees. Research demonstrates the moths rest in those trees in the fashion shown in the photograph.

    What in the world are you talking about?

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  17. Papa Giorgio says:

    .

    Thank you for “thankyouing me.” Although I have read Wells book, I also have read about 6-to-700 books by evolutionists and creationists as well as intelligent design theorists. Most of that information came from the book: Of Moths and Men: An Evolutionary Tale: The Untold Story of Science and the Peppered Moth. In the back of my mind as I wrote this using multiple resources was also the book, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. This book really throws a “cog” in the time aspect of how fluid a species can be… not that the peppered moths were fluid – for both existed before and after the industrial revolution. However, neo-Darwinian interpretation of “change” is a bit off, as the afore mentioned books makes note.

    While any creationists/ID’ers would agree that natural selection exists (and in no way dis-confirms intelligent design), Peppered moths do not exhibit this selection. Nor does the natural selection of cm beak changes “prove” that mankind is related to rock.

    “Subject” “object” distinctions are made, and this seems to be missed in this debate. The fact remains that the pictures used of peppered moths in my sons biology textbook are fabricated, as are the natural habits of said creatures.

    Much Thought

    PapaG

    .

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  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Papa Giorgio.

    You appear to have relied on Jonathan Wells’s faked claims. In addition to his claims having been universally rejected by scientists — Wells never got any paper published questioning any part of Kettlewell’s work — Majerus redid Kettlewell’s work, using modern methodologies and better controls. It took seven years, but it confirmed in spades that peppered moths offer outstanding examples of natural selection in action, exactly corroborating that part of Darwin’s theories.

    See these two posts, and follow the links:

    1. http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/creationists-lose-key-texas-case/

    2. http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/majeruss-peppered-moth-powerpoint/

    Like

  19. Papa Giorgio says:

    .

    I wrote on this a bit, using a photo and example from my son’s textbook:

    http://religiopoliticaltalk.blogspot.com/2007/02/hope-your-week-is-well-professor.html

    .

    Like

  20. Ed Darrell says:

    Man, you never learn.

    Oh, I learn new stuff and more accurate stuff every day. Sadly, never from Neil Simpson, but it’s not for lack of trying on my part.

    Like

  21. Nick Kelsier says:

    Oh and that’s not me trying to be insulting, i’m actually trying to make a point, Shumi.

    The point being is that humans aren’t descended from modern monkey’s but that we share a common ancestor…just as you share a common ancestor with your cousins.

    Like

  22. Nick Kelsier says:

    Shumi Says:

    September 28, 2009 at 9:06 am
    Is it possible that monkeys were evolved from human beings!!!!!?!?!?

    Is it possible that your 1st cousin and her husband conceived and bore you?

    Like

  23. Ed Darrell says:

    Brain capacity shows signs that monkeys evolved from creationists, but DNA doesn’t corroborate.

    (No, there is no chance that monkeys evolved from humans, according to cladistics and fossils, or DNA.)

    Like

  24. Shumi says:

    Is it possible that monkeys were evolved from human beings!!!!!?!?!?

    Like

  25. I fully agree with Ed Darrell I also have my chicken for lunch and I don’t want to be eating a distant cousin.

    Like

  26. Neil says:

    On what basis would a Darwinian turn over the job of natural selection to a human?

    That is one of the most spectacularly idiotic Darwinian rationalizations I have ever read. It is so transparently false. Only in the tautological world of the evolutionist could someone miss it.

    It implies that Darwinians control the uncontrollable and are in charge of what is “naturally” selected. But humans are part of the process, remember? If your premise is true then whatever we naturally select is by definition naturally selected, because we’re part of nature. You would be “turning over” something to yourself.

    You try to distance yourself from Hitler but in your molecules to man worldview you have no logical basis to do so.

    What a tool! Hey, you’re a practical atheist anyway. Why not go all the way?

    P.S. Oh, this is rich: I just saw your January 14 entry where you brought up Stalin! Man, you never learn.

    Like

  27. Buffalo Bills Expert says:

    Humans have 85 billion miles of DNA. I work with a Creationist and he thinks this is by design LOL.

    Humans also have 60,000 miles of blood vessels, my Creation buddy also thinks this is a design!

    How can I reason with him? He is an engineer.

    Like

  28. evolution is false says:

    that view was of my opinion not of the dude you talk of ?

    Like

  29. Ed Darrell says:

    False,

    You’re quoting Robert Jastrow, the astronomer — you should give him credit for his words.

    And you should know that in that book he also talks of the silliness of creationists, and how solid evolution theory is. If you’re going to use Jastrow’s words, at least get his views right, will you?

    Like

  30. red hatter says:

    what a laugh
    if evolution is so real then why is it defended so much
    if creation is so real then why is it attacked so much
    defence of something fraudulent making people believe that aliens really are on the earth needs a llot of defending because nobody believes e.g just like evolution

    Like

  31. evolution is false says:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2002/0930religion.asp

    For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

    Like

  32. evolution is false says:

    like all avoiding the subject at hand for instance their is a lot of dirt that can be brought up of darwin

    the subject at hand is about peppered mothes if you remember you like to vear about the subjet because its a losing case for you if you dont and to start to go around the matter at hand so please i dont care about your opinion wether its false or not its the facts that you strive for i thought or is all of this just built on your opinnion i think not because before you stayed of fact and not opinion so let us go back and you to be the awesome evolutionist trying to prove creation incoherant to the truth

    Like

  33. evolution is false says:

    sorry about the above “hard punk”

    Like

  34. hard punk says:

    Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.

    Like

  35. Ed Darrell says:

    I’ll take your wager. Read the Bible carefully: It says don’t lie to children.

    Evidence, not crankery. I’ll thank you to stop abusing scripture and religion in such a fashion, too.

    Like

  36. Ed Darrell says:

    I was asking for evidence, not crankery.

    “Harun Yahya” is the pseudonym of a nasty, old religious wanker in Turkey who steals other people’s material, and who has been convicted of crimes one probably would class as “unsavory” at best. That you’d bother to cite him as a backer indicates that you have no discernment when it comes to sources.

    Joe Stalin agreed with you about Darwin — I’m surprised you haven’t cited Stalin.

    Evidence, not crankery. Has creationism blinded you to the difference? Such are the dangers of crank science, crackpottery, and profligate foolishness.

    Like

  37. evolution is false says:

    ill wager that you will be punished by GOD if you dont recieve him in this world if at all you are100% correct on this earth at the least are you need to be saved because in the best translation of the BIBLE that we have recieved it is written for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of GOD: being justified freely by his grace through redemption that is in CHRIST JESU: whom GOD hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of GOD; to declare i say at this time his rightousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in jesus

    for the wages of sin is death but the gift of GOD is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST our LORD

    that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD JESUS and shalt believe in thine heart that GOD hat raised him from the dead THOU SHALT BE SAVED

    Like

  38. evolution is false says:

    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/encyclopedia/09nsel05.htm

    https://shodor.com/succeedhi/succeedhi/PepperedMoths/Mutation-content.html

    http://geneticsevolution.suite101.com/article.cfm/dna_gene_mutations_evolution
    http://kazimskorner.blogspot.com/2003/09/testimony-from-texas-state-board-of.html
    http://www.neatorama.com/2006/09/19/10scientific-frauds-that-rocked-the-world/
    http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070407_coulter_hoax.html
    http://www.harunyahya.com/books/darwinism/therewasdarwinism/therewasdarwinism12.php
    http://www.asa3.org/archive/evolution/199904/0103.html
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v21/i3/moths.asp
    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/Moths/moths.html
    http://www.arn.org/docs/wells/jw_pepmoth.htm
    http://creationismunleashed.blogspot.com/2005/06/peppered-moths-proof-for.html
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v21/i3/moths.asp
    http://www.harunyahya.com/books/darwinism/therewasdarwinism/therewasdarwinism12.php
    http://scienceandevolution.blogspot.com/2007/12/creationism-evolution-and-peppered-moth.html
    http://www.geocities.com/agseventyfour/GenesPepperedMoth.html
    http://creationismunleashed.blogspot.com/2005/06/peppered-moths-proof-for.html
    (haha funny http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1543144/posts)
    http://www.usenet.com/newsgroups/talk.origins/msg05984.html
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=178583&sectioncode=26
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/of-moths-and-men-578803.html
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-majerus-peppered-moths-do-rest-on-tree-trunks-and-incidentally-god-doesnt-exist/

    even evolutionist say harm to themselves
    http://evolutionspace.wordpress.com/2007/08/27/the-peppered-moths-stike-back/

    you were asking about evidence i hope this is some evidence
    (the truth is better than whose right)
    you made this site so that we as a people may clarify life of how what and who it has come gone and went.
    let us now figure among ourselfs the truth

    Like

  39. Ed Darrell says:

    Skin tone in humans is different from the coloring of moths, genetically. Both demonstrate natural selection, however.

    You’ve never heard of rickets, I’ll wager.

    Like

  40. Ed Darrell says:

    Look at Majerus’s work. Do you deny the alleles changed? On what basis do you make that denial?

    This is a key event of natural selection. It works exactly as Darwin said we’d see it, with the predation changing the genes in the population, a true demonstration of true natural selection (the stuff of evolution). You might as well deny that the night is dark and the sun is bright.

    Of course, you remember that Darwin predicted that the sun is bright, and the night is dark, don’t you?

    [Here it comes, readers: The denial. . . . 3, 2, 1 . . . ]

    Like

  41. evolution is false says:

    “which showed that natural selection was responsible for a change in the color of most peppered moths in Britain.”

    hahaha actually if they looked a little closer they would see that black children come from totally (both 23 pairs) white parents but since moths are different than humans that it is more like humans produce humans

    Like

  42. evolution is false says:

    sorry but the peppered moth is of same dna with a slight diff in the dna (only that of colour)

    Like

  43. Ed Darrell says:

    Dear False,

    A wise person once said no man should not go off half-cocked, lest he return the same way.

    Rather than go off half-cocked on peppered moths, take a look at Michael Majerus’s reconfirmation of the fact that peppered moths demonstrate natural selection in action. Don’t give me bafflegab from confused sources when Kettlewell’s original observations have been so carefully and well replicated, thereby demonstrating that Kettlewell got it right.

    Like

  44. evolution is false says:

    evolution is taught in public schools and should not till it is proven true or false
    you still cannot show proof of evolution being in anyway allegiant

    Like

  45. evolution is false says:

    Who knows what happened to her soul because the Bible isn’t accurate and we’re not even sure she has a soul”?

    i dont see animals id not see anything out in the world communicatiing as us humans do it is the soul that communicates with each and every one

    Like

  46. evolution is false says:

    The peppered moth is in fact no evidence at all evolution is slightly true

    Before 1845 near Birmingham, England, the peppered moth was primarily light colored, but some had darker wings. (These darker varieties were called the melanic or carbonaria forms.) in accordance with mendelian genetics, some peppered moth off springs were always born with light-colored wings while others had darker wings. Thus it had been for centuries. The little moths would alight on the light-colored tree trunks: and birds, able to see the darker ones more easily, ate them and tended to ignore the light-colored varieties. Yet both varieties continued to be produced. But then the industrial revolution came and the trees became darker from smoke and grime-and the birds began eating the lighter ones. In the 1850s, about 98% of the uneaten peppered moths were light variety: because of recessive dominant genes, peppered moths regularly produced both varieties as offspring. By the 1880s in the Manchester, England area, toxic gasses and soot were killing the light-colored lichen on the trees and darkened even more the tree trunks. The changeover from light to dark moths began there also. The smoke and smog from the factories darkened the trunks of the trees made the dark hued moths difficult to see and the lighter ones quite easy for the birds to spot. By the late 1950s, 98% of the peppered moths were the dark variety. All while, the moths continued to produce both dark and light varieties. There can be light peppered moths and dark peppered moths .——-but they are still pepered moths so [“the peppered moth experiments beautifully demonstrate natural selection or survival of the fittes in action, but they do not show evolution in progress, for however the population may alter in their content of light, intermediate, or dark forms, all moth remain fro the beginning to the end Biston betularia.”--*Harrison Mathews,”introduction,”to Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1971 edition),p.xi.”] Variation within a species is not evolution

    Like

  47. lowerleavell says:

    Ed, that was really nice. Thanks for the good post and telling the story of the person in your church you passed away. That’s true Christ-honoring service and a model for all of us!

    I totally agree that we shouldn’t be giving the “cartoon” version as you put it. The only thing that we can share is what the Bible says, as fact. The Bible doesn’t say a whole lot except for a few wonderful things. The best part is that we will be with our Savior. The Bible also tells us in 1 Corinthias 13 (the famous love chapter) that right now we only see in part, but when we see Christ we will understand fully. He references the difference between the knowlege of a child and a man as an example. I can’t wait to understand the full picture, because right now there simply is so much that we do not understand. That’s definitely where faith comes in. But God is worthy of our faith in Him.

    I like what you said about library fines. :-) The only fine will be if your name is not in the Book of Life, which would be tragic.

    Revelation is a perfect example of a literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic. It demands that many portions of it not be taken literally and even tells us that he is using metaphors in many places. For instance, the dragon (Satan) is not really a winged beast who hordes gold, but is a metaphorical picture to help us understand his evil nature. Also, does a sword literally come out of Jesus’ mouth? Or is it His Words that are powerful and shaper than any two edged sword? However, when context and intent of the writer demand that we look at it literally, we respect the writer’s obvious intent and take it literally. When you are writing to me, I give you the common courtesy of taking what you say literally and not trying to find metaphorical and allegorical meaning behind your terms and analogies. Maybe evolution really stands for something else? No, you mean what you say. So also many times with the Bible. Revelation is a beautiful book, full of hope for the life of the believer, and full of warnings for the church in the early and latter chapters. It is a warning to those who do not believe that all will not bode well with them if they refuse God’s grace and mercy. I wouldn’t discard of Revelation if I were you. You’d be missing a lot!

    Like

  48. Ed Darrell says:

    Let’s take a look at the immediate issue:

    Ok, I have about 40 minutes to write a post here. My day has been pretty swamped as I am just now finished preparing for the funeral of a dear saint lady in our church who passed away on Friday.

    It did get me to thinking about your theology a little bit and wondering what your concept in that brain of yours is of heaven will be like. I prefer the Biblical view of a place free from pain, hurt, tears, sin, and full of love and perfection. I prefer to think as the Bible describes that we will be with Jesus Christ and thanking Him for His love and mercy with our loved one who have also trusted Him. But, as I’ve said many times before, if the Bible can’t get even basic details right, how do I tell this wonderful family where their loved one is with any sense of certainty? Atheists would tell me to say that she lived a good life and she has gone into oblivion. What would you have me say? “Who knows what happened to her soul because the Bible isn’t accurate and we’re not even sure she has a soul”?

    I don’t have a clue what heaven is like. Especially from scripture. I’ve never been particularly enamored of Revelation, and it speaks more of heaven than any other text. Is it right?

    So do we preach the cartoon version?

    The essence of our faith is faith in the resurrection. Do we know exactly what Jesus saw? Jesus was resurrected physically, we believe (there’s no body we know of — that’s consistent!). But what then? He said He was returning to the Father.

    What do we know of heaven? Very little. This is where faith is tested the most. This is where faith is most hopeful, and simultaneously, most without other corroboration. When our loved ones pass, our own faith is tested most supremely. If we have faith, this is where it bears us up the most, too. We have faith that there is a soul. We have faith we will meet again. From there, most of it is lost in metaphor. At a funeral , the metaphor is barely enough, so we buttress.

    You say she was a saint. My father used to tell stories of a funeral he attended for a woman who was, most agreed, genuinely evil. The question wasn’t about the afterlife, but where she might end up. My father said the preacher was brilliant. He spoke about Italian tapestries, woven from jute and maybe some wool, and lots of silk threads. In the finest tapestries, there are threads of gold and silver, too. But to make the gold and silver stand out, there must be threads of black woven in. In the tapestry of life . . .

    Well, everyone got the idea.

    The joy of a saintly life, it seems to me, is that it allows us a glimpse of heaven. I think of a fellow in our congregation who died recently, rather suddenly. For 30 years he had gotten the coffee for Sunday school. When he went on vacation, he’d set it up so someone basically had to push a button, for two weeks in advance sometimes. He always cleaned up. He did it all himself. One year we were budgeting, and someone realized that for a decade or so the coffee we’d been enjoying didn’t show up on any committee’s budget, nor in purchases. This man bought it all himself, we suppose (no one knows).

    But that was just the entree to his life. In his wake we discussed how he had made so much in the church work, simply by being there an opening the door. And so for his family — preparation for events, for decisions — things just flowed. The coffee was always there, always hot, ready when we needed it. He’d shown us, with his life, some of what we have to look forward to. We’re convinced that at St. Peter’s desk there at the Pearly Gates (there’s two visions from . . . Bible? From where?), there is now, if there was not before, a pot of coffee. It’ll be ready and hot when and if we get there. And we’ll know who took care of it.

    That’s heaven, where someone looks out for you.

    His wife said that he was always happy when he was doing something for others. And he was happiest when he could do something anonymously. There’s another clue, I think. Heaven is happy, isn’t it? As Abe Lincoln described his religion once, he said “When I do good, I feel good.” And we remember that old chain-gang spiritual about the dying convict, pleading not to go to heaven if there was no work there to be done, because, after all, he was a working man. There will be plenty of people there for us each to look after someone.

    What more do we need to know?

    Oh, and no library fines.

    If it is to be heave at all, certainly it will be free of pain and hurt, sin, tears of woe and sadness (tears of joy will be there, don’t you think?).

    Like

  49. lowerleavell says:

    Ok, I have about 40 minutes to write a post here. My day has been pretty swamped as I am just now finished preparing for the funeral of a dear saint lady in our church who passed away on Friday.

    It did get me to thinking about your theology a little bit and wondering what your concept in that brain of yours is of heaven will be like. I prefer the Biblical view of a place free from pain, hurt, tears, sin, and full of love and perfection. I prefer to think as the Bible describes that we will be with Jesus Christ and thanking Him for His love and mercy with our loved one who have also trusted Him. But, as I’ve said many times before, if the Bible can’t get even basic details right, how do I tell this wonderful family where their loved one is with any sense of certainty? Atheists would tell me to say that she lived a good life and she has gone into oblivion. What would you have me say? “Who knows what happened to her soul because the Bible isn’t accurate and we’re not even sure she has a soul”?

    I do plan on answering the rest of your questions and statements here. I hope you can write me back, but some of this stuff is outdated and you’re having a very…interesting discussion on the Louisiana Christian thing, so we’ll see if you do. I think I left off with the Golden Rule…

    “It’s dangerous to call anything “a law of nature,” but if there is anything in that category at any time, murder is not. It’s more dangerous, or dishonest, to argue that things contrary to what is observed in nature are laws of nature.”

    What you have not addressed is how it is possible for something that humans do to be contrary to what is observed in nature. I guess I have to simply ask the question very plainly: are we as humans a part of nature? If you answer “yes”, then how can we be capable of murder? If you answer “no”, then how did we get that way? This really is becoming very tedious in that you are refusing to answer these very, very basic questions. Please, what is your answer?

    “Why would God need to tell humans to honor their parents if that came naturally? Joe, you’re departing from reason again. There are lots of things that come naturally that get reified in religious doctrine.”

    Are you saying honoring your parents comes naturally? Wow. Can you tell my boys that? When was the last time you asked your kids (if you have them) to clean their room or do their homework? What is the natural inclination? Let me assure you, the natural tendency is disobedience and independence. We’re getting a little closer to my comfort zone discussing human psychology and behavior. Are you advocating the inherent goodness of man? This is got to be one of the easiest thins to disprove. Are people capable of good? Yes, but it does not come as our first instinct. Surely WWI and II drove that a-millennial theology “Christ’s kingdom is within us through our own goodness and we’ll bring in the kingdom” away. This is what happens when you depart from Biblical authority, is that not only do we have these disagreements over history, but over morality and man’s goodness as well. What does the Bible have to say on the subject of man’s inherent goodness? It says that we were once perfectly good but now we have a fallen nature that needs redeemed through Jesus. Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Isaiah 53 tells us, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way…” There are man other passages if you require more proof. Therefore, it takes God reaching out to us, through His Son and through the Word for us to react to Him because our first inclination is to reject Him because of our own love for independence. Redemption is not our work, because we are happy with our sin and if it were, we wouldn’t need Jesus except as a model. If that were the case, He wouldn’t have needed to die. God reaches out to us and invites us to come to Him. That’s not reification of something natural, because the Bible describes us as naturally wicked. If you don’t believe me then why do we need police or government at all? Oh, because if we didn’t have laws then we would have anarchy, which never goes over well. We are by nature, fallen beings.

    “You seem to think that evil is genetic. You are aware, of course, that was the basis of the claims of most of the genocides of the past, yes? It’s a scurrilous claim scientifically, and I think, as Jefferson and Madison argued, it’s a scurrilous claim theologically. Men are not angels, but neither are they demons by default.”

    No, I do not think that evil is genetic. Period. I agree that there is a danger in saying it is genetic. Since sin and evil are spiritual in nature, I believe they are passed down spiritually from generation to generation. Evil affects our genetics (just see how being an alcoholic affects your liver and your brain) but it is not genetic in nature.

    “Evolution tells us the greatest things come from humble origins, a story that is replayed in the nativity, in the story of the rise of David, and countless other times in scripture. I don’t think you’re beginning to scratch the surface of what may or may not be possible in evolution, or outside of it.”

    I think you are spiritualizing evolution which would be bringing it closer to worship. Dangerous stuff to spiritualize science. Be careful. I know of a few people who are already thinking that Darwinists hold to it religiously and have faith in their theory. You’re giving them fuel for their fire.

    I’m sure the T-Rex’s dinner would appreciate that the greatest things comes from humble origins as he dies. That being said, the Christian concept of the greatest things coming from humble origins and the first being last is a truth. It is not exclusive to Christianity, but it is a tenet of Christianity. If evolution agrees with that tenet of Christianity then it does so by random chance. :-)

    “And frankly, I’m beginning to wonder about your conceptions of scripture, too.”
    This comment came as a result of assuming I held that evil was genetic so hopefully you’ll take it back, but I doubt you will.

    Ok, I’ve got to get something off my chest here. There is a misconception of “Bible literalists.” People argue that literalists believe the Bible should always be taken literally. That’s not true. We take it literally when it was intended to be taken literally, when context and grammar demand it. Like when Jesus says, “Truly, truly I say to you…” He wants us to take what He says very seriously! It’s called a literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic. It means that the Bible can only mean what it was meant to mean. If it was meant as an allegory, then it is an allegory. If it was meant as a metaphor or a type, then that’s what it is. This is my reason for taking a literal view of Genesis is because grammatically (have you read chapter 1 in Hebrew?) historically, etc. it was intended to be a work of non-fiction. Ok, enough said on that one.

    “So, only Jesus can speak truth?”

    I did not say that, although I would reverse it to say that “Jesus can speak only the truth. (He can’t lie). One of my professors in schools said, “All truth is God’s truth.” Truth is truth, regardless of the source. All people are capable of saying things that are true. That being said, Jesus claimed to be the source, the authority, the law if you will in distinguishing the difference between true and false. The rabbis would always quote their teachers who eventually down the line supposedly heard it from Moses. Jesus just stood up and said, “You’ve heard it said…but I say to you…” without quoting anyone. He needed no citations or sources. He claimed to be the source. I absolutely love Him for it! He’s awesome! That is the authority that only God can claim. I must bow to Scripture. I must bow to laws of nature as truth, but Jesus simply said “this is truth.” That’s authority!

    “Evolution looks to see how things came to be as they are. Saying things “just are” is a religious statement, and contrary to science, and not part of evolution.”

    Evolution provides no “color” statements on things. It describes, but does not go into “should” or “should not.” If it does, it has ceased to be science and has crossed into the world of religious dogma. Do you want to be the one to admit that evolution is a religion and makes moral judgments? That is as far as I am taking it on saying evolution says things “just are” (not saying that they didn’t come from anywhere, but rather that it is a newspaper article describing an incident, not a political opinion piece). This is what I’m saying evolution does with Hitler. It states what happened and why, but it cannot provide for us its own opinion. This is why it is grossly limited in the scope of the world’s (including Hitler’s) morality.

    “Don’t look now, but I notice that the Bible also doesn’t explain how morality got here, nor really much how or why we have an ability to choose not to do things the Bible claims to be moral. The presence of morality is an argument for the presence of morality.”

    Well, it helps if you don’t throw those first few chapters of Genesis out the window. If you hadn’t you may have found those explanations you couldn’t find. 1) The Bible says why we have morals. It says that we are created in God’s image. God is moral and thus He bestowed morality upon us as His direct creation. 2) The Bible says why we have the ability to choose not to do the things the Bible claims to be moral. The reason is because God wanted us to have a choice in our service for Him. Have you ever heard of free will? God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, the Bible records that He gave them a choice. Choose to live with me in paradise or choose to disobey and reap the consequences that I told you ahead of time would happen. God is not interested in a mindless robot glorifying Him, but one who loves Him for who He is and what He has done for us (rescuing us from sin through Jesus).

    “Moreover, I think the claim that we have to be moral because God exists rather insults the human potential. People who do not believe in the God of Abraham have developed good, solid codes of morality based on something quite different from fear of eternal damnation or smiting from a deity, including Confucius, Buddha, and modern atheists. To argue that we have no control over our actions but for God is silly, completely unevidenced, and contrary to history.”

    Many have not tapped their full potential for evil, nor have many tapped their full potential for good. Extremes are irrelevant. It only took Adam and Eve one sin to get cast out of the Garden and so only one wrong condemns you before a perfect God. You can be good all your life after, but you’re still guilty of the one wrong. A righteous judge wouldn’t let a murderer off the hook simply because he did some good deeds after he killed someone.

    The Bible describes our attempts at goodness as menstrual cloths (Isaiah 64:6, “Your righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”) because it insults Him that we would refuse His free gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ. He has made a perfect way back to Him through Jesus. Can we be moral without Christ? Yes. But who among us can claim to be perfect and sinless? Not me. Can you? Who among us could stand before a just and holy God and say, “I’m good enough.”? Our hearts condemn us of the bad things we have done. None of us deserve anything but God’s wrath for violating the laws of love and goodness. None of us have lived perfectly. The Bible says that when we put our faith in Christ, God no longer looks at our own works, but rather looks at the works of Jesus which we done on our behalf and says, “Price paid in full.” That’s the beauty of salvation. Our goodness is not the issue, because none of us are good…enough. But Jesus is, and that’s why His message is so important.
    “Would you take some time and study what evolution really says?”

    I have been doing so, and will continue to do so. Will you study what the Bible really says?

    Ediacaran, I haven’t forgotten you and I’ll reply to your post when I’m able.

    Like

  50. lowerleavell says:

    Ok, I actually may get to reply today! Maybe not all of it, but I will do my best. Here goes:

    “Joe, I’m not sure if you realize you’re caught red-handed or if you genuinely missed the point….I don’t have any problem distinguishing between natural events and man-caused events, and I didn’t realize that such a confusion was at the root of your error in history and scripture. I didn’t refuse to answer the question at all. I noted the premise of your question is completely in error.”

    Ok, here’s the reason for my remarks. Even in your long post you still did not answer the root of the question. The premise of the question was set up by your admission that murder is outside the natural order. If you have a hard time getting a hold of the question, I have no problem clarifying it at all. You even said, “I don’t have any problem distinguishing between natural events and man-caused events…”

    Here is the question one more time in another way: If man is a result of natural selection and survival of the fittest, then how can there be two distinct orders? How can there be man-caused events and natural events? Shouldn’t they both be natural events? Shouldn’t what man does be a part of nature since we are the result of nature? The only way we could be separate is if you are distinguishing between man and nature. How can you justify this using evolution? How can you justify that murder is outside the natural order if man is a part of the natural order? This is the question that you are not answering but saying the premise is flawed because you don’t have a problem. So, please explain how it isn’t a problem. From my perspective it’s a problem because if man is a part of nature then what man does is natural. If man is not a part of nature, then he is not the result of evolution, or something happened that took him out of natural law. What is the answer?

    “You failed to offer any reason to think your question is valid, instead accusing me of politics.”

    I didn’t think you’d demonstrated how my question was flawed. If you do so, I’ll try to rephrase the question.

    “Where did you get the idea that humans have no will and that there is no history prior to Abraham? On what basis can such bizarre premises be the foundation of a valid question?”

    Do I really miss-communicate that badly? Of course humans have wills and they’ve have had them long before Abraham. According to the Bible, humans have had wills since the first human, Adam. That’s how we got into this mess is because Adam exercised his will to disobey God and we became fallen as a species. This is the Biblical explanation for how murder is explained, in that only one generation removed from Adam, Cain murdered his own brother Abel, exercising his free will to commit murder. Murder and immorality and free will can be traced as far back as history goes. Can you explain where it came from using evolution?

    Morality wasn’t interjected into the human race at Abraham. Where did you get the idea I was saying that? Our moral nature is our “divine spark” if you will. It is how we are “in God’s image” in that He designed us with His moral attributes to love, to be and do good, to be just, etc. Those attributes were corrupted by Adam’s fall, so that while we still have a free will, the choice to do wrong is sometimes much easier to listen to than the choice to do right. Trust me; I used to catch shop lifters for a living. Even otherwise good people are capable of doing some atrocious things.

    “I haven’t gotten to the point yet. Abortion is not only very natural, it’s common. Spontaneous abortions take from 20% to 50% of all pregnancies. (Where do you get off labeling God a murderer? And unconsciously doing so!)….What’s your serious question about abortion? Are you completely unaware that there are so many abortions naturally? Have you ever studied the issue seriously, especially in nature?”

    Having gone through two miscarriages with my wife this is not just an academic discussion for me. I personally believe that I will have two beautiful children waiting for me when I get to heaven. What you and I are talking about is “playing God.” If you go with the viewpoint that willful termination of a life other than your own is ok, then you can no longer morally condemn Hitler for termination of “unwanted” lives. Who are we to decide who lives and who dies? How is it a “woman’s right” to decide what happens to what is in her body but what is not her body? If something goes wrong with the pregnancy and the body rejects it or something like that, that is one thing. But to willfully terminate a pregnancy simply because the child is “unwanted” is no different than what Hitler did by killing those who were “unwanted” to the Nazis. Just who do we think we are to justify the deaths of innocent children? It’s morally sickening!

    “I suspect God’s nature is much more unusual than any Baptist minister has ever seriously thought; if one is unfamiliar with evolution, familiarity with the rest of nature is pretty much a given, don’t you think?”

    Sex is cool with God btw and is even ordained by God when done His way. Those who look at sex as evil haven’t read Song of Solomon. I checked out your link. Very interesting how many of the species reproduce.

    “Is abortion moral? I believe rape to be immoral, and I agree with current international law that forcing a woman to bear the child of a rape is a crime. There is a gray area there, I think for even abortion opponents. I do not believe God intended women to be tortured. There is not a bright line answer for such a question.”

    Doesn’t rape ever happen in nature? Isn’t there polygamy in nature? The same is true for rape and polygamy as is true for murder. How is it possible to be immoral if we are part of nature? Anyway, I agree that rape is immoral and this is closer to a gray area. I personally believe that the rape is not the child’s fault though 4 out of 10 victims of rape are children themselves. You are right; it is a difficult question to answer morally. However, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    “Nor do I find it rational to think that ensoulment occurs at conception. For the first nine months of life, humans are closer to parasites than free beings, and I think there are serious theological issues to arguing parasites are human (much of the chemical conflict between mother and child-in-utero is due to this parasitic resemblance).”

    Did I say that ensoulment occurs at conception? While it’s fair to say it because it’s what I believe, I didn’t say it. But, in the meantime of going about proving it, I would advocate that the question is solved when the child’s heart starts to beat, even though the child has all their DNA blueprints on day one. The child’s heart starts beating before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. When the heart starts beating, there is no doubt that this is a separate, but dependant life.

    In response to your “theological problem” with calling parasites human, I would have a theological problem with calling what David calls being “fearfully and wonderfully made” a parasite. God told one of the prophets that He knew him from His mother’s womb. Just look at a 3-D ultra sound and tell me that child is a parasite! The birth process is truly a wonder for science to marvel at, nor does anyone understand it fully! While an unborn child’s survival is totally dependant on the mother, so is virtually an infant’s. Even a two year old would be hard pressed to survive on his own. Do we call him a parasite? I know 20 year olds who are better described as parasites than fully human. :-) That doesn’t give a mother of a 20 year old who won’t leave home the right to not call him human or kill him because he isn’t “wanted” anymore.

    “I think arguments that suggest a bright line on abortion are morally flawed, and tend towards immorality themselves in the suggestion that we can ignore the rights of humans whenever a church says its okay. Check your dictionary, but that is one of the key components of fascism, isn’t it?”

    The only example you give as to abortion being a gray area is rape. I agree, that is a toughie. What about abortions because you don’t like the sex of the child? How about abortions because you didn’t want another kid? What about abortions because you can’t afford another baby? Are these still gray areas? You seem to think if we put limits on abortion that we will result in fascism. That’s quite the jump in logic.

    The statistics I googled were that between 50-55% of Americans feel that abortion is morally wrong. That isn’t fascism, that’s democracy. If morality is simply up to a vote, then I’d say put partial birth abortion, and abortions of convenience to a vote. What we have in this country is oligarchy where a few (judges) make laws for the masses. Look at polls on partial birth abortions and late term abortions and you will see that while Americans are always sympathetic to the life of the mother, abortions for convenience are not very popular. How is that fascism?

    “Those are a few of the paths an abortion discussion would take — why in the world do you think it relevant to evolution? No discussion of abortion informs evolution theory that I can see.”

    The discussion on abortion informs this discussion because we were talking about murder and Hitler’s genocide. He began by making abortion and euthanasia moral gray areas. He also killed off the weak and the sick. It wasn’t until the Germans were brought down the moral slide that they began to kill the Jews. By making abortion moral, you’ve moved the goal posts of morality and demonstrated how morality can be a relative term when there is no authority backing it up. You can justify whatever it is you desire to do. From a Nazi point of view, murder was a gray area while we think it is abominable. You say that abortion is gray while I think it is abominable. In evolution, what gives you the authority to say that what Hitler did was abominable? Haven’t you taken away their right to choose? Oh, the choice matters when it impacts others, doesn’t it? Same with abortion.

    The reason this is important because it goes back to the need for a source of moral authority. Without God being the moral Law-Giver, morality is simply a democratic decision. I do not think this is a “gotcha” argument, but rather a demonstration to the need for authority outside of public opinion and morality simply being a product of evolution and what works best for the tribe.

    On another line of thinking, when two people squabble, sometimes you need a judge to determine what is just. Who is the one person who is unbiased to be the judge for humanity? God. The Biblical God meets the moral requirements (which atheists say is up to debate) to be the moral judge and thus we should submit to His authority on issues of morality. Oh, and He has a lot to say about morality in a book you may have heard of.

    “Lying is a learned activity, not instinctual.”

    You must not have kids or you’d never make this claim. Either that or your kids haven’t sinned yet. I’ve never lied to my son and he has never heard a lie from anyone else, but my two year old can lie like his life depends on it. It’s very cute, but still a lie. “Are you stinky?” “No!!!!!!” He knows full well that he is and won’t get in trouble for being stinky, but why would he lie? He was never taught to lie by anyone.
    “Babies have nothing but a “fit” to express displeasure, and they have not yet learned control of emotional displays.”

    This is a true statement. So, are you saying then that in an adult, the lack of self-control is immoral? Wouldn’t you agree then that doing something bad like throwing a fit is ok as long as it is done in ignorance? God seems to indicate that when He says in Romans 1 that the time of our ignorance He “let slide.” So then, immorality is instinctive and we have to be taught “better.” Hmmmm…interesting.

    “You’re confusing learned and instinctual activities here. Did you read Darwin’s book, The expression of the emotions in animals and man?”

    I am trying to find the time to read your posts let alone Darwin. I will do my best to educate myself though. You’ll have to give me a while to do some reading and learning. However, have you read what the Bible has to say about morality? I would wager that while you are well versed on Darwin you are not so well versed on Paul’s, Luke’s, David’s etc. writings. Would that be a fair statement? You study what God says and I’ll work on studying what Darwin says; agreed?

    “So again, I wonder about the premise from which you start. I do not think research shows we are born with much of a moral sense, but instead have a few instincts and we learn much of the rest in interaction with other members of the species.”

    My premise is that we have a sense of right and wrong but that it is warped by sin. You are not a behavioralist are you? Surely you believe in a free will that despite a healthy environment we can still choose wrongly. Despite a poor environment, many have done well morally. We each are given our own choice and even though our environment may help or hinder that choice, it is ours to make, it is not simply “learned.” If it simply taught, all humanity should be uniform in their teaching because it was passed on from one common ancestor.

    “I think you’re attributing too much to instinct for humans.”

    That’s possible. I’m not an expert on behavioralism, though we have a man in our church who is a director of a behavioral health facility and a very good psychologist. He has been a great help to me in understanding where people are coming from, and why people behave as they do. Oh, and he loves AIG. :-)

    I said, “What is your explanation as to where it came from? Primordial soup can’t evolve a conscience.” You said, “Who says?”

    That’s your answer? Ok…The answer to your question is that again, evolution states that things simply “are” and there is no “ought” or “ought not.” Therefore, there is no morality and conscience in evolution. Evolution therefore fails to explain the existence of free will (which is a mess between determinism and compatibility, etc.), morality, immorality, conscience, even the existence of intelligence and the mind. That’s my “who says.”

    “Ridley pretty well summarizes the current state of the science with regard to the evolution of morality question.”

    Does Ridley address how it is possible to have murder be outside of evolution and inside evolution at the same time? Perhaps I can get a straight answer from his books. You’re right, I haven’t read his books, but I have read the explanations on morality on talkorigins and wikipedia.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/social.html

    This is a short article, but really goes straight to the point. Again, evolution cannot say “ought or ought not.” The end of the article basically says, “for purpose to life, please see your local religious organization because we can’t explain it.” Anyway, without having read the two books you mentioned, after doing some research, I still say that evolution does not have a sufficient answer to the existence of morality.
    “So, with what looks like human morality found to be so deeply rooted throughout the animal kingdom, in learned and instinctive behaviors, and with what passes as morality so inextricably wound up in both instinct and learned behaviors, I’m not sure we can make an argument that a concept of God is the sole source of morality on the planet.”

    Unless of course that He endowed all creation with the ability to learn and has given them their instinctive behavior. Isn’t it a clue that murder is NOT the norm of nature? The fact that we humans have gotten so good at it should show us that something is wrong with our species! What’s the problem and where did it come from?
    Ok, I’m almost out of time here. I’ll have to finish when I can.

    “I’m trying to avoid a pointless discussion I’ve had with countless Texas Baptists that ends in my discovering and their refusing to acknowledge that their whole scheme of argument depends on God creating the Earth fully blown in 144 hours, just a few thousand years ago, complete with physics, chemistry, paleontological and archaeological evidence hoaxed up to mislead scientists today.”

    Young Earth Creationism is a side issue which is fine to discuss. We have several people in our church that believe in the gap theory, which is tolerable. Having a different perspective and theory on how God created is one thing, but not giving God credence for anything in creation besides giving Him glory for their not being any evidence for Him, is another. You won’t even give God credit for morality, which really makes me wonder, who is this God of yours? He didn’t write the Bible. He didn’t create the world. He didn’t give humanity a soul. Morality and ethics are the result of chance. All humanity and the whole universe is the result of chance. Ed, let me ask you this question, why would I worship a God that has done virtually nothing? I have no real reason to praise Him for who He is, because He isn’t omnipresent, omnipotent, or all moral, and He isn’t our creator, sustainer, and enabler. He isn’t just, He isn’t Holy, and He isn’t even very competent in writing things down. So, let me ask you, why would I be a theist?

    Let’s extend it to Jesus. Why would I worship a Savior who saved me from something natural? Why would I worship a Savior who left no evidence to being who He says He is? And even if He is God then that would go back to the last paragraph as to why I should worship Him to begin with? So, from my perspective, God is either who He says He is and has done what He has said He’s done, or He’s not worthy of my worship, my praise, or my love and devotion. Why would you worship a God who is virtually nothing and has done virtually nothing?

    “— there are only too many religionists who ignore the history of Christianity and the rest of mankind in arguing that morality comes from God. I’m hoping you’re not in that school.”

    I am proudly in that school that teaches people that morality is sourced in God. If God is who the Bible claims Him to be, then He is the source of morality. If He is not, He has no right to tell me what is right and what is wrong. If He is not, then Isaiah would have had no reason to proclaim “Woe is me, for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips” when He stood before God.

    “And excuse my ignorance here, but of those philosophers, which of them argued that morality comes solely from God? I don’t recall Lewis making that claim.”

    Of that list, Thomas Aquinas and C.S. Lewis were the only Christian philosophers, I believe. Thomas Aquinas said this, “Therefore, there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.” He held that God is the source of goodness/morality.

    I’m not sure if C.S. Lewis was ever in this same discussion so I couldn’t find the exact claim where C.S. Lewis states “God is the source of morality.” Instead, He shares that God is the law-giver and that the world has a moral law. Here are some quotes from C.S. Lewis:

    “Let us get two propositions written into our minds with indelible ink. 1) The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary colour in the spectrum. 2) Every attempt to do so consists in arbitrarily selecting some one maxim of traditional morality, isolating it from the rest and erecting it into an unum necessarium.” (The Poison of Subjectivisim, 1943-chapter 6, paragraph 8-10)

    So, with Lewis, no morality evolution.

    Also, “First,…human beings, all over the earth, have the curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly,…they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves in the universe we live in.” (Mere Christianity, chapter 1, paragraph 11)

    C.S. Lewis had a LOT to say about morality and never indicated that it was sourced anywhere other than God.

    “Or, he may have been convinced by evidence. You’re imputing motivation here without evidence of the motivation.”

    You are right. I did that, which was not right. It could be he was convinced in his own mind, and the Bible even commands us not to judge motives, so I was wrong about “why” with Nietzsche. It’s hard to say why when you’re talking about someone else.

    “Nothing in evolution is “it’s just there.””

    Then it is either “ought” or “ought not” rather than “is.” Is there another option? Is there any reason behind evolution? Does evolution explain “why?” No, it just is supposed to describe things the way they, were and are. That is why I say “it’s just there” because evolution makes no attempt at anything else but to state “this is the way it is.”

    I said, “And I thought I’d answered. The word “support” is impossible in evolution. Murder, rape, incest, genocide, abortion, bigotry, euthanasia, hatred, lust, selfishness, etc. just “are.””

    You said, “No scientist makes such claims.”

    I didn’t say scientists made the claims; I’m saying that their theory does. It merely describes them as being in existence, but cannot say if they are right or wrong. Who would believe in evolution if scientists went around saying that genocide, rape, and murder were morally ok? But in evolution, these things are described, not judged, and can only be observed to be beneficial or harmful, but never right or wrong. Otherwise you are making a moral judgment which is something that an evolutionary theory cannot do.

    “You keep referring to Dawkins, but I get the creeping sense of realization that you’ve not read his work…”

    I have listened to a lot of what he’s said (there’s a lot of his lectures and debates on youtube) about God and have not been impressed. I’ve surprised you would stick up for a guy who calls your God an egomaniacal, etc. etc. etc. dictator. He even would say your belief in God is harming society. I’m sorry, but he’s lost all credibility with me as a scientist who is trying to find the truth. For me, associating with him would be like “walking in the counsel of the ungodly,” or “standing in the way of sinners” and “sitting in the seat of the scoffers.” According to Psalm 1, this isn’t what we as believers want to spend our time doing. Our delight is to be in the law of the Lord and to meditate on the Bible, not be buddy buddy with people who hate God, like Dawkins. I would exercise caution with hanging out with that guy, my friend.

    “You use the word “selfishness,” but I think you mean a hogging of resources, and not the evolutionary meaning of acting in one’s self interest.”

    Paul said in his epistle to the Philippians that we are not to look out for simply our own interests but also the interests of others. Jesus did not do a good job of looking out for his own interests, so I actually was referring to acting in one’s self interest as well. It is counter cultural, but being self serving is not a Biblical concept. Instead, giving of yourself and being the servant of all is the way to succeed.

    “How is anything Hitler did “just is?” I don’t think you’re paying attention, Joe. Nothing Hitler did promoted the species in any way. He didn’t contribute to the genetic fitness, he didn’t contribute to the species’ spread, he didn’t contribute to cooperation, to the expansion of food supplies to expand population. “Lebensraum” might be turned into a tribal expansion argument, but it certainly never rises beyond that in Nazi politics.”
    I really don’t feel comfortable trying to defend Hitler, because he was a monster, but in short, at least he thought he was doing those things you described. He thought he was purifying his species and was therefore helping his own herd along. He was wrong of course. But anyway, I say that what Hitler did “just is” in evolution because time and time again I must say that evolution cannot state something as “ought” or “ought not” but rather is observatory of the natural process. That doesn’t mean that anything that Hitler actually “just is” but that this is all that evolution can say about Hitler. Therefore, unless you can prove from evolution how it is possible for guys like Hitler to work outside of nature, then what he did “was” and cannot be condemned using evolution, because evolution merely observes.

    “No; your bad for assuming study of the Bible substitutes for information on other topics. Study of the Bible is fine. It doesn’t say anything significant about evolution, though, especially nothing significant opposed to it. All I’m saying is, if you wish to discuss evolution, you really ought to know what it says.”

    I was not excusing not knowing. I was saying that priorities being what they are, my time is better spent in devoting my life to something I believe in rather than something that I’ve never agreed with or given credence to. I had believed that the debate should have come to a close a long time ago. After discussing it with you, I’ve learned so much that I am so glad that I’ve talked with you about it. I’m still glad though that after a year I haven’t had to ditch my Bible like many fundamentalists do when they “see the light” and that the Bible does hold up under close scrutiny.

    One thing also that you have to realize with a lot of creationists is that they have a lot of misunderstandings about evolution and where it is today. While I’m learning to get rid of those misunderstandings, I’m learning that evolution is still just as wrong as ever, but has gotten a lot more aggressive and vocal about its hatred towards the Bible in recent years. It’s only a matter of time before teaching Genesis as anything other than mythology will be outlawed in this country. Many on this blog will say “amen” to that day, and even you may think that, but it always amazes me how tolerance only goes so far as to not incorporate the Bible literalists and those who take God at His word. You have faith that Jesus raised from the dead and demand that no evidence should be shown to prove it one way or the other, but you mock creationists who believe in a literal Genesis by faith as Hebrews 11 commands us to do. Even, and this is a big even because I still after a year believe it holds up, if that’s all we had, are we not entitled to our beliefs? Are we not entitled to pass on our beliefs like you pass on your beliefs of Christ’s resurrection? Not to play the martyr here, so I’ll shut up.

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish by posting all that about evolution, but I’ll say thanks for the info anyway. I pretty well knew that, so I think that what you think I don’t know about evolution is a misunderstanding of where I’m coming from more than me not understanding the basic tenets of evolution, because even though I don’t know a lot, I’m not a dummy.

    “No, in evolution theory, murder and immorality do not spring from nothing. There are reasons that these actions contradict benefits for the species and individual, reasons grounded in theory, reasons observed in the wild and in the lab, reasons which lead to scientific hypotheses that can be tested and, in many cases, have been tested.”
    So, we’re back to having murder as natural? Which is it? Is it natural or isn’t it? You seem to want it both ways with what you posted here.

    I’ve got to end there and pick this up later, after I’ve read the chapter on the Descent of man. I’ve read most of it already, but I’ll read it again.

    “The Golden Rule arises from sources other than revelation. As a Christian, I would argue that there is a deeper law in operation there, but it’s a law that you’re disavowing in arguing for no evolution.”

    What new law is this? I’ll humor you and say a hypothetical yes to evolution so that you can explain where you’re coming from. I simply don’t see how The Golden Rule could have arisen out of natural selection and survival of the fittest, but I’ll humor you here. How did this come about apart from this God of yours that has revealed nothing to us.

    Now you can see why I’ve waited so long to write back. By the way, some of our church members think our discussions should be made into a book it’s so long. I think this post alone would qualify. :-)

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  51. Ed Darrell says:

    No need to apologize, Joe. None of us is professional at this blogging stuff. We all have day jobs, and sometimes night jobs, in addition.

    Like

  52. lowerleavell says:

    Guys,

    I am sorry I haven’t been able to write. It has been really crazy between doing a funeral, getting ready for camp, VBS, etc. I will reply when I have time. My appologies for the delay.

    Like

  53. Ediacaran says:

    Lowerleavell writes: “I am humored by an atheist who thinks that Darwin was morally superior to God.”

    I suspect (hope?) even you would think Darwin (or nearly any real person) would be morally superior to your mythical god if you just based your assessment on their alleged acts and behavior, and weren’t told beforehand that it was your god who was responsible for genocide, murders, human sacrifice, and all the other morally reprehensible things attributed to your god YHWH in the Tanakh. Do you believe that all of David’s crimes except in the matter of Uriah qualify as following your god’s commandments, as the Tanakh states? Would you rather live next door to someone who condemned slavery, or someone else who said it was okay to beat your slaves so badly they died after a few days (but not so badly they died the same day), because they were property? Would you rather live next door to someone who advanced science leading to cures for diseases, or someone else who was responsible for the genocide of the Midianites or other groups including innocent victims?

    The real problem is those people who believe in mythical gods and commit heinous acts like murdering “infidels”, flying planes into buildings, and other faith-based crimes in the same mold as King David, but with modern technology.

    Lowerleavell: “I have NEVER heard an evolutionist say that Darwin was wrong in anything come to think of it.”

    You really need to read more than one book. Like all great scientists, Darwin got a few things wrong. Newton was an alchemist, Darwin had incorrect pre-Mendellian ideas about the transmission of hereditary factors, and Einstein goofed his cosmological constant. You’re welcome for the education. You seem bent on pretending that evolution is a religion – it isn’t, and it doesn’t clean windows, either.

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  54. lowerleavell says:

    Ok. I appologize Ed if I came across as miffed. I couldn’t make heads or tails as to “why” so I wrongly thought you were trying again to dodge the questions. I’m sorry.

    Like

  55. lowerleavell says:

    Ed,

    I guess I was writing while you were writing. I appreciate your time and finally answering my questions. I will get back to you next week as I have time.

    Perhaps in the meantime I may ask you to simply clarify then what you mean when you say that murder is outside the natural order? From my understanding of evolution (which you say is warped), if we are a part of evolution, then everything that we do, whether it is beneficial or a hindrance is a part of evolution because we are within the scopes of the control of natural selection and survival of the fittest. That hypothesis makes it impossible for us to do anything outside the natural order because since we are a part of nature, everything we do is natural. All life then defines what is natural because it is what we do and impossible for us to be unnatural.

    Basically, what I’m saying is that you are hypothesizing that what Ed does isn’t really a part of Ed’s nature. Well, Ed defines how Ed acts and so everything Ed does is in accordance to Ed’s nature. The same could be true of all humanity. Even if what we all do is diverse, it is all natural. You seem to be backing up this logic by everything you say except what you personally define as immorality.

    I believe I understand (and I’ll do more research) the theory of how morality developed in humanity according to evolution. What I don’t understand is the explanation of immorality and how we can condemn it. On what authority can you make an absolute statement like “Hitler was a monster!”?

    As a human that’s entirely possible to make the claim, but you remember the sayings, “you and what army?” “Might makes right” “winners write the history books” etc? Isn’t your perception of morality simply a product of your environment and upbringing? What if your sense of morality is only based on your tribe? Who is to say you are right and they are wrong? We speak as the offspring of the victors against Hitler, but in evolution, who has the authority to say “right” and “wrong” and carry any weight behind it.

    I would submit to you that the only one who has the authority to make such an absolute claim to right and wrong would be God. We are biased toward our culture and sense of morality. The only one who would be objective would be someone outside the order of humanity. That would be God.

    You mentioned Abraham, but no Christian that I have met has ever sourced morality to Abraham. What about people who lived before Abraham? Didn’t they have a sense of right and wrong? No, morality existed long before Abraham, Moses, etc. No, morality must have existed all the way back to either Adam or the first life in primordial soup (or somewhere along the evolutionary timeline). The Bible explains how immorality came into existence, but evolution cannot, nor can it absolutely condemn it.

    My question for you as you being a Christian would be if morality and immorality are simply a part of nature, why then do we need Christ? As an example? Why then would he need to die such a cruel horrible death and be resurrected? Why do we need Hims as our Savior, to save us from what? Why not simply speak to someone on a mountain and give them ten commandments on how to be good? Why wasn’t that enough?

    Like

  56. Ed Darrell says:

    Your response to all of my questions is to link to a bitter, former fundamentalist, atheist about the evils of Ken Ham???

    No. I just thought you might want to read what the guy had to say.

    Like

  57. lowerleavell says:

    Ediacaran,

    I am humored by an atheist who thinks that Darwin was morally superior to God. If you do have a god my friend, his name is Darwin. I have NEVER heard an evolutionist say that Darwin was wrong in anything come to think of it. They always defend everything he has written almost to the point that it is gospel. Ed is doing the same thing, but at least gives Jesus credit for rising from the dead to save us from our sin (though he can’t explain how sin got there to begin with) which a real atheist would never do. But that’s about as far as I can get with Ed giving God credence for anything.

    Anyway, to give a little bit more of a substantial response to your post, the fact that David wasn’t struck dead for his sin wasn’t lost on David. His complete repentance at the realization of his sin when Nathan told him “you are the man” is a testimony to God’s mercy and grace. Read Psalm 51 when David cries out to God for mercy! The reason you see God’s judgment on nations and people is because of their failure to genuinely repent and seek God’s mercy. Those who understand their fallen position before a just and holy God, know that they cannot possibly merit God’s forgiveness, but seek His mercy and His grace through His redemption, God is more than willing to forgive them. God even goes out of His way to let people know that they are in violation of His laws and warns people over and over and over again to turn from their sin. The only way God has the authority to ask people to do that is if He is the one who decides what is right and what is wrong. If He is not the moral compass then His judgments are simply opinion and should be condemned.

    By the way, along those lines as well, the Mosaic law wasn’t written to demand perfection, but if you read the writings of Paul you will notice it was to teach people that they couldn’t live righteously before God so they would understand their dependance on His grace and again, genuinely repent and seek God’s mercy and grace. David did this and thus he was forgiven for his sin (though his sin had many consequences!). Forgiveness is not the same thing as condoning of murder.

    Again and again I go back to it that atheists do not have a problem with God’s existence, they have a problem with His character. God’s character is totally defensible, but that is not the direction of this thread to this point but rather how you explain the existence of morality and immorality apart from God. Ediacaran, perhaps you would be so kind as to answer the questions that Ed will not from your perspective. How is possible for murder/immorality to be outside of nature when we as humans are a product of nature? If murder is within natures laws, how can we condemn it?

    Also, I was not blasting Darwin at all. In fact, I have bent over backwards to try and defend his character and his claims to Christianity. I’m sure he was a really nice, good person who meant well, that’s fine. What I’m saying is that his teachings stipped any authority for morality and made it “just is.” He personally condemned slavery, etc. but he did so because he followed the teachings of Jesus and rightly understood that slavery is barbaric. But by strictly following the logic of his teachings, murder, slavery, etc. can only be observed but not condemned. Evolution does not teach “ought or ought not” but rather “is.” For this reason, you cannot condemn men like Hitler using evolution because what he did simply “is.” It can be observed to be harmful, unbeneficial, etc. but cannot be condemned as “wrong.” Darwin condemned it…by what authority?

    Like

  58. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, you wrote something suggesting that all morality comes from God, and that there is no other source of morality. Historically, we know that’s false. Christian students of scripture know there were codes of morality in operation well before Abraham left Ur. Some fundamentalists, in scriptural and theistic error, have argued as you appear to that there can be no scheme of morality that is not based on scripture. So I noted some of the historic material you blithely ignore: “What did the ancient Greeks use? What did the Hindus use? How about Confucius — without God, he developed an entire system of teachings that included the Golden Rule, well prior to the Jews and Christians discovering the rule.”

    Joe, I’m not sure if you realize you’re caught red-handed or if you genuinely missed the point. You said:

    You are very good at politics Ed. You’re doing the old, “let me answer that question by asking you this” sort of switch that politicians do. You refuse to answer the question on how it is possible for humans to have the ability to act outside of evolution.

    I don’t have any problem distinguishing between natural events and man-caused events, and I didn’t realize that such a confusion was at the root of your error in history and scripture. I didn’t refuse to answer the question at all. I noted the premise of your question is completely in error.

    You failed to offer any reason to think your question is valid, instead accusing me of politics.

    Where did you get the idea that humans have no will and that there is no history prior to Abraham? On what basis can such bizarre premises be the foundation of a valid question?

    You also refuse to even touch on whether or not abortion is murder or just a part of evolution (abortion is very unnatural).

    I haven’t gotten to the point yet. Abortion is not only very natural, it’s common. Spontaneous abortions take from 20% to 50% of all pregnancies. (Where do you get off labeling God a murderer? And unconsciously doing so!)

    This is another area where science offers a lot of information, but the black/white distinctions polemical religionists wish to make cannot be done, honestly, with good information. So the information is ignored.

    What’s your serious question about abortion? Are you completely unaware that there are so many abortions naturally? Have you ever studied the issue seriously, especially in nature? Most other species have a variety of devices they used to control insemination and birth. In some bird species, females have areas to store semen of more than one male, apparently giving them the ability to control which of several “lovers” impregnates them. In several mammal species, sex with a male other than the father of the currently carried fetus tends to prompt spontaneous abortion. You probably don’t even want to know about squids and octopi. (You might want to get a quick primer by picking up Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation, a delightfully witty production from a serious scientist with heavy emphasis on just what is really natural, by Olivia Judson. The blurb on the cover says the book “reveals when necrophilia is acceptable, how to have a virgin birth, and when to eat your lover. It also advises on more mundane matters — such as male pregnancy and the joys of a detachable penis.” I suspect God’s nature is much more unusual than any Baptist minister has ever seriously thought; if one is unfamiliar with evolution, familiarity with the rest of nature is pretty much a given, don’t you think? Here: http://www.drtatiana.com/ )

    Is abortion moral? I believe rape to be immoral, and I agree with current international law that forcing a woman to bear the child of a rape is a crime. There is a gray area there, I think for even abortion opponents. I do not believe God intended women to be tortured. There is not a bright line answer for such a question.

    Nor do I find it rational to think that ensoulment occurs at conception. For the first nine months of life, humans are closer to parasites than free beings, and I think there are serious theological issues to arguing parasites are human (much of the chemical conflict between mother and child-in-utero is due to this parasitic resemblance). Legally, not even the Catholic church argues for full human rights to be endowed at conception, a position I find awfully bizarre for a group that argues a one-celled fetus is fully human. If it’s fully human, give it full rights; but of course, to do so denies the mother her full human rights.

    I think arguments that suggest a bright line on abortion are morally flawed, and tend towards immorality themselves in the suggestion that we can ignore the rights of humans whenever a church says it’s okay. Check your dictionary, but that is one of the key components of fascism, isn’t it?

    Those are a few of the paths an abortion discussion would take — why in the world do you think it relevant to evolution? No discussion of abortion informs evolution theory that I can see.

    But I will answer your questions, but please do not be rude and ignore mine because without answering them you are ignoring the crux of the issue. If humans are capable of things that animals are not, how, when, and why, did that happen? You haven’t even touched anything I said in that regard.

    Animals are generally much more capable of abortion than humans, and abortion is a very common, natural occurrence in humans. I think you have a fuzzy question that is not informed by the facts of life, such as they are. If you can make some sort of stab at suggesting why abortion would inform a discussion of evolution, go ahead. I suspect you think you’ve got the ultimate gotcha argument in abortion, however, and that you intend to use that as an excuse to ignore the evidence of evolution. Why is abortion relevant?

    Ok, to answer your questions. I said that without God, what is the source of morality? You bring up the Greeks, the Hindus, etc. and say that they are the source? Did they invent morality? No. But it is true that each and every individual is born with a sense of morality and immorality (I didn’t have to teach my two year old how to lie or throw a fit when he doesn’t get his way, and he does know much about right and wrong).

    Lying is a learned activity, not instinctual. People do have to learn to lie. Babies have nothing but a “fit” to express displeasure, and they have not yet learned control of emotional displays. You’re confusing learned and instinctual activities here. Did you read Darwin’s book, The expression of the emotions in animals and man?

    Check it out: http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F1142&viewtype=text&pageseq=1

    He doesn’t talk much about deception, but I think you might be informed by the level of knowledge available on these issues 140 years ago. We have much more knowledge now.

    Since a sense of morality, which most people call a “conscience” is something we’re born with; the question is where did it come from?

    I think you may want to revisit this idea. I don’t know of many people informed in the area who think we have an inborn sense of morality. My experience in criminal justice and psychology suggest that there are many people who really have no great moral sense, others who have huge areas where they are deficient in any moral sense, and that much of what we think of as morality is learned.

    So again, I wonder about the premise from which you start. I do not think research shows we are born with much of a moral sense, but instead have a few instincts and we learn much of the rest in interaction with other members of the species.

    Random mutations, sexual reproduction, etc. cannot explain the existence of morality in Hindus, Confucius, Jews, Christians, etc. That is why I am saying the only plausible explanation on how Confucius was able to come up with his moral teachings is because he was endowed with a conscience by his Creator.

    Or, he learned it in interactions with others. Assuming normal development of a normal human, by the time that human is an adult, it would be difficult to distinguish what was inborn and what was learned. I think you’re attributing too much to instinct for humans.

    I’m not arguing that all of morality is in genes. I’m merely pointing out that there is very little, if any, evidence that morality comes solely from the God of Abraham, nor especially the God of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, which may or may not be the same gods as the God of Abraham.

    What is your explanation as to where it came from? Primordial soup can’t evolve a conscience.

    Who says?

    Again, I find the question naive, and simplistic way past the point of error. Wholly apart from 6,000 years of philosophy ignored in the question, there is the science.

    Matt Ridley is a fine science writer. For more than a decade religionists have scrambled all over themselves to ignore his book, The Origins of Virtue, Human instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation. I’ll wager it’s not on your shelf.
    http://www.mattridley.co.uk/origins.htm
    Ridley’s more recent book, Nature via Nurture may go more directly to the questions relevant to this discussion:
    http://www.mattridley.co.uk/nature.htm

    Ridley pretty well summarizes the current state of the science with regard to the evolution of morality question.

    You might also want to wrestle with some of the other erroneous preconceptions that a life of religion largely devoid of science might produce. Washoe the chimp died this past year. Her ability to communicate, and her ability to challenge the actions of humans with regard to her species, pose some rather breathtaking puzzles for us all. Roger Fouts’ Next of Kin will probably keep you up nights after you read it. (Joe, what would you have done for the chimp who asked to be baptized?)

    And if you have a Half Price Books close by, you can probably pick up Frans de Waal’s Good Natured, The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals. de Waal is an old observer of chimp behaviors.

    From much of this literature we learn that sharing and cooperation tends to be the way of the natural world. Aggression is moderated, rarely if ever leading to murder. Even warfare between groups is rare, often moderated when it does occur, and seldom the “kill everyone and dash the babies’ brains out” conflicts we see among humans.

    Desmond Morris and a few others 40 and 50 years ago suggested that warfare, murder and the ability to kill our own species members from a distance with spears and arrows mark the real differences between humans and other species (this is a very simplified version of a longer and more complex argument), But even in those scenarios, cooperation, sharing and altruism are the norms of natural behavior for almost all species, social and solitary.

    So, with what looks like human morality found to be so deeply rooted throughout the animal kingdom, in learned and instinctive behaviors, and with what passes as morality so inextricably wound up in both instinct and learned behaviors, I’m not sure we can make an argument that a concept of God is the sole source of morality on the planet. One might make the argument that God has a grander plan than any religionist dreams, I suppose — is that where you’re going? If so, I think you’re then conceding completely the fact and theory of evolution.

    “Either you’re arguing that Confucius was a powerful prophet, or you’ve got more thinking to do about just what morality is. It’s quick and easy to say “no morals without God.” It’s nothing that any philosopher, including the most ardent Christian philosphers [sic] ever espoused, but it’s a good enough answer for a Sunday school class of 4th graders, at least so the teacher doesn’t have to know anything.”

    Ok, before I bring a reply, I need to address how you discuss things Ed, because you may or may not be aware of this. Look at the last paragraph. What are you attempting to do to my argument? 1) Make it look like I’m all alone in my argument and I have no authority for making the assumption because no good Christian philosopher would take this position, and 2) Demean the argument to an unacceptable level for this discussion to make it look like I’m completely ignorant and childish. I do not think that low of debate is necessary in this forum, do you? That being said let me furnish my reply.

    I’m trying to avoid a pointless discussion I’ve had with countless Texas Baptists that ends in my discovering and their refusing to acknowledge that their whole scheme of argument depends on God creating the Earth fully blown in 144 hours, just a few thousand years ago, complete with physics, chemistry, paleontological and archaeological evidence hoaxed up to mislead scientists today.

    You’re not alone in the argument at all — there are only too many religionists who ignore the history of Christianity and the rest of mankind in arguing that morality comes from God. I’m hoping you’re not in that school.

    And, I’m protesting the stunted moral education that our kids get in Sunday school. I shudder every time I see a preacher or Sunday school teacher with Josh McDowell’s books on a shelf, or worse, under their arm on the way to class. There is a lot of good thought on the origins of morality in philosophy, in Christian philosophy, and in history. I don’t understand at all the drive to ignore it.

    The argument from morality is a well documented, being held to apologists like Thomas Aquinas and more recently, C.S. Lewis. If you wish to put them on a fourth grade Sunday School level, that’s up to you, but don’t say that no ardent Christian philosopher held to the moral argument. C.S. Lewis really addressed the subject in Mere Christianity and calls it “The Moral Law.” The argument was so well known that some obscure guys like Kant, Hobbes, and this one guy you may have heard of called Nietzsche spoke at lengths on the subject. Oh, another one who addressed morality would be…oh yeah, Plato. My college philosophy book (secular) called “Living Issues in Philosophy” by Titus, Smith, and Nolan, put it this way (pg. 394-395), “The critics of this argument say that even if moral values are acknowledged (as you have admitted as well), they could be explained by human needs and desires or by the structure of human nature and society. In other words, the norms need not be located outside the natural order (emphasis mine); they need not point to a transcendent Sacred Ultimate.”

    And excuse my ignorance here, but of those philosophers, which of them argued that morality comes solely from God? I don’t recall Lewis making that claim. I could be wrong, but particularly in the Screwtape Letters he appears to understand humans as social animals, and he does not present a street naive viewpoint at all.

    Nietzsche understood the danger of this argument and in “Daybreak” began his “Campaign against Morality.” Nietzsche argued for morality being natural, and not sourced in God. Why? Because otherwise you are left with God being the source of morality!

    Or, he may have been convinced by evidence. You’re imputing motivation here without evidence of the motivation. This is an error I often see. ICR literature frequently complains of Darwin’s desire to get God out of his life, a desire Darwin never expressed, never acted upon, and which is, so far as anyone can tell, completely absent from his life.

    Why makes you think Nietzche was predisposed against God — I mean, other than your experience with religionists who are predisposed in favor of God?

    You are the one telling me that murder is outside the natural order. You’ve taken your first steps towards the side of Theism, my friend, which is ½ the battle (which is strange for me to be arguing for God being the one who gave us morals with a professing Christian). This is why I say you are in a predicament. If you are consistent and willing to do a little study, you will notice that those who argue against morality being sourced in God (guys like Nietzshe and more recently, Dawkins and others I’m sure) must say that it is simply a part of evolution and is natural.

    I’ve asked before (and you’ve not answered). Let me ask again. What part does murder play in evolution? Unless you assume that a goal of evolution (a process which lacks such expression of goals) is to create murderers, where is there any survival advantage in murder? Especially in a social species which depends on the aid of its fellows for protection from predators, protection from elements, care in times of illness or injury, and the everyday supply of food, what role does murder play?

    If you wish to argue that murder is natural, tell us what function it fills.

    If you want some additional citations, some of the info I got was from here:

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

    Even Dawkins, from what I understand, addresses the subject in “The God Delusion” and “suggested that our morality is a result of our biological evolutionary history and that the Moral Zeitgeist helps describe how morality evolves from biological and cultural origins and evolves with time within a culture.”

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

    Is Dawkins explanation what you want to hold to? You have already admitted in our discussion of Hitler that this is impossible and that murder is outside the natural order. You just said again, “Except that murder is contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection, and murder generally tends to weaken the entire species for the bad choices it makes.” So, where does it come from? It is “contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection…”!!!!! I totally agree! The theological argument is that the best explanation is that morals are from God and that they were rejected by mankind in the Garden of Eden. Your alternatives are evolution, and…it’s just there.

    Nothing in evolution is “it’s just there.”

    “Generally the murderers are, as Darwin noted, the lowest of the low, the least desirable, the least fit by almost any standard. Evolution theory offers nothing to support murder of anyone at any place. I keep asking, please don’t ignore all the evidence and theory. That’s exactly the error I’m complaining about, and compounding the error doesn’t correct it.”

    I have not said that evolution “supports” murder or immorality of any kind. Look back at my posts you will not find it. What I have said is that it cannot “condemn” it. Immorality simply “is.” Evolution can observe that immorality is not beneficial to the herd, and observe that it is undesirable, but it can never make a moral judgment on whether it is right or wrong. It cannot say what “ought” to be. It simply “is.” This is a huge, huge, huge limitation to the theory of evolution because it is entirely absent of sense of right and wrong. There is no scientific explanation for the existence of morality or immorality. I keep asking you to provide it if I am wrong, but the crickets keep chirping.

    You know, I can’t force information on you, especially over the internet. As Darwin went to lengths to explain, morality provides benefits to the survival of the species. Cooperation makes food gathering more efficient and less energy-intensive. Altruism preserves one’s genes into the future even when the death of the individual occurs. Monogamy helps perpetuate one’s family in a species where care of the offspring is necessary post-birth. The crickets chirp anyway, and I think that you notice them because you’re not doing the reading you should be doing.

    “I’ve asked others before, and I thought I’d asked you, Joe: What part of evolution theory do you claim supports murder? The part that observes there are more offspring than can survive to breed? The part that says food supplies are generally limited? The part that says traits are heritable? Which part supports murder, and which part do you claim Hitler appealed to? There is absolutely zero connection. What part of evolution theory supports rape? That’s contrary to sexual selection. What part supports bigotry?”

    And I thought I’d answered. The word “support” is impossible in evolution. Murder, rape, incest, genocide, abortion, bigotry, euthanasia, hatred, lust, selfishness, etc. just “are.”

    No scientist makes such claims. You keep referring to Dawkins, but I get the creeping sense of realization that you’ve not read his work, especially his work explaining why and how evolution works, and why and how murder, rape and incest, and genocide don’t work in evolution, how and when xenophobia might be useful to a tribe, how lust is necessary for reproduction, or how “selfishness” leads to altruistic behavior.

    You use the word “selfishness,” but I think you mean a hogging of resources, and not the evolutionary meaning of acting in one’s self interest.

    I do not think the word means what you think it means.

    No support, no criticism. I am not saying evolution supports these things, I am saying that it can make no judgment on them at all.

    Same thing. Same lack of information.

    You can make judgments on them, but when you do, you leave objectivity and science on the table. Therefore, for you to call Hitler a monster would be evolutionarily inaccurate. It’s still right, because he was a monster, but you can’t defend it from evolution because, as I’ve said again, and again, and again, in evolution, it just “is.” It may be observed to be harmful, it may be undesirable, but it is what it is. Evolution cannot say “ought or ought not” because according to evolution, we’re all a part of nature and have the same ancestor.

    How is anything Hitler did “just is?” I don’t think you’re paying attention, Joe. Nothing Hitler did promoted the species in any way. He didn’t contribute to the genetic fitness, he didn’t contribute to the species’ spread, he didn’t contribute to cooperation, to the expansion of food supplies to expand population. “Lebensraum” might be turned into a tribal expansion argument, but it certainly never rises beyond that in Nazi politics.

    You’re not telling me what Hitler did that squares with evolution theory, I suspect, because you don’t know what evolution theory is.

    “It’s difficult to discuss with people who don’t know evolution theory. It’s tougher when to discuss with people who assume it to be something quite other than it is.”

    My apologies if I am not as brushed up on something I am opposed to than I should be. My bad for spending my time studying the Bible and teaching people to love God and love their neighbors instead of fine tuning the nuances of a theory that I don’t believe holds up under close scrutiny.

    No; your bad for assuming study of the Bible substitutes for information on other topics. Study of the Bible is fine. It doesn’t say anything significant about evolution, though, especially nothing significant opposed to it. All I’m saying is, if you wish to discuss evolution, you really ought to know what it says.

    Here’s a one-minute summary of evolution:

    One of the things that really bugs me about creationists is how they take chunks of evidence they think sound good, and then misapply them to evolution, though they don’t understand evolution in any way. For example, one guy was arguing on one thread that the rotation of Uranus made evolution impossible. He didn’t know how, or why, but he stuck to his guns that he was sure it did. Another guy argued that the First Law of Thermodynamics makes evolution impossible — then he mis-stated the law. We demonstrate speciation, which is “macro” evolution, and all such demonstrations are dismissed here because creationists want to see kittens coming out of dogs, and wings growing on frogs — things that evolution predicts would happen only with intelligent design interference in evolution.

    Look, here are the five basic observations, the five basic facts, of evolution, upon which evolution theory is based. Each of these observations is well-established, and had been known for at least 100 years prior to Darwin’s birth. None of them has been discussed on this board, which is one more indication of how far out of whack this discussion is.

    Evolution theory is five observations, or facts, and three reasonable inferences drawn from them.

    These are the facts of evolution which creationists must deny to falsify evolution.

    Observation 1: Species have great fertility. They make more offspring than can grow to adulthood.

    Observation 2: Populations remain roughly the same size, with modest fluctuations.

    Observation 3. Food resources are limited, and are constant most of the time.

    Inference A: In such an environment there will be a struggle for survival among individuals.

    Observation 4: No two individuals are identical. Variation is rampant.

    Observation 5: Much of this variation is heritable.

    Inference B: In a world of stable populations where each individual must struggle to survive, those with the “best” characteristics will be more likely to survive, and those desirable traits will be passed to their offspring. This is natural selection.

    Inference C: Natural selection, if carried far enough, makes changes in a population, eventually leading to new species.

    (In Ernst Mayr’s 1982 book The Growth of Biological Thought, he boils Darwin down to five observations and three inferences from them — the heart of evolution, according to Donald Johanson and Maitland A. Edey in Blueprints.)

    I have given up hope for a rational answer, but if a Woman from Mars lands, she may find a sliver of information here.

    Joe said:

    I don’t claim to be an evolutionary expert, but this is something that I know is accurate in evolution to be true to the theory: murder and immorality just “are.” That doesn’t mean that evolution sanctions murder, but it does mean that murder is now no longer condemned, but simply a “choice that weakens the herd.”

    No, in evolution theory, murder and immorality do not spring from nothing. There are reasons that these actions contradict benefits for the species and individual, reasons grounded in theory, reasons observed in the wild and in the lab, reasons which lead to scientific hypotheses that can be tested and, in many cases, have been tested.

    You’re much too stingy in your assessment of what science is, and in your assessment of what we know about human behavior and human morality, from history, from scripture, and from science.

    “I really do not believe you, Joe, when you say evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus preached in favor of the Golden Rule, not against it. Jesus used parables to encourage neighborly and altruistic behavior, not to discourage it.”

    You seem to be arguing that the Golden Rule finds its source in evolution and nature. Is that true? How is that possible?

    Please read chapter five of Darwin’s Descent of Man, the chapter that deals with how morality arises in humans through evolutionary processes. The Golden Rule arises from sources other than revelation. As a Christian, I would argue that there is a deeper law in operation there, but it’s a law that you’re disavowing in arguing for no evolution.

    Here is one on-line source:
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Freeman_TheDescentofMan.html

    I have reproduced the relevant sections on this blog, here:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/why-study-evolution/darwin-on-the-evolution-of-morality-in-humans/

    How also is it possible then if it is a law of nature, for us to break it and be outside of it?

    It’s dangerous to call anything “a law of nature,” but if there is anything in that category at any time, murder is not. It’s more dangerous, or dishonest, to argue that things contrary to what is observed in nature are laws of nature.

    Why would Confucius and Jesus need to tell people to do it if it came naturally because it was instinct?

    Why would God need to tell humans to honor their parents if that came naturally? Joe, you’re departing from reason again. There are lots of things that come naturally that get reified in religious doctrine.

    No, we are fallen creatures you and I, and even though we have a sense of right and wrong, our moral compass is warped. Fallen man is not possible in evolution.

    You seem to think that evil is genetic. You are aware, of course, that was the basis of the claims of most of the genocides of the past, yes? It’s a scurrilous claim scientifically, and I think, as Jefferson and Madison argued, it’s a scurrilous claim theologically. Men are not angels, but neither are they demons by default.

    And, if you don’t understand what evolution is, how it works, or why, how could you possible know what is possible or not in evolution?

    Evolution tells us the greatest things come from humble origins, a story that is replayed in the nativity, in the story of the rise of David, and countless other times in scripture. I don’t think you’re beginning to scratch the surface of what may or may not be possible in evolution, or outside of it.

    And frankly, I’m beginning to wonder about your conceptions of scripture, too.

    The reason why evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teaching is because evolution states that it just “is” while Jesus speaks with authority and says that it “should be” or “should not be.” The only way He has the right to do that is if He is speaking in the authority of the Law-Giver. (i.e. God).

    So, only Jesus can speak truth? I think that’s a dubious statement in any theology. If a statement is indeed true, it can be discovered by anyone, and spoken by anyone, in a free-will structure. It’s one thing to study scriptures as if the rest of the world didn’t exist. It’s probably not healthy to claim those conclusions as absolute, however, when we have to exist in the real world.

    Evolution does not say “it just ‘is’” about anything. If we can’t get rid of that misconception, we’ve lost a basis for discussion.

    Evolution looks to see how things came to be as they are. Saying things “just are” is a religious statement, and contrary to science, and not part of evolution.

    The Bible does not say that things just “are” but is very explicit on morality. Therefore, these are two separate world views and both cannot be right. That’s why I say they are in opposition to each other. I’m not saying that nature is devoid of morality, because it is there! I’m saying that evolution cannot explain how it got there or how man’s ability to go against morality came into being and that the presence of morality is an argument for God, not evolution.

    Don’t look now, but I notice that the Bible also doesn’t explain how morality got here, nor really much how or why we have an ability to choose not to do things the Bible claims to be moral. The presence of morality is an argument for the presence of morality.

    Moreover, I think the claim that we have to be moral because God exists rather insults the human potential. People who do not believe in the God of Abraham have developed good, solid codes of morality based on something quite different from fear of eternal damnation or smiting from a deity, including Confucius, Buddha, and modern atheists. To argue that we have no control over our actions but for God is silly, completely unevidenced, and contrary to history.

    Ok, so what are your next questions you wish to ask me instead of answering all of mine?

    Would you take some time and study what evolution really says?

    Like

  59. lowerleavell says:

    Ed,

    Your response to all of my questions is to link to a bitter, former fundamentalist, atheist about the evils of Ken Ham??? There’s a lot I could read into that, but I prefer to take people at their words so I won’t. You know what they say though, if you don’t have anything substantial to attack, attack the speaker. Since I have done nothing personally to warrant an attack, you go after the “head honcho” of answersingenesis.
    Regardless of the criticism against Ham (which is a whole different topic besides what we are discussing), did you notice that the atheist of the other thread said that religion and science (which he means evolution) were not compatible? Atheists and conservative Christians both have this figured out, but you are making your bed with the atheists even though you disagree with them on some very critical details. Why?

    This link did absolutely nothing to contribute anything worthwhile to this discussion. It also does nothing to answer my very specific, very pointed questions that you STILL won’t answer. I should be offended, but I still love ya’ Ed. :-)

    You ask me for a clarification, but when I have written so much with you writing virtually nothing, why should I? But ok, I’ll bite because I’m gullible. :-)

    Did you ever get the concept of Devil’s advocate down? What I’m saying that in evolution, it’s the only logical reason why (if murder were within the scopes of nature, which it HAS to be in evolution because it just “is”, but you say it is not but refuse to demonstrate why) David would do something so extreme. Obviously, Bathsheba wasn’t trying to advance her DNA because she had no choice in the matter but was pretty much raped. David saw and lusted. The only natural explanation was because in his subconscience his instinct was to advance his DNA and here was a beautiful woman who would make beautiful babies. Do you have a better explanation using evolution alone?

    You asked, “On what criteria have you decided that Uriah’s genes were not superior to David’s?” Um, who was king? Wouldn’t that be the “alpha male?” Is your question really necessary?

    Obviously, I reject all of this line of thinking. But I’m asking you to make sense of it by using evolution. I’m trying to make it easy for you by throwing out suggestions, but you’re not offering any help here!

    Again, Ed

    Like

  60. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, clarify this one for me: On what basis do you say that in getting rid of Uriah David “was improving his genetics and advancing his DNA!” I’m sure you meant that David was improving the genes of Bathsheba’s children that she would bear to David — but says who? On what criteria have you decided that Uriah’s genes were not superior to David’s?

    Like

  61. Ediacaran says:

    Lowelrleavell wrote: “If I was a strict Darwinist, I would look at David and Bathsheba (please tell me you know the story) and say that David was justified in killing Bathsheba’s husband so that he could have her for himself. Why? Because he was improving his genetics and advancing his DNA! If Darwin is correct, there should be nothing morally wrong with that. Yet God vehemetely[sic] condemned him and would not bless him until he repented of his sin. Sounds like God and Darwin are at odds with each other.”

    Thank goodness! I’m glad Darwin didn’t advocate slavery, murder and genocide, like the bible does. As for David, in 1 Kings 11:34, YHWH allegedly claims (according to the author of 1 Kings): “Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:” David committed multiple murders, thefts, coveting his neighbors wife, and a litany of other crimes. See the following link for an account from someone not so enamored of the atrocities in the bible:

    http://freethought.mbdojo.com/david.html

    In fairness, the author of 1 Kings adds a qualifier in a later section, 1 Kings 15:5: “Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
    Apparently the author of 1 Kings thought all the other atrocities were okay with YHWH.

    Thank goodness modern civilization has given up biblical “morality” for more liberal Enlightenment. Moral people don’t stone their neighbors to death for working on Saturday, as the bible commands. Moral people don’t enslave others, as the bible condones. Moral people don’t commit genocide, as the god of the bible commanded on some occasions. I’d prefer Darwin’s morals over YHWH’s any day.

    Please stop bearing false witness against Darwin.

    Like

  62. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, you should see this review of Ken Ham’s book:
    http://godkillzyou.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/lying-for-jesus-the-lie-evolution-by-ken-ham/

    Like

  63. lowerleavell says:

    BTW, I linked Sharperiron to these threads because they are having a discussion on theistic evolution and what it entails. I think your testimony is a good example to the end result of theistic evolution. I doubt anyone else is reading such lengthy conversations, but if anyone else is interested, maybe someone smarter than me will jump in.

    Like

  64. lowerleavell says:

    Ed,

    If that is your answer than you really don’t understand what I’m saying. I thought I had made it clear, but I guess not. Probably my fault for not making my posts longer. :-)

    Before I answer, I would like to just remind you…again, that you haven’t answered any of my questions except the direct claim that Christianity and evolution are opposing world views. You have not addressed where morality came from, how it is evolutionarily possible for humans to do things contrary to nature, like murder, etc. You have not addressed abortion, at all, which is now since past where we are in the conversation, but I still don’t think you should ignore it. You need to address those things before any conversation can go on here. If you wish to terminate this discussion, that is up to you, but not to address these fundamental questions is telling me that you think that they are beneath you, this conversation isn’t interesting enough for you to take the time to do so, you can’t answer them because of ignorance, or because it compromises your position and so you cannot provide a satisfactory reply using evolution.

    Ok, to answer you statements:

    Of course Jesus never spoke on chemistry, botany, cosmic order (although He spoke a lot about heaven and hell), and other scientific things. Why would He? That was not His purpose in coming. Can you imagine Jesus standing and saying, “I am come to seek and save those that believe the world is flat.” Knowledge of how the universe works isn’t mankind’s greatest need. Mankind has transgressed God’s laws and stands condemned before a just and holy God. Jesus came to pay the penalty for our crimes against God, not to share with us that e=mc2, or the basics of chemistry. What would that have accomplished?

    Wow, you are saying that Jesus’ knowledge went against what nature demonstrates? Boy, if Jesus couldn’t get those things right, how do I believe He got my salvation right either? If God Himself (do you believe that Jesus is God? –not sure I should expect a reply) can’t get His basic facts straight, then that’s a pretty small God. I have gone over many of those claims that Jesus may have gotten things wrong, and if you want to go there we can, but there are good explanations for them. Jesus did not make mistakes, because if He did, how do we know that mistakes weren’t made in bigger things?

    You misunderstand my intent. I did not say that Christianity’s foundation is science. Christianity’s foundation is God and His truth, which would include science. What you are touting (all life is descendant from one ancestor) is not proven science in the slightest.

    “Railing against science because one disagrees with conclusions one misunderstands about science isn’t any better.”

    I have not railed against anything scientific. I am asking you, how in science can you explain where morality and human’s ability to go against the laws of nature came from? Questioning evolution isn’t science wrong because science demands that we question and try to falsify. If anything, asking the questions is a lot more scientific than not even addressing the questions at all but hoping they’ll go away. Being able to challenge the viewpoint that we are all from one ancestor is perfectly acceptable because there are many holes in the theory, one of which we’re having a one sided conversation about (how morality could have possibly evolved and how humans could go contrary to that evolution-how is it possible for you and I to have the ability to condemn Hitler). It’s is perfectly acceptable to question how we can from primordial soup, because it isn’t proven science in the slightest, but one supposed “plausible” theory that is suggested by evolutionists.

    “Evolution and science demand that we stick to the facts. Christianity does not disagree, and so a claim that they are ‘two different world views’ ignores the moral basis of Christianity as well as how science operates.”

    One thing that you are doing which is a fallacy is equating Darwinian evolution with science, stating them as synonymous. Evolution is not science, but is rather a scientific theory within the scope of science. Along those lines, evolution cannot stick to all the facts, because it is limited in its scope. It cannot touch morality or immorality but again, states things as “is.” Evolution does not even allow for the possibility of morality, because all things just “are” and are “natural.” You are saying that murder is not natural, but have not demonstrated how that is possible in evolution. You haven’t even acknowledged the question! The possibility for what “ought” or “ought not to be” is inexplicable in evolution. That is what I am asking you to demonstrate and that is what you are ignoring.

    The reason why I say that the two viewpoints are different world views is because while people like you try to have both Christianity and evolution, you cannot explain the existence of Christianity or any religion or immorality from evolution. All religion is outside the scope of evolution. You can explain morality from Christianity, but you cannot from evolution. It is possible to try to put the two together and try to make some sense out of it as you try to do, but it doesn’t work unless God is the Creator. That’s why science and God are compatible if God is the Law-giver, and the Creator, but it doesn’t work if God has no more authority than you or I to say what “ought” or “ought not” because He didn’t give us the moral laws any more than I did. It also doesn’t work with the absence of God which many atheists are trying to reconcile. As a theistic evolutionist like you believes, if He simply used evolution for everything, you’re back to square one trying to figure out how you can say “ought” and “ought not” as an evolved being. So again, and again, and again I’ll ask until you answer or simply ignore me entirely, where did we get the ability to go contrary to the “laws” of nature? Where did morality come from in evolution? Please, your ignoring of the questions is very rude.

    Bottom line, evolution and God are two different world views because evolution explains away morality as “just is” whereas God gives the definition as “ought” or “ought not.” Do you see how the two are different? They are not the same thing. You are trying to put them together and say that God explains the why and evolution explains the what. However, how is that not just a “God of the gaps” argument? You can’t figure out a “why” in evolution so you give credit to morality to God, even though you think morality simply evolved (which you haven’t demonstrated how yet) and is not sourced in God but in evolution. It doesn’t hold up under any scrutiny. Your viewpoint is an absolute mess and is chalked full of holes and contradictions. I just can’t make sense of it without you explaining how you reconcile all these inconsistencies.

    Like

  65. Ed Darrell says:

    Hey, Sharper Iron folks: Welcome! Leave a comment, let us know you were here.

    Like

  66. Ed Darrell says:

    Jesus does not speak of the cosmic order, Jesus does not address chemistry, nor does he address any “oughts” to botany (maybe we shouldn’t go there, since Jesus’ botanical knowledge appears to miss what nature actually demonstrates). Jesus speaks with authority about how people should act.

    Jesus doesn’t say anything against evolution anywhere. Jesus doesn’t tell people not to marry for love. Jesus doesn’t tell people how to have children. Jesus instructs on how to raise the children they have.

    Christianity is not science-based. Trying to find a scientific basis for faith is a bit of a fool’s errand, I think. Railing against science because one disagrees with conclusions one misunderstands about science isn’t any better.

    Evolution and science demand we stick with the facts. Christianity does not disagree, and so a claim that they are “two different world views” ignores the moral basis of Christianity as well as how science operates. It doesn’t matter how many fools agree with the statement, the faith doesn’t go that way, and the science is not opposed.

    Like

  67. lowerleavell says:

    I think my post made the filter because of my citations, so I’m going to try removing them to see if it works.

    Ed said, “What did the ancient Greeks use? What did the Hindus use? How about Confucius — without God, he developed an entire system of teachings that included the Golden Rule, well prior to the Jews and Christians discovering the rule.”

    You are very good at politics Ed. You’re doing the old, “let me answer that question by asking you this” sort of switch that politicians do. You refuse to answer the question on how it is possible for humans to have the ability to act outside of evolution. You also refuse to even touch on whether or not abortion is murder or just a part of evolution (abortion is very unnatural). But I will answer your questions, but please do not be rude and ignore mine because without answering them you are ignoring the crux of the issue. If humans are capable of things that animals are not, how, when, and why, did that happen? You haven’t even touched anything I said in that regard.
    Ok, to answer your questions. I said that without God, what is the source of morality? You bring up the Greeks, the Hindus, etc. and say that they are the source? Did they invent morality? No. But it is true that each and every individual is born with a sense of morality and immorality (I didn’t have to teach my two year old how to lie or throw a fit when he doesn’t get his way, and he does know much about right and wrong). Since a sense of morality, which most people call a “conscience” is something we’re born with; the question is where did it come from? Random mutations, sexual reproduction, etc. cannot explain the existence of morality in Hindus, Confucius, Jews, Christians, etc. That is why I am saying the only plausible explanation on how Confucius was able to come up with his moral teachings is because he was endowed with a conscience by his Creator. What is your explanation as to where it came from? Primordial soup can’t evolve a conscience.

    “Either you’re arguing that Confucius was a powerful prophet, or you’ve got more thinking to do about just what morality is. It’s quick and easy to say “no morals without God.” It’s nothing that any philosopher, including the most ardent Christian philosphers [sic] ever espoused, but it’s a good enough answer for a Sunday school class of 4th graders, at least so the teacher doesn’t have to know anything.”

    Ok, before I bring a reply, I need to address how you discuss things Ed, because you may or may not be aware of this. Look at the last paragraph. What are you attempting to do to my argument? 1) Make it look like I’m all alone in my argument and I have no authority for making the assumption because no good Christian philosopher would take this position, and 2) Demean the argument to an unacceptable level for this discussion to make it look like I’m completely ignorant and childish. I do not think that low of debate is necessary in this forum, do you? That being said let me furnish my reply.

    The argument from morality is a well documented, being held to apologists like Thomas Aquinas and more recently, C.S. Lewis. If you wish to put them on a fourth grade Sunday School level, that’s up to you, but don’t say that no ardent Christian philosopher held to the moral argument. C.S. Lewis really addressed the subject in Mere Christianity and calls it “The Moral Law.” The argument was so well known that some obscure guys like Kant, Hobbes, and this one guy you may have heard of called Nietzsche spoke at lengths on the subject. Oh, another one who addressed morality would be…oh yeah, Plato. My college philosophy book (secular) called “Living Issues in Philosophy” by Titus, Smith, and Nolan, put it this way (pg. 394-395), “The critics of this argument say that even if moral values are acknowledged (as you have admitted as well), they could be explained by human needs and desires or by the structure of human nature and society. In other words, the norms need not be located outside the natural order (emphasis mine); they need not point to a transcendent Sacred Ultimate.”

    Nietzsche understood the danger of this argument and in “Daybreak” began his “Campaign against Morality.” Nietzsche argued for morality being natural, and not sourced in God. Why? Because otherwise you are left with God being the source of morality! You are the one telling me that murder is outside the natural order. You’ve taken your first steps towards the side of Theism, my friend, which is ½ the battle (which is strange for me to be arguing for God being the one who gave us morals with a professing Christian). This is why I say you are in a predicament. If you are consistent and willing to do a little study, you will notice that those who argue against morality being sourced in God (guys like Nietzshe and more recently, Dawkins and others I’m sure) must say that it is simply a part of evolution and is natural.
    If you want some additional citations, some of the info I got was from here:

    wikipedia./wiki/Argument_from_morality

    Even Dawkins, from what I understand, addresses the subject in “The God Delusion” and “suggested that our morality is a result of our biological evolutionary history and that the Moral Zeitgeist helps describe how morality evolves from biological and cultural origins and evolves with time within a culture.”

    wikipedia.wiki/Morality

    Is Dawkins explanation what you want to hold to? You have already admitted in our discussion of Hitler that this is impossible and that murder is outside the natural order. You just said again, “Except that murder is contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection, and murder generally tends to weaken the entire species for the bad choices it makes.” So, where does it come from? It is “contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection…”!!!!! I totally agree! The theological argument is that the best explanation is that morals are from God and that they were rejected by mankind in the Garden of Eden. Your alternatives are evolution, and…it’s just there.
    “Generally the murderers are, as Darwin noted, the lowest of the low, the least desirable, the least fit by almost any standard. Evolution theory offers nothing to support murder of anyone at any place. I keep asking, please don’t ignore all the evidence and theory. That’s exactly the error I’m complaining about, and compounding the error doesn’t correct it.”

    I have not said that evolution “supports” murder or immorality of any kind. Look back at my posts you will not find it. What I have said is that it cannot “condemn” it. Immorality simply “is.” Evolution can observe that immorality is not beneficial to the herd, and observe that it is undesirable, but it can never make a moral judgment on whether it is right or wrong. It cannot say what “ought” to be. It simply “is.” This is a huge, huge, huge limitation to the theory of evolution because it is entirely absent of sense of right and wrong. There is no scientific explanation for the existence of morality or immorality. I keep asking you to provide it if I am wrong, but the crickets keep chirping.

    “I’ve asked others before, and I thought I’d asked you, Joe: What part of evolution theory do you claim supports murder? The part that observes there are more offspring than can survive to breed? The part that says food supplies are generally limited? The part that says traits are heritable? Which part supports murder, and which part do you claim Hitler appealed to? There is absolutely zero connection. What part of evolution theory supports rape? That’s contrary to sexual selection. What part supports bigotry?”

    And I thought I’d answered. The word “support” is impossible in evolution. Murder, rape, incest, genocide, abortion, bigotry, euthanasia, hatred, lust, selfishness, etc. just “are.” No support, no criticism. I am not saying evolution supports these things, I am saying that it can make no judgment on them at all. You can make judgments on them, but when you do, you leave objectivity and science on the table. Therefore, for you to call Hitler a monster would be evolutionarily inaccurate. It’s still right, because he was a monster, but you can’t defend it from evolution because, as I’ve said again, and again, and again, in evolution, it just “is.” It may be observed to be harmful, it may be undesirable, but it is what it is. Evolution cannot say “ought or ought not” because according to evolution, we’re all a part of nature and have the same ancestor.

    “It’s difficult to discuss with people who don’t know evolution theory. It’s tougher when to discuss with people who assume it to be something quite other than it is.”
    My apologies if I am not as brushed up on something I am opposed to than I should be. My bad for spending my time studying the Bible and teaching people to love God and love their neighbors instead of fine tuning the nuances of a theory that I don’t believe holds up under close scrutiny. I don’t claim to be an evolutionary expert, but this is something that I know is accurate in evolution to be true to the theory: murder and immorality just “are.” That doesn’t mean that evolution sanctions murder, but it does mean that murder is now no longer condemned, but simply a “choice that weakens the herd.”

    “I really do not believe you, Joe, when you say evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus preached in favor of the Golden Rule, not against it. Jesus used parables to encourage neighborly and altruistic behavior, not to discourage it.”
    You seem to be arguing that the Golden Rule finds its source in evolution and nature. Is that true? How is that possible? How also is it possible then if it is a law of nature, for us to break it and be outside of it? Why would Confucius and Jesus need to tell people to do it if it came naturally because it was instinct? No, we are fallen creatures you and I, and even though we have a sense of right and wrong, our moral compass is warped. Fallen man is not possible in evolution.

    The reason why evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teaching is because evolution states that it just “is” while Jesus speaks with authority and says that it “should be” or “should not be.” The only way He has the right to do that is if He is speaking in the authority of the Law-Giver. (i.e. God). The Bible does not say that things just “are” but is very explicit on morality. Therefore, these are two separate world views and both cannot be right. That’s why I say they are in opposition to each other. I’m not saying that nature is devoid of morality, because it is there! I’m saying that evolution cannot explain how it got there or how man’s ability to go against morality came into being and that the presence of morality is an argument for God, not evolution.

    Ok, so what are your next questions to ask me instead of answering all of mine?

    Like

  68. lowerleavell says:

    Ed said, “What did the ancient Greeks use? What did the Hindus use? How about Confucius — without God, he developed an entire system of teachings that included the Golden Rule, well prior to the Jews and Christians discovering the rule.”

    You are very good at politics Ed. You’re doing the old, “let me answer that question by asking you this” sort of switch that politicians do. You refuse to answer the question on how it is possible for humans to have the ability to act outside of evolution. You also refuse to even touch on whether or not abortion is murder or just a part of evolution (abortion is very unnatural). But I will answer your questions, but please do not be rude and ignore mine because without answering them you are ignoring the crux of the issue. If humans are capable of things that animals are not, how, when, and why, did that happen? You haven’t even touched anything I said in that regard.

    Ok, to answer your questions. I said that without God, what is the source of morality? You bring up the Greeks, the Hindus, etc. and say that they are the source? Did they invent morality? No. But it is true that each and every individual is born with a sense of morality and immorality (I didn’t have to teach my two year old how to lie or throw a fit when he doesn’t get his way, and he does know much about right and wrong). Since a sense of morality, which most people call a “conscience” is something we’re born with; the question is where did it come from? Random mutations, sexual reproduction, etc. cannot explain the existence of morality in Hindus, Confucius, Jews, Christians, etc. That is why I am saying the only plausible explanation on how Confucius was able to come up with his moral teachings is because he was endowed with a conscience by his Creator. What is your explanation as to where it came from? Primordial soup can’t evolve a conscience.

    “Either you’re arguing that Confucius was a powerful prophet, or you’ve got more thinking to do about just what morality is. It’s quick and easy to say “no morals without God.” It’s nothing that any philosopher, including the most ardent Christian philosphers [sic] ever espoused, but it’s a good enough answer for a Sunday school class of 4th graders, at least so the teacher doesn’t have to know anything.”

    Ok, before I bring a reply, I need to address how you discuss things Ed, because you may or may not be aware of this. Look at the last paragraph. What are you attempting to do to my argument? 1) Make it look like I’m all alone in my argument and I have no authority for making the assumption because no good Christian philosopher would take this position, and 2) Demean the argument to an unacceptable level for this discussion to make it look like I’m completely ignorant and childish. I do not think that low of debate is necessary in this forum, do you? That being said let me furnish my reply.

    The argument from morality is a well documented, being held to apologists like Thomas Aquinas and more recently, C.S. Lewis. If you wish to put them on a fourth grade Sunday School level, that’s up to you, but don’t say that no ardent Christian philosopher held to the moral argument. C.S. Lewis really addressed the subject in Mere Christianity and calls it “The Moral Law.” The argument was so well known that some obscure guys like Kant, Hobbes, and this one guy you may have heard of called Nietzsche spoke at lengths on the subject. Oh, another one who addressed morality would be…oh yeah, Plato. My college philosophy book (secular) called “Living Issues in Philosophy” by Titus, Smith, and Nolan, put it this way (pg. 394-395), “The critics of this argument say that even if moral values are acknowledged (as you have admitted as well), they could be explained by human needs and desires or by the structure of human nature and society. In other words, the norms need not be located outside the natural order (emphasis mine); they need not point to a transcendent Sacred Ultimate.”

    Nietzsche understood the danger of this argument and in “Daybreak” began his “Campaign against Morality.” Nietzsche argued for morality being natural, and not sourced in God. Why? Because otherwise you are left with God being the source of morality! You are the one telling me that murder is outside the natural order. You’ve taken your first steps towards the side of Theism, my friend, which is ½ the battle (which is strange for me to be arguing for God being the one who gave us morals with a professing Christian). This is why I say you are in a predicament. If you are consistent and willing to do a little study, you will notice that those who argue against morality being sourced in God (guys like Nietzshe and more recently, Dawkins and others I’m sure) must say that it is simply a part of evolution and is natural.
    If you want some additional citations, some of the info I got was from here:

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

    Even Dawkins, from what I understand, addresses the subject in “The God Delusion” and “suggested that our morality is a result of our biological evolutionary history and that the Moral Zeitgeist helps describe how morality evolves from biological and cultural origins and evolves with time within a culture.”

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

    Is Dawkins explanation what you want to hold to? You have already admitted in our discussion of Hitler that this is impossible and that murder is outside the natural order. You just said again, “Except that murder is contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection, and murder generally tends to weaken the entire species for the bad choices it makes.” So, where does it come from? It is “contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection…”!!!!! I totally agree! The theological argument is that the best explanation is that morals are from God and that they were rejected by mankind in the Garden of Eden. Your alternatives are evolution, and…it’s just there.
    “Generally the murderers are, as Darwin noted, the lowest of the low, the least desirable, the least fit by almost any standard. Evolution theory offers nothing to support murder of anyone at any place. I keep asking, please don’t ignore all the evidence and theory. That’s exactly the error I’m complaining about, and compounding the error doesn’t correct it.”

    I have not said that evolution “supports” murder or immorality of any kind. Look back at my posts you will not find it. What I have said is that it cannot “condemn” it. Immorality simply “is.” Evolution can observe that immorality is not beneficial to the herd, and observe that it is undesirable, but it can never make a moral judgment on whether it is right or wrong. It cannot say what “ought” to be. It simply “is.” This is a huge, huge, huge limitation to the theory of evolution because it is entirely absent of sense of right and wrong. There is no scientific explanation for the existence of morality or immorality. I keep asking you to provide it if I am wrong, but the crickets keep chirping.

    “I’ve asked others before, and I thought I’d asked you, Joe: What part of evolution theory do you claim supports murder? The part that observes there are more offspring than can survive to breed? The part that says food supplies are generally limited? The part that says traits are heritable? Which part supports murder, and which part do you claim Hitler appealed to? There is absolutely zero connection. What part of evolution theory supports rape? That’s contrary to sexual selection. What part supports bigotry?”

    And I thought I’d answered. The word “support” is impossible in evolution. Murder, rape, incest, genocide, abortion, bigotry, euthanasia, hatred, lust, selfishness, etc. just “are.” No support, no criticism. I am not saying evolution supports these things, I am saying that it can make no judgment on them at all. You can make judgments on them, but when you do, you leave objectivity and science on the table. Therefore, for you to call Hitler a monster would be evolutionarily inaccurate. It’s still right, because he was a monster, but you can’t defend it from evolution because, as I’ve said again, and again, and again, in evolution, it just “is.” It may be observed to be harmful, it may be undesirable, but it is what it is. Evolution cannot say “ought or ought not” because according to evolution, we’re all a part of nature and have the same ancestor.

    “It’s difficult to discuss with people who don’t know evolution theory. It’s tougher when to discuss with people who assume it to be something quite other than it is.”

    My apologies if I am not as brushed up on something I am opposed to than I should be. My bad for spending my time studying the Bible and teaching people to love God and love their neighbors instead of fine tuning the nuances of a theory that I don’t believe holds up under close scrutiny. I don’t claim to be an evolutionary expert, but this is something that I know is accurate in evolution to be true to the theory: murder and immorality just “are.” That doesn’t mean that evolution sanctions murder, but it does mean that murder is now no longer condemned, but simply a “choice that weakens the herd.”

    “I really do not believe you, Joe, when you say evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus preached in favor of the Golden Rule, not against it. Jesus used parables to encourage neighborly and altruistic behavior, not to discourage it.”

    You seem to be arguing that the Golden Rule finds its source in evolution and nature. Is that true? How is that possible? How also is it possible then if it is a law of nature, for us to break it and be outside of it? Why would Confucius and Jesus need to tell people to do it if it came naturally because it was instinct? No, we are fallen creatures you and I, and even though we have a sense of right and wrong, our moral compass is warped. Fallen man is not possible in evolution.

    The reason why evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teaching is because evolution states that it just “is” while Jesus speaks with authority and says that it “should be” or “should not be.” The only way He has the right to do that is if He is speaking in the authority of the Law-Giver. (i.e. God). The Bible does not say that things just “are” but is very explicit on morality. Therefore, these are two separate world views and both cannot be right. That’s why I say they are in opposition to each other. I’m not saying that nature is devoid of morality, because it is there! I’m saying that evolution cannot explain how it got there or how man’s ability to go against morality came into being and that the presence of morality is an argument for God, not evolution.

    Ok, so what are your next questions you wish to ask me instead of answering all of mine?

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  69. Ed Darrell says:

    Without God, what is the source of morality?

    What did the ancient Greeks use? What did the Hindus use? How about Confucius — without God, he developed an entire system of teachings that included the Golden Rule, well prior to the Jews and Christians discovering the rule.

    Either you’re arguing that Confucius was a powerful prophet, or you’ve got more thinking to do about just what morality is. It’s quick and easy to say “no morals without God.” It’s nothing that any philosopher, including the most ardent Christian philosphers ever espoused, but it’s a good enough answer for a Sunday school class of 4th graders, at least so the teacher doesn’t have to know anything.

    Think it through, Joe. That’s not the answer.

    Thank you for your input. I actually agree with you that the “is-ought” argument is a fallacy in evolution. For that reason, using evolution, you cannot condemn Hitler. As you said, “Biology, including evolution and natural selection describes things as they are.” You are actually agreeing with my point that it is a fallacy for an evolutionist to condemn someone like Hitler. As a Christian, you may condemn him, as a Jew, you may condemn him…shoot, as a human being you may condemn him, but not by using evolution. As is the point in the movie, evolution strips away morality because murder, rape, bigotry, etc. simply “is.” You cannot say in evolution, “it ought not to be” because evolution simply “is.” There is no morality. That is my whole point in saying that the teachings of Darwin and the teachings of Jesus and Darwin are contrary to each other. Darwin didn’t realize his own teaching’s full potential because he was a professing Christian and held to a similar morality as Christ. But those who reject Christ and reject morality are free to do so in evolution because there are no absolutes and no “ought or ought not’s.” That is why evolution is dangerous morally. Because it makes every sinful action a-moral, which Christ strongly condemns, but evolution just says “is.” That is how Hitler is justified in evolution and why evolution can be dangerous.

    Except that murder is contrary to the operation of natural and sexual selection, and murder generally tends to weaken the entire species for the bad choices it makes. Generally the murderers are, as Darwin noted, the lowest of the low, the least desirable, the least fit by almost any standard. Evolution theory offers nothing to support murder of anyone at any place. I keep asking, please don’t ignore all the evidence and theory. That’s exactly the error I’m complaining about, and compounding the error doesn’t correct it.

    I’ve asked others before, and I thought I’d asked you, Joe: What part of evolution theory do you claim supports murder? The part that observes there are more offspring than can survive to breed? The part that says food supplies are generally limited? The part that says traits are heritable? Which part supports murder, and which part do you claim Hitler appealed to? There is absolutely zero connection.

    What part of evolution theory supports rape? That’s contrary to sexual selection. What part supports bigotry?

    It’s difficult to discuss with people who don’t know evolution theory. It’s tougher when to discuss with people who assume it to be something quite other than it is.

    I really do not believe you, Joe, when you say evolution is contrary to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus preached in favor of the Golden Rule, not against it. Jesus used parables to encourage neighborly and altruistic behavior, not to discourage it.

    So much error, so little time.

    Like

  70. lowerleavell says:

    Dave,

    Thank you for your input. I actually agree with you that the “is-ought” argument is a fallacy in evolution. For that reason, using evolution, you cannot condemn Hitler. As you said, “Biology, including evolution and natural selection describes things as they are.” You are actually agreeing with my point that it is a fallacy for an evolutionist to condemn someone like Hitler. As a Christian, you may condemn him, as a Jew, you may condemn him…shoot, as a human being you may condemn him, but not by using evolution. As is the point in the movie, evolution strips away morality because murder, rape, bigotry, etc. simply “is.” You cannot say in evolution, “it ought not to be” because evolution simply “is.” There is no morality. That is my whole point in saying that the teachings of Darwin and the teachings of Jesus and Darwin are contrary to each other. Darwin didn’t realize his own teaching’s full potential because he was a professing Christian and held to a similar morality as Christ. But those who reject Christ and reject morality are free to do so in evolution because there are no absolutes and no “ought or ought not’s.” That is why evolution is dangerous morally. Because it makes every sinful action a-moral, which Christ strongly condemns, but evolution just says “is.” That is how Hitler is justified in evolution and why evolution can be dangerous.

    By the way, religion can be equally dangerous if someone is immorally using God’s name to justify murder. The difference is that God (the teacher) tells you something is right or wrong and gives commands, etc. but sometimes the students do not follow His directions. With evolution, you do not have a teacher and you do not have students; you simply have observers (like Darwin) and it is impossible to say what should or should not be, because there are no absolutes. So, you may observe what Hitler did to be either beneficial or a hindrance to humanity, but you cannot make an “ought or ought not” judgment.

    You said, “Religion is one of the sources of morality…”

    Well, you’ll have to think that through using evolution. Morality is actually a great argument for God, because without God, what is the source of morality? In evolution, it just “is” so how do you explain the existence of morality? Why do humans sometimes lack it? There is no sufficient evolutionary explanation for why we condemn things as wrong and praise things as right, like someone like Hitler. We all agree he was wrong. How can we make such an absolute, moral judgment using evolution? We can’t. Something outside of evolution must have caused it to be. Religion can’t be the source because in evolution, religion came from people and people came from primordial soup. So, it is a result of survival of the fittest and natural selection? The existence of religion and morality do not make sense without God. So that being said, perhaps God is not as deistic as Ed assumes but really did leave a trail for us to follow as to His existence.

    You said, “It is my understanding that both genocide and slavery are explicitly instructed or condoned in the Bible.”

    This is a twisted view of the Bible that guys like Dawkins use to justify their atheism. Really, they don’t have a problem with God’s existence, they have a problem with His character (i.e. supposedly condoning slavery and commanding genocide). The Bible never condones slavery, but instead gives a system where if you cannot pay your debts you work for the person until your debt is paid and then you go free. That is the extent of slavery “condoned” in the Bible. It’s nothing like us barbarians did here in the US and in UK. As far as genocide, you will find nowhere in the Bible where God does not give warning after warning after warning to people to repent of their sins or He would judge them for it. Since He is the moral Law-giver, and our Creator, He has a right to condemn those who go against His laws, but He never, ever, ever, does so without giving chance after chance after chance. Even in Sodom and Gomorrah God gave them many chances to repent. Read the book of Jonah, Nahum, Joel, etc. and you will find God giving both the Jews and pagan countries chances to turn back to God. The problem is that we like things that are contrary to God and we don’t like Him telling us “no” and hate Him when He does something about it.

    Ed, you said, “Yes, humans are outside of nature when they murder. You’re beginning to get the point.”

    I have agreed with your statement since the beginning of this discussion. Humans’ being outside of nature is a Christian principle, not a Darwinian principle because in evolution, murder just “is” and so is a part of nature. Humans are a part of nature, and so what they do, including murder, is natural in evolution. But you are now in a lose/lose situation. If humans are outside of nature, how did they get that way in their evolution? If they are not outside of nature then you must try to justify murder by saying it just “is.” Since you’re smarter than that, and reject that claim, you now have to show how this is possible if we are all descendants from the same ancestor. How is it that humans have the capabilities to do horrible things like produce a Hitler, but you don’t see a yak who tries to take out all the hippos? How did we get into this fallen state so that we needed a Christ to save us? How do you explain us being a part of nature, bred by nature, the result of nature, and not acting naturally? It is like us breaking the law of gravity; it is not possible unless we are above the law. We cannot possibly break the laws of nature unless we have been given or have evolved the ability to do so. Can you show me on an evolution tree chart where this transition took place and why? Can you show me how random mutations and selective breeding make this possible? Can you show me how survival of the fittest and natural selection makes this possible? Evolution cannot even begin to explain it but rather says it just “is.” Your statement saying that humans are outside of nature is 180 degrees from evolution and is totally facing the Bible. Are you beginning to see why I’m saying evolution and God are not compatible?

    There is only one conceivable answer as to what happened: God. We cannot possibly be from the same ancestry as all life because it is possible for us to be outside of nature. Therefore, we must have been created by God that way or something happened somewhere along the evolutionary trail to make it that way, which is impossible. So which is it Ed? Did God leave His thumb print on humanity after all? Is there really evidence for a Creator? Or does evolution have a sufficient explanation for this one too?

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  71. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, humans are outside of nature when they murder. You’re beginning to get the point.

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  72. dave says:

    Dawkins put it well in his “Lying for Jesus?” commentary on Stein’ movie – the argument of the film and much of this thread commits the “is-ought fallacy”. Biology, including evolution and natural selection, describes things as they are. Theories set out ways in which changes have come about, but makes no comment on the morality or ultimate cause of the mechanisms and changes.

    Religion is one of the sources of morality, though of course secular humanism includes alternative moral philosophies which have very similar conclusions. Religion, and some irreligious regimes have commonly justified murder. It’s my understanding that both genocide and slavery are explicitly instructed or condoned in the Bible.

    Darwin himself observed and commented on various ideas, while maintaining that humans were all one species and objecting strongly to slavery, in opposition for example to his creationist opponent Louis Agassiz who maintained that blacks and whites were created different species. Ben Stein quotes Darwin’s description of ideas of others about the implications for human breeding of encouraging “poorer stock” to breed. The idea goes back to the ancient Greeks of Sparta, and Stein omits Darwin’s next paragraph which states that failing to look after the poor and sick goes against the noblest part of our nature. Irrespective or whether that noble nature was evolved or based on religion, Darwin’s moral view was that crude “survival of the fittest” applied to humans was wrong.

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  73. lowerleavell says:

    Ed, if that is the case, which I agree that murder is NOT natural, then aren’t humans outside of nature and not a part of nature? Isn’t it just humans that we claim participate in “artificial” selection? Again, you’re not addressing the crux of the matter here.

    On the flip side, again to play devil’s advocate, even though most of nature does not murder, couldn’t we be one of the “taboo exceptions?” It doesn’t make it wrong then in nature, so using evolution, you still haven’t shown how murder is wrong, because in evolution, it just “is.”

    Also, you’re not addressing abortion at all.

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  74. Ed Darrell says:

    Functionally, nature defines murder. With very, very few exceptions, intraspecies killing is taboo. Some of the exceptions are interesting — spider mating, for example. A few of the exceptions tend to fall out of the taboo — the murder of juvenile offspring of the old pride leader among lions, which sometimes occurs. The general law of nature is no murder. Deer don’t murder each other. Tigers don’t murder each other. Crows don’t murder each other.

    Murder is not a part of evolution. Intraspecies killing is a taboo, in almost all species. And much more to the point, murder is not part of the struggle for life that Darwin observed and wrote about. If you want to demonize science, I can understand why you’d try to claim murder is a natural event. But it’s not natural, and demonizing science is an ignoble goal. Stick to the facts. Murder is not part of the competition that works to change species in evolution by natural selection. Murder runs contrary to the gene spreading exercise people like Richard Dawkins claim drives the whole process. Murder is contrary to the social cohesion rules of social species. We do not see on Earth the style of knife the big guy in the back advancement the Klingons practice. Klingons are fictional.

    For that matter, open warfare seems to be an almost uniquely human invention, too, especially things like the War of the Austrian Succession, or the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Succession planning doesn’t always go smoothly in the jungle, but if it were a jungle in human organizations with regard to succession, all of human life would be a lot more placid.

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  75. lowerleavell says:

    Ed,

    You may be misunderstanding me here. What I am doing is something called “playing devil’s advocate.” I am not espousing murder as ok, nor am I trying to convince you that animals do not have morals. My moral compass has not gone haywire. I am on the “murder kick” because I am saying that evolution does not define what murder is, the Bible does. What is the first thing that you said when I asked you to define murder? “How does the Bible define murder? What is the commandment against killing?” I totally agree! You don’t’ define murder by nature; you define it by God’s definition! God gave you a conscience that says that killing a fellow human being is wrong, but does evolution even define murder? No. Nor does it attempt to “go there.” You are not telling me why evolution condemns murder. You cannot. You are telling me to go to the Bible, which is correct, and is what Darwin had to do as well. Again, citing talkorigins, “This claim [might makes right] exemplifies the naturalistic fallacy by arguing that the way things are implies how they ought to be. It is like saying that if someone’s arm is broken, it should stay broken. But “is” does not imply “ought.” Evolution is descriptive. It tells how things are, not how they should be.”
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA002.html

    For that reason alone, murder is not condemned in evolution, it is merely stated as “is.” You cannot look at evolution and say what ought to be, and on the flipside, you cannot look at evolution and say what ought NOT to be either. For this reason, if you desire to keep scientifically unbiased (according to evolutionary standards), you cannot condemn Hitler for murder because it is not even defined in evolution.

    Do we all believe Hitler was a monster? Do we say that what David did to Uriah was wrong? Definitely! Why? Because of the theory of evolution? No. Evolution is insufficient because it reduces humanity to the level of animal and gives no explanation for why humans are immoral beings and sometimes act contrary to nature.

    “In evolutionary terms, the predators do the weeding out of the non-predators, eating the sick, the halt and lame, the slow, the easy-to-see, first. But the wildebeest don’t murder each other — life’s tough enough competing with the zebras and avoiding the lions and crocodiles.”

    Going back to devil’s advocate, I thought that all life was related. I thought we all were in harmony and were brothers and sisters? Maybe they are removed many, many generations, but aren’t we all still related? So, in nature it’s wrong to kill in your own species, but it’s ok to kill another species? You’re also saying that they kill “the sick, the halt and lame, the slow, the easy-to-see, first.” They even go so far to many times kill their runts in their litters. We even personally had a dog that refused to nurse the runt. Isn’t that exactly what Hitler did? Isn’t that what we do in the US when we abort unborn children who may or may not have disabilities?

    “Surely you don’t think killing livestock for food is the same as murdering one of our own species for gain.”

    No, I don’t. Again, playing devil’s advocate now. I’m asking you if you believe in the sanctity of all life, even if they are removed from your family line 10,000 generations or more. What makes your life more important than theirs? How dare you eat a cow! We’re…like family.

    God told Peter that all life (minus humans) was clean to eat, and He commanded Peter (a Jew) that it was ok to even eat pig. The Bible says that my spare ribs are ok. If it said not to eat meat, then I wouldn’t. The Bible says that before the flood, people didn’t eat meat, so I wouldn’t have back then either. How could the Bible make the claim that we can eat meat if we are all from the same ancestor? Clearly, we were uniquely created, even though our bodies are made from the same material, humanity is not from the same genetic line as the cow and every other life form. Otherwise, eating a cow would be cannibalism, 10,000 (an uneducated guess) generations removed.

    “Are you going to argue the PETA position, or the Christian position? In evolutionary terms, the beef we breed to use as food gets its survival advantage from being killed and eaten — we breed more, and the genes are carried on, by siblings.”

    I’m arguing the Christian position. What I’m saying (as a devil’s advocate) is that in evolutionary terms, the group from PETA is the most consistent. They believe in the sanctity of ALL life, because all life is related. Isn’t that what evolution teaches? Wouldn’t you just love it if we as humans were being bred for food? Would you still say as you’re about to be slaughtered, “Its ok, my kids will carry on our genetics.”? I mean, it is only by natural selection that you were born a human and not a cow right?
    The only answer I can come up in evolution is that animals kill each other for food and so it’s ok for us to kill for food too. So, that makes mother nature the authority and so we must copy what nature does. It’s insane logic! Nature also kills off the runts. I’m not going to kill my son because he’s short (and he is)! Mother Nature is not my authority, God is my authority. I sure hope you don’t say that what nature describes is the answer.

    “In the struggle for life, things gotta eat. There’s no reason for you to kill spiders, by the way, unless you happen to live in a nest of brown recluses. The spiders will reduce the populations of mosquitoes and flies that carry disease. You kill spiders, you get the disease vectors. But that’s just an aside.”

    I understand that, and I respect spiders, but only if they stay away from my house! If they invade my space, I am only defending my territory. :-)

    “There’s a difference between murder of your own species, and eating. It is necessary that something die in order that 99.9% of life can live. That isn’t murder, by any definition.”

    Again, I thought you were the one blurring the species lines and saying that they do not exist because all our ancestors to evolved from one ancestor. So, if that’s true, then we’re all really just one enormously diversified species! Could we live without intentionally breeding animals for death? Next time you visit Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse, tell me how our species couldn’t live without it. We could live just fine as vegetarians. If we are being consistent in our evolutionary mindsets, we would all, including animals, be like PETA and be vegetarians. But even then you’re in trouble because plant life is from the same ancestral line! Where does it end?!

    By the way, by your definition for the weak and few to die for the good of the masses, then what they did at Donner’s Pass was justified.

    “No, animals don’t fight to the death over mates, most often — very, very few exceptions. Peacocks display their tails. Bower birds show off their dancing structures and dances. Atwater’s prairie chicken shows off its drum. Walruses drive off the weaker ones, often with injuries, but rarely fatal ones. No, it doesn’t generally get that ugly.”

    Well, (again, playing devil’s advocate) couldn’t David’s case have been one of the “very, very few exceptions.”? Most of the time when a human picks his mate it never turns that ugly. But maybe this is an example of the case in the human animal
    where it did get that ugly.

    “David could have had any number of concubines. I don’t think there’s any case to be made from evolution for what David did. It was lustful murder, a story for scripture, completely divorced from any part of any evolution theory.”

    Perhaps, because of her beauty, his instincts for advancing his DNA were very strong and he chose her by an evolutionary standard. Isn’t lust just an evolutionary chemical reaction in the brain anyway? Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived, who made Israel “great”) was born through Bathsheba. So, arguably, David’s DNA DID increase through Bathsheba, because even Christ Himself is through Bathsheba (I forget if it was Mary or Joseph’s line)! What I’m saying is that according to the Word of God, what David did was horrible! But with evolution, there is a case to be made for its legitimacy. (Again, I’m not condoning it because God strongly says murder, lust, and adultery are wrong!)

    “You assume, against scripture, by the way, that animals do not have morals and cannot act morally. You assume, erroneously, that animals behave horribly.”

    I did not say that. You are putting words in my mouth. What I’m saying is that if we are all related, then when a robin eats a worm it is eating a distant relative. While that is seen as ok in nature, it is not seen as ok to kill a close relative that you could breed with. What animals do is fine IMO. I used to have a wonderful dog who I would take over a lot of people too! Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to vilify animals. I’m trying to get you to be consistent. If humans are animals, then what Hitler did is not too far removed from what animals do in thinning out the weaker herds for territorial dominance (not saying they were actually weaker, but Hitler thought they were).

    Perhaps it seems more barbaric because we are a more “highly evolved” species, but the principles stay the same, if we are just animals. This is not a Christian mindset, because Christ strongly condemns it. It is an evolutionary mindset to look at a different “race” and call them an “inferior race.” Yes, many “Christians” were slave traders, but they were wrong! Christ strongly condemns anything but loving your neighbor as yourself and doing to other what you would have them do to you. Evolution teaches that the sick and the weak are weeded out. Jesus healed the sick and the weak and we are to help the poor and needy after His example, not let them die out as nature does. Even though nature has morality, we are called to be higher than animals. When was the last time you saw a lion go to a hyena at a kill, “oh no, you first. I insist!”? But Jesus taught us to love our enemies. This is contrary to nature and the flesh. This is contrary to the laws of evolution.

    “This is one more area where creationism shows its complete ignorance of God’s creation.”

    By the way, an animal sometimes being more moral than humans does make a case for the depravity of man and that again, humans are NOT animals because they are capable of doing things far worse than an animal could ever imagine. The way nature is, is in perfect accordance to God’s Word, but the presence of fallen humanity is freakish if it supposedly a part of nature.

    I’m trying to get you to see, through some weird logic here I know, that if we are animals, then it would be impossible for Hitler to have been a monster, because all humans are just a part of nature, and since evolution only describes what “is”, what Hitler did just “is.” There is not “ought to be or ought not to be” in evolution and so you cannot condemn him as an evolutionist. You can as a human and as a Christian, but not as an evolutionistic scientist.

    “You assume nature has no moral laws. Nature appears to abhor murder. I think the error is in your view of nature, which is not based on any fact.”

    So how is it possible for the human animal to go contrary to nature? If even the animals abhor it, then how do humans do it? Even animals are capable of it, even if its rare. Cats don’t always kill mice for food you know. They enjoy playing with the dead mouse. Isn’t that murder of a mouse? The answer is “it’s just a mouse and not a human.” Well, if we are all a part of nature, then it isn’t JUST a mouse. But what sets Hitler apart is that his murdering was on a massive scale, killing millions. There is no evolutionary explanation for why a guy like Hitler would pop into the equation. What I am saying is that if evolution is true, nature HAS to reconcile a guy like Hitler because Hitler’s existence is just a product of evolution and natural selection, and survival of the fittest, and so he must fit into nature and follow the paths of nature. If you’re saying that he doesn’t follow nature, then why not? How did humanity break free of nature? Again, evolution explains what “is”, not what “ought or what ought not” to be. So, you cannot use evolution to condemn Hitler because he is a part of evolution, isn’t he?

    If you say “no” then you are admitting that humans are separate from natural selection. What you did not address at ALL in your previous post is how humans are either different or the same as animals. If they are different, and outside of natural selection (created in God’s image) then evolution falls apart because it means we’re not descended from one ancestor and all animal life is not our relatives. If they are the same, then killing cows is wrong, there is no explanation for the appearance of a guy like Hitler, and what he did just “is” and cannot be condemned by evolution. You’re between a rock and a hard place unless you realize that evolution is a product of man’s imagination and that God says he did it differently and we are a creation of God, not nature.

    “Survival of the fittest, in Darwin’s model, requires a fair competition absent murder. You still assume murder is a natural thing, and something that’s part of evolution theory. That’s not so. Murder is not part of evolution.”

    Then you are admitting that humans are NOT a part of nature. Otherwise you have to reconcile every single death of an animal killing another animal that is not for food. Otherwise, you have murder in nature.

    “Well, then make your case. Where do you get the idea that murder is natural, or common, or even a good way to compete? Who is to say that the fittest is not the murdered, rather than the murderer? How do you propose to distinguish?”

    My case is that murder is NOT natural. I’m saying we live in a sin cursed world. In evolution, it MUST be natural, because we are a part of nature and we murder. Even though you say killing for things other than food is extremely rare in nature, it still happens. I witnessed it recently with a goat and its kid. But if you look statistically at humanity, murder is extremely rare as well. 90+% of humanity would never kill someone. So, we could just wave off human murders as “rare” and “almost non-existent”, but it still happens! You could argue for wars being different, but even lions have territorial disputes; animals fight over food and water, etc. Perhaps we could argue that war is just a more highly evolved form of the same thing? But seriously, let’s not do that. War is NOT natural. Murder is NOT natural, and that means that humans are different from nature and that our world is tainted with sin. Do you get that from evolution or from the Bible? Again, what Darwin taught and what God says are different!

    “If some poacher kills the more fit stepping outside the natural order, the next most fit steps up.”

    What you say is true, unless the poacher is a part of nature, and thus would be impossible for him to step outside of the natural order.

    “I see that God and Jesus have failed to convince you that nature is good, that murder is bad, and that bearing false witness against Darwin is a bad idea. Unfortunately, that’s contrary to the good and just arguments for the importance of God and Jesus.”

    Again, I don’t think you’ve grasped that I am playing devil’s advocate. I am not arguing against nature being good. What I am saying is that if we are all related, then nature is not good by our definition of morality, because all carnivores, including us, are eating our distant relatives. If they are not our relatives and are intended to be food for us, and for our enjoyment and to demonstrate God’s glory, then there is no problem in nature and no problem in eating meat. But if we are all related, then nature and humanity is barbaric for not evolving a way to eat without the killing of distant cousins.

    “More seriously, you need to get off the murder kick. That’s not evolution. And until you understand why it isn’t, and why it frustrates the natural order, you’ll never understand just how far from Darwin’s theory Hitler and crew got.”

    Until you demonstrate how humans are a part of nature and evolved from the rest of nature, then I think the “murder kick” is perfectly appropriate. How can something that is a part of evolution NOT be evolution? You have to be outside of gravity to break the law of gravity. Please, this is the crux of the matter: Are, or are not humans a part of nature? Why or why not from evolution?

    Lastly, you STILL haven’t answered about abortion. I’m going to keep pestering you until you answer because it’s completely relevant to this discussion of defining murder.

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  76. Ed Darrell says:

    In the strict sense of the term, and in a perfect world, survival of the fittest would mean that no animals were harmed in the making of the production. That all the world is in harmony, but it is those who are the most adaptable, and “fittest” (doesn’t always mean strongest), duplicate and their descendants go on while the other dies out. I bring murder into the equation because I’m having chicken for dinner and I don’t want to be eating a distant cousin.

    How does the Bible define murder? What is the commandment against killing?

    In evolutionary terms, the predators do the weeding out of the non-predators, eating the sick, the halt and lame, the slow, the easy-to-see, first. But the wildebeest don’t murder each other — life’s tough enough competing with the zebras and avoiding the lions and crocodiles.

    Surely you don’t think killing livestock for food is the same as murdering one of our own species for gain.

    If we’re all one race, as you put it, and taking it one step further that all life is from the same ancestor, then why is it ok to murder a cow but wrong to murder a fellow human being?

    Are you going to argue the PETA position, or the Christian position? In evolutionary terms, the beef we breed to use as food gets its survival advantage from being killed and eaten — we breed more, and the genes are carried on, by siblings.

    You guys really don’t understand evolution at all, do you.

    I kill any spider I find because I have arachnophobia (the existence of spiders is the only time I’ve questioned God’s omniscience), but no cop is going to arrest me no matter how many spiders I “murder.” What’s the difference? Please use evolution, not Darwin’s religious philosophies to defend your explanation.

    In the struggle for life, things gotta eat. There’s no reason for you to kill spiders, by the way, unless you happen to live in a nest of brown recluses. The spiders will reduce the populations of mosquitoes and flies that carry disease. You kill spiders, you get the disease vectors. But that’s just an aside.

    There’s a difference between murder of your own species, and eating. It is necessary that something die in order that 99.9% of life can live. That isn’t murder, by any definition.

    I totally agree that David did a horrible thing by killing Uriah! But don’t animals compete for mates? Doesn’t it sometimes get ugly, even fatal in extreme cases?

    Almost never, no. In fact, in wolves, when two males fight for a mate (wolf packs have one alpha bitch, typically, and her mate is the alpha male), the bitch often selects the loser to mate with. Go figure.

    No, animals don’t fight to the death over mates, most often — very, very few exceptions. Peacocks display their tails. Bower birds show off their dancing structures and dances. Atwater’s prairie chicken shows off its drum. Walruses drive off the weaker ones, often with injuries, but rarely fatal ones. No, it doesn’t generally get that ugly.

    Isn’t what David did just a highly evolved form of finding a superior mate that would advance his DNA?

    David could have had any number of concubines. I don’t think there’s any case to be made from evolution for what David did. It was lustful murder, a story for scripture, completely divorced from any part of any evolution theory.

    My whole point here is that humans are NOT animals.

    You assume, against scripture, by the way, that animals do not have morals and cannot act morally. You assume, erroneously, that animals behave horribly. Frankly, I’ll take the brave sparrow fighting off the marauding crow over many people, for bravery. I’ll take the killdeer feigning injury to lead the snake or fox away from her babies. I’ll take the cape buffalo ganging up against the lions to save their calf. I’ll take the bonobos comforting the loser of any argument, especially over a scheming, aging movie extra who finds it useful to lie about a good and noble man and good and noble science. Better to be descended from the honest monkey than the primate who insults grandmothers to win a silly debate point for creationism.

    Mark Twain noted that most animals have much higher morals than humans. He was only half joking. Your error is assuming animals are not noble, not moral, not altruistic. This is one more area where creationism shows its complete ignorance of God’s creation. Stick to the evidence — your argument won’t stand.

    If we are animals, then nothing we do is morally wrong because we are simply products of our environment and following the laws of nature.

    You assume nature has no moral laws. Nature appears to abhor murder. I think the error is in your view of nature, which is not based on any fact. You wish to claim to be the crown of creation, rather than a human, conceived in a bed in a fit of lust. You’re committing Wormwood’s error, assuming that ignobility is the natural state, and the reflex action. I think you don’t have a case there, and in any case I’m not letting you get away with asserting it without any support. No, murder is not following the laws of nature.

    We are living within the rules of nature, which apparently include survival of the fittest and natural selection, so we cannot rise above them or against them any more than we can break the law of gravity.

    Survival of the fittest, in Darwin’s model, requires a fair competition absent murder. You still assume murder is a natural thing, and something that’s part of evolution theory. That’s not so. Murder is not part of evolution.

    I’m contending that it is impossible for us to have artificial selection if we are a part of nature.

    Well, then make your case. Where do you get the idea that murder is natural, or common, or even a good way to compete? Who is to say that the fittest is not the murdered, rather than the murderer? How do you propose to distinguish?

    In nature, it’s rather easy: The one that survives the natural conditions, because it ran faster than the cheetah, stayed uninfected, gathered more food, made a better nest, is the one that gets chosen for mating. If some poacher kills the more fit stepping outside the natural order, the next most fit steps up.

    There’s no role for murder.

    Do you see how important God and Jesus is in this whole discussion?

    I see that God and Jesus have failed to convince you that nature is good, that murder is bad, and that bearing false witness against Darwin is a bad idea. Unfortunately, that’s contrary to the good and just arguments for the importance of God and Jesus.

    More seriously, you need to get off the murder kick. That’s not evolution. And until you understand why it isn’t, and why it frustrates the natural order, you’ll never understand just how far from Darwin’s theory Hitler and crew got.

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  77. lowerleavell says:

    You said, “I know that its popular among creationists to pretend that murder is natural, but its not. Its rare in most species.”

    It depends on how you define “murder.” Many vegetarians define murder as even the killing of an animal for food. In that case, murder would be common in the animal kingdom. Who then is the authority on what IS and what is NOT murder in evolution? Darwin? If evolution is true, then Darwin is only a miniscule speck in the massive space called time which is crammed full of countless millions of years of death and destruction. Millions of years of animals eating animals (doesn’t sound like the animal kingdom has heard that we are all one race yet). So, what is murder? Are you a vegetarian? If not, then please defend your remarks on the whales and animals being our brothers and then you eating them. If you are a vegetarian, don’t plants have the same ancestors as we do as well? What makes them any less alive than animals? Shouldn’t we just eat apples that have already fallen off of trees? Wait, seeds contain life too, don’t they? How far do you want to take this?

    Most people I’ve met summarize murder in the animal kingdom as killing something without the intent of eating it (like the goat and the kid scenario). If that is true, then aren’t cannibals morally vindicated? Why is it murder to kill a human for food and not murder to kill a cow for food? If not, then isn’t that a double standard? Do you see how a moral compass can get out of whack if it isn’t guided by Jesus?

    Again, you haven’t answered the question if you are pro-life or pro-abortion. I did a search on your site and you are pretty quiet about it. I couldn’t find anything. According to what you’re saying in these posts about life, abortion would be murder (I would agree).

    Regarding Darwin, his moral compass didn’t come from his evolutionary beliefs it came from his Christianity. I am not trying to criticize Darwin here, I am trying to show that Darwin’s morality didn’t come from his theory; it was regulated by his beliefs in Christ. By rejecting God all you are left with IS Social Darwinism. Talkorigins rebuttal is basically that diversity within a species guarantees its survival “in the even of environmental change.” Are you sure you still want to hold to uniformitarianism? Anyway, diversifying by allowing the ignorant and genetically weak to reproduce and grow is reverse evolution, not survival of the fittest.

    After doing a little bit of research on Hitler, there is much debate on the meaning of his uses of the term evolution and his seemingly contradictory views of man. The guy clearly had a warped mind, no question.

    Hey, have you even seen Expelled by the way? It did have several clips from Hitler’s speeches and from his propaganda (there’s the trigger word used appropriately) that indicated that he used evolution to justify his ethnic cleansing. The only way to get it wrong would have been if he was mistranslated from German to English. The topic of Expelled is another topic, BTW, so perhaps we should stay clear for now.

    Regarding Spencer, the differences between him and Darwin were merely philosophical. The principles of evolution are all the same no matter if you’re talking about Darwin, Hitler, Spencer, you, me, or whoever (the “is” remains the same). It is the application (what “ought to be”) that changes from person to person. According to talkorigins, evolution does not dictate what “ought to be” but merely states facts of what “is”, so who is the one who determines why Hitler was wrong? You and I can stand up until we’re blue in the face and say that what Hitler did was not natural selection or “survival of the fittest”, but if we are a part of nature as humans, how is it possible for us to do anything that is NOT a part of survival of the fittest and natural selection? Wouldn’t we have to be outside or above nature to be able to be separate from it? (If you missed that point, please read it again-I’m a pastor now, I like to say things twice). You are doing a good job of arguing that humans are distinct from animals and should be taken as completely different from nature. In evolution, Darwin has no right to say something is right or wrong because he is merely one member of a vast herd. All actions within nature are a part of nature and so are amoral. Or would you say it is possible for a worm to be immoral?

    Creationists and evolutionists are both trying to do the same thing with Hitler – pin it on the other guy. While creationists are screaming that Hitler was an evolutionist, Darwinists are yelling back just as loudly that he was a creationist. I’ve even seen him called a young earth creationist! Wow! So, to me, this whole discussion of what or what Hitler was or wasn’t is irrelevant and may never be solved. What matters is that if you look at the teachings of Jesus, who said you are to love your enemies, you cannot justify Hitler. If you look at the teachings of Darwin, minus the influence of the philosophical (“ought to be”) teachings of Jesus on his life, you can make a legitimate case that Hitler was merely attempting to advance his tribe’s DNA and was simply amoral. (By the way, the only way Jesus is authoritative in any way is if He is outside of creation and nature as well—He is God, therefore what He says goes. He and His Word is our moral compass.)

    You said, “You keep confusing survival of the fittest with murder. Why?”

    In the strict sense of the term, and in a perfect world, survival of the fittest would mean that no animals were harmed in the making of the production. That all the world is in harmony, but it is those who are the most adaptable, and “fittest” (doesn’t always mean strongest), duplicate and their descendents go on while the other dies out. I bring murder into the equation because I’m having chicken for dinner and I don’t want to be eating a distant cousin. If we’re all one race, as you put it, and taking it one step further that all life is from the same ancestor, then why is it ok to murder a cow but wrong to murder a fellow human being? I kill any spider I find because I have arachnophobia (the existence of spiders is the only time I’ve questioned God’s omniscience), but no cop is going to arrest me no matter how many spiders I “murder.” What’s the difference? Please use evolution, not Darwin’s religious philosophies to defend your explanation.

    I totally agree that David did a horrible thing by killing Uriah! But don’t animals compete for mates? Doesn’t it sometimes get ugly, even fatal in extreme cases? Isn’t what David did just a highly evolved form of finding a superior mate that would advance his DNA?

    My whole point here is that humans are NOT animals. If we are animals, then nothing we do is morally wrong because we are simply products of our environment and following the laws of nature. We are living within the rules of nature, which apparently include survival of the fittest and natural selection, so we cannot rise above them or against them any more than we can break the law of gravity. I’m contending that it is impossible for us to have artificial selection if we are a part of nature.

    Do you see how important God and Jesus is in this whole discussion?

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  78. Ed Darrell says:

    Here’s where unfamiliarity with Darwin shows: Read the first two chapters of his “big book.” He deals explicitly with artificial selection, how humans substitute it for natural selection, and how it generally produces creatures less fit for most circumstances. No Darwinian would presume to be able to predict what conditions would prevail in the next generation of humans. Human selection, artificial selection, simply doesn’t work if there is no plan to husband the animals. Hitler had no plans to husband the groups he decided to murder.

    I know its popular among creationists to pretend murder is natural, but it’s not. It’s rare in most species. It’s not a part of the struggle for survival that Darwin observed. Nor is it really fair to say Darwin advocated anything from that observation, unless of course one were to assume Darwins strong stance against genocide, against race discrimination, in favor of altruism, and for the protection of the weak and lame.

    Because most of Darwin’s critics appear wholly unfamiliar with evolution theory, and with Darwin, they make crass assumptions which are exactly the opposite of what is accurate.

    If your brother can find any legitimate source which indicates Hitler knew beans about Darwin, I’d sure like to hear about it. The reality is that Hitler despised the English and most Englishmen — his admiration for Rolls Royces being an aberration. Ask your brother which are the major histories of World War II and the Holocaust. Then check them: You will not find Darwin or evolution listed as an influence on Hitler, on the rise of the Nazis, nor on the planning of the Holocaust. Hitler didn’t use evolution. Darwin’s work was burned along with other western works; science was never a strong suit for Hitler, and he opposed the use of evolutionary science in all cases where it was proposed.

    If you wish to argue that Hitler was following Spencer’s teachings that some people prosper because they are superior, make the argument. (Spencer is the guy who invented what later became known as “social Darwinism” — but it had nothign to do with Darwin) But don’t pin Spencer’s blame on Darwin.

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say that “it doesn’t matter one way or the other” about Hitler’s influences. It matters a lot, especially to creationists who, though grounded in racist ideology themselves (read the early stuff from ICR), have worked like the devil to pin a racist and murderer label on Darwin in the need they feel to invent some harm from the study of science. Hence, Ben Stein’s mockumentary movie. And I think it’s important, as a consequence, to be clear: Hitler was not influenced by any knowledge of science in his tactics; Hitler was racist from his childhood. That patent racism is what drove him to murder. Evolution had nothing to do with it.

    You keep confusing “survival of the fittest” with murder. Why? David had Uriah sent into battle to certain death — murder in modern terms. Why do you confuse that lust driven murder with evolution? There is no role for murder in evolution. God is at odds with murder for any reason. God is not at odds with Darwin — nothing in evolution can fairly be said to be at play when a king has a minion murdered for reasons of lust.

    Hitler was not engaged in a survival of the fittest exercise. He was engaged in murder of people he thought unworthy to live — much more similar to the Inquisition than to evolution.

    If I introduced the issue of racism, it is becuse Hitler was a racist. That still doesn’t make Hitler’s actions defensible under evolution — in fact, it only highlights the point that his actions have no foundation in evolution. We are, as Darwin argued, one race.

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  79. lowerleavell says:

    You asked, “On what basis would a Darwinian turn over the job of natural selection to a human?”

    I’d say on the basis that humans are a part of nature and therefore it is natural. How did we as humans rise above natural selection so that we were no longer a part of nature? Maybe you’re glimpsing some of that “Divine spark” that is so popularly debated and that even though our bodies are natural, there is something that sets us apart from nature. Hmmm…what could it be?

    I talked with my “almost” historian brother and asked him what he thought about Hitler; whether he was Christian or a Darwinian. I liked what he said. He told me that Hitler basically used whatever means he could to control the world, whether it was religion, science, or anything. He wasn’t a Christian. He used Christianity for his own benefit. He wasn’t a Darwinian. He used evolution for what he could get out of it. Whatever was the most convenient in winning over the masses, Hitler used it. I think that may be a more accurate reflection of where Hitler was coming from than what either you, I, or anyone else I’ve been reading has mentioned.

    I did not defend Hitler being a Darwinist, if you read my previous post a little more carefully. I said that it didn’t matter one way or the other. The popes of the eons gone by were “Christian” but they practiced some very strong Darwinian concepts in killing off those who disagreed with them. They definitely weren’t following Christ’s teaching, but what they did sounds a lot more like what Darwin taught. Were the inquisitions not just an attempt at “survival of the fittest?” That’s my distinction. It doesn’t matter what name you interject as your religion, what matters in this discussion is whose teaching are you following? If I was a strict Darwinist, I would look at David and Bathsheba (please tell me you know the story) and say that David was justified in killing Bathsheba’s husband so that he could have her for himself. Why? Because he was improving his genetics and advancing his DNA! If Darwin is correct, there should be nothing morally wrong with that. Yet God vehemetely condemned him and would not bless him until he repented of his sin. Sounds like God and Darwin are at odds with each other.

    I am wondering where the word “racist” came into the discussion in connection with me? I am condmening Hitler, very adamately! Yet if you strictly adhere to Darwin, Hitler’s actions are defendable and debatable. So, I am playing devil’s advocate.

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  80. Ed Darrell says:

    A quick response — lesson plans to do yet — but I cannot let this go:

    Forget about what Jesus taught (please don’t but for sake of this discussion) about loving even your enemies, what would natural selection and survival of the fittest say about Hitler? He was merely thinning the weaker herds!

    You’re assuming, with Hitler, that the Gypsies, homosexuals, English, French, Italians, Albanians, Russians and Jews were the weaker herds. As Darwin noted, such assumptions are generally in error. On what basis would a Darwinian turn over the job of natural selection to a human?

    I know you don’t mean it as racist as it comes out, Joe, but the fact is that Hitler made that decision on the basis of his belief that God was on his side. There is not an iota of evidence to support the claim that Hitler thought Darwin was anything other than a stinking, stupid Englishman. There is not an iota of evidence Hitler based any of his actions on any understanding of evolution, though he certainly did not understand the science.

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  81. lowerleavell says:

    Ed,

    Forgive my long absence from your blog, and for another long post here, but for me this is a past time so when things come up I must say farewell for the time being. That doesn’t mean my heart isn’t here replying to your questions and comments, and I’m sorry if this debate is long since water under the bridge because I was enjoying it. For fairness to you though, I will reply as much as I can to your posts to me.

    You said, “Assuming that the variation in the genes dies off, yes, there may be less variety. You’re assuming, however, that the change in color eliminates one chunk of genetic data, and that’s rarely so.”

    Isn’t it also true though that genetic change in the data is also rare and not the norm? If that’s the case, then over countless millions of years wouldn’t the level of genetic data keep going down and not up in proportion to the new mutations and selections?

    “Creationists cannot explain how the dark variant arose; evolution explains it very nicely.”

    Why not? Creationists agree with evolutionists on this subject (or at least I do), that different colors are possible. Look at the human race and tell me that different colors are not possible! But who among us would call someone with more or less color more or less evolved? That would be insulting! No transition has occurred from one species into another species. It is still a moth. In human changes, no transition has occurred from one species into another. That’s where the Creationists disagree with you. You are saying that our ancestors were worms etc. Do you see the difference?

    “Darwin’s point was that this amazing variation will be directed to speciation; and then the new populations will develop even more variation of their own. In the end, evolution trends away from the door of the bar in the drunkard’s walk, and does not stick to the wall. This misunderstanding of statistics is a plague on creationist understanding of variation, and not at all a limitation on variation in the real world.”

    The ongoing debate seems to be concerning the extent of variations from one species into another. Many Creationists I have read have no problem with a wolf turning into a dog or a lion and a cat being related, but the question comes when completely unrelated, completely genetically different species are seen to have the same ancestor (i.e. all life). This is where we find the problem. Maybe it is because I like to see the picture in whole and then dissect it from there, but the picture as a whole does not add up, so when you get into specifics of the whole it is even harder to swallow. The whole picture, from what I can see is that it is possible for one inorganic molecule to start a chain reaction that would lead to me and all other intelligent life on earth. Maybe my brain isn’t as evolved as yours :-), but the primordial soup, and random mutations and natural selection just doesn’t explain it as well as God does.
    Apparently, I’m not the only one who has concerns here. Have you seen this list?

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660

    17 pages of reputable (probably some more than others) scientists who question this explanation of how we got here. Have you seen this? It appears that the scientific community isn’t as unified on this subject as you claim.

    You incorrectly assume as well that just because there are many bones to spit out in Darwinian Evolution, Creationists refuse to see the meat that is also available. Just because there are errors doesn’t mean that every aspect of it is untrue and that there isn’t a lot we can learn from Darwin and from his views. I don’t think we need to demonize the guy (as many Christians do), but I don’t think we need to worship him and everything he said either (as many scientists come close to doing). Anyone who disagrees with anything Darwin taught is seen as a “religious nut.”

    Ed, can you name at least one mistake that Darwin made in his theories? You even have a problem with what God wrote, so I sure hope you say “yes!”

    “Hitler was practicing murder. That’s not survival of the fittest by any definition. Again, creationist misunderstanding of how evolution works, allowing them to confuse murder with natural selection, hampers our understanding of genocide, natural selection, and ultimately, it explains why so many creationists (like Hitler) went along with the scheme. Hitler was interfering with natural selection, trying to push it a different way, if you must put in on that scale. However, Hitler used the Biblical definition of heritage, and believed, as the Bible says, that heritage passes in the blood, not genes. This is why he refused to allow blood banks.”

    I am no Hitler expert (my brother, who is a historian, is close), and as you have learned (been reading your stuff with other bloggers), everyone has a theory on whether Hitler was affected by Darwin or not. Honestly, you go just as far trying to paint him as a creationist as some of these guys are trying to paint him as an evolutionist. Who has the greater sin? Frankly, who really cares?! The question is not whether Hitler was motivated by Christianity or Darwin, but what Jesus and Darwin themselves taught. You can’t entirely blame the teacher for the actions of the students if they differ with what the teacher taught (which is one way I defend Christianity against the Roman Catholic’s Crusades, Inquisition, etc. which were completely contrary to the teachings of Christ). From the perspective of the Bible, Hitler was a monster. From the perception of Darwin…the question is debatable. You can argue that genocide is not natural selection, but if humans are a result of nature, anything that we do is also a part of nature. On what authority do you say that Hitler was practicing murder? Darwin, Jesus, or both (trying to avoid the fallacy of the either or)? If what Hitler did came naturally to him (even though he was the cancer of humanity), who is to say he wasn’t just the beneficial mutation of the species which didn’t take because he wasn’t the “fittest”? Basically, from my perspective, regardless of Hitler’s warped mindset, was he or was he not practicing “survival of the fittest?” You say what he did was murder, but what is the difference between that and a goat killing its kid (just witnessed that one recently, so it’s on the brain)? Isn’t that murder as well? How about spiders that kill their mates? Not all animals kill for food. If we are nothing more than animals from the same ancestor, then how can you call what Hitler did “murder?” Oh yeah, it’s because you believe in Christ! Oh yeah, what Darwin hypothesized and what Jesus taught differ! Even though Darwin purportedly believed in Christ, and it held him back from stating that murder was just “natural selection,” without his religious views that only debatably made their way into his books (Have you read The Descent of Man? Debatably moral, but still very naturalistic), you are left without any moral compass in evolution whatsoever. Ed, natural selection and survival of the fittest and the moral teachings of Jesus Christ are at odds with each other and the sooner you understand that, the sooner you will stop revering Darwin’s teaching at level with Jesus’ and say that morally, natural selection and “survival of the fittest” on a human scale is wrong. Darwin was trying to have the best of both worlds and that is where his theory broke down on natural selection. Because Darwin was a supposed Christian, as I understand it, he agreed with you that murder was wrong (good for him), but if you take Christ out of the picture (as atheistic evolutionists do), you are left with secular Darwinism which is Darwin’s teachings minus his “Christian” views on the sanctity of life. If you do this (which you don’t, thankfully), you are left with Hitler being justified in his murders.

    Ed, are you pro-life? Or are you pro-choice? The question is directly related. Darwinian evolution helps us justify the deaths of about 48 million children each year. The life of the mother is usually not even involved. Personally, I know several who were told by doctors to get abortions because the baby would have health problems or was deformed (one refused the abortion and the baby was born without any problems!) and they were told it was ok because it was just an embryo/fetus. The consistency of your statements rests strongly on your answer to this question, I hope you know that.

    Also, all that being said, what is your definition of the difference between artificial selection and natural selection? Keep in mind that man is a part/result of nature in an evolutionary mindset.

    “If you want a contest that’s based on natural selection, let’s put white Europeans down in the Australian outback, with the tools the aboriginals there use, and see which group does best. As Darwin noted, Europeans are not fit to go without clothes in the bright sun. Nor are Europeans fit to go without clothes in the cold, as the Tierra del Fuegians did (and may do, still — I don’t know). In a head-to-head competition using natural selection and not guns or other forms of artificial selection, Europeans are in trouble. Hitler’s moustache would not protect him from drought in Australia, nor from ice in Tierra del Fuego.”

    Um…Ed, that’s artificial selection if you do that. Obviously if you take something out of its “natural habitat” and move it somewhere else it will do poorly. If you take worm and put it under a hot lamp how long is that going to last? Would you call that natural selection at work? That’s bizarre. You are also taking one species killing off another species out of your “natural selection” equation. There is a balance between hunters and prey in nature, but there are definitely hunters! Many carnivorous species even eat their own wounded and kill off the weak/runts. Going back to Hitler, how is what he did NOT a naturalistic definition of natural selection if we are a part of nature? Forget about what Jesus taught (please don’t but for sake of this discussion) about loving even your enemies, what would natural selection and survival of the fittest say about Hitler? He was merely thinning the weaker herds! (Please understand, I am NOT trying to justify Hitler. I am trying to say that Darwin’s theory is flawed and that humans are NOT just evolved animals! By saying that murder is wrong, aren’t you agreeing with me? Can you justify your agreement by using the theory of evolution and leaving Christ out of the equation?)

    “Slavery is not natural selection. Racism is not natural selection. Especially, murder and oppression of one’s own species are not natural selection.”

    Says who? You? According to evolution, what gives you the right to tell Mother Nature what IS and what is NOT natural selection? What is your authority for morality? God? God is antithetical to natural selection!

    “They may be endorsed by scripture, but that does not make it Darwin’s problem by any stretch. Darwin himself opposed slavery long before most Christians came around”
    What?!! Murder and oppression is endorsed by Scripture? Chapter and verse, Ed, if you please. Are you saying moral justice is murder? I’m struggling with your point here in demonizing God and the Bible.

    “Creationists always have difficulty understanding that humans are brothers under the skin. When creationists were slave traders, they justified it by saying Africans — and Native Americans, and native Australians, and natives of Southeast Asia — were separate creations.”

    Have you ever read the story of John Newton, the guy who wrote Amazing Grace? Not all people who claim Christianity are followers of Christ. Many “Christians” do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Being a “creationist” doesn’t make you a Christian. Naming the name of Jesus, doesn’t make you a Christian. Being “Christ-like” makes you (by definition) a Christian. I have just as much problem with people claiming to be Christians calling someone of a different color “separate-creations” as you do. Don’t blame the Bible for their attempt to justify their sin.

    “If we are related to whales, and chimpanzees and the other great apes, and to lemurs, and cows, and all other life, then we do indeed have stewardship duties that many creationists — most in past times — are happy to abandon, claiming we can waste life of other species at will. There is no Biblical reason to deny this common heritage, other than the avoidance of the additional moral duties.”

    In a similar manner, if whales, chimps, etc. are all created by God, and we love Him and desire to please Him, we will love His creation and take care of it. Stewardship is strongly taught in Scripture and those who don’t adhere to it are not obeying the Bible. It doesn’t mean we have to be genetically related to respect and protect God’s creation. You seem to be debating 19th century consumerism. Not anyone I know today. That’s like me trying to equate evolution and Hitler. Something you are very vocal against.

    “RATE assumes that God is arbitrary and capricious, and that consequently the universe does not run in any standard, uniformitarian way.”

    Rate assumes that there was a flood which strongly changed the surface of our planet, including causing a large ice age. After researching causes for ice ages, the flood (IMO) is the strongest argument for an ice age and that the earth isn’t always uniform.
    “There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support the claim, and frankly I find the theology offensive.”

    So, you’re saying that no meteor ever hit the earth and nothing in the supposed billions of years of aging has ever changed? What about global warming? Wouldn’t this be an example of how the earth is not uniform but rates change? Doesn’t a greenhouse effect change how our climate warms and cools? Haven’t we had at least one ice age or do you deny that as well? How is this uniform? The only uniform I see is that the earth constantly changes. The laws stay the same, duh; no one says they don’t, but global effects effect the globe. Those are constants that change. I like your use of the word “theology” by the way. Good trigger word! Very clever.
    You said, “If they are sure they are doing real science, why don’t they present it?” Again, Dr. Gish answered this question by stating that no one will print it. So, your criticism is like taping someone’s mouth and nose shut and then mocking them for not breathing. It’s insane!

    I don’t know much about RATE but was wondering if you did. Obviously, you came to the table with your presuppositions and wouldn’t give it much of a shot. You won’t even concede that the earth has changed at all in the past several billion years (I keep forgetting how many billions to put in there), and you criticize those who cannot print in respected journals for not doing so. Why did I expect you to look at the evidence with as little bias as possible?
    I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I’ve been praying for you Ed. The Lord brings you to my heart often and I pray that if you genuinely are a Christian, your faith in Him will increase. Let me leave you with one verse:
    Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

    This is why I am stubborn about being a firm believer in Genesis. The Bible even tells us that there wouldn’t be visible evidence for God being the Creator (not saying there is no evidence mind you, but you mock those who are you fellow brothers and sisters for holding to the same God you trust in for your salvation, that teach that design screams for a Designer)! You can reject Genesis as being compiled by Babylonian wanna-be’s if you wish, but I put my trust in God and His Word and I don’t mind if it makes me sound like “religious nut” or not, but God says it, not me, so why are you arguing against Him?

    Like

  82. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, you really should check out this discussion, about “Expelled!” and its post-modernism roots:

    http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2008/04/06/flunked-not-expelled-and-a-big-round-of-plain-old-defamatory-speech-from-kevin-miller/

    Like

  83. Ed Darrell says:

    By the way, and in no way responsive to your last post on this thread, Joe, you should get current on the peppered moth stuff.

    Michael Majerus is one of the top guys in moth research today. Jonathan Wells claims that Majerus’s work raises questions about evolution theory. Majerus, in that stuffy and witty way English people do things without using the word, notes that Wells is a liar.

    But that’s just normal stuff, Wells lying about the work of leading scientists.

    What I want you to note is that Majerus conducted a 7-year project to analyze the work of Kettlewell, and to relook at the peppered moth as an example of natural selection question. He reported his results last fall: Kettlewell was right on, and Wells is still a liar.

    Go here and please, follow the links to Majerus’ actual work:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/creationists-lose-key-texas-case/
    and:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/majeruss-peppered-moth-powerpoint/

    Like

  84. David says:

    I think people are misunderstanding the difference between microevolution and macroevolution. Micro- is variation within a species that allows the species to change over time so that it can better survive and reproduce in its environment. Macro- is variation an a larger scale such that one species evolves (through microevoltion, basically) into two separate species.

    i think the easiest way to explain evolution is as follows:
    there are genetic mutations (variation)
    these mutations will either help are hurt the creature (adaptation)
    these mutations can be passed on in genetic code (heritable)

    with these three givens, the variations which help the creature will allow the creature to reproduce more, passing more of its genes on to the next generation, causing the genetic pool to contain more of this mutation. the variations which hurt the creature will cause the creature to reproduce less, passing on less of its genes to the next generation, causing the genetic pool to contain less of this mutation.

    once this scenario is played out over a huge population and a long enough time span, evolution is impossible to deny: the beneficial mutation will grow and grow in percent of the gene pool, and the harmful mutation will die out. it’s extremely simple logic.

    Like

  85. lowerleavell says:

    Wow, did you read that link? I need to do some more reading on the subject, but wow, that’s a lot of anger for a geologist! :-)

    I can’t really reply to the science of the links because I don’t really understand it, but what I do understand a little bit about people.

    This is funny, and really matches what the creationists are complaining about with a double standard. Henke first tells us that the creationist guys need to be published in peer-reviewed journals:

    “So, if Dr. Humphreys is really sincere about his devotion to peer-review, let him wean himself off the reliance on miracles for his .accelerated radioactive decay. process, honestly recognize and correct his numerous mistakes, and publish what’s left in an authentic peer-reviewed science journal.”

    He then says, “WHY SHOULD I HELP DR. HUMPHREYS PROMOTE HIS RELIGIOUS AGENDA?
    Even if I could get a critique of Dr. Humphreys’ work published in a peer-reviewed science journal, I would have no interest in doing so. If I did, the editors of the journal would be obliged to provide a forum for Dr. Humphreys to rely. Why should I help Dr. Humphreys get free space in a prestigious journal so that he could simply repeat the errors and evasions of Humphreys (2005)?”

    You really must see the humor in this, right? To adequately spend the amount of time replying to the creationist guys like he did, it must have taken him days if not weeks to come up with what’s printed on talkorigins, and yet he wouldn’t give them the dignity of a response? This is the sentiment of science toward creationism in a nutshell. Thankfully, creation scientists are not in it for the glory and fame, otherwise they would have given up a long time ago. If they were in it to deceive and simply give propoganda, politics would have been a better field choice.

    One thing I will give him is his criticism of fundamentalists in their lack of love. That is a valid point, and is something that comes easy when you spend all your time pursuing the truth. There must be a balance between the two.

    I’ll respond to the other stuff later.

    Like

  86. Ed Darrell says:

    Assuming that the variation in the genes dies off, yes, there may be less variety. You’re assuming, however, that the change in color eliminates one chunk of genetic data, and that’s rarely so. Generally it would be a dominant vs. recessive gene thing — which is how it worked for a long time with the peppered moths, if I understand it correctly, until the natural selection took off and selected one variant over the other. Creationists cannot explain how the dark variant arose; evolution explains it very nicely. Creationism has difficulty explaining why the dark variant became the variant selected against in later times, while evolution theory again predicts exactly what happened. Frequently such variation is the result of a new genetic sequence that suppresses the old, so the old genes are there all along. For example, a modest change in the development of chickens turns their feathers back into the scales they left behind when they stepped away from their reptilian heritage. No reduction in genetic information at all, but instead an increase.

    Darwin’s point was that this amazing variation will be directed to speciation; and then the new populations will develop even more variation of their own. In the end, evolution trends away from the door of the bar in the drunkard’s walk, and does not stick to the wall. This misunderstanding of statistics is a plague on creationist understanding of variation, and not at all a limitation on variation in the real world.

    The peppered moths story is one of natural selection in action. Evolution? Well, it’s the mechanism of evolution under a microscope. Creationists most certainly do have difficulty with it, which is why they invent fantastic lies about the story, the researchers, and the genetic mechanisms, such as the whopper-on-whopper version Jonathan Wells relates in his book.

    Hitler was practicing murder. That’s not survival of the fittest by any definition. Again, creationist misunderstanding of how evolution works, allowing them to confuse murder with natural selection, hampers our understanding of genocide, natural selection, and ultimately, it explains why so many creationists (like Hitler) went along with the scheme. Hitler was interfering with natural selection, trying to push it a different way, if you must put in on that scale. However, Hitler used the Biblical definition of heritage, and believed, as the Bible says, that heritage passes in the blood, not genes. This is why he refused to allow blood banks.

    Slave traders well understood artificial selection.

    The moral difficulties with natural selection attach even with animals, and plants. Artificial selection does tend to limit genetic variation, which is a benefit when diseases and other selection events sweep through populations.

    If you want a contest that’s based on natural selection, let’s put white Europeans down in the Australian outback, with the tools the aboriginals there use, and see which group does best. As Darwin noted, Europeans are not fit to go without clothes in the bright sun. Nor are Europeans fit to go without clothes in the cold, as the Tierra del Fuegians did (and may do, still — I don’t know). In a head-to-head competition using natural selection and not guns or other forms of artificial selection, Europeans are in trouble. Hitler’s moustache would not protect him from drought in Australia, nor from ice in Tierra del Fuego.

    Slavery is not natural selection. Racism is not natural selection. Especially, murder and oppression of one’s own species are not natural selection. They may be endorsed by scripture, but that does not make it Darwin’s problem by any stretch. Darwin himself opposed slavery long before most Christians came around.

    Creationists always have difficulty understanding that humans are brothers under the skin. When creationists were slave traders, they justified it by saying Africans — and Native Americans, and native Australians, and natives of Southeast Asia — were separate creations. Difficulty with claiming common ancestry is no different; creationists are unwilling to accept the higher moral calling that entails. If we are related to whales, and chimpanzees and the other great apes, and to lemurs, and cows, and all other life, then we do indeed have stewardship duties that many creationists — most in past times — are happy to abandon, claiming we can waste life of other species at will. There is no Biblical reason to deny this common heritage, other than the avoidance of the additional moral duties.

    RATE has some supreme difficulties. For great amusement, go back to the project’s papers about ten years ago, and look at their deliberations about measuring isotopes from rocks deposited before the flood with those deposited after. The great difficulty? They have no way to make any such determination — the rocks all bear the same radioisotope signatures of their real ages, no matter how much the RATE researchers preach to them otherwise. Rocks just won’t listen.

    I have not gone back to look to see if there is anything new in the RATE stuff. I cannot see how such a fundamentally flawed idea could produce useful results. RATE assumes that God is arbitrary and capricious, and that consequently the universe does not run in any standard, uniformitarian way. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support the claim, and frankly I find the theology offensive. I think that, were they to preach that God is unsteady and unsure about nuclear power, and deceptive in His creation, they’d not get churches to go along with them. So they don’t let on to the churches they preach to what their science would say — and they are embarrassed to present the stuff in any meeting of scientists. In more than 20 years they have not once presented even a poster session at any meeting of geologists, or physicists, in the relevant fields. If they are sure they are doing real science, why don’t they present it? Why didn’t they bring it forward when Judge Overton asked them to in 1981? Why not when Judge Jones asked in 2005?

    Surely you don’t suggest RATE is real science, do you? Here’s some real scoop on RATE:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/helium/zircons.html

    Like

  87. lowerleavell says:

    And yet…it’s still a moth. Perhaps an “ignorant” thing to say, but even if moths of one color survive over another, it leaves us with reverse evolution. As species are refined and adapt, it leaves us with less information with each passing generation, not more/new. This isn’t an example of anything new, but rather something old would be lost (if the light color moths had gone extinct).

    If this is all natural selection is, then I doubt you’d see many creationists having problems with it. Different color pigmentation isn’t evolution, it’s observable science(which evolution is not). If it were simply a process of evolution, then Hitler would have merely been trying to practice “survival of the fittest” which is dubtted “ok” by evolution for animals, but not ok for the “human animal.” Slave traders of Europe and America would have merely been exercizing “natural selection” because those with white pigmentation were excercizing of their dominance over a “lesser” race (which we know now is mereley a different skin pigmentation and minor variations on a theme-something to be celebrated as a gift of God, not resulting in racism, but in union).

    What creationists have a problem with is claiming all species came from the same ancestor, not diversification within a species.

    Regarding Wells, I make no defense for him. If he did right, then good for him. If he did wrong, then shame on him.

    By the way, Ed, did you check out the RATE project yet at ICR?

    Like

  88. Ed Darrell says:

    The story of peppered moths shows natural selection in action on variation. That’s what makes populations evolved.

    Like

  89. wintermute says:

    YES IT IS!

    Like

  90. evolution is false says:

    VARIATION WITHIN A SPECIES IS NOT EVOLUTION!!!!

    Like

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