Darwins Ethics: All and/or None
Several stories recently indicate that evolutionists not only want to control the non-tangible areas of study, such as ethics and morals, they want to prevent anyone else from having a say.
- Psychology: License to sin – What would you think of a scientist who tempted people to sin so that he could observe their actions? Yet that is what a team did to students, as reported by EurekAlert. They found that “asking people to think about vice increases their likelihood of giving in.” This should raise red flags about the ethics and limits of science.
- Theology: Drosophila philosophy – Believe it or not, an article on EurekAlert asks whether fruit flies have free will. The article, about a study published on PLoS One, ponders what combination of chance and necessity (and only those ingredients) can explain the fly’s behavior. Free will vs determinism has long been an issue discussed by theologians and philosophers. Now, biologists are thinking they can give the definitive word. Presumably, what applies to fruit flies applies to people as well.
- Genetic engineering: Age of the chimera – The BBC News reported that the British government has bowed to pressure from scientists and overturned prohibitions against human-animal hybrid experimentation. An ethicist called this “appalling” and said, “This is a highly controversial and terrifying proposal, which has little justification in science and even less in ethics. Endorsement by the UK government will elicit horror in Europe and right across the wider world.”
Proponents advertised hoped-for cures for genetic diseases, and argued it was “an area where these [chimeras] could be used for scientific benefit.” According to The Guardian (UK), a geneticist said “I’m delighted that common sense has prevailed,” calling the hybrids just “cells on a dish.”
- Education: Warning signs – The scientific press is sounding an alarm: a Darwin skeptic who was on the Kansas school board is now running unopposed for a post in Washington on the National Association of State Boards of Education. Science Daily had only negative things to say about this development. It “has many evolution advocates concerned,” and Ken Miller (Brown U) responded, “any situation that provides an opportunity for the opponents of science education to advance their agenda is a matter of concern.”
This presupposes the Darwin supporters have no agenda. It also asserts without proof that candidate Kenneth R. Willard opposes “science education” completely, and that only pro-evolutionists are in favor of science education. If appointed, Kenneth R. Willard would not even start serving till January 2009. He said in the Hutchinson News that evolution is not on the agenda of the NASBE, and he does not expect to bring it up. Nevertheless, activists with Kansas Citizens for Science are urging a write-in campaign to oppose his election on the grounds he is “anti-education.”
- Education: Litmus Test – Astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of The Privileged Planet, was denied tenure at Iowa State last week, not because he lacked publications (he exceeded the requirement by 350%), or because his scientific work was substandard (it was acclaimed by peers, see Evolution News), but because he is a “Darwin skeptic” who supports intelligent design. The news about his tenure denial was widely reported: for more information, see Evolution News and its review of report in Nature on the case.
- History: Darwin letters opened – Want to read the innermost thoughts of Charles Darwin? His letters have been posted on the web, announced the BBC News.
- Ideology: Biopolitics – Can evolutionary theory bring an end to the clash of ideologies? Apparently psychologist John Jost (New York U) thinks so. He is persuading colleagues that human tendencies to embrace various ideologies can be analyzed with equations. See story on EurekAlert.
- Propaganda: Anti-evolutionism as anti-science – An article in Science1 tried to analyze the “childhood origins of adult anti-science behavior.” Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg considered creationism and resistance to evolutionary theory as examples of anti-scientific attitudes, and portrayed them as childish behaviors that were not properly overcome through education. Surprisingly, they admitted that common sense contributes to resistance to evolution.
They ended, “This is the current situation in the United States, with regard to the central tenets of neuroscience and evolutionary biology. These concepts clash with intuitive beliefs about the immaterial nature of the soul and the purposeful design of humans and other animals, and (in the United States) these beliefs are particularly likely to be endorsed and transmitted by trusted religious and political authorities.” The idea is that scientists and educators need to be aware of these “anti-science” tendencies in their efforts to teach science – a science that is congruent with materialistic neuroscience and evolution.
At Access Research Network, David Tyler wrote a lengthy critique of this article from an intelligent design perspective.
- Emotions: Darwin book redux – Another paper in Science2 resembled Darwin’s Book The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals and even included the 1872 book as a reference. In “Embodying Emotion,” Paula Niedenthal gave physicalistic interpretations of emotions in people and in animals. Though she did not refer to evolutionary theory directly, her paper also lacked any reference to anything like a soul or spirit. She said, “In particular, I discuss insights that have been stimulated by theories of embodied cognition and show how such theories account for the embodiment effects that you and Darwin might have been able to intuit.”
- Morals: Biological morality – Jonathan Haidt got a full-page press in Science3 for his ideas on moral evolution (see 05/17/2007). “More research is needed on the collective and religious parts of the moral domain, such as loyalty, authority, and spiritual purity,” he said, but it is clear in his paper that he meant all these things have an evolutionary basis, and zero epistemic authority.
For instance, he said, “From prokaryotes to eukaryotes, from single-celled organisms to plants and animals, and from individual animals to hives, colonies, and cooperative groups, the simple rules of Darwinian evolution never change, but the complex game of life changes when radically new kinds of players take the field.” From here he launched into a discussion of the morality exhibited by ants.
Later, he remarked, “because morality may be as much a product of cultural evolution as genetic evolution, it can change substantially in a generation or two.” That’s a clear statement of moral relativism. Throughout his paper, evolution was one of the most prominent and common words.
These sample articles make clear that evolution is a complete package. From a big bang to the death of the universe, the evolutionary world view seeks to encompass every concept, even the immaterial ones like love, morality, and world views themselves. When anyone tries to offer a different perspective that does not embrace evolution’s underlying materialism, the alarms are sounded. Pro-evolutionists employ “scientific” morality, whatever it is, to label the challenge anti-science, anti-education, and just plain wrong.
1Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg, “Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg,” Science, 18 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5827, pp. 996-997, DOI: 10.1126/science.1133398.
2Paula M. Niedenthal, “Embodying Emotion,” Science, 18 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5827, pp. 1002-1005, DOI: 10.1126/science.1136930.
3Jonathan Haidt, “The New Synthesis in Moral Psychology,” Science, 18 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5827, pp. 998-1002, DOI: 10.1126/science.1137651.
And so, pray tell, how would they know it is wrong? Right and wrong are judgments about truths that are immaterial. If morals emerge from particles in motion, they are not morals at all: they are temporary, arbitrary trends of collectives of objects. If you base an argument on something arbitrary, you can prove anything – including the idea that materialism is false. Christian theists, by contrast, can prove something is right or wrong, because their presuppositions include the notion of eternal truths and laws of logic.
Evolutionism is not a science. It is a world view. It is a silly world view that refutes itself, because it cannot generate intangibles like morals and truths by appeals to particles in motion. Any one of the appeals to “science” that the evolutionist uses to defend its brand of morality, rationality or ideology is a two-edged sword. Using the same arguments, a skilled debater can turn the tables and tie the Darwinist in intellectual knots.
For instance, moral relativism is a capitulation to the idea that anything goes. But if anything goes, then calling anything immoral in any context is bad if the majority likes it – such as creationism. Furthermore, attacking moral relativism itself can be good if the majority so desires – which refutes the idea that morals are relative. Q.E.D.
You can’t get moral blood out of a materialist turnip. The same goes for truths, laws of logic, and consciousness.
Once you understand this, and watch how the radical Darwinists intrude into every area of scholarship, including fundamental issues far beyond biology, you see why the radical Darwinists are a threat: a threat to rationality, to morality, to education, and to civilization itself. Their own words condemn them.