May 19, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Abusing Science to Advance Wickedness

What the Bible calls wickedness, evolutionary ‘science’ calls normal: good, even. Have some secular scientists become the new priests of Baal?

Marriage Wreckers

“Married LGBT older adults are healthier, happier than singles, study finds,” writes Kim Eckart (Medical Xpress). This is overtly anti-Biblical. God established marriage between a man and a woman, and Jesus Christ confirmed the Genesis standard. Why would a ‘science’ site even say such a thing? The happiness and health of sinners is not the issue. Undoubtedly, the participants at Baal worship festivals in the Old Testament had tons of fun! How far would Eckart go in justifying what the Bible forbids? Would she claim that polygamists are healthy and happy? How about members of free-love sex communes? Don’t you think the visitors to the temple prostitutes at the Temple of Diana at Ephesus had more fun than the apostle Paul, who suffered many things for his efforts to teach them about the true God? Don’t you think they were healthier and happier?

Statements like Eckart’s are not morally neutral. She is not like a passive observer, recording data points off a machine. Her headline equating LGBT relationships to happiness has moral implications. It’s a backhanded endorsement of what the Bible calls sinful. She could argue that she’s just reporting results of a ‘study’ from the University of Washington. But she certainly has some control over what to report, and how to report it. By rationalizing homosexual marriage, she is an accomplice to the ‘study’ (whatever that means; we recall a ‘study’ that turned out to be fraudulent—see 12/12/14). Eckart’s whole report is filled with glowing praise for all the good that’s coming from gay marriage, something civilizations for millennia have considered perverted, or not even marriage at all.

Language Wreckers

Psychologist Richard Stephens (Keele University) wrote his headline to get attention: “Swearing can help you boost your physical performance,” he writes on The Conversation. There was a time not long ago when swearing, though common, was frowned upon. The Bible certainly condemns blasphemy; Jesus, James and Solomon urged people to just let their yes be yes, and their no be no. Not Stephens. He sanctifies swearing as a means to live long and prosper, taking advice from a friend (evolution-based advice, of course) about how to endure difficult uphill bicycle routes:

He told me that one strategy that evolved spontaneously during these difficult moments was swearing loudly. But could it really be that shouting profanities in any way helped him get up that hill? If so, why? As a psychologist interested in understanding swearing I decided to find out.

My research has previously shown that swearing helps people to better tolerate pain, apparently because swearing triggers the body’s acute stress response. Indeed, this research demonstrate that repeating a swear word during an ice water challenge produces an increase in heart rate, consistent with an aroused autonomic nervous system as seen during moments of acute stress.

There are at least two problems with this hypothesis. One is the omission of other, more righteous ways of tolerating pain, suggesting that swearing is the only way, or the best way. The other is that it is a just-so story. Stephens has no way to link swearing to a genetic mutation that was acted on by natural selection at some unknown time in prehistory.

What our new studies do show, without explaining it, is that repeating a swear word enables higher degrees of physical exertion compared with repeating a non-swear word. So, at least for now, it seems that science was indeed on the side of my friend Mark during his difficult times in the Pyrenees.

Based on that supposition, let’s add a third problem: such a silly notion that justifies shouting out names of God or Jesus, or mixing in any variety of four-letter words, does not deserve to be sanctified as ‘science.’

Character Wreckers

In “A matter of principle, not good deeds,” an article on Science Daily talks freely about morality and character. There’s no mention of evolution. This might lead one to suspect that the article is defending character as “a matter of principle.” Read further, and you find the undermining statement by Clayton Critcher, another evolutionary psychologist:

It’s an adaptive optimism — one that encourages us to operate on enough faith that we can at least learn whether they are worthy of a social investment — until they prove us wrong.

Those familiar with evolutionary game theory recognize the angle. Evolution taught us how to play games for our own survival. Evolution taught us who to trust. This has nothing to do with principle. It has nothing to do with truth, morality, and virtue, but only what one human mammal perceives to be trustworthy in another human mammal.  To an evolutionary psychologist, morality is whatever works to pass on your genes.

Cooperation Wreckers

Isn’t this paper in PNAS about improving cooperation? “Optimal incentives for collective intelligence” is the title of a paper by social scientists in England and Switzerland. Look how innocent their Significance statement reads:

Diversity of information and expertise among group members has been identified as a crucial ingredient of collective intelligence. However, many factors tend to reduce the diversity of groups, such as herding, groupthink, and conformity. We show why the individual incentives in financial and prediction markets and the scientific community reduce diversity of information and how these incentives can be changed to improve the accuracy of collective forecasting. Our results, therefore, suggest ways to improve the poor performance of collective forecasting seen in recent political events and how to change career rewards to make scientific research more successful.

Any righteous person would wish to accomplish these objectives. So what’s wrong? Once again, we see them tying strategic success to evolution. “Through an evolutionary game-theoretic model of collective prediction, we investigate the role that incentives may play in maintaining useful diversity,” they say in the opening paragraph. Later, they say, “Here, we analyze an evolutionary game-theoretic model of collective intelligence among unrelated agents motivated by individual rewards.”

If it’s evolutionary, and if it’s just a game, it’s not really about cooperation. It’s about nudging. It’s about manipulation using incentives and rewards. An evil dictator could take such Pavlovian notions of psycho-politics to control his subjects. Perhaps that is better than torture, but it is still manipulation; it does nothing to encourage the human value of cooperation as a true moral good, a matter of personal ethical choice. If you cooperate because you have been psychologically nudged, you have not really cooperated.

Once again, we take this occasion to promote Jerry Bergman’s book How Darwinism Corrodes Morality. Look at the track record of Darwin’s dangerous idea. Its poisonous effects permeated almost every area of culture. It’s like 1984, but real. Leaders and ‘intellectuals’ took Darwin’s amoral, mindless ‘law’ of survival as the highest good and ran with it. Millions died. The poison must be neutralized before even greater evils arise.

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