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A Split Emerges as Conservatives Discuss Darwin
New York Times ^ | 5 May 2007 | Patricia Cohen

Posted on 05/05/2007 6:10:09 AM PDT by shrinkermd

...On one level the debate can be seen as a polite discussion of political theory among the members of a small group of intellectuals. But the argument also exposes tensions within the Republicans’ “big tent,” as could be seen Thursday night when the party’s 10 candidates for president were asked during their first debate whether they believed in evolution. Three — Senator Sam Brownback; Mike Huckabee; and Tom Tancredo of Colorado — indicated they did not.

...The reference to stem cells suggests just how wide the split is. “The current debate is not primarily about religious fundamentalism,” Mr. West, the author of “Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest” (2006), said at Thursday’s conference. “Nor is it simply an irrelevant rehashing...Darwinian reductionism has become culturally pervasive and inextricably intertwined with contemporary conflicts over traditional morality, personal responsibility, sex and family, and bioethics.”

The technocrats, he charged, wanted to grab control from “ordinary citizens ...so that they alone could make decisions over “controversial issues such as sex education, partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and global warming.”

For some conservatives, accepting Darwin undercuts religious faith and produces an amoral, materialistic worldview that easily embraces abortion, embryonic stem cell research and other practices they abhor. As an alternative to Darwin, many advocate intelligent design...

Some of these thinkers have gone one step further, arguing that Darwin’s scientific theories about the evolution of species can be applied to today’s patterns of human behavior, and that natural selection can provide support for many bedrock conservative ideas, like traditional social roles for men and women, free-market capitalism and governmental checks and balances.

...“The intellectual vitality of conservatism in the 21st century will depend on the success of conservatives in appealing to advances in the biology of human nature as confirming conservative thought.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: darwin; elections; evolution; fsmdidit; gop; nyslimes; republican; split; wedge
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To: Westbrook

If you knew anything about the history of science, you’d know that the WORLDVIEW of origins has next to NOTHING to do with scientific advancement, because some of the greatest advances in science were made by those believing in intelligent design, including young earth creationists like Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal. If you knew anything about recent History, you’d know that atheistic evolutionists comprise the overwhelming preponderance of the greatest butchers of human life the world has ever seen. They were their own gods, determining for themselves good and evil, who shall live and who shall die. Truth is something they make up as they go along.

First, you seem to associate "atheistic" and "evolutionist" as a given, which several people on FR and some on this thread have contradicted. Evolution is not incompatible with faith for many people.

Second, associating a scientific theory with a dictator or butcher doesn't have anything to do with the validity of the theory - I dare say they believed in the theory of gravity as well. It's a common fallacy to try to discredit a theory or fact by citing the faults of its adherents.

Finally, I know this about recent history, and maybe you should too - that the Soviet Union rejected genetics and evolution in favor of Lysenkoism, an ideology-driven repudiation of science. Political adherents of Lysenkoism denounced the dissenting biologists as "fly lovers" and "people haters" instead of showing real scientific evidence to back up their claims.

Sounds depressingly familiar that people never learn. Science is what you find, not what you want to find to back up your personal beliefs. I only hope we wake up before our economy starts down the road of the USSR.

101 posted on 05/06/2007 7:52:00 AM PDT by retMD
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To: Westbrook

Stalin was INDEED an evolutionist! It was Darwin’s book that changed his life. Stalin was a Seminary student when he read Darwin’s book. In a letter he declared, “You must read it!”

Stalin may have started out that way, but when in power, obviously his ideology won instead of scientific facts. Stalin supported Lysenkoism, praised Lysenko, and placed him over the other biologists. Lysenko persecuted those who disagreed with his theory; some were arrested and sent to gulags. Lysenko was not relieved of his position until after Stalin's death.

Which tells us that during the time Stalin was a tyrant and a butcher, he wasn't an evolutionist, but a Lysenkoist. Using your logic, that discredits Lysenkoism and endorses evolution. But science doesn't need to do that - the scientific evidence quite clearly debunks Lysenkoism and supports evolution.

102 posted on 05/06/2007 8:06:30 AM PDT by retMD
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To: Mom MD

>>I don’t want to get into flame wars again, but evolution is scientifically unsound (macroevolution, not microevolution), there are many legitimate scientists that reject it, and its fruit has produced nothing but evil in our society.<<

I also don’t want to flame but I would point out that I interface with many scientists from many disciplines and i never see any one of them with any doubt about evolutionary theory in general (i.e. that life began on earth as very simple life and evolved over a long time into a variety of complex life including man.)

I met last week with a group of Christian science educators from Protestant schools and I’m meeting later today with a mixture of Catholic biologists and the leaders of a secular science education foundation.

This topic comes up all the time and the debate isn’t about evolution but how to deal with people who want to prevent good science from being taught.

And they are all concerned. Even the computer science guys and the math teachers. They are concerned that if one group is prevented from teaching on the evidence that they may be next.


103 posted on 05/06/2007 8:24:31 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: Mom MD

>>it makes me quite sad. We can agree to disagree, but evolutionism only validates our culture of death and amorality.
If we were not created, then owe nothing to a creator, and have no rules to follow. Anyone’s morals or lack thereof are equally valid, as they all evolved from the same system. Hence abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research and the like are not morally depraved choices, but just continuing evolution. This leads to moral decline and eventually the death of our society.<<

I believe life wa created. We know from the bible that God works through famine and the God works through war. Why is it odd that He would work through biology?

In any case, he has given us the tools to explore the world and its really clear that life evolved from simple to complex. That doesn’t change my faith because I’ve had a personal experience with God and he asked me to do two things. I’ve tried to do those things and my life has beomce much better.

I could die happy now although I am in no rush. I owe him more than I could ever repay and the particular mechanism of science that turns out to be true won’t effect that.


104 posted on 05/06/2007 8:29:11 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: goldstategop

Was not Darwin’s “servival of the fittest” the basis for
Natzism?


105 posted on 05/06/2007 8:40:11 AM PDT by upcountryhorseman (An old fashioned conservative)
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To: Obie Wan
>>Oh I can prove gravity to you real quick,my question is can you prove evolution to me !!!<<

You can prove gravity?

Just to be clear, you are talking about the theory of universal attraction, with the classic formula




So how would you prove universal attraction? And how this gravity thing get from one place to another? Is it particles? Is it waves? How fast does it travel? How do you know it always works? It sounds like Gravity is just a theory and an incomplete one at that. And since you can't prove it, its not real, right? Seriously, there can be all kinds of details about a theory that need to be worked out after its clear that it works in general in our local area. Sometimes new conditions will be observed that make changes (as happened with gravity after 1905) but even then the new theory still has to explain the old conditions too. The basic principle of evolution, that life evolved on earth from the simple to the complex looks pretty darn secure.
106 posted on 05/06/2007 8:43:11 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: gondramB

I don’t believe human beings evolved from a mud puddle,I believe in what the Book of Genesis says, so you go ahead and be secure in your evolution theory and I’ll go ahead and be secure in my belief of Scripture !!!


107 posted on 05/06/2007 8:52:33 AM PDT by Obie Wan
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To: upcountryhorseman
Was not Darwin’s “servival of the fittest” the basis for Natzism?

"Survival of the fittest" was not Darwin's term. It was introduced some years later by a different writer.

And the popular idea of "survival of the fittest" is wrong anyway.

108 posted on 05/06/2007 9:21:50 AM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
"Since they wrote the basis of our national identity, I think their example ought to suffice for thinking people. "

I have. Link Benjamin Franklin I fart proudly and am fond of older women.

"If not, how is it that icons of science such as Newton, Galileo and many others were creationists?"

Because we have learned a great deal since 1687.
109 posted on 05/06/2007 9:26:56 AM PDT by ndt
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To: Obie Wan

>>I don’t believe human beings evolved from a mud puddle,I believe in what the Book of Genesis says, so you go ahead and be secure in your evolution theory and I’ll go ahead and be secure in my belief of Scripture !!!<<

I can’t tell if you are trying to be a parody or not.

So I’ll give a straight answer in case you are being serious.

I also don’t believe that the first life evolved from a mud puddle.

As for Genesis. When God spoke to me he did not reveal any new science. If his pattern is consistent (and it appears to be from people’s interactions with God) it seems he does not reveal science but talks to us in a way we can understand.

When the Pentateuch was written down by Moses, he was limited by his time. As modern educated Americans have so much trouble understanding what a billion years is, its not reasonable to expect Moses to truly understand the age and scope of the observable universe.


110 posted on 05/06/2007 10:06:30 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: ndt; WorkingClassFilth

>>”Since they wrote the basis of our national identity, I think their example ought to suffice for thinking people. “


I have. Link Benjamin Franklin I fart proudly and am fond of older women.

“If not, how is it that icons of science such as Newton, Galileo and many others were creationists?”


Because we have learned a great deal since 1687.<<

In the interest accuracy...

1. A piece we call “Old Mistresses’ Apologue” was written by Ben Franklin in a letter to friend considering marriage. How broadly he felt that sentiment is another issue.

2. Each generation has a great scientist who misses what’s coming next. Classic examples are Lord Kelvin dismissing atomic theory and Albert Einstein not appreciating chaos. That doesn’t diminish them - it means the great among us are still human. When you extend that over multiple generations it becomes difficult for anyone to fully anticipate what will be discovered. There is no blame there. It the people who deny (after appropriate skeptical inquiry) that are diminished. For example Brownback, Huckabee and Tancredo just eliminated themselves for being qualified to be President, IMO.

In


111 posted on 05/06/2007 10:15:51 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: Kevmo; Alamo-Girl; metmom; hosepipe
Darwinian reductionism has become culturally pervasive and inextricably intertwined with contemporary conflicts over traditional morality, personal responsibility, sex and family, and bioethics.”

Which is why this reductionism isn't science, it is a bid to become a moral philosophy in the hands of a thoroughly secularized political elite. And when the darwinian reductionists get hold of moral philosophy and have the power to exploit it, you get the Francis Galtons and Margaret Sangers, not to mention the Hitlers and the Stalins, et al., of this world.

To me it is senseless to say that because conservatives assume that evolved social traditions have more wisdom than rationally planned reforms that this is somehow evidence that Darwinism is "true." Social traditions are not subject to natural selection at all. And Darwinism has nothing to say about "wisdom," or thought or even consciousness in general. Nor does it explain the origin of life. It says a whole lot LESS than meets the eye....

Plus the father of genetics, Benedictine monk Gregor Mendel firmly believed that his own experiments on selective breeding constituted irrefutable proof that Darwin's theory of natural selection was untenable.

I agree with George Gider's observation that "Both Nazism and communism were inspired by Darwinism. Why conservatives should toady to these storm troopers is beyond me."

In my personal view, Darwinian evolution theory has been turned into a modern myth; in this popular guise, it has long ceased to be bona fide science. It is an alternative cosmology that as West put it, "fundamentally challenges the traditional understanding of human nature and the universe."

Among other things, it wipes out any notion of a human nature that is relatively constant persisting over time, in favor of an evolutionary process that transforms human nature over time, into -- ????? Superman? Some other species?

Moreover, it is not science's job to explore the moral implications of sex education, partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and global warming in the first place. Even as science, what Darwinism might have to do with global warming is perfectly unclear to me.

I think it is a bad mistake for conservatives to use NeoDarwinism as a basis for policy or for rationalizing policy: It just gives distinction to where distinction isn't due. Darwinism simply has no competence in public policy areas, as we have already seen repeatedly, at enormous cost in terms of blood and treasure....

Well Kevmo, my two cents' worth, FWIW. Thanks once again for plugging our book! :^)

112 posted on 05/06/2007 11:01:42 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
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To: ndt

My we’re witty.

Need some examples of fine, upstanding evolutionists that were/are sick puppies? Not too hard to find, y’know.

The point remains...views on human origins have nothing to do with governance - period.


113 posted on 05/06/2007 11:07:02 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Current tagline banned under hate speech laws.)
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To: gondramB

Please explain how this diminishes their value as Presidential timber? Are national leadership issues rooted in origin beliefs?

Let’s all get real and remember there is a larger world beyond the fishbowl of evolutionary dogma - FR threads on this issue notwithstanding.


114 posted on 05/06/2007 11:10:22 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Current tagline banned under hate speech laws.)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
"The point remains...views on human origins have nothing to do with governance - period."

And position in the govenment has nothing to do with the accuracy of science.
115 posted on 05/06/2007 11:15:17 AM PDT by ndt
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To: WorkingClassFilth

>>Please explain how this diminishes their value as Presidential timber? Are national leadership issues rooted in origin beliefs?

Let’s all get real and remember there is a larger world beyond the fishbowl of evolutionary dogma - FR threads on this issue notwithstanding.<<

So much of the strength of the U.S. come from science and engineering. Its the source of our military strength and our healthcare and much of our economy. Someone who flatly rejects evolution doesn’t have the right mindset to be President, IMO. He is either lying to pander or he is genuinely deficient in understanding of the the world. That’s fine is he’s a stockbroker or a salesman etc. Its not fine for the leader of the free world.

I’ve read the words of Jesus over and over and cannot find where we are called to ignore learning or observation. But that’s what’s required to reject basic science.


116 posted on 05/06/2007 11:15:53 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: gondramB

I work as an engineer.

I have been a linear circuits designer and a software architect.

Nowhere in any high-tech industry in which I have been involved has any Theory on Evolution had any impact on circuit design or software devolopment.

All engineering takes place on purpose by intelligent design.

Engineering implies a designer, and code implies an author.


117 posted on 05/06/2007 11:53:20 AM PDT by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it!)
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To: Westbrook

I hope there wasn’t something in that post I was supposed to disagree with.


118 posted on 05/06/2007 11:55:02 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: gondramB; retMD
Actually, it was intended for retMD, who also doesn't seem to think that ideas have consequences.

Evolutionism is an ideology. It is a worldview through which facts are filtered in order to exclude a Creator.

It renders the sacrifice of Christ as meaningless, since that sacrifice was made to conquer Sin and Death.

If Death, the engine of natural selection, is God's means for humankind to emerge from less sentient species, then Christ is unnecessary.

If Man was not CREATED in the Image and Likeness of God, then there is no basis for any moral code other than convenience and opinion.

Evolutionism makes morality subject to the vicissitudes of popular culture.

Evolutionism denies absolute Truth outside of Evolutionism.

Evolutionsm is at the head of a logical trail that goes like this.

I used to believe that.

But as the beneficiary of Biblical scale miracles in my own life, and the witness of God in all that I experienced since giving my life to Jesus, I can not subscribe to any of these premises any more.

In fact, I see them as patently absurd.

119 posted on 05/06/2007 1:03:28 PM PDT by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it!)
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To: gondramB

I agree with most of what you say.

We disagree on the mechanism, after studying biology, physiology, etc as well as the Bible, I am convinced that creation happened as laid out in genesis, but if it does turn out that God worked through evolution it does not threaten my faith.

The situation I was addressing was those who because of a belief in evolution have no belief in or need for a Creator - hence no moral compass, etc. If you believe everything evolved essentially out of nothing, and there is no creator, then every moral system is as valid as any other, because all evolved equally. There is no absolute Truth in that case, and hence amorality and depravity results.


120 posted on 05/06/2007 1:05:29 PM PDT by Mom MD (The scorn of fools is music to the ears of the wise)
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To: Westbrook

OK, THAT post includes much I disagree with.

>>It renders the sacrifice of Christ as meaningless, since that sacrifice was made to conquer Sin and Death.<<

NOTHING man do diminishes God or Christ or their Works.

>>If Man was not CREATED in the Image and Likeness of God, then there is no basis for any moral code other than convenience and opinion.<<

So if we don’t look God you think we have no need to follow His laws or love our neighbors? I find it much more important that God sent his son in our form to know our condition - when we suffer doubt or temptation or pain - He understands because he has experienced it. God true form doesn’t have to look human for me to have faith.

>>Evolutionism denies absolute Truth outside of Evolutionism.<<

Your giving evolution too much credit - its not nearly that broad - it doesn’t say where life came from or talk about how the universe came into being or say that there is (or isn’t a God). There is all kinds of truth it doesn’t relate to.

Boiled down it says that on this planet the fossil and DNA record shows that life evolved from simpler life to a variety of complex life and then it goes on to try to explain the mechanisms.

As with all science it the best estimate to explain the available data. People can misuse it like they can misuse fire but that doesn’t make evolution either good or bad.


121 posted on 05/06/2007 1:14:07 PM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: gondramB
> NOTHING man do diminishes God or Christ or their Works.

Not in absolute terms, no, but on an individual basis, YES! Evolutionism destroyed my faith when I was in 6th Grade. It has destroyed the faith of countless millions. By the mercy and grace of God, I recovered my faith some 30 years later. The overwhelming preponderance of those whose faith was likewise destroyed will never recover.

> So if we don’t look God you think we have no need to
> follow His laws or love our neighbors?

As an author, you should have a better handle on the implications of being created in the image and likeness of God. Hint: DIFFERENT than the animals; having a MORAL COMPASS. Like GOD, in HIS IMAGE and LIKENESS.

Besides, Christ manifested Himself as a Man. Imagine that! If you believe in Him and His work, then you know what that means in light of Genesis chapter 2.

> Your giving evolution too much credit - its not nearly
> that broad -

Then you must not be an evolutionist, since they would disagree with you heartily. Just look at the posts from the evolutionists in this forum, and you will see that anybody who does not subscribe to their narrow little worldview, which at best can be characterized as an Arcturian Landscape, is commonly pilloried as a mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, pie-eyed, cow-licked, drooling throwback.

> Boiled down it says that on this planet the fossil and
> DNA record shows that life evolved from simpler life to a
> variety of complex life and then it goes on to try to
> explain the mechanisms.

Perhaps the DNA record shows that life was created by a common Designer. As an engineer, I use modularity, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism in order to manage development in the most efficient manner. I use the same few constructs over and over to accomplish vastly different ends and to execute vastly different tasks. The more efficient I am at reducing the number of different constructs required to do this, the more efficient I am at creating reliable products.

I do this in part because I am made in the Likeness and Image of my Creator who I believe endowed us with a penchant for His methodology in our engineering pursuits.

122 posted on 05/06/2007 1:40:38 PM PDT by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it!)
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To: Westbrook

Thank you for that response. My post will be more brief than is merited because I have a work crisis I am trying to get resolved remotely.

Yes I understand there are further implications to being made in God’s image. I was being light hearted and I’m sorry if either that didn’t come across or you felt it was inappropriate. My wife has warned me repeatedly against trying to joke.

>>Then you must not be an evolutionist, since they would disagree with you heartily. Just look at the posts from the evolutionists in this forum, and you will see that anybody who does not subscribe to their narrow little worldview,<<

I guess I am not an evolutionist by your definition. But there are plenty of scientists who believe in evolution but understand it doesn’t deal with many of things that are claimed. Like the origin of life or the origin of the earth or the universe.

As to the attitude you attributed to evolutionists on Freep... I don’t want to over generalize and I’m not saying anything here that I would not say directly to my friends on Darwin Central (if I still posted there). And I understand that anyone who is attacked has a natural tendency to counter-attack.

But I’ve had the discussion with many of them and I’ve expressed that I felt their approach was often not helpful since it was not aimed at either cooperative coexistence or changing minds. The general response was that they felt the situation at Freep did not merit being helpful here. That disagreement led to my departure from DC. That said, there were many good and decent people who believed in evolution here when I got to Freep and I miss that group more than any other.

But I deal with many scientists. I get questions about how and why I believe in God and not one in a hundred has a personal problem me over my beliefs. Almost nobody at DC had a personal problem with my beliefs either. Any rancor was a function of disagreement about Freep. For that matter there are a number of Christians both at DC and in the larger world of Science.

>>> NOTHING man do diminishes God or Christ or their Works.


Not in absolute terms, no, but on an individual basis, YES! Evolutionism destroyed my faith when I was in 6th Grade. It has destroyed the faith of countless millions. By the mercy and grace of God, I recovered my faith some 30 years later. The overwhelming preponderance of those whose faith was likewise destroyed will never recover.<<

This is the part of your post I wanted to get too. The pain of loss of belief in God is ... I don’t have the right words. It beyond my ability to express. I am so very sorry that you felt this.

And if some science that was presented as fact was the trigger I am sorry about that too. I also know people who lost their faith over a death, over war or over natural disaster.

Sadly those things are real as is the world and what we can observe about it. And it is a sad truth that the human author of Genesis did not know as much the world as we do now. But God knows what the fossils say and what the DNA reveals. God knew when he spoke to Moses and he knew when he spoke to me. He didn’t expect Moses to know the age of the universe or to deny what he could see in the world.

I likewise don’t feel called to deny what we observe or learn about the world. I do feel called to apreciate God. Whatever we learn about the world may tell us how He works but cannot mean there is no God or that he doesn’t love us or call us to love others.

I hope you can come to your own reconciliation between God and what we observe in your own way, in your own time. I wish you the best.


123 posted on 05/06/2007 2:35:48 PM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: gondramB
You have as much of a strange litmus test of orthodox fitness as religious zealot I’ve ever known. President’s do not approve or disapprove science grants or control the classroom educations. To a degree, they might have an effect, but in the long term it is the embedded bureaucracy that carries forward popular or cultural values/norms.

If anything, I’d think that science-religionists would be fuming over the ascendancy of global warming and junk science as the norm in government sponsored research. The last project I worked on in my university position was a technology to cut lumber drying costs 50%, boost yield and grade 20%. Zero interest by federal funding agencies for further research because it was a resource extraction based industry. That small example is the tip of the iceberg as we all know by the thousands of articles here on FR about shoddy science and agenda driven research.

Frankly, the state of science and science funding scares me a heck of a lot more than some guy’s personal views about the origins of people in the White House. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, mate.

124 posted on 05/06/2007 3:10:52 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Current tagline banned under hate speech laws.)
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To: HaveHadEnough; shrinkermd

shrinkermd said: “Logical positivism (later referred to as logical empiricism) holds that philosophy should aspire to the same sort of rigor as science. Philosophy should provide strict criteria for judging sentences true, false and meaningless.”

HaveHadEnough responded: “Sounds good to me. Sign me up.”

Inchoherency sounds good to you? The very positing of the first principle of positivism is its own refutation. Do you really want to admit in public that you’re willing to deny the law of non-contradiction?:)

“..Nihilism has been defined, and quite succinctly, by the fount of philosophical Nihilism, Nietzsche.

“That there is no truth; that there is no absolute state of affairs-no ‘thing-in-itself.’ This alone is Nihilism, and of the most extreme kind.”[1]

“There is no truth”: we have encountered this phrase already more than once in this book, and it will recur frequently hereafter. For the question of Nihilism is, most profoundly, a question of truth; it is, indeed, the question of truth.

But what is truth?

The question is, first of all, one of logic: before we discuss the content of truth, we must examine its very possibility, and the conditions of its postulation. And by “truth” we mean, of course—as Nietzsche’s denial of it makes explicit—absolute truth, which we have already defined as the dimension of the beginning and the end of things.

“Absolute truth”: the phrase has, to a generation raised on skepticism and unaccustomed to serious thought, an antiquated ring.

No one, surely—is the common idea—no one is naive enough to believe in “absolute truth” any more; all truth, to our enlightened age, is “relative.” The latter expression, let us note-”all truth is relative”-is the popular translation of Nietzsche’s phrase, “there is no (absolute) truth”; the one doctrine is the foundation of the Nihilism alike of the masses and of the elite.

“Relative truth” is primarily represented, for our age, by the knowledge of science, which begins in observation, proceeds by logic, and progresses in orderly fashion from the known to the unknown. It is always discursive, contingent, qualified, always expressed in “relation” to something else, never standing alone, never categorical, never -absolute.”

The unreflective scientific specialist sees no need for any other kind of knowledge; occupied with the demands of his specialty, he has, perhaps, neither time nor inclination for “abstract” questions that inquire, for example, into the basic presuppositions of that specialty. If he is pressed, or if his mind spontaneously turns to such questions, the most obvious explanation is usually sufficient to satisfy his curiosity: all truth is empirical, all truth is relative.

Either statement, of course, is a self-contradiction.

The first statement is itself not empirical at all, but metaphysical; the second is itself an absolute statement.

The question of absolute truth is raised first of all, for the critical observer, by such self-contradictions; and the first logical conclusion to which he must be led is this:, if there is any truth at all, it cannot be merely “relative.” The first principles of modern science, as of any system of knowledge, are themselves unchangeable and absolute; if they were not there would be no knowledge at all, not even the most “reflective” knowledge, for there would be no criteria by which to classify anything as knowledge or truth.

This axiom has a corollary: the absolute cannot be attained by means of the relative. That is to say, the first principles of any system of knowledge cannot be arrived at through the means of that knowledge itself, but must be given in advance; they are the object, not of scientific demonstration, but of faith.

We have discussed, in an earlier chapter, the universality of faith, seeing it as underlying all human activity and knowledge; and we have seen that faith, if it is not to fall prey to subjective delusions, must be rooted in truth. It is therefore a legitimate, and indeed unavoidable question whether the first principles of the scientific faith—for example, the coherence and uniformity of nature, the transsubjectivity of human knowledge, the adequacy of reason to draw conclusions from observation—are founded in absolute truth; if they are not, they can be no more than unverifiable probabilities.

The “pragmatic” position taken by many scientists and humanists who cannot be troubled to think about ultimate things—the position that these principles are no more than experimental hypotheses which collective experience finds reliable—is surely unsatisfactory; it may offer a psychological explanation of the faith these principles inspire, but since it does not establish the foundation of that faith in truth, it leaves the whole scientific edifice on shifting sands and provides no sure defense against the irrational winds that periodically attack it.

In actual fact, however,—whether it be from simple naivete or from a deeper insight which they cannot justify by argument-most scientists and humanists undoubtedly believe that their faith has something to do with the truth of things. Whether this belief is justified or not is, of course, another question; it is a metaphysical question, and one thing that is certain is that it is not justified by the rather primitive metaphysics of most scientists.

Every man, as we have seen, lives by faith; likewise every man—something less obvious but no less certain—is a metaphysician.

The claim to any knowledge whatever—and no living man can refrain from this claim—implies a theory and standard of knowledge, and a notion of what is ultimately knowable and true.

This ultimate truth, whether it be conceived as the Christian God or simply as the ultimate coherence of things, is a metaphysical first principle, an absolute truth.

But with the acknowledgement, logically unavoidable, of such a principle, the theory of the “relativity of truth” collapses, it itself being revealed as a self-contradictory absolute.

The proclamation of the “relativity of truth” is, thus, what might be called a “negative metaphysics”—but a metaphysics all the same. There are several principal forms of “negative metaphysics,” and since each contradicts itself in a slightly different way, and appeals to a slightly different mentality, it would be wise to devote a paragraph here to the examination of each. We may divide them into the two general categories of “realism” and “agnosticism,” each of which in turn may be subdivided into “naive” and “critical.”

“Naive realism,” or “naturalism,” does not precisely deny absolute truth, but rather makes absolute claims of its own that cannot be defended. Rejecting any “ideal” or “spiritual” absolute, it claims the absolute truth of “materialism” and “determinism.” This philosophy is still current in some circles—it is official Marxist doctrine and is expounded by some unsophisticated scientific thinkers in the West but the main current of contemporary thought has left it behind, and it seems today the quaint relic of a simpler, but bygone, day, the Victorian day when many transferred to “science” the allegiance and emotions they had once devoted to religion. It is the impossible formulation of a “scientific” metaphysics—impossible because science is, by its nature, knowledge of the particular, and metaphysics is knowledge of what underlies the particular and is presupposed by it. It is a suicidal philosophy in that the “materialism” and “determinism” it posits render all philosophy invalid; since it must insist that philosophy, like everything else, is “determined,” its advocates can only claim that their philosophy, since it exists, is “inevitable,” but not at all that it is “true.’ This philosophy, in fact, if consistent, would do away with the category of truth altogether; but its adherents, innocent of thought that is either consistent or profound, seem unaware of this fatal contradiction. The contradiction may be seen, on a less abstract level, in the altruistic and idealistic practice of, for example, the Russian Nihilists of the last century, a practice in flagrant contradiction of their purely materialistic and egoistic theory; Vladimir Solovyov cleverly pointed out this discrepancy by ascribing to them the syllogism, “Man is descended from. monkey, consequently we shall love one another.”

All philosophy presupposes, to some degree, the autonomy of ideas; philosophical “materialism” is, thus, a species of “idealism.” It is one might say, the self-confession of those whose ideas do not rise above the obvious, whose thirst for truth is so easily assuaged by science that they make it into their absolute.

“Critical realism,” or “positivism,” is the straightforward denial of metaphysical truth. Proceeding from the same scientific predisposition as the more naive naturalism, it professes greater modesty in abandoning the absolute altogether and restricting itself to “empirical,” “relative” truth. We have already noted the contradiction in this position: the denial of absolute truth is itself an “absolute truth”; again, as with naturalism, the very positing of the first principle of positivism is its own refutation.

“Agnosticism,” like “ realism,” may be distinguished as “naive” and “critical.” “Naive” or “doctrinaire agnosticism” posits the absolute unknowability of any absolute truth. While its claim seems more modest even than that of positivism, it still quite dearly claims too much: if it actually knows that the absolute is “unknowable,” then this knowledge is itself “absolute.” Such agnosticism is in fact but a variety of positivism, attempting, with no greater success, to cover up its contradictions.

Only in “critical” or “pure agnosticism” do we find, at last, what seems to be a successful renunciation of the absolute; unfortunately, such renunciation entails the renunciation of everything else and ends—if it is consistent—in total solipsism. Such agnosticism is the simple statement of fact: we do not know whether there exists an absolute truth, or what its nature could be if it did exist; let us, then—this is the corollary—content ourselves with the empirical, relative truth we can know. But what is truth? What is knowledge? If there is no absolute standard by which these are to be measured, they cannot even be defined. The agnostic, if he acknowledges this criticism, does not allow it to disturb him; his position is one of “pragmatism,” “ experimentalism,” “instrumentalism”: there is no truth, but man can survive, can get along in the world, without it. Such a position has been defended in high places—and in very low places as well—in our anti-intellectualist century; but the least one can say of it is that it is intellectually irresponsible. It is the definitive abandonment of truth, or rather the surrender of truth to power, whether that power be nation, race, class, comfort, or whatever other cause is able to absorb the energies men once devoted to the truth.

The “pragmatist” and the “agnostic” may be quite sincere and well-meaning; but they only deceive themselves—and others—if they continue to use the word “truth” to describe what they are seeking. Their existence, in fact, is testimony to the fact that the search for truth which has so long animated European man has come to an end. Four centuries and more of modern thought have been, from one point of view, an experiment in the possibilities of knowledge open to man, assuming that there is no Revealed Truth. The conclusion—which Hume already saw and from which he fled into the comfort of “common sense” and conventional life, and which the multitudes sense today without possessing any such secure refuge—the conclusion of this experiment is an absolute negation: if there is no Revealed Truth, there is no truth at all; the search for truth outside of Revelation has come to a dead end. The scientist admits this by restricting himself to the narrowest of specialties, content if he sees a certain coherence in a limited aggregate of facts, without troubling himself over the existence of any truth, large or small; the multitudes demonstrate it by looking to the scientist, not for truth, but for the technological applications of a knowledge which has no more than a practical value, and by looking to other, irrational sources for the ultimate values men once expected to find in truth. The despotism of science over practical life is contemporaneous with the advent of a whole series of pseudo-religious “revelations”; the two are correlative symptoms of the same malady: the abandonment of truth.

Logic, thus, can take us this far: denial or doubt of absolute truth leads (if one is consistent and honest) to the abyss of solipsism and irrationalism; the only position that involves no logical contradictions is the affirmation of an absolute truth which underlies and secures all lesser truths; and this absolute truth can be attained by no relative, human means. At this point logic fails us, and we must enter an entirely different universe of discourse if we are to proceed. It is one thing to state that there is no logical barrier to the affirmation of absolute truth; it is quite another actually to affirm it. Such an affirmation can be based upon only one source; the question of truth must come in the end to the question of Revelation.

The critical mind hesitates at this point. Must we seek from without what we cannot attain by our own unaided power? It is a blow to pride—most of all to that pride which passes today for scientific “humility” that “sits down before fact as a little child” and yet refuses to acknowledge any arbiter of fact save the proud human reason. It is, however, a particular revelation—Divine Revelation, the Christian Revelation—that so repels the rationalist; other revelations he does not gainsay.

Indeed, the man who does not accept, fully and consciously, a coherent doctrine of truth such as the Christian Revelation provides, is forced—if he has any pretensions to knowledge whatever—to seek such a doctrine elsewhere; this has been the path of modern philosophy, which has ended in obscurity and confusion because it would never squarely face the fact that it cannot supply for itself what can only be given from without. The blindness and confusion of modern philosophers with regard to first principles and the dimension of the absolute have been the direct consequence of their own primary assumption, the non-existence of Revelation; for this assumption in effect blinded men to the light of the sun and rendered obscure everything that had once been clear in its light. To one who gropes in this darkness there is but one path, if he will not be healed of his blindness; and that is to seek some light amidst the darkness here below. Many run to the flickering candle of “common sense” and conventional life and accept—because one must get along somehow—the current opinions of the social and intellectual circles to which they belong. But many others, finding this light too dim, flock to the magic lanterns that project beguiling, multicolored views that are, if nothing else, distracting, they become devotees of this or the other political or religious or artistic current that the “spirit of the age” has thrown into fashion. In fact no one lives but by the light of some revelation, be it a true or a false one, whether it serve to enlighten or obscure. He who will not live by the Christian Revelation must live by a false revelation; and all false revelations lead to the Abyss.

We began this investigation with the logical question, “what is truth?” That question may—and must—be framed from an entirely different point of view. The skeptic Pilate asked the question, though not in earnest; ironically for him, he asked it of the Truth Himself “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”[2] “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” [3] Truth in this sense, Truth that confers eternal life and freedom, cannot be attained by any human means; it can only be revealed from above by One Who has the power to do so.

The path to this Truth is a narrow one, and most men—because they travel the “broad” path—miss it. There is no man, however,—for so the God Who is Truth created him—who does not seek this Truth. We shall examine, in later chapters, many of the false absolutes, the false gods men have invented and worshipped in our idolatrous age; and we shall find that what is perhaps most striking about them is that every one of them, far from being any “new revelation,” is a dilution, a distortion, a perversion, or a parody of the One Truth men cannot help but point to even in their error and blasphemy and pride. The notion of Divine Revelation has been thoroughly discredited for those who must obey the dictates of the “spirit of the age”; but it is impossible to extinguish the thirst for truth which God has implanted in man to lead them to Him, and which can only be satisfied in the acceptance of His Revelation. Even those who profess satisfaction with “relative” truths and consider themselves too “sophisticated” or “honest” or even “humble” to pursue the absolute—even they tire, eventually, of the fare of unsatisfying tidbits to which they have arbitrarily confined themselves, and long for more substantial fare.

The whole food of Christian Truth, however, is accessible only to faith; and the chief obstacle to such faith is not logic, as the facile modern view has it, but another and opposed faith. We have seen indeed, that logic cannot deny absolute truth without denying itself, the logic that sets itself up against the Christian Revelation is merely the servant of another “revelation,” of a false “absolute truth”: namely Nihilism.

In the following pages we shall characterize as “Nihilists” men of, as it seems, widely divergent views: humanists, skeptics, revolutionaries of all hues, artists and philosophers of various schools; but they are united in a common task. Whether in positivist “criticism” of Christian truths and institutions, revolutionary violence against the Old Order, apocalyptic visions of universal destruction and the advent of a paradise on earth, or objective scientific labors in the interests of a “better life” in this world—the tacit assumption being that there is no other world—their aim is the same: the annihilation of Divine Revelation and the preparation of a new order in which there shall be no trace of the “old” view of things, in which Man shall be the only god there is. [snip] http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html


125 posted on 05/06/2007 4:42:31 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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To: RightWhale; shrinkermd

“It might be noted that Goedel destroyed the basis of Logical Positivism and Bertram Russell later admitted it is bunk.” ~ RightWhale

“Clement pointed out something that would not be logically proven until Godel’s theorems in the 20th century, that it requires an act of faith in order to employ first principles of any kind, whether “scientific” or religious. For example, if your first principle is that only empirical knowledge is possible, your first principle cannot be proven empirically. Rather, you take it on faith. Nor can natural selection prove that natural selection is responsible for the human mind, any more than DNA can prove that it holds the secret of life.

Clement concludes that “knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, something that is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter. ..” ~ 4/30/07 Gagdad Bob http://www.onecosmos.blogspot.com/

Robert W.Godwin [Gagdad Bob], Ph.D is a clinical psychologist whose interdisciplinary work has focused on the relationship between contemporary psychoanalysis, chaos theory, and quantum physics.


126 posted on 05/06/2007 5:00:05 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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To: ga medic; Mom MD

“There are many deeply religious people, who abhor abortion and euthanasia, but do not reject the theory of evolution. For many, evolution is not incompatible with either the Bible or their religious beliefs. The theory of evolution is not compatible with a strictly literal interpretation of some translations of the Bible. For other interpretations, it is completely compatible. Evolution is not responsible for the moral decline of our society, but maybe those who misinterpret it to mean that God does not exist are.” ~ ga medic

Three items out of many that will back you up:

Re: American Scientific Affiliation * Whatever happened to its mission?
From: Terry M. Gray grayt@lamar.colostate.edu
Date: Tue Apr 24 2007 - 13:07:18 EDT

“... I wrote my review of Phil Johnson’s Darwin on Trial in 1992 http:// www.asa3.org/gray/evolution_trial/dotreview.html
I applauded, welcomed, and joined the attack on atheistic materialism. I did spend some time criticizing some of the anti-evolutionary arguments.

In late 1993 I became involved with Phil’s evolution reflector and actively advocated my pro-evolutionary creation viewpoint with all the key players of the ID movement—Johnson, Behe, Nelson, Wells—I don’t remember Dembski being part of that round of discussion. I interacted with Mike Behe extensively during this period and as a result was invited to “debate” Mike at the ASA meeting at Bethel College in the summer of 1994. I still remember the greeting I got from several of the reflector participants upon meeting me, “Ah..., so you’re Terry Gray.” That interaction with Mike is also on-line at http://www.asa3.org/evolution/irred_compl.html

Serious discussions between us came to an end in the spring of 1994 when Phil ... “ [snip] Continue here: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200704/0439.html

*

Re: [asa] anti-evolutionism and deism
From: Terry M. Gray grayt@lamar.colostate.edu
Date: Fri Apr 20 2007 - 16:32:21 EDT
http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200704/0382.html

So, on this topic, I’ll point those who might be interested and who haven’t seen it yet to my paper given at the ASA meeting a few years ago in a symposium on God’s interaction with creation. http://www.asa3.org/gray/GrayASA2003OnHodge.html

*

From: “Terry M. Gray” grayt@lamar.colostate.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] Global Anti-Darwinism
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 11:16:14 -0600
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation asa@calvin.edu
http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200704/0425.html

[ Excerpt: “... Additionally, issues of geometric constraints of biological form, ideas of self-organization, constraints of historical development, etc. are non-Darwinian principles at work in evolution. I’ve spelled out some of these in my critique of Mike Behe’s book - on the web at http://www.asa3.org/evolution/irred_compl.html - and in Loren Haarsma’s and my chapter in Perspectives on an Evolving Creation entitled “Complexity, Self-Organization, and Design”. One of the reasons that I was such a fan of Stephen J. Gould was his sensitivity to these other aspects of evolution. ..” ]

bttt


127 posted on 05/06/2007 5:08:17 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
"The Founders, nearly to a man, were Deists."

False. Click my screen name and get up to speed.

128 posted on 05/06/2007 5:18:47 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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To: Westbrook

Actually, it was intended for retMD, who also doesn't seem to think that ideas have consequences.

Where did you get that from? I'm very concerned with the economic consequences of deciding ideology trumps scientific fact. I mentioned Lysenkoism because it did have a consequence - the soviets fell behind in biological sciences because they latched on to a theory that supported their ideology, but was clearly disproved by facts.

Evolutionism is an ideology. It is a worldview through which facts are filtered in order to exclude a Creator.

No, evolution is a scientific theory. What people make of it to exclude a creator is their own problem. You can proclaim it an ideology, but that doesn't make it so.

129 posted on 05/06/2007 6:56:36 PM PDT by retMD
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To: betty boop
Another wonderful essay-post! Thank you!

And Darwinism has nothing to say about "wisdom," or thought or even consciousness in general. Nor does it explain the origin of life. It says a whole lot LESS than meets the eye....

So very true. Raising Darwin's theory as the reason for moral and social agendas not only overreaches what the theory actual contains but science as well. Science does not have the proper tools or discipline to address such issues.
130 posted on 05/06/2007 8:40:55 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop

Thanks yet again for your fine contribution to FR. Keep up the good work.


131 posted on 05/06/2007 10:04:04 PM PDT by Kevmo (Duncan Hunter just needs one Rudy G Campaign Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVBtPIrEleM)
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To: Matchett-PI
first principle

This manner of speaking becomes ludicrous. It is redundant, at least in the Latin style of Roger Bacon. Maybe we can laugh at Roger Bacon's easy invariable Latin, but who can claim certainty who says first first a lot?

132 posted on 05/07/2007 7:35:19 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Treaty)
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To: WorkingClassFilth

>>Frankly, the state of science and science funding scares me a heck of a lot more than some guy’s personal views about the origins of people in the White House. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, mate.<<

Once you overlook the evidence and reject evolution it become reasonable to reject evidence on other things - the environment, wild life, health care, there no telling what else.


133 posted on 05/07/2007 8:45:31 AM PDT by gondramB (God only has ten rules, uncle Hank, and he has a much bigger house.)
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To: Mom MD
evolution is scientifically unsound (macroevolution, not microevolution)

Often as that distinction is made by antievolutionists, it just doesn't fly.

By definition "macroevolution" means evolution above the species level; "microevolution" then being evolution below the species level. Therefore any evolution that breaks the species barrier -- i.e. that results in a new species emerging somehow -- is macroevolution by definition.

The problem here is that virtually ALL modern antievolutionary creationists reject the 19th Century position of "fixed" species. They concede, even eagerly, that in all probability whole Families often represent a single "created kind," within which species diversified by some essentially natural processes. The paradigmatic example is the "horse" kind. By this they mean to include the entire Family of Equidae. That's horses, asses, burros, zebras, the whole kit and kaboodle. That's dozens of species, most with some major genetic distinctions, e.g. differing chromosome numbers and arrangements in most cases.

IOW creationists say they don't accept "macroevolution," but in fact they do. Their rejection of fixed species entails that they do.

134 posted on 05/07/2007 11:36:18 AM PDT by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: gondramB
Once you overlook the evidence and reject evolution it become reasonable to reject evidence on other things - the environment, wild life, health care, there no telling what else.

Seems to me that you've just described the current state of affairs in government science - only to worsen with more RAT control.
135 posted on 05/07/2007 3:03:56 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Current tagline banned under hate speech laws.)
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To: Stultis
IOW creationists say they don't accept "macroevolution," but in fact they do. Their rejection of fixed species entails that they do.

Here is another example:

John Woodmorappe, in his article The non-transitions in ‘human evolution’--on evolutionists’ terms agrees that a variety of fossil species, including:

Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo neanderthalensis can best be understood as racial variants of modern man--all descended from Adam and Eve, and most likely arising after the separation of people groups after Babel.

For this to happen the change from modern man to Homo ergaster would require a rate of evolution on the order of several hundred times as rapid as scientists posit for the change from Homo ergaster to modern man! This is in spite of the fact that most creationists deny evolution occurs on this scale at all (what they call macroevolution).

But now we see a creationist has not only proposed macroevolution, but sees it occurring several hundreds of times faster and in reverse!

136 posted on 05/07/2007 4:02:36 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: Coyoteman; Mom MD
Another example still. Last I knew (although this was some years ago) creationist Wyane Frair, having done comparative studies of proteins, DNA and such in turtles, actively entertained the notion that all turtles were a single "created kind". Since Frair is a young earth creationist this would mean that the massive adaptive differences separating, say, a desert tortoise and a sea turtle had to arise from a single species or type in the few thousand years since the flood!

As you suggest such examples are, as to speed in both speciation and adaptive change, far beyond macroevolution as ever proposed by evolutionists. These creationists (at least young earth types that believe in an historically recent global flood) are proposing a kind of hyper-macroevolution.

Granted they assert this wildly rapid evolution suddenly (and unaccountably) stops at some particular (or more often vaguely undefined) point: so that it embraces for instance all the diverse genera and species of Equids ("horses") but no other ungulates, and all the diverse genera and species of Canids ("dogs") but not other carnivores. But up to these points they have evolution operating multiple orders of magnitude faster than any evolutionist, even "punctuationalists," would consider remotely plausible; and then, after crashing orgies of hyper evolution and speciation, suddenly coming to a full and complete stop! So, bizarrely, the same creationists who blithely accept the probability that all the species of horses, zebras and asses emerged from a single pair leaving Noah's ark, then turn around and quibble over ubiquitous and observable phenomena like the random evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria!!

137 posted on 05/08/2007 10:29:50 AM PDT by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: retMD; Westbrook
Which tells us that during the time Stalin was a tyrant and a butcher, he wasn't an evolutionist, but a Lysenkoist.

Don't be silly. Lysenko was an anti-Mendelian Marxist, just like the eugenist (and Darwin Medalist) Karl Pearson. I bet you aren't aware that J.B.S Haldane (another Darwin Medalist) published a defense of Lysenko in the early 40's.

138 posted on 05/12/2007 10:35:15 PM PDT by Ethan Clive Osgoode
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