Skip to comments.Can America Survive Evolutionary Humanism?
Posted on 06/20/2007 5:24:39 AM PDT by spirited irish
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You'll find the occasional comment or gloss that will indicate that it is an Islamic version of creationism (especially in the online preface here a section about how evolution, not Islam, is the real source of terrorism) but for the most part the substance, the arguments, the "evidence," the tone, the rhetoric, is all but indistinguishable from American antievolutionary creationism. Evolution as the source of racism, fascism and communism; lack of transitionsal forms; evolution = materialism. It's all in there.
Baloney. You have that backwards. There are liberal Muslims that accept evolution (although, as the wiki entry notes, even many of them insist on the special creation of Man) but theologically conservative Muslims -- including ALL of the "Islamofascists" who you (supposedly) can't imagine being creationists -- virtually all reject evolution.
Show me a counter example. Show me a fundamentalist Islamist who accepts evolution. I won't hold my breath.
Stultis, let's face it: you call any person who disagrees with orthodox evolution theory a "creationist." And so does Wikipedia. I find Wikipedia to be quite "progressive" in the way it presents its subject matter -- progressive, that is, in the same sense that a Hillary Clinton or a Ted Kennedy is said to be "progressive." (Seems more like regressive to me....)
To me, a creationist involves a lot more than just being "anti-evo." Indeed, there may be creationists who don't object to evolution theory in principle (indeed, I am such a one). The objection, if there be any, is to the idea that life and biology are the result of a purely materially based, more or less accidental development. As Jacques Monod said, matter and "pure blind chance" are the root of life and its evolution. That no creationist can accept.
I really hope that the ‘08 election does not address this issue, because it’s always embarrasing to see educated politicians pretend to believe in creationism hocus-pocus in order to placate the zealots of the Republican base. If the future of this country falls into the hands of people that believe the earth is 4,000 years old, then God freakin’ help us. America is great because of our science and technology, not Biblical literalism. Do we have to have another Scopes Monkey Trial? What do you want to chuck next, the general theory of relativity, radio carbon dating, the periodic table, calculus? I hate this hillbilly nonsense.
Yeah. It's all there in actual history, too. Darwinist evolution theory -- whether Darwin foresaw this or not, and regardless of whether he'd approve it or not -- is at the core of every single "progressive movement" that has come down the pike over the past century and more.
It is our belief that Allah is the creator of the universe and all its contents. The concept of evolution is un Islamic. The animals, humans, etc all were created by the command of Allah and will be created by His command. The ever changing conclusions of the scientists is sufficient of their false research.
It is permissible to use hair gel.
And Allah Knows Best
For: Mufti Ebrahim Desai
The concept of evolution is wrong.
As Muslims, we believe that Allah created human being. We are not transformed from monkeys and apes.
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
The Quraan and the Ahaadith are very clear on this issue. Allah Ta'aala had created Adam (Alayhis Salaam) in the form of a human being. He was the first human being created in the world. Thereafter Allah Ta'aala created Hawwa (Alayha Salaam) as a wife for Adam (AS). From their relationship the human race began.
Hence the issue of evolution is not acceptable to muslims.
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ahmad Suliman
CHECKED & APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai
What would be the point of that? That's like me asking you to make a defense of orthodox Darwinism without reference to a religion or a philosophy. I doubt you could do it.
It demonstrates that there's no "personal bias" involved.
Or is "creationism" like "art" - you can't tell me what it is, but you know it when you see it (ie totally subjective).
Why? What exactly would that prove?
I think your premise basically boils down to: Smart people believe in evolution; dumb people (e.g., creationists and Islamofascists) do not. I do believe this is the way Richard Dawkins regards the matter. (His and Dennett's so-called "brights" vs the benighted religious believers.)
This is moving faster than I can respond, and others have said most of what I would want to say. Accepting evolution would be a rare thing for a devout Muslim.
When I say creationist, I have some rather specific minimal criteria in mind. The most critical aspect of creationism is denial that natural process can lead to speciation and have, in fact, resulted in the common descent of multi-celled life on this planet. It’s a bit more complex for single celled organisms, since genetic sharing is commonplace.
The phrase “natural processes” needs some discussion. When I use it I do not hypothesize about how or why the universe exists or why the rules are what they are. I simply assert that the behavior of things is consistent over time, and no entity reaches in to cause earthquakes, volcanoes, asteroids, or evolution. The game board is set up and the game is played by the rules. I do not rule out the possibility of miracles; I simply don’t see any reason for science to deal with them. I know of no case where science could add anything to a claim for a miraculous occurrence. Nor do I know of any large scale event, such as evolution, the requires postulating a miracle.
You haven't been reading your Bertrand Russell enough. There is no goodness to thank or evil to condemn at all in a universe that is nothing but an accidental by-product of impersonal chance or necessity. Ascribing to concatenations of atoms the attributes of good or evil makes about as much sense as praising or condemning the orbit of the moon around the earth.
Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way. (Russell, Why I am not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, 1957, p. 115)
"The game board is set up and the game is played by the rules." Agreed. But who set up the game board, and according to what rules? I'd say: God created the natural world, which is the game board. And His Logos established the rules that give order to the natural universe.
You may say: "These are not scientific questions." But that doesn't make the questions illegitimate. Especially in light of the fact that these are precisely the questions that man has been asking since time immemorial. Are we to think human beings are stupid because universally, they ask such questions?
As far as miracles are concerned, especially in light of discoveries of quantum physics, perhaps miracles are simply events the causes of which we do not grasp from our perspective in space and time. For all we know, they may be perfectly "natural" -- as you define it (i.e., game board plus rules) -- but we don't know how they occur.
Common descent contradicts Genesis, which says that each creature reproduces "after its own kind," and only its own kind. That doesn't necessarily mean that each species had to be specially created by God. And it doesn't rule out evolution. It just rules out common descent.
Of course, if you are of a mind to say that Genesis is a myth and nothing more, well of course you're entitled to your opinion, js1138. I am not required to share it.
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
Generic creationism is pretty well spelled out in Genesis. And it seems to me God is extraordinarily forthcoming in the description of the early universe in Genesis 1. You do have to realize, however, that the time questions involved in these texts are not asked according to the "normal" time of human experience. Indeed, the early verses describe things that are not "in time" at all. In reading Genesis, I see nothing at all incompatible with state-of-the-art physics. I see the singularity, I see the big bang, I see the inflationary universe; I see the universal vacuum field; I see the emergence of the primordial light out of which all matter was made; I see the inception of Life, and the constitution of a hierarchy of living beings with man at its summit. Etc.
Am I being "subjective" here?
Translate your supposition into a form that can be researched. What would you expect to find that will not be found by mainstream research? How is the supposition that God set up the game board different from the supposition that the game board is what we see and study?
Common descent contradicts Genesis, which says that each creature reproduces "after its own kind," and only its own kind. That doesn't necessarily mean that each species had to be specially created by God. And it doesn't rule out evolution. It just rules out common descent.
Any reading of Genesis that rules out common descent is simply wrong. Either Genesis is wrong, or the reading is wrong. This is no different than asserting that a literal reading of the Bible is wrong if it concludes that the sun rises in the east and the earth does not move. If facts are incompatible with the literal interpretation, it is time to reconsider how the text should be read.
Amen indeed, dear brother Quix! All glory be to God.
If you feel free to fiddle with the interpretation of time in Genesis (which many do not) you may as well take note of the fact that there is no literal discussion of method. Genesis says that life came from non-life. The process is not described in scientific terms, so any interpretation is simply personal opinion.
I find it the height of vanity that some people will promote their personal opinion over the evidence found in existence itself. If creation is the word of God, then it is available to all men at all times; no translation required. You do not need to be born in a priveleged time or place, or have parents who inculcate you with the correct theology.
Science speaks the same language to all people in all times and places, without regard to religion, race, nationality, gender. there are thousands of religions at war with each other. Scientists, regardless of religion or politics, reason together.
Not "subjective", but seemingly ambibuous. When you say "generic creationism is pretty well spelled out in Genesis", does that mean that other religions (not just specifically Islam) that believe in the creation of the universe by a supernatural diety don't really believe in "creationism" if that account doesn't agree with Genesis?
The word "creationism" appears in virtally any standard reference dictionary you can find. Why is it necessary to dance around simply settling on the commonly used and understood meaning of the word based on those references? It seems a reasonable proposition that in any debate that there needs to be mutual agreement by all parties on a common, objective, and equally accessible source of the definitions of the principle terms involved. Somehow that seems to be too much to ask for.
Scientists are avid to discover the causes of things -- except for the cause of the entire "ball of wax," the universe ("the game board"). Then suddenly it becomes a matter of, "That's not a scientific question."
Huh??? Are scientists saying that every natural thing has a cause, but the sum total of all natural things -- the universe -- does not? That the universe has no beginning (no cause) and no end but is simply a random, material process running on forever?
Then where did the matter come from, and where did "the guide to the system," the natural laws, come from? You did declare to believe in natural laws ("the rules of the game"). But if you do, how do you square this with the supposition that the universe and the life in it is a random process?
You wrote: "If facts are incompatible with the literal interpretation, it is time to reconsider how the text should be read." I'd suggest that a literal reading of Genesis is the wrong way to approach the text. Genesis is not an instruction manual or a user's guide, to be read literally strictly for information purposes. Better to engage these texts with the aid of the Holy Spirit, which anyone can humbly invoke ("seek and ye shall find; ask, and it shall be given unto you"). Then we might really get somewhere.
Funny thing is, cross-references to modern physics has, if anything, made me appreciate the genuine authority of Genesis all the more.
Genesis says that life came from God speaking His holy Word, the Logos, for whom and by whom all things were made, in the beginning -- a real beginning of space and time -- ex nihilo. Then the photons showed up. :^) ("Let there be Light!") That's not exactly the same thing as "life came from non-life." The latter is so dry and doctrinaire, plus a heck of a lot less informative than the Genesis text itself.
You wrote: "I find it the height of vanity that some people will promote their personal opinion over the evidence found in existence itself." My "personal opinion" happens to be informed by the evidence of my own existence, experience, and observation.
You also wrote, "Science speaks the same language to all people in all times and places...." So does God. The problem is not everyone has the ears to hear Him. Maybe people don't try to listen hard enough. :^)
Then again, there are a lot of people who believe there's nothing "there" to "listen to." And that, of course, is another personal opinion -- presumably based on evidence, experience, observation???
Or does this merely signify a closure of the mind, a sealing of the Spirit, to God?
Some are interested in the question, and some work on answers. Science works with phenomena that are accessible to the methodologies of the day. That requires humility and discipline.
You are correct. the passage I have in mind speaks of dust. Figuratively speaking, both Genesis and science agree that living things are made of "dust."
Some people are arrogant enough to imagine they know the method and the process by which this happens. Science is humble enough to admit that it does not, but curious enough to read the book in which life is written. I guess curiosity is what you have in mind when you speak of sealing oneself off from the spirit of God.
It is too much to ask for. Reliance on dictionary terminology can be a substitute for thought. We need to agree on the meaning of words. Then we'd need to ask, which dictionary? For different dictionaries may give differently nuanced definitions. It's better to "reason together" and see if we can stand together on the same page thataway. If not, then not. Besides, the point you were raising went to "subjectivity." And so I gave my subjective opinion that "generic creationism is pretty well spelled out in Genesis."
Whereupon you inquired: "does that mean that other religions (not just specifically Islam) that believe in the creation of the universe by a supernatural diety don't really believe in "creationism" if that account doesn't agree with Genesis?"
I don't think I have suggested that. What I did suggest: I regard Genesis as a truthful account of creation regardless of what other accounts other religions or cultures might come up with, even scientific accounts (such as orthodox darwinist theory).
Indeed. Still, the mind of man outraces his tools and methodologies nonetheless. We have seen magnificent scientific speculations that have had to wait for the technology to catch up with them, so that they might be tested.
That's hardly what I have in mind!!! Curiosity is God drawing us to explore His magnificent revelation, the creation itself! I consider curiosity a divine gift. It's an openness to God, not a sealing of one's self from divine influence.
Indeed, they do. The physical basis of life is matter -- whatever that is! LOL! We'll just agree to call it: "dust." :^)
I believe you also maintain that your definition of cretion is completely objective and free of personal bias.
It is too much to ask for.
I've already had one discussion on this thread with another poster in the same vein on the meaning of the word "evolutionism" and "evolutionary philosophy". When the answsers didn't seem to correspond to what I understood the word "evolution" and it's derivatives to mean, I asked what definition he was using and where I might find it. I was informed that his definition was an "original work" that couldn't be found in any standard reference, and that it was "dishonest" of me to attribute commonly accepted and understood meanings to the words he was using.
The whole arrangement seems calculated to make sure nobody can really know what's been said, so that you can always claim to be "right" and the other guy can always be "wrong".
Where did I maintain that?
You cannot hide behind an argument of "moral equivalency," or of groundless personal bias here; i.e., my supposed lack of "objectivity." The distinctions I draw are perfectly "objective."
137 posted on 06/22/2007 9:41:47 AM PDT by betty boop
That appears to be a claim of perfect objectivity and absence of personal bias in the matter of what is and isn't "creationism".
Fine. And I agree. That just means ALL Muslims are "creationists," including the liberal ones that accept evolution.
The objection, if there be any, is to the idea that life and biology are the result of a purely materially based, more or less accidental development.
And indeed this is the principal Muslim objection to evolution.
I continue to be mystified as to why, or on what basis, you insist that Muslims (or "Islamofascists") aren't "creationists".
How is the notion of Muslims (or "Islamofascists") being creationists "completely nonsensical" to you? Don't all serious monotheists accept some theological doctrine of creation? Aren't all monotheists then creationists?
In earlier messages, the best I could gather was that you think Islamists are not creationists because of theological doctrines they hold or sociological tendencies they exhibit apart from the doctrine of creation they hold. That's kind of like claiming that while people who play on grass courts qualify as being "tennis players," those who play on clay courts somehow don't qualify as "tennis players". IOW it's a completely arbitrary violation of the normal meanings of words.
That is where the idea goes wrong, for both Es and Cs. It is not more or less accidental. We won't get far talking about 'material' until we begin to talk about 'material' per se.
Nothing of the sort. I never suggested anything of the sort. I've just been expressing my view that it's exceedingly strange to insist that Islamists aren't creationists, when obviously they overwhelmingly are. I've no idea how you translated this so.
Yikes, do you really want to get started on what evils Christianity has been a philosophical enabler for?
It seems the idea that there can be a "normal meaning" of words - ie a commonly understood and accepted meaning that everyone agrees on - has been rejected as being unreasonable.
In the first place, there is absolutely no way a human being can ever be "perfectly objective." Objective about what? "Personal bias" necessarily creeps in, because there is no other way for human beings to acquire knowledge -- via sense perception or any other source. The human mind is individuated -- discrete, not a mere flotsom or jetsom of a communal mind, let alone an epiphenomenon of the physical brain.
Each of us has a particular worldview or cosmology. Both of us are equally "observers"; meaning each of us stands on our own turf, in our own spatiotemporal coordinates: We see what we can see from where we stand; we have particular life experiences, and education and so forth. We probably see many different things, from our own unique perspectives. What I don't understand is the reasoning behind the supposition that, because I don't see what you see, my own view is somehow illegitimate, false.
Einstein's Special Relativity comes to mind here. This was the 1905 paper that made E = mc2 famous. But there's much more of interest.
Einstein speaks of different observers as occupying just so many different inertial frames. Inertial frames are such as can be defined and located spatiotemporally in terms of mathematical coordinates. The upshot is that spatially-separated observers who are nonetheless "relative to" or associated with each other, would experience and record different "rates" for their space and time experiences, were they to get together and compare notes. Measurements taken by both their "clocks" and their "rods" would not exactly dovetail. Thus relativity would seem to imply uncertainty, rather than Newtonian precision.
The one thing that Einstein seemed absolutely to hold sacrosanct -- in Special Relativity and beyond -- is that the physical laws of nature -- i.e., Newtonian mechanics -- are (axiomatically) the same for all observers in all inertial frames. Einstein figured (I gather) that the Old One (as he called Him) made a pretty decent piece of work when He made the universe....
Many people think that the "observer problem" -- not to mention the problem of so-called "quantum" uncertainty (aren't Einstein's inertial frames already a sort of quantization of space and time relative to observers?) -- didn't become evident before Bohr and Heisenberg. It seems to me Einstein anticipated them by some two decades.
So where am I going with this, tacticalogic? Something you said set me off on this tangent....
Thanks for letting me rant; and thank you so much for writing!
Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada.
None of which changes the fact that a person who holds a substantive theological doctrine of creation is meaningfully called a "creationist". And a creationist who substantively rejects evolution is an antievolutionary creationist.
Virtually all Muslims (like virtually all serious monotheists) are creationists, and the vast majority of Islamists (conservative, "fundamentalist" Muslims) are antievolutionary creationists.
Why you would belabor this is astounding.
Again, from your post at 137, early on in this exchange:
Creation is a loving act. Beheading people is not. You cannot hide behind an argument of "moral equivalency," or of groundless personal bias here; i.e., my supposed lack of "objectivity." The distinctions I draw are perfectly "objective." Just open your eyes and look at what's going on. Then if you report back and say there's no difference among religious believers, I'd have to conclude that you are the one who is biased, who lacks objectivity.
The view from my "unique perspective" is that I see you claiming that you can't understand a supposition that you've already made.
Metaphysics Nazi: “No ‘unique perspective’ for you!”
Actually, many of those you label as Islamofascists—perhaps a majority—are in fact secular Communists and Socialists masquerading (and/or treated by the press) as Muslim fundamentalists.
GunRunner-—Yikes, do you really want to get started on what evils Christianity has been a philosophical enabler for?
Irish—Underlying your argument is the second of the two core presuppositions on which every worldview (civilizatiuon) has been founded since the dawn of time.
The first deals with the origins of life and the universe. The second asks: What is the source of suffering (evil)?
Since the dawn of time, naturalism (modern evolutionary humanism) responds to this question by asserting that evil exists external to man. That in fact, the matter deities such as Saturn, Mars, etc. ‘caused’ man to commit evil.
This assumption implies the lack of free will and morally informed conscience in man. Man therefore bears no personal accountability.
The Biblical worldview is completely antithetical to all of this. It tells us that man is created with free will and morally informed conscience. That it is man who freely chooses to either act upon dark impulses or not to.
With regards to your question, yes, men have committed evils in the name of Christianity. But not because the Bible (God) ‘caused’ them to do it as though they lack both free will and morally informed conscience. That is the view of naturalism.
You ought to be asking why the most horrendous evils (human sacrifice, cannibalism, eugenics, infanticide, abortion, slavery, mass exterminations, liquidation of between 100-170,000,000 in 1st 87 yrs of 20th century,etc) have been committed by man in the name of naturalism since the dawn of time.
Since the dawn of time, naturalism (modern evolutionary humanism) responds to this question by asserting that evil exists external to man. That in fact, the matter deities such as Saturn, Mars, etc. caused man to commit evil. This assumption implies the lack of free will and morally informed conscience in man. Man therefore bears no personal accountability.
If that is the case, how could any civilization based on a "naturalist worldview" have any kind of system or concept of law, justice, crime, or punishment?
My point is simply this: a person whose entire education consists of memorizing the Q'uran by rote has never had an opportunity to cultivate the mind or to engage in a life of reason. The dispute between creationists and evolutionists is premised on reason, on rationality. The vast majority of Muslims in this world -- i.e., those within the orbit of Arab Wahhabism -- are simply irrational. They cannot even get into the debate. You can call them creationists if you want to. I have no objection. Probably that term would mean very little to most of these people.
The exceptions would be such as the "Turk," whose book you cited, and the link to whose website I posted earlier. This is obviously a highly well-educated and cultured person. Which should come as no surprise: Turkey used to be a part of the Christian orbit; Constantinople (now Istanbul) was a highly cosmopolitan city with a rich tradition of scholarship and a culture mainly informed from Christian and Greco-Roman roots. That tradition still has legs in the modern world. Although the Wahhabist infection, a fairly recent phenomenon, appears to be metastasizing in modern Turkey. It now appears that very shortly "secular" Turkey will succumb to a theocracy premised on Sharia. That is the trend in Islam these days: to swallow up cultures premised on liberal traditions that respect education and the life of the mind, replacing them with modes of understanding and social organization that are "reactionary" and primitive.
And you want to argue about whether or not to label these people as creationists? Fine! I have no objection, other than to note that doing so seems pretty pointless to me. FWIW.
My friend, it is you who does not understand it. From what I wrote earlier, you should have noticed that I said that knowledge acquisition was always a perfectly subjective enterprise. "Objectivity" can only enter into the game at the level of the descriptions we make of subjective experiences. If the descriptions are borne out by "facts on the ground," then the objectivity of the statements is validated.
Niels Bohr, recognizing the inherent subjectivity of human experiences of the world, extending particularly to worldviews and undisclosed presuppositions, insisted that science should be epistemologically pure. In effect, this reduces to two points: (1) Don't make claims about things you haven't directly observed; and (2), make full and fair disclosure of all elements that entered into the experimental design in tests of hypotheses, including a complete account of the equiment used, and the basic assumptions that lay behind the experimental design. I gather Bohr figured this would be the best way to "translate" the inherently subjective into something as close to objectivity that one can get -- for the purpose of protecting the integrity of science.
It seems many scientists nowadays fail to take Bohr's advice. And thus we have so many examples of "philosophizing" being done under the color of science. Theories of a materialistic, accidental universe (such as Monod's claim, mentioned earlier) and the common ancestor are prime examples of this phenomenon.
Excellent point, spirited irish: "That is the view of naturalism". And yes indeed, it has a very long history. The modern variants have been particularly deadly.
Thank you so much for your excellent essay/post!
Without any agreement to the terms being used in that description, determining whether those "facts" are born out or not is an entirely subjective proposition.
Tactic..If that is the case, how could any civilization based on a “naturalist worldview” have any kind of system or concept of law, justice, crime, or punishment?
Irish...Yes indeed, there were some good concepts from pre-Biblical times. However, those concepts centered upon and therefore aided and abetted the ‘few’ and not the ‘many.” History of those times speaks of subhumans and of the massive system of slavery in which they lived and died. Gladiators were slaves who fought and died for the amusement of their ‘betters.’ Their lifeless bodies were then tossed into ‘fleshpots’ and cooked as food for the poorest of the poor ‘subhumans.’ Babies were routinely burned to death within the fiery stomach of Molech.
These horrors and much more were committed because the pagans believed that mankind was created by anthropomophized ‘matter’ deities who in turn had, ‘evolved’ out of an eternally existing ‘Original Substance.” In this view, man is an aggressive parasite despoiling his ‘creator.’ The atonement for the sin of living calls for human sacrifice, and various ‘scientific’ means of population control.
It’s man’s duty to ‘die.”
Modern evolutionism is simply pre-Biblical naturalism minus the anthropomorphized matter deities. And as usual, the modern version has been doing everything the pre-Biblical version did: weeding out and killing the aggressive parasites.
"Without any agreement," the human race is lost. For we no longer have any way of making ourselves intelligible to one another, if we begin by saying that there is no standard by which our statements can be judged, in principle.
Are you sure you want to go there? It seems you are advocating in favor of an infinite causal regression that leads to exactly nothing and nowhere.
As against that proposition, may I advance a notion of Eric Voegelin's, that the human psyche -- assuming it has not been tampered with -- has an innate, "indefeasible integrity" in its contacts with/descriptions of nature.
Meaning: We humans seemingly tend to get things right in our descriptions of the universe. Otherwise, the causes that led to our advanced societies would be utterly unintelligible.
Just ask yourself: Why is that???
Short answer: It couldn't (see below). Therefore, under the scenario of the "naturalist worldview," what we in the West call civilization would be impossible.
Yet we see that civilization does occur every now and then. Though it appears to be far more fragile than any of us would have imagined. Possibly this is because people still continue to try to found its ultimate universal principles in nature itself. Which is tantamount to saying that nature is at liberty to make up its own rules as it goes along. Which tells you exactly nothing about the constitution of nature other than that it is a chaos in random distribution, and thus fundamentally incapable of generating universal laws. Thus the statement that systems or concepts of law, justice, etc., can be premised on the assumptions of the "naturalist worldview" is based on a self-contradiction.
Plus the statement does not address Leibniz's two great questions: (1) Why is there something, instead of nothing at all?; and (2) Why are things the way they are, and not some other way?