Skip to comments.Darwinist Denies Human Exceptionalism in NYT
Posted on 09/29/2014 10:11:28 AM PDT by Heartlander
The New York Times is consistently anti-human exceptionalism, never missing an opportunity to publish articles that seek to reduce humans to just another animal in the forest.
Today, the Sunday Review section has University of Washington biology professor, David P. Barash, bragging that he works to destroy faith in his classes (The Talk), insisting to his students that science and religion are incompatible.
That kind of ideological indoctrination is par for the disturbing course in universities, but not the one of the areas with which I grapple. However, I would be remiss not to point out that this learned scientistas so many of his ilkalso engages in profound reductionism by denigrating the unique moral value of humans beings. From, God, Darwin, and my College Biology Class (my emphases):
Before Darwin, one could believe that human beings were distinct from other life-forms, chips off the old divine block. No more. The most potent take-home message of evolution is the not-so-simple fact that, even though species are identifiable (just as individuals generally are), there is an underlying linkage among them literally and phylogenetically, via traceable historical connectedness.
Moreover, no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens; we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism.
Except we are. Human exceptionalism doesnt rely on provable supernatural traits,not sure what he means by that. But we alone are creative. In the 1 billion years of life on this planet, no other species has created a sonnet or drawn even the most rudimentary picture on a cave wall or rock outcropping.
No animal has created philosophy. No animal comprehends right and wrong, good and evil. No animals fashion moral codes.
These are distinctions with a huge moral difference regardless of whether we evolved into these natural human capacities through random means, design, or creation.
Indeed, Barash invokes those very moral concepts with regard to sufferingthe driving impetus for anti-human exceptionalists:
But just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things.
The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.
But these arent ethical horrors at all in the natural world. Indeed, without death and its many causes, natural selection could not operate.
Ethics only come into play when the actions or consequences that Barash invoke involve human agency. Indeed, why is it only humans take such offense at these issues? Why do only we make moral judgments about any of this?
Because we are exceptional.
And what other species works so empathetically to mitigate suffering? Perhaps thats a spark of something indefinable that Barash chooses not to see.
The other day, a friend and I were playing a round of golf and came upon a downed deer, a juvenile male and had clearly been severely injured in a rutting fight. If I had a gun with me, I would have shot the suffering, dying animal.
We stopped golfing and urgently waved down a grounds keeper to get help. He took one look and immediately called the clubhouse, assuring us help would be called. He later told us the deer expired before an animal control officer could arrive.
I mention this not because what we all did was special, but becausefor humansit wasnt! Any other species coming upon the dying deer would have either eaten it or ignored its travail.
Thats a huge difference, the importance and meaning of which Barashs oh, so rational mind appears unable to comprehend.
No matter. I always get a chuckle out of ideologues, who so smugly claim the mantle of defender of objective science to push their anti-human exceptionalism (and often, as here, anti-religious) views: They always invoke aspects of our intrinsic uniqueness they huff and puff to deny.
P.S. The Times carries another column about how we are supposedly responsible for mass extinction, and what we can do to save endangered species. One question: If we are not exceptional, how could we cause such a thingand moreover, why would we care?
Projection - every writer for the Slimes is just another animal in the forest.
Are there lots of newspapers out there among the forest animals?
Intellectuals sure can be stupid.
I’d love for the scumbag to be forced to live in the world he’s trying to create. A Darwinist world, taken to its logical conclusion, would be the biggest bully’s dream. He’s just a cultural parasite, enjoying the vestiges of a Christian civilization. He wouldn’t last 30 seconds in a true Darwinist world he wants to create. He’s simply insane, and anybody who listens to him is also insane.
In order to give this opinion, this “Darwinist” has to ignore the unique and unprecedented accomplishments and abilities humans have. The opinion portion of his diatribe is his faith which he attempts to prove, a heartless and impossible task. In the end, he is just poking people with a stick, joyfully anticipating the angry and often religious response. A troll in other words.
Im a biologist, in fact an evolutionary biologist, although no biologist, and no biology course, can help being evolutionary. My animal behavior class, with 200 undergraduates, is built on a scaffolding of evolutionary biology.
My point would be that he is expressing his beliefs. That and trolling for the reaction.
You must, must understand that the good professor here is simply playing word-definition games.
He does not tell us anything that he might consider "supernatural", but that is less important than the fact that the very word "science", by definition, natural-science only looks for natural explanations of natural processes.
In other words, it is literally and physically impossible for a scientist as-scientist to see super-natural events, or their Cause.
So just suppose: if the good professor were to see a super-natural event -- i.e., a miracle -- as a scientist he could not recognize it as a miracle, and if he did somehow see the miracle in it, and tell somebody about it, then our good professor would no longer be speaking as a scientist, but rather as a normal, religious human being!
So, don't you see -- it's all word games; since science by definition cannot see the super-natural, any claim that "no literally supernatural trait has ever been found" is just, well... do you "get" it?
These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself conforms. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to every one his due.Current science is attempting to apply Methodological Naturalism to all aspects of humanity. This removes from society; good and evil, right and wrong and introduces relative morality.
As the creator is a being, not only of infinite power, and wisdom, but also of infinite goodness, he has been pleased so to contrive the constitution of humanity, that we should want no other prompter to pursue the rule of right, but our own self-love. For he has so intimately connected the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter cannot be attained but by observing the former. This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law.
- William Blackstone
As you point out, Barash states Moreover, no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens..." I believe that human consciousness and conscience is supernatural and cannot only be electro-chemical reactions merely following the laws of physics. We could not be held responsible for our actions otherwise.
I agree with all you posted except a quibble over your term “methodological naturalism”. That is a very specific term which simply means: for purposes of scientific inquiry, we will set aside everything except natural explanations for natural processes.
But if you then push further to proclaim “there exists nothing except naturalism”, that is no longer “methodolical” and has now morphed into “metaphysical” or “philosophical” naturalism.
In the Age of Enlightenment of our Founding Fathers, the proper definition of “methodological” was well understood, and the idea of “metaphysical” naturalism considered impossible.
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