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Darwinist Denies Human Exceptionalism in NYT
National Review Online ^ | September 28, 2014 | Wesley J. Smith

Posted on 09/29/2014 10:11:28 AM PDT by Heartlander

Darwinist Denies Human Exceptionalism in NYT

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 scientist–as so many of his ilk–also 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 doesn’t 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 suffering–the 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 aren’t 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 that’s 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 because–for humans–it wasn’t! Any other species coming upon the dying deer would have either eaten it or ignored its travail.

That’s a huge difference, the importance and meaning of which Barash’s 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 thing–and moreover, why would we care?


TOPICS: Education; Religion; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: academicbias; aclumia; antichristian; atheismandstate; atheistsupremacist; darwin; evolution; fundamentalatheism; liberalbigot; naughtyteacherslist; thenogodgod; thetalk; waronreligion
Evolution Professor: Every Year I Give My Students “The Talk”
1 posted on 09/29/2014 10:11:28 AM PDT by Heartlander
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To: 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.

Projection - every writer for the Slimes is just another animal in the forest.

2 posted on 09/29/2014 10:14:39 AM PDT by ConservingFreedom (A goverrnment strong enough to impose your standards is strong enough to ban them.)
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To: ConservingFreedom

Are there lots of newspapers out there among the forest animals?

*sigh*

Intellectuals sure can be stupid.


3 posted on 09/29/2014 11:11:56 AM PDT by Tax-chick (I can play the piano just as well with or without shoes.)
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To: ConservingFreedom

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.


4 posted on 09/29/2014 12:20:00 PM PDT by afsnco
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To: Heartlander

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.


5 posted on 09/29/2014 2:11:40 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: JimSEA
This ‘darwinist’ is David Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor at the University of Washington:
I’m 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.

6 posted on 09/29/2014 2:30:28 PM PDT by Heartlander (Prediction: Increasingly, logic will be seen as a covert form of theism. - Denyse O’Leary)
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To: Heartlander

My point would be that he is expressing his beliefs. That and trolling for the reaction.


7 posted on 09/29/2014 2:38:43 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Heartlander; JimSEA; Tax-chick; afsnco; ConservingFreedom
Barash from article: "Moreover, no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens..."

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?

8 posted on 09/30/2014 5:57:56 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective..)
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To: BroJoeK
Newton, Copernicus, Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Faraday, Pascal, Harvey, Boyle, Pasteur, Mendel, Carver, et al. maintained that nature manifests the design of a preexistent mind or intelligence. The US Constitution assumed all human rights were bestowed to us by our Creator through Natural Law .
… 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.

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

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 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.

9 posted on 09/30/2014 7:28:05 AM PDT by Heartlander (Prediction: Increasingly, logic will be seen as a covert form of theism. - Denyse O’Leary)
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To: Heartlander

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.


10 posted on 09/30/2014 11:09:18 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective..)
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