Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Consistantly Applied Evolutionary Theory

    I mean, it only makes sense that if one can understand evolution, one can guide it...some other disturbing eugenics facts here.

    53 comments:

    swordbearer said...

    I'm having trouble opening the link's link, but here are some other related articles (I've just found them, and offer them (but do not suggest I stand behind everything they say as I've just come across them):

    http://www.eugenics-watch.com/roots/index.html
    http://www.eugenics-

    watch.com/roots/index.html

    http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/Evolution.htm

    http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/Evolution.htm

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040203133349/http://www.africa2000.com/BNDX/bao405.htm

    swordbearer said...

    From what little reading I've done, this is certainly a matter Christians need to give more reading and attention to.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Interesting subject. Most "scientific Darwinists" would object adamantly with being linked to "social Darwinists". The fact is that the vast majority of scientific Darwinists are not social Darwinists, and thank God for that. The problem, however, is that they should be. If they really truly believe what they claim to believe about God, man, and origins, then they should support Eugenics.

    They fact that they do not is proof that they know God, but suppress the truth in righteousness.

    swordbearer said...

    Puritan, While I agree with you one hundred percent, I fear this is a slippery slope and all the more reason for believers to be informed and involved, for naturalists, while they they can only point to the fact of value but never to an absolute standard, are in no position to do all that's necessary to stand for truth, defend the good, reign in judgment, or ensure righteousness.

    swordbearer said...

    Besides ... I image that for the average believer, even those who can make a difference, thus far most of what has been put forth at least on the popular level are the so called "advantages" of what things like the human genome project can result in, but it's a whole different issue when you examine all the possibilites to which it can result, especially if you take into account perspectives and weaknesses of various worldviews. As with other technologies, philosophies, etc., the time to be educated and involved is now, even before additional directions in research and related discoveries are made, so as to influence not only the direction it takes, but also influence the safeguards in place as well as the decision making in how the information and abilities are applied.

    Again, I implore Christians to be involved and seek fields (science, philosophy, politics, etc.) where they can make a difference!

    skeptimal said...

    Sword and Puritan,

    Can you give grounds to your outrageous accusation that all of those who recognize the value of science are inevitably on the slippery slope to genetic puritanism?

    skeptimal said...

    "I implore Christians to be involved and seek fields (science,"

    I so agree with this. I only wish more Christians would go to legitimate, accredited, non-religious colleges and get biology and geology degrees. Then maybe the rest of you would listen to them when they came back and explained why creationism is not science.

    skeptimal said...

    And by the way, the Old Testament tells us that the first genetic puritans were the Israelites acting under orders from Jehovah.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptimal said: "Can you give grounds to your outrageous accusation that all of those who recognize the value of science are inevitably on the slippery slope to genetic puritanism?"

    Response:
    1. No one said "ALL" of those who recognize the value of science will end up falling down the slippery slope. Note: PL stated "Most "scientific Darwinists" would object adamantly with being linked to "social Darwinists". The fact is that the vast majority of scientific Darwinists are not social Darwinists,"; I stated "Puritan, While I agree with you one hundred percent..." That's a FAR CRY from your accusation!

    2. While "ALL" will not fall down the slope, that still does not mean naturalism itself provides for a standard of values by which it may be determined that going down that slope is morally or ethically wrong. I'll provide you an example, but first, you tell me why (i.e., on what basis)humanity should not go down the slope.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptimal stated: "I so agree with this."

    Response: Good.

    skeptimal stated: "I only wish more Christians would go to legitimate, accredited, non-religious colleges and get biology and geology degrees."

    Response:
    1. Seems prejudiced to me. Is the assumption that a religious school cannot be "legitimate". Are you suggesting there are no "religious" scietists? Is it impossible to be religious and conduct real science? Does not the data lend itself to interpretation? Are there not issues which have not or cannot be proven where religous and non-religious experts may differ? (Your comment tends to cast or infer unmerited, unsupported attack.

    skeptimal stated: "Then maybe the rest of you would listen to them when they came back and explained why creationism is not science."

    response: Let me ask you a question, does the evolution you support as science allow for self determination as a factor in the advancement of humanity?

    swordbearer said...

    skeptimal stated: "And by the way, the Old Testament tells us that the first genetic puritans were the Israelites acting under orders from Jehovah."

    Response: What's your point? (If it's addressing the activity of Israelites in obedience to God's declared will, they had an absolute standard to base their actions upon, something naturalists lack.)

    panta dokimazete said...

    Perfectly predictable, S - when you are faced with the rotten fruit of your worldview, start trying to smear someone else's.

    BTW - It was perfectly reasonable for the Israelites to follow the guidance of the immanent Creator concerning the disposition of His creatures.

    Eugenics is the sin of Man's pride proving out the truth of God's Word (see Romans 1)and is to the glory of Man -
    an abomination born as the rotten fruit from the poison tree of the evolutionary fairy tale.

    God's plan is for His own glory through the life, death, resurrection and glorification of the Son.

    His children benefit from His plan, even though we do not deserve it (see Roman 8:28).

    God's plan is based in love and purpose.

    Naturalistic evolution offers only abomination and purposelessness.

    All in all, a devil's bargain.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal: "Can you give grounds to your outrageous accusation that all of those who recognize the value of science are inevitably on the slippery slope to genetic puritanism?"

    Response: Is that what I said? This is a disingenuous question Skeptimal.

    1.) It assumes that Christians don't recognize the value of science, when in fact the atheist cannot even justify the preconditions of science.

    2.) It beg the question by assuming the anyone who reject evolution does not recognize the value of science.

    3.) As for my statement, I do not hold evolutionists "inevitably on the slippery slope to genetic puritanism". In fact, I was very thankful that most of the don't. I only hold that they would if they were consistent. If man is merely a cosmic accident, and a product of "survival of the fittest", then why not help evolution along by getting rid of the "unfit"? Afterall, the natural world is quite cruel to the weak and disabled. Why do we, as a species, fight so hard against it? How much easier would life be if we only allowed the best and brightest to exist? As for "human rights", who cares? Accidental sacks of biocarbons do not have rights.

    Another example is the medical profession. We are the only species that takes care of the injured or sick among us. Nothing is more irrational than for an atheist to enter the medical profession.

    Yes, thank God that most "scientific Darwinists" are not "social Darwinists". The problem, as I pointed out, is that they should be if they were consistent.

    skeptimal said...

    You have a point: I appreciate the recognition that not all who believe in evolution are eugenicists.

    “I'll provide you an example, but first, you tell me why (i.e., on what basis)humanity should not go down the slope.”

    There is a difference between believing in evolution and thinking that mankind understands our own wiring well enough to mess with it through eugenics. For every question science answers, it raises three more, so a great deal of humility is called for. Furthermore, there is evidence that diversity brings strength, in genetics as well as society. A mutation that might appear at first to be a weakness might later turn out to be a strength. Eugenics would narrow the genetic variance to artificial ideals, the impact of which can not be foreseen.

    skeptimal said...

    “Are you suggesting there are no "religious" scietists? Is it impossible to be religious and conduct real science?... Are there not issues which have not or cannot be proven where religous and non-religious experts may differ? (Your comment tends to cast or infer unmerited, unsupported attack.)”

    No, as I’ve mentioned before (I think I’ve mentioned it here), a significant percentage of scientists in the U.S. are Christians. And yes, there are areas where religious experts and scientists without directly contradicting each other. For instance, the existence of gods is not, in and of itself, a scientific issue. Certain claims of religions can be disproven, but the existence of gods is outside the realm of science.

    Neither has science disproved creationism, but my point is that creationism is not science. Creationism at its core requires a supernatural intervention to be true. Since supernatural interventions can not be tested or recreated, and since they are not part of observable natural law, any theory that explains away the evidence with “a miracle happened” is not science (and therefore does not belong in a science classroom). No one is trying to silence creationists, but it is incorrect to suggest that there is such a thing as “creation science.”

    skeptimal said...

    Response: What's your point? (If it's addressing the activity of Israelites in obedience to God's declared will, they had an absolute standard to base their actions upon, something naturalists lack.)

    Religion is not and has never been an absolute standard. All that is necessary for something to become a religious belief (and therefore beyond questioning) is for a significant number of people to become convinced that it is the will of one god or another. Appealing to the scriptures for absolute truth does not help your case, since the Bible is a self-contradictory document can be and has been used to justify all kinds of crimes and atrocities (slavery for one, off the top of my head).

    skeptimal said...

    Panto said: “Perfectly predictable, S - when you are faced with the rotten fruit of your worldview, start trying to smear someone else's. BTW - It was perfectly reasonable for the Israelites to follow the guidance of the immanent Creator concerning the disposition of His creatures.”

    No one has provided the logic behind assuming that a belief in evolution should result in genocide. And you yourself have admitted that it wasn’t a smear that the Bible includes genocide, and that this genocide was allegedly advocated directly by the god who is at the center of your world view. It is meaningless to say that gods can do what they want with their creatures, because you have no way of knowing whether something is the will of your god or not. And if you go by the scriptures, then you have plenty of “absolute” support should a significant group of you ever decide that another group of people should be murdered. Which world view has rotten fruit again?

    swordbearer said...

    S stated: "...For every question science answers, it raises three more, so a great deal of humility is called for. Furthermore, there is evidence that diversity brings strength, in genetics as well as society."

    Response:
    1. Do not some believe that "less diversity" brings strength (get rid of the weak, etc., euthanasia, abortion, eugenics, etc.)? So, WHO is right, WHO will decide, and on WHAT BASIS/PRINCIPLES? (And will they be "consistent"?

    If "SURVIVAL" is the goal, then who DEFINES what survival means ( and both WHO and WHO is NOT INCLUDED? (Does "survival" alone provide answers for what that survival looks like? I think not.)

    2. Besides, as it comes to the issue of the "slippery slope", if there are those on BOTH sides, what's to keep the OTHER side from traveling down that path? YES, it can be a slippery slope, and the greater the technology and the greater the perceived advantages/disadvantages of choosing one path or another, the greater the temptation and likelihood of some going down that slope, especially given the variety of options, empowerment and opportunities to do so (and especially when more and more absolutes are denied and relativism is embraced!) One would have to be blind not to see this.

    3. Science is impotent in providing the ultimate answers/motivations. As has been pointed out before "Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidest and most pernicious illusion." For the naturalist, the world is simply there, it does not provide humanity with a sense of "oughtness" (or "ought not-ness"). When contradiction or competition of values presents itself (especially when peace and recognition of the dignity of human life are not among them) naturalism (without an absolute standard) is impotent. As Sire points out "If a 'true morality' does not exist; objective secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has, in a sense, no truth, and no action is objectively preferable to any other."

    James Sire is perhaps also right when he not only states that (1) problems on one level increase with global community (where we're forced to deal with values in conflict, & naturalists have no standard, no way of knowing "when peace is more important than preserving another value"), but (2) that as unbelievers (with the progression of worldviews) begin to distance themselves more and more from the remembrance and foundations of Christian Theism, we'll inevitably begin to see greater diversity when it comes to beliefs, values, and even conflict due to differing beliefs and values.

    swordbearer said...

    S stated: Religion is not and has never been an absolute standard. All that is necessary for something to become a religious belief (and therefore beyond questioning) is for a significant number of people to become convinced that it is the will of one god or another.

    Response: Your prejudice is seen in the following:
    1. You have attempted to change the argument from the "word of God" (to the Israelites) to "religion" as the absolute standard under discussion.
    2. The assumption that the Christian revelation is no different than the consensus of other religions; and/or the assumption that just because others may be false or unverifiable then that means Christianity is.
    3. The failure to take account that history and literature records the fulfillment of the word spoken to Israel.

    S stated: "Appealing to the scriptures for absolute truth does not help your case, since the Bible is a self-contradictory document can be and has been used to justify all kinds of crimes and atrocities (slavery for one, off the top of my head)."

    Response: Your prejudice here is noted in:
    1. Since you do not admit absolute truth can be known, then your statement of our "appeal to Scripture for absolute truth not being helping" is without basis.
    2. Your assertion that the Bible is a "self-contradictory" document is conjecture...as the fact that various interpretation or applications do not prove the document itself is self-contradictory... as the varience can be attributed to the interpreters (whether they be correct or not)

    swordbearer said...

    S,

    In light of panta's comment ("Perfectly predictable, S - when you are faced with the rotten fruit of your worldview, start trying to smear someone else's.),
    I'm going to discontinue discussion of creationism, science, evolution, but will start a new thread later on this topic.

    ... In other words, the focus of this thread has to do with the relationship between naturalism and eugenics (not the place of creationism in the classroom) ... let's not get sidetracked.

    swordbearer said...

    PL stated: "If man is merely a cosmic accident, and a product of "survival of the fittest", then why not help evolution along by getting rid of the "unfit"? Afterall, the natural world is quite cruel to the weak and disabled. Why do we, as a species, fight so hard against it? How much easier would life be if we only allowed the best and brightest to exist? As for "human rights", who cares? Accidental sacks of biocarbons do not have rights."

    That's quotable!

    swordbearer said...

    To my Request (... you tell me why (i.e., on what basis)humanity should not go down the slope.”

    S Responsed: There is a difference between believing in evolution and thinking that mankind understands our own wiring well enough to mess with it through eugenics. For every question science answers, it raises three more, so a great deal of humility is called for. Furthermore, there is evidence that diversity brings strength..."

    Response: So, given differing pieces of scientific evidence, differing values among humanity, differing motivations, etc., ... "HUMILITY" is the deciding principle upon which these decisions must be based??? ... and the principle which will keep naturalists from from heading down the slippery slope???

    Suppose some believe with "humility" that while diversity can be an asset, that diversity should not include the weakest or unproductive, what then???

    (Note - without the "endgoal" being defined, whose to say who is right? Is the goal of survival of the fittest that "all those who survive are the "fittest", or that by ensuring the "survival" of all we might ultimately become the "fittest"? Whose to say which couse is the correct one, or the better one - does nature??? ... and can science prove these things? I think not. And neither will "humility".)

    skeptimal said...

    PL: "If they (non-creationists) really truly believe what they claim to believe about God, man, and origins, then they should support Eugenics."

    PL: "Accidental sacks of biocarbons do not have rights." Sword: That's quotable!

    Panta: "Naturalistic evolution offers only abomination and purposelessness."

    Sword: "What sinful behavior will we (i.e., those evil non-creationists) make a genetic excuse for next?"

    This repeated focus on the imagined evils of naturalism makes me ask: do you believe in Christianity /creationism because there is evidence, or is it because you equate unbelief with evil?

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal: "This repeated focus on the imagined evils of naturalism makes me ask: do you believe in Christianity /creationism because there is evidence, or is it because you equate unbelief with evil?"

    Speaking for myself, I believe in God because his non-existence is impossible. Without God, there can be no intelligible experience, logic, natural law, or as we've been discussing, moral absolutes.

    Of course, there is no shortage of evidence for the Creator, but you deny these based on your own metaphysical presumptions. With the Christian, there is tons of experiential evidence, which you also would reject, though your own standard of evidence, without God, is also limited to personal experience.

    As far as the substance of this particular thread, the fact that most Scientific Darwinists don't accept Social Darwinism is evidence that they do know God. Otherwise, Social Darwinism is the only logical conclusion.

    swordbearer said...

    S stated: "This repeated focus on the imagined evils of naturalism makes me ask: do you believe in Christianity /creationism because there is evidence, or is it because you equate unbelief with evil?"

    Response: There's evidence both for Christianity AND that unbelief is a good bedfellow with evil.

    If one is opposed to God, who is truth and of a righteous nature, then what does that reveal and what kind of fruit does it produce?

    It doesn't matter if one denies the personal aspect and presence of God as in deism, or denies his truth altogether as in naturalism, or declares all is meaningless as in deism, or moves beyond these to then erect other false foundations such as "truth is relative" or "truth is what we determine" or "truth is arrived at through experience", etc., all will lead in some way or in whole to a false view of God and result in an errant view of the cosmos, an inaccurated view of history, a distorted understanding of meaning, purpose and life, a misunderstanding of man, and a defective view of ethics and morality. It should not surprise that such worldviews and positions are attractive and held by those who not only possess a sin nature, but live in denial of it.

    The good news is, God, being full of goodness, mercy and compassion has not left us alone in our delights and depraved and darkened situation, but pursues us for our own good, that we might have eyes to see and hearts to understand, and that is coming to realize our situation we might come to recognize not only how pitiful, wayward and unrighteous it is, but also that in understanding our inability to bring about or attain the redemption and change needed, that that too may be found and freely received in Christ, who not only died that we might justified but was raised from the dead that we too might live a new life in and through him.

    The condition of the world is similar to an illustration in Sire's book The Universe Next Door (a great book I highly recommend to you), which tells of a man who traveled past a guard but went back to tell the guard, "When you were looking the other way, I went past you... to which the guard did not respond. After a time the man thought and then asked, "then does your silence mean that its okay for me to pass... to which the guard did not respond." Such is the situation in the world today which if it recognized truth and law (i.e.) sin, could turn to a redeemer and find deliverance and salvation; but as it is, they are left simply with question and guilt (because though they know there should be a standand, their experience finds nothing but silence) and this guilt they can do nothing to remedy. Besides this, instead of objective law, they are lost in the sea of subjectiveness.

    Wake up, and see! Admit and turn from darkness and evil and from the ways that leave one without and without hope or certainty in the world. There is a way that leads to light, life, hope, truth and righteousness, and that way is found in Jesus Christ.

    skeptimal said...

    Sword,

    You’ve boiled it down to the crux of the conflict, I guess.

    I’m trying to put myself in your shoes, seeing this conversation through the eyes of someone for whom open-mindedness equates with lack of faith. I imagine you see this as throwing a lifeline to a drowning man, a fool who would rather drown than admit that he can’t swim.

    Your frustration is evident from your posts.

    Unfortunately, if you try to put yourself in my shoes and see this from my point of view, you would believe you were disobeying god. In order to test my world view and point out the flaws in my reasoning, you would have to imagine a universe in which the truth is more important than any single belief. You would have to consider the possibility that the god you have dedicated your life to might not exist.

    My guess is that Puritan Lad and panto would say that they *have* examined my reasoning and have pointed out its flaws to me, but they have not. If they had, then their expression of my world view would be recognizable and not a caricature.

    Have I been entirely fair in my expressions of your world view? Undoubtedly not, but I’m trying to work in that direction.

    swordbearer said...

    s stated: In order to test my world view and point out the flaws in my reasoning, you would have to imagine a universe in which the truth is more important than any single belief. You would have to consider the possibility that the god you have dedicated your life to might not exist."

    Response: And how might I ask (in this worldview) have you come to the knowledge and certainty that truth exists? ... or Are you referring to matters your worldview cannot confirm?

    Besides, I've yet to see you refute the arguments that have been set forth regarding naturalism and eugenics. (I've seen nothing but dodging) Can you? We're waiting :)

    skeptimal said...

    Sword said: "And how might I ask (in this worldview) have you come to the knowledge and certainty that truth exists? ... or Are you referring to matters your worldview cannot confirm?"

    I'm not sure what you're asking. To my knowledge, the existence of factual truth is a given for any world view, because if we can not assume that there are facts (regardless of whether we know or understand them) then any search for knowledge is pointless. I'm probably misunderstanding your point, I admit.

    "Besides, I've yet to see you refute the arguments that have been set forth regarding naturalism and eugenics. (I've seen nothing but dodging) Can you? We're waiting :)"

    I also haven't proven to you that I've stopped beating my wife. :^)

    Why do I need to disprove an accusation for which no grounds have been put forward? Have I missed an argument? The only thing I've seen is Puritan Lad saying that he'd really get into eugenics if he admitted evolution made sense. Why does one necessarily lead to the other?

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal,

    First of all, no one here is acusing you of anything. I am very thankful that you do not support Eugenics. I hold, however, that your objection to Eugenics is inconsistent with your atheistic Darwionism.

    Also, I have examined your view and repeatedly asked you to justify it, but you have not done so. The issue is simple. I have proposed a Christian Theistic Worldview where God gives us wisdom, knowledge (Col. 2:3), and the ability to learn. His Providence (Heb 1:3) is the key to being able to do science and his creative ability is the key to the human mind having any fruitful connection with the physical universe.

    On the other hand, you have proposed an atheistic naturalistic worldview, where everything, including the human mind, is merely a cosmic accident. In your worldview, things like "logic" and "reason" can have no real meaning. They are simply electical currents being generated by your accidental neurons and floating inside your skull, with no way to justify them to another cosmic accident with different neurons and different electrical currents. You have yet to justify your use of reason and science, yet your constant appeal to them is proof that you know God, since God is the precondition of both. You live in God's universe and cannot function apart from him. I won't get too far into morality right now outside of this particular issue.

    As far as the Eugenics argument, I have demonstrated why it is the logical conclusion of atheistic Darwinism. The fact that you, like many, don't support the idea is proof that you know God. You acknowledge that there is something more to human life that the accidental conglomeration of biocarbons. Otherwise, Eugenics makes perfect sense. Why not? I haven't heard an answer from you yet.

    This is why atheism is ridiculous. It not only leads to irrationality, but it must adopt some form of vain existentialist philosophy to account for what they naturally know to be true regarding humanity.

    I could bring up similar examples, such as cannibalism. What's wrong with that? Sometimes, shock value is a good way to make a point.

    swordbearer said...

    PL: "You have yet to justify your use of reason and science,"

    Skeptical: "...To my knowledge, the existence of factual truth is a given for any world view, because if we can not assume that there are facts (regardless of whether we know or understand them) then any search for knowledge is pointless."

    Response: While it's clear skeptical doesn't understand epistemology, and also is confused when it comes to worldviews, his statement vividly illustrates his worldview can neither substantiate the existence of truth (/facts) and/or the value (/point) of anything.

    sceptical, I highly recommend Sire's "The Universe Next Door" to you. In a short time, it will help you do three things (1) Understand epistemology, (2) Recognize differences in epistemologies assocatied with various worldviews, and as a bonus to you (provide what you suggest you are trying to do) (2) Provide an understanding of the Christian position.

    (BTW - I offer this suggestion not to slam or criticise, but because I honestly think it would be tremendously helpful and beneficial to you.)

    skeptimal said...

    Swordbearer: "While it's clear skeptical doesn't understand epistemology, and also is confused when it comes to worldviews, his statement vividly illustrates his worldview can neither substantiate the existence of truth (/facts) and/or the value (/point) of anything."

    Whoah, Hoss, you're getting a little ahead of yourself here... Why are you dismissing me (and my worldview) in the third person just because I asked you to explain why you guys keep demanding I prove that facts exist?

    I know I'm just an ignorant heathen on my way to the infidel flambee, but I don't think I'm asking for something unreasonable. Why can facts not exist if you're not a Christian?

    skeptimal said...

    Puritan Lad said: "As far as the Eugenics argument, I have demonstrated why it is the logical conclusion of atheistic Darwinism."

    Seriously...I haven't seen an argument for this; I've only seen challenges from you to prove that it isn't so.

    You've obviously given this a lot of thought and are satisfied with the thinking you've done. Maybe this all looks self-evident to you, but I can't understand how you're reaching all these bizarre conclusions.

    I'm asking you to pretend it's actually possible for this spiritually deceived (if not consciously rebelling against god) mind to grasp the evolution-eugenics link and break it down for me. Hint: saying "how could you believe anything else if you believe in evolution" is not an argument.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptical stated: "Why can facts not exist if you're not a Christian?"

    Response: No one said they couldn't, but certainty of it is unattainable in the naturalistic worldview. It's a pathetic worldview that cannot even confirm whether there are facts and truth, and then must either (1) "borrow" from another in order for meaning to mean anything; or (2) to just have to "assume" they are true (though they cannot verify truth exists (or have rational grounds for it); or (2) suggest that it doesn't matter if there's ultimate truth or not, but that it just depends on what works for man, though it cannot prove subjective experience and/or pragmatic necessity (and solutions) equates to truth. Such positions are either based on thievery or prove logically inconsistent. (Aren't those impressive foundations?) It should not surprise us that in the handiwork of God, those who appear loudest in claiming "reason" and "logic" for themselves are the very ones who have no foundation when it comes to reason and logic. Again, is it reasonable to stand on a foundation that is not self-supportive but must itself be propped up, and then claim that foundation is one which possesses strength and should be fully trusted alone?

    In addition to the worldview itself being unable to support itself, the same can be said of its parts. For example, can naturalists prove we live in a closed system. One illustrated it this way, that if you live in a box, the only way you can tell if you're in a box is to possess the ability to look outside the box yourself or to have knowledge from another outside the box (i.e. revelation). Naturalists in a closed system cannot look outside the system. Likewise, if the mind is simply the function of a machine, whose to say the machine cares about truth. Think about matter itself, is there evidence that matter is based upon, upheld, or operates according to truth, or that it simply exists and perhaps works according to cause and effect (but if so, whose to say it's not illusion, even of the machine of the greater cosmos itself. And on top of that, even when it comes to things like evolution, which seeks to offer an explanation for "what" has happened over time, it does not or cannot explain "why"... so even if there is truth in this area, it is elusive and will not be found, for naturalists can neither look nor accept that which is beyond nature. Naturalism is a bankrupt worldview, that's why if one looks to history, it wasn't Christian theism or deism (i.e. those looking from the outside) that quickly led to its downfall into nihilism, but rather the logical inconsistencies within itself as well as the unappealing implications (i.e., natural ends) that result when one considers what consistency with this thinking leads to.

    In the midst of all this and at the same time, there's something within humanity and each of us that screams out "there is truth" and there must be, and that's because while we are fallen, God did not leave us totally destitute of all understanding, but provided that we might have enough not only to live, and be left inexcusable, but also to seek truth, which he has most clearly revealed in the face of Christ, who came (both through Word and presence) not only that truth might be known, but that we might be found in truth.

    skeptimal said...

    “skeptical stated: "Why can facts not exist if you're not a Christian?"

    Response: No one said they couldn't, but certainty of it is unattainable in the naturalistic worldview. It's a pathetic worldview that cannot even confirm whether there are facts and truth”

    You said a lot in these two short statements. First, you appear to be saying that naturalists do not believe that facts exist. This is not correct. Naturalists do believe that there are actual facts. At least, all of the ones I know myself believe that, and I believe it. If you don’t see *how* we can believe facts exist and not be certain of the existence of gods, then you still haven’t quite explained that.

    Second, what really seems to bother you is that naturalists are comfortable admitting that they as individuals may be wrong in their beliefs (although they don’t think so). It doesn’t mean we don’t find the facts critically important, but we think it’s better to have the humility to admit that later evidence may change our minds. This lack of certainty seems to be something evangelicals and fundamentalists (of all religions) can’t live with.

    Finally, I suspect that you are using the word truth to mean both “factual truth” and the concept of virtue or “goodness,” without distinguishing these two concepts. The question you seem to want to ask is “how can you have any values if you are not a Christian?” Am I wrong?

    Sword: “In addition to the worldview itself (naturalism) being unable to support itself, the same can be said of its parts…” You go on to say several different things, including that someone in a closed system can not understand the system it lives in without revelation, presumably supernatural revelation. That’s neither completely true nor completely wrong. We can learn about the world we live in up to a certain point, but there are limits to that. Knowledge itself, however, is not evidence of supernatural intervention unless you’re saying that every thing we learn in school is a miracle.

    “for naturalists can neither look nor accept that which is beyond nature.” That’s not an entirely accurate description of the situation. Many naturalists are open to those possibilities that have not been disproven, including the possibility of a god’s existence. What distinguishes naturalists from Christians is that when there is ample evidence that something in a faith is *not* true, naturalists *stop* believing it.

    I’m open to the possibility, for instance, that there is a supreme being. It’s an unlikely possibility, but it’s not been disproven. On the other hand, I’m *not* as open to the idea that a god named Jesus (who is his own father) created the world in both of the two conflicting orders of creation described in Genesis. I’m not as open to the idea that the same Jesus personally wrote an infallible, if self-contradictory, book in which he left out an important few billion years of the story just to keep us guessing. I’m not as open to the idea that Jesus used the book to cleverly disguise his omniscience, describing a model of the world that men would later find out was completely inaccurate. Can you at least imagine how one might question whether there is any truth to Christianity?

    swordbearer said...

    1. To my Statement: “No one said they couldn't, but certainty of it is unattainable in the naturalistic worldview. It's a pathetic worldview that cannot even confirm whether there are facts and truth”, Skeptical responded: “You said a lot in these two short statements. First, you appear to be saying that naturalists do not believe that facts exist. This is not correct.

    Response: No, I said naturalists (without borrowing or assuming) can be SURE that facts exists (note my word “CERTAINTY”).

    Skeptical stated: Naturalists do believe that there are actual facts. At least, all of the ones I know myself believe that, and I believe it.”

    Response: On what rational basis can you prove facts exist?

    2. Skeptical stated: “Second, what really seems to bother you is that naturalists are comfortable admitting that they as individuals may be wrong in their beliefs (although they don’t think so). It doesn’t mean we don’t find the facts critically important, but we think it’s better to have the humility to admit that later evidence may change our minds.”

    Response: Again, skeptical, you are confusing certainty in the realm of “epistemology” (i.e., the basis for knowledge) with results in an area of knowledge (i.e., science). This shows your bias against believers is unfounded in this area as it is based upon your ignorance of epistemology rather than any character trait or attitude in evangelicals.

    3. Skeptical stated: “Finally, I suspect that you are using the word truth to mean both “factual truth” and the concept of virtue or “goodness,” without distinguishing these two concepts. The question you seem to want to ask is “how can you have any values if you are not a Christian?” Am I wrong?

    Response: It’s not that naturalists can’t have values (All naturalists assert some form of values and ethical standards), but their worldview is unable to provide logical consistency when it comes to a standard of values/ethics. It’s like claiming a bid at an auction when there’s no money the bank account.

    4. To my statement “In addition to the worldview itself (naturalism) being unable to support itself, the same can be said of its parts…”, Skeptical stated” You go on to say several different things, including that someone in a closed system cannot understand the system it lives in without revelation, presumably supernatural revelation. That’s neither completely true nor completely wrong. We can learn about the world we live in up to a certain point, but there are limits to that…”

    Response: Exactly, and those limits include not being able to verify the system is closed.

    Sceptical also stated: “ Knowledge itself, however, is not evidence of supernatural intervention unless you’re saying that every thing we learn in school is a miracle.”

    Response: Again, you confuse epistemology with the nature of observation.

    5. To my statement “for naturalists can neither look nor accept that which is beyond nature.”, Skeptical stated: “ That’s not an entirely accurate description of the situation. Many naturalists are open to those possibilities that have not been disproven, including the possibility of a god’s existence.


    Response: So, you would disagree with the following definition of naturalism, taken from the infidels website ?

    “As defined by philosopher Paul Draper, naturalism is "the hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system" in the sense that "nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it." More simply, it is the denial of the existence of supernatural causes. In rejecting the reality of supernatural events, forces, or entities, naturalism is the antithesis of supernaturalism”

    6. Skeptical stated: “On the other hand, I’m *not* as open to the idea that a god named Jesus (who is his own father)…”
    Response: This misrepresents Christian doctrine. Christ is of the same essence as the father, but is not the same person as His father.
    7. Skeptical stated: “… created the world in both of the two conflicting orders of creation described in Genesis.”

    Response: Are you aware of any Christian positions in which this issue is resolved? (i.e., have you studied the issue enough to speak authoritatively on the subject, or are you just borrowing arguments from others based on your bias against Christianity without looking into the matters for yourself and coming to a conviction after having studied the issue?

    8. Skeptical stated: “I’m not as open to the idea that the same Jesus personally wrote an infallible, if self-contradictory, book in which he left out an important few billion years of the story just to keep us guessing.”

    Response: 1. You falsely assume the Bible is a history book as opposed to a communication of the gospel. 2. What evidence can you give Jesus left it out to “keep us guessing” (i.e., that’s unfounded speculation; or more accurately slander)

    9. Skeptical stated: “ I’m not as open to the idea that Jesus used the book to cleverly disguise his omniscience, describing a model of the world that men would later find out was completely inaccurate. Can you at least imagine how one might question whether there is any truth to Christianity?’
    Response: “inaccurate” – ungrounded opinion

    swordbearer said...

    Correction - my first Response should be "No, I said naturalists (without borrowing or assuming) CANNOT be sure that facts exist..."

    ... In other words, I do not argue that naturalists do not acknowledge facts, but I question their ability to logically prove facts exist given their worldview.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal,

    Evolution is built on the idea that only the fittest survive (which no one would argue in nature). Yet we, as a human race, tolerate the weakest of us. Why? It is unnatural is it not? We are hampering evolution whereas Genetic Puritanism would greatly help it along.

    Step 1 Premise: Evolution is True.
    Step 2 Premise: Genetic Puritanism in Garden Vegetables is a good thing.
    Step 3: If Evolution is true, then humans are nothing more than accidental sacks of biocarbons, just like Garden Vegetables.
    Step 4: If Humans are just like any other living thing, then they should be treated just like Garden Vegetables.
    Step 5 Conclusion: Genetic Puritanism in Humans is a good thing.

    Of course, the Christian rejects (or should reject) the original premise in Step 1. However, in the world of Darwin, there is no reason to treat human and tomatoes differently. Eugenics is the logical conclusion of Darwinism. (In fact, the historic link between Darwinism and Eugenics cannot be denied). Wouldn't genetic puritanism be helpful to the human race? No more genetic diseases? No more weak, handicapped, or mentally retarded people? If there were only one race, we would eliminate racism. Why would a Darwinist be OK with genetic puritanism on garden vegetables and reject it on humans? On what basis would you honor human life over flies? Granted, you may honor your own life and write it off as "survival instinct", or that of your family and consider it "herd instinct". But how do you justify honoring the lives of those you never met? Why does the Holocaust bother a Darwinist?

    Thankfully, those who would adopt "Social Darwinism" are few. Like I said, the fact that you reject Eugenics proves that you have a knowledge of God. However, rather than submit to Him, you must adopt some vain Existentialist philosophy in order to justify what you know is true, that humans are created in the image of God, and are more valuable than tomatoes. The problem is that existentialism runs contrary to the scientific method that you hold so dear. There is no way to scientifically or logical prove the statement, "I exist, therefore I deserve to be loved".

    Of course, if you can justify your view of human rights without existentalism, I'd be interested in that justification.

    Again, I'm not accusing you if suppporting Eugenics. I'm just curious to hear good reasons why you don't, seeing that it is the logical conclusion of Darwinism, as the title of the original post states.

    P.S. I don't want to argue this too strongly, lest I convert some poor "Scientific Darwinist" into a "Social Darwinist".

    swordbearer said...

    PL stated: "However, in the world of Darwin, there is no reason to treat human and tomatoes differently."

    Response: Skeptical here (if he responds to this) must either place himself (or wake up and find himself) in the camp of nihilism or make a jump to atheistic existentialism... let's see which he does.

    skeptimal said...

    “Skeptical stated: Naturalists do believe that there are actual facts. At least, all of the ones I know myself believe that, and I believe it.”

    Response: On what rational basis can you prove facts exist?”

    As I’ve stated elsewhere, (almost) every world view assumes facts exist. If you’re not going to stipulate that, then any search for knowledge is pointless. Christianity assumes it’s true as well, and you can no more prove or disprove it than I can.


    “You are confusing certainty in the realm of “epistemology” (i.e., the basis for knowledge) with results in an area of knowledge (i.e., science). This shows your bias against believers is unfounded in this area as it is based upon your ignorance of epistemology rather than any character trait or attitude in evangelicals.”

    Sword, I’ve tried to resist the urge to speculate about your age and background because they aren’t relevant to most discussions and I don’t want to be accused of bias. Still, after reading so many paragraphs like the one above, I have to wonder if you’re in seminary and are trying to use your newly learned theology-speak to try to baffle me with bull. If I concede that I’m impressed at how well-read you are, can we start talking English and quit testing the limits of how many ungrounded assumptions you can fit into a sentence?


    “It’s not that naturalists can’t have values (All naturalists assert some form of values and ethical standards), but their worldview is unable to provide logical consistency when it comes to a standard of values/ethics. It’s like claiming a bid at an auction when there’s no money the bank account.”

    So you say. We go around and around on this issue, and you’re wrong, but let’s assume hypothetically that you’re right. Let’s jump to all the ungrounded conclusions necessary to assume that naturalism, if followed to its logical extremes, leads to eugenics. How does that disprove evolution? How does that change all of the evidence against creationism?


    “As defined by philosopher Paul Draper, naturalism is "the hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system" in the sense that "nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it." More simply, it is the denial of the existence of supernatural causes. In rejecting the reality of supernatural events, forces, or entities, naturalism is the antithesis of supernaturalism”

    You asked if I disagree with that definition. It’s a good question, and not because I have a clever answer ready, which I don’t. I suppose I do agree with that definition, providing that if any gods exist, they would be part of the natural universe. Even if gods existed who could tamper with the fiber of this universe, it seems like they would still have to be part of a larger multiverse, the operation of which could be explained through natural laws. Candidly, it’s a subject I haven’t given much thought to.

    “(Regarding the two conflicting accounts of creation) Have you studied the issue enough to speak authoritatively on the subject, or are you just borrowing arguments from others based on your bias against Christianity without looking into the matters for yourself and coming to a conviction after having studied the issue?”

    I’ve read the two books myself and tried to reconcile the two accounts. I’ve done some reading (it’s been a while) by Christian authors trying unsuccessfully to explain the conflicts. I’ve also discussed the matter with committed, Bible-believing seminary graduates. Am I aware of every attempt to explain away this fundamental problem? Not by a long shot, I’m sure.


    “ I’m not as open to the idea that Jesus used the book to cleverly disguise his omniscience, describing a model of the world that men would later find out was completely inaccurate. Can you at least imagine how one might question whether there is any truth to Christianity?’
    Response: “inaccurate” – ungrounded opinion”

    Really? So the world is flat with four corners? The sky is actually a separate firmament floating above us? Day and night are not the result of the revolution of the earth?

    skeptimal said...

    "I don't want to argue this too strongly, lest I convert some poor "Scientific Darwinist" into a "Social Darwinist"."

    Don't flatter yourself. :^)

    "Step 1 Premise: Evolution is True."

    Good so far.

    Step 2 Premise: Genetic Puritanism in Garden Vegetables is a good thing.

    Questionable as an absolute statement.

    "Step 3: If Evolution is true, then humans are nothing more than accidental sacks of biocarbons, just like Garden Vegetables."

    (With apologies to the tree weeper from the other day) veggies are not self-aware and conscious.

    "Step 4: If Humans are just like any other living thing, then they should be treated just like Garden Vegetables."

    Absurd, and as noted above, ungrounded.

    "Step 5 Conclusion: Genetic Puritanism in Humans is a good thing."

    I've actually responded to this statement elsewhere (I think more than once), but there are naturalistic reasons why genetic puritanism is undesirable.

    Sword: "Skeptical here (if he responds to this) must either place himself (or wake up and find himself) in the camp of nihilism or make a jump to atheistic existentialism... let's see which he does."

    When I was little I had a brother who used to like to do this too. He and his teenage buddies would talk about people who were in the room as if they had them all figured out. I gathered that it made them feel smarter, like adults. Trust me when I say this: I'm as impressed by your wisdom and intelligence as I am by any teenager's.

    Puritan Lad said...

    "(With apologies to the tree weeper from the other day) veggies are not self-aware and conscious."

    Now there is an interesting approach from a naturalist.

    1.) How does an atheist account for self-awareness and consciousness?

    2.) So vegetables are not self-aware and conscious. So what?

    3.) Flies are self-aware and conscious.

    skeptimal said...

    "Now there is an interesting approach from a naturalist."

    Your view of science, skepticism, and naturalism is more than a little skewed.

    "1.) How does an atheist account for self-awareness and consciousness?"

    I'm not up on theories enough to summarize them with any expertise, but my understanding is that it is believe to have arisen from evolution.

    "2.) So vegetables are not self-aware and conscious. So what?"

    I'm assuming that's a rhetorical question.


    "3.) Flies are self-aware and conscious."

    Seem that way to you, does it?

    Puritan Lad said...

    skeptimal: "I'm not up on theories enough to summarize them with any expertise, but my understanding is that it [self-awareness and consciousness] is believe to have arisen from evolution."

    Response: So in other words, self-awareness and consciousness are genetic traits, just like the color of hair or the size of a tomato? In that case why should these traits make humans more valuable than tomatoes?

    skeptimal: "2.) So vegetables are not self-aware and conscious. So what?"

    I'm assuming that's a rhetorical question.


    Response: No, I want to know how or why that has any bearing on our discussion. You bought this up in defense of the idea that humans should be different than tomatoes. I'm trying to see the logic in your argument, especially since you have just acknowledged that you believe self-awareness and consciousness to be products of evolution, just like, presumably, the color of tomatoes.

    skeptimal: "3.) Flies are self-aware and conscious."

    Seem that way to you, does it?"


    Response: Well, every time I try to swat one, he tends to prove it.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptical stated: "I'm not up on theories enough to summarize them with any expertise, but my understanding is that it is believe to have arisen from evolution."

    Response: Let me help you, naturalists are still struggling to come up with a theory that works.

    When you believe the mind is a product of evolution (simply the shadow or fruit of the brain), then the consciousness and self-awareness is part of the machinery of evolution itself, and at best self awareness is no more than an epiphenomenon (part of the machinery looking at itself), nothing more.

    If it is okay to exercise eugenics on other parts of the machine, then what makes applying eugenics to humans (and their consciousness) any different?

    skeptimal said...

    "Sword: Let me help you, naturalists are still struggling to come up with a theory that works."

    Well, I guess you told *me.* I guess I have no choice to accept Christian mythology as truth because the origin and operation of consciousness is not fully understood by scientists. :^)

    "If it is okay to exercise eugenics on other parts of the machine, then what makes applying eugenics to humans (and their consciousness) any different?"

    For the same reason you pay more for a diamond than a piece of granite of equal weight. One of them is much harder to come by or reproduce.

    "When you believe the mind is a product of evolution (simply the shadow or fruit of the brain), then the consciousness and self-awareness is part of the machinery of evolution itself, and at best self awareness is no more than an epiphenomenon (part of the machinery looking at itself), nothing more."

    If you want to look at it that way, sure. How is it then that this disproves evolution or changes all the evidence against creationism and makes Christianity a logical belief system?

    skeptimal said...

    "In that case why should these traits make humans more valuable than tomatoes?"

    For the same reason you pay more for a diamond than a piece of granite of equal weight. One of them is much harder to come by.

    "PL: 3.) Flies are self-aware and conscious."

    Skep: Seem that way to you, does it?"

    PL: Well, every time I try to swat one, he tends to prove it."

    So you see the fact that a fly acts to protect itself as proof of self-awareness and consciousness. I don't think you'd find many people of any belief system who think a fly is conscious.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptimal stated: "For the same reason you pay more for a diamond than a piece of granite of equal weight. One of them is much harder to come by."

    Response: Follow this logic and some types of individuals are more valuable than others (and some are less valuable than others) based on their uniqueness (or lack thereof)? (i.e., since those with birth defects are less in number than those without (i.e. harder to come by), are they more valuable/fit?... and are those without deformities less valuable?; since there are less red heds than blondes, are blondes less valuable, etc.?)

    Try another rationale.

    Then answer, who is it that determines the rationale and on what basis? (i.e., is harder to come by - based on deformities, color of hair, or what?)

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal: "In that case why should these traits make humans more valuable than tomatoes?"

    For the same reason you pay more for a diamond than a piece of granite of equal weight. One of them is much harder to come by."


    Response: I don't know. Humans are quite popular. In fact, I see more of them every day then tomatoes.


    Skeptimal: "So you see the fact that a fly acts to protect itself as proof of self-awareness and consciousness. I don't think you'd find many people of any belief system who think a fly is conscious"

    Response: Would you like to ask scientists about that?

    Skeptimal, I think you are grasping at anything because you are starting to see the consequences of your worldview, one that cannot account for many of the things that your conscience knows to be true. What you have exhibited here is a knowledge of God. it is innate in every man up to a point, but it only renders him to be without excuse. Consider Christ.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptical,

    The ISSUE for you ...is whether in abandoning the naturalistic presuppositions which clearly can't stand the test, whether you will turn back to God and those presuppositions which do provide a logical and workable foundation, or whether you will continue further down the path you've chosen/taken (i.e., in denying the existence, then going on to atheistic existentialism (which while it seeks to posit a consciousness different from naturalism in order to avoid the problems and inconsistencies you run into... ultimately runs into more problems of its own (even while it fails to give adequate answers as to the existence & nature of the consciousness it claims).


    [Again, I highly recommend "The Universe Next Door" by James Sire, for in one quick and fairly simple read, it will not only bring you up to speed on these matters, but explain them so you can understand them as well. It's obvious you're (knowingly or unknowingly) depending on issues of philosophy you've not thought through. I believe not only this book will be a big help to you, but the challenge it will bring to your thinking will be one of the most beneficial things of your life.]

    skeptimal said...

    Sword and Puritan:

    The pattern here is clear. You ask me a question, I answer, and you pretend whatever I have said is proof that you’re right. If I ask you a question or make a point, you ignore it.

    Let me help you and Puritan Lad by boiling down your argument for you.

    1. You believe that naturalists, atheists, skeptics, agnostics, etc. should all be into eugenics and every form of bad behavior if we follow a naturalistic world view to what you consider its logical conclusion. This is essentially an “are you still beating your wife” issue for which any facts only serve to confirm (in your minds) that you are right.
    a. If a significant percentage of naturalists *were* into eugenics, you’d claim that as proof that you were right.
    b. No such significant percentage exists (evidence that you’re full of bull), so you claim that this is proof we are borrowing good Christian values.

    2. The fact that *you* believe naturalism has negative implications on morality is (in your minds) some kind of trump card allowing you to ignore the gaping holes in the Biblical world view and to ignore evidence for evolution. Never mind that even if you were right that naturalism leads to eugenics (and you’re not), that would not change the fact that all of the evidence about earth’s history supports a naturalistic world view over a Biblical one.

    3. The fact that I’m not convinced by round after round of circular reasoning on your part is evidence (in your minds) that I’m resisting your inevitable correctness (and therefore your god’s will).

    Is that essentially correct? Anything you’d like to add? (Other than the obligatory exhortations to become a Christian?)

    swordbearer said...

    Skeptical,

    1. Attempts to shift the emphasis to "us" rather than responding to the logic only shows resistance to reason and denial of truth on your part.

    2. Inconsistency along with a continuing though somewhat(historically) dwindling climate that continues to uphold truth and theistic values is responsible for the percentage as it is, not consistent naturalistic beliefs and application. YOU have proved this yourself, as your OWN arguments denigrate the value of some (or many)... even as you cannot defend but continue to espouse application of changing and subjective standards in the area of discussion.

    Finally, while you seem to belittle the encouragements of the gospel, you will find this no small mistake, for God himself is not arbitrary or changing when it comes to the basis and requirement of righteousness, and not being able to meet this standard ourselves, the only hope man has comes through the gracious provision found in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

    skeptimal said...

    "The fact that I’m not convinced by round after round of circular reasoning on your part is evidence (in your minds) that I’m resisting your inevitable correctness (and therefore your god’s will)."

    Sword responds: "Attempts to shift the emphasis to "us" rather than responding to the logic only shows resistance to reason and denial of truth on your part."

    Round and round you go. Heads you win; tails I lose.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptical "The fact that I’m not convinced by round after round of circular reasoning on your part..."

    Skeptical "Round and round you go. Heads you win; tails I lose."

    Response: Sorry, but bare assertions and the fallacy of invincible ignorance doesn't win the day around here.