Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Darwin or Jesus? Racism and Sexism Pt. 1

Peering chipmunk
In my previous analysis of some guy's reasons why evolution is false, I came across some assertions that Jesus is for equality, and Darwin was sexist and racist. This article enunciated those claims. I'll take a look.

This should be about as "enlightening" as the previous article, methinks.

Addressing the Introduction - Darwin versus Jesus?

I almost don't even want to bother, for a couple reasons. First, I don't see it as relevant, and second, because most people were sexist and racist back then. Hell, most people still are today, and yet, thanks to secular progressive America, we've made great strides. (Some would argue that "modern racism" started with Darwin)

But let's have a look - Jesus vs. Darwin

This will probably take quite a bit of research on my part, so I'll break it up between a few posts.

He starts off with his introductory paragraph:

Darwin or Jesus? Are Darwin and Jesus as opposed to one another as many are convinced? 
Part of the problem why I have difficulty communicating with people like this author is because his train of thought is in another plane of reality entirely.

Darwin is not a philosophical leader. He's doesn't establish any doctrines or dogmas. He's not an atheist leader. He was a biologist who figured out a mechanism called "natural selection." That's what he's known for, and that's about it. Outside of the fact that he figured out the first rudimentary version of this idea, I honestly couldn't give two shits about him.

If you want to find someone who blends science and philosophy and wonder, go look up Carl Sagan, who spent a lot of time popularizing science.

What does Darwinian evolution do for society?

What does Darwinian evolution do for society? How about the fact it becomes the cornerstone to modern biology, where our ability to create vaccines would be much more difficult without it, for example. If you're talking about "social darwinism", that's something that's essentially adopted by the Religious Right, and only a concept that's given praise to by those who don't actually accept evolution, oddly enough.

If anything, you'll find the secularists/atheists/agnostics/humanists/non-religious championing equality and social progressivism. So, according to you, we didn't actually listen to Darwin.

This also becomes one of my "why does this matter?" points. If we learn something about the universe that appears to have negative social impact, does that mean we pretend it doesn't exist? How are we going to deal with the problems if we don't even acknowledge it's existence?

... not that I think granting evolution as true has any negative societal impacts. As far as I can tell, it's all in their heads. It's a theory that conflicts with their religious beliefs, and they scramble to find any way to discredit it. From my perspective, it's just another theory, like gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, etc.

What does Newtonian Gravitationalism do for society? Can you answer me that? Well, people use it to kill themselves and others, all the time, by throwing people to their deaths. QUICK, PRETEND IT DOESN'T EXIST!

Can Darwinism free people from Jesus of Nazareth, the God of the Bible, and the Church?
If Darwinism is a field of study on Ninja-ism, and Jesus of Nazareth was some kind of bog monster with it's tentacles wrapped around me - it could!

The author appears to share an apprehension from his comrade Christians, that when people learn about evolution, they stop believing in God.

It may surprise him to know that it typically works differently - that people stop believing in God, for a variety of reasons; the problem of evil, the fact most of it just seems like incoherent gibberish, the severe lack of any kind of supporting evidence, etc - and then they start looking around, once they're actually free to learn about the world, instead of hiding from it, and find that things like evolution are true.

Diagram depicting relationship between proving god or evolution, and whether three scenarios of evolution/god combinations are true.
It goes back to my diagram from the other day. Since establishing the existence of a god says nothing about whether evolution is true, it also means that the existence of evolution says nothing about whether God is real or not. It cuts both ways, because they're two different topics.

It means that you can have devout Christians who fully accept evolution, like Kenneth Miller. It means you can have atheists who don't accept evolution. It means evolution can be disproved, and people would still be atheists.

My atheism is not contingent on evolution. My atheism is contingent on the fact that the case for a god has not been successfully made, by anyone, ever (that I know of).

It's kind of a bizarre slippery slope they've constructed.
  1. People learn that evolution is true.
  2. They become atheists.
  3. Atheists are immoral because they don't have God.
  4. Decline of society.
  5. Help!
Throw in some Nazis and you've got Expelled. I'm not sure that the author is going there, but we'll see.

Shouldn't Darwinian evolution be accepted by the mainstream to be scientific fact? 

I'd have to go with "yes." Generally, things that are unequivocally true, that are supported by multiple cross-confirming independent lines fields of study, are considered true, and should be accepted as true.

I think education is good. Don't you? You know, learning true and real things about the world?

Who can oppose it?
Jesus of Nazareth! He'll stomp in and choke it with his tentacles!
Only Jesus of Nazareth can stop Evolution!
Darwinian doctrines are welcomed as a dear advancement and a fundamental teaching of our children.
... what? What bizarre parallel universe does this person come from?

Could he name one "Darwinian doctrine" that doesn't come from some fringe group? I don't even know what he's talking about. Does teaching that gravity exists count as "Newtonian doctrine"? I'm detecting a lot of projection here.

Just like we've learned how animals/life on this planet reproduce, live in their habitats, or how they use sunlight to make their own food, and we teach our children these facts about reality, we also teach them what we've figured out about their factual tendency to change and adapt to environments over the course of many generations. How is that a "doctrine"?

I'm afraid the author is suffering from some kind of paranoid delusion.

No longer is mankind made in the image of the Biblical God as though Deity is the standard of goodness.
No longer is mankind herded around by Zeus, either. What's your point? There's lots of mythology humanity has abandoned. That's a good thing.

To call the Biblical God "the standard of goodness"...

Look. This is me. This is me running away from you shrieking in pure horror. See, there I go. Running away, now. I am now noting but a small dot on the horizon.

My assessment of their deity is that he is infinitely pure evil. Did we read  the same book?

If anything, humanity has measurably improved its morality by abandoning religious morality. Societal health improves the more secular we become. I know, it's strange and bizarre that when you start paying attention to reality and not fairy tales, one gets a better grasp on reality-based consequences, and how to avoid them.

The Bible, at no point, ever, commands or even suggests that people shouldn't own slaves. It was humans who ultimately made that decision for themselves.

Secular morality is in every way superior to religious morality, except for one attribute - religious morality is simple, and thus, easier to grasp.

Darwin reaches farther placing the value of humankind on a scale of development.
Does he? A citation would be nice. As I've mentioned in the past, I get a sense of "oneness" and comradery with my fellow creatures on this planet, because I know we're all related. It doesn't occur to me to use evolution as a point of discrimination.

Is this merely a question of attitude, by the way?

The value of human life is changed.
You're right. It has. Now that many have abandoned religion/Christianity, the value have human life has increased. Religion is one of the single most divisive concepts in existence. The devout are always "other-ifying" everyone else, who isn't one of them.

Before the U.S. constitution came along, and before atheists/non-religious were a target for demonization, the different flavors of Christianity were at each others' throats in this country. The first amendment wasn't even conceived for the purpose of pandering to atheists. It was to keep different sects of Christianity from using government against each other.

The bigotry many Christians ooze on a daily basis is toxic and corrosive.

The value of human life can only be improved upon by abandoning one of the most human-loathing, dehumanizing religions on the face of the planet, that constantly teaches its members that they are sinners, wretches, evil, and the only way their villainy for merely existing can be resolved is if they turn into mindless sheep, follow the shepherd and tithe.

Their constant complaint with the non-religious is that we think too highly of humanity, and are arrogant about humanity's capacity.

The purpose of humankind does not set our value, but rather our ability and state of evolution.
Why do you think that humankind has a purpose? What makes you think that's needed, or even a good thing? Because your religion taught you that?

We're here. We're making the best of it. Religion is doing nothing but holding us back from accomplishing that goal.

Again, I'm not sure where he gets the idea that our "state of evolution" sets our value. I'm not even sure what he means by that. I'd gauge our value on how well we treat each other, and create a good sustainable world.

Evolution is not a doctrine, dogma, guide or philosophy.

This is why theists whining about evolution is so strange. He's essentially making an is/ought error, accusing "evolutionists" of engaging in a naturalistic fallacy (evolution is natural therefore good), even if we aren't, all the while projecting what the Religious Right is doing, onto us.

He's so mixed up he doesn't know which way he be pointing!

He ends the introductory paragraph on this:
Charles Darwin boldly asserted the social status of people by their evolution stating the position women and “negroes”.
I sure hope he ends up elaborating. "negroes" is ad "olde english" version of "black" today. "Black" as a term may be justifiably seen as a slur in a couple hundred years, but currently it's mostly okay to use.

So, Mr. Author, how about you actually address/elaborate on what Darwin said, and not just blithely quote mine a single word that he used, that's ambiguous at best in terms of slur-status.

We'll see if author delivers. We'll see....

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