Thursday, January 31, 2013

Darwin or Jesus? Racism and Sexism Pt. 3 - Darwin or Jesus?

I've been addressing an article about how Darwin is racist/sexist and evolution = bad, etc. These are my prior posts about the article:
This is today's blurb:
Darwin or Jesus? I’m going with Jesus. Jesus and His disciples were not men of their time like Darwin’s advocates suggest for him. The Bible is in absolute opposition to racism. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, believers of other ethnicities were accepted among God’s people. By the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Peter proclaimed in Acts 10:28, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Remember Jesus commanded, “While going, make disciples of all the nations [ethnei]” (Matt. 28:19).

First, I'd comment that he seems to be equivocating between "race" and "ethnicity". They're similar concepts, so probably close enough. It's debatable that race never came up in the Bible, because the books were written from the same geographic region (middle east abouts). It's possible that the people involved weren't aware that other "races" exist - unlike modern day Mormonism that has a religious-based explanation as to why there are other races. So, if anything, the Bible would be potentially bigoted against other things, like sex and ethnicity.

Let's just say we're talking about bigotry in general.

Darwin or Jesus? I’m going with Jesus.
Wait, why am I given a choice between the two?  What is the metric I'm deciding against?

  • Who is taller? I don't know who was taller.
  • Who is demonstrably real? Darwin.
  • Who was a notable scientist? Darwin.
  • Who was less racist? Maybe Jesus.
  • Who didn't give incredibly bad advice to people? Darwin
  • Who spoke out against slavery? Darwin
Wait, what did Jesus have to say about slavery?

45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
. Luke 12:45-48 NIV

Not exactly speaking out against it.

Is bigotry the only metric I'm using to "decide" between Jesus and Darwin? Isn't that like asking me to choose between Jesus and Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb? The guy made light bulbs, not doctrines. Likewise, Darwin figured out natural selection. That's his contribution to human knowledge.

Why am I asked to "choose" between some mythical guy who spouted off a bunch of philosophical rubbish, and another guy who figured out the chemical composition of bear farts? Because the bear fart chemist was also a jerk sometimes?

Oh right, it's because the author thinks the theory of evolution denotes an ought - a doctrine that we ought to follow, instead of just being a natural mechanism.

"Survival of the fittest" is often misunderstood and misused. "Fittest" is incredibly ambiguous  Some use it as a basis for "social darwinism", that only the best people should survive, for the sake of humanity becoming "more evolved."

In reality, the "fittest" attribute that humanity had, was cooperation, empathy, mutual defense, and using language to coordinate and work out differences. That's how we managed to survive and prosper.

We're a "social species", not a dog-eat-dog every-man-for-himself species. That's what evolution has done for us.

Jesus and His disciples were not men of their time like Darwin’s advocates suggest for him.
Jesus's temporal displacement field was technologically far ahead of their time!

Sure, the character of Jesus in the book had some progressive ideas. So did Darwin. He was ahead of the curve in resolving differences of race and discrimination while his colleagues, most of whom were quite religious, were opposed to these ideas.

Then again, I'm not looking to either person for moral guidance. I'm capable of doing it myself, and doing it well, thank you very much.

The Bible is in absolute opposition to racism.
I did some cursory reading on this. Seems to be fairly well supported. I searched for the best arguments against this claim, and didn't a whole lot.

The Bible isn't so hot on bigotry against homosexuality or non-believers though!

Yeah, that's all I got.

Outside of Paul's stances on women, a lack of telling people not to have slaves, the heaven-through-faith bullshit (assuming you don't buy into the "by works" side of that debate), mostly it's a question of bad advice that Jesus gives.

His promotion of faith over doubt is incredibly anti-intellectual. Growl.

In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, believers of other ethnicities were accepted among God’s people.
Same as above - although we've curiously decided that only racism matters. Other kinds of bigotry - a-okay!

... and he ends with a Bible quote. Awesome!

What did I get out of this part of the article? Apparently, I have to choose between a biologist and a mythological philosopher-carpenter, even though I wasn't asking.


Let me explain to you what this article is really about.

It's about converting you to Christianity. Since they have no rational/evidence based arguments to make (even though they believe otherwise), this article is attempting another approach - emotion. It's an attempt to bypass your intellect and emotionally manipulate you.

From my perspective as an "evolutionist", Darwin was some guy in the mid-1800s, who figured out natural selection, which helped us better understand evolution. He may or may not have been a jerk. His asshattery is not relevant to his historical contribution to the sciences. I don't see him as a philosophical or moral guide/leader in any way, shape, or form. I find the idea that the theory of evolution can/should be used as a philosophical framework, or a decision-making process for dealing with other people, to be utterly deranged - like building a philosophy around the theory of gravity that says "gravity is best served by pushing people off cliffs." 

I don't know if the author understands he's building a false dichotomy between Darwin and Jesus, or if he just doesn't care, but the manipulation is sorely visible.

He sets up Darwin as being a secular alternative to Jesus, and then tries his best to demonize Darwin, hoping to stir your loathing against him. 

He then contrasts that with Jesus, who is saintly, and good, and clearly a nice guy. 

You're then bluntly asked to choose between the two.

... but a choice of what? It's an emotional choice to get you to reject non-Jesus in favor of Jesus, irrespective of what's actually factually true about the world. What if I choose to "reject" Darwin's racism, but accept that he was right about something - evolution? What if I want to accept that both Jesus is Lord, and that Darwin figured out something true about the world?

It's not all that dissimilar between the "Do you believe that raping a child for fun is absolutely wrong?" argument. If you don't believe it's absolutely wrong, you sound like a monster, even if your objection is merely a technicality of definitions/concepts. In this case, you either have to side with the racist or become Christian. The argument attempts to put you in an uncomfortable poisition, hoping to corral you to the decision of the author's choice.

It's like trying to corner me and get me to make a decision between siding with Jesus or the ebola virus. If I don't want to be a jerk and say that I think the ebola virus is good, then I must choose Christianity. That's how silly the construction of the question is.

I reject the question. I find it contrived, insidiously manufactured and manipulative.

This approach is what a person does, when he or she has no better arguments, and is depending on you not exercising your critical thinking skills.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, but emotionally manipulating-eth thy neighbor is a-okay-eth.

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