Evolution, Creationism, and the Soul of Civilization

Oh dear. Hyperbole again? :rofl:

But thanks for the life story - that was really fascinating. I could not tell you a single thing about what I learned in biology. I only remember that freshman science was the only time I cheated on a test, and that when we had a dissection lab of some kind of small creature in whatever class I took as a junior and were told just to identify organs and it all looked the same to me, I had an internal meltdown. I expected my hand to be held. Then at my liberal arts college the biology professor spent almost the whole semester on tapeworms. :rofl:

I suppose the origin of humanity may be the most important question.

Nah, that’s not hyperbole. The Roman empire fell, and ours could, too. Western liberalism could lose the war to illiberalism North, South, East and/or West. That new dark age, made more protracted by the lights of perverted science, of which Churchill spoke: that’s always an option, and creationism is certainly a good step in its direction. The creationists will cheer as science burns.

You know, it’s an interesting question, but I’m always less interested in the proximate end of that than I am at the farther reaches. The picture of ancient hominins will probably never be as complete as we’d like, especially because some of the habitats our ancestors occupied weren’t the best for fossilization, but the broad features are certainly beyond any reasonable dispute, as Rumraket points out.

To me the best part of the picture of human origins is the part we share with a lot of other creatures: the origin of mammals. Alas, popular books about pelycosaurs and therapsids barely exist, because everybody likes the dinosaurs, which now poop on our cars, better.

4 Likes

Thanks for being more specific. So may I be more specific and take it that your biggest issue is our kinship with the other great apes?

1 Like

I’d like to know how you imagine creationists throwing science in a bonfire and how exactly this will weaken Western liberalism. Perhaps as a creationist I can assuage your fears over this scenario.

Ark Encounter

1 Like

Video sort of funny when AIG cites a whole lot of evolution and a whole lot of climate change on their website, and the video says those words wouldn’t be mentioned. :upside_down_face:

Not bloody likely, given your expression of your views on moral topics, which I consider barbaric and absolutely horrifying. You are precisely the sort of person I see as a threat to Western culture, and who would undoubtedly find a way, were the villagers burning me at the stake, to work out that this is all part of God’s plan and therefore good. But you also do seem interested in learning and so I have hope.

Mind you, I’m not saying that I think a New Dark Age is PROBABLE. I’m only saying that I think the risk of it is non-negligible. The elevation of religion over science, and the re-wrapping of the fingers of religion around our throats, would be just one part of a more complex historical process. But we have a couple of centuries of a more or less stable secular state, and my sense is that in general terms, the world becomes better and more ethical and less superstitious every century. Every year? Maybe not. But I’m going to trust in long-term trends.

4 Likes

You don’t know me well, but I’d definitely be trying to stop that from happening and would take your place if I couldn’t.

Obviously our worldviews are different. I don’t have that much hope in humanity so I put my hope elsewhere. But I still share your concern for a more ethical world.

1 Like

As a teenager in the early 70’s, I was, for lack of a better label, an old earth progressive creationist. I just thought nothing good could come from mutation. It was bio 101 which forever changed my mind. Was it the brainwashing professor of chick tract caricature? Not at all, lectures were largely about endless biochemical cycles with stuff happening to electrons, which were easy to exam and curve the class. It was the two weeks with the lab rat. I made the first cut as a questioning creationist, and by the end while questions still remained, I had dropped my opposition to evolution. Rats look nothing like people from the outside, but as I poked and probed the poor creature, I was increasingly struck with how similar it was from the inside.

Now you would be completely justified in asking, “what did you possibly think you would find? Little alien Vulcan guts? Of course rats have livers and femurs, this is hardly some revelation and sure doesn’t prove anything.” And that much is true. But there is when I became convinced for myself that evolution is not so much about complex new features mutating out of nowhere, but scaling, molding, and modifying what is already there to adapt. It was staring at that rat where I first though, yeah, that happened.

3 Likes

Well, I do hope so, and I recognize that sometimes people who express unethical thoughts are unable to act upon them. But people who regard divine commands as a substitute for morality absolutely cause me to despair for wretched humanity and its crimes against our fellow man.

I’m afraid that if I have to put it elsewhere, I’ve got few places to put it. I do regard squirrels as quite nice; but while that might provide one hope for the future of sciuridality, it provides little help on the subject of humanity. But for humanity, we’ve been levering ourselves out of the muck for a long time and it does seem to be working.

2 Likes

In the last 150 years, we have or have had two world wars, many, many genocides and purges, psycho dictators, atomic bombs, monthly terrorist attacks…and that’s just at a macro-level politically. If this is “working” I’d like to know what *not working" looks like. I don’t see societal problems improving, but instead just looking different. Sure, we could probably both point to a couple of areas of improvement, but if COVID showed us anything, it sure seems to be that we don’t know how to solve our problems.

Well, as I said, it doesn’t necessarily get better every year, but it certainly gets better every century. We haven’t had one of those world wars for the last 75 years of your 150 year period, and the last one was largely the product of the first one. The Christian genocide against the Jews which it involved seems to have been the last gasp of the particularly murderous strains of Christian anti-semitism.

But if you’re going to be against human brutality, you need to be able to be against it, full stop. You can’t bloody well excuse the OT atrocities on the basis of divine action and/or divine command and then complain about people freelancing in the very image of God’s own depravity. If you can’t condemn those things, you are part of the problem.

1 Like

I wouldn’t take that narrow of a view of world history when considering how humanity has improved and disagree with your characterization of Nazism.

I do believe morality cannot exist without an objective standard of good. God as good will also dispense justice. I couldn’t pretend to understand all of the reasons why His actions of justice appear to be inconsistent or evil to us, but I also think a loving God who sent Jesus to die for our sins makes the most sense of our reality and is historically evident. We are all going to die. I’m not going to place my hope in the last 75 years of humanity since the world probably always looks better to the people that live in it while they are in it - an obvious bias. Plus, I’m not going to be around in another 75 years anyway.

What I am called to do now is love my neighbor, enemy, everyone. That has been the only command for the last 2000 years in addition to loving God. A few decades of God’s actions in another context and in another covenant millennia ago don’t supercede the covenant and command that now applies now - to love.

I don’t think I did characterize Nazism.

I know people who do live with that call in mind, and I know people who don’t. But the powerful forces of Christianity in our culture are more often on the “don’t” than the “do.” Take, for example, creationism: a malevolent, dishonest attempt to destroy the education of our children. That’s cultural vandalism – it is an act of intellectual violence and moral depravity, and unconstitutional, to boot.

The difficulty, of course, is that this relies upon the caprice of God. Change the covenant back to “murder the infidel,” something we know this tradition to have rich support for, and, well, that’s the covenant, ain’t it?

A moral person would NOT assert “God’s will” for anything. He would judge what his religion asked him to do, and when confronted with an immoral command, he would refuse. If that meant being Prometheus, and enduring torment, he would still refuse. Toadying to authority is the very opposite of morality.

4 Likes

We definitely should not paint all creationist with the same brush. It doesn’t help that some YEC assert people cannot be Christian if they reject a literal interpretation of Genesis. If does not help that some YEC are practically begging for that broad brush to be swiped over all.

For a more specific example of a creationist leader who would like to see science burn (among other things), start with R.J. Rushdooney.

1 Like

I would like to know who these “some” are.

I’ve never heard of him and my world involves some of the same circles so I would say his influence is/wasn’t much. I would also say based on what I’ve read, some in these circles would have been fighting to throw him out.

Well that’s a good sign! Really … it is! :slight_smile:

Rushdooney’s views show prominently in the famous “Wedge Document” from the Discovery Institute, which is another topic.

I’m not familiar. Do you have a link?

There’s that prototypical dichotomous thinking again:

“Things are improving” doesn’t mean “bad things have completely stopped happening”. A line zig-zagging up and down can still have strong, noticeable downward trend.

Yeah try not electing a sociopathic narcissist who panders to a fundamentalist religious audience with his “two corinthians”, “I like all the verses”, and holding a Bible upside down, who then proceeds to demonize his own infectious disease expert and mock people who wear masks. At least to a first approximation, that might have gone some way towards not at least exacerbating the problem.

But in any case, the roughly 100-year-since-the-last-time occurrence of a pandemic can hardly be said to constitute any kind of evidence that the overall trend in the living conditions of humans is not improving.

2 Likes

Voila!