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Richard Dawkins on Thinking Matters

November 13th, 2009 by Madeleine

According to Richard Dawkins, New Zealand apologetics blog, Thinking Matters Talk, “makes for some interesting browsing.”

The recommendation of Rob Ward’s blog post, Sarfati reviews Dawkins’ ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, has seen a deluge traffic arrive.

(This pleases us because we are part of Thinking Matters and are listed as contributors to Thinking Matters Talk even though we don’t contribute there much…)

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44 responses so far ↓

  • Madeleine – you say “we are part of Thinking Matters and are listed as contributors to Thinking Matters Talk”.

    Now, does it worry you that that particular blog promotes an anti-evolutionary science, anti-science, creationist line?
    That it links to sites like:

    * Creation Ministries international
    * Evolution News & Views
    * Intelligent Design The Future
    * Uncommon Descent

    I ask that because both you and Matt have claimed in the past that you don’t support creationism or reject evolutionary science.

    I would thought that you might not want to be associated with a blatantly creationist blog – or at least would enter into debate with people pushing that line.

    (Actually, I have noticed on another thread several people attacking evolutionary science here – and you didn’t counter them).
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Ken

    I don’t execept Creationism, largely on exegetical grounds I am unconvinced Genesis should be read the way Creationists maintain.

    I don’t really have an opinion on the science of the issue, my interest is largely in the philosophical issues such as methodological naturalism, and how to interpret scientific findings (i.e realist / anti-realist), wether science is the only relaible method of knowing about reality, scientific objections to theism etc.

    As to the rest of what you ask, I accept that other Christian’s I work with disagree with me on some of these issues. Just as we might disagree on wether infant baptism is correct, or wether Revelation was written in 90 nor 70 AD I don’t make a big deal out of it. I am comfortable working with other people who disagree with me on issues I consider to not be terribly essential and I don’t think how one interprets Gen 1 is a terribly essential issue.

    The problem is that for others it becomes a kind of litmus test, some conservatives make accepting a literalistic reading of Genesis 1 test case for orthodoxy so that rejecting it makes one an atheist. Others make accepting evolutionary theory a test for academic orthodoxy so that rejecting it makes beneath contempt. I wouldn’t accept either stance.

    In any organisation you have to decide what common things you stand together on and what issues you consider less essential and allow people to express different views about. Thats what i see Thinking Matters doing in this context.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Richard Dawkins on Thinking Matters =-.

  • Well, Matt, considering the extreme positions being presented at that blog, and how this really gives Christianity a bad name, I would think you should be concerned.

    But from what you say you are unhappy about science, anyway.

    So perhaps your heart is really with those scoundrels!

    In the end, of course, you end up being smeared with their scandal.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Ken, I don’t know what you mean by an extreme view.

    As I see it part of living in the world means that people are going to disagree. Some disagreements are over things that are really important and on these its worth investing time and energy trying to argue for the correct view.

    Other disagreements are not important, in these cases its often prudent to not spend a huge amount of time and energy denouncing each other.

    I am inclined to think that wether the earth is several thousand or several billions years old is by istelf unimportant. Its no more important than the claim that the first visitor to new Zealand is left handed. I think that anyone who claimed the first NZ vistor was left handed would be making a claim for which there is no evidence, I also fail to see why anyone would care.

    The only reason I can see why the age of the earth would inspire people to denounce one another as “scoundrels” and enage in “smears” is if one say the issue as linked to some broader religious, moral or political questions which were considered important.

    If this is the case then one should be honest and say that real argument is about religion, politics and morality and debate those issues.

    You will note that I don’t debate with thinking matters contributors on the date of revelation or wether baptism should be administered to infants or adults despite me disagreeing with some contributors on this. This is because I don’t see these issues as ones worth dividing myself from others over.

    And as for my “heart” being with them, in a sense that is correct. As i see it its far better to mistakenly believe the world was created 10,000 years ago. Than to believe the world is billions of years old and is not created. Both views I think are not justified by the evidence, but the latter is a far more significant error than the former.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Richard Dawkins on Thinking Matters =-.

  • Well. I guess that’s how you line up – with an extreme viewpoint making weird claims about reality. Doing so for religious reasons and being prepared to distort and lie about scientific facts in the process.

    It is a poisition those characters are very passionate about and, as I said, it reflects on you as well as them.

    However, it probably shies your true colours as you have also argued against tracing important parts of biogical science in state scoops because it might offend fundamentalists.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Whoops – I meant teaching in State schools.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Ken,
    “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”

    There is greater personal value in knowing one is a beloved child of God, than to have a lot of scientific data floating around in your brain.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The Christian Era =-.

  • Ropata – that’s just what Dennett calls a “deepity (see Promoting Confusion video). Another good word to describe it is “bafflegab.”
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Ken,

    The fact you choose to attribute a view to me I explictly told you I do not hold only underscores that lying and distortions occur on both sides of this issue.

    My own view is simple, I am not a scientist, I have no expertise in the area of evolutionary biology, and as such I don’t generally enter into discussions over it. I tend to try and avoid debating issues which I am not informed about. Unlike some scientists (i.e Dawkins and apparently many commenters on open parachute) I don’t think having a degree in one field qualifies me to make credible informed comments in all others.

    I do know of some philosophical questions and Theological questions about methodological naturalism; I do know something about Philosophy and Theology this and can see there are legitimate questions to be raised. Wether they make any difference to the question of evolution I have no idea, that really is a matter of the empirical evidence which I am not familiar with and have no expertise in.

    As to the evolution issue itself, I retain an open mind. The current scientific consensus supports it, they might be correct; however I also know that scientific consensuses often are mistaken and wrong, and I certainly do not think that the scientific community are without question and should be immune from theological or philosophical critique. I don’t always agree with these critiques, but I certainly am not going to shun someone or treat them as a pariah because they have a difference of opinion on this issue to me.

    I find your response to this open minded stance rather ironic given your comments of late. You have repeatedly claimed that scientists hold theories provisionally, that true scientists do not follow the scientific consensus but challenge and reject it, that to persecute a person because he rejects the scientific consensus, ( even before he provides compelling proof) is terrible and harmful to science.

    Oddly however when the issue is evolutionary theory you think Theologians like myself should simply uncritically accept the scientific consensus, trim our theological sails to it and purge ourselves of those who dissent. The funny thing is that this is precisely what the Inquisition did with Galileo.

    Its truly interesting to me that some defenders of the scientific status quo act like the most extreme fundamentalists when it comes to “scientific orthodoxy” dissenters must not be tolerated, be shuned and everyone should accept what they say and no alternatives considered. This fact is I think the most compelling evidence I know of for the conclusion that there is more going on behind the scenes than merely a a dispute over empirical evidence.

  • Ropata – that’s just what Dennett calls a “deepity (see Promoting Confusion video). Another good word to describe it is “bafflegab.”

    In other words, what Ken is saying is that he is going to dismiss your coment because Daniel Dennet engages in name calling .

    I am wondering if my publication record would be easier if I submitted my theological musings in scientific journals. Apparently all you have to do is think up names like “bablegaff” or “Jelly wrestling” or “the emperor is naked” and use them to describe my opponent. In Philosophical journals you have to do really difficult thinks like come up with actual arguments.

  • You are being silly, now, Matt.

    My little bit of humour with Ropata (we often have a joke) refers to the pretentious language often used by theologians. Dennett was actually analysing some of Karen Armstrong’s arguments in her latest book. They need ridicule because they actually say nothing but are meant to sound profound. That’s the definition of “deepity.”

    Your pretense at humility in the face of science really conflicts with your arrogance in defining scientific epistemology. You could actually learn by listening to scientists who do this epistemology every day of their lives. They don’t do it the way you present it.

    That distortion is actually worse than the lies that are told about evolutionary science. Although that particular distortion is at the bottom of the Wedge strategy – which aims to change society, religion and science, not just evolutionary science.

    You and your “thinking” matters mates go along with that strategy. How can you align yourself with, for example, the latest rubbish on thinking matters (Darwinism, Morality and Science)? I would be getting stuck into those idiots if I were you. They will just end up smearing you by association.

    Not that it worries me, of course. I am hardly interested in protecting your reputation. Just exposing the realities.

    With a bit of humour of course.

    We have to laugh – don’t we?
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Ken,

    I don’t recall ever “defining” scientific epistemology.
    But your suggestion shows where we differ. I don’t defer to a scientific consensus on what how scientific epistemology is defined for two reasons. First, there is no such consensus; in fact no widely accepted definition of science exists. Second, even if it did, scientists are not authorities or experts in epistemology, epistemology is a branch of philosophy.
    Now if you can point to an argument in the philosophical literature which purports to demonstrate that your particular definition of science is correct, then I will consider reading and examining this argument.

    That’s not what you have ever done though Ken, what usually happens is you or one of your readers declares that epistemological claim X is correct and anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant of science. Not only are such claims false ( I can usually find clear examples of people who are not ignorant of science who accept the claim) its also a poor philosophical argument it’s essentially the position of the teenager who says “do this because all the cool people do and we wont consider you cool if you don’t”

    Moreover some have come in here and made claims which all most all epistemologists accept as false (such as that knowledge involves at the very least a true belief). To try and pass nonsense like this of as obviously true stuff that only ignoramous reject is laughable.

    As to the article you refer to. I haven’t read it, I am often to busy to read everything that goes up on talk. What I would point out to you however is that Thinking Matters has on several occasions invited Evolutionists to contribute to their talks etc. I was at a talk this year where a former professor of science ( Physics I think) at Vic gave a really interesting talk on Astronomy and how it sheds light on Old testament scholarship. I found it a really interesting talk, he was an evolutionist. I can think of other occasions where evolutionists have contibuted. Funny how people did not try and smear all members of Thinking Matters with this.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The NZ Herald on Cactus Kate and Priorities in Journalism Ethics =-.

  • 1: Matt – the smearing is done by your mates in the process of putting up such nonsense and your association with them. Perhaps you should check them out from time to time as they do bring your common ideology into disrepute.

    2: Your ignorance of scientific epistemology arises from a dogmatic and ideologically motivated attempt to define it (and it’s easy for you to find supporting quotes) rather than actually observing, being aware of how science is actually done – the messy, un-dogmatic and un-algorithmic reality of it. I tried to get that through to Rob in my comments on Dan Browns post (have a look at Nov 5, 2009 at 9:23 am and previous comments).

    3: By the way – where is Rob? Those comments were requested by him and he hasn’t responded as he promised to.

    4: Unfortunately Thinking Matters has an unfortunate habit of deleting comments from the scientific side when they gtet pressured. That’s why I no longer comment there.

    5: I respect MandM for its willingness to allow comments, even critical ones. After all, we should be able to enjoy such debates – and there’s always the possibility we can learn something.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The rules of science =-.

  • Ken

    I appreciate your comments,

    Let me respond simply by noting a misunderstanding. I have not tried to define science. I am aware of the existence of literature which states that there is no clean and neat definition of what science is, that is one problem with some defences of methodological naturalism, such as the version defended by Ruse, they attempt to define science in such a way the methodological naturalism holds by definition.
    .-= My last blog-post ..The NZ Herald on Cactus Kate and Priorities in Journalism Ethics =-.

  • “I would be getting stuck into those idiots if I were you.”

    Why? The article in question makes complete sense, has evidence to back it up and is historically provable. The two most enthusiastic political proponents of Darwinian theory were the Nazis and the Soviet Union. They were also the two of the most violent and genocidal regimes in history. This is not an accident.

    Do you have a rational, fact based response to the article, or just your usual name calling, sneering and attempts at psychological character assasination?

    Oh and the wedge strategy is a perfectly valid attempt to confront the false claims of atheist based “scientific” materialism and provide an alternative view for the public.

    Are you scared of different points of view and public debate? What are you trying to hide Ken?

    The Discover Institute provides a rational response to your conspiracy theory hysteria. http://www.discovery.org/a/2101

  • “: Your ignorance of scientific epistemology arises from a dogmatic and ideologically motivated attempt to define it”

    As Matthew pointed out epistemology is a function of philosophy not real science. Therefore, there is no such thing as “scientific epistemology”. Your attempt to pre-define “valid” science solely and exclusively as naturalistic materialism is dogmatic and ideologically motivated.

  • Yes, Shawn, I do have a rational fact-based response. You can read it at Distorting Darwin.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Distorting Darwin =-.

  • “But from what you say you are unhappy about science, anyway.”

    Absolutely priceless, as always.

  • Ken,

    you claim that you have responded with reason and facts to the Thinking Matters article, and yet upon reading it I noticed that right at the very beginning you start with a lie and an emotive attempt at mis-representing the article and the opponents of Darwinianism. You claim, falsely, that critics are trying to prove that he was a horrible person. This is a lie, and far from being rational and fact based is emotionally charged propaganda. Absolutely no critic of Darwinianism is trying to prove that he himself was a bad person. I personally thing he was most likely a decent chap, who was nevertheless wrong about many things and whose ideas have had terrible unforseen consequences. Ideas have consequences Ken, and Darwins ideas have had terrible and evil consequences for the world. But nobody is trying to claim that therefore Darwin was therfore a “bad person”. What a load of silly rubbish.

    Why Ken, do you feel the dcesperate need to lie about opponents of Darwinianism?

    You then move on from this foundational lie to another lie. That opponents of Darwinism merely “quote” him to, as you say, ““prove” he had a “toxic doctrine of racial superiority and eugenics.”

    Again this is a lie. Critics of Darwinism only say that Darwins ideas lead to racialism and eugenics, which they demonstratably do. Nobody has said that Darwin himself held such views, only that his ideas lead to them. This clear distinction should be obvious to honest and objective people. You ignore it, and engage in another deliberate lie.

    The rest of your response is an impressive excercise in ignoring the historical facts. You simply deny, with out offering ONE single piece of actual evidence, that Darwins idead had no bearing on Nazism, Marxism, or Eugenics.

    Are you serious?

    This is frankly laughable. Any honest person would admit that even though Darwin himself may not have approved of the ways in which his theories were put into practice, that nevertheless Nazism, Marxism and Eugenics relied heavily on Darwiniasm to justify their ideologies.

    It MAY be true that all three mis-used Darwins ideas. But it is nevertheless a provable historical fact that their advocates DID rely on Darwin to justify themselves.

    At no point anywhere in your article do you actually engage with the substance of the article. Your laughable argument boils down to “their creationists” and “their wrong”. Thats it.

    My 10 year old niece could mount a better intellectual argument than that.

    Simple denial is not the substance of an argument. It is merely the equivalent of a primary school child sticking his fingers in his ears and saying “nah nah nah nah”.

    So, I am sorry Ken, bit there is not one example of reason and not one fact in your article. It is merely the ideologically driven, dishonest and emotive propaganda of man refusing to look at the disturbing facts of history.

  • Another point,

    “Why not do what humans have done for century – use the Bible!”

    Can you point to any part of the Bible that was used to justify the genocide of Stalin or the the genocide of abortion? Or the practice of Eugenics? Or any person who ever did? Or any mass school killing in which the murderers used the Bible as justification?

    Come on Ken. Just ONE fact-based example???

  • Shawn – perhaps you shoul read the original article on thinking matters. It does include a personal characterization of Darwin. You actually quote it.
    Y article showed how in quoting Darwin these idiots were actually misrepresenting and distorting him. Quite dishonestly.

    Now come off it Shawn. The bible has often been cherry picked and quoted to justify genocide, eviction of peoples, god’s chosen people, wars, anti women and anti gay prejudice, racism, segregation, apartheid, etc. It has Also been used to justify and argue for the opposite, for good. Using the se cherry picking process.

    That’s why I say that gods can be used to justify the most extre relativism.

    With a god, anything is permitted!
    .-= My last blog-post ..Distorting Darwin =-.

  • Ken, there is of course cherry picking (by people from leanings) – but don’t let this fool you into thinking that real rigorous study of the Bible is not possible. As you noted people cherry pick Darwin too (and again people with very different leaning both do this). To conclude that, therefore, there is no responsible way to read Darwin would be, however, a little too extreme. I think the same can be said about the Bible.

  • Having said that to Ken….

    Shawn:

    To whitewash the MANY abuses which have been committed due to sloppy readings of the Bible, and to deny history (as you seem to be doing) is a very dangerous game. YES – the Bible has been misused time and time again. Rather than deny this obvious truth we should rather accept with great humility and try to not repeat the same mistakes in our own lives and work
    .-= My last blog-post ..A Blog Near You =-.

  • Hi Max
    Yes, the thinking matters article was employing quote mining and cherry picking. But they also added a few words to completely distort the meaning.

    Talking about cherry-picking. How are you getting on with your undertaking to produce evidence from “The God Delusion” about what a horrible man Dawkins is?
    .-= My last blog-post ..Galileo and Hollywood =-.

  • Ken, having read the article in question I will not comment on it. However one again what we see from you is simply pejorative name calling as opposed to argument.

    However you seem to have missed Max’s point which is one I have made to you in the past. Its simply this,

    Its simply this, both Darwinism and the bible have been used by some people to argue for atrocities. If this fact alone is sufficient to refute Christianity as relativistic, then it must also show that Darwinism is relativistic. If as you correctly point out the truth or falsity of Darwinism stands or falls independently of how some people have abused it, then so does the truth or falsity of Christianity.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Auckland STAANZ Conference: Eschatology and Pneumatology =-.

  • Sorry that should be “having not read the article in question”.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Auckland STAANZ Conference: Eschatology and Pneumatology =-.

  • Ken,

    I did read the original article. The article attacks Darwins ideas, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to do in debate in a free society. Except to Darwinian fundamentalists like yourself who believe that all criticism of Darwins ideas must be silenced. Unlike you, I believe in open and fee debate.

    “Y article showed how in quoting Darwin these idiots were actually misrepresenting and distorting him. Quite dishonestly.”

    Not at all, The article fairly represented Darwins ideas and the impact they have had on the world. The only dishonesty here is yours, in mis-representing the article, and in denying the truth that Darwins ideas were a major influence on Nazism, Marxism and Eugenics. Right now hundreds of innocent defencless children are being rippied apart and murdered in their mothers wombs because of Darwins doctrine that human beings are mere animals and that children in the womb are not “evolved” enough to deserve rights. Abortion is Darwinian atheism in practice.

    “The bible has often been cherry picked and quoted to justify genocide, eviction of peoples, god’s chosen people, wars, anti women and anti gay prejudice, racism, segregation, apartheid, etc.”

    Your ignorance of the Bible is impressive. It is not “cherry picking” to say that Bible speaks clearly and consistently regarding the election of Israel and and the truth that homosexuality is a sin. That is what the Bible teaches.

    As to the other examples, and the point your trying to make, cherry picking parts of the Bible to justify things that are in conflict with the Gospel has certainly occured. Nevertheless there are two problems with your duck and hide tactic here. First, Naxism, Marxism and Eugenics do not simply cherry pick Darwin, they are attempts to put the fulness of his ideas into practice. They were of course wrong and evil, and Darwin himself may not have agreed with evrything they proclaimed and did. But that does not change the fact that his overall philosophy, not just a few “cherry picked” sentences, was and is responsible for unleasging such evils upon the world.

    The second problem is one of proportion. If you go back through the last two thousand years and tally up all the injustices that were done in the name of Christianity they do not come even close to the horrors that have been unleashed upon the world in the last one hundred years alone by Dariwnianism, atheism and materialism. Hundreds of millions of innocent people have been, and are being slaughtered by the adherents of your Darwinian “scientific” materialism.

    So again you have failed to make your case that the article was unfair or dishonest.

  • Max,

    “To whitewash the MANY abuses which have been committed due to sloppy readings of the Bible, and to deny history (as you seem to be doing) is a very dangerous game.”

    Except I am not doing so. The Church has done many things that were evil and that it needs to repent for.

    Nevertheless, the current atheist/modernist myth that prior to the so-called “enlightenment” and the modern era of “science and reason” Western history was one of unremmiting darkness, superstition and evil, while we in the modern age can now use “science” and reason to build a better and more enlightened world is exactly that, a myth. It is not only historically inaccurate, it hides the horrifying evils of the modern “scientific” age, evils that have and are being carried out on an industrial scale and the likes of which the world has never seen.

    In one sense this truth is not a suprise to me, as I reject out of hand the myth of progress. The universe is dying, not evolving, and human history is, and always has been, declining into ever more serious forms of ignorance and barbarity.

  • Shawn – you ignore the fact that the TM people actually distorted the quote they used from Darin by addition of “if we” at the beginning. I described the distortion in my post. Perhaps you should comment there (at open Parachute) where you can have what I said in front of you.

    Also, I quoted extra from the same chapter of Darwin’s book to show he actually was not a supporter of eugenics – actually a critic as those quotes show.

    Dishonest people have been distorting that chapter all year – especially after the atrocious fictional documentary Expelled came out.

    Matt – I think, seriously, you should read that article and make your own judgment. It sounds like you are avoiding doing so for some reason. I guess you are already aware of how atrocious the TM people are when they comment on science.

    Matt – the TM people are the ones actually going in for “pejorative name calling” of the very worst kind. They are also being completely dishonest in the way they quote a respected and honoured scientist. They bring discredit down on anyone associated with TM.

    So do yourself a favour. Read the article. If you have any integrity you will point out what they are doing wrong.

    I agree many people have used the bible to justify atrocities. However, I believe extremely few have even read Darwin’s books (or even been aware of them), let alone used them in justification of atrocities. Why would they bother when the have perfectly good holy books for that purpose. Your shouldn’t believe everything that Ben Stein says.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Galileo and Hollywood =-.

  • “Bible speaks clearly and consistently regarding the election of Israel and and the truth that homosexuality is a sin. That is what the Bible teaches.”

    Have you actually read the Bible? If it was so “clear” and “consistent” there would not be so many disagreements! Your *interpretations* (note that word. It is a VITAL one for anyone reading the Bible to know) may be correct…I doubt it but it *may* be. But the very fact that millions of Christians disagree with you should at least shake you out of the arrogance and complacently of saying the message is clear(!) .

    If it was so clear how did people manage to misinterpret it so many times in the past? Dear me…
    .-= My last blog-post ..A Blog Near You =-.

  • “Except I am not doing so. The Church has done many things that were evil and that it needs to repent for.”

    How do you reconcile this with your idea that the bible is so clear?
    It is *clear* that the Bible supports slavery people with your mindset once said. Now this is not so clear anymore though is it? What happened??? Did the clear become unclear?
    .-= My last blog-post ..A Blog Near You =-.

  • Ken,

    “you ignore the fact that the TM people actually distorted the quote they used from Darin by addition of “if we” at the beginning.”

    Yes I read this part in your article and had to laugh. You claim that the “if we” distorts what Darwin said. You then provide the actual quote,

    “If the various checks specified in the two last paragraphs, and perhaps others as yet unknown, do not prevent the reckless, the vicious and otherwise inferior members of society from increasing at a quicker rate than the better class of men, the nation will retrograde, as has too often occurred in the history of the world.”

    but has anything changed with the full quote? No. The Thinking matters article is still right. The accurate quote still clearly has Darwin advancing a form of racial eugenics. The claim in your article that you have got Darwin off the hook is totally false. We still have Darwin preaching a form of racial eugenics and racial purity.

    You admit this, but dismiss it as a “bit quaint”.

    Really? Serioulsy? A “bit quaint”??? Would six million Jews think it was a bit quaint?

    “Also, I quoted extra from the same chapter of Darwin’s book to show he actually was not a supporter of eugenics”

    Nowhere in the article does it say that he did fully support eugenics, so your criticism here completely misses the point. Perhaps you should have the article in front of you before criticising it, calling its authors “idiots” and demanding hat we all condemn it.

    This is your standard tactic though right? I have read many of your posts and you repeat this dishonest tactic over and over. Ignore what someone actually says, claim they said something else, attack that. Thats called a strawman argument.

    So, what did the article actually say? Its central claim, which have both ignored and failed to a provide rational and substantive response to, was that Dawrins idead LEAD to the evils being discussed. NOT that he necessarily held those ideas himself (though your own article in response totally fails to prove he did not). This crucial difference is the one you have deliberately blurred in order to shift the debate away from an area you are clearly afraid to discuss or to have other discuss openly..

    Sir Francis Galton, who was Darwins cousin, was an early founder of the Eugenics movement and said clearly that he built his ideas on Darwins. Therefore the link between Darwinianism as a theory and Eugenics is a historical fact. Whether Darwin himself would have fully approved is entirely beside the point. The article is not a dishonest personal attack on Darwin as you claim, but an attack on both his ideas and the consequences they have had.

    The truth however is that Darwin was a racialist who belived in a form of racial purity, he was an atheist who believed that morality was subjective, and he was a materialist who believed that humans were animals. These are established facts. And the popularisation of his ideology by people like yourself has had terrible consequences for the world.

    “I don’t claim that Darwin and his theory of evolution brought on the holocaust; but I cannot deny that the theory of evolution, and the atheism it engendered, led to the moral climate that made a holocaust possible” Jewish scholar Edward Simon.

    Someone who did not think Darwins racialism was “a bit quaint”.

  • Max,

    “How do you reconcile this with your idea that the bible is so clear?”

    The problem is not with the Bible, but with human beings. Human beings are fallible and sinful.

    Neverthless, the issue of interpretation you bring up is a false one. In fact the Bible does not need to be interpreted. It speaks plainly, and when taken in its plain sense is in fact clear. Very, very few if any disputes over the Bible are genuine disputes over “interpretation”. In almost all cases of disputes it can be shown that one or more parties in the dispute are either trying to take away something that is clearly in Scripture because it does not suit them, ir trying to add something that is not there.

    “It is *clear* that the Bible supports slavery people with your mindset once said. Now this is not so clear anymore though is it?”

    In fact it never was clear to “people of my mindset” at all. The early Church was very much opposed to chattel slavery, as the Bible clearly condemns it, and this was the stance of the Church throughout most of its history. It was only later, largley after the 1600’s, that slave owners who were getting wealthy from chattell slavery tried to twist Scripture to suit themselves and were able to rope in some corrupt pastors to try to make the case. I agree that the Church should have squelched this hersey faster than it did, but in time it did.

    The myth that the Church and Christians supported slavery for much of its history, based on an interpretation of Scripture, and then recently chaged their minds and decided the Bible said something else, is sadly one of the many historical myths perpetuated in modern society.

  • “In fact the Bible does not need to be interpreted. It speaks plainly, and when taken in its plain sense is in fact clear. ”

    So when people look at the Bible and disagree with you it is because they are not taking it in its “plain” sense right? While you of course can see this “plain” sense that they cannot. The sort of arrogance required to hold this simplistic view is beyond my ability. I guess I will have to resign myself to a certain amount of ignorance and the cursed humility that comes with it.

    I wish I had been gifted with your ability to instantly see the meaning of an ancient document with no need to read it in the original language, understand anything about the history surrounding it, or about the culture of the people who wrote it. I assume you think this is all irrelevant as the meaning is to “plain” and “clear”?

    “very, very few if any disputes over the Bible are genuine disputes over “interpretation”

    I don’t even know what to make of this odd statement.
    .-= My last blog-post ..A Blog Near You =-.

  • Yes – it has changed with the TM distortion. They attribute the ideas to Darwin who was referring to the ideas presented by others he discussed in the previous two paragraphs.

    Very dishonest quoting there.

    But I guess this is theist epistemology at its worst. Assume something and then cherry pick and quote mine (and distort) until you find something that can support it. That is select and modify the evidence to support the conclusion.

    It is this methodology which has led to racism, eugenics, slavery, genocide, etc.

    Now I don’t want to sink to that level (after all why should when I have evidence on my side). But, Shawn have a look at this quote from Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Have a play with that. I am sure you can use it to claim Hitler based his ideas on Darin’s:

    “Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth. Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind.”

    Now, I don’t want to draw any conclusions from that. But it is interesting that Darwin’s Origin was on the Nazi’s list of prohibited books – but the bible wasn’t.
    .-= My last blog-post ..Galileo and Hollywood =-.

  • “But it is interesting that Darwin’s Origin was on the Nazi’s list of prohibited books – but the bible wasn’t.”

    Imagine how many books weren’t on it. Shocking – I wonder what’s in all those nasty books that weren’t on the list?

  • There is little doubt that Nazi held Darwinism. But Nazi wasn’t the only one. In fact eugenic started in Britain, then both Britain and USA practiced massive forced sterilization to the poor and weak. Nazi of course learned from those practices, before taking it further to doing death camps.

  • ‘If I can accept a divine Commandment, it’s this one: “Thou shalt preserve the species.” The life of the individual must not be set at too high a price. If the individual were important in the eyes of nature, nature would take care to preserve him. Amongst the millions of eggs a fly lays, very few are hatched out — and yet the race of flies thrives.’ – Adolf Hitler

  • Isn’t there an internet rule that the first to bring up Hitler and Nazi’s automatically loses the argument?

    Anyway Anon – it is certainly even weaker to say things like “There is little doubt” rather than give evidence.

    Now, have a search through Hitler’s Mein Kampf. How many times is Darwin mentioned.? ZERO.

    How many times is god, God, Christian, etc., mentioned? Quite a lot.

    What lessons are you going to draw from that? Silly isn’t it?

    Similarly your eugenics argument. Don’t you know that eugenics is based on artificial selection, animal and plant breeding? Humanity has been doing that for centuries. And Darwin specifically argued against it for humans.
    Just shows how silly this argument is.
    .-= My last blog-post ..NZ blogs sitemeter ranking – November ‘09 =-.

  • Glenn – “I wonder what’s in all those nasty books that weren’t on the list?”

    Perhaps you can get an idea at least of what was banned from The University of Arizona’s site hosts a list of books that were banned in Germany in the 1930’s.

    This list includes:

    “All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk.”

    and

    ” Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism .”
    .-= My last blog-post ..NZ blogs sitemeter ranking – November ‘09 =-.

  • Ken – I said I wonder what’s in all those nasty books that WEREN’T on the list.

    My point is that it’s a siller red herring to note that the Bible wasn’t on the list. Most books that were ever written were also not on the list!

  • Sure Glenn. It’s more significant what was
    on the list of banned books. As I pointed out.

    Anyway, the really silly people are those attributing fascism or anything similar to Darwin.

    Just stupid.
    .-= My last blog-post ..NZ blogs sitemeter ranking – November ‘09 =-.

  • The scientific background of the nazi eugenics program
    http://www.trufax.org/avoid/nazi.html

    (and how it is related to Darwinism)

  • Also found this relevant comment made at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2259552/posts

    “Adherence or nonadherence, Hitler’s motivations have no effect on the evidence.”

    I think the point is that the evidence had a great deal of effect on Hitler’s motivations.

    Creationists may be using Hitler to discredit Darwin, that is true. But the evidence suggests that Darwin’s ideas DID influence Hitler and a lot of other eugenicists … even to this day.

    This is not an attack on the validity of Darwin’s ideas. But it is one of MANY disturbing outcomes from them. Biological determinism has proven to be a dangerous concept in practice.

    Stating so isn’t all that controversial.