December 27, 2009

Kill the Bill

Christmas Eve Vote Shows Arrogance of Dem's 'Monument to Greed for Power': CWA

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Following the passage of the Senate health care reform bill, Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, stated, "No senator with an ounce of integrity can be proud of this bill or how it was passed. It marks among the lowest points in the U.S. Senate's history.

"Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the Democrats' health care bill and distrust how the Democrats passed it. The bill will fund abortions, deny care for patients, increase premiums, create more bloated and unnecessary government agencies and burden taxpayers with paying off bribes to senators.

"As if to emphasize their arrogance, Democrat senators passed this monument to their greed for power on Christmas Eve. This gift to themselves at Americans' expense stands in stark contrast to Jesus relinquishing His divine privileges to serve and give to others.

"During this holy season commemorating the humility and love of God Who came to earth as a baby, these senators voted to fund abortion. Jesus healed the sick; this bill will force health providers to deny care to patients. Jesus taught people to be good stewards; this bill will penalize people who have insurance but the government doesn't approve. Jesus treated people of all classes equally; this bill benefits those well-connected to conniving politicians.

"The House must now deal with this monstrosity of a bill. Concerned Women for America will work to convince House members to kill this bill."

(Article from LifeSiteNews.com)

December 22, 2009

Dangerous Birth Control Shot

Study Finds Half of Women on "Birth Control Shot" Suffer Bone Problems

GALVESTON, Texas, December 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Nearly half of women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), commonly known as the birth control shot, will experience high bone mineral density (BMD) loss in the hip or lower spine within two years of beginning the contraceptive, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

The study, reported in the January 2010 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was the first to show that women on the birth control shot who smoke, have low levels of calcium intake and never gave birth are at the highest risk for BMD loss. The researchers also found that high risk women continued to experience significant losses in BMD during the third year of the use of the contraceptive injection, especially in the hip - the most common facture site in elderly women.

DMPA is an injected contraceptive administered to patients every three months. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, more than two million American women use the birth control shot, including approximately 400,000 teens. DMPA is relatively inexpensive compared with some other forms of contraception and doesn't need to be administered daily, which contributes to its popularity.

The study followed 95 DMPA users for two years. In that time, 45 women had at least five percent BMD loss in the lower back or hip. A total of 50 women had less than five percent bone loss at both sites during the same period.

By and large, BMD loss was higher in women who were current smokers, had never given birth and had a daily calcium intake of 600 mg or less - far below the recommended amounts. Moreover, BMD loss substantially increased among the women with all three risk factors.

The researchers followed 27 of the women for an additional year and found that those who experienced significant BMD loss in the first two years continued to lose bone mass.


December 20, 2009

Senate Bill Unacceptable

US Bishops: Senate Bill Still Unacceptable

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Despite last-minute efforts to improve the language on abortion and conscience rights in the Senate's proposed health care reform bill, the U.S. bishops oppose its passage.

This was affirmed in a statement released Saturday by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the conference's Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the bishops' Committee on Migration; and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the Domestic Policy Committee.

The prelates acknowledge the "good faith" efforts of several Senators in proposing changes to the bill, as well as several positive points of the Manager's Amendment that was proposed Saturday.

While praising adoption tax credits and assistance for pregnant women, the letter laments that the current legislation "does not seem to allow purchasers who exercise freedom of choice or of conscience to 'opt out' of abortion coverage in federally subsidized health plans that include such coverage."

"While we appreciate the good-faith efforts made," the letter continues, "our judgment is the same as it was yesterday: This legislation should not move forward in its current form.

Continue reading this article at ZENIT

December 6, 2009

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air


A Michigan abortion facility engages in shameless lies and Orwellian double-speak to promote its killing business. Northland "Family Planning Centers" of Michigan is a land where good is evil and evil is good. The Abortion Facility advertises abortion as a "sacred work". To whom is it sacred? It is sacred only to those who hold nothing whatsoever sacred, i.e. the abortionists who profit from killing pre-natal children.

In an online video titled, "Every Day, Good Women Choose Abortion," the Northland spokesperson says, "We do sacred work that honors women and the circle of life and death. When you come here, bring only love.”

Love? Love has nothing to do with aborting one's baby,“thou venomed earth-vexing foul deformity,” who perverts the very word.
 

LifeSite News (December 4, 2009) says, "Northland "Family Planning Centers" of Michigan are now advertising their services with a video calling abortion "sacred work."

“Set to soft, upbeat piano music and themed with pink pastel shades, a recently uploaded video entitled "Every Day, Good Woman Choose Abortion," assures prospective customers that deciding "to have an abortion is a normal experience," and that the decision is a good decision. The video's spokeswoman continues: "Goodness is courage, honesty, wisdom, risking for what you believe is right for you, making choices that are good for yourself."

"Goodness is not perfection, it is not obedience, and it is not martyrdom."

“The staff at Northland, the narrator continues, believe in the "essential goodness" of abortion. The narrator speaks of a sign hanging at the Northland abortion facility that reads: "We do sacred work that honors women and the circle of life and death. When you come here, bring only love."

The video showcases a quotation from the recently murdered late-term abortionist George Tiller, which states: "Abortion is not a cerebral or a reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart. For until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all." 

(Continue reading about this abomination at LifeSiteNews)

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December 2, 2009

Vatican Considers Life on Other Planets

I found this to be an interesting topic:


Holy See Hosts Study on Astrobiology

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Both scientists and believers posit that life is a "special outcome" in a "vast and mostly inhospitable universe," and to study this common understanding, the Vatican brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to work on and study astrobiology.

The conclusions of the five-day work-study were presented today by a Jesuit priest and leading professors from Italy, France and the United States.

"Astrobiology is the study of life's relationship to the rest of the cosmos," one of the professors explained. "Its major themes include the origin of life and its precursor materials, the evolution of life on earth, and its future prospects on and off the earth." (Continue reading this article at ZENIT)

Pierre Duhem

"Now these two questions — Does there exist a material reality distinct from sensible appearances? and What is the nature of reality? — do not have their source in experimental method, which is acquainted only with sensible appearances and can discover nothing beyond them. The resolution of these questions transcends the methods used by physics; it is the object of metaphysics.

"Therefore, if the aim of physical theories is to explain experimental laws, theoretical physics is not an autonomous science; it is subordinate to metaphysics."

-- Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem, 1861-1916
French physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science



December 1, 2009

Pope Notes Limits of Looking Through a Telescope


Cautions Against Being Blinded by Scientific Success

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Scientific success should not blind humanity to God, Benedict XVI said in a message marking an event for the Year of Astronomy.

The Pope reflected on the successes and limits of science in a message to Monsignor Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. The university is hosting a three-day conference titled "1609-2009: From Galilei's Telescope to Evolutionary Cosmology. Science, Philosophy and Theology in Dialogue." The event concludes Wednesday.

The Holy Father suggested that this year's celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of the telescope marks what was an "awareness in culture of being before a crucial point in the history of humanity."

"Science was becoming something different from what the ancients had always thought of it," he observed. "The deductive method was giving way to the inductive, opening the way to experimentation. The concept of science that had lasted for centuries was now modified." And this, the Pontiff said, pointed "to a new conception of the world and man."

More questions

Benedict XVI suggested that today as well, "the universe continues to raise questions to which simple observation, however, is unable to give a satisfactory answer."


Natural and physical sciences, paying recourse only to their own resources, run the risk of presenting the cosmos as "an unresolved enigma."

But Galileo's lesson, the Pope said, is that matter "has an intelligibility capable of speaking to man's intelligence and of indicating a path that goes beyond a simple phenomenon." (Continue reading this article at ZENIT)

Bishops' Role against Health Bill

New USCCB Pro-Life Head Defends Bishops' Role against Health Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the newly-appointed Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life Committee, has defended the Church's role in advocating for the unborn in the health care bill in his first interview since ascending to the chairmanship last month.

"If you call it lobbying, we're lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others," said Cardinal DiNardo in an interview with the Houston Chronicle last week

DiNardo assumed the chairmanship on November 19 from Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who fronted the bishops' critical rejection of the House health care bill over its expansion of abortion.

After House Speaker Pelosi unexpectedly allowed a vote to include Hyde-amendment protections in the House bill, the U.S. bishops have endured a hail of criticism from pro-abortion forces accusing them of overstepping their bounds. Several conservative lawmakers had awaited the bishops' stamp of approval on the legislation before accepting it as adequately pro-life.

The cardinal has already issued a letter to lawmakers urging similar pro-life and conscience protections for the bill in the Senate, where debate began on the measure yesterday.
(Cont. reading at Lifesite News)

 



November 21, 2009

Five years of Iraq lies

(This topic may seem like old news, but I am posting Juan Cole's article as a resource for a current, mostly offline discussion.)
How President Bush and his advisors have spent each year of the war peddling mendacious tales about a mission accomplished
.

By Juan Cole

March 19, 2008

Each year of George W. Bush's war in Iraq has been represented by a thematic falsehood. That Iraq is now calm or more stable is only the latest in a series of such whoppers, which the mainstream press eagerly repeats. The fifth anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq will be the last he presides over. Sen. John McCain, in turn, has now taken to dangling the bait of total victory before the American public, and some opinion polls suggest that Americans are swallowing it, hook, line and sinker.

The most famous falsehoods connected to the war were those deployed by the president and his close advisors to justify the invasion. But each of the subsequent years since U.S. troops barreled toward Baghdad in March 2003 has been marked by propaganda campaigns just as mendacious. Here are five big lies from the Bush administration that have shaped perceptions of the Iraq war.

Year 1's big lie was that the rising violence in Iraq was nothing out of the ordinary. The social turmoil kicked off by the invasion was repeatedly denied by Bush officials. When Iraqis massively looted government ministries and even private shops, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld joked that U.S. media had videotape of one man carrying off a vase and that they kept looping it over and over again. The first year of the war saw the rise of a Sunni Arab guerrilla movement that repeatedly struck at U.S. troops and at members and leaders of the Shiite-dominated Interim Governing Council appointed by the American government.

After dozens of U.S. and British military deaths, Rumsfeld actually came out before the cameras and denied, in July of 2003, that there was a building guerrilla war. When CNN's Jamie McIntyre quoted to him the Department of Defense definition of a guerrilla war -- "military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-held or hostile territory by an irregular predominantly indigenous forces" -- and said it appeared to fit Iraq, Rumsfeld replied, "It really doesn't." Bush was so little concerned by the challenge of an insurgency that he cavalierly taunted the Sunni Arab guerrillas, "Bring 'em on!" regardless of whether it might recklessly endanger U.S. soldiers. The guerrillas brought it on.

In Year 2 the falsehood was that Iraq was becoming a shining model of democracy under America's caring ministrations. In actuality, Bush had planned to impose on Iraq what he called "caucus-based" elections, in which the electorate would be restricted to the provincial and some municipal council members backed by Bush-related institutions. That plan was thwarted by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who demanded one-person, one-vote open elections, and brought tens of thousands of protesters out onto the streets of Baghdad and Basra.

The elections were deeply flawed, both with regard to execution and outcome. The U.S. campaign against Fallujah in November 2004, marked by more petulant rhetoric from Bush, had angered Sunni Arabs -- who feared U.S. strategy favored Shiite ascendancy -- and led to their boycotting the elections. The electoral system chosen by the United Nations and the U.S. would guarantee that if they boycotted, they would be without representation in parliament. Candidates could not campaign, and voters did not know for which individuals they were voting.

Much of the American public, egged on by White House propaganda, was sanguine when elections were held at the end of January 2005, mistaking process for substance. Why the disenfranchisement of the Sunni Arabs, who were becoming more and more violent, was a good thing, or why the victory of Shiite fundamentalists tied to Iran was a triumph for the U.S., remains difficult to discern. Nobody in the Middle East thought such flawed elections, held under foreign military occupation, were any sort of model for the region.

In Year 3, the Bush administration blamed almost everything that was going wrong on one shadowy figure: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Bush set the tone for Year 3 with a speech at Fort Bragg on July 28, 2005, in which he said, "The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11 ... if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi .. and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden." The previous week, Bush had said that the U.S. was in Iraq "because we were attacked." Zarqawi was the perfect plot device for an administration who wanted to perpetuate the falsehood that the Iraq war was directly connected with Sept. 11 and al-Qaida.

In spring of 2006, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch came out and attributed 90 percent of suicide bombings in Iraq to Zarqawi and his organization, which he had rebranded as "al-Qaida in Iraq," but which had begun in Afghanistan as an alternative to Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization. Meanwhile, security analysts discerned 50 distinct Sunni Arab guerrilla cells in Iraq. Some were Baathists and some were Arab nationalists; some were Salafi Sunni fundamentalists while others were tribally based. To attribute so many attacks all over central, western and northern Iraq to a single entity suggested an enormous, centrally directed organization in Iraq called "al-Qaida." But there was never any evidence for such a conclusion, and when Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in May of 2006, the insurgent violence continued without any change in pattern.

In Year 4, as major sectors of Iraq descended into hell, Bush's big lie consisted of denying that the country had fallen into civil war. In late February 2006, Sunni guerrillas blew up the golden-domed Askariya shrine of the Shiites in Samarra. In the aftermath, the Shiites, who had shown some restraint until that point, targeted the Sunni Arabs in Baghdad and its hinterlands for ethnic cleansing. After May 2006, the death toll of victims of sectarian violence rose at times to an official figure of 2,500 or more per month, and it fluctuated around that level for the subsequent year. The Baghdad police had to form a new unit, the Corpse Patrol, to collect dozens of bodies every morning in the streets of the capital.

On Sept. 1, 2006, Sunni guerrillas slaughtered 34 Asian and Iraqi Shiite pilgrims passing near Ramadi on their way to the Shiite holy city of Karbala south of Baghdad. In his weekly radio address the next day Bush said, "Our commanders and diplomats on the ground believe that Iraq has not descended into a civil war." Many lesser conflicts have been dubbed civil wars by journalists, academics and policy thinkers alike. But Bush continued with the fantastic spin: "The people of Baghdad are seeing their security forces in the streets, dealing a blow to criminals and terrorists."

Year 5, the past year, has been one of troop escalation, or the "surge." (Calling the policy a "surge" rather than an "escalation" is emblematic of the administration's propaganda.) The big lie is that Iraq is now calm, that the surge has worked, and that victory is within reach.

In early 2007, the U.S. made several risky bargains. It pledged to the Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that it would disarm the Sunni Arab guerrillas in Baghdad first, before demanding that the Shiites lay down their arms. It thus induced Muqtada al-Sadr to declare a freeze on the paramilitary activities of his Mahdi army militia. The Americans would go on to destroy some of his Sunni Arab enemies for him. U.S. military leaders in Iraq began paying Sunni Arab Iraqi guerrillas and others in provinces such as al-Anbar to side with the United States and to turn on the foreign jihadis, most of them from Saudi Arabia and North Africa. U.S. troops also began a new counterinsurgency strategy, focused on taking control of Sunni Arab neighborhoods, clearing them of armed guerrillas, and then staying in them on patrol to ensure that the guerrillas did not reestablish themselves.

The strategy of disarming the Sunni Arabs of Baghdad -- who in 2003 constituted nearly half the capital's inhabitants -- had enormous consequences. Shiite militias took advantage of the Sunnis' helplessness to invade their neighborhoods at night, kill some as an object lesson, and chase the Sunnis out. Hundreds of thousands of Baghdad residents were ethnically cleansed in the course of 2007, during the surge, and some two-thirds of the more than 1.2 million Iraqi refugees who ended up in Syria were Sunni Arabs. Baghdad, a symbol of past Arab glory and of the Iraqi nation, became at least 75 percent Shiite, perhaps more.

That outcome has set the stage for further Sunni-Shiite conflict to come. Much of the reduction in the civilian death toll is explained by this simple equation: A formerly mixed neighborhood like Shaab, east of the capital, now has no Sunnis to speak of, and so therefore there are no longer Sunni bodies in the street each morning.

But the troop escalation has failed to stop bombings in Baghdad, and the frequency and deadliness of attacks increased in February and March, after falling in January. In the first 10 days of March, official figures showed 39 deaths a day from political violence, up from 29 a day in February, and 20 in January. Assassinations, attacks on police, and bombings continue in Sunni Arab cities such as Baquba, Samarra and Mosul, as well as in Kirkuk and its hinterlands in the north. On Monday, a horrific bombing in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala killed 52 and wounded 75, ruining the timing of Vice President Cheney's and Sen. McCain's visit to Iraq to further declare victory.

Moreover, Turkey made a major incursion into Iraq to punish the guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers Party from eastern Anatolia, who have in the past seven months killed dozens of Turkish troops. The U.S. media was speaking of "calm" and "a lull" in Iraq violence even while destructive bombs were going off in Baghdad, and Turkey's incursion was resulting in over a hundred deaths. The surge was "succeeding," according to the administration, and therefore no mere attacks by a third country, or bombings by insurgents, could challenge the White House story line.

Bush's five big lies about Iraq powerfully shaped press coverage of the war and have kept the mess there going at least long enough to turn it over to the next president. As he campaigns for the White House, John McCain, Bush's heir apparent in the Iraq propaganda department, has been signaling that "complete victory" in Iraq will be his talking point of choice for Year 6. If the mainstream media and the American public don't wake up to the truth about how the war has gone, they'll find themselves buying into an even longer and deeper tragedy.

********
Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

See also,
Iraq: Claim vs. Reality by Rep. Ron Paul, MD

Lies of Bush

Bush Lies About Iraq

CIA Probe Finds Secret Pentagon Group Manipulated Intelligence on Iraqi Threat

Selective Intelligence by Seymour M. Hersh


November 20, 2009

Origin of the Human Species

I highly recommend Origin of the Human Species website by Dr. Dennis Bonnette for anyone interested in the subject of evolution. The site features Dr. Bonnette's book by that title, which is a philosopher's investigation into particular aspects of evolution theory. The site also features several excellent articles such as Ape-Language Studies.

Click here to view or purchase Dr. Bonnette's book at Amazon.

October 25, 2009

NeoCons lied about Iran, too!

Neo-conservatives, a misnomer, since there is not much new or conservative about this group of warmongers, especially the ones at PNAC, promoted  lies and propaganda about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The immediate goal of the propaganda was obvious: to manufacture consent among Americans for the Administration's war on Iraq. The war against Iraq itself, though, was only an early step in achieving U.S. hegemony in the Middle East.

The type of propaganda disseminated about Iraq has been used about Iran. Consequently, Americans believe many things that are false or merely half-truths about Iran. Fortunately, Middle East expert, Juan Cole sets the record straight with Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

September 30, 2009

First Amendment Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama administration has aroused a fierce First Amendment controversy after threatening companies selling private Medicare coverage not to tell their customers that current health care legislation would result in benefit cuts - or else face a lawsuit.

The administration and Senate Democrats justify the move by saying the claim, spread by at least one such company, is patently false.  Yet some say the administration is the one twisting the facts to help the unpopular legislation: critics note that even the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees that the legislation would mean a loss of senior benefits.

The general warning came after the Department of Health and Human Services launched a probe against the insurance giant Humana earlier this month after it sent out a mailing warning of the possible cuts.
Read more

September 1, 2009

Darwinism and Some Catholics

Those who despise men, and put them on a level with the brutes, yet wish to be admired and believed by men,...contradict themselves by their own feelings. ---Blaise Pascal, Pensees,

To paraphrase Pope Pius XI, “No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Darwinian.” Yet, Catholics can, and I think should, accept a moderate version of biological evolution. Extreme Darwinism, on the other hand, with its philosophical materialism, conflicts with fundamental doctrines of the Church and truths of the philosophia perennis. Specific areas of irreducible conflict stemming from Darwinian materialism are its denial of metaphysical reality, including the spiritual soul, free will and causality, such as final causes in nature.

The International Theological Commission (2004) commenting on John Paul’s 1996 letter on evolution, warns “there is no blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe."


Oddly, despite the clear position of the Church, I continue to encounter Catholic scientists who accept Darwinism, lock stock and barrel. They adamantly defend false Darwinian views such as the human and animal mind differ only in degree, and that the human moral sense is a product of evolution. These scientists simultaneously assent to, at least verbally, the Catholic belief in the spiritual soul, with a few actaully claiming the soul probably evolved from nature. I do not profess to understand this kind of intellectual schizophrenia in which scientists want to be both Catholic and card-carrying Darwinians. Perhaps, they are ultimately clueless regarding the difference between physical and metaphysical reality, and such terms as “spiritual soul” do not signify anything they properly grasp, however vaguely.

Whatever the case, I will discuss here the Darwinian view of the human mind, which the aforementioned Catholic scientists fail to see as critically flawed. One principal objection to an extreme Darwinian version of evolution that I will discuss is its claim that the difference between the human and animal mind is one of degree.[1] Darwin advocates this view in The Descent of Man. Darwin constructed his hypothesis based on a philosophical assumption about the nature of the human mind. Darwin's assertions about the human mind exceed the proper scope and competence of the natural sciences, and remain to date, unproven by any factual data.

It was approximately thirty years before publication of The Descent of Man, that Darwin adopted a materialist ideology through which he interpreted all natural phenomena, including the human mind. In one of the transmutation Notebooks Darwin wrote, “Love of the deity of organization, oh you materialist!...Why is thought being a secretion of brain, more wonderful than gravity a property of matter? It is our arrogance, our admiration of ourselves.”

A crude materialism pre-determined Darwin’s later, apparent scientific conclusion about the human mind in his Descent. In other words, Darwin hardly based his conclusion on a strictly scientific and objective evaluation of factual data. Darwin's Notebook entries reveal his pre-investigative materialist assumptions about the human mind, which governed his post-investigative conclusions.
In Notebook M, Darwin says, “Thinking consists of sensation of images before your eyes, or ears,…or of memory of such sensation, & memory is repetition of whatever takes place in brain, when sensation is perceived.” Following the statement of thought as "secretion of brain", this perhaps, is the most thoughtless characterization of thought I have ever come across.

In Notebook B Darwin expresses his profound bias against the human mind: “People often talk of the wonderful event of intellectual man appearing.—the appearance of insects with other sense is more wonderful”[2]

In order to construct a theory in which humans and animals are all melted together in a strict phylogenetic continuum, (with no essential distinctions in regard to mind), Darwin had to reduce man to his biology and characterize thought in strictly physical terms. In addition, those characteristics generally considered unique or peculiar to man, such as reason and moral conscience, had to be asserted as existing in other animals at least in an incipient condition.

The following repesentative quote from The Descent of Man affords a sense of Darwin’s poorly reasoned argument for a mental continuum between man and the higher animals:

“Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuition, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals…If it could be proved that certain high mental powers, such as the formation of general concepts, self-consciousness, etc., were absolutely peculiar to man, which seems extremely doubtful, it is not improbable that these qualities are merely the incidental of other highly advanced intellectual faculties; and these again mainly the result of the continued use of a perfect language.”

A close look at the text above may get a little tedious, but it is revealing nonetheless. Darwin asserts that a difference in degree between the mind of man and higher animals is certain. To whom is it certain? Darwin?

Darwin makes an admirable try at consistency by asserting that various human qualities exist, at least incipiently, in other animals. However, that every quality listed exists, at least incipiently in other animals, remains questionable and undemonstrated.

Oddly, Darwin is immediately less than certain about his position. That is, he next proposes the possibility that “certain high mental powers, such as the formation of general concepts, self-consciousness, etc., are absolutely peculiar to man.”

Consequently, the implication of Darwin's statement is the possibility remains that the human mind differs in kind rather than in degree from the higher animals. That is, to state “certain high mental powers” are possibly “absolutely peculiar to man” necessarily implies that these “high mental powers” cannot exist in any degree (incipient or well developed) in higher animals. Yet, this is the position Darwin is trying to refute.

Again, when Darwin states he is “extremely doubtful” anyone can prove that “certain high mental powers” are “absolutely peculiar to man” he qualifies his initial certainty. One cannot eliminate, at least as a possibility, that which is extremely doubtful. For example, there was a time when it was extremely doubtful the sun was at the “center” of the solar system.

In the final analysis, Darwin’s argument remains poorly stated, and fails to prove anything. This kind of situation is understandable whenever factual data do not fit well with the working hypothesis.

The statement that thought is a “secretion of brain” was too crude for T.H. Huxley. Huxley preferred a more refined expression of his equally materialist view: “Thought is as much a function of matter as motion is.”[3] Years later, Huxley also states, “There is every reason to believe that consciousness is a function of nervous matter, when that matter has attained a certain degree of organization, just as we know the other actions to which the nervous system ministers, such as reflex action, and the like, to be.”[4]

Huxley is more articulate than Darwin, but his term “function” is a generic and vacuous expression that says even less than does Darwin’s specific yet crude “secretions”. Nonetheless, the physical sciences reveal that the only functions of matter are movement or changes in matter. Huxley’s claim that consciousness is a function of matter represents no progress toward an exlanation of consciousness over that offered by ancient Greek Atomism.

If one anticipates better-reasoned arguments from contemporary Darwinians, reality will disappoint. Let us look at what Darwinian, Stephen J. Gould has to say about man’s difference in degree.

“By now, all readers of newspapers and watchers of television have learned of the striking initial successes of another way—communicating with chimps via sign language of the deaf and dumb. When Lana, star pupil of the Yerkes Laboratory, began to ask for the names of objects she had not previously seen, can we any longer deny to chimps the capacity to conceptualize and to abstract?”[5]

Gould merely assumes what the Yerkes experiment actually proves, which is to be expected since he apparently lacks the kind knowledge needed for correctly interpretating the cognitive abilities revealed by the study. That is, perceptual thinking and perceptual generalizations are sufficient to explain the chimp’s behavior. To presume the chimp manifested conceptual thinking and conceptual abstractions, as Gould does, is an unwarranted resort to cognitive principles of a higher order.

Gould, himself, does not demonstrate an adequate understanding of the genuine epistemological difference between sense knowledge and intellectual knowledge--knowledge of the particular versus knowledge of the universal. In sum, primitive and simplistic sign language communication based on sensual apprehension, sense memory, and perceptual generalizations, is a fundamentally different type of communication than propositional speech specific to man, which in turn is dependent on cognitive powers of a higher order.

Of the confirmed biological closeness of man and ape, Gould says, “A fine paradox, for although I have argued strongly that our distinctions are matters of degree only, we are still very different animals. If the overall genetic distance is so small, then what has caused such a divergence in form and behavior?” Gould speculates that, “The answer must be that certain kinds of genes have far reaching effects---they must influence the entire organism, not just single traits.”
Understanding of genetics progresses, but Gould implies an unwarranted assumption—that the natural sciences, at least in principle, can explain all the mysteries of human nature. In addition, the proselytizing Gould believes that if we give up our “antiquated concept of the soul”, we will “gain a more humble, even exalting vision of our oneness with nature.”[6] Is it not an inherently contradictory and perverse belief that reducing man to his biology results in an exalting vision?

The materialism that Darwin and his followers confuse with their science necessarily precludes them from correctly understanding the human mind and man’s true place in nature. Some Catholic scientists need to think critically about evolution theory, identify that which is of genuine scientific value, and decant the dregs of Darwinian pseudo-philosophical ideology. First, though, they should try to understand what it is that the Church teaches.
-----------------------------------------------
Endnotes:

[1] Evolutionists such as Gaylord Simpson may appear to be an exception with their view that says man differs in kind from higher animals in mind, but differs in degree in body. While this represents an improvement over Darwin’s formulation, Simpson’s difference in kind is not a radical difference in kind (a difference that admits of no continuity between man and higher animals). His difference in kind is reducible to an underlying physiological difference in degree.
[2] Darwin’s Notebook statements are quoted in Angels, Apes, and Men by Stanley L. Jaki
[3] Macmillan’s Mag., May 1870
[4] Contemp. Rev., Nov. 1871
[5] Ever Since Darwin, Norton, 1979; p. 51
[6] Ibid. p. 54

Fundamentalism and Literal Interpretation

The fundamentalists are funny enough, and the funniest thing about them is their name. For, whatever else the fundamentalist is, he is not fundamental. He is content with the bare letter of scripture—the translation of a translation, coming down to him by the tradition of a tradition—without venturing to ask for its original authority.
--G.K. Chesterton: All is Grist

Christian fundamentalists discredit themselves and Christianity in the eyes of non-believers whenever they argue against science using their superficial interpretations of Genesis. The authority for fundamentalism’s biblical exegesis is as tenuous as is their interpretation of a direct creation of heaven and earth in six days.

Just as the fundamentalists are not fundamental, which Chesterton noted, neither are they, as I will argue here, biblical literalists. I will explain my contention in a series of steps.


It is commonplace, as everyone knows, to characterize fundamentalist or creationist interpretations of the Creation accounts in Genesis as a “literal” reading. However, while talking to a Protestant minister, a dyed-in-the-wool fundamentalist and former physician, it occurred to me that his “literal” interpretations of Genesis 1-2 were not at all literal. In addition, because his Biblical interpretation determined his “scientific” views about the world, neither does he take science literally. That is, according to the minister, the earth is rather young and any theory of macroevolution is strictly anathema.

Now, the minister holds to the typical creationist view of a “young earth”, a mere 3,000 years old or so, but that God created it to appear much older, 14 billion years or so. Of course, a literal interpretation of the scientific evidence says the universe is about 14 billion years old. However, the minister’s view implies that he does not accept a literal interpretation of the scientific facts because they represent appearances only, of a reality that is much younger.[1]

One must wonder why the Creator would create the universe in such a manner that it would necessarily deceive scientists about its age. The good minister’s God is a trickster of sorts. God is the author of both nature and Scripture, but the truths of science conflict with the truths of the Bible, as interpreted by the fundamentalist.

This creationist inanity follows from (1) not taking as the literal truth what science knows to be the case, and (2) not taking Scripture literally.

Before I explain what I mean by taking Scripture literally, I will note further a couple of reasons fundamentalists misinterpret the creation stories in Genesis. The first reason, which I cannot go into here, is they hold to inadequate and false notions about the nature of Revelation and divine inspiration of the Biblical authors. The second reason, and one that has an integral relation to the first, is fundamentalists do not consider the way in which literature teaches us, or the manner in which various literary genres work. If they happen to understand how various literary genres work, they assume they must apply a very different standard for interpreting the various genres of the Bible than they do with non-Biblical literature.


The fundamentalist presumption in this matter stems from his false understanding of divine inspiration of the sacred writers. Biblical literature is both human and divine and the fundamentalist does not properly grasp the dynamics of inspired composition. Divine inspiration does not eliminate the normal human activities of composition, but works through it.

In regard to the way literature works, both Biblical and non-biblical, not everything an author writes is co-extensive with what he intends to teach. A story has a setting with many details. The details may be factual or not, even so in Biblical literature, but they are not part of the author’s message. In addition, the meaning of a text is dependent on the author’s chosen method of communication. This is especially true with poetic expression.

We cannot ask what a poem means and expect a correct answer. That kind of the question limits the answer with wording alien to the poem itself. The constituents of a poem such as rhyme, rhythm and motion are all part of the various meanings. We cannot separate the poet’s choice words and their particular arrangements in the poem from the poem’s meaning. As one author remarked, it would be like trying to take the dancer out of the dance. We can only talk in a general way about a poem’s meaning. The proper question to ask is “How does a poem mean?"[2]

The Bible contains various types of poetry and many other literary genres. Genesis 1, for example, is a poetic arrangement of God’s creation in six days set in a pre-scientific cosmology. The author intends by it to teach Yahweh’s sanction of the Sabbath as day of rest. The sacred writer has no intention of teaching cosmology or anything scientific about the world. What he does teach is that everything including living creatures owes their existence in some way to the creative power of Yahweh. The sun and moon are not gods or objects of worship, as in other Mesopotamian cultures. Yahweh created the sun and moon, and they are lights to light the day and the night. God is one, there is no evil co-principle, and all that He created is good.

The sacred writer’s message represents a significant theological advance over the false beliefs found in cultures that surrounded and influenced the Hebrews.

Correctly recognizing the genus litterarium, its literary type, character and manner in which it communicates the author’s message, provides the clues for correctly interpreting Scripture and unlocking its deepest mysteries. Fundamentalists or creationists (and many exegetes of the past) are not interpreting the Creation stories literally. Rather, they are interpreting the texts wrongly by not recognizing the exegetical requirements of the genus litterarium. That is, a text is more literally and more precisely understood when the reader adequately recognizes its literary genre.

The Biblical accounts of Adam and Eve are historical aetiology expressed in a poetic form common to the cultural milieu. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden is a look into the distant past to explain why certain current conditions exist with the human race and will continue. The inspired writer did not know all the details of Adam and Eve’s Creation and Fall. Therefore, he expressed his message in figurative terms. Yet these figurative expressions most likely explain more than anyone can teach using precise philosophical terms.

Again, the fundamentalist does not interpret the account of Adam and Eve “literally,” he just interprets it wrongly through his ignorance of the genus litterarium.[3]

A proper interpretation of the Creation stories, one that considers their literary character, poses no contradiction to a moderate theory of biological evolution. Man is a creature of the earth, one who has the capacity to know God. The Fall does explain certain facts about the human condition that we cannot correctly attribute to man’s environment, genetics, or his pre-human ancestry, as some evolutionists are accustomed to doing.

Fundamentalists discredit themselves and Christianity whenever they use their erring Biblical interpretations to challenge what science correctly knows to be the case. St. Augustine warned against the misuse of Scripture by those who lectured the naturalists on natural phenomena. His warning in the fourth century aptly applies to modern fundamentalists.

“It very often happens that there is some question as to the earth and the sky, or the other elements of this world—respecting which one who is not a Christian has knowledge derived from most certain reasoning or observation, and it is very disgraceful and mischievous and of all things to be carefully avoided, that a Christian speaking of such matters as being according to the Christian Scriptures, should be heard by an unbeliever talking such nonsense that the unbeliever perceiving him to be as wide from the mark as east is from west, can hardly restrain himself from laughing.

“And the real evil is not that a man is subjected to derision because of his error, but it is that to profane eyes, our authors (that is to say, the sacred authors) are regarded as having had such thoughts; and are also exposed to blame and scorn upon the score of ignorance, to the greatest possible misfortune of people whom we wish to save. For, in fine, these profane people happen upon a Christian busy making mistakes on the subject which they know perfectly; how, then, will they believe these holy books? How will they believe in the resurrection of the dead and in the hope of life eternal, and in the kingdom of heaven, when, according to an erroneous assumption, these books seem to them to have as their object those very things which they, the profane, know by direct experience or by calculation which admits of no doubt?

“It is impossible to say what vexation and sorrow prudent Christians meet with through these presumptuous and bold spirits who, taken to task one day for their silly and false opinion, and realizing themselves on the point of being convicted by men who are not obedient to the authority of our holy books, wish to defend their so thoughtless, so bold, and so manifestly false. For they then commence to bring forward as a proof precisely our holy books, or again they attribute to them from memory that which seems to support their opinion, and they quote numerous passages, understanding neither the texts they quote, nor the subject about which they are making statement.” [4]

Cardinal Bellarmine, during the Galileo controversy issued a similar warning in the year 1616:

“I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve around the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.”

Unfortunately, for Charles Darwin Christianity was synonymous with the mistaken interpretation of Genesis 1 as affirming a direct creation in six days. Had Darwin any familiarity with the history of Biblical exegesis he may have realized the manner of interpreting the Creation accounts has significantly varied. For example, the interpretative tradition following St. Augustine and St. Gregory of Nyssa allows for the emergence of new life forms over time, as conditions permitted. I am referring, of course, to St. Augustine’s theological doctrine of the rationes seminales, a more enlightening read than Paley’s natural theology.

To presume that Genesis teaches scientific facts is a failure to read Genesis literally and correctly according to the sacred writer’s intent. The Biblical authors only teach that knowledge which is profitable toward salvation. God left the acquisition of a scientific knowledge of creation to our own initiative and investigation. Accordingly, Pope Leo XIII stated,

“It should be borne in mind, first that the sacred writers, or more truly the Holy Spirit who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men those things (namely, the inmost constitution of visible things) which would be in no wise profitable unto salvation.”

In light of the recent progress made regarding exegetical principles and their application to interpreting Genesis 1-2, there can be little justification at this point in history for fundamentalism’s wrong-headed interpretations of Creation.
---------------------------------------------
Endnotes:

[1] To believe or “know”, as the fundamentalist does, that reality (the age of the world) is very different from facts most evident to science, smacks of a gnostic mindset. In this case, it is the claim to possession of a privileged knowledge about God’s creative activity. The fundamentalist alone obtains this “knowledge” from his personal interpretation of Genesis.
[2] Cf. How Does a Poem Mean by John Ciardi
[3] Likewise, the fundamentalist misreads the device of religious/theological chronology in Genesis for an historical chronology in the modern sense. He has failed to recognize the genus litterarium and interpret Biblical chronology literally and correctly according to the chronology's type.
[4] De Genesi ad litteram, lib. I, cap. XIX

Why Darwin Does Not Matter

I previously posted a few of my disagreements with Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, by Michael Shermer. In retrospect, the irony of the book’s title, Why Darwin Matters, is rather amusing. That is, there are no compelling reasons for the Darwinist to take his materialist version of evolution seriously, because, if Darwinism is true then nothing matters, not even Darwinism.

Since Darwinists purposely assert there is no purpose in nature, they should lighten up, have a beer, and not take ol’ Victorian Charlie’s glorified Ape or anything else so gravely.


A more suitable title for Shermer’s book is, Why Darwin Does Not Matter.

~The End


I am too fat to climb a tree,
There are no trees to climb;
Instead, the factory chimneys rise,
Unscalable, sublime

The past was bestial ignorance;
But I feel a little funky,
To think I’m further off from heaven
Than when I was a monkey.

G.K. Chesterton: Race-Memory (By a Dazed Darwinian)


August 23, 2009

Was Darwin a Philosopher?

Inarguably, Charles Robert Darwin was a brilliant investigator in the fields of biology and geology. But was he also a philosopher? The eminent Darwinist, Ernst Mayr says Darwin, “was clearly one of the greatest philosophers of all times.” However, I will show to the contrary that Mayr’s claim is completely unfounded, and that Darwin was not a philosopher at all.

First, let us look at Mayr’s statement. In This is Biology he says,

“Scores of philosophers have endeavored to formulate principles by which our understanding of the world could be advanced (or, as it was often said, how truth could be found). Among those usually listed are Descartes, Leibnitz, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hershel, Whewell, Mill, Jevons, Mach, Russell, and Popper. Curiously, the name of Darwin is rarely included in such a list, even though he was clearly one of the greatest philosophers of all times. In fact, to a large extent the modern philosophy of biology was founded by Darwin.”(1)


The idea that Darwin “was clearly one of the greatest philosophers of all times” ought to give pause to anyone who understands the differences between philosophy and the natural sciences. That the usual lists of philosophers omit Darwin is not the result of historical oversight, but of philosophical insight.(2) Historian of science, Dr. Charles Singer says, “Darwin was an investigator of the very first rank, but he was inexpert in the exact use of language, and had little philosophical insight.”

Let us consider the only statement Mayr offers in support of his claim: “[T]o a large extent the modern philosophy of biology was founded by Darwin.” There are a few problems with Mayr’s statement. First, there is an ambiguity in Mayr’s use of the singular: “the modern philosophy of biology”. Does he recognize only one modern philosophy of biology? Whatever Mayr intends, the fact that a philosophy of biology is “modern” or allegedly “founded by Darwin” is no guarantee of its truth, logical consistency and explanatory power. The great influence of Darwin’s ideas and their truth are independent values. But this is a different argument.

More to the present point, any philosophy that is a philosophy of biology only, and founded primarily on Darwinism, is not a universal philosophy, but one that risks, rather, being a limited, ad hoc system that sees reality piecemeal. We can better grasp the nature of this problem by contrasting the idea of a well-seasoned, universal philosophical system capable of incorporating sound evolutionary concepts as consistent with its metaphysical principles, and contributing, as well, to their fuller explanation.


Third, from the assertion, “modern philosophy of biology was founded by Darwin”, it does not necessarily follow that Darwin was a philosopher. Though Darwin interprets nature through a philosophical materialism, his works are primarily scientific. His theory of evolution is philosophical just as is any theory that connects facts over great distances and periods of time. This kind of vision, according to Darwin’s colleague T.H. Huxley, is a metaphysical vision, a “sort of philosophic faith”. If Darwin had been philosophically inclined he would have appreciated Huxley’s valid insight.(3)

Historian of philosophy Frederick Copleston says, “Charles Robert Darwin (1809-82) was a naturalist, not a philosopher…Being a naturalist, Darwin was sparing of philosophical speculation and devoted himself primarily to working out a theory of evolution based on the available empirical evidence.”(4)

Copleston distinguishes between a professional philosopher who makes excursions into science, and the professional scientist who makes excursions into philosophy. For example, Herbert Spencer was a philosopher, not a scientist, who made excursion into science. Thomas Huxley was a professional scientist who made excursions into philosophy. Darwin was a naturalist without any philosophical undertakings.

Historian of science, Benjamin Farrington exposes Darwin’s lack of philosophical ability. Farrington shows the defects in Darwin’s treatment of the human mind, culture and morality, concluding, “[I]t is well to remember that knowledge cannot be advanced merely by observation. The most brilliant observer still needs to have a mental grasp of the subject of his investigations. This Darwin had in a unique degree in the geological and biological sphere: he was a superb naturalist. But it deserted him in the human sphere. He was a poor philosopher.”(5)

Darwin put his faith in philosophical materialism and consistently applied his ideology to the interpretation of all phenomena of life, including the human mind. However, since he did not think out his materialist views, they were laden with insuperable contradictions. For example, in one of his early transmutation Notebooks, he wrote,

“Love of the deity of organization, oh you materialist!...Why is thought being a secretion of brain, more wonderful than gravity a property of matter? It is our arrogance, our admiration of ourselves.”(6)

Here we see Darwin’s crude materialism rent with the irony of using mind to emasculate the mind itself and thereby reduce man to his physical nature. If thought is a merely a “secretion of brain”, Darwin probably never wondered how it is that the brain secretes Greek in Athens and French in Paris. With Darwin, this is as good as philosophy gets.

Darwin was on a self-appointed mission to bring the human mind into a continuum with the other animals. In one of his early Notebooks he says,

“To study Metaphysics…appears to me to be like puzzling at Astronomy without Mechanics. – Experience shows [that] the problem of the mind cannot be solved by attacking the citadel [the mind] itself. – the mind is a function of the body. – we must bring some stable foundation to argue from.”

The Descent of Man was that foundation with which Darwin attempted to show the existence of a mental continuum between man and the anthropoid apes.(7) One can see why Darwin tended to slight metaphysics. A realistic metaphysics of nature that treats man as a rational animal would pose serious obstacles to Darwin’s characterization of man as a brute animal. Darwin’s early Notebooks contain deprecating remarks about metaphysics. For example, he says, “He who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke.”

Darwin’s assumption of a phylogenetic continuity between man and the higher animals has a history in the works of Buffon, Bonnet, Soame Jenyns, and especially Robinet. This principle of unbroken continuity allows for a difference in degree only between man and the anthropomorphous apes and higher animals. We can accurately characterize Darwin’s continuum as a conversion of the Leibnizian principle of continuity into a temporal law of biological development. A true philosopher would at least attempt to address the metaphysical dilemmas resulting from a biological continuum of this sort.

Two of Darwin’s notable contemporaries, Alfred Russell Wallace and St-George Mivart prudently refused to follow Darwin into his philosophical morass about the human mind. In addition, the eminent geologist, Charles Lyell revealed to Darwin his justifiable reservations, “struggling to rationalize immortal man’s origin from the beast. Was kinship limited to ‘the animal nature of man,’ with his ‘Moral & Intellectual & Creative part’ created unique?” Lyell wanted “a ‘moral’ flash at the birth of the species; a sacred instant when the gift of immortality was bestowed.”(8)

Most significantly, the foregoing controversy serves to lay bare the fact that Darwin lacked “even a modest amount of clarity about the limits of the validity of the scientific method.”(9) Unrestrained by any sense of the proper scope and competence of biology, Darwin conflated his materialist ideology with evolutionary science. The following statement from leading Darwinist, the late Stephen J. Gould, makes this point obvious:

“I believe that the stumbling block to [the acceptance of Darwinian evolution] does not lie in any scientific difficulty, but rather in the philosophical content of Darwin’s message – in its challenge to a set of entrenched Western attitudes that we are not yet ready to abandon. First, Darwin argues that evolution has no purpose. Individuals struggle to increase the representation of their genes in future generations, and that is all…second, Darwin maintained that evolution has no direction; it does not lead inevitably to higher things. Organisms become better adapted to their local environments, and that is all. The “degeneracy” of a parasite is as perfect as the gait of the gazelle. Third, Darwin applied a consistent philosophy of materialism to his interpretation of nature. Matter is the ground of all existence; mind, spirit and God as well, are just words that express the wondrous results of neuronal complexity.”(10)

Despite Mayr’s enthusiasm for Darwinian ideology, the mere bias of interpreting the processes of nature through the lens of a simplistic and mechanistic (Cartesian) materialism does not make one a philosopher. Darwin’s failure to understand the epistemological limits of the scientific method suggests he lacked any metaphysical perspective on the natural sciences.


In addition, that Darwin considered Herbert Spencer to be one of the greatest philosophers of all times reveals a deficiency in philosophical understanding.(11) Spencerian philosophy enjoyed a relatively extensive yet transient popularity. Spencer was in no sense a great philosopher. Considerably more influential today than the works of Herbert Spencer are the philosophical writings of another Englishman, John Stuart Mill.(12)

Most importantly, the Origin of Species reveals Darwin’s interminable confusion regarding species. Darwin was, as it appears from his works, unaware of the plentiful philosophical discussions throughout history about universals, particulars, and species. Despite such critical distinctions disappearing into the Darwinian flux, the philosophical problems remain. A contemporary of Darwin, the eminent naturalist at Harvard, Louis Agassiz, perceived the species problem following publication of the Origin of Species:

“If species do not exist at all, as the supporters of the transmutation theory maintain, how can they vary? And if individuals alone exist, how can the differences which may be observed among them prove the variability of species?”(13) The problems Agassiz called attention to are not adequately resolved by Darwinists and the “modern philosophy of biology.”

I doubt that Darwin would have agreed to anyone labeling him a philosopher. He realized that abstract thinking was not one of his strong points: “My power to follow a long and purely abstract train of thought is very limited; and therefore I could never have succeeded with metaphysics or mathematics.”(14)

Again, in a letter to Miss Julia Wedgwood (July 11, 1681), Darwin makes the following comment:

“Some one has sent us Macmillan, and I must tell you how much I admire your Article, though at the same time I must confess that I could not clearly follow you in some parts, which probably is in the main part due to my not being at all accustomed to metaphysical trains of thought.”(15)

In summary, Darwin was not “accustomed to metaphysical trains of thought”; he was “sparing of philosophical speculation” and produced no works of philosophy. Hence, no historian of philosophy of any repute would elevate Darwin to the pantheon of philosophers. It should be clear that Darwin was a great naturalist, but in no sense a philosopher.

--------------------------------------------------------
Endnotes:

1) 1997, p. 46.
2) Those familiar with the history of philosophy, including the philosophy of science, will recognize the obvious atypical character of Mayr’s “usual list of philosophers”. Mayr has stacked to support his argument.
3) See “Biogenesis and Abiogenesis” in Discourses: Biological and Geological, T. H. Huxley. I first learned of Huxley’s insightful comments from Stanley Jaki’s works.
4) A History of Philosophy, Vol. VIII, Bentham to Russell.
5) What Darwin Really Said; Schocken Books, 1966.
6) Cited by Richard Dawkins.
7) Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, Desmond & Moore; Warner Books; 1991, p. 268-269.
8) Desmond & Moore, p. 472.
9) The Savior of Science, Stanley L. Jaki; Regnery Gateway, 1988, p. 7.
10) Ever Since Darwin; Norton, 1977, p. 12-13.
11) E.g., in the Descent of Man (chap. IV) Darwin refers to Spencer as “Our great philosopher”.
12) See F. Copleston.
13) Quoted by S. L. Jaki.
14) The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Edited by Francis Darwin; Prometheus Books, 2000, p. 55. Note: first philosophy or metaphysics, the primary discipline of the true philosopher, involves intellectual abstraction of the highest order.
15) Autobiography, p. 66.

August 8, 2009

The Early Church on Abortion

"The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. . . . Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born." (Letter of Barnabas, Chap 19 v. 5; A.D. 74)

*

"And near that place I saw another strait place . . . and there sat women. . . . And over against them many children who were born to them out of due time sat crying. And there came forth from them rays of fire and smote the women in the eyes. And these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion." (Apocalypse of Peter 25; A.D. 137)

*



"You shall not kill an unborn child or murder a newborn infant." (Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Chap. 2.; 2nd cent.)

*

"What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our character, that we are murderers? . . . [W]hen we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it."What reason would we have to commit murder when we say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God? For the same person would not regard the fetus in the womb as a living thing and therefore an object of God's care, and at the same time slay it, once it had come to life." (A Plea for the Christians, Chap. 35; Athenagoras; A.D. 177)

*

"In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from the other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed." (Apology Ch. 9, v. 8; Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; A.D. 197)


"Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all and keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs [of the child] within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery. "There is also [another instrument in the shape of] a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: They give it, from its infanticide function, the name of embruosphaktes, [meaning] "the slayer of the infant," which of course was alive. . . . "[The doctors who performed abortions] all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and [they] pitied this most luckless infant state, which had first to be put to death, to escape being tortured alive." (Treatise on the Soul, Chap. 25; Tertullian; A.D. 210)

"Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does. (Treatise on the Soul, Chap. 27; Tertullian)

"The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion."[Ex. 21:22–24] (Treatise on the Soul, Ch. 37.; Tertullian)

*

"There are some [pagan] women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come down from the teaching of your [false] gods. . . . To us [Christians] it is not lawful either to see or hear of homicide." (Octavius Chp. 30; A.D. 226; Minucius Felix)

*

"Women who were reputed to be believers began to take drugs to render themselves sterile, and to bind themselves tightly so as to expel what was being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess wealth, want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See, then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching adultery and murder at the same time!" (Refutation of All Heresies, Bk 9, Ch.7; A.D. 228; St. Hippolytus of Rome)

*

"When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. . . . Therefore, let no one imagine that even this is allowed, to strangle newly-born children, which is the greatest impiety; for God breathes into their souls for life, and not for death. But men, that there may be no crime with which they may not pollute their hands, deprive [unborn] souls as yet innocent and simple of the light which they themselves have not given."Can anyone, indeed, expect that they would abstain from the blood of others who do not abstain even from their own? But these are, without any controversy, wicked and unjust." (Divine Institutes, Bk. 6, Ch. 20; A.D. 307; Lactantius)

*

"Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees." (Canon 21; A.D. 314; Council of Ancyra)

*

"Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not." (First Canonical Letter, Canon 2; St. Basil the Great; A.D. 374)

"A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder. And any fine distinction as to its being completely formed or unformed is not admissible amongst us." (Letters, 188; St. Basil the Great)

"He that kills another with a sword, or hurls an axe at his own wife and kills her, is guilty of willful murder; not he who throws a stone at a dog, and unintentionally kills a man, or who corrects one with a rod, or scourge, in order to reform him, or who kills a man in his own defense, when he only designed to hurt him. But the man, or woman, is a murderer that gives a philtrum, if the man that takes it dies upon it; so are they who take medicines to procure abortion; and so are they who kill on the highway, and rapparees." (ibid., Canon 8; St. Basil the Great)

*

"Wherefore I beseech you, flee fornication. . . . Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? (where there are many efforts at abortion? (where there is murder before the birth? For even the harlot you do not let continue a mere harlot, but make her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to prostitution, prostitution to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then do thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with his laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine." (Homilies on Romans 24; St. John Chrysostom; A.D. 391)

*

"I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall and are lost to the bosom of the Church, their mother. . . . Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder." (Letters 22, Para. 13; St. Jerome; A.D. 396)

*

"Thou shalt not use magic. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for he says, ‘You shall not suffer a witch to live’ [Ex. 22:18]. Thou shall not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. . . . [I]f it be slain, [it] shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed." (Apostolic Constitutions 7:3; A.D. 400)

*

"Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born." (On Marriage and Concupiscence, Bk.1, Ch.17 (15); St. Augustine of Hippo; 419-420 A.D.)

"Hence in the first place arises a question about abortive conceptions, which have indeed been born in the mother's womb, but not so born that they could be born again. For if we shall decide that these are to rise again, we cannot object to any conclusion that may be drawn in regard to those which are fully formed. Now who is there that is not rather disposed to think that unformed abortions perish, like seeds that have never fructified? But who will dare to deny, though he may not dare to affirm, that at the resurrection every defect in the form shall be supplied, and that thus the perfection which time would have brought shall not be wanting, any more than the blemishes which time did bring shall be present: so that the nature shall neither want anything suitable and in harmony with it that length of days would have added, nor be debased by the presence of anything of an opposite kind that length of days has added; but that what is not yet complete shall be completed, just as what has been injured shall be renewed." (Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love; Ch. 85; St. Augustine of Hippo;421 A.D.)

*

"It is never licit to give something that will cause an abortion. As Hippocrates points out, it is not fitting that the innocent office of a doctor be stained by complicity in such a serious offense. But if they attempt to avoid the birth on account of either a defect in their womb or the difficulties associated with their age, they greatly risk their lives to earn their health just as one risks killing the tree by applying something to the branches or boats which are tossed about by a storm must throw away their cargo." (Euporiston III, VI, 23; 4th - 5th cent. A.D.)

August 5, 2009

Why Darwin Matters

I picked up a copy of Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design (Owl Books, 2006) by Michael Shermer, to see what arguments he uses against Intelligent Design theorists. Shermer’s position is that ID involves bad science and flawed theology, and that conservatives as well as people of faith should accept evolution. I can agree with that statement, at least on its surface. That is, I wondered whether Shermer provides convincing arguments to support his position. Does he offer good science? What are Shermer’s philosophical views? Overall, what I found is that many of Shermer’s arguments are reasonable while perhaps an even greater number are seriously flawed. I will provide my take on select arguments and show in the process Why Darwin Matters is, in its own way, no less weird of a book than the absurd creationist text Of Pandas and People.

Shermer’s personal views migrated during his life from one extreme to its opposite, from an active evangelical Christian creationist to a devoted materialist Darwinian. Now there is a transmutation radical enough to make one’s head spin. Shermer is publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of several books including Why People Believe Weird Things. I have not read the best-seller, Why People Believe Weird Things, but I thought it mildly ironic that Shermer believes some weird things himself such as that complexly organized matter can think. This is a common Darwinian position, and a commonly held error throughout modern secularized cultures. Its significance in Why Darwin Matters is that while Shermer often brings to the reader attention the distinction between theology and science he fails to distinguish his own Darwinian ideology from Darwinian evolutionary science.

Shermer claims that religion and science can coexist and that people of faith should accept evolution, which provides scientific support for religious beliefs. However, Shermer’s materialist brand of evolution is at fundamental odds with theistic religion. Asserting that people of faith should accept a materialist version of evolution as being supportive of their religious beliefs is a weird sales pitch by any reasonable standard.


In Why Darwin Matters Shermer begins the chapter “Why People Do Not Accept Evolution” with a quote from William Jennings Bryan’s closing statement in the Scopes trial of 1925:

“The real attack of evolution, it will be seen, is not upon orthodox Christianity or even upon Christianity, but upon religion—the most basic fact in man’s existence and the most practical thing in life. If taken seriously and made the basis of a philosophy of life, it would eliminate love and carry man back to a struggle of tooth and claw.”

Shermer tries to show that criticisms of the type expressed by Bryan in the Scopes trial are unwarranted. Oddly enough, Shermer makes statements about the Darwinian revolution that legitimate Bryan’s argument against Darwinian evolution. About the Darwinian revolution, Shermer says,

“The theory of top-down intelligent design of all life by or through a supernatural power was replaced with the theory of bottom-up natural design through natural forces. The anthropocentric view of humans as special creations placed by a divine hand above all others was replaced with the view of humans as just another animal species. The view of life and the cosmos as having direction and purpose from above was replaced with the view of the world as the product of the necessitating laws of nature and the contingent events of history. The view that human nature is infinitely malleable and primarily good was replaced with a view of human nature in which we are finitely restricted by our genes and are both good and evil (Prologue p. xxii).”

The quote paraphrases Ernst Mayr, the leading Darwinian of our time, in The Growth of Biological Thought. The view of humans as “just another animal species” assumes a strict phylogenetic continuity of Homo sapiens with the anthropoid apes. It is a view of human nature that fails to recognize that about man which makes him different in kind, and not just in degree, from the rest of the animal kingdom. It treats of man’s body but not his intellect. To include man within the animal kingdom is irreconcilable with the Judeo-Christian understanding of human nature. The pre-Darwinian classifications that placed man in a separate kingdom is scientifically and philosophically more accurate than the current classification that includes man within the animal kingdom, the continuity of the human body with lower animal forms notwithstanding. That man alone is capable of propositional speech requires recognizing him as radically different in kind from the other animals. And it is not clear whom Shermer and Mayr think holds the view that “human nature is infinitely malleable.”

Nonetheless, Shermer emphatically denies that evolution implies there is no God or that it undermines the basis of morality (p. 24). Is this Darwinian doublespeak? There are mixed issues here that I will try to unravel for the purpose of clarification. First, evolutionary science, when it remains within the province and limits of natural science, has nothing to say about God’s existence. Neither does it provide a threat to the basis of morality. Sound evolutionary science (fundamentalist/creationist counter-arguments notwithstanding) is consistent with Revelation. In this sense, Shermer’s statement is true. The truths of science, including evolutionary science, cannot contradict the truths of Revelation or belief in God.

On the other hand, Darwinians show a lack of scientific discipline whenever they assert positions that go beyond what science can prove. For example, Darwinians assume the mind of man does not differ radically in kind from that of anthropoid apes and higher animals; and the human “moral sense” (a flawed concept in itself), is a chance by-product of evolution.


Shermer’s denial that evolution implies there is no God or that it undermines the basis of morality rings hollow since the materialist version of evolution he is proffering necessarily implies a denial of God’s existence and undermines traditional moral values. This is not to say that evolution itself is false. It is to argue, rather, that the materialist interpretation of evolution is false. This means there is not just one theory of evolution. There are various theories of evolution. Darwin’s Descent notwithstanding, evolution cannot completely account for the origin of man. While the human body undoubtedly has a history in the natural processes of nature, evolution cannot explain that which makes man unique, his non-material intellect. That is a subject for theology and philosophy.

On the other hand, ID is in no sense (I almost said ID is nonsense) the answer to Darwinian ideology. The natural or positive sciences do not deal with causality at the level of intelligent design. The province of science remains restricted to the phenomenal or sensible level of reality in its operations and changes. The phenomenal order is the changing, diverse surface of physical reality, which science classifies, correlates, measures, and systematizes.

We discern or infer intelligent design at the deeper level of intelligible or noumenal reality, not at the phenomenal surface of accidents, where our knowledge of things in their sensory qualities begins. The intelligible or noumenal constitution of natural beings includes, in part, substance (that which stands under and supports accidental being). Philosophic discernment grasps sensible beings in their principles and causes.

To discern intelligent design or purpose in nature is a philosophic or intuitive capacity possessed by the common person. This knowledge remains outside the scope and competence of the special sciences that study phenomenal reality only. To be sure, to maintain that nature reflects intelligent design is not to affirm the creationist version of intelligent design advocated by Intelligent Design theorists, i.e. Behe, Dembski, et al. This is where we see how confused Intelligent Design theorists are about the proper role of the special sciences, philosophy, and theology; and also as to what constitutes good science and sound philosophical principles. "Irreducible complexity" remains a failed hypothesis.

Science Under Attack

In the chapter, “Science under Attack” Shermer discusses a few different court cases involving “creation science” and evolution. Concerning the 2005 Kitzmiller case (Dover Area School District), reading Why Darwin Matters reminded me of how embarrassed I felt at the time by the actions of the otherwise respectable Thomas More Law Center (TMLC). TMLC incited the case by recommending that biology teachers supplement their standard textbook with that ridiculous creationist text Of Pandas and People. It is no answer to the materialism of Darwinian evolution to promote a sectarian view of creation in the science class. We should challenge errors only with truth, not with a different set of errors. TMLC was beyond its competence and expertise in the Kitzmiller case.

Shermer says, “If Iders eschew all attempts to provide a naturalistic explanation for life, they abandon science altogether (p.53).” I can agree with Shermer’s statement, which he presents in the context of explaining methodological naturalism. Oddly, Shermer’s next statement is, “There is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal. There is only the natural, the normal, and mysteries we have yet to explain.” To deny, as opposed to ignoring, the existence of the supernatural entails philosophical naturalism or metaphysical materialism—so much for Shermer’s spiel about methodological naturalism. Shermer seriously errs if he thinks methodological naturalism requires philosophical naturalism.

Shermer’s philosophical statement quoted above implies the non-existence of God. Darwinians are no more content to keep their ideology distinct from science than IDers are content to keep their ideology out of the science curriculum. Darwinians, creationists and ID theorists will lock horns for as long as Darwinians insist on their materialist interpretation of evolution, and creationists and ID theorists insist on denying scientific facts.

Why Science Cannot Contradict Religion

In the chapter “Why Science Cannot Contradict Religion”, Shermer quotes from the 1996 encyclical Truth Cannot Contradict Truth by Pope John Paul II. Shermer is trying to make a case for Christians to accept evolution by showing that the Church accepts evolution. Shermer says,


“Evolution provides a scientific foundation for the core values shared by most Christians and conservatives, and by accepting—and embracing—the theory of evolution, Christians and conservatives strengthen their religion, their politics, and science itself (p. 138).”

The main problem with Why Darwin Matters is that Shermer presents a type of evolutionary theory that contradicts the truths of the Catholic faith and sound philosophy. The Darwinian belief that the human moral sense is a product of evolution gives a pseudo-scientific basis for moral relativism. It denies the objective foundation of moral values, the natural moral law, taught by the Stoics and the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Shermer says,

“[M]oral sentiments evolved in our Paleolithic ancestors living in small communities. Subsequently, religion identified these sentiments, labeled them, and codified rules about them.”

That quote is ripe for some serious historical and philosophical criticism. I will address by itself the Darwinian’s relativist view of moral values in a subsequent post.

Shermer then makes the shameless claim: “Evolution also explains evil, original sin, and the Christian model of human nature (p.131)”

Shermer is actually advocating a pseudo-scientific reduction of evil and original sin to the chance activities of natural selection and genetics, a physicalist and soulless view of human nature, and a Christianity in which God does not truly exist. Shermer is right when he said science cannot contradict religion, but what he is promoting is not science. Shermer is selling an atheistic worldview decked out in the pseudo-scientific garb of materialist evolutionary theory.

The Church accepts evolution, but Shermer is being disingenuous by refusing to point out that the Vatican has specifically rejects the kind of views that he advocates in Why Darwin Matters, that is, a materialist version of evolution and a cosmology of nothing but irreducible chance and randomness, which gave rise to the laws of nature. Shermer is well aware of the following statement by Pope John Paul II: "It is clear that the truth of faith about creation is radically opposed to the theories of materialistic philosophy. These view the cosmos as the result of an evolution of matter reducible to pure chance and necessity."

On another note, Shermer wrongly states that Cardinal Schönborn, in a July 2005 NYT opinion editorial, “told Catholics that the Church does not accept evolution (p. 113).” Many people as well as Shermer have carelessly taken Cardinal Schönborn’s use of the phrase “intelligent design” as his approval of Intelligent Design theory and rejection of evolution. Cardinal Schönborn was merely rejecting any philosophy of evolution that denies purpose and design. Schönborn explains his views further in
Chance or Purpose: Creation, Evolution and a Rational Faith.

The Anthropic Principle

Shermer considers the best scientific argument that creationists and Intelligent Design theorists have in their arsenal to be the following:

“The universe is finely tuned and delicately balanced to support life. Change any number of physical parameters or initial conditions of the universe by even the tiniest amount, and life would not be possible. Fine tuning implies that there is a fine tuner, an Intelligent Designer, a God (p. 54).”

Shermer’s rebuttal, briefly stated is that the universe


(1) is not so finely tuned for life because most of the universe is empty space, and what little matter exists is inhospitable to life;

(2) we are finely tuned for the universe rather than conversely; and it is possible a different form of life could have evolved based on another physics (Sagan);

(3) our universe may not be exceptional because string theory allows for 10500 possible worlds;

(4) that until we have a unified theory of physics connecting the quantum world to the cosmic world of general relativity, “we cannot conclude that there is something beyond nature to explain the anthropic principle"; and

(5) we may live in a multiverse, in which our universe is just one of many bubble universes.

First, it is misguided to consider the anthropic principle to be a scientific argument for the existence of an Intelligent Designer. That is, astronomy and physics provide a theory about the age, constitution and expansion of the universe, but to argue that the specificity of the universe is evidence for God involves a philosophical inference from scientific evidence.


Furthermore, the specificity of the universe, which made human life possible, is not scientific proof or evidence that God created the universe for man. It is, rather, scientific evidence that is consistent with or supportive of an existing theological belief. Our scientific knowledge of cosmic origin terminates where the laws of physics and time as quantifiable break down. Thus, the Big Bang theory, as a scientific theory, cannot prove a theological viewpoint. The Big Bang is merely consistent with or supportive of the Judeo-Christian belief that the universe was created in time. In addition, many Christians, such as ID theorist Stephen C. Meyer, mistakenly equate the initial singularity with creatio ex nihilo itself.

The theological belief that God created the universe for man is part of the truth. Theologically, it is more accurate to say that creation is primarily for the glory of God, and for man's use.

Concerning Shermer’s first listed objection to the anthropic principle, I think the vast and inhospitable character of the universe is what it has to be in order for conditions to arise that are amenable to carbon-based life. Change any factor of the universe, such as its size, gravity, and so on, and life will not be possible.

Also, Shermer's objection is disingenuous. Even if the entire universe was carbon-based life friendly, Shermer would not accept the anthropic principle. He would merely dodge the issue by referring to the hypothetical possibility of numerous universes that are inhospitable to life, and claim we just happened to be the one universe that got lucky.

Christians, when considering what may be the Creator's reason for creating such a vast universe, should keep in mind that there is a purpose for the universe at the end of time, when God transforms the cosmos. This currently hidden purpose will be revealed at the end of time. The greatest cosmological transmutation or evolutionary event is yet to come. Unfortunately, this is not a subject important enough to capture the interest of materialist Shermer and his ilk. My discussion has clearly ventured out of the scientific realm and into theological speculation.

Shermer’s remaining four reasons are far too speculative and lack any supporting evidence to be considered counter-arguments to the anthropic principle. For instance, there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of multiple universes or multi-verses, as if there could be more than one uni-verse.

As with any scientific theory, we must make the best judgement on how nature appears to us at the time. String theory, for now at least, is too theoretical. Shermer also objects to the anthropic principle by citing Hawking’s idea of spontaneous creation of tiny universes out of nothing. However, Hawking’s idea of little pop-up universes belongs in the round basket along with other metaphysical impossibilities such as the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.


One should consider whether a speculative theory about the universe is the result of genuine scientific curiosity, or is it rather the product of a desire to put one’s faith in an imaginary universe in which there is no place for God or a First Cause. (Imagine there’s no religion...)

Closing remarks

In summary, Shermer does not present any serious counter-arguments to the anthropic principle. I will continue this post with a discussion of the Darwinian error that claims the human “moral sense” is a product of evolution. This error merits extended pummeling before I lay it to rest
.

Recommended reading:
Creation and Evolution: A Conference With Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo

Chance or Purpose: Creation, Evolution and a Rational Faith

last edited 08/23/09

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