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daily archive: 02/28/2006
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The Correct Place for Evolution
Intro with disclaimer

To start, I believe in evolution and its claims to explain the origins of species and the biological diversity of Earth. Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller describes in great detail each of the scientific arguments against evolution from irreducible complexity to insufficient time; and it demolishes each of them utterly. I have two relatively minor qualms with Evolution. Evolution has no good explanation for the origin of life. As of today, there is no plausible way for life to have arisen by chance except for extraterrestrial visitation. I leave you to decide if Occam’s razor cleaves towards God or little green men. I am somewhat disquieted by the failure of a laboratory anywhere to create a new sexual species incapable of mating fertilely with its antecedents. It would seem to be a straightforward procedure. But these qualms are minor.

The lack of function of evolution

Given the truth of Evolution and given its importance, how is it that in the most wildly successful society in the history of the world, America, around half of its people disbelieve in evolution? There are no religious groups who discount gravity. (The Cliff-jumping Baptists of 14th century Cleveland, Ohio seem to have died out). The short answer is that Evolution doesn’t have much effect on ordinary life unless you are a biology teacher. This is indeed an odd result for the explanation of our origins. One would naturally expect this explanation to guide our current and future activities as it directed our pre-human past.

The role of fundamental scientific theory in popular thought

Typically, the leading scientific theories see their reflections in popular philosophy. Newton led to Conte with his billiard-ball universe. Heisenberg and Einstein lead to Sartre and existentialism. To whom did Darwin lead?

Evolution as popular thought

Evolution captured the popular imagination in the late 19th century. The first result was Social Darwinism which held most famously that the poor deserved it. Next came eugenics (which used to be the name for the science today called genetics; its name was changed from the shame of it). In the name of eugenics, many scientists gathered data, wrote papers, and held conferences. They pushed for abortion and for sterilization of the unfit. In America, the unfit were generally either Jews, Negroes (the term in those days) or po’ white trash – today’s fundamentalists. The Roman Catholic Church opposed the eugenicists in all countries at all times. The Catholic Church, to its everlasting credit, is the only body to have so acted (neither we Protestants nor Jews nor anybody else can say as much). This conflict formed the great conflict between religion and science of the 20th Century. Religion won.

Eugenics did horrible things; it is now accepted that it was thoroughly unscientific. The data was bogus; the conclusions were not only incorrect, but stupid. Yet, there was no obvious difference between eugenics scientists and other scientists. They spoke the same language, gathered grants, wrote papers, wore white coats, and promulgated ideas. IMHO, the dislike of evolution among America’s fundamentalist Christians stems partly from the use of evolution to justify the carving of body parts from their relatives. See The War Against the Weak by Edwin Black.

The problem with evolution

There was a worse political adaptation of Evolution than eugenics. Himmler said that Nazism was "just applied biology". They were the lifeguards by the genepool (line from Tom Wolfe). The last words heard by the Jews of Auschwitz were "zwingli, zwingli?" (twins, twins?) from Dr. Mengele looking for experimental subjects for evolutionary research. If the survival-of-the-fittest is the ruling principle, then the goal is to prove oneself fit by wiping out the less fit. Darwin would have been personally appalled by Himmler. He was anti-slavery (although it is not clear if he were racist). Darwin confined himself to describing the Origin of Species and never spoke to how his theory should make the future unfold. The National Socialists clearly believed that they were working towards a superior future by creating superior people and that they were applying the wisdom of Darwin to politics and ordinary life. Where their scientific evidence was imperfect, the Nazis relied on something akin to the precautionary principle to justify their actions despite the shortfall in evidence. See The Nazi Conscience by Claudia Koonz. For the Nazis, virtue lay in improving the volk.

The total death toll of WWII was around 57 million. 60 years later, there are still huge numbers of people whose lives are dominated by the memory of the depravity of those years. Survival-of-the-fittest as crudely applied seems a poor principle to guide human behavior. Nazism is dead. Eugenics is dead. Jim Crow, its step-child, is dead. Indeed each attempt to direct a society by reference to Evolutionary precepts seems to have foundered on the Evil which those precepts seem to suggest. And Planned Parenthood is too ashamed to ever mention its originating connection with eugenics.

Religion’s intellectual victory over eugenics was not accomplished initially on the intellectual plane. It won on the beaches of Normandy and through all of the American G.I.s who walked through Dachau at Patton’s command. Over the following 20 years, the laws and customs and intellectual edifices of eugenics were dismantled in America and world-wide. The head followed the gut, or perhaps the spirit. In the end the inalienable rights to which we are all endowed in the Judeo-Christian tradition has far greater truth than "beggar thy neighbor." Jesus and His Jewish tradition value each soul, aside from the volk.

Romans 8 and Genesis 2

So what should be the Christian view of Evolution?. I am going to here ignore the young-earth people and instead turn to St. Paul. At the Eighth Chapter of the letter to the Romans in the Authorized Version, St. Paul says:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be…
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

St. Paul seems to suggest that there has been a fundamental disconnect between flesh and spirit. He further says that we should listen to the Spirit. IMHO, the Christian view of Evolution is that evolution brought us up to the edge of humanity and that the events of the allegory of Genesis 2, where man gained knowledge of good-and-evil, made the biological evolutionary past not relevant to where we should go, but merely to where we have been. Christians (and all people) should reach out to the Holy Spirit for inspiration that transcends the survival-of-the-fittest. Live not after the flesh – and I would add, murder not and sterilize not after the flesh. Look to the Spirit for the guide to the future and as to how ye should live.

(Note: the Holy Spirit is one of the three manifestations of God in orthodox Christianity – feel free to go back and substitute God if it makes for clarity)

The future uses and teaching of evolution

We come back to the question of how one can disbelieve in evolution and yet thrive in modern society. The answer is that the answers which Evolution may seem to suggest to the difficulties of life are every bit as wrong as evolution is correct about the history of life.

There exist cultures which say: me against my brother; my brother against my cousin; my cousin against my tribe; my tribe against my province; my province against the world. These cultures imbibe a crude folk-Darwinism – may the chromosomal strands closest to mine triumph--, which has about it the whiff of Nazi atavism. A failure to obey this line of thinking may actually stand a man closer to God, both today and in the future.

IMO Christianity is truth. IMO evolution is true. There is nothing in evolution which says that we should slaughter or disinherit the unfit, but that is clearly the underlying suggestion if Evolution were to be a guide to politics and to the future. Evolution has proven evil as inspiration to politics. I would teach the biology, but I would also require the teaching of the political science of the Evil (without blaming Darwin) which thought itself based upon Darwin. I would also require the teaching of the history of the conflict between Catholicism (and others) and Eugenics. And I would have schools and students inquire if any current political/ philosophical/ religious systems worship the strong and the cruel and the proud and the hard.

And I would commend each gentle reader to converse with the Holy Spirit.
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guest author: M-Max in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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sine in The People's Diner:
Hearty but Tasty Stuff
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guest author: evariste @ work in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
An unrepentant bigot
False Jews, gay parades, Satan's synagogues, gauntlets, Farrakhan once again, lets it all out.
-- "These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength...It's the wicked Jews the false Jews that are promoting Lesbianism, homosexuality. It's wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!"

-- "And the Christian right, with your blindness to that wicked state of Israel...can that be the holy land, and you have gay parades, and want to permit to have a gay parade in Jerusalem when no prophet ever sanctioned that behavior. HOW CAN THAT BE THE ISRAEL, how can that be Jerusalem with secular people running the holy land when it should be the holy people running the holy land. That land is gonna be cleansed with BLOOD."
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guest author: Marine Momma in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Get raped, go to jail
Libyan women and girls who have been raped are being detained in "social rehabilitation" centers, like criminals. The centers are portrayed by the Libyan government as protection, because these women not only have brought shame to their family by allowing themselves to be raped, and not only they're at risk of getting killed by a father or brother set to cleanse the family honor, these girls are also "vulnerable to engaging in moral misconduct". Getting raped makes you a whore, see.
Women and girls who have no male guardian have also been placed in the centres. They say they are treated like criminals.

Farida Deif, the researcher who visited the centres, said that "these facilities are far more punitive than protective". She said she was told that the Libyan authorities "don't just want to change the women's behaviour, but their personalities".

There is no time limit for the arbitrary detentions. The total number of centres in Libya is not known.

Responding to the charges in the report, the Libyan government said that Human Rights Watch was ignoring the Islamic values governing Libyan society, particularly the protection of women who might face "honour" killings.
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guest author: Right Wing Conspirator in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Rove obsessed by Hillary, Mugabe obsessed by homos
Hillary Clinton recently made some odd statements, implying that Karl Rove spends all his time obsessing over her in response to an accurate offhand comment by Rove that she was the Democrat frontrunner. The thing to look for here is "positioning"-she wants to run against Karl Rove, not against the far-leftists in her party. If she's forced to appease them to win the primaries, her chances of mainstream success are torpedoed; she hasn't failed to learn John Kerry's lesson. Since she has no war-hero past to fall back on, if she is forced to tack hard-left, she will cement her lack of appeal to a broad majority of Americans, Democrat and Republican alike. Therefore, "I'm Karl Rove's nemesis! Everyone agrees Karl Rove is bad, right? So, I'm awesome." TigerHawk makes the same conclusion as I do.

In other socialist politician news, Robert Mugabe, may his name be wiped, had nothing to say on his birthday, may it be his last, other than "fags are bad". He spent an hour haranguing some of the savages who support him and benefit from his brutal misrule against the dangers of homos. "I am the nemesis of homosexuals! Everyone knows homosexuals are bad, so, pay no attention to the chicken that is so conspicuously missing from your pot."
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guest author: WriterMom in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: Ed Mahmoud abu Beach Season is Over in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Fascist Football
Can you imagine American football players throwing the Nazi salute at the audience at the end of a game? Or American football fans decorating the stands with swastikas? In Italy, Lazio players and their fans are steeped in fascist culture, so the mayor of Rome arranged a meeting between the Lazio team members and a few Holocaust survivors. Halftime for the Holocaust: The Fascist Soccer Star and the Auschwitz Survivor.
Venezia is one of the last remaining survivors of the Jewish "Sonderkommando" from Auschwitz -- those prisoners who were forced to work at the gas chambers and the ovens. Shlomo Venezia says he doesn't know if there is an afterlife, but he knows all about hell. He stands up and explains what he saw: how prisoners -- children, old people, all of them naked -- were forced into the gas chambers. They often gazed beseechingly at Venezia as though he, a member of the Sonderkommando, could give them a word of hope.

He only tells the Lazio players the basics. He doesn't, for example, explain everything he saw, like the newborn they once found in one of the chambers, miraculously still alive under the pile of corpses, suckling at the breast of its dead mother. He doesn't tell what happened to the newborn, either. Those are his stories -- stories that visit him in the night.
Not that any of that changed Di Canio's mind.
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