The death blow to atheistic evolution

27 04 2009

 

stag1At the conclusion of his masterful refutation of the evolutionary theory of atheistic materialism in The Sensualistic Philosophy, eighteenth century theologian R. L. Dabney sets forth this final argument:

“There is an argument, ad hominem, by which this discussion might, with strict justice, be closed. If materialism is true, then the pretended philosopher who teaches it is a beast, and we are all beasts. Brutes are not amenable to moral law; and if they were, it is no murder to kill a beast. But brutes act very consistently upon certain instincts of self-preservation. Even: they learn something from experience. But this teaches us that the propagator of these atheistic ideas is preparing intolerable mischief; for, just so far as they have prevailed, they have let loose a flood of misery upon mankind. Now, then, these teachers are venemous. The consistent thing for the rest of us animals, who are not serpents or beasts of prey, is to kill them as soon as they show their heads; just as whenever the stags see a rattlesnake, they cut him in pieces with the lightening thrusts of their keen hoofs. Why is not this conclusion perfectly just? The only logic which restrains it is, that Christianity, which says that we shall not shed man’s blood, ‘because in the image of God made He man;’ but which these men flout. The only reason we do not justly treat atheists thus is, that we are not, like them, atheists.”


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12 responses

27 04 2009
bobxxxx

Atheistic evolution? Do you think there’s also atheistic gravity?

Scientific facts are not atheistic and they are not theistic. The existence or non-existence of gods has nothing to do with science.

28 04 2009
dwcomin

Your false parallel illustrates my point. Gravity is a law of physics. It’s effects are consistent, repeatable, and even visible. Evolution is a theory. It’s supposed effects are disputed even among scientists, and the fossil record is utterly and completely devoid of any clear and indisputable evidence of transitional forms of life as species allegedly happily mutated into better and stronger species. And so I reply with all due gravity (pun intended), Evolution, sir, is a belief system… not a fact.

28 04 2009
Dan

Indeed – you can’t prove that there’s a mysterious “gravity” force!

29 04 2009
Shamelessly Atheist

Do you at all understand what a theory is? It is not a guess. It is a falsifiable explanation of a wide range of empirical data which is continually tested and with every test it passes (and natural selection has passed all tests to date) our confidence in its validity increases to the point where we now consider it inseparable from fact.

Gravity is a theory. It is also a fact. You can continue to stick your head in the sand and deny the massive evidence in support of the theory of evolution, so massive that it is indeed a fact in the same way that gravity is both theory and fact.

There is debate in evolutionary biology as to the relative contributions of several known and well-established mechanisms for evolution (natural selection, sexual selection and genetic drift) but none of those involved in the debate deny that evolution has occurred. I don’t know where you get the idea that the fossil record is devoid of examples of transitional species. Perhaps a look at Donald Prothero’s “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters” is in order – the book is filled with such examples and more are being found on almost a daily basis.

Nor is that anywhere near the extent of the evidence. Comparative morphology, molecular biology, evolutionary development, embryology, geology – all provide an astounding mass of evidence in support of evolution when they could easily have falsified it. Thus our confidence in the veracity of evolution is quite high indeed. But as it is based in evidence, it is not a belief.

By the way, our moral sense evolved as a consequence of our species using a social survival strategy. As mammalian species started living together in groups individuals better able to smoothly interact with other members was inevitable. Those that lacked such an ability were ostracized (which was a death sentence). This is the source of morality – codes of conduct which allowed members of groups to get along and ensure its smooth operation. A significant body of evidence from primatology demonstrates just this. Try reading Franz de Waal’s “Your Inner Ape”. There is not one single human behavioral trait that is not found in chimpanzees or gorillas, which makes primatology invaluable in studying the development of morality.

And if morality is available only to the religious, please explain why atheists are vastly underrepresented in the penal system. Such people as the one you quoted above frighten me, because if he really means what he says, religion is not likely to stop him from acting on his impulses at some point. Religion is not a guarantor of good behavior. In fact, it is my experience that it makes no difference at all. Fortunately, people that spout such nonsense have no idea what they are talking about and don’t really have those impulses. But some do.

So, if you want to convince an atheist, you’re going to have to provide evidence, not the load of sophistry written here.

27 04 2009
Dan

Yawn.

Every week someone has come out and said something like this, somewhere, since 1859. It’s kinda getting old by now.

27 04 2009
lawyermommy

Wow, the language of the philosopher you have quoted above, is dense…

Well, the summary about the atheist is compelling, however, the new ageism which now engulfs the Christian walk also falls into that description.

The Bible has been diluted by an onsluaght of powerfully supported feel good messages which when closely examined are devid of any iota of Christianity.
Though we live in a world in which the promotion of self gratification and aggrandizement are the norm… I believe this classification and description of strict justice is also applicable to those who “know” the Bible but have elected to alter it through intellectual posturing for egotistical reasons (show of intellectual strength).

That description–that of the philosopher above– is also applicable to those who work daily to deliberately alter the bona fide interpretation of core biblical precepts, so that those precepts now misinterpreted– comply with worldly conduct of the day.

Those people too are well, beasts. Methinks.

LM

30 04 2009
dwcomin

Hmmmm… So you are saying that a scientist knows, with certainty, based on the theory of gravity, that if he drops a bowling ball it will fall on his toe – and that he also knows, with equal certainty, based on the theory of evolution, that his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was an orangutan?

1 05 2009
Dan

The bowling ball – yes. I learned how to solve that problem some fourteen years ago in freshmen physics. The orangutan – no. Not unless your ancestor had a bestiality fetish. No, you’re descended from a common ancestor, just as you and your cousin were descended from a common grandparent – that’s not even freshmen biology, that’s high school.

30 04 2009
lawyermommy

Wow, DW… well said. No one can fault the few sentences you wrote which completely debunked the lengthy response by the shameless atheist above. I honestly yawned when I read his post. Been there done that.. needs God. Yes, that was what I immediately thought.

Your response to him was also very funny —-to think of the Orangutan .. and some who with conviction aver these are their ancestors. Maybe with that kind of thinking, the monkeys are indeed their great great great great great grandfathers. :)

20 05 2009
Schnoodle

I will begin my response by showing that all atheists are guilty of adhering to an internally self-refuting belief system founded on a self-refuting epistemology. First, for the atheist to be consistent they only have, by necessity, one epistemology – the scientific method; or better known as the verification principle, which states that, “The only propositions that are valid are those propositions that are empirically, scientifically, verifiable – or falsifiable.” It is based on this epistemological premise that the atheist, all atheists, will reject a belief in God. Every Christian has heard the atheist accuse him or her that, “You cannot ‘prove’ there is a God.” Which by implication defaults to the verification principle, however, this poses a serious problem for the atheist. Their position, or worldview, is by definition a universal negative, which could “never” be proven. Based on the atheist’s own epistemological understanding of reality he or she would have to reject their own worldview, that is if he or she is to be consistent with their own epistemology. Second, the verification principle is also a self-refuting epistemology. If the only propositions that are valid are those that are empirically verifiable then one would have to reject the propositional statement itself for lack of verifiability because propositions by definition cannot be verified or falsified.

20 05 2009
Schnoodle

By the way I am a foundationalist, which means I very seldom argue secondary issues I work hard to get to the foundation of an argument and work from there. I did not reject atheism based on the verifiability or falsification of evolution. I rejected it based on its own foundational self-refuting premises. Evolution can be disproven in the same fashion, however, it is a secondary belief system grounded in the first – atheism. Evolution is nothing more than the atheist’s Genesis for origins. However, it violates the law of non-contradiction when it is compared to the accepted scientific laws. The first law it violates is the law of entropy, the second law it violates is the law of sufficient cause and effect, the third law it violates is the law of biogenesis, and a fourth law is the law of irreducible complexity. This is by no means an exhaustive list but good for starters. Let us take a look at the law of entropy, which states that any system that has order and disorder the farther back in time you go the order will always increase and the disorder will always decrease. In reverse, the farther you move into the future the more the disorder will increase and the more the order will decrease. All of science and experience has shown this demonstrably. That is, there is no getting around it, however, the theory of evolution asks us to set this law aside and believe the exact opposite; that everything moved from a disorder to an ordered system, all by itself. By the way, do not try to exclude matter, or rather particles, from the law of entropy claiming that the second law of thermodynamics only applies to heat and energy equilibrium. Since the double slit photon experiment showed conclusively that everything is made of energy and as such falls victim to the law of entropy. The second law it violates is that of sufficient cause, that is, nothing can explain its own existence since everything that falls into the realm of science is not a necessary thing. To explain, everything did not exist at one time and therefore could possibly not exist now, but does, or else there would be nothing to argue about because we would not exist. Since everything that exists cannot account for its own existence, and everything that exists in the world we are discussing had to have a sufficient cause for its existence. Nothing +nothing still equals nothing. (Remember I am a foundationalist – whence the first cell? Darwin’s theory is absolutely dependent on the first self-replicating cell to work from.) The third law is the law of biogenesis as discovered by Louis Pasteur. He discovered that all forms of life, bacteria in particular, had to come from other bacteria and if he rid the product of this bacteria it would not spoil, that is until other bacteria was introduced. His work proved conclusively that life can only come from life, and because life needs a sufficient cause, evolution does not possess, as a theory, a sufficient amount of explanatory power to explain the origins of life. The fourth law is the law of irreducible complexity, that any system that is reduced by even one component will fail to function, or at least function at a full capacity, which Darwinian evolution is absolutely dependent on. A bee hive is an organism that is made up of many bees to be able to survive; as a matter of fact you need many of them to be able to function as a system. If only one bee evolved it would die, even if two or maybe three evolved they would die. The only way for a hive of bees to survive is if it was “created” as a functioning hive from the very beginning. Believe it or not, cells work the same way, I challenge you to study up on your science that is if you happen to be an atheist. The cell is far more complicated than Darwin ever imagined and by his own words if he knew what we know today of the cells complexity he would rejected his own theory. So to accept the veracity of these laws and applying the law of non-contradiction I would have to reject evolution because it runs contrary to the accepted laws of science and ceases to be a viable theory for explaining the origins and the complexity of life.

9 03 2010
Bobby Phillips

To Shamelessly Atheist:

The atheist diatribe about “science’s definition of a theory” is the real sophistry, because we readily observe scientists using the word “theory” in the sense of a hypothetical construct all the time. Perhaps one of the most notorious uses was in B. F. Skinner’s (1950) essay, “Are theories of learning necessary?” Many people have misinterpreted Skinner to be saying that psychological science should proceed by remaining an amorphous blob of unsystematic data collection that is never unified by general statements about the inherent lawfulness of the mind and behavior. In other words, many have read Skinner thinking that he had in mind the definition of “theory” which many atheists use when they object to statements like, “Evolution is just a theory.” However, Skinner’s actual intentions were to refute the formalist, hypothetical-deductive method of doing science that proceeds by offering hypotheses and testing them in an experimental paradigm. Skinner argued that *real* science progressed through the inductive method of asking unbiased questions and designing experiments that just tweaked variables until lawfulness emerged, regardless of whatever kind of “hypotheses” were confirmed or disconfirmed. In this sense, “theory” means a hypothetical explanation, as opposed to one that is informed by the direct experience of already having collected the data needed to answer the experimental question. And that it is a different sense of the word from way it is used when speaking of general descriptions of data, Skinner himself acknowledges in the paper:

“Theories are fun. But it is possible that the most rapid progress toward an understanding of learning may be made by research that is not designed to test theories… This does not exclude the possibility of theory in another sense. Beyond the collection of uniform relationships lies the need for a formal representation of the data reduced to a minimal number of terms. A theoretical construction may yield greater generality than any assemblage of facts. But such a construction will not refer to another dimensional system and will not, therefore, fall within our present definition.”

Now, that said, another behaviorist named Zuriff (1985) has attempted to formally describe the behaviorist aversion to scientific explanation that appeals to hypotheticals. He distinguishes between “intervening variables” and “hypothetical constructs.” The former are merely mathematical transformations of directly observed raw data, such as when an engineer measures velocity (which is a transformation of distance on a particular vector over time ). The latter is the kind of “theorizing” that Skinner criticized: offering explanations that are either pure hunch or general applications of previously established principles. Zuriff gives the example how behaviorists themselves sometimes use hypothetical constructs to account for the learning history of very complicated behavior (such as writing an essay about Shakespeare), but they always employ known phenomena such as reinforcement and stimulus control in their hypothetical explanations, because they consider this more reliable than postulating a brain compartment that deals exclusively with writing essays about Shakespeare. Well, MACROEVOLUTION as an explanation for the similarities and diversities of characteristics among the species is a hypothetical construct in that sense. No one has directly observed macroevolution, which is the prerequisite for calling something an “intervening variable” rather than a “hypothetical construct.” Rather, we have accumulated geological evidence which some have interpreted in light of a principle already known through direct observation (MICROEVOLUTION). Now granted, Zuriff as an atheist would argue that a hypothetical construct based on directly observed principles is better than one based on vague speculation of unobservables, but Zuriff the behaviorist must necessarily regard the hypothetical explanation as merely tentative, for the same reasons that Karl Popper expressed misgivings about whether macroevolution met the logical positivist principle of verification. Since it’s not directly observable, at least until time travel is perfected, then it is unverifiable and therefore less than scientific knowledge. This is what prompted Popper to reverse the positivist formulation and define a “meaningful” statement as one that is falsifiable (although I have misgivings about whether macroevolution meets THAT criterion, either). In any case, it is crystal clear that macroevolution meets the definition of a hypothetical construct, which is just another name for theory in the tentative sense, which is the sense in which creationists criticize macroevolution as “just a theory.” (Gravity, by contrast, is directly observable, and the equations that describe its regularities are an intervening variable that merely summarize direct empirical observation.)

In the computer sciences, I believe the definition of “pwnage” would include being bested by one’s own restrictions of scientific explanation, which were intended to exclude God from the scientist’s consideration.

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