Why Evolution is Dangerous

Yesterday, in these pages, I wrote a piece about feminism, paganism, and the unhappiness of women. While poking around my bookmarks later on, I ran across two articles I had noted in the last week or so that tie into this entire theme through evolution. The first article is at Thinking Christian, pointing to an article at Scientific American, which I will quote from below.

There’s a strange whiff in the media air, a sort of polyamory chic in which liberally minded journalists, an aggregate mass of antireligious pundits, and even scientists themselves have begun encouraging readers and viewers to use evolutionary theory to revisit and revise their sexual attitudes and, more importantly, their behaviors in ways that fit their animal libidos more happily. Much of this discussion is being fueled by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá’s scintillating new book Sex at Dawn , which explores how our modern, God-ridden, puritanical society conflicts with our species’ evolutionary design, a tension making us pathologically ashamed of sex. -Scientific American

It might appear to be self-obvious why this scientific endorsement of living out a highly promiscuous sexual life is a bad thing, but let me spell it out for those who don’t understand. First, people are people, not objects. In fact, this is the point feminism is supposed to be “solving.” At virtually every feminist rally, you’ll see someone wearing something, or hear someone say, “I am not an object.” We get it.

But let me point out something a lot of people just don’t get. Let’s start with a simple idea: What is the difference between a house and a home? It’s not the size, or location, or color, or shape, or any other physical attribute you can name. The only difference between a house and a home is, in fact, the building’s connection to a relationship between two or more humans (dad, mom, and kids, for instance). If you take the relationships out, it’s a house; a lump of wood and sheet rock and more wood and ceramic tile and… Put the relationships in, it could be a log cabin, and it’s still a home. Take the relationships out, and the building can be torn down, remodeled, and “used,” for just about anything. But who hasn’t had their heart torn at the destruction or “re-purposing” of a childhood home?

Now let’s make the not so obvious connection. Sex is the same way. If you put sex within the context of a relationship, it’s like a home. If you take sex out of a relationship, it just becomes another “object.” This is a simple concept, but it’s amazing how many people just don’t get it.

Now, let’s carry things one small step farther. If I remove sex from the relationship, making it into an object, then a sexual partner just becomes an object along with the sex. The “partner” is actually just an object we’re using to “get” another object —nothing more, and nothing less. We’re left with nothing more than “collaborative performance.”

So begin with evolution. Add a dash of “science says humans are causing themselves problems by repressing their sexual urges for religious reasons.” And —poof!— all the people disappear.

It’s a simple trick, and quite effective. The sly “scientific” argument is faster than the hand.

14 comments to Why Evolution is Dangerous

  • SM

    An interesting view, as were the linked articles. Like most arguments, when you boil them down to the basic premises (without all the fluff) there are important pieces missing… Are we a species that over-thinks and over-hides-in-the-closet sexual things? Yup. But that doesn’t make the antithesis true (letting everything hang out) true either.

    Interestingly enough, animal societies don’t have the complex set of rules/laws/regulations that have been developed in order to live together in an organizes fashion. While religion may have influenced the basic tenets of these, it did not create them.

    Do we have animal instincts? Absolutely. Sex, however, isn’t the only one. There are reasons to not become ensconced in these urges that may (one’s personal point of view) have everything to do with moral or religious beliefs, but at a base logical level, simply have to do with the idea of one needs to live in a functioning society. And if one part of the ruleset collapses, others will follow.

    We as humans have a much better capacity for planning and extrapolating experiences than other animals do. The cause-effect relationships observed in animal behavior is in much more limited circles than humans’ relationship/society. So the impact of finding the “guy” who has the “girl” that you want and fighting/killing/removing them is something that does not lead to overall chaos in their society. (Very likely because animals do not have the “benefit” of Nancy Grace and other 24-hour news outlets!)

    I’m not sure where you are getting the quote from about the repressing sexual urges. I’ve read (and searched) the blog you highlighted, its predecessor and the original SA article and did not see that anyplace.

    Emotions (the part at a base level that instills the feeling of difference between a house and a home, or “having sex” vs. “making love”) are human traits. Are they instincts by nature? Can you reduce them to the basic “like” or “dislike” views? Many philosophers over the centuries will tell you yes. Many have chosen to evolve and intertwine emotions into morals. The moral point of view is embraced by many religions (gotta have some reason to do the “right” thing, don’t we?).

    Some people’s morals are slightly different than others (some are WAY off, but that’s not the point). What is the “right” one? Whatever is accepted by society. Which in a roundabout way means that our morals, and sense of well being, are all an extension of the idea of our rules and regulations that we use in order to have this large number of people live peaceably together in our interconnected society.

    The interesting thing about it is that (IMHO) it has nothing to do with our puritanical repression of urges. Some people use morals and religion to reach the conclusion of behavior. I use my own philosophies and logic. Amazingly, we reach the generally same conclusion to things, just via different paths. Some people will always deviate, and perhaps work on satisfying their animal urges without regard for the impact. Can’t help that. Even animals have deviations, they just tend to be dealt with in a much more expiditious and violent fashion than what we do (perhaps we could learn something from this!).

    I do not agree however that sex “makes” a relationship (e.g. without sex the relationship is merely an object). We have have very deep and meaningful (and incredibly important to us) relationship without any inclination of the presence of sex. Even if you are reducing the term “sex” to the idea of simple furthering of the species (assuming your term ‘procreation’) that doesn’t hold. House vs. home is based on emotional connection. Although I do like the term “collaborative performance”, and it was an interesting article as well.

    But breaking that one down reaches us to the same point: emotions and feelings. You can put the moral spin on to it in order to figure out the “right” or “wrong” in terms of how the world should view it (or logically whether everyone should do it, perhaps simultaneously, and what the impact of that would be), but it’s still an emotional differentiator.

    So what you’ve pointed out is that “Collaborative Performance” + Emotional Attachment transcends a pairing of objects into something greater. Ok. That’s philosophy not religion. ;) Say that (insert deity here) likes/wants/commands it and THAT is religion. Kant, Descartes, Aquinas and many others have had views on things like this (our separation (or not) from animals).

    Good to be a complicated species, eh?

    • An interesting view, as were the linked articles. Like most arguments, when you boil them down to the basic premises (without all the fluff) there are important pieces missing… Are we a species that over-thinks and over-hides-in-the-closet sexual things? Yup. But that doesn’t make the antithesis true (letting everything hang out) true either.

      This is clearly a moral judgment –how would you support such a moral statement without a god of some sort to back it up? It’s very easy to “preach moderation,” it’s very hard to see why moderation is good in the absence of an absolute standard of what “good,” is.

      Some people’s morals are slightly different than others (some are WAY off, but that’s not the point). What is the “right” one? Whatever is accepted by society.

      In other words, if you live in a society of cannibals, then eat others with joy and relish. If you live in a society where beating women is okay, then feel free. Or would you claim that the majority of the “world” is “right?” And let me ask this: Why should “the norms of the society” be “right?” You’ve not really defined “right” with this statement, you’ve just pushed the definition back one level. It doesn’t solve the problem…

      I do not agree however that sex “makes” a relationship (e.g. without sex the relationship is merely an object).

      But that’s not what the post says, is it? What it says is that sex belongs within a relationship. We can have relationships without sex, but having sex without a relationship makes sex into an object, and hence makes people into objects. Of course, the point is that if you really believe in evolution, people are objects anyway, aren’t they? If we’re little more than apes, then why shouldn’t we treat one another as apes?

      But breaking that one down reaches us to the same point: emotions and feelings.

      Morals don’t come from emotions and feelings, though… That won’t ever work. The serial killer enjoys killing, the rapist enjoys raping. Emotions just don’t work as a source of a moral code…

      So what you’ve pointed out is that “Collaborative Performance” + Emotional Attachment transcends a pairing of objects into something greater.

      Can you define “greater?” Like all these other things, “greater,” is a relative term. In a world where all the people are objects, and we’re just apes without hair, how can two things become “greater” than what they are individually? There’s no value in “greater,” any more than there is in “lesser.”

      Just some more to think about. :-)

    • To come back to this idea:

      The interesting thing about it is that (IMHO) it has nothing to do with our puritanical repression of urges. Some people use morals and religion to reach the conclusion of behavior. I use my own philosophies and logic. Amazingly, we reach the generally same conclusion to things, just via different paths.

      On what do you ground your philosophy and logic? That, I think, is the root of the entire problem.

  • SM

    This is clearly a moral judgment –how would you support such a moral statement without a god of some sort to back it up? It’s very easy to “preach moderation,” it’s very hard to see why moderation is good in the absence of an absolute standard of what “good,” is.

    What exactly does “moral” have to do with a god? Moral: Adjective “of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical”. While this MAY have guidance from a religious point of view, unless you are saying the ONLY way to garner the difference between right and wrong is via some deity, then I don’t see the problem.

    In other words, if you live in a society of cannibals, then eat others with joy and relish. If you live in a society where beating women is okay, then feel free. Or would you claim that the majority of the “world” is “right?” And let me ask this: Why should “the norms of the society” be “right?” You’ve not really defined “right” with this statement, you’ve just pushed the definition back one level. It doesn’t solve the problem…

    Well, ok, there’s a logical extreme. Should have seen that coming. So let’s follow it. IF society (e.g. the overwhelming majority, or ruling group depending on what historical reference we’re looking at) picks something, then yes. Because the societal organism at that point in time, at that location, would have deemed whatever absurd behavior (determined by OUR reference points) to be the “good” moral choice and “correct” action.

    Shall we go through history and all of the things done in the name of one religion or another? Obviously someone though they were good ideas in context, but we look at now and deem them to be atrocities, or otherwise bad.

    Morals don’t come from emotions and feelings, though… That won’t ever work. The serial killer enjoys killing, the rapist enjoys raping. Emotions just don’t work as a source of a moral code…>/i>

    Correct, they do not. But emotions and feelings don’t come from morals (unless we are believing that they should, at which point we are programmed leading us to the path of “what if” as you outlined above with cannibals). So with the serial killer, albeit the decisions are “bad” by the moral compass and/or societal standards, we have the same ideas. It’s a lifestyle versus a hobby. I suppose we would call their place of business a “lair” but they’d call it “home”. Either way, we have transcended “building”, “dwelling”, “house” or whatever other physical descriptive term.

    Can you define “greater?” Like all these other things, “greater,” is a relative term. In a world where all the people are objects, and we’re just apes without hair, how can two things become “greater” than what they are individually? There’s no value in “greater,” any more than there is in “lesser.”

    An interesting push on that. So we have to have ideas about what is “greater”. Looking back to what you said before, what do you NEED in order to be greater than an ape without hair? Or better yet, what would it take to be a “great” ape? Perspective and comparison. We are deemed “greater” than apes because we can accomplish more. We have more capabilities. Amongst the apes, a “great” one would be one that can demonstrate skills beyond the others (societal norms). So everything takes a reference.

    Are you saying that we must have a deity in order to establish a reference point?

    Everything in our lives is oriented around perspective. If you were brought up rich, you have one perspective of money. If you were brought up poor and made yourself rich, you have another perspective. If you were brought up poor and remained so, you have yet another… Money hasn’t changed. What it means, however, has.

    I prefer to be able to reach my own judgments about good and bad things based on my own points of view logically. If they happen to agree with what a particular deity has ordained, then so be it. But all that means is that multiple people/things have reached the same logical conclusion. And it may mean (based on majority) that it’s the ‘right’ thing at the point in time, but it doesn’t mean it is the ONLY “right” thing or the “forever” right thing. (e.g. religions have evolved their beliefs in order to fit within societal and chronological contexts, kind of a survival of the fittest amongst religions)

    • While this MAY have guidance from a religious point of view, unless you are saying the ONLY way to garner the difference between right and wrong is via some deity, then I don’t see the problem.

      But then you go on not to answer the problem with a society that chooses to do something you would argue is clearly wrong. If the only standard is “what everyone else thinks is right,” then you have no standard –you’re left on the pitching deck of relativism. You can’t tell which way is “up,” because “up” is just a symbol with meaning only within a specific context. This same problem applies to the problem of the word “greater.” Unless there is some objective thing the word “greater” describes, then you have no basis on which to declare one thing “greater,” and another “lesser.”

      To put this another way, you can say, “up” is just a semantic symbol for a point representing a positive direction from the current point on a specific plane. But now you have to define “positive,” and “plane,” and “current,” and “point.” If words are merely symbols that don’t connect to any reality, then there is no way to define or describe anything. The physical and emotional worlds as we know them don’t provide any such reference point, no “reality” you can grab onto to describe all else, so where do they come from? Descarte tried “I think, therefore I am,” but that, too, has been destroyed by various philosophers through the ages. How do you know you think, after all?

      Shall we go through history and all of the things done in the name of one religion or another? Obviously someone though they were good ideas in context, but we look at now and deem them to be atrocities, or otherwise bad.

      Shall we do the same thing for atheism? And evolutionary ideas, in fact? What would the point be, precisely? That people sometimes misuse God, or build an idea of God? Since Jesus was crucified for his religious claims, and Christians and Jews have been killed in untold numbers in the name of religion, I don’t think there’s a point to this exercise. That people misuse firearms doesn’t prove firearms are the problem. The reality is that all Christians know all Christians are hypocrites. That’s why salvation is through grace, after all. :-)

      But none of this answers the question of where morals come from in a purely evolutionary ethic. “Memes” don’t work, either, BTW; they fail just as evolution itself fails to explain where humans come from.

      We are deemed “greater” than apes because we can accomplish more. We have more capabilities. Amongst the apes, a “great” one would be one that can demonstrate skills beyond the others (societal norms). So everything takes a reference.

      What is “more?” What are “capabilities?” There are many environmentalist who would (and in fact do) argue that man is an overwrought virus on the face of the Earth. They would argue that because men do not live “in harmony” with nature, we are “lesser apes,” rather than “greater apes.” With no reference, how would you argue against such a statement? That dolphins don’t have hospitals? So… What’s the point? We could argue that dolphins simply know that when an injury is bad enough, it’s better to die than to waste resources in an attempt to save the life. Isn’t this precisely the same argument that many who believe in limiting “end of life care,” actually make?

      In other words, just as you’ve said, you need to a reference. No reference, no ability to decide. There is no “ground of reason” on which your ability to reason can actually operated unless there is something external to the system.

      Are you saying that we must have a deity in order to establish a reference point?

      Can you name another reference point that actually makes sense?

      I prefer to be able to reach my own judgments about good and bad things based on my own points of view logically. If they happen to agree with what a particular deity has ordained, then so be it. But all that means is that multiple people/things have reached the same logical conclusion. And it may mean (based on majority) that it’s the ‘right’ thing at the point in time, but it doesn’t mean it is the ONLY “right” thing or the “forever” right thing.

      And when your neighbor “evolves” the view that your teenage daughter should become his wife, with or without her consent? Don’t tell me that you take up arms, because that resolves to nothing more than “might makes right.” In fact, isn’t that what this comes down to? Might makes right? If there is no moral standard, then it’s all about efficiency, isn’t it? Which societal structure creates the best “war machine,” and hence can win over all others? That’s the social structure, and ethical norm, that’s “right.” Sorry, I don’t buy it. Rape is still rape whether it’s legal or illegal.

      To go back to the point of the original post, this is the very reason that evolution is dangerous within a social structure. Evolution essentially replaces “might makes right,” with “adaptation makes right.” They are the same statement using different words, in the end, and both are circular references. How can you tell that which is best adapted? By examining that which survives. What is your point of reference for all things? Ultimately, only survival. In this system there is no such thing as a “human,” because the word “human,” itself, is a semantic construction with no reference point. If you truly believe in the whole evolutionary program, then “humans” simply don’t exist outside a bundle of emotions that “evolved,” and hence are, themselves, meaningless. The triumph of evolution essentially means the end of the concept of humanness.

      (e.g. religions have evolved their beliefs in order to fit within societal and chronological contexts, kind of a survival of the fittest amongst religions)

      I hate to say it, but this is a pretty uninformed view of religions and God. I believe in progressive revelation –that God has revealed more of himself over time– but I also believe God is noncontradictory –what he has told us about himself in the past will never contradict what he tells us about himself tomorrow. And I think religions refine their thinking about God and human interaction with God over time. But to say that God changes because the man made structures of religion changes –that’s a logical leap that has no support.

  • SM

    ;)

    But then you go on not to answer the problem with a society that chooses to do something you would argue is clearly wrong. If the only standard is “what everyone else thinks is right,” then you have no standard –you’re left on the pitching deck of relativism. You can’t tell which way is “up,” because “up” is just a symbol with meaning only within a specific context. This same problem applies to the problem of the word “greater.” Unless there is some objective thing the word “greater” describes, then you have no basis on which to declare one thing “greater,” and another “lesser.”

    To put this another way, you can say, “up” is just a semantic symbol for a point representing a positive direction from the current point on a specific plane. But now you have to define “positive,” and “plane,” and “current,” and “point.” If words are merely symbols that don’t connect to any reality, then there is no way to define or describe anything. The physical and emotional worlds as we know them don’t provide any such reference point, no “reality” you can grab onto to describe all else, so where do they come from? Descarte tried “I think, therefore I am,” but that, too, has been destroyed by various philosophers through the ages. How do you know you think, after all?

    Again, the “clearly wrong” is based on our ideas of today’s standards and perspectives. Pick something a little less extreme. Just general warfare/concepts/whatever throughout the last several thousand years. People marched, people fought, peopled died (in the name of whatever cause was named at the time). Some battles were more violent than others. Some societies were deemed to be more extreme because they did something “different”. ALL of those things would be considered more barbaric in today’s standards. Why getting killed by a smart bomb or bullet is more or less barbaric than the in-your-face/personal methods of yesteryear is beyond me, but it’s the shift in our standards.

    Do I know I can think? Excellent question. That would be perspective. I believe I can think. :) I think I can think therefore I think that I am, so I must be! The beauty of philosophy is that we can convolute ourselves into oblivion (or drink that way as many of them did). But in the end, it doesn’t get us anywhere. It leaves us with what we believe. And what do we believe? We believe what we are taught. We believe what we think is correct based on our exposures and experiences. Isn’t that the crux of relativism anyway? ;) If you were raised differently than you were, how do you know that your beliefs wouldn’t be entirely different? And would that make them more or less right?

    Are you saying that we must have a deity in order to establish a reference point?

    Can you name another reference point that actually makes sense?

    We establish reference points throughout our lives. Let’s stick with the christian concepts (bible) for a moment. Old Testament in fact. I’m assuming you’ve spent some time with that, and there are many good things in there, but there are many things in there we have since kind of “ignored” or pretended they didn’t exist! The Book of Leviticus, I’m sure at some time, and in some context made sense. As it went along with the common viewpoints. Or some of the holidays that we have today in religious contexts looking at their history and relationship to the old “pagan” holidays. You adapt with the culture you are working within. Or in other words you make things RELATIVE to the societal norms. Without properly adopting holidays, christianity would likely have never survived its expansion into the european areas.

    But no, I can’t name another particular reference point, but I can just as easily dream one up that works inline with what I think is a good idea. I suppose I could just say that the universe revolves around me, but that would be a narcissistic reference point! (grin) not my style.

    And when your neighbor “evolves” the view that your teenage daughter should become his wife, with or without her consent? Don’t tell me that you take up arms, because that resolves to nothing more than “might makes right.” In fact, isn’t that what this comes down to? Might makes right? If there is no moral standard, then it’s all about efficiency, isn’t it? Which societal structure creates the best “war machine,” and hence can win over all others? That’s the social structure, and ethical norm, that’s “right.” Sorry, I don’t buy it. Rape is still rape whether it’s legal or illegal.

    To go back to the point of the original post, this is the very reason that evolution is dangerous within a social structure. Evolution essentially replaces “might makes right,” with “adaptation makes right.” They are the same statement using different words, in the end, and both are circular references. How can you tell that which is best adapted? By examining that which survives. What is your point of reference for all things? Ultimately, only survival. In this system there is no such thing as a “human,” because the word “human,” itself, is a semantic construction with no reference point. If you truly believe in the whole evolutionary program, then “humans” simply don’t exist outside a bundle of emotions that “evolved,” and hence are, themselves, meaningless. The triumph of evolution essentially means the end of the concept of humanness.

    Ok, good, we are back to this. Let’s look at history where it WAS “ok” about the higher ranking people (mightier?) would take what they wanted. And the response within the social structure that existed was the idea of “might makes right”. Not far off from “to the victor go the spoils” or “the winners write the history”. :) It’s all perspective. Relative perspective. Would I think that’s right within today’s concepts of laws? Nope. And hopefully I would have the law on my side. Otherwise some method of “civil disobedience” would be necessary to fix the “wrongs” which may or may not equate to “illegal” (relative to the society and time!).

    Religions have evolved throughout history as well. Do not kid yourself that christianity (or any religion) is the same today as it was at its’ inception. Is that dangerous? Or is it necessary for the survival? Some religions have not survived over time. Why is that? (And no, saying “because they were wrong” is not the answer, however amusing that would be!)

    Human, huh? Well….. The term “human” only really came about (evolved?) in the 13th century as likely an expansion from “hominis” or “humus” (earth). Earlier Hebrew revisions of things revolved around “adam” (man) from “adamah” (ground). Some of that arguably came from the differentiation that the gods were “up high” and our species was down lower. But that itself has been an evolutionary term based on the need to find a reference point!

    I hate to say it, but this is a pretty uninformed view of religions and God. I believe in progressive revelation –that God has revealed more of himself over time– but I also believe God is noncontradictory –what he has told us about himself in the past will never contradict what he tells us about himself tomorrow. And I think religions refine their thinking about God and human interaction with God over time. But to say that God changes because the man made structures of religion changes –that’s a logical leap that has no support.

    I prefer to think of it as a personally-researched view, but that’s semantics. Kinda like the difference between a “funny guy” and a “smart ass” really just depends on how much you agree with the person! Or the difference between “crazy” and “eccentric” often has to do with how much money someone has! :)

    That’s very much like saying nothing you learned in first grade math was “wrong” but you further refined your views as you learned more. Which is true, but is also a self-serving definition.

    On what do you ground your philosophy and logic? That, I think, is the root of the entire problem.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not setting out to debunk religion or anyone’s particular deity. You have your beliefs and I have mine, which is great. Over thousands of years, religions have existed in order to answer the “unanswerable” questions. We used to have gods of war and elements and just about everything. There were traditions and things that went with those beliefs. Now, we look back and think that wasn’t necessary because there ‘are not’ all of those gods. Why? Either because it’s been “rolled up” or because we have answered the questions about how tornadoes happen, etc.

    What questions can we not answer today? Where do we come from? What should I do while I’m here? What happens to me when I’m gone? And that is what today’s religions do for us. Is give a faith-based set of answers for those questions. All of them do.

    Do I believe there are questions that I cannot answer? Absolutely! To this day, I still cannot answer why anyone actually willingly eats Spam. But I don’t think that’s philosophy-based. :)

    Do I believe that I NEED answers to those questions? No.

    You mentioned at one point atheism. There’s a little difference there. A true atheist will emphatically believe there is no higher being, and tell everyone about it. While I don’t personally believe in one, I’m also not short-sighted enough to say there could never be something greater than we are (are aliens gods?). But I don’t believe that some “thing” came down and told us how to live our lives in a black and white fashion and that’s that. I just roll with it.

    Very much like I refuse to live my life by what some survey says that I’m most inclined to do/think/whatever… It’s all relative to experiences and analysis.

    And when you say the “root of the entire problem” does that mean that I’m doing something wrong? What in my actions, or how I live my life is not good? What is it that I do, which when taken in the context of any christian confines, would not be viewed as acceptable/preferred behavior? See, that’s the interesting thing. There may be many paths through the forest which all end up at the same basic point.

    I do absolutely enjoy the conversation!

    • Again, the “clearly wrong” is based on our ideas of today’s standards and perspectives.

      But why should we use today’s standards? Can you explain why today’s standards are “better” than those from several hundred (or thousand) years ago? Or why any societies “norms” are better than another societies?

      And hopefully I would have the law on my side.

      Where do you get law when everything is relative? How can you actually get law out of a completely relative world?

      Over thousands of years, religions have existed in order to answer the “unanswerable” questions. We used to have gods of war and elements and just about everything. There were traditions and things that went with those beliefs. Now, we look back and think that wasn’t necessary because there ‘are not’ all of those gods. Why? Either because it’s been “rolled up” or because we have answered the questions about how tornadoes happen, etc.

      The problem with this view of the history of religion is it doesn’t take into account a couple of things:

      1. It’s not right. In fact, a lot of research has gone into the history of religion, and it turns out that ancient religions weren’t “formed” to explain things that people couldn’t otherwise explain. There is, from a purely human point of view, any explanation for the origin of religion.

      2. It always places religion in the role of “the god in the gap.” What science can “answer,” religion must retreat from. As science claims more, then religion must claim less. The problem is that science has no basis on which to operate without religious belief… e=mc^2, after all. If everything is truly relative, then there is no way to actually achieve knowledge in the first place. :-)

  • SM

    But why should we use today’s standards? Can you explain why today’s standards are “better” than those from several hundred (or thousand) years ago? Or why any societies “norms” are better than another societies?

    Great question, and one I don’t have an answer to. History has shaped much of what our landscape today looks like (see above re: to the victor go the spoils), and has certainly had something to do with shaping where things were going. There are upheavals every now and then that change the way things were set. Would your/our/anyone’s views be the same today had the British won the Revolutionary War? Perhaps, perhaps not.

    I really can’t say that the view are “better” as that is a relative thing (yup, we’re back to that!). My point originally was that we can NOT say one’s views are better than another society’s. And that same logic holds for religious beliefs. Many (not all, but many) religions have a fairly color-less viewpoint of they are right and everyone else will burn in hell as non-believers. One religion believing that is logically sound (even if I don’t like it), but multiple ones have the same (but diametrically opposed) point of view is not logical. Kinda like studies show that 80% of people believe themselves to be better than average drivers. Kinda doesn’t pass the sanity test. ;)

    Over thousands of years, religions have existed in order to answer the “unanswerable” questions. We used to have gods of war and elements and just about everything. There were traditions and things that went with those beliefs. Now, we look back and think that wasn’t necessary because there ‘are not’ all of those gods. Why? Either because it’s been “rolled up” or because we have answered the questions about how tornadoes happen, etc.

    The problem with this view of the history of religion is it doesn’t take into account a couple of things:

    1. It’s not right. In fact, a lot of research has gone into the history of religion, and it turns out that ancient religions weren’t “formed” to explain things that people couldn’t otherwise explain. There is, from a purely human point of view, any explanation for the origin of religion.

    2. It always places religion in the role of “the god in the gap.” What science can “answer,” religion must retreat from. As science claims more, then religion must claim less. The problem is that science has no basis on which to operate without religious belief… e=mc^2, after all. If everything is truly relative, then there is no way to actually achieve knowledge in the first place. :-)

    Ancient religious evolved from a number of things (as did caveman’s representations and artistic alliterations of things). Someone, someplace, put cohesive thoughts together with philosophy and “formed” them.

    You’re right that the viewpoint is wrong. At least IF I were stating that these things magically appeared, disappeared or morphed simply because of logical reasons for things. They don’t. Faith is something that changes slowly (either direction), short of having some intense “experience” that some have had over the years which heightens their faith-based response.

    Nobody said religion has to retreat from things. Religion is not ONLY an answer to things science can’t touch, but a HOW as well. (hence the original “what are we supposed to do while we are here?” question) Christianity doesn’t have any commentary about weather or elemental phenomena (unless driving the story of the deity’s powers). For many things, it’s the opposite direction. Because science claims more, religion must share more enlightenment (we’ll call it “detail” for nothing else, and I believe you mentioned this earlier about having newer/detailed answers for things that never contradict older lessons learned). Would we learn those lessons (or “need” them) had science not given us differing explanations for something?

    There are people who are strict creationists. Believing the Book of Genesis to be quite literal. And that explanations by science are complete and total lies. We even have a Creation Museum here. Now, I’m all for a good conspiracy theory story, but theirs’ is a little much for me! But are they wrong? They certainly believe they are correct and everyone else is wrong. What say ye? And where do we then draw the line? (it’s relative)

    There’s give and take.

    And per your last sentence, that’s logically true. And many philosophers have talked about that. Which goes back to the “I think I’m thinking” theory. At some point experience forms our basis of knowledge. Hence your experiences being different than mine, being different than everyone else’s. Had we been swapped at birth, it may well be that you would have my views and I yours. Science calls this “empirical”. Whatever you want to call it though, one does not negate the other.

    As for science having no basis to operate without religious belief, I’m not sure I’d go that far. For every great discovery, there’s some inner-four-year-old going “Why?”, “Why?”, “Why?”…. If the resulting theorems are based upon some underlying religious belief, that’s entirely possible but not a necessity. There have been (and likely are) many scientists who are atheists. Where does that leave us? Science based on the lack of religious beliefs but needing religious beliefs to make that possible?

    e=mc^2… Wasn’t that the theory of relativity? ;) Nice segue there (albeit different).

    Science and Religion will always co-exist. But as societies morph, so must both science and religion. Utopia will never be upon us.

    • I really can’t say that the view are “better” as that is a relative thing (yup, we’re back to that!). My point originally was that we can NOT say one’s views are better than another society’s.

      Then the only thing that really matters is what works… And what “works” is determined by who survives. So might makes right. :-) This is where evolutionary thought always ends up, no matter how many ways you try and get to something else.

      Ancient religious evolved from a number of things (as did caveman’s representations and artistic alliterations of things).

      The use of the word “evolved” here isn’t really right, is it? Men aren’t “evolving” dogs when we breed them for specific tasks, we are taking advantage of micro-evolutionary flexibility to design a breed that is best suited for a purpose we want to serve. As long as there’s a purpose, there’s no evolution –evolution, by definition, is purposeless. The way we use the “language of evolution,” is, I think, a part of the problem –we call everything that “progresses” evolution, and then draw this back into the theory. Evolution doesn’t postulate “progression,” and within evolution there is no such thing as a “value” or “moral.” There are only survival and death, not purpose, meaning, or morality.

      Religion is not ONLY an answer to things science can’t touch, but a HOW as well. (hence the original “what are we supposed to do while we are here?” question)

      But again, this is “god of the gaps.” Religion is there to answer the questions science “can’t answer.” And now that science has answered the question, “why are we here,” there’s no reason for it. Science’s answer is “there is no reason we’re here, it’s all just an accident. Life has no meaning, no purpose, the only thing that matters is what works, because there is no right or wrong, only survival or death.” And that wraps around to my original post, again –if there is no “meaning” to life, then there are no “humans,” (or men if you like, such as the Hebrew word adam), in the sense of anything more than “just another animal.” It doesn’t matter if you beat your wife; her emotions are just ephemeral nothingness. There is only survival, or not.

      That is the bottom line danger of evolution.

      There are people who are strict creationists. Believing the Book of Genesis to be quite literal. And that explanations by science are complete and total lies.

      I think you mis-take the literal creationist position here… Probably too much of a large dose of what the press says about creationists, and not enough listening to actual creationists. :-) Creationists believe the scientific evidence that exists doesn’t show macro-evolution, and is rather ambiguous about the age of the Earth. Strictly speaking, the scientific method consists of forming a hypothesis, forming an experiment to test the hypothesis, and then performing the experiment to validate or invalidate the hypothesis. Evolution, strictly speaking, cannot be tested in this way. You can attempt to observe evolution, but there is no known instance of macro-evolution, one species forming from another, known to man. There are guesses at such a thing through the fossil record, but even there the evidence is rather sketchy –Darwin himself said the fossil record was a problem, and people who actually study the fossil record clearly state things haven’t gotten better since Darwin’s day. There are no “transitional forms,” no-one can explain the “Cambrian Explosion,” etc. The reality is we simply don’t know, no matter what you might read in the popular press, and probably won’t ever know, based on the evidence we have on hand. Hence the entire evolutionary enterprise is a matter of faith just as much as believing in what the Bible says in a literal way.

      As for science having no basis to operate without religious belief, I’m not sure I’d go that far. For every great discovery, there’s some inner-four-year-old going “Why?”, “Why?”, “Why?”

      1. E=MC^2. Science teaches us that all things are relative. As an example of this, try to create an experiment that measures the speed of light. It’s not so easy to do when you get down to brass tacks. In fact, there’s no way to prove that light doesn’t move at one speed away from you, and another speed towards you, nor many other apparently difficult to conceive things.

      2. If all things are relative, then what are you measuring against? Well, to prove anything, you must measure against an absolute –otherwise you lose the repeatability of experiments, and you lose the entire basis of science. This is the problem with measuring the speed of light –find an absolute clock that can be measured without relying on light itself?

      Hence science, without some outside reference point, defeats itself. What you are thinking is that science doesn’t involve religious discovery; what I’m saying is that science must rely on an outside absolute that science, itself, cannot provide. The only place to get such an absolute is some form of religious belief. The entire idea underlying science, that the world works in a uniform way, is a religious belief.

      Many (not all, but many) religions have a fairly color-less viewpoint of they are right and everyone else will burn in hell as non-believers. One religion believing that is logically sound (even if I don’t like it), but multiple ones have the same (but diametrically opposed) point of view is not logical.

      You see, you want there to be “many truths,” but then you want there to be “one truth.” You want there to be “many truths,” in the spiritual realm –all these religions, they all contradict, so they can’t all be right– but you want there to be “one truth,” in the “scientific realm.” If you applied the same test to both realms, you’d realize your construction is invalid. There have always been “many truths” in science, simply because we don’t know everything; there is always more to discover. Within science, there are always multiple contradictory theories; otherwise it wouldn’t be science. And there are people who hold on to untrue views of things simply because they refuse to accept an alternate theory that explains more. The task presented to you when you examine scientific theory is to try to understand the underlying evidence and choose a theory which best explains what we believe to be true through empirical evidence (assuming our senses to be correct, of course).

      Religions are the same way; each one explains a specific set of truths about the world. None of them explain the world perfectly (for now we see through a glass darkly), but some of them are going to explain what we know to be true from empirical evidence better than others. This sort of reasoning can be applied to religion just as easily as it can to the physical world… Assuming you make the correct observations (always a problem, again trusting our senses as a foundational point), you can retrieve information about the world, compare that information to the stated beliefs of the various religions, and come to a conclusion about which one comes the closest to describing reality. It’s a simple process, much like troubleshooting a network –half split, test, half split, test, etc. :-)

  • SM

    The use of the word “evolved” here isn’t really right, is it? Men aren’t “evolving” dogs when we breed them for specific tasks, we are taking advantage of micro-evolutionary flexibility to design a breed that is best suited for a purpose we want to serve. As long as there’s a purpose, there’s no evolution –evolution, by definition, is purposeless. The way we use the “language of evolution,” is, I think, a part of the problem –we call everything that “progresses” evolution, and then draw this back into the theory. Evolution doesn’t postulate “progression,” and within evolution there is no such thing as a “value” or “moral.” There are only survival and death, not purpose, meaning, or morality.

    Evolve: verb. To develop gradually.

    Seems to fit. As for whether or not we are “evolving” dogs by particular breeding, wouldn’t that be determined many centuries later by what remains versus what essentially became extinct?

    Evolution is purposeless. Ok, I can go with that, because science wouldn’t really have a “grand plan” as others do. :) However, would the same point of view be that less-equipped members of the species didn’t survive and therefore were pruned off in an evolutionary aspect? No breeding = no progeny, no continuance.

    Religion is not ONLY an answer to things science can’t touch, but a HOW as well. (hence the original “what are we supposed to do while we are here?” question)

    But again, this is “god of the gaps.” Religion is there to answer the questions science “can’t answer.” And now that science has answered the question, “why are we here,” there’s no reason for it. Science’s answer is “there is no reason we’re here, it’s all just an accident. Life has no meaning, no purpose, the only thing that matters is what works, because there is no right or wrong, only survival or death.” And that wraps around to my original post, again –if there is no “meaning” to life, then there are no “humans,” (or men if you like, such as the Hebrew word adam), in the sense of anything more than “just another animal.” It doesn’t matter if you beat your wife; her emotions are just ephemeral nothingness. There is only survival, or not.

    That is the bottom line danger of evolution.

    What happened to the “how” there? If science tells us where we come from, and we have evolved from some primordial ooze, I’m not sure that negates a purpose for life. Each individual has separate inherent and/or assume purposes. You’re either going with fate or with relativity. :)

    Either way, since we are here (or perceive we are because we think we can think), even if we no longer care about where we came from (although arguably something had to create the original ooze) but as a race beyond basic urges, there’s still the sense of direction.

    Evolution is not a danger to that. Even if someone came and said there’s scientific proof that it doesn’t matter what you do or how you act, it wouldn’t change things. You’d still have social constructs. And some look to religions to supply that (or jumpstart it). back to being relative. :)

    I think you mis-take the literal creationist position here… Probably too much of a large dose of what the press says about creationists, and not enough listening to actual creationists. :-) Creationists believe the scientific evidence that exists doesn’t show macro-evolution, and is rather ambiguous about the age of the Earth. Strictly speaking, the scientific method consists of forming a hypothesis, forming an experiment to test the hypothesis, and then performing the experiment to validate or invalidate the hypothesis. Evolution, strictly speaking, cannot be tested in this way. You can attempt to observe evolution, but there is no known instance of macro-evolution, one species forming from another, known to man. There are guesses at such a thing through the fossil record, but even there the evidence is rather sketchy –Darwin himself said the fossil record was a problem, and people who actually study the fossil record clearly state things haven’t gotten better since Darwin’s day. There are no “transitional forms,” no-one can explain the “Cambrian Explosion,” etc. The reality is we simply don’t know, no matter what you might read in the popular press, and probably won’t ever know, based on the evidence we have on hand. Hence the entire evolutionary enterprise is a matter of faith just as much as believing in what the Bible says in a literal way.

    That may be a “good Creationist” way of viewing things, but not the folks that run the fine museum in Kentucky (www.creationmuseum.org). There are guesses on lots of things. But you base guesses on known things (relative) and if your balance of known things changes, then the scale by which the guesses have been made needs to be re-evaluated. Carbon dating from an atomic measurement of elements half-life seems to be basing on a constant. That measurement has been refined over time as the technology has improved and so have the related calculations. *shrug* Seems to me to be a form of evolution. That term is not solely related to unthinking genetic mechanisms.

    You see, you want there to be “many truths,” but then you want there to be “one truth.” You want there to be “many truths,” in the spiritual realm –all these religions, they all contradict, so they can’t all be right– but you want there to be “one truth,” in the “scientific realm.” If you applied the same test to both realms, you’d realize your construction is invalid. There have always been “many truths” in science, simply because we don’t know everything; there is always more to discover. Within science, there are always multiple contradictory theories; otherwise it wouldn’t be science. And there are people who hold on to untrue views of things simply because they refuse to accept an alternate theory that explains more. The task presented to you when you examine scientific theory is to try to understand the underlying evidence and choose a theory which best explains what we believe to be true through empirical evidence (assuming our senses to be correct, of course).

    Religions are the same way; each one explains a specific set of truths about the world. None of them explain the world perfectly (for now we see through a glass darkly), but some of them are going to explain what we know to be true from empirical evidence better than others. This sort of reasoning can be applied to religion just as easily as it can to the physical world… Assuming you make the correct observations (always a problem, again trusting our senses as a foundational point), you can retrieve information about the world, compare that information to the stated beliefs of the various religions, and come to a conclusion about which one comes the closest to describing reality. It’s a simple process, much like troubleshooting a network –half split, test, half split, test, etc. :-)

    See, there’s the rub with it. What I’m getting at is that many people proclaim they have the “truth”, but logically that cannot be correct. Personally I could care less whether there’s one truth in the scientific realm or not.

    Previous post, I noted that there are indeed things I cannot explain, but at the same time I don’t feel that I have a dire “need” to at this point. So sticking on evolutions idea of migrating as sub-cell and single-cell things from the primordial ooze still begs the question of where the ooze came from. In science, you can always keep asking questions until you eventually get someplace where there is no absolute answer. There may be conjectures, but that’s generally viewed (in this realm anyway) as philosophy and/or religion.

    So let’s rest it with the idea that I know there are questions I cannot answer, and that doesn’t bother me. I’m not short-sighted enough to believe that either we as a race/planet are alone, or that something had to have “created” things to begin with. But it doesn’t bother me.

    I cannot answer what will happen when we die either. Whether simply turning back to dust, or embracing the idea of a ever-living-soul separated from the physical body doesn’t matter. I accept that I have no answer or further explanation. I’ve gone through many philosophies and religious views of this as well, and while many are interesting, none particular resonate with me. I’m ok with that.

    But that leaves us with the here/now portion, which as I’ve been talking about is relative to our experiences. And my premise is that you don’t NEED to have a belief in a single truth in order to live properly. Again, noting HOW I live, or things I’ve done, I could very well apply the beliefs of many different religions and say that I fall well within their confines.

    Today’s troubleshooting becomes tomorrow’s experience, right? :)

    Now, what you’ve laid out about science and religions explaining a VIEW of the world is very accurate. One primary difference with disagreements in the scientific realm though is that they typically do not threaten alternate viewpoints with eternal damnation. ;)

    There ARE many views. When you boil them down to the very basics, they pretty much say the same thing. The differences, of course, are in the details, but the BIG picture is the same in most instances. (Always some exceptions, but most)

    • Evolve: verb. To develop gradually. Seems to fit. As for whether or not we are “evolving” dogs by particular breeding, wouldn’t that be determined many centuries later by what remains versus what essentially became extinct?

      No –for the simple reason that evolution clearly states there is no intelligence behind the process. Once you’ve injected intelligence, it’s no longer evolution, it’s engineering. These are two radically different concepts.

      What happened to the “how” there? If science tells us where we come from, and we have evolved from some primordial ooze, I’m not sure that negates a purpose for life. Each individual has separate inherent and/or assume purposes. You’re either going with fate or with relativity.

      I’ll have a post in a couple of days with direct quotes from some very famous evolutionists who clearly state that evolution proves there is no “purpose” to life. Evolution, as an overarching scientific theory, does not allow for a “why;” it is a purposeless/meaningless process whereby one species becomes another species. As you said before, meaning is outside the realm of science, so the only real reason science can give for existence is “there is no meaning.”

      See, there’s the rub with it. What I’m getting at is that many people proclaim they have the “truth”, but logically that cannot be correct. Personally I could care less whether there’s one truth in the scientific realm or not.

      So you don’t care if electricity works in a way that allows you to harness its power or not? Obviously that’s not true… You do care about which theory is right, and which is wrong.

      But that leaves us with the here/now portion, which as I’ve been talking about is relative to our experiences. And my premise is that you don’t NEED to have a belief in a single truth in order to live properly.

      Without the belief in a single truth, you simply can’t define “properly.” It’s outside the realm of the logically possible.

      Now, what you’ve laid out about science and religions explaining a VIEW of the world is very accurate. One primary difference with disagreements in the scientific realm though is that they typically do not threaten alternate viewpoints with eternal damnation.

      They both promise eternal damnation in their own senses. Science says that if you don’t believe this, you don’t survive in this life, and your name is consigned to the dustbin of history. Religion says that if you don’t believe this, you don’t live eternally. There are consequences in both cases; trying to say “one consequence is worse than the other,” requires some idea of what “worse” and “better” mean.

      There ARE many views. When you boil them down to the very basics, they pretty much say the same thing. The differences, of course, are in the details, but the BIG picture is the same in most instances. (Always some exceptions, but most).

      This simply isn’t true… There are radical differences between the beliefs of various religions… Sometime we should sit over a drink, and I can draw a chart explaining them… All religions are not the same –and some clearly fit observed reality better than others. :-)

  • SM

    Evolve: verb. To develop gradually. Seems to fit. As for whether or not we are “evolving” dogs by particular breeding, wouldn’t that be determined many centuries later by what remains versus what essentially became extinct?
    No –for the simple reason that evolution clearly states there is no intelligence behind the process. Once you’ve injected intelligence, it’s no longer evolution, it’s engineering. These are two radically different concepts.

    Ok… I get it. You’re trying to use Evolution with a capital “E” as in someone’s named theory. Not as the process/term itself. As defined, it neither implies nor disallows any intelligence.

    And by virtue of believing there is divine guidance in the evolutionary plan, would that not constitute “engineering” by the same terms?

    I’ll have a post in a couple of days with direct quotes from some very famous evolutionists who clearly state that evolution proves there is no “purpose” to life. Evolution, as an overarching scientific theory, does not allow for a “why;” it is a purposeless/meaningless process whereby one species becomes another species. As you said before, meaning is outside the realm of science, so the only real reason science can give for existence is “there is no meaning.”

    See… there’s my problem again. Definitionally, I refuse to be constrained by other people’s beliefs. And just because one guy was a prolific writer and came up with something doesn’t mean I have to believe it. That cuts on both sides.

    Now, on the other hand, I can look at that objectively and (IMHO) think that someone’s trying to over-define “purpose”. Whether there is a purposeless set of scientific processes that occur whereby the end result is some evolution of a species does not automatically negate the purpose of an individual’s life! Contextually (relativity?) there is meaning. That meaning or purpose is defined, though, by your circumstances.

    Not so much that there is no meaning but there is no definition.

    So you don’t care if electricity works in a way that allows you to harness its power or not? Obviously that’s not true… You do care about which theory is right, and which is wrong.

    Sure, but I don’t care WHY! And when we figure out things like Power over Wireless (a little beyond Tesla’s concepts) it may be kinda cool, and I may use it. However, I don’t need to know the specifics about it.

    Without the belief in a single truth, you simply can’t define “properly.” It’s outside the realm of the logically possible.

    Sure I can. In fact, I think I do a pretty darn good job of it. To “live properly” is conceptual anyway. Again, go through the good book (or any particular texts) that were written several thousand years ago and look at which details have been either rewritten, removed or otherwise “reinterpreted” in order to converge with the common socially acceptable behaviors of any society at any time. I, independently, have figured out how to live a good life based on the interpreted (taught? experienced?) socially acceptable standards.

    Do I believe in a single truth? Nope. Have others around me, who perhaps influenced my thinking believed in that way? Sure. Some yes, some no. Have I seen “bad” people who profess to believe in a single truth? Yup. Do I witness the “morals of convenience” all the time by those who do believe in a single truth? Yup. But that doesn’t either affirm nor deny the need. It’s an individual point of view.

    They both promise eternal damnation in their own senses. Science says that if you don’t believe this, you don’t survive in this life, and your name is consigned to the dustbin of history. Religion says that if you don’t believe this, you don’t live eternally. There are consequences in both cases; trying to say “one consequence is worse than the other,” requires some idea of what “worse” and “better” mean.

    Who says that? Someone may end up in the dustbin of history, and I’m sure plenty have over the years…. But I have never heard anyone say you must believe this or else in a scientific sense!

    Were I to believe in an eternal life, I’d have to agree that being damned eternally seems a lot more personal than simply being thought of in the dustbin, so I’d quantify that as “worse”. But neither one particularly phases me.

    Going back to my idea of living a good life and following the “golden rules” that many religions independently corroborate regardless of and perceived requirement. I’d have to say that if I die and find out that I’m wrong, it would go against the sense of a “just and ever-loving” god to send me to the concept of Hell.

    This simply isn’t true… There are radical differences between the beliefs of various religions… Sometime we should sit over a drink, and I can draw a chart explaining them… All religions are not the same –and some clearly fit observed reality better than others. :-)

    I didn’t say they WERE the same. I said when you boil them down (that means stripping out the nit-picky detail variants) and look at overall concepts (sometimes even some specifics) you’ll find similarities in them. Hence “pretty much the same thing”.

    I’d be happy to sit and chart though! There will always be some exceptions, but those are also the people we tend to write off as fruitcakes in the dustbin of history rather than any serious religion! :) (Survival of the fittest?)

    • And by virtue of believing there is divine guidance in the evolutionary plan, would that not constitute “engineering” by the same terms?

      Yes –but macro-evolution doesn’t, in the end, allow for intelligent design. It’s a “god of the gaps,” game; the more you can show happened through the process, the less God actually does. Even if you “allow” God to create species through the evolutionary process, you’ve still, in the end, destroyed God.

      Going back to my idea of living a good life and following the “golden rules” that many religions independently corroborate regardless of and perceived requirement.

      Why should we trust the consensus of current and former religions as “correct,” given they are all invented by men? Because the majority should win? Who says? What if a better armed minority contests the vote of the poorly armed majority (as has happened many times in history)? There is a huge difference between “socially acceptable standards,” and absolute standards of morality. You just can’t get from majority rules, or might makes right, or what my reason tells me, or what society accepts, to anything like a “proper living.” You can’t find a point of reference on a pitching deck.

      Again, go through the good book (or any particular texts) that were written several thousand years ago and look at which details have been either rewritten, removed or otherwise “reinterpreted” in order to converge with the common socially acceptable behaviors of any society at any time.

      Again, this completely misconstrues the record of the Bible, specifically. There is a complete area of study called “textual criticism” that proves, pretty much without doubt, that the words written in the Bible today are within 1% of the same words written by the original authors in each case. Nothing’s been “rewritten.” As for “re-interpreted,” well, humans make mistakes. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a truth we should try to reach, and there isn’t a standard of truth, a revelation from God, that we should delve into to find that truth.

      I didn’t say they WERE the same. I said when you boil them down (that means stripping out the nit-picky detail variants) and look at overall concepts (sometimes even some specifics) you’ll find similarities in them. Hence “pretty much the same thing”.

      RIP and BGP are the same when you boil them down and strip out the nit-picky detail variants. They both have three letters in their initialisms, for instance. :-) The reality is they are the same only in that they all answer the same questions; the answers they provide to those questions are completely different.

  • […] You might have noticed this post about how evolution is dangerous, and the running conversation about morality, and the impossibility of morality without some notion of an outside absolute standard —which generally means some form of god, and hence religion. To follow up on that post, I’ll bring to bear a couple of quotes by noted evolutionists about the theory of evolution, and its interaction with moral codes. In this first quote, the key words are: Right is irrelevant. There is only what works and what doesn’t work, within context, in biologically adaptive terms. […]