Re: statement on creationism?

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@uncwil.edu)
Mon, 29 Nov 1999 09:19:47 -0500

>From: IN%"WITTERSJ@ESUVM.EMPORIA.EDU" "jeff witters" 24-NOV-1999
12:51:38.35
>To: IN%"asa@calvin.edu"
>CC:
>Subj: *Re: statement on creationism?
>

>On Wed, 24 Nov 1999, Moorad Alexanian wrote:
>
>>I can imagine an evolutionist telling his kids that they are
>>related to monkeys and then insist his/her children abide to
>>moral/ethical behavior.
>
>>Evolutionary theory is totally different. It deals with the
>>emergence of life from non-living matter. For those all
>>"moral/ethical" choices must be based on matter and what we
>>consider the spiritual is pure nonsense!
>
>Moorad,
>
>While I would be the last person to agree with the people you
>have described, I do not think we further our cause much by
>gross oversimplifications. I have known people who DO base
>their moral/ethical decisions upon "evolutionary theory,"
>although it might be better described as a rationalization of
>actions. To caricature their stance as deriving a basis for
>moral actions from vague "emergence from life" and being
>"related to monkeys" is to invite summary dismissal of anything
>else we might have to say. Their lie is much more complex than
>that, though still a lie in the end.

Dear Jeff,

It is clear that anyone who uses evolutionary theory as a philosophical
basis for everything to that person what we call "morality" can be derived,
in the mathematical sense, from the philosophical extension of evolutionary
theory. That clearly is not humanly possible. Therefore, they make further
assumptions that seem consistent with evolutionary theory. Such assumptions
are just as ad hoc as the assumptions Hitler made about the Jews, gypsies,
etc.

>Some take the nihilist approach because they see that nature
>gives no moral imperitives; thus, there is no "ought," only
>"is." However, they still live with "oughts," but without any
>justification.
>
>More commonly, others take their inspiration from sociobiology/
>evolutionary behaviorism. Here, behavior is more or less
>adaptive, and "good" and "evil" may be used simply for their
>connotive power. From studying behavior, its consequences, and
>its motivation (ie, "selfish genes") in other creatures, we have
>found that the interaction of survival (presumed to mean
>positively disproportionate contribution to genetic complement
>of next generation) and actions is a dizzyingly complex picture.
>From this is derived the evolutionary explanation for altruism,
>and a host of other "moral/ethical" appearing actions.

I think what one gets from such thoughts is "do unto others before they do
it onto you."

>Of course, to actually understand how these work for a particular
>behavior or set of behaviors for a group of organisms takes much
>time and mental resources. So, in the end, the evolutionary
>"moralist" justifies his/her actions by what would be even
>_scientifically_ invalid extrapolations from the vast body of
>literature on animal behavior and evolutionary ecology. There is
>really no end to the fun that these debunkers seem to have (take
>a look at issues of Skeptic). Their rationalizations, in my
>experience, are built on a complex base, but are quite shallow
>when it comes to withstanding much clear-headed probing.

Very well said!

>Does this of itself invalidate evolution? No more than the
>usefulness of a hammer for construction is invalidated because
>some would use it for _destruction._
>
>Just some thoughts.
>
>Grace and peace be with you. Jeff

I actually view evolutionary theory as a working scientific hypothesis and
as such I have no qualms. But the statements made by some evolutionists goes
way beyond that as Phil Johnson has been writing in all his books.

In the love of Christ,

Moorad