Re: Darwinism/Compassion

From: george murphy (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 07:36:30 EST

  • Next message: Loren Haarsma: "Re: Methodological Naturalism" wrote:

    > In a message dated 02/20/2002 10:24:43 AM Pacific Standard Time,
    > writes:
    > << > Lucy responds:
    > >
    > > I have never held the popular opinion that "social Darwinism" or
    > > "survival of the fittest" was in any way cruel or inhumane. Because of
    > > this, I have also not had philosophical difficulties accepting that God
    > > would design a system that seemingly works this way.
    > >
    > > the long run, it is much more humane and compassionate to
    > > have some humans lose their lives so that others may not only live but
    > > may live well. In the movies this is presented as heroic, but in
    > > biology we somehow depict the process as inhumane. So, we can take a
    > > small population of starving people and feed them, and forty years later
    > > we end up with millions of starving people - because they reproduced and
    > > still live on non-arable land.
    > Mt.14:15-17 & its sequel are germane here. The attitude of the
    > disciples is "We can't see how to feed these people with our limited
    > resources so we're not going to try." One implication (certainly not the
    > only one) of the story is that we should do the best we have to care for
    > people's needs with the resources we have & leave it to God to determine
    > success.
    > I am skeptical that this passage has much if any relevance for social
    > questions. Jesus is not aiming even indirectly at teaching the disciples to
    > do the best they can with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. He is setting up a
    > problem that teaches them to look to HIM. It is above all a Messianic sign.
    > I am delighted time and again with your many comments that take us back to a
    > Christocentric viewpoint. Permit me this once to take you back.

    Paul - Please note the way I qualified my suggestion above. Social justice
    issues certainly aren't the main point of the story but Jesus does say first,
    "You give them [_dote autois humeis_] something to eat."
            It's not necessary to make a choice between a christocentric viewpoint
    and social justice. "He who has once realised that God was made man cannot
    speak and act inhumanly" (Barth).



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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