[Fwd: RE: Darwinism/Compassion]

From: Lucy Masters (masters@cox-internet.com)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 18:49:44 EST

  • Next message: Jan de Koning: "Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: Re: Darwinism/Compassion]]"

    Adrian: I love your email system and wish I could "do" colors the way
    you do. But I can't (to differentiate my responses), so I'll have to
    just bundle everything up here.

    (1) I don't have a problem arguing that human death is **NOT** evil.
     Ask some of our patients who are stuck in hospital beds in severe pain
    or stuck in wheelchairs paralyzed from the neck down - sometimes even
    worse than that. To them, death would be the greatest of God's blessings.
    (2) Unfortunately, death rates do not go up as populations expand.
     This is how we ended up with 6.5 billion people on the planet.
    (3) Yes..we can and did predict outcomes. The United Nations is chock
    full of thousands of reports from numerous scientific sources
    foretelling the population disaster we would create if we began feeding
    programs in third world countries **in the absence of a quid pro quo.**
     That is to say, in the absence of birth control. We (scientists) also
    predicted the crisis that would be brought on by the mass utilization of
    antibiotics, the building of the Aswan High Dam, and any number of other
    interventions designed to respond to an "immediate" need.
    (4) "Non-intervention in the face of reason" is exactly what I'm
    talking about. In the name of God, Christianity, kindness, and so on,
    we intervene in situations with predictable crisis-level outcomes. Now
    why would we knowingly create hell on earth in the name of God?


    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: RE: Darwinism/Compassion
    Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 09:03:43 -0800
    From: Adrian Teo <ateo@whitworth.edu>
    To: 'Lucy Masters' <masters@cox-internet.com>, asa@calvin.edu

    Hello Lucy,

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Lucy Masters [mailto:masters@cox-internet.com]
        Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 12:53 PM
        To: Adrian Teo
        Subject: Re: Darwinism/Compassion


        Yes - I agree that we must always weigh and balance means and ends.
         But I also believe, especially in the area of biology, that we must
        consider the "nature" of creation (I almost hate to use the word
        "nature"). In other words, it appears that God did, in fact, design
        the human body to die in certain circumstances. In your analysis,
        death is automatically considered an evil. But is it?

        [AT] My point was not that means and ends need to be balanced - that
        would be proportionalism, which I do not agree with. I believe in
        moral absolutes, that there are some acts that are intrinsically
        evil under all conditions. The starting point for any moral
        deliberation should be the object of the act. Having said that, I do
        consider HUMAN death evil. I think that is much of what the NT
        authors were trying to communicate, that death is the final enemy,
        and will be conquered, not through our own strength, but through
        Christ. I don't see how one can argue that human death is not evil
        and reconcile that argument with Scripture.

        Prior to modern transportation and communications, for example, an
        indigenous tribe in an undeveloped land might experience, indeed did
        experience, a certain level of death by starvation in relation to
        the number of people born and the amount of arable land and potable
        water. Now, those deaths were surely sad events. On the other
        hand, by experiencing that relatively low death rate (and it was
        relatively low according to any number of texts on population
        dynamics), these tribes were able to survive with remaining healthy
        individuals who were relatively free of disease - in large numbers.

        Then along comes transportation and communication and folks around
        the world decide that the death rate currently being experienced
        (say, around 1955) is "evil" and must be stopped. And so we begin
        feeding programs. Fifty years later, the death rate has soared
        exponentially as have numerous diseases and epidemics directly
        related to over-crowding and insanitary conditions. In this
        scenario, we did "good" in order to get rid of an "evil" and end up
        with an even greater evil.
        [AT] Isn't it the case that as population expands, death rates would
        also go up?

        In the scenario I presented, we do "evil" (if that's what you want
        to call non-intervention) and end up with a fairly healthy and
        balanced population without the epidemics associated with over
        population. AND...the scenario I present is that granted to us
        through the systems of creation. I would go so far as to say that
        God intended it to be this way.

        [AT] We can never predict such outcomes. Nobody within reason could
        have known the outcomes of those interventions at that point. Our
        responsibility is to do what is right given our limited knowledge,
        and trust in God's graces. In hindsight, it is always easier to see
        how we could have done differently.

        I do see your point, most definitely, but I also wonder about our
        use of the words "evil" and "good." Is non-intervention really
        evil? If it is, is God evil? He certainly doesn't intervene.

        [AT] Non-intervention isn't always evil, but non-intervention in the
        face of reason that tells us we should act is. How can we sit by and
        do nothing when our fellow human beings are suffering and dying of
        starvation? We are not called to save the world (that job has
        already been taken), but we are called to bring some measure of
        comfort and God's love to the people put in our paths.

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