Re: [asa] Creationists for genocide

From: Jack Haas <haas.john@comcast.net>
Date: Sat Aug 25 2007 - 14:45:18 EDT

Some more fuel for this fire will appear on TV this weekend courtesy of
D. James Kennedy...

This groundbreaking documentary from Dr. Kennedy and Coral Ridge
Ministries, looks into the chilling social impact of Darwin's theory of
evolution -- and the mounting evidence that Darwin had it wrong on the
origin of life.

This 60 minute special featuring Ann Coulter, author of /Godless/;
Richard Weikart, author of /From Darwin to Hitler/, Lee Strobel, author
of /The Case for a Creator/; Jonathan Wells, author of /Icons of
Evolution/; Phillip Johnson, author of /Darwin on Trial/; Michael Behe,
author of /Darwinís Black Box/, and Ian Taylor, author of /In the Minds
of Men/ will show why evolution is a bad idea that should be discarded
into the dustbin of history.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jack Haas

David Opderbeck wrote:
> Thanks for giving the link. It demonstrates that Avalos doesn't
> understand Christian ethics or Christian history -- or for that
> matter, ethics and history in general.
> For example, Avalos says this:
>
> /Christianity is actually founded on moral relativism that is even
> more chaotic than secular systems of ethics. Ephesians 2:15 tells
> us this about what Christ did to the Law of Moses: "by abolishing
> in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might
> create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making
> peace." In fact, from a traditional Jewish viewpoint, Christianity
> is founded on systematically destroying God's laws as revealed to
> Moses, and so speaking of a Judeo-Christian tradition is also akin
> to speaking of a Capitalist-Marxist tradition. /
>
> If Avalos weren't so serious about this, it would almost be amusing
> that he engages in the same sort of willy-nilly proof-texting as
> religious fundamentalists. There are many ways to understand the
> relationship between the Gospel and the Law, but no responsible
> Christian interpreter is as antinomian as Avalos is here. At the very
> least, Avalos seems to be ignorant of the many rich streams of
> Christian thought that wrestle with the Gospel-Law relationship in
> ways that are not in any sense relativistic or antinomian. I wonder,
> for example, if Avalos has read Frank Thielman's recent study "Paul
> and the Law" ( http://tinyurl.com/2jgm7k). Indeed, I wonder if Avalos
> is aware of the depth of the entire Christian tradition on the
> Gospel-Law relationship. Somehow, I doubt it.
> This is only one of the many clunkers and recycled chestnuts in
> Avalos' article. As another example, he picks on R.A. Torrey -- who is
> not even a contemporary creationist of the sort Avalos supposedly is
> doing battle -- for the following statement:
>
> /Even today I could almost wish that all the babies born into
> families of wicked influence might be slain in infancy, were it
> not for the hope that some concerned Christian will carry to them
> the saving gospel of the Son of God. /
>
> In context, Torrey is trying to understand the OT's "holy war"
> passages, and is suggesting that perhaps in some sense it was better
> for some of the Canaanite infants to die young rather than to be
> raised in a context in which they would surely have worshipped Baal.
> We can reasonably debate whether Torrey's approach to these passages
> is a good one, but notice that, contrary to Avalos' argument, Torrey
> is not in any way advocating abortion, infanticide, or genocide. Even
> the out-of-context- quote Avalos provides makes clear that Torrey is
> /not/ advocating infanticide, but rather is expressing the hope that
> concerned Christians will share the gospel with everyone.
> Moreover, none of this has anything at all to do with Torrey's views
> about creation. What Avalos is really arguing here is that any view
> that incorporates the perspective of an afterlife is morally
> abominable. This, again, is an old atheist chestnut -- the promise
> and/or threat of an afterlife makes people less attentive to things in
> this life, less sensitive to suffering, etc. And again, it's a
> fundamentalist-style argument that relies on extremes. True, some
> people who believe in an afterlife use that belief to justify or
> support evil actions. But, as an empirical matter, it simply isn't
> true that all, most, or even an appreciable percentage of the
> afterlife-believing population do anything of the sort. Indeed, the
> evidence might suggest that belief in an afterlife can encourage
> people to act /more/ compassionately in this life. And of course,
> many, many atrocities have been perpetrated by people who believed
> their actions in this life carry no repurcussions for them beyond the
> grave.
> As one last example of Avalos' embarassingly shallow treatment, take a
> look at the summary tables at the end of his article. Avalos compares
> Nazi ideology and the Bible as follows:
>
> Nazi Ideology
> Anti-Judaism YES YES
> Homosexuality condemned YES YES
> Genealogical purity demanded YES YES
> Life unequal in value YES YES
> Whole groups devalued YES YES
> Genocide permissible YES YES
>
>
> He claims this table applies not only to the holy war passages in the
> OT, but to the whole Bible, including the NT. Of course, he makes no
> effort at all to understand how Jews and Christians actually read and
> understand scripture. His is a kind of cherry-picking literalism that
> not even the most fundamentalist of Christian exegetes would employ.
> With regard to the Christian understanding of the Bilbe, he completely
> ignores the primacy of the Cross, and he seems blind to the socially
> leveling influence that Christianity has actually had in history.
> With regard to the Jewish understanding of the Bible, one can only
> describe Avalos' tables as alternating between incoherent and
> anti-semitic. Let's be clear about what Avalos is saying concerning
> the Jewish scriptures and, by implication, the Jewish tradition that
> is based on those scriptures: he is arguing that Judaism is equivalent
> to Nazism! Let that really sink in if you are at all tempted to think
> Avalos' approach here is reasonable.
> Avalos' concluding paragraph is a fitting summary for this mess of an
> essay. He says:
>
> Creationist ethics are based on the whims and claims of people who
> tell us they know what God wants. Scientific ethics, as imperfect
> as they may be, at least can demand verifiable evidence that
> violence in self-defense is necessary. Theistic violence, on the
> other hand, often relies on the unverifiable belief that a
> supernatural being said we had to sacrifice human life.
>
> It's hard to know where to begin with a passage like this. Avalos
> seems to equate "creationist ethics" with some radical form of divine
> command theory tied to an even more radical interpretive framework
> that would allow for random prophetic utterances without any normative
> framework. Once again, Avalos displays his ignorance of the variations
> of religious ethics, which often incorporate at least some limited
> type of natural theology in addition to the divine command. Avalos
> further ignores the idea that the divine command itself, in the
> Christian tradition, is not given at the whims of some people at any
> point in history, but is normed by the commands and actions of Christ
> -- in particular by the Cross -- and by the canonical scriptures.
> Avalos' notion of "scientific ethics" in this concluding paragraph is
> equally baffling. There is no serious, sustained school of thought
> concerning "scientific ethics." There are some interesting, recent
> proposals concerning how evolution might have conditioned ethical
> thinking, but no ethicists, religious or secular, outside of perhaps a
> very small minority of die-hard reductionistic materialists, conceive
> of ethics as a science of the same sort as, say, physics or microbiology.
> In fact, if Avalos' notion of "scientific ethics" is correct, then not
> only religious ethics, but /every/ system of ethics employed by /all/
> people throughout /all /of human history must be scrapped. Not just
> divine command theory and natural law ethics, but also eudaimonistic
> virtue ethics, consequentialism, and social contract theory must go by
> the boards, because /all/ of them involve normative judgments that are
> not reducible to falsificationist "science." And that, at the end of
> the day, is Avalos' real argument -- an argument in favor of a
> reductionistic materialism and against anything that stands in its way.
>
> On 8/25/07, *PvM* <pvm.pandas@gmail.com <mailto:pvm.pandas@gmail.com>>
> wrote:
>
> Aha, I notice that I forgot to add the link to the complete article.
> What I posted was just the introduction
>
> http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Genocide.cfm
>
> I apologize for the omission
>
> On 8/25/07, PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com
> <mailto:pvm.pandas@gmail.com>> wrote:
> > I was somewhat surprised to read about the seven steps by Luther.
> > Furthermore, David's response seems to do a disservice to Avalos's
> > arguments. Is ad hominem the only response possible here?
> >
> > On 8/25/07, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com
> <mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com>> wrote:
> > > It seems to me that Avalos and his other atheist
> fundamentalists are
> > > out-fundamentalist-ing the religious fundamentalists.
> Apparently, anyone
> > > who rejects the Dawkins line that God as portrayed in the OT
> is merely
> > > petty, mean, etc., must be a supporter of genocide. Rubbish.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 8/25/07, Michael Roberts < michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk
> <mailto:michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>> wrote:
> > > > A quickie response.
> > > >
> > > > I have never been impressed with the alleged bloodline
> running from Darwin
> > > > to Hitler, and from what I have picked up about Wiekart I am not
> > > impressed.
> > > >
> > > > Historical attitudes by Christians to others over history
> have often been
> > > > wicked eg Luther on Jews and many others.
> > > >
> > > > However a quick look at Avalos indicates an equally
> unimpressive argument.
> > > > To say Torrey (a TE not a creationist) Safarti and Craig
> support genocide
> > > > is not accurate as they were seeking to understand the OT.
> > > >
> > > > I haven't time to do more.
> > > >
> > > > Michael
> > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > From: "PvM" <pvm.pandas@gmail.com
> <mailto:pvm.pandas@gmail.com> >
> > > > To: "AmericanScientificAffiliation" <asa@calvin.edu
> <mailto:asa@calvin.edu>>
> > > > Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2007 6:01 AM
> > > > Subject: [asa] Creationists for genocide
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > > Professor Hector Avalos, Professor of Religious Studies at
> Iowa State
> > > > > University has recently finished "Creationists for
> genocide" which
> > > > > explores the link between ethics, the holocaust, Darwinism
> and Luther.
> > > > > An interesting reading with some challenging positions.
> > > > >
> > > > > <quote>
> > > > > One understands nothing about creationism unless one
> understands that
> > > > > it is meant to be a system of ethics. That is why the
> assault on
> > > > > evolution has always included a lengthy history of moral
> judgments
> > > > > against evolution. Perhaps none of these judgments has
> been more
> > > > > accusatory than the idea that Darwinism led to the
> Holocaust. Such an
> > > > > idea is trumpeted in many creationist venues, including
> books and
> > > > > blogs. A prime example of this accusation today is found
> in Richard
> > > > > Weikart's From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics,
> Eugenics, and
> > > > > Racism in Germany (2004).[1] Weikart is a member of the
> Discovery
> > > > > Institute who has devoted his career to elucidating the
> supposed
> > > > > immoral consequences of evolution.
> > > > >
> > > > > For Weikart, the materialistic basis of evolutionary theory is
> > > > > responsible for the devaluation of human life in general. In
> > > > > particular, the idea of the survival of the fittest leads
> to the
> > > > > devaluation or extermination of those considered "unfit"
> in society.
> > > > > Death becomes a good thing insofar as it helps the species
> rid itself
> > > > > of unfit organisms. The principal goal of all such
> anti-evolutionary
> > > > > moral arguments is to show that creationism, especially in its
> > > > > Judeo-Christian form, is a superior moral system.
> > > > >
> > > > > Aside from exposing the historical flaws found in the work
> of Weikart,
> > > > > this essay demonstrates that the defense of genocide,
> infanticide and
> > > > > "eugenics" by creationists actually has a very venerable
> and lengthy
> > > > > tradition that precedes Darwin. In fact, the most blatant
> defenses of
> > > > > genocide ever penned are still to be found among
> creationists. Some of
> > > > > these defenders of genocide include Reuben A. Torrey, the
> famed
> > > > > fundamentalist apologist, William Lane Craig, Jonathan
> Sarfati, an
> > > > > Australian Young-Earth creationist with a Ph.D. in
> chemistry, and
> > > > > Glenn Miller, an American business executive who fancies
> himself to be
> > > > > a biblical scholar.[2]
> > > > > </quote>
> > > > >
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> > > > >
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> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>
>

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Received on Sat Aug 25 14:45:35 2007

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