RE: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (racism)

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Thu May 07 2009 - 10:32:11 EDT

"Ethics, well, they just 'don't evolve' in so far as they are not biological or otherwise 'natural' things."

All of these ethics have evolved (changed for the better):
-- Slavery (was universally condoned, now shunned by developed nations)
-- Women's rights (equal pay for equal work, for example)
-- Minority rights (for African Americans, as an example)

That's a small listing. Another huge category is Military operations. Example: carpet-bombing a city was a natural tool of war- now it is denounced as immoral (replaced with "surgical strikes"). Notice the negative connotation of WMD... probably used to be good as a show of strength, as "we have WMD's, don't mess with us!"

You can't put religion in science because there is no common understanding of religion. There are different religions, and different flavors within religions (Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, etc.). There's also no way to measure anything with religion, because it is super-natural (it has to be natural to measure).


From: [] On Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 3:48 AM
To: ASA; Murray Hogg
Subject: Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (racism)

I haven't followed this thread at all, but was curious to peek when the word 'racism' came up.

Then, checking another post, I discovered this:

"BTW, the issue of cultural development & ethics is one about which Gregory could make a useful contribution if he'd be a good shoemaker & stick to his last."

While I'm glad to hear that George thinks I can make a 'useful contribution' in this area, I don't think my response is going to please him too much either. This is because it is anti-TE in so far as TE justifies an over-reaching definition of evolution in the academy. I am glad that George chose the word 'development' to go with the adjective 'cultural' because to use the terms 'cultural evolution' would have more directly drawn my opposition. It would be helpful if those who call themselves TEs or ECs would pause for a moment in terms of categories that exceed natural sciences, which are the main sciences that are spoken about on this list.

Ethics, well, they just 'don't evolve' in so far as they are not biological or otherwise 'natural' things.

In my current home field, sociology, the triad of super-categories, "Class, Race (or Ethnicity) and Gender" is common in North American institutions of higher ed. This triad, however, is not a global phenomenon, as for example was indicated by a Commission headed by the well-known historian-sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein:

"For a large number of non-Western social scientists, the distinction between the political, the religious, and the scientific does not seem entirely reasonable or valid." (Open the Social Sciences, 1996: 88)

To Murray's point about 'more evolved' not belonging in an intra-human context, unfortunately, the history of the social sciences does not bear out this perspective. The ideology of 'evolutionism' has been applied to suggest that Africans are indeed 'less evolved' than say Swedes or Danes. 'Less evolved' here means cutural *and* biological, like the 'co-evolutionists' might sugggest today (and like Dobzhansky and Huxley argued during the forming of the 'modern synthesis'). 20th century anthropology (e.g. Boas), however, rejected the linear process of human-social evolution.

Nevertheless, the ideas of 'primitive,' 'barbaric' and 'savage' are still in some ways with us. Now the terms are applied, though nevertheless rarely, to issues that centre on 'complexity' - i.e. if a society is more complex, then it is considered more 'evolved' or more 'civilised.' Doesn't almost everyone on this list think that the United States of America is one of the most 'civilised' nation-states in the world (Talcott Parsons, the 'great' American sociologist would certainly back you if you thought this)?

Again, referring to the Gulbenkian Commission, headed by Wallerstein:
"The classification of the social sciences was constructed around two antinomies which no longer command the wide support they once enjoyed: the antinomy between past and present, and the antinomy between idiographic and nomothetic disciplines. A third antinomy, that between the civilized and the barbaric world, has few public defenders anymore, but in practice still inhabits the mentalities of many scholars." (196: 95)

As for making a contribution, it is a basic one to suggest that the term 'development' is more appropriate than 'evolution' in most cases of discussing human-social change. Development is human-intended change, whereas 'evolution' is non-intentional, i.e. without meaning or purpose, based purely on enviromental factors, dehumanised. 'Evolution' best refers only to the biological changes in humanity that happen in various societies, which we now know account for only a very small part of the overall changes in human society.
So when it comes to speaking about racism, the argument of 'more' or 'less' evolved would be a telling one for theistic evolutionists to come forward and outright deny its legitimacy. Here would be a case, where people on this list could step up to the question I asked over a year ago about 'things that don't evolve.'

Back to my dissertation within 7 days of pre-defense.


--- On Thu, 5/7/09, Murray Hogg <> wrote:
From: Murray Hogg <>
Subject: Re: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (racism)
To: "ASA" <>
Received: Thursday, May 7, 2009, 2:45 AM

Dehler, Bernie wrote:

> if the first humans came from Africa, that means Africans are lower on the

evolutionary scale

An evolutionary chart for humans would not show Caucasians as more evolved

descendants of modern-day Africans. Rather it would show that both groups are

evolved from a common ancestor.

It's that common ancestor who would be lower on the evolutionary scale.


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Received on Thu May 7 10:33:02 2009

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