Logic v Intelligent Design: Dawkins “Darwinism leads to Fascism”

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On UcD, BarryA claims that “Dawkins: “Darwinism Leads to Fascism””

As irksome as Richard Dawkins can sometimes be, one must nevertheless admire his occasional outbursts of honesty. Over at First Things Fr. Ed Oakes refers to an interview Dawkins gave to an Austrian newspaper, Die Presse (July 30, 2005), in which he said: “No decent person wants to live in a society that works according to Darwinian laws. … A Darwinian society would be a fascist state.”

That’s like saying that a Quantum Mechanical society would be an anarchy. I hope that those better versed in logic than our Intelligent Design defender, understands the difference between “A Darwinian society would be a fascist state” and “Darwinism leads to Fascism”?

Kids, you be warned, this is your brain on Intelligent Design…

And what about the ellipsis?

The actual article in German

In “The Ancestor’s Tale” nennen Sie den Wohlfahrtsstaat eine “Herausforderung an den Darwinismus”. Wie kann man diese Herausforderung rechtfertigen?

In “the Ancestor’s Tale” you mention the Welfare State as a challenge to Darwinism. How can one justify this challenge”

Dawkins: Kein anständiger Mensch will in einer Gesellschaft leben, die nach darwinistischen Gesetzen funktioniert. Ich bin leidenschaftlicher Darwinist, wenn es darum geht zu erklären, wie sich das Leben entwickelt hat. Aber ich bin leidenschaftlicher Anti-Darwinist, wenn es darum geht, in welcher Form von Gesellschaft wir leben wollen. Eine darwinistische Gesellschaft wäre ein faschistischer Staat.

Dawkins: No self respecting person would want to live in a Society that operates according to Darwinian laws. I am an passionate Darwinist, when it involves explaining the development of life. However, I am a passionate anti-Darwinist when it involves the kind of society in which we want to live. A Darwinian State would be a Fascist state.

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78 Comments

Well, yeah, duh, he’s talking about two different concepts – biological evolution and “social Darwinism” are two completely different things and have nothing to do with each other.

And he explains this in the part that was omitted from the quote (…) Par for the course…

The logical fallacy is that we can take moral lessons from nature. After all, if all of nature is designed by God and God only creates good things, then maybe we should learn how God wants us to live from what we see in nature. Unfortunately, once this mentality becomes engrained, it becomes very difficult to break. Thus, when it is pointed out that nature isn’t designed by any intelligence, some people still can’t help but insist that we should learn moral lessons from nature.

As for the “no decent person would want to live in a socirty that…” argument. Well, no decent person would want to live in a society where brood parastiism, endoparasitism, hyper vampireism, sibling infantacide, etc. are common place as they are in nature. Also, no decent person would want to live in a society where holy wars, jihads, crusades, witch hunts, inquisitions and genocides are committed in the name of religion. If you want to learn moral lessons, history is a good place to start.

“when the involves explaining the development of life”- my German isn’t very good, but I think that should read “when that” rather than “when the”.

“when it involves”, thanks for the proof reading.

What’s interesting is that this particularly obtuse attack seems best understood as part of the social Darwinism that Dawkins opposes. Just use any weapon that you have. If you’re out of sharp-witted commentary (seems to be a constant at UD), then you utilize blunt confusion and distortion.

Whatever works for your side is the de facto ID theistic position, on the forums at least. While any civil society, including scientific society, depends upon muting the Darwinian struggle where might makes right, and science is to be legislated.

In other words, the authoritarian tendencies and gross dishonesty of BarryA and UD as a whole is the social Darwinism that Dawkins opposes, and which could lead to fascism (at least according to Dawkins). Are they deliberately adopting the tactic of telling the Big Lie, or do these people pick up on that tactic on their own?

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

To follow up on David Stanton’s observations:

If the human body is designed by “intelligent designers”, then it was designed to be just another mammal. There is no doubting that, as the only examples of “intelligent design” show that we share all our “designed” features with mammals in general: the eye, the immune system, the blood-clotting system. If we are purposefully designed that way, then we “ought” to follow the purposes of the designer(s), and we ought to “tell our kids that they should behave like animals.”

(The alternatives to the human body being purposefully designed to be just another animal: that the “intelligent designers” are just following the laws of nature; or that it is “just a matter of chance”, that there is no known reason for it. Of course, ID seems to be comfortable with “that’s the way it is” being as good an explanation as anything with details. But that’s another topic.)

The creationists not only seem to think that nature is a repository of moral lessons, following up on notions like “the lion is brave”, an idea that is practically paradigmatic of the difference between pre-scientific and scientific approaches, and, I dare say, precisely what the creationists (including, in particular, the ID advocates) want to blur.

Not only that, but the creationists agree with the “darwinists” on a critical point:

Evolution does occur within a species, in particular within Homo sapiens. The creationists have often insisted on telling us that they accept “micro”evolution, evolution within a “kind”, within “mankind”.

And the creationists differ from the “darwinists” on another critical point:

The creationists believe that intelligent, purposeful intervention is needed to stop evolution from becoming “devolution”. For, without guidance, they tell us, things will inevitably deteriorate.

These three points would be a prescription for the kind of society that Dawkins abhors. I don’t know why he calls it “darwinist”, for it would be much closer to being creationist - it would be, if creationists were more bothered by consistency.

Yeah, Barry A’s “logic” and the logic in his subsequent thread, is abyssmal. “

Barry says: “In the last sentence Dawkins asserts that Darwinian determinism is absolute. It is, therefore, incoherent for him to suggest that we can “rise above” our biological nature. For if he is correct then we are nothing but material objects dancing to DNA’s tune, and it makes no sense to suggest that an object can rise above itself.”

That’s utterly preposterous. Dawkins asserts nothing like “Darwinian determinism is absolute.” That’s as silly as the oft-repeated claim that “under Darwinian principles, you can’t even infer that you *should* rise above your nature, since there’s no normative component present” (Mathetes commenting in the same thread), i.e. that atheists lack any reason to be moral.

It’s no wonder the UDers behave in such an authoritarian fashion when they ban any opposing viewpoint. Flimsy comments like these couldn’t stand up in a debate with a high school freshman. They need to be protected.

It’s funny to watch the little brains at UD reinforce each others’ silly viewpoints with no one to oppose them. They slowly become more and more divorced from reality.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, social Darwinism doesn’t equal the ToE, Dawkins was quote-mined, and so on. But, gee whiz, why is Dawkins DOING this? He seems to go out of his way to hand the creationists material. Is he really that stupid, or is he getting something out of it? I shut up about The God Delusion, which I thought was pretty awful. (I mean, ‘delusion’??? Why not just call it, ‘Theists are Stupid and They Smell Bad’ if you want to insult people?)

But, really– Darwinian State? I’ve done graduate work in political science, and I’ve never heard that term in my life. It’s apparently something Dawkins made up. And if he doesn’t understand the social ramifications of it, he’s somewhere on the far side of dumb.

I think many creationists might actually agree with the hypothetical ridiculous example that a quantum theory society would be an anarchy. All the more reason to reject science for them. In a related trend, I know of at least one instance where a sermon was preached against “chaos theory” with the claim that it is the next step scientists are taking the world in their march toward hell on earth. Because, of course, chaos is synonymous for evil. These are people who have a deeply symbolic approach to life. It’s like Freudian interpretation except take out “sex” and substitute “The eternal battle between Good and Evil.” I think to counter their argument you can’t even use science and logic. I think we lose that argument because we don’t traffick in symbol and coincidence. Of course science never will resort to argument from symbols, so we’ll always lose.….

hoary puccoon:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, social Darwinism doesn’t equal the ToE, Dawkins was quote-mined, and so on. But, gee whiz, why is Dawkins DOING this? He seems to go out of his way to hand the creationists material. Is he really that stupid, or is he getting something out of it? I shut up about The God Delusion, which I thought was pretty awful. (I mean, ‘delusion’??? Why not just call it, ‘Theists are Stupid and They Smell Bad’ if you want to insult people?)

How can one avoid the quote mining by creationists? Blame Dawkins? What I hope to explore is how ID proponents quote mine and misunderstand Dawkins’ argument.

I’m so for pro-Darwinist society, that I even still have my wisdom teeth in my mouth. Only anti-Darwinists have them pulled out.

hoary puccoon: If you’ll look, first off, that quote is very old, actually older than the God Delusion.

Second off, the validity of anything else Dawkins does aside, his point in that quote is actually an excellent one: That we should never consider accepting the factual accuracy of biological evolution as being tantamount to endorsing it or adopting it as some kind of ideological system. The DI– who makes the error quite frequently of assuming that if society accepts the reality of Darwinism it will become a “darwinian society”– would do well to learn from this point. And I think Dawkins makes the point well. The only problem here was that the DI interpreted Dawkins’ “reject-the-naturalistic-fallacy” comment in the frame of their naturalistic-fallacy assumptions, thus producing an interpretation that had Dawkins saying basically the opposite of what he actually said. This at least is no one’s fault but the DI’s…

Now, what I am not sure about is the thing that prompted the interviewer to ask the question at all– why, in The Ancestors Tale, was Dawkins analyzing the welfare state in light of Darwinism in the first place? I haven’t read it, but it sounds there like Dawkins was not following his own advice (though of course I doubt the second-hand, translated paraphrase in the interviewer’s question gives one an accurate impression of what Dawkins said in The Ancestors’ Tale!).

There’s an interesting, related quote in The Selfish Gene. This was on page 3 of my copy:

“Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what are own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something which no other species has ever aspired to.”

An irony that hasn’t been noted - creationists themselves are authoritarian right wingers who favor harsh social policies. And in any other context, they’re constantly making the false claim that all science-supporters are “liberals”. (Although in reality, all creationists are right wingers but not all right wingers are creationists.) Active evolution deniers are overwhelmingly more likely than the general population to support the type of policies that are (inaccurately) termed “social Darwinism”.

Coin -

Second off, the validity of anything else Dawkins does aside, his point in that quote is actually an excellent one: That we should never consider accepting the factual accuracy of biological evolution as being tantamount to endorsing it or adopting it as some kind of ideological system.

I agree with that, but I kind of agree with Hoary Puccoon as well.

Ants are animals, ants are products of evolution, and all aspects of ant societies, including extensive cooperation and what humans perceive as individual “altruism”, are products of evolution. There is no “Darwinian Law” that says that individual animals can’t be members of a cooperative group. In fact, there is no such thing as “Darwinian Law” at all.

Humans are animals, humans are products of evolution, and all human social behaviors, whatever their ethical merits, from human sacrifice to sending manned spaceships to the moon, are equally products of evolution. Harsh, cruel social behavior is no more “Darwinian” than humane, progressive social behavior.

I don’t see how a “Darwinist” state would be fascist. Individual competition, taken to the extreme, would lead to an anarchist society.

Of course, humans naturally don’t just have individual competition, we also have group competition (kin selection), frequency-dependent selection, etc. All of those forces interacting is why we form societies and governments. So in fact, all human governments to one degree or another are the products of evolution via selection.

My original comment was apparently judged unsuitable for younger and more sensitive viewers. I’ll try again, in a more ladylike tone.

Ahem. Unless “Darwinian state” is recognized by political scientists as a synomnym for “fascist state,” Dawkins is way, way out of line, here. It’s one thing for him to spout off about his personal religious convictions. But it’s quite another to invent technical-sounding social science terms, and to present them as if they were accepted by the academic community.

Terms like capitalism or feudalism, for instance, may not be as tightly defined as amino acid or gene, but they do have meanings that political scientists have reached general agreements about. For Dawkins to invent a term like “Darwinian state” leaves the impression that he is using a technical term with an agreed-upon meaning. Worse, it will inevitably lead to the suspicion that “Darwinists” favor the establishment of a “Darwinian state.”

If Dawkins wants to blather to an interviewer about his personal political views, he has every right to do so. But he should not be using phony “technical” terms he invented, just to make himself sound more authoritative. That’s the kind of trick creationists use. A trained scientist should know better.

Glen Davidson:

What’s interesting is that this particularly obtuse attack seems best understood as part of the social Darwinism that Dawkins opposes. Just use any weapon that you have. If you’re out of sharp-witted commentary (seems to be a constant at UD), then you utilize blunt confusion and distortion.

Whatever works for your side is the de facto ID theistic position, on the forums at least. While any civil society, including scientific society, depends upon muting the Darwinian struggle where might makes right, and science is to be legislated.

In other words, the authoritarian tendencies and gross dishonesty of BarryA and UD as a whole is the social Darwinism that Dawkins opposes, and which could lead to fascism (at least according to Dawkins). Are they deliberately adopting the tactic of telling the Big Lie, or do these people pick up on that tactic on their own?

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

What’s wrong with Christians using everything we can in the war against the servants of Satan? Christians are ordained by God to have dominion over all the earth and have no obligation to respect the so-called “rights*” of Buddhists, pornographers or evolutionists!

So my original statement did get accepted.

Coin– I’ve read The Ancestor’s Tale, and re-read most of it. It’s a popular science book, in the best sense of the term. It is not blather about What Evolution Means in Our Modern World, or anything like that. It’s mostly about how closely related we are to other living things, and what our common ancestors might have looked like, with digressions about how science is done. Maybe I’ve forgotten something– it’s a long book– but I don’t see any connection to Dawkin’s “Darwinian society” or lack thereof.

PvM– Obviously, creationists will quote-mine anybody, and slant anything. They do it to the bible all the time, so why would they let up on the godless evilutionists? But that’s even more reason for Dawkins to be careful about what he says to a reporter.

Like it or not there was one man in history who didn’t just talk the Darwinian talk but walked the walk. He got rid of the “useless eaters” and tried to bring about a more evolved race, citing “survival of the fittest” frequently. But what, after all, was wrong with these ideas? It worked for our ancestors, right?

I’m with Reed. How is a welfare state not a “Darwinist” state? Is Dawkins saying that empathy and cooperation aren’t biological traits? Is he saying we aren’t social animals? What part of Darwinism requires fascism?

Oh, by the way, immediately after Dawkins made the “fascist state” comment, the interviewer asked if he meant something more like a radical “neoliberaler” state and Dawkins replied “Yes, there you are probably right.” Anybody know what “neoliberaler” means?

Surely, organized religion is the ultimate in fascism. We don’t call ourselves “free thinkers” for nothing! The late Paul Erdos, a brilliant mathematician, always referred to God as “The Supreme Fascist” and IMHO, Christopher Hitchins’ comparison of the Christian heaven with North Korea is right on the money.

These creatures make me sick. IF there’s one thing that REALLY shook my faith in religion (as opposed to God), it’s the way that the moral codes which bind and twist us as children/followers are gradually loosened by adults/the hierarchy to suit their own twisted purposes, while they and they alone (think they can) decide who shall receive forgiveness.

If I were dictator of the world, I’d be tempted to have them arrested and tortured for the crimes they commit, but it would be pointless because nothing I could arrange for them in the way of suffering beats what - in their own world-view (and I have to admit, in mine too) - will happen to them when they die.

The sad thing is that for those of their sheeplike followers who read the words of Hitchens, Myers and Dawkins, the only way out of the lie amounts to apostasy, which goes against their entire natures. This is mostly because years to decades of being what a friend of mine cleverly called “worsheep” has put their thinking into a concrete, literal, inflexible mould that cannot perceive anything except extremes. For them, the choice is either God, fellowship, worship and the lie of Creationism… or “the godlessness, scariness and chaos of Dawkins”. There IS a middle road (theist Darwinism/Old Universe cosmology), but their brainwashers, enslavers and controllers have taken from them the means of perceiving it.

Meanwhile their controllers continue to be able to lie to them, because to reject the lie is to be cast out from their church, their community, their friends and their life. That’s why so many of them don’t turn. What they have evolved into is a social symbiosis which offers support, but is quick to reject and offers little chance of succour once you are on the outer.

Christians are ordained by God to have dominion over all the earth and have no obligation to respect the so-called “rights*” of Buddhists, pornographers or evolutionists!

Technically god said that to the first Jews. Christianity came much later. Looks like you are out of luck. Report to the nearest Rabbi for orders.

What’s wrong with Christians using everything we can in the war against the servants of Satan?

You would be on the top of the list. Death cult Trolls like you are more likely to be satan’s slaves. Say hello to Falwell and Kennedy for me.

BTW, lies are merely immoral. Murder is illegal and you could join Paul Hill as executed by the state. There go your two customary tools.

Pole Greaser: What’s wrong with Christians using everything we can in the war against the servants of Satan? Christians are ordained by God to have dominion over all the earth and have no obligation to respect the so-called “rights*” of Buddhists, pornographers or evolutionists!

Ever hear of the saying “when you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy”? In other words, if you do not respect the rights of people who do not share your point of view, do not regard them as inhuman monsters of Satan, and clearly demonstrate that you do not hold your own holy laws in high regard, you, yourself, become an inhuman monster of Satan, and worse yet, a hypocrite. If you don’t believe me, then please tell me why people like Fred Phelps are regarded as “scum of the Earth”?

Pole wrote:

“What’s wrong with Christians using everything we can in the war against the servants of Satan? Christians are ordained by God to have dominion over all the earth and have no obligation to respect the so-called “rights*” of Buddhists, pornographers or evolutionists!”

So, you get your moral justification for lying and comdemning others from the Bible. Well, first of all, the Bible gives humans dominion over the earth, not just christians and it’s dominion over other living things not other humans. Somehow I doubt that Jesus would be pleased with the strategy of becoming one of the servants of satan in order to fight the servants of satan.

In the immortal words of Matt Dillion: “There’s a lot of words in that book you ain’t livin by.”

“How is a welfare state not a “Darwinist” state? Is Dawkins saying that empathy and cooperation aren’t biological traits? Is he saying we aren’t social animals? What part of Darwinism requires fascism?”

Sheesh. It’s a pretty simple point about social Darwinism. He’s saying that if we structured society to reflect Darwinian selection itself (prune the unfit to improve the pool, as the social Darwinists would have it), it would be a fascist state. He’s not talking about traits that are selected for.

It’s a pretty simple point about social Darwinism. He’s saying that if we structured society to reflect Darwinian selection itself (prune the unfit to improve the pool, as the social Darwinists would have it), it would be a fascist state. He’s not talking about traits that are selected for.

But our social structures are the outcome of our evolution as social organisms. All our societies are the result of and opperate in accordance with “Darwinian laws” – that’s my point. Humans are individually more fit when they are part of a mutually supportive society than they are as loners.

And Social Darwinism never was “Darwinist” (and never even existed – it’s purely a term of abuse you call your opponents). “Puning the unfit” isn’t “Darwinist,” its animal husbandry. If that’s what Dawkins’ point was, it still doesn’t make any sense.

I agree with John Pieret. I’m disappointed with how Dawkins seems to use a definition of “Darwinism” guaranteed to delight creationists. Instead of saying that we should rise above our Darwinian instincts, he should say in his books and in interviews that our desire to be kind and to help others are among our most valuable Darwinian instincts, even if those “instincts” come from cultural training. After all, culture has been an important part of our recent evolution. Plus Dawkins and a few posters here are using an overly narrow meaning of fitness. For humans, fitness doesn’t just mean how crafty or physically strong we are. It also includes our ability to work together so the whole society prospers, including the weak and mentally challenged. Hitler forgot this larger meaning of fitness to the sorrow of millions, and his awful social structure was eventually eliminated. In Iraq today, cunning and strength are almost everything, and that has led to the exodus of hundreds of thousands, the opposite of a healthy society.

If Darwinian struggle really means that “we should behave like animals”, then the nest task would be to choose our model animals. There seems to be a lot of variety in animal behavior. Moreover, co-operation appears to be a wide spread pattern, and includes altruism. I wonder, why is it so? Could it be that co-operation, instead of continuous struggle, might simply be a better strategy for survival?

Male lions do kill infants to have a better opportunity to spread their own genes. That is perfectly all right according to lion’s moral. Not all animals do that. There is no need for humans to act similarly.

Moral views are deeply rooted in evolution. Our tribal heritage includes both co-operation within the tribe and warfare against other tribes. Most existing moral codes, religious or otherwise, accept killing and war on special – not so well defined - occasions.

Regards

Eric

Raging Bee:

While Christians are exhorted to be compassionate and merciful, we are only obligated to be so when we have power.

Where in the Bible does it say that, exactly? Nowhere, of course – Greaser is just making this sort of thing up to prop up his own blind bigotry.

Read the book of Amos … the sins of Israel include mistreatment of the poor, widows, orphans, and aliens. You might also take a look at Matthew 25:31-46 and Luke 10:25-37. However, the obligation to be compassionate and merciful holds at all times, regardless of who is in power. Pole Greaser’s statement is not an accurate representation of the Gospel as I read it and hear it preached, and I, as a Christian, find it offensive.

Thus endeth the troll feeding.

Why do people always talk about the ‘Dark side’ of evolution? (even Dawkins, who should know better). Of course, evolution made creatures who eat, strangle, fight and slaughter each other, but the same process of evolution also made love, affection, friendship and even moral feelings possible.

Eric:

Moral views are deeply rooted in evolution. Our tribal heritage includes both co-operation within the tribe and warfare against other tribes. Most existing moral codes, religious or otherwise, accept killing and war on special – not so well defined - occasions.

It may be necessary for our survival for us to expand our concept of ‘tribe’.

It may be necessary for our survival for us to expand our concept of ‘tribe’.

Which a lot of humans have been doing for some time, to our benefit. Notice how the most prosperous nations are the most unified?

GvlGeologist, FCD:

I don’t know whether to laugh or be horrified by Pole/Ploe Greaser.

Either he’s totally nuts, or he’s fakin’ it. I’m leaning towards thinking that he’s faking it. If he’s really sincere, he really needs help.

I do (just in case he’s sincere) want to comment on one of his last comments:

When Christians rule this country,…

Let’s see… President Bush. Check.

By far the majority of Congress. Check.

By far the majority of the Supreme Court. Check.

What went wrong?

What’s wrong is they are distracted by the siren song of evolutionism. They are too busy attempting to impose secular order in Iraq when the real enemy is right at home. The great Man of God Kent Hovind sits in prison while Christopher Hitchens roams free to scorn and mock our risen Savior and those who love him! It’s time Christians have the dominion God ordained for us to have!

What’s wrong is they are distracted by the siren song of evolutionism.

WATERLOOOOOO!!!!

you’re not seriously thinking that someone with the handle “pole greaser” is doing anything but trolling you, do you?

If you actually had a functioning brain, parody or not, Pole Greaser, you would realize that Kent Hovind is in prison because he used his faith as an excuse not to pay taxes, in effect, that, because he is a “citizen of God, and not the United States of America,” Mr Hovind felt that he should be allowed to make money in the United States, along with all of the privileges of being a US citizen, without being obligated to pay any taxes, which is otherwise required of any resident of the United States. The reason why Mr Hovind feels that he should be given such a privilege is because the money he makes is, allegedly, God’s money. Since you allege to be an expert, Pole Greaser, can you explain why God, creator of the Universe and everything in and out of it, needs money? I mean, really, if Kent Hovind was as pious as he claimed, wouldn’t God just poof a fountain of gold into Mr Hovind’s backyard?

Furthermore, parody, or not, only the most dense, reality-divorced bigot would accuse the Republican Party of the United States of America as being “seduced by the siren song of evolutionism.” Given as how the Republican Party is heavily influenced by the Christian Right, the Government pays a great deal of lipservice to Creationism, often to the detriment of clandestine science programs.

Ichthyic:

What’s wrong is they are distracted by the siren song of evolutionism.

WATERLOOOOOO!!!!

you’re not seriously thinking that someone with the handle “pole greaser” is doing anything but trolling you, do you?

Well, you know, Ichthyic, being saved by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, means that you can act like a complete, asinine idiot of a bigot, devoid of any human compassion or intelligence whatsoever.

oh, I don’t think this person is even that.

FL is the “real” deal.

this guy?

just yanking your chain.

After this comment on the Hope For The Future thread:

Pole Greaser said:

Something must be done about the abortionists, pornographers and evolutionists who have brought God’s wrath down on mankind in the form of global warming. As he judged the Voodists in Louisiana by hurricane and the Sodomites in Southern California by fire so global warming will be mankind’s ultimate reckoning for tolerating the most sinful lowland nation of the Netherlands. The stench in our Heavenly father’s nostrils has become so great that he will allow the water levels to rise until the entire nation is submerged–and this time there will be no little Dutch boys to stick their fingers in the dyke-holes, for they will be too preoccupied Sodomizing each other to care!

I gotta agree with Ichthyic that Mr.(?) Greaser is pulling our chain. The “most sinful” Netherlands? It’s got to be parody.

Arrgggghhhh! Thank you Ichthyic! It’s been driving me nuts! Why do people insist on replying to someone who posts religious messages with a name that means “cock sucker”? There. You made me say it. *sigh*

Understanding evolutionary theory does not lead to fascism, for much the same reason that understanding gravitational theory does not lead to throwing people off cliffs.

Understanding evolutionary theory does not lead to fascism, for much the same reason that understanding gravitational theory does not lead to throwing people off cliffs.

In the case of gravity, understanding it is the first step toward finding ways to avoid its normal consequences rather than cause them.

Henry

There are two logical problems with the statement by Dawkins.

1. There can be no such thing as a “society that operates according to Darwinian laws.” By definition, Darwinian laws are rules that operate mechanically, without a plan. But all human societies are based on ideals, plans, models, etc.

2. The statement implies that we DO live in a society that is NOT governed by Darwinian theory. How can this be? What other biological process or rule ceases to work in human society? It’s like saying bacteria infect animals out in the wilderness, but here in civilization, nope, we’re bacteria-free.

There can be no such thing as a “society that operates according to Darwinian laws.” By definition, Darwinian laws are rules that operate mechanically, without a plan. But all human societies are based on ideals, plans, models, etc.

Just recall, though, that not all “societies” are human, and many operate on quite simple rules that end up producing apparently complex behaviors. Ants are a great example. Do ants have a conscious plan? I rather doubt it, don’t you?

the point is that it isn’t necessary to have a “plan” to produce a functional society.

I agree there could be rules in human society, but we are not ants. On the level of neural complexity and computation, there is no comparison. There is no society that can operate without a plan; a plan in the sense of culture, values, what should and shouldn’t be. Nor is there a society, however primitive, that doesn’t have cultural ideals. In our case we have ideas of justice, human rights, representative government; and we don’t always measure up. But in evolution there is no approximation to an ideal model. If we tried to design a society based on Darwinian laws, it would be one based on an ideal to which we would not always measure up.

There can be no such thing as a “society that operates according to Darwinian laws.”

How about one that operates according to Newtonian laws? Or Bohrian? Or Curieian? Or Franklinian?

Henry

There is no need for intelligent design nor is there any need to believe that the world is dead matter that awareness has emerged from. Neither are scientific, although the latter is more so in a way, as it can serve as a working hypothesis in Biology.

Whether God exists or not depends on what you mean by God or by exist.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 25, 2007 11:31 AM.

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