Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Crocodile Nutter

The official memorial service for Steve Irwin was held yesterday.

A natural exhibitionist, his infectious enthusiasm and emphatic delivery won him a wide following.

The incident in which he hand-fed a crocodile while holding his month-old son in the other arm exposes a limited capacity for self-criticism.

But that was only disillusioning if you put a herpetologist on a pedestal to begin with. I thought he was a likable guy, in his rambunctious way.

I remember one time he described—as only he could—the first time he caught sight of his wife to be. Truly love at first sight—almost the equal of his love of cobras and rattlesnakes.

With his larger-than-life delivery, he would have made a great narrator of children’s stories.

Not everyone was as admiring, though. PETA Veep Dan Mathew said that Irwin “made his career out of antagonising frightened wild animals, that's a very dangerous message to send to children," while Germaine Greer, in a now famous or infamous op-ed, took the same tack:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/australia/story/0,,1865124,00.html

This goes to certain ironies in secular humanism.

On the one hand, many unbelievers are more overawed by God’s handiwork than are many believers. How do we explain this?

In the past, historical theology has suffered from a deficient eschatology. It equated the intermediate state with the final state. Hence, to be heavenly-minded was to hanker after an angelic mode of subsistence. By contrast, the earthly world was considered to be a spiritual snare.

Conversely, many unbelievers, due to common grace, pay unwitting tribute to the wonder and beauty of God’s handiwork.

Moreover, from their perspective, nature is all there is, so they might as well make the most of it.

This, in turn, leads many unbelievers to idolize nature. Instead of being a signpost pointing to God, nature becomes a surrogate god.

That accounts for the sanctimonious disapproval of Dan Mathew and Germane Greer. For them, Irwin was desecrating the inner sanctum of nature. Nature is their cathedral, and Erwin was defiling holy ground with his muddy footprints.

But Irwin himself was just as nutty in his own way, because he bought into the same worldview.

It’s odd to watch the way in which a hardnosed Darwinian can romanticize nature raw in tooth and claw.

He would risk his life to save a Saltwater crocodile. Why? What does that matter in the great scheme of things? Does nature care if a crocodile lives or dies?

A Saltwater crocodile is a magnificent beast, but it’s just a giant killing and eating machine.

Consider what Irwin said about crocodile farming and other sustainable animal-management programs:

“These Hitlers use the camouflage of science to make money out of animals,” says Steve. “So whenever they murder our animals and call it sustainable use, I'll fight it. Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?

In Asia, Steve stormed out of a restaurant selling shark-fin soup. “'Sorry, mate,' I told the proprietor, ‘we're leaving.' He said, ‘But Mr Irwin, there're other things to eat. I said ‘You're not hearin' me. I cannot eat here. I will not eat here.' They are raping the oceans and stuffing up the food chain by eliminating the No. 1 predator.”

http://www.wildlifewarriors.org.au/in_the_media/irwinsinc.html

Hitlers? Rape? Murder? How do you account for such a sentimental view of sharks and crocodiles?

Such is the conundrum of infidelity. It dehumanizes man, humanizes the animal kingdom, denies the existence of God, and divinizes nature.

16 comments:

  1. Yes, such a fascinating conundrum. Tip top work oh writer of many words.

    Let's talk about talking snakes, donkeys, and bushes. That's where the action is at.

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  2. Aside from the fact that you have a one-track mind, the identity of the serpent has aleady been discussed on this blog at length.

    If memory serves, Balaam's donkey has also been discussed.

    There is no talking bush in Scripture. There is a burning bush, which is part of an angelophany. The speaker is an angel, not a bush. Sorry your reading skills are so deficient.

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  3. Bilestoad,

    Don't forget that we could also talk about talking descendants from ape-like creatures as well.

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  4. "the identity of the serpent has aleady been discussed on this blog at length."

    Yes, a lot of worthless blah-blah-blah about ancient myth and legend.

    "There is a burning bush, which is part of an angelophany."

    Gee, that makes the story so much more believable... NOT!

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  5. ralsteen,

    I'm sorry, was there a refutation hidden in your blathering somehwere?

    Intellectually tough atheists...NOT!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "was there a refutation hidden in your blathering somehwere?"

    There is no need to "refute" myths and legends.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "There is no need to "refute" myths and legends."


    Yes, yes, now you're getting it. The above is why you don't see much "refutations" on this blog of the just-so evolutionary stories.

    Thanks for admitting what we all knew about ape-men

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  8. "The above is why you don't see much "refutations" on this blog of the just-so evolutionary stories."

    I don't think that's why we don't see the authors on this blog not providing much by way of refutation of the science behind evolution. For one, the authors of this blog spend an awful lot of energy trying to refute rival myths and legends, such as those in the Catholic and Arminian camps. Furthermore, the authors of this blog have not demonstrated much by way of scientific knowledge. Their hangout is in the humanities section, where they have a better chance to sustain their pretense to authority.

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  9. No, ralsteen, it's what I said.

    Anyway, that doesn't affect my response. You see, we don't *have to* refute evolution because, in your words, "there's no need to refute myth and legends."

    So, thanks for the fodder!

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  10. Ralsteen said:

    "Furthermore, the authors of this blog have not demonstrated much by way of scientific knowledge."

    Funny, I have yet to see Ralsteen demonstrate any scientific knowledge whatsoever.

    Moreover, scientific knowledge presupposes a certain philosophy of science.

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  11. "I have yet to see Ralsteen demonstrate any scientific knowledge whatsoever."

    And what exactly do you conclude from your lack of seeing my knowledge of science demonstrated?

    "Moreover, scientific knowledge presupposes a certain philosophy of science."

    Very true. I suppose you think you'll find a philosophy of science in the New Testament?

    Please, make us laugh some more.

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  12. Steve,

    Ralsteen's a myth - the myth of the intellectually tough-minded atheist - and thus by his own criteria, you don't need to respond to him.

    Thanks again for the fodder ralsteen!

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  13. "Ralsteen's a myth - the myth of the intellectually tough-minded atheist - and thus by his own criteria, you don't need to respond to him."

    You probably thought that posting this remark would make you feel better. And now you learn, just as I did when I used to be a Christian, that it doesn't make one feel any better. It just intensifies your resentment, while I go my merry way. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Sucks, don't it?

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  14. oh a brilliant reply! What next? Liar liar pants on fire?

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  15. "...our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world..." Gal. 1:3-4

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  16. the king of france - lou vaton9/27/2006 9:58 AM

    It’s odd to watch the way in which a hardnosed Darwinian can romanticize nature raw in tooth and claw.

    He would risk his life to save a Saltwater crocodile. Why? What does that matter in the great scheme of things?


    Hmmm...let's see what you just wrote:
    Moreover, from their perspective, nature is all there is, so they might as well make the most of it.

    Seems that you don't get it. On the one hand, you admit that a godless person values nature, just as you do, but of course lacks the value of God that you possess. On the other hand, you say, "why do they value nature?" Are you dense?

    Does nature care if a crocodile lives or dies?

    Human beings are a part of nature, you silly man.

    We are physically related to all life on earth. That is an awe-inspiring thought. It is a literal part of us, and part of us resides in it (at the genetic level).

    A Saltwater crocodile is a magnificent beast, but it’s just a giant killing and eating machine.

    So you make these sorts of generic "just"-based value statements, and what argument is offered, again?

    How do you "account" for such a value, within your own worldview? After all, God saw it fit to make it for some reason or another, right? So you have to value the creature on some external merits (say, to balance the ecosystem), which an atheist has access to as well.

    And in the atheist's worldview, nature's creations are to be studied and respected and learned from, and they have a good reason to lean towards conservation, while you have none (that whole end of the world story).

    Hitlers? Rape? Murder? How do you account for such a sentimental view of sharks and crocodiles?

    There are obvious parallels between someone collecting a particular subset of organisms for the purpose of profit and slaughter and Hitler. Are you slow?

    Rape in this sense is "pillaging" -- something you should be intimiately familiar with from your beloved little book of horrors. Think: "taking something against its will" when it is absolutely unjustifiable, versus if the oceans were out of balance with respect to the food chain.

    Murder is his way of describing the killing for the sake of killing, rather than out of necessity (food or danger).

    Such is the conundrum of infidelity. It dehumanizes man, humanizes the animal kingdom, denies the existence of God, and divinizes nature.

    Such is the obfuscation of Steve. He misses out on the whole "value" idea for the sake of keeping our planet sustainable and looking out for our future. He misses out on seeing how beauty or power can be valued if there isn't a magical man in the sky. He misses out on what the word "divinity" means. He thinks that for humans to act rationally and use their brains in their supposedly God-given dominion (stewardship), atheists "divinize" nature. Perhaps when Steve sees that his values aren't the only values, and that his values make less sense to atheists than their own make to him, he will grow a sense of respect for nature as well.

    ReplyDelete