Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Evolution is a channel, not a canal

I recently had an impromptu debate with an atheist on Facebook:

I've often read the claim that rape is about power rather than lust. How many rapists were interviewed? I've only seen that claim from feminists and feminists sociologists. At best, seems like a false dichotomy.

BTW, rape isn't confined to male rapists. Consider the Nazareth House scandal, involving nuns and orphaned girls under their care.

You attack Christian ethics. What's your alternative? Secular ethics? Is that your standard of comparison? If so, evolutionary ethics is a major secular alternative. And there are plenty of evolutionary biologists who claim that rape conferred a survival advantage.

You're a recruiter for the suicide cult of secularism. You wants to save us for moral nihilism, existential nihilism, and oblivion. What a deal! What a steal!

"Solipsism, your smart enough and evolved enough to know not to hurt others."

What if I'm a smart, highly evolved sadist? Virtue is boring. 

"pro social constructs such as empathy, us all knowing what it is like to be hurt."

But that's the fun part. I'm sadistic with impunity because I can always count on softheaded dupes like you not to treat me in kind. I'm a wolf in the puppy kennel. 

"We aren't even hurting each other for survival of the species, we do it over petty differences in our beliefs of non existent entities in the sky."

No sophisticated Christian believes that God actually lives in the sky. 

"As I understand it the 'sophisticated christian' view is that god is somewhat akin to an intangible ether that permeates everything?"

No, the sophisticated Christian view is that God subsists outside of space and time. "Omnipresence" is a spatial metaphor for the fact that God's knowledge and field of action aren't limited by space and time.

"how pathetic, this is what I mean when I say you are smart and evolved enough not to need this."

I can only do what my evolved brain tells me is real, and if my brain tells me God exists, then I was hardwired to believe it. Physicalism is such a bummer! Naturalistic evolution is such a bummer! 

"while we are on hypotheticals. Imagine there is an all powerful being in the sky. but it was all in your head. and people are killing each other over it."

And since, according to people like you, the mind is reducible to the brain, what's all in my head is indistinguishable from reality. Welcome to the secular Matrix! 

"hello keeper of the secular matrix I would have eaten the pill where there was no notion of a god but I had the wrong pill shoved down my throat since birth. The brain is not hardwired only from evolution, humans learn a remarkable amount during which they happen to be vulnerable"

Your social conditioning is filtered through your primate brain, which is the byproduct of a mindless evolutionary process.

"The mind is reducible to the brain/ nervous system etc is it not, if not then how?"

To take one analogy, brain is to mind as Virtual Reality machine is to operator. Or, if you prefer, as computer is to operator.

"I guarantee our species would do much better if we reinvested our military spending."

If only everyone was a pacifist. They're not. 

"Human reason is horribly unreliable"

You're certainly doing your best to illustrate that point through personal example.

"pro social constructs such as empathy, us all knowing what it is like to be hurt."

That's what makes sadism so enjoyable. Because I have firsthand knowledge of what physical and psychological suffering feels like, I know how to torture others.

A while back, Christian apologist David Wood debated atheist Michael Shermer. Shermer was appealing to empathy. 

Problem is, Wood is a diagnosed sociopath. He served time for a heinous crime. 

As he said in the debate, he has no natural empathy. He's not wired that way. 

And, of course, naturalistic evolution repudiates natural teleology, so you can't say he's defective. There is no way biological organisms are supposed to be. They're the product of the "blind watchmaker" (as Dawkins would say).

"As for penetrance of sociopathy in a population, that is a statistical matter, a lot of christians supported putting one in the white house however."

You mean progressive Christians who voted of Hillary?

"Biology is nothing but defective organisms doing the best in their environments."

"Defective" is a teleological concept. Means adapted to ends. Purpose. Foresight. Planning. Goal-oriented outcomes. Naturalistic evolution bans teleological explanations in nature.

"Steve, evolution is a very slow and uncertain process, but adaptation does occur towards a purpose, those which are less defective in the given environment have selective advantage."

You fail to grasp basic concepts. Naturalistic evolution is nonpurposive. The fact that certain adaptations have selective advantage doesn't mean it occurs "towards" (weasel word) a purpose. Rather, it's just that through dumb luck repetition, some things work. If you play horseshoes blindfolded, sooner or later you will ring a stake by accident. 

"Defective" is a normative concept. Naturalistic evolution has no room for that. It's just that some outcomes are incidentally advantageous to survival. Another example would be the way runoff creates water channels. That isn't purposeful. That's just a combination of gravity and terrain. 

Since you're hopelessly confused on this issue, let's elaborate on my illustration. Compare a canal to a natural water channel. Say engineers dig a canal to drain water. So the purpose of their canal is to drain water. 

Runoff naturally creates water channels by erosion. And once a water channel is established, runoff may naturally use that preexisting channel. 

Both the channel and the canal have the same effect, but only the canal has the function of draining water. A natural water channel has a direction, but no goal. Both the cannel and the canal may terminate in a body of water (lake, ocean), but that's not the purpose of the channel. It has no purpose. It doesn't drain water by design. The end-result is unintended. 

A water channel that fails to have an outlet isn't "defective". Rather, the combination of gravity and terrain causes runoff to go in different directions until it hits an outlet. 

Naturalistic evolution is like a channel rather than a canal.

"Are you guys talking from a position of acceptance of evolution, or from a creationist view?"

I've been discussing naturalistic evolution from the viewpoint of naturalistic evolutionists. I granted that for argument's sake, then began to point out the sceptical, nihilistic implications.

"I get it your analogy now, though it falls short in that 'your social constructs are filtered through your ape brain'. in the creationist view this is not the case because everything would have had to have been learnt. so what it means to be masculine is not innate as evolved, but as is shown."

You still haven't figured out that I'm not arguing from a creationist view but from a naturalistic evolutionary view. Just because, for all you know, I'm a Christian, doesn't mean I have to argue from my own viewpoint to argue for my own viewpoint or to argument against yours. I can assume the opposing viewpoint for the sake of argument, then explore the self-defeating consequences of that position.

Moreover, I don't know where you come up with the nutty notion that on a creationist view, masculinity and femininity must be acquired rather than innate. True, it's not Innate "as evolved". Rather, it's innate by design.

What Christian philosophers, theologians, Bible scholars, scientists, or even preachers have you read or heard? What's your frame of reference when you tell us what Christians believe?

"Steve, it's pretty all pervasive in our society the beliefs of Christians. I am not one because I understand it, not as you do as I choose not to mince words to make myself a comfortable narrative. I know it from what you lot write here with all its implicit judgements you will not acknowledge for fear of losing face. I'm telling you what your beliefs are without you bias. Surely with my own but you gotta at least know."

i) So that's your backdoor admission that you have no systematic knowledge of Christian theology. You haven't studied Christian philosophers, theologians, Bible scholars, &c. Instead, your understanding, if we can call it that, is ad hoc and hearsay. 

ii) Yes, you don't mince words when you presume to make uninformed pronouncements. That's why it's so easy to make mincemeat of your words. 

iii) For some odd reason, you think I'm supposed by impressed by your chest-thumping rhetoric. Sorry, but your intellectually hairless, anorexic performance leaves me undaunted. Keep the shirt on. Your fortune cookie wisdom ("fear of losing face") is a sorry substitute for reason and evidence.

You keep repeating your tendentious assertion that Christians believe in a nonexistent deity, as if your sophomoric pronouncement is supposed to carry weight in itself. 

I suspect your lifestyle selects for your atheism.

"No just trying to show a brother the light."

Your notion of "showing a brother the light" is the glowing lava at the bottom of the abyss.

"Steve please take the plunge, you can be saved."

Take the plunge! Dive into the bottom of the volcano!

1 comment:

  1. DEBATE: Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?
    Mike Licona vs. Matt Dillahunty

    The above debate is one of the most enjoyable debates I've listened to in a while.

    Steve I love it when you engage atheists because very few Christians can engage them at the level you do, and because I believe atheism and its presuppositions are the foundation of so much of what's wrong in the world. Most atheists are way more confident than their worldviews can logically allow them to be. And I think it's an act of love to them (and to society in general) to demolish them in debate by exposing their errors.

    In the above debate Licona does a pretty good job responding to Dillahunty. The only exceptions are where only a presuppositional approach could have answered or seriously challenged Matt's views. I can see how non-presuppositionalists and non-Calvinists could have trouble with Matt's objections, but they pose little problem for Calvinistic presuppers.