Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Repent, sinners! Darwin is at hand!

Regular readers may remember a while back when I wrote a post dealing with my appreciation for evolutionary theory. To a trained evolutionary biologist, I'm sure my arguments seemed weak at best but, in comparison to the usual "evolution is for loosors!11!" crap I see coming out of the creationism camp, I thought it was pretty decent. Granted, that's a little like saying that in comparison to eating garbage, spam is pretty awesome, but I digress.

As you might expect, this post has earned me a few pretty interesting responses from the old internets. The most interesting consisted largely of someone telling me that I'm going to hell, and formed the core of a series of posts. This was, largely, what I expected to happen. So, it's nice to get a response that is more or less the opposite extreme.

Folks, my post about evolution recently got a comment arguing that "Anyone who doesn't believe in evolution is going to hell." My read on it is that it stems from a disctinctly Catholic theology but it is, nonetheless, an interesting take on the subject. So that we may all share in this distinctly unexpected turn of events, I reproduce the comment in question here.


Everyone who does not accept Evolution as valid science will be condemned to heck for all eternity. (I use condemned to heck instead of another phrase to avoid language filters.)

I am deeply concerned with the growth of anti-evolutionism in the US today. It may be exaggerated because of the elections as candidates say things to cater to their 'base' but it is absolutely terrifying. The dangers of denying that evolution is science cannot be exaggerated. The people who deny it, like those who crucified Jesus, 'know not what they do'.

1) Let us look at the reasons why people deny that evolution is science.

The first and most common reason is that people are insulted to be told that they are related to monkeys. This shows up constantly in the literature of the anti-evolutionists. As in the title of the 'Scopes Monkey Trial'

When someone is insulted, their pride has been offended. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

"Listed in the same order used by both Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century AD, and later by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows: Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath, more commonly known as anger), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride). Each of the seven deadly sins has an opposite among the corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are chastity, abstinence, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility."

"[edit] Proverbs 6:16 – 19
In Proverbs 6:16 – 19, it is stated that "(16) These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:" (quotes from "King James Version (KJV)" translation of the Bible). These are:

(17) A proud look,
a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
(18) A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
feet that be swift in running to mischief,
(19) A false witness that speaketh lies,
and he that soweth discord among brethren."

"While there are seven of them, these sins are significantly different in outward appearance from the seven deadly sins list that arose later. The only sin which is clearly on both lists is Pride."

The only one of the seven mortal sins in the regular list found in proverbs is pride. The act of rejecting a scientific theory because of pride is a mortal sin, and all who are guilty of it will be condemned to heck for all eternity unless they repent in perfect contrition for their sins. You must be humble when you stand before the throne of God, and science, by examining the works of God in creating the universe is analyzing and describing the throne of God, Creation itself. To attack a scientific theory because it offends your pride is a mortal sin. Everyone who denies that evolution is science is in serious risk of eternal condemnation.

Now, a science completely independent of the theory of evolution has proven that we are related to Monkeys. Genetics and the typing of different genotypes has shown that we are indeed related to all other life on earth. Monkeys are our blood relatives, and that would remain a scientific fact if the 'theory of evolution' were proven false tomorrow.

So denying that we are related to monkeys because it offends your pride is a mortal sin, and the fact that we are related to monkeys has been proven to be a solid scientific fact by genetics independent of Evolution.

2) Evolution contradicts some peoples interpretation of the Bible.

Again this is the sin of pride. Priests and Ministers and religious authority are not immune to pride. They base their power and authority in the world on their skill and ability in interpreting their religious texts. When something contradicts their interpretation their pride is offended and they react on the basis of their vanity.

To deny that evolution is science because it offends your vanity by contradicting your interpretation of the Bible is a mortal sin, and unless you repent of it with perfect contrition you will suffer eternal condemnation.

There is no necessary conflict between evolution and the Bible.

" 24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them."

Here in Genesis in the first story of Creation, God created animals first and Man last.

"4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth [b] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth [c] and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams [d] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- the LORD God formed the man The Hebrew for man (adam) sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for ground (adamah) it is also the name Adam (see Gen. 2:20). from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

Here in Genesis in the second story of creation God creates Man first and then populates the world with other creatures. It is impossible for them both to be 'literal truth'. These two stories in the first few pages of the bible tell completely opposite stories of creation with regards to man. In one, Man is glorified as the last crowning creation of God. In the other Man is glorified as the first and most important of God's living creations.

It is impossible that these stories could be literally true. Evolution presents no more obstacle to Christian faith than the Bible itself does. There is no more of an automatic conflict between the Bible and Evolution than there is between the Bible and the Bible itself.

In the face of facts like these, when a Priest of Minister condemns Evolution because it conflicts with 'the literal truth' of the Bible, it is apparent that this is pride and vanity run amok.

Such men commit the sin of pride and then in their pride and vanity they mislead their followers into their own sin. Such sins will not be forgiven.

Again, these men will suffer eternal condemnation because of their pride and conceit.

3) In the cleverness of their pride and vanity, such leaders have decided that 'intelligent design' is science. On the contrary, the belief that 'intelligent design' is science is a trap laid by the devil to seduce men into sin.

Men are naturally given to vanity and pride. They define themselves as 'intelligent', Homo Sapiens they call themselves. Then when they talk about 'Intelligent Design' they define God as "Intelligent". So they say that they are the same as God. "Lo", they say, "We are like unto God, the Creator of the Universe. He may have more power than we possess, but our minds, our intelligence is the equal of his."

Is there a more clear example of sinful arrogance and pride than this? Is it possible to imagine a more terrible, mortal sin?

Indeed, this sin then leads them into terrible error. They say that since their minds are the equal of God's they do not need science to learn how God actually created the universe, they can sit in their drawing rooms and decide how he created the universe without reference to the facts.

There is a rather sad story about Einstein and Neils Bohr which illustrates this. Quantum mechanics offended Einstein's sense of an orderly universe.

He famously said, "God does not play dice with the Universe".

Neils Bohr another great physicist of the time replied, "You should not tell God what he can do with his dice."

This is the essential fallacy of intelligent design. It allows sinful man in his pride and arrogance to imagine that he is God, or the equal of God, and then to dictate to God how God should have created the Universe.

You must be Humble, when you stand before the Throne of God, even if you are Einstein, and Creation is the Throne of God, and Science is the study of Creation. You must, therefore, show humility as a Scientist, but a humility towards experimental facts and inductive reasoning to help discover empirical truth, not a humility before 'religious authorities'.

Intelligent design is a seductive trap created by Satan to seduce men into the sin of pride. Everyone who denies that Evolution is in serious danger of eternal condemnation.

4) Evolution is only a theory. This statement is widely made by the Evolutionists. It shows a profound ignorance of what Science is. Karl Popper a famous philosopher of science maintained "This problem arises from his position that the truth content of our theories, even the best of them, cannot be verified by scientific testing, but can only be falsified."

Popper is subtle, and a bit extreme. His standard of experimental falsification could be used to deny that astronomy, geology, and meteorology are not sciences because they cannot be tested in a laboratory but are only based on observations. People argueing on the basis of Popper's philosophy can get a bit silly. Still his point about all science being theories that can never be proven is essential to the understanding of science.

Every part of science is 'only a theory'. Gravity is 'only a theory', momentum is 'only a theory'. Yet, these theories serve us well. Frequently they are falsified by new evidence, but they remain true and reliable in the context in which they were originally formulated. Saying that Evolution is 'only a theory' says nothing at all. It only shows a vast ignorance of science and the philosophy of science.

When ignorant people try to dictate to scientists what is and is not science, they again commit the sin of pride. Again, people who do not accept Evolution as science are in danger of eternal condemnation.

5) Judge a tree by its Fruit. I did some searches for this, it is a well known quote from Jesus, but it did not come up on the Bible search engines I used. Searching the entire web showed that it is a quote from Euripides as well as from Jesus.

I did find the exact phrase that way.

Matthew 7:16-20, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

This is essentially the scientific method. Theories are judged by their fruits. Their fruits are twofold. A good theory allows you to successfully predict outcomes. That, in turn, allows you to act successfully in applied science to make the world a safer, better place.

This being true, if Evolution is good science it should be bearing good fruit. So how is evolution helping us to make the world a better, safer place?

Let us look at medicine. It is fairly common today on the news to see news about new diseases which have evolved resistance to our traditional anti-biotics. If we did not know about evolution, we could not understand and successfully oppose these new diseases. Evolution tells us how this happens and allows us to counter it. It tells us that by carefully controlling the use of anti-biotics we can prevent their use in circumstances which would allow bacteria to evolve resistance to them. This helps us keep drugs effective in fighting disease longer. It also tells us that we need to develop new drugs to counter the effects of evolution. The 'Theory' of evolution is actively saving the lives of our fellow human beings every day.

I do not know of a single life which has been saved by creationism or intelligent design. On the contrary, creationism and intelligent design will kill people.

A doctor who is a Creationist knows that evolution is false, therefore, disease cannot evolve resistance to penicillin. In treating his patients he will continue to use penicillin instead of the new drugs, and his patients will die. Then, on judgement day, standing before the Jesus, the King of Kings, the people he killed will accuse him of their deaths. What will his defense be? Will he plead that his pride was offended because evolution said he was related to monkeys? Will that justify murder on the day of final judgement. Will he say that his minister taught him that evolution was false and he trusted his minister more than he trusted scientists?

Failure to accept evolution as science places people in severe danger of eternal condemnation.

The above example will not happen often today. The anti-evolutionists today accept that bacteria evolve, or they find some other way to accept medical truths. Still, if we had stopped teaching evolution as science in 1925, then it would be happening today. Thousands, possibly millions of people would be dying of disease because we did not accept evolution as science.

I do not know what horrors await humanity in the future because of creationism and intelligent design. I only know that judging by their fruits, if they are taught as science, it will lead to the deaths of millions, and the waste of billions of dollars in scientific research based on theories which are not science.

When you murder millions of people because your pride is offended by evolution, you are committing a mortal sin. Everyone who fails to accept evolution as science is in serious danger of eternal condemnation.

A few more demonstrations of the good fruits which evolution is producing in the world today.

"Creationists occasionally charge that evolution is useless as a scientific theory because it produces no practical benefits and has no relevance to daily life. However, the evidence of biology alone shows that this claim is untrue. There are numerous natural phenomena for which evolution gives us a sound theoretical underpinning. To name just one, the observed development of resistance - to insecticides in crop pests, to antibiotics in bacteria, to chemotherapy in cancer cells, and to anti-retroviral drugs in viruses such as HIV - is a straightforward consequence of the laws of mutation and selection, and understanding these principles has helped us to craft strategies for dealing with these harmful organisms. The evolutionary postulate of common descent has aided the development of new medical drugs and techniques by giving researchers a good idea of which organisms they should experiment on to obtain results that are most likely to be relevant to humans."

If we judge trees by their fruits as Jesus commanded, we must accept Evolution as science, and reject Creationism and Intelligent Design.

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Blogger Mister Troll said...

I love the internet. I just wish someone had invented a machine that could harnass the logorrhoeatic* super-powers of my fellow net-dwellers for the forces of good. Like thesis writing.

* If that's not a word, it is now! And yes, I did just footnote my comment. (I'm convinced all the footnotes in your blog entries are actually snide commentary on academia!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 9:48:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

I'm convinced all the footnotes in your blog entries are actually snide commentary on academia!

Could be. Then again, I often feel like I have more than one train of thought going at a time, so the footnoting may just be a reflection of my mental state.

And, ah yes, the hallowed sociological tradition of making words up rears its ugly head yet again!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:39:00 AM  
Blogger SARA said...

I actually enjoy the "footnotes" sometimes more than the post's the inner thought of the writer, sometimes an extended explanation. I admit having copied the "blog post footnote" from you on some of my posts.

Thursday, November 22, 2007 12:05:00 PM  

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