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« A Plurality of Pastors | Main | Creating Artificial Life »

August 25, 2009

Comments

so, if I go into a lab, and use existing knowledge of modern biology and genetics, all of which are founded upon the principles of evolution, and I create a new species right in front of you so you can't possibly deny that it is a new species, does that make me God? Hypothetically speaking of course, I'm just trying to push this argument all the way to its reasoned conclusion

... and I create a new species right in front of you so you can't possibly deny that it is a new species, does that make me God?

No, but it does make you an Intelligent Designer. And it opens up the bigger question: If you created Species X, then who created you?

"...I create a new species right in front of you..."

In addition to what Naaman said, "no" because that's not how naturalistic evolution [is supposed to] happen: Same result through different process does not prove it.

You taking material already in existence and making something similar to it will only hurt your evolutionary argument. It can only support ID. This seems like common sense to me...

Funny, because I think Wright actually did infact, get it wrong on both camps.

Yikes!

P.S
I think more than just 'some' christians dismiss evolution offhand. LoL!
Im just sayin..

That evolution is the source of the diversity of life is not disputed by any reputable scientist anywhere. The questions of morality are more difficult to answer, of course, but since we know humans evolved from previous organisms, and we know that other organisms have a primitive set of morals, does it not stand to reason that we focus our efforts on finding out how morality evolved?

Looking at evidence and coming to obvious conclusions is not "selling out".

Hi Chris

Are you suggesting that if our understanding of morals evolved, then morals are only subjective?

If so, would it follow that if our understanding of Mathematics evolved, then mathematics are subjective?

I'm wondering if are assuming that if our understanding of
morals evolved, then they are not objective.

Todd

Hi Chris

Forget that last line! It was supposed to be deleted!

:)

long day

Todd

> That evolution is the source of
> the diversity of life is not
> disputed by any reputable
> scientist anywhere.


Quite right. No true Scotsman would do such a thing!

The statement that no reputable scientist anywhere disputes that evolution is the source of the diversity of life is a frustratingly ignorant statement.

If a scientist doesn't agree with the theory of evolution, and there are many out there (see Ben Stein's movie Expelled), why do you then classify them as unreputable scientists?

Imagine if I stated that no reputable scientist recognizes the theory of evolution as the source of the diversity of life. That probably would sound like a frustratingly ignorant statement to you.

I am unwilling to register for the New York Time's services, so I can't speak to Robert Wright's original article without more comments being made by people who have (like learning the content of ancient no-longer-extant anti-Christian manuscripts from the extant manuscripts that responded to them), but I can speak to the link to Gregory Kouki's article "Evolution Can't Explain Morality".

Kouki's article lacks a fundamental definition. What is a "group"?

If one can imagine an attribute and identify things that have that attribute, the things so identified are a "set". To me, a group is different than a set. To be in a group is to have some relationship with the rest of the group that is more than sharing a common attribute with the other members. Whatever that relationship is defines the group, and it determines the "rules" of the group: the group has a purpose, there is a purpose for a member being in the group, and actions of a member can be evaluated in regard to whether they conform to the purpose of the group. If there is no purpose for members being in a group, there is no purpose for the group.

The group can have any purpose; it need not look above itself for a purpose.

So when Greg asks "Why ought we be concerned about the health of the group? The answer is going to be if the groups don't survive, then the species doesn't survive". That doesn't follow. First, we need concern ourselves with only one group, the one under study. It owes nothing to other groups, or to a species. Second, there may be members of more than one species in a group. Third, one's membership in a group may not be for the purpose of one's own self interest, but for the self interest of another member of the group.

Selection acts upon groups; those that don't achieve their purpose are weeded out; so the survivors are those who have achieve their purposes.

Chris, maybe you need to define your terms, specifficly "evolution".


As for the question of morality... May I ask the question, if morality can be established as objective (within the framework of an evolutionary process), where does that leave us? I think the comparison between Math (or gemoetry for that matter) and morality is a bit non-analogous, even though I can grant the point you were trying to make. I think the differences are significant enough to weaken the analigy, though.

In any case, there are moral anomalies that I think make it very difficult to compile a sufficent theory of morality based out of an evolutionary framework (serving your enemies comes to mind). But even if you could, and even if it were true, it seems to me completely optional to comply with 'the social contract'.
have i gotten off subject? lol

Geeesh the Robert Wright guy is an idiot. How do people in such authority positions make such ridiculous statements?

If common descent is true, it's game over for religion. All we'd have left is something like Antony Flew's conception of God, or the "god of einstein".

And the last 10 years of research in this field have been VERY fruitful. I think at this point it is rational, fair, and reasonable to conclude that common descent is true.

youtube.com/watch?v=De-OkzTUDVA

youtube.com/watch?v=x-WAHpC0Ah0

Note, one need not prove abiogenesis, nor any gradient of 'molecules to man' to disprove Genesis.

To get rid of the bible, you ONLY need to prove we "came from monkeys".

p.s. Johnnie that dribble was meaningless. There is no objective moral law if materialism is true. Might as well argue that typhoons commit murder when they sink ships.

If morality has evolved and is evolving, I wonder how morals will be different in the future - maybe something that is immoral now will be moral in the future?

Side note, the God of Einstein is indistinguishable from.. atheism. Atleast, it is my understanding that einstein's "god" was basicly Spinoza's form of pantheism, which imo, seems like semantics in its use of the word 'god' to denote something divine. (unless im thinking about the wrong scientist here). I am aware there is some dialogue as to wether or not spinoza was actually a pantheist given his philosophy.

just a small, sidenote.

"How do people in such authority positions make such ridiculous statements?"


Speaking generally now, that is a fantastic question, tony.

Hi Qoin

I'm not sure you were responding to what I said or not, but I think the evolving morality and math example does work in the sense that it shows that just because a belief "evolved" or came to be understood at some point in time, doesn't mean that it is not actually true.

Todd

Todd yes I was responding to that (I for some reason erased your name from the begining of my post in a fit of mindlessness, lol!)
I think I agree with the larger premise. Perhaps what I was suggesting in that specific analogy is that Mathmatical or Geometric Principles could not have evolved. They would have to be understood. IE, 2+3 has never equaled anything but 5. But now that I say that, perhaps I understand you may have been suggesting that say, in the instance of morality, killing someone innocent has always been wrong -- regardless of our evolving "understanding" of it. I think thiers something else going on thier but ide have to think about it.

Well didnt take long for me to think about it! (I still agree with your larger premise)
The difference I see is that we know "exhaustively" why 2+3 could never equal anything but 5. On the other hand.. And in the context of evoultionary morality (one that does not include god), there is an aspect missing that in my opinion is severe enough to warrant disagreement with an alleged objectivity when it comes to the statement, "killing someone innocent is always wrong". I think you could construct a philosophy that disagrees with that claim, and at that point it would just be my opinion versus yours -- even if yours is more commonly agreed upon.
You dont have problems like these in the instance of math or gemoetry... those are some preliminary thoughts atleast

Hi Qoin

Thanks for the response.

I agree, mathematical concepts have come to be understood, yet are objectively true.

Note there are still some mathematical concepts that we don't yet understand, or are difficult to understand, yet are still true. (There may even be disagreements about them).

In a similar way (although I agree not a perfect analogy) morally may have come to be "understood" via evolution. That is we have the ability to understand moral things that animals can't.

Note, simple morality is easy like 2 + 2 (it's wrong to kill and innocent human being) Is a normal functioning person really going to say that innocent people should be killed?

Yet the concept of innocent may become a more complex one, just like more difficult mathematical problems. Again, I understand the analogy is not exact (I don't believe we will come to understand some kind of morality equation!), because we are dealing with two different subjects.

Todd

"Again, I understand the analogy is not exact (I don't believe we will come to understand some kind of morality equation!), because we are dealing with two different subjects."

I agree here, but I understand the point you were making, and I think in that regard the analigy makes sense, now that we have fleshed it out a bit.


>> "Is a normal functioning person really going to say that innocent people should be killed? "

I think here is the question where we would have the discussion. Im short on time, and I think we would be getting grossly off-topic (not that thier was ever really one to begin with!), but im sure it will come up again here sometime soon!
have a fine evening friend!

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