It’s Better than Not Having It: Evolution in a Nutshell

lulzWhen asked why humans have language, I heard a professor state that “Language evolved because it was beneficial to human flourishing. It was better to have language than to not have language.” This kind of ad hoc reasoning forms the basis of all so-called Natural Selection explanations proffered by secular academics, and indicates the great decline in contemporary thought. Consider, for a moment, if you, the reader, asked me why I have eyes, and I responded by saying: “Because it’s better than not having eyes.” Could you take me seriously? Sure, you might agree that it is better to have eyes than to not have eyes, but why would you say such a thing? Because you have eyes and could not envision yourself living without eyes. But if you did not have eyes, would you be at such a great disadvantage? After all, are there not animals whose vision is significantly worse than our own, who nonetheless function very well in their own natural environments? This is the problem for the evolutionist: If we have only experienced life with eyes, is it even possible to judge that life without eyes would be worse? What if prior to having eyes our lives were better? The canned answer from evolutionists is basically this: “It is better to have x than not have x, and this is because if we did not have x it would not be as good as having x.”

See the problem?

The evolutionist’s response is not only circular, but assumes knowledge of what life would be like for a creature to not have some property x, despite the fact the only available examples of ~x creatures are those which have become ~x by accident, being wounded, or being born that way (i.e. disadvantageous genetic mutations, deformities, etc). It is reasonable to suppose that for a creature which is supposed to have x not having x would contribute to his not having a very good chance of survival, but this is, to be frank, a concession. For this amounts to saying that creatures who are supposed to have x but do not are unable to function in the way they are supposed to function. The category error should not be brushed away lightly. The evolutionist is equating the experiences of an ~x creature in our own time with an ~x creature of another time. This is a category error (present ~x & past ~x). Additionally, the evolutionist is equating the unnatural ~x creature with the natural ~x creature. This, too, is a category error. While there is superficial resemblance between the unnatural/present day ~x creature and the natural/past ~x creature, in other words, the resemblances cannot be grounds for asserting that the advantages and disadvantages of one are equivalent to those of the other.

Consider, furthermore, that the addition and/or subtraction of properties for any purpose is a telos. Even under an evolutionary paradigm, therefore, the creature’s life and life changes are teleological. Teleology, however, is mind-dependent. Whose mind is it, then, which determined the specific end for which all things supposedly came into being? The question cannot be simply shrugged off by the evolutionist. For if creatures evolve in order to do y, then creatures evolve for a purpose. Why this purpose rather than another?

The evolutionist can offer no answers to these basic questions. More often than not, such questions are entirely ignored or are identified as pointless speculative endeavors. Hardly the stuff of rigorous methodology and academic seriousness, if you ask me.

-h.

Atheism is Pantheism: A Reflection on Carl Sagan’s Ipsedixitisms

sagan priestFirst things first: Let us define an ipsedixitism. According to Wikipedia, an ipsedixitism is “a term used to identify and describe a sort of arbitrary dogmatic statement, which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid” (source). From what we are spoon fed by secular “authorities” such “arbitrary dogmatic statements” should only be found among the religious/religious fanatics and not the reflective, scientifically (read: TRUTH) oriented purveyors of pure gnosis.

Yet consider the following statements made by popular science writer Carl Sagan, a hero to self-identifying skeptics, agnostics, and atheists worldwide (although there is some question as to how Sagan identified his own position toward religion in general, see here).

1. “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”

2. “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

3. “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”

4. “The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding.”

These words are more akin to what one would expect to find in a mystic’s notebook than what one would expect to find in the mouth of a so-called religious skeptic/agnostic/atheist. Let us consider the meaning and implication of these little gems.

1. Humans are unique and precious. Elsewhere, we are told by this high priest of scientism that humans are made in the image and likeness of the Cosmos. As it is written: “We are, each of us, a little universe.” (2nd Cosmos, Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

2. The cosmos is self-aware, i.e. conscious. In other words, the cosmos is a living, thinking, being which may be appropriately identified as actus purus (see here). In other words, again, the cosmos is the kind of God Sagan was deluded enough to think he had no faith in.

3. The cosmos is eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, and incomprehensible. These are theological terms, mind you, which Sagan is predicating of the cosmos. In other words, yet again, Sagan is openly deifying the cosmos, worshiping it as that being greater than which nothing can be conceived (see here for more information on who Christians have identified with such a being).

4. The cosmos is eternal and beyond human comprehension. The cosmos is, in the parlance of religious folk, God, endless in duration and incomprehensible (see here for more on God’s incomprehensibility).

There is a reason why the Scriptures say that no man is an atheist. Reading Sagan’s words of gnostical wisdom, are we not led to conclude that he has “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:23)?

Carl Sagan, and those who think his ipsedixitisms are true, was not an atheist. No man is an atheist. For if the cosmos, i.e. materiality, is all there is, then the cosmos is one’s God. Atheism, as it predicates divine attributes of materiality (i.e. the cosmos) is pantheism operating under a different vocabulary.

This is called self-delusion. And the Scriptures teach that there is only one way to be free from such delusional thinking: Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

Christ alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Triune God who created the seemingly eternal, seemingly unfathomable, and seeming omnipotent cosmos is truly all powerful, endlessly living, actus purus. He alone is all wise. He alone guides, molds, and shapes the course of history and the destinies of all things.

Worship him, or worship an idol.

[For more on Carl Sagan’s foolish ipsedixitisms, see John W. Robbins’ paper “The Sagan of Science.”]

-h.

Spurgeon vs. Spurgeon

Hiram:

Great post by Tom Chantry on Spurgeon’s Confessionalism.

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

spurgeon I…don’t…understand.

Back when CRBC was setting up its web page, I was asked whether we should prominently feature the pictures of famous Particular Baptists from history. I was especially urged to include imagery of Charles Spurgeon in our website’s header. Calvinism of a certain sort was booming, Spurgeon’s face was recognizable, and other sites had driven web traffic by associating their message with his.

I have no real objection to that practice, but for our church site I said no. We are not, you see, a Spurgeonist church; we are a Reformed Baptist church. The point is not to separate ourselves from Spurgeon, nor even to suggest that he was not one of us. Instead, I wanted clarity that we took our identity as a church from Christ as He is revealed in Scripture and, secondarily, from our confession of faith. “Reformed Baptist” is a term with a brief history…

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The Impossibility of Being An Übermensch: Some Thoughts on BBC’s “The Fall”

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[Warning: This blog contains some spoilers.]

When I began watching The Fall on Netflix, the last thing I expected to encounter was a challenge to Friedrich W. Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch. But as the show progressed to the end of its second season, it became clearer and clearer that narratival closure would be provided by the explicit denial that Nietzsche’s ideal man (i.e. the Übermensch) is humanly achievable. Let me explain.

What is the Übermensch?

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Nietzsche’s Übermensch (overman, or superman) would be

an exemplary figure and an exception among humans, one “whose inexhaustible fertility and power keep up the faith in man.” […]  (http://www.iep.utm.edu/nietzsch/)

The inexhaustible fertility and power of which Nietzsche speaks are exhibited in the inexhaustible creative activity of such a man in his rejection of moral norms, as well as in the creation and forceful assertion of his own system of values. In other words, the Übermensch is beyond good and evil, specifically as articulated in the system of Christianity, and establishes his own rules.

And this is precisely what Paul Spector, a serial killer played by actor Jamie Dornan, claims to have done. In conversation with Superintendent Stella Gibson (played by Gillian Anderson), Spector claims to have moved beyond good and evil, to have moved beyond the slave-morality of “the herd” (Nietzsche’s characterization of Christian morality). As one blogger notes:

[Later in the series] Paul has called Gibson to mock her for her inability to catch him so far and to tell her that she never will. He then launches into a Nietzschean tirade against morality that for us viewer is rather surprising.

[…]Paul’s Nietzschean musings present a startling portrait of how he actually sees himself; not as a failed family man and sadistic killer but a superman willing to go against the conventional world.

(http://strangesubject.tumblr.com/post/84113447568/after-the-fall, emphasis added)

The Specter of Christian Morality in Spector’s Delusions of Power

Spector’s attempt to exist and act beyond and evil, nevertheless, is ruined by the fact that he sees children as innocent, unworthy of death, and in need of protection. If Spector is beyond good and evil, above the herd morality that views the abuse of children as inherently wrong, and for the same reason Spector gives (i.e. they are innocent), then how does this strong desire to protect his innocent children, as well as his guilt over killing a woman who was pregnant, make any sense?

Gibson plays on this contradiction at the end of season two, once Spector has been caught. And this is the point that drives him to explode with anger. Throughout the series, Spector is quiet, soft-spoken, stealthy, although murderous and violent. Yet it is only this revelation of his inherently contradictory worldview that causes him to violently blurt out expletives at this representative of the very law he claims to have transcended via serial killing.

Spector, in fact, has not transcended the herd morality he thinks he despises. Rather, he has picked and chosen what rules he wants to follow, and the rules by which he will judge others. In refusing to harm his wife and children, he reveals his natural desire to be a father, to be the father/parent that he did not have (this is also revealed in the last episode of the second season). In apologizing to the father of a murder victim who was pregnant, he reveals that he does, in fact, have feelings of guilt.

The Plight of the Natural Man

Scripture teaches that all men are in the state that Paul Spector finds himself in: We are walking contradictions. On the one hand, we desire autonomy, “freedom” from having to obey God’s law, “freedom” to create our own moral values. On the other hand, we dogmatically cling to other divinely bequeathed laws and seek to hold ourselves and others accountable to them. In our desire to prove that we are not created for God and his purposes, we only further corroborate what God’s Word teaches.

Ironically, even in his desire to transcend the authoritative voices of conscience, God, state, and family, Spector must identify these authorities as illegitimate and wrongfully superimposed upon his thoughts, words, and deeds. If the desire to be free to do as one wishes is good, and Spector thinks it is, and that desire is being suppressed by some external authority, then the external authority is bad and demands moral opposition to it.

The identification of God’s law as oppressive and bad is itself wrong, but it is not morally neutral. Therefore, if one wishes to be free from all moral constraints, then one implicitly accepts some authority which legitimates one’s rebellion against those moral constraints, and this is itself a moral constraint on one’s behavior.

Concluding Remarks

While The Fall was most likely not written to explore the fundamental contradiction residing in all men, it does an excellent job of revealing that God’s image is indelibly impressed onto every human being, even the serial killer psychopath who claims to be beyond good and evil.

Man is a creature made in God’s image. Man cannot, no matter how hard he tries to, destroy that image.

-h.