Saturday, August 26, 2006

 

Deceased Thoughts


Did Halloween come early this year? There is some very spooky thinking (and I use the term advisedly, to say the least) going around the Net.

First up, we have the good folks over at the Institute for Creation Research discussing the then pending question of whether Pluto should qualify as a planet. According to Frank Sherwin of the ICR, the problem is:

. . . is accentuated by the discovery of a larger object/planet (dubbed Xena) that is beyond Pluto, but has a circumference 112 kilometers (70 miles) longer than Pluto. If Pluto is considered a planet, should not also Xena? Should this be a tenth planet?

Notice that additional scientific research has up-ended current planetary thought. Will there ever be a time when neo-Darwinism will be held up to such scrutiny due to new scientific discoveries? ...
Uh, Frank . . . there is no change other than in the definition of a label. Our understanding of the Solar system, what Pluto physically is and the basic cause of the motion of planetary and non-planetary bodies alike remains exactly the same. They would have remained the same if it had been decided to keep Pluto as a planet and make Xena one too. And they would have remained the same if it had been decided to "grandfather" Pluto in as a planet and deny the same status to Xena, even though it meets or exceeds Pluto's criteria. "Planet" is a word, Frank!

Even spookier is the following from a woman who once was in the Defense Department. After rehearsing a number of lame defenses for D. James Kennedy's dishonest "documentary," Darwin's Deadly Legacy," she comes up with this out of the blue:

One thing: To fit Darwin’s theory, you would think that evolutionists would be totally pro-life in order for the most fit to survive. So you would conclude Darwinists would want as many born as possible to ensure the human species will survive and improve. This is not proven out by the adherence of extreme evolutionists to humanism, to abortion, to eugenics.
First of all, this commits what is commonly known as the Naturalistic Fallacy. It confuses what is true about nature with what ought to be. Even assuming that such a course would "ensure the human species will survive and improve," that does not mean any one individual or society as a whole should follow it. It might well improve the species in some sense to eliminate the clumsy who are also too stupid to stay away from cliff edges. But we'll go on installing guard rails at the overlooks at the Grand Canyon anyway. As a social species, our interrelationships are too complex for such simplistic "analysis" to capture.

Which brings us to the second mistake: evolution is not about "progress." It is about "differentially better reproductive success within the local and often changing environment." What is "rewarded" by evolution is the ability of you and your descendants to out-compete any rivals for the resources that you need to make more of your descendants. That process can include becoming stupider, smaller, weaker and less complex. It can even include preventing the birth of some fetuses.
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And, while our intelligence is part of our competition tools, the environment that counts is so complex and the stochastic uncertainty is so great, that it is unlikely that the human species will ever be able to predict accurately what will ensure its survival and improvement. That is what renders eugenics, which is animal breeding, not natural selection, ultimately hopeless. In any event, the aim of eugenics is invariably to breed changes that creationists would certainly call "microevolution." Since most creationists now openly admit that microevolution exists, they are in no position to criticise "Darwinists" in that regard.

Next, the simple fact is that the number of medical abortions is very small compared to spontaneous abortions, which terminate approximately 50% of all fertilized zygotes. The increased number of artificial abortions (especially considering the likely lowered rate of spontaneous ones due to modern nutrition and medical care) is likely to be statistically insignificant, even before you take into account the benefits abortions may have, such as better-cared-for offspring with a concomitant better outlook for their own reproductive success. Also, most (if not all) selection occurs at the level of the individual organism. It might well be best for the species if we let the circumstances of the individual decide whether or not to take any particular conceptus to term.
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That is an impressive amount of misunderstanding to squeeze into a single three-sentence paragraph.

It is not, of course, a moral failing to be ignorant of what evolutionary theory proposes. But the only objective of Kennedy's exercise is to claim the moral high ground. However, to disingenuously attack something that you resolutely refuse to learn about and understand displays an utter disregard for the truth that negates any such claim.
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Comments:

Even spookier is the following from a woman who once was in the Defense Department. After rehearsing a number of lame defenses for D. James Kennedy's dishonest "documentary," Darwin's Deadly Legacy," she comes up with this out of the blue:

One thing: To fit Darwin’s theory, you would think that evolutionists would be totally pro-life in order for the most fit to survive. So you would conclude Darwinists would want as many born as possible to ensure the human species will survive and improve. This is not proven out by the adherence of extreme evolutionists to humanism, to abortion, to eugenics.

What's a "darwinist" to do?
This person has told us that darwinism is opposed to these various evils.
But that doesn't let darwinism off the hook.
You can't win, if you're a darwinist.
If you're in favor of - let's say - abortion, it's because you're a darwinist.
But she's telling us that darwinism is against abortion.
So, even when darwinism is right, it's wrong.
 
So, she gets to (wrongly) tell me what I believe, so she can show how wrong I am not to follow a "philosophy" that leads to such wrong beliefs?

Ow! My head hurts.

Fortunately for Ms. Alba, her head is made of sterner stuff than mine.
 
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