Saturday, October 29, 2011
The Discoveryless Institute in general and its repeat offender of Godwin's Law, Richard Weikart, in particular have been stung to the quick by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Faye Flam's revealing, in the popular press, that which anyone remotely familiar with the actual study of history already knew: that Weikart's "history" bears the exact same relationship to actual historical research as the DI's "science" bears to actual scientific research ... i.e., none.
Instead of answering the criticism of his "work," Weikart attacks the "worldview" of Flam and "Darwinists."
I'm happy, of course, that Flam thinks that charity and goodwill are better than violence and selfishness. I'm also glad that she thinks human life is precious. Her inconsistency rescues her from the nihilism implicit in her worldview. I much prefer such inconsistency to those who follow their nihilistic ideas with ruthless consistency. However, it would be even nicer if she were to embrace Christianity, which actually provides us with reasons to believe that human life has value, that loving your neighbors is superior to hating them, that acts of kindness are superior to acts of violence, and that Hitler was objectively evil. Then she would have a real reason to condemn Hitler. "I don't like Hitler because my evolved instincts run contrary to his" just doesn't cut it.But wait a minute! Here is William Lane Craig, a "famous" (infamous might be a better word) Christian apologist, who the DI has championed, on how "objective" those reasons Christianity has to believe that human life has value and that Hitler was evil:
According to the version of divine command ethics which I've defended, our moral duties are constituted by the commands of a holy and loving God. Since God doesn't issue commands to Himself, He has no moral duties to fulfill. He is certainly not subject to the same moral obligations and prohibitions that we are. For example, I have no right to take an innocent life. For me to do so would be murder. But God has no such prohibition. He can give and take life as He chooses. We all recognize this when we accuse some authority who presumes to take life as "playing God." Human authorities arrogate to themselves rights which belong only to God. God is under no obligation whatsoever to extend my life for another second. If He wanted to strike me dead right now, that's His prerogative.Craig, in an attempt to ... um ... apologize for his God, was willing to state that his God could even go so far as to order the Israelites to perform the 'blessing' of brutally killing children and infants while remaining "moral":
… the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.Then there is John Hagee, who appeared to say that Hitler was, in initiating the Holocaust, doing God's work no less than those baby-killing Israelites, but who, when the political brown stuff hit the proverbial fan, suddenly decided that an omnipotent "God was powerless to stop the Holocaust."
I'm sure that Weikart would be quick to distance himself from Hagee (and maybe even Craig) but if Christian apologists can't agree as to what God might or might not order ... which is the only moral code they can muster ... in what way is that code "objective"?
I'll take millions of years of evolution, imbedding in us a need to live with each other in some sort of harmony based on our own and our kin's self-interest, as a surer moral guide than the purported "Word of God," as originally promulgated by Bronze Age shepherds and "interpreted" by any loon, charlatan and mystic who might come along.
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