Creationist: if evolution is true, rape is ok

June 12, 2014 • 8:48 am

Here’s creationist Derek Isaacs, someone I’ve not heard of, promulgating his inanities on an episode of “Creation Today.” Isaacs says that, after studying the writings of “purveyors of evolutionary biology” like Darwin, Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and E.O. Wilson (since when was Hitchens a “purveyor of evolutionary biology?), he discovered himself “in a very dark place”—a place where rape was basically okay because, after all, evolution tells men they have to propagate their genes.

As The Raw Story reports:

“You have to start asking questions: Well, if evolution is true, and it’s just all about the male propagating their DNA, we had to ask hard questions, like, well, is rape wrong?” Isaacs said, as one of his hosts gasps.

Isaacs is the author of “Dragons or Dinosaurs?” – which argues that ancient myths about dragons were based on human interactions with dinosaurs — and the founder of theWatchman 33 end times blog.

He said marriage would be “anathema” in an evolutionary worldview because it would limit sexual relations to one man and one woman for life.

“According to the evolutionary worldview, [if] that male is strong enough and he had wonderful genes, he should propagate his DNA as much as possible so that the species can progress,” Isaacs said. “So it redefines everything about our society.”

I won’t bother to rebut the view that whatever behaviors instilled in our genes (and it’s dubious that rape is one of them) must be okay in modern society. After all, how much credibility can somebody have who describes evolution as merely ” random chaotic force”?

But Isaacs’ dilemma instantiates a broader issue: the widespread view that if evolution were true, there would be no reason to behave morally. After all, if we’re simply evolved beasts, there’s nothing wrong with behaving like beasts. This, perhaps, is the psychological reason behind most of America’s opposition to evolution.  Michael Ruse once said something like this: people don’t stay up at night worrying whether birds evolved from dinosaurs; they stay up worrying about morality.

The response to Isaacs’ idiocy is, of course, is that humans certainly evolved, but we also evolved in a way that made possible a form of non-genetic evolution: the propagation of culture. And our culture has “evolved” to the point where we recognize that what evolved genetically—behaviors that helped spread  the genes of our ancestors—is not necessarily desirable in modern societies. Our ancestors were probably deeply xenophobic, too, but that’s simply not good behavior in today’s interconnected world. As Paul Bloom has noted, babies do start out rather xenophobic, being nice only to those whom they recognize, and that cooperation and beneficence must be instilled later through learning.

At any rate, Isaacs is full of it, but you should realize that his attitudes are surprisingly common.

You can see the long version of this program here.

 

141 thoughts on “Creationist: if evolution is true, rape is ok

  1. You say, “As Paul Bloom has noted, babies do start out rather xenophobic, being nice only to those whom they recognize, and that cooperation and beneficence must be instilled later through learning.”

    Actually, I believe recent research shows infants have a basic sense of justice and fairness.

    1. They do, but that does not contradict what Jerry wrote. Their sense of fairness my be very limited and might only extend to a small group of kin and familiar caregivers.

      1. It seems to me that in social animals a set of behaviors and traits evolves to facilitate group interactions. For example, there is deferential behavior in non-alpha wolves, and the non-top dogs will help raise the pups of the top wolf.

        Such behaviors are necessary to help the group to function as a group, as opposed to the selfish every-animal-for-itself behaviors that are the stereotypically beastly behaviors inhabiting the fevered brains of creationists. These evolved non-selfish behaviors and traits (e.g., sense of fairness, empathy) help form the basis of morality, which of course in humans we have refined and propagated culturally.

        Or so says an ignorant geologist.

        1. “Such behaviors are necessary to help the group to function as a group…”

          Based on my limited understanding of the gene’s eye view of explaining animal behavior, this is not quite the right way to phrase it. A non-top dog raising the pups of the top wolf would have to be explained in terms of this behavior benefiting the genes of the actor (the beta dog). It could be that the beta and alpha are very closely related and the success of the survival of the alpha’s offspring would result in more copies of the beta dog’s genes being replicated than would be the case if the beta dog tried to compete outright with the alpha and have her own children. I believe that Dawkins has an extended discussion of similar behavior in The Selfish Gene.

          Any benefits to the group would be incidental, as evolution does not work to maximize group fitness. Factors that favor the replication of selfish genes will win out, as they replicate far faster than groups ever could.

          1. Well said. I also wonder (at the risk of derailing the thread), how those who propose that group selection played/plays a role in human evolution explain the groups. Are there groups today? Are they competing and reproducing? What or who are they?

          2. Yes, but the mechanistic explanation at that level results in the behaviors/social structures Charles describes, which confer the benefits of being a pack animal. I see it as just a different level of organization.

            I agree that the terms “selfish” and “selfless” are not strictly applicable, but that’s essentially how the behaviors that result from gene-level selection operate.

        2. ” . . . as opposed to the selfish every-animal-for-itself behaviors that are the stereotypically beastly behaviors inhabiting the fevered brains of creationists.”

          How would you characterize capitalist ideologue behavior, regardless of ones viewpoint on creationism or religion?

          1. I think it is ALL about penises. The posturing male politicians do is ridiculous and they should all be spanked and put to bed until they can be civil. I figure the whole space race was just the US and Russia bragging about who had the bigger phallic symbol. Same with the Cold War. All. About. Penises.

            1. I love seeing (male) politicians playing with their ties, totally oblivious to the significance of it.

      2. A sense of fairness can also be demonstrated in primates. Give each of two monkeys a tasty grape to eat, and they are both happy. But give one a grape and the other a slice of relatively boring cucumber, in sight of each other, and the cucumber recipient will become highly agitated.

    2. I realize that this is purely anecdotal and a sample of one, but a couple of years ago a friend of mine’s toddler grandson was visiting Ontario from Germany, where he had had no close experience with black people. At a gathering he went right to my good friend, Neville, who has very dark skin, and clung to his leg. They became best buds for the duration of the party.

      1. Maybe Paul Bloom is specifically referring to infants, and not toddlers who have had much more interaction with people?

        My own daughter is two, and we’ve noticed lots of changes in her sociability in the past year or so. Although she is still quite selfish. Anything that she sets her eyes on is followed by the not quite grammatically correct declaration, “This is for MINE!”

        1. And I had one kid who was open to everyone from day one, and another who was suspicious of everyone from birth. I think our anecdotes only show that there’s a lot of variation.

          1. I used to think that my grandfather was excessively, perhaps gratuitously, suspicion of people. To employ his Appalachian Southern vernacular, “Don’t Trust No One!”

            I must say that, as I’ve gotten older and more experienced dealing with homo sapiens, I’ve felt a little of that rubbing off on me. 😉

  2. If the theory of gravity, as propagated by such purveyors as Newton, Galileo, and Einstein, is true, then it must be OK to push people off mountains.

  3. As I understand it, the bible is also OK with rape, you just have to go to a neighboring country and butcher all the men first. In a humble and reverent fashion, of course.

    1. Or, if you rape a virgin, you’re required to issue forth with 50 shekels to pay her father and she’s your wife for life (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

      28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

      29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

      1. I’m so sorry I read that!

        There’s not a sentence there in which the female is not treated as a commodity.

        1. There’s scarcely a sentence in Judeo-christian literature from about 500 BCE until the 19th century in which the female is not treated as a commodity.

          It all starts in the ten commandments, in which wives are listed as a man’s property:

          “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exodus 20.17).

          So, take comfort in the fact that although you don’t rate quite as high as a house, you do rate mention before servants (hmm, also property; have to add that to my arsenal), oxen, donkeys, and miscellaneous things.

  4. His gestures are revealing. At 1.30 while talking about ‘strong males’ he makes a cupping ‘feel the weight of them balls’ gesture followed by a phallic thrusting fist.

    1. Wow, I didn’t notice that before. Once again the god-botherer is telling us how evil and scary atheists are, and once again it looks like a classic case of projection.

      1. When they say, “If you don’t believe in God, why wouldn’t you rape and kill and steal as you please?”, I’m inclined to say, “Thanks for the heads up! You’re apparently a dangerous sociopath. I might not have known otherwise”.

  5. I find it very telling that he keeps blathering on about men propagating their genes. Over and over. Apparently, women really are just sperm receptacles. Nice morality you’ve got there, Mr. Jesus-lover.

    1. That really stuck out to me as well and it’s not something you’d pick up from any of the authors he mentioned, nor any that I know of.

      But it seems perfectly in keeping with the Biblical worldview which looks at genealogy in terms of a long list of male-exclusive begats.

      1. Remember, back then (and up until the 17th or 18th century), it was thought that the man planted the seed, which grew in the woman’s garden.

        Apparently, god didn’t know any more about genetics than he did about bacteria…

  6. Evolution is brilliant at explaining how species arise. But that’s all it does. It doesn’t perform card tricks, it doesn’t write sonnets and it doesn’t provide moral frameworks. It’s a natural process, like the wind and the rain. And it has as much to say about morality as the wind and the rain do. But we don’t need it to instruct us morally. Because it’s already provided us with the tools to develop a moral framework for ourselves: empathy and compassion. And using empathy and compassion we’re able to figure out that rape is wrong; it’s wrong because it causes pain and suffering to our fellow humans, and this is wrong becasue they feel pain just like we do.

    1. Evolution can explain the behavior of life-forms also. Humans are not exempted. If evolution can explain the social behavior of lions or ants, why not human animals? We have put in place laws and taboos against rape because our biologically-evolved brains happened to be general purpose enough that we are able to figure out that tolerating rape as normal acceptable social option is worse for our own well-being (and our genes’ well-being) than the alternative of outlawing it and treating it as criminal behavior. Our brains are evolved organs and its products (good and bad) by extension are products of evolution also (even without bringing into the discussion cultural memetic evolution, which doesn’t explain forethought and planning anyway).

      1. Different cultures seem to have different attitudes to rape. Seems to be more acceptable in India and Egypt, according to reports in newspapers.

        1. Rape – more acceptable in India? What an insensitive thing to say.

          Did you get this impression from the nationwide rallies and demonstrations of anguished parents and relatives against rape in India?

            1. Doesn’t mean it is acceptable. That’s like saying that school shooting are acceptable in the US. Prevalence of a crime doesn’t mean acceptance. It could mean that, but not in both cases. There are other factors contributing to the increase in the occurrence of unacceptable behavior.

              1. @pacopicopiedra:

                Well, I don’t think anyone thinks school shootings are acceptable, it’s just that some folks are horribly mistaken about the reasons for the occurrences of the shootings.

            2. I’m not understanding how that lead you to conclude that it is “more acceptable in India”? That they are protesting against the government means they don’t actually care about the crime?(but why are they protesting in the first place, because they care..) or that because the government didn’t respond? The latter is simply because of bad administration and the government shows the same urgency for all sorts of other matters. Also the law enforcement apparatus per capita is much smaller in India. Either way I think that in the vast majority of communities in India rape is not considered acceptable at all.

      2. We have empathy and that evolved with our brains and we can see how it works culturally. Game theory addresses this nicely. Would we have long term success in a rape-y culture? Probably not.

  7. This person’s willfully ignorant, sickening invective is as inane as it is insulting. How deeply mired in the dehumanizing fog of faith must one be to identify evolution, rather than religion as a source of sexual violence and oppression in society? I guess the 900+ documented honor killings in Pakistan per year and the disposable babies of un-wed mothers in Irish workhouses are on Darwin and Dawkins huh?
    Maybe there will be some benefit from this piece as I imagine it would expose the creationist ilk as the oppressive, backward flat-earthers and naked bigots all too many of them truly are.

  8. . . . and, isn’t Mr. Isaacs admitting that, the only thing keeping him from being a rapist is the church? That’s pretty screwed up. I’ve never needed codified bronze-age superstitions to advise me not to rape a woman.

    1. It reminds me of the Ricky Gervais routine where he has a conversation with a mom who warns that he can’t go out and rape. Hilarious.

  9. The more inanities like this I hear, the more I think that the purveyors really must have below average intelligence. How else can you explain such stupidity? The chicken and egg question is, which comes first, religion or stupidity? Maybe it’s a bit of both.

  10. Gravity says the objective of all things is to fall to the ground. So if anybody really believed in the theory of gravity he would lie on the ground and never climb stairs.

  11. Are there any species of animals where the males rape females, or only human beings?

    Maybe cats? The females howl as though they’re in great pain.

    1. Oh yes. One group that springs to mind immediately is dolphins.

      Though it was generally considered to be true that humans were a special case even in the sciences up until the past few decades, based on a wide range of more recent research it seems extremely unlikely that any behavior that humans exhibit is unique to humans.

        1. It is difficult to ascertain tone in written comments like this. I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

          1. I’m perfectly serious. I can’t visualize how a male dolphin could hold onto a resisting female.

            I did look up animal rape in Wikipedia, and it seems a group of males will corner a female, but there seems to be some question whether actual copulation took place.

            1. Okay. Just checking. Looks like you already found some info on it.

              Of course, it does all depend on how rape is defined. If intercourse is required to qualify as rape (which most legal definitions do, but not all), would you settle for sexual assualt? It is fairly certain that the male dolphins’ behavior is sexual and that the females are not willing participants.

              It could also be argued that rape requires certain cognitive / emotional abilities that no non-humans have. I don’t agree with that category of argument, but I could probably agree that sexual assualt is technically more accurate if penetration does not occur. But, I’m not sure that distinction means too much in this context.

            1. Well, yes, but it seems to assume a rather narrow range of possibilities about how to constrain the victim. I wasn’t sure so I asked instead of assuming sarcasm and responding sarcastically myself.

              1. I remember reading about this. The dolphins go out in gangs. They isolate the female from her males and physically surround her so she can’t get away then force her way out in the ocean to do their deed.

    2. Don’t laugh. I am servant to a feline rapist. He’s a big old sweetheart neutered male, who dry mounted his spayed sister so often he left scabs on her neck. I was finally able to find her a different home, and now she lives in bully-free bliss.

      I started reading this site regularly about the time the cat confessions winners were announced, and I’m really pissed because I just might have had the winner!

    3. Sexual conflict is common in many animal species, but I’m not sure I’d characterize any non-human mating behavior as rape. Mallard ducks are famously aggressive in their mating habits (see for example, zefrank1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k01DIVDJlY&feature=kp) and bed bugs reproduce by traumatic insemination, where the penis penetrates through the female’s abdomen.

      1. Why not? If the female is resisting and clearly does not want to copulate and the male forcibly copulates with her, why not call that rape?

        1. Human-exceptionalists claim that it devalues or excuses the crime.
          The same people that think animals have no emotions or consciousness, I presume.

    4. A BBC nature program a few years ago showed male elephant seals who had failed to win a harem would sometimes try to rape attached females.

      The females objected, loudly.

    5. Ducks are an example but the word “rape” has so many anthropocentric connotations that IMO the word should not be applied to forced copulation in the animal kingdom in general.

      1. Good point. There’s a case now in Israel where a woman was having sex with many boys, and she’s not being charged with rape because she’s not a man.

        How about copulation when the female is unwilling? I thought in animals, the female selects the male, and this is a part of preserving the fittest. But I’m a lawyer and a dog lover, so don’t much biology. 🙂

        1. I must note that sounds funny to me, especially if you want to transfer human legal technicalities onto animal behavior. Here in Sweden she would be charged with rape, as would what earlier constituted sexual assault I believe.

          [It’s in the conviction where misogyny still rears its ugly head.]

          Mate selection seems to be a resource question. Seahorses are famous for “role reversal”, and I think there were some cave animals (um, fishes I think, but probably also anthropoids) where role reversal now has been seen and reported lately.

          Um, mechanism. Wasn’t it that procreation investment was nearly too difficult in nutrient scarce environments, so males had evolved to accept investing as much? In other environments males can get away with being “unequal before the law”. 😉

          1. … Okay, it was more complicated. [Always check sources first!]

            I found a recent paper, where mate selection in some seahorse species are shared:

            “Our data show that female seahorses prefer and mate with MHIIb-dissimilar males,
            while male seahorses mate randomly with respect to this trait. Conversely, males prefer and mate with large females, while females
            show no size-based mating preference. The multimodal integration of sex-specific mate preferences in mating behavior of the
            potbellied seahorse suggests the existence of mutual mate choice in this species.”

            [ http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/04/13/beheco.ars045.full.pdf?keytype=ref&ijkey=Mqram5LzSgTgXEL ]

            So either I imagined the above mechanism et cetera and they are in the middle of figuring these things out. Or I missed what I’ve read previously, and that was wrong anyway.

            But the main point is that mate selection is not tied to gender in all cases. FWIW.

  12. His argument is an “Appeal to Nature” (it is “natural”, therefore it follows…) — a cousin of the is-ough problem — combined with an “Appeal to Consequences” (the consequence of it being “natural” are undesirable, therefore…). Intuively, this argumentation is false, yet there is some considerable debate behind these issues, for example what exactly is “natural”.

    The Creationists can be refuted easily though by pointing out that humans have long carved out a realm called “culture” which is around us at all times, whether infused with one religion or another, or none. We lose nothing if we get rid of yet another superstition.

    1. I forgot: it can count as an “Appeal to Fear” coupled with the religiously inherent “Argument from Authority” (the Bible). I find this bag of tricks in this simple idea rather impressive. Alltogether they are a subset of “Appeals to Emotion”.

  13. I wonder if there is a way to reach a common understanding with this fellow. Let’s start with the fact that both he and the “evolutionists” might agree that we have some inherent tendencies towards behavior that we would now call objectionable or unethical.

    Starting from that point of agreement, simply state to this fellow that our explanation of these tendencies is based on evidence, and further that we can also explain how the selfishness of genes could paradoxically lead to the development of forms of altruism.

    Contrast that with his alternative explanation of the origin of immoral behavior, as in the one involving a magic garden, a talking serpent, and a set-you-up-to-fail God. Are we so wrong for rejecting this barking mad fairy tale in favor of a well-supported scientific theory?

  14. I can only see two types of possibilities here. Either Isaacs, and the many believers like him, is just plain stupid, or he is a liar who thinks that his fellow believers are just plain stupid.

    What he, and others like him, do is very unethical. Any respectable god with anything remotely like the attributes modern xians would have us believe, despite their foundational texts which are plain to read, would wash its hands of him.

    1. Or he wants to say something in his article so he has to contort things to fit with what he wants to say. Not quite lying but more using facts in the wrong way.

      1. I don’t know… using facts in the wrong way, if intentional, is just plain lying. I think darrelle’s right. Either really stupid or a liar. I suppose “both” might be an option, too.

  15. Even if it were true that there were adaptations for rape, inferring that “rape is therefore morally justified” commits the naturalistic fallacy.

    One other point. Jerry says, “I won’t bother to rebut the view that whatever behaviors instilled in our genes…” I wonder whether we need to rethink the premise that behaviors are instilled in the genes. There are certainly cognitive mechanisms – mechanisms that process information and *generate behavior* – which in a very loose sense can be understood as being instilled in the genes (in the sense that these mechanisms reliably develop owing to a causal interaction between the genes and environment, particularly those aspects of the environment that are stable across generations). But from a biologically informed cognitive science perspective, it’s not clear how behavior can even in principle be instilled in the genes. Maybe Jerry was just using a shorthand here, but to avoid misleading and confusing people and perpetuating ideas that are no longer valid, it may be of some benefit to avoid talk of “behaviors instilled in our genes.”

    1. The need for us to sleep or eat–are those behaviors dependent on the environment? Yes, I recognize that many behaviors depend on the ingeraction of genes with culture to be useful (language comes to mind), but I reallly don’t need a lecture on how evoluton works.

      1. Those behaviors do seem to depend on the environment. Some hunger/thirst signal in the body activates systems to seek out food, and that signal itself derives either from some stimulus in the external environment (e.g., the presence of an apple) or from prior signal encoded in the nervous system tracking levels of sugars, water, etc.

        Just to be clear, I wasn’t referring to GxE *statistical* interactions, where one tries to explain individual differences in terms of genetic or environmental variance. In that case, many but not all behaviors can have their variance explained by GxE statistical interactions.

        I had in mind GxE *causal* interactions, which are about the mechanisms underlying behavior (e.g., gene expression at the molecular level). At least the development if not the online operation of cognitive mechanisms depend on this causal interaction.

        And I didn’t intend to offend, but I do think a discussion on this is sorely needed, and including insights from both cognitive science and evolutionary biology are essential.

    2. It’s shorthand. Tendencies are instilled in our genes. But since we also evolved the ability for free will :), we can in specific instances act against our tendencies. We tend to sleep at night, but we can stay up the whole night if we want to.

      1. The thing is, the ability to “go against the will of our genes” is itself influenced be genes, and must have been beneficial to our ancestors.

    3. “I wonder whether we need to rethink the premise that behaviors are instilled in the genes”

      I always like to think of it as the presence or lack of a gene being a reason (but not the only reason of course) that a given behavior differs in individuals. That’s pretty much all that is needed to support the notion that genes affect behavior. I’ve always took it to mean that “genes instill behavior” is shorthand for the preceding.

      1. Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough. What you said is true – for many traits, a good deal of variance is explained by genetic variance (heritability > 0). But this is about individual differences.

        I had in mind GxE *causal* interactions, which are about the development and operation of mechanisms underlying behavior (e.g., gene expression at the molecular level).

        To bring the point into focus, consider visual acuity (VA). If the heritability of VA were 0, meaning no genetic variance explains variance in VA, there is still some set of genes that in (causal) interaction with the environment builds the visual system and accounts for VA. Assuming VA still varies b/c of environmental variance, then regarding your comment, different genes are NOT a reason that a given behavior differs in individuals. But genes of course are still critical to understanding the causal mechanism.

        Returning to the original point, it seems a major misstep to use phrases like “behaviors instilled in our genes.” Unless it is being used as a shorthand for something (and some clarification on this would be helpful) the phrase is imprecise at best and inaccurate at worst.

  16. After studying the Bible, I discovered myself in a very dark place – a place where rape, murder and theft is most definitely ok – because, after all, god commanded that it be done.

  17. I don’t know if I buy that Isaacs is really so stupid as to think that having sexual urges means rape is ok. Does he think that feelings of envy mean theft is ok? Or that feelings of hatred mean murder is ok?

    Whether evolution or god instilled those urges is ultimately irrelevant. Although if god have us those urges you can “wtf, god?!”

    1. I think earlier posters have established that Isaacs is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, that he’s not playing with a full deck, and that his dipstick’s not touching oil.

      I love the scope of the refutations in this thread (yours is a nice addition); of course, the core is Adam’s comment in #21 above, that Isaacs “commits the naturalistic fallacy.”

  18. Not that Isaacs’ inanities need a test apart from the paper Jerry linked to.

    But, notably, with the same lack of logic one concludes that “purveyors of creationistic magic” drags us to a place where rape is basically okay. Because, after all, creationism tells priests they have to control their altar boys.

    Maybe that is why creationists are known for their widespread rape and pillaging, while biologists are not. Or maybe not, maybe it is because creationists have a belief that makes them worrying about morality instead of accepting the societies’s, mostly robustly based on evolved moral reactions as it is.

  19. Not to mention, if Mr. Isaacs wants to bring up rape, how many times is it spoken of in the Bible, and not unfavourably. Women are to marry the men that raped them after all. He should read his own literature before condemning anyone else.

  20. This is very similar to the “argument” Creationists make when they say that if there is no God, everything, morally speaking, is permitted. If there is no God, there is no right or wrong — who’s to judge?

    Christopher Hitchens used to say it’s an insult to ancient people who lived before Moses and his followers got to the foot of Mount Sinai that adultery, murder, theft, and perjury were okay.

    1. What they are doing is being the question. God exists because he is the source of morality. If there is no God rape would be ok. But rape is not ok, therefore God exists. The premise already assumes what is set out to be proven.

  21. I find it interesting that one group of Christians uses Old Testament law and behaviors as sanctioned by God and, therefore, something we not only can, but should do while another group emphasizes the new covenant starting with Jesus that wiped out Old Testament covenants,laws and behaviors.

    There’s too much evidence in animal studies and neuroscience that animals of many kinds, not just humans, have the abilty to empathize, share and try to help others of their kind to propose that Evolution implies carte blanche for doing anything you please.

  22. The evidence in the video clip above is that Derek Isaacs hasn’t truly studied Darwin or Dawkins.

    How much profit does a vendor of evolutionary thought make per thought?

  23. Stripped of it’s mythology, the Bible preaches Nihilism (and I’m talking about the caricature Nihilism that many people associate with the term).

    This disarms the Christian from putting much thought into how morality actually might work without the supernatural. There ain’t nothing there to discover, morally, if God doesn’t exist, so why would they put much thought into it? It’s a one-viewpoint “school” on moral philosophy. And you can see the lack of sophistication in Isaacs attempt to reason about things without appealing to God.

  24. You have to start asking questions: Well, if the bible is true, and it’s just all about being fruitful and multiplying, we had to ask hard questions, like, well, is rape wrong?”

    There. Or how about this one?

    You have to start asking questions: Well, if Divine Command Theory is true, and it’s just all about the obeying God no matter what order He gives us, we had to ask hard questions, like, well, is rape or murder or anything wrong?”

  25. This is why fundamentalists and many other believers can not accept evolution. To accept it is to deny God and embrace debauchery and Satin. This makes debating creationists an exercise in futility. It is not about the evidence; it is about saving ones soul.

  26. ” rape is basically okay because, … evolution tells men they have to propagate their genes.”

    This non-sequitur can be fixed by replacing ‘evolution’ by ‘the Roman Catholic Church”.

    (Well, not REALLY fixed .. rape is never okay, but it makes much more sense).

  27. I’ve *got* to ask (I really do; no choice; see previous posts about free will on this website 😉 ):

    Is Isaacs talking about *legitimate* rape?

    Also, I can’t believe I’m the first one to post this, 110+ posts into the thread. Whee!

      1. True dat. That ex-politician (does anyone even remember his name?) shure done knowed lotts about biologge.

  28. lol

    well one can also propagate ones genes by investing heavily on genetic technology so one can create an infinite number of exact clones of oneself!

  29. Jerry stated, “…the widespread view that if evolution were true, there would be no reason to behave morally.”

    I used to subscribe to this position, that one needed to be a Christian in order to have the correct moral view. I no longer believe this, thanks to Sam Harris’s book, “The Moral Landscape”. In fact, as an atheist I have the responsibility to be the most moral person I can be, because this life is the only opportunity I will have to do so.

    I think that Christians hide behind a facade of supposed (and shallow) morality because they think “God will forgive” them in heaven.

    As a species we have evolved an acute sense of and a desire for freedom. Rape is wrong because it violates the freedom of another person.

    I think Mr. Isaacs is projecting (is that the correct psychological term?) his own tendencies on those of others.

  30. Besides all of the debate about how inherently fair or moral humans are or aren’t, Isaacs and his ilk have a much simpler problem with their argument, namely that human evolution occurred or it didn’t. Citing any supposed byproducts of human BELIEF that evolution occurred cannot have any effect on whether it, in fact, occurred. It’s not like choosing what game to play at the family reunion and deciding that football is too rough so we’ll go with croquet instead. One cannot change reality by wishing it away.

  31. Why is it only about the man spreading his seed? Lot’s daughters got him drunk and raped him to continue the bloodline. Perhaps this is the pinnacle of moral virtue to which we should all strive.

  32. “After all, if we’re simply evolved beasts, there’s nothing wrong with behaving like beasts. This, perhaps, is the psychological reason behind most of America’s opposition to evolution.”

    But then, many of us behave worse than beasts, including many of the Americans who most vehemently oppose evolution. Most beasts are generally indifferent to suffering. It takes intelligence to concoct religious stories and persecute people for no actual reason other than what they think.

    1. This is the same problem as with other “if evolution is true, then [evil will befall us]” arguments.

      1. If it is true, then it is true. Now we have to deal with the consequences of that, whatever they may be. He is arguing very much like the apocryphal Bishop’s wife who said “Man descended from an ape? My dear, let us hope that it is not true. Or if it is true, that it does not become generally known!”

      2. He takes it as a given that rape is wrong: why does he imagine we too can not do so, and continue to do so, knowing our ancestry?

      1. The fallacious appeal to consequences is very common among creationists. Let’s see, if I were to step off a cliff, or fall out a window, I’d be smashed to an ugly pulp, and then I’d rot, bloat up, and stink abominably. My wife would be a widow and my children would be orphans. Therefore gravity is not true.

      2. Excellent point, Shuggy. He wants people who he assumes ALREADY condemn rape to reject evolutionary theory lest they, what, lose the sense that rape is wrong? Perhaps what he is getting at is that if someone wanted to rationalize really selfish behavior such as rape then they could cite evolution as a supposed rationale. But someone who wants to rationalize such bad behavior (a) must not really reject it as immoral in the first place, and (b) would undoubtedly find something to rationalize it in their minds regardless of whether evolutionary theory ever existed.

  33. If mothers were left alone to look after their rubbish* children on their own in the wilderness, the child would die. Child rearing is necessarily a co-operative job for much longer than the copulation.
    * human children are rubbish; most animals can walk at birth. Humans have to wait 3-4 years before the child is independent enough to not be a 24/7 job, a further 14 years before they are mature enough to be independent.

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