Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

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The Snag About Materialism

According to Wikipedia Materialism “holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance.”

Materialism is, whether or not you know it, the philosophy at the heart of  (and laying the foundation for) the theory of Evolution.  Evolution, you see begins with the a priori assumption that there is no God – no deity – no supernatural anything.  The only thing that is real is matter (and energy) and everything that is can be explained by the properties of it. If it can’t be explained without God, then it can’t be real.  Your soul, your mind, your thoughts, dreams, ideas and memories are simply the result of the physical interactions of physical matter (eg. in your brain).

It seems to me that there are two reasons why one should think this is a bunch of silliness.  Number one. If all thought, is simply a process of material interactions then there can be no right or wrong thought.  To call one kind of material interaction (with its attendant result) wrong cannot apply.  It simply is.  Therefore there would be no reason to disagree with anything anyone ever thought – including the thought that there must be not only a spiritual component to life, but a supernatural spiritual being responsible for creating and sustaining all that matter.  Yet see how accepting materialists are of any such idea (produced, as they would say only by material interactions).  Obviously they can still think that there are some things which are more real than others.

The second reason materialism does not, and cannot, amount to much is stated very well by C.S. Lewis, who identified this problematic philosophy so many decades ago:

If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, the the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too.  If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds true for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts – i.e. of materialism and astronomy – are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true?  I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.

Two accidents, no matter how great they are, just don’t make a truth. If there is no outside guiding force or principle (eg a spiritual reality) behind all thought then every thought is simply random chance of randomly interacting particles of matter.  But random chance cannot be taken for truth.  Again, it just is. So what makes materialistic random material interactions more “true” than the material interactions leading to a trust in God?

Just because matter “is” it does not follow that nothing else can be.  Just because we can’t measure something directly doesn’t disprove its existence.  (Ask astronomers about Dark Energy and Dark Matter, or an archeologist about “deep” time!)   Nor does being able to study the physical stuff of my brain tell you what my inner-most thoughts are.  But that’s fine, because now you know!


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The “Savage” Irony of Charles Darwin

Savages.  Can we use the word?  Absolutely not! says polite society … unless of course you are speaking evolutionarily.  Then it is just fine.  Merely a term of science, so to speak.

Many people will still try to blame genocide and racism on faith communities (especially Christians), but it is not they who believe in savages.  It is an evolutionary term that has led to discrimination, wanton blood-letting, racial stereotyping and various forms of eugenics for over 150 years now.  If we are evolved from lower forms after all, then those who are of those lower forms, or still exhibit such features are surely not as fit for survival as we, are they?  So why feel bad about it?  Call a savage a savage and have done with it.

It was the opinion of Mr. Darwin himself.  Consider his learned position regarding the Fuegians he met on his travels aboard the Beagle.

“For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey … or from that old baboon … as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest of superstitions.” (The Descent of Man) Read it from the source. (p.518)

Let us not mince words.  He considered them less than human.  How much nobler, if we had risen from the heroic struggle of the mindless animals, than to be connected to such unreasoning savagery.

Yet consider this – what do you see around you in our gentrified and highly evolved societies today?  And what should we make of it by the same Darwinian standards?  Ten minutes in politics will show anyone that the love of torturing enemies has not been left behind us on the evolutionary tree.  We simply have more complex rules for how and when it is proper to engage in such things.

Bloody sacrifices?  As the people whose livelihood was destroyed by the thugs and the vandals supposedly trying to make a point at this past weekend’s G20 summit in Toronto.  Over a million dollars in damage to windows alone!  And why?  Because sacrificing an innocent’s livelihood is the most enlightened way of making your opinions known?

Practicing infanticide?  how about 300 000 infants aborted in Canada alone each and every year.  Babies offered up on the altars of “choice”, “bad timing”, or “convenience.”  And remorse?  How can one be remorseful of a person’s hard-won right.

Decency, wives as slaves?  Pornography is a multibillion dollar business.   Much of fashion (for girls as much as women) leaves little more to the imagination than the porn magazines out there.  Women are still routinely beaten and battered, to the point where nearly every town sports at least one women’s shelter (I drive past the local one every morning n my way to the church).  And superstition?  You name it, people still do it! Ladders, black cats, mirrors, salt, 13, speaking of death and so on and so on.

It’s a good thing we are so much more evolved now than we were back in those prehistoric days of savagery isn’t it?

“A wild man is indeed a miserable animal.”  So wrote Charles Darwin (Darwin correspondence Project, Letter 207) I know its ironic, but I couldn’t agree more!

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Evolutionary Science in a Nutshell

imgsrv.gocomics.comNon Sequitur (June 1)

imgsrv.gocomics.comNon Sequitur (June 3)

With all due apologies to Mr. Wiley Miller (as I’m not sure as to his original intent with these cartoons) I can’t help but posit them here for your consideration.  It seems to me that this is the sort of charge leveled against those who adhere to Intelligent Design … or worse yet … to full fledged Creationism.  But I think that it would surprise many to find that there are many genuine scholars in these camps who would love dearly to be able to debate the science behind evolution on purely scientific terms.  They are routinely (and summarily) dismissed, however, on the simple grounds that nothing supernatural may be connected in any way to the discussion of evolution … even if it is only the worldview behind the scientific inquiry being done … or else it is no longer science.) In other words, if you will not discuss science from our preconceived notions, then you are not truly discussing science at all … and we don’t have to listen.

Yet where is the scientific danger of asking if sedimentation, layering, and canyon forming have all been observed to have happened in hours and days … why do we insist on millions of years for these processes?  Diamonds and coal can both be formed in a lab (using natural processes) in a matter of days … again, why are millions of years still assumed necessary?  How do polystrate fossils fit in to a long age hypothesis of sedimentation and fossilization?  What about the viable dinosaur tissue that is supposed to be some 65 million years old?  How can such a thing be?  What about the fact that every single instance of natural selection that we have been able to observe has actually come about due to a loss of genetic information, rather than an addition of said genetic material needed as a basis of the evolutionary process?

There are plenty of other genuinely (and solely) scientific questions which bear discussion for the sake of the science alone, but with a long age, evolutionary preconception, I fear that such discussion will continue to be summarily dismissed for the simple reasoning that some people have already decided that evolution can’t be wrong … so don’t waste your breath you religious nut.

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Can We Talk?

creationI know that I run the risk of ruffling a few feathers out there … but if it leads to a genuine conversation about the one great topic that is forbidden to speak of in this day and age … well let’s risk it.

It seems that the Government of Alberta has gone and shown its great intolerance to the ivory towers of evolutionism in the classroom.  Not that they actually disagreed with it mind you … it’s just that they are about to give the people of Alberta a back-door to do so.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do agree with some of the concerns (if not the reasoning) that educators express with the “willy-nilly” ability of parents to pull their children from any class based upon religious freedom.  It could very easily lead to great confusion and frustration.  But haven’t parents always had that right?  Since when does being able to competently write provincial exams trump personal freedom or the right to stand up for one’s convictions?   And if something is deemed that important to (possibly) that many people such that the whole educational system is undermined … then isn’t a little confusion and frustration a worthy price to pay to begin discussing what is simply not allowed to be spoken of.

Indeed, in a given interview a zoologist seems to be quoted as saying just that …

Most importantly, it calls into question the purpose of a public education system, said Bruseker.  A zoologist by training, Bruseker said he’s well aware that he’s unlikely to change the mind of someone who strongly believes in creationism. But teaching kids to talk about ideas and listening to others is what matters.  “Isn’t it more healthy to have that discussion and create the opportunity for kids to deal with these controversial issues and have the discussion in class?” he asked.  “Isn’t that, the development of critical thinking skills, isn’t that really what public education is supposed to be all about?”

Talking about ideas and listening to others is what matters?  Developing critical thinking?  But would that mean he, and others in the evolutionary camp would be willing to admit creation scientists into the classroom for such a sharing of ideas and pursuit of critical thinking might take place?  Would they be willing to go into a Church to continue the rest of the conversation?  Are they open to debating the science and admitting the underlying worldviews at work on each side as they look at the same evidence in an attempt to actually listen to an idea that does not agree with their own.  I won’t hold my breath.

And here’s why – you just are not allowed to think differently.  You are not allowed to be a reasonable person in our society unless you have the prerequisite “belief” in evolution.  Any other belief is simply unreasonable.  As a government official said in his own words …

Lindsay Blackett, the Tory minister responsible for human rights, said in an interview that the intention of the law is to only allow parents to pull children out when the curriculum specifically covers religions, something that only happens for a few hours each school year. “It’s talking about religion (such as) Hindu, or Muslim, or that type of religion, not … the curriculum with respect to, for instance, evolution,” he said. “That’s science and we’re not arguing science.” …

You see – evolution is science and that means it is true and trustworthy above every other idea in this world … to be feared loved and trusted above all lesser “non-science” things.  End of conversation.