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Adaptation versus Common Descent

07 Sep

Either WordPress has classified me as a spammer, or everyone in the orthosphere hates me. Every comment I’ve made to WP blogs in the last few weeks has gone straight into moderation. Poor me.

Normally I’m only scattering one liners of dubious value, but I just now tried to leave a more substantive comment on Thrasymachus’s post about evolved morality. Here’s what I wrote:

As a creationist, I find it highly annoying how stupid most creationists are, and how inept so many are at fighting evolutionists. A large part of the problem is that evolutionists play fast and loose with words. “Evolution” is a sack full of associated but not necessarily entangled connotations. Walter ReMine spends a fair amount of pages in The Biotic Message demonstrating the sleight of hand used by evolution propagandists so he can establish a consistent and non-equivocal terminology, so he can go about the business of arguing for a fascinating theory of creation.

Where this is relevant to your post: any creationist who believes that dogs, foxes, coyotes, dingoes, and wolves all descended from the same original beast ought to have no trouble with the idea that creatures change form, diversify, adapt. They evolve, if evolve is taken strictly to mean “unfold”, and not the creation of new genetic information. What I perceive to be the non-negotiable objection held by most creationists (smart or stupid) is an objection to common descent. This is fitting. Common descent is prima facie ridiculous. Future generations will catalog the idea alongside spontaneous generation and the bodily humors.

So: even the most recalcitrant young earth creationists ought not to have trouble with the concept that God’s creatures change and adapt, including humans. But some do, as demonstrated. The problem’s source, as with so many other diseases of modernity, is in Universalism. It is offensive to the Universalized mind, yea even the fundamentalist churchian creationist Universalized mind, to contemplate that some races of mankind may be degraded, incompetent, beastly, in a word: devolved.

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33 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

33 responses to “Adaptation versus Common Descent

  1. chesterpoe

    September 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    That reminds me of the view of evolution held by Julius Evola. He explained that contrary to what the Modernists would have you believe, it is impossible for something inferior to develop into something superior. Such a conclusion was drawn, not through scientific inquiry, but rather philosophical. By making this assertion he also explained that in ancient times (think Roman Empire) when the Roman soldier traveling far from Rome encountered a people very primitive and barbaric, they concluded not that these people did not reach the peak of civilization as Rome had but rather that they had fallen from such a peak of civilization. This concept is known as involution. Spiritual decay was marked by physical traits which appeared among those who had already suffered a civilization collapse at some time in their past (it could have been thousands of years); for some this explained the darker pigmentation of skin and other recognizable characteristics commonly associated with inferior parts of humanity.

    This makes sense if one also accepts a cyclical view of history, one similar to that of Oswald Spengler’s theories in ‘Der Untergang des Abendlandes’ (The Decline of the West). Some make the case that, along with other particular values espoused by Christianity, it was a linear view of history which allowed the concept of “progress” to develop. The Pagans always perceived the world as degrading further into barbarism and misery than it had been during their ancestors time. A problem with accepting this assessment of time however is that it seems to remove the concept of Free Will and replaces it with a form of Determinism or Fatalism. I believe there is a way of reconciling cyclical time with individual free will by fixing each to a separate plane. Time moves cyclically with a pervading spirit in each age which drives the people alive, but humans have the ability to ‘swim against the tide’ which signifies our free will. This is what God had meant for us to do; as Rome had been decaying we, as Christians, were to be the force of resurrection; to resurrect the civilized world and fix it to the highest point: God.

    Now, like in all times past, our civilization is decaying and falling apart leading inevitably to replacement. Evolution plays a part in all the above in that it cannot be possible for us, all living things, to have a shared relative; a single starting point. Humans cannot turn into monkeys but at the same time monkeys, because evolution would require the lesser to become the greater, cannot turn into humans. All the species that have gone extinct in the past did so because of survival of the fittest, yes, but they failed to survive only because their ancestors were superior to them. Hopefully I am making sense and this does not come across as just one big ramble.

     
  2. Matthew

    September 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I don’t see any conflict between free will and devolution. An Aristotle is the rubbish of an Adam.

     
  3. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 6:04 am

    “Either WordPress has classified me as a spammer, or everyone in the orthosphere hates me. Every comment I’ve made to WP blogs in the last few weeks has gone straight into moderation. Poor me.”

    WP has done that to me, too, though it was a month or two back that it mostly happened.

     
  4. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Agreed, that there’s no reason for those of us who are creationist to deny micro-evolution: that is a fact, and we have made much use of it, in breeding plants and animals to the ways we want them, selecting for various traits.

     
  5. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    “A problem with accepting this assessment of time however is that it seems to remove the concept of Free Will and replaces it with a form of Determinism or Fatalism.”

    Not a problem, of course, for Calvinists like me, who still believe in free agency – the ability of humans to make decisions on non-salvation matters – but see everything that happens in history as proceeding as part of God’s plan.

     
  6. Matthew

    September 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Will, the term “micro-evolution” is itself an example of the sleight of hand played by dishonest evolution propagandists. Simpler terms are less confusing and more meaningful: adaptation, common descent, etc.

     
  7. sunshinemary

    September 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Matthew wrote:

    It is offensive to the Universalized mind, yea even the fundamentalist churchian creationist Universalized mind, to contemplate that some races of mankind may be degraded, incompetent, beastly, in a word: devolved.

    I’m very interested in the topic of evolution (although I am a creationist), but I don’t quite understand what you mean here. Can you give an example of what you are referring to and how it relates to evolution?

     
  8. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    @ Matthew: Hmmm. Interesting take.

     
  9. chesterpoe

    September 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    @ WIll: How do you defend Calvinism against claims that it was perhaps the leading cause of Leftism in the world? I have heard these accusations before and never actually found anyone who thoroughly defended their faith. You know the claims; historically Calvinist areas are/were the most Leftist, Calvinist theology brought about the concept of self-hatred and the need to go on moralistic crusades which gave us the current self-hatred, and so on. I do not believe these things to be true, I mean, France is the first nation Leftism won control over and it was Catholic.

    I ask you this because Calvinism had always been a religion I found a lot of agreement with and just wanted some clarification.

     
  10. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    @ CP: “How do you defend Calvinism against claims that it was perhaps the leading cause of Leftism in the world?”

    By pointing out that it was the perversion of Calvinism, rather than Calvinism itself, that was responsible for much leftism.

    New England did not remain solidly Puritan for long past the Revolution; the Puritanism of there devolved into Unitarianism, among other things, which of course is responsible for much ill in the world, ideologically speaking, due to its influence.

    Also, as regards Presbyterians in general in America, most of them didn’t stay true, either; some went off into mainline liberalism, and others went off into fundamentalism, and in both cases, didn’t stay true to the Reformed faith. And it is the mainline liberals who are most responsible for leftism, not the faithful, orthodox Calvinists.

    I would say that secularized, deformed Calvinism, keeping the sense of mission but transferring it to worldly politics, rather than the keeping it about the faith, is a leading cause of leftism.

    As for the claims that historically Calvinist areas are or were the most leftist, again, it may be true of areas that didn’t hold to their Calvinism – but nobody would ever claim, for example, that white Afrikaners were leftists, because that would be absurd. 🙂

    People like to bash Calvinism, just as people like to bash Catholicism. And in many cases, their armchair analyses are highly simplistic; as foolish as the WNs and some others who blame Christianity itself for being leftist, rather than recognizing that leftist Christianity is a perversion of the Faith. But nuance and cause/effect distinctions are lost on some people…

     
  11. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    “I do not believe these things to be true, I mean, France is the first nation Leftism won control over and it was Catholic.”

    Indeed, and while it is true that at one time, France was very Calvinist, that was so long ago, that it wasn’t against the by-then-long-gone Huguenots that the Jacobins were organizing themselves in opposition to, but rather, to the Catholic Church hierarchy.

     
  12. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    And that brings up another point: blaming Calvinists for the effects of secularized, liberal mainline perversions of their doctrines, makes as much sense as blaming the Catholic Church for the French Revolution; which is to say, it makes no sense. But there are a lot of people out there who aren’t very bright, and/or have axes to grind and allow such to distort their thinking processes.

     
  13. chesterpoe

    September 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I have heard more than enough WN types and Nietzscheans make the claim that Christianity is the cause of Leftism. Trying to explain it was a series of unfortunate events, unique historical circumstances, and a perversion of Biblical doctrine, but that always fails to convince them. No need to beat a dead horse, so it is not worth getting frustrated about. Like I said before, Calvinism has always been the only other form of Christianity besides Catholicism that makes a valid case (imo, obviously). One thing that always bothered me about it though was the rejection of depictions of God in art; that seems to be constructive for faith rather than destructive.

     
  14. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    “One thing that always bothered me about it though was the rejection of depictions of God in art; that seems to be constructive for faith rather than destructive.”

    I have mixed feelings about that; I understand why the Reformers wanted to do away with such – they didn’t want people forming mental images of what God looks like, and holding such in mind as they pray and worship, and that in itself is reasonable enough. But why can’t, just for the sake of art, we depict Biblical scenes directly involving God, just as we depict other historical events in art? I should think that as long as one realizes one is not looking at the equivalent of a photograph of God, and as long as such aren’t in churches over the pulpit, but instead on stained-glass windows, or in art pieces in galleries, etc., that such shouldn’t be problematic.

    And part of the problem, too, that has arisen from such, is a shying away from the arts in general, in the Reformed community, historically. Fortunately, that is beginning to change, as young Reformed folks today go into the arts, and try to, as with everything else, have their vocation reflect their faith, which I think is a healthy development.

     
  15. Will S.

    September 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    @ CP: Found a couple articles at Pravda you’ll find interesting:

    http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/31-08-2012/122042-western_culture-0/

    http://english.pravda.ru/society/sex/28-05-2012/121250-usa_sex_control-0/

    I don’t completely agree with their POV, but admire their hatred of modernity.

     
  16. chesterpoe

    September 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    We would have been better off if Bolshevism swept all of the West; preferably of course Liberalism and Bolshevism would never have succeeded anywhere. In fact, I actually respect Bolsheviks; they were a worthy opponent. Liberals are not worthy opponents, they do not even want to be an opponent; the whole debate will be framed in terms of you being one speech away from the psych ward until they take power. A society can survive Bolshevism, it cannot survive Liberalism. Is it any wonder so many Conservatives in Eastern Europe actually vote Communist which in the West would make sense?

     
  17. Matthew

    September 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    sunshinemary asked for clarification of my statement: “It is offensive to the Universalized mind, yea even the fundamentalist churchian creationist Universalized mind, to contemplate that some races of mankind may be degraded, incompetent, beastly, in a word: devolved.”

    When I say Universalized, I’m using neo-reactionary jargon. “neo-reactionary” is itself pretty close to being jargon, or possibly cant. If you care to dig into the primary sources, go read one of Mencius Moldbug’s introductory blog series (yes, series. “An Open Letter to Progressives” had something like 13 parts, each part consisting of at least 8000 words. The shorter series was “A Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations”, with maybe only seven parts). Probably you don’t want to know. Thus:

    Universalism is a Christian heresy, specifically a perversion of anti-Roman Christianity. More specifically, a perversion of Puritan/Dissenter/Congregationalist/Calvinist Christianity. An essential feature of Universalism is a non-negotiable insistence on the dignity and equality of all men. And women, can’t forget about the women. Modern Universalists take this dogma and run with it so far and fast that they outrun theism itself, let alone the worship of the Christ.

    Atheist evolutionists are almost entirely devout Universalists. Conservative Christians are almost entirely devout Universalists. You are almost certainly a devout Universalist. Before modern times, absolutely no one was a Universalist. Everything you were taught about history and sociology in school (even the best Christian private school) was Universalist propaganda.

    Now, with that asserted, we turn to evolution and creation. I dislike the word “evolution”, because it is vague, inapt, and a good breeding ground for equivocation. As I’ve said above, a good dividing line between Us and Them is the question of Common Descent. Rejecting common descent makes you a creationist. Beyond that rejection lies a world of competing and interesting claims and theories. In the scope of this conversation, I don’t care about any such claims or theories. What I care about is the artificial restrictions on research and discourse that Universalism demands.

    How many modern creationists are comfortable even discussing the evident differences between the various human races? I don’t recall seeing any such discussion in Whitcomb and Morris, or Behe, or Dembski, or ReMine, or in any of the documents on trueorigin.org, or answersingenesis.org. Racism is completely and totally unacceptable to Churchians.

    Thought experiment: first, acquire full totalitarian powers. Second, round up a large number of the most inbred hillbillies of the upper Appalachians, as many mentally retarded folk as you can find, and anyone still of breeding age who is afflicted with Huntington’s. Sequester them for a thousand years in an Edenic biosphere.

    At the end of this dysgenic millennium, equalize the relative air pressures, open the doors, and escort all the inhabitants to medical facilities for delousing and sundry other hygienic procedures. Who do we have here?

    Are they fully human? Must we allow them to vote? Would you encourage your daughter to mate with one of them? What are our responsibilities toward these beings?

     
  18. Matthew

    September 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    chesterpoe, you are either woefully ignorant or an agitator. Liberals are venal, but the Bolsheviks were and are as close to evil as we have seen on this earth. If you meant only that a less venal communism would be preferable to our present hedonistic progressivism, I find that interesting and worthy of argument. Any defense of the Bolsheviks as something other than morally degraded, racially motivated murderers of millions is something you will eventually be ashamed of.

     
  19. chesterpoe

    September 8, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I have posted on this blog enough for people to know I am neither woefully ignorant nor an agitator. In my post it even stated clearly, “preferably of course Liberalism and Bolshevism would never have succeeded anywhere.” My point was not to say Bolshevism was good in any way, shape, or form, but that from the way I see things and from what I have heard from family and others in the former Warsaw Pact nations, our Western Liberalism is infinitely more destructive in comparison to Bolshevism. In regards to me respecting Bolsheviks, that is only in comparison to Liberals; the Bolsheviks were generally more honest about the tactics they were pursuing and the end result of their actions. Liberals are neither honest nor do they even acknowledge there is such a thing as an end result (except absurd notions of “progress” leading to utopia).

     
  20. David Collard

    September 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Lawrence Auster has been playing with the idea that some races are less than fully human, or some members at least. Dangerous. The kernel of truth is that God does seem to favour some ethnic groups, Jews being the best example, with his message.

    I certainly believe all men can be saved, but not all men are equal. Clearly different ethnic groups have different strengths and weaknesses.

    As for men and women, I see no reason to assume that the sexes are equal. I think one can argue it both ways. Aquinas believed that women are inferior to men. Marie George has written on this.

     
  21. Matthew

    September 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    chesterpoe, I haven’t seen any of your contributions, because I’ve been nodding. Your last comment does nothing to assure me of your informedness or your good intentions. Ascribing any honesty to Bolsheviks rather increases my suspicion of your motives.

    “our Western Liberalism is infinitely more destructive in comparison to Bolshevism”

    You have thus demonstrated a lack of any sense of proportion. Or you’re an ignoramus. Or you’re just seeking what’s good for your people.

     
  22. David Collard

    September 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Marie George on Aquinas on the inferiority of women:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/what-aquinas-really-said-about-women-24

     
  23. Matthew

    September 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    David Collard, God favored the descendants of Abraham, and made contracts with the Israelites, not just the Judeans. I don’t mean to get into the Khazar mess here, only to emphasize that the favored nation of Yahweh was clearly not “the Jews”, whoever they were, and are, and shall be.

     
  24. David Collard

    September 8, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    I don’t want to argue about Jews. I simply want to make the point that God seems to use different peoples and sexes for different purposes. It is interesting that the Gospel was described as a scandal to the Jews and a stumbling block to the Greeks IIRC. Each race had a characteristic response.

    I agree that egalitarianism is rife even in Catholicism today. But egalitarianism is not a primary Christian value.

     
  25. chesterpoe

    September 9, 2012 at 12:33 am

    ““our Western Liberalism is infinitely more destructive in comparison to Bolshevism”

    You have thus demonstrated a lack of any sense of proportion. Or you’re an ignoramus. Or you’re just seeking what’s good for your people.”

    I stated that that is what my family had told me. They lived behind the Iron Curtain in Hungary and in the Modern Hungary. They have little reason to lie, being right-wing Christian members of JOBBIK. So I take them, along with the other people whose stories I have read online from those Soviet nations, to be more informed about Bolshevism in comparison to Liberalism than any of us Westerners would be. And did I say the Bolsheviks were honest? No. I said in comparison to Liberals they are more honest. If you disagree I ask that you please prove me wrong.

     
  26. sunshinemary

    September 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    @ Matthew
    Thank you for clarifying. I think I understand what you are saying now.

    You asked several questions; maybe you meant them rhetorically, but I think I will answer them anyway, and I would be curious to see other readers answers as well. David Collard referenced several articles and discussions posted recently on View from the Right regarding whether savage behavior by segments of certain ethnic/racial groups qualified them as subhuman. I think any topic is fine for discussion, no matter how un-politically correct, but I disagree with what I think Mr. Auster’s implied conclusions.

    1. Are they fully human?
    Yes. To state otherwise is close to blasphemy in my opinion. God made man in his image; no matter how depraved and savage a man’s behavior becomes, he is still a man and he cannot lose his image-bearing status. I would need to see clear evidence from Scripture to believe otherwise.

    2. Must we allow them to vote?
    No. I support disenfranchising large segments of the population, including all women. Property-owning men are the only people who should vote.

    3. Would you encourage your daughter to mate with one of them?
    Meaning a low-IQ man or a man exhibiting “savage” behavior? No.

    4. What are our responsibilities toward these beings?
    Welfare has been horrible for low-IQ people of all races, but the bigger problem is that there is no honesty or integrity with how lower-IQ people are educated and trained. I worked in Special Ed in a low-income public school district for a number of years, so I’m pretty well acquainted with what the problems are here. For example, in the self-contained Cognitively Impaired classroom, the teacher used to tell the children, “When you go to college, blah, blah, blah”. These were children with IQs ranging from the 70s down to about the 40s (which is about as low as you can accurately measure with standardized testing.) It used to make me really angry to hear her say that to them. These children desperately needed to be trained in real-life skills like how to cook a simple meal, how to fill out a simple job application form, how to hold a simple job like dish-washing or working in a shop. They could have dignified lives with a job, and be able to manage some of their daily living tasks themselves. They used to receive such training in the public schools, but they no longer do because it is considered racist. This is infuriating; to appease some liberal’s bloated conscious, these children are being denied useful skills and fed a totally unrealistic dream of “going to college”. So, to answer your question, our responsibility to such people (not “beings”) is that they should be given training that will allow them to live productive, dignified lives to the best of their abilities, without stupid, fuzzy, liberal lies about college.

     
  27. Matthew Walker

    September 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Adaptation — breeding dogs into wolves, for example, or wolves and coyotes both developing from a common ancestor — IS the creation of new genetic information. New inherited traits means new genetic info, full stop. That’s how they’re inherited.

    The shape of a vertebra, the number of vertebrae, it’s all inherited. Everything. (What’s YOUR theory about why a horse gamete grows into a horse? Magic wands? Harry Potter? Disney Princess Magic? Wrong, it’s genes. You’re like an illiterate savage in the Congo claiming there’s no such thing as radio.)

    If you want to refute evolution, first learn enough of the basics of the subject to discuss it competently. Any freshman bio student can see you know nothing whatsoever about the subject.

    And you think you’re going to pose convincingly as an expert? People laugh at that stuff. It’s a joke.

     
  28. David Collard

    September 10, 2012 at 3:53 am

    SunshineMary, all good points. I think Auster is simply losing it on that topic. Good point about life skills training for special needs children. That said, there is no harm in pushing the academics too. But it is silly to aim all kids at university. My son has autism, and I don’t see him going to university. I retired partly to look after him and help him transition to as happy and productive a life as possible. I remember reading a slogan about autistic children, for Americans, “We are aiming at Harvard”. What nonsense.

    I don’t think women will ever lose the vote. The best we can hope is that women learn to vote more wisely.

     
  29. David Collard

    September 10, 2012 at 4:23 am

    The problem with arguments about the humanity of Africans, for example, is that they can be turned around on men and women in general. Africans are violent? So are men, compared with women. Africans don’t produce much to underly technology and civilisation? The same can be said of women. Once we start hiving off groups of humans as less than human, we are all in trouble. The old, the mentally ill, the mentally disabled, infants, the unborn – all can be regarded as less than human and maltreated once we go down this path. Auster is on very dangerous ground indeed.

     
  30. electricangel

    September 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    @Matthew, Chesterpoe
    I said in comparison to Liberals they are more honest.
    I’d have to side with CP here. Stalin was a bastard and a mass murderer, but you knew he meant what he said. The first man who stopped clapping at one of his speeches got dragged off to the GULAG, so you knew what you had to do to remain in his good graces.

    Liberals are slimy that way. They won’t be the overt authoritarians that, deep in their souls, they desire to be.

    As to Liberals being more damaging, there’s an argument to be made. They have wrecked the West, its economy, society, mores, and infrastructure. The Bolsheviks visited their harm on a barely post-feudal society, preventing it from growing rather than destroying, at least as much as the Liberals have destroyed.

    Lastly, look at the after-effects of liberalism and Bolshevism on Church attendance:

    A study by the European Social Survey conducted in 2008 found these rates of respondents never attending religious service (excluding special occasions)[17]:
    60%: Czech Republic

    It’s not as slam-dunk as you think. Bolshevism, an obvious lie, is easier to survive, mentally, than liberalism.

     
  31. electricangel

    September 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Last comment cut off the survey on Church attendance:
    A study by the European Social Survey conducted in 2008 found these rates of respondents never attending religious service (excluding special occasions):

    under 10%: Cyprus, Greece, Poland
    10-20%: Croatia, Italy, Ukraine
    20-30%: Turkey (Islam), Portugal
    30-40%: Estonia, Russia, Germany, Sweden
    40-50%: Israel (Judaism), Spain, Netherlands
    50-60%: Belgium, Britain, France
    GT 60%: Czech Republic

     
  32. Matthew

    September 13, 2012 at 2:18 am

    “Stalin was a bastard and a mass murderer, but you knew he meant what he said.”

    History is not as easy as that. I’ve read tendentious reactionary accounts suggesting that Stalin’s “Dizzy with Success” encyclical was an attempt to rein in the blood lust of the ardent Bolsheviks.

     

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