"No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

- Yoda
interesting thought... i thought

please note that the title to this post means that i thought a certain thought was interesting, not that i came up with an interesting thought!

i heard matt chandler mention something in a message the other day that i thought was interesting and then read pretty much the same idea in something for class, i think (there are a few sources, so please forgive me for losing track).

the thought is this (and i REALLY hope i don't butcher it):

GENERALLY speaking, there are many people who subscribe firmly to darwin's theory of evolution and the idea that survival of the fittest has moved living organisms to where we are today who ALSO take fervent interest in social justice causes around the world. it would seem that these two thoughts are in contradiction to each other. if survival of the fittest is a trusted and necessary way for life to advance, then why obstruct the process by lending a hand to the impoverished? does evolution not dictate that those without who cannot should be let alone to be overtaken by those who have and can? the apparent logic to this sentiment seemed profound to me. and if i hadn't read it randomly after hearing it on a podcast, i wouldn't have posted about it, i'm sure.

now, again, i'm speaking in generalities as i can't knowledgeably contemplate the ins and outs of evolutionary thinking... nor social justice minded thinking. for someone who tries to view the world through a Christocentric, Biblical lens and does NOT hold to views of evolution or social justice (apart from the Gospel), it may be really easy to consider the thought stated above and say "yeah, what are they thinking?"

maybe i'm missing that while people believe that evolution got us here, they don't also believe that it's an approved method of moving forward.

anyone out there have any thoughts on this?

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Comments on "interesting thought... i thought":
1. Bill - 09/30/2009 12:56 pm CDT

Although it's debated hotly, many people (including yours truly) believe that the Third Reich's ideas about a "superman", master race, and all that was them taking evolutionary thought to a logical destination.

I think, though, in general things are more complicated than that. I am quite certain most atheistic evolutionists don't think that we should ignore the poor in the interests of a more straight path for evolution. And I'm sure there are evolutionary theorists who believe that care for the least of these is one aspect of evolution's path (i.e., it's part of what moves the race forward).

I dunno. But I do think Darwinism in many of its forms (social darwinism, for example) permeates our thinking.

2. Andrew - 09/30/2009 5:39 pm CDT

My thought is basically this: when Darwin wrote his thoughts on Natural Selection, he wasn't at all interested in how things should be, but more in how they actually are. The strong will survive, and the weak will eventually be weeded out.

While I agree that Nazism certainly took some kind of hint from Darwin, I don't think Darwin himself had any interest in creating supermen, or eliminating the weak in society (though, looking at 19th century thought, I wouldn't be surprised if he was into eugenics or something like that).

I think an atheist would probably say that, for whatever reason, humans have a deep aversion to the suffering of their own race. It's an instinct that can be repressed, but, in general, we don't like it. This instinct developed and survived in us as a product of evolution, and so the causes of social justice don't necessarily conflict with the idea that weaker traits and species are eventually eliminated by nature. Even if they did, I think most people are fairly averse to the idea of "helping evolution along." If it's true, it's going to continue regardless of what we do to help it or try and hinder it. Just because we don't like it or think it's potentially damaging doesn't make it untrue.

3. III - 10/01/2009 2:45 pm CDT

The main problem with atheism is that it works entirely with borrowed values. As a system, it cannot on its own produce a way to call some things good and admirable and desirable for their own sake, and others evil and punishable for their own sake. To all "moral" statements (even the idea that progress is good), they must attach the disclaimer, is you will, that it is a "human instinct" or something like that.

What ends up happening is that atheists end up having a similar "morality" as Theists (except for the part about about everything being about God), except instead of morality, they just call it instinct. The problem is that instinct cannot carry with it moral obligation, but most either have never thought that far (your average HS atheist/agnostic/whatever), or else ignore it.

Honest atheists ought to be nihilists.

4. Andrew - 10/01/2009 8:54 pm CDT

Honest atheists ought to be nihilists.

Yes, sir.

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