Atheism Science and Morality 2

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Atheism Science and Morality 2

Postby Howdybud » Fri May 30, 2014 12:14 pm

I want to establish some defining common ground early on in this discussion and it should be easy. So my first posts will be to try to do that.

“Methodological atheism” is a term that defines the methodology of science as it is defined within the mainstream scientific establishment . “Material Naturalism” or “methodological materialism” are other synonymous terms often used. It is understood that methodological atheism is not the same as philosophical atheism so that most mainstream scientists within that same mainstream scientific community would virtually all agree that they must restrict explanations according to the former, but do not necessarily have to subscribe to the latter.( Invoking the supernatural when conducting experiments in the laboratory is said to be bad science, or non-science!). In confirming this for the purposes of discussion, it is best that I let someone in a position of authority confirm this outlook rather than me just stating it. I quote Dr. Eugenie Scott (1998), director of the evolution watchdog group the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), as she explains how methodological materialism (methodological atheism) sets the limitations for scientific inquiry; ... _of_ID.pdf (page eight);

“Most scientists today require that science be carried out according to the rule of
methodological materialism: to explain the natural world scientifically, scientists must
restrict themselves only to material causes (to matter, energy, and their interaction).
There is a practical reason for this restriction: it works. By continuing to seek natural
explanations for how the world works, we have been able to find them. If supernatural
explanations are allowed, they will discourage—or at least delay—the discovery of
natural explanations, and we will understand less about the universe.”

Therefore, I think it is safe to say that all atheists would acknowledge both that definition of science in terms of the need for methodological atheism in the laboratory, and, in addition, would also claim a broader, general philosophical atheism as well.

To get more specific than just saying “science”, let us observe a distinction in that modern, mainstream, evolutionary biologists, if working in tune with the methodology Dr. Scott stated above, would all recognize and agree that their science too must still function according to methodological atheism in the lab, but would claim that this does not automatically also have to include philosophical atheism. Whether this claim might be an illogically inconsistent claim is irrelevant at this point. Many mainstream evolutionary biologists who fully claim Neo-Darwinian Evolution as understood within a framework of methodological atheism, do, in fact, still claim to have religious Faith in God. By example, Roman Catholic Kenneth Miller).

Within the mainstream scientific establishment then, and according to the rules established above for science by Dr. Scott, the Darwinian mechanism is said to give us the means whereby fully natural forces, unguided by any intelligent agent, are believed to have guided life to its present level of complexity and diversity. This process is said to have involved both natural selection (survival of the fittest), and random mutation. This may not tell us how life first arose, but, according to the Darwinian mechanism, it is said to tell us how simple life developed (“evolved”), advancing over eons by way of natural selection and mutation, to its present level of development.

Also, this process could not be seen as static. By definition It is an ongoing basic principle, (assuming life sustaining conditions of course). Darwinian “macro evolution” simply asserts that, over time, stronger members in a population of creatures thrive, and, in competition with them, weaker ones do not. Random genetic mutations propel the process slowly forward as creatures appear who have some slight advantage by way of random genetic mutation. Thus, evolution must be seen as an ongoing, active force of nature, still at work today in the world of living creatures. Thus, beyond the state at which we see the results of this process at the present point in time, the process would necessarily still be an active, ongoing one as we anticipate its effects in the future.

Richard Dawkins, though also an avowed philosophical atheist, offers a descriptive analogy for the Darwinian mechanism of macro evolution; the “Blind Watchmaker”. Blind, because there is no active intelligent force behind it. We can perceive it as a natural process. A Watchmaker, in that this wholly unguided, natural process is fully responsible for blindly “creating”, (by way of natural selection and mutation), the living world we see in all of its breathtaking complexity, and even including us; sentient, self aware creatures.

Do I have it basically correct so far???
Last edited by Howdybud on Fri May 30, 2014 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atheism Science and Morality 2

Postby Howdybud » Fri May 30, 2014 12:15 pm

Assuming that my original post is true, atheists should recognize two points of what one might call "critical mass" along the timeline of evolution. Like a star that suddenly explodes into a supernova, there are points in time along the continuum of many natural processes when something happens that is critical, and relatively sudden, after a long period of slow change.

The first relevant point of critical mass in biology as far as this discussion is concerned, would be the point where life became sentient. Analogies being imperfect, a macro evolutionist might argue that this would have been a slow and gradual emergence of sentience and not a sudden one. But at some point a full sense of self reflective sentience would mark a qualitative change in living creatures.

The more accurate threshold point of "critical mass" along the continuum of evolution would have been the point at which living creatures (us) would have discovered the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and mutation that was responsible for our existence as sentient, self reflective life forms. This indeed would have been a supernova in terms of the time frame from the time we first became truly sentient, to the time soon after in evolutionary history that this awareness of origins exploded into that human consciousness. At this point, from the perspective of the macro-evolutionist, mankind is no longer just self reflective. He/she also is now suddenly formally aware of the natural process that brought mankind into sentient existence. The "holy grail" borderline in the evolutionary process has been passed. Mankind is able to see the unthinking Darwinian "creator" (Small c) that led him through the eons to his now sentient existence.
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Re: Atheism Science and Morality 2

Postby Howdybud » Fri May 30, 2014 12:18 pm

Stage three. The inevitable MORAL implications.

Given the earlier posts are true, certain implications become inevitable. For purposes of symbolic representation, let’s first consider the Adam and Eve story; not as historic fact but for what it teaches us about responsibility; the moral lesson. The “apple” represents the “knowledge of good and evil” in the story. Once they have that knowledge, they become morally responsible. This truth can be seen in the court system as well. The plea of insanity tries to argue that the person was not competent to understand (to know) right from wrong at the point of the crime. Knowledge, awareness, incurs responsibility.
Now take that concept over to the idea that Darwinian evolution (Especially Natural Selection), is the “holy grail”, the unthinking “creator”, the natural process that actually brought us, (sentient beings), into existence. How do we define that holy grail of creativity? Survival of the fittest is the rule, hard and fast. Strong beings with genetic advantage survive, specifically in competition with weaker ones, and in the process life is said to advance. There is no place for “grace” here. Weak creatures perish to make way for better creatures to move life along to ever stronger more advanced beings. The process is absolute. The process, logically, would be as active and applicable today as it ever was. Life advances by way of competitive elimination of the weak.

Now MOST creatures caught up in this process are simply being swept along by the tide of the process itself. They are what they are and they do what they do and the strongest DNA advances while the weak perish. There is no morality about it. When a Lion kills cubs not his own he is not a murderer. He is advancing his own DNA, eliminating other DNA and that’s all there is to it. He is a living example of natural selection in action.

However, humanity is not in that class of creatures. We have surpassed a qualitative threshold. Even beyond the threshold of sentience, from the perspective of a Darwinian evolutionist, mankind has formally discovered the holy grail, natural selection, and we are formally aware of that natural process that not only created us, but that advances ALL living things to higher levels of advancement. From the viewpoint of the Darwinist’s outlook about Natural selection as the creator and advancing force of living beings, we are now morally responsible for the action we take with that knowledge, or the inaction we fail to take, in advancing it. We have partaken of the apple and now owe moral responsibility to get involved.

So, now that we (Macro evolutionary Darwinists) know that natural selection advances all species (specifically ours), and that this is an ongoing process, to be consistent, he must necessarily own the responsibility to destroy the weak (especially the genetically weak), in honor of the now discovered holy grail. Downs Syndrome, Sickle Cell anemia, ANY genetic defect would render a moral responsibility for elimination from the gene pool. Euthenasia or at least sterilization would be the moral duty of the creatures who formally KNOW that natural selection is the driving force advancing the species. By way of inarguable implication, Eugenics becomes the sacrificial offering at the altar of the god of natural selection.

Now many will argue at this point that somehow, mankind has, “evolved”, as a social creature and that mutual cooperation is part of the process of natural selection that brought us to the present state of advancement, so that my argument is trumped by a communal sense of bonding and mutual trust toward the greater survival of the community that must be maintained. The point however is mute. Even if that were true, “pre-sentience”, and “pre-Darwiain epiphany”, it would not be true MORALLY true post Darwinian epiphany. Remember, we have crossed a qualitative threshold of awareness that bears new responsibility; an ultimate responsibility to honor the godlike process that brought us into being, natural selection. We are no longer the lion killing all but his own progeny, blind to the process that made him. We have tasted the proverbial apple of the knowledge of the “god” of natural selection and all is MORALLY different for us beyond that point. (Keep in mind, the argument here is one of moral responsibility beyond the point of having the formal understanding of the power of natural selection as the “god” of creation and species advancement). Proximate self-interest would, beyond that point, have to be seen as a selfish, short term, COMPROMISE, with the true maximum potential for advancement of the species. Once we believe natural selection is the mindless mechanism that advances life, some former, blind, social reason for short term mutual cooperation among an immediate group, inclusive of the weak or defective, is no longer a valid limitation we can morally subscribe to as a species. We now have the duty to maximize the power of the god. The active maximization of the law of natural selection would morally take precedence. Now that we are self-aware of the process of natural selection, we would be morally responsible for honoring, as best we can, the “creator”, and advancing that process to the greatest degree possible would be the moral duty. No longer could nature just be left to work blindly on its own. From a Darwinian point of view, we have become the god of nature, consciously aware of the deific process, natural selection. From that perspective, we are nature itself, now become self-aware of the creative power and process that we, sentient nature, built our own selves with. We hold the mantle by way of our awareness of that process and not to ACT to advance that knowledge to the greatest degree possible toward the propelling forward of the species would be immoral.

Of course we know that this is a scenario for real, authentic, genuine, evil. Destroying the weak to maximize the success of the strong is morally EVIL, and we all know it, even though this is the mantra of and very definition of natural selection. The application of the ruthless law of survival of the fittest; the absolute rule of natural selection, is EVIL, even though Darwinism claims it as the positive creative force of nature in advancing living beings forward. When taken to its ultimate moral endpoint for a sentient creature, Darwinian natural selection bears a logical, moral conclusion that is inevitable and yet horribly WRONG for us. It is the sentient, self –aware, morally responsible human mind that finds Darwinian thinking to be caught in the inescapably immoral dilemma of natural selection, and points to it logically as an ultimately hopelessly morally corrupt outlook. To sustain Darwinian evolution as the sole creative mechanism of life, and not honor that “knowledge” out to its ultimate moral (immoral) conclusion of responsibility for the species, creates for the sentient mind a hard double standard; an irresolvable internal moral conflict. It is one I hope all Darwinists will maintain for the sake of humanity itself, but one that should be recognized by the genuine seeker of Truth and that may lead some away from an ultimately morally corrupt paradigm.
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Re: Atheism Science and Morality 2

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Fri May 30, 2014 6:29 pm

No one respond to this man until he first answers my questions here.
He's been dodging for over 10 pages now. Don't expect an honest conversation.
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