Cloning and Ethics/Morality

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Jan 20, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    HELEN
    Cleaning out a month's worth of emails. This one just came in within the hour. Comments:

    =========
    http://slate.msn.com//?id=2059090

    The Too-Weak Rule

    By William Saletan

    Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2001, at 2:52 PM PT

    A new line has been drawn in the debate over when life begins. The
    line is called gastrulation. It takes place about two weeks after
    conception, when the embryonic mass begins to organize itself into
    layers, forming the first outline of an organism—or, in the case of
    twins, two organisms. Advocates of human cloning are drawing this
    line in order to avoid the abortion debate. Prior to gastrulation,
    they argue, the developing cluster of human cells can't be a person,
    since it hasn't clarified whether it will become one organism or two.
    The argument is clever and attractive. But it's being dissolved by
    the very technology it's supposed to promote.

    Last weekend, Michael West, the CEO of Advanced Cell Technology,
    announced that his company had created the first cloned human embryo.
    The purpose, West explained, was to develop cures for diseases. On
    Meet the Press, West argued that since ACT plans to destroy its
    cloned embryos before gastrulation, "Scientifically, the entities
    we're creating are not an individual." On Late Edition, he
    elaborated:

    We're talking about making human cellular life, not a human life. A
    human life, we know scientifically, begins upwards, even into two
    weeks of human development, where this little ball of cells
    decides, "I'm going to become one person," or "I am going to be two
    persons." It hasn't yet decided. No cells of the body of any kind
    exist in this little ball of cells. And that's as far as we believe
    it's appropriate to go in applying cloning to medicine.

    West is trying to solve what he calls the "slippery slope" problem.
    He wants to erase the moral line pro-lifers have drawn at conception.
    On the other hand, he wants to assure us that the line can be redrawn
    nearby. "Almost all views holding that human life begins at
    conception maintain that this is the moment when a new and unique
    human individual comes into being," West and his ACT colleagues wrote
    a year ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This
    isn't true, they argued. "Developmental individuality, which is
    central to personhood, is not attained until the primitive body axis
    has begun to form" during gastrulation. Therefore, society can permit
    destructive research on pre-gastrulation embryos without sliding
    toward destructive research on more advanced embryos. "The line
    established by gastrulation and the appearance of the primitive
    streak is a clear one," West and his collaborators asserted. "It is
    unlikely that researchers working in properly monitored environments
    will blur these distinctions."

    Too late. The distinctions are already blurred. West agrees with pro-
    lifers that personhood prior to birth is defined by two things:
    totipotentiality—the ability to become a whole organism—and the
    resolution of individuality. He merely disagrees about the moment at
    which that combination occurs. But in the age of cloning, both
    standards lose their significance. Every cell is totipotent, and
    individuality is never resolved.

    West succeeds in the destructive half of his philosophical mission,
    erasing the line at conception. In cloning—somatic cell nuclear
    transfer—the nucleus of an egg cell is removed and replaced by a
    nucleus taken from a body cell. The product of this union, when
    incubated, begins to grow into an organism genetically identical
    (with the trivial exception of non-nuclear DNA) to the organism from
    which its nucleus was taken. It lacks the genetic uniqueness by which
    pro-lifers have traditionally defined personhood.

    So pro-lifers turn to the second criterion: totipotentiality. The
    newly formed entity is a person, they argue, because it has all the
    ingredients necessary to form a human being. Implant it in a womb,
    and it will become a baby. But with cloning, this is true of any
    cell. Put its nucleus in an enucleated egg, implant it, and it will
    become a baby. Soon, the egg's hosting services may be unnecessary.
    According to U.S. News & World Report, ACT has filed for a patent on
    the reverse technique, in which the egg's proteins are injected into
    the body cell. "Research advances are making all
    cells 'embryonic,' "ACT Vice President Robert Lanza explained to U.S.
    News. Consequently, totipotentiality is no longer a meaningful
    standard of personhood. "To commit ourselves morally to protecting
    every living cell in the body would be insane," Ronald Green, ACT's
    chief ethicist, told the magazine.

    The reason this breakthrough won't lead to moral chaos, according to
    West, Lanza, and Green, is that gastrulation establishes a new
    threshold of individuality. You can kill an embryo at one week,
    because you don't know how many people it will become. But you can't
    kill it at three weeks, since at that point the question has been
    resolved.

    Except it hasn't. That's the unintended lesson of ACT's experiment.
    The donor of the cloned nucleus, a 40-year-old doctor named Judson
    Somerville, says an Episcopal bishop assured him that the project
    wouldn't constitute the creation and killing of life, because the
    clone was simply an extension of himself. "These are my cells being
    multiplied in a lab, not those of some other human being," Somerville
    told U.S. News. So, the question that emerged as the clone began to
    grow wasn't whether it would become one person or two. The question
    was whether it would become the second Judson Somerville or the
    second and third. Forty years after the original Somerville "cells"
    crossed the gastrulation line, we still don't know how many people
    they'll become. As long as you're shedding cells, the same is true of
    you. The era of conclusive individuality is over.

    The erasure of the moral significance of the gastrulation line
    doesn't end the debate over cloning. But it does collapse the wall
    that West and his colleagues tried to erect between the cloning
    debate and the abortion debate. To justify their research, they'll
    have to fall back on arguments about the early embryo's incapacity
    for thoughts, feelings, or experiences. Meanwhile, pro-lifers will
    have to explain why a newly conceived embryo is precious if neither
    its genome nor its totipotentiality is unique. All of us will have to
    figure out how old values, by absorbing new realities, can re-
    establish moral boundaries along the continuum of life. It's not the
    end of the world. It's not the beginning, either.



    POIKILOTHERM\poikilotherm
    That's an interesting post Helen. Utterly irrelevant to the scientific merits of the notion of common descent, but interesting nonetheless. Thanks.


    HELEN
    Actually, Poik, I think it is highly relevant. If we are simply evolved animals, then there is no need to fuss more about cloning humans than about cloning sheep or frogs or whatever.

    If, however, we are special creations by God, individually designed, loved, and accountable, then there is a real problem with human cloning. This is very much an evolution/creation issue in this regard.


    POIKILOTHERM
    Non-sequiteur. Non-human animals form social bonds and act to defend both their young and their social group from threats. There area variety of problems with cloning that have nothing to do with spiritual issues, but have to do with issues of ethics and law. Ethics itself (BTW) need not be viewed as a spiritual issue: it can simply be a reflection of the human tendency to form large extended social groups. So, no I don't think that viewing cloning as problematic is at all relevant to the notion of whether we are evolved from quadrupeds or not.

    If we evolved from apes I cannot see how our responsibilities to each other or to G-d would be any less. I don't follow your logic at all. I suspect it all hinges on an all-or-none notion of Biblical Literalism=Truth. I'm afraid I don't see the need for such a notion.


    JESTERHOLE
    Let's look at it your way. If cloning isn't part of god's plan, it won't happen. If it is, it will.


    HELEN
    I'm afraid that's not 'my way', Jester. God has given us dominion over the earth and free will. The one proviso is that He will not allow an expression of man's heart as action unless it can be of benefit to those who love Him in one way or another (Romans 8:28). However, His will is clearly stated by Peter as not wanting anyone to perish (the text is regarding spiritual death), and yet only those who look to Christ receive life. It seems from your own post that you are defying God's will. That does not negate that it IS His will, only that He has given you the freedom to defy it.

    Poik, on what do you base ethics if not something that is not natural? You said the cloning issues had more to do with ethical and legal considerations. Where do you think those considerations came from? I disagree with you that ethics is simply a result of a biological drive to form social groups. There are plenty of examples of very complex social groups in the animal kingdom, but ethics is never a part of any of them. Ethics requires abstractions and abstract communication. It is unique to humans. Laws based on values are also unique to humans. Laws among the animal kingdom are instinctive and instinctively followed. There is a world of difference.

    However, I understand your point of view as a matter of materialistic naturalism and its resultant dependency on evolution. But this question regarding cloning is of vital interest to those of other persuasions.


    POIKILOTHERM
    Actually, I didn't say that. I said that cloning has issues other than spiritual ones associated with it. Me, I think that human cloning is a moral abomination. I just never said so, 'cause I don't think its relevant to the scientific validity of the notion of common descent.

    Where do you think those considerations came from? … Laws among the animal kingdom are instinctive and instinctively followed. There is a world of difference.

    Those are interesting assertions, but are you quite sure that valuing (say) honesty is not taught among the great apes? What data do you have on primate or dolphin groups in the wild to support such a contention? More importantly, how would you test it? Please remember that you would not be testing for human ethics, but an ethical system in general.

    I would wager that there isn't good data to support your contention, though I could certainly be wrong. There is certainly a lot of evidence for transmission of cultural traits between animal groups, and I am not at all sure what you mean by "just instinct".

    I would hardly classify my point of view as materialistic naturalism. Is that really what you are trying to say?


    FROGGIE
    Actually, Poik, I think it is highly relevant. If we are simply evolved animals, then there is no need to fuss more about cloning humans than about cloning sheep or frogs or whatever.
    If, however, we are special creations by God, individually designed, loved, and accountable, then there is a real problem with human cloning. This is very much an evolution/creation issue in this regard.


    Wow, I wonder what is preventing me and all my friends at infidels from just acting like apes and throwing feces all over and running around naked, since we all accept the theory of evolution?


    HELEN
    You are mocking without saying much. The following might be of interest: http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0111/opinion/wiker.html
    It's entitled "Darwin and the Descent of Morality"


    Poik, how do you define ethics or morality without referencing humans, please?


    FROGGIE
    Once again,
    You see, many atheiests/agnostics/secular humanist types just don't put as much stock into the ramblings of old dead guys like you do. Darwin had some great observations, and some interesting things to say. But he was a human, and he had some biases and slants due to the culture he was raised in.

    I still don't see what this has to do with human cloning. Also, you cannot make the assumption that all scientists or atheists (and no they are not the same thing) are for it. That is simply not true


    HELEN
    Froggie and all,
    Why don't you leave arguing about the legitimacy of this subject and allow people (or yourselves) to discuss the subject actually brought up in the article?
    Let's assume that if the moderator(s) leave it up they figure it is relevant, OK?


    FROGGIE
    Hey I'm reading a Francis Fukuyama book right now! I like his (her?) book. Has some pretty bad stuff to say about Christianity though. At any rate. . . Just because something is found out to be 'natural,' does not make it moral.
    Some of the most deadly toxins are 'natural.' It hardly means we should all drink them! Most people probably think that morality supersedes and is above naturalism. We need moral codes because natural law is not good enough.

    [from the link] For Darwin the “moral faculties of man” were not original and inherent, but evolved from “social qualities” acquired “through natural selection, aided by inherited habit.” Just as life came from the nonliving, so also the moral came from the nonmoral.

    I would say 'amoral' but oh well. No problems so far. . .


    From the beginning, then, Darwin rejected the Christian natural law argument, according to which human beings are moral by nature. [/I]

    I thought the Christian argument assumed we are immoral by nature.


    Instead, he followed the pattern of the modern natural right reasoning of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which assumed that human beings were naturally asocial and amoral, and only became social and moral historically. That is why Darwin called his account a natural history of morality.

    I'd buy that.


    For Darwin, in order to become moral we first had to become social. “In order that primeval men, or the ape-like progenitors of man, should have become social,” Darwin reasoned, “they must have acquired the same instinctive feelings which impel other animals to live in a body.” As with all animal instincts, the “social instincts” of man were the result of variations bringing some benefit for survival.

    No problems yet.


    What we call “conscience” was also the result of natural selection. Darwin described it as a “feeling of dissatisfaction which invariably results . . . from any unsatisfied instinct.”

    Not sure I totally agree with his description. I agree with the first part. You see, I used to be a Christian (yes, a true christian, Helen so don't even start). I thought my morality and conscience came from believing in God and Jesus. Now that I'm an atheist, I am pretty much the same person-silly, logical, and I care too much about the world sometimes. So for me, obviously my conscience/morality did not come from my religious beliefs, I just thought they did.


    Such feelings of unease, Darwin explained, we now call “conscience.”

    I think where they came from is not as important as how they work today. I don't need to believe in your definition of God to value human life. How do I know? I am now an atheist, but I still value human life. The whole month of September pretty much sucked for me (after the 11 that is). Yet certain people here would like to believe that I have no morals. Whatever.


    If . . . men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters;

    I wonder if Darwin would have held these same views if he had known about genetics and read up on the latest views about social altruism. My guess--these discoveries would have dramatically changed his views.


    Yet Darwin balked at embracing the relativism he created, and insisted on ranking evolved moral traits. The unhappy result, however, was his espousal of views we would today call racist, and his justification of a program of eugenics.

    And that was his mistake, not mine. See--I believe in his data, but not all of his conclusions.


    Ranking evolved moral traits meant ranking the races accordingly. [...]Thus Darwin cheerfully asserted that the “western nations of Europe immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors and stand at the summit of civilization.”

    And he was wrong.


    As a member of the favored race, Darwin embraced a typically nineteenth-century view of moral progress.

    Which most people no longer hold today. Your point exactly? I fail to see what this has to do with evolution. If anything, this entire essay is a treatise on how humans, even when faced with evidence to the contrary, can hold on to incorrect beliefs and biases. Much of Darwins' data is now used by scientists to discredit racism and the whole idea that races even exist.


    But the engine of evolution, even moral evolution, is natural selection.

    But people have always differed on what they consider to be 'moral.' So even accepting ToE, people are still going to have differing opinions on what that all means.


    With man we see similar facts.” Since different races, like different breeds of dogs or horses, develop different capacities

    See above. We know now that much of intelligence and qualities is due to social upbringing. People were racist back then first. They used whatever they could to justify it, whether it was the Bible or the Descent of Man.
    What is your point?


    In the end, he was unsure whether to rank the races “as species or sub-species” but finally asserted that “the latter term appears the most appropriate.”

    And I don't think you could find any legitamite scientists today who would agree with that, and that use evolutionary biology to back it up. However, I can point you to several different groups who promote racism who use the Bible as proof.


    What may we gather from Darwin’s evolutionary account of morality? To begin with, Darwin rightly understood that bare sociality allowed for a startling variety of moralities.

    I disagree-I think evolution can explain why we are the way we are. But it should not be used to justify it. This would be akin to you saying, "I'm a sinner because of Adam and Eve, therefore it's ok for me to sin!" I don't think so.


    In contrast to the very determinate list of requisite virtues, definite commands, and established ends in the traditional natural law account

    Yeah right. The baptists on this forum can't even all agree on this 'determinite' list (although I think that's a good thing). I think many Christians are under a false illusion of having objective morality.


    evolution brings forth many different modes of group survival. Just as male lions, when taking over a pride, kill the young [...]

    Yes this is true. Evolution does explain why humans can be awful creatures. This is a main reason why I want people to accept the theory and study it, so maybe we can understand our violent ways and possibly correct them. Every time I watch a discovery show about chimps and bonobos, I am shocked. I mean, yeah I believe in evolution but the similarities are alarming and eerie! I think 1 in 3 male chimps die from other chimps hands (fighting over territory). Then I switch to CNN and hear the latest wars in the middle east or N ireland. Yes I agree-we did evolve from chimps and it kind of sucks that we did.[/I]


    so also many human societies have survived for hundreds of years by exposing their unwanted and deformed babies.

    Yes, despite having religion and despite not beleiving in ToE. Hmmm. . .


    Although many today would shudder at Darwin’s racism, we must concede that Darwin’s conclusions were correctly drawn from his evolutionary principles. If evolution is true, and the races themselves are the result of the struggle to survive

    Evolution IS true, and there is no such thing as real human 'races' or sub-species. So the rest of the argument is completely invalid. Anthropologists have done much to help eradicte racism and racist ideas. Do you know how many Baptist churches felt about racism and segregation the 1950's? That's much more recent than Darwin.[/I]


    As for the survival of the fittest, contemporary liberals have attempted to separate Darwin from Social Darwinism, but Darwin’s own words advocating severe struggle show us quite clearly that he was the first Social Darwinist.

    So what! Like I said earlier, some of us don't put as much value and stock into the ramblings of old dead guys like you do! That's the beauty about the body of scientific knowledge-it can change and grow as we discover more about ourselves. Unfortunately, the Bible does not change and grow.

    Interesting article though. I'll have to finish that Fukyama book sometime when I have time.

    [ January 20, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  2. Administrator2

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    HELEN
    To Froggie:
    All I can do is number the points so this doesn't get ridiculously long with 'you said, I said' stuff. I hope this way is OK with you.

    1. Futuyma is a guy. (Francis with an 'i' instead of an 'e' before the 's' is masculine. My mother is Frances -- the feminine spelling)

    2. You stated, "We need moral codes because natural law is not good enough." OK, given the evolution pov (point of view), which accounts for natural law, where on earth ( or....) did moral codes come from?

    3. Christian theology says man is a moral being -- not meaning he always behaves morally, but that he references himself morally. This is, by the way, what we see in 'real life.' But this does not mean that men are good by nature, which is what we mean when we talk about someone being a 'moral person.' Men are selfish and manipulative by nature, not giving and caring (man is being used generically here). But even if you don't agree with that, the fact is that you will be arguing based on a concept of morality that you may have, and that in itself shows you are a moral being.

    4. Your conscience and morality are part and parcel of your humanity, they are not from a belief system, Christianity or otherwise. However it is God who gives them an anchor apart from your own feelings and opinions.

    5. I would never argue that you don't have morals. I would ask you two questions about them, however: First, why do you have them? Second, how did you go about choosing them? The fact that you have a sense of right and wrong and that you are willing to defend it marks you as vastly different from any member of the animal kingdom.

    6. You said you believe in Darwin's data. What data?

    7. You said, "I think evolution can explain why we are the way we are. But it should not be used to justify it. This would be akin to you saying, "I'm a sinner because of Adam and Eve, therefore it's ok for me to sin!" I don't think so."

    Those are actually two entirely different things. Evolution leaves no room for anything but what is inherited or mutated. Therefore is it automatically a justification for any human behavior. That is simple logic. However in Christian theology, Adam and Eve left us with the TENDENCY toward evil (Genesis 8:21), and the concept of the freedom to choose whether or not to follow that tendency is not only the basis of the entire advent of Christ, but of all our own legal systems as well. If we are evolved to be what we are, then, actually, the concept of different legal systems is nonsense. But that is not what happens. We have legal systems precisely because we are NOT products of evolution, but have been gifted with moral sensibility and free will and the ability to try to resist evil, even in ourselves.

    8. Evolution's natural conclusion leads to racism of one kind or another. The only reason that is denied today is because of political correctness. But you can still take a look at just about any of the 'illustrations' of pre-human progressively coming human and you will see distinctly Negroid features shown first, as well as coloring. Racism is barely beneath the surface. It's sitting right there with Affirmative Action.


    FROGGIE
    OK, given the evolution pov (point of view), which accounts for natural law, where on earth ( or....) did moral codes come from?

    Culture, tradition and upbringing. I am not sure where it started. But my particular sense of morals came from the above list. I do know that having moral codes in and of themselves seems to be a uniquely human trait. However, the actual moral code itself is anything but consistent across cultures (even though there are some similarities). The fact that nearly every behavior seen as 'perverse' by this society has been condoned by some other society at some point in history (all of whom which had beliefs in the supernatural) is evidence against an objective code given to us by God.


    Your conscience and morality are part and parcel of your humanity, they are not from a belief system, Christianity or otherwise. However it is God who gives them an anchor apart from your own feelings and opinions.

    How do you know your particular definition of God is the correct one then? Nearly every religion makes this claim, yet nearly every culture has some profound differences in their moral structure.


    I would never argue that you don't have morals.

    That's good. Other Christians would disagree with you.


    I would ask you two questions about them, however: First, why do you have them?

    Not really sure why humans first got them! That is a good question and I wish I knew the answer. I agree that evolutionary theory does not really answer this fully. But I don't think that any religion has come up with a completely satisfactory answer either. In my utopia, we wouldn't know the answer to everything--but we would still be searching for truth.


    Second, how did you go about choosing them? The fact that you have a sense of right and wrong and that you are willing to defend it marks you as vastly different from any member of the animal kingdom.

    Culture, traditions, and upbringing is part of it. True--humans are much different from the animals in that respect. I guess I agree more with the secular humanist view, more or less:


    From the secular web library: http://www.secularhumanism.org/intro/declaration.html
    Thus, secularists deny that morality needs to be deduced from religious belief or that those who do not espouse a religious doctrine are immoral. For secular humanists, ethical conduct is, or should be, judged by critical reason, and their goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals, capable of making their own choices in life based upon an understanding of human behavior. Morality that is not God based need not he antisocial, subjective, or promiscuous, nor need it lead to the breakdown of moral standards[...]We are opposed to absolutist morality, yet we maintain that objective standards emerge, and ethical values and principles may be discovered, in the course of ethical deliberation.

    Sorry it's not my own ideas. But I think I was a secular humanist long before I ever heard of the words.


    You said you believe in Darwin's data. What data?

    His observations of course--most familiar with the origin of species stuff--like finches.


    Those are actually entirely different things. Evolution leaves no room for anything but what is inherited or mutated. Therefore is it automatically a justification for any human behavior. That is simple logic.

    No, this is true if we are only using ToE to explain human morality. I don't, and not many people do (I don't know anyone who only uses ToE to explain everything about humans!) Yes, I think it can explain some things, but not all things.

    Let's use another example like child abuse. We probably both agree that some violent criminals were severely abused as children. This abuse may explain why the person used violence as an outlet for aggresion and anger. However it does not excuse the violent behavior. It explains why, in part, it occurs. And, explanations of problems are the first steps to solving them, right? Similarly, drug addiction. I think doing drugs is wrong. But some people seem to have a harder time quitting them. Understanding addiction from a biological or evolutionary point of view does not all of a sudden make it ok to shoot up heroin. But it can help us understand why heroin is addictive, and what we can do to stop this problem.


    If we are evolved to be what we are, then, actually, the concept of different legal systems is nonsense.

    I disagree. Legal systems were created by rational humans that recognized the importance of maintaining and enforcing laws.


    But that is not what happens. We have legal systems precisely because we are NOT products of evolution, but have been gifted with moral sensibility and free will and the ability to try to resist evil, even in ourselves.

    Again, I disagree. People who were raised in very unloving households with little or no discipline or love, often have no sense of right/wrong or morality as you or I define it. I agree we have the inherent ability for morality, but we don't automatically grow up with morals. They come from society & upbringing. And occasionally certain disease states will affect this (schizophrenia, turett's syndrome). Morality in action is learned behavior.


    Evolution's natural conclusion leads to racism of one kind or another.

    Why? Explain this further. I totally disagree with you.


    of pre-human progressively coming human and you will see distinctly Negroid features shown first, as well as coloring. Racism is barely beneath the surface.

    Yes, ToE says that life originated in Africa. I suppose racism could come from this, but it's not evolution's fault. No organism is above or below any other organism that is still alive today. Yes, unfortunately those evolutionary trees have been used to justify the worst kinds of racism. But this does not mean that evolution is wrong.
    Stuff from talkorigins:
    The notion that there are four races of humans is now outdated, and indeed depends on a number of racist assumptions. Recent work on genetic polymorphism shows that there is more genetic and morphological diversity in the ethnic groups that are original to the region of Africa south of the Sahara than between any two other human groups (eg, Australian Aboriginals and Finns) [...]
    Humans are a single species with high diversity, and there is no evidence that one ethnic or regional group is any more or less fit than any other.


    You never commented on my repeated claims that the Bible has also been used to justify atrocities. Should we throw it out as well?


    It's sitting right there with Affirmative Action.

    I'm not even gonna touch that one. Nothing to do with ToE anyway, and especially with human cloning, the original topic of this thread!


    KMGRABA
    I saw that Froggie got to it first. Hopefully this post differs sufficiently to justify its existence.

    4. Your conscience and morality are part and parcel of your humanity, they are not from a belief system, Christianity or otherwise. However it is God who gives them an anchor apart from your own feelings and opinions.

    Incorrect. Morals differ from belief system to belief system. Just because someone claims that God is giving them morals does not actually make it so.


    5. I would never argue that you don't have morals. I would ask you two questions about them, however: First, why do you have them? Second, how did you go about choosing them? The fact that you have a sense of right and wrong and that you are willing to defend it marks you as vastly different from any member of the animal kingdom.

    I would recommend that you read up on animals that live in groups. It's obvious that rules are necessary for sustained groups. We see that humans are different by degree, but don't have radically different features from other animals.


    7. You said [actually Froggie said the following quote], "I think evolution can explain why we are the way we are. But it should not be used to justify it. This would be akin to you saying, "I'm a sinner because of Adam and Eve, therefore it's ok for me to sin!" I don't think so."

    Obviously, it's just the opposite. Evolution may explain why we have feature X. But that doesn't mean that feature X is good.


    Those are actually two entirely different things. Evolution leaves no room for anything but what is inherited or mutated. Therefore is it automatically a justification for any human behavior. That is simple logic.

    It is simple logic that this is a blatant non sequitur.


    However in Christian theology, Adam and Eve left us with the TENDENCY toward evil (Genesis 8:21), and the concept of the freedom to choose whether or not to follow that tendency is not only the basis of the entire advent of Christ, but of all our own legal systems as well.

    Helen, I dare you to justify this assertion.


    If we are evolved to be what we are, then, actually, the concept of different legal systems is nonsense.

    If evolution justifies any human behavior, then wouldn't it imply different legal systems?


    But that is not what happens. We have legal systems precisely because we are NOT products of evolution, but have been gifted with moral sensibility and free will and the ability to try to resist evil, even in ourselves.

    Which society will last longer: one with a legal system or one without?


    8. Evolution's natural conclusion leads to racism of one kind or another. The only reason that is denied today is because of political correctness. But you can still take a look at just about any of the 'illustrations' of pre-human progressively coming human and you will see distinctly Negroid features shown first, as well as coloring. Racism is barely beneath the surface. It's sitting right there with Affirmative Action.

    This is a completely foolish assertion. Besides that, it's been refuted countless times. Evolution no more justifies racism than gravity justifies pushing people from cliffs. "Negroid" features may often be shown in illustrations because our ancestors were from Africa.


    POIKILOTHERM
    Poik, how do you define ethics or morality without referencing humans, please?
    I never said you could.


    RADIOCHEMISTradiochemist
    I really don't think that you can show that evolution leads to racism or that there is any relationship between the two. Helen, I have relatives who are fundamentalist bible believers just like you and yet who are first class racists.
    Many Southern Baptists are also fundamentalists and racists. I suppose you know that Southern Baptists came into being because they supported slavery. Times change, though and white southern Baptists are likely to more liberal on race now than they were 40 years ago. But evolution has nothing to do with racism. If anything I suspect that a white person who accepts evolution is also likely to be a shade more liberal on race issues than a fundamentalist. You live in California Helen. California is not necessarily typical of the nation as a whole. It may be that fundamentalists are liberal enough on race in California, but not so in the south.
     

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