Antievolutionism is a Tool of Satan

I came across a post I wrote a while back, and thought I would share part of it again in the form of an image. It is a response to a text image that called evolution a tool of Satan.

  • TomS

    … distracts people from loving their enemies … and turns them into internet trolls …

    Excuse me.
    This is not a grammar flame, but this seriously did confuse me at first. The “them” does not refer to the most recent plural noun, “enemies”, but back to “people”. I suggest it is better framed as something like this:

    … turns people into internet trolls, and distracts them from loving their enemies …

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Thanks. I ought to have worded it more carefully – although often the process does turn one’s enemies into internet trolls, as well as oneself… :-)

      • stuart32

        I don’t think there is any ambiguity. The distracting and the turning are obviously parallel; so the object of those actions – people/them – must be the same. Right first time I would say :-)

  • Sean Garrigan

    Funny. Since you don’t believe in a literal Satan, “antievolutionism” is really, for you, a “tool of a principle of evil”. Yet, since you won’t commit to the notion that without God, objective moral values and duties don’t exist (based on past dialogue with you), the “principle of evil” reduces to “rejecting some ideas that are part of the Zeitgeist”. More evidence that you’re a Zeitgeistian!

    Thus, for you, “Antievoutionism is a tool of those who are willing to go against the Zeitgeist”. How dreadful;-)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      What despicable deliberate misrepresentation. How is honesty a mere part of the contemporary worldview? How is concern for accuracy and truth supposedly something recent and a mere cultural trend? The natural sciences and their methods are certainly relatively recent developments in human history. But I suspect that you do not consistently dismiss the results of those with your handwaving and Zeitgeist routine.

      • Sean Garrigan

        You really missed the point on that one, James. I don’t see a single sentence in your response that signifies understanding.

        You don’t believe in a literal Satan, right? So “a tool of Satan”, in your view, really means, “something used to achieve ‘evil’, or perhaps merely ‘undesirable’ ends.”

        Based on past discussions, you don’t accept the notion that objective moral values and duties are founded upon God, which means that there really isn’t any reason for accepting that there is objective “good” and “evil” at all, i.e. that there are things that are good and evil regardless whether anyone decides to believe that such is the case, or not.

        So, there isn’t anything “evil” about rejecting “evolution” (scare quotes used because of the ambiguity inherent in the use of the term), even if it’s “true”, unless “evil” means nothing more than to go against the Zeitgeist.

        Remember, people who reject “evolution” don’t agree with you that they are opposing “honesty”, as you seem to want to suggest. The only “despicable deliberate misrepresentation” I can see is coming from you.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Just because someone believes they are representing the truth doesn’t mean they are. I realize that the nonsense you have concocted about me seems reality, just as you have managed to persuade yourself that opposing verifiable science, and doing so in a way that brings the name of Christ into disrepute, are not shameful. But that doesn’t make it so either. You prefer those who adhere to an ancient Zeitgeist and make it a point of dogma, to the truths that have been uncovered that have required us to change the way we think about the world and ourselves.

          • Sean Garrigan

            The one who brings Christ’s name into disrepute is you, James, with your constant ridicule and caricature of what others believe and why. Sadly, like Luther, you are a warrior more than a lover, and you don’t even realize how unfortunate your approach is.

            When it comes to same-sex unions, you support those who reject the biblical message, and assert that Christianity is about introspection and fixing our own shorting comings and about learning to love better, not on judging others, yet you not only offer post after post after post of your own judging others and making a grotesque caricature of what they believe and why, but you regularly praise others who do the same thing.

            With that said, I still don’t see any evidence in your newest post that you actually understood the point I made, but you probably don’t really care to, and I don’t care that you don’t care;-)

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Well, you seemed to have several points in mind, none clearly articulated. As soon as you seemed to have grasped that I was using the language of the young-earth creationists and not my own, you then wandered off quickly into your meaningless Zeitgeist refrain, as though there were ever a Christianity which was not shaped by its context, and as though you were not merely defending what Christianity shared with a past Zeitgeist, preferring that to allowing new information to potentially challenge your stance.

              Shall I point out the irony that you go on these long tirades and then decide to complain that I am a “warrior”? Or the irony in the fact that you claim that I do not sufficiently emphasize love, before going on to object to my including within the realm of the loved those who were previously excluded, something which is based on “the biblical message”?

              I realize that it is hard for those who prefer clinging to a past Zeitgeist over serious engagement with the present to have conversations about topics like this which are fair and honest. But it would be less embarrassing for you if you tried at least somewhat harder.

              • Sean Garrigan

                I’m not embarrassed James, but you certainly should be for that response. Your misrepresentations, mis-characterizations, and caricatures make it virtually impossible to converse with you in a meaningful way. At this point I pretty much content myself to pointing out the ironies and flaws in your comments when applicable, and the positive insights you offer when applicable, and let you respond as you will.

                BTW, I think that everyone who read this post knows that you were using the language of YECs, co-opting it and using it against them. Religious folks of all kinds seem unable to resist such rhetoric, including some of my best friends in this life, unfortunately. The problem is that the force of your self quote hinges on the notion that to be against evolution is what is truly wrong-head and deleterious, “Satanic”, if you will. The fact that you borrowed rhetoric from the other side, which isn’t my side, btw, really has noting to do with my point, which is valid regardless whether you were borrowing language or not. It’s striking how you’ve managed to miss that, and I’m not convinced that you grasp the point, even now.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Perhaps you are not making a genuine substantive point, or pointing out genuine flaws – or if you have actually identified such (if so, I would welcome constructive criticism), you have not conveyed your point clearly.

        • arcseconds

          If there’s no reason to suppose there’s objective good and evil without a God wanting stuff, then there’s no reason to suppose there is even if there is a God wanting stuff.

          So you actually believe in morality to a lesser extent than James does. At least he believes in objective rights and wrongs, whereas you only believe in subjective ones.

          So for you, it’s only “good” to “do” what “God” “wants”, which apparently is to put scare quotes around every second word.

          Of course, we could be charitable and accept that you think morality can be meaningfully grounded in God, and that James thinks otherwise, and not pretend that James actually secretly believes what you believe and is just talking out the corner of his mouth.

          But that doesn’t seem to be the game here…

          • Sean Garrigan

            You’re obviously not familiar with the Christian response to the argument from evil. I would suggest that you listen to William Lane Craig’s series, which is probably still available for free on his website.

            Enjoy!

            • arcseconds

              The problem here isn’t that we have an honest dispute, that you think morality can only be based in God, and I (and McGrath) think that perspective is senseless and that it can only be meaningfully independent of God.

              The problem is that in your discussions, you’re mixing up things which we do believe:

              you don’t accept the notion that objective moral values and duties are founded upon God

              with things that we don’t:

              Which means that there really isn’t any reason for accepting that there is objective “good” and “evil” at all

              So you’re not actually dealing with us, but a straw man of your own concoction, mixing up elements of our position with what you think follows from them.

              Unsurprisingly, this means you draw conclusions on our behalf that we think are completely nonsensical.

              This isn’t going to be solved by me listening to William Lane Craig, even if I’m somehow convinced by him, which seems unlikely. Unless he’s got a knock-down argument why concocting straw men is better than engaging with one’s opponent’s actual position?

              By the way, there’s no reason to read McGrath’s quote as meaning that anti-evolutionists deliberately do evil. Surely one of the most pernicious and dangerous ways people are led to do evil is by deceiving them that they’re actually doing good.


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