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http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/features/2001/dernavich1.html

It is safe to say that the creation/evolution debate will not be resolved anytime soon, and why should it? With the recent squabbles in states throughout America, and the Dawkinses and Dembskis trading haymakers with each other, things are only getting interesting. Although I am merely a ringside observer, I am here to blow the whistle on some apparent foul play which I have observed. It is up to you to determine whether any of the participants should be disqualified.

Let's go to the videotape...

Simply put, the language used by many of today's prominent Darwin defenders, at least as it appears in the popular press, is inherently self-defeating, as if they had a collective case of cognitive dissonance. They routinely describe non-human processes as if they were actual people. No sooner do they finish arguing that the universe could not possibly have an Intelligent Designer, that they proceed to comment on how the universe is so seemingly intelligently designed. No sooner do they discredit evidence for a grand, cosmic plan, that they reveal their anticipation towards what the next phase of it will be. Let me give you examples.

Dr. Massimo Pigliucci, in his Secular Web critique of Intelligent Design theory ( http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/features/2000/pigliucci1.html ), utilizes several phrases whose "scientific" definitions, I assume, are sufficiently esoteric enough to obscure the fact that, as concepts, they defy common sense. He describes the natural world as being a result of "non-conscious" creativity, "non-intelligent design," and "chaotic self-organizing phenomena." If these terms mean something very specific to evolutionary biologists, it cannot be anything that is inferred by the actual words themselves. For the very notion of design cannot be thought of in any other terms than that of a conscious being with an intent, a scheme, a protocol, a plan, or an intellect. Each of the 21 definitions of "design" in Webster's pertain to a living subject, human by implication. This is not to say that random arrangements of things cannot be fantastically complex; but if they are not purposefully complex then the word "design" is incorrect. And "chaotic self-organizing" is a cluster of words similar to "triangular circles": an excessively clever term to describe something that can't possibly exist.

Other examples abound. A 1999 Time magazine cover story described human evolution like it was General Motors, replacing the "clunkers" with "new and improved" models: but doing it, of course, "blindly and randomly." [1] Spare me, please, from blind and random "improvements." In the most recent Free Inquiry (the magazine of the Council for Secular Humanism), a scholar writes that both "Christians and humanists agree on one thing: that humans are the most valuable form of life on the planet," and that we are "the crown of earthly creation." [2] That is precisely the one thing that a secular humanist cannot call us: the crown of earthly creation. And valuable? Valuable to whom, and on what basis? Another term which receives heavy usage is "success," as in a "successful" species of lizard. But in order for anything to be a success, it must have had some prior goal or standard to fulfill. If we cannot confirm a purpose for which life is supposed to have originated, how can we say anything is a success? What if chickens were supposed to fly? What if beavers were supposed to build A-frames? Naturalistically speaking, anything is successful if it exists. Even a pebble is successful at being a pebble.

Finally, Robert Wright, in a New Yorker piece which dope-slaps Stephen Jay Gould for being an unwitting ally to creationists, proves himself to be a pretty solid creationist in his own right, as he goes on to refer to natural selection as a "tireless engineer" with a "remarkable knack for invention," even comparing it to a brain, indicative of a higher purpose, which stacks the evolutionary deck and responds to positive feedback.[3] Maybe evolution is a focus group!? Whether it is by ignorance, defiance or the limits of our language, these Darwin defenders liberally use terms which are not available to them, given their presuppositions. One cannot deny the cake, and then proceed to eat from it!

It brings up the problem I have always had with the term "natural selection." We all know what it means, and I can't dispute it's validity as a model for the differentiation of species. As a word couplet, though, it is a grammatical gargoyle, like the term "cybersex." If you were asked to describe what sex is, it probably wouldn't sound like what happens when a lonely data-entry intern in Baltimore starts typing his fantasies on a flat screen which, thanks to thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable, is then read by someone in Spokane. That situation has nothing to with the purposes or processes of sex, as either God or nature intended it. The modifier is not true to its object. Although the word "cyber-" is intended as a kind of adjective, it comes dangerously close to totally redefining the word which it is only supposed to modify. Contrarily, one could have a blue book or a brown book, but in either case it is still a book. One could make a hasty selection or a careful selection; it is still a selection. But natural? A selection is a choice, and only a conscious being that can process information can really make a choice, or even input information into a system which will later result in a choice. However, when the drying of a swamp puts a salamander out of existence, that is an occurrence. We are comfortable with "natural selection" as a phrase, because it conjures up images of Mother Nature, or some cosmic Gepetto tinkering with his toys. As a technical term, it is a misleading oxymoron.

I know what this proves. It proves absolutely nothing. This is innocent embellishment, lazy usage, or a validation of Chomskyesque theories about the inadequacy of language. One could say that a critique based on language is aimed at the most inconsequential part of any argument, like saying that Kierkegaard would have been more compelling if he had typed in New Times Roman. However, a more careful consideration will reveal that exactly the opposite is true, at least in this case. The words used by modern-day Darwinists are not a sidelight, they are symptomatic of a fissure in the structure of their thought. I believe that when someone wrongly calls the evolutionary process a purposeful "design," it is not because of sloppy writing, but because of intentional and thoughtful writing. It is because that is the only idea that will work. It is the only word that will work. It is because there is something brilliant, something awesome, and something significant about our world, and our instinct is to want to know who gets credit for it. The impulse is innate and proper. It is the decision to give credit to an abstract and unauthored "process" which is out of sync.

Let me make the point in a more obvious way. Here are two written accounts:

   A. Two similar clusters of matter came into physical contact with each other at a single point in space and time.  One cluster dominated, remaining intact; while the other began to break down into its component elements.
   B. A 26-year old man lost his life today in a violent and racially motivated attack, according to Thompson County police.  Reginald K. Carter was at his desk when, according to eyewitness reports, Zachariah Jones, a new employee at the Clark Center, entered the building apparently carrying an illegally-obtained handgun.  According to several eyewitnesses, Jones immediately walked into Carter's cubicle and shouted that "his kind should be eliminated from the earth," before shooting him several times at point-blank range.

If asked where these two fictitious excerpts came from, most would say that A was from a textbook or scientific journal, and probably describes events observed under a microscope or in a laboratory. B would be a typical example of newspaper journalism. Most people would say that, of course, they are not talking about the same thing. But could they be? Well, to the materialist, the answer is certainly negative. To those who don't take their Darwinism decaffeinated, who embrace it as a philosophy which excludes any non-natural explanations for life's origins, the answer is absolutely. B perhaps wins on style points, but the content is the same. Any outrage or emotion felt upon reading the second excerpt would be a culturally conditioned response, but not a proof that there had been anything "wrong" that had happened. In this view, A is probably the most responsible account. Nature, with its fittest members leading the way, marches on. I think I would be correct in stating that many would disagree with, or be offended by, that analysis. What I am not really sure of, and would like explained to me, is why? What is in view is not so much of a Missing Link, as much as a Missing Leap: the leap from the physical to the metaphysical. Taken as a starting point, I have no problem with quantitative assessments. They establish a baseline of knowledge for us.

But what about life? Life is an elusive concept that cannot be quantitatively assessed. As Stanley Jaki writes in his most recent book. [4] Moreover, long before one takes up the evolution of life, one is faced with a question of metaphysics whenever one registers life. Life is not seen with physical eyes alone unless those eyes are supplemented with the vision of the mind. No biologist contemptuous of metaphysics can claim, if he is consistent, that he has observed life, let alone its evolution. We then start to have an aesthetic appreciation for the beauty and ingenuity of these life forms, and it is not long before we get around to talking about abstract concepts such as rights, justice, and equality, and assigning some species - namely, us - some kind of moral responsibilities for them, none of which can be measured according to scientific methods.

I think it is safely assumed by all parties that, although we have some physical and behavioral characteristics in common, humans are significantly more intelligent and sophisticated than our mammal friends, and possessed of a vastly different consciousness. For whatever reason, we are unique enough to make us "special." The problem is that the physical sciences cannot explain how, much less why, this consciousness emerged. And a bigger problem is the strangeness of our consciousness: abstract self-doubt, philosophical curiosity, existential despair. How does an intense awareness of my accidental existence better equip me for battle? Why do we consider compassion for the sick to be a good thing when it can only give us a disadvantage in our vicious eat-or-be-eaten world? Why would these traits emerge so late in the game, when one would think evolution would be turning us into refined, high-tech battle machines? We cannot acquire a transcendent or "higher" purpose through evolution, any more than a sine wave can develop separation anxiety. And yet many who swear by the powers of Darwin and empiricism also cling, hypocritically, to a quite unproven assumption that the human race is somehow set apart, created for a glorious destiny. Just as determinists argue undeterministically, scientists believe unscientifically. The most serious offenders in this category have to be the various minds behind the Humanist Manifesto, who roundly reject the metaphysical even as they affirm it, by assumption, in their grand prescriptions for humanity. This is called talking out of two sides of the mouth. Now, biologically speaking, developing this trait would be a great way for an organism to gain a tactical advantage in the struggle for survival. Unfortunately, it also opens the creature up for easy attack in life's intellectual jungles. These contradictory assumptions met each other vividly in the theater of mainstream culture last year, during the pop radio reign of "Bad Touch," the Bloodhound Gang song. You know the song: it was the one with the refrain of "You and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals / So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel." It was pure Darwinism for the dance floor and became an instant dorm room classic, despite (or most likely, because of) the fact that it was too explicit for the kitsch it aspired to. The party music stopped, however, upon arrival of Thornhill and Palmer's The Natural History of Rape, the book that investigated whether rape was a genetically determined trait that enabled humans to climb the evolutionary ladder. The book's research was as swiftly refuted as The Bell Curve's. However, the white-hot center of controversy surrounding this book was not the research, but the inferences that might have been made from it: the fear that rape could be rationalized, or even accepted, on a biological basis. The science may have been bad, but the logic is faultless. Why can't a chameleon's color change, a bat's sonar, and a man's sexual coercion all be examples of successful evolutionary "design"? Given the absence of any empirical alternative to social Darwinism, the nonconsensual Discovery Channel bump-and-grind is a pretty educated approach to sexual ethics. I repeat: one cannot deny the cake, and then proceed to eat from it.

That, then, is why the language is confused: because the ideas are confused, because the mind is confused. To the extent that our Darwinians and humanists seek answers to humanity's dilemmas using the natural sciences, they are absolutely on the right track. To the extent that they reject the idea of a divine or supernatural creator using the natural sciences, they are not only overstepping the boundaries of their field, but they are plainly contradicted by their language, their goals, and their lives. G.K. Chesterton, writing a century ago, astutely observed this dichotomy in the modern mind when he said that "the man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts." [5] It is precisely this incongruity which remains unaccounted for today. This incongruity was raised to heights both humorous and sublime by noted Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, writing an essay for the Atlantic Monthly called "The Biological Basis of Morality." In it, Wilson outlines the argument for his suspicion that morals, ethics, and belief in the supernatural can all be written off to purely materially-originating, evolutionary-guided brain circuitry, and that's that. In the light of this, he suggests in his conclusion that evolutionary history be "retold as poetry, " because it is more intrinsically grand than any religious epic.[6] But if moral reasoning is just a lot of brain matter in motion, where does that leave appreciation for poetry? And seeing that poetry has a definite beginning and an end, as well as an author and a purpose, isn't the evolutionary epic the very last thing that could be told as poetry? Besides, who could possibly come up with a rhyme for lepidoptera? If life is a drama, then it needs a Bard; and we need to learn to acknowledge our cosmic Bard, just like Alonso in the final act of The Tempest:

This is as strange a maze as e'er men trod, And there is in this business more than nature Was ever conduct of. Some oracle Must rectify our knowledge.

1. Michael D. Lemonick and Andrea Dorfman, "Up From the Apes," Time Magazine 154 no. 8, August 13, 1999.

2. Theodore Schick, Jr., "When Humanists Meet E.T.," Free Inquiry 20 no.3, Summer 2000, pp. 36-7.

3. Robert Wright, "The Accidental Creationist," The New Yorker, Dec. 30, 1999, pp. 56-65.

4. Stanley Jaki, The Limits of a Limitless Science, (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2000, p. 97).

5. G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, (NY: Image Books, 1990, pp 41-2).

6. E.O. Wilson, "The Biological Basis of Morality," The Atlantic Monthly 281 no. 4, April 1998, pp. 53-70.


Response by Richard Carrier Edit

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=89

On Darwinian Dissonance

{{{ I am sure feedback here will be furious and some perhaps excessively hostile, but I want to make sure something calm and correct gets said. First, I like this essay. As an analytical philosopher I am always happy to see people calling for more rigor and clarity in the use of terminology. And the mistakes you make, Mr. Dernavich, which I will discuss below, are not so much your fault as that of the multifarious writers you quote: they failed us by not ceing clear. I am sure even I have done this on numerous occasions, and am always thankful when given the chance to correct myself. Moreover, I don't think you chose a biased and selective portion of writers: I think by and large your sample accurately reflects the trends, and thus demonstrates the obscurity and unhelpfulness of much that is said for natural selection. In that respect, without your essay I would never have written the following critique, and thus no progress on this matter would have been made.

I could defend some of Pigliucci's obscure idioms but perhaps he would prefer to do that himself. For example, "chaotic self-organizing" is not a contradiction in terms, but that would not be apparent to anyone who was not already versed in the basics of chaos theory and thus understood things such as "strange attractors" and whatnot. But no one should assume their readers have that background. And I certainly won't defend the sloppy and prosaic quasi-hack journalistic writing of periodicals like Time magazine. Instead, just the key issues that everyone should know:

"Valuable to whom?" To us. Many secularists defend an objective ethical system in which the fact that humans have value is true irregardless of where we came from (evolution or otherwise). But that isn't necessary. Subjectivism does not entail what its critics claim, and is perfectly compatible with moral values being universally true. It is not too hard to agree with the fact that value is mind-dependent: you cannot have values without a valuer, and when we poll human beings, after providing them with all the facts relevant to the matter (and thus not listening to ignorant or misled people), 99% would agree that humans are valuable and the best thing nature has ever produced since the bananna. The other 1% are mainly comprised of suicidally-murderous psychopaths. But the question of the nature and basis for values is the philosophical field called metaethics (or just "ethical theory"), and is not directly related to the issue of natural selection. If you want to say that secularists cannot say these things, then you are debating metaethics, not natural selection or creation, and you might get pounded on that issue. Even though that was the eventual thrust of your argument, the essays we have under Morality and Atheism already collectively rebut your argument.

"If we cannot confirm a purpose for which life is supposed to have originated, how can we say anything is a success?" Because life is its own "purpose" in this sense: that is, if it can live (as in replicate), then it is a success. If it cannot, then it is a failure. Indeed, this is a self-fulfilling tautology: that which lives reproduces. That which does not live does not reproduce. So this is where life's basic blind "purpose" comes from: from the bare, mindless fact that life reproduces. No intelligence is needed to make this so. That is why so much of nature's products are so astonishingly absurd, from the peacock to the kamakazee ant. Of course, this is all amply explained in a good college-level textbook on evolution. But we cannot expect so much as 5% of the population to have even seen one of those, much less actually read it.

Damn the metaphors! Full speed ahead! I am not one to play Grinch to those who enjoy the artistic use of language. Apt metaphors and analogies can often convey meaning faster and deeper, and more beautifully, than tedious descriptions. But you are right to worry that this is unwise in the present hostile atomosphere, where, as in politics, every word that can be taken out of context or misinterpreted is potentially suicidal. But we should still be intellectually charitable. The rule of intellectual charity is: if there is any sense in which what a writer says can be understood that is consistent with everything else he says, then odds are that is what he meant. Creationists are not charitable people in this respect, and so it is inept to expect them to be, but all reasonable people should be charitable in this way, and that includes you and me. Thus, for example, nature is in fact a "tireless engineer," in that she never ceases to do her work (evolution is constant and unstoppable) and the "work" we are singling out here is not, say, the weather (which is equally tireless), but the production of a machinery of life, which can be said to have been "engineered" (as in arranged and built) by the three central forces of natural selection: reproduction, mutation, and selection. None of the three forces involves or requires intelligence, yet all three together produce wonderful machines. Of course, this is what defenders of natural selection should be explaining, and it is indeed what they try to communicate in books on the subject. Dawkins can perhaps be excused for taking it for granted, when speaking in a brief article, that any would-be critic of his words will take the trouble to read his book on the issue first.

Is "natural selection" a "misleading oxymoron"? Is "metallic hue"? Even though there might be no metal in it? Is "postage stamp" a misleading oxymoron even though it is a sticker? Is "political party" to be impugned for changing the basic meaning of party? After all, drinks and chips and friendly snogging on the couch are not what a political party is supposed to refer to, scandals notwithstanding. One could list endless examples, from "hot dog"). Science is especially in need of such constructions, from "somatic cell" to "power cell," from "ecological niche" to "architectural niche," even terms that clearly are oxymorons, like "centrifugal force" and "electron orbit." Complaining about this sort of terminological confusion is inappropriate: we need to educate the public on the proper, formal meaning of the terms in their respective contexts, not corrupt scientific vocabulary to suit popular ignorance.

Why this metaphor? You propose the answer "Because that is what is really going on." I propose: "Because our brains weren't built any other way." A great deal of work has been done lately showing how hard it is for humans to think rationally and scientifically: rational and scientific methods are unnatural and counter-intuitive. The only reason we force ourselves against the grain to employ them is that they work a hell of a lot better than the sort of thinking our brains are actually built to do. This is shown quite clearly in books like Alan Cromer's Uncommon Sense, Stuart Vyse's Believing in Magic, Michael Shermer's How We Believe, and Stew Guthrie's Faces in the Clouds, as well as a lot of recent papers in scientific journals on the God Module. The point is: our consciousness developed as a means to suss out the intentions of other thinking creatures, and thus to seek out patterns that belie motives and plans and allow us to predict the behavior of others like us. Even our pre-conscious brain development was geared toward recognizing patterns and seeking design: and it was safer to see design where it wasn't, than to miss it when it was really there. Thus, our brains were built to err--but err in a way that is more beneficial to our survival than erring in the other direction.

With self-referential consciousness we can now identify and correct these errors, but it is uphill work. And we will never be able to shake the fact that our brains are still built a certain way and thus will always be readier to understand things when couched in certain primitive metaphors. For instance, it has been shown that people remember and learn better when they are told an interesting story that contains the key material, than if the key material is meticulously explained to them in a rationally-organized lecture. That is not very efficient, but it's the way we are, and complaining about it is an exercise in futility. Thus, do not begrudge humans who understand more easily what nature does by drawing analogies from human life: a storm is "fierce," a winter is "cruel," the stock market is a "bear," electricity "seeks" a path of least resistance. Does any of this entail that we think there is a thinking, feeling intelligence behind these things? No. Is there any better way to express them? Not really. It could be done, but it would require a dull and laborious paraphrasis--which goes against the point of language in the first place: the rapid and efficient communication of ideas.

"B perhaps wins on style points, but the content is the same [as A]." Incorrect. You have violated the law of excluded middle: A contains B as a possible case, but it also contains countless other entirely different cases, and therefore A is a genus and B is a species. This means they are not equivalent and thus do not share all the same content any more than "mammal" and "mouse" share the same content. One would be ill advised to think that "mammal" means "mouse," for an elephant might be around the corner. And one cannot say "I understand what a mammal is, therefore I know what an elephant is." He who understands A does not understand B, only a fractional part of B, and this fact invalidates your use of A and B in your analysis, and in fact this error plagues and thus totally destroys the rest of your argument about morality and values.

The problem is that the physical sciences cannot explain how, much less why, this consciousness emerged. Anyone who says "Science cannot explain..." had better wash their foot--for they will have to put it in their mouth eventually. Indeed, a great deal of work has been done on this very question in just the last ten years, and several comprehensive theoretical research programs have been proposed (I count at least ten books on the subject going to print this year; but for past work see the forthcoming Essential Sources in the Scientific Study of Consciousness). Indeed, your analysis would be much better informed if you had read even one of them, or something in evolutionary psychology. For example:

And a bigger problem is the strangeness of our consciousness: abstract self-doubt, philosophical curiosity, existential despair. How does an intense awareness of my accidental existence better equip me for battle? As has been well-argued in hundreds of books on the subject in the last two decades, consciousness serves the function of social awareness, not combat. Indeed, a pack of wolves can tactically outsmart the average human, and the strategic genius of ant colonies is much to be admired. Instead, by being able to model human perception and self-awareness in ourselves, we are able to model the thought processes of others and thus predict their interests and behavior with astonishing accuracy. Once this tool met up with language, the brain became a powerhouse for the communication of acquired characteristics (and as anyone versed in the dispute between Lemarckian and Darwinian evolution would know, that is a vast advantage over the ordinary processes of inheriting characteristics which are painfully slow).

Everything peculiar about human thought is the byproduct of these developments, and others like them, whether the byproduct is useful or not (and nature wouldn't know--mere life or death decides, and mercilessly). For every advantage comes at a price. Just think how much energy we waste feeding this absurdly huge brain of ours. The peacock's feathers are a liability in battle and flight, but the advantage in winning a mate outweighs that in terms of differential reproductive success. The kamakazee ant commits suicide so that its colony can prosper--and thus, in effect, it ensures the survival of those genes it shares with its fellow ants that live as a result of its altruistic death. And so on. None of nature's homoncula are perfect, and most, if we were to attribute them to an intelligent creator, would be insane (the platypuss comes to mind, or the guinea worm). Nature's creations are ad hoc, sometimes ridiculous, yet they succeed because they nevertheless work, and nothing better was hit upon, and that is what makes her blind.

In the end, misled by your fallacious exclusion of the middle term, you commit the nefarious "A is just a B" fallacy, which has bred such embarassing arguments like "An animal is just a clump of cells, cells can't walk, therefore animals can't walk." You, likewise, argue that there is an incongruity between scientific knowledge and humanist values because "moral reasoning is just a lot of brain matter in motion," and since brain matter in motion can't produce a justified set of moral values, therefore there is no justified set of moral values. This is the same fallacy as the animals can't walk example. Thus, you fell victim to the very confusion you attributed to scientific humanists. }}}

Richard Carrier quotes Edit

Thus, for example, nature is in fact a "tireless engineer," in that she never ceases to do her work (evolution is constant and unstoppable) and the "work" we are singling out here is not, say, the weather (which is equally tireless), but the production of a machinery of life, which can be said to have been "engineered" (as in arranged and built) by the three central forces of natural selection: reproduction, mutation, and selection. None of the three forces involves or requires intelligence, yet all three together produce wonderful machines.


Dernavich replies Edit

{{{ Thanks for the comments. I hope that progress has been made, and not just a lot of vitriolic vein-popping, as is sometimes the case. I have appreciated all of the feedback, criticism included, that has been posted thus far. On most of the above points, I will leave you to the last word. I do, however, have one bone to pick which is vital and foundational, and which cuts across the grain of almost all of the arguments.

You say that metaethics is not directly related to natural selection. I beg to differ! If all that we are is a function of natural selection, then how can it not be? How can we separate ourselves from the processes of our own development to analyze that development? When a person has a panic attack, a heart attack, or an aneurysm, he cannot coolly remove himself from it, and figure out how to cure himself. He is a part of the attack. Same with a dream. We cannot remove our minds from the dream to take notes on it and analyze it. Our brains, and therefore our thoughts, are a direct result of the forces and processes which formed it and govern it. So if everything in the cosmos, including our humble selves, is a result of nothing more than unconscious forces working against physical substances, then how are we any different? This consciousness you speak of is not "awareness," as we understand it, it is just a word that describes how the impersonal forces act upon one certain type of organism. "Awareness," given the above presuppositions, is a delusion - a beneficial one in terms of survival, but still a delusion. And we are not really debating right now, at least not in the ordinary sense of "debate," because there would be no such thing as independent thought.

One of the most tired ideas which is consistently repeated by evolutionists is that religious belief is only the outworking of the self-preservation mechanism; a psychological phenomena that allows creatures to somehow achieve a sense of self-worth and purpose. Wilson is one of the chief offenders in this category, and that is why I mentioned him. It never occurs to anyone that the secularist opinion, that humans are intrinsically special and should agree on some universal moral values, could be explained away by the same logic. Indeed, it makes even more sense. You say that there is 99% agreement among humans that we are valuable: of course there is! A successful species like ourselves could not get far thinking that we were moss to be trampled. But that is only animal self-preservation. You said as much yourself: "our brains were built to err--but err in a way that is more beneficial to our survival than erring in the other direction." But it proves nothing, and it especially does not solve the question of if there is any higher reason, outside of the selfish instinct toward self-preservation, that we are so special, or should observe ethics or morals of any kind.

We are conscious beings, and we are unique creatures in the universe. These things are assumed in the minds of secular Darwinists, because it appears implicitly and explicitly in their writing. The problem is, only the possibility of the existence of an intelligent, conscious designer can account for them. People don't need to come up with new words. They need to come up with new thoughts. }}}

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