Creationism and Morality

FOR more than a year we have chronicled the Niagara of lies, misquotes, deception, and idiocy that routinely flows from creationist sources. Can you imagine taking a lesson in morality from a creationist? You can’t imagine that? Well, brace yourself, because that’s what’s coming.

Your Curmudgeon brings you the view from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. They have this amazing article at their website: Morality and the Irrationality of an Evolutionary Worldview.

The authors are Dr. Georgia Purdom and Dr. Jason Lisle. It required two PhDs to produce the mess you’re being exposed to today. We would have guessed that these two received their degrees in something like Colonic Irrigation, but according to the biographical information at the AIG site it appears otherwise. See: Dr. Georgia Purdom, who received her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Ohio State University:

Dr. Purdom heard first heard Ken Ham speak several years ago when she was a student at Cedarville University (in Central Ohio). She soon had a dream of being able to work in creation studies, especially after noticing that there were not very many women engaged in even part-time creation research and lecturing.

Jason Lisle, Ph.D., Creationist Astrophysicist:

At the university level, Jason discovered that an important element in scientific study and the drawing of conclusions was this: that scientists usually are not aware of their presuppositions (i.e. they interpret scientific evidence in light of their existing worldview). It thus made it easier for him to see that intelligent scientists, many who were his professors, can disagree on what the evidence really means, for they have different starting points. So as he read creation materials, he could see that when the evidence was properly interpreted, it always supported the biblical account of creation (even with the thorny question of starlight and time).

[…]

Dr. Lisle graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy, and minored in mathematics. He did graduate work at the University of Colorado where he earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics.

Here are some excerpts from their article on creationist morality, with bold added by us. They begin by declaring their premise, or as Dr. Lisle would say — their presuppositions:

Morality is a very difficult problem for the evolutionary worldview. This is not to say that evolutionists are somehow less moral than biblical creationists — or anyone else. Most evolutionists adhere to a moral code and believe in the concept of right and wrong. But evolutionists have no rational reason for this position. Thus, only creationists have a rational, logical, and consistent reason for morality.

Your Curmudgeon isn’t a theologian, and the authors have their presuppositions, so let’s read on to see what they have to teach us:

Even though most people do not acknowledge it, the morality and rules that most humans adhere to have their basis in the Bible, specifically in the literal history of Genesis. The Bible claims to be the revealed Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) and that the biblical God is the ultimate authority and foundation for knowledge (Hebrews 6:13; Proverbs 1:7, 2:6; Colossians 2:3). The Bible tells us that God is the Creator of all things and, therefore, all things belong to Him (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1). Thus, God as the Creator has the right to define absolute standards of behavior.

Fascinating. Even Confucius got his morality from Genesis. Who knew? We assume that if Drs Purdom and Lisle — AIG’s two creationist moralists — were confronted with Socrates’ Euthyphro dilemma — “Is what is moral commanded by the gods because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by the gods?” — their answer would be the latter option. But how then would they explain Abraham’s behavior when God announced His intention to exterminate the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah? Abraham objected and told God that it would be unjust to kill the good along with the rest. And what of Moses’ reaction when God announced His intention to exterminate the Hebrews because of the golden calf incident? Moses argued God out of doing it.

Having no answer to these problems, we continue:

Murder is an obvious example of immoral behavior. The basis for this comes from Genesis 1:27 which states that human beings are made in God’s image and are different from the animals. Murder is condemned in Genesis 4 where God punishes the first murderer, Cain, for killing his brother Abel. God’s condemnation of murder is further established in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13). Death and suffering were not part of God’s original creation as exhibited by God’s command to Adam and Eve and the animals to eat only plants (Genesis 1:29–30). God states in Genesis 1:31 that His creation was “very good.” This terminology is meaningless if it includes death and suffering.

Claims to the effect that “Without Genesis there is no morality” come up frequently, and it’s always surprising, because basic morality is such a simple thing. Suppose you evolved from some primordial blob without any divine action at all. Okay, you’re on your own, with no bible, just your intelligence to guide you. You’re looking for a place to settle down with your family and your flocks. Assume that the cities you might move to have signs outside their gates, telling you the rules. One says: “Murder is okay with us!” Another says: “Welcome, and we’ll rape your women!” Yet another says: “No private property here. We’ll take all your stuff!” Do you need to consult Genesis before you to decide to avoid those places? You’ll choose a city with a sign saying “No murder, rape, or theft,” as will most people. Those are the successful societies.

We’re going to skip the bulk of the article and give you one more excerpt from the end:

We must, therefore, conclude that evolutionists are being inconsistent (irrational) when they talk about right and wrong, since such concepts are meaningless within their professed worldview. Like so many things that we often take for granted, the existence of morality confirms that biblical creation is true.

So there you are. According to AIG, if murder is wrong, that proves creationism. So you know what you can do with your Darwinism.

Update: See Creationism and Morality, Part 2.

Update: See Creationism and Morality, Part 3.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Creationism and Morality

  1. The Gadfly

    Mightyfrijoles has become The Gadfly. Yeh, I know, just trying to run away from an immoral past.

    Hey, repent, confess, and you get a clean slate.

  2. You’re The Gadfly now? Maybe The Curmudgeon should become “The Nice Guy.”

  3. The Gadfly

    Not possible.

  4. Talk about looking through crap coloured glasses.

    So all of the cultures that predate the Bibble had no justification for their morals?

    Oops, my mistake, of course there are no cultures that predate the Bible.

    The more I’m exposed to this lunacy the more I believe the ‘true believers’ are just plain nuts.

  5. Two PhDs and neither of them thought to provide any supporting evidence beyond “God did this, so this other thing must be true”? A freshman in any high school debate squad could take that whole thing apart without even pausing his game of World of Warcraft.

    Anyone who actually derives their sense of morality entirely from the bible should be put on the terrorist watch list. That book is full of rape, murder, war, infanticide and genocide. Much of it committed by or at the command of the Christian God.

    I know right from wrong without the invisible man needing to burn a bush to tell me. I know how to do the right thing without having to crack open a 1,600 yr old book that doesn’t even agree with itself.

    I have no need of God to behave myself. I would have to completely lack any sense of morality if the only reason I did the right thing is out of fear of being punished after death or because I expected to exist in a paradise forever.

  6. Rooker says: “Two PhDs and neither of them thought to provide any supporting evidence …”

    That’s why they’re working for a creationist outfit instead of holding down real jobs.

  7. The Gadfly

    Curmy said:
    “You’re The Gadfly now? Maybe The Curmudgeon should become “The Nice Guy.””

    I decided to start my own blog and WordPress won’t allow me to be 2 different nicknames, so now I am The Gadfly. Have no fear, I won’t steal your thunder, well not very often :).

  8. You got a link? I’d like to look it over. There’s always room for a new blog.

  9. To the extent that favouring one’s in-group is moral, evolution contributes to morality because of kin selection.

    Also, many creationists and intelligent design proponents are politically right wing. I wonder why they are so happy with capitalism, which (to simplify somewhat) works the same way as evolution (simplified again).

  10. Rob F says: “Also, many creationists and intelligent design proponents are politically right wing.”

    In the days of William Jennings Bryan, creationists were in the other party. Controlled economies are analogous to intelligent design. Their commitment to free enterprise is an historical accident.

  11. Eric Strickland

    “Jason discovered that . . . : that scientists usually are not aware of their presuppositions (i.e. they interpret scientific evidence in light of their existing worldview).
    . . . intelligent scientists, . . . can disagree on what the evidence really means, for they have different starting points.
    So as he read creation materials, he could see that when the evidence was properly interpreted, it always supported the biblical account of creation
    Dr. Lisle developed a passion to share the message that God’s Word is true from the very first verse.”

    So, here in a nutshell, is why the debate can never be won. Their starting point is that they have the truth, a priori. All evidence interpreted from that starting point can be “properly interpreted” so that it conforms to their immutable dogma.

    It’s good that Lisle recognizes that there are differences in world views and starting points. It’s too bad, though, that he (and all of the other creationists) is unable to take the next step and recognize that since his starting point is a presupposition which cannot be ‘falsified’ it is not science.

  12. The Gadfly

    Don’t want to advertize, but since you requested:

  13. The Gadfly

    http://highcountrygadfly.wordpress.com/

    damn, this html is a pain.

  14. Eric Strickland says:

    It’s too bad, though, that he (and all of the other creationists) is unable to take the next step and recognize that since his starting point is a presupposition which cannot be ‘falsified’ it is not science.

    It’s worse than that. The creationists’ starting point (literal Genesis) is falsified by reality, so they must literally reject reality to preserve their starting point.

  15. Y’all take a look at The Gadfly‘s blog: The Gadfly’s Political Musings. He knows what he’s talking about.

  16. OT: It would seem that the site I provided that listed the dates of state legislative sessions is off. NCSE is reporting that the Missouri and Alabama antievolution bills are dead. Lovely news but not surprising; both states have legislators that perennially submit antievolution bills that go nowhere. This year, only Oklahoma saw an antievolution bill get as far as a committee vote. I predict that next year the DI will push hardest in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma; fortunately, the citizens for science groups in these states are well-organized and have become quite adept at countering creationist shenanigans.

  17. James, I’ve been thrashing it out with them, relying on the site you gave me. But it appears that NCSE has better information. How embarrassing. I had just reported on Alabama, and mentioned NCSE’s “blunder.”