Discoveroids: The Designer Gives Us Morality

There’s a very challenging new post at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute: An Uneven Classic: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

What makes it challenging is that it’s so extremely muddled that the rational mind recoils in revulsion at the thought of dealing with its cryptic content. Nevertheless, that task is the burden which your Curmudgeon has assumed, so we’ll give it a try.

To begin with, they’re not talking about any science research, or anything at all that might support their never-ending and allegedly scientific crusade against the theory of evolution. Instead, it’s all about a work of fiction — Brave New World — which was published over eighty years ago (in 1932) and was written by Aldous Huxley who, as they note, died fifty years ago this month.

Huxley’s fictional novel has as much bearing on the theory of evolution (i.e., none) as H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds does on our knowledge of Mars. Nevertheless, the Discoveroids are discussing Huxley’s novel as if it were somehow significant to their efforts. They specifically say, with bold font added by us:

The book’s themes are certainly relevant to our concerns in this space.

They spend a lot of time discussing and offer several quotes from science writer Philip Ball’s article in Nature: In retrospect: Brave New World, which you can’t read without a subscription.

Why do they bother with this? It’s because they want to make the same point that we see made so often by the more primitive creationist websites — that science, particularly evolution, offers no hope, no morality, and no reason for us to think of ourselves as anything other than animals; thus we have no reason to behave in any manner other than savages, for whom might makes right, and literally anything goes.

Unlike the Discoveroids, the scripture-based creationists are honest about their beliefs, and they forthrightly claim that all morality comes from God. It’s apparent to your Curmudgeon that the Discoveroids are now making the same argument on behalf of their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — whom they never officially identify as Yahweh (because they always pretend that their “theory” is science), but neither they nor their fans have any doubts about who their designer really is. To advance this viewpoint, after discussing and quoting from Ball’s article, they say:

One wonders why Ball should care about individual liberty. Why should he worry about “ways in which we can lose our humanity”? Wherein lays his concern about “science as it affects human individuals”? He’s an evolutionist, after all, writing in a staunchly pro-Darwinist journal. Evolution concerns populations, not individuals. What can he possibly mean by losing our humanity? What is it about humanity that he feels separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, all equally products of an unplanned, unintended process of blind churning?

See what we mean? Compare that to what we wrote about in Creationism and Morality, where we quoted from something we found at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG). It was an article by Georgia Purdom and Jason Lisle which claimed:

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.


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.


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.

Although the Discoveroids would surely deny it, what they are saying in their new essay is precisely the same thing the more primitive creationists say. To illustrate this, here’s some more from the Discoveroids:

Ball’s review is ultimately an incoherent muddle. Like Aldous Huxley, he feels repugnance for regimes that would tempt or force a populace into docility, as if the preferred human condition is one of responsibility, creativity and liberty. But where in Darwin’s theory is that promised to any creature?

That’s the sort of thing creationists always say — Darwin’s theory is wicked, because it doesn’t preach morality. The Discoveroids finish their article with this:

Unless these Darwinian evolutionists can define something distinctive about human nature that separates man from the animals — unless that human spirit is worth defending against tyranny — there’s no essential difference between the caste system of a beehive and that of the Central Hatchery [a reference to Huxley’s book, in which humans are born in state-run hatcheries].

What are we to make of this latest Discoveroid offering? What your humble Curmudgeon sees is clear confirmation that, despite their disingenuous denials, the Discoveroids are no different from all the other creationists. Oh, they’re mostly old-Earthers, and they don’t spend their time defending the Genesis account of creation; but those are superficial differences. Deep down they’re still creationists, and their magical designer is none other than You Know Who — the supernatural agency that not only created us, but is also the sole source of morality.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Discoveroids: The Designer Gives Us Morality

  1. My immediate reaction is to ask whether the argument presented applies with at least as much force to the scientific study of reproduction.

  2. The DI is arguing religion’s utility, as in “Christianity is good because it makes people toe the line and feel good about themselves.” Maybe, but so does the Infield Fly Rule.

  3. Well, “absolute morality” is creationists’ most darlingest defence, their bête blanc as it were. Their idea that morality must be entirely arbitrary without some external guiding force is as daft as it is demonstrably inaccurate, judging by historical events prompted by their precursors. If anything, “god” makes it easier to commit atrocities by lending authority to their commission (fantastical though such authority is), and this circumstance is much closer to Huxley’s depressing vision of the all-controlling and omni-oppressive state than they’ll ever admit.

    Similarly and contra the Discorrhoids’ assertions, an “intelligent designer” is no impediment to bearing false witness, as they keep demonstrating.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    I don’t exactly like this example, but at least it shows real scientists doing research on morality with animals.

  5. Brave New World is a work of fiction.

    The Discovery Institute is a work of fiction.

    I don’t see the problem.

  6. docbill1351 says: “I don’t see the problem.”

    But it’s so clear! A work of fiction supports their fictional theory. Surely you can see how important this is.

  7. Perhaps religion is the source of absolute morals, after all. Morals such as (1) blasphemers and heretics should be put to death, (2) women are made to be “helpmeets” and should be owned and governed by men, (3) gays should be put to death, (4) people of other religions should be expelled from the community, (5) being rich is a gift from god, being poor is one’s own damn fault. (ok, the last one is a modern religious moral)

    And, of course, many more, such as the virtues of polygamy, slavery, and the acceptability of giving out captured virgins to soldiers as booty.

    When creationists long for the absolute moral code of the bible, they are longing for a return of societal mores of the bronze age. The bible reflects the society those writers were familiar with.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Ed, You mean like Paul Broun, where the Bible is the answer to everything:

    It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.

    Pure Taliban thinking, where you probably need a book to figure out which hand to use to wipe your butt.

  9. The Designer who is God gives us morality, and by the way Intelligent Design is a real scientific theory that doesn’t involve God in the slightest.

  10. Christine Janis

    If a sense of morality was unique to humans, it would be impossible to have guide dogs for the blind or riding horses for the disabled.

  11. “Thou shalt not steal.” says the “Intelligent Designer.”
    Casey has lost his job. His family is without food or shelter. His children are hungry. Casey has explored all avenues of assistance, but at every source he has met with rejection, even his once friends cannot help. There’s no food stamps or housing assistance, all eliminated by the GOP. What is he to do, watch his family starve to death before his very eyes? Or will he try to steal some food from the well stocked grocery? Surely they can spare some food, he self-righteously claims. But if caught, he’ll be jailed and cannot provide anything for his family, they’ll starve without him. If not caught, his family survives, but he’ll have demonstrated his moral relativism, which he decries as atheistic and immoral. Will survival take precedence over his so-called absolute moral ideology, or will he sacrifice his family?

  12. “Ball’s review is ultimately an incoherent muddle.”
    Oooohhh, I love this. You see, even from the way this IDiot describes the review – I have skipped the quotes – I completely understands what Ball means. Our lovely IDiot is not capable of coherent thinking even he (she? – let’s settle on it) succeeds in reproducing correcting what it intends to criticize!
    And sure enough all kinds of incoherent questions follow!

    “But where in Darwin’s theory is that promised to any creature?”
    Since when does any evolutionary biologist promise anything to any creature?

    “seems pretty highly evolved”
    Since when does Evolution Theory claim to explain the way societies develop? What does “highly evolved” mean?

    “How could Bertrand Russell or Aldous Huxley expect anything else?”
    Since when is Brave New World about expectations iso options?

    “Unless these Darwinian evolutionists can define something distinctive about human nature that separates man from the animals”
    Oh, they can. They can define something distinctive about the nature of almost any known specie that separates it from all other animals. It’s the very definition of species: capable of producing fertile offspring. Not even IDiots are capable of inbreeding with say goats.

  13. “that science, particularly evolution, offers no hope, no morality, and no reason for us to think of ourselves as anything other than animals; thus we have no reason”
    Boring. You know as well as I and every regular reader here that this non-sequitur is called the is-ought fallacy.

    “what they are saying in their new essay is precisely the same thing the more primitive creationists say”
    I repeat: what choice do they have? Their “theory” is bland and stale. They are too lazy to do some actual hard work in a lab, let alone to go out for some digging, looking for fossils etc.

    “What are we to make of this latest Discoveroid offering?”
    What I see is them getting desparate. That’s why they attracted Denise Something. They need a renewal, they know it but don’t have a clue how to pull it off.
    I trust you to follow them closely, because I predict them gradually becoming more and more ridiculous and idiot. It’s the only path left for them.

    @Charles D: actually any single muslim can tell you the rationale – hygiene. Next time you should bring up a better (ie ridiculous) example.

  14. Unreal, we somehow act moral, but don’t actually know where we get this morality. Apparently we pulled it right out of our Arsses… WTF?

    Only children get their morals from the bible by way of a scary being that watches over them…

    I guess this idiots never grew up. Hell, I think they never evolved past the orangutans… or maybe not even to that branch…

    WOW, what a bunch of retards!

  15. A work of fiction supports their fictional theory.

    But … they don’t even have a fictional theory.

    What they have, at best, is “something is wrong with evolutionary biology”.

    (Leaving aside the issue that I brought up above, that what they claim to have wrong with evolutionary biology is, if anything, something wrong with reproductive biology (or genetics, development, metabolism, …).)

    They do not have an exposition of what happened, when and where, that resulted in the world of life being as it is; much less an exposition which tells us why we shouldn’t act like the animals that we have been purposefully designed to be like.

    That is, aside from the attempt to change the subject from “how can we account for the variety of the world of life?” to “why should I do good?”, they cannot even address the changed subject.

  16. The Whole truth

    “Not even IDiots are capable of inbreeding with say goats.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if many have tried.

  17. Charles Deetz ;)

    @MNB Yea, my examples suck. Just trying to make the point that they are showing their true colors that they see god as a solution for everything. That the same people who post this would also act as objective scientists is laughable.

  18. SC: “Oh, [Discoveroids are] mostly old-Earthers, and they don’t spend their time defending the Genesis account of creation; but those are superficial differences.”

    This may surprise you coming from me, but in one respect I consider those differences are even more trivial than you do. Both “kinds” of anti-evolution activist peddle hard-core pseudoscience, driven by a radical, paranoid authoritarian agenda, and, if you let them talk long enough, they all admit that (1) they have no testable alternate theory and (2) their real objection to evolution has nothing to do with “weaknesses” of evidence, and everything to do with a fear that the “masses” will commit evil if they accept evolution. And that puts both “kinds” in a whole universe apart from “evolutionists,” even theistic ones, some of whom call themselves “creationists”!

    In fact the one difference that most critics don’t find superficial, is one that I do. That’s when Discoveroids omit the designer’s identity and speak of design rather than creation. Discoveroids have plainly admitted that they hope the designer is God, and appear genuinely uncertain the designer they claim to have caught red-handed hiding in the “gaps” is not necessarily the one that they wish it to be. Behe even said, under oath at Dover, that the “found” designer might not even still exist! They simply don’t try very hard to hide it, and when they appear to, it’s just part of their bigger scheme to have everything both ways.

    Decades of criticizing creationism/ID for being religious may have may have won most court cases to keep it out of public schools, but has not impressed the ~half of the public that is neither committed evolution-denier nor fully convinced of evolution or how it earned the right be taught. Yet those people can, and do, appreciate the radical differences among Biblicals, and between them and Discoveroids, and how they are ultimately more devastating to “creationism” than any court case, or all the evidence for evolution combined. The reason is that, once activists started claiming that independent evidence validated their favored “what happened when” origins account, those claims allowed themselves to be scrutinized completely separate from the design question or any perceived “weaknesses” of evolution.

    Most people erroneously think that “evolution tells one story, creationism tells another, so let students hear both and decide.” That caricature is as misleading as creationism/ID itself. Unfortunately most people lack the time or interest to appreciate a tiny fraction of what Pope John Paul II famously called the “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” of evidence for evolution. But when they see the hopeless divergence within the mutually-contradictory creationists stories, despite decades of “seeking and fabricating,” and and the increasing cover-up of those fatal contradictions, they can, and do “smell a rat.”