Everyone has heard about the Ashley Madison data breach. As Wikipedia describes it:
In July 2015, a group calling itself “The Impact Team” stole the user data of Ashley Madison, a commercial website for people seeking extramarital affairs. The group copied personal information about the site’s user base, and threatened to release users’ names and personally identifying information if Ashley Madison was not immediately shut down. On 18 and 20 August, the group leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including user details.
Why is your Curmudgeon posting about such a thing? What possible relevance does it have to The Controversy between evolution and creationism? The relevance is that we’re always being told by creationists that their religious beliefs are the only source of morality, and Darwin’s theory of evolution inevitably leads to ghastly behavior. They never, however, provide any evidence for that outrageous claim; they merely assert it.
In Debating Creationists: The Big Lie we asked:
Where are all the evil biologists? If evolution were the road to evil, one must wonder how Darwin himself somehow managed to lead such an exemplary life. And where are the headlines screaming: “Another Biology Teacher With 30 Bodies Buried in His Back Yard!” It’s certainly interesting that those who are the most involved with the theory of evolution are the least likely to justify the creationists’ fears.
Today we have some evidence. The Ashley Madison situation offers us an opportunity to test the claims of the creationists. That, not prurience, is why we’re posting about this shabby situation. What have we learned so far?
Look what we found at the website of Christianity Today: ‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’ It has this subtitle: “Too many Christians have been caught using Ashley Madison, many of them pastors and church leaders. What now?” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church — and it should be.
Four hundred church leaders? We might expect a handful; there are always a few scoundrels in any large group — but four hundred? Wow! Let’s read on:
To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.
Yes, that’s true — there are far more people on the Ashley Madison list than those 400 preachers. Which brings up an interesting question: How many scientists were on the Ashley Madison list? And specifically, how many biologists? If what the creationists claim is true, a very large percentage of scientists — and certainly most of the biologists — would have their names there. But nothing like that has been disclosed — at least not yet. The article continues:
Also, to be clear, in situations like these, we must confirm all things. Not everyone on the list signed themselves up. Among those who did, the sin and circumstances will be different. Many likely signed themselves up and didn’t actually go through with adultery. Regardless, though, trust has been shattered and hearts have been broken. But before we assume a name on a list means adultery has taken place, we must confirm all things and seek the full truth.
Suppose your preacher said: “Yes, I signed up, but I didn’t actually follow through and do the deed.” Does that excuse him?
The article goes on at some length about how a church and its members should deal with such a problem. There’s a lot about forgiveness and repentance. We’ll skip all that because it’s not our concern.
We assume that the usual creationist websites are looking carefully at the Ashley Madison list to see if any “Darwinists” are on it. If there are (there may be some, one never knows), we’ll certainly hear about it. They’ll say that those names “prove” their claims about evolution and immorality. They’ll also say it’s Darwin’s fault. That’s nonsense, of course. But they’ll never admit that the presence of hundreds of preachers on the list disproves their self-righteous claims.
The number of preachers on the Ashley Madison list may grow, and the number of scientists on that list is so far unknown. If we learn of any further developments, we’ll let you know.
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