Jason Lisle on Politics, Economics, Adam & Eve

It’s been a couple of months since we wrote about Jason Lisle — the creationist astrophysicist. You know who he is. After previously working for the Institute for Creation Research, and then ol’ Hambo’s Answers in Genesis, he’s now running his own show — the Biblical Science Institute.

He just posted Creation and Politics, which ought to be timely, considering that there’s a US Presidential election next month. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

What does our view of origins have to do with politics? Everything! [What?] A person’s view on origins will guide his or her thinking on how society should function. Our understanding of our beginnings will inform our view of politics because it will determine our understanding of the nature of man, the nature of the universe, the existence of God, our moral responsibility, economics, and the purpose and scope of government in society.

Is he saying what we think he’s saying? That Genesis is his guide to politics? That seems to be it. He says:

In the United States, political positions are often described in terms of the left and the right. Those who are on the left are often called liberals and tend to side with the Democrat Party on various issues, whereas those on the right are often called conservatives and tend to side with the Republican Party. The left and the right represent two sides of a spectrum. As such, there are those on the extreme ends while others are more moderate or closer to center. On some issues, the left and right are opposed. On other issues, the left and the right have the same goal, but disagree on how that goal should be achieved.

No problem with that, but we don’t see any creationism yet. Be patient, dear reader — it’s coming. Jason tells us:

We will find that the positions and methods advocated by the political left are consistent with the religion of secular humanism based on a neo-Darwinian evolutionary view of origins. [Huh?] Conversely, the positions and methods advocated by the political right are more aligned with the Christian worldview based on biblical creation. Let’s examine some of these issues.

That just might be the most fouled-up analysis of American politics we’ve ever seen. Ah well, we’re here for entertainment. Jason continues by discussing abortion and then gender issues, but we’ll skip that. Next he turns to economic issues. You know your Curmudgeon favors the free enterprise system, which emerged from Enlightenment thinkers like Adam Smith. Wait ’til you see how Jason deals with it. He says:

The two most opposing views on economics are socialism on the one hand, and free enterprise (capitalism) on the other. Socialism seeks to promote equality of conditions whereas free enterprise promotes equality of opportunity. [Not bad so far!] Many people have a view that falls somewhere in between these two extremes. However, those on the political right are far more aligned with free enterprise than those on the left. Indeed, some on the political left are full-blown socialists. It is obvious that some people have far more wealth than others. Why does such inequality exist, and what is to be done about it?

Let’s read on:

Those on the political left view wealth inequality as a problem to be solved. They attempt to enact “fundamental reforms to address structural and systemic racism and entrenched income and wealth inequality in our economy and our banking system”. The socialistic economic view can be summarized as follows: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Hence, under socialism, your income is completely irrelevant to how hard/long/smart you work. Instead, your income is based entirely upon your needs. So, a family of four gets paid more than a family of three, because the need is greater, regardless of how hard or long they work.

Conversely, under free enterprise, people are allowed to work as hard and efficiently as they desire, and are allowed to keep the money they earn from that work. Consequently, their income is based on their labor, regardless of their needs. Under free enterprise, if you want to work just enough to feed yourself, you can do that. And if you want to earn far more income than you really need, you can do that too by working harder and smarter. On the other hand, if you refuse to work then you don’t get an income.

We know — you’re wondering where creationism fits in. Here it comes:

Free enterprise is consistent with the Christian worldview; what you reap is not based on what you need, but is based on what you sow (Galatians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 9:6). This position follows logically from biblical creation in which God created people to work (Genesis 2:15, 1:28) and a worker is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:7; 1 Timothy 5:18). God’s creatures should be allowed to enjoy the fruit of their labor (Deuteronomy 25:4; Leviticus 19:13; 1 Timothy 5:18). Therefore, God forbids theft (Exodus 20:15). God’s law protects personal property and possessions (Deuteronomy 19:14, 27:17; Leviticus 19:11). Consequently, the Bible identifies socialism as wicked (Proverbs 1:10-14).

No creationist discussion of economics would be complete with out Adam & Eve, so here ya go:

Another important consideration in biblical economics is the Fall of man. When Adam rebelled against God, one of the punishments God placed on mankind was that work would now be difficult and unpleasant at times, and there would be obstacles to success (Genesis 3:17-19). Hence, our sin nature tends toward laziness and aversion to the unpleasantness of work. So, God also gave us incentives to work, not the least of which is hunger. We require food to live, and we must work to acquire food. Biblically, those who are unwilling to work should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Here’s the other school of thought:

Conversely, socialism is opposed to these biblical principles; it denies private property and instead seeks to equalize wealth. But since wealth is a natural outcome of labor and not of need, socialism does not occur naturally. It must be imposed by the state. Generally, the way leftists attempt to equalize income in an otherwise free market economy is through disproportionate taxation. In other words, those with greater income are taxed proportionally far more than those with lesser income, thereby reducing the wealth difference. Hence, the left applies a double standard in taxation (one percentage for lower income, a different and higher percentage for higher income). This is in violation of biblical principles; God repudiates a double standard (Proverbs 20:10, 23, 16:11; Deuteronomy 25:13; James 2:1-4). Those on the political left seek to increase this double standard, whereas those on the political right generally want to reduce it or eliminate it.

Jason goes on for a few more pages, but we’ve already excerpted enough. Take a good look at it, and then let us know what you think.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

25 responses to “Jason Lisle on Politics, Economics, Adam & Eve

  1. He forgot to bring in an argument for slavery, after all the Bible was used to justify slavery.

  2. “…the Democrat Party…” – So what is it with so many Republic supporters that they can’t seem to get the name of the Democratic Party right? Is it some sort of feeble attempt at passive aggression, or are they really just that stupid?

  3. @Ken Phelps,From what I’ve heard it’s passive aggression dating back to Reagan

  4. Michael Fugate

    It is unclear which Jason knows less about Economics, Science or Christianity…

    I like that he admits his god is an arbitrary bastard who gives some people more than others just because. If you are born rich, you never need work at all contrary to Genesis. If you are born a slave, working harder isn’t going to get you greater riches. Rags to riches is the exception, not the rule. Not to mention, the riches Jesus was talking about were spiritual not monetary. The idea that Jesus wanted you to get rich – especially by exploiting others’ labor is about as far from the Gospel message as you can get.

  5. For some reason, Jason never mentioned bible communism, which has been attempted in many societies. It was even tried in one of the earliest American colonies. I wrote about it years ago: Of Plymouth Plantation: “Every Man for His Own Particular”.

  6. chris schilling

    “Generally, the way leftists attempt to equalise income in an otherwise free market economy is through disproportionate taxation.”

    And generally, the way religious organisations attempt to avoid paying taxes is through declaring yourself a church.

    God clearly doesn’t repudiate a double standard, despite what Jason quotes from Proverbs et al.

  7. “Democrat Party”
    Wikipedia has an article on this.

  8. Jason asks:

    <em?Why does such inequality exist, and what is to be done about it?

    Well, the cause, to a first, very rough approximation, is the Pareto Principle. Another is genetic inheritance, but that works on a population level, not an individual one. Neither of those are in the control of a government, nor even of an entire nation or society. But there are other causes that are in their control, at least to some extent.

    What is to be done about inequality? It can’t be eliminated, but if it were, the only result would be to remove all individual incentive to improve, because relative improvement would be impossible, by definition. By removing all individual incentive to relatively improve, we would simply have eliminated all overall incentive to improve; for what is true for each and every individual is also true for all. Inequality must, however, be ameliorated, or else we will end up with a society composed of aristocrats and serfs.

    So we must turn to means of amelioration. The widest possible distribution of opportunity is one means. Meritocracy, with a career open to the talents. Another means is progressive taxation, to the extent that the taxed will actually consent to it. Fortunately, most of the wealthy recognise, as Mark Blyth put it, that the Hamptons are not a defensible position and that extreme selfishness will eventually result in that fact being proven the hard way.

    Some of them do not recognise that, however. Is that tolerable? There, I must disavow any decision. Societies tolerate, or not, what they tolerate or don’t tolerate, and those tolerances change over time, with cultural influence. I would venture the opinion that in the US, recently, there has been a manifestation of intolerance of the degree of inequality. It is, of course, entirely up to the American people how they react to that. I can only hope, out of my respect and goodwill towards them, that their admirable Constitution and open political institutions provide the means to act both in peace and with justice.

  9. He makes a good case for Christianity being fundamentally evil, although a lot of Christians will not agree with him as he is clearly a strong conservative and a lot of Christians are far more reasonable.

    He has cherry picked the Bible to make his case and ignored all the healing the sick, giving to the poor etc where Christians are clearly commanded to redistribute wealth like good socialists. I really think that Jesus would get kicked out of modern churches for being a tree hugging commie, because that is certainly the spirit of his teachings.

    Using Levitical law is a dangerous place for him to go as it also advocates slavery, kidnap, genocide etc. While the extreme conservatives in USA may still find these things to be ok, the rest of the world has moved on quite a lot.

    The fact is that capitalism as it is implemented in USA is fundamentally evil as it rigs the system to favour the wealthy and creates a system very close to slavery for the working class. The working class are worthy of their hire, which they don’t get and may no not make a living wage. The wealthy are the ones with aversion to work, so the reality of capitalism is the exact opposite of what he states.

  10. “That just might be the most fouled-up analysis of American politics we’ve ever seen.”
    Most creationists are conservatives. So according to Jason most conservatives are creationists. Nonsense like this become easier when you refuse to look at the other side of the national border. In Europe many conservatives are non-christian. Not to mention Iranian ayatollahs.
    Anyhow, coming out as an unbeliever in the USA is bad for your political career.

    “Socialism seeks to promote equality of conditions whereas free enterprise promotes equality of opportunity.”
    Not bad? Nonsensical. In countries with strongly regulated markets like Iceland (which according to the standards of our dear SC should be called socialist; when I point this out DaveL starts ranting) equality of opportunity is reached exactly by means of equality of conditions. In the Evil Empire called EU companies lobby for regulations (ie conditions) exactly to make sure competition is fair – ie equality of opportunity.

    “Instead, your income is based entirely upon your needs.”
    Carefully neglecting the “from each according to his ability” part. This statement is problematic but in a more complicated way. We should not be surprised that it flies above and beyond Jason’s head.

  11. “a family of four gets paid more than a family of three”
    Now this is funny. Child benefit in The Netherlands is strongly supported by the creationists in Dutch politics; those who want to get rid of it strongly tend to be progressive.

    “under free enterprise, people are allowed to work as hard and efficiently as they desire, and are allowed to keep the money they earn from that work. Consequently, their income is based on their labor, regardless of their needs.”
    BWAHAHAHAHA! According to Jason the 1% works many times as hard as your average blue collar worker in a factory.
    It’s nonsense of course. Especially in the USA income is determined by luck (Bill Gates was lucky to get a highly favourable deal with IBM), descent (Donald the Clown was lucky to have a rich father) and property. As the saying goes: the first million is the hardest; afterwards it becomes easier and easier.

    “it denies private property and instead seeks to equalize wealth.”
    The second part is more or less correct, though it should be pointed out that all socialist countries (from Iceland to North-Korea) have rich people too.
    The first part is flat out wrong. Even the Soviet Union allowed private property. It were the production means that were owned by the state.

    “ut since wealth is a natural outcome of labor”
    BWAHAHAHAHA! See above.

    “let us know what you think”
    Jesus lived 2000 years ago. Some christians call him the first socialist (I’m giving DaveL another chance for a nice rant – of course he will direct it to me). There is that tale in which those who worked for one hour received the same as those who worked the entire day. Jason of course carefully neglects it.
    Our dear SC wants nothing from it (for ideological reasons, so facts don’t matter), but socialism is as much a product of the Enlightenment as Free Market Superstition. Btw Adam Smith himself favoured governmental intervention in economics. Our dear SC doesn’t want to know this either.
    Tying the issue to christianity is an anachronism.

  12. @DaveL: “if it were, the only result would be to remove all individual incentive to improve, because ….”
    reasons. So [bleep!] the fact that this is not supported by empirical data. Psychological research points out that even in liberal-capitalist countries, including the USA, people have more incentives than just money. Or no scientist would work at a university – companies pay much more. Thanks for confirming that when it comes to your particular ideology you care as little about facts as the average creationist.
    Before you start ranting again: it does not follow that I favour a society with complete financial equality.

    “Inequality must, however, be ameliorated”
    Exactly what all socialists stand for. The failure of marxist countries is exactly that inequality in fact is increased. The social-democrat countries from Iceland to Finland are far more successfull in this respect. Just look up gini-indices and social indicators. They show that the USA is a lot, but not a country of equal opportunities for everyone.

    “to the extent that the taxed will actually consent to it”
    Rather will Easter and Pentecost be celebrated on the same day than the 1% will give its consent. There are exceptions, like

    but they only confirm the rule.

  13. Dave Luckett

    FrankB: If “Inequality must, however, be ameliorated” is “Exactly what all socialists stand for”, and if that were exhaustive, we would be in perfect accord. Alas, it’s not what all socialists stand for. A large proportion of them stand for the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and are rather indifferent to inequality, unless it were achieved by that means – which has never happened.

    As far as I can tell, “social democracy” means whatever anyone who says they’re a “social democrat” means by it. Apparently it includes the existence of government and collectively owned assets. Workers’ co-operatives. Communal assets. Social welfare. Yes, well. If that’s what it means, then any western country is a social democracy, even the US. But I suspect that if you examined what you mean by the term, you would find that you mean more.

  14. A Congregational minister in the 1930s, James W Fifield Jr, put it quite simply: The welfare state violates several of the Ten Commandments, but especially the Eighth. Taking from the rich to give to the poor is a clear violation of God’s word: Thou shalt not steal.
    (Quoted from Katherine Stewart “The Power Worshippers”)

  15. “As far as I can tell ….”
    That’s not very far then, because I already exactly told you what “social democracy” means – indirect control of production means etc. It’s correct that social-democrats think this will advance equality (financial, social, of opportunities etc.). As I already mentioned many times this works pretty well in Iceland to Finland. Unsurprisingly you neglect the empirical data that confirms this. So I happily will repeat them: lowest gini indices, highest social indicators. Thanks to politics that are more radical than the proposals of Bernie Sanders and AOC.

    “But I suspect that if you examined what you mean by the term, you would find that you mean more.”
    Yeah, yeah, like many a christian apologist you understand better what I think than I myself.

    “Apparently it includes …..”
    Indeed – but there is more to it. Like I already told you. Repeatedly.

    “any western country is a social democracy, even the US.”
    Yeah, sure, the USA government controls the owners of the production means etc. Silly, it’s the other way round. Thanks to the Constitution you so admire the owners of the production means control the USA government. And deliberately so.

    https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/413142-the-united-states-is-not-a-democracy-and-it-wasnt-meant-to-be-one

    See, there are intellectually honest conservatives. I disagree with “That system is worth protecting and preserving” but cannot and will not deny the value of this analysis of a solid right winger, ie a political opponent of mine.

    I can’t find it back, so there is no reason to take this at face value. In 70% of the cases when the majority of the American citizens favours A and the 1% wants B the outcome is B. It also explains the idiotic American electoral system. This also is deliberate. So the post-war Golden Years (ironically sustained and advanced by the Republican president Eisenhower) up to 1970 were an anomaly in American history.
    The bottom line is this. Who seriously favours equal conditions and equal favourites should take a serious look at Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland (less so to The Netherlands and Germany) and the role government plays. Call them social-democrat, call their economies free market, call their system market socialism (google it if you don’t believe it) or invent another fancy name. It hardly matters. The facts remain the same. The poor are far worse off in the USA. Whether you think this a good thing, collateral damage or something that should be remedied is a political choice.

  16. Dave Luckett

    FrankB says “Social democracy” means (to him) “indirect control of production means”. What does “indirect” mean, in this instance? It doesn’t mean ownership. Nor, presumably, direction, as in ordering producers what to produce. Or does it? How do you control production indirectly?

    I suppose you could, for example, withhold the resources needed to produce any given product, or possibly to transport it, or buy or sell it. “Control” implies not allowing the market to decide what to produce or how to dispose of it. Price controls? Directed labour? Rationing? Quotas?

    Apparently not, since the Scandinavian countries don’t have those controls. So how do they indirectly control their means of production?

  17. Michael Fugate

    Regulation?

    Meritocracy is one of the biggest scams – if those in power get to decide what merit is, then they will be meritorious.

  18. Michael Fugate

    How in the heck can one get equal opportunity without redistributing wealth? That I am a white, male, third generation college graduate privileges my children. If I were born Black, female with poor, undereducated parents, I would need to work much, much harder and would never be able to achieve what I have. Even if I got somewhere, staying there would be precarious. We undervalue everything not deemed normative and in the US – white male is normative. It has been from the beginning. If we don’t guarantee a basic income to every person, then we have no chance for opportunity. Lisle would happily proclaim pro-life while gleefully letting people and their children die in poverty. It’s their fault, you see, God didn’t favor them with good genes like he did Trump – if God favored them they would be white and male like Jason. I call BS on Christian conservatism.

  19. Any system that’s based on people with resources freely sharing them with others is doomed to fail, eventually. That said, any system that’s based on requiring people with resources to freely share them is likewise doomed to fail, eventually. There is no perfect system. There is, however, a more perfect system than what the U.S. is using now, and it’s not one where people are freer to hoard resources.

  20. Retired Prof

    Jason Lisle says, “. . . under free enterprise, people are allowed to work as hard and efficiently as they desire, and are allowed to keep the money they earn from that work. Consequently, their income is based on their labor, regardless of their needs.”

    This model is grossly oversimplified. It fits only those situations where workers own their own equipment. A shoemaker in his own shop, yeah, can decide how much work to do in order to meet basic needs or amass surplus wealth. The incentive works as Lisle suggests.

    But consider a coal miner, who can strain and hustle mightily and turn out extra tons of product, but the one who gets nearly all the benefit is the mine owner. The owner’s incentive is to pay the miner barely enough to keep him on the job so as to skim off as much value from the poor guy’s labor as possible. Yet the mine owner has the gall to claim he got all that by dint of hard work, leaving out the detail that the work was performed by somebody else.

    The owner class owns the government as well as the means of production, so the imbalance keeps getting worse–at least it has been ever since my heyday, the last two years of the Eisenhower administration.

  21. Jason Lisle’s “Biblical Institute” is very much like him, long winded, not vetted with reality, boring, and puts his odd tunnel vision front and center.
    His web site reminds me of the one-man-band in “Mary Poppins”. It’s Jason playing around putting on a lot of hats and none of them fit.
    His entire outlook isn’t particularly “Biblical”, more like southern fried right wing social conservativism.
    He actually sounds fairly intelligent when talking about astronomy (even when touting his wacko light speed hypothesis), but here he sounds exactly like the vapid fundie shill that he is.

  22. Michael Fugate

    The progressive tax rates in the Eisenhower years would surprise most people. No wonder we could build universities and interstate highways. And no wonder everything is falling apart now. Even in the late 70s, I paid about $200 a semester to attend a 4 year state research university as an undergrad and very little for housing. Then we got an idiot for president in the 80s… – lots of debt and nothing to show for it…

  23. Michael Fugate

    And of course, the current idiot is mocking people for saying they will listen to scientists – because, you know, not wearing a mask in a pandemic is guaranteed by the 1st amendment. They can still be pro-life while knowingly infecting and killing the most vulnerable in the population. Just like they can take away food aid from people out of work because as Jason quotes the Bible – if you aren’t working you don’t deserve to eat.
    https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/biden-trump-coronavirus-scientist-response-170656218.html

  24. Michael Fugate

    If you care about science, you can vote for Trump. You just can’t.
    https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/white-house-trump-coronavirus-reports-192952547.html

  25. Michael Fugate: All agriculture, industry and commerce are to some extent regulated, in all western economies. The questions are, how much, in what ways, to what extent, to what end, and in what particulars?

    Similarly, practically all lawful economic activity is taxable, and in the western economies is actually taxed. Taxation is non-voluntary and may be, and nearly always is, used for redistributive purposes. Again, the same questions occur.

    Both regulation and taxation have their effective limits, and the limits are set by the culture – and the culture corrects itself, eventually, because it must compete with other cultures.

    I was honestly and truly, cross my heart, not being ironic with FrankB. I wanted to know what he thought “social democracy” meant and implied. All the discussions of it that I can find on-line assert or strongly imply that it’s a continuum, but generally means a polity where higher values of regulation, redistribution and taxation are accepted. The simple answer I received, viz. “indirect control of production means” did not clarify to my mind what FrankB means by it, as opposed to Marxist socialism. (Yes, I am aware that to Marxists, socialism is but a transit to true Communism.)