Environmentalism, Evolution, ID, Creationism and Worldviews

My coauthor DB (The Outsider) recently wrote the following comment:

Although global warming now, is most certainly, and definitely related to the sins of man against the Earth, it was related to natural processes then (of which man is not a part of).

You bring up an interesting point here!

A) If everything exists due to natural process, or NO GOD, then natural process rules: right?

B) If natural process rules, then how can man be responsible for global warming (except in a natural way: either harmful or beneficial), which is due to the natural process and therefore, very natural?

C) Yet, I hear advocates of naturalism claiming that man is destroying his environment. How can that be, when man is merely part of a natural process that he doesn’t control, nor fully understand?

D) In fact, according to naturalists, man is created by natural forces, so how can he control his natural surroundings which created him?

E) Is naturally created man more powerful than the natural process which created him? If so, how can that be?

F) Is the natural process not “fit” enough to “survive” the destructive nature of its own creation, man?

I’ll add a point, DB if you don’t mind, to your excellent list.

G). If man brings about another episode of catastrophic global warming, unnaturally (or naturally since man is a part of nature?), all of that natural death would contribute to evolution (a natural process).

DB wrote:

F) Is the natural process not “fit” enough to “survive” the destructive nature of its own creation, man?

If not, I suppose it (the environment) will in turn select a new species, which may be less fit than man, so that it (nature) may survive after (if) it recovers.

While I think man has not been a good steward of his environment (what does that mean from a naturalistic perspective?), I think our current state of technological advancement (internal- combustion-engine and all), is better than horse dung and sewage throughout the streets. As an irrelevant side note, my wife loves horses. I hate them. I’ve been bucked off, scraped off by tree limbs, stepped on, horse fell at a dead run (with me on it), and so forth (to each his/her own). I ride a motorcycle now (brainless “unnatural” horse?). I like looking at them from a distance at times, but rarely admit to such to my wife. 😉

For me, the anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria is tied to the entire naturalistic fairy tale. It goes back to the assumption of no atmosphere on Earth, followed, by a primordial atmosphere, and the episode of Natural catastrophic warming cited in my post. From an ID perspective, I think you could go either way. From a perspective of Creationism, I think I realize that man is not so powerful as to be able to completely destroy what God has created.

I understand that some may differ with me here, and that’s okay. I do know that aspects of the environmental movement are rife with former communists looking for a new cause. That doesn’t invalidate the movement, but it should cause some additional reflection about certain mouth pieces (atheistic communist propaganda).

http://www.answersingenesis.org/PublicStore/product/Global-Warming-Pack-DVD-Book,5741,263.aspx?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=storeBanner&utm_content=globalWarming&utm_campaign=globalWarming

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10 Responses

  1. I once read that, just before the introduction of the internal combustion engine, one of the major forms of pollution in New York City was horse carcasses. The horses would be worked to death and drop dead in the streets all the time, and then it would be a lot of work to drag the body away. It was one of the most serious forms of pollution of the 19th century. They never managed to solve the problem; it disappeared when cars were introduced.

    I don’t know if it’s worthwhile for me to respond to the above line of thought, but if there’s interest, I can take a stab at it.

  2. G). If man brings about another episode of catastrophic global warming, unnaturally (or naturally since man is a part of nature?), all of that natural death would contribute to evolution (a natural process).

    Exactly, thanks for stating the conclusion! Since life comes from death, according to the “nature” of things, then what’s all the fuss about global warming, since it is “natural,” because man is “natural!”

    The naturalists are doing to their god, naturalism, what man has tried to do with God, throughout time. The naturalists, as with many Christians, are trying to reshape the image of their God to fit their own agendas. They are being faithless and blasphemous, when they claim that “natural” man is destroying his “natural” surroundings, since “natural” man cannot possibly have the power to destroy his “natural” creator, or can he?

    From a perspective of Creationism, I think I realize that man is not so powerful as to be able to completely destroy what God has created.

    We live in a humanistic and egocentric world, which is wrapped up in its own ball of confusion, and damned arrogant and proud of it (are you there bobxxx?)! With nothing for certain, or absolute, in this postmodern world, there is nothing left but uncertainty, which leaves us standing on quicksand, spiritually, philosophically and scientifically. In my estimation, we have lost our sanity and humanity while scrambling to prove we are nothing less than gods. Weak, impotent and incapable of solving the slightest issue gods, but gods nonetheless!

    If we weren’t this blinded by the brilliance coming from our own “natural” minds, then perhaps, we could see and discern that something greater than ourselves is in control of the natural earth, as well as us, and will not allow us to destroy it or ourselves. This is not to say, as you pointed out, that we haven’t abused the environment, we have, but if we abuse each other, then how can we believe that we will be concerned with the animals or environment?

  3. Carl wrote:

    I once read that, just before the introduction of the internal combustion engine, one of the major forms of pollution in New York City was horse carcasses. The horses would be worked to death and drop dead in the streets all the time, and then it would be a lot of work to drag the body away. It was one of the most serious forms of pollution of the 19th century. They never managed to solve the problem; it disappeared when cars were introduced.

    I don’t know if it’s worthwhile for me to respond to the above line of thought, but if there’s interest, I can take a stab at it.

    I’d certainly be interested Carl if you would like to.

    DB wrote:

    If we weren’t this blinded by the brilliance coming from our own “natural” minds, then perhaps, we could see and discern that something greater than ourselves is in control of the natural earth, as well as us, and will not allow us to destroy it or ourselves. This is not to say, as you pointed out, that we haven’t abused the environment, we have, but if we abuse each other, then how can we believe that we will be concerned with the animals or environment?

    I think you really go to the heart of the issue here DB. And to me that is, that if naturally, we lack the love of Christ for our fellow man, how can we care about the environment or animals?

  4. I shall try to avoid being a vociferous naturalistic atheist evolutionist! But I am a naturalist of some variety, and certainly an evolutionist of some variety as well. Speaking in those capacities, here’s how I see the situation.

    Our current state of ecological disaster is partially caused by the false belief that humanity is set apart from, and unaffected by, the rest of the natural world. (Though there are many other causes as well, which in the final analysis may take priority over this one.) That is, the assumption that the natural world is ours for the taking has deep roots in practices and attitudes which, historically speaking, were rationalized through Christian theology.

    (In saying this, I am relying on Lynn White Jr‘s famous article, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” However, I do not interpret this to mean that Christianity cannot play an important role in contemporary environmentalism. There is, I would surmise, a lively debate within Christianity between the “domination” model of the humanity-nature relationship and the “stewardship” model. I say surmise because I know there is such a debate going on within contemporary Judaism, with which I’m much more familiar.)

    All animals, and in fact all life forms, affect their environments. According to the naturalist picture, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) poisoned the atmosphere about 3 billion years ago by releasing oxygen into it. Oxygen is a severely corrosive element, after all. We tend to think highly of it because we’re descended from bacteria that happened to evolve in ways that made use of the oxygen. The bacteria that don’t use oxygen today live only in extremely oxygen-deprived environments.

    So the problem isn’t that we’re affecting the environment. The problem is that we’re affecting the environment at a rate many, many times faster than natural processes — variation and selection — can respond. And as a result we’re both driving thousands of species to extinction and destroying the natural resources on which our civilizations have depended. It’s as if we’re intent on sawing off the branch on which we’re sitting. But because we tend to regard ourselves as separate from nature, we don’t recognize how much we depend on various aspects of the natural world, not only for our affluence in the developed world, but for our very continuation as a species.

    One further point, and then I’ll be done. It is often assumed, I think, that there is no basis for values if naturalism is true. I contest this assumption in the strongest possible terms. If naturalism is true, then this does not mean that values are unreal. It means that values are themselves natural. As the philosopher John Dewey put it, “values are as unstable as the forms of clouds.” I take this to mean that, just like cloud-formations, values are objectively real — they are parts of the natural world. But they are not stable, or absolute, in the way that the Christian tradition requires. But denying that values are absolute is not the same as denying that values are real.

    I have much more to say — guess I am vociferous after all! — but I’ll see what the rest of you say, and let that guide the conversations.

  5. Carl,

    I would hope that you know that the Shrink’s newest post wasn’t referring to you! Check out bobxxxx and some of the newer comments to see who he is referring to!

  6. Carl wrote,

    Our current state of ecological disaster is partially caused by the false belief that humanity is set apart from, and unaffected by, the rest of the natural world. (Though there are many other causes as well, which in the final analysis may take priority over this one.) That is, the assumption that the natural world is ours for the taking has deep roots in practices and attitudes which, historically speaking, were rationalized through Christian theology.

    You won’t get any arguments from me on this point, thus the statements about “stewardship.”

    One further point, and then I’ll be done. It is often assumed, I think, that there is no basis for values if naturalism is true. I contest this assumption in the strongest possible terms. If naturalism is true, then this does not mean that values are unreal. It means that values are themselves natural. As the philosopher John Dewey put it, “values are as unstable as the forms of clouds.” I take this to mean that, just like cloud-formations, values are objectively real — they are parts of the natural world. But they are not stable, or absolute, in the way that the Christian tradition requires. But denying that values are absolute is not the same as denying that values are real.

    “values are as unstable as the forms of clouds.” This is where I can’t even begin to see your position. If values are “unstable,” as cloud formations, then values are meaningless, according to this description: ethics and morality are also meaningless. The formation of clouds are ever-changing, they’re like snowflakes, no two are alike, or so they claim. If this perspective is true, then where is the authority, which man claims to have, to enact laws? Who has the right to impose his values on others, and by values, I’m including ethics and morality, as well as laws. This is a relativistic perspective, which, in my estimation and experience, leads to the destruction of absolute values. “I’m OK and You’re Ok,” doesn’t work. If this is the way it is, then all laws should be done away with, because my values are equal, even if they are perverse and destructive to others. Sorry, Carl, but I can’t see your point!

  7. And here we are back to the “moral majority” rationalization again…

    What I understand from this position is this:

    If the vast majority of society deems something as wrong, then we can *in practice* treat that as an absolute – even though by definition it isn’t. Thus we get laws of the state to reflect it.

    I just wonder what Carl would think if somehow tomorrow every person on Earth except for him decided that Global Warming was good and necessary for the survival of the planet because it will *get rid* of us cancerous humans. Perhaps in Naturalism, the Creator (Nature) gets the last laugh!

  8. …even though by definition it isn’t.

    I meant by definition *according to relativism*

  9. When it comes to the question, “whose values?” I think that there are objective matters of fact about which values promote or hinder the cultivation of human capacities. I’m perfectly willing to say that we know that a society committed to equality and liberty is better than a society that is not — because the former kind of society allows for better cultivation of human capacities for self-expression, artistry, spirituality, social relations, etc. So I’m not a relativist — far from it!!!

    But I do think that we cannot identify which values are better than others independently of the question as to what sorts of beings we are, what sorts of things we need in order to survive and live well and be happy, etc. That’s why I’m not an absolutist. And of course if human evolution had taken a radically different course, we would be different sorts of animals, and if our capacities were radically different, then what is valuable for us as we are would not be valuable.

    In other words, values are tied to our animal natures as large-brained highly social primates — they are not values from an absolute or cosmic point of view.

  10. So, self-expression, artistry, spirituality, are social relations are valuable, because they help to enable survival, living well, and being happy, which are are also valuable. And the only why you can come up with is that we evolved that way?

    Honestly, doesn’t that answer completely devoid of value everything implied and exemplified by “self-expression, artistry, spirituality, social relations (such as a love between parent and child, perhaps?) etc…” ? And I’m not talking about your relativist textbook definition of value, I’m talking about the value you feel in your soul, that is self-evident.

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