Some Biologists Claim Evil is Good

Is moral corruption bad for society or does it pay to be corrupt? According to these particular evolutionary biologists corruption is actually valuable in order to maintain “societal cooperation”.

In science daily

“A report of their research is published in the journal Evolution. Using game theory, Úbeda and Duéñez looked at what causes individuals in society to cooperate even though those in charge display some level of corruption. They developed a model that allows individuals who are responsible for punishing noncooperators (e.g., law enforcers and government officials) to fail to cooperate themselves by acting in a corrupt manner. They also considered the possibility that these law enforcers, by virtue of their positions, are able to sidestep punishment when they are caught failing to cooperate.”

This study is actually political, extreme left leaning, like criminals having more rights than victims than it has to do with science. Rather than giving law enforcement as one of the key roles in cooperation and order in society, this study gives credit to moral corruption (sin according to the Bible)  in the scheme of evolution and mention police breaking the law as an example. “Law enforcers often enjoy privileges that allow them to avoid the full force of the law when they breach it…Overall societal cooperation is maintained — as long as there is a small amount of power and corruption”.

Interesting enough, when evolution is kept out of the explanation, an economist who found an old saying very shocking after all serious crimes are blamed on a lack of a decent income, “money doesn’t buy happiness” did a study among 37 countries that vary from rich to  poor, ex-Communist and capitalist.

“In contrast to shorter-term studies that have shown a correlation between income growth and happiness, this paper, to be published the week of Dec. 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the happiness and income relationship in each country for an average of 22 years and at least ten years.”

“This article rebuts recent claims that there is a positive long-term relationship between happiness and income, when in fact, the relationship is nil,” explained Easterlin, USC University Professor and professor of economics in the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences.”

Darwinism is not just superfluous; it is downright evil.  The Bible warns about this very thing…

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

-Isaiah 5:20

By turning good and evil into amoral illusions with creating people as pawns of a mythical society of a evolutionary past, evolutionists open the door for all kinds of vices.

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17 thoughts on “Some Biologists Claim Evil is Good

  1. This is getting very ugly, Michael.
    Pretty outrageous piece of writing (from you).

    And how on Earth can a scientific theory, whichever one, be evil ? Morality has nothing at all do with a scientific theory being right or wrong !

    Have you completely lost your mind ?

  2. Quoth Michael: This study is actually political, extreme left leaning, like [sic] criminals having more rights than victims [sic] than it has to do with science. Rather than giving law enforcement as [sic] one of the key roles in cooperation and order in society, this study gives credit to moral corruption (sin according to the Bible) in the scheme of evolution and mention [sic] police breaking the law as an example.

    If we ever need more evidence that Michael has overdosed on his ignorance pills, here it is.

    The first howler is that Michael believes that the UT study findings are a consequence of evolutionary theory. No, Michael—the findings are not a result of any theory. They are FACTUAL OBSERVATIONS from experiments with controlled conditions. As we recall, this is exactly what Michael claims that science should be doing—more observations of fact, and less theorizing.

    Then, when Ubada and Duenas do exactly that, Michael whinges that their experimental data are EVIL. Michael, in what way can facts be moral or sinful? The UT scientists observed that societal cooperation actually increased when those enforcing the rules were themselves above the rules to a certain extent.[1]

    The results are surprising, although if Michael had any background or other qualifications in the social sciences, he would have run across many other experiments that would seem as strange as this. He would be aghast to learn that a certain amount of cheating in a society–from humans to amoebas—may actually increase the fitness of the society as a whole.[2]

    It is ludicrous to argue that a scientific theory can be good or evil in se. But it goes beyond any bound of reason to claim that a fact can be evil. Facts, are. They have no moral content. Michael engages in yet another category error, like saying that Schubert’s Ninth Symphony[3] smells delicious.

    [4]

    ============
    [1] This is key, although Michael seems to have entirely overlooked it in the SD article. That cooperation again decreases when more than a small amount of corruption is present, or when it is coupled with a great deal of power in the rules’ enforcers.

    [2] What the UT research has done is to carry that result to a meta-level. Not only can a certain amount of cheating be beneficial to overall fitness, but even cheating among those who punish cheaters can have a positive effect. (Does Hamid Karzai know something that we do not?)

    [3] My personal favorite, if anyone wants to know.

    [4] I’m laughing too hard to get around to Michael’s other howlers in this post. Maybe later.

  3. Michael redivivus: “Interesting enough, when evolution is kept out of the explanation,[0] an economist who found an old saying very shocking after all serious crimes are blamed on a lack of a decent income, “money doesn’t buy happiness” did a study among 37 countries that vary from rich to poor, ex-Communist and capitalist.”

    The PNAS survey is certainly not big news, although the data is more extensive than previous research.

    Michael crows[1] that science—which he normally disbelieves—has shown that money can’t buy happiness. Well, actually, it can. Happiness did correlate with both personal and national income, up to a point. Previous research had long ago established that the upper limit to the correlation occurs when people feel that they have enough to live comfortably, and that large income disparities are rare.. Studies of employee wages had also shown that additional raises cease to motivate employees once they feel that they are adequately compensated. Once again, Michael is dumbfounded by this because he has no background or baseline by which to judge either the reasonableness or the novelty of the PNAS paper.

    And of course he did not read the PNAS paper itself. Had Michael done so, he would have banned it from his blog altogether.[2] Which were the top countries in terms of happiness? The happiest people reside in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada. Therefore, the study results showed that the happiest countries are those with the most socialist governments.

    Too bad, Michael. Hoist on your own petard again.

    ===============

    [0] Michael, what the Sam Hill does evolution have to do with this explanation? Just another random irrelevancy?

    [1] For some reason, although it is unclear what the Bible has to do with any of this.

    [2] The usual creationist response: If it don’t fit, ignore it..

  4. Claiming evil is good isn’t science, it is at best ignorance.

    To conclude that Darwinism is evil implies a belief in evil – something apparently lacking in those who have commented above – and a proper understanding of what Darwinism has accomplished. We have Darwin to thank for Eugenics in its various forms from Bosnian ethnic cleansing to Hitler’s final solution to Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood. Either you believe in evil or you don’t. If you believe in evil, that implies the ability to recognize evil. It also implies some standard to apply. A culture of life on the one hand and a culture of death on the other. If death is not evil then what is?

    Ignorance is not dispelled through the use of multi-syllable words or the proper use of grammar in compiling those words. Ignorance is dispelled with good sense, reason, and practical experience. These are all generally lacking at the podiums of most universities today as well as a great many politicians.

  5. Michael’s “logic”:

    Gravity makes people fall on the ground, and sometimes hurt themselves, or even getting killed falling from bridges. Therefore, gravitation is “downright evil”, and gravitationists “open the door for all kinds of vices”.

  6. Eelco,

    You say, “Gravity makes people fall on the ground, and sometimes hurt themselves, or even getting killed falling from bridges. Therefore, gravitation is “downright evil”, and gravitationists “open the door for all kinds of vices”.

    Corruption and endorsing it, is not an accident!

  7. “We have Darwin to thank for Eugenics in its various forms from Bosnian ethnic cleansing to Hitler’s final solution to Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood.”

    Utter rubbish. I cannot say this any nicer.

    Ethnic cleansing has always existed (way before Darwin), and has nothing to do with biology.
    Also see http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA006.html

  8. “Corruption and endorsing it, is not an accident!”

    ???
    Can you elaborate on this ? I have no idea what you are trying to say here. How can you endorse gravity, for example ?

  9. “Claiming evil is good isn’t science….”

    This is the one and only statement in his comment that Lance Ponder got right.

    Too bad he got it right for the wrong reason. Science does not claim that anything is good or evil. Science deals in what is, not in what should be.

    Let’s go from the particular to the general.

    Mr Ponder, like Michael, practices science by headline: “Some Biologists Claim Evil is Good” (Michael), and “Power and Corruption May Be Good for Society” (Science Daily). Once again, for Mr Ponder’s benefit: Three steps are involved: (1) it has been known for a long time that some societies—human, vertebrate, even amoebas—show an increase in overall fitness when some individuals cheat to a certain extent. Or “sin” as the creationists would say. (2) More recently, we have found that societies also often benefit when some individuals punish cheaters, even when the punishers suffer a fitness cost to themselves as individuals. (3) The UT study in the SD article has added another level—overall fitness may also increase when those who perform the punishing are themselves immune from punishment.[1]

    Then the Science Daily article transmogrified “increased fitness” into “good,” and “immunity from punishment” into “corruption.” Not to be outdone in the moral indignation department, Michael overshot this hyperbole by changing “immunity from punishment:” to “evil.” EVIL!

    So the finding of the UT paper is an OBSERVATION OF FACT, not a theoretical prediction or a desire of the experimenters A correlation between two variables exists; one can see it in a graph. Calling this correaltion “good” or “evil” is beside the point. That the sun orbits the earth is not “good” or “evil”; it just is.

    .

    Proceeding to the more general, Mr Ponder, like Michael, abhors “Darwinism.[2] Here again, both ascribe moral value to a fact. That all living organisms hare a common ancestor cannot be “good” or “evil.” It can only be “true” or “false.” One cannot make a fact false by calling it evil.

    Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of blaming Darwin for eugenics is that eugenics does not depend upon Darwinism or indeed upon any theory of macroevolution. Eugenics depends only upon observations that humans can influence the traits of animals and plants by selectively mating them. Ten thousand years ago, stone-age herders practiced eugenics by breeding their livestock—without knowing a single thing about evolution! Eight thousand years ago, humans practiced eugenics by inventing agriculture and selecting which plants were allowed to propagate—again, with no knowledge of evolution whatever. Two and a half millenia ago, the Spartans practiced human eugenics by designating who could marry whom, and by casting out defective children to die on the hillside. Were they prescient? Did they have a secret knowledge of Darwinism thousands of years before Darwin? Unlikely.

    .

    Both Michael and Mr Ponder need a basic education on the difference between “fact” and “desire.”

    ============

    [1] Once again, for the hard-of-reading: This correlation extends only up to a small amount of immunity, and a relatively small amount of power to punish.

    [2] Whatever that may mean. This term is no longer used by biologists, except in a narrow technical sense that leaves creationists staring blankly.

    [3] Of course, this “argumentum ad Hitlerum” is a perennial favorite of creationists. They seem to believe that denying evolution can make it go away in the same manner that proving Jesus never existed would make Christianity go way. Sorry, guys; science and theology operate differently.

  10. @Olorin

    //some societies—human, vertebrate, even amoebas—show an increase in overall fitness when some individuals cheat to a certain extent. Or “sin” as the creationists would say//

    I don’t think you are familiar with the meaning of the term “sin.”

    //overall fitness may also increase when those who perform the punishing are themselves immune from punishment.//

    Again, a question of definition of terms. What precisely is meant here by fitness?

    //That all living organisms hare a common ancestor cannot be “good” or “evil.” It can only be “true” or “false.”//

    Strictly speaking, yes. As to calling Darwinism evil, it is less a question of definition and more a matter of application. How has the philosophy we know today as Darwinism affected our world and what is the value judgment we make on those affects? As far as I’m concerned genocide is evil. That is a judgment. You do not have to agree, but it seems you are looking at data and not at application.

    //Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of blaming Darwin for eugenics is that eugenics does not depend upon Darwinism or indeed upon any theory of macroevolution. Eugenics depends only upon observations that humans can influence the traits of animals and plants by selectively mating them. Ten thousand years ago, stone-age herders practiced eugenics by breeding their livestock—without knowing a single thing about evolution!//

    My fault for not defining eugenics – since I brought it up. Human directed human evolution implies knowledge of the theory of evolution and the intentional application of that theory. Breeding livestock and fruit is not the same thing, though it is an understandable mistake. And yes, the general concept of breeding has been applied since well before Mendel or Darwin either one lived.

  11. “Human directed human evolution implies knowledge of the theory of evolution and the intentional application of that theory.”

    Then how do you explain the eugenics practiced by the Spartans 2500 years ago? They wee more thorough, and more brutal, about it than the Nazis ever were, or the American advocates of the early 20thC. Did the Spartan oracles channel the theory of evolution from millenia into the future? The dynastic Egyptians practice eugenics among their royalty by forced marriages, often pairing brothers and sisters/ Did Amon-Ra instruct them by divine revelation of evolutionary theory?

    Please describe precisely what concepts from Darwin are necessary before humans can practice eugenics?

    “Breeding livestock and fruit is not the same thing,….

    Breeding livestock is exactly the same thing. If you read up on your history just a little, you will find that livestock and plant breeding is what Darwin said gave him the idea for his theory of natural selection.[1]

    If you disagree, please describe specifically how the results of people breeding livestock differ from those of people breeding people.

    =============

    [1] Darwin reasoned thus: In exactly the same way that man selects desirable traits by consciously choosing who shall reproduce, the environment selects—by predation, by resource, by climate, and by other factors—who shall reproduce in the wild. The difference is that evolution breeds organisms for reproductive fitness, thus propagating themselves more successfully. We, however, commonly breed animals and plants for other traits—which explains why they usually do not survive well when returned to a wild state. (Should humans discontinue planting maize, it would go extinct in only a couple of decades.)

  12. //That all living organisms hare a common ancestor cannot be “good” or “evil.” It can only be “true” or “false.”//

    Strictly speaking, yes. As to calling Darwinism evil, it is less a question of definition and more a matter of application. How has the philosophy we know today as Darwinism affected our world and what is the value judgment we make on those affects?

    That’s how I was speaking—strictly.

    As to definition, there is an accepted definition of Darwinism: universal common ancestry, with heritable variation, overfecundity, and selection for reproduction. Tell me how this can be good or evil?

    There is also a common definition of Darwinisat philosophy. Briefly, it entails (1) mutation by chance, neither favoring not opposing adaptation; (2) the power of natural law to account for the life forms that we observe; (3) adaptation without teleology; and (4) absence of essentialism in species. Tell me in what manner this can be characterized as good or evil?

    .

    The application of any scientific fact or theory has nothing to do with its truth or falsity. Science maintains that evolution is true, not that it is good or evil. Why do creationists insist upon attaching moral values to scientific theories? And then asserting they are “false” when they perceive their application as “evil”?

    One might as well try to end the threat of nuclear war by denying the truth of atomic fission.

    In addition, moral opinions change. A childhood friend had a congenital heart defect that confined him to bed for 12 years. He received one of the first heart surgeries in 1950. I remember religious leaders across the country decrying heart surgery as EVIL—because the heart is … is … is sacred to God. Or something. In law school in 1965, I wrote a paper on legal aspects of in-vitro fertilization, then just a glimmer in physicians’ eyes. IVF was at that time widely seen as denigrating God, because … because … because it somehow opposed God’s will. Or the natural order. Today, a Catholic bishop in Louisiana calls for outlawing hybrid cells of human and animal origin, for … for … for gross sacrilege or equivalent. As a long-term diabetic, I oppose this rule. Where does this nincompoop think I get my insulin? You guessed it—bacteria with human genes. Ten years from now, when many drugs are produced courtesy of the simple genome of the tobacco plant, (Yes! Tobacco has a good side!), this moral view will be also be commonly regarded as stupid.

    .

    So where does that leave the “argumentum ad Hitlerum”—creationists’ efforts to falsify evolution by calling it—or its applications—evil??

    Ridiculous would be an apt word.

  13. @ Lance Ponder,

    How has the philosophy we know today as Darwinism affected our world and what is the value judgment we make on those affects? As far as I’m concerned genocide is evil.

    We all can agree that genocide is evil…but how someone like Hitler may have applied Darwin to his own agenda was dictated by Hitler himself, not Darwin.

    Besides, Hitler didn’t need Darwin in order to commit genocide, as he would have gladly used ANY excuse to do so…. Great genocides in the past have been before Darwin… The genocide of the American Indians is a great example…as most as we think of it…pre-dated Darwin.. Euro-Americans, for the long run, didn’t kill Indians because Darwin said so…In fact, Darwin never did say so.

  14. @ Olorin,

    You say “Breeding livestock is exactly the same thing. If you read up on your history just a little, you will find that livestock and plant breeding is what Darwin said gave him the idea for his theory of natural selection.[1]

    If you disagree, please describe specifically how the results of people breeding livestock differ from those of people breeding people.”

    –I do not know, but I suspect some would reason it is not the same because “humans have souls, and animals do not.” . . something I am not so sure I agree with since I do suspect that if we have souls, then so too can animals.

  15. @Eelco,

    “we are animals … species ‘homo sapiens’”

    True, which is why I don’t think having a soul is necessarily only a human thing…provided a soul exists.

    It reminds me of a story I heard of God looking on the earth and saying to himself “Hmmm.. Interesting. Humans are the only animal on that planet with a soul.”

  16. The term “soul” is meaningless without a definition. we all think we know what it is, but merely wave our armss when asked what it consists of. As far as I can see, trying to define it is a fool’s errand.

    Even the more secular “consciousness” is vague and loopy. Many make a stab at it, but fall short. Antonio Damasio’s “Self Comes to Mind” is more neurologically oriented in this regard than most. But Damasio has studied consciousness for many decades, and still does not define it very well

    So, a “soul” seems to be whatever you’d like it to be. .

    ==========

    Perhaps this is reminiscent of the game of Quantum Physics 20 Questions. The leader of this game answers “yes” and “no” randomly to all questions put to him, without having anything specific in mind. Then, after the 20th question, he must come up with an object that meets the answers he had previously given to all the questions.

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