Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Matt 24 watch, 166f: But, don't my genes make me do it? (Or, are your genes making you think that "my genes made me do it," etc? Thence, absurdity . . . )

Now, there are some topics that -- being the point where the deceitful and ensnaring spirit of the age is pushing -- require a serious and sustained answer. In that light, painful and utterly distasteful though the current focal topic here at the KF blog is, I need to continue. (And, I intend to continue on and off as necessary until I am satisfied that a sufficient counter-statement to the major propaganda push has been made. Hopefully, this post will be sufficient for now, to drive home the case we have had to make in recent days: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

Last time, this blog noted:
. . . we are ensouled, en-conscienced, morally governed creatures, not mere beasts acting at the whims of our impulses and hormones.
This premise is of course stringently disputed in an evolutionary materialism dominated era where for instance, the famous Nobel Prize winning scientist, sir Francis Crick, went on record in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:
. . . that "You", your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have phrased: "You're nothing but a pack of neurons." This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.
The fatal flaw in this assertion of materialistic determinism -- held to be shaped and controlled by blind evolutionary forces of chance and necessity, further amplified by accidents of historical, cultural and personal conditioning that are viewed as driving and controlling what goes on in our brains, central nervous systems and hormones -- is that it is self-referentially inconsistent and self-refuting to the point of absurdity. 

That is, despite flying the proud flags of science and learning, this is false, and necessarily false.

Thus, seminal Intelligent Design thinker Philip Johnson rebutted that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: "I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."  

Johnson then acidly commented:  “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

In short, it is at least arguable that
self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin. An audio clip by William Lane Craig that summarises Plantinga's argument on this in a nutshell, is useful:

Now, you may ask, why have I chosen to lead with this point, making it the focal issue?

Because, we live in an era of scientism, where, never mind how absurd a notion is, if it can fly the flag of science, and can be presented to the public or students as the "consensus" of the guardians of the only credible temple of knowledge acceptable to a secularised society, it will be very persuasive. That is why Kirk and Madsen, in their After the Ball strategy, sought to capture the institutional scientific high ground thus making those who object to their agenda (especially on faith-based grounds) seem to be bomb-throwing, irrational, backward, hateful fundamentalist terrorists and would be theocratic tyrants comparable to the Mullahs of Iran. 

Which is exactly what we saw last time. For, it is the underlying slander that underlies the Chick-fil-A controversy.

So, let the record stand: the evolutionary materialistic view of mind is self-contradictory, so it self-refutes and is thus necessarily false. 

And, that has been well known -- or, should have been widely acknowledged -- at least since the leading evolutionary thinker J B S Haldane went on record as follows at the turn of the 1930's:
"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms." ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)]
In short, there is a fatal self-refuting absurdity lying at the heart of any species of determinism affecting the mind and associated powers of choice, thus morality. So, when we have seen headlines announcing a "gay gene" or a "God gene" the like claimed genes that allegedly control the sexual and moral habits or worldviews people take, this is based on a necessarily false view of mind and brain that fatally undermines itself. For, we could ask, in effect, whether the propensity to accept or reject the claim that there is or is not a "gay gene," etc, is itself the work of yet another gene, etc.

(NB: If the reader wishes to ponder an alternative view of neurons, brains and minds, s/her may want to look here on for a 101.)

In short, so long as we are thinking, reasoning, choosing creatures that have a mind of our own -- which should be patently obvious -- any species of materialistic determinism is patently false. And, if such (God forbid!) were actually true, we would not have the means to actually credibly know that. The whole proud project of evolutionary materialistic, scientism-dominated rationalism collapses in self-refutation and absurdity.

But, there is more.

Now that we have a more balanced atmosphere to evaluate the claims being touted on gay genes and the like, we can turn to a book-length summary of relevant evidence by Neil and Briar Whitehead that deserves to be far better known than it is. Clipping the introduction and summary:
The West has been subject to such a campaign of misinformation and disinformation in the last 20-30 years that its public institutions, from legislatures and judiciaries to the church and mental health professions widely believe that the homosexual orientation is innate—in the sense of biologically imprinted—and therefore unchangeable. 

The implications of this are that anyone who makes the scientifically true statements below is considered the one who is misinformed.

• sexual orientation is not inborn but develops over some years in response to an individual’s response to life events— as many human predicaments do
• homosexual orientation can change, i.e half the homosexual population naturally moves towards heterosexuality over time (without any therapeutic interventions), and further and
faster with counselling and support
• The same-sex attracted are not 10% of the population but (including bisexuals) much closer to 2.5%
The West has lost its way on this issue, and today we are seeing the outcome . . . 
Those are quite strong words, but they are backed up. Clipping the summary from Ch 1 in the 2010 online downloadable version (and of course, there is much more, with a lot of details; especially note the rebuttals to common myths):
No mainstream geneticist is happy with the idea that genes dictate behaviour, particularly homosexual behaviour.
• Genetically dictated behaviour is something that has so far been discovered only in very simple organisms.
• From an understanding of gene structure and function there are no plausible means by which genes could inescapably force SSA or other behaviours on a person. Genes create proteins not preferences.
• No genetically determined human behaviour has yet been found. The most closely genetically-related behaviour yet discovered (aggression in Dutch males) has shown itself remarkably responsive to counselling.
• If SSA were genetically dictated, it would have bred itself out of the population in only several generations, and wouldn’t be around today.
• Generally, geneticists settle for some genetic influence of rather undefined degree, most agreeing that many genes (from at least five or six to many hundreds) contribute to any particular human behaviour.
• A genetically dominated SSA caused by such a cluster of genes could not suddenly appear and disappear in families the way it does. It would stay around for many generations. So SSA is not produced by many genes.
• The occurrence of SSA in the population is too frequent to be caused by a chance mutation in a single gene. So a single gene is not responsible for SSA. Nor would many genes all mutate at once.
• SSA occurs too frequently to be caused by a faulty pre-natal developmental process, so it is not innate in that sense either.
• The widespread age-range of first homosexual attraction is very unlike the narrow time-spread of genetically driven phases of human life, e.g gestation time, puberty, menopause, making homosexuality very unlikely to be genetically driven.

The histone system which controls genetic expression is strongly affected by the environment, e.g nurturing, making searches for individual genes responsible for certain behaviours, mostly pointless.
• Same-sex attraction could be about 10% genetically influenced and opposite sex attraction about 15%. But this is weak and indirect, e.g genes making a man tall don’t also produce basketball players.
• SSA falls more naturally into the category of a psychological trait
In an earlier version of the book, the following comparison is used, to present a helpful comparison:
If a girl becomes pregnant at age fifteen, we could argue that she is genetically
predisposed. We could say that in her culture, her genes gave her the kind of
face and figure that send male hormones into orbit and bring her under a level of pressure that she is unable to resist, and she is fertile. But that’s about the strength of the genetic influence. There are a huge number of environmental factors that could also have brought the pregnancy about, from cancellation of the basketball game she was going to watch with a girlfriend, permission to use her boyfriend’s father’s car, her boyfriend’s company, the movie they had just viewed together, and failure to use a contraceptive, to big environmental factors like personal values systems, peer group pressure, and an emotionally distant father.
In short, there is no responsible way to escape the implication that -- whatever influences we are exposed to and however they may help shape our choices -- the common sense view that on the whole we are significantly responsible for our behaviours makes excellent sense, and that by and large the habits we form are significantly influenced by cumulative choices we make. That includes cases of bondage to life-dominating destructive sins, habits and addictions. (And, the "on the whole" is meant to take in the genuine cases where people are immature or insane or sufficiently retarded or senile etc. as not to be responsible. Notice, the significance of age of consent laws and the premise that to engage in unlawful carnal knowledge with someone under that age is statutory rape.)

Such a general conclusion brings forward the relevance of the well-proved 12-step addiction recovery process pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous as a context of hope for many of us who are caught up in such life-dominating downward spirals (and, these days, I put pornography addiction as challenge no 1 here beyond even that notorious old demon rum). Let me clip, citing Ch. 5 of the AA Big Book:
Rarely  have  we  seen  a  person  fail  who  has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give  themselves  to  this  simple  program,  usually  men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be-ing  honest  with  themselves . . . . If you have decided you want what we have and are willing  to  go  to  any  length  to  get  it—then  you  are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find  an  easier,  softer  way.  But  we  could  not . . . . Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baf-fling,  powerful!  Without  help  it  is  too  much  for  us. 
But there is One who has all power—that One is God.

May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing . . . . Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than our-selves could restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4.  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.[--> This is the famous, pivotal public confession,
"I am an Alcoholic . . . "]

6.  Were  entirely  ready  to  have  God  remove  all these defects of character.

7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8.  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.  Made  direct  amends  to  such  people  wherever possible,  except  when  to  do  so  would  injure them or others.

10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11.  Sought  through  prayer  and  meditation  to  im-prove our conscious contact with God as we un-derstood  Him,  praying  only  for  knowledge  of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12.  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many  of  us  exclaimed,  “What  an  order!  I  can’t  go through  with  it.’’  Do  not  be  discouraged.  No  one among us has been able to maintain anything like per-fect adherence to these principles. We are not saints.  The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We  claim  spiritual  progress  rather  than spiritual perfection . . . [Alcoholics Anonymous, "big Book," ch 5, pp.58 - 60.]
 Given the frankly theocentric, penitent sinner approach, it should not be surprising to hear that in the early days, this lay-led movement of addicts in lifelong recovery was often derided and dismissed by professionals, and that spectacular failures -- including a co-founder -- were luridly headlined to dismiss the approach as useless, naive and ill informed. But, in the end, it has been so vindicated by actually working, that it is the model for many similar movements of recovery. (Including from bondage to things like drugs, pornography and homosexual behaviour.)

But, this recovery approach is in reality nothing new, we have just seen in a somewhat generic form, the principles of  transformation of life through discipleship founded on repentance and reaching out to God as Saviour, and to be expressed in a community of mutual support and lifelong growth; knowing that relapse is possible, and that moral-spiritual struggle is inevitable.

This, we may see in Eph 4 - 5:

Eph 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance [-->en-darkenment] that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous [-->morally benumbed] and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  [--> addicted to sin]

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,5  which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

5: 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
                    “Awake, O sleeper,
        and arise from the dead,
        and Christ will shine on you.”
 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. [ESV]
Christian discipleship is founded on repentance, trust in the God who saves us, and a fearless and dauntless determination to walk in the light with God and with our brothers and sisters in God.

By the power of the indwelling, upwelling Spirit, we learn to walk in the light and develop the practice of walking in the light ever more and more, day by day, hour by hour.  That requires a special vigilance over that which may benumb the conscience, en-darken the mind, and enmesh us in captivity to life-dominating sin.  Instead, we live by the truth in love, through Jesus, upwelling from within through the Spirit, with the power of love, truth, and purity. Thus, as the people of God, we are transformed in the image of Christ.

And, as Paul writes in 1 Cor 6:9 - 11, it works:
1 Cor 6: 9 . . . do you not know that the unrighteous  will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you.

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [ESV]
(Though, of course, there is much wisdom in the saying, if you do not nibble on the enticingly baited hook, you will not have to then fight for your life, to break free of the barbed hook. Remember, too, that a baited fish hook is 99% good fish food that it is doubtless enjoyable to the fish to bite at. But, it is the 1% of hook that decisively counts.)

So, now, let us soberly rethink not only the ongoing attempt to legally homosexualise marriage, but the associated enmeshing of ever so many in the myth of genetic determinism leading to the concept that since this is how people inevitably are, then they have a "right" to express their love or otherwise behave the only way they "can" as controlled by their genes. In so doing, let us even more soberly reflect on where we have been taking our civilisation in recent decades. END