Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What is Darwinism? (2) The Second Tablet Project

J. Budziszewski, Associate Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, has written an interesting article, The Second Tablet Project.

According to Budziszewski, there is an ongoing project whose aim is to have us only accept the last five of The Ten Commandments, but not the first five.

What kind of people are then these Second Tabletters?

You guessed it! They are of course the irresponsible, pleasure-seeking Darwinists!

Budziszewski illustrates the theistic reasoning:

And this makes a difference. A theist who attributes the order of nature to God can say things like this: “I see that the sexual powers cause conception, and that the fact that they do so is part of the explanation of why human nature has been endowed with such powers in the first place. This tells me that conception is a purpose of the sexual powers, a part of what they are for. When I employ them, I ought to respect this fact; I ought not to use them in ways that are incompatible with their purpose.” Adding inference to inference in this fashion, he gradually works out a comprehensive account of the right use of the sexual powers and the respect that is owed to the natural institutions which direct and contain them, and he can reason similarly about the other natural powers and institutions.

So the theist moves from observed effect to purpose. Assuming Budziszewski to be correct, a male, married theist figuring out that a pregnant woman cannot be made pregnant again, until after the child is born, but that he himself still can make other women pregnant in the meantime, will therefore after have made his wife pregnant run around looking for other women to make pregnant. Yeah, we really need more theistic logic, don't we.

Next up is the atheist/Darwinist:

But an atheist might reply like this: “I use the word purpose too, and I am even willing to concede that you use it correctly. If one thing causes another, and that’s part of the explanation of why the first thing occurs, then the second thing is a purpose of the first; even a Darwinist like me can concede that much. So what? How do you get from ‘One of the purposes of the sexual powers is procreation’ to ‘I should not use the sexual powers in ways that are incompatible with procreation’? So far as I can see, the only thing that follows from the connection between procreation and sex is that when I do have intercourse, it would be prudent to watch out.” Stretching a point a bit—taking into account the entire set of things there are to “watch out” for (not only conception, but jealousy, emotional emptiness, loss of trust, and so forth)—perhaps a purely prudential justification of marriage and family and so forth could be developed. Perhaps a purely prudential justification for each of the other natural laws and institutions could be developed in the same way. And perhaps that is the sort of thing that Grotius had in mind.

This is odd, isn't it? Who more than a Darwinist would consider the "sexual powers" to serve any other purpose than procreation?`How do selfish genes do their trick?

Maybe Budziszewski does not consider Richard Dawkins to be a Darwinist? But since others do consider him to be Darwin reincarnate, that leaves the rest of us puzzled as to, what a Darwinist really is.

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