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By Nick P.

"Let me give you Chesterton's argument for the existence of evil" I said to the Christian fideist and the atheist both. "Chesterton said that a boy will skin a cat for pleasure. The only way to explain this is to deny the depravity of man or deny evil. Some have chosen to deny the cat."


While I do not remember the fideist's response I remember the atheist, as soon as I mentioned skinning the cat said "Oh my." But then he countered that this must be a mental illness. Thus, evil doesn't exist.


I thought about this some. This is an atheist and I remembered that the atheist is an evolutionist. Thus, human beings are nothing but animals. Although we are highly evolved animals, we are still nothing but animals.


But think of the contradiction that arises then. An animal is quite prone to destroy another one of its kin. However, this is seen as Survival of the Fittest. Now when the human comes along and destroys another human though, this is not seen as Survival of the Fittest but an immoral action.


What made the change? If humans are animals why should they behave differently from any other animals? We cannot say that morality evolved. Ideas may evolve over time independent of DNA but it is not genetic. The genes do not contain ideas. They contain physical traits and many of these aren't changeable like ideas. I can't change my eye color like I change my favorite flavor of ice cream.


In fact, I fail to see how peacefulness would evolve. Let us consider a society of 100 individuals and assume evolution was true and these people were the result of evolution. 95 of these individuals have the "peace gene." The other 5 have the "Non-peace gene." What is going to happen?


If evolution is survival of the fittest, then one will go after the weakest prey first like all animals do. Which prey is weakest? The ones that are violent as you or the ones that don't fight back. The ones that don't fight back obviously. These would be quickly destroyed by the violent members afterwhich, the violent ones would likely destroy each other.


In any case, the human species would die out. In fact, if any set evolved of any species where one was violent and the other was not, it would quickly die out most likely. (Evolution though still can't explain not how one species got here but two of the same kind got here also.) It would be strange to assume that the reason a tiger is a fighter is because he has a violent gene but because its very nature is violent. Why the sudden switch to the other mammals we call humans?


So would there be any basis for a genetic theory of evolutionary morality? Probably not. True, we can get some ideas and have them improve over time but they are certainly not in our genes. Ideas are taught. They are not inherited.


But what of the mental illness claim? Mental illness could certainly apply in some cases. I have no doubt that many people who try to commit murders or high-ranking officials could be insane but I doubt this is always the case.


Mental illness though is defined as a change from the norm. But who is to say that peace is the norm? Our very creation should show us tha since the Fall it is obvious that peace is not the norm. It is very easy for us to lash out when someone angers us. It is not as easy to keep our peace. (Interesting terminology isn't it to say "Keep your peace.")


First off, the atheist has presupposed that there is a norm. That means that there is a way that the universe ought to run and when things go wrong something is off with the universe. But where did the atheist get the idea of normal? Where is the ultimate standard of normalcy? Following the philosophy of Plato, our ideas must have an eternal standard to compare them with. (Plato said they were in the forms. Augustine said that they were eternal ideas in the mind of the eternal God.)


You see, you can only know if you're going up and down if you have a standard outside yourself to compare it to. When you are on a train or a bus and you want to know if you are moving, you can look outside and if you see the tree moving, you are assured that it probably isn't moving but you are in relation to it. Imagine the chaos if the tree could move also though!


So when the atheist says "This is a mental illness." he is basing that on the actions of the person. Only a person mentally ill would do such a thing is the response. But is that not positing a morality as well? Mentally sane people don't do these things. Why? No one in their right mind would do this!


But this is, as you can guess, presupposing a moral standard. Why should a differentiation from the norm be seen as bad in evolution? In fact, in evolution, it is differentiation from the norm that brings about the improvement of the species. Because one species was different it was better off and thus survived longer.


If this was a genetic effect, then how can we explain the counter to this action? Could not our response be genetic as well? That doesn't mean it would be right as well so the claim is shot in the foot. If both of our responses to this action are genetic, why should one be esteemed over another?


Won't this, in fact, ultimately lead to a prejudice? One might complain about physical racism based on things like race but what if this led to racism based on genes? If the ideas were genetic, couldn't we reach the point where we could actually be told by these "Genetic monsters" that we are just prejudice against their genetic traits?


Thus, in the long run, we will have reduced people to DNA. It will no longer be people on trial for crimes. It will be DNA. It will no longer be people loving each other but it will be DNA interacting with other DNA. Richard Dawkins has even said this about suffering in life. DNA neither knows nor cares. It just is, and we dance to its music.


But if all we are is DNA, then why should human life be any more valued than animal life? Why should the boy's DNA be more important than the cat's DNA? I would say again this would come back to a prejudice. As humans, we will probably care more for our human DNA than for cat DNA but are any better in the long run? How will we determine which DNA is better and again, what standard will we use?

There is still more. Perchance one boy might have a mental illness that could make him skin a cat but what would make a man scalp a Jewish woman? Apparently, we had a lot of them in Nazi Germany. Are we to assume a genetic problem arose in that area that affected all of the Nazis with a genetic illness that made them want to destroy Jews?


That would be something amazing. Apparently Hitler got the same genetic effect the same time Germany got this same genetic effect. Apparently also, Stalin's genes changed because he switched sides in the war. Apparently, Japan's genes died out after two atomic bombs got dropped on them.


Take this further. If these traits are genetic are not the ideas as well? Would this mean that Nietzche's writings as well as Darwin's writings had no effect on Hitler? How could it be that reading a book would change your genes? Can DNA be altered by embracing a new idea? Is it all just coincidence that Nietzche might have had this gene that caused him to disavow God and embrace atheistic nihilism and at the same time somehow passed this trait on to Hitler? How did this happen?


Perchance the evolutionist could use mental illness if it was one boy skinning one cat but how does he explain millions of Jews being exterminated by millions of Nazis? It seems very unreasonable to assume they all had genetic illnesses. The truth is, ideas are not in the genes. They are not even in the material which kills materialism itself right there.


If this is genetic, how would we "treat it" anyhow? What would be suggested to one who is violent simply because his DNA. How will you deal with such a person? The only way I can see is to banish or destroy the one whose DNA isn't preferred. Will this not be just as much as a "Survival of the Fittest" scenario where soon genetic engineers will be exterminating lives based on genes they don't like, and a darker side of survival of the fittest?


I would dare to say we are very close to this happening today even. I don't think the time is far off when genetic predisposition becomes a reason for the destruction of another human being. It happens some in abortion seminars where parents are told their child has a genetic defect so they need to destroy it. (of course, a real abortionist would never call it a child though.)


The difference between us and Hitler will be Hitler did it more outright. Maybe in many ways we are even more devious than Hitler. Hitler did his for the world to be seen but we will be sneaking it behind people's back. Hitler let people know where they were going at least. We will choose to not tell them where they will go and force them to like the destination when they get there.


But is there another ultimate answer? Why not stick to what Chesterton said this showed. Man is depraved and evil. If man is evil in that sense, he can be redeemed. He can have his mind altered easily by the shining of the light of truth that is accepted. We can treat the man who has a mental illness because there is a norm and we can judge those who violate human standards because we have a standard by which to label them as wrong.


Otherwise, pick up your swords. It's DNA vs. DNA and you'd better hope yours wins.

Email the author at ApologiaNick@yahoo.com