“Neurobiological reductionism has to be false. If not, then what may appear to be a product of rational processes must instead be the consequences in the brain. If this is the case, ‘argument’ for neurobiological reductionism are not in fact arguments but mere noises.”
…by Jonas E. Alexis
Formal (or informal) logic is dangerous territory because it will tell you whether you have a sound argument or not. Whenever a person posits premises that he says lead to a conclusion, then that is generally considered an argument in logic. But not every argument is valid.
Bad arguments are generally called fallacies, and there are countless of them. Four of the most common ones are red herring, ad hominem, straw man, and the genetic fallacy.
Strawman usually occurs when a person inserts an issue into his opponent’s argument and argues that issue. This usually occurs when the person wants to refute his opponent easily or when he wants to make him look really bad without even dealing with the substance of the argument.
Ad hominem is committed when a person attacks his opponent (sometimes personally) as opposed to his arguments.
In a previous article, I have taken great pain to cite David Duke contextually and provide a number of arguments against his theories. In response, Duke stated that the article was an attack on him. I would challenge him to show where exactly I have personally attacked him and not the arguments.
What was even more shocking was that Duke never once responded to the central arguments that I provided. In fact, he ignored them all. I even stated clearly what he needs to address in order for us to understand his position, but no serious argument was forthcoming.
Instead, he argued against things that I did not even remotely mention in the entire article. For example, he stated that I said “genes have nothing to do with anything. Everybody is just exactly the same.”
This is a classic representation of a straw man, and we would like to invite Duke to show us where exactly he got that idea in the article. I talked about Duke’s position on the Khazar theory and how that position is logically untenable.
I spent enough time discussing morality and Charles Darwin, and I even specifically documented that Charles Darwin and his intellectual children deny objective morality, the very thing that Duke is currently using to rightly knock out “Jewish supremacism.”
I also argued that if Jewish behavior is genetic, then it would be irrational and irresponsible to condemn it precisely because whatever happens genetically happens consequently. But I never said that “genes have nothing to do with anything.”
I have ten fingers and genes certainly have a lot to do with it. This has never been the issue at all. But instead of dealing with what was actually said, Duke presents a long refutation of Adam and Eve and their bloodline and a six-thousand-year creation and all kinds of topics, issues that I never even remotely bring up in the article.
We also hear about “that book which has been copied a thousand times.” I have no clue of what “that book” is because it was not discussed in the article. And then we hear this: “Wake the hell up, folks!”
It pains me to repeat myself more than half a dozen times, but it is pertinent to do so here since this is the last time that we will talk about Duke’s views. We must point out one vital contradiction for readers who would like to pursue these issues further.
Objective morality, from a Darwinian standpoint, is a relic of the past. In fact, it is an illusion. Listen again to the philosopher of science Michael Ruse of Florida State University:
“I appreciate when somebody says ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves…Nevertheless, to a Darwinian evolutionist, it can be seen that such a reference is true without foundation.
“Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction…an ephemeral product of the evolutionary process, just as are other adaptations. It has no existence or being beyond this, and any deeper meaning is illusory.”
Decades later, Ruse, a staunch Darwinist (but not as grumpy as Richard Dawkins), propounded the same thing by saying that
“Morality is flimflam…It is something forged in the struggle for existence and reproduction, something fashioned by natural selection. It is as much a natural human adaptation as our ears or noses or teeth or penises or vaginas. It works and it has no meaning over and above this.
“Morality is just a matter of emotions, like liking ice cream and sex and hating toothache and marking student papers. But it is, and has to be, a funny kind of emotion. It has to pretend that it is not that at all! If we thought that morality was no more than liking or not liking spinach, then pretty quickly it would break down.”
Ruse is an intelligent man and a prolific scholar, but listens to him very carefully here:
“Does this mean that you can just go out and rape and pillage, behave like an ancient Roman grabbing Sabine woman? Not at all. I said that there are no grounds for being good. It doesn’t follow that you should be bad.”
Well, if morality is just “flimflam,” how does Ruse adjudicate competing “moralities”? Let us cut to the chase. What is good for “Jewish supremacism” may not be good for the rest of mankind. Ruse even complicates things when he argues elsewhere,
“With rationality goes morality. Indeed, it seems fair to say that without rationality, you cannot have morality…Note, then, that this all rather presupposes that humans have free will.
“A falling rock may do terrible things to those in its path, but we do not blame the rock. Once released, it had no choice about the path it was taking. However, if I am bashing you and not the rock, I am to blame. I did have a choice about whether to harm you.”
Exactly! This has been my entire point. If morality does not exist, if free will is an illusion and if the behavior is genetic, then it is morally and intellectually irresponsible to blame Lloyd Blankfein for ruining much of the economy by cheating people. I just don’t understand why thinking people cannot see this basic contradiction at all.
Richard Dawkins again declares unapologetically:
“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”
Dawkins has basically mapped out Darwinian metaphysics in a nutshell here. But is he prepared to morally live by that principle? No. Dawkins admitted:
“I very much hope that we don’t revert to the idea of survival of the fittest in planning our politics and our values and our way of life. I have often said that I am a passionate Darwinian when it comes to explaining why we exist. It’s undoubtedly the reason why we’re here and why all living things are here.
“But to live our lives in a Darwinian way, to make a society a Darwinian society, that would be a very unpleasant sort of society in which to live.”
Like his intellectual father who actually made him “an intellectually fulfilled atheist,” Dawkins is trying to have his cake and eat it too.
Once again, we need to examine this vital issue in the context of the Israel/Palestine conflict. If the Palestinians get hurt, there is no rhyme or reason in it, “nor any justice.” This is the metaphysical worldview that Darwinism presents, and this is where some of the fundamental issues lie.
There is even scarier views within the Darwinian paradigm. Some evolutionary biologists have even argued that rape has a biological adaptation! Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer declare that if people have a “relevant background in evolutionary biology,” they would inevitably come to the conclusion there is a biological basis for rape.
Thornhill and Palmer inveigh against those who don’t know the scientific literature this way:
“We find that the majority of the researchers on whose theories today’s attempts to solve the problem of rape are based remain uninformed about the most powerful scientific theory concerning living things: the theory of evolution by Darwinian selection.
“As a result, many of the social scientists’ proposals for dealing with rape are based on assumptions about human behavior that have been without theoretical justification since 1859, when Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species was published.”
In other words, if those researchers study Darwin’s theory long enough and think through these issues seriously, they would come to the conclusion that there is a Darwinian explanation for rape.
Thornhill and Palmer admit in the introduction of the work, “We realize that our approach and our frankness will trouble some social scientists, including some serious and well-intentioned rape researchers.” Then they move on to the inexorable truth:
“The social science theory of rape is based on empirically erroneous, even mythological, ideas about human development, behavior, and psychology. It contradicts fundamental knowledge about evolution. It fails to yield a coherent, consistent, progressive body of knowledge. The literature it has produced is largely political rather than scientific…
“Most people don’t know much about why humans have the desires, emotions, and values that they have, including those that cause rape. This is because most people lack any understanding of the ultimate (that is, evolutionary) causes of why humans are the way they are. This lack of understanding has severely limited people’s knowledge of the exact proximate (immediate) causes of rape, thus limiting the ability of concerned people to change their behavior.
“For 25 years, attempts to prevent rape have not only failed to be informed by an evolutionary approach; they have been based on explanations designed to make ideological statements rather than to be consistent with scientific knowledge of human behavior.
“One cannot understand evolutionary explanations of rape, much less evaluate them, without a solid grasp of evolutionary theory. Failure to appreciate this point has caused much valuable time to be wasted on misplaced attacks on evolutionary explanations.”15]
My objections to Darwinism are not based on religious premises. The system is logically incoherent, philosophically untenable, and morally repugnant. Though this is quite technical to discuss here, the system is also mathematically implausible, and many scientists have stayed away from it because it lacks intellectual muster.
Darwinism denies objective morality, but Darwin and his intellectual children have found it very hard to live without objective morality. This brings us to a central point here: when a person denies objective morality, soon or later he will become the antithesis of his own existence. As G. K. Chesterton pointed out:
“For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces but the doctrine by which he denounces it…
“As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie.
“He calls a flag a bauble and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts.
“In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics, he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics, he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything.”
Without an objective moral reference, the world becomes neutral grey, with no idea or action ranked better or worse than anything else. No one can ever claim they have been wronged, no one can rely on unalienable human rights, and no one can expect justice or fairness.
Jean-Paul Sartre understood this. If there are no metaphysical Logos, which is the source of morality, then “finding [moral] values in an intelligible heaven” is crazy. Sartre moves on to say: “Nowhere is it written that good exists, that we must be honest or must not lie, since we are on a plane shared only by men.”
Albert Camus understood this. Friedrich Nietzsche got this. And even the atheist philosopher J. L. Mackie got it. Nietzsche in particular would have said that the modern Darwinist is an intellectual coward: he is willing to dump morality in the dustbin of history but he is not willing to face the implications of his conclusions.
Nietzsche would have almost certainly hooded at the modern scholar or thinker who is trying to wiggle out of these metaphysical issues. “Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?,” says Nietzsche. “Is there any up or down left?”
If no horizon is left, argues Nietzsche, then man is the measure of all things. Nietzsche’s autopsy on modern man is dangerous because it gets to the heart of fundamental issues. Nietzsche profoundly asks,
“What sacred games shall we have to invent?”
The sacred games of our time include deconstructing morality on Darwinian grounds and then smuggling in morality through the back door when things do not go according to plan. Nietzsche would have called this “universal madness.”
When people cut metaphysical morality off the fundamental issues, then they must accept the fact that “nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.”
If objective morality is no longer needed, as Darwinists would argue, if it is just “flimflam,” then the modern man has his intellectual feet firmly planted in midair.
Moreover, there is no serious reason for Darwin’s apologists to invoke morality in order to fight Zionism because morality doesn’t exist. It is the struggle for survival or cut-throat competition. Weaker organisms must be exterminated as natural selection grabs the fitter genes to pass on to future generations.
But we all know that this is not true because the moral law, Immanuel Kant points out, cannot be dismissed that easily.
In the previous article, I also made it very clear that Darwin predicted that wars and conflicts are great things and that Darwin himself had to live in contradiction in order to maintain his ideas. Modern Darwinists have picked up on that theme and spread it across the political and intellectual landscape. Darwinist Bradley A. Thayer maintains:
“The ultimate causation for warfare is anchored in Darwinian natural selection and inclusive fitness….warfare can increase both the absolute and relative fitness of humans…From the classical Darwinian perspective, warfare contributes to fitness because individuals who wage war successfully are better able to survive and reproduce.
“Warfare might be necessary then for offensive purposes, to plunder resources from others. In these circumstances, an individual becomes fitter if he can successfully attack to take the resources of others.”
Now, is Israel/Palestine a serious conflict? Yes. Does it fit to the Darwinian pattern? Yes. The average Darwinist is taking on the enormous burden of proof of having to show that the Israeli regime is objectively wrong.
But that again is an impossibility because he has already posited axiomatically that objective morality is an illusion. For him, moral values and duties are just the products of socio-biological evolution which have been ingrained in human beings much as cats and dogs and jackasses. He can never see that animals are not moral agents and that equating moral agents with dogs is morally or intellectually vacuous. In the animal kingdom—sharks, lions, hamsters—there is no such thing as rape or murder or justice.
These were some of the issues that I really had hoped Duke would have addressed, but it was all a dream.
So, we have come to a point where we have to agree to disagree with the man who has been rightly fighting Zionism longer than many in America. This is our final response. We will say no more about this because languages such as “wake the hell up, folks!” are not substitutes for serious responses. In fact, listening to languages like that in an acerbic tone was like listening to Jonathan Edward’s “sinners in the hands of an angry God.”
“Sometimes,” Duke says, “I get pretty passionate.” I committed an unpardonable sin, and Duke had to “wake the hell” out of people like me.
But there is another subtle issue here as well. If I take Darwin and Duke seriously, then I can’t “wake the hell up” because I was genetically programmed to act and think a certain way. If Darwin, Spencer, Galton, and others were right in excluding morality and supplementing instead “survival of the fittest” in the battle of ideas, then people like me are doomed.
If Richard Weaver is right, that ideas have consequences, then Darwin and his intellectual children ought to embrace the consequences of their own ideas, which are not pretty at all. In fact, if we listen to those people long enough, we will not escape a perennial contradiction. Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick dogmatically asserts in his book The Astonishing Hypothesis:
“The Astonishing Hypothesis is 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 behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”
Richard Dawkins makes the same assumption when he argues that the universe is “just electrons and selfish genes,” therefore “meaningless tragedies…are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune.” In an attempt to dampen the effect of this illogical thinking, the average Darwinist has to play with words.
If there is no free will—and staunch Darwinists will tell you that there isn’t—then obviously there is no way again to condemn bad behavior. Einstein locked himself in the same contradiction. “I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime,” he said, “but I prefer not to take tea with him.”
Why not? If the murderer truly was not responsible for his actions, as Einstein’s determinist theories state, then shouldn’t Einstein be perfectly safe? And if we are all determined, who or what determined us in the first place? A machine? An amoeba? Some aliens? The laws of nature do not have minds or emotions. And a thing by itself cannot be “determined”—i.e., passively acted upon—without necessitating an external determiner.
Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow fall into the same trap. They write in The Grand Design:
“Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws.”
This makes no practical sense whatsoever. If their suppositions are true, we might as well empty our jails and close down our courts, since anyone accused of a crime was simply taking orders from his or her brain. They can’t be held responsible for the chaotic, meaningless commands issued by their brains.
Yet every day thousands of people are convicted and held responsible for their choices.
Another application is emotional love. If Hawking and Mlodinow are correct, then telling someone “I love you” has no meaning. It was merely prompted by chemical impulses in the brain, probably to further a biological imperative. (I hope Crick’s and Hawking’s wives do not know about their presuppositions.)
Unfortunately, this line of reasoning culminates in absurd real-life applications. If we are merely puppets of our brains, then personhood, free will, the purpose of life, and humanity itself become meaningless concepts. Unfortunately, Darwinism does not provide a serious mechanism for any of these.
That is why I simply cannot accept that system. If Duke thinks that living in contradiction is part of “science,” then we will again have to agree to disagree. We wish him all the best in fighting “Jewish supremacism.”
But I am still hopeful that some future scholars will take the challenge and address the actual issues. Then we’ll have a serious discussion because there were many things that I could not address here and elsewhere at all.
-  Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown, Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), preface.
-  For technical studies on this, see for example Donald Kalish, Richard Montague and Gary Mar, Logic: Techniques of Formal Reasoning (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); Douglas Walton, Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989 and 2008).
-  By the way, the issue with genetics and behavior among scientists are highly contentious. See for example “‘Ten Commandments’ of race and genetics issued,” New Scientist, July 17, 2008.
-  Michael Ruse, The Darwinian Paradigm: Essays on its History, Philosophy, and Religious Implications (New York: Routledge, 1989), 268-269.
-  Michael Ruse, “Why Richard Dawkins’ humanists remind me of a religion,” Guardian, October 2, 2012; see also Science and Spirituality: Making Room for Faith in the Age of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
-  Michael Ruse, “God is dead. Long live morality,” Guardian, March 15, 2010.
-  Michael Ruse, Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy (New York: Prometheus, 1998); The Philosophy of Human Evolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Darwinism and its Discontents (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); The Darwinian Revolution: Science Red in Tooth and Claw (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979 and 1999); Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004); Monad to Man: The Concept of Progress in Evolutionary Biology (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009).
-  Ruse, “God is dead. Long live morality,” Guardian, March 15, 2010
-  Michael Ruse, Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 79.
-  See for example Greg Smith, “Why I Left Goldman Sachs,” NY Times, March 14, 2012.
-  Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1995), 133.
-  Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (New York: W. W. Norton, 1986 and 1996), 10.
-  Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), xi-xii.
-  Ibid., xii.
-  Ibid., 2.
-  See for example Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe Evolution from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981); Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering and Science, November 1981: 8-12; William A. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe (New York: Basic Books, 2001)
-  See for example Philip Skell, “Why Do We Invoke Darwin?,” The Scientist, August 29, 2005.
-  G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), 52-53.
-  Jean Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions (New York: Citadel Press, 1957 and 1985), 22.
-  Friedrich Nietzsche, The Portable Nietzsche (New York: Penguin Books, 1954 and 1982), 95.
-  Ibid., 96.
-  Ibid., 487.
-  Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason (New York: Classic Books International, 2010), 163.
-  Bradley A. Thayer, Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 103, 104, 109.
-  For similar studies on this, see Michael Murray, Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
-  Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948 and 2013).
-  For further study on this, see for example Richard A. Soloway, Demography and Degeneration: Eugenics and the Decline of Birthrate in Twentieth-Century Britain (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990); Robert C. Bannister, Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1979); Paul A. Lombardo, ed., A Century of Eugenics in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011); Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008); Nancy Ordover, American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003); Edward J. Larson, Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995); Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998); Alison Bashford and Philippa Levine, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); Gunnar Broberg and Nils Roll-Hansen, Eugenics and the Welfare State: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland (East Lansing: Michigan State University, 2005).
-  Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 3.
-  Dawkins, River Out of Eden, 132.
-  Quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 393.
-  Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 32.
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.