by James Wallace Harris, Sunday, May 7, 2017
As a lifelong atheist, I find most of my political convictions comes from the words printed in red in The New Testament. Shouldn’t unbelievers use Charles Darwin’s scientific insights to model how society should be governed? Yet, as I study Republicans, the party I oppose, I wonder why they act the way the do. I can only conclude they base their philosophy on the survival of the fittest.
I hate Republicans for not carrying about suffering, whether it’s the suffering of people, animals, plants, or the biosphere. If you study Darwin’s observations you realize that nature ignores suffering too. The Republicans work with all their might to create a political system that helps the strong while ignoring the weak. In fact, Republicans are the strong feeding off the weak. Yet, publically Republicans claim to be Christians. Shouldn’t a Christian political party promote the way of life Jesus taught? And wouldn’t that be anti-Darwinian?
If you study the Sermon on the Mount, you know it’s impossible for a Christian to own an AR-15. The meek will not be carrying Glocks when they inherited the Earth. Darwin’s red tooth and claw philosophy would embrace such weapons. Darwin would be pro-gun, but not Jesus. Yet, typically Republicans express a hatred for Darwin and a love of Christ.
The Democratic party which wants to feed the poor and heal the sick is labeled the Godless party. However, if the beliefs in The New Testament were converted into a political system it would be socialistic, and look much like the political goals of the DNC.
Is it possible to create a political system that reduces suffering while still encouraging all its citizens to become stronger? If Republicans were honest they’d admit they believe far more in Darwin than Christ. Yes, helping people can make them weak, but ignoring their suffering also makes you heartless.
Isn’t there some kind of compromise we could make? Can’t we start the competition for survival on an equal playing ground? Wealth inequality shows the competition isn’t equal like what Darwin saw in nature. Human intelligence allows us to multiply and horde our strengths, which is why we’re destroying all the other species, and why those humans on the receiving end of wealth inequality can so easily destroy those on the losing end.
Republicans appear to totally embrace Darwinism, including ignoring suffering. Democrats want to create a political system that eliminates some sufferings. I would think any political system that ethically allows for some members to become billionaires should allow for universal healthcare. How can any system that allows for some players to have everything and others nothing be Christian?
Isn’t Christianity about compassion? I can understand why conservatives embrace Darwinian actions. Republican ideals are very close to nature. And don’t Christian beliefs defy the natural? Isn’t The New Testament all about protecting the weak?
16 thoughts on “Are Republicans the Party of Darwin?”
Nature ignores suffering, but that’s not Darwinism, Jim. I think I know what you’re getting at, but I don’t like the way you’re phrasing it. Sorry.
Evolution is just descriptive. There’s no intent behind it. There’s no assumption that it’s a philosophy or anything. It implies nothing when it comes to figuring out what people should do.
The theory of gravity might describe what happens when you let go of a rock. But it doesn’t say anything about when and how you should drop a rock. It doesn’t imply that you should throw a rock at someone.
Likewise, evolution describes how life has evolved into such a myriad of different forms from a common ancestor. But it says absolutely nothing about how those lifeforms should behave. Republicans aren’t Darwinian. They’re just dicks.
Poor Bill, you admire Darwin and don’t want him associated with the Republicans. You’re much too literal. Actually, the way I’m using Darwinism is descriptive. I assume there’s no intent behind it. That’s why there is no concern for suffering. And I know it’s not a philosophy. But it’s what some people use to create their philosophy. I’m saying Republicans are acting Darwinian rather than Christian.
Republicans want to rationalize anything that fights taxation and regulation. They hate that their tax money goes to helping other people. So they rationalize helping other people makes them weak – using an argument from Darwin. Even that brainless Alabamian state congressman who said good people don’t have pre-existing conditions is rationalizing a way to save on taxes. But his actions show he embraces the strong taking from the weak. That’s very Darwinian. I’m describing Republicans by how they act.
Bill, we’re both atheists. We know there’s no judgment in nature, no good or bad. But we’re talking to people that do believe that. We have to speak their language. You will never teach them our language. You keep trying to be logical with emotional people. You can only speak logically to logical people.
“You’re much too literal.”
Yes, well, we’ve had this discussion before, haven’t we? 🙂 From my point of view, this has nothing to do with wanting Republicans to be associated with my hero and everything to do with accuracy.
“We have to speak their language.”
I disagree, Jim. We have to agree about our terms, but that doesn’t mean we have to… not just accept, but promote erroneous thinking.
And where are these people anyway? Aren’t you pretty much preaching to the choir here? Can’t we be accurate even among ourselves?
You said, “Shouldn’t unbelievers use Charles Darwin’s scientific insights to model how society should be governed?” That’s just way off the mark, and if you’re doing it simply to imitate (or parody) Bible-thumpers, that certainly wasn’t obvious (not to me, at least).
It’s funny Bill how the two of us squabble over little issues so much when we both agree on the big issues. We’re both atheists and we both value evidence-based explanations of reality. I guess I’m willing to compromise on the erroneous thinking. I believe people of faith are doing the best they came to explain reality in their own way. It might be insane to us but its how they cope. And I think we should recognize that liberal thought evolved out of Christian theology. My problem with the faithful is most of them are stuck in Old Testament thinking, including most fundamentalist Christians. I think New Testament thinking comes before enlightenment thinking.
Have you ever read The City & The City by China Miéville? It’s a nice metaphor for our polarized politics. In it, two populations live in the same geographical area. Half see one city, the other half see another city. Each is blind to the other’s city.
I’m preaching to the choir when a liberal reads this piece, but if a conservative reads it, I hope they will feel something different.
“It’s funny Bill how the two of us squabble over little issues so much when we both agree on the big issues.”
Heh, heh. Yeah, that is funny, Jim. I’m not sure I’d agree that that was a “little issue,” but we really do agree about far more than we disagree. Still, like any other two people, we still disagree about some things.
For example, I disagree that “liberal thought evolved out of Christian theology.” But I’m not going to get into that can of worms. 🙂
But it would be so much fun, Bill!
Hi. Not sure how to comment on this–I just came across it looking for the Jesus/Darwin pic. But I think there’s a bit of a misunderstanding here. There’s Darwinism, then there’s Social Darwinism. Darwin never actually proposed the survival of the fittest. He proposed survival of the best adapted. A species can evolve to be more adaptive by taking care of its biological diversity: that is, maybe in some environments, the biggest and strongest hunters will be best adapted, but in others, it’s the small ones who can get into tight spaces and don’t require a lot of food who thrive. By looking after everyone a society maintains its flexibility, so when circumstances change–hey, it sure is great we didn’t kill off those little guys, seeing as this year the only way to get protein is climbing trees to get at eggs in nests. Caring for the sick and weak is a trait that has evolved all across the mammalian kingdom, but humans are exceptionally good at it, and we’re exceptionally successful as a species. Social Darwinism was basically white supremacy and greed dressed up as a law of nature, so… yeah, in that sense Republicans are definitely Social Darwinists.
I’ve been observing who are Republicans and who are Democrats and it seems clear cut to me. I’m going by people I know or know of through friends or family.
The Republicans are in general the wealthier groups, but not the ones involved in a lot of philanthropic endeavors. They are also the farther right religious ones who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible and are generally anti science, anti ethnicities that aren’t white and not as well educated and from more small town or rural areas.
The Democrats are more non religious or from progressive churches, have a real concern for the environment for animals as well as humans and view the whole system as worth saving. They are usually better educated and from cities where diversity is more common. They are more inclusive of other ethnicities, lifestyle choices and are more concerned for human rights.
The Democrats seem to more closely follow Jesus’s teachings than the Republicans. So much that has happened lately in Wash seems to bear this out as well…think healthcare. I realize I’m making generalizations, but this has been what I’ve observed, sometimes only a slight indication, but nonetheless.
I actually wonder if the two groups are on an evolutionary division that will only grow in time.
I’ve thought that too Mary, that maybe we’re evolving into two separate species. And it has nothing to do with any physical trait that we can easily discern. Maybe there are genes for conservative and liberal thinking. I cannot fathom how people can like Trump. But I know fans of Trump can’t fathom how I think.
I think most people think everyone sees reality like they do. But I get the feeling that reality looks distinctly different to all of us. It’s very hard to find any kind of agreement. The people in power in Washington seem so completely confident is the righteousness of their actions, even though a large segment or even a larger than majority segment disagree with them. It disturbs me that we can’t find more common agreement.
I’ll just take issue with one thing — the “strong vs the weak” business. In relation to Darwin, that really only describes group dynamics, not individuals. On an individual basis, right wingers aren’t necessarily fit for much of anything and to the extent that the notion actually is true for individuals, the significant difference is often just a lack of scruple, rather than any other sort of talent.
When it comes to inter-group dynamics, groups of individuals who are good at cooperating with one another win out in the long run, which is the only thing that matters in Darwinian terms. There’s evidence that fair play is hard wired into our nature, too, and is necessary to sustain healthy groups. Now there’s a caveat of course — fairness may only apply to members of the ingroup, not to outsiders. So none of this is predictive that the bad guys won’t win. Plus, if you are trying to apply it to current US politics, a lot of the Dems are bad guys.
I agree pj, none of us are perfect. Liberals do little to solve the problems they see.
I’m not sure is we disagree over group dynamics or not. Old Testament thinking was all about the group. But like you said, it was us vs. them, and they were not human. The acceptance of multiculturalism came in with Paul. Peter was cold to that idea. Up until the time of first-century Christians groups were all about being strong. Since Neanderthal times we have protected the weak to a degree, but it seems to me some of the ideas expressed in the New Testament were radical. They escalated the idea of helping the weak to new levels. It never really caught on. Up until the 19th century, most people thought God should help the poor and needy. The idea that we ourselves could feed all the poor and heal all the sick is relatively new. Socialism has caught on in certain countries and appears to be effective in limited ways. Universal healthcare appears to be one way. I just find it fascinating that so many Christians resist the idea even though healing the sick was a big virtue of their deity.
Well James, maybe it’s all just office politics. A lot of Christians seem to feel that it’s strictly Jehovah’s prerogative (and theirs) to decide who does or doesn’t prosper. Anyone encroaching on His territory arouses resentment.
I like your analogy. Graham
And just in case I’m missing something here, it seems to me that some very important worldviews, philosophies and cultures are relevant. Much if not most of what has gone before still lives with us and within us.
Any reference to our “Western Culture” (and of course that includes The Bible, although which version can make a difference) really should at least mention the Dark Ages in Europe, and the tremendous strides made in science (of the times) in Arabia. As much as we believe our “Western” civilization was built on directly Greek and Roman tradition, the people of Islam also used the knowledge of those cultures to build a robust “science” that managed to survive religious control for hundreds of years. Based on the works of Chinese, Indian, Greek and other societies, serious work was done that helped move “science” forward and provided a repository of knowledge that helped European culture support the monasteries and other agencies that carried knowledge forward into and through the Middle Ages. We can thank them for the idea of a number 0 (zero), if nothing else.
In other words, it is unlikely that the Renaissance would have happened without the scholars of the Middle East’s works and their preservation of the work done for several hundreds of years before them.
So, as long as the discussion seems to be balanced on a fine point that looks a lot like Science vs Religion, then everything we can even begin to argue about stems from The Middle East. One can argue that the Christian/Catholic Church was a major factor, but then it should be understood that it was both a positive and negative factor starting at the Council of Nicaea and following through to the Council of Trent. In those days, it is very clear that the Church was not interested in anything in science that did not conform with established beliefs about the Trinity (even as the Christian leaders continued to revise them). The Holy Roman Empire of Constantine was based in the Middle East then, not in Europe.
Sorry about the long background, but it leads to this: whether one believes in The Bible as the True Word of God, or believes that science (or Science if you are a true Believer) is the answer to all things in The World; it is all about Belief.
Facts are not terribly important when it comes to Belief. Belief transcends anything that can be proved, because it is based on a trust that there is always something bigger, and more important than just provable fact. Given that the Scientific Method requires proofs, and then more proof since there is always something more to learn about the world when applying science, it cannot ever truly change (or conquer) Belief.
Now I’ll just toss in some opinion: in my experience it is nearly impossible to “prove” that an individual (or even a group) is wrong about something when they base their position on belief. Not scientifically impossible; but impossible in the mind of any given human being. Conflate a belief in the Christian God, Heaven, and the Afterlife, nicely seasoned by the books of the Bible, with a strong influence by success in this world and you cannot begin to change a person’s mind on religion, their own importance in The World, or any other subject when they are buoyed up by the belief that they are right because God says so.
Nobody likes being told they are wrong. Someone with a strong background in science understands that there is a certain liquidity in “rightness” because the search for proofs must always continue on. Someone who has a strong background in religion knows that they are right – because the Bible/Pope/Imam/Minister has told them so.
I really think that this is at least a strong factor in the difference between the the two largest groups of people in (at the least) the USA. And of course I’m leaving out all of the other reasons people do things – Greed, Gluttony, Avarice, Pride, Wrath, Sloth, and my favorite – Envy.
I’d like to add one more – Ignorance.