I am not sure what the benighted 100 million think that they are saying when that "Homo sapiens was created directly by God, rather than gradually by evolution. " They may only be saying what I learned at St. Thomas Elementary; the body can evolve the the soul was directly created. If you reply that you do not believe in souls. I would pose the question of whether legal responsibility evolves or happens in a discontinuous burst. For example: If a male gorilla kills his mates children by another we say - good work - more resources for your kids. If a human kills his stepchildren we put him in prison. Is there a missing link? How would we treat the missing link?
I would not say of " a male gorilla kills his mates children by another we " - good work - more resources for your kids" and in fact, I think, no one does. You are presenting a very common misunderstanding of Darwinism in which "fitness" is given a normative significance as in it is good to be fit. This was [Goodwin's law violation deleted] Herbert Spencer's view but it was never Darwin's view and it is a misunderstanding of science to imagine that a positive theory has automatic normative implications.
The identification of the all powerful (God to the religious -- natural laws to an atheist) and the good (God to the religious -- moral laws to an atheist) is a appropriate for the religious and idiotic for the atheist (I think I can at least politely name Trotsky as such a moral idiot).
Now do I think the action of the male Gorilla is imoral ? I sure do. I think that what the Tsunami did was morally wrong. That is, I personally have no problem judging things which clearly have neither a mind nor a soul. It is absurd for the moral law to preach to a Tsunami which has no ears. It is absurd for it to preach to us as it has no voice.
To me the reason to punish humans who kill is twofold. People, being unusually un reliant on instinct, are very diverse. Some are much more willing to kill other humans than others. Locking them up makes us safer. A Lion who acts as all lions do does not show he is particularly dangerous.
Also people are real smart, not compared how smart we think we are, but compared to gorillas. People can therefore understand laws and be deterred.
Of course many people train animals. One does not have to believe that they have souls or some mysterious free will which is some kind of exception to the laws physics to do so. To me deterence is the same thing.
That is there is a wholly utilitarian view of crime and punishment which guides my personal views of what is a just justice. You claim that my view is impossible. I assure you, it is how I view things. This is why I absolutely reject retribution as a justification for punishment. I think punishment is sometimes useful but never good in itself. Your apparent claim that I can not possibly believe in continuity of apes and men is based on your further claim that I can not possibly believe what I definitely do believe about why we hold people responsible and when and how we should.
Given the comment was to a post about how many people are "ignorant, stupid or insane, or wicked." I hasten to add that I don't consider Andrea's belief in the existence of a soul to have anything to do with any of the above. The facts will not tell us if we have souls and the differences in our beliefs on this question do not imply either of us has made any kind of intellectual lapse.
Andrea does not, I think, know that people like me exist, that is, people who have thought about the issues she raises and definitely definitely disagree. Thus she is not omniscient, but hey no one can know everything and the thought of Robert Waldmann is, perhaps, the least important and interesting topic of all. posted by Robert
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