Well, apparently this is as far as Wilson wants to proceed with this debate. He has not sent me an email with anything further to add to this debate.
Wilson's last post left him advocating the killing of babies to keep from degrading the gene pool, an idea commonly referred to as ethnic cleansing. One would think that he might want to clarify what he had said, or perhaps change his mind. I can't imagine he wants to go on record as supporting ethnic cleansing, as his words clearly imply. I guess we will have to assume that this is his final word on the matter. He did write three short emails to me, complaining that I had not repeated all of his words. But I had indeed published all of his words at Jeffrey Wilson Responds. Perhaps he was not aware of that page. At any rate, he should now see that his charge is groundless. I did indeed give him the opportunity to present his views at my site.
In particular, he complained that I did not repeat this whole paragraph:
I shouldn’t have to point this out but unless you were locked up in your house by these people or brought in chains on the buses, it was self-imposed control. All the things you describe above with disdain, I find enjoyable and honorable. We are lucky the church is there to tell us what we shouldn’t do. Without instruction, we can’t know real right from wrong. We don’t mind the schools telling us what to think but when the church gives us instruction on right and wrong, people scream, “Control!” Control is what the Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists and every other cult teach including evolutionist professors at universities.
It is true that I did not respond to everything here, but I had published his paragraph in full at the page I mentioned above. I did not respond to everything that he wrote because I was trying to keep my post from being too long. If I respond to every little detail, the debate would degrade into a string of unrelated rabbit trails. We would surely lose the reader if we did that. So I picked the most pertinent points and emphasized them. Wilson writes:
Do you see the difference? Anything less is taking my words out of context. You took two sentences out of an entire paragraph. How could you even pretend this isn't dishonesty. It's clear you've never taken any writing courses in college.
How can it be dishonest when I quote his whole paragraph at Jeffrey Wilson Responds and then later quote only the sentences I am responding to? If he is arguing that those sentences mean something different in context, then I hope he would explain to me what I missed. For it seems to me that I was dealing directly with what he wrote.
Wilson claims it is dishonest to take two sentences out of a paragraph and respond to them. And yet the site that he promotes, trueorigins.org, quotes a partial sentence out of context right at the beginning of the site! If Wilson wants to condemn quoting out of context, why does he not condemn this? Trueorigins.org declares:
Many proponents of evolutionism nevertheless persist in claiming exclusive “scientific” status for their popularized beliefs, while curtly dismissing (if not angrily deriding) all doubters, and spurning the very advice of Darwin himself.
And so that site declares that those that teach the exclusive scientific status of evolution over creationism are spurning the advice of Darwin. It quotes Darwin as saying:
For I am well aware thatscarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.
But this is quoting only two sentences out of a whole paragraph, a practice that Wilson condemns! Worse, the second sentence in the quote does not include the whole sentence from the original! The part that was left out is crucial to Darwin's point! If we look at that whole sentence and the preceding context as it appears in the introduction to The Origin of the Species we read:
No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done. [Emphasis added]
Yes, Darwin was advocating a fair debate of the issues, but was he recommending that we continue to give scientific status to other views long after the issues had been debated? Definitely not! He was saying his work was incomplete at the time, but he expected to finish within three years. He wrote that he could thoroughly show that his view was scientific and that creationism was not.
Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgement of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained -- namely, that each species has been independently created -- is erroneous. I am fully convinced that species are not immutable; but that those belonging to what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species. [Emphasis added]
And so Darwin was fully convinced that his view was the only scientific one, and that after he completed his presentation, this view would be shown correct and the creationist view shown to be erroneous.
Those who quote a partial sentence from his work to make it sound like he is on the side of trueorigins.org on this issue, when he is not, are being dishonest. Darwin thought that evolution had exclusive scientific status on the question of the diversity of life. So if Wilson is going to condemn quoting out of context, perhaps he should deal with that quote.
Nevertheless, if it makes Wilson feel better, I will respond to each part of the paragraph that he thinks I did not do justice to.
I shouldn’t have to point this out but unless you were locked up in your house by these people or brought in chains on the buses, it was self-imposed control.
I had responded to this sentence: I agreed. I had allowed the fundamentalist church to control me at the time. Nobody physically locked me up and forced me to obey. That is the point I was trying to make in the original story.
All the things you describe above with disdain, I find enjoyable and honorable.
When I speak of the fundamentalist church’s laws against movies or drinking, “disdain” is not a good way to describe my reaction. People are welcome to choose any life they want. If they prefer to live the lifestyle that avoids all movies and alcohol, they may do so. I personally think they are missing some of the good of life, but I do not disdain the lifestyle. That lifestyle is not for me, but others are welcome to live that life if they so choose, providing they do not try to impose those restrictions on others.
We are lucky the church is there to tell us what we shouldn’t do. Without instruction, we can’t know real right from wrong.
For some reason Wilson thinks that the church is able to determine what is right and wrong, but we are not able to do so. Wilson would be hard-pressed to prove that the church has this ability, but the people in the church do not.
We don’t mind the schools telling us what to think but when the church gives us instruction on right and wrong, people scream, “Control!”
I had responded to this also. His assertion that we do not mind if schools tell us what to think is wrong. Most of us do mind if teachers tell us what we should think. Teachers should tell us what they have come to know, and how they know it, but they should not demand that students come to the same conclusions they have.
Control is what the Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists and every other cult teach including evolutionist professors at universities.
Some cults may teach control of the thoughts of other people, but certainly not all people teach this. Once more Wilson lumps all non-Christians into the same category, and accuses all of the faults that some may have. So when we look at Wilson's whole paragraph, we find if full of misinformation.
With this we draw the debate to a conclusion.
Wilson cannot seem to accept that I was formerly a born-again fundamentalist Christian, and then changed my mind. But I am telling you what happened to me. Wilson denies that I ever had true faith, but he has presented no real evidence for his charge.
His condemnations of moderate Christians who promote self esteem, attend movies, or believe in an old earth have no doubt alienated him from most Christians. I think most can see the problems with what he writes.
He has condemned humanism, but he completely misunderstands it. I wish he would read what humanists actually write, rather than what people have said about them.
He tells me there are answers to all the problems we skeptics have found in the Bible, but I suspect that his answers to other problems would be similar to the responses we have seen here. His response that the killing of babies might be justified to keep from degrading the gene pool is not an answer most of us would accept. If one is willing to accept any answer to such problems, and can even go to the point of recommending ethnic cleansing to keep from admitting a Bible contradiction, then most of us can see that this is desperate grasping.
We have only gotten started on the evolution debate, and there was so much more we could cover. These issues have been debated many times over on the Internet. I doubt if Wilson has seen much of such debates, for if he had read them he would not make the claim that Creationists win these debates.
I wish to thank Jeffrey Wilson for his comments. It has given the reader the chance to compare two different views.