What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

The Christendom Review

From Associate Editor William Luse:

"The new issue is out, here. Essays by Lydia McGrew and Beth Impson, poetry by Thomas DeFreitas and Lee Evans, and an affecting personal story about the first year of a marriage – and a pregnancy – by Millie Sweeny, who has contributed poetry in the past."

Previous issues can be purchased, and donations made, here as well.

Comments (3)

Milllie's meditation is so lovely, so moving . . . and I wish you could all see baby Jude!

Darwinism undermines both the idea that man is made in the image of God and the idea that man is a uniquely rational being. Furthermore, if Darwinism is correct, it is unlikely that any other support for the idea of human dignity will be found.
As a theological point this seems patently false. Theists do not presume the image of God means that God as a divine omni-being has a physical form; although Christians must grant that he assumed a physical human form in Jesus. So if the image dei is not a physical reference it must refer to something moral or intellectual within humans.

In terms of being unique, while other animals do show some rational and moral behaviors none are close to what humans are capable of at present. It is like comparing a cheetah to an ant in terms of speed, our ability to abstractly associate and plan ahead is far superior to any other animal. The more interesting question is whether this capability was as predominant in primitive human societies.

Professor Blackburn questions why those natural capacities and attributes that make humans exceptional--e.g., moral agency, rationality, creativity, etc.,--are "moral" as opposed to the sacrifices made by penguins to protect and feed their young. But this is a false comparison. The penguins are acting on instinct. They have no choice in the matter...In this sense, they are not actually doing anything laudatory. Indeed we admire their extraordinary efforts precisely because we view them through the prism of our own exceptional moral nature. In contrast to penguins and all animals, we have the capacity to choose whether and how to love, care, protect, and raise our children....(Smith 2012b p. 33, emphasis in original)

It is mostly instinct that guides human parents in their behavior to guard their nest, especially during an emergency*. If Smith is granting human moral agency the right to override instinct, which is what he appears to be doing in that last comment, he has implicitly made a pro-choice argument.

*As an aside, that is the instinct I think is driving the recent liberal backlash against assault rifles and large capacity magazines. Liberals have an abstract understanding of public schools being society’s nests and it was the savage violation of that nest that provoked their outrage against the “guns everywhere” lobby.

Step2's first quotation is from philosopher James Rachels, by the way, not from me. Rachels is making the point not as a criticism of "Darwinian" approaches to morality but rather to propose a more radically individualistic morality in place of a morality based on a general notion of the dignity and specialness of mankind.

Frankly, I don't understand what Step2's point is supposed to be concerning God's not being physical. Rachels seems to understand better that the concept of the imago dei is, at a minimum, a notion of the unique value of mankind as a species. Hence, Rachels concludes, if we think that mankind is definitely just another species of animal and is not made in the image of God, we have undermined one source, one line of support, for taking man to have unique value. This seems accurate to me.

To say that it is "mostly instinct" that guides human parents does not undermine Smith's point. Smith's point, rather, is that man has freedom of will. To call this a "pro-choice" argument is mere term-juggling. Obviously, man can make _wrong_ choices. The point is, however, that human right actions are right actions chosen, not _merely_ driven (even if partly driven) by instinct, and that this shows us an important difference--a difference related to freedom--between man and animal. Some choices contrary to instinct are wrong. Some choices contrary to instinct are good ones--when a person altruistically chooses to forego advantages and suffer hardship out of pure love of others. Smith is not saying anything about whether a given choice is wrong or right but simply pointing to human freedom of the will as a unique trait of humans, and a trait, moreover, which makes their actions either praiseworthy or blameworthy in a sense that those actions would not be if driven _purely_ by instinct.

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