For VJ Torley: Christianity’s consistency with Evolutionary Theory, JB Peterson’s Interview

Various creationists and ID proponents, myself included, have raved about the work of elite scholar and clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson who connected the rise of Christianity with concepts in evolutionary theory. His recent 2.5-hour interview was profound on many levels. I provide a link to the interview below.

Even though Peterson is an die-hard evolutionist, many ID proponents and creationists have said they were blessed to hear what he had to say. I know I was. Since I know VJ studied the topic of animal intelligence, I thought Peterson’s work might be of interest to him since Peterson ties the rise of Christianity to behavioral and neurological traits he sees deeply conserved in the mammalian kingdom.

As a creationist I interpret things a little differently than Peterson. I think the animal kingdom is an inexact picture of humanity. What he views as evolutionarily conserved behavioral traits I view as common design. He relates how a tyrannical chimpanzee patriarch in a community of chimpanzees cannot withstand the slightly more ethical semi-tyrant chimpanzees. He thus concludes ethics are a deeply ancient trait of mammalian behavior. What he says is somewhat consistent with Daniel Dennett who although is an opponent of Christianity, concluded natural selection must have favored humans with religious pre-dispositions since the behavioral trait is so abundant. Dennett views religion as a reproductively successful adaptation.

Peterson also offers a piercing critique of post modernism and neo-marxism and champions free market capitalism because free markets don’t have the waste created by government enforcement of policies. It was utterly amazing he could weave so many lines of thought together coherently. I listened to the interview a few times on a long long drive.

One amazing thing he said was the connection of evil in men’s hearts being tied to desire for revenge against God even if one is an atheist. He relates how some patients in his clinical practice found cures through developing a theology of good and evil. He pointed out how some war veterans suffering Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) wrote him to tell him they got cured of their PTSD while listening to his lectures about evil.

Peterson argues that Christianity articulated some of the most fundamental truths more successfully than other religions and philosophical systems. He points out pain is one of the ultimate undeniable truths, and that philosophies that don’t recognizes the tragedy of the human condition reject truth at some level. He claims post modernism fails because it does not recognize the existence of pain demolishes the central tenet of post modernism that there are infinitely many coherent interpretations of facts.

He shows why the truth of pain refutes post modern philosophy and Christianity is more coherent philosophically because of its treatment of the fact of pain. He points out the central figure in Christianity is Jesus Christ suffering on the cross. Because the central figure of Christianity is the suffering messiah, Christianity is therefore is aligned with a fundamental aspect of reality and thus truth. He argues the concept of Logos and truth were very well developed in Christianity as a religion and served also partly for Christianity’s decline after the so-called enlightenment.

Here is the link to Peterson’s 2017 interview:

69 thoughts on “For VJ Torley: Christianity’s consistency with Evolutionary Theory, JB Peterson’s Interview

  1. Alan Fox: The explosion of human culture over the last ten thousand years has no parallel or precedent in other species. I was just concerned to emphasize the roots and origins of that cultural explosion run deep and there are suggestions of similarities so that the difference is degree not kind..

    But is the difference between differences of degree and difference of kind itself a difference of degree or a difference of kind?

    I’m not happy with the “difference of degree vs difference of kind” distinction. It seems to me that in many cases, difference of degree at one level of organization can in fact lead to differences of kind at another level.

    There were probably not too many modifications in the timing of developmental events that took place on the six million year journey from Miocene hominoids to behaviorally and anatomically modern humans, yet the ramifications of those changes are extraordinary when you look at cognition and social organization. Humans have religions, markets, states, institutions, rituals, prayers, sacrifices, arguments, experiments, paintings, poems, philosophical treatises — and not just in any one culture but around the world.

  2. stcordova,

    “serious venues within ID circles” is of course meant as a joke almost exclusively for myopic protestants who didn’t mature theologically beyond their own individual interpretation of scripture. Mighta had a pastor they liked, from whom they got their philosophistry of science. And never turned back again.

    They have no trust or respect in Kingdom and Community; just in themselves as a band of USA revolutionaries, some of them life gamblers to boot. They, including Sal, are completely oblivious to much of the damage they have caused. It’s really a shame of credibility & isolationism, which the Discovery Institute and its activist workers now face. Luskin & Dembski merely last year’s casualties.

    “TSZ has been a fabulous place to get correction and editorial review of my ideas.”

    ROTFL! After the fallout at UD, with open arms Sal is shining the bellies of his atheist friends at UD for humouring his attempts to ‘convert’ them with what he believes to be true: the Earth is young & Jesus wants STC to personally tattoo that ideology on your forehead with the word: YEC FAITH.

    Ignominious, if Salvador T. Cordova were sincerely in his heart of hearts OPEN TO CORRECTION, then he would have dropped YECism long ago. His pretense seems to know no ends. He continues to bring shame on the religion that he claims to love. It is a shame he has found no language to express or admit is even possible to feel.

    Yet given that he’s not actually a scientific moron, and surely not anti-science like many of his fellow sectarian protestants are, a leap of faith based in sound Christian teachings might allow him eventually to drop the martyr-like pride of ideological YECism.

    The pride of the YECist who puffs his or her chest in front of Jesus in prayer is one of the most amazingly distorted and decadent symbols of bigotry leftover from 20th century USAmerican ideological “creationism.”

  3. Greg,

    You’re back on my ignore list. Congratulations.

    Whale away with lengthy criticism of me and waste more hours of your life writing things I won’t bother even reading.

  4. I write to be ignored … by many IDists and theistic “evolutionists” who think evangelical protestantism was mysteriously blessed with God’s greatest gifts to intellectual life. What arrogant nonsense these people portray of themselves to the world through their own insularity.

    Caught in their own delusions of grandeur and hype, these “creationists” and “IDists” (but not the DI kind of IDists, just those other non-denominational IDists, wink at their non-leader Vincent J. Torley!), instead of helping the situation, as their previously unified religion would suggest to them, they drive ecumenical individualism and sectarian divisiveness into the coffins of their “science & faith” yawn show.

    Carry on with your Ignore buttons, as expected, stcordova. And of course, word up, keep the faith.

  5. stcordova: We can talk about why I think common design is a better explanation outside this present discussion some time. Would you like to do that?

    Would it be OK for me to start a discussion here at TSZ on the topic of my views of common design. You know I’m always eager for any chance to broadcast my opinions.

    Most certainly.

  6. Hi Sal,

    Thanks very much for the MP3 you sent me. I listened to some of it this morning, and I’ll try to listen to the rest tonight, when I get home. Sounds like a very wide-ranging discussion to me. Cheers.

  7. “There’s so much stupidity in Peterson’s work that it’s hard to know where to start.”

    As for calling people “stupid” at TSZ, I’m so thankful that people like Peterson exist in this world to cleanse it from the nonsense and disenchanted philosophistry of people like Kantian Naturalist.

  8. So one day Mungtorius, Vincenzo & stanC were hanging out together in ‘real life’ sitting on a http://www.arak29.am/PDF_PPT/6-Literature/Eliot/Chtherock_eng.htm when all of a sudden their “thinking” lives got interrupted by a little squeak in Seattle & somehow rudely fragmented by a crazy theory perpetrated on easily banjo-ed USAmerican hooligan evangelicals & their down-under friends.

    Paid for by hijinks & hocus-pocus in the Emerald City that all of them being honest would deny, each in his own way. Perhaps it has some kind of odd Azat-Americo-Grunge echo tribal spell in that city that turned them all into toadstools instead of men. Dembski has retired. No YECist has credibility on the table, because there can be a buffer to entry and other tables exist where mature dialogue can be had without fanatics & stcordova petting agnostics &
    atheists for play.

    Apparently they did not realise they had a rewind button on their training wands. And especially Vincenzo wanted to upgrade his wand so dearly at some kind of world-recognised Wizards’ School, so in their “teamwork” (they seemed to miss the really big, even biggest moment of the Movement together, cheerleading as ideologues while it passed them by. Mungtorius dropped a grand on the wrong house & went home to tuck in his kids, un-phased by and uncurious in what changed the next man’s life.

  9. newton: The left wing is part of the public just not the part you agree with.

    You’re talking now.Are you seeking enforce your religious views or is it an affront to your traditional English usage.

    At some Universities though I expect it was talked to death before it became policy.

    Nothing can make up for the the tragedy of pronounism

    It is not morality it is courtesy

    My God doesn’t care , why should your version take precedence?

    Its not the pubic as in the vast majority of the public. its tiny firceful groups working with a consenting left establishment. Universities are just what they say they own.
    However its anything of of note.
    Control of conversation is a objective because they know they can’t control the public conclusions where there is contention.
    Yes its a the same agenda as used historically in mankind.
    Its an opportunity for good guys everywhere to take them on and then their conclusions.
    However it shows free thought and free speech is not understood still.
    They don’t get the foundations of its legitimacy.
    In fact its the left wing forceful groups simply going to fast, to hard that gives them a bad name. They are skrew ups.
    The opponents of them are not great but look better in comparison.
    however its about truth and who can speak the truth and is in written in the law.
    There should be no censorship in North america by this time.
    Yet there is more then ever.
    Everybody. Origin subject blogs too. I know.
    TSZ does a great job but does deal with malice and so must say no.
    yet they don’t censor ideas however others find them offensive.

  10. Gregory: Mungtorius dropped a grand on the wrong house & went home to tuck in his kids, un-phased by and uncurious in what changed the next man’s life.

    I outdid myself this year.

  11. Kantian Naturalist: But is the difference between differences of degree and difference of kind itself a difference of degree or a difference of kind?

    In this context, I was thinking of differences that evolve in a series of small steps rather than a “saltation”. The cultural evolution that took place could have started with the emergence of the first modern humans, which gives the possibility of three hundred thousand years of development. On the other hand, the first evidence of humans living in societies that might be called civilisations begins around 5,000 years ago, and probably independently in several locations: the Indus Valley, Chia, Mesopotamia and Egypt, pre-Columbian America.

    I’m not happy with the “difference of degree vs difference of kind” distinction. It seems to me that in many cases, difference of degree at one level of organization can in fact lead to differences of kind at another level.

    Oh sure. Emergence.

    There were probably not too many modifications in the timing of developmental events that took place on the six million year journey from Miocene hominoids to behaviorally and anatomically modern humans, yet the ramifications of those changes are extraordinary when you look at cognition and social organization. Humans have religions, markets, states, institutions, rituals, prayers, sacrifices, arguments, experiments, paintings, poems, philosophical treatises — and not just in any one culture but around the world.

    Indeed. And the transition in the line of descent of social apes in family groups from forest niche to savannah and nomadic tribes that still live without many modern conveniences today seems gentle progression compared to the undocumented change to the first large city states and empires. Interesting too, is how, of all the early civilisations, none develop and survive as does western civilisation, from Greece, via Rome and Byzantium to Medieval Europe.

    I’ve been reading SPQR by historian and expert on the Roman period, Mary Beard, who has some novel ideas why the Roman empire managed to become so dominant and enduring. An antidote to Gibbon!

  12. walto: I generally respond by asking them why they don’t eat dog or cat. There’s probably no good reason for it–just empathy. And the cuteness factor, maybe.

    This prompts the question: Why don’t we eat rats either? Empathy? Cuteness?

    And the question is promptly answered by the fact that in native East Asian and Pacific cultures both dogs and rats go down just fine. They have no empathy or revulsion with regard to those species. They see meat, that’s all.

  13. Have no energy (or time) to watch the video, but was struck by the statement that:

    One amazing thing he said was the connection of evil in men’s hearts being tied to desire for revenge against God even if one is an atheist.

    Well, in my case I am apathetic about God but wake up shaking with rage and frustrated that I don’t get to wreak vengeance on Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

    😉

  14. I’ve been perpetually pissed off about Darth Vader since i first saw A New Hope as a kid.

    And dont get me started about the Chaos God Slaanesh from Warhammer 40.000.

  15. Kantian Naturalist: But is the difference between differences of degree and difference of kind itself a difference of degree or a difference of kind?

    Of category.

    Kantian Naturalist: It seems to me that in many cases, difference of degree at one level of organization can in fact lead to differences of kind at another level.

    Example?

    Kantian Naturalist: There were probably not too many modifications in the timing of developmental events that took place on the six million year journey from Miocene hominoids to behaviorally and anatomically modern humans, yet the ramifications of those changes are extraordinary when you look at cognition and social organization. Humans have religions, markets, states, institutions, rituals, prayers, sacrifices, arguments, experiments, paintings, poems, philosophical treatises — and not just in any one culture but around the world.

    So when all humans have culture, then is it unclear that the differences in culture are differences of degree? Whereas a human without culture would be a difference in kind.

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