The Girl told me a story a few months ago that on one of the first days of Criminal Law there was a discussion of what constitutes rape. The professor grew frustrated because the students were not as talkative as he had hoped. How is this a surprise? Even a volunteer offering a definition of rape is bound to not be inclusive enough for everyone and hence be potentially seen as a misogynist. Zizek offers the lesson to be drawn on page of 50 of In Defense of Lost Causes:

[T]he sign of progress in our societies is that one does not need to argue against rape: it is “dogmatically” clear to everyone that rape is wrong, and we all feel that even arguing against it is too much. If someone were to advocate the legitimacy of rape, it would be a sad sign if one had to argue against him – he should simply appear ridiculous. And the same should hold for torture.

For Zizek the torture comment was not a non-sequitor, you can thank my politics for its inclusion. Anywhoo, I think there is a sophisticated criticism of the way the law applies rape. Rape is not about the relationship of two people compared to a standard rather rape is about the relationship of the two people involved (I recognize that rape can sometimes involve more than two people). William Volmann provides an example of this notion: if on a public bus in Riyadh a man approaches a woman and removes her hijab then that is a form of violence and public humiliation which should be considered a form of rape. Even if it happens in Detroit it ought to be considered a form of rape. Our law, however, is invested with a blind spot. In its efforts to prosecute the worst forms of rape it allows other forms which are deemed by society to be less reprehensible. I am not illusioned to think this is a failure of our legal system, rather it is a problem with law as it is administered by bureaucracies.

The ridiculousness of arguing against rape seems to be almost on par with an event that happened during the Republican Primary debates. Arianna Huffington is correct to say that when five of the candidates raised their hands to say they did not believe in evolution they should have been escorted from the stage and consideration as President. Evolution is not an atheist belief, it is entirely consistent with religion. And there is a wealth of scientific proof of it as a theory to explain variation among species. It is akin to not believing in gravity. I do not want to be all doom and gloom but I find it sad that someone who si so fundamentalist can even gain enough constituents to make a run for the nomination of the incumbent party. My lachrymose mood should not be read as a Democratic rant, rather it should be read as a bipartisan rant about where we are as Americans. Being raised in Texas by a family proud of its country-folk status I am saddened by the theme most unifying of rednecks, a disavowal of education and “high falootin nonsense”. Not that I believe higher education is devoid of nonsense, there is plenty to go around, but an altogether denigration of education seems to be a growing trend. And these are the same people that tend to have the largest families.

What About Intelligent Design? – Part 7 – Is Theistic Evolution a Valid Compromise? « Minds 2 Mentes

Here at SN we are divided about the existence of God, so it falls on the atheist for portions of this argument: we concur with Minds 2 Mentes (M2M) that “the Theistic Evolution stance is a cop-out that has been created to try to conform to the world” but not because “no compromise is possible” rather it is an attempt to hold onto faith in the face of overwhelming evidence for evolution and against portions of creation myths.

I do enjoy the series from M2M because they (apologies if the author was not both M2M contributors) offer up unusual and challenging arguments.  This is refreshing for someone that has been slogging through the same tired arguments for the past 20 years.  Here I will just focus on part 7 and explain why their disputation of Theistic Evolution fails to persuade.

M2M’s first argument is that the two (evolution and creationism) cannot co-exist because they need not co-exist.  Strict evolutionists do not need a creator and creationists do not need a natural selection mechanism.  M2M then confuses a polar system to be a binary one: one where permutations do not exist.  The Theistic Evolutionists’ argument is already more advanced, as they begin with a criticism of such a stark either/or ordering of the debate.

M2M’s next argument is the more interesting one, especially since it focuses on the conception of death.  M2M’s flaw, however, is that they focus on death when their textual evidence focuses on human death.  For M2M death did not exist until The Fall, whereas natural selection requires death to occur.  If there was no death before The Fall then their argument makes complete sense, but that is not the case.  It is entirely consistent with scripture to say death existed among non-humans, after all none of the other creatures were fashioned in God’s image.  This claim also seems to have biblical support as the Garden of Eden had non-humans, which were under human stewardship.  I have always interpreted and heard interpretations (to support carnivorous activities) that these creatures were edible.  Death therefore existed before The Fall, allowing evolution to occur in some senses and still allowing some forms of the creation myth.

Rereading their post again but with a recognition of M2M’s erroneous elision of ‘human’ from ‘human death’ rehabilitates the very theory they try to dispute. They attempt to correct a contradiction that would unravel the theory of salvation.  My method (placing ‘human’ in front of ‘death’ in their post) would also make the same repair but without calling evolutionists stupid (they do it nicely though.)