Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If God used an evolutionary process to create us, why did he do it that way?

An interesting question relating the argument from evil to evolution. This is a common argument against forms of theism that accept at least large chunks of evolutionary biology:

Using an evolutionary process over a long time, as opposed to custom-creating everything in six days, seems to leave us with a world that has a lot of suffering in it that would not have otherwise have been there.
Further, one of the reasons that is most frequently offered for believing in evolution is that we have various features that are less than optimal. Our backs tend to hurt because standing straight is a relatively new development in our evolution, and somewhat unnatural. But if God had custom-made us, he would have given us stronger backs that don't get sore so easily. Why didn't God do that?

What is the best theistic response to this objection?

39 comments:

colorao said...

Best response to that argument:

Grow up. When did you create, even on paper, something as complex as a cosmos or a mammal?

Gordon Knight said...

yes, and I assume God has other ends than creating human beings.

unkle e said...

I think it is a real problem, and I would not be happy with either of the responses so far (I'm sorry).

I think we should see this as an extension of the questions "Why did God create material beings?" and "Why did God create at all?" And so far my thoughts are:

(1) God created because he is self-giving love, and giving autonomous life to others is conferring an amazing good. Hence it is the sort of thing that self-giving love would do. In that sense humans are "little gods".

(2) But how can life be autonomous if the all-powerful creator of everything is hanging around? We would just be "squashed"! So I wonder if God created the physical world partly because it allows him to distance himself from us and leave us more truly autonomous.

(3) Thus we in fact have some ability to create ourselves independently of God - our choices through life create character and who we are at the end of life (and hence in heaven) is as much a result of our choices as what we started with. God gives us this much autonomy!

(4) Evolution therefore becomes part of this approach - even the universe is allowed to evolve. Of course, it is all within the parameters God set up at the start, but it does allow God to "keep his distance".

That's all awfully speculative, but it at least gives me some sense of a possible explanation.

steve said...

"Further, one of the reasons that is most frequently offered for believing in evolution is that we have various features that are less than optimal. Our backs tend to hurt because standing straight is a relatively new development in our evolution, and somewhat unnatural. But if God had custom-made us, he would have given us stronger backs that don't get sore so easily. Why didn't God do that?"

That's such a silly example, although it gets used and reused all the time to allegedly illustrate a design flaw or suboptimal design.

Well, in my experience and observation, we suffer from back pain either because we're getting old or because we overexert ourselves by using our backs to do things they were never meant to do.

That isn't a design flaw. To the contrary, that's a disregard for design specifications. If a bridge collapses because you put far more weight on the bridge than it was engineered to support, that isn't a design flaw.

Likewise, the fact that aging backs are sore isn't a mark of suboptimal design. That's not a design flaw. Rather, that's simply a side-effect of the aging process.

Now, we could discuss the aging process, but Christian theology already has an explanation for that.

colorao said...

And so it is, our blog host has creatively produced a discussion through our comments to an apparently simplistic Socratic question. Some analogy there -- creator, then many take part, the dance of life.

Leonard said...

"Using an evolutionary process over a long time, as opposed to custom-creating everything in six days, seems to leave us with a world that has a lot of suffering in it that would not have otherwise have been there."

I dont think there is much suffering in the natural realm. predators kill their prey quick, while it is under shock and does not feel much pain. There is very, very small amount of unnecessary suffering in the natural world

Pain, in the natural world, does probably more good than harm, because its a very good warning system that strongly induces to avoid harm.

"But if God had custom-made us, he would have given us stronger backs that don't get sore so easily. Why didn't God do that?"

"To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you."
17. Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18. "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19. By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return."

JJ said...

Maybe it was never God's will for us to stand up. Real Christians go about on all fours...

Anonymous said...

It's not much of an objection. First, it rests largely on the idea that humanity was the only desired outcome of evolution - but who believes that, and why? As far as Christianity goes, it's always seemed clear to me that God's purposes were expressly multiple - as in, animals, plants, planets, etc exist in part for their own sakes, not simply as part of a recipe to create man.

Second, who's to say God's purposes reduce purely to design efficiency (as opposed to art, or other considerations)? Or worse, that if there were a real God he would be the greatest eugenicist, never allowing imperfect creatures to exist? Following the reasoning of "If God existed, our backs would be stronger" leads to "If God existed, he'd never let cripples come into being."

Tech said...

I think it can be argued as follows.
1) Scientists use evolutionary principles and evolutionary algorithms to find optimal designs on a fitness landscape.

2) It can be argued that all evolutionary principles, evolutionary algorithms and fitness landscapes (including those in other universes) exist BECAUSE of God.

3) God wanted to create/design/make biological entities that are well adapted to their specific fitness landscape.

4) Humans exist as very optimal designs that are close to or on their global optimum of their particular fitness landscape (earth) because of a well designed evolutionary algorithms governing the evolutionary search for optimal designs.

The simulation argument can also be dragged into this type line of reasoning I guess, like here:
http://telicthoughts.com/the-simulation-argument-meets-evolutionary-informatics/

And it explains the optimality of the genetic code very nicely as well.

Tech said...

Sorry, I think 4) can be rephrased 4) and 5) can be included:
4) God also wanted to design human beings that are close to or on their global optimum of their particular fitness landscape (earth)

5) The best possible means of achieving such optimality is by employing evolutionary principles and well designed evolutionary algorithms that search for these optimal designs on a particular fitness landscape (such as earth).

David B. Ellis said...


I dont think there is much suffering in the natural realm. predators kill their prey quick, while it is under shock and does not feel much pain. There is very, very small amount of unnecessary suffering in the natural world


Really? I take it you've never been mauled by a bear. I suspect someone who had might have a slightly different take on the matter.

Predators don't always manage to kill their prey quickly. How many millions of times, over the course of evolutionary history, do you think a prey animal has managed to get away from a predator with grave wounds and then taken days of slow agony to die?

How many millions of animals have lived in an area experiencing a drought and slowly died of thirst?

Or take the example William Rowe uses in his evidential argument from evil:


In some distant forest lightning strikes a dead tree, resulting in a forest fire. In the fire a fawn is trapped, horribly burned, and lies in terrible agony for several days before death relieves its suffering.


How many times have scenarios of a similar sort been played out in nature? More than a few I suspect.

Peter Sean Bradley said...

If God used an evolutionary process to create us, why did he do it that way?

This argument is taken from James Blish's "A Case of Conscience."

Did Adam have a navel?

One could easily say, "of course not." The navel is the evidence of a particular human's human past, namely having had a mother, which Adam lacked.

Yet, all of the great artists have painted Adam with a navel. Are they wrong?

Maybe not. Adam was an archetype and prototype of the human being. Moreover, Adam was created with all proper human perfections and traits. Human beings have mothers as a trait and perfection that is properly due to the condition of being human. Therefore, in some sense, an Adam without a navel would have been less human than his descendants. Similarly, having a navel would have been fitting since it would have gestured at the fact that it is part of human beings to have a past, a past that included having a mother.

Likewise, if God created the world from scratch, then it would have been fitting for God to have given the world a past, because things that have no past are less perfect than things that have a past.

Of course, it would have been even more fitting, perhaps, for a thing to have a past, rather than the semblance of a past.

Under either hypothesis, evolution is fitting because it provides the natural past, a history, which makes a thing more perfect than something that lacks a history.

Blish, an atheist who seemed to know his St. Thomas, put the following into the mouth of his fictional Jesuit priest, who is confronted with an world that seems to confirm atheism:

"What does that prove?" Cleaver said.

"That the geological record, and recapitulation too, do not necessarily prove the descent of man. Given my initial axiom, which is that God created everything from scratch, it's perfectly logical that he should have given Adam a navel, Earth a geological record, and the embryo the process of recapitulation. None these need indicate a real past; all might be there becasue the creations involved would have been imperfect otherwise."

A Case of Conscience (Del Rey, 1958) p. 95.

SE said...

Following the reasoning of "If God existed, our backs would be stronger" leads to "If God existed, he'd never let cripples come into being."

Maybe he wouldn't have, though a better way of putting it would be: "If God existed, he'd never let anyone who came into being become a cripple".

This wouldn't make God "the greatest eugenicist", it would make Him "the greatest preventative medicine practitioner".

the surgeon is in said...

Who says God has to guarantee that there is no such thing as "suffering" in the natural world?

Suffering is not equivalent to "EVIL".

Leonard said...

"Predators don't always manage to kill their prey quickly. How many millions of times, over the course of evolutionary history, do you think a prey animal has managed to get away from a predator with grave wounds and then taken days of slow agony to die?"

Probably not very often. If the predator manages to inflict grave wounds, he will also in the vast majority of cases manage to catch his prey.

How many millions of animals have lived in an area experiencing a drought and slowly died of thirst?

How many millions of animals live in areas that are well suited to their bodily functions? The vast majority does.

In some distant forest [...]

How many times have scenarios of a similar sort been played out in nature? More than a few I suspect.


How many animals would still be alive, if they had no pain receptors?

On the whole pain does more good than harm.

But even if an animal suffers a grave wound, so that it dies in the course of some days, what happens is, that in the beginning it maybe has great pain, but in the course of its last days, the intensity of the pain gets lower. This is a normal neurological response. The neural system looses its sensitivity to a stimulus if the stimulus is applied repeatedly in short succession.

If the pain gets unbearable, most animals loose their consciousness anyway.

There are many mechanism that reduce unecessary suffering. And on the whole it is only a minute amount.

I would even venture to say that on the whole there is more pleasure than pain, because most activities are driven by a desire for pleasure and not by a desire to avoid pain.

David B. Ellis said...

Such casual dismissal of the suffering of animals tells us much about your personal indifference to the subject and nothing that serves to make the idea of a loving creator consistent with the world we observe.

Jason Pratt said...

The suffering of animals becomes morally problematic only if the animals are consciously suffering. But consciousness is probably very rare among living creatures (including plants as well as animals). It may sound heartless, but a lot of what we perceive as problematic suffering is likely to be sympathetic projection on our part--in effect we infer an externalist fallacy by imagination of what we would feel if we (conscious entities) were going through that situation.

I don't mean by this that I think no other animals are conscious than humans; on the contrary, I think even normally unconscious species can sometimes be wakened to consciousness by the love of other conscious entities, and I am entirely prepared to include not only animals but even (speculatively and ideally) plants or even non-organic complex systems (like, for example, ships). I only mean that until consciousness is an issue, suffering isn't an issue; so the perceieved 'size' of the problem is (almost?) certainly 'larger' than it really is.


More to the point, the appeal is an unphilosophical rhetorical smokescreen: the problem of conscious suffering only needs one confirmed example of conscious suffering to be applicable in principle for consideration. Adducing any more instances beyond that confirmed example (and the confirmation starts with any of us, pretty much, as self-attesters of our own conscious character and characteristics) only adds emotional weight. Not principle weight. I don't say this to reduce the problem; on the contrary, the point is that the existence of only one such instance in all natural history would not reduce whatever principle problems might be adduced from that instance.

(It might feel like only one or a few examples would be not worth bothering making objections about. But it hardly demonstrates superior charity to require larger and larger number of examples in order to increase the feeling that the existence of those instances is worth objecting to. I already think the question is important when the woman I love the most, or even my cat, experiences unwanted suffering. I ought think the question is still important if it's Hitler, or the dog of someone who lived 700 years ago in Australia--so long as I believe a dog can grow to consciously suffer, of course, which as it happens I do.)

JRP

Jason Pratt said...

Someone else in this thread has already pointed out (though maybe not in so many words) that a neutral field of reactive reality might be necessary for even one (much moreso multiple) derivative persons to exist at all; and that neutral field of reactive reality might have to be inconvenient to us (as conscious entities) on occasion.

That inconvenience, as minor as we might imagine it to be in whatever circumstances, would still open the exact same principle question of whether unwanted conscious 'suffering' somehow testifies against the existence of an ethical, loving God. And that's without yet even having introduced the concept of unwanted suffering as a result of evolutionary development (by whatever means).

Yet again, if other supernaturalistic entities are tampering with our ecosystem (much as we do when breeding animals for our own conveniences and developing stock characteristics thereby), they may be doing so while trying to serve God (yet without omnipotent competency--though God may still be considered to hold the final authoritative bill for the results, so to speak!); or they may be doing so in rebellion against God (Who again may yet still be considered to hold the final authoritative bill of responsibility for allowing them to do so instead of acting more directly to stop them) and hatred against us.

The latter position has long been traditionally held among theists, actually (not only among Christians, either, but across the history of world religions). And it would introduce the complication of outright sin (not only unwanted but incidental system inconvenience to conscious entities). Of course, the problem of evil can (and should) be addressed without recourse to the postulation of tampering devils--it should in fact be addressed insofar as possible with reference to any violations of our own against what we otherwise perceive to be ethically superior to ourselves.

But still, it's an example of potential complexity worth considering: if cows are conscious, they would be quite justified in believing in the existence of devils, enslaving and murdering them with fear and temptations of the flesh, etc.!--even if they weren't exactly accurate as to the specific nature of those entities. (And even if those devils honestly didn't believe the cows were conscious creatures and so didn't believe they were sinning in treating them with such brutally natural convenience.)

Do we blame God for allowing us to kill cows, if cows are not conscious entities? Should we blame God for allowing us to kill cows, if cows are conscious entities!? (Maybe we should! But we ought to account for our own personal responsibility in that literal holocaust as well--especially insofar as we suspect or even outright know those cows are conscious.)

JRP

drwayman said...

Dr. Reppert - Is it possible that mankind is de-evolving but it is covered up by being more technologically advanced? Human nature is worsening in spite of all the "measures" we look at to soothe our consciences that we are getting better. Not to be a pessimist but we are experiencing more crime than ever before. Just in America, we have for the first time in history, more than 1 million people incarcerated in our prisons.

David B. Ellis said...


Human nature is worsening in spite of all the "measures" we look at to soothe our consciences that we are getting better. Not to be a pessimist but we are experiencing more crime than ever before. Just in America, we have for the first time in history, more than 1 million people incarcerated in our prisons.


This is the persistent "everything's going to hell in a handbasket" myth. You can find reference to people in ancient Greece talking about how these kids today, they've got no respect for anything. Everythings getting worse, not like when I was a kid....

As to a new high in prison population there are at least of couple of things that weigh against it as an accurate indicator of social ills across time. One is that the population is growing. So even if the same percentage of people are going to prison its still going to be a higher number of individuals than in the past. Second is that this may reflect a "get tough on crime" attitude among lawmakers, judges and juries rather than an actual increase in crime.

As to human nature worsening: within my own culture we've seen great successes in, for example, combating racism and sexism. Worldwide the numbers of deaths from violence have dropped every decade since World War 2. And crime in general has dropped in the USA over the past couple of decades. You're simply mistaken in the "more crime than ever before" comment--crime peaked in the 80s and has on a downward trend since then.

David B. Ellis said...


The suffering of animals becomes morally problematic only if the animals are consciously suffering....It may sound heartless, but a lot of what we perceive as problematic suffering is likely to be sympathetic projection on our part


Except you never actually give any reason why you think its "likely" this is just projection on our part.

normajean said...

we have bad backs because we eat in-n-out burger and do no sit-ups. Happy (one day late) Thanksgiving!

drwayman said...

David - I guess it is a matter of perspective regarding de-evolution. For example, FBI data is scattered. "The estimated number of violent crimes in 2008 was 1,382,012 offenses, a decrease of 1.9 percent over the 2007 estimate, but an increase of 1.6 percent from 2004." http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_01a.html

It also depends upon which sociological perspective one takes. Are you taking the functionalist, conflict or the symbolic-interactionist perspective? Also, are we talking about index crimes or non-index crimes?

I imagine we could find conflicting data. How do you know which one to believe? God's Word let's us know that humanity will return to the sinfulness that it once knew before the flood of Noah (Matt 24:37).

David B. Ellis said...

There are inevitably fluctuations up and done from year to year even where the trend is steadily downward. Surely someone who's able to throw around terms like "symbolic-interactionist sociological perspective" would know that.


It also depends upon which sociological perspective one takes. Are you taking the functionalist, conflict or the symbolic-interactionist perspective?


I'm sure I'm not the only one with nary a clue what those two terms mean. If you want to throw around jargon that any reasonable person who not expect to be common knowledge then define your terms. Otherwise it just makes you look like you're using pedantry to hide your lack of support for your position.

drwayman said...

David - you seem to be a symbolic-interactionist to me. You can see this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_interactionist if you can trust Wikipedia, which is always suspect.

I didn't know what the word pedantry meant so I looked it up. That's one of the things I like about blogging, I'm always learning new things. I wasn't trying to make "an inappropriate display of learning" as defined by dictionary.com. What I was trying to show was that there are a variety of opinions out there about criminal behavior as evidence of my contention of de-evolution. However, whatever theory one subscribes to, my point is that God's Word is true because theories change and stats can be manipulated.

Anonymous said...

According to the stats here: http://www.prisonandjail.org/bjs//glance/tables/viortrdtab.htm -- violent victimization rates haven't been sliding down since the 80s. It looks like crime has been trending downward since 1994. Granted, a 15 year trend is nice, but it's shorter than has been suggested here.

And of course, this is only one factor (and has largely taken place during quite a lot of economic and technological progress). Plenty of serious social ills aren't considered crimes, or are no longer considered crimes.

David B. Ellis said...


David - you seem to be a symbolic-interactionist to me.


I've looked it up. I take no position on the subject one way or the other. Getting back to the question of whether your claim that human nature has worsened is justified:

The only evidence you've put forward so far in support of this claim is:

A. We're experiencing more crime than ever before.

And:

B. There are more people in prison in America ever before.

A is false (if you disagree feel free to support your claim that crime is getting worse) and B is, for reasons already explained, not a good indicator of an increase in social ills.

Another question. Since you think crime indicates a devolution of human nature would this not indicate that there are different human natures in different countries? Crime levels in many countries are quite low. Surely crime levels are indicative of cultural factors and not a fundamental change in human nature.

What it comes down to is that you've made a pretty strong and, on the face of it, implausible claim in your idea that human nature is devolving. Its up to you to support it if you can.

David B. Ellis said...

Anonymous, thanks, I was commenting from memory and apparently, if this data can be trusted, my memory was faulty.

What that data indicates is that from 1973 to 1994 crime fluctuated between the mid to high 40s and low 50s of violent crimes per 1000 people in the population (with it never dropping below 42) and then, starting with 1994, it dropped steadily until, now, its at 19.3.

Which certainly doesn't support Wayman's thesis that "we are experiencing more crime than ever before". Much less the bizarre idea that, even if it were true that crime has gone up, that it indicates a devolution of human nature rather than cultural problems.

drwayman said...

David - you have proven that it is debatable regarding statistical proof of de-evolution. You've ignored this statement that I made, "However, whatever theory one subscribes to, my point is that God's Word is true because theories change and stats can be manipulated." God's Word makes it clear that sinfulness will increase as it did during the time of Noah.

Jeremy said...

Two things occur to me in this conversation.

1: The original argument only really works if we assume that God is done. If we are the height of human evolution, then one could say that there are problems, but as evolution is a very long, drawn out process, it seems awfully silly to think that we are.

2: The crime argument needs more than just a 15 year looksie. Seriously, the ethnocentric crap is pointless. Even if the US was sliding straight into hell, it wouldn't prove a thing other than America has issues. Take a larger look over, say, the last 2000 years and get back to me on whether humanity has begun to de-evolve or not. It takes more than a quarter century to derail something that spans millions of years.

drwayman said...

Jeremy - I appreciate your ability to sum up what was going on in my discussion with David. Your points are well-received. You highlight a very real problem with the discussion and that is that for evolution to work there has be millions of years assumed. That is right up the alley of what I was saying. Evolution is a theory. De-evolution is a theory. No one has been around for millions of years to let us know what is really happening. Therefore, we can look at stats and theories to bolster our argument. Hence, I base my understanding on the Bible. There is no reason to make this a discussion on whether the Bible is true or not. Those who hold to evolution base their assumption on empiricism which is difficult as well as you aptly put, millions of years would be hard to replicate. Anyway, thanks Jeremy for your post. I also appreciate the comment about ethnocentrism. Sorry, my bad!

David B. Ellis said...


You've ignored this statement that I made, "However, whatever theory one subscribes to, my point is that God's Word is true because theories change and stats can be manipulated."


That statement simply doesn't make any sense. In what conceivable way does the fact that theories change and stats can be manipulated indicate anything about "God's Word"?


God's Word makes it clear that sinfulness will increase as it did during the time of Noah.


A. I'm not a Christian. I'm not going to be convinced by statement of "the Bible says so". Only by actual evidence in support of your position.

B. Presumably you mean that sinfulness will increase in the last days? But we've no particular reason, even if Christians to assume these are the last days. You've got your train of logic backwards. You could argue, on Christian assumptions, that if crime is getting worse we may be living in the last days---but to argue that crime is getting worse on the assumption that we're living in the last days is just begging the question.


Evolution is a theory. De-evolution is a theory.


Evolution is a theory well supported by a massive amount of evidence and widely accepted by the scientific community.

Your ideas about de-evolution are something you pulled out of....well, let's just say "thin air" for the sake of civility.

drwayman said...

David - I knew that when I engaged you that we wouldn't have a meeting of the minds. However, I appreciate that we have blogs like this that we can get our ideas out there. It's OK if we can't see each other's points of view, that doesn't change the fact that you make great art and debate well. Thank you for the opportunity of discussion, it was enlightening. Until next time, my friend.

John W. Loftus said...

This objection to theism is something I hammer home in chapter nine of my forthcoming book. I even included a bonus chapter on "The Bible and the Treatment of Animals," if you follow the link.

Just think vegetarian. There are examples of vegetarians in the natural world so there can be no legitimate objection to God's having created us all that way.

David B. Ellis said...

Thanks, Wayman. Yes, we're never likely to change the others mind on matters of religion (or other issues that strong engage people) but its useful debating it none the less.

drwayman said...

David - I would like to give a comment regarding stats, at least in relation to crime. I mentioned three theories. Empiricism states that the researcher starts with no apriori assumptions however, the stats on crime are from one of these three sociological theories: 1) Conflict theory teaches that crime is the result of societal inequalities, 2) functional theory teaches that society is an organism and that crime is a necessary element of society, for example, we need crime to keep the criminal justice system in business, and 3) symbolic-interactionism teaches that crime has to do with interpretation and meaning. My observation is that #3 dominates research, so that is why I find criminal stats suspect. They start with an apriori assumption.

drwayman said...

In regard to evolution, I start with an apriori assumption, and I readily admit that. I start with the assumption that the Bible is true. The Bible teaches that mankind is the culmination of God's creation and that God's creation was perfect. Therefore, from the time that evil entered the world, it has been downhill ever since. I just want you to know that's where I pulled that from. You will find disagreement among people who believe the Bible to be true as to whether we are still evolving or de-evolving. Maybe mine is a minority opinion and you have made it clear that you believe it to be a myth. I have no intention of convincing you of anything I just wanted to explain a little more of my position. I appreciate that you position is different and I also appreciate blogs like this that allow us to share our opinions. Thank you for your time and kindness to me.

David B. Ellis said...


the stats on crime are from one of these three sociological theories: 1) Conflict theory teaches that crime is the result of societal inequalities, 2) functional theory teaches that society is an organism and that crime is a necessary element of society, for example, we need crime to keep the criminal justice system in business, and 3) symbolic-interactionism teaches that crime has to do with interpretation and meaning. My observation is that #3 dominates research, so that is why I find criminal stats suspect.


Whether you think it's the result of social inequalities or whatnot one murder is one murder. One mugging is one mugging. One rape is one rape.

The crime statistics would not be changed. Not unless there's some bizarre, unwarranted practice in the way crimes are counted by law enforcement agencies that you haven't mentioned.

drwayman said...

David - I'm trying to follow the admonition of our friend Jeremy by keeping the concept of crime from becoming ethnocentric. That's why I tried to point out that there are several ways of looking at crime. Within each of these three theories there are subtheories as well. This really complicates the issue.

Crime is counted in different ways in different countries. For example, in some countries where women are oppressed, a man is allowed to rape a woman without consequence. In some countries, where there is civil war, people are killed by the group in power and these are not counted as murder. I think that Jeremy is correct, if we just look at America, then we become very narrow in our opinions. He also makes another good point in that we need to look at the last 2,000 years to see if we are de-evolving. If we had consistent definitions of crime from over this 2,000 year time span, then we could be more sure about using stats. So, needless to say, I think that I used a bad example in saying that crime is increasing as there is no possible way to back that up with statistical trends.

Hence, I use the Bible as a frame of reference and you have made that clear that you disagree with that assumption. That's OK, I think we understand each other and I can live with that if you can.