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Evolution: The Essential Criticisms Answered

  1. Dec 3, 2003 #1
    The following is from http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Relig/Relig-Evolution.html

    Evolution: The Essential Criticisms Answered

    By John "Birdman" Bryant

    Take any closed system and divide it into two parts. Call one part "organism" and the other "environment". Such a system displays the essence of life, which is simply the equilibrium-seeking of the "organism" as it responds to inputs from the "environment". --W Ross Ashby, Introduction to Cybernetics (paraphrase)

    My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." --JBS Haldane, Possible Worlds (1927)

    If you understand something, it's science; if you don't, it's magic. --J. Bryant

    Some people, including most scientists, believe that evolution is a biological theory which describes factual truths about our world. Others - - mostly religious fundamentalists -- believe that evolution is a false theory, usually because they believe that life forms were created by a Deity and are immutable. And yet others -- mostly philosophers -- believe that evolution is a tautology which maintains the truth of the doctrine of "survival of the fittest" only because, in the final analysis, the term fit is defined as that which survives. In reality, however, all three of these positions are wrong: The fact is that evolution is an organizing principle which cannot be dispensed with because events cannot be sensibly interpreted without it. To explain, it is first useful to note that evolution is much like the Continuity Principle, ie, the belief that the future will be like the past: While all natural law is justified on the basis of the Continuity Principle, it is obvious that the Continuity Principle itself cannot be justified on the basis of the Continuity Principle. Furthermore, if we were to cease to assume the truth of the Continuity Principle, then we would immediately lose the basis of our belief in natural law, and thus the basis of our belief in the regularities of everyday life. In fact, one could say that the belief in the Continuity Principle has been determined by evolution: Those who did not believe in it were eliminated in the struggle for survival, even if there is no "justification" for believing in it.

    Now in light of the above discussion, it is not difficult to show that evolution constitutes a principle similar to that of the Continuity Principle. To explain, let us conceptualize evolution in terms of systems theory as follows: Consider an object x which has some finite number of states n which it has a non-zero probability of entering for any time t (Note: This is a general description of every object of the world). If there is some state or set of states S (a subset of n) which is such that, if x enters S, then x will remain in S, then S constitutes an equilibrium (or, more properly, a partial equilibrium) for the "system" of x's behavior, since x may now move among the states in S, but not to states outside S. We then say that the movement of x to S represents the process of evolution, and that the states of S "survive" and hence are "fit" while the states of the set n-S do not survive and are thus not "fit".

    When evolution is understood in the above manner, we immediately see that it is not a dispensable concept, but rather is imbedded in our thought processes in such a way that thinking would be impossible without it, and thus that denial of evolution would be not merely futile, but absurd. But if evolution is not merely true, but also necessary, it is equally true that many of the notions advanced by evolutionists are as full of holes as a Swiss cheese, and in dire need of revision. One of the most complete critiques of evolutionary ideas I know of is Alexander Mebane's scholarly work Darwin's Creation-Myth. Unfortunately, however, it is not entirely clear whether Mebane's object is to show only that Darwinian theory is flawed, or to make the more general argument that evolution itself is untenable. In the former, he has surely succeeded; tho in the latter he has of course failed. To explain, we note that Darwinian theory holds, very roughly, that organisms have evolved slowly over time by virtue of random mutations which have proved "fitter" than earlier biological constructions, and which have thus succeeded in overcoming the less-fit forms by "natural selection" (environmental pressure) and, to a lesser extent, "sexual selection" (good choice of mates). Here are the major reasons -- all cited by Mebane -- as to why the Darwinian theory, as just outlined, is inadequate:

    Complete article is at http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Relig/Relig-Evolution.html
     
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