Archive for the ‘evolution’ Category

Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost

January 10, 2010

Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F’s: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive…. . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.

Patricia Churchland

A(nother) hoax in the name of science

January 5, 2010

Archaeoraptor” is the generic name informally assigned in 1999 to a fossil from China in an article published in National Geographic magazine. The magazine claimed that the fossil was a “missing link” between birds and terrestrial theropod dinosaurs… It led to a scandal when it was definitely proven to be a forgery through further scientific study. The forgery was constructed from rearranged pieces of real fossils from different species. Zhou et al. found that the head and upper body actually belong to a specimen of the primitive fossil bird Yanornis. A 2002 study found that the tail belongs to a small winged dromaeosaur, Microraptor, named in 2000. The legs and feet belong to an as yet unknown animal.

The “Archaeoraptor” scandal has ongoing ramifications. The scandal brought attention to illegal fossil deals conducted in China. It also highlighted the need for close scientific scrutiny of purported “missing links” published in journals which are not peer-reviewed.

Wikipedia

NB this was not the first nor will it be the last in the desparate attempt to prove ‘missing links’ that remain…missing. Never mind that hoaxes are ‘unethical’ – it’s the survival of the fittest theory that counts: whatever it takes.

Living molecules could not form without an oxygen rich atmosphere, yet oxygen eats up the pre-protein chained amino acids

January 5, 2010

Living molecules could not form without an oxygen rich atmosphere, yet oxygen eats up the pre-protein chained amino acids. Without the element oxygen, a living organism could not live: there would be an absence of a life demanding ozone layer. Furthermore, a pre-biotic cell would be destroyed, in an oxygen environment before it could evolve into a living cell, by the oxygen itself. Thus oxygen is mandatory for life, yet it kills off the pre-life before it can live.

Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, p. 95

Life cannot come from non-life.

Why would bacteria need to evolve?

January 5, 2010

…bacteria are the fittest creatures on the planet, only rivalled by cockroaches. They survive quite nicely. Nothing is more tenacious, more resilient, more stout, and produces more functioning and self-procuring offspring than bacteria. Why would they need to evolve? They could survive a nuclear bomb. The organisms that evolutionists claim as the ‘higher’ creatures, die off easier and quicker, and produce far less offspring. The higher up the ladder, the more likely the organism is extinct or is put on the endangered species’ list. Look how fragile the whales and the great apes are as species. Large body mass creatures are much less fit than the tenacious organisms like bacteria and cockroaches.

Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, pp.89-90

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence

December 28, 2009

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

Richard Dawkins,

From speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 15, 1992.

Would that include faith in induction, scientism, Naturalism, atheistic morality, macro-evolution…?

On the basis of strict evolutionary naturalism that kind of altruism should have died out of the human race long ago

December 16, 2009

An individual’s self-sacrificing, altruistic behavior toward his or her blood kin might result in a greater survival rate for the individual’s family or extended clan, and therefore result in a greater number of descendants with that person’s genetic material. For evolutionary puposes, however, the opposite response–hostility to all people outside one’s group–should be just as widely considered moral and right behaviors. Yet today we believe that sacrificing time, money, emotion, and even life–especially for someone “not of our kind” or tribe–is right. If we see a total stranger fall in the river we jump in after him, or feel guilty for not doing so. In fact, most people will feel the obligation to do so even if the person in the water is an enemy. How could that trait have come down by a process of natural selection? Such people would have been less likely to survive and pass on their genes. On the basis of strict evolutionary naturalism that kind of altruism should have died out of the human race long ago. Instead, it is stronger than ever.

Source: Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), p. 148.

But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for national selection?

December 16, 2009

…Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, points out the flaw in the clue-killer argument in his review of Dennett’s book Breaking the Spell:

 [Dennett] portrays reason in service to natural selection, and as a product of natural selection. But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for national selection? The power of reason is owed to the independence of reason, and to nothing else… Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power reason even as it destroys it.

Source: Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), p. 139.

I must ‘follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so’

December 16, 2009

Thomas Nagel, the prominent philosopher and atheist, agrees in the last chapter of his book The Last Word. He writes that to be sure my mind is telling me what really, truly is out there in the world, I must ‘follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so’. However, according to evolutionary biology laws of reason would have to make sense to us only because they help us survive, not because they necessarily tell the truth. So, Nagel asks:

[Can we have any] continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge about the nonapparent character of the world? In itself, I believe an evolutionary story [of the human race] tells against such confidence.

 

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, Hodder, 2008, p.137

Just because we can successfully survive and reproduce in no way ensures that our minds as a whole tell us the truth about anything

December 16, 2009

Though some cognitive scientists assume that because our brains and their functions have been ‘designed’ by natural selection we can trust them to tell us the truth, such an assumption is epistemologically dubious. Just because we can successfully survive and reproduce in no way ensures that our minds as a whole tell us the truth about anything-especially when it comes to sophisticated thinking…what a completely naturalistic view of the human mind may safely embrace is that our minds were good for survival in the past.

Justin Barrett, Why would anyone believe in God?

Everything we value — from sugar and sex and money to music and love and religion — we value for reasons

December 16, 2009

Everything we value — from sugar and sex and money to music and love and religion — we value for reasons. Lying behind, and distinct from, our reasons are evolutionary reasons, free-floating rationales that have been endorsed by natural selection.

Daniel Dennett

In other words, all beliefs are held because they have, or had, survival value. Well, not ALL beliefs of course, because, strange to say, Dennett will ensure his beliefs (about beliefs) are safe from this reductionist critique. That is to say if I asked him of his beliefs about evolution are not true but merely enabled our ancestors to survive he would grant immunity for this privileged belief.

If the idea of evolution is another of those ‘evolutionary reasons’ – then why believe it?