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Darwinian Evolution: a case study in perverse logic


If we genetically engineered an organism that had superior reproductive properties, could we logically say the following:

This organism is clearly the product of natural selection since it survives better than its peers. Clearly it evolved the abilities which make it more reproductively successful. The proof that Natural Selection is responsible for creating the traits is that natural selection selects for them.

No. This is an obvious non-sequitur. The fact that something is selected for does not imply that it natural selection was the mechanism that created its complex features.

In order to help people remember my points, I like using illustrations, especially silly ones to get the point across. In the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, space aliens intelligently redesign the brains of apes through a monolith. The redesigned apes learn to use tools and thus are selectively favored. The readers need not watch the following clip to get the point of this essay, but I link to it here for its entertainment value (I love how they portray our Ape ancestors. Wonderful!):

The Dawn of Man from 2001: A Space Oddysey

Even though the movie clip is fiction, it illustrates the wrong-headed notion that merely because something is selected for, that it necessarily implies that natural selection was the creator of the features.

Suppose some extraordinarily fortuitous set of 100 simultaneous mutations happened that conferred selective advantage to an organism, does that mean then the mechanism that caused 100 simultaneous fortuitous mutations was the result of natural selection? No! Selection is merely the outcome, it is not necessarily the mechanism that made the trait possible.

Selection is merely assumed to be the mechanism since the probabilities for finding such complex systems by chance are too remote. Unfortunately for the Darwinists, the evidence that selection selects for a trait after it emerges is no proof whatsoever that selection was the mechanism that created the trait. Most evolutionists have a hard time making these distinctions, and that is why the persistent acceptance of Darwinism based on such misunderstandings are a case study in perverse logic.

Agreed. Natural selection cannot be responsible for the variation that was selected for, because it can logically only select for a variation that already exists. But neither is evolution a good description of a causal mechanism, but rather an observation of a property of biological life: that creatures reproduce with variation. As far as I can tell, the property, "reproduction with variation," is extremely, if not exclusively, dependent on the configuration of numerous, purposefully configured subsystems within each creature, that are carefully crafted to allow stable reproduction with a degree of variation. The mechanisms that drive reproduction and variation are specified, and irreducibly complex. They are the result of the purposeful arrangement of many functional parts, which are pressed upon the substrate of physics and chemistry (much like a seal presses an image onto a substrate of clay or wax). To label the operation of this configuration of systems as "evolution," as in, "a causal force which drives change," would appear to my eyes to be about as logically incoherent as crediting natural selection with the variations that are selected for. If evolution is an observation that species reproduce with variation, then it is hardly the force which drives that variation. The mechanism which does this, so often credited to the "natural" tendency of a creature to "evolve," is actually a sophisticated panoply of irreducibly complex, tightly integrated, highly constrained subsystems, for which law-like processes cannot be implicated, and chance is impotent to devise.material.infantacy
April 15, 2012
01:30 PM

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