At Telic Thoughts, Techne tells us that on “Fitness: A Battle is Raging” (November 5, 2011):
In an earlier post it was pointed out that John O. Reiss argues that the fitness landscape metaphor has teleological implications. If evolution is anything close to the metaphor then the process is fundamentally teleological.
The rigor of this approach, however, is lessened because there is as yet no universally agreed upon measure of fitness; fitness is either defined metaphorically, or defined only relative to the particular model or system used. It is fair to say that due to this lack, there is still no real agreement on what exactly the process of natural selection is. This is clearly a problem.
We’re not sure whether any battle really is raging.
The obvious reason that there is “still no real agreement on what exactly the process of natural selection is” is that the case for Darwinism would then fall apart in the face of disconfirming evidence.
Here’s what would go wrong: Let’s say a Darwinist forthrightly declares that he sees no evidence for Dawkins’s “selfish gene.” Very well, he cannot then invoke selfish gene arguments in his own defense of Darwinism. It’s better to avoid specifics, bellow that “evolution is fact, Fact, FACT,” and refuse to debate the subject. That way his defenses can go in all directions at once, like a bee gathering nectar.
What possible fact base can dislodge such a strategy, given that it is accepted as legitimate?
But we’d love to be wrong.
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