Cornelius Hunter points out that the most powerful arguments for schoolbook Darwinism are theological in character: What God wouldn’t do, etc. And they also apply only to alternative viewpoints, not to core Darwinism itself:
The theological claim that divine intent is strictly utilitarian is uniquely evolutionary. It makes for powerful arguments for evolution, but the power derives from the theology. Mark this: the stronger the argument for evolution, the stronger its theological commitment. Absent theology, there is little reason to believe the entire biological world arose spontaneously, as evolutionists heroically claim.
The irony in all this is that evolution itself is a utilitarian formulation. That is, natural selection describes a process in which species with greater fitness (or utility) evolve. The evolutionary process must create greater utility. Therefore, the many examples of disutility, presented as proof of evolution, in fact are problematic for evolution. We must believe that such useless designs escaped natural selection’s watchful eye which, otherwise, seems to have no limit of precision engineering.
While evolutionists fail to apply this evidence of disutility to their own theory, they inappropriately apply it to intelligent design. In other words, evolutionists subject intelligent design to the evolutionary criteria of fitness and utility, while dropping that criterion from evolutionary theory. They have it backwards.Cornelius Hunter, “Why the Main Argument Against Intelligent Design Is False” at Evolution News and Science Today (February 7, 2022)
Recently, we were looking at a salamander whose genome seems like a mess but it has gotten on fine for many millions of years nonetheless. The people who sound so sure of what is and isn’t good design are often simply imposing an opinion or a value judgment.
You may also wish to read:
At Scientific American: Salamander “junk DNA” challenges long-held view of evolution. Douglas Fox at SciAm: The salamanders would be on death’s door if they were human. “Everything about having a large genome is costly,” Wake told me in 2020. Yet salamanders have survived for 200 million years. “So there must be some benefit,” he said. The hunt for those benefits has led to some heretical surprises, potentially turning our understanding of evolution on its head.
19 Replies to “Darwinian evolution and apparently suboptimal design”
The most important design feature of life is negative feedback.
Even in obviously designed electronics, negative feedback can factor out ‘inadequate’ or ‘vestigial’ components, and can use inadequate components inversely to create an advantage.
Life has an infinite number of feedback loops, plus the meta-adaptive loop of epigenes that can turn existing feedback loops on or off to gain more advantage. An organ may become vestigial or counter-useful in some situations, but the meta-loops can find a way to make its specific qualities useful by inversion.
Or in one word, life has serendipity.
The miscarriage rate in cases where the woman knows she is pregnant and those cases where she does not could be somewhere between 30% – 50%.
If the human reproductive system were the outcome of messy natural evolutionary processes we might expect such tragic waste and inefficiency but no one would be to blame.
But if, on the other hand, the human reproductive system were designed then the designer bears a heavy burden of responsibility for the billions of unborn lives lost over the hundreds of thousands of years we have been around. Can you imagine what would happen to a human designer who knowingly designed and implemented a process that killed so many?
Yet here we have Cornelius Hunter and others leaping to the defense of this “Designer” without one iota of blame attached. I doubt that the mothers who lose their unborn children think of that loss as serendipitous.
Yet again we have the improper design trotted out as a refutation to design when the commenter refused to acknowledge that these are probably part of perfect design.
Also the commenters refuse to acknowledge that whatever is espoused as the naturalistic cause of Evolution refutes itself from evidence and logic.
It must be tough to constantly support nonsense. But they do it.
That is the interesting question. WHY?
Seversky @ 2
Not to mention a 95+ percent extinction rate over the course of biological history on the planet. I have before suggested that perfection cannot beget imperfection–the intelligent designer as Christian God is belied by biology. Nature cannot be characterized as anything but harsh. And, as Darwin pointed out, profligate in its waste. This every wildlife biologist knows only too well. A so-called theory of “intelligent design” does not have this luxury.
This is sophistry on steroids. As extinction rates clearly show, evolution is not a process of “greater utility,” but a process of trial and error. Trial and error does lead, eventually, to greater fitness, but it is a sloppy, painful and inefficient process. Which makes it all the more bizarre that Hunter would choose to describe natural selection as exerting a “watchful eye,” when ID has unremittently characterized evolution as “mindless, random chance,” or, to use one of Kairofocus’ favorite phrases, “blind dynamic stochastic processes.”
How do you know that this is not the best of all possible worlds?
The answer: you don’t.
You assume the creator of this world is stupid. Which is contradictory. Maybe the creator of this world might understand what He has created.
Again maybe you should refrain from commenting and just ask questions.
The following direct contradiction in ‘Darwinian reasoning’*,,,,
,,, that direct contradiction in “Darwinian reasoning’* seems to be completely lost on Seversky and ChuckyD since, by golly, in their Darwinian theology their straw man version of god, that they have constructed in their imaginations, would never allow such things as miscarriages and extinctions.
Perhaps ChuckyD and Seversky should have gone to Sunday school a little more often. The “fall of man” is literally one of the first things they teach you.
Moroever, as much as it may irk ChuckyD and Seversky to know this, “The Fall of Man” was, in fact, integral to the rise on modern science
Of note: * (“Darwinian reasoning’ is a term which is an oxymoron in and of itself since atheists have forsaken free will, and therefore have forsaken ‘reason’ altogether),,,
If evolution was the cause, we would expect tragic waste and inefficiency.
So, when we find elegance, symmetry, beauty, and remarkable efficiency in nature we can conclude that it was not evolution that produced it.
Polistra, Jerry, Bornagain77, and Silver Asiatic,
Your posts introduce some important concepts:
– negative feedback loops and programmable epigentics for rapid adaptability in phenotypes
– criticizing a design from a position of substantial ignorance
– remembering the biblical claim of the fall of mankind and all of nature, resulting in a slow collapse
– the absence of deficiency and waste in a purported ubiquitous process of evolution, but rather a prevalence of brilliant designs only beginning to be understood.
Since Chuckdarwin and Seversky have now reappeared once again, can they explain the presence in the fossil record of modern organisms that the popular press refers to as “living fossils”?
Yes, I’m aware of such arguments as some “living fossil” sea creatures “musta” been isolated in the past in an environment that apparently remained unchanged for millions and millions of years. Can they cite hard scientific evidence for their arguments rather than speculative science fiction?
Querius lists as an “important” concept
I gather this is the notion that Adam (and Eve) is responsible for not just the “fallen state” of man and nature, but, at least by implication, for imperfect biological processes and structures. What is unclear to me is how this relates to evolution since evolution and Genesis qua literal history and/or science are mutually exclusive. Why, from a creationist or ID perspective even mess with evolution? You apparently don’t need it in your “worldview” (on a personal aside, I detest that word). You already have your explanation signed, sealed and delivered…
Regarding Querius’ poser re “living fossils” there is an excellent answer in Wiki at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_fossil. I can’t do a better job, so I will quote it at length:
Chuckdarwin@9, you make a good point re “the fall of man”. When the subject of sub-optimum design is brought up IDists are divided on their response. Some argue that there is no sub-optimum design, in spite of a plethora of examples. Others argue that it is due to Adam and Eve’s action in the garden.
Oops, “poor design” it’s explained by sin. But chuckdarwin change the subject:
So after your “poor design” jokes (“95+ percent extinction rate”, blabla,.. “miscarriages” ) are explained you have no reply and switch to “so what” 😆 because Genesis and darwinism are incompatible. . Well, it’s obvious for everyone that both -darwinism and Christianity -are religions because Church of atheists also use theological arguments (like “poor design” , “God wouldn’t do that way but this way”, etc.) not scientific arguments. 😉
😆 You can’t make this stuff up. Same people push :men are women and women are men insanity.
ChuckyD, your quote from wikipedia on “living fossils’ is biased, to put it mildly. Which is not surprising since wikipedia, for the most part, is notoriously hostile towards ID people and claims.
I’ve got to give you credit–you do make me laugh…..
Like the Bible isn’t the most biased book on the planet–don’t believe it and you get kicked to the curb for eternity…
Finally! This is the most serious evidence for evolution . I’m seriously pondering to accept evolution as my religion . Hahaha! 😆
We’d have to believe there were environments where the food supply, presence or absence of competitors, diseases or other risks (volcanic activity or earthquakes on the ocean floor) – never showed significant change over millions of years.
That’s the faith-based statement offered. We observe that natural environments undergo many changes, even only with increase or decrease of organisms that affect life. How would it be possible for nothing to happen for millions of years, and in the relatively same environment, changes were so radical that they supposedly forced the evolution of thousands of different species and complex biological features?
ChuckyD at 13, just perhaps you should give “the most biased book on the planet” a little more serious look rather than merely just trying to laugh it off?
After all, it was Judeo-Christian presuppositions, and Judeo-Christian presuppositions alone, which gave birth to modern science. i.e. “Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has.”
Via Stephen Meyer’s book “Return of the God Hypothesis”; here are the three necessary presuppositions that lay at the founding of modern science in Medieval Christian Europe.
It is particularly interesting to note that Francis Bacon’s inductive methodology, i.e. the scientific method itself, was directly inspired by Bacon’s deep Christian belief in the ‘original sin’, I.e in ‘the fall of man’.
Moreover, Atheists, such as yourself ChuckyD, simply can’t even do science in the first place without illegitimately, and self-refutingly, ‘borrowing’ these essential Judeo-Christian presuppositions.
Moreover ChuckyD, besides Darwinian Atheists being forced to illegitimately, and self-refutingly, ‘borrow’ from Judeo-Christian presuppositions, The Atheistic presuppositions of Darwinian evolution are, for all practical purposes, completely useless, (even detrimental), for the advancement of modern science.
Thus ChuckyD, you may laugh at “the most biased book on the planet”, but, by golly, the world would be a drastically different, and much harsher, place to live if the presuppositions held within “the most biased book on the planet” did not give us modern science in the first place. I certainly would not like to live 500 years ago without all the modern conveniences that modern science has given us.
So laugh away if you must ChuckyD. As for myself, I am very grateful for that “most biased book on the planet” since it has produced exceedingly ‘good fruit’ for man in the here and now. Moreover, since it has produced exceedingly ‘good fruit’ for man in the here and now, I am extremely confident that we can trust that “most biased” book’s promises, via Jesus Christ’s victory over death, for an exceedingly good life in the eternal hereafter., i.e. in heaven.
Quote and Verses
Maybe he was but it doesn’t make the Fall of Man narrative any the less absurd.
What are these examples?
I have not seen any presented here.
Seversky “Maybe he was but it doesn’t make the Fall of Man narrative any the less absurd.”
Says the man who, without any objective moral basis whatsoever, constantly rails against the many, real and imagined, moral sins of Christians, whilst casting a completely blind eye to the exponentially worse, and unimaginable, ‘moral horror’ that Darwin unleashed on the world with his ‘death as the creator’ theory.