Friday, January 19, 2018

Hate Mail - "Natural selection operates by random chance, there is no directionality involved"

The claim that Darwinism doesn't make claims about teleological ends in evolution is often made but it is generally contradicted by other claims of the materialist-Darwinist, at times in the same document or speech or conversation.   The claim that natural selection, or, I would guess, any conception of evolution that involves a framing that sees the overriding fact of evolution in terms of qualitative inequality would have to involve, at the most basic and unavoidable levels of meaning, that some claim of teleology in the proposed mechanism even as a whole host of linguistic and (ultimately doomed) logical contortions are gone through as those are pointed out. 

I haven't made an in-depth study of the various editions Darwin published of On the Origin of Species to point out the competing claims of chance, non-directionality, and on the other hand, "progress" and other teleological claims.  I have pointed out that he explicitly tied Natural Selection to Survival of the Fittest in the 5th and 6th editions, the final ones before his death, at the behest of his co-inventor of NS, A. R. Wallace.   Oddly, and illogically, Wallace didn't like the term because he said it implied some kind of conscious choice, even as tying it to "fitness" would have inevitably reinforced that concept.   I think claiming that natural selection operates to enhance "fitness" makes that inevitable  but I have heard one Darwinist point out that Darwin often talks about "progress" as the product of natural selection, progressive fitness even as he far less often talks about "evolution".  I can give you this example in the last paragraph in the recapitulation and summary of his claims in the first edition, especially the sentence in blue:

We can so far take a prophetic glance into futurity as to foretel that it will be the common and widely-spread species, belonging to the larger and dominant groups, which will ultimately prevail and procreate new and dominant species. As all the living forms of life are the lineal descendants of those which lived long before the Silurian epoch, we may feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence we may look with some confidence to a secure future of equally inappreciable length. And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.

If, as you claim, I've misrepresented what "science" says about teleological ends in evolution, you're going to have to take it up with ol' Chuck as he said it about ninety years before I was born.

Considering natural selection is all about organisms dying and being destroyed, as I believe as orthodox a Darwinist as Karl Pearson called it something like "progressive death rate" or some such construction, Darwin's claim that it "works solely by and for the good of each being" is an incredibly stupid claim.   The idea that such a non-conscious entity could work "for the good of each being" even as it killed them off with a mercilessness that the amoral, immoral Parson Malthus would have admired, is so bizarre that I'm surprised I've never come across someone pointing out its self-serving double-speak.   I think that even if they came to a less illogical articulation of "natural selection" it would still inevitably be saturated with the intent of Malthus, Darwin, Pearson, etc. because that was its origin, that is embedded in the concept as deeply as the concept of species.  It differs from the laws of physics because those are based on what can be observed and measured, the study of evolution can't have the same kind of basis and it is inevitable that any claims made about evolution will include a far wider range of the thinking and feelings of those who are making the claims.   If it is science, it is science in an entirely different way that that being done by people like Faraday and Rutherford.

For more overt atheist-materialist advocates of scientism to further their atheist ideology to claim natural selection could be compatible with operations of random chance was always a stretch.  Natural selection was invented by an upper-class Brit who was massively conceited about the qualitative superiority of his family line - in that characteristically Brit way in order to make claims of a teleological process that would render his family and his line superior to the British poor and other ethnic groups, the Irish, the Fuegian, the Tasmanian, etc.  The only reason I believe it was retained was because it allowed conceited scientists to believe they had cracked the puzzle of evolution, in a way that physicists had really cracked some far less ambitious riddles about the physical world, when they hadn't and because it told the rich, White, male elite that nature had rewarded them with the crown of earthly wealth and power due to their biological superiority.   I think today it is retained mostly due to the vestiges of its usefulness to atheists in their ideological campaigns though there is certainly a lot of its citation among conceited scientists such as Francis Crick, Jame Watson, and R. A. Fischer (not an atheist, by the way) because they like the idea that their intelligence is a product of their biological superiority and not the chances they had in life unrelated to biology.


  1. If NS operated by random chance, it wouldn't be "selection" at all. And "survival of the fittest" assumes a telos that weeds out the "unfit." But as all species are mortal, all species are ultimately unfit to survive. So how does this work again?

    1. To paraphrase Doris Day

      How else can I explain
      That telos when there is no brain
      It's magic...