Let’s see if Part 2 of TFAD’s objections have more teeth than Part 1. TFAD did not really appreciate the definition of evolution from the college biology textbook, Biology 2e, from OpenStax because he says
TFAD: “What piqued my interest here was that when I studied up on evolution, no-one ever mentioned anything to me about competition for limited resources”
To be clear, I never claimed to be analyzing what TFAD might or might not have been taught about evolution. It’s not my problem that he’s unfamiliar with the material, but I’m being very open as to what I am analyzing, and it’s NOT TFAD’s (lack of) understanding of evolution
But he’s focusing on the wrong details here. I’m clarifying the definition of the theory of evolution, not to disagree with those who teach it but to expose the inherent contradiction of saying that this theory can account for altruism. TFAD has fears that maybe I’m trying to sneak in some creationism when he says “or that you’re listening to the wrong people on the topic (evolution)”. Rather than critiquing what I wrote, he’s critiquing creationism in general, of which there is none in this article to critique. In American baseball terms, that’s a swing and a miss for TFAD.
TFAD did not approve of the amount of quoting that I did from the college textbook, because he opines:
TFAD: “I would have preferred if ApoloJedi quoted the whole text, including the first principle of natural selection, because to me, if you’re going to discuss a scientific principle – especially critically – you need to make sure you portray an accurate a picture as reasonable of what it is you’re criticising, including any representations from the source text.”
It might have been a fair objection, but those who read the original post see that I outlined the mechanism that TFAD thought I was missing (random mutations) several times. From my original post
For evolution to have explanatory power, there must be uncountable sequential individual heritable changes that are preserved solely by natural selection. Now Darwin had no idea about DNA or the unimaginable complexity of genetic code that is stored on DNA, but scientists after Darwin discovered the code of DNA which serves as the source of inheritance, the mutation of which supposedly provides for novel traits.
The mechanisms of evolution are natural selection acting on random mutations
I even highlighted the pertinent text in bold IN THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE. But we know he didn’t miss it, because he literally critiqued this paragraph in part 1 of his objections. So I can’t mark down this objections to nit picking as he ignored his previous objections and ignored the actual text that was included. It’s less than nit picking – it’s misleading
In my original post, I take 7 bullet points to summarize what is being taught as the grand theory of evolution when I write “Evolution can be verified by showing the gradual process of uncountable sequential individual heritable changes.”
TFAD again tries to distract from the original effort by simply being argumentative for argument’s sake when he tries to critique point 1 in my summary of evolution that “Evolution is unguided”:
TFAD: “However, without a higher purpose is a more suitable term than unguided“
Again, this is a distinction without a difference – *NP*
TFAD: “However, if you wish to accept the Theistic Evolution hypothesis”
No, I have been very clear what I am critiquing. While I disagree with the theistic evolution hypothesis, I never claimed to be incorporating or critiquing any such rubbish. Why even bring it up? TFAD is again distracting from the target argument. Stay on target!
In point 2 of my summary I said “Evolution can be verified by showing the gradual process of uncountable sequential individual heritable changes.” And TFAD waxes eloquent in the next 6 paragraphs that I described the theory of evolution correctly
TFAD: “But we can, and have, demonstrated the overall sequence of gradual processes acting upon heritable changes…fossil record…phylogenetics…So yes, not only can evolution be verified by uncountable, sequential, individual and heritable changes – evolution HAS been verified by analysing the uncountable, sequential, individual heritable changes”
Yes, this is what evolutionists teach. What we will NOT see from the 3 sources that I critique in the original post is a “sequence of gradual processes acting upon heritable changes…fossil record…phylogenetics” that produces altruism, where before it did not exist. What I showed in my exposure of the sources is that they DID NOT reference the fossil record or phylogenetics to support their case that evolution can explain altruism. So, while TFAD blindly believes the theory of evolution to be true because of his great faith in the powers of nature and the sermons of the white lab coats, when skeptically analyzed, his faith and those of his fellow God-deniers is unwarranted
Again from my summary of evolution, “The mechanisms of evolution are natural selection acting on random mutations“, TFAD has a critique:
TFAD: “Firstly, while there is an element of randomness to evolution, but it is more of a feedback loop rather than something like lottery balls or coin tosses”
Random mutations are not feedback loops or lottery balls or coin tosses. Random mutations as have been shown by research are truly random, and trying to define them as feedback loops tries to dilute the enormous problem of constructing complex irreducible systems 1 step at a time with no foresight or purpose. My statement is a SUMMARY of what evolutionists teach. The neo-darwinian synthesis embraces the notion that evolution’s mechanisms are natural selection acting on random mutations. This is not disputed. TFAD is nitpicking *NP*
TFAD: “Secondly, it could be argued that natural selection doesn’t drive the changes.”
“Drive” is his word…not mine. Nobody (except TFAD) disagrees that the neo-darwinian synthesis is a combination of natural selection acting on random mutations. Again, TFAD mistakes this bullet point summary for a graduate level course on natural selection. More *NP*
TFAD: “Thirdly, those ‘random mutations’ could be one of a handful of observed mechanisms for genetic variation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions/deletions, polyploidy, genomic duplication, frameshift mutations, endogenous retroviruses and more.”
All of these supplemental mechanisms rely originally upon random mutations to have constructed genetic code for there to have even been something to polymorphize, insert, delete, duplicate or frameshift. So, while these minor mechanisms have been observed, they have not been observed to create any new information. But again, this is not the focus of the analysis. While I do understand the lure for TFAD to attack my perceived lack of knowledge, he again fails to stay on target with his response.
Another bullet-point from my summary of evolution was “Genetics determines traits, behaviors, and reproduction”
In response TFAD had this to say: “But again, it’s not the whole story…So the most reasonable way of putting it is to say that genetics has an INFLUENCE on traits”
Again, this is the very definition of nit-picking. He says it’s not the whole story, but a summary is not expected to be the whole story. Might TFAD be more assuaged had I said “primary influence” rather than determines? How large a change is it to say primary influence rather than determines? Maybe a nit and a half? *NP*
In summary point 5, I said “Organisms that are the most fit (greatest fitness) in their environment persist to pass their genes to subsequent generations”. TFAD inadvertently confirmed that he too believes my original skepticism of a theory of fitness being able to explain altruism
TFAD: “You don’t have to be the most fit – you just need to be somewhat fit to the point that the environment doesn’t actively work against your existence…So it’s not the case that you need to be so strong that you’re selected for – you just need to not be so weak as to be selected against”
Oooops. Altruism is by definition “behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species.” Yet Christians have been building hospitals and caring for those, who would otherwise be selected against for millennia. Many people build kennels and nature centers and nature preserves…not because they consistently believe in evolution’s culling of the weak but because they know there is beauty in caring for the weak as God has done for us
In point 6 of my summary TFAD proclaims that I am correct in my definition of fitness, so we’ll move on to his critique of bullet point 7, in which I said “Evolution’s sole drive is to reproduce genetic material in a competition for limited resources”. This is a KEY point in the question of whether evolution can explain altruism. Astute readers will see the incompatibility between forces that are driven by the need to reproduce and a behavior (altruism) that has zero or negative benefits in helping one to reproduce. In his critique, TFAD declares
“Half-right. Evolution’s driving factor is reproduction and survival, but there doesn’t need to be competition for limited resources for evolution to work. Evolution also works when plenty of resources are available as well.”
We’ll chalk this up to more nit-picking because he’s majoring on the minors again. TFAD admitted to the key element of the summary (reproduction), but based on his own personal definition of evolution, he had to jab that he feels the creationist doesn’t understand (resources). As in Part 1 of the rebuttal, I’ll remind everyone again that I’m not using TFAD’s personal definition of evolution, as I have been very clear about which definition I am using (the one from a University-level text book) to write the blog post
The remainder of TFAD’s Part 2 response consists of his dislike of my use of the terms evolutionist and evolutionism. Being aware of the dominant paradigm and nearly complete immersion by academic elites into the cult of Darwinism is good for readers to have knowledge. However, I’m content to let him have his say on those items without rebuttal since, while they are related to the discussion, they are not critically necessary to determine whether or not the theory of evolution can explain altruism…which we have all seen that it cannot
You can look forward to my rebuttal of Part 3 of TFAD’s objections soon.