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Bible Contradiction? Did Jesus Claim That No One Has Ever Gone to Heaven?

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It’s a fairly common online assertion that the Bible is “fuLL oF cOnTraDicTioNs!” by those who are unfamiliar with the common mistakes that skeptics make when they make such claims. In a recent online discussion, a God-denier claimed that that Bible was full of contradictions. The principle assertion of contradiction was that Elijah ascended into Heaven (2 Kings 2:11) but Jesus claimed in John 3:13 that no one but the Son has ever ascended into Heaven

https://twitter.com/AmputeeAtheist/status/1538180851002970113?s=20&t=lNX1CRdWwIG0GNEupkEzRQ

Before I begin the rebuttal, let the reader understand that God-deniers have no grounds for declaring anything to be contradictory. Unless one starts with the God, who has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in the incarnation, there is no possible justification for logic, knowledge, morality, or truth. So, when a God-denier (like AmputeeAtheist) claims that the Bible contains contradictions, he has no logical or knowledgeable grounding from which to determine anything to be contradictory. From the perspective of the God-denier, there is only chaotic matter. As the imminent naturalist Carl Sagan religiously stated: “The cosmos is all there is, or was or ever will be.” There is no room in the worldview of the naturalist for unchanging abstract absolutes like laws of logic or induction. Lastly, before I refute this critic, AmputeeAtheist has NOT demonstrated conclusively that this is even a contradiction. He has taken only a paper-thin glance at the words (likely from an atheist meme online) and declared lazily that it ‘jUsT hAs tO bE a cOntraDictiOn”. For it to actually be a contradiction, no possible explanation can exist (which I will show below), and AmputeeAtheist has failed to demonstrate that there is no possible resolution. The unjustified assertion that “there is a contradiction” is echo chamber material suitable only for the “atheist choir”.

Let’s see what Jesus said in John 3:13

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven

Is Jesus saying that no one has ever gone to Heaven? Would Jesus have been familiar with the 2 Kings passage that describes how Elijah was whisked off to Heaven in a chariot? Of course! So, why would Jesus make the claim that none have ascended into heaven?

To answer this, we must 1st look at the scriptures (the Old Testament) to see what Jesus was actually saying. Since the New testament is essentially the inspired commentary & fulfillment of what was revealed in the old testament, we should exegete (study the scripture) to see what Jesus might have meant when He said “ascend”.

Throughout the old testament, there is a theme that those, who met with God or interacted with God, did so on the mountaintops. This is important because man was incapable of getting to the “heavens” where God was. The understanding is that God must, in his grace, come down to meet mankind because man is unable to get to Him

  • Gen 8:18-22 When the ark landed on the mountains of Ararat, Noah built an altar to the LORD. Noah could worship the Lord, but despite the fact that Noah was at the highest point, he could not ascend to heaven
  • Gen 11 Shortly after the flood, the people intended to build a tower to the Heavens so that instead of proclaiming the Name of God as image bearers, they wanted to make a name for themselves as gods. The people at the tower of Babel failed to ascend to the presence of God.
  • Gen 22 God told Abraham to ascend Mount Moriah to sacrifice Isaac there. At the top of that mountain, God intervened and provided a substitute atonement for Abraham and his son. Abraham ascended as high as he could, but God had to descend from Heaven to meet with Abraham
  • There are 149 places in the ESV of the use of the phrase “high places”. Even the pagan worshippers, who setup their idols put them on the mountains or high places as a failed attempt to ascend to the Heavens or ascend to their false deity
  • Exodus 3 – Moses was tending his sheep on Mount Horeb and this is where God descended to meet with Moses. Moses could not ascend to Heaven. God had to come down to meet with Moses
  • Exodus 19 – Moses ascends Mount Sinai to meet with God, but since Moses cannot ascend into Heaven into the presence of God, God says in verse 9 “I am going to come to you” at the highest point you can possibly reach, which is far short of ascending to Heaven.
  • Exodus 34 – This theme is repeated but stated more clearly.in verse 2 God tells Moses to “come up on Mount Sinai” and in verse 5 it says “the LORD came down”. No one (including Moses) can ascend to Heaven in their own power.

Secondly and more importantly, let’s look to see in what context Jesus was speaking these words to Nicodemus. In the interaction Jesus has just scolded Nicodemus that as Israel’s presumed teacher, Nicodemus (while knowledgeable of the scriptures) does not understand them

Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

John 3:10-13

Jesus is taking from Proverbs 30, which is a lament by the author in his realization that rejecting the understanding/knowledge/wisdom of God is stupid. Jesus is equating the author of Proverbs 30 with Israel’s teachers of the law in general and Nicodemus specifically.

Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!

Proverbs 30:2-4

The author continues saying that there is no who who can ascend into heaven to learn from God and return to teach the people about God. But in John 3, Jesus claims to ACTUALLY be the One, who has done this. Jesus has been in the presence of the Father, and He has both descended and ascended to the Father to bring both knowledge and forgiveness to mankind. Unlike what the skeptic has learned from atheist memes, Jesus is not claiming that no one has ever gone to Heaven. Jesus is displaying his rightful divinity and exposing, that despite their rote memorization of the law/prophets, the supposed teachers of Israel are unlearned (stupid) about God.

Nicodemus would also have recognized from Jesus’s words the passage in Deuteronomy 30 where Moses writes

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?‘ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14

For those, whom the LORD has called and empowered, the commands of God are expectations. To follow those commands, one need not perform the impossible tasks of “ascend to heaven” or swim “beyond the sea” to obey. And yet, when Israel (and ultimately all of mankind) do fail to keep God’s commands, Jesus is faithful to perform the impossible Himself: bring the knowledge of God from Heaven down to mankind and atone for man’s disobedience.

Jesus does not stray from his consistent train of thought in John 6 verses 38, 42-44 and 62-63

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me…So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

John 6

Jesus did not claim that no one has ever died and gone to Heaven. Considering Jesus knowledge of the scriptures, the context of his teaching, and the audience, it is clear that Jesus was identifying Himself as God, who has been in the presence of the Father, but has descended to mankind to bring knowledge and redemption.

We also see from Jesus’s disciples that they understood Jesus to be talking about Himself as descending from Heaven. John the Baptist says in John 3:31

He (Jesus) who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks an earthly way. He (Jesus) who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.

John 3:31-33

And Paul in Rom 10 and I Cor 15

But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

The first man (Adam) was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man (Jesus) is from heaven.

And while Paul did not specifically use the words ascend or descend in Philippians 2, it is clear that Jesus came from the presence of the Father in Heaven to descend to earth

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Philippians 2:5-8

There are no contradictions in the Bible. Although the God-denier was lazy and ignorant of the scriptures in making the claim that Jesus contradicted the scriptures with his words in John 3, with an understanding of the context, we see that it is silly to make such a claim. If you’re interested in more articles like this, check out the ever-growing list of refuted claims-of-contradiction by the author of Domain for Truth!

Because God, who knows everything and is eternally faithful, can be trusted in his revelation about the past, we can trust His revelation about our future

Can Evolution Explain Empathy?

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If you’re not familiar with my series of posts, which analyze the claims of evolutionists, who claim that “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution” feel free to browse the articles below

In these articles, we as Christians understand that evolution truly lacks explanatory power for anything that is in conflict with God’s eternal word, but for purposes of exposing the deficiency of the God-denier’s worldview, we have taken the claims of the evolutionists and put them to the test. Can they actually justify what they are trying to explain, or are their claims filled with assumptions and artwork? Today we’ll answer a God-denier, who feels that evolution can explain empathy.

You can read the entire article here. Let’s see what this author, Frans De Waal, thinks is indisputable proof that the evolutionary processes of natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle for survival in an environment of limited resources – can in fact produce empathy

We tend to think of empathy as a uniquely human trait. But it’s something apes and other animals demonstrate

Right off the bat, we see that the author assumes that humans have evolved from either/both modern apes or other animals. But this is contrary to common evolutionary textbooks which teach that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. The BEST this author could claim would be to say either that there is evidence that the human/ape common ancestor already possessed the trait of empathy OR that empathy is a trait produced by the ambiguous and magical term “convergent evolution”

It’s good to have definitions and the author uses this definition of empathy

The act of perspective-taking is summed up by one of the most enduring definitions of empathy that we have, formulated by Adam Smith as “changing places in fancy with the sufferer.”

We’ll go with that definition

This capacity likely evolved because it served our ancestors’ survival in two ways. First, like every mammal, we need to be sensitive to the needs of our offspring. Second, our species depends on cooperation, which means that we do better if we are surrounded by healthy, capable group mates. Taking care of them is just a matter of enlightened self-interest.

Notice the unscientific and hopeful word “likely”. If this article were actual evidence of the ability of evolution to produce empathy, the author would have said “Here we see a population of organisms that had no empathy, but in order to survive the selection pressure, its direct descendants have empathy because of these XYZ mutations”. So, no science or evidence here

Let’s test the claim about mammals needing to be sensitive to the needs of our offspring…specifically the word “need”. Evolutionary processes (natural selection acting on random mutation) do not function based on a specific direction of “need”. This is a Post Hoc fallacy for the author to see that mammals care for their young THEREFORE evolution must have produced behavior that parents are “sensitive to the needs of our offspring”. If this were a scientific explanation, the author would have said “Mutations XYZ produced in parents of population group ABC the ability to be sensitive to the needs of offspring to account for selective pressure 123.” But that’s not what the author said. This author made the unwarranted claim that “since we see empathy today in mammals, then evolution MUST HAVE done it….somehow because we NEEEEEEEEED it”

In the second half of that claim, the author says that our species depends on cooperation because of enlightened self-interest. Now, the author has not yet defined “enlightened” or what evolutionary process produced “enlightenment”. For now, we’ll put this in the bucket of magic from which evolutionists invariably pull to “explain” some part of biology for which mutations don’t really fit.

It is hard to imagine that empathy…came into existence only when our lineage split off from that of the apes. It must be far older than that. Examples of empathy in other animals would suggest a long evolutionary history to this capacity in humans.

Again, the author fails to provide evidence of his claims and again, humans have not evolved from creatures, which exist today. Do you remember the definition the author used for empathy: the ability to “change place in fancy with the sufferer”? Yet no examples of mice or hippos explaining why they gave up a meal so that bats and ospreys could eat healthier. How many camels did the author interview to show that she (the camel) could change places in fancy with a sufferer?

But perhaps the most compelling evidence for the strength of animal empathy…

The goalposts have been subtly moved from: Empathy can be explained by evolution to Empathy exists. The next three paragraphs in the article bring emotional language like (“escape, reward, threat, arousing sympathy, crying, weep, tenderly, lightly touches, emotional connectedness, striking, carefully unfolded, notion of what would be good, screaming, yelping, distress…”) Emotional language isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t fit well in a paper, which is supposed to explain the ORIGIN of empathy rather than just its existence. The next paragraph begins with a comment that needs no comment

This is not to say that all we have are anecdotes

But a comment on the insufficiency of the article in explaining evolution’s tremendous power impotence is warranted. Why would he spend 3 paragraphs on impassioned anecdotes if the evidence from clinical studies on the origin of empathy were so very compelling? But let’s see what they have to say about the actual studies

it is a demonstrable tendency that probably reflects empathy, since the objective of the consoler seems to be to alleviate the distress of the other

“Probably”? “seems to”? I suppose I was expecting more conclusive answers than “probably” from a theory that flaunts bravado like “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution”. Pretty tame

In fact, recent neuroscience research suggests that very basic processes do underlie empathy. Researchers at the University of Parma, in Italy, were the first to report that monkeys have special brain cells

Notice two things from this paragraph:

  • Humans did not evolve from monkeys. At BEST, an evolutionist could only say that humans and monkeys share a common ancestor or that convergent evolution produced the same mutation in both humans and monkeys. Strangely, evolutionists tend to like the convergent evolution fable that complicates their overwhelming math problems
  • The monkeys ALREADY had the “special brain cells. Their argument hinges on these “special brain cells” learning the ability to perform a function. No talk about how nature was able to PRODUCE these “special brain cells”. For their argument to work, they must show step by step via numerous successive slight modifications how random mutation produced these “special brain cells”. Just assuming they already exist and that “turning them on” will produce empathy in creatures that formerly did not have “special brain cells” is the post hoc fallacy

Biologists prefer such bottom-up accounts. They always assume continuity between past and present, child and adult, human and animal, even between humans and the most primitive mammals.

“prefer” ?!?!?? “always assume”?!?!? To prove evolution, evolutionists rely on their preferences and assumptions. Rather than giving us observations on the leaf nodes (humans and chimps alive today), a compelling argument for evolutionists would be to show evidence from their assumed common ancestor how empathy evolved by evolutionary mechanisms. This type of argumentation is completely lacking. Instead they give us “preferences” and “assumptions”…mixed in with some fine artwork from time to time

Empathy probably evolved in the context of the parental care that characterizes all mammals

“probably”?!?? I prefer evidence to probably. And why use the ambiguous term “evolved” rather than describing in great detail the process of the construction of genes/cells/organs that produce empathy, evolutionists sweep the details away with “it probably evolved”. When an evolutionist doesn’t know the process, they can conveniently hide it in the sciency-sounding phrase: “it evolved” or in this case “probably evolved”.

https://crev.info/2021/03/it-evolved-is-not-science/

Signaling their state through smiling and crying, human infants urge their caregiver to take action

Like many other evolutionists, the term “signaling” is just assumed to be part of nature. For them, no explanation is needed – just that signaling exists. But signaling is amazingly complex and requires at least:

  • Ability by signaler to signal
  • Need by signaler to signal
  • Medium for signaler to be able to transmit signal in a way that it can be perceived by recipient
  • Meaning in a signal (information)
  • Ability by receiver to interpret signal correctly
  • Ability by receiver to provide a survival advantage to signaler

These signals, which evolutionists just assume have remarkable parallels to information theory. Dr. Werner Gitt explains the complexity involved with sender/signaler and recipient/receiver in his book In The Beginning Was Information. It’s not just unlikely that evolution (natural selection acting on the single successive slight modifications of random mutations) could construct complex coding communication as shown below, it’s impossible

p60 In the Beginning Was Information – Gitt

During the 180 million years of mammalian evolution, females who responded to their offspring’s needs out-reproduced those who were cold and distant

How could the author possibly know the results of every single mammalian parent/offspring interaction for almost 67 billion days such that he could claim the warm ones were better than the cold ones? It’s a ridiculous claim that is both totally lacking in evidence and entirely unverifiable.

Effective cooperation requires being exquisitely in tune with the emotional states and goals of others

This is a post hoc pragmatic “argument” rather than the detailed step by step explanation of construction of genes/cells/organs that produce empathy. Again, rather than giving us evidence, the author tells us a fantastic story. Evolution does not require anything but the effective propagation of genes. Bacteria, mosquitos, mice and fish are far more measurably fit than humans but they didn’t require empathy. Pragmatism fails as an argument and evolution (survival of the fittest by natural selection) is completely at odds with empathy (preventing natural selection without a fitness gain).

The way a chimpanzee bashes in the skull of a live monkey by hitting it against a tree trunk is no advertisement for ape empathy

THAT sounds more like evolution than empathy. Darwin described nature as “red in tooth and claw”. It’s a reversal by evolutionists to say now rather than the survival of the fittest to now say that evolution produced creatures that purposefully prevent natural selection.

Lions kill cubs from other males – not empathy

The possibility that empathy is part of our primate heritage

“possibility”?!!?!? Again with the utter lack of evidence

What we need, therefore, is a vision of human nature that encompasses all of our tendencies: the good, the bad, and the ugly

More pragmatism. The author wants to “envision” an explanation, so he wishes very hard for evolution to be that explanation. Wishing it, doesn’t make it so

Emotions trump rules. This is why, when speaking of moral role models, we talk of their hearts, not their brains…Moral rules tell us when and how to apply our empathic tendencies, but the tendencies themselves have been in existence since time immemorial

“Emotions trump rules, but rules trump emotions.” Didn’t the author of the article proofread his article before publishing it? Within two paragraphs he completely contradicts himself, but within an evolutionary framework, what’s wrong with contradictions? Maybe being contradictory improves his fitness somehow.

Go back and read his last sentence…is he closing off a scientific paper that is full of overwhelming evidence or is he writing a conclusion to a fanciful epic? Sounds fanciful to me

Another analysis of the impotent claims of evolution in the books…blog. Don’t be intimidated by those who boast, “The evidence for evolution is overwhelming.” EVERY time one of these evolutionists has put up a link to an article that they think explains the theory of evolution, once analyzed, the claims fall far short of evidence

Conversely, we can trust the revelation of the One, who knows everything and is eternally faithful. God revealed in the Bible that He created the plants, animals, and people to reproduce according to their kinds, so evolution’s story is incompatible.

Apologetics Session 8: Evil and the problem of Atheism

Excellent Apologetics session. As Christians we must think biblically and not compromise with worldly philosophies

The Domain for Truth

apologetics_session_evil_and_atheism

Establish the need: Why is this session important? We often hear discussion about God and the problem of evil.  However we must not downplay or neglect the issue of evil and the problem of atheism.

Purpose: In this session we shall discuss four points to help us think about evil and the problem of atheism to realize that in wrestling with the problem of evil there is a problem with atheism.

  • All worldviews have the burden of proof of explaining how evil exists
  • Atheism undermine the existence of evil: What atheist have to say
  • If God is the basis for determining good and evil then there is no problem of evil
    God uses evil to bring about good

View original post 2,188 more words

Magic

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A beetle sees a cat jump so high and far in a single bound that the beetle can no longer see it. The beetle exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the cat was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the beetle could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

A cat sees a turtle purposely submerge itself in a pond and reappear hundreds of paw prances away. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the turtle was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the cat could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

Photo by Andrew Patrick on Pexels.com

A turtle see a bird extend feathered appendages from its torso, levitate into THIN AIR, and propel itself away at dangerous speeds. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the bird was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the turtle could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

A bird sees a human enter a stationary impenetrable 4-wheeled box and after that box leaves and returns, the human emerges unharmed with three dozen eggs. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the human was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the bird could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

Photo by Couleur on Pexels.com

A human God-denier sees God’s eternal power and divine nature in the things that have been made. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, God was performing something completely within His domain of power even if the God-denier suppressed the knowledge of God in unrighteousness and mocked Christians for believing in magic

The mockery of Christians for “believing in magic” is an immature and lazy argument, because the Almighty has no restrictions within his domain – which is everything. For the God-denier to shriek “you believe in magic” is the same as the beetle attributing magical powers to cats. Don’t argue like beetles

And all along the beetle, cat, turtle, and bird praised God for his common grace

Can Evolution Explain The Indonesian Mimicry Octopus?

In an online exchange, I asked a God-denier to provide evidence that evolution could explain the origins of the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. This exchange happened after after the person with the Twitter profile name, @AmputeeAtheist, called a Christian brother “stupid” for showing in an article how evolutionists have bad assumptions rather than evidence for their theory

In the link that @AmputeeAtheist provided which supposedly provided proof that evolution can explain the origins of any octopus…let alone the Indonesian Mimic Octopus, we are given several options to choose from to verify his claims.

Unbeknownst to @AmputeeAtheist, since he failed to read his own link, the second article in his list was written by Dr. Brian Thomas, who works for The Institute For Creation Research. How embarrassing for him

Embarrassing Link for God-Deniers

If you haven’t had a chance, stop now and watch the video in @Rational_faith_ ‘s article about the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. God’s design is indeed wondrous!

As I have done in my series of articles exposing evolution’s inability to explain anything, I’ll take a couple of the “scientific” articles in @AmputeeAtheist ‘s link and expose how there’s no actual evidence in them, but they are littered with assumptions and ambiguity:

Here’s the first article in the list – https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/60/11/962/329655?login=true

Most of the article is behind a paywall, but the article reveals how little these highly-trained lab coats know about the evolution of octopi.

“remarkable”
“astonishing”
“unusual”
“There is also conflicting research about whether its defense mechanisms are learned or inherited”
“The researchers had predicted…Instead, they discovered…”
“evolved”

“the traits evolved”

You’ll notice the deafening lack of details and the monumental surprise of the researchers that an octopus could have evolved

The second article in @AmputeeAtheist’s link, as was pointed out earlier, was written by a Christian, who trusts God’s revelation in scripture that animals were created rather than evolved, so there’s no need to expose the evolutionary deceit there. But you can read this magnificent article here. So, we’ll move on to the next article

This article is FULL of assumptions and ambiguity but is however lacking evidence that evolution can explain the origins of the Indonesian Mimic Octopus (IMO). Let’s review what it would take to show evidence

  • DNA of direct ancestor species of IMO without mimic traits
  • Repeatable evolutionary mechanism (X) that creates the information that builds phenotypic traits for the IMO to mimic more than 15 disparate species
  • Repeatable evolutionary mechanism (Y) that creates the information that controls (software) the phenotypic traits for the IMO to mimic more than 15 disparate species
  • Both mechanisms (X) and (Y) must be unguided and shown to be mechanisms that transform DNA base pairs in single, successive, slight modifications

Let’s see if this article contains any evidence like that or if it’s filled with assumptions

Before you shriek “Quote-mining!!!!”, you can read the whole article here and if you can show that instead of assumptions and ambiguity, there is actual evidence, be my guest. But on to the analysis. NOTES: Quotes from the article are in italics, and my comments of each quote are directly below:

flatfish swimming appears to have evolved concurrently with extremely long arms

Notice that the details are missing. And asserting (completely without evidence) that anything evolved concurrently is incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications

the subsequent diversification of their descendents into lineages with successful conspicuous defence behaviours, remains a puzzling topic in evolutionary biology

Puzzling? Clearly!

have evolved

Details missing!

Maybe we’ll find the answer in the section titled: TOWARDS AN EVOLUTIONARY UNDERSTANDING OF A CONSPICUOUS PRIMARY DEFENCE IN T. MIMICUS

explore possible scenarios for the evolution

Possible scenarios? You mean there’s no ACTUAL evidence, just possible scenarios? That’s what I’ve been saying all along

Central to this investigation is the well-documented fact that many behaviours, including visual defences and their associated body colour patterns (e.g. Brodie III, 1989), are heritable traits

The link supposedly pointing to Brodie’s article is broken and subsequent search for the CENTRAL PILLAR TO THIS INVESTIGATION was fruitless. An article written by Brodie, on which their whole research relies, is missing in action

we assume

Obviously!

possible social mimicry…may also influence

More assumptions

evolve at the same time

Details missing!

Exaptations, by contrast, are traits that ‘are fit for their current role … but were not designed for it’

There is by definition NO DESIGN in evolution.

evolved originally either as adaptations for other uses

Details missing!

is likely to have evolved early in this lineage

Details missing! Assumptions abound!

we estimated genealogical relationships

Estimated? Estimated? I thought this was supposed to be about evidence

In the event of discrepancies between our observations and published accounts we followed our own observations

There was a fine chart (Figure 2) that presumed to show evolutionary relationships. However, they brought their own argument into question that they relied on evidence rather than subjective opinion in their admission above

appears most closely related

Ambiguity persists in that quote

may have evolved

Lots of assumptions and the details missing!

it appears that

Ambiguity persists

behavioural and morphological traits emerge concurrently

Incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications

may have yielded

More ambiguity

may have evolved

Details missing!

may enable

More ambiguity

may evolve imperfect mimicry of an intermediate form

More ambiguity and where’s this intermediate form? ANOTHER missing link?

Although the lack of a conclusive flatfish model has generally been identified as a weakness in the cephalopod mimicry literature (Hanlon et al., 2008), we feel it reflects imperfect mimicry of multiple models in regions of high biodiversity

Feelings and weaknesses saturate this article

We do not know how potential unpalatability…may further contribute to predator confusion, learning, and/or future avoidance

They DO NOT KNOW…no doubt

The pattern is emerging that evolution, while presented as a theory with oVerWheLmiNg evidence, is instead supported by massive assumptions behind a venire of white lab coats

The Altruism Exchange – Part 4

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The Tall Friendly Atheist Dad (TFAD) didn’t care much for my questioning of the ‘one true religion of Darwinism’. Last year, I wrote a post asking the question “Can Evolution Explain Altruism?” and after exposing the claims of those, who answered affirmatively, as impotent – TFAD put quite a bit of time and effort into a 4 part rebuttal. I answered his first 2 submissions in Part 1 and Part 2 of my replies, and for the most part TFAD wasted his “shots” on nit picking and majoring on the minors. In his third objection, TFAD did address the substance of my arguments, but my rebuttal of his objections showed that my original contention is escaped his objections without damage. Let’s see if his final objection can make him a champion for Darwin by slaying anyone, who would dare question the narrative or if his best quality is his friendliness.

Right from the start TFAD attacks the argument messenger

TFAD: “…you’re trying to counter scientific ignorance writ-large in the form of Fundamental Evangelicalism combined with Presuppositional Apologetics…After much consternation, I’ve decided to release the 4th and final part, but with most of the links removed. Not that Creationists care much for them”

So, TFAD postures his stance in his final response with the assertion that his opponent is “scientifically ignorant” and never checks sources. TFAD quickly forgets that checking sources is what started this discussion. Way back in the original post TFAD posted the link that would birth this discussion shown in the picture below (TFAD comments in red)

He’s not off to a good start, since while some creationists or presuppositionalists that he’s encountered in the past might have ignored a link or been ignorant of the teachings of evolution, The ApoloJedi guild is not so easily dismissed. TFAD now moves to object to the use of presuppositional apologetics and defines it as special pleading

TFAD: “they need this out BECAUSE the evidence from philosophy, morality and especially the natural sciences all defeat the case for God’s existence and his superior qualities when considered strictly on their merits”

This is tone deaf bluster as each of these categories is the “home field” of the Christian. In matters of philosophy, only Christianity can justify logic, reasoning, and knowledge. In fact, I recently asked the question of the naturalist “Can Evolution Explain Reason?” and similarly showed naturalism to be devoid of explanatory power. His bluster gets insanely absurd when he claims that evidence for morality defeats the case for God’s existence. The most famous of God-deniers, Richard Dawkins, proclaims of atheism

RD: “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

Any morality that a God-denier might propose is subjective, self-defeating, and irrational as shown

His final claim that the evidence from the natural sciences is one that we can debate only because Christianity is true as was shown earlier in the link regarding logic, reasoning, and knowledge. Should an atheist want to discuss evidence, they would need to demonstrate that their worldview can consistently and sufficiently provide a foundation for the very things on which evidence relies (logic, induction, truth, and morality), and because of their epistemic assumptions, none can possibly be forthcoming.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi has only used a social definition of altruism, ‘good done for no thought of reward’, not an academic one. If ApoloJedi is trying to convince like-minded believers of his position, mission accomplished, but has he done enough to convince rational skeptics like me? No.”

OK. Can we observe behaviors in creatures today that one would define as the social definition of altruism? YES! Those observations are seen without question. I asked the question whether evolution can explain those behaviors, and it cannot. TFAD wanting to protect his strongly held faith commitment to the religion of survival of the fittest would rather redefine altruism to mean something that involves a reward, so that the dogma of ‘natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle to produce the most fit offspring’ might have a minute chance of partial explanation. But it’s just like when the staunch evolutionists vainly and incorrectly claimed to have defeated Behe’s mousetrap analogy by saying “But HERE’S a different mousetrap that doesn’t look like your analogy”, TFAD says “But HERE’S a different kind of rewarding altruism (not true altruism) that isn’t defeated by your scandalous questions.”

In a response to my quote that reads “it is my intent to always revere Christ Jesus as the authority in all matters”, TFAD has this to say with incredulity

TFAD: “In all matters, especially scientific? But why? Why would anyone hold as a scientific authority a person who – despite being the one who created the universe (Colossians 1:16) – didn’t know or care to teach about bacteria or atoms or DNA? What was Jesus’ knowledge about electricity or vaccines or neurochemistry?”

Yes. All matters. Hold on for some scriptural support of my original claim and then some comments

  • 2 Cor 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
  • Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me
  • Eph 1:20-21 when God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come

From Abraham Kuyper “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” So, Yes TFAD, Jesus is authoritative over scientific matters, electricity, vaccines and neurochemistry. And while Jesus has an eternal dominion over these fields of science, the things you currently believe about science will be mocked as archaic by natural philosophers a few hundred years into the future. Your own epistemology of provisionalism gives you no certainty that your temporal faith commitments are anything other than your opinion.

In critiquing this line in my post: “and not put the God-denier in the judge’s seat as if he/she can correctly judge evidence in accordance with a perfect perception of reality. Only God has a perfect perception of all of reality” TFAD had this to say:

TFAD: “This is a common line from Pre-Suppositionalists that I believe actually betrays why they’re reluctant to apply the same standard to God as what they happily do every day to everybody and everything else. It’s funny – Pre-Suppositionalists, and even most Protestant Evangelicals, will happily sit in judgement over other people’s behaviour, over the morality other religions, the existence of their associated deities, and over the morality and judgement of certain presidential candidates and their families – yet when it comes to their deity, suddenly being in the judge’s seat is wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Either judge nothing on its merits, or judge everything on its merits”

Unknowingly TFAD has stepped beyond the perceived safety of the modern academic paradigm, and has jumped into the presupp-infested waters of metaphysics. STANDARDS. Oh yes, God has his standard of righteousness on which everyone will be judged. Those, who are in a right relationship with Jesus by grace through faith will not be punished for their wickedness, but those who are dead in their trespasses will face righteous judgment from the Eternal Judge. Regarding his lament that God sits in the judgment seat but denies that seat to the God-denier as special pleading – it’s only special pleading if God is not the eternal Judge. In the same way that it’s not special pleading for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to sit in his judges chair and pass judgments (along with the other SCOTUS judges) and deny Neil Young a place at the judge’s seat. Because Neil Young is a has-been musician not a judge. It’s idolatry for the creation (mankind) to think of itself as the Creator or in any way worthy to be sitting in the holy judgment seat. If you want to “judge everything on its merits”, what is your merit (standard)? When the standard is God’s Holy Word, the God-denier will quickly withdraw his desire to be judged on that merit

TFAD: “Now, let’s ask the question: from the Bible’s perspective, how accurate does God perceive reality? Badly is the answer. For example, Genesis 1:6 describes a firmament, a crystalline dome that divides the sky from outer space and has windows to let the rain in (Genesis 7:11) and covers the earth. And let’s be clear: the Hebrew word for firmament, “raqiya”, means a solid dome, not simply the atmosphere”

While I could remind TFAD that his own epistemology is provisional, and he himself does not and cannot truly perceive reality with perfect accuracy, we’ll analyze his misunderstanding of the biblical text that he notes. He claims that God believes that the firmament or expanse from Genesis 1 is a crystalline solid dome. Not unsurprisingly TFAD did not quote Genesis 1:20 that says the birds fly in the expanse, so it could not be solid.

TFAD: “Genesis also describes the moon as a “lesser light” in contrast to the sun being the “greater light”. The problem? The moon has no capacity to generate light”

Looks like TFAD has revived his classic picking-at-nits argument. God clearly defined his purpose for the moon and as a reflector, it functions quite well. But if the moon were a fusion reactor like Solar, the earth would be completely sterile from a star so close. What else might happen is a tiny star were so close to Earth? When the fusion materials were depleted, it would go supernova, and that would end poorly for the biological creatures God had designed for his glory. TFAD although wanting to be the Judge and the Creator didn’t think that one through very well.

TFAD: “But let’s continue to evaluate God’s perception of the reality he supposedly created. Isaiah 11:12 refers to the four quarters of the earth, which is a reflection of a classic belief that the earth was a circular disk, not a globe. Job 38:19 asks “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?”. Light doesn’t live anywhere – light is an electromagnetic wave in certain bands of wavelengths, and darkness is not a thing, it’s merely the absence of light.”

This is a common tactic from God-deniers – force wooden literalism onto poetic passages. We’ll chalk this up as continued nit-picking as these lazy objections have been addressed even before Al Gore invented the internet

TFAD: “And the Bible is without any description of our local solar system. God, not once, mentions any other planets”

That’s like saying, “My toothbrush, although it can float, cannot launch F-18 Hornets into the sky therefore the inventor of toothbrushes is an idiot!” God’s purpose in the Bible is to teach us how to be in a right relationship with Him. He left many things for people to discover for His glory, so it is absurd to declare that God does not have a correct perception of reality because He didn’t catalogue all knowledge.

To my valid claim that “God, who is the source of all knowledge, has revealed some of his knowledge so that we can know those things with certainty” TFAD responded:

TFAD: “Only if we are willing to cede our intellect (as well as our humanity) to a book written by men who wondered where the sun went at night.”

It’s likely that many of you have heard this little jab that the authors of the Bible (kings, doctors, philosophers, warriors, judges, lawyers) were dimwits. Secondly, as has been pointed out many times, “intellect” is only possible because Christianity is true. Were humans simply the accidental aggregation of stardust, intellect would not be possible, knowable, or trustworthy

TFAD: “Does God command altrusim (sp) ? Only when he’s not commanding genocide (1 Samuel 15), endorsing slavery (Exodus 21), literally de-valuing women (Leviticus 27), having his people kidnap little girls after their parents and brothers have been murdered (Numbers 31), and much, much more.”

God-deniers seem not to comprehend the difference between judgment and genocide as they irrationally judge God without warrant. To the God-denier, what’s wrong with disintegrating aggregations of particles in an amoral cosmos? They have no consistent/justified moral foundation on which to stand. Slavery? Again, to the God-denier, why is slavery wrong? On what basis do you declare ANYTHING that God commands as immoral? The best they can say is that they don’t personally like it at this time since they have no absolute standard by which to judge others. Would it be too much to duplicate the meme of the boyfriend looker from above to highlight the inherent problems of those, who outwardly deny God, recognize the need for moral absolutes? Why not – as it’s my new favorite meme

Now we get into the part of TFAD’s objection where he exposes his ignorance of the concept of an “internal critique”. An internal critique is taking on the perspective of your interlocutor and showing how (within his own viewpoint) his perspective leads to a contraction, an absurdity, and/or inconsistency. An external critique, which is far less persuasive in terms of argumentation, is showing an interlocutor why they are wrong according to one’s own view.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi isn’t saying the theory of evolution is unscientific because he has conferred with those with professional qualifications and done a comparative study of numerous genomes to come up with a competing data set that has withstood scientific scrutiny to the point that it attracts academic attention. No. He is saying evolution is false because it is discordant with his theology”

He said this in response to my brief explanation that evolution is incorrect according to the truth that God revealed in both the Bible and in nature from the Christian perspective (external critique). But I immediately continued with the summation of the blog post which showed from the internal critique (analyzing the teachings/writings of evolutionists in their failed attempt to explain altruism via evolution) that the theory of evolution is impotent in accounting for anything altruism. This was a very brief recognition that evolution is not just wrong from my own perspective, but also from theirs

TFAD: “The article didn’t enter the worldview of the God-denier, for the simple reason that ApoloJedi’s article was a theological hatchet job, and evolution is a science issue – not a theological one. Christians such as Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Theodosius Dobzhansky and Pope Francis see no threat to their faith when looking at the theory of evolution, so why does ApoloJedi?”

If I had not been doing an internal critique, I would have filled my blog post with links to ICR.org, Creation.com, and AnswersInGenesis.org (because they are awesome websites). But that would have been an external critique of evolutionism. But I didn’t. I asked evolutionists to account for their claims, and they could not. Regarding Francis and Francis: I do not share the same faith (also named the same and share some elements) as Francis Collins and Pope Francis, so the critique was warranted

At the end of his blog, TFAD falls right back into the very same thinking that my original post exposed as impotent. I showed that the only way that “altruism” can possibly be explained by evolution is by redefining altruism to mean something that it does not mean

TFAD: “cooperative tendencies…natural selection and social selection have worked and do work against individuals who do not help and share with others…reciprocal altruism, ‘strong reciprocity’…Kin‐based altruism benefits biological relatives”

As though he had not read the original post that showed these terms clearly as redefining the word – altruism, TFAD tries to throw “strong reciprocity” at the evolutionary paradox again thinking maybe no one would notice this time.

Hopefully, this discussion will help those, who feel like they must bow obediently to whatever those in white lab coats tell you to believe without any critical thinking. Because, with some skeptical analysis, we can see that bias drives a lot of research and just because evolution is popular doesn’t mean it’s true.

The Altruism Exchange – Part 3

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In part 1 and part 2 of the rebuttal to the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad’s objections to my original article: “Can Evolution Explain Altruism” we saw that he objected from the margins and never really addressed the meat of the article. He has shown himself to be verbose and persistent…and friendly. Let’s see if Part 3 of his objection will produce some positive criticism. As before, the tall friendly one will be referred to as TFAD, TFAD’s comments will be in red.

My original post included the line “So, scientists have recognized that it is counter-intuitive to assume that altruism fits within the evolutionary explanations”. And it’s not just scientists. There’s an inherent understanding that a mechanism (evolution) that’s taught as “survival of the fittest”, “red in tooth and claw”, and “culls the weak” has basic problems also explaining sacrificial giving to help the weak survive, empathy, and protecting the weak (even of other species) at the expense of one’s own reproductive success. But TFAD declares:

“This is wrong, as well as completely missing the point. No expert on the subject says that altruism is on the whole incompatible with evolution as a mechanism for human development or advancement. Nay, a cursory Google Scholar search for “evolutionary origins human altruism” brings up over 80’000 results which actually tie human altruism to evolution”

There are so many things with TFAD’s objection to dissect. Best start at the top:

  • For him to declare someone to be wrong, he would have to have absolute knowledge, but an epistemology which assumes naturalism has no such foundation for the preconditions of intelligibility. This is not just me lazily saying “I’m right and you’re wrong!” He has recognized the deficiency in his own worldview
  • AND, I am NOT wrong. People that TFAD would recognize as experts (no creationist links below) DO recognize the inherent contradiction of the mechanisms of evolution with altruism. While researchers think they may have answers, the point remains – Altruism is in conflict with evolutionary thought.
  • “No expert” – While TFAD did not specifically define expert, it would not take long to infer what he means by expert. Are experts only those who have PhDs? What about PhDs who are Christians? What about PhDs who have different ideological assumptions than you? What about PhDs who are employed by companies that you consider biased? If a person does not have a PhD can they object or point out inconsistencies in a claim/idea? Since TFAD does not have a PhD (or recognized expertise beyond height/friendliness) why is his objection to my exposure of evolutionary deficiency worth considering? This is not to say that education is bad or that there are not people who are highly trained in specific fields. There are. And I am questioning the assumptions, processes, and conclusions of some of those experts because their reasoning (as I have shown) is questionable. People mustn’t be silenced because they do not have fancy letters after their name. No one would consider me an expert in biology, which exposes the inadequacy of the explanations of evolutionists for altruism, since a non-expert (me) has easily shown the flaws in their thinking
  • TFAD found more than 80,000 results when searching for “evolutionary origins human altruism”, and he interpreted this as “See, evolution explains altruism”. This is what is called prejudicial conjecture. Rather than reading the 80,000 results or even a few of them, he just assumed (with his bias) that all of them are the answer. If we were to use the methodology of TFAD to try to answer the question “Is inflation good for the economy?” Google returns about 269,000,000 results. And following his progression of thought, I could claim “no, it is not! See, there are 269,000,000 articles telling me why.” I’m sure you all see the flaw TFAD’s argument, and it hath a name: prejudicial conjecture.

TFAD proceeds next down the well-worn “rabbit trail” of criticizing presuppositional apologetics again for a few paragraphs. It’s not really part of the discussion, but it gives TFAD warm fuzzies to be critical of philosophies with which he disagrees. But back to the real substance of the ongoing debate

I wrote “Essentially, he told me that science DOES have answers, and I’m ignorant of those answers because I’ve never read them” and TFAD countered:

“Not quite. I never said he was ignorant of the answers because he’s never read them. What I will say is that lousy epistomology (sp) utilising intellectually treasonous theology prevents people with theological blinders on from accepting the fact they could ever be wrong about something, particularly when that something challenges their deeply-held religious convictions. So ApoloJedi is not ignorant because he hasn’t read the answers – he’s ignorant (to use his word) because his chain of logic prevents him from ever being corrected on any topic he sees as contradictory to his theology.”

TFAD again has fallen into the trap of misunderstanding the entire purpose of the original blog post. I used the definitions of the evolutionists. I used the papers and books of the evolutionists. I used the links and assumptions of the evolutionists…all as an internal critique of their explanations of things (altruism) clearly seen. What remains unseen are their assumptions that natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle for survival can produce behavior that is sacrificial to the reproductive fitness of the giver. TFAD says that I am opposed to “ever being corrected on any topic he sees as contradictory to his theology”. Should TFAD desire to take this path of argumentation, he needs to establish an epistemology with transcendent justification whereby his philosophical foundation is sufficient to correct others. As already shown and as he has already admitted, his philosophical foundation is unable to do so. Even if he does not want to go so deep as to engage in metaphysical foundations (as he really hates presuppositional apologetics), he could at the very least demonstrate (from his own perspective) the necessary evidence that evolutionary mechanisms can produce altruistic behavior in creatures where their direct ancestor did not behave altruistically. This glaring deficiency is what precipitated the original blog post in the 1st place, and TFAD would rather distract and pick at nits than demonstrate actual evidence that would put the whole issue to bed.

Fehr/Fischbacher

When, in my original post, I said “They (Fehr/Fischbacher) clearly recognize the counter-intuitive nature of the claim that evolution can sufficiently account for altruism”, TFAD almost shouted:

“No they don’t! ApoloJedi can quote an abstract, but not read it properly – it said “current gene-based theories” cannot explain, but it did not say evolution on the whole can’t account for it…All they said was that according to current gene-only evolutionary models, no theory sufficiently explains human altruism – hence why they believe the need for a co-evolutionary model that incorporates both genes and culture”

Gene-based theory IS the theory of evolution. Remember bullet points 2, 3, and 4 from the original post

There was nothing about culture, which TFAD now suddenly adds to the mix. TFAD never defines culture, but we can infer that he’s jumped down the Lamarkian rabbit hole of thinking that acquired characteristics can be passed on genetically. Lamarkism, the idea that a weightlifter will produce offspring with higher percentages of muscle or someone who pierces their ears will have offspring with pierced ears, is now generally dismissed, but there are rare exceptions. The theory of evolution is taught that beneficial heritable genetic traits persist while natural selection “weeds out” phenotypes that are unfit.

Moving on -> Many of you are familiar with the term “gaslighting“. TFAD attempts to gaslight the audience by questioning the reader’s understanding of reality. In the original post, I pointed out the redefinition of altruism made by Fehr/Fischbacher when in their definition of a new mysterious force they have defined as “Strong Reciprocity”, they talk about being rewarded for altruistic behavior “Reward? If there is a reward, it’s not altruism. Right from the beginning, they change the definition of altruism from something that is unselfish to appeal to the inherent selfishness”. But TFAD gaslights the reader by saying

“At no point do either of these definitons (sp) nor the SEP definition consider altruism as “doing something beneficial for no thought of reward””

When the very definition of altruism IS “Behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species”. When Fehr/Fischbacher introduce “reward”, they are not longer talking about altruism. But TFAD continues to say that selfish rewards and expecting “fair outcomes” are part of altruism, when we know in reality that altruism has nothing to do with selfishness or expecting fair outcomes. TFAD again tries to distract when he says

“I really don’t care about Merrian-Webster’s definition – I’d much rather use Stanford’s version because it is more academcially (sp) rigorous”

This reminds me of the objection from evolutionists that they have successfully refuted Michael Behe’s example of irreducible complexity in the standard mousetrap. In an analogy, Behe described the necessary components of the standard mousetrap (Model SM) as needing a base, spring, hammer, catch, and trigger all arranged in a very specific ingenious way that these pieces interact to kill mice. The analogy is that a blind/purposeless/atomic process (evolution) cannot produce the standard mousetrap (SM) that we see today, because it requires multiple interacting parts to be assembled in place with all proper tolerances, dimensions, materials, and initial conditions lest it not be preserved for lack of functionality. The evolutionists have said that there are mousetraps (not model SM, but model FF) that do not require the 5 interacting pieces. But that’s not Behe’s claim. Evolutionists have to account for what is seen, which is Model SM. Sure an intelligent objector can theorize Model FF that is designed to catch mice a different way, but Model SM (which is analogously seen today in complex interacting biological systems) is irreducibly complex. So, what TFAD has subtly done is propose a different definition of altruism (like Model FF) in an attempt to distract from evolution’s inability to explain real altruism (Model SM). And just like the evolutionist’s failed attempt to explain away irreducible complexity, TFAD’s attempt similarly fails.

In a last ditch effort to object to my questioning of evolution’s claimed abilities, TFAD distances himself from the very sources that he recommended. He posted a link from Google Scholar that he recommended I should analyze before questioning whether evolution could explain altruism, and Fehr/Fischbacher were 1st in the list.

“And you know why? Because Fehr & Fischbacher are economists with specialisations in human behaviour – not geneticists.”

Now that I’ve pressed back on his claims that evolution can explain altruism, it’s likely that he would not call Fehr/Fischbacher “experts” since they are just economists, even though he recommended them in the 1st place

While TFAD has been less than complimentary about creationist’s understanding of the theory of evolution, we now have to point out the TFAD does not understand the finer points of evolution

“Convergent evolution ain’t no mere assertion – it’s a demonstrable fact. Let’s think about it – if two separate primate species have overlapping characteristics and genetics, where do you think it’s pointing to?”

I had pointed out that the best that modern experiments can do when comparing common traits between widely disparate species would be to speculate that that it was the result of convergent evolution. Now convergent evolution is the description of the observation that two (or more) species that are not evolutionarily closely related have similar structures. An example would be wings. Birds, insects and bats have wings, but they are not closely related according to evolutionists, so evolutionists describe this marvel as convergent evolution. So, when TFAD says it’s demonstrable fact, it’s true that evolutionists have named an inexplicable observation as convergent evolution, but it doesn’t EXPLAIN anything. They could just have easily called it sorcery because those 2 terms have the same level of explanatory power – ZERO. TFAD thinks convergent evolution means “overlapping characteristics”, but as shown, it’s not overlapping traits from evolutionarily closely-related species. And it’s not a mechanism or a process. It’s just the assigned label of a mystery that’s devoid of explanation

Dawkins

Next TFAD takes aim at my analysis of Richard Dawkin’s book, The Selfish Gene. TFAD states:

“I’m curious as to why ApoloJedi chose The Selfish Gene instead of something like much more recent”

The Selfish Gene by RD is, according to the Royal Society, the most influential science book of all time. It has 4 editions, it’s written by the most well-known living evolutionist, and it’s sold over one million copies. The Guardian ranks it as the 10th best non-fiction book of all time. Why would I NOT choose to use one of the most popular science books written by one of the most popular science writers of all time in my article? If I had not, TFAD would have questioned why I DIDN’T use this popular and influential book. As noted in Part 1 of the Altruism Exchange, TFAD will have no end to the number of resources and books that I could have used. “Why not this one? Why not that one? Why not THOSE or THESE?!?!?” Ad infinitum

“Go tell Richard Dawkins that. He’ll be pleased a Creationist has been reading his books. But Dawkins is an expert in biology, not human psychology.”

Again with the “you’re not an expert” accusation. If nothing else, TFAD has shown that he’s the expert on who is NOT an expert. Well, maybe TFAD should go tell Richard Dawkins that despite all of the hours spent researching, writing, and publishing a book that attempts (and fails) to elucidate evolution’s ability to account for evolution, that he’s not an expert. Dawkins’ own words from the opening of his book tell us that he intended to write an account that explains clear examples of altruism via evolutionary mechanisms

Openstax Biology 2e

In his objection to the portion of my post that cited Openstax (the College Biology book), TFAD missed the whole point. In their chapter titled “Altruistic Behavior”, they gave examples and definitions of strong reciprocity and (like me) criticized the notion of a selfish gene being able to explain altruism. With the end of their examples, they proclaimed “Most of the behaviors described above do not seem to satisfy this definition (of altruism).” So they spent all that time trying to compose examples of why altruism is explained by evolution and then admitted, “but those aren’t TRULY altruistic”. And I agree. They were unable to give an accounting of observed altruism via evolutionary mechanisms. TFAD focuses instead on pulling the reader back to his preferred definition of altruism and opining that evolution is true.

TFAD: “Heritable traits that enhance one’s odds of survival – that sounds a heckuva lot like evolution to me”

Yes – heritable traits. But TFAD said that just after he quoted Openstax as saying “These instinctual behaviors may then be applied, in special circumstances, to other species, as long as it doesn’t lower the animal’s fitness.” But remember the definition of altruism? “behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species.” Astute readers will again see the raw contradiction…as I have been contending all along.

In the original article I said “In their first paragraph they invoke a sciency-sounding phrase, kin selection, as if merely naming an observation actually explains it…Kin selection like convergent evolution like strong reciprocity are terms that hide the explanation under the guise of science. People hear “kin selection” and assume, “well, it’s got a fancy name, so someone must have demonstrated that evolution is the only explanation for it.”” TFAD replies

“Got bad news for you, good sir – kin selection is an observed and documented scientific fact…Kin selection, strong reciprocity and convergent evolution are ALL documented phenomena in the scientific literature. Ignore it at your intellectual peril”

I never said kin selection wasn’t observed. I said kin selection doesn’t EXPLAIN altruism…or anything else. Like convergent evolution, kin selection is simply a label. It’s not an explanation. TFAD thinks that because the WhiteLabCoats have placed a label on something, that it has explanatory power, but AS I SAID in the original post, the label gives it no explanatory power.

TFAD put a lot of effort into his objections, and I appreciate the sharpening of thought and communication. But as shown, his objections never quite hit the core of the argument. His strong faith commitment to the theory of evolution prevented him from seeing the contradictions based on my internal critique of evolutionism, and his bias left my original contention completely intact that the theory of evolution cannot explain altruism.

The Altruism Exchange – Part 2

Photo by Greg on Pexels.com

Last week, in Part 1 we looked at the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad’s (TFAD) 1st response to my blog post of whether evolution can explain altruism or not. If you’ve not had a chance, I encourage you to read the original blog post in question, Can Evolution Explain Altruism? It defines evolution, altruism, and then analyzes the arguments of 3 evolutionary authorities, who claim to have explained why they think that the theory of evolution can indeed account for altruism. I’ll continue the pattern of referring to the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad as TFAD and his nitpicking as *NP* when he doesn’t actually address the arguments I’ve presented but just wants to be argumentative

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.

The Altruism Exchange 1

I suppose I should be honored that my small blog has relevance enough to merit a response to the arguments that I have presented. But a FOUR-part response with thousands of words to one of my posts deserves kudos, if for nothing else than the amount of time spent, to the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad (TFAD)

If you’ve not had a chance, I encourage you to read the blog post in question, Can Evolution Explain Altruism? Its defines evolution, altruism, and then analyzes the arguments of 3 evolutionary authorities, who claim to have explained why they think that the theory of evolution can indeed account for altruism

TFAD begins with some posturing and attempts a “poisoning of the well” in his opening of part 1, and perhaps I’ll circle back at the end of this response to address those, but let’s get right into the meat of the argument – Can Evolution Explain Altruism?

Definitions are important. I defined altruism using two sources that both defined altruism the same way.

TFAD: “I prefer Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s definition.”

TFAD decided he didn’t like those definitions and thrust his own definition into the fray, and in the end, he has made a distinction without a difference. We can all agree that altruism is unselfish behavior that benefits another person or another creature without any expectation of personal benefit. I gave examples in my original blog post, which would fit with the definition that I gave and that TFAD gave

At this point, I need to jump ahead in the discussion just a little, because in our conversations I noted that some of the objections the TFAD gives are nitpicking and distractions. He took “umbrage” to my identification of many of his objections as such. His addition of an additional definition of altruism is nitpicking. I’ll denote future examples of nitpicking with *NP* moving forward

I must stress the importance of the following points, because the entire argument hinges on it, but TFAD strays from the point throughout his 4 posts. They are basic to this discussion, and other considerations are distractions:

  • The theory of evolution is taught as if its mechanisms can explain everything (except its origin) about life
  • Altruistic behavior has been observed and requires a consistent explanation via evolutionary mechanisms
  • When I asked how does evolution explain altruistic behavior? TFAD posted a link to “scientific” papers that he felt gave answers to my question. I took the top result and analyzed it. This is significant, because in part 4 of his objections, TFAD tries to distance himself from the scientific papers that he himself recommended as sufficient.
  • My analysis of these three evolutionary sources-of-explanations is based on the assumptions and definitions of the evolutionists. While I note my beliefs at the beginning, I am not bringing my own assumptions into the analysis of their work. Their works need to be able to stand or fall on their own – and as I have shown, by their own assumptions, they fail miserably at trying to explain observations of altruistic behavior via evolutionary mechanisms
  • When TFAD tries to show how creationism is wrong, he is distracting from the argument
  • When TFAD tries to attack me or my lack-of-credentials, he is distracting from the argument

Back to the discussion. I noted in my original post that “altruism is seen in ant and bee colonies”

TFAD replies: “however you want to define altruism, you then have to admit that altruism is not a behaviour seen only in humans, which means that the mechanism for how altruism developed in humans is just as applicable to how it developed in non-human mammals”

Possibly, unless it is another asserted example of “Convergent Evolution”. TFAD’s response has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Nobody assumes that humans evolved from bees or lions. Nobody says altruism doesn’t exist in other creatures. My question from the beginning is “Can evolution explain altruism?” So, for TFAD to say as a critique that some mysterious/unknown mechanism (which nobody has quantified or elucidated) could be the same in humans as in other animals is pointless. Regardless, it’s the explanation that has been given by evolutionists that I am critiquing. So, TFAD is either distracting from the main point or does not understand evolution

TFAD: “But if we ignore the scientific research and look to an Intelligent Design/Creation model”

Distraction. I’m not proposing a different model in this post

TFAD: “One of Intelligent Design’s fatal flaws…”

Another distraction. I’m not proposing a different model in this post. Stay on target!

TFAD: “not only has evolution been established as the primary driving factor behind biodiversity, but it also helps explain how altruism is found mostly in mammals, in particular social primate mammals, but only in a handful of other species – in short, it simply wasn’t a trait that was developed and inherited across the animal kingdom”

Interesting assertion, but again his lack of explanation is notable especially since he claims “it helps explain” without giving an ACTUAL explanation. Another note to TFAD, I am not critiquing your assertions here. I am critiquing the specific “explanations” presented by evolutionary authorities.

TFAD: “The detailed answer lies in genetics, which is not my field, but feel free to read a book literally titled The Genetics Of Altruism if you want the granular detail”

It’s doubtful that he has read it, but I’m not opposed to analyzing that book too. Undoubtedly, its “explanations” will be similarly impotent and full of assumptions. It’s available for the bargain price of $60 US. If someone wants to send it to me, I’ll be happy to expose its contents as empty as well. In the end, I made known the authorities that I was analyzing, one of which was the principle suggestion from TFAD. NOW, he expects me to analyze another source. Doubtless, were I to analyze this authority and 5000 other sources that claim to have the answer, it would *never* be enough. He would always be able to say “Well, have you analyzed THIS one? This one? This one? AHA!”

The paragraph that begins with “This is not too far off the mark…” is almost completely nitpicking.

*NP*

Back to my comments from the original post “For evolution to have explanatory power, there must be uncountable sequential individual heritable changes that are preserved solely by natural selection”

TFAD replies “Firstly, natural selection isn’t the only mechanism proposed”

…but no explanation of additional mechanisms is proposed by either Darwin or TFAD

*NP*

TFAD continues: “evolution is a process that happens to populations, not individuals

It appeared to TFAD that I was contending that a single individual has to survive while all other individuals perish, when the emphasis is on the change/trait. This should have been clear to TFAD, because this is not what I was contending as my wording is clear

*NP*

TFAD persists: “Thirdly, it is not quite uncountable”

The phrase that TFAD is concerned about is my paraphrase of Darwin’s famous line “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down”. Online thesaurus confirms that uncountable is indeed a synonym of numerous. Therefore *NP*

TFAD: “This is almost correct. If ApoloJedi took out the word supposedly in the last sentence”

*NP*

In my original article I wrote: “the mutation of which supposedly provides for novel traits”

TFAD critiqued: “But saying ‘supposedly provide for novel traits’ is, again, shows that he is either unaware of the research, or is discarding it because of theological bias to do with the subject matter”

This is beyond the scope of critique for this particular blog post, but I’ll be happy to read and analyze any peer-reviewed paper that he thinks is airtight evidence of random mutation and natural selection producing in a creature novel traits that did not exist in its supposed directly previous ancestor. TFAD should be aware that antibiotic resistant bacteria, sickle-cell anemia, wingless beetles on windy islands and nylon-eating bacteria are not examples of evolution-producing-novel-traits as has been shown and explained time and again. Those well-worn examples are evidence of BROKEN (less-functional & loss-of-information) proteins providing a survival advantage in constricted environment. It would be the same as saying that if your survival depended on avoiding being handcuffed, those without hands would have a survival advantage. But you would never be able to produce highly dextrous pianists with a population of handless humans. In the same way, the mechanisms of evolution cannot have not demonstrated the ability to turn a beetle into a bird by removing its wings. The only “evidence” for such a fable is in assumptions and artwork

TFAD has been known to say (in his awesome Australian accent) “Evolution is the best working explanation we have for the diversity of life on earth today”. But remember, I’m NOT critiquing TFAD’s personal definition of evolution. For use in this blog post I’ve been open about the definition of evolution I’ve used from Charles Darwin, Wikipedia, OpenStax college textbook, and RationalWiki (none of those are bastions of creationist thought). Evolution must be able to EXPLAIN all of life: functionality, traits, reproduction, metabolism, predation, camouflage, instinct, migration, hibernation…and altruism. But as has been shown, evolution’s proponents are devoid of demonstrable evidence showing that the mechanisms of the theory of evolution can explain altruism.

TFAD continues his response to my article in part 2, and I answer his responses here

But for those who want to stick around while I circle back and answer a few of the more petty elements in his 1st response, see below

TFAD: “I interact with a lot on Twitter who goes by the handle of @Apolojedi_, so handled because he is an apologist who finds your lack of faith disturbing. (Apologist Jedi – get it? But since it was Darth Vader who said “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, his handle should actually be ApoloSith)”

I’ve answered this little dig directly to him before, but he seems to have forgotten or ignored it. It’s just a simply mash up of apologetics and Jedi (one who is patient and wise). We must remember that Star Wars is the story of the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Vader, once a Jedi and turned to the dark side, heroically gave his life to save his son, Luke. In the end of this story, he was redeemed and earned the (fictional) “after life” with Obi-Wann and Yoda as a Jedi.

Now naturalists have no consistent place in their worldview for morality, sin, or redemption. They do try to taxidermy the idea of secular humanism or moral realism into a cosmos of particles, but these ideas are in direct conflict with their base assumption of naturalism. So, it is no surprise to me that TFAD would not resolve the redemption of Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi for my handle as there is no logical categorization for redemption in the mind of the naturalist.

TFAD: “the core skill of Pre-Suppositionalists is uncritically assuming that they’re correct, then dismissing atheists because they are apparently self-deceived fools who can’t even know for sure if the sky is blue”

This is not true. I have corrected TFAD’s mischaracterizations many times. He remains in error despite my attempts to help him.

TFAD: “I would also add that because he is a Biblically-Literal Creationist, I feel that he feels that he is theologically-obliged to not accept or understand evolution* no different than the standard Creationist tropes of it, then to attack that Creationist straw-man of evolution as if he is criticising evolution as actually understood in the scientific literature”

The accusation from TFAD is that I do not understand evolution, but in our exchanges, he’s never been able to articulate exactly what it is about evolution that I do not understand. He’s simply making an unwarranted assertion. I have taken the definition of evolution from the leading prevaricators of the theory, and I have demonstrated more than sufficiently a working knowledge of the theory. TFAD assumes that since I find the theory of evolution to be absurd, then I must not understand it. It’s like Stalin saying, “You just don’t understand communism if you don’t accept it.” Rubbish. It’s because I understand both the theory of evolution and communism that I reject them. TFAD also has his own private definition, that we talked about just above, and I understand that one too. Neither of which can sufficiently account for altruism. Secondly, I have corrected TFAD on this point – I am not a biblical literalist. I am a biblical contextualist. The mischaracterization of a biblical literalist is easy to bludgeon because in the view of the atheist, a wooden, literal interpretation of scripture must be adhered to in all reading of the Bible despite the context, genre, or overarching theme. So after purposefully misinterpreting my position in an attempt to make it easier to defeat, TFAD subtly poisons the well by essentially saying that “ApoloJedi is unqualified to criticize anyone wearing a white lab coat…or anyone who accepts evolution because of things he accepts.”

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

TFAD: “All of this is in stark contrast to myself”

After setting up and bludgeoning the strawman, TFAD polishes his own image as pure and knowledgeable. At least he’s friendly and very tall.

TFAD: “Accepting the theory of evolution just means that I acknowledge what I regard to be the evidentially unescapable (sp) fact that the species homo sapien is a member of the wider primate family (which itself is the result of a long line of forebears who are now extinct) as well as the fact that all organisms on earth are inherently related”

Evidentially inescapable? As noted before, I do not regard artwork or assumptions as evidence. When what gets put forward as evidence of the Grand Theory of Evolution is critically analyzed rather than blindly assimilated, the “evidence” is exposed as impotent artwork and assumption

After analyzing the “objections” from TFAD from the initial post, we see that nothing substantial has been produced. Mostly picking at nits and distractions. In my next blog post, we’ll see if TFAD’s Part 2 can provide something with more teeth

Can Evolution Account for Reason?

Stock Photo from Pexels.com

There are many online claims about the power of evolution to create new biological traits. Some evolutionists have speculated that evolution can account for altruism, but I exposed the deficiency in the “explanations” here. And while evolutionists claim that “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution”, they have swept under the rug evolution’s inability to explain biological software.

This week, I asked a God-denier to explain how “reasoning” could be explained via natural causes. This God-denier posted a link which was supposed to provide evidence and confirmation that evolution can explain the origins of reasoning. Bing the intrepid ApoloJedi that I am, I read through the contents of the article and have analyzed it to see if it could make good on its claims. Of note, I regard this article to be poorly formatted and absent of any explanatory power, so I expect there will be a future blog post entitled “Can Evolution Explain Reason – Part 2?” when a subsequent God-denier doubtlessly posts another wild assertion that naturalistic causes can explain the origins of reasoning.

The article in question has been cited 10 times and accessed over 1000 times and much of it is hidden behind a paywall (remaining unanalyzed). There are 30 notes organized in a list. In the analysis I quote the pertinent piece from the note above in Italics and my comment below each is in Bold. Without further delay, here’s the analysis

Abstract:
I conjecture that reasoning evolved primarily because it helped social hominins more readily and fully align their intentions
Conjecture indeed

The Primary Naturalist Assumptions include purposelessness and amorality
  1. “first article”
    Hidden (hidden like evidence for evolution) behind a pay wall
  2. “purpose of reasoning”
    Purpose/teleology is a concept that is incompatible with the primary naturalist assumptions AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  3. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  4. “argumentative posturing”
    Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  5. “moral emotions…loyalty, gratitude, sympathy”
    Morality is a concept that is incompatible with the primary naturalist assumptions AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  6. “Imagine…reasons”
    Imagine indeed AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  7. “likely”
    Not evidence AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  8. “those with a preference for going right will often capitulate by joining the majority”
    This very clearly shows the absence of reason AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  9. “The odds of surviving might be enhanced, for example, by keeping mum about a fruit tree discovered while scouting”
    While evolutionists crone about how empathy drive social advancements, this note is literally contrary to that assumption AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
    Also, in conflict with Note 14
  10. “team agency” & “team reasoning” & “gestational reasoning” & “group’s collective intent”
    Purpose/teleology is a concept that is incompatible with the primary naturalist assumptions AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  11. “giving of reasons counts as a kind of reasoning”
    Circular. Tautology. Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  12. “My claim here is that the faculty of reason played—and continues to play—a critical role”
    Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  13. “By calling manipulative reasoning…”
    Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  14. “collaborative reasoning” & “When reasoning together”
    Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
    Also, in conflict with Note 9
  15. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  16. “may have been made possible by the prior emergence of basic reasoning aptitudes. The claim is conjectural, but worth further exploration”
    Conjecture indeed AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  17. “it is not incorrect to speak of intention alignment as the primary utility or purpose of reasoning”
    Pragmatism is insufficient AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  18. “I take it up presently”
    It IS an important question AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  19. ” ‘mind writing’ involves intentional or deliberate alteration”
    Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  20. “The ethical implications of IAM are significant, and well worth exploring”
    Assumes that reasoning already exists AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  21. Another article behind a paywall, but the abstract does not explain the origins of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  22. “if we could be sure that a bee’s nervous system supported something properly described as a mind”
    Humans did not evolve from bees AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  23. “complex social practice built atop basic reason-giving propensities”
    Difficulties with the naturalistic origins brought up AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  24. Another article behind a paywall, but the abstract does not explain the origins of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  25. “my aim here is not to decide the question, but make a preliminary case that IAM belongs in the discussion”
    An introduction to a hypothesis AND does not explain the origin of reasoning
  26. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  27. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  28. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  29. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources
  30. Nothing in this note explains the origin of reasoning from non-reasoning sources

As you can clearly see, this linked article has given us no explanation for the naturalistic origin of reasoning via evolutionary forces. We did see some internal contradictions, and it was strong on assertions, but ended up be short on both evidence and justification

Disclaimer: Because God has revealed in his eternal Word that He has is the Source of reasoning, we know that the answer to the question “Can Evolution Explain Reason?” is most assuredly no. But as has been the case with other posts in this series, I have taken the claims of the naturalists and analyzed them within their own worldview, to see if their claims are valid. And just like the other posts, their claims are shown to be severely lacking.