Well, I got a new challenge from a God-denier, who made the claim that evolution can even explain the origin of human brains. This particular God-denier didn’t just say that evolution can explain human brains, she claimed “There is incontrovertible evidence for evolution of the brain“. “iNconTroVerTible”. I’m reminded of The Princess Bide when Inigo Montoya says to the Sicilian “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
She provided a link to Wikipedia as the source of this “incontrovertible” evidence. I pushed back asking if she wanted to use a crowd-sourced blog as her “incontrovertible evidence”, but she assured me that it’s impossible to refute. Thinking she could bluster her way through a conversation without me being skeptical of her source, she left it out there as though the matter was settled that evolution can explain human brains. But I don’t surrender to bluster so easily. Let’s analyze her claim to see if Wikipedia, is relying on evidence or assumptions
Here’s how this works: I will post the quotes from the article in red and then just below the quote, I’ll post my analysis in the default black font. I have bolded key words throughout, so the bold does not appear in the original work. Throughout, you’ll notice that instead of actual evidence, the author(s) of the article relies on assumptions. Let’s get started:
This approach (endocasts), however, is limited in regard to what information can be gathered
It looks like the gaps in available information that can be gathered has been filled with assumptions of evolution’s power.
While endocasts are extremely helpful in revealing superficial brain anatomy, they cannot reveal brain structure, particularly of deeper brain areas.
Since the only thing these endocasts can show is size, we must again reject this quote as incontrovertible evidence. It is simply an assumption. Since their endocast model can only determine skull capacity, are we now to conclude that they believe that larger adults are smarter than smaller adults?
The evolutionary history of the human brain shows primarily a gradually bigger brain relative to body size during the evolutionary path from early primates to hominins and finally to Homo sapiens
Also assumed (but not proven) is the mantra that early primates evolved into humans. I do not grant this assumption upon which they rely for their story to be true. How can it be incontrovertible evidence if their premises are packed full of unproven assumptions?
This can be visualized
They mean imagined. Next they try to escape the problem imposed by the assumption that brain size related to increased intelligence due to the politically incorrect nature of the assumption
Consequently, the authors argue that the notion of an increase in brain size being related to advances in cogntion (sp) needs to be re-thought in light of global variation in brain size, as the brains of many modern humans with normal cogntive (sp) capacities are only 400g/ml larger than chimpanzees
Notice how since the actual evidence of the brains themselves were not preserved in fossils. Those who assume that evolution can “incontrovertibly” produce human brains are (like the empty skulls of the fossils) devoid of actual evidence.
It is also important to note that the measure of brain mass or volume, seen as cranial capacity, or even relative brain size, which is brain mass that is expressed as a percentage of body mass, are not a measure of intelligence, use, or function of regions of the brain.Total neurons, however, also do not indicate a higher ranking in cognitive abilities. Elephants have a higher number of total neurons (257 billion) compared to humans (100 billion). Relative brain size, overall mass, and total number of neurons are only a few metrics that help scientists follow the evolutionary trend of increased brain to body ratio through the hominin phylogeny
They consider it important to note that neither higher capacity of brain size nor total number of neurons increase cognitive abilities. So why do they assume that the fossil skulls contained brains with less intelligence/cognition than current brains? The evidence is missing…all that’s left is assumptions
Their findings imply…It also suggests…What is the least controversial is
The last paragraph in that section includes the 3 phrases from above. None of those sound like “incontrovertible” evidence to me. It sounds like they are having to assume some things, infer some things and suggest some things…but where’s the evidence itself?
The more convoluted the surface of the brain is, the greater the surface area of the cortex which allows for an expansion of cortex. It is the most evolutionarily advanced part of the brain. Greater surface area of the brain is linked to higher intelligence as is the thicker cortex but there is an inverse relationship—the thicker the cortex, the more difficult it is for it to fold. In adult humans, thicker cerebral cortex has been linked to higher intelligence
Again, those paying attention will see that the very substance that they need to verify their claim of evolution creating the brain: brain surface, cortex, thicker cortex ARE ALL COMPLETELY MISSING. From the start Wikipedia authors admit that the brain is not preserved in the fossils, so the very evidence in question is missing! It’s not just that this Wikipedia article is NOT incontrovertible, it’s laughably impotent to explain the evolution of human brains at all
If they actually wanted to show how evolution was able to produce human brains, they would have to have brains of creatures that they can PROVE are indeed ancestors of humans and show that natural selection acting on random mutations produced human brains. This Wikipedia article did not do any of that. It was empty speculation
If anyone would like to read an account of the fossils without the Darwinian infection, read Sanford’s Contested Bones and Lubenow’s Bones of Contention
God created mankind in his image. God’s Word is clear and we can trust that revelation, so evolution is false. When Adam sinned, his descendants and all of creation fell under the curse of sin: death, suffering, and thorns. As was promised in Genesis 3:15, God the Son (Jesus) became incarnate as a descendant of Adam and (where Adam failed) Jesus perfectly kept the law. Jesus gave his life to pay for the sins (by taking upon Himself all the curses of sin: death, suffering, thorns) of all those who would turn from their sin and humbly submit to the authority of Jesus.
Deductive proof? That sounds pretty strong. There are dozens of arguments for the truth of Christianity. My friends at Theologetics have We already know that revelation from God is irrefutable. And we know that all evidence corroborates what God has revealed, but a deductive proof for Christianity might be seen by some to be beyond the ability of Christians to declare.
First, let’s start with some definitions. What is deductive reasoning?
Deductive reasoning does not rely on generalizations as opposed to Inductive reasoning, which can only present a probable conclusion based on the particular evidence given. Deductive reasoning gives an argument that provides a conclusion that is certain if the premises are valid and true.
Eli Ayala recently hosted Jon Kaus from Christ Church Twin Cities on his YouTube channel and Jon Kaus briefly explained his work on the deductive proof of Christianity in part 1 and part 2. After watching this video, I searched out Jon Kaus’s videos on his Christ Church Twin Cities website. I was able to find where Kaus presented his arguments in 8 conference sessions with affiliated slideshows. These slideshows are available as links on the respective YouTube videos in the link below
Based on Mr. Kaus’s work, his slideshows, and presentations, here is an organized representation of the axioms, theorems, and conclusion.
Most (if not all) of the work that Kaus has done is based on the work of Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen. It has been an awesome experience learning what Kaus has been able to put together and I hope you too enjoy this fantastic work
In yesterday’s post, I discussed several ways to expose the fallacies that God-deniers sometimes use to keep from being exposed when they claim:
“being an atheist simply means that there’s not sufficient evidence for your sky daddy“
It’s not uncommon for them to try to bluster their way to an online argument victory. So listen to their claims and hold them to account for their assertions. When they have to “show their cards”, it’s unsuited 3, 5, 6, 9 and an Uno card. Now sometimes, the God-denier will off an assertion something a little more outrageous like:
“There’s absolutely no evidence for your sky daddy” – AggregateOfInternetAtheists
Let’s look at the serious problems with this incomprehensively lazy assertion:
Is this atheist aware of ALL evidence in the cosmos such that she could assert that “there’s no evidence for God”? The honest atheist would have to admit that they are not privy to all evidence in the cosmos. Conversely, God IS privy to all knowledge/evidence in the universe and He has revealed some of that evidence so that Christians can be certain of those things
Now here’s the really important point: What does evidence for God look like? For someone to say “There’s no evidence for a cobra” – they would have to know what a cobra is like. How would you describe a cobra so that you could definitively say “There’s no evidence for a cobra.” In the same way, for someone to declare “There’s no evidence for God” they would have to know what evidence for God looks like. Press the atheist on this because they are bluffing. As soon as they realize that they cannot sufficiently formulate what evidence for God is like, their bluff is blown.
Don’t be afraid to call the God-denier’s bluff. They are not holding any good cards, and by God’s amazing grace Christians most definitely are. Call their bluff, but do so with gentleness and respect
Be sure to check out the links (blue text) that are saturated throughout this post as most of the “leg-work” was completed by people much smarter than me…for whose work I am very grateful!
Those around the table exchange approving glances with the thought: “He must be holding the 2 diamonds needed to complete that flush.”
He sounds assured of himself to add 5 large to the pot, but I’m skeptical…first, because I’VE got two consecutive diamonds to complete the straight flush, and secondly he claims to be an atheist. I think he’s bluffing, and I’m going to call him on it
“Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute! What does being an atheist have to do with poker?”
It’s an analogy. Bear with me.
This analogy sounds very much like dozens of conversations I’ve had with professing atheists:
ApoloJedi: “As an atheist, how do you know that there’s no God?”
When the apologist pushes back a little and asks the very reasonable question “What is sufficient evidence?” the god-denying interlocutor will almost ALWAYS deflect the question fallaciously by moving the goal-post: “God knows what would convince me, and since I’m not convinced there’s a God, then He must not have shown me enough evidence.” The form of the question that the apologist asks can also be “By what standard do you determine something to be sufficient?”
Unfortunately, the God-denier has derailed the conversation with his fallacious answer, and the intrepid apologist can “call the God-denier’s bluff” by holding the interlocutor to their claims: “What is sufficient evidence?” AND “How do you know the evidence is insufficient? Do you have access to ALL evidence? How do you account for evidence at all in your worldview?“
Their bluff is multi-layered and we can call their bluff by pointing out the following (what follows is both the calling of the bluff and the answer to the question above about what does this have to do with the bluffer being an atheist):
They have not analyzed ALL evidence, nor do they plan to, nor can they view evidence as anything more than provisional/contingent (because of their worldview as shown in item 1 above)
Even if they could possibly have access to all evidence (which would make them the omniscience God), they have arbitrarily declared that the provisional evidence to which they do have access is “insufficient”. When the apologist presses them for the standard by which they determine sufficiency, the God-denier is exposed and must argue fallaciously since they cannot account for transcendent standards.
Lastly, God HAS provided sufficient evidence for the judgment of all humans. Romans 1:18-20 tells us “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” ALL evidence (because it is upheld and sustained by God’s mighty power (see Col 1:16)) is evidence for God’s existence
Don’t be afraid to call the God-denier’s bluff. They are not holding any good cards, and by God’s amazing grace Christians most definitely are. Call their bluff, but do so with gentleness and respect
Be sure to check out the links (blue text) that are saturated throughout this post as most of the “leg-work” was completed by people much smarter than me…for whose work I am very grateful!
Well, Christians, after 2000 years it’s time to pack it up. It was a good run for Christianity, but it’s over. A modern day Chuck confirmed the 19th century Chuck’s theory of evolution with a link to an article that holds the smoking gun for naturalism. “Evidence for evolution is uNdeNiabLe!!!!”.
Here are the 3 claims from that article that they assert is a demonstration of new traits that produced by natural selection acting on random mutations that previous generations did not possess:
“Striking differences in head size and shape”
“increased bite strength”
“development of new structures in the lizard’s digestive tracts”
Let’s take their claims one by one to see if it is indeed an undeniable example of natural selection acting on random mutations to produce novel traits
Head Shape and Size
Just from the initial reading of the text, we see that a different size head is not a new trait. Variable sizes in existing structures (head, arms, legs, noses…) is not an example of evolution. In that same way that we see different domestic dogs breeds with different size heads (poodle, St. Bernard) but they are the same species, there is variability in the genes. There are people that are tall and short, big heads and small heads, long arms and short arms…but to claim that this variability within the same species is “evoLuTioN” is ridiculous. They might have helped their case if they had given some measurements before/after, but this vital piece of evidence is missing. The claim that “changes in head size” is an example of evolution is inconsistent, impotent, and unconvincing.
Increased Bite Strength
Again, just reading the text, we see that there is no new trait. I would have liked to go deeper into this radical claim from the authors, but apparently they recognize that their claim of “increased bite strength” as evidence for evolution is extremely weak because they gave no further validation of their assertions. No measurements. No differences. Just a claim. As with the head size claim, there’s no need to speak of this anymore as if it’s part of the “mountain of evidence” in support of evolution, because it’s just empty
New Structures in the Digestive Tract
That leaves the crushing weight of their claim firmly on the shoulders of this last “example of evolution”. Can it support the weight? Let’s see.
Tail clips taken for DNA analysis confirmed that the Pod Mrcaru lizards were genetically identical to the source population on Pod Kopiste
Genetically identical?!??! This is the 1st reason why their claim of “evoLuTioN” holds no water. If the DNA is identical, then there were no random mutations to produce a new trait. This is the fundamental assumption of evolution: At one time, the DNA instructions for traits (arms, lungs, wings, cecal valves…) DID NOT EXIST, but over time, the accumulation of mutations produced functional code that improved a creature’s reproductive fitness in a particular environment. Since there are no genetic differences, there’s no evolution. It is the same species. There are no DNA changes. By itself, this is enough to dismiss this article as “an example of evolution”.
These structures actually occur in less than 1 percent of all known species of scaled reptiles
These structures ALREADY exist in this species of reptiles. The new environment did not PRODUCE these structures. The new environment of the lizards was selection pressure on the lizards such that the existing DNA information for the production of these structures (cecal valves) was made manifest. Since the lizards already carried the instructions in their DNA to produce these structures, then there was no evolution that created these structures. It was the environmental stresses that caused these existing structures to be expressed. See epigenetics for more information. This second nail in the coffin simply ensures that the corpse of their claim cannot be revived
Simple calculations then show that the waiting time to improve one of these six of eight matches to seven of eight has a mean of 60,000 years. This shows that new regulatory sequences can come from small modifications of existing sequence
We have already shown that there were no mutations, BASED ON THEIR OWN ADMISSIONS, but even if we grant the possibility of mutations, the mutation rate is far too slow to have produced that necessary changes that they have proposed. They claim that the new structures appeared in 36 years, but the minimum time for even the smallest beneficial mutation to occur is sixty thousand years. By their own metrics, their claim is refuted.
It looks like the wild claim from the evolutionists was (again) long on assertions and short on evidence. There’s no reason after all to close down Christianity in favor of evolutionism. The claims by these evolutionists is not new or rare. You can see here other claims that evolutionists have made about the amazing powers of evolution are shown to be impotent when analyzed.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
possible social mimicry…may also influence
evolve at the same time
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
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
behavioural and morphological traits emerge concurrently
Incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications
may have yielded
may have evolved
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
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.
For more, just search evolution altruism, and read the abstract. It seems everyone but TFAD recognizes that there is a paradox that needs some sort of explanation
“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.
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
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.
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.