Darwinists Check Their Logic at the Door
|September 6, 2009||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
In my last post I commented on Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner’s article “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” in which Wigner describes as “miraculous” (1) that “laws” of nature exist; and (2) that we should be able to discover those laws.
In this post I will use an exchange in the comment section of that post between ID proponent “StephenB” and Darwinist “Delurker” to illustrate the utter vacuity of Darwinist argumentation, or at least the vacuity of the arguments of this particular Darwinist. It is not my purpose to pick on Delurker per se. I am using his arguments, because they are quite representative of the type of arguments Darwinists make on this site.
StephenB: “You seem to be taking an awful lot for granted. How did nature become comprehensible?”
Delurker: “That is not a question that is addressed by modern evolutionary theory. To the extent that nature is comprehensible, modern evolutionary theory predicts that alignment with reality will be selected for.”
Delurker’s response starts with a factual misrepresentation and ends with an argument that is at the same time both self-contradictory and circular.
First the factual misrepresentation. The existence of human cognitive ability (i.e., the ability to comprehend nature) is obvious. Darwinism purports to be a comprehensive explanation of the development of all characters of all organisms. In other words, according to the theory, if an organism has a particular character, whether the character is an eye, a fin or the ability to think, that character must have developed through Darwinian processes. Delurker’s assertion that Darwinism does not attempt to address the question of how human’s cognitive abilities developed is spectacularly false. It is like saying rocket scientists do not study propellant. Indeed, there is an entire sub-field of Darwinian endeavor devoted to the study of cognition and how it might of developed, and fame, fortune and a Noble Prize awaits the first researcher who develops a half-way plausible theory.
Now to the argument, such as it is. The argument is self-contradictory, because after denying that Darwinism addresses the origin of cognitive ability, Delurker then asserts that cognitive ability developed through natural selection.
The argument is circular as well: StephenB asks “How did the character “cognitive ability” develop in humans? Delurker responds: “It was selected for by natural selection.” Delurker means that the character exists because organisms that had the character were “more fit” than those that did not. How do we know the organisms with the character were more fit? Because the character in question exists in them. Which, of course, brings back to the starting place.
StephenB: “How did the mind develop the capacity to comprehend it [i.e., reality]?”
Delurker: “That’s an interesting question. Biologists investigating the evolution of the human brain are attempting to answer it. Thus far the answer appears to be “incrementally.”
Delurker has now completely abandoned his first outlandish assertion that biologists do not attempt to account for the development of human cognitive ability. I suppose he hoped no one would notice. Now he responds to a serious question with a dismissive triviality.
Does Delurker truly expect anyone to be convinced by a one-word explanation of perhaps the most important question in all of science? Give me a break.
StephenB: “How and why did the two realms get coordinated such that each makes sense with the other?”
Delurker: “No need to coordinate. Reality exists. Organisms who don’t deal with reality die (eventually).”
Here Delurker resorts to the old debating technique of “equivocation,” or, more commonly, “the old switch-a-roo.”
Keep your eye on the ball. The ball is: “the development of human cognitive ability” which has led to the development of mathematical theories with an amazing correspondence to physical reality.
StephenB asks how Darwinism could possibly account for that character. Delurker says “organisms that don’t deal with reality die off.” Again, give me a break. Of the countless millions of species that have existed, only one has developed the character in question. Delurker is as much as saying, “any organism that does not develop the ability to do higher math will become extinct.” His answer would be humorous if it were not so pathetic.
StephenB: “How did two realms arise in the first place?”
Delurker: “The nature of reality is not addressed by modern evolutionary theory. The fitness of organisms to that reality is.”
Again, Delurker tells a blatant falsehood. Every Darwinist will tell you that materialism is assumed in his research, either flatly or methodologically. Delurker is either staggeringly ignorant of this fact or simply fabricating facts to suit his argument.
StephenB: “Why should there even be two realms?”
Delurker: “You’re letting your terminology run away with you. There is physical reality and there are mechanisms that allow populations of organisms to become more fit with respect to that physical reality.”
StephenB asks a profound question. Given materialist premises, how can a Darwinist say there is a realm of mind that apprehends material reality that is separate from the material reality being apprehended?
Delurker does not even attempt to answer this question. Instead, he accuses StephenB of being confused.
StephenB: “Indeed, which Darwinist even accepts the existence of two realms, one of which constitutes the immaterial mind of the investigator?”
Delurker: “What evidence do you have that mind is immaterial?”
Again, faced with a question he cannot begin to answer, Delurker changes the subject. There is a substantial body of research supporting the existence of the immaterial mind. Much of that research is summarized in O’Leary and Beauregard’s “The Spiritual Brain.” But notice that the evidence for the material mind is not the issue that StephenB raises. StephenB raises the question of how a Darwinist can ever accept the existence of a mind. Delurker’s response to that question is conspicuous in its absence.
Some of the greatest arguments against Darwinism are the vacuous arguments its supporters make for it.