I was unlucky enough to stumble upon this little gem of evolution denialism the other day, and thought it was a plump enough victim for my first blog post. Oh, yeah, hey there folks.
“As Darwin envisioned it, [natural selection] could only operate on small variations in the immediate present. No foresight or planning was involved.”
What does he mean by foresight? Of course organisms don’t plan for their DNA to mutate and produce a more fit creature in 20 generations. It doesn’t particularly matter whether or not it was planned. Any kind of small variations in the immediate present can be used to infer that there were many small variations in the immediate present a thousand years ago, or a million years ago. How many small variations does it take to drastically change an organism?
“Another problem recognized later was that it conveys no information. If fitness is measured by what survives, and survivors are assumed to be the fit ones, then it is a tautology: survivors survive.”
Well, yes, it would indeed be a tautology when you use the theory of natural selection to replace one of the terms in that relationship. If I told you that y=x, would it make sense to claim that by that logic, y=y and nothing has been learned? The principle of natural selection states that because not all of the population can survive, it is more often the most fit organisms that survive. Explaining why organisms change is the point of the theory, not explaining why the fit survive.
“Natural selection is supposed to produce endless forms most beautiful from an unguided, purposeless mechanical process. But chance is not a process! Oh, but the randomness in variation is selected by the environment, the Darwinist says. Well, guess what: the environment is random, too, so this reduces to chance acting on chance.”
Let’s put an end to this idea of the Earth’s environments being “random.” A planet forms through a long, slow, and above all, regular process. It’s messy, but it’s regular. The conditions on a planet are the direct results of this process. Organisms today inhabit dynamic environments, yes, but they are environments with certain types of other organisms, certain geologic features, and certain climates at any one point in time. These DEFINED locations provided challenges for the most fit organisms to overcome. Calling that “chance acting on chance” is like calling human reaction to a certain stimulus “random.”
“Nobody questions the reality of mutations, and not even young-earth creationists disagree with the ability of selection to conserve and adapt existing genetic information to changing conditions, but how could a blind process that can only respond to immediate circumstances build a wing, eye, kidney or brain?”
Well, it was awfully nice of him to concede to natural selection in this article debunking it. An eye, sir, can be created like this. The immediate circumstances and pressures on a species and its mutations are often enough to push the development of biological “parts” that can eventually be consolidated into an incredibly complex organ or system.
“If Darwinism is true, abandon all hope of purpose, meaning, and values… William Provine has been among the few Darwinists willing to go all the way to the bitter consequences of the Stuff Happens law: there is no purpose, no meaning, and no free will, and when you die, you are dead, dead, dead.”
Why should purpose, meaning, and values be abandoned? What would be the purpose to existence if a god HAD created the Earth? A science experiment? Should your values be any different if an unknown invisible man from the sky designed and created you instead of a chance arrangement and bonding of atoms followed by millions of years of evolution? And anyway, this is just the is/ought fallacy. As Richard Dawkins has so eloquently explained, just because something is a certain way in nature does not mean we ought to act that way. Values are not derived from our creation anyway, so not believing in invisible sky pixie creators doesn’t have any bearing on them.