September 14, 2003

ARE WE ALL INTELLIGENT DESIGNISTS NOW?:

Adapt or Die: What Charles Darwin can teach Tom Ridge about homeland security (Raphael Sagarin, Foreign Policy)

For more than 3 billion years, biological evolution has guided the colonization of our planet by living organisms. Evolution's rules are simple: Creatures that adapt to threats and master the evolutionary game thrive; those that don't, become extinct. And so it is with the threat posed to the United States by terrorist networks such as al Qaeda. If the genus Americanus wants to overcome this latest challenge to its existence, it must adapt its defense mechanisms accordingly. What better way to do that than to harness time-tested Darwinian theory to the cause of homeland security?

Folks like Mr. Sagarin make it too easy for Darwin skeptics with their truly inane arguments that our capacity to use human reason to adapt to situations is identical to evolutionary processes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2003 8:23 AM
Comments

Interesting question your ironic statement posed.

Evolutionary processes are non-teleological.

Yet human intellect and ability to anticipate the future means human decisions, while endogenous to the system, are to some extent telelogical.

So, as an evolutionist, I'd have to conclude human reason bends, if not breaks, the evolutionary mold.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 14, 2003 3:52 PM

So the answer is really that Darwinists are Determinists.

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2003 3:55 PM

Not only no, but heck no--absent humans.

In any event, I'm not sure what you mean by "determinists." Determinism doesn't apply in this context, and I can't figure out what word you are looking for otherwise.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 14, 2003 10:08 PM

Evolution is a process that ends with Man. All you really have is a different Creation myth, not a science.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 12:12 AM

The real difference is revealed by the fact that you capitalize the word "creation," and those of us with reason and logic on our side do not.

That says a lot. And, no, I'm not being facetious.

Posted by: Roper at September 15, 2003 10:56 AM

Roper:

But you arrive at the same point. Judeo-Christians posit a Creator who Created Man in His Image. Evolutionists posit a set of natural processes which mysteriously stop functioning when homo-sapiens, with his capacity to reason, comes along. Both are simply ways of explaining how we got here and why we are the purpose of the universe's creative processes.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 11:00 AM

OJ:

First, they don't mysteriously stop functioning. You yourself have noted sharp declines in fertility happening throughout the industrialized world.

Modernity is a sharply different environment from that within which human's evolved. It could well happen--the trends so far insist upon it--that environmental change will lead to our extinction.

Which highlights one particularly glaring problem with Creationism: it has utterly nothing to say about the fate of nearly 100% of the species to ever inhabit the earth: extinction.

Finally, no amount of repetition will make a falsehood true. Evolution is a process with certain components. That it brought about a life form with the ability to at least partially, momentarily, transcend one of those components neither invalidates evolution, nor substantiates an allegation that humans are the point of it all.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 15, 2003 11:39 AM

Jeff:

You've said that those fertility numbers are the product of rational decision making. If all of evolution is similarly down to the deciosion making of a rational Being or beings then we've no disagreement.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 11:42 AM

Natural selection is not respecter of rationalism.

It cannot be deterministic, because it cannot know in advance which choice is a winner.

If a 10-mile wide meteor hits your town, it won't matter whether you choose to have one child or 10.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 15, 2003 5:01 PM

Harry:

It begins from a need for Man to be special and reasons backwards, thus it is deterministic.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 6:42 PM

OJ:

You don't seem to know what determinism is.

One danger sign: you are going the wrong direction.

"If all evolution is down to rational decision making..."

Where did you get that idea? I sure didn't write it.

Besides, you failed to note that evolution occurs across populations. Individual women could make individually rational choices that nonetheless lead to extinction.

BTW--what does Creationism have to say about extinction?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 15, 2003 8:40 PM

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=determinism

de·ter·min·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (d-tûrm-nzm)
n.
The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.


Evolution had to find a way for Man to still be special but without God, so it just assumed him so and then reasoned backwards so that our position is determined.

Extinction. What's to explain? We're not all going to make it to Heaven. That includes the dodo.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 9:09 PM

It is your conceit, Orrin, that darwinists put man in a special place.

Every darwinian theorist denies it; many make a big deal out of the fact that darwinism dethroned man as the purpose of the Universe.

I won't tell you how to define Transsubstantiation; don't you try to tell us how to define darwinism.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 15, 2003 10:06 PM

Harry:

I know you pretend to be a purest, but Jeff doesn't. Here's what he said:

"Evolutionary processes are non-teleological.

Yet human intellect and ability to anticipate the future means human decisions, while endogenous to the system, are to some extent telelogical.

So, as an evolutionist, I'd have to conclude human reason bends, if not breaks, the evolutionary mold."

A theory of evolution that holds that Man, alone among the species, can step outside of it puts Man in a special place by definition.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2003 10:31 PM
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