Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Refutation of the Teleological View of Evolution

ABSTRACT: Writing for my forthcoming book, The Dimensional Biologist’s Toolkit, I uncovered what I long suspected, an argument against the validity of evolution, independent of the religious debate.


Refutation of the Teleological View of Evolution - In Hull’s book a distinction is made between teleological explanations and causal ones, a distinction which I think is somewhat too finely made. On the subject of philosophy and biology, it is inevitable to find some mergence between the theories of causality and those of teleology. While such combinations may not be practicable in a biology lab, it is unfair to say that an organism is nothing like an argument. Indeed, organisms, ontologically speaking, depend on arguments (of some form) for their existence. Without any capacity for argument, such as evidence of accomplishment or at least ‘status’, such an organism would not be alive. With the statement that organisms are like arguments, it may be extended that if an argument depends upon the conditions of an organism at a given time, then such arguments are reducible to values. If that is the case, then it can be said that if evolution amounts to organisms, and organisms amount to values, then evolution amounts to values. However, I argue, that given the variability of value-fulfillment, to a remarkable degree, there is no certain boundary between values and causal process. For example, an organism may have excellent adaptation, and poor tools, or excellent tools, and poor adaptation. Making matters worse, the two are judged to be evolutionarily equal. The semantic point is that the tools, however arbitrary, are relatively definitive for value. However, the tools are arbitrary. It is easy to see how some form of luck might influence one specific ape to use a stick in self defense, where another ape was unfortunate enough not to use one. Although in this example it is incidental (the second ape might do better without the stick), it is easy to see how in other scenarios the tool makes the difference, independent of survival ability. Now consider this final point: that language is such a tool which exists with some remarkable degree of independence from evolution. Now consider Hull’s teleological view: given the synthetic nature of language, would we prefer being someone who was poorly educated in a primitive climate, with a profound grasp of language, or being someone who is intellectually deficient, yet having some modern language ability, in the developed modern world? According to Hull’s view, we must favor the primitive one, because he has a better grasp of language, which is a symptom of evolutionary advancement. But this leads to a paradox: if everything advanced is advanced relative to evolution, then everyone must prefer being primitive, since in the case of evolution, being advanced means being there first! There is a great gap, then, between personal and social evolution which has little to do with objective definitions of advancement. For, if someone becomes extinct in a modern society because of a lack of supreme advancement, where they could live a longer life in a more primitive society with poorer values, then they are supposed to prefer the primitive society, but they do not! They always prefer the more advanced society, and yet this is precisely how they become out-moded! On the contrary, how they achieve advancement is by being historically primitive. Amongst these contradictions, it can be stated that advancement is value-relative, and values exist almost arbitrarily. In other words, evolution is value evolution. This leads to a second paradox, which is that evolution is not defined as values, so evolution is not evolutionary after all! What a coincidence!

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