Monday, September 21, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

I posted this on a forum I belong to yesterday:

I get tired of correcting Christians on "survival of the fittest" when they ought to damn well know better. "Survival of the Fittest" is always shouted as if it meant brutal, gory, deadly fighting in which only a few brutes make it through. That is not what it natural selection is. Natural selection is simply the fact that certain alleles/genes become more common in a population because those alleles or genes allow for a higher chance of survival or a longer lifespan to those who have them. Like how antibiotic resistant bacteria become prominant in first world countries where antibiotics are frequently used, but antibiotic bacteria are rare in countries where antibiotics are not available or are not used as much.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are just inconsistent then. Social Darwinism is a valid ethic for those who are Darwinians. Darwinians have seen racism and other injustices like those committed by Hitler which has caused them to shun that aspect of Darwinian belief.

Darwinians now believe that reason is not subject to evolution setting it on a perch above evolution itself so that absolutes can be established in society. The idea that 'murder is wrong' is unjustified unless morality transcends the individual experience.

AIGBusted said...

No stupid, Social Darwinism is not a valid ethic. It's called the naturalistic fallacy. Read up on it, friend.

BathTub said...

The most moronic part is that somehow making an observation about how something works is therefore a prescription of how we are supposed to live our lives.

Oh no we observe gravity! Better throw those babies down the stairs then!

Really, how stupid do you have to be to think that?

fireballnelson said...

Social Darwinism is not a valid ethic.

Right. It is a world view. Pardon me for stating the obvious, but, it is a way of looking at the world, society, and humanity in general. That goes for Christianity, Buddhism, Humanism, Materialism and Evolution.
When I say "Evolution" I am not referring to natural selection or Speciation; I am referring to the world view that results from these. I know many people could have ripped my head off when I grouped Evolution with all those other "Religions" which is why Evolutionists and Creationists should agree on a different word for the Evolution that Creationists are referring to: the worldview.

Am I just rambling or does this make sense to anyone?

The most moronic part is that somehow making an observation about how something works is therefore a prescription of how we are supposed to live our lives.

I assume this is about Christians saying Evolutionists have little or no morals?
It is not so much about how something works, but about IF this IS how it works, then there is no God and therefore no absolute entity to make the rules or establish the standards that all men must live by. If this is true then humanity will just continue to degrade. Look around you: Women are having their babies killed daily, theft, rape, and random killings are commonplace and it is only getting worse. Sadly most people read about it at the newsstand or hear about it on TV and then forget about it. Or maybe they are ignoring it...?

Ec5618 said...

"Am I just rambling or does this make sense to anyone?"
Yes, you're rambling. I mean no offence, but you clearly understand neither evolution nor atheism. I will make an effort to address part of your post, but I frankly doubt that you'll understand.

What you are proposing, Anonymous, the idea that understanding evolution leads to embracing eugenics, is deeply flawed.

Have another look at BathTub's example: understanding that gravity acts on the world, and acts on us, does not mean that we should ascribe value to this natural force. Gravity exists, but is neither 'good' nor 'bad'. We would not argue that humans should live according to the principles of gravity, dropping things and tearing down towers.

Evolution exists, but is similarly neither 'good' nor 'bad'. By understanding it, we can get a sense for what happened in our biological past, and for what will continue to happen in the future. Such understanding can be used in medical research, for example, which is arguably a good thing. But as with gravity, understanding it and living according to its principles are entirely different things.

AIGBusted said...

Hi FB Nelson,

Evolution is not a worldview. Evolution has two definitions: one is the process of biological change, and one is the theory that all living things came from one or a few simple species.

Neither one of these completely proves or disproves God or the supernatural. It does not account for the ultimate origin of things. It does not provide a system of ethics (this includes moral nihilism, the view that no moral facts exist. Evolution does not support or disprove that position). So it is not a worldview.

Naturalism is the world view I hold. Naturalism is the view that nature is all there is.

Now, as for morality, the comment you quoted means that we do not get ethical standards from looking at the way nature operates. The way things are is not necessarily the way things ought to be.

"It is not so much about how something works, but about IF this IS how it works, then there is no God and therefore no absolute entity to make the rules or establish the standards that all men must live by. If this is true then humanity will just continue to degrade."

No. I derive my ethics from the fact that I want to be truly happy.

Acting in such a way that I can be proud of myself contributes to my happiness. Treating other people with respect and love allows me to build relationships, and that makes me happy. Knowing that I've done something to make the world a better place (and that other people are glad I'm here) makes me happy.

Since everyone wants to be happy, and the things I have described almost universally cause humans to be happy when they are practised, everyone ought to practice them.

"Sense and Goodness Without God" by Richard Carrier would be an excellent book to read so that you can understand naturalism.

fireballnelson said...

Neither one of these completely proves or disproves God or the supernatural. It does not account for the ultimate origin of things.

No they do not. But the God of the Holy Bible does not exist if these things really happen because the Bible states specifically that God created the Earth in six days. It leaves no room for Evolution.

No. I derive my ethics from the fact that I want to be truly happy.

If this same standard applied to everyone, anyone could justify their actions. A serial killer could say that it makes him happy to kill people and therefore is applying his system of ethics. Nobody can judge him for this because there is no absolute standard. We have nothing that says absolutely what is right or wrong.

Ec5618 said...

You're rambling again, I'm afraid. Please think before you post.

"But the God of the Holy Bible does not exist if these things really happen .."
That is your interpretation. The vast majority of Christians disagree.

In any case, if it's true that the existence of evolution does not allow your god to exist, then your god simply does not exist, just as a god that cannot exist if gravity exists cannot exist in our world. If your god must be completely blue, and yet not blue at all, then that god cannot exist either.

If your beliefs require you to deny physical facts, then why do you hold them?


"Nobody can judge him for this because there is no absolute standard."
This argument is old and boring. You imply that Christians have a single absolute standard, which is obviously not true. You know that it isn't true. So why do you argue this point?


"We have nothing that says absolutely what is right or wrong."
We have never had a universal absolute standard for anything, ever. And yet, we have managed to hold societies together for millennia. Your absurd notion that an absolute standard is a necessity contradicts physical reality.

fireballnelson said...

If your beliefs require you to deny physical facts, then why do you hold them?

Why do you insist that Evolution is a fact of life? There is not a shred of evidence for it. I do believe that populations of bacteria can "mutate" to form strains that are more fit to survive under certain conditions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

And I believe populations of vertebrates and invertebrates alike can develop unique characteristics over time. For example, we have Great Danes and Chihuahuas from the same ancestor.

But there is absolutely no proof or even evidence that Chihuahuas and E. Coli came from the same ancestor. They may have some similar sequences in their DNA (I don't know if they do or not) but think about it: are there many options for the Chihuahua? Most of the common critical sequences would be lethal or detrimental if they were changed, right? (I know I don't have to ask but please correct me if I am wrong because I only know what I read in Popular Science and fairly outdated textbooks).

This argument is old and boring. You imply that Christians have a single absolute standard, which is obviously not true.

I said no such thing. Christians did not nor do they create the standards. That would be horribly unjust and would defeat the purpose of having a standard because Christians fall short of it to. Standards must come from a higher entity, something that is not human or subject to human problems.

We have never had a universal absolute standard for anything, ever. And yet, we have managed to hold societies together for millennia. Your absurd notion that an absolute standard is a necessity contradicts physical reality.

Not true. There was one back in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Mankind flunked that one so now we die.

BathTub said...

"There is not a shred of evidence for it"

Anyone who says that kind of thing is a certifiable loon.

Apparently you believe that 99.99999% of Scientists, regardless of religion, believe it 'just because they want to?'.

That is just completely insane.

Ec5618 said...

I'm sorry I bothered to talk to you. And I'm sorry that this comments section is now cluttered up by your wildly outrageous claims.

You are proposing the existence of the most elaborate and well orchestrated conspiracy in the history of mankind.
You are proposing that all biologists, biochemists, geologists, and so on, are all in a secret plot to falsely *claim* that evolution exists.

Can you truly not understand why such a conspiracy is unrealistic? When you tell your friends about your ideas about this huge conspiracy, do they agree with you?

Anthony said...

Fireballnelson: Why do you insist that Evolution is a fact of life? There is not a shred of evidence for it.

I used to make the same kind of claims until I decided to be a little objective and actually read the evidence that evolutionists point to. You what I discovered? That they are correct. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

FBall, I would like to challenge you to read the following works and then tell me if you think there is no evolution for evolution.

The following books were written by evangelical Christian scholars:

Darrel R. Falk, Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology

Gordon J. Glover, Beyond the Firmament: Understanding Science and the Theology of Creation

Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher R. Smith, Paradigms on Pilgrimage: Creationism, Paleontology and Biblical Interpretation

Denis O. Lamoureux, Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution

Even better material can be found in these works:

Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is

Jerry A. Coyne, Why Evolution is True

Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Donald R. Prothero, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters

Sean Carroll, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution

Neil Shubin, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

Daniel J. Fairbanks, Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA

AIGBusted said...

"'No. I derive my ethics from the fact that I want to be truly happy.'

"If this same standard applied to everyone, anyone could justify their actions. A serial killer could say that it makes him happy to kill people and therefore is applying his system of ethics. Nobody can judge him for this because there is no absolute standard. We have nothing that says absolutely what is right or wrong."

First of all, people who actually become happy from killing others are very tiny minority of the population, and should be locked up by society because they interfere with the happiness and well being of the society.

Secondly, if I were to talk to someone that was so sick that killing made them happy, I would recommend that they seek professional help. If they can treat their mental illness, then they should be able to find more productive ways to further their own happiness, and this would be better for them because it would keep them out of prison (which surely will not lead to their happiness) and also save potential future victims.

Besides, how does Christianity really provide an absolute morality? Are you just being moral to avoid hell? If so, how is different from an atheist who behaves morally to avoid hell in his personal life?

On Christianity and Evolution: There are a lot of different interpretatioins of Genesis, so I'm agnostic about whether evolution and Christianity can be reconciled.

Also, I would highly recommend the book "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne (which was linked above by Anthony). I think that if you want to criticize evolution you ought to read one of the best books that presents the evidence for it with an open mind. It may be at your local library, so check it out.

Anonymous said...

Christians don't have an objective moral code. Proof: What is the 5th commandmant? Is it "thou shalt not kill" or "that shalt not murder?"

If it's "that shalt not kill," then death penalty is immoral. If it's "that shalt not murder," then it's not! Oops! Little problem in Christiandom!

If it's "that shalt not murder," then you have to define "murder." If you define it as the "unlawful killing of a human being," then killing gays is immoral. But if the government changed the law and made it legal to kill gays, then it wouldn't be immoral anymore... Oops!

If you define "murder" as the "unnecessary killing of a human being," then death penalty is immoral because you can just keep the criminal in prison and voilà, society is protected. The criminal's death is unnecessary.

As a Christian, your morality is the result of choices you make. You may believe that morality comes from God, but you still have to interpret His word!!

For those interested, I wrote a blogpost about this a while back: http://inimicusdei.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-christians-cannot-be-moral.html

Robert Morane

PS: For some reason, the server won't recognise my identity, so I have to post anonymously. That's strange...

fireballnelson said...

This is tough. I wrote:

there is absolutely no proof or even evidence that Chihuahuas and E. Coli came from the same ancestor

I did not see a response to this. If you can prove that two entirely different kinds of animals came from the same ancestor, you can effectively prove Evolution.

Bathtub: Anyone who says that kind of thing is a certifiable loon.

Apparently you believe that 99.99999% of Scientists, regardless of religion, believe it 'just because they want to?'.


I guess all the highly intelligent men in the following list are loonies:
http://www.adherents.com/people/100_scientists.html

And another list:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/

Granted, there are some Atheists in the first one but many Jewish and Christian adherents are also included.

Bathtub: That is just completely insane.

No. It is insane to believe that a creature intelligent enough to build my computer came from a rock!

EC5618: I'm sorry I bothered to talk to you. And I'm sorry that this comments section is now cluttered up by your wildly outrageous claims.

And you are telling me to have an open mind? What ever happened to the inquisitive mind in science anyway? Oh yeah, it was destroyed by the Evolutionists who ridicule everyone who questions their theory because they really don't want to take an honest look at it themselves.

EC5618: You are proposing that all biologists, biochemists, geologists, and so on, are all in a secret plot....

Not exactly but that hits pretty close to home. You see, there are many intelligent scientists in those fields you mentioned that believe with all their hearts a six day creation, a six thousand year old Earth, a Garden of Eden, and many of other things you would call ridiculous. Do you know what I call ridiculous?
An Evolutionist staged the Piltdown Man hoax.
An Evolutionist staged the Java Man hoax.
An Evolutionist staged the Lucy hoax.
An Evolutionist staged the Neanderthal Hoax.

This is just sad. A couple of these "missing links" are still used in our textbooks with illustrations of how they supposedly looked before they died. I'm sorry but you can't reconstruct facial features from a piece of jawbone or a skullcap.
The whole theory of Evolution is a series of hoaxes. When one is found out the Evolutionists scrape it under the rug and hope no one will find it.

EC5618: When you tell your friends about your ideas about this huge conspiracy, do they agree with you?

um... yes.

Anthony: I would like to challenge you to read the following works...

I would love to read all of the works you mentioned but I don't have access to them. Books of learning like these should be made available online to be read freely by all.

AIGBusted: ...people who actually become happy from killing others are very tiny minority of the population,

I don't know of anyone who gets joy from this but there are those who say it is OK. Abortionists and their patients are one group that are still accepted by society today.

AIGBusted: Besides, how does Christianity really provide an absolute morality? Are you just being moral to avoid hell? If so, how is different from an atheist who behaves morally to avoid hell in his personal life?

Christianity doesn't. God does.
Nobody can avoid Hell by being moral.
Romans 3:23 says: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
But that's a little much to get into right now.

AIGBusted...you ought to read one of the best books that presents the evidence for it with an open mind. It may be at your local library, so check it out.

My local library is pathetic but
I will do that as soon as possible and post what I have found on my blog. Hopefully you will consider reading it.

P.S. Thank you Anthony for providing many resources.
By the way, how did you put the links in your post? I tried it but it wouldn't accept my HTML.

BathTub said...

Is that how bad your grasp on reality is?

The first list of Scientists (including Darwin BTW) is meant to show what? That you can Google scientists?

The second list is that that tiny tiny tiny tiny portion of loonies that I was referring to. People who let their dogma override their observations. Note how short that list is compared to the millions of scientists in the US and around the world. Look up project Steve.

That's the definition of Answers in Genesis. Nothing can override their dogma of Genesis literalism. "By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record"

No one thinks we came from a rock, if you think otherwise you've been lied to.

Do you know who created piltdown man? Because nobody else does. Why wasn't it a YEC? Isn't it great that science determined it was fraudulent?

And what on earth is the Java man, Lucy and Neanderthal Hoaxes? Are you just listing a couple of names an adding hoaxes to the end?

You do realize they've actually sequenced the Neanderthal Genome, we know it's a separate species from us.

How does that fit in with your YEC timeline?

Ec5618 said...

I hesitate to ask this.

fireballnelson, you propose that thousands of scientists around the world are conspiring to tell a lie: to knowingly teach evolution, even though they know it to be false.

You state:
"It is insane to believe that a creature intelligent enough to build my computer came from a rock!"

I agree, it seems ridiculous to suggest that rocks can turn into humans.

In other words, you believe that thousands of scientists are conspiring to convince people that a rock turned into a human.

You probably believe these scientists are lying for a specific reason. Please keep that reason in mind.

Wouldn't you imagine that these people could come up with a simpler lie? A simpler lie would be more convincing, surely?

Why would thousands of people agree to lie about rocks turning into humans?

Why would so many people write books in which they try to combine their belief in the Christian god with their lies about rocks turning into humans?


Now, you admit that you have never read books about the reasoning behind evolution. In other words, you don't know what evolution is.

Which is more likely:
1) That thousands of people are trying to lie about rocks turning into humans.
2) That the idea of evolution is actually not so silly, once you get beyond the apparent silliness?


Please reserve judgement until you understand what you're talking about.

AIGBusted said...

fireballnelson,

You have made a lot of statements that show that you do not know anything about evolution beyond creationist propaganda.

If you go to talkorigins.org, you can search for 'neanderthal', 'piltdown', and so on, and find intelligent discussions of the issue. You can buy books, like "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins or "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne, which spend hundreds of pages documenting the evidence.

If you are not willing to go to that website and read at least one of the books mentioned, then why should we waste our time trying to correct you? Why should we think you have any dedication to finding out the truth?

Anthony said...

Fireballnelson: I would love to read all of the works you mentioned but I don't have access to them. Books of learning like these should be made available online to be read freely by all.

So your excuse for ignorance is that you don't have access to the books I listed? Is there a library in your local area? If they do not have any of the books most can get them through an inter-library loan program. There are also many websites such as Talkorigins dedicated to presenting the evidence for evolution.