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Rational_Believer
 
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Many unscientific 'theories'

15 July 2013, 11:52
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Too many "theories" – many of them very UNscientific! – try to piggy-back on the theory of evolution.

Setting the Scene

Just to set the scene, let me start of by saying that, even as a Christian, I do not have a problem with the theory of evolution. I realised that I do not have to give up my trust in God – nor do I have to throw away the Bible – if I do not believe in Young Earth Creationism. What many people do not realise, is that DNA provides an even stronger case for evolution than the fossil record does. (My preference is theistic evolution as described by people like Francis Collins, Denis Alexander, etc., but that I do not want to derail the discussion with that now necessarily.)


The Immaturity of the Theory of Evolution


The basic underlying biological principles of evolution are understood, e.g. random mutations, natural selection, improved chances of survival due to being better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place, etc.

The thing that I am concerned about is that the theory of evolution still has many gaps/unknowns. Please note: I am not referring to the common misconception of what a scientific theory is: I know what it means.

However, my concern is more about the fact that science currently mostly understands evolution looking backward in time, than understanding it looking forward. Currently, the model is more qualitative than quantitative. I am not referring to the difficulty in predicting the random aspects associated with the theory, but more about how it actually occurs. I know it is difficult, but I guess that – if something like a mathematical model existed to describe it – it would be more quantifiable.

For example, even Richard Dawkins' popular theories seem to have been overthrown – as can well be expected of the scientific process.

In this video (Ref 1) of the International Conference of Physiological Sciences during November 2012 in China, it shows how British biologist, Dr Denis Noble, proves that some of Dawkins's New-Darwinist concepts of evolution, specifically the “selfish gene” are scientifically untenable. It even proves that DNA is not the sole transmitter of inheritiance – plus a few more surprises!

The point I want to make is that evolution is still a very IMmature and NON-exact theory.

The Fashion: Piggy-backing other theories on the Theory of Evolution

I am therefore not saying that the theory of evolution is hogwash, but merely that it is still a very young and immature theory. Its effects can be seen looking backwards in time, but the lack of details in the theory (dare I call it speculation?) make it difficult looking forward.

An even greater danger I have become aware of, is that anything that can even vaguely be made to fit into a qualitative model of evolution is now forced into that model.

Suddenly we hear about:

* “The evolution of rational thinking”

* “The evolution of the mind”

* “The evolution of religion”

* “The evolution of human morals”

* etc.

The point is: just because it MAY be a nice idea to explain something in terms of “evolution”, does NOT mean it actually evolved! Just because it seems that evolution may work as an explanation, people jump onto the “evolution” bandwagon for a free ride to sell other non-related theories.

People seem to have caught onto the concept of “evolution” - and now they think that if it is possible to describe something in terms of “evolution” - their theory is “scientific” and probably correct. And this is at a time when biological evolution itself is not well understood yet!

Why should Evolution necessarily be the source of Morality?

In his previous article (Ref 2) on “Creationism vs Evolution - The source of Human Morality”, CyberMatix tried to explain whey evolution can be seen as the source of human morality. He does two things:

1) He tells a nice story of how it may or could work

2) He links it back to evolution and piggy-backs on it

I believe CyberMatix made such mistakes (as I highlight below) in the following excerpts from his article:

* “If one follows the TENET that evolution follows the path of least resistance in coming up with solutions that are the most adequate for a certain environment at a certain point in time, it CAN BE ASSUMED that this path not only include abilities to run faster (to better catch prey), but also abilities to survive better in a certain societal environment, and that includes emotions and instincts. As emotions is PROBABLY the prime driver for morals, morals also evolved in this way.”

* “It is NOT 100% clear why this emotion of numinousness was selected by the mechanism of evolution, but the fact [RB: “fact” - REALLY?] that is was selected means that it has some positive value in increasing the survivability of the species. It is ALSO NOT CLEAR that if this emotion was selected for in the natural environment that existed in the time of primitive man, that this emotion is still valuable for survival in the modern world we live in today.”

That's a lot of assumptions and lack clarity! Plus it merely piggy-backs on the term “evolution” - without any scientific foundation.

I therefore cannot agree that evolution is the root of morality.

If Evolution could be the source, then God can also be the Source.

CyberMatix again also tries to use evolution to explain “numinousness” when he says:

* “One of the instincts or emotions that were selected for, and that is still very prevalent in the human condition today is the emotion of the numinous (adjective) experience, or numinousness (noun). It turns out that this is a very powerful emotion that inspires feelings of awe and wonder in the beholder, as well as the feeling of divine or supernatural presence. This emotion creates a feeling that can be equated to “the need to believe”.”

He ends the paragraph by speculating that:

* “This basic concept has also “evolved” [RB: his original quotes] over time to the point that we have the modern religions we have today”.

He piggy-backs on the term “evolution” again – without any scientific foundation.

From a Christian perspective, mankind was made in the image of God. In addition, we are told that earth is not meant to be our final abode, but we are merely “passing through” to the greater things that God has planned for us.

Although sin has tarnished the image of God in us, God has built into us a longing for him. Christians of long ago described the numinous experience as a “God-given vacuum” to “draw us towards Him”.

While I do not try to provide the Christian explanation as a scientific one (as it does not intend to), the question is:

Is the “piggy-back evolution” explanation any more scientific than explained by God?

- - -


References:

Ref 1: See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJhotrNeYGE (or search for “ British biologist Denis Noble Neo-Darwinsim”).

Ref 2: http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Creationism-vs-Evolution-The-source-of-Human-Morality-20130713


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