Evolutionary Contradiction As Mental Illness
In their efforts to get their theory accepted, have some evolutionists crossed the line into irrationality? It is mentally sound to espouse well-argued points of view, even if controversial. What is marginal is arguing self-contradictory beliefs. Let the reader judge whether any of these ideas from evolutionists make sense.
- Alien headgear: Back in 2005, Bobby Henderson wrote a strange letter to the Kansas School Board opposing the board’s consideration of criticisms of evolution in science classes, which he interpreted to mean that intelligent design was threatening to gain a foothold in the science curriculim. In a bizarre parody, he asked whether his new Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should also be allowed as an alternative. This parody took on a life of its own in the ensuing months and years, with mockers of intelligent design invoking the FSM symbol (also called Pastafarianism) on bumper stickers, signs and even books (Wikipedia). Now, according to the BBC News, Niko Alm, a driver in Austria, has been granted permission to have his driver’s license photo taken with the symbol of his religion, pastafarianism, on his head – a pasta strainer.
- The evolution of opposites: Calling all moms. Got a meek child? Evolution did it. Got an aggressive child? Evolution did it. This contradictory idea about living infants was presented matter-of-factly in Live Science alongside a photo of a crying toddler, “Evolution May Explain Aggressive and Meek Toddlers.” Patrick Davies from the University of Rochestor linked cortisol levels in 200 stressed infants to opposite strategies of calming down (“doves”) or becoming more aggressive (“hawks”), which he argues “may have provided our human ancestors with adaptive survival advantages.” But how can a scientific hypothesis account for opposite results? The article justified the contradiction by stating that it challenges “the idea that there is only one way to be mentally healthy and normal.” The article put a label on the phenomenon – divergent evolution – unaware that the adaptations occur within one species (Homo sapiens), with no sign that the two groups of infants are diverging into separate species.
- Evolutionize your life. Religion is well known for offering people peace and meaning. What does Darwin have to offer? A lot, thinks one militant theistic evolutionist whose mission is to help Darwinian evolution gain acceptance in churches. Michael Dowd and his wife Connie Barlow have produced a self-help course on a website called “Evolutionize Your Life.” Their “Essential Five-Week Course” promises, “Learn the scientific tools and practices to decode human behavior, eliminate self-judgment, and create a big-hearted life of purpose and joyful integrity” [emphasis theirs]. Dowd has taught his concepts to 100,000 people so far, saying, “Science has cracked the code not only for understanding but for working with our evolved human nature.” One prominent heading in the presentation states, “Science Is Helping Spirituality Evolve.”
It is not clear how one goes about evolutionizing one’s life, if evolution is a passive, unguided process that happens to the human race. Does the verb evolutionize imply purpose and forethought – i.e., intelligent design? It is also not clear how Dowd and Barlow can defend the idea that integrity, joy, or science itself evolved, much less that by following a purposely-designed course one can achieve them or know what has been achieved. Further, his mission would seem to play into the hands of Darwin critics who argue that evolutionism has become a religion. Nevertheless, his course has garnered praise from ardent evolutionists and skeptics, including well-known anti-ID skeptic Michael Shermer, who teaches a bonus session entitled, “Why the Science of Good and Evil Matters.”
Apparently, Shermer is not turning his skeptical lens on himself or Dowd. A good skeptic should be trained in elementary logic, which begins, “A is not non-A.” The self-refuting fallacy errs by violating this basic premise of rationality, leading to self-contradiction. Shermer needs to be reminded that an argument which refutes itself is necessarily false. If evolution teaches that Stuff Happens, it is impossible to activate it by choice – to Happen-ize your Stuff.
In the second item above, it appears that Patrick Davies never even considered that his notion of divergent evolution in living infants, by explaining opposite outcomes, explains nothing. Every parent knows that both hawks and doves can be found within one family. Not only that, doves can turn into hawks, and vice versa, at different stages in their development, without evolving. And even it were possible, he certainly did not provide any evidence from genetics or fossils to trace the development of these opposite adaptive behaviors. As such, it appears that trying to explain opposite outcomes with reference to “the evolution of” this or that has no more scientific explanatory power than invoking “the demon of” this or that.
As for Niko Alm (first item), bless his spaghetti brain. More power to him. Let’s encourage him to start a trend. Anybody want to donate the money for pasta strainers for his church? This can be a win-win situation; it can help them feel a mystical purpose in life, and it can help the sane ones among us identify them easier. Then, we can take them all to land donated by a benevolent society where they can carry on their Evolutionary experiments in peace, the Fun E-Farm.