Darwinism Undermines Values
The Social Darwinists preached a dog-eat-dog society.
What are Darwinists preaching today? The same thing.
A few days ago (18 Aug 2021), Dr Jerry Bergman presented a survey that revealed that living Social Darwinists exhibit anti-social traits. They include a desire for dominance and power, with resulting hostility against those who oppose them. Such personality traits, the authors concluded, are antithetical to democracy. But didn’t Social Darwinism go out of style after World War II? Don’t today’s evolutionists believe in cooperation, tolerance, and inclusion? They seem to, but here are current articles and papers that show the same infected root that led to old Social Darwinism is still alive: the belief that humans are mere animals, whose traits and values arise and evolve by natural selection. Additional sources will show that the resulting hostility against anyone who disagrees with Darwin—so prevalent at the Scopes Trial—is still the prevailing attitude in Big Science and Big Media.
The origin of cooperation (Koduri and Low, PNAS 29 June 2021). These Darwin eggheads from MIT hatch a new theory of cooperation that bypasses the old theories. Cooperation has long been a conundrum to Darwinism, when it seems natural selection favors selfishness and competition. This group says they don’t need kin selection, group selection, reciprocity and the other concocted concepts to explain how cooperation emerged. They can conjure up cooperation straight out of natural selection itself, they claim. It doesn’t matter what they say; their new theory is still materialistic. They still reduce a highly-prized human value—cooperation—to a mere artifact of mindless, unguided, purposeless natural selection. What does that do to real people who sincerely try to encourage one another to cooperate? It reduces it to meaninglessness.
Funny they never look in the mirror about this. If they did, they would have to conclude that writing papers about the origin of cooperation is a mindless, unguided, purposeless behavior borne of natural selection, too. As such, it has no meaning and no value. Why does no evolutionist ever get this?
Nodes with the highest control power play an important role at the final level of cooperation in directed networks (Ebrahimi et al, Nature Scientific Reports 11, Article number: 13668, 2021). Typical of the genre, this evolutionary paper views cooperation as an outcome of a “public goods game” played by natural selection. No intelligence necessary. People are just nodes in networks that evolve over time, with cooperators and defectors interacting. The network diagrams and equations are just distractions, because to show they don’t intend to ascribe any real human value to cooperation, they apply their same model to the evolution of cancer. If they applied it to their own research, it would implode. One of the weird things about the Yoda Complex is that it blinds the afflicted to their condition.
The creation of abstract thoughts in the brain (Medical Xpress). This article does not explicitly mention evolution or natural selection. It is pretty safe to say, though, that it does not rely on immaterial realities, like the mind or soul. If abstract thoughts are physical secretions of a material brain, they have no validity – including the abstract thoughts in the article.
How authoritarian leaders maintain support (Phys.org). Peter Dizikes, a spokesperson for political scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses the words morally righteous in his opening lines:
How do authoritarian regimes sustain their popularity? A novel study in China led by MIT scholars shows that anticorruption punishments meted out by government authorities receive significant support among citizens—who believe such actions demonstrate both competence and morally righteous leadership.
But Peter and his MIT experts are really Hobbesians. There is no righteousness. There is no morality. In the war of all against all, people will gravitate to leaders who promise them safety by punishing threats. And so if Chinese dictators appeal to these baser instincts, they can be as corrupt as they want to be, crossing their fingers behind their backs (see illustration). Authoritarian leaders can be as cruel as they feel they need to be, and people will obey them. Isn’t evolutionary game theory wonderful.
On the Origin of Blatant Hypocrisy by Natural Selection
These same Darwinists, who ascribe all human behavior to games being played by natural selection, get extremely uptight about those who do not cooperate with their consensus. But doesn’t Darwinism generate defectors as part of the game? If the defectors were to overtake the consensus and show higher fitness, wouldn’t might make right? How can they be upset when they don’t even believe in unchanging moral values? Go figure. We can dub these next entries examples of the Origin of Specious Ideas.
Mounting antiscience aggression in the United States (Peter J. Hotez, PLoS Biology). What’s up, Pete? Why are you upset about antiscience aggression? Science, in the Darwinian view, is not concerned about truth, but power. It’s about fitness. If we accepted your worldview, there would be no such thing as antiscience. There would just be groups competing for reproductive fitness and power. Stuff Happens. Don’t tell us you have found some true moral standard from which to preach what people “ought” to do. (Breathes there a Darwinist anywhere who understands the self-refuting bind that Darwinism puts them in?)
Talking to science deniers and sceptics is not hopeless (Lee McIntyre, Nature, 5 August 2021). On a righteous crusade to lead the deniers out of their stupidity, McIntyre lumps evolution skeptics in with flat earthers (the Association Fallacy).
Meanwhile, evidence is growing that rebuttals can be effective. Science deniers — whether on vaccines, evolution or climate — all draw on the same flawed reasoning techniques: cherry-picking evidence, relying on conspiracy theories and fake experts, engaging in illogical reasoning and insisting that science must be perfect. A landmark 2019 study (P. Schmid & C. Betsch Nature Hum. Behav. 3, 931–939; 2019) showed that critiquing flawed techniques can mitigate disinformation.
One’s views on those issues are not at issue here; McIntyre is trapped in the same self-refuting conundrum as Hotez (above). He believes in evolution, but also believes in logic which cannot and must not evolve. He thinks that truth exists, and that people ought to believe in truth. That presupposes the ontological reality of un-evolving truth and morality – qualities inaccessible to natural selection and materialism. There are science deniers out there, but to reason with them, McIntyre would have to become a monotheist first, preferably believing in a God who commands his creatures not to bear false witness.
How can leaders create trust when the information keeps changing? (Phys.org). We all know how the “science” kept changing during the pandemic, confusing and angering a lot of laypeople. In this article, Kate Bettes from the University of New South Wales Business School gives five practical tips for scientists on how they can maintain public trust when the science is, well, “evolving” from week to week. Her tips look fine and helpful. She does not reveal whether she is a Darwinist, which is good, because she would also fall into the self-refuting trap. What is “trust” to a Darwinist if not a mere manifestation of an unguided, amoral game of fitness? If she believes that, she would have no business telling anybody what they “ought” to do. Her tips would reduce to strategies for those in power to maintain their power.
Many conservatives have a difficult relationship with science – we wanted to find out why (The Conversation). This is another case of Leftist elites pontificating from above, trying to psychoanalyze those who disagree with them. Two psychologists, Stephan Lewandowsky (U of Bristol) and Klaus Oberauer (U of Zurich) think they have figured out their nemeses, the conservatives. As usual, skepticism about evolution equates to being anti-science:
Research into why people reject scientific facts has identified people’s political worldviews as the principal predictor variable. People with a libertarian or conservative worldview are more likely to reject climate change and evolution and are less likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The problem with their analysis has nothing to do with climate change, vaccines or even arguments about evolution. It doesn’t even have to do with political worldviews. The problem—as usual—is with their logic. If they espouse Darwinism, they have no case. There are no facts. There is no truth. Evolution moves pawns around on a game board with no gridlines or goals, other than to maintain power within your peer group as long as possible. To the extent they believe that, we can reject everything they say as a selfish evolutionary strategy for them to play king of the hill. Now if they want to talk about real truth, and what people ought to think because it is right, then we can have The Conversation. Doing that, though, would require abandoning Darwinism. Are they willing to do that?
The Misinformation Trifecta (Steven Novella, Neurologica Blog). Novella positions himself as a defeater of misinformation, but delivers a fair amount himself. For instance, he refers to purveyors of misinformation as ones weaponizing the Dunning-Kruger Effect (the hypothesis that the least informed tend to be the most confident). But that effect is not real, according to Alexander Danvers at Psychology Today. Pride cometh before a fall, and some of the comments at the end of the essay gave Novella a run for his money, especially Tennhauser, who trapped Novella into a reductio ad absurdum, with the moral of the story being that misinformation is often defined by the consensus (and the consensus is not science). In short, to the extent that Novella would class anti-evolutionists as purveyors of misinformation, his essay is a strategy of Darwinian survival of the fittest: not a defense of true information.