Saturday 14 April 2012

Two kinds of human anti-evolutionism: macro and micro, religious and Leftist


There are two prominent kinds of anti-evolutionist in public life - and by which I mean people who deny the applicability of evolution by natural selection to some aspect of humans.


Macro anti-evolutionists deny the reality of 'macro' evolution - by which is meant the 'origin of species' - and therefore the use of natural selection to explain the distinctive essence of what it is to be human.

This is related to the idea that the basic forms of living things are 'given', and that natural selection may modify these basic forms - but cannot create a new form nor change one form into another.

This macro anti-evolutionist may be religious - believing that the forms are created by God or gods; or may be one of a non-religious school of biologists who regard form as just a part of the way things are, primary reality, without speculating on how these forms arise or where they come from. For instance suggesting that the forms happen to be mathematically-stable attractors.

This latter group includes many eminent biologists such as Goethe, D'Arcy Thomson, the earliest geneticists, Conrad Waddington, and some of the recent chaos/ complexity theorists.

It should be noted that the only substantive difference between the religious and non-religious 'formalists' is that the religious give a general account of the origin of the forms - and how it is that human may have knowledge of them; while the non-religious say nothing about these matters, accepting the reality of their assertions and avoiding the subject of why their assertions (e.g. their ability to identify forms) should be regarded as valid.


I am, nowadays, sympathetic to this idealist or 'formalist' group since on the one hand they have a strong empirical basis for denying that natural selection can lead to genuine novelty at a formal level - because there just aren't any strong and solid examples of this happening; and more fundamentally because natural selection formally depends upon the prior assumption of forms, and the process of NS operates within already existing concepts of form.

In other words, we may observe or impute a selection process when seeing differential reproductive success leading to a stepwise modification of a form, and a change of function leading to enhanced reproductive success.

But such observations always begin with a definition of form, with identification of a form - changes of which are tracked.


The big question, therefore, is whether natural selection is an open-ended process, unconstrained by form, which can lead to stepwise change to the point of creating novel forms; or whether natural selection is constrained by forms - that it can lead to stepwise changes only within the boundaries of forms.

Micro-evolution is about natural selection producing change within the bounds of form; macro-evolution is about natural selection producing change of form.

Or, natural selection within the bounds of form is adaptation; while natural selection yielding diversity of form is )in a general sense) speciation.

Darwin's assertion was that adaptation may, indeed does, progress to speciation; that a form may undergo adaptation to the point that it changes form. This is used a metaphysical assumption, outside of science and framing science - but it is not a discovery made by science.


Micro-evolution or adaptation within forms seems certainly to be happen - since there are innumerable examples of human selection of animals and plants (especially in agriculture) leading to heritable modifications of function; and if human selection can purposefully change functionality over the space of a human lifespan, then presumably analogous change could result from nature doing the selection over a longer span of generations.

So, there are many religious people, and a minority of biologists - some of whom are highly prestigious, who believe in the reality of micro-evolution or adaptation; but who are skeptical about macro-evolution of new forms (such as a new genus, order, family or some similar large scale and fundamental modification of form).

They do not accept the assumption that adaptation leads to speciation.


But another group of evolution sceptics actually deny the reality of adaptation or micro-evolution in humans, they deny that human functions, especially psychological functions, can incrementally be modified by natural selection - and these are mostly secular Left wing political adherents who must (for ideological reasons) deny the reality of sexual and racial differences.


Or rather, secular Leftists do not straightforwardly and honestly deny that adaptation can occur in humans - rather, they make an assumption that all humans are essentially the same everywhere and throughout historical time - and any differences are superficial and non-heritable ('environmental'); and then demand a literally-impossible standard of evidential certainty before they will overturn this assumption of universal sameness.

This is presented as if it were a higher form of scientific integrity - a purist stance that requires a higher standard of evidence... Nonsense! It is merely rigging the evaluation method to generate the results you want.


The assumption that all humans are essentially the same everywhere is therefore a metaphysical - not scientific - assumption: an assumption standing outside science and framing science.

Certainly it refutes spontaneous beliefs, common sense and the historical wisdom of mankind.

Denial of micro-evolution has reached almost psychotic extremes in relation to men and women, where there are many Leftist social science academics, journalists, politicians etc who refuse to acknowledge even quantitative differences in functionality between men and women.

For such people, to assert the reality of qualitative differences (e.g. between men and women) is regarded as simply abhorrent - malicious, vile, hurtful, aggressive, stupid, dangerous to the Leftist project and 'therefore' (according to such people) necessarily untrue.


Secular Leftist anti-evolutionists will deny even universal human experience, obvious knowledge and common sense; for instance that offspring (strongly) tend to resemble their parents and such resemblances are heritable, that some of these heritable differences have functional consequences, and these functional consequences may lead to robust average differences in the numbers of surviving and reproducing offspring.

The fact that humans who have spent multiple generations in different environments (which include men and women in any society where the experiences of the sexes are stably non-identical) are (at the group level of averages) superficially, internally, psychologically, biochemically and genetically different is taken to be wholly accidental and irrelevant - contingent.


So it turns out that the much demonised and despised religious anti-evolutionists who are skeptical about macro-evolution of humans are in plain fact much more scientific and empirical than are those numerous and influential secular Leftists who challenge the solid, and indeed observable, reality of human adaptation or micro-evolution.

The religious anti-macro-evolutionists who acknowledge within-form adaption are indeed within the historical mainstream of biology in their focus upon form as primary; the secular Leftist anti-adaptationists are chucking-out biology altogether in favour of a political ideology which ignores the most basic level of reality-testing.

And yet, these same secular Leftist anti-adaptationists whose denial of the obvious is delusional by a strict definition, regard the religious anti-macro-evolutionists as knuckle-dragging, ideologically-blinded anti-scientific fools, beneath contempt...


(The scientific 'crime' - or solecism - of creationists is that they introduce divine explanations into science and this is an error, because science properly operates within a framework of religious explanations, but does not include religious explanations. Science just is that type of explanation which does not use religious explanation. By contrast, secular Leftists stick to the rule of keeping their ideology outside of science, structuring the interpretation and application of science yet unmentioned within the science. Because they usually stick by this simple but counter-intuitive rule, anti-micro-evolution secular Leftists are often able to get-away-with outrageous dishonesty and distortion of science, whereas religious anti-macro-evolutionary more often blunder by trying to slip divine explanataions inside the science.)


Since it is secular Leftists who control public discourse we find public discourse in the extraordinary, and scientifically indefensible, position of asserting that on the one hand macro-evolution is necessarily real and the essential form of the human species certainly arose by natural selection - which is an incremental accumulation of adaptive changes; yet on the other hand denying that micro-evolution, adaptation, has occurred within the human species.

In other words, the speculative and uncertain aspect of Darwinian natural selection is accepted as necessary, as dogma (to reject which is to move outwith the bounds of legitimate public discourse); while the empirically and experientially verifiable aspect of Darwinism is at the same time rejected.

(This is the way that Leftism works: skepticism or outright denial of the obvious and primary, dogmatic belief in the interpretative and secondary.)

Secular Leftists thus believe in speciation but not adaptation; they believe that humans arose by natural selection, but also that - once humans had arisen - natural selection does not apply to humans!


The situation is extraordinary, obviously incoherent, and yet it is the everyday underlying assumption of respectable interaction, and it is a mandatory belief: imposed by harsh sanctions.

The situation with respect to evolution is therefore revealing of the objective nature of our society: that our society in its public discourse just is ideological, totalitarian, anti-religious; and it reveals that ours is a society in which where politics utterly dominates and trumps logic and science.

Ours is a society in which logic and science must work within politics such that logical and scientific contradictions are allowed - are indeed required - but not political contradictions.

And it reveals that ours is a society where the ruling, dominating, structuring political ideology is secular and Leftist.