Questions I have for Evolutionists, Q4August 30, 2007
The mechanism which explains the phenomenon by which living organisms evolve into more complex organisms is called ‘survival of the fittest’. This is the common explanation of the evolutionary process. Even though many philosophers and philosophers of science, whether Christian or non-Christian, debate back and forth as to whether this system is a tautology (void of any real explanatory power as to how things evolve), I see this explanation as attempting to answer the ‘how’ behind the evolutionary process.
If Evolution is the process by which living organisms mutate into more complex organisms, it seems only reasonable for one to ask “well ‘how’ does that happen?”. Which then, the typical answer is “survival of the fittest”. In other words, whatever creatures are most fit for survival will survive. Fitness is detected by what assists survival. Therefore, survival is predicated upon what assists survival (fitness). In other words, ‘survival of the fittest’ is ‘survival of what is able to survive’. Things survive because they are able to. This is the scientific explanation we are given as to why Evolution is possible. So now that I look at it, this explanation does have ‘tautology’ written all over it. But backing up a bit, the Evolutionary process of ‘survival of the fittest’ attempts to explain ‘how’ the Evolutionary process is working, yet can’t account for why it tries to work that way. Even if we assume that the Evolutionary process could be explained by ‘survival of the fittest’, scientists are still not able to answer why fitness and survival are deemed important by mindless matter. They simply assume them to be important to mindless matter because ‘survival of what is able to survive’ leads them to whole heartedly believe this. Yet, the Evolutionist has no bases to assume why nature deems survival necessary. It can only concluded, in the biological realm at least, that things are prone to survive as opposed to not survive and that’s that. There can be no reason for why this phenomenon is taking place and why things “strive” to survive in nature, that is according to Naturalism.
Saying “survival of the fittest” doesn’t explain anything because there is no distinguishment between survival and fitness. Survival means fitness, and fitness means survival. It is unclear which of the two, survival or fitness, comes first. Does survival determine fitness, or does fitness determine survival? It’s like when Evolutionists say things like “cats developed their special eyes which give them night vision so they can hunt better” thus, the cat’s eyes adapted to its surroundings to help it survive better. This sounds good at face value. But note that the cat survives because it has night vision, yet night vision came about to help it survive. So which one came first? The cat can’t survive until its eyes adapt to night vision, while its night vision can’t adapt unless the cat is surviving some how! It’s needs both at the same time, especially within the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’!
Explaining ‘how’ Evolution works is void of any explanatory power without explaining the ‘why’, such as why survival is necessary over non-survival, or why being more fit is necessary over being less fit. Bare matter can’t explain to us why it prefers one over the other. “But we’re working on it” says the scientist. Ok. I’m working on an absolute proof that God exists. This type of statement isn’t really condusice to the topic at hand.
So again, the pressing question I have is this: ‘Why’ does Evolution have things survive as opposed to not survive, or preserve that which is more fit instead of that which is less fit? This becomes a hazy problem for Evolutionists because nature does not have a standard of either ‘fitness’ or ‘survival’. What does nature consult to know when something is finally fit, thus more enabled to survive? Or, when does nature know when survival is being maintained enough therby able to identify favorable characteristics for fitness?
One may say, “well the process just works and that’s that so there’s no need to answer ‘why’ survival or fitness is favored over non-survival or non-fitness.” Ok, then I will say, “God just created everything and that’s that.” Or I would also say, instead of telling me ‘survival of the fittest’ is the mechanism by which things evolve, please give me a real explanation of how things evolve. Otherwise I am left assuming a process which doesn’t explain anything.