Alex Rosenberg’s Debate About Darwinian Evolution

There is a cult that resides in an establishment, where it attempts to dictate what scientists can research, also what scientists must conclude in their findings. The rest is up to the scientists. Alex Roesnberg is a member of that cult that resides in that establishment. He has been ever so working on trying to shape people’s values on the subject.

Often times we hear of science can only conclude natural causes, but this is not totally accurate. According to the cult, Darwinian evolution is the only naturalistic cause. Does anyone want to dispute on why Darwinian evolution would be the only naturalistic cause rather than have an alternative naturalistic cause? Rosenberg believes alternative natural causes lead to creationism or intelligent design.

Now one is not saying alternative natural causes is any better than believing in Darwinian naturalistic causes. But this type of behavior towards one view-point within natural causes demonstrates a cult roaming around pretending to call itself  “science” by inventing various stories that repeatedly get overturned by observable new data which brings them back to square one.

There are a few that went rogue who don’t believe in creationism nor intelligent design but things like self-organization. Jerry Fodor who is an American philosopher and cognitive scientist, is one of those who have went rogue and now believes in an alternative naturalistic explanation.

Back in May 2012, in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, there is an article Roesenberg called, “How Jerry Fodor slid down the slippery slope to Anti-Darwinism, and how we can avoid the same fate.”

There is only one physically possible process that builds and operates purposive systems in nature: natural selection. What it does is build and operate systems that look to us purposive, goal directed, teleological. There really are not any purposes in nature and no purposive processes ether. It is just one vast network of linked causal chains.”

Darwinian natural selection is the only process that could produce the appearance of purpose. That is why natural selection must have built and must continually shape the intentional causes of purposive behavior.”     

Only intelligence (namely God) can produce specialized systems that contain purpose in nature.  It’s a logical and verifiable conclusion! But Rosenberg reveals something interesting about his argument that Darwinian evolution is the only explanation of natural causes and that is the implication that if this ‘theory’ is not correct then the origin is not naturalistic! And he would be right about that, he does in fact, destroys the notion of a so-called, “gap-theory” argument often times used by evolutionists against creationism or intelligent design.

There are questions that comes up with such a conclusion, is Rosenberg correct, is Dawinian evolution the only viable naturalistic cause or could there be an another? Do you believe Fodor is on his way becoming a creationist because he doubts the ‘theory’ of natural selection coming from Darwinian evolution? Is it important to you that every scientist must embrace Darwinian evolution even though the alternative is still a natural cause? The membership of the cult in which Rosenberg belongs to, sure does!


6 thoughts on “Alex Rosenberg’s Debate About Darwinian Evolution

  1. There is a cult that resides in an establishment, where it attempts to dictate what scientists can research, also what scientists must conclude in their findings.

    We never thought that Michael would admit he belongs to a cult of creationism within the establishment of Christianity. But there it is.

    Creationists form a defined “group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.” This cult pretends to science, since science is highly regarded in our society. They work to destroy its principles and to force innocent children to be exposed to their anti-scientific views in government-supported schools. Now that’s sinister

    Their publications and schools dictate what their scientists must conclude in their findings. Answers in Genesis requires that the mere mention of a non-orthodox theory be accompanied by an internal refutation of that theory, and that even creationist findings conform to a specific document. Sinister. Strange and sinister.

    Often times we hear of science can only conclude natural causes, but this is not totally accurate.

    Yes, it is accurate. It’s called “explanatory closure,” and it has been part of the definition of science for 800 years.

    According to the [science establishment], Darwinian evolution is the only naturalistic cause

    Which orifice did Michael pull this howler from? Larmarck proposed another naturalistic cause for biological evolution even before Darwin. Genetic drift is now seen as a major—or even the major—cause of speciation Scientists know that epigenetics plays a crucial role. Natural self-organization has been shown capable of evolving structure and function for a number of decades, although not studied in biology until more recently.

    All of these—and more besides—are naturalistic and are seen by biologists as mechanisms of evolution, No one anymore doubts that Darwinian natural selection.operates n evolution. The alternatives above, and others as well, operate along with natural selection.

    (One of) Michael’s mistakes is that he regards each evolutionary mechanism as an exclusive alternative: if one is true, then the others perforce must be false. But this is religious thinking: (If Islam is true, then Christianity must be false). Science is not like that.

    And of course Michael tires to bury the salient point. Both Fodor and Rosenberg—and all the others—accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution with common descent, over a history of billions of years. Sorry, Michael. You’re still on a fool’s errand.


    Michael here pulls the standard stunt of quoting material without an accessible citation. Given the rep of creationists for lack of integrity, and their propensity for quote-mining, we can be justified in predicting that the material has been distorted away from the authors’ intent.

    One thing to remember is that this controversy involves philosophy—the question of purposiveness. So Fodor & Rosenberg are not arguing about the science, but rather the meanings to be assigned to that science for philosophical analysis. If this be the case, it seems to this observer that this question concerns only how scientists should assign certain quale to human-defined categories “Purpose,” like “meaning,” refers only to mental states. It has nothing to do with how anything happened in the physical world. Michael may quote-mine it till kingdom come, and still not reach his goal.

  2. Hm. Two days only, and Michael is off on another joust with reality. This one seems not to have turned out well for him. It would be hard indeed to defend the drivel in this post.

  3. Upson Downes points out that Michael could have saved us a lot of time by telling us where he plagiarized his comments.

    They came from the Dishonesty Institute’s Evolution News and Views“Darwinian Philosophy: ‘Darwinian Natural Selection is the Only Process that could Produce the Appearance of Purpose'” This source also contains a link to an on-line pdf of the journal that Michael uses without citing.[1]

    Rosenberg’s paper might be worth a read. The post by the Disco Tute’s attack mouse Casey Luskin might even be worth a neuron or two. Before even beginning to look, however, it seems there may be a bit of satire involved—something that creationists do not understand, and therefore that Michael missed..


    [1] We were pretty darn sure anyway that Michael does not sit around reading the current issue of theEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science by the light of his rusty Aladdin oil lamp.

  4. Poor Michael. Off on another fool’s errand. In this post, he hopes to convince us that, because a reputable scientist doubts the overweening power ascribed to natural selection by his colleagues, that all of evolution is false, and the earth was created 6,000 years ago in six days.

    Jerry Fodor, and others, do have objections to the primacy ascribed to natural selection. But he embraces he common ancestry of all living organisms. If anyone needs confirmation of this, consider Fodor’s 2007 article “Why Pigs Don’t Have Wings”

    What used to rile Darwin’s critics most was his account of the phylogeny of our species. They didn’t like our being just one branch among many in the evolutionary tree; and they liked still less having baboons among their family relations. The story of the consequent fracas is legendary, but that argument is over now. Except, perhaps, in remote backwaters of the American Midwest, the Darwinian account of our species’ history is common ground in all civilised discussions, and so it should be. The evidence really is overwhelming.

    But Darwin’s theory of evolution has two parts. One is its familiar historical account of our phylogeny; the other is the theory of natural selection, which purports to characterise the mechanism not just of the formation of species, but of all evolutionary changes in the innate properties of organisms. [emphasis supplied]

    This excerpt shows beyond doubt that Fodor accepts the aspect of Darwinian evolution that pertains to common descent over geological time. His only question concerns the primacy of natural selection as a mechanism for that evolution.

    Michael’s attempt to parlay this into a renunciation of evolution is fraudulent.

  5. Fodor and Rosenberg’s tiff is one of those complex philosophical conundrums that make eyes water in frustration. The simplistic gist is that selection cannot be[1] a mechanism of evolution because it is teleological, and thus not naturalistic. The following is quoted from Wikipedia under Fodor’s What Darwin Got Wrong:

    The authors’ central argument against the concept of natural selection is what they call “the problem of selection-for”…. The authors give examples:

    A heart both pumps blood and makes heart-like noises

    Because these traits come together, they are both correlated with fitness. Therefore, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini argue that the theory of natural selection “cannot predict/explain what traits the creatures in a population are selected-for”, and so “the claim that selection is the mechanism of evolution cannot be true”

    Rosenberg’s <a Rosenberg's paper attempts to refute Fodor by showing that Fodor mischaraterized natural selection—that is, he defined the term wrong. Namely, natural selection does not in fact select “for” anything. Rather it selects against traits that decrease reproductive fitness. These are quite different, both in operation and in logical consequences.

    Rosenberg argues that selection “for” adaptive traits would violate the 2d law of thermodynamics.[2] On the other hand, selection “against” is passive and non-teleological, so that it comports with the 2d law by producing a net increase in entropy. That is, adaptations do not have a goal, but are merely what remain after a filtering-out process.

    Rosenberg claims that natural selection, in this form, is the only evolutionary process that can appear purposive but not violate the 2d law. Adaptation is time-asymmetric, and thus driven by the 2d law. Thus, adaptations must not decrease system entropy. Selection-against is actually what happens, and moreover it solves the “disjunction” problem of the example that Fodor presents above.

    Rosenberg proceeds to claim that natural selection is the only naturalistic mechanism capable of seemingly purposive behavior. On this aspect, he loses me. Although no concrete example comes to mind, adding high-quality energy is capable of decreasing entropy, and could thus constitute a mechanism. Another problem is the definition of “appearance of purpose.” This is highly subjective. For example, one person might see speciation by random genetic drift as purposive, because it separates different genetic states along a gradient, while another person might characterize drift as non-purposive.[3]

    Perhaps Michael can explicate this point .[4]


    [1] Fodor’s claim is that natural selection is a philosophical impossibility, not just that it is wrong.

    [2] Variation by mutation does not, because it is a form of “noise,” and thus always increases entropy.

    [3] Everyone, including Fodor, accepts that multiple mechanisms of evolution exist, and that evolution from a common ancestor did occur. (Sorry, Michael.)

    [4] But there will be no holding of breath for an answer.

  6. Michael may also care to review Thomas Nagel’sMind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, to be published next month by Oxford University Press.[1]

    Nagel is a philosopher at New York University. His arguments, like Fodor’s, are thus philosophical rather than scientific. That is, he argues that, while evolution may work in practice, it does not work in theory. Ho hum.


    [1] The Dishonesty Institute has already weighed in, so Michael can find some material to plagiarize.

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