Rough Critique of EAAN

Ctrl Y
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Rough Critique of EAAN

 

 

I would like people to critique my general line of thought here.

Plantinga always describes evolution's general influence on the animal kingdom using terms like "interested," "selects for," "sees," etc., terms indicating that evolution is some sort of intentional agent with desires. While I realize that this sort of speech is common, I think that in his case it suggests that he has unintentionally treated evolution not merely as a creative force, but as a conscious creator which naturalists posit to replace God. I think that the fact that he framed the issue that way led him into a unique sort of error.

Evolution does not choose species for their reproductive efficacy, as that efficacy is considered apart from the world. It's not like evolution looks at the species in a Platonic heaven somewhere, says "well, I can't make it any more reproductively efficacious than that", and drops it on earth. It is more like the species gets assembled on earth, from whatever spare parts are lying around. The sequence of events that lead up to the species' ultimate form can cause it to have a form that is anything from the sort that is an awe inspiring, smoothly running machine to the sort of quirky misfit species that seem only to survive because they found a niche with lots of resources and few competitors. In short, naturalism says species are created in a way that permits species to exist with a wide range of what we might call "a priori reproductive efficacies," so generally speaking we can't say from that factor alone whether evolution will or will not permit a certain species to exist.


Ctrl Y
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Ctrl Y wrote:    I would

I can say it a little more simply than that, actually. 

 

1. EAAN estimates a species' odds of survival, and ignores the species' environment.

2. From 1, if the species' environment strongly influences its odds of survival, then EAAN fails.

3. The species' environment determines whether it survives.

4. So EAAN fails.


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Ctrl Y wrote:  I would

Ctrl Y wrote:

 

 

I would like people to critique my general line of thought here.

Plantinga always describes evolution's general influence on the animal kingdom using terms like "interested," "selects for," "sees," etc., terms indicating that evolution is some sort of intentional agent with desires...quote]

First, I like the UserId.

Second, I'm unfamiliar with the organization and person you cited.

Despite that, with regard to Natural Selection and Evolution, I might be able to shed some light on the "desire" thing.

Certain attributes, e.g size,
ability to bond, nest building, feather color, food gathering, strength, and a host of countless different attributes are considered as desirable to the opposire sex
of a variety of species.

In that ONE respect, which covers countless different attributes which don't directly relate to the act of sex, nor the fitness of a species to survive when speaking of short periods of time, such as those which do not involve climate change (as one example), ct do influence the future development of a species, particularly when those attributes are recocnized instinctually, and to sone extent when they're learned.

However, no peacock motherr teaches its offspring what the most attractive display is.

GRANTED... the impact of unpredictable genetic changes are understood by many, to account for enourmous diversity between different species.

Of course there's survival of the fittest, and much more I've not mentioned.

It could be said that attraction must also play a role in survival of the fittest.

You mentioned a god agenda.

I'm not picking that up from your post, but I'm reading certain words out of their written context.

Hope these few facts have helped regaeding evolution.

AGAIN, there's more. I'm just sticking on topic, and again know nothing of this organization's agenda.

Obviously, there are omissions, but there's much relevance to attraction and evolution. Attraction, as I said is more than an attraction to what's sexy.


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OK, so you want us to

OK, so you want us to critique your critique of a line of thought which is a bit on the weak side to begin with. Let me say that I find that a bit on the odd side right out of the gate. Yet even so, if we can help you to form a more solid line of thought on the matter, that seems fine.

 

Also, I will admit that I really don't pay much mind to Plantinga in the first place, so the term EAAN threw me a bit. I checked wikipedia for a quick overview but if you have some specific work of Plantinga that you wanted us to look at, it would be nice if we had a link to that as well.

 

Regarding the choice of words, it is true that they are poor to the sense that they could be taken to convey a phenomenon that nobody in the biological sciences has claimed an existence for. However, as Plantinga himself has pointed out, when one has multiple options to choose from, how does one decide which option is likely correct? For example, would it be possible for evolution to be fully undirected as a process and still leave room for some sort of “mother nature” type of entity which exists yet has no free will as such? Note that I don't really go for that but as the advertising executive in 12 angry men was wont to observe: “Let's put it out on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up”.

 

As far as your second paragraph goes, regardless of whether “evolution chooses” based on some criteria, I would not suggest that you spend a whole lot of time worrying about there being one thing that is an all or nothing priority for evolution.

 

Let me consider your term of reproductive efficacy. For this, I will suggest a theoretical hominid that is so fertile that every time they have sex, they must reproduce. Never mind how the underlying biology would work for the moment, let's just bat that around and see what it means for such a species.

 

One interesting point to consider is that it would be reasonable to observe that time raising small children takes away from time that could be spent on other activities which may well play a role in determining how many of those babies survive to reproduce themselves.

 

Here I would like to ask a question. Is it reproductively useful to have females who are forever bound to raising babies? Consider that time spent nursing is time that cannot be used to gather food or other resources that could improve infant mortality.

 

A species of slightly less fertility would perhaps have females with otherwise free time to devote to gathering food, making blankets from the furs the males bring home and so on. So even though they might have fewer babies mathematically, perhaps more of them would survive to adulthood.

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Ctrl Y wrote:I can say it a

Ctrl Y wrote:

I can say it a little more simply than that, actually. 

 

1. EAAN estimates a species' odds of survival, and ignores the species' environment.

2. From 1, if the species' environment strongly influences its odds of survival, then EAAN fails.

3. The species' environment determines whether it survives.

4. So EAAN fails.



I think you'll find that EAAN fails all over the place, but that's a good start. Plantinga's understanding of evolution is poor, and his use of probability is manipulative to say the least.


What blows my mind is that if Plantinga is willing to say that extremely low probability is enough for self-defeat of a concept, he just poofed God out of existence.

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HisWillness wrote:I think

HisWillness wrote:

I think you'll find that EAAN fails all over the place, but that's a good start. Plantinga's understanding of evolution is poor, and his use of probability is manipulative to say the least.

Really? How? You're not going to deprive me of ammunition here, surely.


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Ctrl Y wrote:  

Ctrl Y wrote:

 

HisWillness wrote:
I think you'll find that EAAN fails all over the place, but that's a good start. Plantinga's understanding of evolution is poor, and his use of probability is manipulative to say the least.

 

Really? How? You're not going to deprive me of ammunition here, surely.

 

Let me take this one.

 

HisWillness wrote:
What blows my mind is that if Plantinga is willing to say that extremely low probability is enough for self-defeat of a concept, he just poofed God out of existence.

 

What blows my mind is not even that much. Really, if you stop to consider the idea that minds are so improbable that they could not exist absent a creator, well how does Plantinga make his case? Really, he must be doing so by using his mental faculties.

 

Now it is simply a fact that the debate over the reality of evolution has been over for a very long time. It is real. So by his own logic, he cannot exist in any form where he can put forth his own argument. So not only has he created a huge problem for the existence of god but he has also created a huge problem for the existence of himself.

 

Of course, if one engages in bizzaro logic, it is not hard to “prove” all manner of silly things. For the moment, allow me to posit the “reverse Copernican principal”. We are special. Not because god made us but simply because we exist despite the astronomically low probability. Even so, we exist.

 

What can we derive from that?

 

Well, we can reasonably say that there was a probability of us existing in a form where we can ask these questions. What Plantinga fails to deal with is that any probability >0 is in the realm of that which is probable. Granted that the probability was low but it was not zero. Therefore our existence is probable.

 

So we have two points.

 

First, our existence is probable.

 

Second, we exist.

 

Um, yah.

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Ctrl Y wrote:HisWillness

Ctrl Y wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

I think you'll find that EAAN fails all over the place, but that's a good start. Plantinga's understanding of evolution is poor, and his use of probability is manipulative to say the least.

Really? How? You're not going to deprive me of ammunition here, surely.


Haha! I'm trying my best to know where to start!



His argument is that the odds are low that our minds would be reliable if evolution and naturalism are true concurrently, so if they are, that the probability is low that we're right.



It's just an extended assumption that our understanding of evolution can be directly connected to epistemology, and even the reliability of our cognitive functions. Dressing it up in probability is silly.

 

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Ctrl Y wrote:

I would like people to critique my general line of thought here.

Plantinga always describes evolution's general influence on the animal kingdom using terms like "interested," "selects for," "sees," etc., terms indicating that evolution is some sort of intentional agent with desires. While I realize that this sort of speech is common, I think that in his case it suggests that he has unintentionally treated evolution not merely as a creative force, but as a conscious creator which naturalists posit to replace God. I think that the fact that he framed the issue that way led him into a unique sort of error.

Of course you are correct. In my experience I have found people who can only understand things in terms of the words. They do not appear to have concepts which they put into words. Rather they only have words which they cannot easily put into other words or rephrase. Perhaps he is one of those.

But evolution is not a creative force. Allele variations and occasionally mutations just happen. These are mostly neutral in terms of survival. For those that are significant enough to in fact behave differently it is all the world around changed individual which eliminates the individual with these differences. There is no creative anything in the process.

Nor in fact is there an evolution of any species. The entire ecosystem, all the species in it, evolves, that is, changes. The range of individuals within a species via allele and mutation is constantly in flux. How a particular ecosystem might play out is not based upon anything in particular. To exaggerate, a worm eating bird species happens to produce the first of a new species that is a perfect snail hunter. If it continues the snails are eaten to extinction and are quickly followed by the extinction of that bird species. Clearly a bird better able to eat snails is going to leave those hardest to eat uneaten so a new variety of snail develops. In the meantime the improved snail eaters increase in numbers with a greater competition for nesting places which changes population of other bird species.

If anyone can express the bird, the snail and the ecosystem in simple terms and avoid words which imply intent and motive then they can discuss evolution properly. I don't think anyone has managed it.

Ctrl Y wrote:
Evolution does not choose species for their reproductive efficacy, as that efficacy is considered apart from the world.

Variations are selected out by reality save for the extremely rare case of an individual less likely to be selected out.

Ctrl Y wrote:
It's not like evolution looks at the species in a Platonic heaven somewhere, says "well, I can't make it any more reproductively efficacious than that", and drops it on earth. It is more like the species gets assembled on earth, from whatever spare parts are lying around. The sequence of events that lead up to the species' ultimate form can cause it to have a form that is anything from the sort that is an awe inspiring, smoothly running machine to the sort of quirky misfit species that seem only to survive because they found a niche with lots of resources and few competitors. In short, naturalism says species are created in a way that permits species to exist with a wide range of what we might call "a priori reproductive efficacies," so generally speaking we can't say from that factor alone whether evolution will or will not permit a certain species to exist.

Which leads one to wonder if it was a simple interest in the study of nature would have eventually lead to enunciation of natural selection or if it took something like the Galapagos to make it simple enough to see finches without competition speciate into particular food species before it could be recognized. Without a clear example like this a near total knowledge of a system in flux is the only apparent way to observe this occurring.

Without Darwin my guess would be an Australian, Canadian or American would have discovered the principle as they were actively involved in totally changing the land as they found it into something they liked like farmland.

 

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From what I can recall,

From what I can recall, Platinga clearly misunderstands or downplays the efficacy of natural selection. He devises very artificial and/or contrived examples, in order to suggest that we have no warrant to assume that evolution would have a strong tendency to drive our brain development in such a way as to make our perceptions reasonably accurate representations of the external world, at least in those areas important to our survival and reproduction.

Since one of the chief advantages of a complex brain is to allow us to model external reality, so that we can plan and anticipate and predict the course of external events and the behavior of other members of our group, it would be astonishing if it didn't become generally accurate, even if occasionally misfiring. 

 

 

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