On Theistic Evolution, a Generic Criticism and A Proposed Paradox – Part 4

INTRODUCTION

In the article “part 3” of this series, I showed how Theory 2) is almost certainly false.
The question now is, how does this truth status relate to PC. Is PC then actually more probable? If so, how much and why?

In this article I will show how Philosophical Creationism not only is not almost certainly false, but that it is almost certainly true. I will argue this by showing how its truth malleability indicates its veracity. Further, I will show how the background evidence regarding the nature of God, would entail a version of PC which, by being shown to be probably true, confirms, a posteriori, PC more in general.

Step 6: Philosophical Creationism is almost certainly true

It is clear that if it is shown that PC is “almost certainly true”, it would be demonstrated that it is a superior theory to Theory 2), given that the latter has been shown to be “almost certainly false” in “part 3” of my series of articles.

To summarize what has been done so far, we can say that I have shown P(T2/e&be) to be almost equal to 0 and propose , in this article, to show that P(PC/e&be) is almost equal to 1 (which is read, the probability of Theory 2) given the evidence and background evidence is close to 0%, while the one of PC close to 100%).

How, therefore, would I proceed in showing that P(PC/e&be) is almost equal to 1?

 

ON PC’ SUPERIORITY, AN ARGUMENT FROM PC’S TRUTH MALLEABILITY

To summarize what will be argued in this section, PC is almost certainly true because its contentions have been proven true.

Let me report the predictions of PC expressed in “part 2”:

“a) All specified and complex information comes from God. This flows from Axe’s implication. He is the cause insofar as he conceived such meaningful code and he supernaturally implemented it via: or the direct creation of the animal life form or by indirect creation causing supernaturally a particular mutation by which a new life form will proceed from the previous one.

b) God created life forms. Some life forms perhaps arose “naturally” through the process of speciation in which pre-existing information in the genome was selected (and therefore itself specified). Note here that, under this theory, it is not specified whether a specific species or genus was supernaturally created or naturally created via speciation from predecessors with a wider genetic pool (the only criteria is that the natural may obtain through a decrease of information), given the fact that I am not asserting how large of a genome the animals which God directly created had. Neither it is asserted whether creation was brought about via direct means or indirect (i.e. via a mutation).”

Because b) follows from a), PC can be falsified only by showing a) to be false, but a) has been shown to be true in “part 1”.

The claims of PC are malleable in the sense that whatever the data points to or will point to, the theory is and will be able to cover it. The grounds by which it could be falsified are already shown to be true. What could not be true, are elements which do not affect the theory. Were we to discover that all animals are indirectly created, would PC be debunked? Not at all. The verdict regarding the truth of the possible specifications of reality, under this theory, ought to come from an evaluation of available data, such as the one provided by the fossil record.  We could say that this theory is able to explain numerous possible explananda, while Theory 2) has a very high truth rigidity (as we have seen in “part 3”, there are numerous, very specific unwarranted assumptions, which, if denied would oppose evolutionism).

On the other hand, philosophical creationism does not posit any factor beyond what is actually necessary. For example, it doesn’t have to postulate the existence of any life form we are not sure whether it actually existed or not. As I have shown in “part 2” we just don’t know if there was a chain of animals between animal “a” and animal “b” which covered all the minimal variations to bring about the necessary gradualism for evolutionism. If any of these animals where shown to exist or have existed, then PC would include them in the explananda, but no speculatory device subject to falsification is postulated.

PC’s truth malleability reduces to the minimum its falsifiability. By not postulating factors which could very well be false and asserting only things which are very likely true, it becomes a theory which can hardly be subsequently shown to be false. [1]

Its falsifiability, in fact , when compared to Theory 2), is different not only in number but in nature. It is has less assertions and the assertions which are made are more likely to be true than not. What is falsifiable is almost certainly true given the supporting reasons for them. The discourse, for example, applied to theory 2) regarding the equal probability direct and indirect creation cannot be applied to the quest of whether a species which requires an increase of information, is either supernaturally or naturally created. The probability of a new functional protein to arise naturally is almost zero and therefore the supernatural inference is almost certainly true. 

So, does the argument developed against Theory 2) in my article “part 3”  apply to PC? No, because it is not ad hoc or implausible in relation to the available data. In one sense it is therefore not a competing theory among the possible actualities, for it does not stand among the immense pool of theories with same or similar probability (i.e. improbability). There is no possible truth yet to “actualize” via burden of proof (the truth claims have been proven already). But more on this later.

At this point, we can see how, fundamentally, the reason why we shouldn’t believe in evolutionism or theistic evolution, as evidenced in “part 3”, is that it’s improbable due to the lack of evidence.

We already saw that what would support Theory 2) loosely (that is, simply indirect creation) would be a series of animals which their intelligibility can be found only in subsequent life forms. What would support 2) substantially (that is common descent) would be a perfect representation of the evolutionary tree with all intermediary fossils without autonomous logos. I argued that this may not be possible and, therefore, it is likely that even if theory 2) is true we would not be able to consistently affirm it.

Given the fact that we do not have the complete actual explananda (we could still find fossils) it is more likely that PC may be confirmed, for it adapts to any potential explanada, rather the Theory 2) which is confirmed by only one possible explanada (i.e. the neo-darwinian phylogenetic history), which we currently do not have.

 

A PROPOSED VERSION OF PC WHICH DEFEATS THEORY 2)

Aside from this, there are more plausible versions of PC, which by being plausible in and of themselves, a posteriori, confirm the more basic theory (PC) and falsify Theory 2).

But, before seeing this, let’s briefly make a conceptual clarification and conclusion: given what has been said so far, it is fair to reassess the relation of Theory 2) to PC. It can be said that Theory 2) is a false version of PC, for, somehow, PC is generic enough to “include” it. The “genus” PC, include the “species” 2). In these terms, PC as a whole has been shown to be true, while this particular specification has been shown to be false, just as a person who guesses the script of a whole given book produces a false script (see “part 3). This signifies something very important: after the implications of theistic evolution have been shown, such as the need for God’s pervasive intervention, such theory, even if false, cannot be used against (i.e. to falsify) PC or Intelligent Design. Now a person might ask himself, how come, if Theory 2) is a version of PC, people use the former against the latter. The simple answer is that theistic evolutionists use one against the other insofar as they do not realize the entailments of theory 2) which give it such mereological dependency towards PC. Normally, people start holding on to version 1 of theistic evolution (see “part 1”) given their sympathy towards Darwinism, and when it is showed that such version is scientifically untenable, people resort to Theory 2). At this stage, God’s intervention might be regarded as sporadic and not necessarily related to the PC (and ID) claim that all complex and specified information ought to be created by the active will of God. Subsequently, Theory 2) is shown to succeed only through a pervasive and continuous supernatural intervention of God (see “part 1”). Only at this point, when Theory 2) is cornered to this extent and is modified in an “ad hoc” fashion to maintain its consistency, the theory becomes an almost certainly false version of PC. Until people don’t realize the supernatural pervasiveness in the realm of information) entailed by Theory 2, it is understandable to see how the two theories are mereologically independent and therefore can be seen as mutually exclusive alternatives. More simply, they are seen as different with one not being conceptually a version of the other. Eventually, Theory 2) is modified to an extent to which it would become hypocritical on the side of the evolutionist to perpetuate such theory as a defeater of PC.  What has to be kept in mind is that, even if it ceases to become a defeater of PC, it yet remains a false version of it. For this reason, it is coherent to compare the truth status of a more modest but broader theory with an absurd and irrationally pretentious version of it.  [2]

Now, coming back to our previous point, Theory 2) was shown to be improbable by inserting it into the pool of all possible actualities with the assumption that they have the same probability, but, I believe, it can be shown that among the pool of possible actualities there are specifications of reality (and therefore PC) which have a greater probability to be true.

To assess a greater probability of a particular specification of reality we have to look at the background evidence, or, we can say, “a priori” evidence.

As explained in “part 2” of our series of articles, we can assume that when the viability of explaining a phenomenon via a natural explanation or a supernatural one, it is prudent to opt for the natural one, given that God would be bringing about an effect with a cause (or series of causes) which is already in motion and operation (see “part 1” for greater treatment of natural causality and God’s intentionality). To invoke a supernatural cause when the natural one “explains just as well” the phenomena would be to multiply causes beyond necessity. [3] We can call this the “mild principle of naturalism”. [4]

So what would be a possible world which respects Axe’s implication but involves the least causes possible (such as the invocation of supernatural causes only when needed)?

To answer this question let me first show how theistic evolution opposes such reasonable principle.

Theory 2) perfectly opposes this, given Axe’s requirement (see “part 2”). By postulating the most simple life form possible, with the simplest genetic code, such starting point requires God to supernaturally and hyper gradually  (i.e. through a lot of causes) actualize all genetic increases of information, even the smallest. Such a scenario requires an extremely invasive God who intervenes supernaturally to the highest extent.

What then would be the theory which perfectly respects this “mild principle of naturalism”? Technically it would be the scenario in which God creates supernaturally one single life form with a genetic code which includes all the genetic information of the whole animal kingdom (which would probably imply a great number of latent genes). Such a scenario, whether actually theoretically possible or not, would be the one in which the greatest amount of natural speciation (i.e. selection of pre-existent information) would be made possible. Such a scenario would allow the natural creation of all animal life forms except one (the universal common ancestor). It is easy to see how this theory would be the perfect opposite of Theory 2), the former would be perfectly exemplifying top-bottom causation (which can be natural), while the latter would be perfectly exemplifying bottom-top causation (which, in this context, has to be supernatural).
This perfect defeater/opposite of theory 2) is not feasible given the fossil record evidence.
We, in fact, see a trend of complexification throughout the fossil record. Such thing directly contradicts this theory. What specification of PC therefore maintains to the greatest extent possible this “mild principle of naturalism” without contradicting public evidence? I believe the answer lays in the so-called “kind taxonomy” or baraminology (proper to various forms of Biblical creationism and ID). Such theory would postulate some basic ancestors or kinds from which speciation can occur. The extent to which these kinds produce their relative specifications (i.e. species), is up to debate (some ID proponents push back common ancestry more than others). Such theories would allow us, given natural specification, to not multiply causes beyond necessity and shown, necessarily, given their possibility, that Theory 2) multiplies supernatural causes beyond necessity.  

The sole scope of this reasoning is to show that the most plausible version of PC is some version of phylogenesis contemplated by modern ID taxonomic proposals and/or Biblical Creation models.

Further, the ID or creationist versions of PC seems more plausible than Theory 2) given that inexplicability is substantially diminished. For examples, various “theodicies” and speculative reasons which try to justify why God would create with an absurd amount of supernatural causes would be avoided. For example, the obscure possible answers to the question of why God would create non-logos features to supernaturally produce features with logos, when he could have created directly the feature with logos and autonomous intelligibility, vanish. [5]

More plausible versions of PC have been mentioned and, given their incompatibility with Theory 2), defeat Theory 2) itself.

Theory 2) has, therefore, shown to almost certainly be false while PC has shown to be also most certainly true, further, versions of PC have been shown to be superior to and defeat Theory 2)

 

CONCLUSION

Wow. What a journey! And it’s finally coming to an end. What, therefore, can “part 1”, “part 2”, “part 3” and “part 4” of this series on theistic evolution tell us. To draw from the title of this series, I wanted to present a paradox and a generic criticism.

Ultimately the paradox expressed in these series of article is twofold: first, it has been shown that because the two only possible versions of theistic evolution are wrong then theistic evolution, given modus tollens, has to be wrong. Second, I have shown how Theory 2), the second version of theistic evolution, is paradoxical in the sense that it possesses entitlements which defeat it. I have, therefore, shown this previously mentioned argument to be sound

-If 2) then f)

-But f) is unwarranted

-If f) is unwarranted then it is almost certainly false

-If f) is almost certainly false, then 2) is almost certainly false

Further, in “part 4”, I showed how this conclusion highlighted the superiority of PC as a whole and in some of its versions over Theory 2)

Aside from these paradoxes though, a generic criticism has been proposed. Although such form of criticism has not been often explicitly mentioned in these series let me underline here its importance: after this article, even if the paradox where not to subsist, given for example, the potential finding that Axe’s discoveries are falsified, the fact remains that theistic evolution has been shown to be extremely vulnerable to scientific criticism of naturalistic evolution (regardless of the two versions). In particular, if a reason to doubt pervasively evolutionism (for example by providing reasons to show the utter inefficacy of the evolutionary mechanism), theistic evolutionism, even in his second version, is shown to become extremely improbable. We can say that I have shown how any criticism which pervasively invalidates naturalistic evolutionism makes unwarranted and unjustified the belief in theistic evolutionism. Such generic criticism ought to instill a greater deal of skepticism in the people who never question their theistic evolutionism given the powerful explicans which is God (who can easily overcome through his active will any riddles created by scientific perplexities). Such generic criticism ought to be taken into serious account given any other possible pervasive critiques of theistic evolutionism, which could “run” the paradox and argument which Axe’ discoveries did. The so called “epigenetic problem” expressed by Jonathan Wells, seems to be one of them. Such thing reinforces furtherly the paradox and increases the epistemic fragility of theistic evolutionism in general.

 

At last, here are a few finals reflection I wanted to share:

First, given that theistic evolution is defeated by the ad hocness of the redundant entailments like “Axe’s requirement” given the lack of a “unifying explanation” which naturalism is (see “part 2”), we can say that, at the end of the day, theistic evolution is an irrational flirting with the dead theory of naturalism. Theistic evolution is like a made person taking a dead body and trying to put it on it’s to feet and make it stand and walk. Naturalism is dead, and if it is dead it won’t work anymore. Theistic evolutionists are trying to maintain alive the skeleton of naturalism by trying to keep alive what died along with it (i.e. Darwinism).

Second, this series of articles has shown that, if a person were to reject Creationism (whether philosophical or biblical) and accept theistic evolution, for the “mild principle of naturalism”, such people would be opposing the principle. A lot of people, realizing how a supernatural explicans may be more contentious, think that theistic evolution is a more “modest” theory, by which less supernatural causes are involved. But “part 4” of this series has shown this to be false. If a person were, therefore, to accept theistic evolution for the reason just mentioned, he would be inconsistent.  

 

In Christ, the King of Kings, 

Amedeo Da Pra 

 

 

[1] Some people see poor falsifiability as a deterrent to embrace a theory. First, PC is falsifiable insofar as Axe’s implication can be potentially shown to be false. Second, poor falsifiability should be a strength and not a weakness insofar as the theory is properly testable. The reason why often a theory is discarded is because its lack of falsifiability is often correlated to a lack of testability. But, if a theory is testable, as PC clearly is, how could its capability of not being false, make it a bad theory?  

[2]Further, a proposal of a more plausible version of PC is possible and utterly defeats Theory 2) (and indirectly confirms PC, for if such version of PC is true, PC is true). Such comparison of specifications of PC would be contrasting theories which are on the same mereological hierarchy.

[3] God is a rational being. Therefore, the PSR should apply to His actions and choices: there is a sufficient reason for why he does something. Given the PSR, “Occam’s razor” should be implemented when we research God’s intentionality. Occam razor seems to imply this sort of natural and conservative approach, given that God’s active will would amount to something “more” and “added” to the already pre-existing set in motion action of natural causes.

[4] I am clearly not advocating methodological naturalism, because, first, I hold that a substantial amount of phenomena can’t be as well explained by natural explanations as with supernatural ones and second, I view natural causality as intelligible only with God as an explicans for such causality. The repetitiveness and consistency of nature cannot be understood apart from God’s intentionality. See “part 1” of these series of articles, section “On the Active and Passive Will of God”. Further, see Aquinas’s first way and its implication regarding the regularity of natural phenomena (Ed Feser is a good author from which you can learn this).

[5] The presence, in fact, of non-logos features would seem to be justified if God were to actualize naturalistically the evolutionary process through His passive will. His will to produce things naturally would explain biological gradualism and the presence of non-logos features (given their necessity in a naturalistic framework given how bottom top causation works. See “part 1” and “part 2” for more on this.). Such scenario though, in “part 1” has been shown to be false and, probably, impossible.  

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