but in reality we are here, and the only way we could have gotten here is the evolutionary process, so the fact we are here proves it happened ...*
That is about the level of intellectual honesty I got from a certain Natural Sciences teacher at SSHL boarding school.
From the two premisses:
- 1) we are here,
- 2) the only way we could have gotten here is the evolutionary process,
if both are true, follow the conclusion that evolutionary process is proven.
The premiss "we are here" is not contestable. The second premiss that goes "the only way we could have gotten here is the evolutionary process" is however contested on two grounds:
- 1) there is another way, special creation, so if it is possible or not it is at least not the only possibility;
- 2) on some items the evolutionary process is even impossible.
To think that this is effectively countered by reference to "we are here" is blatantly dishonest. Unless my concentration on the second aspect left a man with a very limited attention to argument under the impression I was making a case that we could not really be here at all.
Actually, there is a flaw in the mere logic of the first cited syllogism.
To make the evolutionary process an inevitable conclusion requires rather the syllogism starting with two premises:
- 1) we are here,
- 2) the only way we can be here is having gotten here by the evolutionary process,
to conclude that process happened.
Epicure could also have contested this in an atheistic manner: "we were always here". But he knew as well as we do, this is not true on the individual level. Try to posit it as true on the individual level, you end up with migration of souls, a k a reincarnation.
If Epicure means only on the generic level, yes, then he does not need that, but in that case we have a conundrum:
- 1) on the one hand mankind has always existed;
- 2) on the other hand no man has existed always, every man had a start.
There is a philosophical problem with admitting a genus and a collective which has always existed while none of its individual examples (to the genus), while none of its constituent members (to the collective) has existed ab aeterno.
- A1) Anything that continues to exist by renewing its parts, exists by change.
- A2) Nothing which exists by change exists from eternity.
- A concl=B1) Nothing that continues to exist by renewing its parts, exists from eternity.
- B2) Mankind continues to exist by renewing its part.
- B concl) Mankind does not exist from eternity.
That is also a correct polysyllogism. It is an adequate refutation of Epicurus. So, now our premiss one is no longer just "we are here", but this is corrected to "we are here because somehow we got here".
Which leaves us the alternative between getting here by a gift from a personal God who always existed without changing - or getting here by some inessential change in something which exists eternally without doing so by change, but which nevertheless exists from eternity during eternal change.
Eternal will of giving us existence in time? Or eternal change resulting by a chance, sooner or later, in will arising from change?
To some the former is an insuperable conundrum. And if it were true giving us freewill but be another insuperable conundrum.** To me the second is an ontological impossibility. Like Munchhausen pulling himself and his horse out of the swamp by pulling his hair upwards.
That is the main philosophical objection to evolution. There are other more specialised ones. There is at least one on this blog along "on some items the evolutionary process is even impossible", and more than one stating "there is another way, special creation, so if it is possible or not it is at least not the only possibility".*** I hope you enjoy those too.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Georges Pompidou Library
St Severus of Barcelona
* Freely after a line in the video, cited as said during conversation by an As Yet Atheist professor to a Christian student:
Atheist professor destroys evolution
[Title means that a formerly Atheist and Evolutionist Professor destroys Evolution and ceases to be Atheist.]
** My solution to conundrum of freewill in creatures:
New blog on the kid : Did Kepler (or if it was Newton) think God's thoughts after him?
*** Or sometimes I write about a limited degree of evolutionary process (like mutations, Mendelaian crossing and voluntary selection within mankind giving rise to "race types" as they were earlier called) being a possibility or sometimes of how sth other than millions of years could be cause of fossil record:
Three Meanings of Chronological Labels
And of course the one processual impossibility of evolution mentioned above:
Letter to Nature on Karyotype Evolution in Mammals
Both of these messages go to a few other ones, look them up!