Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Answering Kirk Hastings: Fifth Question for Darwinists

This post is part of the ongoing saga to answer the questions asked by Kirk Hastings of the defunct Evidence 4 Faith podcast. This post addresses the fifth question of Kirk's "Top Ten Questions for Darwinists."

5) Why did such a complex thing as higher individual rational consciousness ever bother to "evolve" anyway? Lower animals, plants, insects, bacteria and other microbes survive and reproduce quite well without it!
Here Kirk is confused by the frequent anthropomorphizing of evolution and natural selection in textbooks and popular media. The phrase “ever bother to "evolve" anyway” implies a decision that simply was not made.
The driving engine of evolution is very simple. DNA changes over time. Errors occur when it’s copied, Germ DNA is damaged by environmental factors, viruses embed themselves in the genetic code, causing unpredictable changes. Most of these random changes are going to be detrimental. Most forms of cancer are the result of genetic damage. Many birth defects are the result of mutations or genetic damage. Sometimes however, an inheritable mutation occurs that increases an organism’s chances of reproducing.
The specific example of higher consciousness was something that happened long after complex animals had evolved.
Yet again, we see one of Kirk’s questions, being based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of science, is unanswerable. I might as well ask Kirk Hastings when he stopped beating his wife and demand a specific date as an answer. Such a question assumes Kirk not only once beat his wife, but stopped doing so. The question “When Did Kirk Hastings stop beating his wife?” is therefore fundamentally flawed because it is based upon an unproven major premise.
A rational consciousness never “bothered” to evolve, because the process of evolution does not plan ahead the way Kirk seems to think it has to. The human mind evolved because of a series of random changes that survived natural selection. Our ancestors who evolved bigger brains had a reproductive and survival advantage over those who did not. Our ancestors that evolved better communication and planning capabilities were more effective hunters than their peers. Trade, commerce and the formation of civilization all gave our ancestors an advantage over the competition. There was no mysterious force that planned ahead, that “bothered” to evolve. There was just a series of random changes that were culled over time.

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Continue to the Sixth Question for Darwinists 

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