Survival for a while of the fit enough

July 12, 2014 § 5 Comments

The darwinian idea ‘survival of the fittest’ is a funny little meme. That little ‘est’ suffix implies optimization, despite the naked emperor.

This post is almost short enough to make me a twit.

§ 5 Responses to Survival for a while of the fit enough

  • Zippy says:

    This post brought to you by the spectacle of midwit insistence that failure to optimize leads to extinction. Only folks smart enough to lock themselves into an intellectual box from which the real world is invisible, but not smart enough to free themselves from it, could possibly believe such obvious nonsense.

  • Bill McEnaney says:

    I’m not sure about that, Zippy, because my paleontology professor taught us that evolution didn’t imply improvement. Besides, who knows how long any species will survive? It may be fitter than some others, and some others may be fitter than it.

    By the way, in the six biological courses I took in college, nobody used the phrase “survival of the fittest,” and I don’t remember seeing it in any textbook I read for biology, microbiology, paleontology, marine biology, or the human evolution part of anthropology.

    I’m not an evolutionist. I don’t know what to be. But I think that unintentionally, the ID movement’s members promote, or at least don’t undermine, scientism. Thomists usually aren’t IDers, since we believe in secondary causes. Fossil record gaps don’t bother me. Since everyone and everything depends on God for existence, the gaps do, too. Creation isn’t a one-time thing. It needs to continue because God sustains everything He creates.

    As I may have said in another post, from His perspective, there’s no divine intervention if divine intervention implies that He goes someplace He wasn’t before. He’s everywhere. He doesn’t want me to beat anyone up. But if I do that, He keeps me alive while I fight. He doesn’t run up to my opponent and me to pull us apart. If He did that, it would mean that He wasn’t there before the bout.

  • Zippy says:

    Bill McEnaney:
    You might find this discussion of interest.

    As far as the OP goes, it appears that you agree with me about the “survival of the fittest” meme.

    I agree that there is no sense in conceding the premises of the “God of the gaps” slander, as if God were only God wherever there are gaps in human knowledge.

  • Bill McEnaney says:

    Zippy, thanks. We do agree, and this discussion does interest me, but I doubt that there’s anything worthwhile for me to add to it. Now I’m new enough to reaction and to blogs that I probably need to lurk until I think up a good point or two.

    While I rode to Mass today, I was reading part of what St. Thomas wrote in his commentary on Peter Lombard’s book about sentences, where he, Thomas, says that, if God had begun to create the universe, He would have gone from creating it potentially to creating it actually, which He couldn’t have done. St. Thomas’s point is compatible with divine simplicity, though I’m not sure I see how he reconciles his belief in divine simplicity with the belief that the universe began to exist.

    To avoid the “God of the gaps” criticism, Dr. William Lane Craig says that some scientific information may be theologically important.

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