The “Evolutionary Worldview”

Yes, he did. That’s still just one man talking.

You also believe in talking snakes, but I digress.

Now, back to your hysterically confused assertion that there is an “evolutionary worldview” which is your “most fundamental philosophy, which also determines your religion.”

I asked you a question above: It’s not clear what you mean by “most fundamental philosophy”. Are you talking ontology, as in what exists , or epistemology, as in how we know stuff?


Both. Universal common descent would have implications for both of those fields.

How so?

Well take your worldview for example. You disbelieve in God, and you believe we’re the product of evolution. That means you claim to know things based on nothing more than the product of millions of years of unguided natural processes that did not have you in mind, and the forces that produced your brain did not have ‘truth knowledge’ in mind either. It’s a pretty shaky foundation for knowledge to say the least. I would go so far as to say that within your worldview, it’s impossible for mankind to know anything at all. We can either survive, or not. Either way, the universe doesn’t care. The universe doesn’t care if we know anything, or provide any such guarantees to us.

Selection cares about truth. There are very few false beliefs that can get you through a rapidly changing environment.

Here’s Draper: To see why, consider the following example. Suppose that when I go to take a bath there is an alligator in my tub. It is certainly possible that I survive these unfortunate circumstances without having true beliefs like “there’s an alligator in my bathtub” and “alligators are dangerous animals.” For example, the beliefs that “there’s a beautiful mermaid in my bathtub” and “mermaids, especially beautiful ones, are dangerous animals” may do just as well (depending on how much I’m willing to risk in order to bathe with a beautiful mermaid). Notice, however, that the vast majority of false beliefs I might have in these circumstances (e.g., there’s nothing in my bathtub, there’s a gentle alligator in my bathtub, there’s a rubber ducky in my bathtub, there’s a dangerous alligator in my bathtub but I can easily overpower it, etc.) will not do just as well, but will lead instead to a, shall we say, “maladaptive” bathing experience. So my survival in these circumstances is much more to be expected if my beliefs about the contents of my bathtub are mostly true than if they are mostly false. More generally, the long term survival of our species is much more to be expected if our cognitive faculties are reliable than if they are unreliable, and that entails that the long term survival of our species is strong evidence for R.[7]

In addition, it is very unlikely that belief-producing mechanisms that do not track the truth would systematically promote survival in a very diverse and often rapidly changing environment.


If somebody states that Lewontin does not speak of his behalf, Lewontin does not speak on his behalf. The man speaks for himself.

Regarding worldview, should someone be committed to appropriating a word in a non-conventional way, there is little point in engaging because that person has already rejected the conventional meaning, so how is that resolved? Worldview in secular philosophy as well as articulated by the evangelical apologist Francis Schaeffer, deals with the very top level - theism, atheism, mysticism, existentialism, the objectivity of reality - the very opposite end of one’s favorite flavor of ice cream. Other values are certainly important and arguably more immediate - political outlook, social commitment, and scientific perspectives, but they are less abstract and more derivative. Worldviews are mutually exclusive, it is not really possible to be simultaneously an atheist and a theist. While a person’s take on evolution is probably impacted by her worldview, or maybe in the opposite direction, they are not the same.

As well, evolution is strictly speaking concerning the descent of life, not abiogenesis, solar system formation, the big bang, or geology. To refer to evolution as a worldview generally lumps these other disciplines in with evolution and that is just a muddle. And most important of all, a person’s stance on evolution is not a worldview position on the existence of God.


Call me strange but it seems to me my survival depends crucially on whether it’s actually true that there’s not a large predator hiding in that bush, and that I can actually find drinkable water. You’d have to posit that survival is overwhelmingly more likely to be promoted by false beliefs than true beliefs about reality, which is of course extremely ridiculous.

That’s probably because you’ve set an impossible-to-meet standard for what constitutes knowledge. I think knowledge is merely beliefs supported by evidence. We don’t have to be absolutely certain in something for it to be knowledge.

Yes and if I falsely believe I can headbutt a grizzlybear to death, I’m not going to survive.

Guarantees are a pipe dream. Approximately correct more often than not is sufficient to make headway and accumulate knowledge while having some confidence in it’s truth.


Selection plays only a minor role in evolution. You’re behind the times, and promoting outdated ideas. The main driving force in evolution is now believed to be drift… in other words, pure chance and happenstance. That’s what neutral theory is all about, and it’s the mainstream view today in population genetics. Why? Because it’s very clear that most mutations are too small to be affected by selection in any case.

[quote=“T.j_Runyon, post:25, topic:10524”]
There are very few false beliefs that can get you through a rapidly changing environment.

Very few? So, which ones are false? How do you know? How can you claim to know that this statement here is true, either? All your claims are made based upon your brain only.

The beautiful mermaid example was not mostly true, yet it sufficed just as well. How do you know that the vast majority of your views are not of the beautiful mermaid type?

In addition, it is very unlikely that belief-producing mechanisms that do not track the truth would systematically promote survival in a very diverse and often rapidly changing environment.

How do you know? You’ve already admitted that false beliefs can serve just as well as true ones. In fact, I’ll bet you can think of plenty of examples where false beliefs could serve to promote survival even better than true ones. That’s why governments often refuse to publicize certain things that they think would be detrimental for the public to know about. In WWII, for example, the Japanese government told the people they were winning.

The real problem is that on your strange Christian presuppositionalism where knowledge apparently requires absolute certainty, you actually can’t know anything, because it’s possible God is sustaining you in a delusion. You’d have no way of knowing.

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You don’t understand presuppositionalism if you think that. The Christian God (whom we presuppose) would not deceive us. It would be against his nature. God is Truth, and “God is not a man, that He should lie.”

Because God created us to know truth and then subsequently reveals truth, we can know things. You have no such luxury in your worldview.

The point is that selection plays a huge role when it comes to behaving out of sync with reality. Hence the “Darwin Awards”. Survival is reinforced by knowledge.

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And they are a very small subset of all possible beliefs…

Omg. Now you wanna listen to what we have been telling you? Selection still plays a role.

Your ability to skip over so much information is astounding

It’s ironic for you to say that while in the very act of responding selectively.

You said absolutely nothing of value. And didn’t seem to understand the point being made. Why would i respond to that? How do I know these things to be true? Because I’m 30 years old and haven’t walked out into oncoming traffic because i thought the cars were butterflies instead. So I know my brain is much more likely to be truth tracking than not.

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But we are filled with cognitive biases and faulty memories. But yet God created us to know truth.

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I understand it just fine as my arguments reveal. You’re just assuming stuff, you know none of these things. They’re not knowledge, they’re assumptions. You actually know nothing at all, given how you define knowledge.

That’s one.

That’s two.

Three presuppositions now, about God. None of which you can show the truth of.

Four, five. Just pile them all on top, you can apparently just presuppose anything you want to get you to whatever conclusion you like. It’s like someone operating on the opposite of the principle of modesty, or parsimony, or economy.
The more numerous and self-serving things you can presuppose to get you to where you want to go, the better. What an oustanding philosophy you have.

No, mine is much more modest I’d have to agree. I only have two assumptions: I can reason correctly, and my senses are reasonably accurate.


It is possible to understand presuppositionalism with absolute clarity and fidelity and still reject it as incoherent.

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Also, I don’t see why the naturalist couldn’t hold to some type of foundationalism.

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I’m not even sure that I have a “most fundamental philosophy”. If I have such a thing, then I don’t know what it is. I have been religious (Christian) and am now non-religious, so that “most fundamental philosophy” does not seem to have determined my religion.

Nothing in science can be experimentally verified. That’s why we talk of confirmation, rather than verification.


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