Kalev’s Anti-Blog: The Real Case Against Evolution

By Kalev Pehme

This piece is dedicated to my friend Bill Oates, who asked me to write something on evolution

Evolution is so accepted to be true that it cannot be questioned without social backlash. Well, there is an exception to that: fundamentalist Christians and other religious groups. My questioning of the theory evolution has nothing to do with “intelligent design.” I think that approach is just as dreary as evolution. More about that below.

Let us begin with a logical problem: Can we observe evolution or species? The short answer is no. The reason is very obvious: What is observed and said to be species change is nothing more than the observation of individual change. No individual is a species. In nature, we have observed that even the closest of twins are still different. Everything in physical nature is an individual, not a species. The classical approach is that an individual, i.e., an existing physical being, has an essence, i.e., has something that makes it what it is and which it would not be that thing if it is absent. A grouping of these similar essences form a class, whether it be species or genus, while individuality is what makes it different from others in the same class. One class usually is a part of a greater class, which in turn belongs to an even wider class, the species or genus. The species, in the classical view, is a class made up of individuals that have the common essence or nature. Man, for example, is a species or class to which President Obama, Osama bin Laden, Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, Hypatia, Maimonides, and every other man, woman, and child belong because they all have the same essence or nature, a commonality without which they would not be a man or human being. For Aristotle, the species and genus are fundamentally fixed and cannot be altered.

The old meaning of evolution before Darwin was that living things have a preformed genesis and development to a proper, natural end. The individual is generated out of parents or some means of reproduction that insures that the individual is more or less like the parents through heredity. Evolution before Darwin was simply the growth process of the individual.

The only thing I remember from my high-school biology textbook was a ridicule of Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation. The book maintained firmly that spontaneous generation, like mice that are generated in and found in a shirt found in a barn, is impossible. What struck me at the time was that someone who was one of the great minds of all time (I did not know who Aristotle was in the 10th grade) would not know that mice come from mice. Now, we know that spontaneous generation is impossible, so biology says, except that in modern evolution it occurred at the time when the inorganic became alive, however it happened. Forgetting that if it happened once, then could occur again and often, modern evolution assumes that unaided matter in a chaotic disorder suddenly became alive. The lifeless suddenly and for no reason becomes alive. From then on, this life evolved in an ever increasing dendrite pattern of increasing complexity. The very simple becomes more and more complex, while the more complex descendants still retain structures of all the branches of life that it belongs to going back to the first life, as in the myth of man’s reptile brain, for example. The very primitive becomes very sophisticated through no sophistication at all.

The problem here is also very simple: Because evolution is a historical process common to all life, it has to have an internal set of natural rules, so to speak, by which it evolves. That of necessity entails that when life first emerged from the inorganic it had have within it all these rules. The first life also would have to embody what a species is and, in truth, how all species are to change and perhaps a blueprint of all species to come until the end of this planet. In other words, the very first primitive life oddly enough is more complex than the complex living beings to come. This individual cell or whatever the first life was was an individual and had no species or genus at all and yet it had all the means of creating a species and genera. Moreover, modern evolution does accept that anything has an essence. But as we know, the individual and the species and genus cannot be logically speaking the same. An individual cannot be a class. What modern evolution does is to collapse these logical distinctions for the first life, while at the same time historicizing this first life in a way that goes to no formal end. It is just a process towards to no known end. The first life evolved without any reasoning or reason whatsoever. The process is irrational.

The problem of origin is truly a problem here in another decisive way. Contained in the first germ of life must be our ability to discover evolution. For me, the true problem of evolution or some other understanding of how life diversifies is about our thinking and thoughtfulness, not a matter of mechanics. As the first life occurred by chance in a chaos of infinite of chances, our abilities to reason must come out of an inorganic world that is totally random. What is chaotic and random gives birth to a tentative but fundamentally unknowable order. While there are many metaphysical schemes where the world comes out of chaos, modern evolution’s approach is not cosmic.

Instead, modern evolutionary theory adopts the Cartesian duality and mechanical view of what a living being is that Descartes gave us. Modern evolution assumes that a living being is a machine whose structure determines it function. Outside of this machine when it comes to man is a mind, which can only know what it makes, technology, and what can be translated into mathematics. All of modern science requires this duality between what is extension (all that is not mind) and the mathematical mind. But modern evolution has inherent in it the historical possibility that in the future evolutionary changes in man can make man no longer believe in evolution. In fact, in the future, man may not have any thoughtfulness at all. If that were to happen, is evolution true for all time? What is this privilege that evolutionists give their reasoning that they right for all time? There are no experiments to demonstrate evolution and we cannot observe species change by looking at individuals. The fragility of this mind and machine duality is, moreover, is set against an environment. The machine is able to be influenced and changed by the mindless environment. In other words, there is not only a mind-machine duality, but there is a duality between the machine and the environment that it is in. The mechanical view of evolutionary life is at odds completely with the natural order of things which we call ecology. The interdependence of all life and all nature is not mechanical unless we assume that all of nature is just a large machine and all its parts cogs. What is the genesis of this machine? The big bang, a chance occurrence that comes of nothing generating a chaos generating a space and time and matter and everything else which is still in flux.

What we have here is modern existentialism made physical: Heidegger made biological. Evolution which mechanically moves out of nothing to an undetermined acosmic future continues to change not through individual change, but though species change seen in populations. Evolutionists speak of populations of various living beings, many more or less machines, that change because of the machines interact with the environment. As the machines change, some of these individual machines can no longer replicate with the others in the same population and hence a new species. The difficulty with this reasoning is very obvious: A population is not a species. It is an aggregate. The women of Los Angeles are an aggregate of individuals who belong to the same species, but they are only a part of the species, because this aggregate is an accidental group existing in a single time. An aggregate is simply consisting of two or more individuals. An aggregate cannot be a species.

In the classical sense, we can see the difference: Essence is what makes a thing what it is. A species is a class made up of individuals that have the same specific essence. A genus is a wider class of two or more species. An aggregate is a group of two or more individuals. Modern evolutionary theory collapses these distinctions. Because life comes out of the inorganic through chance and only one instance of spontaneous generation, life cannot have an essence. What is an essence is treated by evolutionists as a species, but the species is actually a population of machines. That evolution is chaotic, needless to say, gives evolutionists the right to be illogical.

Another problem we have is the problem of DNA, which does not participate in metabolism or in evolution. Remarkably enough, DNA which all living beings have does not evolve. It is always the same chemicals and the same number and same configuration. In evolution, there is a massive and perpetual turnover of physical parts as there is nothing that can stay the same. But DNA does not evolve. Why doesn’t DNA become a triple helix and develop another chemical structure? This problem is even more acute when we realize that the evolutionary changes must occur on a cellular level as well. The means by which cells are what they are and do and what the identity of the organism is is governed by something that doesn’t evolve and doesn’t participate in metabolism at all. Moreover, one cannot say that DNA on its own is alive; yet, it bestows life identity and passes it along from generation to generation. If DNA doesn’t evolve, how is it that everything else does?

Recently, studies by biologists have stated that some significant portion of living things do not evolve, as I remember it in the New York Times it was something like 18 percent or more. The problem here is that evolution is supposed to universal to all life as it emerged from simplicity to complexity. Because all life has a single source and because heredity, which at one was the way generations were kept in the same species and now is the way to making sure that they evolve and change, all life must be evolving all the time. Either there is universal evolution or there is no evolution. If there is a single species that does not evolve, then evolutionary theory cannot be correct. Of course, we frequently hear that evolution comes to an end in man. If it does, then why does evolution end in man while everything else remains evolving?

Modern evolutionary theory, like a lot of theoretical physics, is a muddle of illogic and tends to be incoherent. But that doesn’t deter its adherents to call it a scientific fact. What has sadly happened is that evolution has come into conflict with the “intelligent design” adherents and thus has become a battle of science against religion. First of all, we must address this problem squarely. Intelligent design assumes that an extra-mundane god who is perfect, omniscient, and omnipotent creates the universe and everything in it, but in a completely acosmic way because god is not a part of that creation. The problem here is that this god retains all that wisdom and does not impart that wisdom to anything in this universe, including man who must rely on faith, a radical form of ignorance. So, this universe is not one of intelligent design, but our universe and everything in it and how it is constituted is stupid. The religionists are for stupid design and have the same faith in that stupid design that the evolutionists have in evolution, which technically speaking is also a stupid design. In other words, both sides of this debate believe that man cannot have any measure of wisdom. Both sides are wrong and arguing one to be better because it is scientific is really just as stupid as saying the other side is right because they have faith in a god. Faith is no substitute for knowledge, whether that faith be for science or religion.

There is another problem that evolution does not address: It is death. Yes, species die, we hear. But life that dies is a contradiction that must be explained and cannot be explained by evolution. Either life is immortal and continuing or it is not living. There is death in life and life in death, yes, but life is living at all times. The big problem, then, is not the validity of the incoherence of evolution, but what is the alternative to it that is not stupid design of the religionists. I would suggest that our anti-Platonic prejudice that is so ingrained in modernity and modern science must be re-examined. Let me put it this way: If we look all things as a cosmic whole of some kind, then our reason is essentially a necessary part of that whole and as such life and reason are in accord and necessary to each other, not in conflict as it is in evolution. Individuals do die, but life which is imbued in everything in the universe is alive all the time. All individuals and their species are simply modes of being, a mode of Being writ large. The diversity of life is because what gives all things being is manifested in a constant and manifold way, everything happening all at once, not in an unnatural linear progression that we find in evolution. The world is not stupid, but is well-ordered as well as chaotic, but on the whole orderly and that order is available to us because we who reason and think are an essential part of the whole of things. If there is a reason built into the whole of things, then man was meant to be free and has a cosmic support for his ethics that he cannot have in evolution or any other stupid design theories. Living beings are not mindless machines that mechanically change with contact with the environment. We need to reexamine what life is and how it came to be with more metaphysical rigor than we find in modernity. If we did, we would not accept the incoherence of modern evolutionary science and rethink biology.


About Kalev Pehme

I am an icastic artist and a Straussian. I am not a conservative or neocon Straussian. Sadly, there are too many of them. My interests are diverse, however, and sometimes quite arcane. I have a deep interest in Daoism, Indo-Aryan religion, Buddhism, Plato, Aristotle, and whole lot more. I love good poetry. I also enjoy all things ancient. And I would like to meet any woman who is born on May 29, 1985.
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23 Responses to Kalev’s Anti-Blog: The Real Case Against Evolution

  1. noreligion says:

    We have observed speciation. Read about the experiments by Richard Lenski. Read up on the species of marine life on and around the Isthmus of Panama. For a few more examples check out http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

  2. icastes says:

    Again, I repeat. Individuals are individuals because they are different within the same class or species. Individual change is not the same thing as species change. The various articles you point to are about individual changes and there is no observation of the species, which is class where there are common features that make living beings what they are. Moreover, again, what is observed here is an aggregate of individuals given an arbitrary classification as a species. In nature, individual change is an absolute as no two living beings can be the same. Nature does not produce individuals are absolutely the same. Thus, you will always find that individuals will be different from generation to generation. It is not surprising that individuals will change. But you can’t say that the species changes, simply because individuals change. You have to establish that the class of the individuals changes and you can’t observe that by looking at individuals. You have to observe the species.

  3. noreligion says:

    Apparently, you didn’t read about Richard Lenski or the links I gave you. Unless your going to be intellectually honest and do so (and stop trying to redefine species to fit your warped definition) then there is no use of me wasting time with you.

  4. icastes says:

    I read the links and remain unimpressed. My view of species is not warped. It is simply logical, while your links offer incoherent views of species that cannot distinguish between individual observation and species observation. Moreover, you links do meet with my overall objections. Modern evolutionary theory (and it is a theory, not a scientific fact) is very unscientific.

  5. noreligion says:

    As well as the theory of gravity is just a theory. Go walk off a roof to disprove it and be a darling and do it before you pass your genes on.

  6. icastes says:

    Now, you are just being silly. There is gravity, but there are various theories as to why it is and how it is and there have been over centuries, not just in past few years. Otherwise, there are inherent problems in modern evolution that makes it impossible to say that evolution actually is and how it works, because of the incoherent reasoning it uses and because the assumptions it uses are clearly dubious. I would suggest that you buy a basic book on classical logic so that you can liberate yourself from your prejudices and your faith which is as bad as anyone who espouses “intelligent design.”

  7. bill says:

    Thanks Kalev

    – of course you have left out the whole discussion of the purpose of evolution to support the british empire – but for another day!

    Your friend noreligion is amusing as (s)he is a truly devote follower of scientism.


  8. Does Kalev’s argument against the evolution of species apply just as well to the evolution of languages?

    We cannot directly observe the evolution of one language into another.

    Should we say that the different languages are eternal species that have no evolutionary history?

    Darwin believed that the evolution of languages was an example of cultural evolution by natural selection: “The formation of different languages and of distinct species, and the proofs that both have been developed through a gradual process, are curiously parallel. . . . Languages, like organic beings, can be classed either naturally according to descent, or artificially by other characters. Dominant languages and dialects spread widely, and lead to the gradual extinction of other tongues. . . . The survival or preservation of certain favoured words in the struggle for existence is natural selection.”

  9. icastes says:

    Language does not evolve. Darwin is wrong as he was about evolution, race, etc..

  10. “Language does not evolve”?

    How do you explain the origins of the various languages if they have not evolved?

    Are you saying that the languages–English, German, Chinese, and so on–are all eternal essences? If so, what evidence do you have that these languages have always existed?

  11. icastes says:

    Language do not have an evolutionary process like the one envisioned for modern evolutionary biology. All languages are conventional and dependent upon the individuals who have created, maintain, and change these languages. The purpose of language is to communicate thought, volition, and emotion though a physical medium. It does so through symbols. A word is a symbol and its matter is a sensible sign; its form is the meaning imposed upon it by convention. The matter of words are sounds. In written language, the form is the meaning; its matter is notation. To say that language evolves is to say that there is a process outside of man that outside of his control differentiates languages. That is obviously not the case. Men control and decide what their languages say and how they say it. Logos is not evolutionary. Man’s languages are an essential part of how man reasons, which is natural to man and does not evolve. Of course, languages change, but change itself does mean that there is an evolution or that change is regulated by anything other than man himself. As you can see from my comments on evolution, I do not believe that man or any other living evolves as modern evolutionary theory, including your own, believes. As such, I also cannot attribute any kind of evolutionary theory to language or to man’s nature.

  12. What you have just described is the cultural evolution of language. Cultural evolution has always been part of evolutionary science from Darwin to the present. Evolutionary science includes at least four kinds of inheritance systems–genetic, epigenetic, cultural, and symbolic. Symbolic evolution is uniquely human.

    If you believe that the human species is eternal, does that mean that you deny the fossil evidence indicating that for most of the history of the earth and the universe, human beings and thus human reason did not exist?

  13. icastes says:

    I do not agree. First, I don’t think there is “culture” in the sense that you use it, nor do I believe that culture evolves. What I described is not a process with its implied historicity. Any form of evolution implies a sequence of events. I do not think that there is such a sequence, i.e., everything is happening all at once. As for the problem of fossils, I do not deny that there is a fossil record or that life existed for ages and ages. What I deny is the way that the fossil record is interpreted. It mistakes the effects for the cause. Individual change cannot species change. It is illogical to do that.

  14. “Everything is happening all at once.” I don’t understand how that could be.

    Are you saying that there is no historical sequence in linguistic changes–that all changes happen at once? That is beyond my comprehension. Am I missing something here?

    How is it “illogical” that the human species did not exist throughout most of the earth’s history? That’s an empirical claim that depends on the factual evidence that the history of the earth is much older than the history of the human species.

  15. icastes says:

    Sequences of time are completely arbitrary measures of before and after. In other words, time has no being. The entire effort to sequence a biological history is totally conventional and not based in nature.

    The issue is not whether human life is eternal; the issue is whether life is immortal. The prima facie case is that life is immortal, and that the real mystery is not life, but death. Moreover, life is everywhere and permeates everything in the universe. That life is also permeated by what is generally called “mind.” Your view of evolution and the history of the earth is acosmic. You absolutely need to be acosmic if you believe in modern evolutionary theory. But if you want that, you have to demonstrate that there is no cosmos. You can’t use evolution as a way to prove that. If you believe in evolution, there is no way to go outside of evolution to validate anything. Our minds are a product of evolution and some time down the line our minds may be changed by evolution to reject evolution. In the end, you can even lose the Cartesian mind that is at the heart of the alleged human evolution and its understanding. That is rather odd thinking at best.

  16. Oh, how stupid of me not to have realized that, of course, sequences of time are purely arbitrary, and time has no reality at all.

    Poor Darwin, he was so lacking in mystical wisdom that he was naive enough to believe that sequences of time were real.

    Darwin was also so shallow that he didn’t see that everything in the universe is alive, and therefore there is no distinction between life and non-life.

    Darwin is no match for your metaphysical profundity.

  17. icastes says:

    Mr. Arnhart: If you read Aristotle before you read Darwin, you would have discovered that time has no being. It is only an arbitrary measure of before and after. You can make time-lines of any kind, but none of these time lines would be in nature. There is only one metaphysics, whether it is profound or not, and it also has no time. Darwin knew nothing about metaphysics. He didn’t know the metaphysical assumptions that underlie his alleged science. The basic truth is that Darwin (not all evolutionists) was a “social Darwinist” whose “our philosopher” was Spencer. I suspect that in your case it is very much the same. Yours is an effort to take a faulty scientific theory and apply it politically, replacing true natural right with a fake one or a very dangerous one. Only you can’t do that, because Darwin and the evolutionists adhere to a biology that is completely irrational as there is nothing true outside of evolution. One cannot know where the future is evolution is, and there is no understanding of its cause, both formal and final. One cannot base any social standards of justice, morality, and ethics on something that is irrational and then say it is based on nature. We have already seen how well social Darwinism worked in Germany and the Soviet Union, for example. That is the truth of social Darwinism. Evolution today is no longer wedded to Darwin, because there are too many holes in Darwin. However, today’s evolution has not much improved on the incoherence of the theory and its false metaphysical assumptions. But, then, Darwin is one way to make an academic or scientific career as it is a religious doctrine without a god and its authority cannot be questioned. Its arbitrary character is easily molded into “studies” because one can find anything one wants to find in this alleged science. It is no better than the “intelligent” design theory it despises.

  18. You need to employ a “slow and close reading” of Aristotle’s PHYSICS and his other scientific works, particularly his biological works. In doing that, you need to consider the possibility that the exoteric teaching of these writings is different from the esoteric teaching. In fact, many careful readers–including Themistius, Simplicius, and Alfarabi, Hobbes, and Descartes–have concluded that Aristotle conceals his true teaching in his scientific works. In going with the surface teaching, you go with the teaching that served Aristotle’s rhetorical purpose in protecting natural philosophy from popular persecution based on Greek religious prejudices.

    A good case can be made–based on a careful reading of the texts–that Aristotle’s esoteric teaching in his scientific works coincides largely with modern natural science, including modern biology.

    To see the evidence for this, I recommend that you study David Bolotin’s book AN APPROACH TO ARISTOTLE’S PHYSICS (SUNY Press, 1998).

  19. icastes says:

    I would suggest that your close reading is neither close nor slow. Time has no being in Aristotle, which is why we have the great freedom that we do. That is the esoteric understanding. Moreover, we live in what can only be described as an eternal present. To say that Aristotle’s esoteric teachings coincides with modern biology is totally ridiculous. There is nothing in Aristotle, exoteric or esoteric, that suggests that he believes in the evolution of species. Aristotle, as he wrote the rules of logic, knew the difference between species and individual and would not make the illogical and coherent decision to mistake effect for cause as the evolutionists of this world have done, including you. Moreover, one cannot say that Aristotle was a social Darwinist. Perhaps you might want to re-read Aristotle’s Politics.

  20. David says:

    It is precisely according to Bolotin [Ancient Philosophy, Spring 1997] that in Aristotle’s view time “barely exists” if it does (Physics 217b32-33). To the extent that it exists, it exists for us only, not having true being on its own.

  21. icastes says:

    Evolution presupposes that there is time. If there is no time, then one of the theoretical pillars of the theory also doesn’t exist.

  22. I agree with you that this is the exoteric teaching of Aristotle.

    Are you thinking that exposing an esoteric teaching that points to Darwin would be–as Nietzsche warned–a “deadly truth”? Are you arguing for the need for a “noble lie”?

  23. icastes says:

    Darwin is just wrong, and even contemporary evolutionists have jettisoned a vast part of his alleged findings. It is not a deadly truth. However, having said that, it is also very clear that part of Nietzsche’s effort to overcome nihilism is connected to Darwin and his influence. The will to power is a way to overcome the totally random and irrational character of evolution. Nevertheless, the lie is evolution, and that lie is not noble nor does it adequately describe life and how is it is lived.

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