Friday, October 21, 2011

Fodor attacks Darwinism

UC Television just broadcast Debating Darwin: From the Darwin Wars, by Rutgers Professor Jerry Fodor, a philosopher of science and cognitive scientist. He has generated controversy for his attack on the theory of natural selection.

Fodor is concerned that the theory of natural selection does not really tell how to figure out what traits are being selected for. As a result, it does not give a causal theory to explain evolution.

There is a rebuttal, Debating Darwin: How Jerry Fodor Slid Down the Slippery Slope to Anti-Darwinism, by Duke Professor Alex Rosenberg. The argument is more philosophy than science. He says that the disjunction problem is not an objection to teleosemantics, but intrinsic to biological creatures like us. He starts the lecture by saying that Fodor's argument against Darwinism is like Einstein's argument against quantum mechanics. He is also concerned that human well-being could be harm if academics are allowed to doubt Darwinism.

Michael Ruse attacked Fodor's book:
At the beginning of their book, they proudly claim to be atheists. Perhaps so. But my suspicion is that, like those scorned Christians, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini just cannot stomach the idea that humans might just be organisms, no better than the rest of the living world. We have to be special, superior to other denizens of Planet Earth.
To be accepted among evolutionists, it is not enough to be an atheist and materialist. You have to believe that humans are no better than worms.

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