Wednesday, 28 March 2012

On Evolutionistic Solipsism

Intelligent Design makes a straightforward and natural claim:
  • If an observed phenomenon is amenable to design inference (that is, if it is complex enough and functional), it is very likely that it was actually intelligently designed. In this case, conscious design is abductively the best explanation of its existence. Take for example the car engine. It has a high level of complexity. Its multiple parts are interrelated and tuned to function properly and it is characterised by formal utility as an integrated whole. We correctly assume that the engine is a product of design. Likewise, we observe formal utility in living organisms and infer to design by Intelligence.
Evolutionism castrates scientific thought and ascribes the generation of functional complexity to chance and necessity only. Consequently, it is a kind of solipsism.
  • Solipsism is a radical philosophical view that accepts one's own individual consciousness as the only thing sure to exist. It consequently denies the objective reality of the world [1].
As Richard Dawkins — perhaps one of the most implacable and aggressive neo-Darwinists today has it, we should think that design is only an apparent cause of life. Evolutionists personify natural selection by comparing it with a watch maker, sculptor, software engineer, poet, composer and architect [6]. However, they always make a mandatory reservation that in reality no such watch maker, sculptor or architect exists in person [5]. In their view, life — the most elaborate masterpiece of all arts — is but a consequence of blind chance and brutal force in varying combinations. A detailed plan of a multi-level building exists without the architect. Software exists without the programmer. Isn't it solipsism? 

As cyberneticist David Abel notes [4], the ability of mathematics — the archetype of formalism — to express the laws of nature tells us not only that human intelligence can formulate and work with powerful mathematical models, but also that our world, at least partially, allows formalisation. The fact that systematic observations point only to intelligence as the cause of formalism in this world suggests that our universe being amenable to formalisation is itself a product of Intelligence. In our egocentric solipsism – Abel continues – we cannot acknowledge this simple truth.

I can only add to this wonderful insight my personal observations. Many intellectuals in the West today are under a tremendous influence of Buddhism. It seems to me that what Abel pointed out is in fact one of the reasons why so many scientists are so entrapped. Buddhism essentially sees everything as an illusion and, by virtue of this, it is inherently solipsistic and thus it has a lot in common with evolutionism. 

I think we have to change the status quo in modern life sciences where agreement with philosophical commitments of a majority of scientists compromises the cause and the methodology of science. The roots of this phenomenon are in the unwillingness of the majority in the scientific community to accept the possibility of interpretations that are not in line with their materialistic way of thinking. This unwillingness, in turn, rests upon evolutionism which has been silently elevated to the rank of dogma, the only permitted mode of explanation. To get out of this dead end we need to rehabilitate:

  • teleology as a legitimate scientific and philosophical position (cf. teleonomy [2,3,7]);
  • and, in particular, Aristotelian choice contingency/purposeful design as an acceptable causal category.
Failure to do so will continue creating obstacles for unprejudiced thought in life sciences in future. 


  1. Wikipedia, Solipsism.
  2. Wikipedia, Teleonomy.
  3. Wikipedia, Теория П.К.Анохина функциональных систем (P.K.Anokhin's theory of functional systems, in Russian).
  4. D. Abel, The First Gene.
  5. R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker. 
  6. W. Dembski, J. Wells, The Design of Life.
  7. Egnorance Blog, Teleonomy and Teleology.

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