But how did such complex behaviors evolve in the first place? How do we decide which behaviors maximize gene propagation versus simply terminating such propagation? Even something as seemingly simple as bacteria suicide is enormously intricate and complex. It is an elaborate molecular choreograph that isn’t going to arise by a few chance mutations.
Remember that selection cannot induce such designs. It can only select them once they have been randomly produced by those epicurean veering atoms. But chance mutations can’t create real-life complexities. There is no gradual path of tiny changes that morphs a tricycle into a jet airliner. Even simple molecular machines don’t show signs of gradual buildup.
There is also the “problem” of the many altruistic behaviors that don’t fit the evolutionary model. Such non reciprocal altruism hardly helps get one’s gene into future generations. Why does Mother Theresa help the needy in far away countries?
These and other thorny “problems” are not seriously addressed. Instead, Moore and Cotner present the usual non scientific, metaphysical proofs that mandate evolution. As philosopher Elliott Sober has pointed out, the strong evidences for evolution come from metaphysical rebukes of creationism.
For example, Moore and Cotner point to the pentadactyl pattern which is:
difficult to explain if the organisms originated independently of (and were therefore unrelated to) each other, for such an origin would not require pentadactyl limbs or, any other shared traits.
Why are such similarities difficult to explain if the organisms are not related by common descent? Because the organisms should not share any similarities. And how do evolutionists know that the organisms should not share any similarities? Because such similarities are not required. And what is the basis for these requirements? Evolutionary fitness, of course. But the pentadactyl pattern is presented as evidence for evolution and as such, it needs to be interpreted objectively. Otherwise the argument is circular.
Of course what is lurking behind all this is the usual evolutionary metaphysics. It is what Sober calls Darwin’s Principle. And if there was any doubt that evolution is a religious theory the authors dig deeper into the metaphysics:
Creationists have explained these developmental and structural similarities as the handiwork of a Creator who saved time and work by varying a basic theme. Darwin, however, considered such explanations to be useless, noting that “nothing can be more hopeless than to attempt to explain this similarity … by utility or by the doctrine of final causes,” and that the similarities are “inexplicable” by traditional views of creationism.
Final causes is hopeless? Creationism is inexplicable? Well then yes, evolution is a fact. So while the evidence is unlikely on evolution, as Sober points out, it ironically makes evolution a fact:
This last result provides a reminder of how important the contrastive framework is for evaluating evidence. It seems to offend against common sense to say that E is stronger evidence for the common-ancestry hypothesis the lower the value is of [the probability of E given the common-ancestry hypothesis]. This seems tantamount to saying that the evidence better supports a hypothesis the more miraculous the evidence would be if the hypothesis were true. Have we entered a Lewis Carroll world in which down is up? No, the point is that, in the models we have examined, the ratio [the probability of E given the common-ancestry hypothesis divided by the probability of E given the separate-ancestry hypothesis] goes up as [the probability of E given the common-ancestry hypothesis] goes down. … When the likelihoods of the two hypotheses are linked in this way, it is a point in favor of the common-ancestry hypothesis that it says that the evidence is very improbable. [Evidence and Evolution, p. 314]
No matter that the evidence doesn’t fit evolution very well. Creationism is inexplicable, so evolution is a fact.
Religion drives science, and it matters.