Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Does Abortion Portend For Evolution?

An Unsolved Puzzle

While much has been said about the link between evolution and abortion, and how the former sanctions the latter, little has been said about the reverse. If evolution supports abortion, what does abortion say about evolution?

To appreciate fully what we can learn about evolution from abortion, we first need to understand the evolution of behavior. In the past half century evolutionists have elucidated how complex behaviors, such as altruism, evolved. A key concept is kin selection, and much of the early theoretical work was done by William Hamilton in the early 1960s.

For our purposes here, what is important is that studies in the evolution of behavior have been forced to resort to enormous levels of complexity, nuance and precision. Somehow unguided genetic modifications must have resulted in genes for a wide range of attitudes and behaviors. The list is staggering. There are of course the obvious behaviors such as love, hate, guilt, retribution, social tendencies and habits, friendship, empathy, gratitude, trustworthiness, a sense of fulfillment at giving aid and guilt at not giving aid, high and low self-esteem, competition, and so forth.

These behaviors are supposed to have evolved according to the kin selection criteria, along with many more nuanced behaviors. For instance, love not only evolved, but in varying degrees depending on the degree of shared genes. It is weaker within the extended family than within the family. Low self-esteem behavior not only evolved, but the art of not hiding it can be advantageous and so also evolved. Sibling rivalries evolved, but only to a limited degree. In wealthy families, it is more advantageous for siblings to favor sisters while in poor families siblings ought to favor brothers. So those behaviors evolved. Mothers in poor physical condition ought to treat daughters as more valuable than sons. Likewise, socially or materially disadvantaged parents ought to treat daughters as more valuable than sons.

We’ll stop here but the list of incredibly detailed, subtle behaviors that evolution must have precisely crafted goes on and on. Evolution must have an incredible ability to produce finely tuned and highly specific behaviors.

With that understanding, we are now ready to consider abortion. The question is: how and why did evolution produce such a behavior? What fitness calculation is satisfied by terminating the life of your own child?

I can just imagine evolutionist’s contriving just-so stories to justify such an absurdity. Killing your own child would, after all, allow one to avoid the costly physical and emotional investment of raising a child. One would be better off, and so better prepared to … To do what?

To have another child.

The whole point of “fitness,” in an evolutionary context, is reproduction. One has higher “fitness” if one can have more offspring. Fitness does not refer to physical fitness in the colloquial sense. It does not refer to financial fitness. It refers to having babies. Lots of babies.

That’s what evolutionary theory is based on. Reproductive advantage. Not physical, spiritual, emotional, or financial advantage, but reproductive advantage.

Abortion as a behavior is a flat contradiction and falsification of evolutionary expectations. It makes no sense.

If I can't run very fast for some reason, then that indirectly reduces my fitness as it may impact my survivability or otherwise my reproductive abilities (or it may not). But if I kill my child, that directly deducts from my evolutionary fitness. Abortion is a much bigger, more direct, fitness penalty.

Indeed, abortion is the ultimate fitness penalty. All the positive fitness attributes I may have are instantly and completely wiped out if I engage in abortion. Selection would weed it out immediately.

Under evolution abortion would be rapidly eliminated. Remember, in the past half century evolutionists have insisted that evolution must have crafted our many nuanced behaviors with incredible precision and specificity. Abortion would not have accidentally evolved.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

15 comments:

  1. Interesting. An OP about abortion by a person who does not accept evolution as it is currently described. And the first two comments add birth control and suicide to the mix. Any guess what abortion, birth control, suicide and opposition to unguided evolution have in common?



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WS: Abortion demolishes evolution.

      Delete
    2. How is that? As I mentioned, my wife had an abortion, yet we have three children. How many kids do you have?

      Delete
    3. Sure, abortion behavior does not rule out the possibility of having children later on. But abortion behavior would have been selected against because, in the aggregate, abortion behavior leads to fewer progeny.

      Delete
    4. As usual Cornelius' thinking is as shallow as his understanding of evolution. It's not just quantity of offspring which is important but quality, including the quality of life which increases the chance of the offspring surviving. It's a rather common strategy seen in nature for the mother of a brood to reject the runt of the litter as to give the remaining offspring a better chance at surviving to adulthood.

      For some humans, young ones especially, the decision to terminate an unplanned pregnancy when the mother is unable to care for a child will allow the mother the best chance to improve her conditions and later have a child when she is able to support one.

      Of course every situation is different which is why we give the woman the option to decide what is best for her and any future offspring.

      Delete
    5. It still flies in the face of natural selection to intentionally eliminate children before they are born.

      For humans we can put unwanted kids up for adoption so the birth mother doesn't have to raise them. There are options besides killing the unborn for unwanted pregnancies. Then there is the fact that humans are supposed to be smarter than other animals and can actually think about the consequences of having unprotected sex. But it seems we humans don't hold women in such regard as being smart enough to figure that out.

      Delete
    6. Joke: "Then there is the fact that humans are supposed to be smarter than other animals and can actually think about the consequences of having unprotected sex."

      Except there is a huge religious sect that teaches that birth control is a sin. And that sex outside of marriage is a sin. And that sex for pleasure is a sin. And is opposed to comprehensive and judgment free sex education taught at a young age, which provides important information to both boys and girls that can prevent unwanted pregnancies. And that is opposed to abortion.

      In countries where there is comprehensive sex education and no restriction to birth control, teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates have dropped dramatically.

      "But it seems we humans don't hold women in such regard as being smart enough to figure that out."

      It is the people who support sex education, unrestricted access to contraceptives and freedom of choice for abortion who have a high regard for the intelligence of women. It is those who want to impose their religious beliefs on others who have a lack of respect for the intelligence of women.

      Delete
    7. Except there is a huge religious sect that teaches that birth control is a sin.

      That doesn't even address what I said.

      In countries where there is comprehensive sex education and no restriction to birth control, teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates have dropped dramatically.

      Thank you for making my point.

      And killing unborn children is still wrong regardless.

      Delete
    8. GR:

      It's a rather common strategy seen in nature for the mother of a brood to reject the runt of the litter as to give the remaining offspring a better chance at surviving to adulthood.

      Good point, but I don't think you have resolved the issue. I think there is a real problem here. First, humans don't generally have a "brood." And second, abortion behavior is prenatal, not post.

      I probably don't need to spell out all the details of why this is a problem: the behavior would have had to have evolved before there were very good means of performing one, and it would the behavior would have to be very precise. Evolution is playing with fire here. Any behavior that has you terminating progeny is would face severe selection problems.

      Delete
    9. "the behavior would have had to have evolved before there were very good means of performing one, and it would the behavior would have to be very precise."

      "Any behavior that has you terminating progeny is would face severe selection problems."

      Selection can only act on things that are inherited. Some behaviours probably fall into this category (e.g., innate behaviours like the way cats clean themselves, or basic instincts like fear of heights, etc.) but conscious decisions such as abortion, the use of birth control, skydiving and bungee jumping do not.

      Having an abortion is not a heritable trait. It is a decision that is open to all women, independent of abortions had by women in their ancestral line.

      Your type of flawed logic has been used to argue against homosexuality. It seems to make sense that homosexuality should be selected against given the lack of reproduction potential, yet the frequency of homosexuals in the population has not changed over time.

      Delete
    10. Selection can only act on things that are inherited.

      That is incorrect as natural selection doesn't act on anything. That said whatever exists is open to elimination (natural selection being an eliminative process). All behaviors are open to elimination.

      Delete
  2. Its a cute thing that does show natural evolutionism is opposed to abortion.
    I am pro-life. i do insist the soul is put into a body at conception. therefore to destroy that body, by abortion, is killing a human being and sending them to a other place.
    it is hard to persuade people, at early stages in pregnancy that the fetis is a kid.
    Thats why the abortiuon issue is not a moral contention but a intellectual one.
    Thats why so many excellent and good people are on different sides.
    Nevertheless someone is right and someone wrong.
    A kid does come out of a woman and so Roe vs Wade is wrong and to be destroyed.
    Then argue about when the kids have arrived.
    first things first.
    The constitution did not show a conclusion from the people that the fetus was not a human being and so abortion is a right from privacy of ones body.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You might like my work on Francis Bacon at www.antimachiavel.com

    Ryan

    ReplyDelete