Sample Philosophy Essay Paper on Debating Darwin’s Philosophy On Theory of Natural Selection

Debating Darwin’s Philosophy On Theory of Natural Selection

Charles Darwin proposed the theory of natural selection using survival for the fittest as its anchoring argument. That is, the only organisms that are best suited to the environment morphological, physiologically and behaviorally, can survive and pass on their genes to form the next generation. According to Tom Bethel, Darwin’s argument that survival for the fittest is the foundational evidence of his natural selection theory was a logical error. He holds that such arguments amount to tautology as it lacked supporting evidence. He holds that fitness is dependent on survival and therefore using it to justify the natural selection theory was tantamount to obscuring Darwin’s lack of evidence to support his claim. That is, according to Bethel, Darwin was passing the theory as an irrefutable fact yet there is no clear-cut scientific evidence to prove the same. Such obscurity and insufficient reasoning by Darwin makes the theory illogical and amount to logical oversight. This logical oversight or obscurity therefore disqualifies Darwin’s theory of natural selection as a scientific statement because it lacks what Stephen Jay Gould termed as “independent criterion of fitness” (Gould 45).

An analogical comparison between two or more objects allows for highlighting their similarities with the aim of guiding others to deeply understand of either the objects or systems being compared. Therefore, logical comparison use is simple to explain deeper laying issues that set them apart. That is, explaining a complexity that in the various systems and objects through a series of simpler terms whose levels of simplicity decreases to a primeval level where similarity can be established. This is the approach that Darwin uses in explaining the plausibility or existence of the natural selection process: he analogically compares artificial and natural selection by comparing the differences and similarities between a door hinge and a bivalve hinge. While both are hinges, Darwin, notes that they were made differently: on by an intelligent being and the latter by fixed laws of nature. The difference between the two shows that the differences in living things stem from natural selection of specific traits. By comparing natural and artificial selection, Darwin notes that comparison of living things at the primeval level shows minute variability stemming from the struggle for existence. Such analogical comparison leaves for investigation as it suggests that there is a probability that his argument might be true.

The primary ground upon which Tom Bethel had called for a rejection of Darwin’s natural selection theory is because it lacked an independent criterion of fitness or supporting evidence and thus it was a logical error. However, in Darwin’s analogy this criterion is improved design. That is, organic beings continue improving their natural designs to keep track of the changes in their immediate environment. That is, they locally adapt to their dynamic environment. However, such adaption does not usually lead to improved designs because in some cases it can lead to development of retrogressive characters. The inclusion of an independent criterion of fitness, according to Gould, resolves Bethel’s argument that Darwin’s theory was a logical error that was based on tautology. The criterion gives the theory the supporting evidence that Bethel held was lacking. Therefore, in conclusion, the theory of natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin was based on a criterion observed through logical comparison of systems and organic beings.           

Works Cited

Gould, Stephen Jay. “Darwin’s untimely burial”. In Ever since Darwin.