Dear The Scientist,
(Preamble: the following content of this post is not in any way to be regarded as a religious argument against Richard Dawkins' understanding of the theory of evolution. Often, when contradicting Dawkins, it is done so within relgious terms. Not in this case. I am not a religious person in that sense and my philosophical and scientific thinking is not based on such understanding in any case. The following post merely sets out, in my opinion, yet another example of how a scientific field is beset by sloppy practices and low standards. In this case, the scientific field practiced and endorsed by Richard Dawkins.)
As a philosopher, it has come to my attention that some statements made by Dr.Dawkins are inconsistent with rational thought, in that some of these statements hold within a contradiction. Furthermore, because Dr.Dawkins' contradictory statements have not been challenged by the scientific community at large, others within the very same community have taken it upon themselves to expand even further onto that which stands on shaky grounds.
In 1986, Dr.Dawkins published ' The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design'
On page 200 it reads: “Before we come to these difficult matters, I must back-track and say a little about the origin of the idea of sexual selection. It began, like so much else in this field, with Charles Darwin. Darwin, although he laid his main stress on survival and the struggle for existence, recognised that existence and survival were only means to an end. That end was reproduction.”
On page 126, it reads “We have seen that DNA molecules are the centre of a spectacular information technology. They are capable of packing an immense amount of precise, digital information into a very small space; and they are capable of preserving this information – with astonishingly few errors, but still some errors – for a very long time, measured in millions of years. Where are these facts leading us? They are leading us in the direction of a central truth about life on Earth, the truth that I alluded to in my opening paragraph about willow seeds. This is that living organisms exist for the benefit of DNA rather than the other way around. This won’t be obvious yet, but I hope to persuade you of it."
“The messages that DNA molecules contain are all but eternal when seen against the time scale of individual lifetimes. The lifetimes of DNA messages (give or take a few mutations) are measured in units ranging from millions of years to hundreds of millions of years; or, in other words, ranging from 10,000 individual lifetimes to a trillion individual lifetimes. Each individual organism should be seen as a temporary vehicle, in which DNA messages spend a tiny fraction of their geological lifetimes.”
Within the above quoted paragraphs I have highlighted some parts, for those are the particulars which are of interest when considering the contradictions held within.
Dr.Dawkins is making reference to 'sexual selection, survival and the struggle for existence' in relation 'as means to an end', and 'such end is to be reproduction'. In other words, 'that living organisms exist for the benefit of DNA rather than the other way around'.
But when we consider the human being and consider this human being, like all other being, to exist within the theory of evolution so described by Dr.Dawkins, it would be contradictory to find the human reproduction aspect to stand as if by choice, for there not only appears to be a choice for humans whether to reproduce or not; there is a choice to reproduce or not. Therefore, the human sexual act is not solely or even necessarily geared toward reproduction. Somehow, somewhere within the human make-up, the genetic information is not telling itself to reproduce. And not only that: the sexual selection made, at least in our understanding of human beings, is not always made with reproduction in mind. The reproduction aspect and the sexual selection aspect are therefore not necessarily connected as such.
Something else must therefore be of importance within the line-up of continuation of being, and I would suggest such missing link to be the need to unite. Reproduction is thereby not as end but as inevitability, for it is unity which makes reproduction as possibility and as a possible inevitable aspect. The process I am trying to describe here is much more complex than can be set out within this letter. However, the fact remains that Dr.Dawkins' explanation of the role being played by DNA, namely that the being exists for the benefit of the DNA, and the role being played by reproduction, namely that reproduction is the aim of DNA as an end, is contradicted by the nature of choice.
It is my opion that Dr.Dawkins has set us on the wrong path when regarding the true nature of evolution. Evolution is, let there be no doubt about it. But the process or driving force by which evolution evolves is not as Dr.Dawkins likes us to believe. (By means of reason I have found other contradictions existing within Dr.Dawkins understanding of evolution, but the one mentioned above will suffice here.)
Let us then look further and consider what Dr. Fisher (Helen E. Fisher is an American anthropologist and human behavior researcher. She is a professor at Rutgers University and has studied romantic interpersonal attraction for over thirty years) has been building up over top of Dr.Dawkins (mis)understanding:
Recently, when elaborating on the topic of human love and romantic human love in particular, anthropologist Helen Fisher, had this to say: “I don’t think we are animals build to be happy; we are animals build to reproduce.” (http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_tells_us_why_we_love_cheat.html watched January 10, 2011).
But not long after that, the very same scientist, Helen Fisher, had this to say when appearing as guest on the Joy Behar Show: “..because there is something odd about not having kids. From a Darwinian, evolutionary perspective, you're choosing to not pass on your DNA on into tomorrow and in terms of genetic survival you have lost….. Times have changed so dramatically, and we're finally at a time in human evolution when women can make that choice (to reproduce) and I think that's a thrill." (http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rutgers-prof-having-lots-of-kids-is-like-littering/ Watched January 3, 2011).
At first it may seem as if Dr.Fisher is ready to expose Dr.Dawkins contradiction when she says that there is 'something odd about not having kids', that 'from a Darwinian, evolutionary perspective, you're choosing to NOT pass on your DNA', but in fact she does not point out the contradiction at all. She instead seems to relish in the idea that this is somehow wonderful without giving any explantion, within evolutionary terms, of how it could be so.
Not only does Dr.Fisher manage to expand on Dr.Dawkins' contradiction; she feels free to add whatever her fancy desires when it comes to furthering the explanation of being human. She doesn't think we are animals build to be happy! And she simply takes it from there. Perhaps Dr.Fisher thinks that somehow the being of human could stand apart from the general understanding of evolution, for it seems unclear exactly what she is trying to say there.
I have never seen a more blatant disregard for rational thinking as has been demontrated by Dr.Helen Fisher when brushing over the things she does.
For years, and in a most rational way, I have tried to convince myself that Dr.Fisher and Dr.Dawkins must be right after all because they are experts within their scientific fields and recognized for it. But, for the life of me, I cannot find an outcome other than that the contradiction held within their statements must be real and must be of significance.
As a philosopher I am concerned with the idea that because a scientist has become famous or has become well known to the general public, that perhaps questioning them would be below them or would perhaps be below all of us. Yet questioning them we must for if indeed their statements are contradictory, as I claim them to be, then being famous or well known will only lead to a quicker and faster spread of falsehoods. And that would serve no one particularly well. (For instance, coming to terms with the meaning of ethics or ethical behaviour in humans, the above mentioned contradictory element within the statement forms an obstacle which can not be overcome if the contradiction is not being looked at in a serious manner.)
My hope is that someone with extended knowledge of the theory of evolution will look into this matter with me, for I am not a scientist. Yet, the contradictory statements I am referring to do perhaps belong to the field of philosophy for doing the untangling since we are not really talking about details of workable genetic make-up perse, but rather how the larger theory of evolution must be looked at for further understanding. As a process, a macro look, rather than as a detailed microscopic look.
I will leave you with my webpage on which I have placed a more detailed version of my thoughts under: 'the big picture - Dawkins' flaws.