When submitting a doctoral thesis, the author is subjected to scrutiny by his professors and gets a chance to offer a defense. As such, it is only fair that I offer my defense of the article “What Dutton Gets Wrong About Religiosity“, in response to JF’s rebuttal. In his rebuttal, he makes 2 arguments. Primarily, that I am redefining the expression “inheriting the Earth” and that this invalidates my claim; he put almost all of his eggs in this basket. Then, he briefly voices his objection to mutantism.
In response to my defense, JF published another rebuttal. I have added commentary to address his points.
Inheriting the Earth
The expression above comes from the Torah and the concept of “inheritance” is used in a way that is, at different times, synonymous to “conquest”, “acquisition”, or “rulership”. At all times, its use implies either ownership, property, or entitlement. At no point is there any implication of demographics or that “demographics is destiny”. Below, we see some examples of its use.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes and to make them inherit the throne of glory.1 Samuel 2:8
In the passage above, the word “inheritance” is meant as a future acquisition and it is explicitly associated with a throne, i.e. rulership – not demographics.
For Thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth to be Thine inheritance, as Thou spoke by the hand of Moses Thy servant when Thou brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”1 Kings 8:53
In the passage above, the word “inheritance” is meant as conquest. To “inherit” all the people of the Earth is to enslave them. Members of the Jewish community explain passages such as this, as well as their explication in the Talmud, to mean that the gentiles will “want to be our slaves” because of how good life can be under their rule. Again, this has nothing to do with demographics.
Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.Psalm 2:8
Arise, O God, judge the earth, for Thou shalt inherit all nations.Psalm 82:8
The same can be said of the 2 quotes above.
His soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the earth.Psalm 25:13
The passage above is a clear reference to sexual conquest.
To inherit the Earth is a Torah concept and its use in the English language conveys an explicitly biblical meaning. If JF and Dutton are using the expression “inheriting the Earth” in a way that differs from the way the originators of the expression use it, they are the ones giving it a new definition – not me. Therefore, the argument which JF placed almost all of his eggs in fails from top to bottom.
To conclude on this point, I will reiterate my original argument. Everyone is religious, but only the supremacists rule. Therefore, religiosity cannot be what leads to power (i.e. inheriting the Earth). The socio-cultural evolution which relates to power is a genetic dialectic.
JF’s agitated response:
- we’re going to just skip this, semantics don’t matter;
- I must engage with the expression in the way that Dutton uses it;
- “f**k this s**t, this is just defecating”.
- if semantics don’t matter, then why did JF spend an entire episode arguing that Dutton’s use of group selection, as a theory, is problematic due to it being an uninformative semantic abstraction? Why should natural selection be discussed with correct semantics but not religiosity?
- JF mischaracterizes my argument as though it is purely a semantic objection. False. I did, in fact, address Dutton’s use of the expression in the way that he meant it, in addition to pointing out the semantic error. To elaborate on this point, the idea of religious people demographically replacing atheists is not just wrong because of the erroneous use of the expression “inheriting the Earth”. It is wrong because it already happened so long ago in our evolutionary past that the first religious organisms would have been primitive even by the standards of an Australopithecus. All it takes for an organism to be religious is for it to have developed perception and morality. The moment that this new version of the organism outbred its non-religious peers, the demographic replacement of atheists took place. Therefore, it is an error to look at modern humans and proclaim that the religious will demographically replace atheists, because, as I repeated on multiple occasions, atheists do not exist – they cannot possibly be demographically replaced in the future as there are no atheists to demographically replace. Therefore, the religious shall NOT inherit the Earth even in the sense that Dutton means it.
- This point was explained in fine detail in the original article and JF has been given 2 chances to refute it. Instead, he chose to focus almost all of his rebuttal on my semantic argument – one which he has himself used with Dutton in the group selection debate. JF’s mistake was that he did not give the original article a proper consideration, for whatever reason. As such, he provided a very poorly thought out rebuttal and by doing it publicly, he dug himself a hole so big that he could not climb out of it. One cannot make a public oopsie that big in JF’s typically arrogant tone, then take it back, and still save face. Skipping over the semantic clarification was the only logical out for JF.
JF’s objection to mutantism is simple: “show me the mutation.” In other words, if he doesn’t see it, the evidence is insufficient for him to accept causality. The 1st problem with this argument is that mutants obviously exist and we can clearly see them.
JF’s objection: Yeah but you are the one claiming them as mutants. How do you know they are mutants? How can you prove it?
As I explain later on, what makes a spiteful mutant is the presence of genes which express at least one “dead-end phenotype”. JF further objects to this point and I address this objection below.
The 2nd problem with this argument is that this is an invalid standard. There is no physicist who can show you the curvature of spacetime or the gravitons in action. However, they can show you their effects and they can make reliable predictions based on their measured observations. For the purposes of this article, let’s refer to this standard as “it can only be the case”. E.g. given a planet of mass A, it can only be the case that a satellite of mass B will gravitate towards the planet at acceleration C.
JF’s objection: I am mischaracterizing physics. Descriptive and mechanistic claims have different standards of proof. And he completely rejects the “it can only be the case” standard.
This is absolutely false and with a general statement of the kind that JF makes, all it takes is an example to disprove it. F = MA is a descriptive claim; if an object with a mass of 1 kg accelerates at a rate of 1 m/s, it can only be the case that a force of 1 N is being applied. The claim that gravitational attraction is caused by the curvature of spacetime is mechanistic; given a certain curvature of spacetime, it can only be the case that the path of an object will be affected accordingly.
Here, we have a descriptive and mechanistic claim, both of which are justified by the same standard. “It can only be the case” is not a standard of physics, but rather, a standard for logic. If 1 + 1 could potentially be something other than 2, then what is even being claimed? If physicists who adhere to the spacetime curvature theory believed that gravitational attraction could be caused by something other than spacetime curvature, are they really adherents of the theory?
Therefore, his objection here is not only false but self-contradictory. By virtue of the fact that JF makes any arguments at all, he does indeed appeal to the “it can only be the case” standard.
Why should I “show the mutation” to JF when, in the Revolutionary Phenotype, even he applies the “it can only be the case” standard. In his own work, JF is the one who claims (and I paraphrase) that if the 3 conditions of a revolutionary phenotype are met, then it can only be the case that a new genetic layer will emerge.
Oh yeah? “Show me the revolution.” Can’t? Sorry, no evidence. Of course, that is ridiculous. We can clearly see the effects of the revolutionary phenotype taking place at all 3 stages of the revolution.
JF points out that he never said the 3 conditions mentioned cause phenotypic revolutions, only that they are prerequisites.
While JF is correct in pointing out the error of the example, this is not a refutation of the argument being made, which is that to observe the effects of a thing proves its existence regardless of whether the thing itself is visible.
You see my point? Not only is the “show me” standard completely nonsensical but more importantly, why should I adhere to a standard to which the person applying the standard does not apply it to his own work? As such, I will go right ahead and not even bother “show a mutation”. Instead, I will apply the “it can only be the case” standard to which JF adheres to in his own work.
JF’s objection is that he did “show me the revolution” in his book. He refers to the replicator tango with the example of viruses who can switch between RNA and DNA replication.
This is like saying, “here’s a terrorist army, therefore, the revolution is complete”. This is the most blatant moving of goal posts I have ever encountered. In order for me to see a DNA revolution in his example, the revolution would had to have taken place. As he points out, his example is merely a replicator tango. The DNA has yet to takeover. Therefore, JF’s example is in the pre-revolutionary stage. As such, JF has yet to “show me a revolution” and unless he has a mechanism of monitoring these replicator tangos (and perhaps millions of years), he will never be able to “show me the revolution”.
JF cannot even satisfy his own unrealistic standard, but expects others to do it instead. There is a fundamental lack of seriousness to JF’s argument here.
Finally, JF says that the mere existence of genetic layers prove that phenotypic revolutions have taken place. In other words, genetic layers exist because of phenotypic revolutions and the theory of phenotypic revolutions is true because genetic layers exist.
They say that a perfect circle doesn’t exist in nature. JF’s argument is so circular, I think we might have finally found one. At this point, we can observe an exponentially declining quality to JF’s rebuttals.
Under circumstances of strict selective pressure, if a gene’s phenotype leads to an evolutionary dead-end, the gene will be removed from the gene pool. If the phenotype emerges, it cannot be due to inheritance. Therefore, it can only be the case that the emergence of a dead-end phenotype is the result of a mutation.
JF’s 1st objection: there is no evidence that leftism is a dead-end phenotype.
I never made this claim. Quote from my original article (which JF explicitly said was true and an interesting statement): “a Christian whose children convert to liberalism is not, in fact, an indication of mutational load. To the contrary, the instinct to reject archaic religiosity in favor of a more dominant version of the same ideology is a highly evolutionarily adaptive instinct.“
I don’t know why JF would drop this argument when he has himself agreed with a statement I made to the contrary. He did not even bother to take the time to verify his statement before saying it. It is a fundamentally lazy approach to refutation. JF’s arrogance has lead him to underestimate the article to such a degree that he does not feel it worth his time to apply a minimal level of rigour to his argumentation. The hole that JF has dug is so deep, it now looks like the 2D sketch of a black hole.
JF’s 2nd objection: a trait can be a dead-end phenotype today but not in the past, and as such, I cannot judge a gene as a dead-end.
False. If a gene is weeded out, it can only be the case that it was a dead-end gene, by definition. Just because the resulting phenotype may have been adaptive in the past does not change the fact that once the phenotype emerges after the selection event, it cannot be due to inheritance. JF is fundamentally resisting every opportunity to engage with my arguments.
An argument could be made that under slightly less strict selective pressures, the gene would not completely be removed, and thus, it opens the door for inheritance. The problem with this argument is that it is a semantic abstraction. All genes originate as mutations (except for the first few back when the DNA revolution took place). If the door has been opened for the inheritance of a dead-end gene, the fact remains that the gene is still a mutation, regardless of whether it mutated in the genome of the organism or its ancestor.
JF’s objection: by this logic, everyone is a mutant.
Correction: what differentiates a mutant from a spiteful mutant is the presence of a dead-end phenotype. Not every mutant is spiteful. Neither I nor Ed ever claimed that all mutants will be weeded out, only the spiteful ones.
In line with evolutionary theory, it would only make sense that adaptive mutations would proliferate throughout the gene pool. Neither I nor Ed have ever made claims to the contrary.
Indeed, I cannot show you the mutation, but I can show you its effect: the dead-end phenotype. Thank you for your time, JF. I appreciate your effort.