Tautology Wiki


Published June, 1997 Rev. Dec, 2001

PROLOGUE Darwin has been credited with the discovery of the cause of evolution by virtually one and all, scientists and layman, within and without the field of biology, for most of the time since the publication of his book "Origins", almost to the present day. It seems that only recently has it been noticed that the first publication of the complete explanation of what is called "Darwin's" theory was by another scientist named Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary and friend of Darwin's.

It can truthfully be said that Wallace has obtained as equal a position in obscurity as Darwin has obtained in prominence. Lately however, it is becoming common to see the theory referred to as "the Darwin/Wallace theory. A very interesting scenario is involved in the development of the theory by the two men that is beyond the ability to present here; suffice it to say that Wallace was every bit, if not more, involved in formulating the theory, and that several differences remain between his version and Darwin's that are virtually unknown and are important.

After a brief discussion of several aspects of Darwin's theory, some of the differences between the two theories, not the least bit trivial, are presented here.

SUMMARY Of the three theories discussed on the Index page, Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudianism, most consider Darwin's theory the more important, at least from the standpoint of the effect it has had on society in the philosophical sense. What will be considered in this discussion, is some of the aspects of Darwin's theory which are fallacious, and easily proven so, but more importantly the fact that the general perception of his theory is not even remotely comparable to the facts of history which produced this "legend", which is what it has really come to be.

Let us concede, that Darwin's book "Origins" proves beyond any doubt whatsoever, that the organisms which are, or have been, alive on this planet are strictly limited to those whose characteristics are compatible with the vagaries of this planet. (Don't look for this revelation on the Evening News or in Science, for that matter). Let us also concede that the fact of survival (or his "survival of the fittest") unquestionably displays this proof. But how is it that survival can also be the "cause" of the origin of these characteristics? Where did the characteristics come from?

Alfred Russel Wallace's position on the true cause of evolution is radically different as will be seen below, involving the possible introduction of an unknown (spiritual) force in the entire matter. He raises questions about the entire issue which have not been refuted, are almost diametrically opposed to those of Darwin, and are seldom discussed, to this day; what in effect he is saying, is that the true scientific "origin" of species was unknown at his time.

In as much as the entire educational system seems to be pretty much captivated with the idea that the Darwinian thesis of Natural Selection is the "cause" of evolution, the question of whether evolution, as it is currently believed, should be taught in schools is also discussed.

THE TASK AT HAND You may think that a person in an attempt to challenge Darwin's theory has a formidable task, but in that respect you would be wrong. Creationists, evolutionists, and other scientists have been shooting holes in the theory for a long time and most recently, cell biologists have all but completed the job: it doesn't work.(4) * But proving a theory wrong is one thing, the convincing of true believers, or the Media, is quite another.

Witness for one, the results of the theory of Karl Marx, popularly called Communism. Marx's idea and philosophy was so intriguing and acceptable, that the Communists nearly conquered the entire world. Marx certainly had a fair chance at the ability to prove his theory, but it has been shown in actual practice that the theory is fallacious simply because it also doesn't work. (One easy explanation for this is that Marx failed to understand and harness a most important human force, i.e. "greed", which some believe is the basis for Capitalism. The Doubting Thomas (DT) does not completely agree with this analysis). At any rate, despite the miserable failure of the theory, Communism is still alive and well in Academia in this country (USA), and the mere fact that it doesn't work has probably had little effect on the True Believers in Marxism. Thus it is with Darwinism. So it will not be difficult to produce (another) essay on the fatality of the theory, but convincing even a small proportion of those with an interest in the theory that such is the case, is recognized as a formidable task.

SOME ASPECTS OF DARWIN AND HIS THEORY There are far too many books, many of them textbooks, that proclaim Darwin's discovery of "natural selection" to be the most important discovery of the last two centuries, and some fervent believers claim it to be the most important discovery of all time. "Natural selection" was claimed by Darwin virtually to be the cause of evolution, and in his use of the term in the book "Origins", he gives it the power of the Creator. He steadfastly treats "natural selection" as a cause when it is really only an effect, and worse, a completely random, even "fickle" effect. (Interestingly, Darwin's "Origins" never uses the word random but uses the term natural selection some 350 times. Yes, there is a story here.) It is the belief presented here and elsewhere on this site that Natural selection completely lacks the ability to create or select anything, like all other effects (i.e. briefly, like gravity), hence it is ubiquitous. A most cursory look at "natural selection" will show that it has little or no similarity to "artificial selection", which Darwin considered to be virtually analogous. His theory has been recognized as a tautology(2)* by many, including believers in the theory, but this aspect is not considered fatal by them, as it should be. Circular Reasoning,** also a fatal defect, is evident in his theory. Further, he is considered to be a brilliant man by almost all, yet he could not conceive or understand that man was different "in kind" from any other creature on this earth, a fact understood virtually by one and all.(3)

IS DARWIN'S THEORY ATHEISTIC? One of the most misunderstood aspects of Darwin's theory is that it is atheistic in intent. Not so. But the perception of his theory as being atheistic, by virtually everyone, is surely understandable. Seldom does one see an explanation of it either in the Media, or in a book or text, where the fact of it being atheistic is not either openly or implicitly expressed. Certainly no one has ever claimed that it is religious in nature. In fact, the term "evolution", in and of itself, because of the method by which it is presented, is currently considered by many to depict an atheistic view of the origin of life, while a strict definition of the term does not refer to the origin of change. (It could have been included in Creation as Wallace {see below} believes). But factually, Darwin's original stated claim was only to disprove the previously held religious notion that a Creator was continually intervening in the affairs of the planet, and in kind of a "tinker-toy" fashion, keeping a suitable spectrum of species available for the use of mankind. (This concept cannot be wholly separated from a similar notion, that God had created the Earth as the center of the universe, which theory was dominant up until the time of Galileo when it was disproved, with much consternation to go around).

However, Darwin's later use of the concept of the development of all life from that "warm little pond", without any intelligent design of any kind from any source, is an idea that has very little leeway in it for any interpretation other than an atheistic one. So the conclusion is at least understandable. And most importantly those who are advocates of beliefs in naturalism, secular humanism, atheism and agnosticism such as Thomas Huxley, ("Darwin's bulldog") wasted no time in grasping this atheistic aspect of Darwin's theory and exploiting it to the limit; and when you throw into the mix those who are always looking for a new way to explain something, like many scientists and those who have a special need for a non-theistic explanation for the cause of things, and also add a willing, like-minded Media, that understanding is almost inevitable. Thus, as noted elsewhere, presentation of "Darwin's theory", or "evolution" has virtually become a stalking-horse for atheism. This aspect of the theory is the chief objection to it being taught in school (see below). The views of Wallace as shown below, if presented accurately, would negate this possibility to a great extent. There is no reason why they have not been, other than the bias toward naturalistic explanation which exists throughout the secular Media. While a full range of Darwin's opinions and beliefs are routinely presented in biological teaching, Wall ace's views have been all but forgotten.

ANOTHER, RADICALLY DIFFERENT, VIEW OF THINGS Wallace's outline of the theory of evolution, naively sent to Darwin for his comments and those of Sir Charles Lyell, was covered in about 3% of the space of Darwin's and is very logical, clear and easy to read. In comparison, Darwin's work is most difficult to read and even his two closest associates, Hooker and Lyell, acknowledged this. Wallace and Darwin were friends and as an example, Wallace later wrote a book entitled "Darwinism" where he elaborates on Darwin's theory, in an effort to explain speciation.

The "so-called" Darwin/Wallace theory was hurriedly presented at one session by the Linnaean Society of England within a month of Darwin's receipt of Wallace's paper. Wallace's paper was read verbatim and was an outline of the major points of his beliefs in evolution. Darwin's contribution was a reading of several letters by his friends which established "priority" for the findings outlined in Wallace's work. Neither man was present, Wallace being some 8000 miles distant in the Maylay Archepelago and unaware of the proceedings. The date was July 1, 1858. A little over one year later in November, 1859 Darwin published his book "Origins" as above, and by this act has become accepted as the "father" of the theory of evolution.

But the most amazing aspect of the entire story as it later developed is a fact virtually unknown even among many biologists to this day: Wallace was clearly not an atheist. He never raised the issue with Darwin, but this must be one of the greatest divisions of thought that could occur between such two like-minded men with such otherwise similar beliefs. And of course, the fact has been all but lost on the biological community - about to the same degree as Wallace himself has been ignored.

Hard as it may be to believe in the light of past writing, Wallace's attempt with his theory was to show that evolution can occur without the "continual interference" (his phrase) of a creator, which idea was paramount at that time. His belief was essentially that God (or some Spiritual Force) created evolution itself, and thus there was no need to tinker with things along the way, and in fact Wallace maintains that this belief - he calls it a "hypothesis" - (in the "continual interference" with nature) demeans the intelligence of the Creator.

Writers on the subject sometimes mention that a "Wallace" also discovered evolution, but hardly ever state that his fundamental beliefs were presented in a way completely opposite to those attributed to Darwin. In fact most writing implies that Wallace was atheistic in his view of evolution as was Darwin; in reality, Wallace would today (2000) be considered a "Creationist", although not attached to any specific religion (a Spiritualist).

As an illustration of Wallace's opposite set of fundamental beliefs, the following poem is quoted from the end of the last essay in his book " Essays on the Theory of Natural Selection " (1870). He attributes the poem to an unnamed "American poetess", and while discussing the fact that much is unknown in the sciences, describes it as what may be called "the highest fact of science, the noblest truth of philosophy": (Wallace's words)

God of the Granite and the Rose! Soul of the Sparrow and the Bee! The mighty tide of Being flows Through countless channels, Lord, from thee. It leaps to life in grass and flowers, Through every grade of being runs. While from Creation's radiant towers Its glory flames in Stars and Suns.

These are not the ideas of an atheist. Thus it can be seen that Wallace's view of some fundamental ideas differs substantively from those of Darwin's. You would never know it from reading any of the vast amount of literature commonly available on the subject.

WALLACE'S POSITION ON MAN Wallace also had some ideas on the origin of mankind, and differs with Darwin in these views also. Wallace presents pressing arguments that man's capabilities such as mathematics, arts, and humor, could not have been caused by "natural selection". Wallace states, after developing his argument:

   "The special facilities we have been discussing clearly point to the existence in man of something which he has not derived from his animal progenitors------". He calls this a "spiritual nature". (Darwinism, p. 474) 

Without naming it as such, he is discussing some of the facets of the conceptual ability of man. Virtually all humans who have considered man's abilities understand this proposition. Darwin and many scientists, along with those who are firm believers in Darwin, most often do not.

SOME CONSEQUENCES "Ideas have consequences". The saying is ancient in origin and surely acknowledged by all. One may rightfully ask, what are the consequences of a theory such as the popular beliefs about Darwin's theory as described above? What is the effect on those who read in virtually all scientific and popular literature the statement repeated, almost universally, parrot-like, that "natural selection" is the cause of evolution? That evolution is a "fact"? How does one react to the suggestion, made by one of the leading biologists in the U. S., (Mayr) that "natural selection" somehow has the power to prevent the extinction of species?

Or worse, the explanation of Stephen J. Gould (the Harvard biologist and dedicated evolutionist) who in a Scientific American article, presents ideas such as::

   "..... Humans arose, rather, as a fortuitous and contingent outcome of thousands of linked events,....."(em. added.) In other words, a scientific explanation of evolution depends on simple "luck" - (a DT interpretation). Since when is luck taught in science? 

The answer to this question will largely have to go unanswered here because of the myriad of possibilities, for one, and an admitted lack of complete understanding for another. Several suggestions will be presented for consideration. One of the first concerns, and one often discussed, would be that of parents who find essentially that de facto atheism is being taught to their children in the form of a simple biological theory. One of the cures for this is of course, to be sure that the theory is correctly presented with all the objections and faults, including the much misunderstood fact that it is not atheistic and indeed is not concerned with real "first causes". A little dose of "Wallace-ism" would certainly be in order, although it probably should not extend so far as the memorization of his lovely quoted poem (as above). His ideas on the nature of man are directly contradictory to Darwin's and should be presented as such. But certainly the thoughts and ideas of Wallace should not be ignored, as they are currently.

However, there is another aspect of the perpetuation of Darwin's theory that should also be considered. To back up a little, it is a theory that has been essentially proven scientifically, mostly by the cell biologists, to be seriously faulted, in that it does not adequately explain known biological facts about life as we now know it. If it does not work properly (3), then it must contain some errors of logic, fact, or perhaps both. Surely it is tautological.

What is the effect on those who are learning the delicate process of the ability of reason to be taught a flawed theory? Will it establish a template which to apply to other situations that will result in erroneous conclusions? The question can not be answered with certainty. On the other hand, again, a proper presentation of the theory as well as the history of the theory would generate a healthy skepticism, which can surely do no harm.

Conclusion It can thus be seen that the teaching of Darwin's theory is well biased toward the "naturalistic" philosophy so well displayed in the usual presentations of biologists, biological texts and throughout the Media. It's very hard to believe that if the history of the subject had been presented in a fair and unbiased manner including the role played by Alfred Russel Wallace in the founding and presentation of the theory, that the beliefs of Western Society would be so biased toward the Darwin aspect as is currently the case. Those parents and educators who have attempted to undo or at least re-orient the teaching away from the "naturalist" view currently presented would do well to include Wallace's ideas alongside those of Darwin's, which are commonly accepted to be part of science.

  • Numbers refer to links found on the Index Page.
    • Circular Reasoning: an assumption made in an argument that contains the acceptance as fact, of an element, or premise, which needs to be proved for the argument to be correct. Thus, Darwin has assumed that a species (or variety) possesses sufficient variability such that it either has within itself or can develop, the characteristics of a new species. He spends one whole chapter in discussion of problems with his theory yet glosses over this assumption as if it were fact; since it must be fact for his theory to be viable, and instead has been assumed, it is circular reasoning.

Darwin is asking you to believe that this assumption is correct, simply because it is evident that species are different. (Also called "Begging the Question"). (Note however that the "new synthesis", the latest version of his theory, proposes other processes such as "mutation" for the variability he assumed). No proof exists that such is the case, and yet no qualifying terminology appears in modern texts to explain the difference. Of course, in any case, whether evolution occurs in the Wallace sense (often called Theistic evolution) or by any other means, or not at all, Darwin's belief that "natural selection"/(survival of the fittest) is the "cause" of it, is strictly erroneous and in fact completely backwards, as elaborated on elsewhere; natural selection can only be (if anything) the cause of survival , not evolution. This concept in itself can be described as a form of circular reasoning.

While circular reasoning in the above instance is fatal to his theory, there are other instances where it is used, such as his description of the abilities of Natural Selection. Thus Natural Selection can "choose, act, select, select the fittest, select for the good of the being, cause ("rigidly destroy") extinction of the unfit, always chooses for the perfection of a species," and so on. After assuming these abilities exist, if anything needs to be done to validate his theory, Natural Selection will take care of it. Again, current teaching texts ignore these gross errors of reason, as the only proof offered for any of this capability is the fact that the results are there for all to see! Thus Natural Selection must be true, because of the fact that the fittest have survived, the "unfit" are extinct, the species have become more diverse, and so on; this is also a subtle combination of a tautology with circular reasoning.

But as an example, using terminology more likely to be found in a biology text with a dose of obfuscation:

   "Evolution of the lines of species as different as horse and cow was ultimately caused by the guidance through natural selection of a Monte Carlo distribution of the allele frequencies in a population, in such a manner that over a long period of time the anatomical differences so easily noted today have evolved. (=Evolution produced the difference between the horse and cow.)
   Thus the striking differences which need not be enumerated here are evidence of the powerful effects of evolution which have produced the myriad of species of plant and animal life in existence today."
   ( =The differences in the horse and the cow are evidence of the fact that evolution exists). 

Circularity reigns.

And similarly, as evolutionists are fond of saying, Evolution is a fact. They believe that proof of this is evident to anyone who can tell the difference between a horse and a cow. They are different! Evolution has occurred!

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