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There are a few places below where Tdtone missed tautological passages in OoS, will get back to this as time allows. See Physics equations aren't tautologies.

TDtone article on Darwin's tautology with natural selection

http://www.tdtone.org/darwin/Darwin1.htm DARWIN'S GREAT TAUTOLOGY DISCUSSION OF TWO FATAL DEFECTS IN HIS THEORY OF EVOLUTION Trader100 16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC) THE DOUBTING THOMAS LOOKS AT DARWINIAN EVOLUTION Trader100 16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)

Pub. May, 1997 rev. November 19, 2001 Tech.rev. Dec. 12, 2005

Note to readers: The refinement and completion of the arguments begun on this page in 1997 has now been published, and is to be found at another location. It is a more detailed refutation of Darwin's theory than is found here. The terms "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest" are further analyzed and shown to be erroneous as an explanation for evolution. You may go there at any time by clicking on the following link: CLICK HERE

For the latest and most illuminating look at the term "Natural Selection", see how it works when applied to an economy ("Economic Darwinism"):CLICK HERE To get back here, click on the "Back" button of your browser.)

   Note that this page uses the "down/back" reference system: to get 

to the reference simply "click" on the superscript ( ); to get back to the original place, click "back".

PREFACE As noted on the Index page, for the last 150 years, the most popular explanation for the diversity of living things in the universe (except for Biblical creation) was Darwin's theory of evolution, often explained as "survival of the fittest". Darwin's theory has been taught beginning with grade school, so that a 6 year old knows, or should, that the giraffe neck is long allowing it to feed above the other animals and thus survive when others cannot get food (in reality an idea of Lamarck's). Evidence has been accumulating for years that problems exist not only in this claim, but in other aspects of Darwin's theory including the growing belief that it is only a clever tautology, which explains nothing that we do not already know. This page examines that aspect of Darwin's theory, and finding it lacking in scientific basis, suggests that belief in Darwin's theory of evolution must be largely a matter of faith.


In all fairness to Darwin, he did not use the phrase "survival of the fittest" (really Herbert Spencer's term, but adopted in later editions of "Origins" due to objections from his contemporaries). The mechanism he referred to was "natural selection". Darwin states:

     "----I have called this principle, by which each slight 

variation (a), if useful, is preserved, by the term of natural selection-----". (emphasis added) Thus, selection by nature of one of a (varied) species (for survival) is the explanation for evolution of that species. This statement is equivalent to the conclusion reached by using the more popular term "survival of the fittest". This latter description of the principle of evolution must be considered a more straightforward term, and it is not hard to understand why the term was not by used originally by Darwin. Only two questions must be asked about the term "survival of the fittest" to uncover it's true meaning. One question is "what are the "fittest" and the other, how are the "fittest" chosen?" The answer is much too simple and also much too revealing: the fittest are those who survive (Period). Why are they the fittest? Because they survived. But why did they survive? Because they are the fittest. That's all we know about them. The same answer applies to the more obscure phrase, (survival or "preservation") by "natural selection": the types that have been selected by nature are those who have survived. Both arguments are tautological. Nothing is learned about the real scientific cause of evolution or the origin of species by learning that the population consists of survivors. It also explains nothing that we don't already know about the world around us. Yes, elephants have "survived". Yes, so have fleas, oak trees, bacteria, etc.. In Darwin's terms, these species have been selected. Quite obvious. They are here. What is the cause of their differences? It is certainly not the fact that they have survived.


A tautology is defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, which statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed. Consequently the statement conveys no useful information regardless of it's length or complexity.

Thus, for a simple example, the statement "if you can't find something (that you lost), you are not looking in the right place" is tautological. It is also true, but conveys no useful information. As a physical example, to play a game of darts where the dart board was full of bullseyes, could be called a "tautological" game. You can't lose. Any argument containing a tautological statement is thus flawed logically and must be considered erroneous.

A tautological argument is not an argument; a tautological game is not a game. (As an aside, a great many of the later, "more advanced" books on evolution attempt to explain away this tautology by some beautiful, highly complex, arguments; e.g. Mayr and or, Gould. Upon close examination of these arguments it will be found that the conclusion is usually obtained by a metaphysical "division by zero", like the well known mathematical proof that 1 = 0. You will note that the bottom line of all of these complex arguments is always the same, namely that "natural selection is the cause of evolution".)

It should also be noted that some apologists for Darwinian logic claim that mathematical equations such as f = ma, or e = mc2 could also be termed tautologies. This is a faulted attempt to vindicate Darwinism which could be termed "innocence by association"; in either case, [and in every case of a mathematical expression] the terms on both sides of the equation are defined elsewhere independently, and thus the equal sign does not mean "is defined by" but rather {hate to say it} but is equal to, thus establishing an equivalence. This equivalence may establish a new "law", hitherto unknown. "Survival = fittest" defines one term by the other: a tautology pure and simple. It must be kept in mind that the requirement for evolution to occur, by definition, is not a single function, rather two functions: (1.) is development of a novel genome (phenotype), and (2.) is survival of the phenotype. For evolution to occur, BOTH must happen. Strange as it may seem, a six legged "horse", which might be an excellent animal, does not represent evolution unless it can reproduce its lineage. This would be similar to the production of a mule, which is considered a "cross", not evolution. So survival, being an integral part of evolution, is necessary for existence; what is new about this? How does this factor become the "cause" of evolution?

But the greatest fallacy in the term "survival of the fittest" is the fact that the word "fittest" has no precise meaning whatsoever. The "survival" of an organism is dependent upon a vast permutation and combination of conditions not understood by anyone; thus the word cannot be defined and leaves the entire term devoid of the ability of meaning and thus prediction.

"Survival" in nature starts with a different genome (phenotype) each time and thus "survival" itself is different every time. No two phenotypes have ever developed under exactly identical circumstances; even eggs in the same nest have different positions, have been laid at different times, are exposed to different amounts of heat, light and other conditions. While it is true that the "new" genome would have new characteristics, the conditions that it is subjected to may differ substantially from the survival conditions of the first genome. It either survives or doesn't, under a different, continually varying, set of conditions. As is stated elsewhere on this site, the outcome of the survival of an organism is unknown until the event occurs. (See, e.g., the page referenced by "click here" at the top of this page.)

Again, how is this fact the "cause" of evolution?


But let us assume, as a further test of the logic in Darwin's theory, those who believe in creation are right. God created all the species, perhaps all at once, or by some other method, "Theistic evolution" perhaps. (Or, equally as effective for the purpose of argument, the species came here as seeds from another planet = Panspermia works). Now, virtually all scientists agree that about 1% of the total species that have ever existed on the planet currently remain in existence. Let us accept this figure for the purpose of argument. The question then comes up, "why are only one percent of the species in existence today"? A proper evolutionist answer is that those species that exist today were picked by "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest", using Darwin's own definition.

Therefore, Darwin's process of "natural selection" is not unique to his theory, but operates under any and all circumstances that involve an "origin" of a species, whether it be creation, Panspermia, or some other process. Thus "survival by natural selection" or by selection of the "fittest" once again has no effect on the "origin" of species, and adds nothing by way of explanation to Darwin's theory. This objection is valid whether it is applied to Darwin's original work (1859) or any one of the myriad of variations of his theory, right up to the present day.

But if the question is "what is responsible for the differences between the separate species", we must discover what caused a viable (as opposed to random) change to the cell or group of cells (genotype) which gave rise to these new species, as well as why these changes persisted. High school mathematics can prove that the time from the assumed beginning of the universe (currently estimated at ~ 12 billion years) is insufficient to produce even one viable new gene because of the complexity of the process. Yet this process appears to have occurred, and cannot be explained by science, using either "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest" as a mechanism.(e) The only current explanation of this process is a teleological one, and thus outside the realm of science.

[To backup for a moment, it is instructive to compare the Creationist explanation regarding "evolution". It is very simple and straightforward: God created all the species. He is the cause of the ordered variation which exists in the universe. "Natural selection", or "survival of the fittest" can be considered to have determined which of these species have survived to this day. There is no question as to their origin. While no scientific proof is contained in this statement, (or in Darwin's theory either) it is not a tautology.] On the other hand, Darwin's theory offers as the "complete explanation" for the order so apparent in evolution, the mechanism of "natural selection" which is only an effect:< (b) (they have survived!)(or they are the "fittest", or, they have been chosen by "natural selection").

Natural selection (or survival of the fittest) must be recognized for the true character of its mechanism: it is a completely random, infinitely changing, "filtering/culture media" process where the end result is the genome that survives (or prospers). Just as a filter/ culture media in a laboratory does not create anything, so it is with Darwin's filter/culture, natural selection. Thus it is incapable of being the cause of anything. The characteristics of organisms which have existed on this planet are of course shaped by the "conditions of life" (gravity, heat, etc.) that are found here; but to interpret this obvious fact so as to consider it to be the "cause" of the "origin" of that organism is erroneous; it is a classic example of "circular reasoning". Thus it is a tautology.

{But the thread of logic used to arrive at this conclusion should not be foreign to anyone associated in any way with Academia. Many historians for example, treat history as, or at least imply, that history is, a force. Just for the record, History is not a Force. History is an explanation of a result or effect of some past occurrence, but not a cause or force of anything. Alfred Russel Wallace explains this all-too-common logic error in the quotation below.}


"We are like children [who are] looking at a complicated machine of the reasons of whose construction they are ignorant, and like them we constantly impute as causes what is really effect in our vain attempts to explain what we will not confess that we cannot understand." (em., [brackets], added). Alfred Russel Wallace, Species Notebook, circa 1855.

Note that this entry was made prior to Wallace's earthshaking "Ternate Paper" sent to Darwin in 1858. Wallace, racked by malarial fever, concluded, in a state of delirium, that the process of "natural selection" (not using this term) was the cause of evolution. After emerging from it, he hastily wrote the paper and thus violated his own admonition, above, having "found" the key explanation he had been looking for, for so long . After reaching this decision, he never looked back. Nothing, however, disputes the crystal clear thinking which produced the above explanation which was made about 3 years prior to writing the paper. Wallace is describing an all-to-common human ability to engage in a logic error termed "logical reversal" which will inevitably produce a cause/effect "reversal". As mentioned elsewhere on this site, this is the basis for Darwinian error.

Natural selection is simply survival. - Tdtone notes 1 In spite of the considerable aura created by Darwin in his description of natural selection, survival is the only essential ingredient in order to have any organisms, in existence, anywhere, at all. No special characteristic of the genome is required, other than the ability to adapt to the extant conditions. On the Moon (d), no genome is capable of surviving the effects of the environment, consequently there are no organisms on the Moon. Likewise in a blast furnace, no genome can survive the conditions. Deer can not live in urban conditions because of the predation by dogs, etc., etc. If the genome has the ability to survive the myriad of effects encountered by it, there will of course be an organism which survives.

The "myriad of effects" faced by the genome, which must be adapted to in order for any of this to occur, is what Darwin calls "natural selection". Is it logical to say that natural selection (or anything) is acting in these situations? On the other hand, if several species (as defined by biologists) are capable of surviving on Earth, is it proper to say that anything is acting on these species? Does rain act on the corn to "cause" it to grow, or is the corn (the genome) merely responding to one of many effects such as abundant phosphorous, nitrogen, heat, light, or any other factor of the environment which is necessary for it to survive. Darwin and Darwinists would have you believe that the rain specifically occurs for the purpose of selecting the corn; if this is so, what of the vast majority of the water which runs away to the ocean? Under normal use of language and logic, we are speaking of cause and effect. What is the cause of the survival?

The cause of survival is the fact that the genome, which is the only thing capable of acting, either does or does not have the potential, or capability to survive, under the conditions. (Please note no claim that this is an earth-shaking conclusion: it is self-evident). One of Darwin's fallacies is in giving natural selection a capability for acting and thus treating it as a cause(c), rather than an effect which is all that it can be. This is the most sophomoric of mistakes, a cause/effect reversal. Wallace's quote, above, is correct and to the point. Darwin has placed the cart before the horse. It must be concluded that "evolution" if it exists at all, is caused and directed by a biological characteristic of which we are currently ignorant. Mankind does not know a cause of evolution. The conclusion that evolution has occurred is an assumption.

Of course it follows from this understanding of the logic involved in the process, as above, that natural selection can not be the cause of evolution, as even eminent Darwinists such as Professor Ernst Mayr, believe. In like manner, natural selection cannot be the cause of the origin of species. Just as those who are interested in the cause of the existence of the universe should be studying Physics/Astronomy, those who wish to study the scientific cause (the origin) of species would do well to spend their time studying microbiology/genes rather than natural selection. A further reading of Alfred Russel Wallace (Darwin's compatriot in his theory of evolution) would be also useful, as Wallace believed the true "cause" of evolution was unknown and was, in effect, created.(1)

It must be concluded that the real "cause" of evolution, would be the mechanism which provides the change in the genome from which the "selection" is made. Darwin's theory assumes that infinite variability is present in the genome, and further that an "effect" (natural selection, or survival of the fittest) can somehow enhance and develop a wholly new characteristic. And while great strides have been made in biological science since "Origins" was published there is still no theory which explains, much less proves, the phenomenon of what is called evolution.


Darwin's theory of Evolution contains 2 defects, either of which is fatal to the theme:

  • A claim that the "origin of species" is caused by "natural selection" is a tautology.
  • The cause of variation in a species cannot be determined, or initiated, by an effect.

As might be expected, a fatally flawed theory does not work.(4) 16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)Trader100 16:01, September 3, 2011 (UTC)

Numbers ( ) refer to items on the Index Page

(a)Darwin's consideration of variation, in chapter 4 of his book "Origins" as quoted above, is glossed over as a premise or a "given" (an unstated assumption), and while the term "variation" is used elsewhere in his "Origins" book, his heavy-handed emphasis on the power of "natural selection" (which term is used some 350 times) throughout the book is really what he uses in an attempt to prove the theory. This technique is successful in that the inference of the power of natural selection is so strong that the majority of books and discussions which have been written on the subject of evolution term his theory as "evolution by Natural Selection" or some equivalent description. It should be noted that the knowledge of genes, or the laws of heredity, in his day were unknown and Darwin concluded, without any real proof, that the possible variability of species was essentially infinite. This is of course, simply a belief; thus, the conclusion drawn from this belief, Evolution, is itself only a belief. back (a)

(b) This statement has been verified by a most unlikely source composed mostly of pro-evolutionists, no less than the Talk.Origins Archive. To my knowledge, this statement has been in the T. O. FAQ for at least 1 year, and perhaps much longer. It is in a way comforting to know that there is some agreement between those who are dedicated evolutionists, and those who like the DT, are unconvinced of the "fact" or methodology of evolution.

   from the T. O. FAQ on Natural Selection: 
   "When selection is spoken of as a force, it often seems that it is 

has a mind of its own; or as if it was nature personified. This most often occurs when biologists are waxing poetic about selection. This has no place in scientific discussions of evolution. Selection is not a guided or cognizant entity; it is simply an effect." (all em. added. Agreement by the DT is whole-hearted.)

   from: "http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to- 

biology.html#natsel", from the paragraph "Common Misconceptions about Selection" (copied 10/4/99)

   Note that once this interpretation is made, the entire "power" of 

Natural Selection disappears in a cloud of smoke, and those who have depended on it as an explanation for the complexity and direction of development of all living organisms are left with the same explanation which has existed at least since 100 years prior to the Darwin/Wallace theory, none at all.

   While we are at it, note that evolutionists are merely "waxing 

poetic" when skewing facts toward evolutionary theory; any contradictions of it however, are "creationist" and are not allowed.

   back (b) 

(c)Another error Darwin makes is in giving natural selection the capability of selecting, by his metaphoric use of the term. Natural selection always makes the best (= wisest?) choice. Natural selection is of course inanimate, and the only choices made, if any, are made by the genome. Neither Darwin, nor any of the professors occupying prestigious chairs in some of the worlds most important Universities, Dogmatic Evolutionists(T) all, have been able to explain how, for but one example, Natural Selection selected a large ear as a means of cooling for the Elephant, while its contemporary in time, the Hippo, was chosen by the same Natural Selection to essentially live in the water to accomplish the same cooling requirement. Ditto for the thousands of other cooling mechanisms which exist. back (c)

(d) As an insight into the supposed powers of natural selection, one might naturally ask at this point, is NS operating, right this very instant, on the Moon? How about Mars, Uranus, Pluto, planets of Alpha Centauri, and so forth. If the answer is "yes", why does not NS cause species to be in existence at these places, as it has supposedly done on this planet. Suppose your answer is "no", NS is not operating in these places, and subsequently some obscure bacteria is discovered (like ice, recently discovered on the Moon); does that mean that NS really is operating there and has caused the evolution of that species?

What, then, is the real nature of NS? Those who are believers in the phenomenon are quick to point out the effects of NS, but are unable to explain exactly what NS is, or how it works or is the cause of anything. Perhaps someone will kindly email the DT an explanation. [Note to the reader]: this question was posed upon publication of this page in May, 1997; after some three years, and over 10,000 accesses to this site, not a single email has even suggested an explanation for the mechanism of Natural Selection.

The DT is not the least bit surprised. There is no rational basis for an action such as Natural Selection. It might have been no less profitable to ask for the explanation of the existence of ghosts. back


(e) For example, during the relatively short time that humans (or primates) have existed on this planet, it appears that three (3) different types of Sickle Cell Anemia may have developed in the human genome. (Keep in mind that while the fact that these three types exist, there is no evidence that they have occurred during this brief period; note however, that if you are an Evolutionist, you have little choice but to believe otherwise.) The likelihood of this occurrence is, under current scientific knowledge, 1/infinity, i.e., for even theoretical purposes, impossible. back

(e) T Dogmatic Evolutionist: one who is as devout a believer in, and defender of, the Theory of Evolution as is a Creationist with the Bible. This distinction is made to separate the bona fide scientist (who may believe in evolution in some form) from the dedicated proselytizer of Darwinism. It turns out after an analysis such as the above (and hundreds of similar arguments never refuted by the Darwinists), that they are both using the same basis for their beliefs: Faith. back (T