Deepak Chopra concludes his two part post on Why Evolutionary Theory Embraces the Bogus (part one discussed here) with further evidence that he knows nothing of the science. The fundamental problem with Chopra’s argument is that he basis it on whether evolution can explain the brain’s response to music. There are a number of problems here. Even if this cannot be explained at present, this does not mean that with further study this will not be better understood. There are currently theories, such as that music is related to language and appreciation of music developed with understanding of language. Another theory is that appreciation of music arose with the development of social behavior and helped to link people through communal activity. Natural History Magazine provides looks at additional possibilities.
There are also additional problems with Chopra’s use of our limited understanding of human appreciation of music to try to argue evolutionary theory is bogus. The value of the theory is best seen not from where we have limited knowledge but from the many areas in which it has provided good explanations. It is also one thing for Chopra to call evolution bogus, but a different matter to come up with an alternative explanation.
Chopra gives four main arguments against evolution:
1. The investigators will work post hoc from a conclusion that already exists.
The examples given by Chopra do not apply to evolution. Evolution not only shows associations between simpler and more complex organisms, but shows a mechanism by which complex organisms developed from simpler organisms. Chopra offers no alternative, but the primary alternative provided by those who often cite music as “evidence” against evolution support creationism. Chopra’s argument here does apply to creationism and intelligent design which claim that a designer simply created what we know to exist.
2. Associations will be mistaken for causes.
Chopra tries to describe evolution with these analogies: “Many rich people go around in long black limousines. Does this mean that black is the color of the rich? That long cars make you wealthy? That long black cars favor the survival of the people inside? Obviously not.” Chopra appears to be trying to argue by getting people to answer in the affirmative, and from there to agree with him about evolution, but these are not valid analogies to evolution. We have fossil evidence showing a progression between simpler and more complex organisms. We have DNA evidence to explain what occurred. There is no similar mechanism to explain how a long car would make one wealthy. In science only those theories which can be supported by evidence are able to survive.
3. Only physical evidence will count, but a lot of fudging will go on.
Fossil evidence provides a much stronger case. Since there is no fossil evidence for appreciation of music by our ancestors we might never be able to prove the case for evolution as strongly as in other areas, but this does not disprove the idea. Studies of the evidence of the behavior of our ancestors, and study of appreciation of music by other organisms, could still provide evidence to help support various explanations. The article in Natural History Magazine mentioned above gives additional ways in which this might be studies.
4. Competing explanations will find no valid way of choosing a winner.
The problem for Chopra is that there are no competing explanations which explain as much as evolution does. We might never come up with the correct explanation but regardless of whether or not we can explain the development of music appreciation, something did happen. Whether or not we choose the correct winner does not affect what occurred. Regardless of whether we find the “winner” here, evolution still provides the explanation which fits the known facts for the development of many other traits.
Deepak Chopra’s False Alternative of Random Chance
Deepak Chopra and Considerations of Us vs. Them
Chopra Finds Proof of God in Yellow Flowers
Chopra: We Are In God As A Fish Is In Water
Chopra: If The Universe Didn’t Have Imagination, Neither Would We
Chopra Concludes, Responding to Criticism
One Less Moonbat in Existence
Moonbats on Evolution Part II: It is All a Jewish Plot