The problem of sex (or why I'm not an atheist)
As I write this under the shadow of the walls of Saint Jorge's Castle in Lisbon, two very bored JWs are standing just five metres away from me with a literature cart ...
In my journey away from JWism I accepted evolution as a fact. I also became anti-religion, agnostic and apatheist. And, while I lean towards the persuasion of the atheist arguments, there are a few reasons that make it difficult for me to completely discard the notion of an intelligent origin of life. One of such reasons is the problem of sexual reproduction and the inability of evolution theory to provide a satisfactory explanation for its existence.
I have found this excellent article that sums up my issue with it. The final paragraph betrays that it was written by a proponent of Intelligent Design, but that shouldn't invalidate the good points that are made regarding the difficulty of darwinian evolutionary theory to explain the process by which sexual reproduction came to exist.
Link doesn't work.
Your link isn't working, here it is; www.trueorigin.org/sex01.php
I didn't read the article so can't comment on it but my approach is very simple. Discard any argument that proposes god as an answer to complexity.
By invoking god you bring in the baggage of heaven, holy spirit, miracles and all manner of supernatural mumbo jumbo. Ridiculous.
A complex question isn't answered by raising a myriad of ever more hyper-complex ones.
Nicolau, I'm not "invoking god" or anything. That's a theist apologist thing and I'm not one. I'm just saying that a major difficulty for me to embrace atheism is the inability of the evolutionary theory to explain why sexual reproduction ever came to exist and become the norm among living things.
The article basically sums up my issues with it. Do not pay attention to the messenger - stick to the message.
And thanks for correcting the link. My ipad doesn't like the forum format much.
What does evolution have to do with atheism? Seriously?
Sexual reproduction fosters greater genetic diversity in the population. Asexual reproduction tends to be cloning with a lot less diversity. Greater genetic diversity means there's less likelihood that all members of the population would die out in a disease outbreak; less likelihood that all animals would lack the traits needed to survive if the environment changed. So genetic diversity provides a survival and therefore a reproductive advantage to species. Natural selection selects those species for survival while those who reproduce only asexually are prone to dying out unless they have some other survival advantage that counterbalances their disadvantage.
A good way to illustrate this is to think of a diversified economy verses an economy based on one or very few productive sectors. The diversified economy is more robust because if a disaster affects one sector it only affects a small percentage of the economy. But an economy based on only one productive sector is destroyed if that one sector is affected by a disaster.
I don't trust what intelligent design advocates have to say about evolution. They always see problems with evolution based on their prior commitment to creationism; their use of fallacious thinking; selective, out of context quotes and outright lies and deceptions. Watchtower does not have a monopoly when it comes to distorting the facts about evolution.
I skimmed through the article. Nothing about it jumps out at me and says: "aha! sexual reproduction could not have come about without an intelligent designer". Instead the whole article is nothing more than the tired old argument from ignorance fallacy. Not yet having a natural explanation for some biological phenomenon does not mean one will never be found in future and it does not mean that a convoluted explanation involving a magic man in the sky automatically becomes the most viable explanation. One thing that did strike me about the article is the fact that it quotes old sources. Look at the dates of the sources in the end-notes at the end of the article. They're mostly from the 1970's to the 1990's. This leads me to ask the question: what are scientists today, in 2016, saying about the "problem" of explaining the origin of sexual reproduction.
What does evolution have to do with atheism? Seriously?
Atheism is defined as the absence of belief in deities. The absence of such belief isn't determined by acceptance of evolution; after all, the greek epicureans knew nothing about darwinian evolution and rejected the existence of gods, all the while there are respected evolutionists who accept the existence of the Christian god. However, in cases like mine, I can see how the evolution theory, if taken to its last consequences, lends to a disbelief in deities.
I'm not discussing here how life came to exist in the first place. The problem of sexual reproduction is central to the development of life and it ties inextricably with evolution. And that's where I find the evolutionary theory is seriously lacking an explanation the definitively rules out a supernatural / intelligent intervention.
Although I'm agnostic, I would rather be an atheist. Seriously. Being an agnostic is awkward because, not being sure of God's inexistence, I think that if God exists he/she is a bastard and not someone I would like to have interactions with or have my future dependent on. I would rather have no belief at all and that would be much better.
Eden please summarise one or two main lines of evidence against the ability of evolution to invent sex. What have you done so far to find answers?
Have you researched the possible reasons for "the twofold cost of sex"? Do you know why there are 2 sexes for example?
If a designer was involved why did it take him 2 billion years to invent sex after he invented life?
Interesting OP. Will look at the article later when I have time.
EdenOne please do some research on the evolution of anisogamy.
Anisogamy means gametes of different size or form. Also called heterogamy.
There are four basic arguments re evolutionary sexual reproduction covered in the article. Here is one of them.
The essential idea behind the Lottery Principle is that since sex introduces variability, organisms would have a better chance of producing offspring that will survive if they reproduce a range of types rather than merely more of the same. The point being made by those who advocate the Lottery Principle is that, in their view, asexual reproduction is poorly equipped to adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions due to the fact that the offspring are exact duplicates (i.e., clones) of their parents, and thus inherently possess less genetic variation-variation that ultimately could lead to radically improved adaptability and a much greater likelihood of survival).
After reviewing the other three arguments our authors conclude:
The highly complex and intricate manner in which the human body reproduces offspring is not a matter of mere chance or a “lucky role of the dice.” Rather, it is the product of an intelligent Creator.
I don't think I'm comfortable crediting two members of Apologetics Press, and editor's of Reason & Revelation .....
Who have a vested interest in Creation Science with that throw away assumption. 'God did it!' Like dark energy and dark matter I can wait on finding out why it takes two to make a baby.