Thursday, May 08, 2008

If Darwinism is True, it Can't Be

And when I say "Darwinism," I am making a sharp distinction between the modest claims of natural selection versus the impossibly grandiose claims of reductionistic Darwinism, just as I always distinguish between science and philosophy of scientism, the latter of which far exceeds what is warranted by the evidence, and is only believed by a who's hooter of philosophical boobs & rubes.

Naive Darwinism is a subset, or variety, of scientism. Only an immature mind could believe it, since it requires the simultaneous gullibility and grandiosity of a child. Or, to turn it around, if you can believe that, what won't you believe? For it is pure magic, the kind of magic that always rushes in to fill the void where a coherent metaphysic should reside as an anchor and axis for the intellect. In the absence of real adult religion, people become either superstitious or substitious, but either way they miss the mark, for scientism is just a more sophisticated way of being stupid. It is primitivism for sophisticates, neopaganism for urban barbarians.

Now, I haven't seen Ben Stein's new film on the theory of intelligent design, Expelled, and I probably won't unless it shows up on TV. However, I understand that he makes some rather controversial claims, one being that there is a direct connection between Darwinism and fascism. Let's look at this question in a dispassionate manner, and see if there is any truth -- or even the possibility of truth -- in it.

As a prelude, let's remind ourselves that there is nothing that is more horrifying to the postmodern skeptic (who is really a nihilist) than to be made to look foolish, and that is apparently what Stein did in the film. For example, he made Richard Dawkins look like an ass, so Dawkins is leading the charge against the film while openly playing the victim card -- as if he were somehow duped into appearing in it. Even if that were true, on what basis can he object in a world of pure selfish genes? There are no rules in a Darwinian naïf fight. You can't cry "foul" when a snake eats your birdbrain. There is no "ought" in Darwinism. There is only survival. He just has to realize that "he who hesitates is lunch" and concede that Stein had a free one at his expense. He'll just have to evolve and move on.

As David Berlinkski writes, these folks are just upset because they "seriously overestimated their own ability to think nimbly before a camera. They are as result appalled either by how they look or by what they said.... Without ever once realizing that he is about to topple into the badlands of absurdity, [Dawkins] allows Ben Stein to force him into the acknowledgment that life as it appears on earth may well have been designed by space aliens."

Now, Berlinski is an important voice, being that he is a secular scholar who is one of the most articulate critics of reductionistic Darwinism. Like me, he rejects it because it is absurd and illogical, not because he is religious.

This itself should eliminate the charge that intelligent design is merely a trojan horse for creationism. Undoubtedly it can be, just as Darwinism is obviously a trojan hearse for the intellectual corpse of atheism, but that is utterly beside the grave I'm attempting to dig for it here. We need to examine a theory itself and determine whether it can be justified on its own basis, not whether or not it is warranted on the basis of some a priori belief system. I would agree that if you do that, you are no longer doing science.

But the point is that the simplistic believers in scientism engage in this leap of faith no less than do the believers in creationism. Both interpret the data through the lens of their paradigm. If they would just acknowledge this at the outset, it would actually eliminate the hostility, for then it would not be a question of whether or not natural selection is true in itself, but what it means in the larger cosmic context. Again, in my view, reductionistic Darwinism is absurd on the face of it, and cannot possibly be true.

Among other reasons, Darwinism cannot be true, for if it were, humans could not know it. In the darklight of Darwinism, the human intellect -- the light that shines in the darkness of existence -- is an absolute miracle.

Now, I am hardly opposed to the idea that miracles occur, but they nevertheless require an explanation. In fact, given the structure and economy of existence, miracles must occur. But for the scientist (again the believer in scientism), miracles not only cannot occur, but must be explained away as statistically rare random events. You know, monkeys + typewriters. And if you could see what Scatter did to the liberatory the other day after Dupree forgot to bolt the monkeydoor into the house, you would appreciate the absurdity of this contention. What was once an intelligently -- albeit sloppily -- designed office was reduced to a manifestly unintelligent absence of design. I'm still looking for my cattle prong, but that's another story.

So, what is a miracle, anyway, and why must they occur? Schuon writes that miracles "denote an interference of the marvellous in the sensory realm." In itself, a miracle has "nothing mysterious or problematical about it: the so-called natural laws of a lower degree of Existence can always be suspended through the intervention of a higher degree, whence the perfectly logical term 'supernatural': but this degree also has its laws, which means that the miracle is 'natural' on the universal scale, while being 'supernatural' on the earthly scale." (Indeed, the manifest existence of human free will exerting its top-down influence on our neurology is a daily miracle.)

Now, there are several well known ontological gaps in existence, each of which betrays existence of the miraculous. This is not to be confused with any ad hick "God of the saps" theorizing; rather, these are the inevitable gaps of God which can only be explained by recourse to the vertical ingression, or involution, of the higher into the lower, or greater into the lesser, or center to the periphery. If viewed from the "bottom up," then the existence of these gaps -- or, more precisely, the realities that bridge them -- is a miracle in the profane, colloquial sense of the word, and we are back to the primitive magic of scientism.

One unbridgeable cosmic gap is that between consciousness and matter; extended to its ultimate expression, it is the gap between Truth and falsehood, and more generally between light and darkness, the latter being merely the shadow cast by the former; in itself it has no ontological reality, any more than do falsehood or evil. Viewed in this context, a Truth-bearing monkey is more than a miracle, it is a strict impossibility -- not a statistical impossibility, mind you, but a metaphysical one. As Schuon explains,

"The miraculous is that which is due to a direct, thus vertical intervention of a heavenly Power, and not to a horizontal progression of causality. If one extends the notion of 'nature' to all that exists, miracles too are 'natural,' but in that case words would become meaningless, as it would then be impossible to make the essential distinction between blind or unconscious causes and the supra-conscious Cause, the source of all consciousness and of all power. Scientists confuse the miraculous with the irrational and the arbitrary."

Amen. Not amonkey.

Now -- being that they must explain away everything specifically and uniquely human -- Darwinists must explain away the quintessential miracle of religion that binds man to the Absolute. But if they were to ever succeed in this demonic endeavor, I do not see how Stein could fail to be correct in his apparent belief that it eventually leads to fascism, or at least something similarly nasty. For as George Gilder writes, it's pretty simple, at least if you have the courage of your absence of convictions:

A: If God does not exist, then everything is permitted.
B: If scientism is true, then God does not exist.
C: If scientism is true, then everything is permitted.

Could someone please tell me where this argument fails? And please do so without reference to any transcendentally true moral obligations. Rather, on what strictly scientistic basis is it untrue, in particular, once all religious ideals are successfully swept aside by a triumphant scientism, and no one is constrained by them ?

In Truth, science cannot begin to address the question of "how the ordered physical, moral, mental, aesthetic, social world in which [we] live could ever have arisen from the seething anarchy of the world of particle physics" (Berlinski). No. In order to understand how that happened, you must read the Coonifesto at least once in your lifetome. Or at least buy it. You don't have to read it. Petey will give you an indulgence just the same.

Scientism is, as Gilder notes, "the dominant religion of the intelligentsia." As such, "its religious claims far overreach its scientific content," but knowing much about one tiny portion of reality gives these "barbarians of specialization" the "confidence to pontificate about other subjects to which their expertise is irrelevant" -- or to elevate what little genuine knowledge they do possess into a crude "grand unified theory." But as they say, nothing can be that simple -- let alone everything.

Again we must insist: if a Darwinian monkey were capable of arriving at a true unified theory of existence -- which he is, by the way, except that it is not a "scientific" theory but a realization -- then he cannot be the mere monkey Darwinists make him out to be. Rather, he is something quite apart from anything else in all of existence, a luminous bridge that stretches between matter and spirit, appearance and reality, time and eternity, the one and the many. Why, he is a bloody Raccoon, dammit!

I'm just getting warmed up. To be continued....


Ephrem Antony Gray said...

Awesome 'coon pic, by the way.

There's been a battle over at Protein Wisdom lately about the same subject. Some self-important scientific technician wants to make the rules for her own endeavors. Link is here if you want to waste a few moments.

Who the demon, er, scientismist is, should become obvious immediately.

julie said...

I've been pondering the "monkeys typing and producing the works of Shakespeare" analogy a lot lately (probably Bob's fault, because I know he's mentioned it a time or two; what follows may be simple regurgitation), and frankly I think it's completely false. Setting aside the monkeys (because, if real monkeys were used, assuming they would actually spend an eternity sitting at and typing on a keyboard, they'd probably just start hitting the same few keys over and over, wherever their little monkey fingers most comfortably fell), what the premise actually suggests is that if letters were randomly generated by something for eternity, the works of Shakespeare would inevitably be produced.

But they wouldn't. It's like saying that TV screen static, left on for eternity, would inevitably produce an image of the Sistine Chapel. Sure, something roughly resembling a face or a person or some other recognizable object may briefly materialize, but it would never achieve even the focus and cohesion of a stick-figure, much less a fully-realized painting. Randomness lacks intention, and therefore it cannot create meaning. Random letters strung together would very rarely form recognizable words, and rarer still anything resembling a sentence. At best, one might find examples of "Dick and Jane." Poetry, Shakespeare or otherwise, is right out.

On a slightly different note,Insty linked to an article the other day suggesting that intelligence is actually not helpful as an evolutionary mechanism. Which makes human intelligence just that much more of an oddity, from a Scientistic point of view.

Anonymous said...

"For example, he made David Dawkins look like an ass,……"

And a stammering ass who knew he was caught at that. It’s worth the price of admission just for that one scene.

"…[Dawkins] allows Ben Stein to force him into the acknowledgment that life as it appears on earth may well have been designed by space aliens."

Space aliens who could ONLY have evolved through Darwinian evolution on another planet. Yes, he actually said that.

A book and/or video which points out the glaring limitations on the "limitlesness" of Darwinian macro evolution is 'Icons of Evolution', the video features many of the same players in Ben Steins movie including Berlinski. The complexities in life which have been discovered since Darwin first floated his theory makes it impossible for the theory to contain them as an explanation.

Anonymous said...

If you can, get ahold of David Berlinski on video, any video. He's just the right blend of flambouyance, pugnaciousness and eccentricity.
He also posesses the seemingly rare quality of an intellectual who is able to poke fun at himself.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

Sadly, Darwinism seems to me like the latest variation of the old man who ends his description of the world with, "It's turtles all the way down..."

Anonymous said...

There was a dustup over at NRO between the Englander Derbyshire, who slammed the Stein flick without bothering to see it, and Berlinski, who is a very dangerous person to cross, particularly when you are both wrong and stupid at the same time, as Derbyshire was. (I hear his reputation is attempting to get into the federal witness protection program.)
Scientism is clearly Derbyshire's religion, and I suspect his temper tantrums over ID are caused by something like a crisis of faith.
Isn't the essence of the dispute not whether evolution was/is happening, but whether random mutation and natural selection, all by themselves, can explain life, consciousness and Tom Waits?

Gagdad Bob said...

Tom Waits press conference.

Van Harvey said...

What's funny, is that leftie scientismists, who absolutely reject the economic idea of the 'invisible hand' operating in the economy, that order could come out of chaos, that efficiency could come of the uncoordinated actions of 'intelligent' individuals working without a designed plan, turn right around and assert that life itself and intelligent life to boot, would have no problem whatsoever spontaneously erupting from the chance associations of unintelligent organic molecules.

What an interesting opinion they have of intelligence.

Van Harvey said...

" Even if that were true, on what basis can he object in a world of pure selfish genes? There are no rules in a Darwinian naïf fight. You can't cry "foul" when a snake eats your birdbrain. There is no "ought" in Darwinism. There is only survival. He just has to realize that "he who hesitates is lunch" and concede that Stein had a free one at his expense. He'll just have to evolve and move on. "

Heh. Another one who wants to not have his cake, and eat it too.

QP said...

People are queer, they're always crowing, scrambling and rushing about;

Why don't they stop someday, address themselves this way?

Why are we here? Where are we going? It's time that we found out.

We're not here to stay; we're on a short holiday.

Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don't take it serious; life's so mysterious. . .

QP said...

Footnote on the cherries thingy: Lyrics are from the GREAT American composer, George Gerswhin

Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"In the darklight of Darwinism, the human intellect -- the light that shines in the darkness of existence -- is an absolute miracle."

Well, in a word, not. The intellect is no miracle. It likely IS an product of the myriad neuronal connections that have been biologically constructed via the pressures of natural selection.
Yes, the periodic table of elements, given enough time, can develop an intellect through natural selection.

More/better neurons were selected for, the tangle of nervous connections enabled survival qualities, and off we went.

Yes, neuronal complexity enables intellect. But, we don't know exactly how it works yet. It is possible that there is what you would call God-an environing field of consciousness, much like a gravity field, that manifests when a sufficient level of complexity is reached.

This is why we think that a machine capable of thought would be creatable. Simply duplicate the complexity of the human brain, and it should "pick up" the environing field of consciousness, much as a radio tunes in a signal.

Now, where does the field of consciousness come from and what is it? That is the real question.

But Darwinistic natural selection can account for the mechanism of the intellect, if not the substance of it, without resorting to miracles.

Just call a spade a spade, and an unkown variable an unknown variable. Is that too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

That the mechanism of natural selection could produce the human mind IS the miracle, you dolt.

Gagdad Bob said...


Respectfully, your points are so dopey that I wouldn't even know where to begin to disabuse you of them, nor do I care to try. But thanks anyway.

Anonymous said...

The rebuttal to anonymous was weak.

Rebuttal A, that natural selection is a miracle, could be restated "how the cosmos came about is unknown." That is, in fact, the intellectually honest approach. The reliance on miracles is not honest.

Rebuttal B, that anonymous is "dopey," lacks supporting evidence and clarity.

Are intellects functioning on your side? I question that.

QP said...

New post @ LGF: C and F: The New Creationism

Anonymous said...

Charles does truly invaluable work covering the jihad, but a philosopher he's not.

Anonymous said...

This is just too good not to share:
Moonbats & Unintended Consequences

Code Pink is now resorting to witchcraft to beef up the number of its supporters protesting Berkeley's controversial Marine Corps Recruiting Center.

The women's anti-war group has told ralliers to come equipped with spells and pointy hats Friday for "Witches, clowns and sirens day," the last of the group's weeklong homage to Mother's Day.

"Women are coming to cast spells and do rituals and to impart wisdom to figure out how we're going to end war," Zanne Sam Joi of Bay Area Code Pink told

Capt. John Paul Wheatcroft said he's unfazed by Code Pink's antics.

"They're always in pink and wear funny things, half-shaved heads, one side with hair and the other one bald, yeah, I'm pretty much used to anything,"

But if events this week are an attempt by anti-war protesters to remarket their cause, the Marine recruiters in Berkeley tell that Code Pink's presence outside their office has helped — not hindered — their mission.

"Ironically, it's actually helped us by putting our name out. We're now well known. And people know who we are, and where we are, and they come in to talk to us about enlisting. They've gotten us the publicity that we could've never afforded to pay for ourselves," Wheatcroft told

As for what's brewing outside his recruiting center this week, Wheatcroft responded, "I think witches won't shock me, but it'll be a change of pace, so that's nice.

"Do you think they'll bring their cauldron?"

Oh please oh please, let Zombie be there on Friday to get pics.

mushroom said...

Van said: What an interesting opinion they have of intelligence.

Exactly. If intelligence is a product of natural selection, you can't trust it. Bob probably said that in his post, which I haven't read thoroughly yet.

You can see where people heavily influenced by evolution come up with post-modernism and deconstructism. All your wetware came into being simply to help you survive -- to eat other creatures, not get eaten, have lots of offspring. It just happens to have this neat side-effect of allowing you to understand the mysteries of the cosmos. Pretty cool, huh?

Frogs are really good at nabbing passing insects. Their eyes are especially adapted to it and everything is built around it. A frog understands his cosmos in a completely different way than does a swallow who catches insects as well but must coordinate it's flight to scoop them up.

If we are nothing more than products of random evolution, then we are simply seeing the cosmos in the most effective way for us as products of it. We're filling our evolutionary niche. I know we're really good at ballistics -- but beyond that, what do we really know?

Rick said...

I think a key is that we know a frog doesn’t understand his cosmos at all. Nor does he try, but that we do.

Rick said...

RE Dr. David Berlinski,

Julie, I think you’ll like this one:

David Berlinski: Process of Copying (Clip 9 of 19)

Rick said...

This one too:

Dr. David Berlinski: Random Mutations (Clip 7 of 19)

Awe heck they’re all good..

Thanks, Hoarhey.

Gagdad Bob said...

I'm really enjoying Berlinski's book, The Devil's Delusion (in the side bar). He's so much more intelligent than the middlebrow radical atheist crowd -- not to mention a much better writer -- that he just runs circles around them. Highly recommended. I'll be posting about it. Maybe starting tomorrow....

jonathan said...

Berlinski's latest book is pretty good reading.

julie said...

Thanks for the links, Ricky! They're like potato chips - once you start, you gotta devour them all...

And now, of course, I'll have to break down and buy his book.

Anonymous said...

He's good in Expelled also. It contains extended footage of Stein hanging out with him at his place in Paris.

phil g said...

I read Derbyshire's critique or slam of Stein. I've been watching curiously Derbyshire's increasingly shrill and odd behaviour. He drools over Ron Paul and seems increasingly hostile to religion and dismisses any potential for the transcendant. His position on Iraq is a bit odd as well in that if we followed his strategy - blow em all up then leave - Iraq would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran at this point...hmmm.

Rick said...

Anon from 3:48

You know, you remind me of another doctor.

This was the funniest part from your Sci-Fi rerun:

“Simply duplicate the complexity of the human brain…”

Nah… just this part:

“Simply duplicate the complexity”

Scratch that:

“Simply duplicate”

I think you know where this is headed...

Van Harvey said...

What, no epistemology or syllogism lessons? I thought for sure this post would bring them out in droves... instead we get brains by radio shack with subscription radio consciousness....

I feel... cheated.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bob, for the great review course in this important matter.

Having seen Stein's movie, I have a couple of things to add. To me, the link he made was much more effective, moving, and profound than the one between Darwinism and fascism, specifically Nazism. I think to see just that is to miss his most compelling point, that it's linked to -- actually seems to cause -- atheism and nihilism.

It really is remarkable how he manages to pull that off, and how you can see some of the "victims" articulate their descent into Hell in the company of Darwin.

Everyone really should see the film, not that anyone here except Anon #1 will learn anything new, but because we should all try to keep it in the theaters, give Ben Stein some of our money, and mostly because it's so wonderfully engaging and powerfully moving to see on the big screen.

Rick said...

RE Anon from 3:48

A slight correction to my last comment…
I should have said “you sound like” not “reminded me of”…just in a funny-strange/funny-haha sort of way you did. I’m not suggesting by my comment some sort of WARNING! don’t fool with mother nature, and all that. That is beside my point. I don’t even need to go that far. I just mean your idea has a huge gap in it and, like the Frankenstein story, requires one tremendous leap of faith. You jump right over “duplicate” like some minor technicality.

Actually Dr F.’s plan was easier than yours. He stitched parts together and simply added a lightening bolt. I offer something easier still:

1. Build a time machine,

2. Transport yourself back before the big bang and “observe”,

3. Transport yourself back to the future and continue your simple “duplication” recipe.

4. Serves none.

5. So what?

Admittedly, step 1 is pretty hard, but not as hard as the rest of them.

As Dr Seinfeld once said:

“That’s one big matza ball ya got hanging out there.”

Gagdad Bob said...

It's like Steve Martin's easy rules for becoming a millionaire. First, get a million dollars....

Van Harvey said...

Talk spinning to avoid the possibility of seeing... Conservatives
are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.
Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.
The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

AFFA said...

I don't believe that Darwinism inevitably leads to fascism. But a lack of faith or faith in something that isn't true often leads people to a prosthetic religion.

Anything can serve as a prosthetic religion: Darwinism, progressivism, environmentalism, fundamentalist religion, and all the new-and-improved religions you can find at your local bookstore. Even traditions that have the seeds of truth in them can become a prosthetic if the material parts are separated from the whole or they suffer from "vain repetition."

I know a few people who ghoulishly wave their prosthetic religions around, obsess about them, and show them off to friends. But while a prosthetic religion has the trappings and can drive people to do great things (for good or ill), it cannot connect you with truth or provide solace.

On epistemology, I've said the same thing, but I phrase it a bit differently. I'd list them as:
1) The Senses
2) Reason
3) Divine Revelation
Each alone is flawed. The senses are easily fooled. Reason is inherently incomplete and can't be applied to the world of the senses without paradox and strange loops. There are, unfortunately, multiple contradictory claims of divine revelation, so it can't always be true, even in the vertical sense.

So if all three methods are flawed, what's left? I play these three against each other in an attempt to minimize the flaws of each.

Panspermia is one of the more plausible theories. The wiki page on abiogenesis is a wonder of understatement.

Your Correspondent said...

A: If God does not exist, then everything is permitted.

Could someone please tell me where this argument fails?

We've evolved, purely in the interest of our own survival, an attachment to social order, to the social contract, to certain sets of rules and norms of behavior.

In atheist groups, and among idol-worshipers, there are indeed many rules and regulations. Just look at 'Political Correctness' to start.

"From each according to their production, to each according to their needs". And so on.

Lots of rules. So not everything is permitted.

Besides which, the Christians used have their nice little Inquisition, and the Nazis had their supporting clergy.

Hitler claimed to be a Catholic, not an atheist.

Van Harvey said...

internetfred said "From each according to their production, to each according to their needs". And so on.

Lots of rules. So not everything is permitted."

You mistake rules for what is proper. Even the mafia has rules, doesn't make following them Right. And as for your " each according to their needs..." example, you'd be hard pressed to find a more pernicious example of a rule that enables those who rule to do anything they desire and deem necessary, all in the name of those 'in need'. Mao, Stalin, Pol pot....

Lots of rules, but no sign of what is Right and True.

Btw, Hitler was raised a Lutheran, not a Catholic.

Your Correspondent said...

There were plenty of rules and regulations for people living under the atheistic rule of Stalin. Leaders in may societies violate the rules that exist for everybody else. This observation does not mean that the society has nor rules. Or that "Everything is permitted". Very little was permitted.

Even atheists are required to respect the speed limit on the highways. And pay their taxes. And are not allowed to steal. Even in the totalitarian states of Nazi Germany and Stalin's USSR.

Famously, there is more liberty in the relatively religious USA than in either of these totalitarian regimes.

Ray Ingles said...

Now that the archive's working, it looks like I just missed this post. It's wrong about "[t]here is no 'ought' in Darwinism". Here is where the argument fails. Right there in step A.

Not that history doesn't already make this clear. As I said in comments to later posts, Hitler wasn't an atheist. He sure wasn't a traditional Christian, of course, but he was sort of a neo-Pagan quasi-Christian who explicitly rejected evolution and based his racism on the idea that the 'races' had been created separately. The Holocaust owed far more to the virulent strain of anti-Semitism that Martin Luther embraced and fostered. That was certainly the motivation for the majority who actually carried out the crimes in person.

As to the Communist states under Stalin and Mao - they also explicitly rejected neo-Darwinian evolution and embraced (and enforced) Lysenkoism instead. The resulting crop failures when reality failed to match up to "worker's science" killed the a huge fraction - possibly the majority - of the millions who died under those regimes.

Ironically, the people under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would have been better off if their leaders had accepted neo-Darwinian evolution.

It's also not at all clear that the "gap... between consciousness and matter" is "unbridgeable". Alzheimer's sadly demonstrates that bridge being crossed in reverse. We don't know exactly how that bridge is constructed, of course, but that doesn't mean we can't see the outline of it through the fog.

Ray Ingles said...

Julie - you're not giving eternity enough credit. You might want to read Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" for a treatment of what the monkey metaphor is actually referring to. (On a site like this, you'd think people would recognize the difference between what a metaphor's pointing to and what it says in a literal sense.)

Anonymous said...

Believers tend to read scienc like they do the Bible, without thinking. We know alot more now than Darwin did when he wrote his book. When you read Darwin you need to take this new information into account.

Apes coming down from trees needed more intelligents than apes in trees, to hunt and protect against predators on the ground. So the smarter apes lived and became increasingly smart when migrating to diffrent territories.

As a programmer I know that if I have a function to measure the quality of input, I can use a random generator to create the best possible input, it just might take some time to find it. ( or I could get lucky )
Nature has a function to measure quality of life, the better qualified have a beter chance of living and therefore have more offspring.
This analogy also says that we might not be the best there could be, just the best found yet.