Re., evolution: Is the distinction between competition and cooperation a false dichotomy? Answer, No! A false dichotomy only relates to picking one side or the other. I am suggesting both sides, or the synthesis of competition and cooperation, and this is a Trinitarian extension. The false dichotomy is more related to the fallacy of excluded middle, but what I am saying is that: you can’t exclude the middle term.
But what exactly is it that is found oscillating between competition and cooperation? Certainly not the blind watchmaker because I have been reminded that this watchmaker is only metaphorical. So what is it? Answer, life! But note that life is not self-contained in mere word definitions that can exist out side of the universe. Part of life has to do with what is self evidently part of concrete reality, and less about abstract definitions. Is this the life that has fragmented itself into life forms that are found competing within the environment? Or is this the life that comes as the whole environment that supports the cooperation of life forms in community? I don`t think you can pin this on one side or the other (i.e., you need two sides), and this life is now well beyond what we think about with natural selection because this tendency to compete, or cooperate, implies both agency and intelligence. Life is found to be intelligent.
Here is an additional point: A life so noted with powers to strive, to compete or cooperate, can provide feedback on itself where it is conceivable to think about adaptive mutations that are no longer just accidental. This Lamarckian-type extension is less remarkable once we realize that striving to survive is also very remarkable (my prior point) because it impacts the space-time fabric beyond what is permitted by blind action represented in geometry. Striving is intelligent action, it is navigation. And once we have hypothetical mutations that can already be impacted by teleology (the additional point), we also have the issue of surviving genes that are selected for in the next generation (the prior point). With life striving this selection can no longer be claimed to be “natural” selection, independent of the origin of mutations. Nevertheless, I believe the possibility of adaptive mutations provide a reasonable theory that can find evidential support, and these mutations can`t be just “random.”