Thursday, 31 August 2006

Darwinian Fairytales

Darwin is apparently getting clobbered from a rather unlikely source: a philosopher of "no religion", the late David Stove. In his recently published book Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution, Stove acknowledged Darwin’s “great genius” and admitted that natural selection had great explanatory power when it came to “sponges, snakes and flies.”
However, Stove regarded Darwinism as a “ridiculous slander to human beings.” Flesh-and-blood people do not act in any ways resembling what the Darwinian dogma says they should. For instance, natural selection dictates that “every organism has as many descendants as it can.” Stove asks, “Do you know anyone of whom that’s true?”

Likewise, Darwin insisted that natural selection would “rigidly destroy” any variation that would hurt its possessor “in the struggle for life.” Stove replied, “start with the letter ‘A’: Abortion, Alcoholism, or even Altruism.” Are any of these “variations” being “rigidly destroyed”?

After hearing about this book from Chuck Colson, I've checked out reviews on the web, and it's generally hailed as being razor sharp and extremely funny, as well as relentless in its use of logic.

I just thought the questions were cool...

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