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Evolutionism Wobbling

Author
Category Articles
Date September 1, 2005

“The Times Literary Supplement, in its issue of 29 July, carried a seven-column article by the celebrated philosopher Jerry Fodor of Rutgers University, which relentlessly demolished the concept of Evolutionary Psychology, one of the pillars of the imposing mansion of orthodoxy occupied by the Darwinians. Fodor is particularly scathing about Dawkins and his leading American lieutenant, Professor Steven Pinker, and the theory that, in the process of natural selection, genes selfishly spread themselves. Fodor’s discourse on motivation (or lack of it) in the evolutionary process is well worth reading, being a sensible and sensitive argument as opposed to the dogmatic assertions of the Darwinian cultists. It is, I think, a sign of the times that they are now being attacked from within the establishment.

“At the same time, Opponents of the dogma that natural selection is the sole Force in evolution, who cannot get a hearing within that establishment, are not remaining silent. It is characteristic of the new debate that heterodoxy is finding other outlets. I recommend, for instance, a book by the learned anatomist Dr Antony Latham, The Naked Emperor: Darwinism Exposed, just out from Janus publishing (105-107 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 6BY). Much of the book is devoted to a chapter-by-chapter exposure of the errors and illogicalities of Dawkins’s best-known book, The Blind Watchmaker, and its highly emotional presentation of the case against design (and God). The indictment of Dawkins’s scientific scholarship is powerful, masterly and (I would say) unanswerable.

“Another book which has come my way this summer, though it was published by Columbia in New York in 2003, is by Richard Bird of Northumbria University. It is called Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution and Thought. This is a formidable piece of work, showing that the way in which living things appear and evolve is altogether more complex and sophisticated than the reliance on natural selection presupposes. One of the points he raises, which to me as a historian is crucial, is the impossibility of fitting natural selection as the normative form of evolution into the time frame of the earth as an environment for life. Bird shows that Dawkins’s attempts to answer this objection are disingenuous and futile. One of the virtues of this book (as, indeed, of Dr Latham’s) is that it has told me a lot about evolution and design that I did not know, and which orthodox dogma conceals. So there is a virtue in the origins debate – the spread of knowledge – and I hope it continues until the altars of Dagon come crashing down.”

THE SPECTATOR 27 August 2005

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