Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Empirics and the Selfish Gene

It amazes me how frequently Darwinists insist that their theory is just simple science, then straightforwardly and without embarrassment make anti-scientific pronouncements in its name. A clear case, from the corner at National Review Online, is here. The key quote is the last sentence from the reader:

"The blind, selfish gene is paramount. Always. No matter how much it doesn't look that way here on the outside."

No matter how much it doesn't look that way. Can there be a more anti-empirical statement than that? There is nothing a human being can do, no possible empirical state of affairs, that can count as evidence against the theory of the selfish gene. Because, no matter how unselfish any behavior may appear to be, we know, we just know, that down deep, it is a product of the selfish genes at work. The more altruistic a behavior, the more fiendishly clever those damnable selfish genes must be to hide their work so thoroughly.

John Derbyshire is at least consistent in his application of Darwinism. He steadfastly refuses to read any criticisms of Darwinism by the original authors (all of which he lumps together as "creationists"), and restricts himself to reading Darwinist responses to "creationists." There is a perverse but consistent logic in this. Just as apparently unselfish behavior is always and necessarily a mask for a more fundamental selfishness, so any criticism of Darwinism is always and necessarily a mask for religious fundamentalism, no matter how apparently secular and even reasonable a criticism might sound. The point I made in the first paragraph, for example, is generally not taken by Darwinists as a reasonable question deserving of an intelligent answer, but as evidence that the questioner has a secret creationist agenda that must be exposed and defeated as a matter of the greatest urgency, preferably before the theocracy takes control and banishes Darwin forever.

On just about every other subject John Derbyshire is a fount of wisdom, common sense, and common skepticism; on the issue of Darwinism, for some reason, he behaves as a True Believer.

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