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Darwinism's Dilemma (part I: Cave Man)
Darwinian Fairytales (Avebury Series in Philosophy, 1996) | 1996 | D. C. Stove

Posted on 02/07/2003 8:18:03 PM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode

Darwinism's Dilemma (part I: Cave Man)

David Stove

"... in the state of nature... [human] life was a continual free fight."
T.H. Huxley, Evolution and Ethics.

IF DARWIN'S THEORY of evolution were true, there would be in every species a constant and ruthless competition to survive: a competition in which only a few in any generation can be winners. But it is perfectly obvious that human life is not like that, however it may be with other species.

This inconsistency, between Darwin's theory and the facts of human life, is what I mean by "Darwinism's Dilemma." The inconsistency is so very obvious that no Darwinian has ever been altogether unconscious of it. There have been, accordingly, very many attempts by Darwinians to wriggle out of the dilemma. But the attempts are conspicuously unsuccessful. They are not uninstructive, though, or unamusing.

The attempts to escape from Darwinism's dilemma all fall into one or other of three types. These can be usefully labelled "the Cave Man way out," "the Hard Man," and "the Soft Man." All three types are hardy perennials, and have been with us, in one version or another, ever since Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859.

What I call the Cave Man way out is this: you admit that human life is not now what it would be if Darwin's theory were true, but also insist that it used to be like that.

In the olden days (the story goes), human populations always did press relentlessly on their supply of food, and thereby brought about constant competition for survival among the too-numerous competitors, and hence natural selection of those organisms which were best fitted to succeed in the struggle for life. But our species (the story goes on) escaped long ago from the brutal regime of natural selection. We developed a thousand forms of attachment, loyalty, cooperation, and unforced subordination, every one of them quite incompatible with a constant and merciless competition to survive. We have now had for a very long time, at least locally, religions, moralities, laws or customs, respect for life and property, rules of inheritance, specialized social orders, distinctions of rank, and standing provisions for external defense, internal police, education, and health. Even at out lowest ebb we still have ties of blood, and ties of marriage: two things which are quite as incompatible with a universal competition to survive as are, for example, a medical profession, a priesthood, or a state.


THIS CAVE MAN story, however implausible, is at any rate not inconsistent with itself. But the combination of it with Darwin's theory of evolution is inconsistent. That theory is a universal generalization about all terrestrial species at any time. Hence, if the theory says something which is not true now of our species (or another), then it is not true--finish. In short, the Cave man way out of Darwinism's dilemma is in reality no way out at all: it is self-contradictory.

If Darwin's theory of evolution is true, no species can ever excape from the process of natural selection. His theory is that two universal and permanent tendencies of all species of organisms--the tendancey to increase in numbers up to the limit that the food supply allows, and the tendency to vary in a heritable way--are together sufficient for survival, and therefore universal and permanent natural selection among the competitors.

So the "modern" part of this way out of Darwin's dilemma is inconsistent with Darwinism. But the Cave Man part of it is also utterly incredible in itself. It may be possible, for all I know, that a population of pines or cod should exist with no cooperative as distinct from competitive relations among its members. But no tribe of humans could possibly exist on those terms. Such a tribe could not even raise a second generation: the helplessness of the human young is too extreme and prolonged. So if you ever read a report (as one sometimes does) of the existence of an on-going tribe of just this kind, you should confidently conclude that the reporter is mistaken or lying or both.

Even if such a tribe could somehow continue in existence, it is extremely difficult to imagine how our species, as we now know it to be, could ever have graduated from so very hard a school. We need to remember how severe the rule of natural selection is, and what it means to say that a species is subject to it. It means, among other things, that of all the rabbits, flies, cod, pines, etc., that are born, the enormous majority must suffer early death; and it means no less of our species. How could we have escaped from this set up, supposing we once were in it? Please don't say that a god came down, and pointed out to Darwinian Cave Men a better way, or that the Cave Men themselves got together and adopted a Social Contract (with a Department of Family Planning). Either of those explanations is logically possible, of course, but they are just too improbably to be worth talking about. Yet some explanation, of the same order of improbability, seems to be required, if we once allow ourselves to believe that though we are not subject now to natural selection, we used to be.

The Cave Man way out, despite its absurdity, is easily the most popular of the three ways of trying to get out of Darwinism's dilemma. It has been progressively permeating popular thought for nearly one hundred and fifty years. By now it is enshrined in a thousand cartoons and comic-strips, and it is as immovable as Christmas. But we should not infer from this that it lacks high scientific authorities in its favor. Quite the contrary, Cave man has been all along, and still is, the preferred way out of Darwinism's dilemma among the learned, as well as among the vulgar.

Darwinism in its early decades had an urgent need for an able and energetic PR man. Darwin himself had little talent for that kind of work, and even less taste for it. But he found in T. H. Huxley someone who had both the talent and the taste in plenty. Huxley came to be known as "Darwin's bulldog," and by thirty years of invaluable service as a defender of Darwinism against all comers, he deserved it. And he provides an unusually explicit example of a high scientific authority who takes the Cave Man way out.

Huxley knew perfectly well, of course, since he was not a madman, that human life in England in his own time did not bear any resemblance to a constant and ruthless struggle to survive. Why, life was not like that even among the savages of New Guinea--nay, even in Sydney--as be found when he was in these parts in the late 1840s, as a surgeon on board H.M.S Rattlesnake. Did these facts make him doubt, when he became a Darwinian about ten years later, the reality of Darwin's "struggle for life," at least in the case of humans? Of course not. They only made him think that, while of course there must have been a stage of Darwinian competition in human history, it must also have ended long ago.


BUT IN THOSE distant times, Huxley informs us, human beings lived in "nature," or "in the state of nature," or in "the savage state." Each man "appropriated whatever took his fancy and killed whomsoever opposed him, if he could." "Life was a continual free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence."[1]

It is hard to believe one's eyes when reading these words. Thomas Hobbes, forsooth! He was a philosopher who had published, two hundred years earlier, some sufficiently silly a priori anthropology. But Huxley is a great Darwinian scientist, and is writing in about 1890. Yet what he says is even sillier than anything Hobbes dreamed up about the pre-history of our species.

What, for example, is a Hobbesian savage, presumably an adult male, doing with a family at all, however "limited and temporary"? In a "continual free fight," any man who had on his mind, not only his own survival, but that of a wife and child, would be no match for a man not so encumbered. Huxley's man, if he wanted to maximize his own chances of survival, and had even half a brain, would simply eat his wife and child before some other man did. They are first class protein, after all, and intraspecific Darwinian competition is principally the competition for the means of subsistence, isn't it. Besides, wives and children are "easy meat," compared with most of the protein that goes around even at the best of times.

Huxley has even managed to burden Darwin with an absurdity which, though it was stronly suggested by Darwin's insistence on words like "struggle" and "battle", is by no means inherent in Darwinism itself. I mean, by his reference to "continual fighting." Fighting between conspecifics, even fighting over food, is not at all a necessary element in competition for survival as Darwin conceives it, whether it be humans, flies, cod or whatever that is in question. If you and I are competing for survival, and for ten days in a row you are able to get food while I cannot, then I starve to death and you win this competition, whatever may have been the difference between us which enabled you to win. Of course it may have been your greater fighting ability. But it might equally have been your superior speed, intelligence, eyesight, camouflage, or any one or more of a hundred other things. Fighting need never have come into the matter at all, as far as Darwinian theory is concerned. Which is just as well for that theory, since pines, most flies, and countless other species, cannot fight.

Huxley naturally realized that, as examples of Darwinian competition for life among humans, hypothetical ancient fights between Hobbesian bachelors were not nearly good enough. What was desperately needed was some real examples, drawn from contemporary or at least recent history. Nothing less would be sufficient to reconcile Darwinism with the obvious facts of human life. Accordingly, Huxley made several attempts to supply such an example. But the result in every case was merely embarrassing.

One attempt was as follows. Huxley draws attention to the fierce competition for colonies and markets which was going on, at the time he wrote, among the major Western nations. He says, in effect, "There! That's pretty Darwinian, you must admit."[2] The reader, for his part, scarcely knows where to look, and wonders, very excusably, what species of organism it can possibly be, of which Britain, France, and Germany are members.

A second attempt at a real and contemporary example was the following. Huxley says that there is, after all, still a little bit of Darwinian struggle for life in Britain around 1890. It exists among the poorest 5 percent of the nation. And the reason, he says (remembering Darwin and Malthus), is that in those depths of British society, the pressure of population on the food supply is still maximal.[3]

Yet Huxley knew perfectly well (and in other writings showed that he knew) that the denizens of "darkest England" were absorbed around 1890, not in a competition for life, but (whatever they may have thought) in a competition for early death through alcohol. Was that Darwinian? But even supposing he had been right, what a pitiable harvest of examples, to support a theory about the whole species Homo Sapiens. Five percent of Britons around 1890, indeed! Such a "confirmation" is more likeley to strengthen doubts about Darwinism than to weaken them.

A third attempt is this. Huxley implies that there have been "one or two short intervals" of the Darwinian "struggle for existence between man and man" in England in quite recent centuries: for example, the civil war of the seventeenth-century! You probably think, and you certainly ought to think, that I am making this up; but I am not. He actually writes that, since "the reign of Elizabeth..., the stuggle for existence between man and man has been so largely restrained among the great mass of the population (except for one or two short intervals of civil war), that it can have little, or no selective operation."[4]

You probably also think that the English civil war of the seventeenth century grew out of tensions between parliament and the court, dissent and the established church, republic and the monarchy. Nothing of the sort, you see: it was a resumption of "the struggle for existence between man and man." Cromwell and King Charles were competing with each other, and each of them with everyone else too, a la Darwin and Malthus, for means of subsistence. So no doubt Cromwell, when he had had the king's head cut off, ate it. Uncooked, I shouldn't wonder, the beast. And probably selfishly refused to let his secretary John Milton have even one nibble.

Huxley should not have needed Darwinism to tell him--since any intelligent child of about eight could have told him--that in a "continual free figh of each other against all" there would soon be no children, no women and hence, no men. In other words, that the human race could not possibly exist now, unless cooperation had always been stronger than competition, both between women and their children, and between men and the children and women whom they protect and provide for.

And why was it that Huxley himself swallowed, and expected the rest of us to swallow, this ocean of biological absurdity and historical illiteracy? Why, just because he could not imagine Darwinism's being false, while if it is true then a struggle for life must always be going on in every species. Indeed, the kind of examples for which Huxley searched would have to be as common as air among us, surrounding us everywhere and at all times. But anyone who tries to point out such an example will find himself obliged to reenact T. H. Huxley's ludicrous performance.

There is (as I said earlier) a contradiction at the very heart of the Cave Man way out of Darwinism's dilemma: the contradiction between holding that Darwinism is true and admitting that it is not true of our species now. But I should perhaps emphasize that the absurdities which we have just witnessed in Huxley, though they no doubt were generated by that initial contradiction, are additional to it.

[1] Huxley, Evolution and Ethics, pg. 204-205.
[2] Huxley, Evolution and Ethics, pg. 210-212.
[3] Huxley, Evolution and Ethics, pg. 40-41.
[4] Huxley, Evolution and Ethics, pg. 38.



TOPICS: Chit/Chat
KEYWORDS: crevolist

1 posted on 02/07/2003 8:18:03 PM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode
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To: CalConservative; Burkeman1; mcsparkie; HiTech RedNeck; gore3000; Ahban; Polycarp; Dataman; ...
ping
2 posted on 02/07/2003 8:18:52 PM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
I'm undecided on Darwin's theory, so I'll be interested in the comments.
3 posted on 02/07/2003 8:25:02 PM PST by Sparta (Statism is a mental illness)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
Ridiculous !
4 posted on 02/07/2003 8:26:56 PM PST by elbucko
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To: PatrickHenry
Ping?
5 posted on 02/07/2003 8:32:27 PM PST by Aric2000 (Are you on Grampa Dave's team? I am!! $5 a month is all it takes, come join!!!)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
This has got to be one of the most ridiculous and reaching thesis against Darwin that I have ever seen.

It is called intelligence, maker of tools, killer of animals for their fur etc.

We were able, mostly, to get out of the evolutionary necessity of fighting for survival. The last millenium or so has sped this up as our medicine has gotten better, our technology has gotten better etc.

This does NOTHING to disprove Darwins Theory of Evolution, and whoever says it is, is a noncritical thinking fool.
6 posted on 02/07/2003 8:36:23 PM PST by Aric2000 (Are you on Grampa Dave's team? I am!! $5 a month is all it takes, come join!!!)
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To: Sparta
I'm undecided on Darwin's theory, so I'll be interested in the comments.

The author should crawl back into his cave.

7 posted on 02/07/2003 8:39:20 PM PST by cinFLA
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
I believe that the article is working off of an incorrect assumption:

"IF DARWIN'S THEORY of evolution were true, there would be in every species a constant and ruthless competition to survive: a competition in which only a few in any generation can be winners."

Does he mean organisms within a species or organisms of different species? Each organism is in a constant competition with its peers for fitness, not survival. The competition of fitness is not winner-take-all. The functional unit of evolution is the population, not the individual.

8 posted on 02/07/2003 8:42:37 PM PST by Voice in your head (Nuke Baghdad)
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To: cinFLA
The author of this piece is a rambling loon. I was interested in the comments, because I need someone to translate this babbeling. (This is worse than f.Christian's posts.)
9 posted on 02/07/2003 8:44:52 PM PST by Sparta (Statism is a mental illness)
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To: Sparta
Evolution is -- full on -- brainwashing (( redacting // deleting conservatism )) and . . .

indoctrinating // programming LIBERALISM // lies // bias all through America // society ! ! !

All unashamedly on the FR too ==== "fraud // curruption" ==== UNADULTERED tyranny (( incoherence // chatter // static ))!!


10 posted on 02/07/2003 9:04:39 PM PST by f.Christian (( Orcs of the world : : : Take note and beware. ))
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
Thanks for the ping. In our time Richard Dawkins is fair image of Huxley as "shill/snake oil salesman".
11 posted on 02/07/2003 9:09:13 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwininian - fairness like natural selection is defined by how it effects Darwin's theory)
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To: Sparta
"A cosmetic firm (( public schools // taxes )) --

will . . . create (( link )) - - - a cologne (( magic ointment )) --

called Affirmative Action (( govt science // evolution )) --

which makes ignorant people (( think // believe they )) smell educated (( tyrannical superiority complex )) ** ."

** . . . my additions !

12 posted on 02/07/2003 9:11:24 PM PST by f.Christian (( Orcs of the world : : : Take note and beware. ))
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
"the reign of Elizabeth..., the stuggle for existence between man and man has been so largely restrained among the great mass of the population (except for one or two short intervals of civil war), that it can have little, or no selective operation."[4]

It seems as if some people here are denying that Huxley made the above statement. Otherwise, they are implying that Darwin's bulldog is wrong about Darwin's theory.

13 posted on 02/07/2003 9:13:39 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwininian - fairness like natural selection is defined by how it effects Darwin's theory)
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To: Sparta
We developed a thousand forms of attachment, loyalty, cooperation, and unforced subordination, every one of them quite incompatible with a constant and merciless competition to survive.

The evolutionary purpose for these traits is success at war. Darwin knew that humans were a special case, that the discovery of war is what caused humans to develop intelligence far in excess of what is needed to find food. If two tribes go to battle, usually the smarter tribe wins, and the genetically inferior tribe dies off. And it isn't just intelligence, but group loyalty, self-sacrifice, cooperation, morality, even lifespan, are all genetically honed for success at war. War is in effect very high speed evolution, and is the only reason humans have become the most genetically advanced animal to ever live.

Darwin wrote about all this. I don't know why this key discovery about who we are and where we come from is never taught.

14 posted on 02/07/2003 9:23:01 PM PST by Reeses
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To: AndrewC
Otherwise, they are implying that Darwin's bulldog is wrong about Darwin's theory.

Wow, in two posts you've made your central arguments ad hominem and ad verecundiam.

15 posted on 02/07/2003 9:28:56 PM PST by jlogajan
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To: Reeses
Darwin was also a devout Christian, even after he wrote Orgin of Species but this is not often mentioned either.

Darwin has been used to push one political ideology or another.

16 posted on 02/07/2003 9:30:54 PM PST by Sparta (Statism is a mental illness)
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To: Sparta
"I'm undecided on Darwin's theory, so I'll be interested in the comments."

I'm generally skeptical of Darwin's ideas, but this article is deserving of the criticisms on this thread.

17 posted on 02/07/2003 9:31:29 PM PST by cookcounty
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To: Sparta
I'm undecided on Darwin's theory

You'll have to look at real evidence, such as the fossil record, DNA research, species data, etc. These "philosophy" pieces prove nothing except the ability of the writer to engage in circular logic.

18 posted on 02/07/2003 9:46:50 PM PST by jlogajan
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To: Sparta
OK: differential reproductive success for an individual isn't a necessary condition for a trait to persist; otherwise the sickle-cell anemia gene wouldn't still be around. (It provides enough of an advantage to heterozygotes to "compensate for" the early death of homozygous recessives.) Similarly, cooperation can be advantageous enough to groups or species as a whole to be selected. The author's notion that Darwinian evolution would mean that humans would be perpetually at war, unable to form even small cooperative groups, is just silly.
19 posted on 02/07/2003 9:59:54 PM PST by jejones
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To: Sparta
My understanding is that Darwin's wife was a devout Christian, Darwin was not. His wife tried to convert him. She did not want to spend her eternal afterlife without him. He loved her greatly and he did not want to disappoint her. Still, as much as this bothered him he was unable to become a devout Christian.

This should have little bearing on the validity of his work though. He was a brilliant man, and also by definition a deadly warmaker. He was the genetic product of many thousands of years of brutal war, as are you and me.

20 posted on 02/07/2003 10:09:36 PM PST by Reeses
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To: jlogajan
Wow, in two posts you've made your central arguments ad hominem and ad verecundiam.

I see you are attempting distraction by being the example for both of your erroneously used Latin terms.

First, my conversation was not with Dawkins and second, I was not appealing to authority in pointing out the consequences of the statements of others.

Now, your use of a reference to me was Ad Hominem and your use of the Latin terms was an appeal to authority.

21 posted on 02/07/2003 10:11:02 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwininian - fairness like natural selection is defined by how it effects Darwin's theory)
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To: jejones
Species cooperating with other species is wide spread through the natural world. Evolution only cares about the outcome, and you simply have a better outcome sometimes working with another creature than working against it, so naturally cooperation happens. This is especially true in family units.Individual genes enhancing cooperation are highly favored because siblings have a good chance of having the same common gene.

There should also be noted a second level of evolution is at play here. Instead of genes fighting for survival it is a survival of memes or ideas instead. Call it "progress" instead of "evolution". An environment of cooperation is highly benefical to the propagation of ideas so any idea which helps ideas themselves propagate , such as "lets cooperate on this" naturally propagates itself better than a "let's not trade anything." kind of idea.
Genes or Memes, either way its self replicating self adjusting information and the outcome,evolution or progress, is quite similar.

22 posted on 02/07/2003 10:25:38 PM PST by Nateman
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To: Sparta
Begins with a fallacy. This is as far as I read:

IF DARWIN'S THEORY of evolution were true, there would be in every species a constant and ruthless competition to survive: a competition in which only a few in any generation can be winners. But it is perfectly obvious that human life is not like that, however it may be with other species.

It is good for the survival of mankind both for individual men to cooperate together, and for groups of men to live in the presence of other species that help provide such things as food, fur, etc. Therefore, Darwinism would favor the survival of men who cooperate and conserve other species. Those are the kinds of men that would tend to survive and reproduce. Therefore, the article begins with a complete and utter fallacy as its opening point. It's not worth reading further.

23 posted on 02/07/2003 10:33:30 PM PST by butter pecan fan
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To: butter pecan fan
Therefore, Darwinism would favor the survival of men who cooperate and conserve other species. Those are the kinds of men that would tend to survive and reproduce.

Oh? So why aren't we all tree-hugging communists?

24 posted on 02/07/2003 10:48:01 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwininian - fairness like natural selection is defined by how it effects Darwin's theory)
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To: Aric2000; VadeRetro; jennyp; Junior; longshadow; *crevo_list; RadioAstronomer; Scully; ...
"IF DARWIN'S THEORY of evolution were true, there would be in every species a constant and ruthless competition to survive: a competition in which only a few in any generation can be winners."

With his first sentence, the author reveals an ignorance of natural selection, and thus of evolution, which is so profound that he rivals some of the hard-core creos on FreeRepublic. Having raised up a false idea (or strawman), he then devotes his diminished intellectual resources to demolishing that false idea. A peaceful occupation for someone who quite likely is -- or should be -- confined to his bed in a psycho ward. The article should have been posted in blue.

I will ping only a few people, not my entire list.

25 posted on 02/08/2003 3:25:06 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: Aric2000
To top it off, teamwork is one of our survival tools. Something this author decidedly avoids mentioning.
26 posted on 02/08/2003 4:30:01 AM PST by Junior (Put tag line here =>)
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To: Sparta
There is no Darwinian dilemma.
27 posted on 02/08/2003 4:31:13 AM PST by bert
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To: Junior
The author of the article imagines that every species is working out some kind of "There can be only one!" imperative, like a bunch of Duncan MacCleods in the Highlander. This is a misconception that I've never seen before, and I thought I'd seen them all. Still, as ignorant as the author obviously is, his essay will be praised to the skies by the creos.
28 posted on 02/08/2003 6:59:43 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: AndrewC
your use of the Latin terms was an appeal to authority.

The sad thing is that you probably really believe that.

29 posted on 02/08/2003 8:03:04 AM PST by jlogajan
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To: PatrickHenry
There is (as I said earlier) a contradiction at the very heart of the Cave Man way out of Darwinism's dilemma: the contradiction between holding that Darwinism is true and admitting that it is not true of our species now.

Yeesh, this is a stretch, particularly since the *jury* is still out on homo sapiens as a successful species. We may have been able to temporarily circumvent natural selection with advanced medical care and sanitation, but in the end our tinkering with biology alone may cause us to be selected for extinction. Many individuals with hertitable disorders now live long enough to breed...and pass on the traits. Our love-affair with antibiotics has accelerated advantageous mutations within pathogens beyond our capability to adapt. AIDS and other emergent diseases are burning across cultural and social divides. I fear the future for our species is not a rosy as this author wants to think.

30 posted on 02/08/2003 9:12:07 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: jlogajan
The sad thing is that you don't know what you are doing.
31 posted on 02/08/2003 9:39:42 AM PST by AndrewC (Darwininian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: bert
The darwinian dichotomy (( darloserian )) . . . evolution is a dead branch of science - - - going to the fire // ash heap of history ! ! !
32 posted on 02/08/2003 10:35:49 AM PST by f.Christian (( Orcs of the world : : : Take note and beware. ))
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To: AndrewC

Therefore, Darwinism would favor the survival of men who cooperate and conserve other species. Those are the kinds of men that would tend to survive and reproduce.

Oh? So why aren't we all tree-hugging communists?

Because being responsible capitalists works so much better, silly!
33 posted on 02/08/2003 3:39:28 PM PST by jennyp (http://crevo.bestmessageboard.com)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
If this is an article in the "Avebury Series in Philosophy", it doesn't bode well for the rest of the series! (Unless the series includes a rebuttal, but better would have been for it to die in editorial review.)
34 posted on 02/08/2003 3:40:58 PM PST by jennyp (http://crevo.bestmessageboard.com)
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To: jennyp
Because being responsible capitalists works so much better, silly!

Well you got me there.

35 posted on 02/08/2003 4:25:28 PM PST by AndrewC
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Yeesh, this is a stretch, particularly since the *jury* is still out on homo sapiens as a successful species. We may have been able to temporarily circumvent natural selection with advanced medical care and sanitation, but in the end our tinkering with biology alone may cause us to be selected for extinction. Many individuals with hertitable disorders now live long enough to breed...and pass on the traits. Our love-affair with antibiotics has accelerated advantageous mutations within pathogens beyond our capability to adapt. AIDS and other emergent diseases are burning across cultural and social divides. I fear the future for our species is not a rosy as this author wants to think.

I see. You are what David Stove would call a Darwinian "Hard Man", or rather, Hard Woman. As such, you might enjoy reading part II: Darwinism's Dilemma (part II: Hard Man).

36 posted on 02/08/2003 8:09:25 PM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode
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To: Reeses
Darwin knew that humans were a special case, that the discovery of war is what caused humans to develop intelligence far in excess of what is needed to find food.

Total absolute nonsense. First of all, intelligence is useful in numerous things in life, not just in war. Second of all, even amongst animals there is war - war between species and war between those in the same species for mates. So intelligence is useful in numerous situations as anyone with half a brain should understand.

37 posted on 02/09/2003 5:18:34 PM PST by gore3000
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To: jejones
OK: differential reproductive success for an individual isn't a necessary condition for a trait to persist; otherwise the sickle-cell anemia gene wouldn't still be around.

Evolutionists often cite this as supporting their theory but there are a couple of problems with it:
1. If the whole poulation had the trait then it would reproduce 1/4 less than other populations of the same species. (check out genetics 101).
2. Even bigger problem is that we have never found a population with as much as 50% of it carrying this trait. ( I think 25% or so is the highest). Now the question is, how does the rest of the population manage to survive malaria? If this mutation was the only way to survive it then it would exist in 100% of the population in malarial areas. Clearly there are other reasons why people survive malaria so this is not the reason for it. Let's note that the black death, one of the worst illnesses known, killed between 1/4 and 1/3 of Europe's population by all accounts, yet there was no 'immunity' to it in this fashion. Clearly, human beings have the ability to fight many diseases and survive, this is part of the inherent strenght of the genome pool of a species.

38 posted on 02/09/2003 5:43:54 PM PST by gore3000
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Yeesh, this is a stretch, particularly since the *jury* is still out on homo sapiens as a successful species.

That's a pretty silly statement. Even evolutionists admit that we are at the top of the 'evolutionary tree'. We are the masters of the beasts - as the Bible said many millenia ago.

BTW - who is this *jury*?????

39 posted on 02/09/2003 7:06:37 PM PST by gore3000
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To: gore3000
So intelligence is useful in numerous situations as anyone with half a brain should understand.

That's a straw man argument. I didn't say intelligence is only useful for war, only that war is the evolutionary reason we are intelligent. Those of us alive today are the living offspring of the winning warmakers. You attack me in a warlike anger because you are the product of war. It's both our nature, and we are naturally very good at it.

We are about to go to war with Iraq. They will lose because they are not as advanced at war as you and I. This is human evolution in action. We aren't going to kill all the Iraqis, but if they tick us off enough, at the press of a few buttons we can turn Iraq into a radioactive sheet of glass. Recent history shows it's not totally beyond us to do that.

This debate was hashed out in 1882. If you would like a better explanation you can read it in Darwin's own words at http://pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin/texts/descent/descent05.html

40 posted on 02/09/2003 7:27:47 PM PST by Reeses
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To: gore3000
That's a pretty silly statement. Even evolutionists admit that we are at the top of the 'evolutionary tree'. We are the masters of the beasts - as the Bible said many millenia ago. BTW - who is this *jury*?????

To answer your question, the "jury" in this instance is Natural Selection.

Humans (as Homo sapiens) have only been around for about 300,000-400,000 years, barely a blip in time compared to dinosaurs, who reigned between 140-180 million years...or even cycads, which have existed for over 200 million years and still decorate landscapes today.

As far as being on the top-rung of the evolutionary ladder, just look around you at the greed, perversion, murder, child abuse, etc., etc. that pervades our society. I hardly think those traits qualify us for any sort of honor.

41 posted on 02/10/2003 11:51:57 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: Piltdown_Woman
As far as being on the top-rung of the evolutionary ladder, just look around you at the greed, perversion, murder, child abuse, etc., etc. that pervades our society.

What a sad life you must lead, always looking at the worst in life and putting yourself and your fellow human beings down as worse than beasts of burden.

42 posted on 02/10/2003 8:00:45 PM PST by gore3000
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To: gore3000
What a sad life you must lead, always looking at the worst in life and putting yourself and your fellow human beings down as worse than beasts of burden.

Just a realist...I was, after all, a paramedic in Chicago for 10 years. I've seen the best and worst of human behavior...and from my experience, evil outnumbers good at least 10:1.

43 posted on 02/11/2003 2:15:24 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: gore3000
Let's note that the black death, one of the worst illnesses known, killed between 1/4 and 1/3 of Europe's population by all accounts, yet there was no 'immunity' to it in this fashion.

This statement is false. The CCR5 Delta-32 mutation confers immunity to bubonic plague, and moreover has the fortuitous side-benefit of conferring immunity to HIV. Research has established that the alleles emerged around the time of the Black Death in 14th century Europe. That's why Caucasian populations have a notably higher resistance to HIV than do Africans, by the way.

Unlike a creationist, I won't use this error as a comprehensive rebuttal to your various unrelated points. Not least because those easily collapse on their own demerits...

44 posted on 02/12/2003 11:45:54 PM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Reeses
Actually Darwin studied to become a clergyman, he was a deist and therefor believed evolution was pre-planned by god. Some of what Darwin wrote in origin of species was incorrect as he was under the false impression that traits were passed down by blending. Also man didn't adapt due to war, we adapted because as bipeds, though we had the advantage of seeing over the grass in the savanna we could not move as fast and so there was an advantage in being able to outthink predators. Also as meat eaters our bodies had enough protein that a bigger brain was not cumbersome, and therefor there was no disadvantage to increasing brain size.
45 posted on 02/26/2004 8:17:25 PM PST by homeopath ((like cures like))
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