An Essay in Metagenetics
“We are survival machines-robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.” This is Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene. His selfish gene theory, he remarked in 1989, “has become textbook orthodoxy,” because it is merely “a logical outgrowth of orthodox Neo-Darwinism, but expressed as a novel image.” The image is misleading.... Read More
Three Evolutionary Siege Howitzers and a Popgun
This is a much-updated version of a previous column on evolution, is atrociously long, criminally even, by internet standards but I post it anyway because I get occasional requests. Few will read it, which is understandable. Apologies. The Devil made me do it. I will get transcendently stupid email saying that I am a snake-handling... Read More
Possibly Interesting Response to a Reader
Over the years I have written columns about the growing doubts among scientists and mathematicians over aspects of Darwinian evolution. The fury aroused among the faithful has been intense and often personal, the doubts being called “ridiculous” but with no explanation of why they are ridiculous. These assertions are frequently, but not always, made by... Read More
Fred in His Darkness Pleads for Help, Piteously
A good bit more now than a decade ago I was a member of Steve Sailer’s HBD (Human Biodiversity) mailing list. This dealt with (who would have thought it’) human biodiversity, meaning such things as evolution, racial differences, evolutionary psychology, and genetics. It was a bright and usually congenial group, if doctrinaire, from which I... Read More
I got a little blast from the past reading Razib Khan's May 13th piece at National Review: Conservatives Shouldn't Fear Evolutionary Theory. Just some background on Razib. I have known him for more than twenty years, since we were both on Steve Sailer's original Human BioDiversitydiscussion group. Razib is a geneticist, most particularly a population... Read More
Enemy Forces Gather Without
Years back, Dr. Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, published Darwin’s Black Box, in which he questioned tenets of official Darwinism. It was a grave no-no-no, akin to doubting the divinity of Christ or the value of diversity. The Darwinian establishment started as if stung. Dr. Behe was soon viewed in Big... Read More
Recently I wrote a column about the theory of Intelligent Design, which holds that that life, both in its origins and its changes over time, are the result of design instead of chance. Several hundred comments and emails arrived, more than I could read. This was not surprising as there seems to be considerable public... Read More
An Introduction to Protracted Desperation
A question that never ceases to fascinate is that of how life originated, and how and why it has progressed as it seems to have. The official story and de rigueur explanation is that that life came about through spontaneous generation from seawater. Believing this is the mark of an Advanced Person, whether one has... Read More
Human exceptionalism, pro and con.
A concerned reader sent me a link to this video in which, he said, my name was taken in vain. Yes, I know, it’s an irritating imposition on readers to open a column by linking to a 31-minute video clip. I’ll be offering a concise executive summary in just a moment, with links into the... Read More
The problems with Intelligent Design.
————————— Why can't the purveyors of Intelligent Design (ID) get a break? They have been plowing their lonely furrow for 20 years now, insisting on their right to a seat at science's banquet and promising that their ideas will bring about a revolutionary overthrow of orthodox biology (which they call "Darwinism" for propagandistic reasons) Any... Read More
Did Darwin Inspire the Holocaust?
What on earth has happened to Ben Stein? He and I go back a long way. No, I've never met the guy. Back in the 1970s, though, when American Spectator was in its broadsheet format, I would always turn first to Ben Stein's diary, which appeared in every issue. He was funny and clever and... Read More
Several readers have asked me to take up cudgels against Bill Buckley's piece on NRO last Friday, in which WFB spoke up for the Intelligent Design people and their arguments. I am not exactly going to do that: not because I think the writer's age and accomplishments place him above cudgeling — I don't think... Read More
Yet another whack at the creationists.
I seem to have got myself elected to the post of NR's designated point man against Creationists.* Indignant anti-Creationist readers have urged me to make a response to George Gilder's long essay "Evolution and Me" in the current (7/17/06)National Review. Well, I'll give it a shot. I had better say up front that I am... Read More
This year contains two notable scientific anniversaries. The one most widely mentioned is the centenary of Albert Einstein's three trailblazing papers in the German scientific journal Annalen der Physik on the nature of matter, energy, and motion. Those papers opened up broad new territories for exploration by physicists. The discoveries that followed, and the technology... Read More
The British poet Philip Larkin, asked why he voted Conservative, replied that he believed the Left to stand for "dishonesty, idleness, and treason." It seems to me that Larkin omitted one key component of the lefty mind-set: snobbery. The essence of the modern Left, from Lenin to the Clintons, is a contempt for ordinary people... Read More