Just so with Darwin. In their politically degenerate phase, conservatives can loosen up about him — there’s not much powder or provender there in the Age of Obama; no need to play dumb. When a stimulus moment arrives, they’ll have the option of putting the masks back on, and you’ll see Jonathan Wells and Ben Stein and all those guys riding on the top of the float again. It’s sort of like the routine done at Big Hollywood and in other such conservative movie games — denouncing film as a liberal plot at one end of the mood swing, declaring film a conservative phenomenon at the other — but played out much more slowly over a longer period of time, as befits the evolutionary model.
Right wingers don’t understand Darwin to begin with. Take for instance their frequent abuse of the phrase “survival of the fittest”. They use it as a metaphor for natural selection and only when they are looking to bully people with a bunch of “free market” rubbish or rationalize some preferred atrocity. Natural selection only occurs when the environment favors a coincidental genetic mutation. My favorite example is Felis silvestris lybica, the progenitor of the common house cat. When the earliest farmers of ancient history perfected the cultivation of crops and the storage of grains in the Fertile Crescent, mice, rats and other pests were attracted to these abundant sources of food and thus attracted wild desert cats which hunted them. That particular agrarian environment favored a domesticated cat because of the unique combination of ample rodentia and humans and over a long enough time period a genetic mutation occurred that produced a phenotype that was both happy to hunt mice and fall asleep on your lap. As an obvious consequence this breed of newly domesticated feline prospered and was widely put to use as an effective method of vermin control. Sea merchants recognized the benefits of the cat and they were soon a frequent companion on trade ships. From there, as they say, the rest is history. Right now as I type this there is a cat snoozing quietly to the left of my keyboard and like every other house cat in the world she is a direct descendant of some goofy desert kitty that just happened to enjoy the company of humans some ten thousand years ago.
So when the radical right wing speaks of “survival of the fittest” they’re actually espousing a form of crude eugenics. And regardless of what they might believe about the fastest among us passing along their superior traits in some genetic marathon the baton that they’re handing off is composed of the same shabby and imperfect DNA that made its first appearance on this rock some two hundred thousand years ago. There isn’t even any directional selection. Natural selection also approves of the slow, who do not charge into danger. How do we know? Because it only has one criteria: if it exists, natural selection has approved of it, for now.
The incompetence of the Washington Times Rev. Sun Myung Moon adherent and columnist that leads the alicu-post is another part and parcel of the GOP.
Actually, Darwinism has always been more philosophy than science.
There is no support, of course, except Jonathan Wells and his inability to understand Darwinism. Darwinism is the core of the biological sciences. I understand that people like Mr. Wells manage to acquire degrees in biology, somehow, but the body of science that has accumulated around Darwin’s initial hypothesis is more vast than most single minds can wrap themselves around. But lo and behold:
This assumption is still an assumption. No one has ever observed the origin of a new species by variation and selection – much less the origin of new organs and body plans.
Aha! As in, “If you’re a rube who doesn’t understand science at all, or feels hostile towards it, AHA I HOOKED YOU YOU SUCKER!” As in, have you ever seen a fish jump out of the water and grow legs? AHA YOU WILL NOW FIND ME CREDIBLE!
This is, of course, a moron’s test of what is “science.” No, while Mr. Wells may be doing his best imitation of a baboon, actual scientists are, every single day a)discovering new evidence that supports Darwin’s theory and b)using the theory of evolution in order to make new predictions that largely bear out. Given that anybody who understands the process takes eons (although Ray Kurzweil makes the case that evolution has sped up exponentially since it began) knows they will never see a significantly new species arise, the science proceeds along quite undisturbed.
Indeed, for your pleasure, observe the top ten signs of evolution in the human species.
Or merely consider that Darwin made his predictions before the discovery of DNA. Now we have a massive body of knowledge based around the study of DNA, we can see the commonalities between human and fruit fly, and we understand that all living species use the same essential framework.
Wells sniffs as he notes that most educated conservatives long ago put aside Scriptural Creationism. Ah, no, Mr. Wells, they just moved back the goal posts to where the science became difficult and uncomfortable again for the emotional soup-cans they call their brains.
Nature’s ways are subtle and yet tremendous. The shortness of human life is not a concern. If the entire human species were wiped out tomorrow, it would be no more than a hiccup in the lifespan of the universe. There is absolutely no guarantee that our brains are capable of getting around the riddles that led to them. Especially when people say shit like this:
Darwin lacked sufficient evidence for the latter, however, so he ruled out the former by simply declaring that only natural explanations are “scientific.”
Yes…when you say, “God did it!” and go home to pray instead of doing further research, that isn’t science. When you make predictions, and evidence confirms them, and you use that to make more predictions, and further evidence confirms them, and when this continues for a century or so, that is science. People like Mr. Wells will draw the line and say, “Well, yeah, but God did the rest.” Until “the rest” is restricted further.
Such are the ways of fools who place more stock in the writings of men than the observations of the actual universe “God” placed them in.
Naturally, not one stunning scientific insight occurs in the length of Mr. Wells’ article. Instead, he just wants language welfare, where his whining can be classified as “scientific” and where people who spit out their drinks and laugh at his idiotic suggestions are hampering his “academic freedom.”
So with that, I declare 2+2=5, deplore those who only consider numbers and counting and such things to be mathematic, and condemn those who snicker as academic Hitlers.
Will the fail never end?
-mg&jb, in that order:)