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Excerpts from "Darwinian Fairytales"
By David C. Stove.
(formerly a pdf in a zip file of 16.3mb): http://www.realist.org/files
"... according to the sociobiologists R. Dawkins and J. Krebs, all communication whatever is 'manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender'."
"... human communication can never have been predominantly manipulative in the past... when the sociobiologists Dawkins and Krebs tell us in print, (as quoted earlier), that all communication is 'manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender' (i.e., in Dawkins R. (1982), The Extended phenotype, W.H. Freeman and Co., Oxford and San Francisco, p. 57), we would not know what they meant, if what they said were true. They might, after all, be secretly meaning to reduce the selfish theory to absurdity... or anything else, for that matter. But since we do in fact (to our sorrow) know what they mean, what they say is not true.
'All communication between humans is manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender'! It would not be easy to think of a viler insult to our species than this. But since the impulse to share our thoughts and feelings with others is in fact the very strongest passion of our nature, it would be hard to think of a more ridiculous one, either."
"All transactions between organisms, no matter how altruistic some of them may appear, are in reality (according to these thinkers) cases of one organism manipulating another for its own advantage: even the transactions between parents and their children.
Sociobiologists all agree that '[natural] selection would favour parents who succeeded in manipulating their offspring, over those who did not.' In fact these authors think, and say, that you will be on the right track in biology, if you expect to find 'dirty tricks' and 'dog eat dog' everywhere. [quotation from same Dawkins’ book]
Sociobiology is like garlic: a little goes a long way..."
"As a second example, consider communication. Everyone knows that organisms sometimes communicate with one another as part of an attempt at manipulation of the 'signal-receiver' by the 'signal-sender'. An unscrupulous second hand car salesman, talking to a potential buyer, is a stock example of such self-interested communication. So is Brer Rabbit, when he pleads with Brer Fox not to throw him into the briar patch, (where in fact he lives and thrives). But according to the sociobiologists R. Dawkins and J. Krebs, all communication whatever is 'manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender'.
It was an instance of successful manipulative communication, when Brer Rabbit got himself thrown into the briar bushes he loved, by telling Brer Fox that that was what he dreaded most; and no doubt similar instances are, and always have been plentiful enough between humans. But it is not hard to see what the result would be, if in the future such manipulative communication were to become universal, or even nearly so.
Communication, whether manipulative or otherwise, would then just die out altogether, for the simple reason that no hearer would ever know what any speaker meant by the words he uttered. The same obvious reasoning assures us that human communication can never have been predominantly manipulative in the past, either. A consequence is, that when the sociobiologists Dawkins and Krebs tell us in print, (as quoted earlier), that all communication is 'manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender', we would not know what they meant, if what they said were true. They might, after all, be secretly meaning to reduce the selfish theory to absurdity; or they might mean 'A merry Christmas to all our readers'; or anything else, for that matter. But since we do in fact (to our sorrow) know what they mean, what they say is not true.
'All communication between humans is manipulation of signal-receiver by signal-sender'! It would not be easy to think of a viler insult to our species than this. But since the impulse to share our thoughts and feelings with others is in fact the very strongest passion of our nature, it would be hard to think of a more ridiculous one, either.
I hasten to add, in order to be fair to [E. O.] Wilson and Dawkins, that they, in marked contrast to some other sociobiologists, actually approve of human altruism. Far from writing about it with cynicism or even incredulity, they make it quite clear that they think there should be more of it [see for example, Wilson, E. O. (1975), Sociobiology. Harvard University Press, Boston, Ch. 5; and Dawkins, ibid., p. 215.]. Well, according to their own account, there could not possibly be less, since there could not be any at all. We can therefore only ascribe these authors' enthusiasm for altruism to an amiable inconsistency on their part. Either to that, or to their attempting to manipulate their readers for their own advantage. For Dawkins is one of the sociobiologists whom I mentioned a moment ago, as believing that all communication is self-interested manipulation. And then, a fellow sociobiologist whom Dawkins admires [See Dawkins, op. cit., (1982), p.237] has been candid enough to say in print that 'morality aside, the optimum strategy for the unabashed egotist is unwavering praise of altruism' [Hardin, G. (1978), Sociobiology and Human Nature, Gregory and others (eds.), Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Fransisco, Washington and London, p. 194. The italics are not in the text.]. So perhaps Dawkins' praise of altruism is not an amiable inconsistency after all, but something more consistent, and less amiable.
Even on that supposition, however, it is a mystery what the writer just quoted can have meant by his proviso, 'morality aside'. All moral education is simply some more self-interested manipulation, if the sociobiologists are right. So what possible need can there ever be, or indeed what would it even mean, to set it 'aside'? But this difficult question is plainly one which is best left to specialists in the exegesis of the New Darwinian Testament.
Dawkins more than once assures his readers that when he says genes are selfish, he is not nonsensically attributing to them a certain psychological or 'subjective' character. He does not mean, he says, that genes are 'conscious, purposeful agents' [Dawkins, (1979), The Selfish Gene, Paladin Books, p. 210.]. Applied to genes, the language of selfishness is 'only a figure of speech' [ibid., p. 2ll]. But he finds it a help in conveying to his readers, what he believes to be literally true, that organisms are simply certain vehicles which genes design, build, and manipulate, as part of the longer term process of increasing the number of their own copies. Anyway, he says, calling genes 'selfish' cannot be importantly wrong, because it is dispensable. We could always 'translate [it] back into respectable terms if we wanted to' [ibid., p. 95].
"Genes are not ruthlessly selfish, but Dawkins is certainly ruthlessly demonological. you could put him down anywhere in the world, and rely on him to find there, what no one had before, invisible puppet masters manipulating visible puppets. If, in addition, these puppet masters should possess any natural tendency towards self-replication, he would be sure to repeat his absurd though profitable trick of calling them 'selfish' on that account. If he ever turns his mind to cosmology or fundamental physics, we can be confident of his making 'discoveries' there which are even more valuable than those of memes and of selfish genes, though (alas) of the same general kind as those two. Are memes a scientific discovery? Well, one thing is absolutely certain; if they are, they are the most effortless scientific discovery of all time. For what did it take, after all? What was the evidence and the reasoning, that enabled Dawkins to discover memes in 1976, although their very existence, like that of genes before 1900, had been unsuspected before?
Well, to tell the truth, it was nothing more than the following.
Sometimes such things as beliefs, attitudes etc., are transmitted non-genetically from one person to another.
There are memes.
I can only echo Huxley's famous remark after he first read The Origin of Species: 'How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!'... there is something very familiar about Dawkins' discovery, at any rare to a philosopher: something horribly familiar, in fact. I have seen that kind of thing hundreds of times before, but where? Why, in those absolutely effortless pseudo discoveries which philosophers make, and on which their fame rests...”
"The discovery of genes… was remarkably long drawn out in time. It extended from Mendel's work in the 1860s on crossing various strains of peas, through the rediscovery of that work in 1900, to at least the early breeding experiments of T.H. Morgan during the first world war. Now, was any of this effortless? Surely, on the contrary, Morgan and his associates had first to acquire a good deal of biological information, and their work rather hard and long with their heads and hands, to design, perform and interpret their experiments? in 1900 Bateson perceived, though few other people did, what Mendel’s experiments on peas really meant: and I suppose that this difference between Bateson and most other people must have had something to do with his vast fund of biological information and with prolonged and severe exercise of his penetrating intelligence.”
"But in all of this, easily the greatest feat of intellectual penetration was that of Mendel himself. The phenomena of inheritance are so bewilderingly various, that no one before Mendel, not even the most expert breeders of plants and animals, had ever been able to 'see the wood for the trees'. Yet in order to be understood, these phenomena only required to be looked at in the light of two ideas - that the 'factors' of inheritance do not blend in the offspring, and that they assort themselves independently of one another - ideas which, as R.A. Fisher suggested [for example, Fisher, R. A.. (1930), Oxford University Press: l958), The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, Dover Publications, New York, pp. 7-9.], had been as available to anyone, for thousands of years, as they were to Mendel. What… Mendel did - he tried harder: he concentrated his mental gaze for years on the vast jumble of apparently meaningless ratios of inherited characteristics in his peas, until he obliged these speechless witnesses to yield their secret.”
"During his life, of course, and for 16 years after his death, Mendel’s achievement went-not only unappreciated but unnoticed. If only, now, he could have had a Dawkins to advise him on literary marketing! But this comparison, between the laborious but glorious scientific discovery of genes, and Dawkins, effortless philosophical pseudo discovery of 'memes', is too painful to be pursued for long. It excites too much indignation and contempt for the latter [contempt for Dawkins].”
"... [Sociobiologists] adopted, as their principal badge of distinction and the fundamental plank of their platform, the ancient theory of universal selfishness. They proclaimed, as exceptionless biological truths, 'dog eat dog', 'dirty tricks', 'nice guys finish last', the manipulative nature of all communication, (etc., etc.)..."
Essay IX - A New Religion
"... that sacred particle [the seed]."
William Paley, Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity. 12th Ed. Printed for J. Faulder. London. 1809.
"We would all say, because we all know it to be true, that calculating-machines, automobiles, screwdrivers and the like, are just tools or devices which are designed, made, and manipulated by human beings for their own ends. Now, you cannot say this without implying that human beings are more intelligent and capable than calculators, automobiles, screwdrivers, etc.”
"... consider the following representative statements made by leading sociobiologists. Richard Dawkins, easily the best known spokesman for this movement, writes that 'we are ... robot-vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes' [Dawkins, R. (1979), The Selfish Gene, Paladin Books, p. x], and again that we are 'manipulated to ensure the survival of [our] genes' [ibid., p. 185]. The same writer also says that 'the fundamental truth [is] that an organism is a tool of DNA' [Dawkins, R. (1982), The Extended Phenotype, Freeman & Co., Oxford and San Francisco, p. 158.]. (That is, of the DNA molecules which are the organism's genes.) Again, Dawkins says that 'living organisms exist for the benefit of DNA' [Dawkins, R. (1986), The Blind Watchmaker, Longman, p. 126]. Similarly, E.O. Wilson, an equal or higher sociobiological authority, says that 'the individual organism is only the vehicle [of genes], part of an elaborate device to preserve and spread them ... The organism is only DNA's way of making more DNA' [Wilson, E.O. (1975), Sociobiology: the New Synthesis, Harvard University Press, p. 3.]”
Essay X - Paley's Revenge or purpose Regained
"... the famous old 'design argument' for the existence of God ...received its classic formulation in William Paley's Natural Theology, (1802). But of course Paley did not invent the argument. For centuries before he wrote, it had been carrying conviction to almost every rational and educated mind."
"It continued to do so for another 5o years after Paley wrote. This is a historical fact which deserves to be known and reflected upon, yet it has been almost completely forgotten. Far from having suffered a fatal blow at Hume's hands in 1779, the design argument entered the period of its greatest flourishing only between 1800 and 1850. In 1829, for example, the Earl of Bridgewater provided a large sun in his will for a series of books to be written by the ablest authors, which would argue, not from revelation or from authority but rationally, for 'the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation.' [From a 'Notice' prefixed to Bell, Sir C. (1874), The Hand, (9th edition), George Bell and Son, London.]"
"The 'Bridgewater treatises' duly came to be published, and they where written by the best authors. In retrospect, one in particular stands out. This was The Hand, (1833), by Sir Charles Bell: the greatest of all British physiologists after Harvey. Yes, that's right a whole book on the human hand, as evidence of the existence, intelligence, power and benevolence of God, only 26 years before The Origin of Species appeared! And it is - even if no one in the whole world now cares to know the fact - a very good book indeed."
"... someone who has tried in recent decades, as I have, to convince silly undergraduates of the merits of Paley's classic book..."
"... in the last 30 years, Paley has had his revenge on Darwinism, for more than a century of undeserved contempt. The explanation of adaptation by reference to the purposes of intelligent and powerful agents has come back into its own. And its reinstatement has turned out to require only some comparatively minor changes to the theology involved."
"It is important to realise, (and pleasant to record), that the vulgar contempt for the design argument was never shared by Darwin, or by any intelligent Darwinians who belong to what might be called 'the pure strain' of intellectual descent from him. Well, this fact might have been anticipated. In any game, the formidable players are the best judges as to which of their opponents are formidable, and which are not.
When he was an undergraduate at Cambridge, Darwin was required to study Paley's Evidences of Christianity, (1794). He tells us in his autobiography that 'the logic of this book and, as I may add, of his "Natural Theology", gave me as much delight as did Euclid.' Again: 'I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley's "Natural Theology". I could almost formerly have said it by heart.' [The first of these passages is from Darwin, F. (ed ) (l888), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, John Murray, London, Vol. l, p. 47; the second passage is from ibid., Vol. II, p.219.]
"Richard Dawkins, likewise, is full of a proper respect for Paley's explanation of adaptation. He even thinks so well of it that he cannot, he tells us, 'imagine anyone being an atheist at any time before 1859' [the year of agnostic Darwin's Origin of Species; quoted from Dawkins, R. (1986), The Blind Watchmaker, Longman, p. 5.]"
"Dawkins has some disagreements with Paley, of course; but this really is a matter of course. When did two theists ever agree on all points? For example, Paley believed in the benevolence of God: see his chapter XXCI, 'Of the Goodness of the Deity'. Dawkins, on the other hand, as we saw in Essay VII, ascribes to the gods of his religion a ruthlessly selfish character."
"Then, Paley, being a Christian, believed (see his chapter XXV) in 'The Unity of God'; whereas Dawkins is a polytheist, as any adherent of the gene religion must be. But after all, the precise number of the gods is a comparatively minor point. Let it be one, or three, or 30,000 (as Hesiod computed), or a number rather larger than that, (as gene religionists believe)."
"... 'triune' God has been its Achilles' heel [Stove is talking of the ‘paganized’ Christian religion, or Christened paganism] all along, and a perpetual source of scandal, not only to Jewish or Moslem minds, but to the countless sensible Christians who cannot help thinking that three and one are different numbers. And on the other hand, what assurance have we, that the gene religion will not be, ten years from now, a great deal less polytheistic than it is at present? The present structureless and disorderly democracy of selfish genes hardly looks like the last word of the Darwinian revelation."
"A function or adaptation is something which 'is produced by design, and not by happenstance' [Williams, G. C. (1974), Adaptation and Natural Selection, Princeton Paperback, p.261. Italics not in text.] In particular, Williams insists, it is not enough to prove that something is an adaptation, that it is beneficial to the organisms which possess it. "the demonstration of benefit is neither necessary nor sufficient in the demonstration of function ... It is both necessary and sufficient to show that the process is designed to serve the function' [ibid., p.209.Italics not in text] '[T]he demonstration of effects, good or bad, proves nothing. To prove adaptation one must demonstrate a functional design' [ibid., p. 2I2. Italics not in text] Could Paley himself have said fairer than all this?"
"Here are some more passages which are fully representative of Williams' book, in that they point equally to the Paleyan explanation of adaptation by super-human purposeful agents, and to the present day identification of those agents with genes. '[E]very adaptation is calculated to maximise the reproductive success of the individual, relative to other individuals...' [ibid., p. 160. Italics not in text] An adaptation is 'a mechanism designed to promote the success of the individual organism, as measured by the extent to which it contributes genes to later generations of the population of which it is a member' [ibid., pp.96-7.Italics not in text] 'Each part of the animal is organised for some function tributary to the ultimate goal of the survival of its own genes.' [ibid., p. 256.Italics not in text]"
"Williams once or twice writes as though the purposes which bring about adaptation are purposes of individual organisms. For example, 'the goal of the fox is to contribute as heavily as possible to the next generation of a fox-population.' [ibid., p. 68. Italics not in text]"
"Foxes, seals, etc., are not designers: they are designed. '[S]eals were designed to reproduce themselves…’ [ibid., p. 189. Italics not in text], ‘[T]he real goal of development is the same as that of all other adaptations, the continuance of the dependent germ plasm’ [ibid., p. 44. Italics not in text] [T]he organism chooses its own effective environment from a broad spectrum of possibilities. That choice is precisely calculated to enhance the reproductive prospects of the underlying genes. The succession of somatic machinery and selected niches are tools ad tactics for the strategy of genes' [ibid., p. 70. Italics not in text]. Could Dawkins himself have said fairer than all this?
The passages I have now quoted from Adaptation and Natural Selection are only a small fraction of those which could be quoted to the same effect.”
"In short Williams, like Dawkins, differs from Paley only about the number of the gods responsible for adaptation, and about their moral quality: not about their existence, purposiveness, intelligence, or power."
"Late in his book Williams, as though he felt he had still not done enough homage to the author of Natural Theology, goes out of his way to quote and praise a passage of Paley, on the subject of - of all shop soiled examples! - the human eye. The passage is instructive, but too long to be quoted here [ibid., pp.258-9]. I suspect that Williams wrote it partly for the purpose of shocking the duller witted, or more historically ignorant, of his fellow Darwinians."
"...[Williams] does say, (as we have seen), that the adaptations of organism's are 'tools and tactics for the strategy of genes', and that 'the ultimate goal' of all adaptation is the continuance of the genes concerned. He is equally 'Dawkinsian', (to reverse the real order of things), on all the other subjects which agitate gene religionists...”
"Thus has Paley had his long delayed revenge on Darwinism. For more than a hundred years, the proudest boast of Darwinians had been, that they had at last complied with Bacon's famous injunction, and expelled 'final causes' from their science. Paley was remembered, when he was remembered at all, only as the most atrocious of all offenders against that injunction. And yet we find, in the last third of the 20th century, many Darwinians of the highest reputation ascribing adaptation to the purposive activity of beings which possess more than human intelligence and power. This is certainly a sufficiently remarkable historical comeback; even if Paley redivivus has had to settle, (as I said), for plural and immoral divinities.”
"Williams would of course deny that he attributes any purpose to genes. Dawkins likewise, and he has in fact expressly denied in print that he does explain adaptation by reference to purposeful agents. Both these writers claim to be, and certainly claim sincerely to be, firmly in the old Darwinian tradition: the tradition of explaining evolution in general, and adaptation in particular, by reference to blind causes, altogether devoid of purpose or intelligence.”
"Dawkins, in order to make clear the great difference between the Paleyan explanation of adaptation and his own Darwinian one, writes (for example) as follows. 'Natural selection ... has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all.' [Dawkins, R. (1979), The Selfish Gene, Paladin Books, p. 5]"
"In fact the truth of the statements just quoted from Dawkins is a trivial consequence of his having chosen an abstract phrase, 'natural selection', as their grammatical subject. In the same way, we could say, with equal truth, that (for example) 'business competition' has no mind, or that 'warfare' does not plan for the future. But it would be an exceptionally gross error, to infer from these trivial truths, that the purposes and intelligence of businessmen are not among the causes which determine the success or failure of firms, or that the purposes and intelligence of soldiers are not among the causes that decide which army loses and which wins."
"Talk about certain things being done 'for the sake of' something or other, is plainly just as teleological as talk about ends, goals, or purposes.”
"Of course it is not just the statement that genes are selfish, of which Dawkins owes his readers a translation into respectable non-purposive language. He equally owes us similar translations of all his countless statements about 'manipulation' by genes, about the 'tools' and 'tactics' they make use of for their own 'ends', about the 'rivalry' between alleles 'for' a place on the chromosome, and so on. Williams, similarly, owes us a translation into non-purposive language of all his innumerable references to adaptations as things which don't just happen in the ordinary casual way, but are designed. Even if Williams has forgotten the fact, it is a fact about the meaning of a common English word, that you cannot say that something was designed, without implying that it was intended; any more than you can say that a person was divorced, without implying that he or she was previously married.”
"Indeed Williams, Dawkins, and those who agree with them, owe the rest of us a whole translation manual: a manual which will tell us how we are to understand all the statements they make which, if they are understood in the usual sense of the words in them, imply that genes are purposive. Until such a manual is available, selfish gene theorists cannot reasonably complain if other people regard them as just propagandists of yet another new religion...”
"...Rational people, however, treat all such claims with extreme caution. But when a certain group of people make claims of this sort, and at the same time give themselves out as accepting the Darwinianask to see their translation manual, so that he can satisfy himself as to what they really mean, when they describe genes as designing, manipulating, competing, being selfish, etc. That they do not mean what they say, we know both from their own admission, and from the Darwinian explanation of adaptation. But what they do mean, they do not tell us. No translation manual exists, or even the beginnings of one.” explanation of adaptation, then a rational person will exercise a double dose of caution. At the very least he will
"Darwinians have always owed their readers a translation manual that would 'cash' the teleological language which Darwinians avail themselves of without restraint in explaining particular adaptations, into the non-teleological language which their own theory of adaptation requires. But they have never paid, or even tried to pay, this debt.”
"Darwin, for example, published in 1862 a book entitled The Various Contrivances
by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects. He knew, and all his readers knew, that he did not really mean the word 'contrivances'. Everyone understood perfectly well, (a) that you cannot call something a contrivance without implying that it was intended, and (b) that Darwin did not mean that these 'contrivances' of orchids were ever intended by anything.”
"He therefore owed his readers an explanation of what he did mean by 'contrivances': a translation of that word into language free from the implication of intendedness. But he never gave such an explanation or translation.”
"Nor have [Darwin or] any Darwinians ever given, to this day, any such reconciliation of their theory with the teleological language which they employ as freely as though they were disciples, not of Darwin, but of Paley. Presumably the reason that they have not, is the same as the reason Darwin did not.”
"I am not suggesting that Darwin should not have used, or that a Darwinian should not use, teleological language when trying to explain particular adaptations. That would be a hopelessly doctrinaire and impracticable suggestion. A biologist, whether of Darwin's time or ours, can hardly frame a single thought, concerning adaptations, which does not involve intendedness on purposefulness. To ask him to purge his mind of all such thoughts, and never to use words like 'purpose', 'function', or 'contrivance', would amount in practice to telling him to stop thinking about adaptation altogether."
"I do say, though, that Darwinians cannot reasonably expect, any more than anyone else can, to be allowed to have things both ways. They cannot, on the one hand, describe adaptations as contrivances for this or as designed for that, while denying that they mean that these adaptations were ever intended; and on the other hand, decline to explain what they do mean by expressions like 'designed for' and 'contrivance for'."
"Darwinians, then, have never paid, or even acknowledged, the debt they have all along owed the public: a reconciliation of their teleological explanations of particular adaptations, with their non-teleological explanation of adaptation in general. And not only have they never paid this debt they have in fact become progressively less conscious, with time, of the fact that they owe this debt."
"There is no Statute of Limitations which says that Darwinians may - as long as they go on doing it long enough - imply that adaptations are intended, and say that they are not."
"In this respect, Williams is perfectly typical of present day Darwinians. He must have known, at the time he first became a Darwinian, that he used an expression like 'was designed for' with an invisible promissory note attached to it, saying something like 'To be cashed at a later date in non-teleological terms'."
"He [Williams] has simply forgotten what teleological words mean, or else has forgotten the fact that they are not really available to Darwinians engaged in explaining adaptations. In particular, he has forgotten that 'was designed for' implies 'was intended to'. But unluckily for Williams, (though luckily for sanity and for non-Darwinians), ‘was designed for’ still means what it meant before the Revelation of 1859 [publication of Darwin’s book Origin of Species], and in particular, still implies 'was intended to'. And that being so, Williams does still owe his readers the translation of his talk about design into non-teleological language which he, in common with all other Darwinians, has been promising for so long, and yet never performed.”
"…many philosophers… have discussed teleology in the last 50 years, and attempted to provide for Darwinians the translation manual which they have always needed, but never tried to provide for themselves …it must be admitted that all their results have been negative... It has turned out, in fact, to be far harder to translate teleological into non-teleological language than had been anticipated by philosophers; or at any rate, by philosophers friendly towards Darwinism... whether such translation is possible at all, is more than anyone knows.”
"Everything that Darwinians needed to say, in order to explain adaptation in particular, could then easily be said, and would be said, without expressions such as 'selfish', 'manipulation', or 'competition for'. But this is to say, of course, that the new religion of genes would simply vanish like a dream, and 'leave not a wrack behind'.”
"With Aristotle, even physics is teleological.”
"…although design arguments for the existence and purposes of God are at least 2,400 years old, virtually no one before the 17th century ever based a design argument on the adaptation of organisms. In fact, (as far as I know), only one person ever did: Galen, the great doctor and medical writer of the 2nd century A.D., who laid the foundations of human anatomy.
In the 17th and l8th centuries, indeed, the design argument based on adaptation 'ran riot', and pushed every other special form of that argument…”
"By 1800, adaptation had become not merely the main, but virtually the only empirical evidence appealed to, to establish the divine existence and purposes.”
"…when Plato or Aristotle or Cicero or Aquinas had employed a design argument, it had never been from adaptation. It was always from some fact, or supposed fact, of astronomy, or of general or terrestrial physics: from almost anything in the world...”
"... human intelligence and consciousness plainly have a degree of autonomy which is wildly inconsistent with Darwinism. If intelligence and consciousness in humans are always subordinated, like all other adaptations of organisms, to their striving to increase, then The Origin of Species was an attempt by Darwin to increase the number of his descendants. But it was not. Ergo, etc. Similarly, some sociobiologists have realised that, according to the account which they themselves give of all communication - namely, that it is a form of manipulation by genes - their own publications are simply power plays by their genes for increased representation in the next generation. This realisation is, very naturally, found both discouraging, and somewhat bewildering, by the authors concerned. For after all, when they began their careers, they had thought they were doing something entirely different namely, biological science. Yet if what The Selfish Gene says is true, what else can that book be, but manipulation of its readers by the genes of Richard Dawkins, striving for their own maximal replication? Thus does the new religion, like revolutionary Marxism, consume its own devotees. But then, they had 'asked for it'...”
"New religionists, such as Williams, Dawkins, and Wilson, regard people and all other organisms as the helpless puppets, tools, or vehicles, of hidden purposive agents of more than human power and intelligence, whose only goal is to produce the largest possible number of their replicas in the next generation of organisms. But then, as we have now seen, Darwin, Schopenhauer, Malthus and Hume, regarded all organisms in essentially the same way: as mere means, employed by immensely powerful purposes, utterly foreign and unknown to the organisms themselves, aimed at producing the greatest possible number of descendants of the organisms.”
"The purpose which rules all organisms, Schopenhauer called 'The Life Force', and Darwin called it 'the striving to increase'. These names, of course, are no longer current. But when new religionists say, (as they all do say), that the organism is only DNA's way of making more DNA, that organisms and their adaptations are means which genes make and employ for their own ends, (etc., etc.), then it is perfectly clear that the thought of the new religionists, and that of the old Darwinians, is one and the same...”
"…Darwinians, rather than admit that their theory is simply not true of our species, brazenly shift the blame, and designate all of those characteristics 'biological errors'…”