From Tom Bethell’s Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Darwin Debates:
“The science of neo-Darwinism was poor all along, and supported by very few facts. I have become ever more convinced that, although Darwinism has been promoted as science, its unstated role has been to prop up a philosophy—the philosophy of materialism—and atheism along with it.” (Page 20)
“The scientific evidence for evolution is not only weaker than is generally supposed, but as new discoveries have been made since 1959, the reasons for accepting the theory have diminished rather than increased.” Page 45
“Darwinian evolution can be seen as a way of looking at the history of life through the distorting lens of Progress. Given enough time, society in general, including human beings, would be transformed into something superior and perhaps unrecognizably different.” Page 248
“Lewontin’s worldview encouraged him to take a critical look at natural selection, which Darwinians have almost always been reluctant to do. Today, in fact, some of those who might well agree with Lewontin about natural selection are likely to remain silent lest their unorthodoxy should attract reprisals within the academy. Lewontin had no such fears, and he made an impression on me and many others for that reason.” Page 69
“Darwin might well have been dismayed if the meager evidence for natural selection, assembled over many years, had been presented to him 150 years after The Origin was published. ‘A change in the ratio of preexisting varieties? That is all you have been able to come up with?’ he might reasonably have asked. It is worth bearing in mind how feeble this evidence is, any time someone tells you that Darwinism is a fact.” Page 79
“Natural selection functions in the realm of philosophy, not science.” Page 81
“Evolutionists, of course, believe that they are appealing to science, in contrast to the religionists’ reliance on faith. But the truth is that when they utter their two-word incantation, ‘natural selection,’ they are not being remotely scientific. Nor are they expected to provide any details.” Page 123
Each of the points he makes could be unpacked into a tractor trailer. But start with the book.
He’s right about Darwin’s followers ruling without evidence and many recent events, including the Royal Society rethinking evolution, show the tension. The principal question remains then the same as with peer review scandals, why does such corruption go so long unamended?
More later. For sure.
See also: Tom Wolfe’s The Kingdom of Speech
Tom Bethell graduated from Oxford University and is a long-time journalist who has served as Washington editor for Harper’s, a contributing editor to Washington Monthly, and a senior editor at The American Spectator. He has written articles for many magazines, including Fortune, the New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic Monthly. Praised by Tom Wolfe as “one of our most brilliant essayists,” Bethell is the previous author of The Noblest Triumph: Property through the Ages and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science. He resides in Washington, DC.
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