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A. N. Wilson on Darwin in the London Times

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Here:

In Darwin’s scheme of things, the Victorian rich were the perfect expression of evolution. In perfecting itself, nature started with amoebas, and moved on through dinosaurs and flying lizards, fish, fowl and mammals until it came to the apes, so obviously like the poor savages of Tierra del Fuego or Papua New Guinea. Above the savages were the southern Europeans, above them the British and, at the top of the evolutionary pecking order, sat the great families of England, the Darwins, the Arnolds, the Huxleys and the Wedgwoods, who all intermarried and were obviously cleverer than anyone else.

If these types of remarks had been made about any Victorian other than Darwin, the combox would not be Days of Rage.* That shows us the extent to which Darwinism is a substitute for religion for its many zealots.

Discussing Darwin’s dependence on Malthus, Wilson says the unsayable yet again:

Once the Napoleonic wars were over, the population of Europe soared. So did the food supply. Instances of starvation occurred most notoriously in Ireland in the 1840s, where the selfish landlords, many of them absentee, insisted on exporting huge quantities of grain while the peasant population, dependent on the potato, died of hunger. The Westminster government was scandalously late in reacting, partly because it believed that the potato famine was a Malthusian “solution” to the “problem” of a large, anti-English, Roman Catholic population. In other words, Ireland was not a demonstration of the truth of Malthusianism, it was a victim of it. We find similar, and much more alarming examples, later in history, when Darwin’s ideas were used to justify genocide and mass murder. More.

Yes, it’s all true but wasn’t a polite thing to dwell on. The fact that Wilson is allowed to express these thoughts in an establishment venue seems like part of a gradual change in which evolution is no longer a synonym for Darwinism. Darwinism, along with its eponymous founder, warts and all, will just have to find their place in the system like everything else.

Zealots naturally feel that the End of All Things is at hand, as the comments make clear*; others will just shrug and adjust.

* For example, “Sorry to add to all this, but given the review of Wilson’s book in the New Scientist, I am angry that The Times even allowed Wilson the space to publish this. This is the sort of article that should be subject to peer review. Does The Times have nothing in place to vet controversial pieces like this.” The commenter seems not to realize the newspapers have thriven on controversy since they were invented. Offering a point of view different from that of New Scientist is conventional in an open society. But it’s not clear that Darwinians, protectors of the single greatest idea anyone ever had, have much of a commitment to an open society.

See also: The second advent of the Royal Society’s evolution rethink last November?

Royal Society: What has the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis missed?

and

High dudgeon over A. N. Wilson’s new book on Darwin Like we said, plenty of time for Darwinians to beat their iron rice bowls into hatchets.

15 Replies to “A. N. Wilson on Darwin in the London Times

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Sorry to add to all this, but given the review of Wilson’s book in the New Scientist, I am angry that The Times even allowed Wilson the space to publish this. This is the sort of article that should be subject to peer review.

    Being Mung, I have to ask, was the review in New Scientist subjected to peer review prior to publication?

    p.s. Now that the A.N. Wilson article has been published in the London Times it is open to peer review by one and all. What more could the complainant ask for?

    These people crack me up.

  2. 2
    goodusername says:

    If these types of remarks had been made about any Victorian other than Darwin, the combox would not be Days of Rage.*

    The reviews look like the reviews for his previous books:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/bo.....an-british

    Including reviews from UD:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/design-inferentially-challenged-it-couldnt-happen-to-a-nicer-guy/

  3. 3
    News says:

    Thank heaven for a free society where peer review is a free press.

  4. 4
    Larry Moran says:

    Charles Darwin died on April 19, 1882. That’s 135 years ago. Get over it. Find another bogeyman to attack.

    Even better, how about presenting some evidence that your intelligent designer actually exists?

  5. 5
    Physteach says:

    I cannot help but ask that, in light of the current fad of removing statues, “Does it not make sense to remove Darwin’s statues, busts, and memorials from US Natural History Museums, et al.?” While I understand that he opposed slavery, do not his writings provide the scientific rationalization basis for innumerable atrocities of the past two centuries?

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Larry Moran:

    Even better, how about presenting some evidence that your intelligent designer actually exists?

    Which one?

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Larry Moran:

    Even better, how about presenting some evidence that your intelligent designer actually exists?

    We have. And your counter-argument of “it just freakin’ happened. Get over it.” Has been found wanting. Or do you have an actual methodology to test the claim that blind, mindless processes (natural selection, drift, CNE, etc) can produce ATP synthase, for example? How about the genetic code? How did nature produce something that isn’t determined by physio-chemical reactions and what emerges from them?

    Tell us what you accept for science and evidence, Larry. That way when we present our case, again, you can’t just hand-wave it away because what we present will exceed your standards.

    Heck you think ID is anti-evolution despite the over-whelming evidence to the contrary. So it’s clear your standards for evidence is extremely biased.

  8. 8
  9. 9

    Larry Moran @4:
    As ET said above — We have. And this evidence of a designer goes back quite a few years, even before you got your PhD.

    ” … since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. … ” Apostle Paul 1’st Century AD.

    Next, stand in front of your bathroom mirror and examine your various body parts and how well they function together (well, maybe not so much at our age). Evidence Dr. Moran — Evidence!

    Next read through Dr. Howard Glicksman’s profound 81-part series, The Designed Body at:
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/03/designed-body-engineered-system-displaying-irreducible-complexity-steroids/

    Evidence Dr. Moran — evidence — evidence — evidence

    Is it perhaps your immersion in academics for so many years rather than getting some real world experience in designed things that blind you to evidence that is clear even to a sea going corporal?

    Again — evidence! All around and within you!

  10. 10
    awstar says:

    response to LM @ 4

    The word “Evidence” means:

    noun
    1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

    2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign:
    His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
    3. Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

    By this definition, to most of the world, the Bible is evidence for an intelligent designer.

    You may choose not to accept it — and many Bible believers have died defending that liberty — but even if you close your eyes to it, it is still technically evidence by definition.

    And, by the way, the Bible also makes it evidently clear why you would deliberately try to twist that definition rather than accept it.

  11. 11

    Larry Moran @ 4: We would “get over it” if you a/mats would stop claiming it as empirical science. Perhaps you can convince your a/mat colleagues to stop jamming the unproven theory down the world’s throat as if it is the only true philosophical worldview.

    A/mat philosophical ideas are no better than other philosophical ideas. This is especially true under the a/mat philosophy where all ideas are relative and there is no such thing as objective philosophical truth..

  12. 12

    Moran @4:
    You are Darwinian evolution advocate and a professor of biochemistry and you only have one article on Kinesin on your Sandwalk blog? And a negative and critical one at that. Can you explain why so little on the many machines in life so many others are actively exploring?

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    I don’t think Larry Moran is a Darwinian evolution advocate.

  14. 14

    Mung @ 13: Then what type of evolution does he advocate?

  15. 15
    Dionisio says:

    DonJohnsonDD682 @12,

    Why post references to biology research papers in that web site if anyway most people still might prefer to look at the scientific articles referenced here in the UD website?
    🙂

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