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Columnist David Warren (who never believed in Darwinism anyway) comments on Nabokov’s vindication

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Nabokov was right and the Darwinists who ignored and dismissed him were wrong.

Here:

Enter the Harvard biology professor, Naomi Pierce, who has had the honour of telling the world this last fortnight, that Nabokov’s fanciful hypothesis is true, down to the most provocative assertions. Using the most advanced current molecular technology, she has tracked the whole history through DNA, confirming Nabokov dead right through fine details on five out of five.This does not surprise me. It would have surprised many drudges in the field, however, who ignored Nabokov’s remarkable paper of 1945, I think for two reasons.

The first is that it was written with real literary style. Nabokov invites his reader to step into a Wellsian time machine, and imagine the sequence of these migratory waves from the inside. He is unrelentingly poetical in his descriptions. He is indifferent to the conventions of modern scientific papers in which the author must be aggressively boring and statistical, while posing as inhumanly modest, objective and collaborative. From what I can see, all Nabokov’s writings on butterflies are an affront to the bureaucratic mindset that controls all academic scientific funding.

But perhaps he could have been forgiven for his towering literary genius, had it not been for his views on Darwinism.

These surface in his memoir entitled, Speak, Memory. But I gather a great deal of scattered, unpublished, perhaps unpublishable writing lies below his passing remark, that “natural selection” in the Darwinian sense, “could not explain the miraculous coincidence of imitative aspect and imitative behaviour, nor could one appeal to the theory of ‘the struggle for life’ when a protective device was carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance, and luxury far in excess of a predator’s power of appreciation.”

Remember, as you pay your taxes: A vote for Darwin is a vote for science mediocrity.

8 Replies to “Columnist David Warren (who never believed in Darwinism anyway) comments on Nabokov’s vindication

  1. 1
    Pedant says:

    The Pierce paper vindicating Nabokov can be accessed here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21270033

    I reckon that Darwin, astute biogeographer that he was, would have smiled at their findings.

  2. 2
    O'Leary says:

    Pedant, I’m convinced that Darwin today would not be an ultra-Darwinist or neo-Darwinist today. He never was.

    It’s even money whether he would be a Darwinist.

  3. 3
    Pedant says:

    I’ll take that bet on the side that he would have been a Nabokovian. πŸ™‚

  4. 4
    Collin says:

    So for us less erudite readers, can you tell us what it means to be a Nabokovian and how he disagreed with Darwin?

  5. 5
    Pedant says:

    Collin @4:

    It’s a joke, son. Didn’t you see the smiley?

  6. 6
    Collin says:

    But he did disagree with Darwin, didn’t he?

  7. 7
    SCheesman says:

    Collin:

    From Warrne’s article:

    These surface in his memoir entitled, Speak, Memory. But I gather a great deal of scattered, unpublished, perhaps unpublishable writing lies below his passing remark, that “natural selection” in the Darwinian sense, “could not explain the miraculous coincidence of imitative aspect and imitative behaviour, nor could one appeal to the theory of ‘the struggle for life’ when a protective device was carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance, and luxury far in excess of a predator’s power of appreciation.”

  8. 8
    Pedant says:

    Collin @6:

    As best I can tell, Nabokov did not contradict Darwin in his scientific publication on Polyommatus blue butterflies. As SCheesman’s quote of Warren’s quote indicates, Nabokov wasn’t satisfied by Darwin’s mechanistic explanations.

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