When I was in college I studied piano with a Hungarian concert pianist by the name of Istvan Nadas. He was a student of Bartok and a miraculous survivor of a Nazi death camp.
Nadas had just completed a concert series in which he played all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. I was studying and learning the Waldstein and Appassionata sonatas under his tutelage. “Contemporary classical” music composition by this time (the 1970s) had been taken over by flimflam artists like John Cage, who composed his famous 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence in three movements (nothing is played, but pages are turned between the movements). This kind of idiocy is actually taken seriously in musical academia. You can enjoy a performance of this work (arranged for orchestra in this case) here.
On this occasion a visiting “composer” was actually paid by the university to conduct the student orchestra in one of his “compositions,” which was essentially random cacophony. I asked Nadas what he thought of it. He replied, “It is a Himalayan dung heap.” This phrase stuck with me.
It was all noise, no substance, and pure conartistry, and obviously so, but it was actually taken seriously by highly educated people in academia. On second thought, probably everyone in the music department who was a real musician with real musical talent and discipline, also thought that it was a Himalayan dung heap, but no one had the courage to say so except Nadas.
So goes the culture in academia in general (with the exception of the hard sciences, usually). And so goes, I propose, especially the Darwinist culture. Almost no one has the courage to point out the obvious, that Darwinian orthodoxy concerning random variation/mutation and natural selection as an explanation for all of life’s complexity and diversity, is a Himalayan dung heap.