In response to our recent item on the mainstreaming of epigenetics, physicist Rob Sheldon writes to say, in connection with the recent studies of the generational epigenetic effects following mass starvation,
It is, of course, refreshing to see epigenetics now making the mainstream publications. What has me in stitches, however, is all the things that are not said:
a) that Darwin hated Lamarck because it reintroduced teleology into evolution. Darwin’s whole purpose was to remove teleology and purpose from a discussion of life, thereby destroying theism. Now the reintroduction of epigenetics leaves the Darwinist program in tatters.
b) that the Dutch hunger winter of 1944 wasn’t just Germany blockading Holland, it was the Nazi party. That acme of Darwinian progress deliberately starved the Dutch as punishment, or perhaps simply for pleasure.
c) that the great Ukrainian famine of 1932 was artificial. Plenty of food in the fields, but the Communists forcibly took all the food precisely in order to starve the Ukrainian kulaks. Pure, unadulterated malice.
d) the great Chinese famine of 1958 was caused by Mao’s mistaken “Great Leap Forward” in which he forcibly combined the little rice paddies of individual farmers into giant cooperatives which proceeded to plow the clay-lined paddies with tractors, thereby destroying the water-retention properties necessary to grow rice. It is hard to know whether it was malice or incompetence, but seeing as it went on for 3 years, I would have to say Mao was imitating Stalin.
So not only did Darwin lose out to Lamarck, but it was discovered through the malice of his devotees.
A truly ironic piece in the New York Review of Books. A real keeper.
Maybe it was malice. But the mass murderers cited above thought that their malice was science and that science included directed malice. That is precisely what made Darwinism in action so deadly, in terms of numbers killed during the twentieth century.
One can only get so far with malice based on a grievance (They done us wrong!) or religion (They’re unbelievers!). After a while, uninvolved parties don’t care much. But science makes universal claims, for good or ill. And with Darwinism well-entrenched among the Western urban elite, it is very difficult to even evaluate its science claims, let alone to have a serious discussion of its true outcomes.
Epigenetics shows the genome to be far too plastic to do what Darwinians have needed.
Rob Sheldon is the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent
See also: Epigenetics: “[n]ew ideas closely related to Lamarck’s eighteenth-century views have become central to our understanding of genetics.” Epigenetics is another nail in the coffin of traditional Darwinism because the just-so stories of natural selection acting on random mutations depend, among other things, on the assumption that the inherited genome is a sort of lockbox with no influences other than its own random mutations. If the genome is as plastic as it now appears, many non-random factors influence it in predictable ways. The market for Darwinian just-so stories about how and why changes occur is likely to tank as the new approach sinks in.
Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!