[From a colleague:] Last night author Tom Wolfe gave the annual Jefferson Lecture sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His two hour long speech was entitled Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Human Beast.Ã¢â‚¬Â In more words (sometimes explicitly stated) he said that determinism is true, there is no free will, there is no I , evolution is a fact, there is no nature to man, and God is dead. He spoke of Darwin, Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche as if speaking of a beloved children.
The interesting part was that he slammed the neo-Darwinian synthesis. He said that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not all in the genes. According to Wolfe (paraphrasing from what I remember) Ã¢â‚¬Å“Evolution ended 11,000 years ago when man acquired language. Once man acquired language he could rule over animals, so animals stopped evolving because man controlled their reproduction by way of animal farming. So now we have a new evolutionary pressure, STATUS.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He basically made the claim that everything from fishes to human beings are not evolving by way of social status. Trying to be cool, trying to be the top dog.
On top of all that he made the claim (paraphrasing from what I remember) Ã¢â‚¬Å“John 1:1 has baffled biblical scholars for ages. They havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been able to figure out who or what is the WORD? Now that we know about evolution we know that the WORD is LANGUAGE. Once man acquire language he could evolve and make religion.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The worst part by far was when he started talking about NASCAR. He said (paraphrasing from what I remember) Ã¢â‚¬Å“The drivers meet before the race and PRAY? Can you believe that? It baffles me. Trying to persuade the Gods to keep them safe. (shakes head).Ã¢â‚¬Â
LOTS of people didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t clap for him at the end. Lots of people were muttering under their breath during the talk. Luckily I got my tickets for free from a friend. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure the people who paid a fortune to go didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t appreciate being preached materialism for TWO HOURS.
The Washington Post covered the lecture: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/11/AR2006051100022.html.
The transcript of the speech will be made available here: http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/wolfe/lecture.html.