virus: Vancouver Sun article

KingsXfan (
22 Feb 99 00:27:57 -0800

In Friday, February 19 edition of the Vancouver Sun, this article was found by me in the INSIGHT section. The article is represented in full... EVIL SPRINGS FROM THE PRIMAL OOZE

Garth Wood "The Spectator" London--

One of the biggest stories of the century has been the defeat of Genesis by genetics. Science, in the doctrine of neo-Darwinism, now seeks to deliver the coup de grace to God. This dangerous, rehashed theory has hurried to fill the vacuum of ideas created by the implosion of Marxism and the decline of Freudian psychoanalysis.

Like these discarded creeds before it, neo-Darwinism is mounting a full-scale assault on freedom of the will, on immortality, on moral grandeur, on the human soul itself. Like them, too, it has in a remarkable way captured the minds of young intellectuals and opinion-makers. In England, this theory has a champion in the shape of Richard Dawkins, Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, Europe's second oldest university. This passionate propagandist sees it as his role relentlessly to publicize the virtues of this "new" theory. The Americans elected him Humanist of the Year. So what does this tip-top humanist think humans are? "Survival machines--robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes." The polemical professor's equivalent to a Bible is Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection". The sound bite that best describes this book's message is Herbert Spencer's phrase "the survival of the fittest." Darwin did not know about DNA. We do, and each day brings discoveries about what can be done with genes and what genes can do. Thus has Darwinism become "neo." It says that it is the fittest and most selfish genes which are selected to survive. If you hear the rattle of eugenic ghosts, consider this. Darwin had an alternative title for his book. The title page of John Murray's 1859 edition bears the words "or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." Darwin's American "doppelgaenger" is E.O. Wilson of Harvard. This insect zoologist has given us the brand-new science of "socio-biology." His acolytes call themselves "evolutionary psychologists." These people believe our brains are already genetically programmed -- hardwired -- by the time we are born. The brain at birth, says Wilson, is "an unexposed negative waiting to be slipped into developer fluid." the photograph has already been taken. Mental life has, effectively, been lived before we take our first breath. From such genetic fatalism, genetic slavery must follow. As an example, such neo-Darwinists conclude that morality has "no other demonstrable function but to keep human genetic material intact." If they are correct, then all that we do, think and feel, all that we believe, imagine, dream, all that we hope for, love and wonder at are preprogrammed by sections of DNA into the "super-computer" of our "robot" brains. In the same way that the importance of the individual was meaningless to be communist and ideas of responsibility were nonsense to the psychoanalyst, so talk of religion to these intellectual trend-surfers is offensive rubbish. Today the enemies of God wear neo-Darwinian helmets. "Faith," says Dawkins, "is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus, but harder to eradicate. The whole subject of God is a bore," says Oxford's professor. He also makes the astounding, and possibly class-actionable, statement that those who teach religion to small children are guilty of "child abuse." Queen Elizabeth is by Dawkins' definition the supreme governor of an organization that specializes in the mistreatment of our sons and daughters. Parliament by allowing the partnership of state and religious schools is colluding with child abusers. But how, we might ask the professor, can a "blindly programmed robot" be guilty of anything? And why would a "genetic survival machine" want to abuse its progeny? Since when were mere machines capable of having "faith?" But Dawkins is relentless in his determination to belittle the faith. He explains the survival of the time-honored belief in God by its "great psychological appeal," failing to explain the survival of that. "Everything fits. Everything points in the same direction," enthuses Dawkins, unwittingly revealing himself as a pseudo-scientist. Yet neo-Darwinism has no explanation of how life itself originated in the primordial soup. Despite Dawkins' confident explanation that "it all makes sense," neo-Darwinism has no answer to the greatest mystery -- what was the origin of the life from which the species eventually evolved? Neo-Darwinism is scientifically, as well as philosophically, unproven. No new-Darwinist has ever described from start to finish the formation of a new species by random mutation. The fossil evidence is woefully lacking on the gross anatomical level, and irrelevant on the molecular one. Also, evolutionary theory relies on gradualism. Random genetic mutation and the production of genes "superior" in the survival business is a desperately slow process. But the fossil evidence that does exist suggests that species evolve suddenly in "big bangs" rather than bit by bit. Neo-Darwinists have difficulty explaining this. The odds against a random explanation keep stacking up. For instance, Wilson's pre-programmed brain theory falls on the will-proven neuro-scientific principle of plasticity: that nerve cells can change any aspect of themselves (their phenotype) at any stage of their development in response to changes in the environment. Even the blessed DNA itself is hardly autonomous. Instead it is often cued to replicate, to "switch itself on" by events in its physical environment that are beyond its control. In short, a consensus is building that the relatively recent revelations of life's molecular complexity (the new part of neo-Darwinism), far from being an argument in favour of evolution, actually cast doubt on it. This does not require a return to creationism, although certainly new life has been breathed into the formerly moribund argument from design for the existence of God (the universe is so complex it must have a designer, i.e. God). It does require, though, that the strident and certain trumpets of the neo-Darwinists give forth a more properly scientific and tentative sound. A suspect and philosophically dubious theory as inflammatory as neo-Darwinism could have great repercussions. Ideas shape politics, events and human affairs. Ideas beget action and validate behavior. These facts are doubly true in a society in which there is a vacuum of ideas, a materialistic culture largely devoid of purpose and meaning such as the one in which we live today. Who can deny that Nazism and the Holocaust were made possible in part by the popularity of Nietzschean doctrines of the supremacy of the "will", and the concept of the "superman", by prevailing attitudes towards euthanasia and eugenics that led to the inauguration of a chair of "racial hygiene" at Munich University in 1936? When a society comes to believe fully that the true purpose of life is the spreading around of our DNA like muck so that it can simply survive, there will be hideous consequences. Men like Wilson and Dawkins are politically sensitive. They have jobs to protect, research grants to preserve, public, publishers and colleagues to appease. Dawkins claims that when he is talking of genetic purpose it is but a "fruitful metaphor." Can he be unaware of the potential effect of such metaphors in the minds of the less intellectually sophisticated? For every figurehead with a career to maintain, there will be many young Turks with little to lose. These action men will build on neo-Darwinism's possibly innocent beginnings. They will have no interest in the polite disclaimers, the antacids that serve to make the meal more palatable to the politically queasy. Have we not been here before? Was it so long ago? In the sorry and surly dawn of the far from brave new world that the neo-Darwinists will have helped create, there will be no room for finer feelings and altruism. Life's treasures will have been looted. There will be nothing left but the marching genes, stamping on value, grinding hope into the ground, pounding freedom into a pulp of pointless nothingness. What then will be society's attitude to rapists, to those who discard older wives for the brand-new reproductively efficient models; to those who would take by force, steal and murder? Would they not be doing what they were programmed to do? Surely they would be without blame? In a nightmare neo-Darwinist world, accountability would be dead. Striving for betterment would be doomed by genetics to failure, while education could do but little to improve our inherited intelligence. In such a godless, morally meaningless culture, might it not make sick sense to discriminate with extreme prejudice against those deemed to lack fitness in the survival business -- the unintelligent, the old, the infirm, the celibate? In that place, what value would there be but survival? What occupation more understandable than "improving the species?" What task more natural than ensuring the endurance of that society's rulers? Dawkins is already on record as saying that he would "love to be cloned." So, it seems, the madness is still with us. The best and brightest of the educators of the public in academe's most ancient groves have not forgotten how to talk the language that can so easily lead to destruction. Have we forgotten so soon what such a world was like? If so, let us now remember, before it is too late.


Overheard a conversation with an amputee and his mother...
"Look Ma! No hands!"

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