February 20, 2014

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

While I appreciate my reader’s concern for my feelings, I can’t see anything objectionable in that. It’s a truthful statement of things that happened and views I’ve expressed and shall express again when context calls for it.

I can’t even see why they put me in this video. Possibly the Discovery Institute wanted to get back at me for mocking them in last month’s American Spectator. Fair enough, but I don’t quite feel got-back-at. What I actually feel is what a certain British politician felt after a lackluster opponent criticized him in the House of Commons. It was, he said, “like being savaged by a dead sheep.”

The War on Humans is thin stuff altogether. Why don’t they mention the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement? As representatives of the War on Humans, surely VHEMT is worth ten of me.

And the core thesis is open to some obvious rejoinders. Human exceptionalism was the common belief of mankind until Darwin came along, and much good it did us. Consider just a single decade, admittedly a more than averagely gruesome one: the 1640s. Those years saw the climax of the Thirty Years”€™ War, the Khmelnytsky Pogroms, Cromwell’s scourging of Ireland, and the Manchu occupation of China. I’m not perfectly clear about the metaphysical inclinations of the Manchus (though they certainly weren’t animal-rights enthusiasts), but all the other participants were human exceptionalists. Tell me again why we should cherish human exceptionalism?

The much-advertised horrors of the 20th century were statistically mild by comparison with what went before, as Steven Pinker has shown; and the worst were anyway perpetrated by anti-Darwinians such as Stalin and Mao seeking to perfect human nature via nonbiological methods.

So I’ll nail my own little banner to human unexceptionalism, thanks all the same. The better we can understand human nature and human differences”€”both differences between individuals and between the big old inbred extended families we call races”€”the better we shall be able to chip away at the pains and horrors of human life and keep our society stable and free.

In giving us the conceptual tools to advance that understanding, no one did more, nor indeed one-hundredth as much, as Darwin. Happy birthday, Chuck.



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