Saturday, August 26, 2006

Denyse O'Leary and Darwinian Fairy Tales

Denyse O'Leary (Post-Darwinist) is a "Toronto-based journalist", and defender of Intelligent Design. She also writes for ARN (Access Research Network) and doubles for William Dembski at their common blog. She has written the following ARN article: Darwinian Fairy Tales: Aussie philosopher challenges neo-Darwinism Preface. The "Aussie philosopher" is David Stove, author of Darwinian Fairytales. I haven't read the book; but O'Leary provides us with this quote:
I do deny that natural selection is going on within our species now, and that it ever went on in our species, at any time of which anything is known.
Not a quote that should make anyone fall off their chair in surprise or jump up from it in joy. As it stands it is not easy to know exactly, what Stove could have implied. At any time of which anything is known social selection has been the norm. Human culture is of far more influence than anything we could call natural selection. So who's to disagree with this? O'Leary has the kindness to supply us with this comment:
He waives the question of how our species came to be what it is now, because he wants our species portrayed correctly in known historical time, and "not to be imposed upon by the ludicrously false portrayals which Darwinians give of the past, and even of the present, of our species." In other words he has no time for the sham psychology of "evolutionary psychology."
Hey, wait a sec here, will you? I am a Darwinian, and I am certainly not a believer in "evolutionary psychology" - or rather, I find it to have limited applicability. If it didn't, we wouldn't have problems with tyrannical parents, school teachers, and other police state enforcers. Our genes (let's just forget that Darwin knew nothing about genes, shall we?) are of no real importance. Do poor people have poor genes? And do criminals have criminal genes? Completely independent of our genes, we are born into an already existing society, and we can't really help it, can we? Isn't Stove and O'Leary shooting over the target? Not everyone who accepts the theory of evolution accepts all the bonus goodies that some evolutionists bundle into the bargain. A couple of paragraphs later O'Leary writes:
Indeed, no exhaustive list would be possible, because anyone can interpret any current social situation (a gruesome baby-killing, a demand to legalize polygamy, US-Canada relations) in the light of what supposedly happened in prehistoric times, and then make up a story about how the behavior arose among cave guys shouting rot into the stalactites of their caves ....
Sure, "anyone can interpret any current social situation" in whichever way they see fit. William Dembski manages to see applications of his design filter all over the place, so why not? Some IDists even claim that we have an in-built ability to detect design, so we can learn about the Designer that way. In what way is such a claim more scientific than evolutionary psychology? Since I haven't read Stove's book, I cannot say for sure, what Stove meant; but whatever he meant, O'Leary certainly applies it as a strawman argument against Darwinism (whatever that term might exactly mean, by the way). I am not sure that all that many evolutionists ("Darwinists") accept evolutionary psychology to its extremes; I certainly do not, and most evolutionists that I know anything about do neither. In other words, O'Leary is telling a fairy tale to counter fairy tales that not many believe in. UPDATE (sep. 6): O'Leary sports the same article here.

No comments:

About Me

A Christian in Satanist clothes