Saturday, December 05, 2009

Darwin Dawkins and Evolution

The focus has for years been on Darwin’s “Origin of Species” while his companion work “The Descent of Man” has either been ignored entirely or sort of lumped into his general Theory of Evolution. Of course the thrust of Darwin’s second view of evolution is that human beings were descended from apes who in turn were descended from still more primitive animals. This is a heavily flawed book whose flaws are explained away today by pointing out that Darwin was a “man of his times” and “science” has come a long way since the book was written. Darwin never actually addressed the “Origin of Species” nor did he ever address the origin of life. Instead those issues were left to modern believers, like Dawkins, who totally excludes God and embraces his religion of Evolution and his Darwin as his God replacement. So Dawkins goes where Darwin feared to tread and the logical end of this evolutionary thread is that man is a direct descendant of pond scum. If you have seen Dawkins you can see the family resemblance. But suppose Dawkins is right, that all of humanity is descended directly from lower animal forms and thus subject to the laws of evolution. What are the ramifications of this?

The ramification of course is according to Darwin and Dawkins the strongest and fittest survive while the weakest perish under the relentless action of evolution. It was Darwin who stated that more individuals in a species are born than can possibly survive, so it is natures way to eliminate the weak through their struggle to survive thus those individuals who have even the slightest advantage are naturally selected. The implication of this when applied to humans would indicate that the evolutionary path of humanity would lead to a superior form of human both physically and mentally. Males would get larger and stronger while females would become more fertile and attractive. Alas – even a casual look at humanity would show that some at taller, some weaker, some less intelligent, and certainly some are less attractive, but these are all subjective evaluations and really don’t address the variations in skin color, body types, eye color, hair color, or appearance.

The logical conclusion is that humanity today is the logical result of “breeding” and not necessarily the evolutionary result of the survival of the fittest. The implication is that mankind is result of breeding much like dogs and cats or any other animal. It then follows that humanity can be improved through programs where only the “best examples” are allowed to breed. Of course this was a policy adopted in ancient times and is best exemplified by the Spartans who only allowed the strongest babies to live. A more recent example of this approach, now given the name “Eugenics” was carried out by Adolph Hitler. Both of these programs were public policy but Darwin himself noted that the “civilized people” were eliminating the “savages” through their superiority, where superiority was defined through intellectual achievement and living standard. The shallowness of this position is generally ignored today but Darwin’s basic position remains intact in the eyes to people like Dawkins, who pick and choose their facts while ignoring those that don’t fit their belief.

This brings us to those variations which according to Darwin are the result of natural selection and for Dawkins the result of mutations caused by cosmic rays. The corollary here is that any mutation that failed to improve the chance of survival would fall by the wayside since the mutant would be eliminated and off spring would not survive. This immediately leads to the conclusion that all of the observed variations are evolutionary changes that have improved humanity’s survival ability. But for Darwin, there was the gorilla, the Negro (savages), and the ultimate top of the evolutionary scale – the Caucasian. This is one of those Darwinian things that Dawkins chooses to ignore; instead he leans toward mutation and sexual selection. But then which is which? Are blonds more attractive than brunettes? Is black skin more attractive than white? The argument is that skin color, hair color, and curly hair versus straight are in fact evolutionary advantages. But this brings us back to survival of the fittest. Certainly the record of man shows that the barbarian, the one who is stronger and has the morality of a sociopath is the preferred evolutionary form. The logical path indicates that morality, sympathy, empathy, or any deep emotion must be weaknesses that cannot lead to a stronger human form, but must be eliminated through natural selection since the men with these characteristics would not be allowed to mate. Clearly this isn’t the case, so these must be traits that describe the strongest and fittest human. But realistically – does the ability to care for another human being, or to have a conscience enable an individual to survive a drought, a famine, or a war?

Darwin simply stated that man was descended from a lower form and was an animal subject to the same rules of evolution that other animals are. What is missing is any real proof that evolution as described by Dawkins is a fact. Darwin never addressed speciation and Dawkins explains speciation through cosmic rays and mutation but offers no empirical proof whatsoever. In fact the fossil record seems to support environmental adaptation which accounts for the variations in humans, but it does not indicate how one animal morphs into another or how pond scum became human.

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