“Do you realize, reader, that you are an error of heredity, a biological error? … And not only an error, but an error on an enormous scale. At least, Darwinians say you are. And who knows more about biology and heredity, pray, than they do?”
Thus wrote the hardened atheist and Darwin critic David Stove in “Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution.” The “new religion of selfish genes” classifies all humans as biological errors.
In his posthumously published sparkling tome, science philosopher Stove dubs Darwin’s theory of evolution a religious creation myth. Why, moral philosopher Mary Midgley writes apologetically (in the “Royal Institute of Philosophy”) that “Social Darwinism” is perhaps “the unofficial religion of the West,” even blessed by Richard Dawkins (of “The Selfish Gene”).
That worries prominent Social Darwinist Michael Ruse: “If Darwinism equals atheism, then it can’t be taught in U.S. schools because of the constitutional separation of church and state.”
Stove’s book then crashes headlong into the “what do we teach the children” controversy. Do we teach them, asks Stove, Dawkins’ fantasy—that “selfish genes … leap from body to body down the generations … the genes are the immortals?” Are they our gods and we their puppets? Although Stove agrees with Darwin’s theories for “pines or cod,” he also sees a cosmology that equates human and cod reproduction as ludicrous junk science.
Stove begins before Darwin with T.H. Huxley, pasha of the Huxley dynasty, who defined humans as savages in a “continual free fight” for survival—when not involved with “temporary” family ties. “Darwinian Fairytales” asks the obvious. Why would killer savages have any family in the first place? Stove answers:
“Huxley’s man, if he wanted to maximize his own chances of survival, and had even half a brain, would simply eat his wife and child before some other man did. They are first-class protein.” Women and children would be “easy meat” on the daily menu, making life a very short, open-pit outdoor barbeque.
Stove poses core questions. If “every single organic being … [is] striving to the utmost to increase in numbers,” and only the most fit survive, then why do, as the song goes, “the rich get rich and the poor get children?”
On that musical note, says Stove, the “fitness” genes collapse further when we consider childless geniuses like: “Newton, Faraday and Mendel; Vivaldi, Handel and Beethoven; Gibbon, Macaulay and Carlyle; Plato, Aquinas, Bacon, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Kant and Mill. . . . No rational person will suppose that this association of extremely low fertility with the highest intellectual or musical genius is accidental” or due to starvation.
Humans, not being cod or pines, often prefer to do something other than copulate—such as writing books and symphonies, painting and even sleeping. Moreover, few families that stay together commonly mate together. And beyond incest prohibitions, humans, not cod, restrict birth via infanticide, abortion and contraception, says Stove, “and we appear to have done so always.”
Obviously, if “survival of the fittest” or “natural selection” were true, we’d have neither homosexuals nor celibate altruists caring for unrelated others. “Hospitals, welfare programs, priesthoods,” heroes and such exist in most civil societies. Yet, quips Stove, Neo-Darwinians reject direct proofs of human altruism, preferring selfishness piloted by invisible genes.
Stove delights in Darwin’s delusional claim that child mortality is “about 80% at least,” observing that his wife Emma should have birthed thirty-five babies in order to get her seven “to puberty.”
Ideas Have Consequences
Yet Darwinians ignore such glaring theoretical silliness. “Having been to college, he believes all the right things: That Darwin was basically right, that Darwin bridged the gap between man and animals, etc., etc.”
One almost slap-stick Stovism involves monkey-mom “baby snatching.” Like humans, sometimes a bereaved monkey mom steals another mother’s baby, adopts and cares for it like her own.
Dr. “selfish gene” Dawkins is mystified by such monkey-love. Why does the dippy adopting mom waste her time and release a rival to make more babies? Dawkins wonders if maybe real moms deceive “naïve young females into adopting their children” for some selfish gain? Stove replies that Dawkins might ask “his own mother why she did not offload him?” (One wonders if any fit socio-biologists have survived?)
“Darwinian Fairytales” reveals how such “selfish gene” and “natural selection” fancies have led us into savage waters. To save his disproved theories, Darwin charged that humans often allow “one’s worst animals to breed,” thereby justifying eugenics and sterilization. Soon “the fit” would run the state and cull out the weak—one infamous example among many of how bogus science has licensed barbarism.
Finally, Darwin’s fairytales advanced sexual freedom says Stove—that is, if animals and plants have sex, “sexual intercourse is innocent.” Naturally, “the great sexual emancipators after 1859”—Ellis, Freud, Lenin, Stopes, Sanger, Mead, Reich— “were all Darwinians.” Genetics gave “the new religionists,” he said, “their gods … the chromosomes of the sex cells.” On point, Stove warned, “freedom of the press, except for really precious things like pornography, has greatly diminished in the last hundred years, and especially in the last twenty” [emphasis added].
Yet, with roughly 33,000 Americans infected daily by a venereal disease, the cost of “sex science” controlled by ideologues and sexual psychopaths is dear indeed. Stove was apparently unaware that Hugh Hefner, the father of “precious things like pornography,” launched Playboy as “Kinsey’s Pamphleteer” after reading Alfred Kinsey’s two sexuality books in college.
Nor did Stove know that Kinsey, the high priest of sex, decided to sexually reform America after reading Darwin in college.
In 2005, HUMAN EVENTS scholars voted Kinsey’s reports among the “most harmful” American books published in the last 200 years. Although Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” made it only as an “honorable mention” in that pantheon of injury, just as Hefner was a Kinsey clone, Kinsey was a Darwin clone. Genes may not leap and travel from generation to generation but ideas certainly do.
Ideas have consequences. Stove’s “Darwinian Fairytales” is required reading for anyone still on inquiry.