UN-DARWINIAN SPECIES

UN-DARWINIAN SPECIES

[TBC: The following quote by an Australian philosopher who describes himself as an “agnostic” is instructive.]

 

If you discovered tomorrow a new and most un-Darwinian-looking species of animals, in which every adult pair produced on average a hundred offspring, but the father always killed all of them very young, except one which was chosen by some random process, it would take an armor-plated neo-Darwinian no more than two minutes to “prove” that this reproductive strategy, despite its superficially inadvisability, is actually the optimum one for that species. And what is more impressive still, he will be able to do the same thing again later, if it turns out that the species had been misdescribed at first, and that in fact the father always lets three of his hundred offspring live. In neo-Darwinianism’s house there are many mansions: so many, indeed, that if a certain awkward fact will not fit into one mansion, there is sure to be another one into which it will fit to admiration.

–David Stove, collected essays, Against the Idols of the Age, Transaction, 1999, p. 244

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