Were Cave Men (Our Ancestors) All Trying to Kill Each Other? Part 3

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

In parts 1 and 2, we looked at agnostic philosopher David Stove’s explanation of “Darwinism’s Dilemma” in his book Darwinian Fairytales:

If Darwin’s theory of evolution were true, there would be in every species a constant and ruthless competition to survive: a competition in which only a few in any generation can be winners. But it is perfectly obvious that human life is not like that, however it may be with other species.

Stove introduced the Cave Man way out of the dilemma whereby Darwinists claim that even though humans are not in a constant and ruthless competition for survival today, they were in the past. Stove, however, thinks this way out is absurd. He writes:

Even if such a tribe could somehow continue in existence, it is extremely difficult to imagine how our species, as we now know it to he, could ever have graduated from so very hard a school. We need to remember how severe the rule of natural selection is, and what it means to say that a species is subject to it. It means, among other things, that of all the rabbits, flies, cod, pines, etc., that are born, the enormous majority must suffer early death; and it means no less of our species. How could we have escaped from this set up, supposing we once were in it?

After 150 years of being inundated with Darwinian theory, we forget how absurd aspects of it are. Stove’s point is staring us in the face. Darwin said that all species are in a brutal struggle for survival: kill or be killed. Yet, that clearly is not the case, today, with human beings. Therefore, Darwin’s theory flies directly in the face of what we know.

At this point, T. H. Huxley enters the scene to help out his friend, Charles Darwin. Stove picks up the story:

Darwinism in its early decades had an urgent need for an able and energetic PR man. Darwin himself had little talent for that kind of work, and even less taste for it. But he found in T. H. Huxley someone who had both the talent and the taste in plenty. Huxley came to be known as “Darwin’s bulldog,” and by thirty years of invaluable service as a defender of Darwinism against all comers, he deserved it. And he provides an unusually explicit example of a high scientific authority who takes the Cave Man way out.

Huxley knew perfectly well, of course, since he was not a madman, that human life in England in his own time did not bear any resemblance to a constant and ruthless struggle to survive. Why, life was not like that even among the savages of New Guinea-nay, even in Sydney-as he found when he was in these parts in the late 184os, as a surgeon on board H.M.S. Rattlesnake. Did these facts make him doubt, when he became a Darwinian about ten years later, the reality of Darwin’s “struggle for life,” at least in the case of humans? Of course not. They only made him think that, while of course there must have been a stage of Darwinian competition in human history, it must also have ended long ago.

So what was Huxley’s proposal?

But in those distant times, Huxley informs us, human beings lived in “nature,” or “in the state of nature,” or in “the savage state.” Each man “appropriated whatever took his fancy and killed whomsoever opposed him, if he could.” “Life was a continual free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence.”‘

It is hard to believe one’s eyes when reading these words. Thomas Hobbes, forsooth! He was a philosopher who had published, two hundred years earlier, some sufficiently silly a priori anthropology. But Huxley is a great Darwinian scientist, and is writing in about 1890. Yet what he says is even sillier than anything that Hobbes dreamed up about the pre-history of our species.

More to come in part 4, as Stove continues to look at how Huxley propounded the Cave Man theory.

  • ” Stove is claiming that this was one of the most popular explanations given by Darwin’s defenders.”

    As you point out yourself, Huxley was speaking 123 years ago. Where are the modern biologists making the claims Stove is attacking?

    “Why, life was not like that even among the savages of New Guinea”

    Why would one expect it to be different in New Guinea a hundred or so years ago? Such people do not differ from us in any significant way genetically. Huxley may not have known that, but we do now.

    By the way, Jared Diamond has written some great stuff about tribes in New Guinea. He says the standard of care for the elderly in most tribes there is far better than in the West. I offer this merely as a point of interest.

  • John Corbitt

    “Where are the modern biologists making the claims Stove is attacking?” I truly doubt your willingness to accept the authority of any scientist who opposes evolution.

    The links I offer, and ones evolution supporters have that are not included, all give testimony that backs up my doubt.





    In the movie “Expelled”, several scientists not only believe that the theory of evolution fails to explain many questions of our origins, but also face extreme censorship and persecution by those in the academic field who supposedly welcome any ideas in the pursuit of truth.

    But a list of modern scientists who deny evolution is only as good as your willingness to accept the accredited scientists who do not join you in your dogmatic beliefs. And as many of the links point out, not only do evolutionists question the authority of these scientists, they try to muzzle them, thereby shutting down any real search for truth and knowledge. In that kind of environment, it takes real bravery to oppose that kind of power. Power can effectively hurt any who would oppose it. We saw it in the few who opposed religious dogma in the past and we see it in the few who oppose the academic dogma of the present.

    And, as the Bible points out, that is done because men who love their sin, will try to oppress anything and anyone who promotes the idea of One who holds us accountable for that sin. Which is insane since, that same One, in His great love, offers a one and only way of escape from that sin.

  • A Ryan

    None of those address my question. Read my post again.

  • Later in Stove’s book, he deals much more with modern Darwinists, including and especially Dawkins. As I told Eric, these quotes I am using come from the beginning of his book where he is laying out his case by starting with Darwin and his contemporaries. I hope to write more posts in the future where Stove takes on modern-day Darwin defenders.

  • Andrew

    I’ll read that with interest then. But if he’s taking Dawkins on over different points than the one above, then my point still stands. I’ve already pointed out where Huxley is seriously out of whack with the modern view of animals, ‘cave men’ and so-called ‘savage tribes’.

  • Andrew

    Bill, I just read this and thought of your blog. Not posting this link as a ‘gotcha’ but thought it might add to the debate, and be interested in your thoughts:

  • In a way, this article seems to defend Stove’s depiction of the Cave Man theory. Here is the first paragraph:

    “It became one of the fiercest scientific arguments in recent times: are the Yanomami Indians of the Amazon rainforest a symbol of how to live in peace and harmony with nature or remnants of humanity’s brutal early history?”

    Humanity’s early brutal history? That seems like T. H. Huxley’s view.

    I must say, though, I am also skeptical of those who claim that primitive man lived in perfect peace and harmony with nature, and it’s only modern civilization that has caused him to become savage. This, too, seems false to me. I think the truth lies in between.

  • Andrew

    Yes. Like I said, I wan’t trying to prove a point, but was offering it as a point of interest in the discussion.