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.