Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Gould and Dawkins Lovefest

Here is one of the first usages of the phrase Darwinian Fundamentalism of which I am aware. Thanks to my main man, Stephen Jay Gould. He used the phrase to describe Richard Dawkins' and Daniel Dennett's narrow reliance on limited mechanisms to explain how evolution happened:
Some of these ideas have filtered into the general press, but the uniting theme of Darwinian fundamentalism has not been adequately stressed or identified. . . . Amid the variety of their subject matter, the ultra-Darwinists share a conviction that natural selection regulates everything of any importance in evolution, and that adaptation emerges as a universal result and ultimate test of selection's ubiquity.

I think the description fits for many more reasons than that.

The article contains this gem about Daniel Dennett's book Darwin's Dangerous Idea:
His limited and superficial book reads like a caricature of a caricature—for if Richard Dawkins has trivialized Darwin's richness by adhering to the strictest form of adaptationist argument in a maximally reductionist mode, then Dennett, as Dawkins's publicist, manages to convert an already vitiated and improbable account into an even more simplistic and uncompromising doctrine. If history, as often noted, replays grandeurs as farces, and if T.H. Huxley truly acted as "Darwin's bulldog," then it is hard to resist thinking of Dennett, in this book, as "Dawkins's lapdog."

* * * *

Post note: Some extended quotes from this article can now be found here.


At April 15, 2008 9:46 AM, Blogger rclough said...


A biologist thought himself shrewd
And sat back in victorious mood.
He'd proved there's no God
And thought it not odd
He'd disproven what no one had proved.

- Roger Clough


Post a Comment

<< Home