A preview of “Official Stories,” from Ch. 8 “Darwin is Dead.” What is Darwinism? What does it actually offer? Is it a science, or a philosophy? We’ll explore the question – and get some hard answers in the book.
Survival of the Fittest
by Liam Scheff, from “Official Stories.”
We have grown up with the expression. We use it when we see someone fail at something so miserably, so spectacularly, that we can only acknowledge the triumph of disaster. It is the phrase that college boys use to mock a fraternity brother who falls down the stairs drunk, or leaps off a hotel balcony into a pool below, hitting the diving board on the way down, breaking some number of bones in the process, having consumed more alcohol than is almost physically possible.
“Survival of the fittest!” The phrase is now commonplace. It has been employed in schoolyards, by scientists and leaders of nations, alike. Its philosophy has been embraced by the likes of Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Which should bother people, but doesn’t. So, what does it mean?
Darwin saw that the island finches were different, slightly. Some had longer beaks, some shorter. Some birds were a little taller, larger or smaller, with a little more or less of a wingspan. Some really hated “Sex and the City” while some found it tolerable, though it really described the lives of the gay men who wrote the show more than actual women in New York. I mean, come on, a new guy every week? That’s boy’s town.
Because Darwin had to exclude the idea that things had always been this way and that these changes had been made by magic, or a god or spirit, he had to come up with a naturalistic explanation. And he tried. He called it “natural selection,” which is pretty tricky. Because it turns the old Christian God into “nature,” and makes you think that it didn’t. But almost no one noticed, because they so wanted to get rid of the damned Church, meddling in everybody’s bloody business.
I mean, really. Burnings at the stake, witch-huntings, endless taxation. Scandal after scandal with the clergy. Some of the monasteries were more like jelly-making whorehouses than places of reflection and worship. “Screw them,” said the new scientific elite. “We’ll support the best contender, even if it is a dog.”
And here it is: “Natural selection” and “survival of the fittest.” Let’s unspool it in a little dialog I call, “Define your terms.” Continue reading Official Stories Chapter Excerpt – Survival of the Fittest