History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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 Wolfe takes on darwinism

August 31st, 2016 · No Comments

I haven’t yet gotten a hold of Wolfe’s new book, will do, and there are really two questions here, Darwin/Wallace and Chomsky. Let’s consider the first.
We are finally seeing paradigm change in the field of darwinism, and even though he is the typical outsider critiquing the ‘theory’ it is remarkable to watch criticism of darwinism start to mainstream.
Wolfe’s critique is an easy bull’s eye against the evolution of language myths of the theory of natural selection. There are two issues thus: the meaning of the term ‘evolution’: if we equate that with natural selection, or if we consider evolution by some other mechanism. With the evolution of language we remain baffled either way. It is very hard to grapple with the issue of the evolution of language and Wolfe’s type of criticism of Darwin here is almost inevitable. The whole transition to man is beyond our understanding at this point and includes issues of language, language related issues in art, the question of moral action, creative action, consciousness, as a truly stunning threshold of complexity with many suggestions this threshold, granting a starting plateau with homo erectus, was crossed at some point very quickly. We could still call this evolution, if we had any facts about how it happened. It is good to see a public critic take up the issue, because the public has been misled here for decades to centuries. Wallace, let us reiterate our view here, was probably the real source of darwinism, in the debate over Darwin’s plagiarism, and then moved rather quickly beyond it to a view of evolution closer to a design argument. Design arguments are not theological arguments, and in any case Wallace’s insights are the first post-darwinian realizations of about what Wolfe is saying about language.

Mocking leading theorists, Mr. Wolfe argues that the human gift for speech cannot be explained by evolution or structural linguistics.

Source: Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Kingdom of Speech’ Takes Aim at Darwin and Chomsky – The New York Times

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