Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Unevolved Evolutionist?

According to Ross Douthat's review of John Derbyshire's review of The Party of Death by Ramesh Ponnuru:

The Derb: I believe that there are few men more consistent in their conservatism than John Derbyshire - and by conservatism I really mean way, way old-fashioned conservatism, the kind that held sway not only before liberalism, not only before Christianity, but before what C.S. Lewis called the development of the Tao, and what Karen Armstrong calls "the Great Transformation." Derb has no interest in universals of any kind: his ethics are situational, his loyalties are tribal, his morals are instinctual. He is fond of the forms of his ancestral religion (Anglicanism, that is) and appreciative of religion's role in securing social peace, but he is generally dismissive of any religious system's truth claims, as he is dismissive of any system at all - save for the systems of modern science, because they offer immediate and tangible benefits to his bodily existence.
My first reaction was: So there is such a thing as the Neanderthal right!

My second reaction was: John Derbyshire hasn't been doing much evolving lately. This is strange since one of his pet theories is that the human species has been noticeably evolving in the past few thousand years:

A Left Creationist is a person who believes that with the emergence of modern man 50 or 100,000 years ago, Nature's creation—flash image of a 19th-century English gent with a long white beard—attained perfection, and that human beings have not undergone the slightest evolutionary change since, MOST CERTAINLY NOT by different geographical populations changing in different ways.

A Right Creationist is a person who believes that with the emergence of modern man 50 or 100,000 years ago, God's creation—flash image of an Old Testament deity with a long white beard—attained perfection, and that we have undergone no biological change since, only improvements in our moral understanding and better hopes of a happy afterlife.

Both the LC and RC positions are threatened by (a) a growing pile of evidence that human evolution has been chugging merrily along this past 50,000 years, and (b) that we shall soon be able to lend a hand, changing innate human nature in ways both desirable and not. These are the things that need our attention, and that we ought to be talking about. LCs and RCs, however, prefer to busy themselves with organizing cavalry charges against the oncoming Panzers.

If human beings have been evolving enough to notice and if “the Great Transformation” mentioned above is due to new genes achieving critical mass, then a prepaleoconservative (a proteroconservative?) just might have a shortage of them.

Maybe everybody but John Derbyshire has the new genes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

If you post the same comment on the Laumer entry—where it's bleeping relevant—it will not be deleted.

9:54 PM  

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