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Thoughts of S-V White (relative of the sharp-veined white)

I`ve been reading Steve Jones`s just-published "Darwin`s Island," and amid the incredible set of evolutionary sequences - butterflies for example are related to lobsters - one fact stands out. Whatever Dawkins and Jones may argue, natural selection does rupture a human`s sense of wonder at the biosphere. "As Steve Jones puts it: "inelegant, redundant and wasteful as biology might be, it works well, but only as well as it must." And that is the problem. Darwin proved that life on earth is little more than utilitarianism by another name. `The Origin of Species` gives us the "facks" of life on earth.
Best to know them, but that is only a start. For as Thomas Carlyle put it - "the man who cannot wonder is but a pair of spectacles behind which is no eye." I have no doubt that Darwin himself had a sense of wonder, but contemporary Darwin-obsessives like Richard Dawkins have turned the cult into a neo-Stalinist ideology in which the meme nonsense is intended to provide a cultural cover. (See my critique of the concept of memes in my The Insect-Populated Mind.)

As I pointed out in my book The Metaphysics of Insect Life, there is something profoundly unsatisfactory about Darwin`s evolution whereby his mind became "a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of a large collection of facts" so that atrophy set in to "that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend." This was Darwin`s own self-diagnosis. Darwin also wrote; "I have tried lately to read Shakespeare and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me."

There is something disturbing about such philistinism coming from a genius.It does not suggest that the sage of Down House was wrong in his observations and theory. But it does suggest that the one-dimensional is enjoying a triumphalist phase in the early twenty-first century. Although a non-religious believer myself, it does prove yet again that those who make a taboo of mentioning God merely substitute themselves and reinforce, in present intolerant times, the attack on the great works of creativity.
We need to return to "the foul rag-and bone shop of the heart",or as Robert Browning put it: "I at the bottom, Evolutionists/ Advise beginning rather."
The process begins with insect evolution- metamorphosis - as Goethe proposes. The insects are, after all, the creatures who will survive nuclear explosions, and will almost certainly inherit the earth after we have ruined and abandoned it - or managed to escape to other (and probably already sterile) planets.

{please post any comments on the Discussion section of my website via - members.authorsguild.net/davidspooner/}

about David Spooner:
awarded American Medal of Honor for Natural History
Congressional Medal for Excellence in Literature
inducted into American Hall of Fame
Founder of Butterfly Conservation East Scotland
sometime member of the Scottish Biodiversity Committee







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