May 19, 2006


Report hints human `Hobbit' just a fantasy (RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, 5/19/06, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The surprising discovery of bones heralded as a new, Hobbit-like human species may turn out to have simply been the remains of a human suffering from a genetic illness that causes the body and brain to shrink, according to researchers challenging the original report.

Nothing in life is more certain than that a loudly trumpeted Darwinist claim will turn out to be bogus.

Though a brilliant humorist, Tom Wolfe here parodies himself quite accidentally, A Speech In Full (David Epstein, 5/11/06, Inside Higher Ed)

Wolfe argued that, though neo-Darwinists believe genes are the puppeteers responsible for pulling all human strings, mankind must be studied not only as Homo sapiens, but as Homo loquax, he said — “man talking.”

“Human speech,” Wolfe said, “ended the evolution of man.” Because speech removed humans from the state of nature once and for all, Wolfe implied, it is only through the study of the humanities that we can reach to the core of modern humans.

Rather than natural selection, Wolfe said, humans are now governed by “artificial selection,” and even impose artificial selection on other animals.

Adding to the comedy though is that this fella doesn't get it either, Dark Observations From the Man In the White Suit (Philip Kennicott, 5/11/06, Washington Post)
If last night's speech is any indication, Tom Wolfe has come out of the muck with the biggest stain of all. He's a misanthrope. He loves stories that show man at his worst. He gravitates toward them; he tells them charmingly, as if holding a platter of manure in his hands while walking through a garden party. But a writer is defined not just by his attention to detail -- and last night, as always, he was a master of wry observation -- but by the stories he seeks out. And Wolfe, it seems, has sought out the stories that confirm a very bleak worldview.

He called his speech "The Human Beast," borrowing the title from the French writer Emile Zola, who he has often claimed is his idol. "The greatest novelist who ever lived," he said last night.

The human beast is guided by social inclinations, by the desire for status and the fear of humiliation. With the arrival of Darwin, whose theories supposedly shatter the belief of intellectuals in God, the human beast gets even more bestial. Nothing can contain him. His appetites and urges come to the fore, social restraint is thrown off, and he emerges as . . . a college student. A frat boy, a libidinous cheerleader, or, later in life, intellectuals or Wall Street types, who pursue selfish ends with comical narcissism, hubris and self-deception.

The irony, Wolfe suggested, is that it is speech, a great evolutionary leap forward, that also gives us religion, the thing that not only contains the human beast but also proves the degree to which it is our social world, our culture, that really defines us. And so Darwin, who lays out the mechanics of evolution, which reveals the importance of religion, also gets credit for unchaining the human beast, which leads to things such as cop killing, untrammeled sex, hippies, bohemians, preening intellectuals and all the other easy targets that get skewered like fish in a barrel in a Tom Wolfe novel.

That, at least, is the argument he seemed to want to make. But it was all very confused, filled with large claims that were left unproven or unconnected.

"Evolution came to an end when the human beast developed speech," he said, which seems dubious from any number of angles.

He admires Darwin, or the impact of Darwin, but tried to argue with what he called "neo-Darwinists" in the field of neuroscience who supposedly believe in a rigorously deterministic world. Which is a straw man. He feinted in the direction of giving love to religion -- never a bad gesture in today's Washington -- but left no indication of whether he himself believes, and plenty of indication that he lives more in Nietzsche's world (where religion is a rather pathetic crutch for lesser beings) than the world of fundamentalism or NASCAR drivers who pray before each race (which he clearly admires).

But this is a strategy, isn't it? The misanthrope is guided by one big idea, that man is beastly. Darwin may be entirely correct, and God may be dead. But Wolfe doesn't need to have a stand on either of these propositions, because all he really needs is: material.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2006 8:26 AM

Nasssttyy Hobbitssses . . . we hates them! We hates them!

Posted by: Mike Morley at May 19, 2006 8:39 AM

Their Peppered Hobbit habit may be taken with a grain of salt.

Posted by: Noel at May 19, 2006 8:57 AM

Now your just talking smack, OJ. This is a Science problem not a Evolution problem. Think of all the Physics and Chemistry hoaxes we've had to live through. Besides, the biologists need to step back and let their betters handle this. It may look like genetic damage, but any trained Evolutionist will tell you this is an example of speciation! It just looks like damage in the early stages.....

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 19, 2006 10:43 AM


The difference is that some of physics and some of chemistry is scientific, none of Darwinism is. Darwnism is String Theory.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2006 10:48 AM

Work with me OJ. the only hoax I can think of in those fields is cold fusion, and it was possible to prove it wrong in the lab. I would not call String theory Darwinism, because they are trying to prove it at CEBAF and other locations. All a Darwinist will do if you ask about labwork is throw up his hands and say "Too hard, too much time!". I would like to see one of the Darwinists on the board explain why Evolution is uniquely plagued by frauds and hoaxes, as opposed to it's peers in the hard science fields.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 19, 2006 11:00 AM


No, they aren't. They're trying to manufacture data to fit their faith.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2006 11:09 AM

Cold fusion wasn't a hoax but a mistake by chemists who didn't understand quantum mechanics or nuclear fusion. String theory is speculation at this point and if it is wrong, it will again be a mistake not a hoax.

Some of the Darwinian hoaxes may be mistakes due to blindness brought about by excessive trust in their theory, but many of them seem to be outright hoaxes perpetrated by con artists who knew they could exploit the widespread desire among Darwinists to believe in evidence for their theory. A similar thing happened with the Korean stem cell guy, as he exploited the blind faith many have in embryonic stem cell research.

I was sure that Korean's stem cell research was faked from the beginning -- it's not credible that he could get results thousands of others tried and failed to get, and get them so cleanly -- and I'm sure many biologists felt the same, but many believers rallied behind him and no one was willing to cast the first stone.

Compare that to cold fusion, which was greeted by disbelief and scorn from the beginning.

When a large number of practitioners will line up behind you to endorse an evidence-less proposition, and cow potential critics into silence, the rewards to perpetrating a hoax go way up. You can potentially get a 20-year career out of it. Maybe more - look at global warming.

Posted by: pj at May 19, 2006 11:11 AM

Thank you for your thoughts, OJ & PJ. I know that if I were an Evolutionist I would be burning in shame at how often my chosen field had be taken in.
It seems that there is a new shame ever year. When does the shame get to the point where they form a debunking group? I don't believe that Evolution is Science, but the Darwinists do. Why aren't they acting like it?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 19, 2006 11:23 AM


Tut-tut. We're all evolutionists, not least Literal Creationists. What we aren't is Darwinists. They're a marginal sect in America.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2006 11:31 AM


Although part of the scorn and disbelief was surely not the result of natural skepticism, but rather the irritation of physicists over a couple of state-school chemists doing something they thought impossible.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 19, 2006 4:28 PM

As the mother of one of those elitist Princeton physicists, I can attest to their scorn of lesser beings in general and of chemists in particular. One such unfortunate was a fellow rock climber who was ever referred to as the mechanic.

Posted by: erp at May 20, 2006 10:31 AM