September 4, 2016

WE ARE ALL DESIGNIST NOW:

Tom Wolfe's 'The Kingdom of Speech' Takes Aim at Darwin and Chomsky (DWIGHT GARNER, AUG. 30, 2016, NY Times)

Mr. Wolfe, now 85, shows no sign of mellowing. His new book, "The Kingdom of Speech," is his boldest bit of dueling yet. It's a whooping, joy-filled and hyperbolic raid on, of all things, the theory of evolution, which he finds to be less scientific certainty than "a messy guess - baggy, boggy, soggy and leaking all over the place," to put it in the words he inserts into the mouths of past genetic theorists.

Secondarily, this book is a rebuke of the work of the linguist Noam Chomsky, whom Mr. Wolfe refers to as "Noam Charisma." Rebuke is actually too frivolous a word for the contumely Mr. Wolfe looses in his direction. More precisely, he tars and feathers Mr. Chomsky before sticking a clown nose on his face and rolling him in a baby stroller off a cliff.

Mr. Wolfe does not complain about evolution on religious grounds; in fact, he is an atheist. He begins by declaring the notion of the big bang to be vaguely ridiculous, and likens it to a mythopoetic bedtime story. Everything came from nothing?

Most essentially, Mr. Wolfe employs new research from the controversial anthropologist Daniel Everett to argue that the power of speech -- man's signal attribute -- is not the product of evolution at all but rather a tool that man created. "Bango!" Mr. Wolfe writes. "There is a cardinal distinction between man and animal." He wonders how airtight the theory of evolution can be if it does not account for such a thing. "What is it," he asks, "that has left endless generations of academics, certified geniuses, utterly baffled when it comes to speech?"

Hard to believe that just fifteen years ago there were still people arguing that Darwinism was a science, rather than a political ideology.  Fittingly enough, its adherents--like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, etc.--did more damage than the opponents.




Posted by at September 4, 2016 7:41 PM

  

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