Darwin and la Difference
have never been able to believe in Darwin. He tried to deny the
essential difference between man and beast, a difference I can only
regard as irreducible, and I have known plenty of both.
To put it simply,
animals have brains, but man also has a mind, a very distinct kind
of soul. Man can calculate, imagine, moralize, form abstract concepts,
and perform many other mental operations of which no animal is capable.
Animals have sensation and memory the power of association
and not much else. They may be very beautiful, but they lack
the sense of beauty.
is so vast and profound that Western man used to take it for granted.
Of course man was immeasurably superior to any animal! Each had
its own excellence, but man had no rival for intelligence in any
beast that wants discourse of reason, as Shakespeare
puts it: he was indeed the paragon of animals. If our
furry and scaly friends were still evolving, none of them appeared
to be gaining on us.
It was only
in fairly recent times, in an age of revolt against the divine,
that a materialist philosophy arose to argue that the human and
the subhuman are the same in principle, that life emerged from raw
matter by sheer chance, and that over eons the simple amoeba developed
(or evolved) into higher life forms. Charles
Darwin found a receptive audience for this dubious idea among educated
humans who were weary of the Christian faith.
theory of evolution, of mans descent from more or less simian
ancestors, now has a stranglehold on Western intellectual life despite
its obvious falsity. The notion of a continuity betwixt man and
beast has a powerful appeal to people who seek the false but clear
explanation for countless phenomena.
Like its contemporary
fallacy, Marxism, Darwinism had a mighty impact on history, except
that Marxism has all but expired and its Darwinist twin is still
going strong. The Marxists made the fatal error of predicting events
in the (historically) short term; whereas most of Darwins
avatars wisely confine themselves to making prophecies over such
long periods as to be virtually unfalsifiable.
So it is that
Christopher Hitchens, a verbally brilliant man, has managed to prosper
in two separate careers: first as a highly plausible Marxist, and
then, when the Marxist creed bit the dust in our time, as an equally
facile apostle of Darwinism. I respect his rare genius and have
no doubt that he could flourish just as well in any other environment
Muslim or Mormon, let us say.
In his classic
Man, G.K. Chesterton gave atheism and Darwinism the refutation
they really deserve: hilarity. St. Anselm had a point: man is the
only animal that worships! What does that tell us? That all the
other animals have more sense than we do? For that matter, man is
also the only animal that believes in evolution; what are the implications
of that fact? Whats more, man seems to be the only animal
that has a sense of irony, though Hitchens insists that atheists
have a keener sense of it than believers do. Ill have to think
that one over.
To put it another
way, why is there an absolute and impassable gulf between creatures
who get a collective kick out of Red Skelton and Benny Hill, and
those who just dont? I know of no signs that clams have even
the most rudimentary sense of humor. Correct me if Im wrong.
Maybe Ive missed something. It wouldnt be the first
And by the
way, do the females of other species, some of which are monogamous,
point out their mates annoying errors, foibles, and bad habits,
or is this too a human trait? And do they take hours getting ready
for a big night, such as an anniversary? Do any of them have the
equivalent of a beauty shop or a manicure salon? I didnt think
so. Other animals females, frankly, are not very feminine.
Ours are. Only ours are, if you ask me. We are, after all, the only
species that bellows, Vive la difference!
snails may know, and in their way enjoy, la difference, but
not the way we do. Even chimps, supposedly our evolutionary next
of kin, dont seem to cultivate the gallantry that for us (excepting
feminists, of course) is normative.
I could go
on and on, but lets just say that Darwin was, well, out of
Reactionary Utopian archives. Watch Sobran's last TV appearance
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