Commenting “Darwinism and Logic”
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I read an article titled “Darwinism and Logic” by Dr. Fereydun Hilmi, a contemporary critical thinker. I happen to agree, if not with most, at least with many of his view points. He initially puts Darwin, Freud, and Machiavelli in the same basket and argues that “in the post-Darwin-Freud-Machiavelli era we have seen serious deviation from the natural progression and selection of the development of mankind through the desire by politicians, psychiatrists and social engineers”. He then explains the shortcomings of Darwinism, but forgets to elaborate on the Freudian ideas and Machiavelli’s philosophy. Since he focused mainly on Darwinism, I try to summarize my comment to 1001 words on his main topic with only a peripheral reference to the gaps of Freudian theory.
The author mentions that it is unclear if Darwin had questioned the existence of the creator. I think Darwin was not naïve to declare that there is absolutely no creator. One must have an absolute view to accept or reject the existence of an unknown creator and Darwin was not an absolute but a free thinking scientist. Most likely he thought he was not evolved enough to understand the unknown and left it open for generations to come to think about it. He probably was thinking similar to Bozorgmehr who had said “only all know it all, and all are not born yet”.
What I understand from the evolution theory is that compare to the proponents of genesis Darwin had suggested a more logical explanation. In contrary to the former, who chose a simplistic and superstitious way of explaining life and evolution thousands years ago, Darwin studied the available data and phenomenon to give an answer suitable for the 19th century. Darwin ’s answer was full of gaps that needed to be filled with updated ideas to make sense by future generations. It still has many gaps and makes only partial sense. Freud’s ideas were similar in term of gaps and short comings.
Freud made some suggestions about the root of neuroticism based on his experience with a selected group of patients as well as based on his limited knowledge of the 19th century ideas. His theory was not possible to be proven scientifically and remains full of gaps. Fortunately the ethical norms of our common civilization do not let even the most detached scientists to use humans as the subject of scientific studies about sexual conflict and death instinct. It is impossible to have a double blind study about the impact of sexual conflict and necrophilia on the development of personality. Since Freud’s era the filed of psychiatry has made much progress and neither sexual conflicts nor death instinct can explain why disturbed individuals behave the way they do. Some gaps have been field with new advances in neuroscience, psychology, and sociology. Many gaps still need to be filled by the future generations. At least today we know if someone is receiving messages form an unknown being, he or she is psychotic. In the future we might even figure out why the psychotic experiences of notable people thousand years ago were accepted as truth without any doubt.
As the ancient answers about creation and personality did not make full sense in the 19th century anymore, today’s answer will not be sufficient for tomorrow’s generations. Believing that both, Darwin and the proponents of genesis had the full truth and nothing but the truth, contradicts not only science but also the existence of an unknown which is beyond the limited intelligence and knowledge of pervious and current generations.
Having doubt about existing explanations and trying to question the gaps of yesterday and today is what doubters do. Doubting what we are not sure about is the foundation of evolution. We have evolved but have not reached the ideal unknown that we are searching for. We might or we might not ever reach that ideal. Only by having doubt we search what we do not know. Once we have proven a theory with sufficient scientific evidence, we give up doubting it and then accept it as a factual truth. While survival of the fittest might be somewhat reasonable in the animal kingdom, it is not consistent with the survival of the most evolve creation, the human being. Darwin’s theory about survival of the fittest was not about human society, although social Darwinists such as Machiavelli might have believed otherwise.
The progression of Homo sapiens from stick-using primates to those who land satellite on the space is a clear evidence of evolution of the human mind. The humans, who use their tools to eliminate other humans and have survived based on the animal model of evolution, are as primitive as the animals that Darwin studied. The evolved humans of today are supposed to have a more evolved mind and progressively recognize that their survival is in the survival of all members of their own and other species. It is no surprise that many evolved human beings are concerned even about the extinction of endangered species. Many human beings who believe they are the fittest and impose their racial and religious values on others with every means including violence might have evolved physically but have remained at the level of more primitive primates mentally.
Considering the level of their evolution, lower species can not think about the survival of human beings. Although the number of lower species is greater than that of humans, evolved humans remain optimistic about the survival of humanity. The author concludes that the entire concept about the survival of the fittest “requires an independent observer to define the exact meaning of fitness”.
Based on my humble independent observation, a possible contemporary meaning of fitness is promoting the survival of all living creations, if they contribute to our common survival with peaceful means. In this season of living, which start with spring equinox and equal length of day and night, I hope we all think of live, peace, and equality for all.