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Beneath the Southern Cross
Why I am not a fan of Charles Darwin
by Olavo de Carvalho
Olavo de Carvalho is a Brazilian philosopher, teacher, and journalist, and an exponent of Aristotle and Eric Voegelin. We present here a commentary that appeared in Diário do Comércio, São Paulo, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.
The splendid festivities commemorating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth make some essential facts about the life and works of this man of science momentarily invisible.
To begin with, Darwin did not invent the theory of evolution: he found it ready-made under the form of an esoteric doctrine, in the work of his own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, and as a scientific hypothesis in innumerable mentions scattered in books by Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Goethe, among others.
All he did was to venture a new explanation for that theory–and his explanation was wrong. No one else, among the self-proclaimed Darwin disciples, believes in “natural selection.” The theory in vogue, the so-called neo-Darwinism, proclaims that, instead of a selection mysteriously oriented toward the improvement of the species, all that happened were random changes.
As far as I know, mere chance is precisely the opposite of a rationally expressible regularity founded on natural law. Darwinism is a slippery and proteiform idea, which one cannot seriously discuss: as soon as it is pushed against a wall by a new objection, it does not defend itself–it changes its identity and walks away crowing about victory. Many theories worshipped by the moderns do this, but Darwinism is the only one that is barefaced enough to transform itself into its contrary and go on proclaiming it is still the same.
Darwin’s Own Application of Intelligent Design
All the celebrants of the Darwinian ritual, the new-Darwinists included, reject as pseudoscientific the theory of “intelligent design.” But it was Charles Darwin himself who made up this theory.
It becomes very clear in the final paragraphs of The Origin of Species, which I read from cover to cover in my teenage years with so much enchantment and which made me a fanatic Darwinist, to the point that I hung a picture of the author on my bedroom wall, surrounded by dinosaurs (only now I realize that he is one of them).
Now, thanks to the kindness of a reader, I got acquainted with the studies of John Angus Campbell on the “rhetoric of science.” He studies scientific books from the vantage point of their strategy of persuasion. In a fascinating YouTube video, he demonstrates that “intelligent design” is not only the final touch of the Darwinist theory, but also its fundamental premise, discreetly spread throughout the whole argumentative edifice of The Origin of Species. “Intelligent design” is therefore the only part of the Darwinian theory that still has advocates: and those are the worst enemies of Darwinism.
It is certainly a paradox that the author of a false explanation for a preexistent theory should be celebrated as the creator of this theory, though an even greater paradox is that the founding premise of the Darwinian argument should be repelled as the very denial of Darwinism.
“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.”
Quoted in Hitler and the Germans, CW 31, p 201.