Strange though it may seem ...

Over at the Panda's Thumb, Nick highlights the following quote from Wiker and Witt's, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature:

Strange though it may seem to neo-Darwinists, Darwin's assumption that the terms species and variety are merely given for convenience's sake is part of a larger materialist and reductionist program that undercuts the natural foundation of counting and distorts the natural origin of mathematics. To put it more bluntly, in assuming that "species" are not real, Darwinism and the larger reductionist program burn away the original ties that bound the meaning of mathematics to the world and instead leave it stranded on a solipsistic island of the human imagination.

Damn straight, it's strange. It's beyond strange. It's frankly dumb, dumb, dumb. 

So bent are these two Fellows of the Discovery Institute on pinning everything on evil Darwinian naturalism, that they see Darwinism as part of a plot to strip meaning from mathematics. As for "Darwin's assumption," I suggest that Wiker (a philosopher) and Witt (an English Lit PhD, for jeez sake) actually get out and study some species and varieties, before they blather on about what Darwin had to say about them.

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Certainly seems ridiculous to me.

Just because I can - let it be noted that Darwin did *not* say that species were not real. Agassiz tried that one on him, and Darwin responded to Gray "I am surprised that Agassiz did not succeed in writing something better. How absurd that logical quibble "if species do not exist how can they vary"? As if anyone doubted their temporary existence?"

What Darwin did deny as real, and what he attached the convenience tag to, was the *rank* of species. The difference between variety and species was arbitrary. But the things themselves, the taxa, were real enough, albeit temporary.

More evidence that the job market for ELit PhDs is atrocious. It's a damn shame, though, this nutbar got a job at all.

By ChrisTheRed (not verified) on 16 Sep 2006 #permalink