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Random Thoughts on Evolution

It is well to remember that ruling powers never exercise censorship to suppress falsehoods. They often themselves perpetrate falsehoods they find useful and are indifferent to others. The purpose of censorship is always to suppress inconvenient  truths. One of the best reasons to question the prevailing dogma of evolution as the source of life is the vehemenence with which its critics are shouted down by “experts” who are often less intelligent and learned than those they seek to silence.

Nicholas Wade, long-time and respected science writer for the New York Times, has recently come under the gun for his book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, in which he proposes from recent DNA evidence that there are some identifiable, inherited differences between the races of mankind. One would think that it would take no scientific evidence to establish what has always been obvious from common sense and history. But that violates the  predominant “clean slate”  theory of human nature which says that race does not exist but is merely a social construct—like differing male and female characteristics. This theory is absurd on the face of it but controls our public discourse and public policy. Why else would we have compulsory “sensitivity training” and women sent into combat? Wade is British born and educated. Nobody who had been processed through an American graduate education could show such independence of mind.

Our ruling powers are invested in perpetuating a confusion of facts and values, which shows, among other things, their mistrust of and hostility to the democratic common man. If there are truly differences that distinguish races, that is a fact. What we do about that fact is another question—to be considered by decent and knowledgeable people. Such a confusion is only possible in America, where  pervasive conformity  and pseudo-intellectual abstractions routinely reign over both real learning and common sense.  

Facts denied have a way of having their revenge.

I have long followed Wade’s work, not because of an interest in race theory but because of an interest in prehistory and the arguments around the theory of evolution.  His recent controversial work  is actually a continuation of his earlier book, Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors, which has been praised by the great E.O. Wilson as “by far the best book I have ever read on humanity’s deep history.” Wade is one of the most knowledgeable, literate, and persuasive advocates of the evolutionary history of mankind. In fact, it is a little ironic that he has caught such a barrage of hatred for this book, because his interest in race is merely a subset of his belief, reinforced by unfolding DNA evidence, that evolution is “recent, copious, and regional.”  

Mankind, he insists, is not fixed but is continuing to evolve. And since evolution is constant and recent, it follows that it has taken a slightly different course in separate   regions of the human habitat in which differing environments have naturally selected  for different characteristics. Wade has marshaled DNA genetics to bolster his point about “recent, copious, and regional” evolution.

What occurred to me most in studying Wade’s work was not questions of race but his position that human character was not fixed 10,000 years ago in hunter-gatherer conditions, as is  commonly assumed, but is still changing. Could this explain why America is now two countries, sharply divided between the Blues and the Reds? Being born and bred a certifiable Red, I find it hard to understand why Blue people seem to have no normal human reactions to an invasion of foreigners or sexual perversion and  are fearful of the right of self-defense. Could there be a genetic difference created by  the Blues’ adaptation to urban crowding, artificial “work,” or some other environmental factor?

I admit to being a skeptical semi-believer in evolution. I am willing to accept that the Biblical account of Creation is poetic and not literal. Much evidence in support of the evolution of species is plausible. If Wade is right about invisible genetic changes in the DNA, that counters the old argument that no “missing link” has ever been found. But evolution becomes rather less certain when one understands that, in respect to the human species, a great deal of “truth” has been established by extrapolating history with no more evidence than a fragment of bone. And after all, evolution just describes, it does not explain. Where and why did all this come from without a First Cause?

I find it interesting that the evolutionists, strain as they might, cannot explain the origin of language, the most unique human characteristic. It seems to have appeared suddenly. Perhaps there is an explanation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 

Clyde Wilson

Clyde Wilson

Clyde N. Wilson is a contributing editor to Chronicles. A retired professor of history at the University of South Carolina, he is the author of numerous books, including Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew and Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture. He is the editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun.

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