Every time I see an article here on evolution by Darwinian natural selection, though I might read it IÂ am usually reluctant to comment. Â This is partly because I have found that most people who have noticed my low opinion of Barack Obama both as a politician and a human being and haveÂ attacked me for my heresy inÂ questioning the gospel of climateÂ change have decided I am a right wing nut job, a young earth creationist and a supporter of the criminalisation of dark skin and theÂ death penalty for unmarried mothers.
Although none of these things, I respect the right of the neo Nazis to holdÂ such opinions of me even though they clearly do not respect mine to disagree with them.Â It seems because I used to post satiracal articles about the Bush administrationÂ a lot ofÂ peopleÂ were absolutely sure that I would sign up for the whole package of Obama worship, science fundamentalism and an obsession with the human rights of everybody except people who are members of mainstream society.
Bizzarely the Obamessiah cult followers andÂ the science evangelicals who are as convinced "the science is settled" on evolution as it was allleged to be on Anthropogenic Global Warming are,Â in spite ofÂ the shriekingÂ denials, socialists. They support redistribution of wealth through taxation,Â socialised health care, the politicisation of education, the courts and public service, the suppression of individual freedom, particularly religious freedom, the imposition of quotas on the race, gender and sexuality of university entrants, people entering professions, the make up of corporate boards of directors, membership of electedÂ Â bodies and as far as I know lottery winners. These peopleÂ have beenÂ so busy levelling the playing field, nobody remembered to pick aÂ team to face the opposition.Â Â
Far from revealingÂ a Damascine conversion to creationism, my rejection of socialism and its same sex fuckÂ - buddy political correctness serves toÂ emphasise my commitment to evolutionary science.Â
In Origion of the Species Charles DarwinÂ proposed thatÂ the living world as made up of competing beings, each struggling for survival and fighting over limited resources. The beings â€“ whether plants, animals, bacteria or other â€“ which do best at this struggle have more offspring than those which do worse, and so in the next generation of the same struggle, the traits which made them better suited are likely to be more common. From this simple insight, it becomes clear that any advantageous trait will spread throughout a population.
Add to that a method of introducing innovation â€“ in the natural world, that role is played by mutation â€“ and enough generations,Â and we haveÂ the most powerful tool for building complexity in the world, and it is completely unplanned, with every creature within it acting only in its own genetic interests.
Now that is fine in theory and I am not naive enough to believe the reality is that simple. But I do see a contradiction in those who claim very noisily to be evolutionists suddenly deciding that with the mergence of a certain political thinker or politician, human life is no longer governed by the evolutionary principles that brought us this far. These people think the societies, communities and social systems thatÂ have resulted from the evolutionary process must be trashed and replaced by new systems created by politicians and academics. Will the new, created systems work as well as the evolved ones?
While fanatically supporting Darwin's theory in biologyÂ many people on the political Left dislike the work of Darwin's counterpart in economics, Adam Smith, a liberal rather than a conservative. This is ironic, given that Smith was one of Darwin's chief inspirations.
Imagine you wanted to create a system that provided people with shirts as and when they needed them. The economist Paul Seabright puts it like this:
If there were any single person in overall charge of the task of supplying shirts to the world's population, the complexity of the challenge facing them would call to mind the predicament of a general fighting a war. One can imagine an incoming President of the United States being presented with a report entitled The World's Need for Shirts, trembling at its contents, and immediately setting up a Presidential Task Force. The United Nations would hold conferences on ways to enhance international cooperation in shirt-making, and there would be arguments over whether the UN or the US should take the lead. The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury would issue calls for everyone to pull together to ensure that the world's needs were met, and committees of bishops and pop stars would periodically remind us that a shirt on one's back is a human right. The humanitarian organization "Couturiers Sans FrontiÃ¨res" would airlift supplies to sartorially-challenged regions of the world.
In reality, millions of unplanned, selfish actionsÂ ensure the world is shirted. When you think about it,Â this is something of a miracle in itself. The fact thatÂ we can go out and buy a shirt, without any sort of planning, requires the coordination of people in India to grow the cotton; people in Portugal to make the artificial fibres; people in six other countries to make the dyes; people in Brazil to make the collar linings; people in Germany to make the machinery, and people in Malaysia to put the whole lot together. It's a process that takes more than two years fromÂ the cotton-seedsÂ being planted, and the planning the work ofÂ engineers, chemists, designers and so on â€“ had gone on for some time before that. Probably around twenty million people will probably decide without any assistance or prompting from politicians, academics or public servants who make up big governmentÂ to buy a shirt on any given day, Seabright estimates.
What drives this? It's Darwinism, pure and simple. The only difference is that instead of competing for calories and mates, they are competing for money and customers. A cotton-grower who is able to sell better quality or lower price cotton will be able to take over more of the market than his rivals; rival cotton-growers will adapt or die, and his methods or competing ones will spread throughout the population of cotton-growers. Apply the same principles throughout the process and it becomes clear that nobody needs a helping hand from government, no scientists or accountants paid from the public purseÂ needed to plan or design photosynthesis,Â and none were needed to spreadÂ the logistics of evolution through the population, analogously as the processÂ to grow a gene for sharper teeth or better photosynthesis spreads through a biological population. No one plans anything yetÂ the situation continually gets better.
Nobody wouldÂ say this Darwinian approach to supply and demand â€“ also known as the free market â€“ is perfect. It self-evidently isn't. For a start, it's wildly unfairÂ (but as I am always saying, when is life ever fair?); in the shirt example above, worldwide, millions can't afford shirts at all, while others could have theirs hand-made out of spun gold if they choose. It isÂ also capable of being corrupted: if one "organism" in the market gets too big, it can take over an entire level of the food chain, stopping all the competition that keeps prices low and production efficient. The same thing happens if producers form a cartel, preventing theÂ Darwinian market modelÂ from working as it should.
The key difference between biological evolution andÂ economic free markets is that the free market has taxes, and monopoly regulations, and laws of fair trading, and all the other tools of government that can be used to stop runaway Darwinism. The Lion can eat the antelope, the bird can gobble up the worm but in a well governed democracy the global corporations should not be able to destroy small, independent businesses.Â Large companies can be broken up; cartels punished; welfare systems can be put in place to provide a safety net for those life is extremely unfair toÂ The job of government has to be to do its best to align the interests of individuals with the interests of society not to control the lives of individuals and the activities of business. Anyone who thinks science can improve on nature or government can improve on the efforts of individuals who are free to collaborate has no business calling themselves either a liberal or an evolutionist.
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The Daily Stirrer