Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jerry Fodor on Why Pigs Don't Have Wings

AUTHOR: Jerry Fodor

SOURCE: Why Pigs Don't Have Wings
(London Review of Books 29(20):19-22, 18 October 2007)

COMMENTARY: Allen MacNeill

Cognitive scientist and frequent critic of evolutionary psychology, Jerry Fodor, has a long article in the most recent issue of the London Review of Books in which he attacks what most people think of as the core of evolutionary biology: natural selection and adaptations. Fodor has attacked evolutionary psychology before, and spends most of his ammunition attacking it again in this article. However, he now has bigger (Darwin) fish in his sights: "Darwinism" – yes, he uses exactly the same term as the one so favored by creationists and ID theorists. Indeed, the article under discussion here has been lauded by prominent young-Earth creationist and ID theorist, Paul Nelson.

This isn't the first time left-leaning philosophers such as Fodor have joined forces with creationists, nor will it be the last. However, what I would like to discuss (in later posts) is Fodor's serious misrepresentations of evolutionary biology in general, and evolutionary psychology in particular. But, before I do that, you should go and read Why Pigs Don't Have Wings, paying special attention to Fodor's criticisms of natural selection and its role in evolutionary biology. And while you're at it, you might check out this essay by Fodor as well: Against Darwinism.

Then come back here (in a day or two), and I'll get started fisking both articles.


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At 10/20/2007 06:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every day, scientists discover genetic links between organisms that explain how seemingly unique structures evolved from existing structures. The lastest popular press articles details a gene that controls fin development in fish. Surprise! It also controls limb development in vertebrates. It's a hox gene - no surprise there!

At 3/10/2008 03:39:00 AM, Blogger rasaprema said...

Though Darwinism is under attack, as it has been since it's inception, what is clear in the latest round of discussion is that there are few scientist that want to kick it out. What is apparently underway is the usual attempt to revamp it into a form that is somehow or other provable according to current standards. Thus it seems that Darwinism is evolving according to 'scientific selection'. Or is it actually a philosophical mutation that is destined to die out, having no validity to maintain it's survival in a hostile climate?


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