Today’s Darwinian Heretic: Jerry Fodor

Robert L. Crowther, II

Today (or yesterday depending on which side of the pond you’re on), evolutionary philosopher Jerry Fodor has stepped out and published an article that puts his entire career at risk, not to mention possibly kissing good-bye any chance he’ll ever get another research grant.

In fact, an appreciable number of perfectly reasonable biologists are coming to think that the theory of natural selection can no longer be taken for granted. This is, so far, mostly straws in the wind; but it’s not out of the question that a scientific revolution — no less than a major revision of evolutionary theory — is in the offing. Unlike the story about our minds being anachronistic adaptations, this new twist doesn’t seem to have been widely noticed outside professional circles. The ironic upshot is that at a time when the theory of natural selection has become an article of pop culture, it is faced with what may be the most serious challenge it has had so far. Darwinists have been known to say that adaptationism is the best idea that anybody has ever had. It would be a good joke if the best idea that anybody has ever had turned out not to be true. A lot of the history of science consists of the world playing that sort of joke on our most cherished theories.

Fodor, it should be noted, is a complete materialist — just not as complete as Darwinists want him to be. (You know how it is, some materialists are more equal than others.) So, what’s to worry? It’s his heresy when considered in light of the dogmatism of the Darwinists who hold the purse strings that is surprising. Yet, Fodor appears to be partially aware:

It wouldn’t be unreasonable for a biologist of the Darwinist persuasion to argue like this: ‘Bother conceptual issues and bother those who raise them. We can’t do without biology and biology can’t do without Darwinism. So Darwinism must be true.’ Darwinists do often argue this way; and the fear of hyperbole seems not to inhibit them.

They aren’t inhibited about bringing about the complete and utter destruction of the career of anyone who gets in their way either.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.