Re: virus: Making a monkey of Darwin (or Spot the Fallacy)

Deron Stewart (
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 14:56:07 -0600

Deron Stewart writes, belatedly:

Bashing Mr. Gairdner is a bit like mocking a child's ignorance to feel
superior; so easy to do that one feels a little tainted afterward. He is not
a worthy foil for intellectual debate.

The danger is not that Herald readers will believe him -- they may, but they
don't matter. The danger is that the scientific community censors itself
because of the (quite justified) fear of being quoted out of context. The
theory moves forward by focusing on the weaknesses of the current view and
criticizing them with an eye to improving the theory. Let the detractors
quibble and gloat over such crumbs, they are annoying but they don't matter
in the end.

The introduction to the Penguin version of the first edition of "The Origin
of Species" makes the point that the first edition is the best, and that by
the time Darwin published the sixth edition he had recanted many of his
views in light of the criticism which was heaped on it by critics.