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Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 15. März 2007


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What is culture? Why should we preserve it, and how? In this book, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton defends Western culture against its internal critics and external enemies, and argues that rumours of its death are seriously exaggerated. He shows our culture to be a continuing source of moral knowledge, and rebuts the fashionable sarcasm which sees it as nothing more than the useless legacy of 'dead white European males'. He is robust in defence of traditional architecture and figurative painting, critical of the fashionable relativists and urgent in his plea for our civilization, which more than ever stands in need of the self-knowledge and self-confidence that are the gift of serious culture.

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66 von 87 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The H.L. Mencken of sociobiology 4. April 2007
Von Scott C. Locklin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
David Stove is one of the great underappreciated writers of the late 20th century. He's also dead, which doesn't generally do much for one's ability to slay dragons. It is fortunate the good people at the New Criterion have more or less sponsored his revival; he deserves to be much more widely known. Stove was an Australian academic philosopher who became embroiled in a university in-fight against what I like to call, the "know nothing academics" who came to prominence in the 1960s. Know nothings essentially make their livings making raspberry sounds at Western civilization. Stove was outraged such people could be taken seriously by anyone, and so he devoted a large amount of his considerable remaining wit and energy making such people miserable. This book represents one of his efforts in that direction. Contrary to what many people are saying in the reviews, Stove explicitly believes in Darwinian evolution, "more or less." I.e. he states that he believes in the broad strokes of evolutionary theory. He is, as others have stated, an atheist (as am I, if that matters to anyone).

He very specifically doesn't believe in nonsense views of evolution; in particular, the "hard man" view of Herbert Spencer or its intellectual descendant, the "selfish gene" view of Dawkins and company. Stove ruthlessly mocks the preposterous premises of these ideas (which even a 'good' Popperian would instantly recognize as non-falsifiable piffle), simply by examining them for what they really are. He also points out numerous giant conceptual lacunae, counterfactuals and the examples of flat out nonsense that make up the evidence for sociobiological "theory." Why does Stove do this? Apparently, he was ahead of his time. People like Dawkins have become pervasive pests; insisting that everyone think as he does, or risk being labeled, "unbright." Sociobiological 'theoretical' deconstructings of literature have become all the rage. Dawkins and his unseemly ilk need to be put in their place, along with other pseudo-scientific charlatans like Lysenko or the Phrenologists. Sociobiology is a shabby set of shaggy dog stories; Stove shows us how funny and absurd they really are. I rather wish Stove was a statistician as well; that would be the final cherry on top of the sociobiological humble pie, but I suppose one must leave work for future thinkers.
40 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A skeptical, analytical philosopher takes on Darwin, Dawkins 2. Oktober 2007
Von Wesley L. Janssen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
"[Stove] is particularly good at exposing the `amazingly arrogant habit of Darwinians' of `blaming the fact, instead of blaming their theory' when they encounter contrary biological facts. Doctrinaire Darwinists have an answer for everything, always a bad sign in science, since it means that mere facts can never prove them wrong." - from Roger Kimball's Introduction

It is not at all the case that Stove objects to Darwinism on religious grounds, in fact he believes that present life has by some means evolved from earlier forms; however he is quite certain that "Darwin's explanation of evolution, even though it is . . . still the best one available, is not true." Stove would object, and strongly so, to having his essays cast as being sympathetic to `creationism' or, so far as I can tell, `intelligent design', as he defines himself as a man "of no religion." His knowledge and scholarship of Darwinian theory is self-evidently vast; he suggests that he has "wasted" his time reading hundreds of Darwinism's books and `Darwinian Fairytales' makes it quite evident that he has indeed studied every prominent Darwinian "from 1859 to the present hour."

I had just begun reading Richard Dawkins' `The Blind Watchmaker' when I noticed that David Stove's `Darwinian Fairytales' had been reprinted. While reading them both it quickly seemed imperative that I read Dawkins' `The Selfish Gene' before proceeding with either TBW or DF. So that is what I did. Reading the three books in close conjunction was quite a fascinating experience, and, as I have indicated elsewhere (my review of TSG), Dawkins didn't fare to well.

Stove, the late Australian philosopher of science, effectively skewers Dawkins (especially TSG, but, to a lesser extent, TBW as well), Stove nails E.O. Wilson too, in fact he takes a troupe of Darwinian champions to the woodshed -- T.H. Huxley, R.D. Alexander, R. Trivers, R.A. Fisher, among many others. A skeptic in Hume's mold, Stove has acerbically critiqued various iconic founts of Western thought, some more effectively than others, so Darwinians need not feel singled out (but of course they probably will). This book was his last, completed not long before his death in 1994.

Although he presents a few other criticisms, Stove relentlessly targets (1) Darwinism's ideological death-struggle with "altruism" -- that it must deny is actually altruism, and (2) Darwinism's non-falsifiable teleological doctrine: the immutable Lordship of "the selfish gene" -- a doggedly fideistic article of simple faith. Darwinism's teachings on altruism are easily sacked, both by clear logic and by mere empirical evidence; its supposedly anti-teleological teleology of itself qualifies Darwinism as being a religion.

If there is something to be faulted in Stove's book (a collection of 11 essays), it is the repetitiveness (not surprising as this is usually a problem in works of argumentation, witness especially Dawkins, for example). Long after Stove has illustrated the teleological confusions and defeated the "altruism" defamations demanded by Dawkins, Wilson, and the like, he is still throwing the badly bloodied doctrines to the ground. Because of this, and because each of the essays can more or less stand on its own, I recommend reading the first essay (Darwin's Dilemma), the second and the last (eleventh) before heading into the others. If the essay (#4) treating the influence of Malthus' population dynamics on Darwin's thought becomes dry or uninteresting, then skip it, perhaps moving to essays #9 (A New Religion) or 10 (Paley's Revenge, or Purpose Regained).
73 von 101 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Solid, brilliant, amusing. 8. April 2006
Von Jeff Stebbins - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Many scientists and laypersons, sadly, never read philosophy of science. Though informal and humorous, this is a fine introduction to the genre. Those who grasp its importance may also enjoy Midgley's "Darwinism as a Religion" and Polanyi's "Science, Faith, and Society." Like Stove, but with less humour, they harangue those (such as Dawkins and Sagan) who publish popular propaganda or religion disguised as science.

Stove highlights how illogical science can be silly or, in the case of neo-Darwinism applied to humankind, insulting. Midgley does that and more--especially by showing how Darwinism's core tenets are held by faith. Polanyi, though, is the scariest of the lot, for he describes (from his experiences of Nazism and Stalinism) how pop evolution has led to the inhumanities of abortion, euthanasia, eugenics and genocide.

When Stove attacks neo-Darwinians' use of purposive language (for, in order to, plan, strategy, etc.), and especially, when he compares it to the language of Intelligent Design, he is very, very good. I've long wondered how unguided natural forces, without the benefits of intent, are supposed to "adapt for" anything. Perhaps most delightful is Stove's description of how the anti-religious Dawkins has ordained himself the high priest of gene worship. At times, Stove takes too long (by, say, 20-30%) saying what he says. His prose is so delightful, though, that I forgive (even welcome) his verbosity.

Reviewers read books. Since "reviewer" John's last sentence points out that he has not read this one, I'm not sure what he was reviewing. If, however, he's looking for "real scientists" (i.e. not philosophers or Christians!) who question neo-Darwinism, he'll find plenty, of all faiths or none, among the hundreds of credentialed academics at [...].

My field (linguistics) intersects with and draws upon acoustics, anatomy, anthropology, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, information theory, literature, physics, statistics, and yes, logic and philosophy, to name just a few. All sciences (which used to be called "natural philosophies") in fact, depend upon philosophy--esp. logic--for their foundational procedures: falsifiability, inference, proof, etc. Stove's arguments and examples show what happens when scientists do without logic: they write hilarious fairytales about selfish genes or flirtatious cabbages. Read Stove, but don't stop there (and don't miss Polanyi or Midgley).
30 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
enjoy the ride 7. Februar 2007
Von Bachelier - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Modern "scientists" have elevated evolution to a cult. Enter intelligent design (ID) critics, whacked on by their roots with creationists (their own pre-Socratics), and you have one helluva fight. With these ideologues migrating to extremism and away from reason as understood by both scientific method and Aristotelian logic you are bound to have very murky waters indeed. The debate becomes unrecognizable to the classically educated.

Enter the reasonable atheist apologist for no side with whom people of faith (like myself) and no faith (like my friends) can wholeheartedly cheer on by anchoring the conversation in reason once again. The late David Stove does just that, with precision, wit, logic, clarity, and joy. Reading this book is like a breath of fresh air, and restores faith in human reason and the ability of thinkers to expose unsupportable extremes cloaked in unearned authority, whether it is "science" or "religion." A marvellous book which will have ideologues steaming and truth lovers and sideline quarterbacks enjoying the game.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Iconoclastic and punchy attack on the excesses of Neo-Darwinism 23. Oktober 2014
Von Andy Bannister - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A wonderfully iconoclastic attack on the cult of Neo-Darwinism by an atheist philosopher. Stove does a wonderful job of highlighting the cracks not so much in evolutionary theory but its excesses—especially some of the ridiculous extremes it has been taken to by Richard Dawkins. Stove is unapologetic as he deconstructs Dawkins view of humanity ("genetic Calvinism") and meme theory and does so with humour and energy. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments as well as deep thinking. Stove has been a bit neglected since his untimely death: 'Darwinian Fairytales' deserves a wide reading by atheists and theists, simply for its fresh take on the subject.
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