Not Far Removed from Primordial Ooze

Everyone believes in evolution, just not in the same evolution. Take an isolated idyllic island where lives a society of peaceful native islanders. One awful day, through a strange quirk of winds and currents, a temporary land bridge to a close-by island appears. A pack of fleet-footed predators come across. Mayhem ensues. The slowest islanders are eaten first then those not so quick. Eventually a fragile balance is reached. The surviving quickest islanders breed and produce quick offspring. The predators evolve similarly. Regression ensures neither species break the sound barrier.

That in a nutshell is evolution of the kind which you would have to be plain obtuse not to accept. It is explicable to such an extent that it is a wonder that Charles Darwin was needed at all. Thus the less-than-amazing ups and downs of the British peppered moth versus its black cousin depending upon the environment. Or, equally unamazing, the less body-armoured stickleback fish in freshwater, where there are fewer predators, than in saltwater. There must be countless like examples.

The difficulty comes with changes in species. Dogs can be bred with quite different appearances as we know. But they remain dogs. Are there circumstances where a dog can become a cat, or some such? Seems unlikely. Anyway, don’t want to get into stuff beyond my ken. I was struck by a passage in a wonderful book by Tom Wolfe The Kingdom of Speech, in which he discussed the wrangling between Darwin and British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace. Apparently each had independently arrived at the theory of natural selection. Inspired, it’s posited, by Thomas Malthus and his book Essay on the Principle of Population (1797).

Malthus wrote dismally about population always running up against a shortage of food. Hence “the dismal science”, namely economics. Malthus took too little account of the free market and man’s ingenuity but that is by the way. The salient point so far as evolution is concerned is that man, animals, plants taken as whole are neither exploding in their numbers willy-nilly nor dying away. A self-regulatory global system — natural selection — is indefatigably at work finding a way through.

Homeostasis rather than chaos is the normal natural state of affairs. Incidentally, free-market capitalism is the analogous economic system to the natural order. It keeps a balance between the use of resources and their availability. Resources can only run out under command and control economic systems. Capitalism is God-given, in other words.

According to Wolfe, Wallace saw limitations in natural selection. Why is man relatively hairless if descended from an ape progenitor, and accordingly burdened with having to put on artificial coverings? Natural selection is not supposed to makes things tougher. Darwin apparently countered with sexual selection. Early humans fancied coupling with the less hirsute. Could be, maybe? While artificial chest hair for men had a limited run in the seventies, the greater attractiveness of the less hirsute goes way back. The Ancient Romans plucked out their bodily hair and, supposedly, even used professional hair-pluckers in public bathhouses.

Why abstract thinking. How did that evolve? Sure it’s useful in the modern world but how useful would it have been to stone-age man? Natural selection doesn’t work to create changes in advance of their need. The islanders in my opening didn’t start running faster in anticipation of the arrival of fleet-footed predators. Of course atheistic evolutionists twist and turn to explain everything in evolutionary terms. Don’t mention the Creator. I did above but I think I got away with it.

Finally this brings me to my dénouement. To wit, the evolved brains of politicians. Joe Biden pointed to several parts of the Special Counsel’s report in which it said that he did not wilfully retain particular classified documents. He knew that other parts of the report dealing with other documents had said that he had wilfully retained and disclosed classified materials. He said that no top secret material had been retained. Such documents were found. He said that everything was in locked or lockable cabinets. A photograph showed records lying in a dilapidated cardboard box in his garage. Everyone has the report and the photograph. Everyone knows that Biden is lying. Biden knows that everyone knows he is lying.

Take Albanese. He is able to skirt over “my word is my bond” and with unbridled chutzpah accuse Dutton of lacking integrity for not opposing the revised tax reductions. Try to get you mind round that. Can’t, can you? That’s the clever part. Politicians have “evolved” on a side track. But how? They couldn’t have developed Machiavellian instincts in anticipation of men organising their affairs into societies. Perhaps they were created? Though in this case clearly by Diablo rather than God. Or, can a species of natural selection account for it?

First, recall Marcus Aurelius (Meditations 5:17): “To pursue the impossible is madness: and it is impossible for bad men not to act in character.” Suppose you were bad. Can’t become good. How to survive and thrive in society full of goodwill? The answer: You might call it ‘creative natural selection’. Divide society. Cast some men against others, and work the frayed unity for all its worth for you own benefit.

The bourgeois versus the proletariat had a ring to it in Marxian circles. It’s a short leap from this to fighting Tories. Of more recent manifestation, we’ve had Clinton badging a section of the US population as “deplorables”. We have divisive affirmative action under the banner of  ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’; non-whites versus whites; indigenous versus non-indigenous; LGBTQ rights; and, the current daddy of them all, multiculturalism. Go back, this is not a divisive thing which fits just the one side. To wit: Menzies’ forgotten people, Howard’s battlers, Hockey’s lifters and leaners. Can’t expect people who encourage and live off division to have any compunction about bare-faced dissembling. It’s the nature of the evolved beast. And national unity? Bah humbug! Nearly all of the current crop of politicians would become extinct.

14 thoughts on “Not Far Removed from Primordial Ooze

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Peter, thank you.. On the US elections my vote, if I was a voter there, remains 100% for Donald Trump not only for America’s sake……but importantly for me, Australia’s well.

  • David Isaac says:

    I can’t agree with your benign view of free market capitalism. It is a force for progress, whether for good or for ill, not homeostasis. The guild system of the high Middle Ages was concerned with maintaining standards and the welfare of the guild members and their families – homeostasis. This did not foster rapid progress but it had no prospect of leading to the technocratic, Satanic panopticon we are being ushered into by international free market capitalism.


    The media have presented so many repeat clips of that moment when Albanese uttered “my word is my bond” that it has given many opportunities to study the PM’s physiognomy during said utterance. In particular, the way his upper lip behaved. My gut reaction was that he truly believed that what he was saying was a noble saying for that moment but simultaneously he knew that what he said was unnatainable: a manifestation of cognitive dissonance which plays out in the facial muscles.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    Peter, you say: “Homeostasis rather than chaos is the normal natural state of affairs. Incidentally, free-market capitalism is the analogous economic system to the natural order. It keeps a balance between the use of resources and their availability. Resources can only run out under command and control economic systems. Capitalism is God-given, in other words.”
    True, but only up to a point. There is there is one major flaw in it. Not everyone is driven by personal, individualistic greed. A proportion of humanity, at a guess varying from nation to nation, is motivated as well by respect, honour, and/or love for what the Malthusians might label the ‘Common Good;’ their fellow humans. Some go so far as to include part or all of the Kingdom Animalia as well.
    If our prevailing morality was ‘every man for himself, and the Devil take the hindmost,’ the glaring, stand-out, world-class exception and negation of all that would have to be the blood transfusion service run by the Australian Red Cross.
    When I last checked, the quickest way for you, me or anybody else to pick up AIDS, a venereal disease, a drug habit or worse is for us to go to the US and have a blood transfusion, large or small. In the US, donors are paid in true Gordon Gekko, trickle-down, free market fashion. Some of those donors are rather desperate for the cash, and will do just about anything to get hold of some.
    But in line with the New Testament, the Australian blood donor says to anyone in need, regardless of race, sex, religion or social class: “This is my blood, which I give to you that you might have life. For I find life to be something worth having.”
    In each counter-Gekkoan and counter-Friedmanite blood donor, Christians can see Jesus Christ himself, returned. Every eye can see him, and every ear can hear him, because blood donors are everywhere around us. In each one, Buddhists can see a Buddha, and Marxists can see their elusive Homo futurus. But not the ‘whatever it takes’ and greedy types; of which, going by your previous pieces in this worthy journal, I would say you are definitely not one.
    But of course, I could possibly be in error there.

  • Stephen Due says:

    Of course Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor in charge of the most powerful nation on earth. He was by no means typical of the men that fate cast into that role. He was a Stoic by temperament and training. Stoicism has much in common with Christianity, but believing “it is impossible for bad men not to act in character” is not one of them. Christianity is much more optimistic, teaching that a bad man can be changed, through mystical union with Christ, into a good man.
    Emperors, however, must needs be more pragmatic. On that level, the Stoic’s warning is pertinent. And the point, therefore, is that we should not evaluate candidates and parties purely on their political agendas. Rather we should look first for men and women of good character. The others will let us down, no matter how good their promises seem.

  • KemperWA says:

    It took complete civic breakdown before the socialist government of Sweden finally faced their Waterloo. One might wonder if frequent flyer PM Albanese would benefit from a lesson in humility from Swedish EX-PM Andersson. Or meet with current PM Kristersson in order to learn how to tell the truth and save a country. Homeostasis shattered, without hindrance it seems, and damn quick.

  • Searcher says:

    “Homeostasis rather than chaos is the normal natural state of affairs.”

    That is a regrettably loose sentence, with a mere smidgeon of truth. It is an invitation to loose thinking, and perhaps a sign that the author habitually thinks regrettably loosely. ‘Homeostasis’ is a long word, evidently too long to be safe in the author’s hands. Disappointing.

  • Michael Mundy says:

    Take a look around Peter, your God needs to put new batteries in his Play Station.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    I read Marcus Aurelius (Meditations) while on holidays recently in Italy. I found a few of Marcus’ thoughts taken at bedtime very good for giving me a quick transit to dreamland; ably assisted by an Italian Montepeluciano that I favour. When in Rome, etc.
    Yes, our Marcus is a stoic, but not one that stoic philosophers in his own day found themselves in an urgent rush to praise, and sadly the poor emperor was honest enough to admit this … to himself. Mary Beard in her recent book ‘Emperor of Rome’ has opted for the term ‘his jottings’, rather than using the high-falutin’ term ‘Meditations’. I’m with Mary on that.* Except, Marcus was Emperor of course, and that sort of counted. Then and now. That makes him ‘evolved’ and good for a jotted-down quote now and then.

    * Elizabeth runs and hides from Ross Cameron

    • David Isaac says:

      I’d agree that his meditations are most suitable for insomniacs but M. Aurelius was in fairness quite a busy man. M. Beard is a child of the gentry raised in genteel privilege and now a commited socialist, feminist and if Wikipedia is to be believed anti-racist. In short, she is in favour of all the forces which destroyed Rome and are destroying the West.

  • Philip OBrien says:

    Yes, it counts that he was Emperor.
    For him, “jottings” is OK. Emperors are busy people and what spare time they have from their day jobs is important to them – and admirable it is that they use it to benefit others. So that academics and other lesser evolved writers (without empires to run) can polish the jottings for the general edification. Emperors have an unusual view of the world and experiences available to nobody else. So the jottings in the few scattered hours are worthy of note.

  • Guido Fookes says:

    Peter – if you are at all interested in why Darwins writing on the origin of the species is highly questionable might I suggest you read a book called Why Us by Dr James Lefanu.

  • William says:

    Peter Smith puts his finger precisely on the smudgery inherent in the Theory of Evolution- assumed (& pushed ) as the Fact of evolution.
    That is, what exactly is posited in the meaningless, repetitive assumptions of us all ‘evolving’? It seems, when this question is focussed that it is the life-experience of all of us- that horses can be improved in their breeding, that races can be intermingled and, precisely in accordance with Mr Smith’s comments – how does this ‘Theory of evolution’ belong to Charles Darwin of the 19th century and not farmer Joe of 4,000 BC?
    Isn’t the issue – how did the species devolve from slime in the marshes and bogs and then, how did this slime become human? And what evidence has been established in the almost 200 years since Darwin to support his ‘theory’ that is proselytised in the evangelism of materialism?

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