student journal club subgroup

Ann Eastman eastmana at UNIXG.UBC.CA
Tue Dec 27 19:59:50 EST 1994



On 27 Dec 1994, Steven Sullivan wrote:

> Daniel Storey (storey at rocket.cc.umr.edu) wrote:
> 
" World peace? Darwin stated that evolution is dependent on survival of 
the fittest. War allows this to take place."
 
What a ludicrous statement.  War "selects" for nothing.  A nuclear 
holocaust, a petrochemical assault, and even those lovely little devices 
that don't destroy inanimate property affect all of humanity in one way or
another and none of the effects has anything to do with fitness, defined 
in a classic Darwinian sense or otherwise.  Survival of war is random or 
worse - how often have the intelligentsia been targeted for extermination ? 
Fascists (Hitler and all his wannabes; the Khamer Rouge, et.etc) have 
always made a special effort to exterminate this group, which some of us 
at least, feel might be useful for survival of the fittest.

"All animals make war, we just have mastered the art of killing. I know 
that this sounds harsh, but the earth can only hold so many people before 
we all start to go hungry."

That doesn't sound harsh, it sounds absurd, to be polite.  "All 
animals make war"?!  Dolphins?  Zebras?  Butterflies?  Perhaps, the 
writer is actually refering to 'conflict'?,  in which case,  we are 
really debating nothing.  And, by the way,  many of us already do go 
hungry.  Any idea of how many children starve to death every year ?  And 
how about the charming little detail that over half of mental retardation 
in North America is caused by malnutrition, most of which could be 
remedied by a diversion of funds out of the resource squandering 
"defense" industry.
  
"War is population control. If we all start to "get along", we will al;l 
die within a few years of hunger. This can be seen in other populations. 
Deer for one. If we do not hunt them, they over populate and then starve."

Gee, I wonder how the planet got along without us humans and our best 
buddies (guns)?  Natural predator/prey ecosystems seem to be pretty damn 
effective in creating and maintaining a wonderfully diverse array of 
amazing biological entities. And strangely enough, even human populations 
have demonstrated population stability without starvation or any apparent 
need to club one another. 

"Think about things before you start to quote God."

You've got me on this one.
  
"Darwin was horrified by the use of his ideas to explain social  phenomena. 
Social "Darwinism", isn't.  Discuss."

Darwin was also annoyed with the interpretation that survival of the 
fittest always involves competition; he and numerous others have provided 
extensive evidence of cooperation, even between different species.
                      ***********
Chew on that.
AE  



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