Magazine November 12, 2012, Issue

Rationality vs. Darwinism

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, by Thomas Nagel (Oxford, 144 pp., $24.95)

Thomas Nagel is one of the world’s outstanding living philosophers in the Anglo-American analytical tradition: He publishes his books with the Oxford and Cambridge university presses and writes for The New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement (TLS). Yet since 1996, he has grown increasingly worried about what he then called “Darwinist imperialism.” In the same essay, “Evolutionary Naturalism and the Fear of Religion,” he criticized “the scientism and reductionism of our time.” Though an atheist, he doggedly adheres to what Matthew Arnold called “the old but true Socratic thesis of the interdependence of knowledge and virtue”

M. D. Aeschliman is the author of The Restoration of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Continuing Case against Scientism, which has been published in a new, augmented edition (Discovery Institute Press) and will soon appear in French from Pierre Téqui (Paris). He retires this year after 50 years of teaching on both sides of the Atlantic.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

The Fire Next Time

Will it be impossible to prevent a reelected President Obama from transforming America into something resembling a European welfare state? Or will citizens rise to decisive action in defense of ...
Politics & Policy

Mitt and Marriage

Mitt Romney isn’t exactly the dream candidate of social conservatives. Though no one doubts that the former Massachusetts governor is a devoted family man and a committed lifelong member of ...
Politics & Policy

Let the Bell Toll

There’s a kind of catholicism among journalists. We’re as susceptible as anyone to petty jealousies and hatreds of colleagues, but at the same time, we denizens of the print realm ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Tax Talk

For much of the fall campaign, the major domestic-policy debate between the presidential candidates has concerned taxes. In that debate Obama has taken a position he probably does not believe, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Star System

Ever wonder why political pollsters ask us which candidate we would most like to have a beer with? Which one best understands “people like me”? Which one is like me? ...
Politics & Policy

Emotional Rescue

As a new-minted star in 1997, standing alongside Matt Damon and hoisting their screenwriting Oscar for Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck seemed to embody Hollywood as we all wish it ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ How could President Obama not know that the Benghazi raid was a terrorist attack? He must read the New York Times. ‐ In the second and third debates, Mitt Romney ...
The Long View

Harvard University Memorandum

TO:         Prof. Barack Obama FROM:  Dean, Faculty of Arts & Sciences IN RE:    Fall Semester 2013 Student Evaluations Summary Dear Professor Obama: Of course, everyone on the Government Department faculty is thrilled to have ...
Athwart

We the People

You never get the debate performance you want, do you? A young man at a town-hall meeting stammers out a plaintive bleat about poor job prospects for college grads, and ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

ROSES AND THORNS Our neighbor died as winter ended. Across the street from the rose bush, rich with blooms, is a new for-sale sign, and grass that needs cutting. His wife died almost ten years ...
Happy Warrior

The Court Predator

Jimmy Savile is entirely unknown to Americans. Which is as it should be. He was a British disc jockey and children’s-TV host, but, even by the debased standards of those ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Freedom from Government Education . . . I just read Kevin D. Williamson’s article on homeschoolers, “The Last Radicals” (October 15), and thought it perfectly articulated the way I feel about ...

Most Popular

Blue Today, Bluer Tomorrow

Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes? Chico Marx in Duck Soup (1933) The long-rising blue tide that has colored American politics and values may have crested, but it could still have enough momentum to make it through the election year. Even if Trump is somehow reelected, the wielders of power and ... Read More

Blue Today, Bluer Tomorrow

Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes? Chico Marx in Duck Soup (1933) The long-rising blue tide that has colored American politics and values may have crested, but it could still have enough momentum to make it through the election year. Even if Trump is somehow reelected, the wielders of power and ... Read More