What Is It About Butterflies that Drives Men to Doubt Darwin? ...
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What Is It About Butterflies that Drives Men to Doubt Darwin?
I've written here before about novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov, a self-described "furious" critic of Darwinian theory. An erstwhile butterfly researcher and curator at Harvard and the American Museum of Natural History, Nabokov thought that butterflies possess powers of mimicry inexplicable on Darwinian assumptions:
"Natural Selection," in the Darwinian sense, could not explain the miraculous coincidence of imitative aspect and imitative behavior, nor could one appeal to the theory of "the struggle for life" when a protective device was carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance, and luxury far in excess of a predator's power of appreciation.
In the same tradition of butterfly-induced Darwin heresy, meet Bernard d'Abera. A kind of latter-day Audubon of lepidoptera, D'Abrera is a philosopher of science, renowned butterfly photographer, one of the world's most formidable lepidopterists -- and if anything, an even more furious Darwin doubter than Nabokov. His series of enormous volumes, The Butterflies of the World, a heroic act of categorization and illustration, is almost completed with the recent publication of Butterflies of the Afrotropical Region, Part III: Lycaenidae, Riodinidae, in a revised edition including a lengthy assemblage of introductory essays. The latter comprise one of the most colorful, amusing, enraged, and wildly unclassifiable attacks on Darwinism that I've come across.
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When you reason this way, as Marxists and Freudians also delightedly found in their respective pseudo-scientific fields, it's almost eerie how all the evidence you consider appears to uniformly confirm your theory. More on d'Abrera tomorrow.
Posted by David Klinghoffer on November 1, 2010 6:00 AM
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