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Darwinism and popular culture: Capturing traditional peoples and treating them as exhibits …


Here I reference the zoo exhibit of an African, that was clearly in support of Darwinism.

But, for the record, Darwinists did not invent the practice of grabbing traditional people and presenting them as exotic exhibits. What they did was continue, in the name of supposed “science” what had originally been done in the name of greed and exploitation.

Here is an entry concerning the latter from Canadian history:

Against Donnacona’s [the chief’s] wishes, Cartier set out Sept 19 to explore the river farther, reaching HOCHELAGA [Montréal] on Oct 2. On his return to Stadacona he found that relations with the natives were strained. The effect of a severe winter was made more tragic by SCURVY, which claimed 25 lives among the French. On 6 May 1536 he left for France with some captured Iroquois, including Donnacona, arriving July 16.

Right. The chief who had befriended the European explorer ended up a prisoner, in France, of all places. No surprise, he died there; most such people did. But they intrigued the populace.

This, however, must be said: Darwinists need “ape men” in a way that no one else does, because no one else cares if there aren’t any ape men and never have been – for the same reasons as no one  cares if Puff the Magic Dragon has never existed.

I wish they would just acknowledge this and get over it, so I wouldn’t have to keep shoving the wrongdoing in their faces.

It is nauseating to hear the ol’ Brit toff Darwin compared to Abe Lincoln as an “emancipator.”

Look, Darwinists, you are not fooling anyone except your museum docents, and a few other docile people who need the work.

KF, Thanks for some excellent points. I should add that at least the United Church of Canada offered an apology to the aboriginal people's, and aknowledged their mistreatment of them (the apology, and the plan for reconciliation can be found on their website). I am not a member of this church, and I have disagreements with their doctrinal postiions, but it is clear that given their history in running the Residential Schools, they eventually came to accept that the treatment of the children in these schools was outside of the values inherent even in their official values statements at the time when the system was still ongoing. Some may wish that they had done more than simply apologize, but I think it's a necessary first step in reconciliation. In case there are some here who are not aware of what went on in these schools, let me summarize. Officials of the Canadian government swept through aboriginal villages, and rounded-up children, removing them from their families, and institutionalizing them in Residential Schools, some of which were hundreds of miles away from their homes. This was official governemtn practice from the late 1800s until the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some families never saw their children for several years while they were away at school. The mortality rate in some of these schools was officially estimated as high as 65% annually, due to lack of adequate health care, and what some say was a systematic and intentional plan to lower the numbers of aboriginal peoples in the larger population, in order to lessen the impact of "savage customs." But of course, there are many differing opinions as to the truth to this one belief. It is, however, safe to say that abuse went on - it was rampant, and it resulted in many deaths, and in the disintegration of healthy family units. There are also well-documented reports of murders committed by staff towards children in the schools, and very little was done about it. The children's bodies were simply buried and forgotten on school propery, with no official investigations. In addition to this, small pox, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and other infections were common, and no attempt was made to isolate infected children from the healthy - further impacting the mortality rates. The parents of these children had no say in the type of education they received. In fact, the parents were forced to sign documents, giving the government of Canada official guardianship of their children. There are currently to my knowledge, no official estimates as to the number of deaths in these schools, but I have heard some unofficial conservative estimates of up to 250,000 children in a short period of time (not certain what the period of time was, but it was less than the 100+ year history of the schools). Now I have also read of the denials from church officials, which were common in the years before the system was abolished in the 1970s. However, people within the church did speak up, and held the leadership of the church to accountability. I know of at least one case of a minister within the church, who claims he was fired and defrocked in the 1990s for mentioning the conditions in the aboriginal communities, but his account seems questionable. The point is that common decency requires us to re-examine our influence on social injustice. If our belief system is contributing to the suffering and humiliation of human beings, we ought to re-examine that belief system. The UCC did that re-examination. I'm not certain of the ongoing results of this renewed thinking and praxis, but I can't imagine it having anything but a positive impact on a people who have suffered so much. And the larger point is that they did not have to abandon their Christian beliefs to do so, but to aknowledge that such mistreatment was outside of the morality and decency code of Judeo-Christian teachings. I think it is more difficult for Darwinists to follow this same example, because it may require them to re-examine not only the injustices that have been perpetuated in the name of Darwinian expedience, but perhaps to consider abandoning the philosophy altogether. CannuckianYankee
Onlookers: CY has spoken well,and even eloquently. Let us listen to his warning. GEM of TKI PS: Given the rhetorical tactics being employed by the current wave of Darwinist advocates here at UD, I think that the following is also necessary, as a further act of balance: ________________ The above — sadly, all too predictable — responses from the current wave of Darwinist advocates here at UD tells us that Darwinists, even in this year in which they are hagiographically celebrating the 200th anniversary of their hero, are unable to face and frankly address the other side of his legacy. Now, I am perfectly willing to accept that every movement of consequence in history will have its fair share of problems and sins and even crimes. (That is why, on balance I think that Western Civilisation is still worth defending, despite the fact that I am a descendant of the victims of the first great wave of global imperialist aggression by Western powers. [These days, there are a LOT of people out there -- many of whom share the outlook of the advocates above -- who can harp all day on the real and imagined sins of the West and some are gleefully anticipating its demise. Knowing a bit about the history of dark ages, I beg to differ. And, the contrast, of insisting on whitewashing the legacy of Darwin (even while trying to harp on the sins of Christendom, of Western civilisation and of course of "right-wing fundamentalists"), is telling us something; something we had better notice and heed, if we are to so learn the lessons of recent and bloody history, rather than repeat its worst chapters.]) So, when there is not an honest and frank facing of issues that have in the past century cost upwards of 100 millions their lives, and where in the past 30 or so years in the US alone 48 million unborns — today’s inferiors — have been slaughtered under false colour of law, the above dismissals sound distinctly hollow. Especially, when there is the cascade pointed out by Schaeffer and Koop so many years ago now: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia — and, beyond that, genocide. For, once the ethics of the sanctity of life have been replaced by the anti-ethics of so-called quality of life, “the survival of the fittest” ever soon becomes the demise of those the power-wielders deem “unfit.” And, that triumph of amorality that would provide a critical mass of support enabling the unspeakable, is precisely the point that is at stake in this thread. Consequently, we the denizens of the Clapham Bus Stop had better reckon with the refusal to be responsible for and correct the moral hazards of Darwin-inspired Evolutionism. ________________ kairosfocus
SingBlueSilver, "No one is acting as though evolution is more believable because of Darwin’s opinions on race. People are reacting to the massive ad hominem attacks that the ID movement is reduced to." I know that O'Leary writes in a somewhat difficult style to understand at times. When I do understand her, I find her enlightening. I had to re-read what she said about the hum bee to wipe me out in #12, - several times before I finally got it. That being said, I don't find it difficult to understand where she's coming from regarding the acceptance of Darwin's ideas in Victorian society, and there exists much historical literature on this subject. Simply google "Victorian Society and its acceptance of Darwinsim" and you will find much of it online. You will even find some opinions contrary to O'Leary's, but not many. Her point is that Darwin's opinions on race were already a major part of comfortable Victorian society at the time, and Darwin's ideas merely empowered that view by placing it within the framework of scientific respectability. I don't think you will find many Darwinists who dispute this perspective, and I sense that Ms. O'Leary would aknowledge that many Darwinists reject the Victorian perspective on race. The problem is, they don't seem to talk about it that much. It seems to be a back-burner issue. They are hardly ad-hominem attacks, without a basis in fact. The question is, what do we do with this information? Is it a reason to reject Darwinism as a whole? For many people, it is; however justified. I've been reading Ms. O'Leary's posts on this issue for several months now, and her challenge to Darwinists is to admit that Darwinism has a darker racist side to it, and to keep this perspective in the foreground, rather in the background. Some have done so, but many continue to ignore the social consequences of purely Darwinian views on race, and to go on about their business of supporting a philosophy as sceince, which negatively impacts the fair and just treatment of human beings; despite their own displeasure with such treatment. Even Mr. Dawkins admitted that Darwinism should never be used as a model for a moral society. Yet, there are social scientists who are attempting to lead us in that direction. If you read my post in 10, you will see that we've already had experiments in social Darwinism in our North American histories - as one of many examples, with our treatment of native peoples, and the disasterous and tragic results. The Victorian view of Western culture, and which spilled over into the Americas, as superior to all others, was what led to the U.S. and Canadian governments' abuses towards aboriginal peoples, which started before the turn of the 20th Century. I'm not talking about earlier abuses towards these people, which had other genesis'. I'm talking specifically of the late 19th Century view of the native as possessing a culture and heritage that was inferior to Western culture. As such, it was deemed necessary to institute a system to deal with assimilating natives into the "more civilized" society. Abuses became rampant in the "solution." It seems to me that in every generation of human life, we humans are always inventing new ways to justify the genocide of a particular group of people, for our own convenience. In the late 1800s until around the late 1960s, our governments relied on Social Darwinian arguments to excuse the abuse and attempted genocide of tens of thousands of native people. It is well documented, and there are many survivors of the abuse still living, who can account for not only the abuse, but the justifications for such. So it's not really ad-hominem. It is well documented in our histories. The only thing I will grant you (which was one of my points in #10), is that social Darwinism itself was not the sole culprit, but merely the vehicle by which the abuse was justified. If social Darwinism did not exist, the same people responsible would have found some other form of justification, because they believed that the ends justified the means. The ends, in this case, were many faceted - the acquisition of native lands for business development, the elimination of the perceived threat of socially undesireable influences on Western sensibilities, and the need to establish Western law as the authority for civilized government - these were among the many ends, which justified the means. So the ID movement is not reduced to ad-hominem. This particular blog is not solely committed to the ID movement, but to the larger issues of the negative influence of materialistic philosophy on science and society as a whole. The first sentence of the "About" section of this blog states: "Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted." Discussing the social consequences of social Darwinism fits within the larger context of this blog's concern for scientific integrity. Therefore, this discussion here is reasonable, and within the context of the purpose behind Uncommon Descent. CannuckianYankee
Ms. O'Leary, I forgot to mention. My sister-in-law is a native Canadian of the Lillooet Tribe of Salish Indians in Southwestern British Columbia. I lived with her and my brother for several months on the reservation at Mt. Currie, B.C. in the early 1980s. It was an experience I will never forget. The internments of the past was thankfully an experience my nephew and neice never suffered. However, the emotional scars that were left on these people will take many more generations to heal. I'm afraid, that at the time when I lived there, I was not aware of this history, and understandably, it was an uncomfortable subject for the locals to discuss. CannuckianYankee
Ms. O'Leary, I'm a displaced Canadian living in La La land (Southern California). I'm making an attempt to re-educate myself about Canada and its history, because in the international circuit, Canada is seen as a champion of human rights, yet we have this legacy of shame behind us, and still present in some sectors, I have discovered. I think the important issue here, though is that Canadians live in a nation of certain freedoms and laws that guarantee human rights, and as such, they can look at such a history and learn some precious lessons about the basic dignity of every human being. It is not so in many of the world's less free countries, where such mistreatment and corruption still persists on much larger scales. BTW, the reason I'm displaced here in the U.S., though not by my choice, is because my father was a Canadian Serviceman in the RCAF, and when he retired, we ended up here. I was 19 at the time. Been here a long time, so I am much more familiar with American culture than Canadian. I also believe that my education had me viewing Canada as a bastion of virtue. I now desire to learn to balance that perspective with reality. I din't know that you had that legacy. Please forgive me for suggesting that you might have been ignorant of those facts. If you know who is writing this history, I would like to know. Thanks CannuckianYankee
Graham (#13) wrote: "I agree with Mr Kellogg (#1). Whats the point of O’Learys tract?" Apparently to hypothesize that Charles Darwin was somehow responsible for something that happened in 1536? PaulBurnett
I agree with Mr Kellogg (#1). Whats the point of O'Learys tract ? Graham
Cannuckian Yankee 10: Thanks for mentioning this. I not only knew about it, I lived a bit of it. I was part of the first group of desegregated Yukon schools. Someone needs to write a book - and, to the best of my knowledge someone is writing a book - about the way in which many traditional Canadian organizations, including churches, bought into Darwinism, and how that caused them to adopt policies that they would not otherwise have considered. I am curious (but not yellow, Swedish style): Do you really live in Canada? If so, more or less, where. Within 500 km or so, could you place yourself on a map? Like, if you only indicate 500 sq km, I can't exactly send a hum bee to wipe you out, can I? So just say. O'Leary
"...being born into comfortable circumstances was not Darwin’s fault. Acting as though a theory of life is more believable on that account is."
No one is acting as though evolution is more believable because of Darwin's opinions on race. People are reacting to the massive ad hominem attacks that the ID movement is reduced to. SingBlueSilver
Ms. O'Leary, I've been reading recently on the Canadian Government's historic treatment of native Canadians beginning in the 1870s. For 100+ years aboriginal or "First Nations" people of Canada were forcefully educated in "Residential Schools" throughout Canada in order to assimilate them into Pro-Western, Euro-Christian culture. Today is the one year anniversary of the historic and unprecendented apology to Canada's aboriginal people from the Government of Canada, for their mistreatment under the hands of workers in these schools, and the Government officials who forcefully interned them there. I'm sure you are aware of the well-documented abuses that occurred in these schools, as well as the forced sterilization of aboriginal women during the Eugenics craze of the earlier part of the last Century. However, I'm not certain if you are aware of the connection to Canada's largest and most influential Christian congregations in running these schools - the Anglican, Catholic and United Church of Canada, for example (there were other congregations as well). I'm not addressing this because I want to assign blame to anyone. I think there is plenty of blame to go around, and like slavery in the U.S., it is one of Canada's national shames. My question is; to what extent did Darwinism influence the mistreatment of aboriginal peoples in Canada, given that it was religious people who for the most part were responsible for their care (or lack thereof) in these schools? Also, since the "Residential School" system began in Canada around the same time as similar schools for native Americans in the U.S., and at a time when Social Darwinism was beginning to take hold in Western society, with the notion of the savage races, were Christian institutions strongly influenced by this contrary philosophy to Christianity? I raise this issue, first of all, because you raised the issue of Darwinists needing an "ape man," and because I know that Darwinists could use this as an example of how Darinism does not exclusively perpetuate inhumanity towards others. I know we've had this debate before, and the consensus, at least among those on the ID side has been that judeo-Christian morality does not encourage the treatment of people as subhuman, and that when people of faith mistreat others, they are doing so against the teachings of the faith, while Darwinism does not leave a basis for morality and/or human dignity at all, and therefore, such abuses, without certain societal contols, would be permissible under a purely Darwinian system of values. I believe that the conditions that lead to inhumanity to man - as you have aknowledged in the first paragraph of your post, began much earlier than Darwinism, and is in-fact, a part of the whole of human history. I don't think that it is an appropriate Christian position to point to social Darwinism as the culprit in our social disorder. The proper Christian perspective is that it goes back to the beginning of human history. Social Darwinism is merely a construct of fallen humanity, and anybody, whether they believe in God or not, can fall prey to its enticement. CannuckianYankee
Alright, this isn't the right post to place an inquiry like this. And for that, I apologize. But I can't seem to find where I can have a discussion with others outside of this medium. I would really appreciate anyone's assistance to this issue (in figuring it out, not arguing about it). What I'm trying to do, I guess as much as anyone else, is get an idea for a real observed limit to natural selection/random mutation. Specifically, in something like the chimp/human split. Now, I already know this isn't a walk in the park issue, I know there are a lot of subtlties involved...but we do have a relatively good amount of data and knowledge to observe what it would take. The question, stated specifically is: Can evolution through natural selection and random mutation account for the evolution of humans from their common ancestor, if yes, can it do so in the time presented? The difficulty in answering the question, is as far as my knowledge goes (and contrary to general opinion), there really isn't a clear understanding on how genes map to create the structures that we observe, what epigenetic chanegs are required, what developmental shifts are required, etc. But even with that granted, I want to try to get a good estimate. If we take something as simple as the change in the thumb, you'd require muscular, skeletal, and neurological restructuring both compositionally and developmentally in a specific order(both in neural wiring and in corresponding area in the brain). Taking that into consideration, I am trying to get a rough estimate for the possibility of the split knowing the difference between chimp and human DNA, and whether we can extrapolate from that. The issues I'm taking into consideration are: 1- requiring multiple mutations 2- restructuring an already functioning thumb 3- requiring successive beneficial mutations that would occur on a very small scale and would be selected for 4- requiring fixation in a population (cost of substitution, Haldane) 5- probability of attaining a beneficial mutation in a population inversions, deletions, substitutions, sexual recombination, etc. included, I am trying to get to as best an estimate as we can on the possibility of an occurance withint he known timeframe(frankly, even something as simple as a thumb, let alone restructuring of an entire brain). Your assistance would truly be appreciated. Blu
"Acting as though a theory of life is more believable on that account is." This doesn't parse well. Are you saying that because Darwin was a "toff" this makes his theory of life all the more believable? As opposed to a non-toff's theory? As David Kellogg said is there remotely any evidence for this or is it a "just so" story? JTaylor
"They traded on his Brit toff stature." Really? Any evidence for this claim? David Kellogg
JTaylor, no, being born into comfortable circumstances was not Darwin's fault. Acting as though a theory of life is more believable on that account is. And his followers largely did so. They traded on his Brit toff stature. O'Leary
JTaylor, The well's already poisoned, O'Leary is trying to clean it. Clive Hayden
"ol’ Brit toff Darwin" Was it Darwin's fault that he was born into reasonably comfortable circumstances? Wasn't it really the case that prior to the 20th century that only (mostly) people born into well-to-do families had the opportunity to get a proper education? I guess it's all part of your "poison the well" strategy... JTaylor
Christopher Columbus was a devout Christian and one of his goals was to spread Christianity to far away places. What does he do...he kidnaps Indians and brings them back to Spain. (Some who died on the way) hdx
I am confused as to who is meant to be acknowledging what (Darwinists includes almost all biologists and the majority of scientists). And do "they" even know you are "shoving the wrongdoing in their faces". Mark Frank
Another rather rambling post. Could you clarify the point of this, or of your earlier one? Is there a thesis in here somewhere? David Kellogg

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