It works. Hey, who needs a science theory?
One thing the Darwin industry has spawned in great numbers is books on the impact of Darwinism on culture. These fall into predictably defined groups: Those who say that all that Bad Stuff would have happened anyway and those who say it’s all Good Stuff (except for the Bad Stuff) and only the Bad Stuff, depending on how you define it, would have happened anyway.
According to historian Richard Weikart Peter Bowler’s Darwin Deleted is decidedly of the first group. Bowler claims that Darwinism made no difference to justifications for eugenics or totalitarian government. Weikart responds:
One of the problems with Bowler’s book is that he consistently caricatures the position he is arguing against. I thoroughly agree with his repeated claim (and rhetorical questions driving in the same direction) that Darwinism is not the only causal factor behind major historical developments, such as racism, imperialism, Nazi ideology, the two world wars, and the Holocaust. For instance, Bowler is absolutely correct when he states, “But the blanket assumption that all these injustices and horrors were inspired by Darwinism alone simply cannot be sustained once we realize that his was not the only theory of evolution to emerge in the late nineteenth century.” (27) Later he asks, “Can it [Darwinism] really be the only factor that, if eliminated, would have enabled us to avoid the Great War and the Holocaust?” (272) Of course not. But who ever said that “Darwinism alone” was the “only factor” in these historical developments? Certainly not me, and Bowler never indicates who actually believes this position. I smell a straw man.
The second major problem is that, as in his earlier scholarship, such as The Non-Darwinian Revolution, Bowler uses a very narrow definition of Darwinism to make just about everyone into a non-Darwinian. Ernst Haeckel, the most famous German evolutionary biologist of the late nineteenth century, was, Bowler claims, a non-Darwinian; “[Karl] Lorenz was no Darwinian”; most early geneticists were not Darwinians.
Let’s examine Haeckel briefly to see why Bowler’s analysis just doesn’t make sense …
Actually, Haeckel was one of Darwin’s chief popularizers in Germany.
(Yes, yes, he’s the one implicated in the Haeckel’s embryos fraud too, but really, we can’t turn this blog into a police blotter.)
Generally, you get the picture. Darwin can do only good, never evil. If it is evil, it is not Darwin.
And if you utter so much as a contrary squeak, peasant, you will lose your job.