Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Deleting Darwinism by defining it out of existence.


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.

Your letter has given me great pleasure. It has also provided me opportunity and personally the decided honor, Sir, to express the extraordinary esteem I have for the discovery of the "Struggle for Life" and "Natural selection." Of all the books that I have read, none has made so powerful and marked an impression on me as your theory of the origin of species. In this book I find at once the harmonious solution to all the fundamental problems of which I have labored for an explanation since the time I had learned to know nature in her authentic state. Since then I have studied your theory -- I say without exaggeration -- daily, and whether I study the life of man, animals or plants, I find your descent theory the satisfactory answer to all my questions no matter how difficult... I have been busy for several years preparing a general natural history, in which I show how your theory illuminates every area of that history and how that theory produces a harmonious integration of the whole. I hope to finish this book next winter. ~ Haeckel letter to Darwin July 7 1864 Haeckel was the chief apostle of evolution in Germany. Nordenskiold (1929) argues that he was even more influential than Darwin in convincing the world of the truth of evolution. Yet influential as Haeckel was among scientists, his general impact was even greater... His major popular work Weltratsel ("The Riddle of the Universe"; 1899), was among the most spectacular successes in the history of printing. It sold 100,000 copies in its first year, went through ten editions by 1919, was translated into twenty-five languages, and had sold almost half a million copies in Germany alone by 1933. ~ Stephen Jay Gould Haeckel would become the foremost champion of Darwinism not only in Germany but throughout the world. ~ Robert Richards bevets
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed - video clip of Dr. Weikart - Racism and Darwinism http://www.anyclip.com/movies/expelled-no-intelligence-allowed/racism-and-darwinism/#!quotes/ Weikart: Many of these people in the 19-teens, 1920s Who were putting forward some of these ideas about racism Were considered the leading scientists. These were darwinists who were taken seriously by fellow academics. It's not to say that all academics believed it. Stein: These leading academics, were there any of them who were Americans? Weikart: There were plenty of Americans Who were saying similar kinds of things. Stein: Not only were Americans saying such things, They were pioneers in this fledgling science Known as eugenics. They thought they could help evolution along By sterilizing the so-called feeble-minded And prohibiting them from getting married. Egnor: Physicians who are aware of the history Of 20th-century American medicine Harbor some bad feelings towards Darwinists Because of eugenics. And eugenics-- Which was an attempt to breed human beings-- It was the darkest chapter of American medicine ever. There were 50,000 people involuntarily sterilized Because they were deemed unfit to breed, basically. Stein: eugenics isn't just history. The spirit of the movement lives on today. Weikart: Margaret Sanger Was the head of planned parenthood. She was very fanatical in her promotion of eugenics. In fact, planned parenthood was all about birth control For the impoverished and lower classes To try to help improve the species. Entire movie: Expelled (Full Movie) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c63awtAyHdU bornagain77

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