I would like to introduce retired Australian political science prof Hiram Caton’s new Web site on the pious Darwin legends that currently infest popular media.
Caton, a friend and associate of the late David Stove, author of Darwinian Fairy Tales, has done extensive research on the real story behind Darwin and his Origin of Species – and no, it is not the pious legends you will be hearing on public television. Bet you guessed that.
Both Caton and Stove are recognized as agnostic philosophers with limited use for pious legends in science, as in religion (must be something in the air Down Under?)
Anyway, here is Caton’s beginning stab at hauling away the trash (and his deceased colleague would be proud):
^Belief that the Origin was a ‘revolutionary’ scientific breakthrough conflicts with the fact that public opinion was at the time saturated with the evolution idea. It was so widespread that in 1860 the showman P T Barnum put on display a freak, styled Zip the Pinhead, alleged to be the ‘missing link’ between apes and humans.
^The natural selection principle was first stated in 1831 by Patrick Matthew, and was independently discovered in 1836 by Darwin’s naturalist colleague, Edward Blyth. Herbert Spencer came close to a formulation in 1852, and Alfred Wallace discovered it in 1858.
^The Origin did not found modern biology. By 1850 it was a thriving science whose leading men were Louis Pasteur, Claude Bernard, Rudolph Vircow, and Robert Koch. Darwin, a naturalist, was not involved in this research mode. Conversely, evolution was not a parameter of experimental biology.
^The Origin did not instigate a ‘revolutionary’ disruption of science from religious belief. That antagonism became a cultural force thanks to the French Revolution. By the 1830s, French and British radicals invoked evolution as a rebuttal of religious beliefs about God’s creation.
By 1860 this position was widespread throughout Europe and Latin America. Conversely, numerous scientists and clergymen believed in the compatibility of science and religious faith. That includes the discoverer of the first quantitative biological laws, Gregor Mendel.
^The only practical application of Darwinian theory with potential cultural impact was eugenics, devised by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton. Three of his sons were dedicated to the eugenics cause, and one of them, Leonard, was the patron of a key figure in the creation of neo-darwinism, R A Fisher, as well as President of the Eugenics Society
Dr. Caton tells me that his Web page, Whither Progress? on “Major Changes in Evolution Theory” is almost finished, and thanks me for reporting his views accurately, noting
I believe that you know that I don’t believe that the extensive revisions and corrections of Neo-Darwinism imply rejection of evolution; rather the improvement of our understanding of it.
Yes, I got that, prof.
He argues that ” … the Modern Synthesis is obsolete, and that a new grasp of evolution is in the making, has been argued by numerous authors. My purpose here is to highlight some major innovations that have transformed evolution science.”, which he does.
Darwintrolls, this is not for you. Serious thinkers, have a look.
Check out his deprogram from Darwin legends here.
Also, just up at The Post-Darwinist:
Science education: Yawn Central … oh, no, wait! This just in ….
When science becomes oppressive religion: Do they use propane instead of faggots for the stakes?
Darwinism: Sociologist’s book on ID controversy denounced by three-star Darwin bore