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Darwin reader: Darwin’s racism


In the face of systematic attempts to efface from public view, Darwin’s racism, a friend writes to offer quotes from Darwin’s Descent of Man:

Savages are intermediate states between people and apes:

“It has been asserted that the ear of man alone possesses a lobule; but ‘a rudiment of it is found in the gorilla’ and, as I hear from Prof. Preyer, it is not rarely absent in the negro.

“The sense of smell is of the highest importance to the greater number of mammals–to some, as the ruminants, in warning them of danger; to others, as the Carnivora, in finding their prey; to others, again, as the wild boar, for both purposes combined. But the sense of smell is of extremely slight service, if any, even to the dark coloured races of men, in whom it is much more highly developed than in the white and civilised races.”

“The account given by Humboldt of the power of smell possessed by the natives of South America is well known, and has been confirmed by others. M. Houzeau asserts that he repeatedly made experiments, and proved that Negroes and Indians could recognise persons in the dark by their odour. Dr. W. Ogle has made some curious observations on the connection between the power of smell and the colouring matter of the mucous membrane of the olfactory region as well as of the skin of the body. I have, therefore, spoken in the text of the dark-coloured races having a finer sense of smell than the white races….Those who believe in the principle of gradual evolution, will not readily admit that the sense of smell in its present state was originally acquired by man, as he now exists. He inherits the power in an enfeebled and so far rudimentary condition, from some early progenitor, to whom it was highly serviceable, and by whom it was continually used.”

[From Denyse: Decades ago, I distinguished myself by an ability to smell sugar in coffee. It wasn’t very difficult, with a bit of practice, and it helped to sort out the office coffee orders handily. My best guess is that most people could learn the art if they wanted to. Most human beings don’t even try to develop their sense of smell – we are mostly occupied with avoiding distressing smells or eliminating or else covering them up. I don’t of course, say that we humans would ever have the sense of smell of a wolf, but only that Darwin’s idea here is basically wrong and best explained by racism. ]

“It appears as if the posterior molar or wisdom-teeth were tending to become rudimentary in the more civilised races of man. These teeth are rather smaller than the other molars, as is likewise the case with the corresponding teeth in the chimpanzee and orang; and they have only two separate fangs. … In the Melanian races, on the other hand, the wisdom-teeth are usually furnished with three separate fangs, and are generally sound; they also differ from the other molars in size, less than in the Caucasian races.

“It is an interesting fact that ancient races, in this and several other cases, more frequently present structures which resemble those of the lower animals than do the modern. One chief cause seems to be that the ancient races stand somewhat nearer in the long line of descent to their remote animal-like progenitors.”

[From Denyse: The nice thing about teeth is that, if they give trouble, they can simply be pulled. I would be reluctant to found a big theory on the size or convenience of teeth, given that this  fact must have occurred to our ancestors many thousands of years ago.]

“It has often been said, as Mr. Macnamara remarks, that man can resist with impunity the greatest diversities of climate and other changes; but this is true only of the civilised races. Man in his wild condition seems to be in this respect almost as susceptible as his nearest allies, the anthropoid apes, which have never yet survived long, when removed from their native country.”
[From Denyse: Native North Americans often perished from human diseases to which they had not become immune in childhood. That is probably unrelated to the inability of anthropoid apes to stand cold climates.]

This includes the degraded morals of lower races:

“The above view of the origin and nature of the moral sense, which tells us what we ought to do, and of the conscience which reproves us if we disobey it, accords well with what we see of the early and undeveloped condition of this faculty in mankind…. A North-American Indian is well pleased with himself, and is honoured by others, when he scalps a man of another tribe; and a Dyak cuts off the head of an unoffending person, and dries it as a trophy. … With respect to savages, Mr. Winwood Reade informs me that the negroes of West Africa often commit suicide. It is well known how common it was amongst the miserable aborigines of South America after the Spanish conquest. … It has been recorded that an Indian Thug conscientiously regretted that he had not robbed and strangled as many travellers as did his father before him. In a rude state of civilisation the robbery of strangers is, indeed, generally considered as honourable.”

“As barbarians do not regard the opinion of their women, wives are commonly treated like slaves. Most savages are utterly indifferent to the sufferings of strangers, or even delight in witnessing them. It is well known that the women and children of the North-American Indians aided in torturing their enemies. Some savages take a horrid pleasure in cruelty to animals, and humanity is an unknown virtue….. Many instances could be given of the noble fidelity of savages towards each other, but not to strangers; common experience justifies the maxim of the Spaniard, “Never, never trust an Indian.”

[From Denyse: If early modern Europeans in Canada had not trusted “Indians,” they would all have died off pretty quickly.]

“The other so-called self-regarding virtues, which do not obviously, though they may really, affect the welfare of the tribe, have never been esteemed by savages, though now highly appreciated by civilised nations. The greatest intemperance is no reproach with savages.”

“I have entered into the above details on the immorality of savages, because some authors have recently taken a high view of their moral nature, or have attributed most of their crimes to mistaken benevolence. These authors appear to rest their conclusion on savages possessing those virtues which are serviceable, or even necessary, for the existence of the family and of the tribe,–qualities which they undoubtedly do possess, and often in a high degree.”

[From Denyse: Charles Darwin, let me introduce you to Hollywood, before you say any more silly things about the supposed immorality of “savages.” ]

Making slavery understandable, though of course distasteful now:

“Slavery, although in some ways beneficial during ancient times, is a great crime; yet it was not so regarded until quite recently, even by the most civilised nations. And this was especially the case, because the slaves belonged in general to a race different from that of their masters.”

[From Denyse: Not really. In ancient times, slaves were typically unransomed captives in war, convicted criminals, or people who had fallen into irrecoverable debt. In Roman times, there would be nothing unusual about being a slave to someone of the same race as oneself. Slavery based on race alone was an early modern legal invention, aimed against blacks.]

Mass killings of savages is understandable as a type of species extinction:

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

“The partial or complete extinction of many races and sub-races of man is historically known….When civilised nations come into contact with barbarians the struggle is short, except where a deadly climate gives its aid to the native race…. The grade of their civilisation seems to be a most important element in the success of competing nations. A few centuries ago Europe feared the inroads of Eastern barbarians; now any such fear would be ridiculous.”

“[Flinders Island], situated between Tasmania and Australia, is forty miles long, and from twelve to eighteen miles broad: it seems healthy, and the natives were well treated. Nevertheless, they suffered greatly in health….With respect to the cause of this extraordinary state of things, Dr. Story remarks that death followed the attempts to civilise the natives.” [–Obviously the problem was trying to civilize these barbarians!]

“Finally, although the gradual decrease and ultimate extinction of the races of man is a highly complex problem, depending on many causes which differ in different places and at different times; it is the same problem as that presented by the extinction of one of the higher animals.”

Of course the degradation extends to the intellectual:

“There is, however, no doubt that the various races, when carefully compared and measured, differ much from each other,–as in the texture of the hair, the relative proportions of all parts of the body …Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotional, but partly in their intellectual faculties. Every one who has had the opportunity of comparison, must have been struck with the contrast between the taciturn, even morose, aborigines of S. America and the light-hearted, talkative negroes. There is a nearly similar contrast between the Malays and the Papuans who live under the same physical conditions, and are separated from each other only by a narrow space of sea.”

[From Denyse: I would imagine that the aborigines of South America felt some resentment over the loss of their continent to invaders from Europe … ]

” A certain amount of absorption of mulattoes into negroes must always be in progress; and this would lead to an apparent diminution of the former. The inferior vitality of mulattoes is spoken of in a trustworthy work as a well-known phenomenon; and this, although a different consideration from their lessened fertility, may perhaps be advanced as a proof of the specific distinctness of the parent races.”

“So far as we are enabled to judge, although always liable to err on this head, none of the differences between the races of man are of any direct or special service to him. The intellectual and moral or social faculties must of course be excepted from this remark.”

And… drum roll.., the main conclusion:

“The main conclusion arrived at in this work, namely, that man is descended from some lowly organised form, will, I regret to think, be highly distasteful to many. But there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians. The astonishment which I felt on first seeing a party of Fuegians on a wild and broken shore will never be forgotten by me, for the reflection at once rushed into my mind-such were our ancestors. These men were absolutely naked and bedaubed with paint, their long hair was tangled, their mouths frothed with excitement, and their expression was wild, startled, and distrustful. … He who has seen a savage in his native land will not feel much shame, if forced to acknowledge that the blood of some more humble creature flows in his veins.”

[From Denyse: Sounds like a local rave to me. Not my ancestors (who were, as it happens, rigidly correct people, but my 2009 fellow Torontonians.)]

“For my own part I would as soon be descended from …[a] monkey, or from that old baboon… –as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.

[From Denyse: Yuh, I know. I know women who have divorced guys like that too … but, when founding a theory in science, it strikes me that … ]

And let’s not forget sexism!

“The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman–whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands…We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on ‘Hereditary Genius,’ that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.”

“The greater intellectual vigour and power of invention in man is probably due to natural selection, combined with the inherited effects of habit, for the most able men will have succeeded best in defending and providing for themselves and for their wives and offspring.”

[From Denyse: Re women vs. men: Actually, if we leave Darwin’s obsession with natural selection out of the matter for a moment, we can come up with a simple explanation for the difference between men’s and women’s achievements. Men are far more likely to win Nobel Prizes than women – but also far more likely to sit on Death Row.

For most normal achievements, women will do as well as men, given a chance. Women do just as well as men at being, say, a family doctor, an accountant, a real estate agent, a high school teacher, etc.

It’s only in outstanding achievements – either for good OR for ill – that men tend to dominate. One way of seeing this is that the curve of women’s achievements fits inside the curve of men’s achievements, either way.

Natural selection does not explain this because most men who have outstanding achievements do not contribute a great deal to the gene pool as a consequence.

Either they produce few or no children, or their children do nothing outstanding. So Darwin did not really have a good explanation for this fact.

What should we do? Breeding of people and letting the weak die off:

“The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand, as Mr. Galton has remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society. Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.”

“We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

[From Denyse: But how would anyone know who the “worst animals” are among people?]

kairosfocus (msg. #140): "Mr Martinez: It is grossly unfair to extrapolate form one individual — however prominent — to 'all.'" Like I pointed out: Nobel winner Darwinian microbiologist James Watson's views are the views of his colleagues; and the only surprise is that he got caught----you are naive kairosfocus: "The evidence is that, having SEEN the horror of WW 2, racism is in abeyance in Evolutionary Materialist circles." Could we expect a Darwinist to say anything else? While Darwinists were ratifying natural selection in the late 1930s and early 1940s in what the History of Science calls the "biological synthesis," the Nazis were implementing natural selection in the field: accepting the conclusions of Darwin's theory that no God exists, and that we are but modified animals, Hitler selected his enemies for extinction. Ray R. Martinez
Mr Martinez: It is grossly unfair to extrapolate form one individual -- however prominent -- to "all." The evidence is that, having SEEN the horror of WW 2, racism is in abeyance in Evolutionary Materialist circles. But, the underlying theory and worldview lend themselves to denying he intrinsic worth of a human being, thus to immoralities based on imposing power on perceived inferiors who are somehow unworthy. the habitual viciousness with which perceived dissidents are treated, starting with the sort of uncivil language that is ever so common, is telling. For, out of the abundance of teh heart, the mouth speaks. The current dilemmas on bioethics and imposed death as a "solution" to social or medical problems, is equally telling. the inability to address teh above histry in a calm and objective fashin tells us the histry is plainly unfinished, too. But, at the end of the day, racists are a plainly small and in-the-closet group among modern biologists; though I have heard Mr David Duke on shortwave radio, using IQ and biology arguments to bolster his racism: the subtlest part was conceding that Asians have a higher IQ than whites on average . . . Let us -- on both sides -- not lose sight of fairness or truth towards those with whom we may differ. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Allen_MacNeill (msg. #134): "Or, to put it terms that even Ray might understand, the empirical evidence (as developed and analyzed by population geneticists) points to the conclusion that race [SNIP....] plays little or no significant role in intelligence." Nobel winner, Darwinian microbiologist James Watson, disagrees: http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/10/25/watson.resigns/index.html "Watson [says] he [is] "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really." A person would have to be incredibly naive to believe that a person of Watson's prominence and stature, that is, his gutter racism views, to be isolated or aberrational. Since Watson is a leading Darwinist we can deduce rightly that his view represents the view of all of his colleagues. Again, the *only surprise* in the Watson incident is that he got caught. Ray R. Martinez
PPS: On a linked matter, it is my understanding that for decades following WW 2, medicine had little choice but to use the results of the Nazi medical experiments (possibly saving more lives than were lost to the holocaust). However, on ethical responsibility, a decades long initiative was undertaken to re-prove the relevant findings in ethically sound ways; I think being completed in the 1980's or so. Is this not a lesson to us, from one of the elder professions? kairosfocus
PS: An interesting article on history that needs to be faced squarely and learned from is here. Observe in particular the remarks by Hannah Arendt [1951], that by Alan Bullock, the one by John Toland, and that by Ian Kershaw. kairosfocus
Mr MacNeill: I appreciate that Lewontin's findings on intra vs inter-group variations on intelligence metrics are relevant empirical evidence that "race" is not a good discriminant on competitiveness of groups. I would also imagine that in today's culture -- post WW 2 and post civil rights movement -- racism should be at most a tiny minority, "in the closet" view among biologists. However, that does but little to address my first concern: that there is a significant history that has to be come to terms with, and that that means taking a true and fair -- not a sanitised -- view of the history of evolutionary biology. (As has been aptly said by Santayana and others: If we refuse to face and to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat its worst chapters.) Here, the lessons of history include the fact that H G Wells, by 1897 - 98, had publicly warned of the possible consequences of Social and racial Darwinism. Themes that -- as Denyse and I have cited -- are undeniably explicitly taught in CRD's Descent of Man, and taught in ways that tie it to the very core of Darwinism 1.0; literally starting with the sub-itle of Origin of Species:
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
For instance, 1 --> Why was not h G Wells' warning heard and heeded by scientists and the educated public, many of whom doubtless read his pioneering Science Fiction novel,or would have been in a position to hear its warning message had it been taken seriously? 2 --> Could a similar deafness to warnings be happening today -- e.g. on the ID issue? 3 --> Also, it seems to me that the question of the ethics of science and the value placed on humans -- e.g. quality of life [including mind/intelligence . . . ] vs inherent worth of the human being -- is still an issue, one that speaks straight to a host of bio-ethics concerns as I have noted on. And, more broadly, the there is the question that science (especially origins science) should be an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) empirically based search for the truth about our world. I am particularly concerned over the increasingly evident imposition of Lewontinian, a priori materialism in the name of science, including through the actions of the US National Academy of Sciences. For, that is plainly the imposition and quasi-establishment of a dogma in the name of science, in ways that mislead the public on its effect on the proper goals of science and on the degree of warrant for its findings. In short, a focus on Mr Martinez' assertions, while failing to address weightier matters does very little to allay far weightier concerns on science and ethics. For, that comes across rather like the classic story of the boxer who took on the strawman, instead of his real challenger. I therefore hope that the above concerns will be properly and fully addressed as Cornell and other relevant institutions continue to celebrate Darwin 200. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Allen_MacNeill No's 54 and 117. Think of Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day off, but with your name inserted: "MacNeill? ... MacNeill?" AussieID
Or, to put it terms that even Ray might understand, the empirical evidence (as developed and analyzed by population geneticists) points to the conclusion that race (and sex, and ethnicity) plays little or no significant role in intelligence. Allen_MacNeill
On the contrary, one of the most powerful arguments against racism was Richard Lewontin's argument that the amount of variation within a group is much greater than the amount of variation between groups. Interestingly, this generalization holds regardless of how one defines such groups (i.e. "races"). For example, the average variation in IQ within any particular group of people is on the order of 12 units (i.e. the standard deviation from the average IQ, especially as defined as "G", or "general intelligence"), whereas the average variation between women and men (or between African-Americans and European-Americans, or between Jews and non-Jews) is on the order of 3 to 4 IQ units. Indeed, some estimates of the latter variation place it less than 3 IQ units. That is, the average difference in IQ between the dumbest and smartest person within any particular group of people is on the order of three to four times as great as the average difference in IQ between the dumbest and smartest person in two different groups of people. Lewontin is an evolutionary biologist of the first rank, as was his colleague (and co-author) Stephen Jay Gould. Both of them argued tirelessly throughout their lives against any "evolutionary" justification for racism, sexism, and other forms of unequal treatment or opportunity. Ergo, any assertion that evolutionary biologists in general, and those of us who began doing our science after World War II, are ipso facto "gutter" racists (or any other kind of racist) are nothing less than egregious lies, uttered by people who have no knowledge of the history of modern evolutionary biology and even less knowledge or care about modern science and its relationship to morals and ethics. Allen_MacNeill
Ray said: Darwinism is racism. All Darwinists are racists. There was a time when that was generally true. It is not true now. That is simply a fact. It is not true due to changes in culture overcoming scientific racism and causing scientific challenges to such views, although Darwinists sometimes naturally fall back into racism. Also, the "pure" science that Allen promotes was a barrier to change of this sort, not a catalyst. mynym
Mynym @ 126: Thanks. Allen [@ 125] and/or KRiS [Missing for a day . . . ]: Are you able to allay my ethics of science and linked education, public opinion and policy concerns on Darwin + 200? How? GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Ray Martinez, Mr. Martinez rather. Are you "the" Ray Martinez from Texas? The sherrif? Platonist
Jerry (msg.114): "You are entitled to your opinions but I will have to respectfully disagree with nearly all of what you say here. Yes, Fisher was an eugenicist and no I do not approve of eugenics. But he was an absolute genius regardless of his lack of advanced degrees. Those with Ph.D. would give their eyeteeth for a small portion of his accomplishments Those who are wondering should read the Wikipedia biography of him." I never questioned Fisher's intelligence. I kept to the subject matter of THIS thread, that is, the racism of Darwinism. I reported facts about Fisher, which you have expressed agreement with. Darwinism was born in racism, that is, AFTER God is rejected as Creator, Darwin relies on his pre-existing racism to answer a question that did not exist before (human origins; apes morphing in Africans----gutter racism). Darwinists, and their sympathizers in this thread, have evaded this ugly fact. By the way: Wikipedia is NOT a source. Anyone with a computer can contribute. The site is controlled by Atheists-Darwinists as seen in the on-slaught of slander written about the Bible, Creationism, IDism and its sources. Tell me, who wrote the Wikipedia article on Fisher: Paris Hilton, Ronald McDonald, or your uncle Joe? Ray R. Martinez
Laminar (msg.#120): "I would avoid this sort of incendiary language if I were you. 'Evolution is BASED on gutter racism: its starting point. Stop trying to be fair to Darwinists. They are all gutter racists.' Even if it’s not incendiary to whomever it’s directed, it is to me." Quote mine. The conclusion, quoted above, is plainly justified by the facts and logic (not quoted above). Also: your reply is classic messenger shooting. You are more upset with the messenger than you are with the message-facts (Darwinists are gutter racists). Why is Laminar more upset with the reporting of racism than with the perpetrators of racism? I am afraid that the answer to this question would be truly incendiary, so I will refrain. Ray R. Martinez
Allen_MacNeill (msg.125): "Why is Ray Martinez still allowed to post here? None of his/her comments contain anything more than the most vitriolic ad hominem attacks; no evidence, no logic, no arguments, nothing but ugly, unsupported character assassination. Is this the kind of person you folks want the world to think is representing your position? Just curious…" Egregious and deliberate lie and/or misrepresentation. I will re-post my reply to Allen in its entirety. I answered his question----directly. My answer is based on facts, **referenced fact** and straightforward logic. What is obvious is that Allen is angry caused by the inability to address and/or refute; and true to the Atheist mindset he seeks his enemy (IDists) to censor and silence his enemy (me, IDist)----exactly what Atheist-Communism did to their Christian enemies in the 20th century (and much worse, of course). Allen is fishing for a Judge Jones, a Judas, according to the Bible he will probably find one. Again, Allen is noticeably stung and unable to refute: the truth hurts. BEGIN re-post: Allen_MacNeill (msg. #3): “Even granting that Darwin was racist [SNIP....], how does this make him “wrong”? Wrong in what way? Wrong about his theory of evolution by natural selection? Wrong about his theory descent with modification?” It makes him wrong because AFTER he rejects God as Creator and Designer he then relies on his pre-existing racism to answer a human origin question that did not exist before. The point is that AFTER God is rejected as creator of Adam and Eve (late 1836-1837), Darwin THEN suddenly “sees” a “similarity” between apes and dark skinned peoples; that is, men of Tierra del Fuego and apes that he had been observing in the London zoo (Edward Larson, “Evolution: History of a Remarkable Theory” 2004:66-67). Darwinism is racism. All Darwinists are racists. To contend that apes first began to evolve into men in Africa is not science, it is gutter racism. Do you now understand? END re-post. Ray R. Martinez
Kairosfocus said:In short, my principal concern from my first intervention on, has been the gaping ethical hole in modern science and in formal and informal science education, as so plainly illustrated by Darwinism and Darwin 200. And, the responses — including yours (and, especially including Allen’s) — above do not allay those concerns, KRiS. Not only do they not allay such concerns, they reinforce them. Note what Allen said in one of his first comments: O’Leary, like most people not trained in science, apparently does not understand that what a scientist thinks and does outside her area of expertise has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of her science. That is determined by empirical testing and statistical verification. This argument is false given that Darwin was making scientific claims based on his supposed area of expertise. O’Leary did not claim that Darwin had scientific knowledge having to do with the extermination of lower races, Darwin did. Assembling a panel of scholars to deny this doesn't change anything. Note that Allen's view of a totally "pure" science divorced from ethical concerns has led to the emergence of technically proficient barbarians in the past. Counter to his claims science as we know it is reliant on sound ethics just like empirical observations are reliant on a sane form of sentience. History shows that what people think and do outside their area of expertise or technical proficiency does have an impact on their supposedly "pure" science. mynym
Why is Ray Martinez still allowed to post here? None of his/her comments contain anything more than the most vitriolic ad hominem attacks; no evidence, no logic, no arguments, nothing but ugly, unsupported character assassination. Is this the kind of person you folks want the world to think is representing your position? Just curious... Allen_MacNeill
PS to KRiS: I forgot this part: "Darwin’s personal views on race." Look at the original title of Origin, for edns 1 - 5. Namely: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
I --> It that a matter of mere "personal" views? II --> Or, -- and cf my excerpt from Descent of Man, ch 6 -- is "race" the competing population unit, that CRD had in mind when he spoke, qua SCIENTIST, of survival of the fittest through competition for SURVIVAL in a Malthusian context?
Your answer will tell us a lot, including whether you are a serious participant in dialogue, or a sock-puppet as has been raised in another thread. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Mark: We HAVE routinely observed the creation of encyclopedic amounts of information. For good reason connected to the needle in a haystack challenge, chance + necessity are not plausible sources for such FSCI. Intelligence is a ROUTINELY observed source. So, once biosystems in the heart of the cell turned out to be Information Systems, the issues of Info Theory come to bear, and the known source of large quanta of complex, functional info is relevant. The logic is simple: 1 --> Biosystems at the core of the cell, are complex info systems [Observed since 1953, check] 2 --> to get to observed simplest independent life and onward to biodiversity, the observed info storage ranges from 600 kbits to 3 -4 + Giga bits. (Observed in recent decades, check] 3 --> Just 1,000 bits specifies a config space of 2^1,000 ~ 10^301, or about 10 times the SQUARE of the number of quantum states for the ~10^80 atoms of observed cosmos across its typically estimated lifetime of about 10^25 s. [Simple calculation, check] 4 --> That is, converting the cosmos into a search for life system configs, would not be able to access more than 1 in 10^150 of this far smaller search space, raising serious needle- in- a- haystack search doubts that either OOL or body-plan biodiversity are feasible explanatory frameworks for origin of observed life. [implication, check] 5 --> But, we routinely observe that FSCI is the product of intelligence [direct observation and experience, check] 6 --> Moreover, the fossil record, after 150 years of search for missing links, shows a persistent and pervasive pattern of sudden diversity, stasis and extinction [summary of observations, providing an empirical test for competing explanations, check] 7 --> So, on inference to best explanation, design is a viable, arguably better candidate for explaining the OOL and origin of body-plan level biodiversity [logic of empirically anchored inference to best explanation] 8 --> the rise of Lewontinian a priori materialism, often in the guise of imposed methodological naturalism [cf US NAS et al], shows that this is by and large not being resisted on evidence but on worldview level imposition [history and current state of arguments, check] 9 --> Similarly, we see the distortions and propagandistic misrepresentation of ID to the scientific, policy, educator and general publics, showing through resort to red herring, strawman and ad hominem fallacies that the balance on the merits is not on the side of the evolutionary materialist establishment and its de facto magisterium. [obseervations, and analysis in light of issues in logic and rhetoric; check] CONCLUSION: A paradigm is in profound crisis, and is being stoutly defended by all the resorts that a threatened orthodox, dogmatic establishment can bring to bear. But, the heretics out in the bushes and on the fringes are clearly winning the guerrilla war. Time for a negotiated settlement! GEM of TKI GEM of TKI kairosfocus
KRiS: Re @ 104: It was my understanding that we were debating whether the theory of evolution must automatically be considered false because of Darwin’s personal views on race. 1 --> I have little or no interest in debate, for reasons connected to what Jefferson, echoing Socrates, can be paraphrased: "debate is that wicked art that makes the worse appear the better case; being abetted therein by rhetoric, the deceptive art of persuasion." (My interest is in serious dialogue towards truth, thus constrained by logic and facts.) 2 --> I think you need to re-look at my post at 61:
Reality check — Mrs O’Leary is right, dead right. It is time we came face to face with the fact and dealt with it . . . . it is fair (though obviously frequently most unwelcome, and even angrily dismissed)comment to observe [7 points, having given cites and data] . . . . [5] . . . by late C19, the “scientific” rationale was there for social darwinism, eugenics and genocide; as was taken up by men who would carry it forth ruthlessly in the next century. And, CRD was one of the very first to advance that rationale, in the book in which he took the theses of origin and extended them to humanity. 6 –> And, let us never forget: such was not corrected until AFTER mass murders and horrible abuses in the name of scientific Eugenics. Decades of such horrors. 7 –> We may put on the other side of the balance sheet his humanitarianism, or his antislavery position, etc, but a true and fair view of the man and what he did and its consequences MUST not erase this side of his legacy.
3 --> FYI, I happen to be descended from two of the "races" CRD so coolly condemned to Malthusian extinction [which, recall includes not only famine etc but WAR], one in common with Ms O'Leary. And, through my J'can roots, I can see a very direct connexion between the 1840's in Ireland and the 1860's in J'ca [Governor Eyre . . .],then onward to the Poles [no 2 target] and Jews [no 1 target; overlapping] of the 1940's. 4 --> So, this is a very personally relevant issue for me. Thus, when I see worldwide celebrations that do not frankly and fairly address what is in the very title of his first book,and comes down to cool predictions of genocide in his second, I have reason to be very, very concerned. 5 --> Nor, are my concerns new: As I have introduced to the discussion [extensive cite, 61], the opening paragraphs of H G Wells' War of the Worlds, 1897/8, have a pretty direct warning on the consequences of Darwin's theses on the competition of races for survival as the engine of progress, applied to humanity. 6 --> If I had seen a balanced discussion in the celebrations, of how the original form of Darwinian thought was birthed in a racist matrix and unfortunately opened the door to Social Darwinism and worse, but we have faced this and corrected it this way and that, that would be another story. (After all, I am a Christian, who believes in repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness leading to reformation of life and culture, as the mark of greatness in a sin-marred world.) 7 --> But, even here, when I have raised the issue, I see attempts to shut up or dismiss the inconvenient voices, to divert attention and to play at immoral equivalency through turnabout cross-accusations. Plato's Cave shadow-show and divide and rule games, in short. 8 --> Do you see why my warning flags therefore trip when I see that sort of pattern among the supporters of Darwin, 150 years after he wrote, 110 years after H G Wells warned, coming on 70 years after the Holocaust, and even while in our common Civilisation, we tolerate mass abortions of unborn infants on grounds boiling down to convenience, set out on using killed embryos as medical treatments, euthanise the sick and helpless by nutrient and water deprivation, and worse? 9 --> If you don't, think a bit on how SB, GP and I have set out time and again to "define" science as it ought to be in the Weak Argument Correctives:
. . . the unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) pursuit of the truth about our world, in light of empirical evidence, observation, experiment and analysis.
10 --> And, I say that in full knowledge that it was my base discipline, physics, that has given the politicians and the generals the nukes and the missiles that have already cost 1/2+ million their lives, and could easily cost most of the world their lives in an hour or so. [Observe Iran's launch of a satellite . . . cf. the Sputnik crisis, 1957] Worse, some of the leaders of the Manhattan Project, when asked, suppressed the dissenting voice among the scientists, that the nuke bomb should be DEMONSTRATED to the Japanese -- who were far gone already -- rather than used to roast a city. (Even showing the film of the Trinity test would have probably made a difference . . . ) 11 --> In short, my principal concern from my first intervention on, has been the gaping ethical hole in modern science and in formal and informal science education, as so plainly illustrated by Darwinism and Darwin 200. And, the responses -- including yours (and, especially including Allen's) -- above do not allay those concerns, KRiS. 12 --> Now, it was you who raised rthe issue on Darwin's theory and wherther I saw the above ethical hole as disqualifying the theory as a valid one. As originally conceived C19, plainly the theory 1.0 is -- had better be! (I think of Marxism that Vampire socio-cultural and economic evolutionary theory that in large part extends C19 Darwinism, lying in a shallow and noisily stirring grave . . . ) -- dead. 13 --> 2.0, is in trouble, as I have pointed out, as it is a pre-info age theory [30's - 40's] that -- once DNA and its role as an algorithmic, discrete state information-storing entity had been discovered [from '53 on] -- threw out a bridge to Information Science and linked Thermodynamics. (Cf my always linked discussion, Section A.) 14 --> That means that its core ideas are suddenly subject to major empirical tests through ideas developed in previously independent and unconnected areas of study. And, plainly, it is not faring well; though that is being stoutly resisted with all the zeal of a threatened magisterium and its zealous followers. 15 --> But, the issue is not in serious doubt. The handwriting has been on the wall -- ah, actually, in the DNA -- for some time now. So, now KRiS, can we have a serious discussion on matters of grave import? GEM of TKI kairosfocus
"I find when they get here, they get ignored.” "Well you have to provide examples and then if we did ignore them, then force us to discuss them." Your comment is awaiting moderation. Laminar
Ray: I would avoid this sort of incendiary language if I were you. "Evolution is BASED on gutter racism: its starting point. Stop trying to be fair to Darwinists. They are all gutter racists. " Even if it’s not incendiary to whomever it’s directed, it is to me. Laminar
AusieID [116] Evolution requires the coming into existence of encyclopaedic amounts of new information, coding for new types of organs, new kinds of appendages, etc. Change of this sort, from one kind of organism into a different kind, has not been observed. Of course no one has observed a single change of this magnitude. Evolutionary theory predicts such a change would only happen through a series of many, much small changes. Such a change would be evidence against modern evolutionary theory (although like any evidence it would be compatible with an all powerful designer) Mark Frank
Allen_MacNeill, Just to add to your response touting "another unsupported assertion by creationists and ID supporters, ... there is no evidence for macroevolution", I wrote at #54 in response to your paradigmatic example of macroevolution via serial endosymbiosis. There was a lot of traffic, so you may have missed it or just ignored it. Nevertheless, answers to your examples are being provided to counter your claims. Occasionally vitriol is present instead of substance, but of all people you can't say that you don't try and bite as much as you are bitten? C'mon Allen! AussieID
Allen_MacNeill, Re: evening primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana, de Vries (1905) Oenothera lamarckiana is an invalid synonym for the plant species Oenothera glazioviana, It’s common name means ‘large-flower evening primrose’. Oenothera gigas was the name used a century ago for tetraploid mutants of the various Oenothera species. This included tetraploids of Oenothera lamarckiana. de Vries had named named it O. lamarckiana, but it had already been called Oenothera glazioviana by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius. So the name O. lamarckiana should be defunct and so it is wrongly cited. De Vries believed that tetraploid Oenethera plants would ‘breed true’, forming a distinct species. However, the tetraploid specimens of Oenothera that de Vries and other botanists cultivated did not form their own self-perpetuating populations, requiring constant special care and consistently generating a range of chromosome sets (diploid, triploid, tetraploid, etc.) in their offspring. In his zeal to provide evidence for evolution, de Vries had presumptuously proclaimed tetraploid Oenotheras to be a new species This was in spite of direct evidence to the contrary. This included evidence from his own breeding efforts. The idea that these plants constituted an example of speciation is wrong, and this was realized at least as long ago as 1943. [See Davis, B.M., An amphidiploid in the F1 generation from the cross Oenothera franciscana x Oenothera biennis, and its progeny, Genetics 28(4):275–285, July 1943.] On page 278 Davis writes: “In summary it should be emphasized that this amphidiploid did not present a settled behaviour of all pairing on the part of the chromosomes at diakinesis. On the contrary, there was much irregularity in the process of chromosome segregation during meiosis. Accounts of amphidiploids have frequently assumed that these plants even from hybrids would breed true because the double set of chromosomes would permit a regular pairing between homologues. It will be noted that here is an amphidiploid Oenothera hybrid in which the pairing is far from regular with the result that the plant does not breed true, as will appear in the accounts of later generations.” That O. gigas is still presented as an evidence for evolution reflects very poorly on those amplifying evolution to be able to do things as they claim. There is a matter of pride, honour and status for a scientist to identify and name a new species. This results in the situation where some species have been named and renamed multiple times by different scientists. This is true for botanists to identify varieties as new species, even when the evidence is equivocal. As such, in this case it seems that an intense desire to produce evidence for his evolutionary faith apparently influenced de Vries to ignore conflicting data. I'm sure you'll note that all this has nothing to do with evolution of the microbes-to-man sort. Evolution requires the coming into existence of encyclopaedic amounts of new information, coding for new types of organs, new kinds of appendages, etc. Change of this sort, from one kind of organism into a different kind, has not been observed. Observed speciation involves only the elimination, duplication, reshuffling or degradation of existing genetic information. The various mutant varieties of evening primrose are all still evening primroses. If a self-sustaining reproductively-isolated population (i.e. a new ‘species’) of tetraploid Oenothera plants had developed, this would not constitute an example of evolution of the microbes-to-man sort. The same genes are present in the tetraploid, just twice as many of them. The information is merely duplicated in the tetraploid. I can't wait to see your chapter in your forthcoming textbook. If you place any of that information on which you blogged in your text because of your comment: "response to yet another unsupported assertion by creationists and ID supporters, who often state (without evidence) that although microevolution might happen, there is no evidence for macroevolution" then it says more about your fundamentalist beliefs than about your science. AussieID
Several commentators in this thread and others have asserted (without corroboration) that although there is abundant evidence for microevolution (which they apparently accept), there is no evidence for macroevolution (which they do not accept, mainly because of its implications for their religious beliefs). I started to write a response to this, but it started to get very long, so I made it into a post on my own blog. You can read it here: http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2009/02/macroevolution-examples-and-evidence.html After you do, I would appreciate any comments (and especially substantive criticisms) you might have...but please, save the ad hominems for each other. Thank you for goading me to write what will become yet another chapter in my forthcoming evolution textbook from John Wiley & Sons (due out in 2010). Allen_MacNeill
Winston Macchi, Here is my personal reaction to your comments: "We discuss substance all the time here. I find that sometimes that is true, and sometimes weeks go by with only posts on Darwin the Racist or Hitler, Darwin’s best friend." I agree 100% with this. But the background and inclinations of many here are not in sync with this. I usually do not comment much on the social stuff but every once in awhile I chip in. But I would prefer it not be as frequent as it is. "Allen MacNeill has pointed us to many things over the last three years and none have supported any theory of macro evolution. I’ll have to take your word for that." I used the comment, "MacNeill Gallop" to chide him over his behavior because he used the comment himself to describe others. Allen has never once provided concrete support for macro evolution, that is the origin of new information governing any complex new capability. He often points to a section on his blog that has 47 different processes that introduce variation into the genome and we have no problem at all with that except he never pays it out with what each has accomplished. "…would you send us to some obscure examples in the literature knowing that many of us would have trouble with the technical details. No, you would outline the results in all it glory and rub our noses in it. The substance is in the technical details. That is where the real info lies. And I have seen many people do this, but no response or a brush off. Plus, I don’t care to rub your nose in anything, that isn’t the point." I have to disagree strongly with your interpretation. Allen knows the parameters of the debate. At least I hope so. It is over the origin of new information to control new capabilities in the genome. It is easy enough to discuss this if he had the goods in his pocket. So three things, either it doesn't exist, he doesn't know what it is or he doesn't understand his example. So until he presents the evidence, he is begging the question that it is really macro evolution especially when we don't see anyone else rushing to use these examples. "There are whole sites on the web dedicated to proving naturalistic evolution as the explanation for life changes over the last 4.5 billion years and they send people here constantly but when they get here they have a case of amnesia. I find when they get here, they get ignored." Well you have to provide examples and then if we did ignore them, then force us to discuss them. I am not aware of us doing that. But you obviously are so find the thread and show us and then bring it up here and see what happens. If we continue to ignore it and you think it is important then you have a gotcha. So essentially I am challenging you and we can increase the percentage of substance discussed here. "We will eventually discuss endosymbiosis and what it means in the scheme of things. See comment #37. Fair enough, I took the liberty to check out that link. Tho only mention of endosymbiosis is: Perhaps some of the eukaryote’s organelles, such as the mitochondria, evolved via a symbiotic merger of an early eukaryotic progenitor and a prokaryote. In this endosymbiotic hypothesis, the eukaryote’s mitochondria is thought to be the descendant of an ancient prokaryote that was engulfed by the eukaryote progenitor. Afterwards, a symbiotic relationship is thought to have developed between the larger cell and its new organelle. But even this hypothesis addresses only a fraction of the complexity of the eukaryote cell.?and so has nothing really to say on the topic." I read Hunter's site quickly but it seemed to say that there were considerable difficulties with prokaryotes combining and the result being the eukaryote whether it is endosymbiosis or other processes. On re-reading it, I have just reinforced my impression that the relationship between the two is still speculative. But I am far from an expert on this so if you are interested, why don't you challenge Hunter here. It would be an interesting discussion. "What I wish could be discussed every once and a while (and, of course, this is not my site so what I wish is totally meaningless, but there you go) is interesting new papers. Eg. ?http://esciencenews.com/articl.....ses.evolve?and?http://esciencenews.com/articl......be.needed Both popular articles of papers (info on the source paper can be found in the article) The are neat, topical in this forum, and can be used to flush out ideas of how intelligent design happened, if it happened." They are interesting papers and as far as I can see offer no threat to ID. ID accepts nearly everything the geneticist finds in the genome and how it interacts within its own genome or with possibly others. It does not deny that these characteristics could have arisen by chance and natural selection. Each month there are probably a hundred papers like this that are fascinating. If you think they are a threat to ID, then state so and we can examine it. If we ignore you then persist. jerry
Ray, You are entitled to your opinions but I will have to respectfully disagree with nearly all of what you say here. Yes, Fisher was an eugenicist and no I do not approve of eugenics. But he was an absolute genius regardless of his lack of advanced degrees. Those with Ph.D. would give their eyeteeth for a small portion of his accomplishments Those who are wondering should read the Wikipedia biography of him. I do not know if there is anything in his work that is a threat to ID. ID is quite happy with population genetics and natural selection. So your attack on Fisher is an example of bad logic if you think by discrediting him you support ID. So he was a racist and supported eugenics. His ideas on evolution are sound and as I said have no bearing on ID. jerry
Winston Macchi, Thanks for the reply man, and the respect. :) I appreciate it. Sorry I frustrated you with a lack of "true" scientific discussion. I'm not an expert by any means, but I like to put in my two cents, wherever that lands, scientifically speaking. Domoman
Domoman, I wasn’t blaming you for being ignorant, though I apologize if it came off like that. Reading that back, that sounds worse. What I mean to say is that I am not saying you are ignorant, I don't know anything about you. That was not the point of my post. Winston Macchi
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