Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Early woman botanist failed to embrace Darwinism, fell from favor


Darwin was always a jealous god:

Extract: This essay aims to reappraise Agnes Arber’s contribution to the history of science with reference to her work in the history of botany and biology. Both her first and her last books (Herbals, 1912; The Mind and the Eye, 1954) are classics: the former in the history of botany, the latter in that of biology. As such, they are still cited today, albeit with increasing criticism. Her very last book was rejected by Cambridge University Press because it did not meet the publisher’s academic standards – we shall return to it in due course. Despite Kathryn Packer’s two essays about Arber’s life in context, much remains to be done toward a just appreciation of her research. We need such a reappraisal in order to avoid anachronistic criticisms of her contributions to the historiography of botany, or, on the other hand, uncritical applause for her studies in plant morphology.…

Arber was excluded not just on account of her sex, but because her beliefs, as reflected in her publications, became increasingly out of fashion, and therefore out of touch, with current scientific practices. Arber’s anti-evolutionary stance continued to shape her work from her student days until her very last book. Her scientific premises did not evolve. While they were perfectly in tune with the times in the late 1890s and early 1900s, they had morphed into minority thinking by the 1940s and 1950s. (paywall)

Vittoria Feola, “Agnes Arber, historian of botany and Darwinian sceptic” at The British Journal for the History of Science, 2018, 52(3) (September 2019): 515-523.

We should find out when her birthday is and declare that Arber Day.

Agnes Arber. Born: 23 Feb 1879 · London, England aarceng
Arber was a big believer in Parallel Evolution. She was the first woman botanist to be elected to the Royal Society and given the Linnaen Society's top prize. She published about 50 more papers than I ever did, and several books on plant evolution. Interestingly for a Brit in the early 20th century, philosophically she was a hybrid of Eastern mystic ideas. DerekDiMarco
It looks like modern science doesn't care about then truth and reality. We have materialism and evolutionism to thank for that. ET
So Darwin was able to influence her employment and publication prospects from beyond the grave? Spooky! That must be why we see all those people standing on street-corners with cardboard signs saying "Hungry creationist"/ Seversky
A quick skim of 'Herbals'.... It's really a book about books, informed by a deep knowledge of biology. Arber is a lively writer, always focused on plain facts. When the ancient writers had a better grasp on facts than moderns, she says so. When vice versa, she says so. A refreshing lack of orthodoxy. It's worth remembering that her books were PUBLISHED in the "unenlightened old days" when "women were barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen". If she tried to take the same approach now, she'd be unemployed and unpublished. polistra

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