Re the highly recommended short doc, The Biology of the Second Reich:
One reader writes to express confusion about the terminology, noting that the doc refers to neo-Darwinism a few times, but the reader thinks that the term did not emerge until the 1960s. Who’s right?
(First, a note: The name “Second Reich” refers to Germany’s government in World War I, 1914–1918. Not to be confused with the infamous Third Reich that ruled Germany much later, in World War II, 1939–1945.)
But now, on to the historians: The term Neo-Darwinism was used by American biologist Vernon Kellogg (1867–1937), whose account was quoted.
There is some confusion, at times, between the terms “neo-Darwinian synthesis” and “neo-Darwinism.”
Historian Michael Flannery writes to say,
The term neo-Darwinian synthesis has a long and complex history, but is largely associated with Theodosius Dobzansky Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937). The term itself was coined by Julian Huxley in his book Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942) and Ernst Mayr’s Systematics and the Origin of Species that same year.
Nevertheless, the term neo-Darwinism itself was coined by George Romanes in 1895, referring to August Weismann’s germ plasm theory. So the term neo-Darwinism pre-dates the synthesis and was indeed very much alive in the period covered by the video.
Note: It is best to check the history in these cases, and not rely on Darwin’s present-day followers, who often appear to be engaging in politics, and are oblivious to historical research.
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Here’s the doc again: