Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Hey, it’s Darwin Day again…


By now, fulsome comparisons of Darwin to Lincoln as a “great liberator” should be tumbling down the byteway once again. The push for a national Darwin Day in the United States may have lost a little of its oomph! recently, due to changes in personnel in elected office.

At the same time, there is a new addition to the cultural Darwin mix: serious attention paid to the proudly Darwinian and racist alt right. As it happens, anti-white racism is picking up the Darwinian theme more explicitly as well this year, though with less free publicity. (See the context here). The beginning of a banner year maybe…

Groups like Darwin Day and Evolution Weekend (Clergy Letter Project) help—doubtless unwittingly —by their seeming silence. As a rule, Darwin is never responsible for what he believed. But then their Darwin isn’t the actual one, rather a cultural product familiar to the pop science media. So the racism remains undiscussable

One thing I learned early, covering this beat, is to drop from serious consideration as an honest person any well-informed individual who tried to tell me that Darwin was not a racist because he was anti-slavery. Presumably, such persons think that all news writers’ minds are marinated from an early age in late-night talk shows.

Even a moderate amount of serious reading will reveal strong arguments against slavery that appeal to racist and non-racist alike. Slavery is simply a bad institution, long recognized as harmful to A whole society. Its abolition solves a big problem but does not necessarily impact racism, or even institutional discrimination.

Oh, never mind. Perhaps, long after Darwin’s theory is buried by better science, future baristas will still be learning their pop Darwin at universities.

See also: Did Lincoln read Origin of Species in New York? (the real Lincoln didn’t, but the Darwinized Lincoln, of course, did.)

H. G. Wells: Popularizing Darwin, racism, and mayhem – the history you never learned in school

Darwin’s racism


Why is there a Darwin Day but no Newton Day? (Because it might be more difficult to found a secular religion on Newton?)

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