The science historian offers congratulations and bit of reading advice:
I must congratulate the prestigious journal Science for reiterating many of those points in a recent editorial, “‘The Descent of Man,’ 150 Year On,” by Princeton anthropologist Augustin Fuentes. He is quite correct when he says, “Darwin portrayed Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia as less than Europeans in capacity and behavior. Peoples of the African continent were consistently referred to as cognitively depauperate, less capable, and of a lower rank than other races.” Moreover, Fuentes charges Darwin with going “beyond simple racial rankings, offering justification of empire and colonialism, and genocide, through ‘survival of the fittest.’ This too is confounding given Darwin’s robust stance against slavery.”
I agree. But as I pointed out, historically one cannot confidently trace a straight line from opposing slavery to supporting racial equality. I emphasized this years ago in my review of Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s misguided Darwin’s Sacred Cause.Furthermore, Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin’s indefatigable “Bulldog,” wrote a shameful essay on May 20, 1865, shortly after the conclusion of the American Civil War. He suggested that the South should be relieved given that it was no longer responsible for the care and “protection” of the now-former slaves. He declared that “no rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the average white man.” A reform-minded American Darwinist, Charles Loring Brace, concurred.Michael Flannery, “Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man” at Evolution News and Science Today
All which said, Michael Flannery is not calling for the book to be Cancel!ed. He makes some sensible recommendations for reading and study, making use of Ashley Montagu’s distillation and critique.
See also: Attack on Darwinism at AAAS’s flagship mag “Science” re racism and sexism Let’s pass over the question of why Cool People never noticed that stuff about Charles Darwin for nearly a century and a half. Noticing now? Good. Then what does Agustín Fuentes suppose should replace Darwinism? A war on science? A war on math? A war on people who think getting right answers is a good thing? What’s supposed to be the next step?
Another Darwinian who should surely be Canceled! by the Righteous Woke! Yawn. Move over and make room for Cancel!ed George Romanes. Or… Whatever Cancel Culture demands that we do, let’s all just stop doing it. Soon, they will be looking for really small holes to hide in.