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Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theory, see modern synthesis. For Wallace’s defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin’s theories. It subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[1] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, and it has even been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work. It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin’s and of his predecessors’ work in place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[2][3]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[4] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called “the eclipse of Darwinism,” scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. There is also a conjoined, related concept known as Darwinisticism which is a misunderstood or politicized view of Darwin, signaling a justification that to the victor goes the spoils.[citation needed] The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[5]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[6][7] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[8] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[9][10] In the United States, creationists often use the term “Darwinism” as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[6]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[12] Having hailed the book as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism” promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin’s gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[13] Huxley compared Darwin’s achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of “The Origin of Species” an immense debt of gratitude…. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer’s “Researches on Development,” thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[4]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin.

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalisation for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin’s conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[14]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

“Darwinism” soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase “survival of the fittest” by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory in 1859. What is now called “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, was that “Darwinism” implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin’s day there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism,” and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer’s “evolution,” Haeckel’s “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[15] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called “Darwinism” without any problems.[16]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a “greater efficacy” for natural selection.[17][18]George Romanes dubbed this view as “Wallaceism”, noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a “pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory.”[19][20] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[21] Romanes’ definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin’s views and was contrasted with Wallace’s definition of the term.[22]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an “ism”) of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[23] For example, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson makes this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge’s book What Is Darwinism? (1874).[24] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin’s natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book’s title by concluding: “It is Atheism.”[25][26] Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[27] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says “The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin’s original ideas… Yet the choice of terminology isn’t random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism.” [28]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, sometimes called “neo-Darwinism,” from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies. “It’s a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism,'” says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, “Scientists don’t call it ‘Darwinism’.”[29] In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[30]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[31] used the term “Darwinism” in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some “Ultra-Darwinists.” Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid (e.g., Stove suggested that sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism). Philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[32] though a subsequent essay by Stove’s protegee James Franklin’s[33] suggested that Blackburn’s response actually “confirms Stove’s central thesis that Darwinism can ‘explain’ anything.”

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Darwinism – Wikipedia

Modern synthesis – Wikipedia

The modern synthesis[a] was the early 20th-century synthesis reconciling Charles Darwin’s and Gregor Mendel’s ideas in a joint mathematical framework that established evolution as biology’s central paradigm.[2][3]Julian Huxley invented the term in his 1942 book, Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.

The 19th century ideas of natural selection by Darwin and Mendelian genetics were put together with population genetics, between around 1918 and 1932. The modern synthesis also addressed the relationship between the broad-scale changes of macroevolution seen by palaeontologists and small-scale microevolution of local populations of living organisms.

Further syntheses came later, including evolutionary developmental biology’s integration of embryology with genetics and evolution, starting in 1977, and Massimo Pigliucci’s proposed extended evolutionary synthesis of 2007.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) was successful in convincing most biologists that evolution had occurred, but was less successful in convincing them that natural selection was its primary mechanism. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, variations of Lamarckism, orthogenesis (‘progressive’ evolution), and saltationism (evolution by jumps) were discussed as alternatives.[4] Also, Darwin did not offer a precise explanation of how new species arise. As part of the disagreement about whether natural selection alone was sufficient to explain speciation, George Romanes coined the term neo-Darwinism to refer to the version of evolution advocated by Alfred Russel Wallace and August Weismann. which depended heavily natural selection.[1] Weismann and Wallace rejected the Lamarckian idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics, something that Darwin had not ruled out.[5]

Weismann’s idea, set out in his 1892 book Das Keimplasma: eine Theorie der Vererbung (The Germ Plasm: a theory of inheritance),[6] was that the relationship between the hereditary material, which he called the germ plasm (German, Keimplasma), and the rest of the body (the soma) was a one-way relationship: the germ-plasm formed the body, but the body did not influence the germ-plasm, except indirectly in its participation in a population subject to natural selection. Weismann was translated into English, and though he was influential, it took many years for the full significance of his work to be appreciated.[7] Later, after the completion of the modern synthesis, the term neo-Darwinism came to be associated with its core concept: evolution, driven by natural selection acting on variation produced by genetic mutation, and genetic recombination (chromosomal crossovers).[1]

Between around 1890 and 1930, there was a widespread belief among biologists that Darwinian evolution was in deep trouble, principally because experiments had failed to show that progressive evolution could gradually modify species by making many changes to small inherited variations. This eclipse of Darwinism (in Julian Huxley’s phrase) was challenged when population genetics showed that Mendelian genetics could indeed support exactly that model of evolution, and was replaced as a general belief by the promotion of the idea of a modern synthesis by Huxley and others in the 1940s.[8]

Gregor Mendel’s work was re-discovered by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns in 1900. News of this reached William Bateson in England, who reported on the paper during a presentation to the Royal Horticultural Society in May 1900.[9] It showed that the contributions of each parent retained their integrity rather than blending with the contribution of the other parent. This reinforced a division of thought, which was already present in the 1890s.[10] The two schools were:

A traditional view is that the biometricians and the Mendelians rejected natural selection and argued for their separate theories for 20 years, the debate only resolved by the development of population genetics, giving a date of 1918 for the start of the supposed synthesis after a period of eclipse.[12][13]

A more recent view, advocated by the historians Arlin Stoltzfus and Kele Cable, is that Bateson, de Vries, Morgan and Reginald Punnett had by 1918 formed a synthesis of Mendelism and mutationism. The understanding achieved by these geneticists spanned the action of natural selection on alleles (alternative forms of a gene), the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the evolution of continuously-varying traits (like height), and the probability that a new mutation will become fixed. In this view, the early geneticists accepted natural selection but rejected Darwin’s non-Mendelian ideas about variation and heredity, and the synthesis began soon after 1900.[14] The traditional claim that Mendelians rejected the idea of continuous variation is false; as early as 1902, Bateson and Saunders wrote that “If there were even so few as, say, four or five pairs of possible allelomorphs, the various homo- and hetero-zygous combinations might, on seriation, give so near an approach to a continuous curve, that the purity of the elements would be unsuspected”.[15]

Thomas Hunt Morgan began his career in genetics as a saltationist, and started out trying to demonstrate that mutations could produce new species in fruit flies. However, the experimental work at his lab with the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which helped establish the link between Mendelian genetics and the chromosomal theory of inheritance, demonstrated that rather than creating new species in a single step, mutations increased the genetic variation in the population.[16]

In 1918, R. A. Fisher wrote the paper “The Correlation between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance,”[17] which showed mathematically how continuous variation could result from a number of discrete genetic loci. In this and subsequent papers culminating in his 1930 book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection,[18] Fisher showed how Mendelian genetics was consistent with the idea of evolution driven by natural selection.[19] During the 1920s, a series of papers by Haldane applied mathematical analysis to real-world examples of natural selection such as the evolution of industrial melanism in peppered moths.[19] Haldane established that natural selection could work in the real world at a faster rate than even Fisher had assumed.[20] Fisher also analysed sexual selection in his book, but his work was largely ignored, and Darwin’s case for such selection misunderstood, so it formed no substantial part of the modern synthesis.[21]

Sewall Wright focused on combinations of genes that interacted as complexes, and the effects of inbreeding on small relatively isolated populations, which could exhibit genetic drift. In a 1932 paper, he introduced the concept of an adaptive landscape in which phenomena such as cross breeding and genetic drift in small populations could push them away from adaptive peaks, which would in turn allow natural selection to push them towards new adaptive peaks.[19][22] Wright’s model would appeal to field naturalists such as Theodosius Dobzhansky and Ernst Mayr who were becoming aware of the importance of geographical isolation in real world populations.[20] The work of Fisher, Haldane and Wright helped to found the discipline of theoretical population genetics.[23][24][25]

In his 1930 book Embryos and Ancestors, the evolutionary embryologist Gavin de Beer anticipated evolutionary developmental biology by showing that evolution could occur by heterochrony, such as in the retention of juvenile features in the adult. This, he argued, could cause apparently sudden changes in the fossil record as embryos fossilise poorly.[26] The traditional view is that developmental biology played little part in the modern synthesis,[27] but Stephen Gould argues that de Beer made a significant contribution.[28]

Theodosius Dobzhansky, an emigrant from the Soviet Union to the United States, who had been a postdoctoral worker in Morgan’s fruit fly lab, was one of the first to apply genetics to natural populations. He worked mostly with Drosophila pseudoobscura. He says pointedly: “Russia has a variety of climates from the Arctic to sub-tropical… Exclusively laboratory workers who neither possess nor wish to have any knowledge of living beings in nature were and are in a minority.”[29] Not surprisingly, there were other Russian geneticists with similar ideas, though for some time their work was known to only a few in the West. His 1937 work Genetics and the Origin of Species[30] was a key step in bridging the gap between population geneticists and field naturalists. It presented the conclusions reached by Fisher, Haldane, and especially Wright in their highly mathematical papers in a form that was easily accessible to others. It also emphasized that real world populations had far more genetic variability than the early population geneticists had assumed in their models, and that genetically distinct sub-populations were important. Dobzhansky argued that natural selection worked to maintain genetic diversity as well as driving change. Dobzhansky had been influenced by his exposure in the 1920s to the work of a Russian geneticist Sergei Chetverikov who had looked at the role of recessive genes in maintaining a reservoir of genetic variability in a population before his work was shut down by the rise of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union.[19][20]

E. B. Ford’s work, starting in 1924, complemented that of Dobzhansky. It was as a result of Ford’s work, as well as his own, that Dobzhansky changed the emphasis in the third edition of his famous text from drift to selection.[31] Ford was an experimental naturalist who wanted to test natural selection in nature. He virtually invented the field of research known as ecological genetics. His work on natural selection in wild populations of butterflies and moths was the first to show that predictions made by R. A. Fisher were correct. In 1940, he was the first to describe and define genetic polymorphism, and to predict that human blood group polymorphisms might be maintained in the population by providing some protection against disease.[32]

Ernst Mayr’s key contribution to the synthesis was Systematics and the Origin of Species, published in 1942.[33] Mayr emphasized the importance of allopatric speciation, where geographically isolated sub-populations diverge so far that reproductive isolation occurs. He was skeptical of the reality of sympatric speciation believing that geographical isolation was a prerequisite for building up intrinsic (reproductive) isolating mechanisms. Mayr also introduced the biological species concept that defined a species as a group of interbreeding or potentially interbreeding populations that were reproductively isolated from all other populations.[19][20][34] Before he left Germany for the United States in 1930, Mayr had been influenced by the work of German biologist Bernhard Rensch. In the 1920s Rensch, who like Mayr did field work in Indonesia, analyzed the geographic distribution of polytypic species and complexes of closely related species paying particular attention to how variations between different populations correlated with local environmental factors such as differences in climate. In 1947, Rensch published Neuere Probleme der Abstammungslehre. Die transspezifische Evolution (1959 English translation of 2nd edition: Evolution Above the Species Level).[35] This looked at how the same evolutionary mechanisms involved in speciation might be extended to explain the origins of the differences between the higher level taxa. His writings contributed to the rapid acceptance of the synthesis in Germany.[36][37]

George Gaylord Simpson was responsible for showing that the modern synthesis was compatible with paleontology in his book Tempo and Mode in Evolution published in 1944. Simpson’s work was crucial because so many paleontologists had disagreed, in some cases vigorously, with the idea that natural selection was the main mechanism of evolution. It showed that the trends of linear progression (in for example the evolution of the horse) that earlier paleontologists had used as support for neo-Lamarckism and orthogenesis did not hold up under careful examination. Instead the fossil record was consistent with the irregular, branching, and non-directional pattern predicted by the modern synthesis.[19][20]

The botanist G. Ledyard Stebbins extended the synthesis to encompass botany including the important effects on speciation of hybridization and polyploidy in plants in his 1950 book Variation and Evolution in Plants.[19][38]

The modern synthesis of the early 20th century is claimed to have bridged the gap between evolution, experimental genetics, ecology, and paleontology. However, different advocates of the synthesis such as Dobzhansky, Huxley, and Mayr made different claims for it.[39][40][41]

By 1937, Dobzhansky was able to argue in his Genetics and the Origin of Species that mutations were the main source of evolutionary changes and variability, along with chromosome rearrangements, effects of genes on their neighbours during development, and polyploidy. Next, genetic drift (he used the term in 1941), selection, migration, and geographical isolation could change gene frequencies. Thirdly, mechanisms like ecological or sexual isolation and hybrid sterility could fix the results of the earlier processes.[42]

By 1942, Julian Huxley’s Evolution: The Modern Synthesis introduced a name for the synthesis and intentionally set out to promote a “synthetic point of view” on the evolutionary process. He imagined a wide synthesis of many sciences: genetics, developmental physiology, ecology, systematics, palaeontology, cytology, and mathematical analysis of biology, and assumed that evolution would proceed differently in different groups of organisms according to how their genetic material was organised and their strategies for reproduction, leading to progressive but varying evolutionary trends.[43]

However, the book was not what it seemed. In the view of the philosopher of science Michael Ruse, and in Huxley’s own opinion, Huxley was “a generalist, a synthesizer of ideas, rather than a specialist”.[44] Ruse observes that Huxley wrote as if he were just adding empirical evidence to the mathematical framework established by Fisher and the population geneticists, but that this was not so. Huxley avoided mathematics, for instance not even mentioning Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection. Instead, Huxley used a mass of examples to demonstrate that natural selection is powerful, and that it works on Mendelian genes. The book was successful in its goal of persuading readers of the reality of evolution, effectively illustrating island biogeography, speciation, competition and so on. Huxley further showed that the appearance of orthogenetic trends – predictable directions for evolution – in the fossil record were readily explained as allometric growth (since parts are interconnected). All the same, Huxley did not reject orthogenesis out of hand, but maintained a belief in progress all his life, with Homo sapiens as the end point, and he had since 1912 been influenced by the vitalist philosopher Henri Bergson, though in public he maintained an atheistic position on evolution.[44]

Also in 1942, Mayr’s Systematics and the Origin of Species asserted the importance of and set out to explain population variation in evolutionary processes including speciation. He analysed in particular the effects of polytypic species, geographic variation, and isolation by geographic and other means.[45]

The modern synthesis largely ignored embryonic development to explain the form of organisms, since population genetics appeared to be an adequate explanation of how forms evolved.[46][47] In 1977, recombinant DNA technology enabled biologists to start to explore the genetic control of development. The growth of evolutionary developmental biology from 1978, when Edward B. Lewis discovered homeotic genes, showed that many so-called toolkit genes act to regulate development, influencing the expression of other genes. It also revealed that some of the regulatory genes are extremely ancient, so that animals as different as insects and mammals share control mechanisms; for example, the Pax6 gene is involved in forming the eyes of mice and of fruit flies. Such deep homology provided strong evidence for evolution and indicated the paths that evolution had taken.[48]

In 2007, more than half a century after the modern synthesis, Massimo Pigliucci called for an extended evolutionary synthesis to incorporate aspects of biology that had not been included or did not exist in the mid-20th century.[49][50] It revisits the relative importance of different factors, challenges assumptions made in the modern synthesis, and adds new factors[50][51] such as multilevel selection, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, niche construction, and evolvability.[52][53][54]

Looking back at the conflicting accounts of the modern synthesis, the historian Betty Smocovitis notes in her 1996 book Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology that both historians and philosophers of biology have attempted to grasp its scientific meaning, but have found it a moving target; the only thing they agreed on was that it was a historical event.[55] In her words “by the late 1980s the notoriety of the evolutionary synthesis was recognized . . . So notorious did ‘the synthesis’ become, that few serious historically minded analysts would touch the subject, let alone know where to begin to sort through the interpretive mess left behind by the numerous critics and commentators”.[56]

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Modern synthesis – Wikipedia

The Effect of Darwinism on Morality and Christianity | The …

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It sometimes is claimed that one can be both a Darwinist and a Christian (Miller). Others argue that religion and Darwinism are incompatible because they are separate fields that should not be intermixed (Gould). In fact, the Darwinism worldview leads directly to certain clear moral and religious teachings about the origin, purpose, and ultimate meaning of life that are diametrically opposed to the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths. The problem is that Darwinists,

Some scientists are more open and forthright than Miller and Gould, some even concluding that “there is something dishonestly selfserving” in the tactic claiming that “science and religion are two separate fields” (Dawkins, p. 62). Most evolutionists fully understand what is at stake in the creation/evolution controversy. Futuyma admits that anyone who “believes in Genesis as a literal description of history” holds a “worldview that is entirely incompatible with the idea of evolution . . .” (pp. 12-13). Futuyma then claims that Darwinists insist on “material, mechanistic causes” for life but the “believer in Genesis” can look to God for explanations.

Historians have documented meticulously the fact that Darwinism has had a devastating impact, not only on Christianity, but also on theism. Many scientists also have admitted that the acceptance of Darwinism has convinced large numbers of people that the Genesis account of creation is erroneous, and that this has caused the whole house of theistic cards to tumble:

As a result of the widespread acceptance of Darwinism, the Christian moral basis of society was undermined. Furthermore Darwin himself was “keenly aware of the political, social, and religious implications of his new idea. . . . Religion, especially, appeared to have much to lose . . .” (Raymo, p. 138).

Numerous scientists have noted that one result of the general acceptance of Darwinism was acceptance of the belief that humans “are accidental, contingent, ephemeral parts of creation, rather than lords over it” and humans are not “the raison d’tre of the universe” as all theistic religions teach (Raymo, p. 163).

The Darwinism belief that humans (and all living things) are nothing more than an accident of history, “cosmically inconsequential bundles of stardust, adrift in an infinite and purposeless universe” is a belief that is now “widely embraced within the scientific community” (Raymo, p. 160). Darwinism was a major factor in causing many eminent scientists to conclude, in the words of Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, that the “more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless” (p. 154). Darwinism teaches “that our lives are brief and inconsequential in the cosmic scheme of things” (Raymo, p. 110), and that life has no ultimate purpose because there is no heaven, hell, or afterlife and “nothing we know about life requires the existence of a disembodied vital force or immaterial spirits, or a special creation of species” (Raymo, p. 42). Raymo concludes:

One of the most eminent evolutionists ever, Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, taught that, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind” (p. 345).

Raymo concludes that Darwin’s theory was “not what we want to hear” because it is difficult for humans who have long thought of themselves as “the central and immortal apex of creationthe apple of God’s eyeto accept that” we are, “unexceptional, contingent, and ephemeral in the cosmological scheme of things” (p. 129).

Raymo adds that since Darwinism has demolished the belief that the universe and human beings have an ultimate purpose, our educational system must inculcate young people in “cold and clammy truths like descent from reptilian or amoebic ancestors,” Raymo then suggests that although it,

Cruel or otherwise, Raymo states that Darwinism “is a fact by every criterion of science” and that our “school kids do not need intellectual security blankets” (p. 144). The implications of Darwinism “perhaps the most revolutionary idea in the history of human thought” are clear.

Acclaimed Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins has written extensively about the implications of Darwinism. In a speech titled “A Scientist’s Case Against God,” Dawkins argued that Darwinism “has shown higher purpose to be an illusion” and that the Universe consists of “selfish genes;” consequently, “some people are going to get hurt, others are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason for it” (Easterbrook, p. 892).

Dawkins believes that people who believe life was created for a purpose not only are mistaken, but are ignorant: “Only the scientifically illiterate” believe we exist for a higher purpose. The scientifically literate know there is no reason “why” we exist, we “just do” as an accident of history. Dawkins also teaches that no evidence exists to support theism, and that “nowadays the better educated admit it” (Easterbrook, p. 892).

The central message of Richard Dawkins’ voluminous writings is that the universe has precisely the properties we should expect if it has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pointless indifference” (Easterbrook, p. 892). Dawkins even admitted that his best-selling book, The Selfish Gene, was an attempt to get rid of what he regarded as an “outright wrong idea” that had achieved a grip in popular sciencenamely, the erroneous “assumption that individuals act for the good of the species,” which he believes is “an error that needed exploding, and the best way to demonstrate what’s wrong with it . . . was to explain evolution from the point of view of the gene” (Easterbrook, p. 892). Dawkins added that the reason why The Selfish Gene was a best seller could be because it teaches the “truth” about why humans exist, namely humans,

Dawkins obviously is proud of the depressing effect his writings have on people. Raymo even claims that the dominant view among modern Darwinists is that our minds are “merely a computer made of meat” (pp. 187-188), and that “almost all scientists” believe the idea that a human soul exists is a “bankrupt notion”; and consequently, the conclusion that our minds are “merely a computer made of meat” is considered by Darwinists “almost a truism” (pp. 192-193, emphasis his).

In Futuyma’s words, “if the world and its creatures developed purely by material, physical forces, it could not have been designed and has no purpose or goal” (pp. 12-13). Furthermore, he notes that the creationist,

Is this pessimistic, antitheistic, and nihilistic view of humans widespread? One researcher claimed that “ninety-nine percent of the scientists whom I met in my career . . . support the view expressed by Dawkins [that anyone] . . . who denies evolution is either ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked” (Rrsch, p. F3). This oft’ made claim is totally false: an estimated 10,000 scientists in the USA and about 100,000 creation scientists in the world reject Darwinism, and hold instead to a creation worldview (Bergman). A question every concerned parent and grandparent should ask is: “Do we want our children taught that life has no ultimate purpose, and that our minds are merely a computer made of meat?” The fact is:

Why do so many people believe the pessimistic, nihilistic, and depressive Darwinist view? One reason is they are convinced that science has proven Darwinism to be true. Sadly, however, many scientists are unaware of the large body of evidence supporting creationism. And numerous scientists recognize that, at best, the view common among elite scientists is unscientific. Shallis argues that:

Darwinists have indoctrinated our society for over 100 years in a worldview that has proven to be tragically destructive. And they often have done this by a type of deceit that began before the Piltdown hoax and continues today in many leading biology textbooks (Wells).

Acknowledgments:

Bert Thompson, Ph.D., and Clifford L. Lillo for their insight.

References

* Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., is on the Biology faculty at Northwest State College in Ohio.

Cite this article: Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. 2001. The Effect of Darwinism on Morality and Christianity. Acts & Facts. 30 (6).

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The Effect of Darwinism on Morality and Christianity | The …

Darwinism and the Nazi race Holocaust – creation.com

by Jerry Bergman

Leading Nazis, and early 1900 influential German biologists, revealed in their writings that Darwins theory and publications had a major influence upon Nazi race policies. Hitler believed that the human gene pool could be improved by using selective breeding similar to how farmers breed superior cattle strains. In the formulation of their racial policies, Hitlers government relied heavily upon Darwinism, especially the elaborations by Spencer and Haeckel. As a result, a central policy of Hitlers administration was the development and implementation of policies designed to protect the superior race. This required at the very least preventing the inferior races from mixing with those judged superior, in order to reduce contamination of the latters gene pool. The superior race belief was based on the theory of group inequality within each species, a major presumption and requirement of Darwins original survival of the fittest theory. This philosophy culminated in the final solution, the extermination of approximately six million Jews and four million other people who belonged to what German scientists judged as inferior races.

Of the many factors that produced the Nazi holocaust and World War II, one of the most important was Darwins notion that evolutionary progress occurs mainly as a result of the elimination of the weak in the struggle for survival. Although it is no easy task to assess the conflicting motives of Hitler and his supporters, Darwinism-inspired eugenics clearly played a critical role. Darwinism justified and encouraged the Nazi views on both race and war. If the Nazi party had fully embraced and consistently acted on the belief that all humans were descendants of Adam and Eve and equal before the creator God, as taught in both the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures, the holocaust would never have occurred.

Expunging of the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the divine origin of humans from mainline German (liberal) theology and its schools, and replacing it with Darwinism, openly contributed to the acceptance of Social Darwinism that culminated in the tragedy of the holocaust.1 Darwins theory, as modified by Haeckel,2,3,4,5,6 Chamberlain7 and others, clearly contributed to the death of over nine million people in concentration camps, and about 40 million other humans in a war that cost about six trillion dollars. Furthermore, the primary reason that Nazism reached to the extent of the holocaust was the widespread acceptance of Social Darwinism by the scientific and academic community.1,8,9,10

The very heart of Darwinism is the belief that evolution proceeds by the differential survival of the fittest or superior individuals. This requires differences among a species, which in time become great enough so that those individuals that possess advantageous featuresthe fittestare more apt to survive. Although the process of raciation may begin with slight differences, differential survival rates in time produce distinct races by a process called speciation, meaning the development of a new species.

The egalitarian ideal that all people are created equal, which now dominates Western ideology, has not been universal among nations and cultures.11 A major force that has argued against this view was the Social Darwinian eugenics movement, especially its crude survival of the fittest worldview.10,12 As Ludmerer noted, the idea that the hereditary quality of the race can be improved by selective breeding is as old as Platos Republic but:

Nazi governmental policy was openly influenced by Darwinism, the Zeitgeist of both science and educated society of the time.10 This can be evaluated by an examination of extant documents, writings, and artefacts produced by Germanys twentieth century Nazi movement and its many scientist supporters. Keith concluded the Nazi treatment of Jews and other races, then believed inferior, was largely a result of their belief that Darwinism provided profound insight that could be used to significantly improve humankind.14 Tenenbaum noted that the political philosophy of Germany was built on the belief that critical for evolutionary progress were:

The theory of evolution is based on individuals acquiring unique traits that enable those possessing the new traits to better survive adverse conditions compared to those who dont possess them. Superior individuals will be more likely to survive and pass on these traits to their offspring so such traits will increase in number, while the weaker individuals will eventually die off. If every member of a species were fully equal, natural selection would have nothing to select from, and evolution would cease for that species.

These differences gradually produce new groups, some of which have an advantage in terms of survival. These new groups became the superior, or the more evolved races. When a trait eventually spreads throughout the entire race because of the survival advantage it confers on those that possess it, a higher, more evolved form of animal will result. Hitler and the Nazi party claimed that one of their major goals was to apply this accepted science to society. And the core idea of Darwinism was not evolution, but selection. Evolution describes the results of selection.16 Hitler stressed that to produce a better society we [the Nazis] must understand, and cooperate with science.

As the one race above all others, Aryans believed that their evolutionary superiority gave them not only the right, but the duty to subjugate all other peoples. Race was a major plank of the Nazi philosophy; Tenenbaum concluded that they incorporated Darwinism:

In the 1933 Nuremberg party rally, Hitler proclaimed that higher race subjects to itself a lower race a right which we see in nature and which can be regarded as the sole conceivable right, because it was founded on science.15

Hitler believed humans were animals to whom the genetics laws, learned from livestock breeding, could be applied. The Nazis believed that instead of permitting natural forces and chance to control evolution, they must direct the process to advance the human race. The first step to achieve this goal was to isolate the inferior races in order to prevent them from further contaminating the Aryan gene pool. The widespread public support for this policy was a result of the belief, common in the educated classes, in the conclusion that certain races were genetically inferior as was scientifically proven by Darwinism. The Nazis believed that they were simply applying facts, proven by science, to produce a superior race of humans as part of their plan for a better world: The business of the corporate state was eugenics or artificial selectionpolitics as applied biology.18,19

As early as 1925, Hitler outlined his conclusion in Chapter 4 of Mein Kampf that Darwinism was the only basis for a successful Germany and which the title of his most famous workin English My Strugglealluded to. As Clark concluded, Adolf Hitler:

And Hickman adds that it is no coincidence that Hitler:

Furthermore, the belief that evolution can be directed by scientists to produce a superior race was the central leitmotif of Nazism and many other sources existed from which Nazism drew:

The Nazi view on Darwinian evolution and race was consequently a major part of the fatal combination of ideas and events which produced the holocaust and World War II:

Terms such as superior race, lower human types, pollution of the race, and the word evolution itself (Entwicklung) were often used by Hitler and other Nazi leaders. His race views were not from fringe science as often claimed but rather Hitlers views were:

The philosophy that humans can control and even use Darwinism to produce a higher level of human is repeatedly mentioned in the writings and speeches of prominent Nazis.25 Accomplishing the Darwinian goal for the world required ruthlessly eliminating the less fit by open barbarian behavior:

Hitler once even stated that we Nazis are barbarians! We want to be barbarians. It is an honorable title [for, by it,] we shall rejuvenate the world .26 Hitler, as an evolutionist, consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.27 Keith adds that:

The German eugenic leadership was originally less anti-Semitic than even the British leadership. Most early German eugenicists believed that German Jews were Aryans, and consequently the eugenicist movement was supported by many Jewish professors and doctors both in Germany and abroad. The Jews were only slowly incorporated into the German eugenic theory and then laws.

The Darwinian racists views also slowly entered into many spheres of German society which they had previously not affected.9 The Pan German League, dedicated to maintaining German Racial Purity, was originally not overtly anti-Semitic and assimilated Jews were allowed full membership. Many German eugenicists believed that although blacks or Gypsies were racially inferior, their racial theories did not fit Jews since many Jews had achieved significant success in Germany. Schleunes adds that by 1903, the influence of race ideas permeated the Leagues program to the degree that by 1912, the League declared itself based upon racial principles and soon excluded Jews from membership.29

In spite of the scientific prominence of these racial views, they had a limited effect upon most Jews until the 1930s. Most German Jews were proud of being Germans and considered themselves Germans first and Jews second. Many Jews modified the German intelligentsias racial views by including themselves in it. Their assimilation into German life was to the extent that most felt its anti-Semitism did not represent a serious threat to their security. Most Jews also were convinced that Germany was now a safe harbour for them.30 Many still firmly held to the Genesis creation model and rejected the views upon which racism was based, including Darwinism. What happened in Germany later was obviously not well received by Jewish geneticists, even Jewish eugenicists and certain other groups:

Nazi policies resulted less from a hatred toward Jewish or other peoples than from the idealistic goal of preventing pollution of the superior race. Hitler elaborated his Darwinian views by comparing the strong killing the weak to a cat devouring a mouse, concluding that ultimately the Jews must be eliminated because they cause:

Hitler then argued that for this reason, governments must understand and apply the laws of Nature, especially the survival of the fittest law which originally produced the human races and is the source of their improvement. The government must therefore aid in the elimination, or at least quarantine, of the inferior races. Hitler argued:

Hitler was especially determined to prevent Aryans from breeding with non-Aryans, a concern that eventually resulted in the final solution. Once the inferior races were exterminated, Hitler believed that future generations would be eternally grateful for the improvement that his programs brought to humanity:

Individuals are not only far less important than the race, but the Nazis concluded that certain races were not human, but were animals:

As a result, the Darwinist movement was one of the most powerful forces in the nineteenthtwentieth centuries German intellectual history [and] may be fully understood as a prelude to the doctrine of national socialism [Nazism].35 Why did evolution catch hold in Germany faster, and take a firmer hold there than any other place in the world?

Schleunes noted, rather poignantly, that the reason the publication of Darwins 1859 work had an immediate impact in Germany, and their Jewish policy, was because:

The Darwinian revolution and the works of its chief German spokesman and most eminent scientist, Professor Haeckel, gave the racists something that they were confident was powerful verification of their race beliefs.37 The support of the science establishment resulted in racist thought having a much wider circulation than otherwise possible, and enormous satisfaction that ones prejudices were actually expressions of scientific truth.36

And what greater authority than science could racists have for their views? Konrad Lorenz, one of the most eminent animal-behavior scientists then, and often credited as being the founder of his field, stated that:

Lorenzs works were important in developing the Nazi program designed to eradicate the parasitic growth of inferior races. The governments programs to insure the German Volk maintained their superiority made racism almost unassailable. Although King claimed that the holocaust pretended to have a scientific genetic basis,39 the position of the government and university elite of the time was so entrenched that few contemporary scientists seriously questioned it. The anti-Semitic attitudes of the German people were only partly to blame in causing the holocaustonly when Darwinism was added to the preexisting attitudes did a lethal combination result.

The first step in an eugenic program was to determine which groups were genetically superior; a judgment that was heavily influenced by culture. The ideal traits were:

Although superficial observations enable most people to make a broad classification of race, when explored in depth, race status is by no means easy to determine, as the Nazis soon found out. Many of the groups that they felt were inferior, such as the Slovaks, Jews, Gypsies, and others, were not easily distinguishable from the pure Aryan race. In grouping persons into races to select the best, the Nazis measured a wide variety of physical traits including brain case sizes. The Nazis relied heavily upon the work of Hans F.K. Gnther, professor of racial science at the University of Jena. Although F.K. Gnther s personal relationships with the party were stormy at times, his racial ideas were accepted. They received wide support throughout the German government, and were an important influence in German policy.41 Gnther recognized that, although a race may not be pure, its members share certain dominant characteristics, thus paving the way for stereotyping.41

Gnther concluded that all Aryans share an ideal Nordic type which contrasted with the Jews, whom he concluded were a mixture of races. Gnther stressed a persons genealogical lineage, anthropological measurement of skulls and evaluations of physical appearance, were all used to determine their race. Even though physical appearance was stressed, the body is the showplace of the soul and the soul is primary.42 Select females with the necessary superior race traits were even placed in special homes and kept pregnant as long as they remained in the program. Nonetheless, research on the offspring of the experiment concluded that, as is now known, IQ regressed toward the population mean and the IQs of the offspring were generally lower than that of the parents.

Darwinism not only influenced the Nazi attitude toward Jews, but other cultural and ethnic groups as well. Even mental patients were included later, in part because it was then believed that heredity had a major influence on mental illness (or they possibly had some Jewish or other non-Aryan blood in them), and consequently had to be destroyed. Poliakov notes that many intellectuals in the early 1900s accepted telegony, the idea that bad blood would contaminate a race line forever, or that bad blood drives out good, just as bad money displaces good money.43 Only extermination would permanently eliminate inferior genetic lines, and thereby further evolution.

Darwin even compiled a long list of cases where he concluded bad blood polluted a whole gene line, causing it to bear impure progeny forever. Numerous respected biologists, including Ernst Ruedin of the University of Munich and many of his colleagues such as Herbert Spencer, Francis Galton, and Eugene Kahn, later a professor of psychiatry at Yale, actively advocated this hereditary argument. These scientists were also the chief architects of the German compulsory sterilization laws designed to prevent those with defective or inferior genes from contaminating the Aryan gene pool. Later, when the genetically inferior were also judged as useless dredges, massive killings became justified. The groups judged inferior were gradually expanded to include a wide variety of races and national groups. Later, it even included less healthy older people, epileptics, both severe and mild mental defectives, deaf-mutes, and even some persons with certain terminal illnesses.1,44

The groups judged inferior were later expanded to include persons who had negroid or mongoloid features, Gypsies, and those who did not pass a set of ingeniously designed overtly racist phrenology tests now known to be worthless.45 After Jesse Owen won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, Hitler chastised the Americans for even permitting blacks to enter the contests.46

Some evolutionists even advocated the view that women were evolutionarily inferior to men. Dr Robert Wartenberg, later a prominent neurology professor in California, tried to prove womens inferiority by arguing that they could not survive unless they were protected by men. He concluded that because the weaker women were not eliminated as rapidly due to this protection, a slower rate of evolution resulted and for this reason natural selection was less operative on women than men. How the weak were to be selected for elimination was not clear, nor were the criteria used to determine weak. Women in Nazi Germany were openly prohibited from entering certain professions and were required by law to conform to a traditional female role.47

Darwinism not only offered the Germans a meaningful interpretation of their recent military past, but also a justification for future aggression: German military success in the Bismarkian wars fit neatly into Darwin categories in the struggle for survival, [demonstrating] the fitness of Germany. 48 War was a positive force not only because it eliminated weaker races, but also because it weeded out the weaker members of the superior races. Hitler not only unabashedly intended to produce a superior race, but he openly relied heavily upon Darwinian thought in both his extermination and war policies.25 Nazi Germany, partly for this reason, openly glorified war because it was an important means of eliminating the less fit of the highest race, a step necessary to upgrade the race. Clark concludes, quoting extensively from Mein Kampf, that:

German greatness, Hitler stressed, came about primarily because they were jingoists, and thereby had been eliminating their weaker members for centuries.50 Although Germans were no stranger to war, this new justification gave powerful support to their policies. The view that eradication of the weaker races was a major source of evolution was well expressed by Wiggam:

In other words, war is positive in the long run because only by lethal conflicts can humans evolve. Hitler even claimed as truth the contradiction that human civilization as we know it would not exist if it were not for constant war. And many of the leading scientists of his day openly advocated this view: Haeckel was especially fond of praising the ancient Spartans, whom he saw as a successful and superior people as a consequence of their socially approved biological selection. By killing all but the perfectly healthy and strong children the Spartans were continually in excellent strength and vigor. 52 Germany should follow this Spartan custom, as infanticide of the deformed and sickly was a practice of advantage to both the infants destroyed and to the community. It was, after all, only traditional dogma and hardly scientific truth that all lives were of equal worth or should be preserved.18,53

However, the common assumption that European civilization evolved far more than others, primarily because of its constant warmongering in contrast to other nations, is false. War is actually typical of virtually all peoples, except certain small island groups who have abundant food, or peoples in very cold areas.54 Historically, many tribes in Africa were continually involved in wars, as were most countries in Asia and America.

Much of the opposition to the eugenic movement came from German Christians. Although Hitler was baptized a Catholic, he was never excommunicated, and evidently considered himself a good Roman Catholic as a young man, and at times used religious language. He clearly had strong, even vociferous, anti-Christian feelings as an adult, as did probably most Nazi party leaders. As a consummate politician, though, he openly tried to exploit the church.55 Hitler once revealed his attitude toward Christianity when he bluntly stated that religion is an:

His beliefs as revealed in this quote are abundantly clear: the younger people who were the hope of Germany were absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. As Keith noted, the Nazi party viewed Darwinism and Christianity as polar opposites. Milner said of Germanys father of evolution, Ernst Haeckel, that in his Natural History of Creation he argued that the church with its morality of love and charity is an effete fraud, a perversion of the natural order.57 A major reason why Haeckel concluded this was because Christianity:

The opposition to religion was a prominent feature of German science, and thus later German political theory, from its very beginning. As Stein summarized Haeckel in a lecture titled On evolution: Darwins Theory:

Martin Bormann, Hitlers closest associate for years and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany, was equally blunt: the church was opposed to evolution and for this reason must be condemned, but the Nazis were on the side of science and evolution. Furthermore, Nazi and Christian concepts are incompatible because Christianity is built:

Bormann also claimed that the Christian churches have long been aware that:

As Humber notes, Hitler believed that Blacks were monstrosities halfway between man and ape and therefore he disapproved of German Christians:

A literature review shows that German racism would have had a difficult time existing if the historical creation position, void of race curse theories, had been widely accepted. One of these biblical theories was the claim that Genesis teaches that two types of men were originally created; Adam and Eve, the superior race line, and the beasts of the earth, the inferior black race line.62,63 Few people, though, accepted this idea.

Relatively few scientific studies exist which directly deal with Darwinism and Nazismand many evolutionists avoid the subject because evolution is inescapably selectionist. One of the best reviews of Darwinism and Nazism documents clearly that Nazism felt confident that their programs of extermination was firmly based on evolution science.64 Recently, a number of popular articles have covered this topic in a surprisingly candid and honest way.65 The source of the worst of Nazism was in Darwinism and we must first understand history to prevent its repeat. Paraphrasing the words of Hitler, those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it.66 Admittedly, some persons who did not accept evolution espoused non-evolution theories which accommodated or even espoused racism. Nonetheless, these persons were few and the theories that were developed seem to be mostly in response to preconceived ideas or to justify existing social systems.

From our modern perspective, many persons have concluded that World War II and its results ensued from the ideology of an evil madman and his equally evil administration. Hitler, though, did not see himself as evil, but as humanitys benefactor. He felt that many years hence, the world would be extremely grateful to him and his programs which lifted the human race to genetically higher levels of evolution by stopping race pollution by preventing mixed marriages with inferior races.

Hitlers efforts to put members of these inferior races in concentration camps was not so much an effort to punish but, as his apologists repeatedly stated, was a protective safeguard similar to quarantining sick people to prevent contamination of the rest of the community. In Haass words, the Nazis believed that killing Jews and others was in fact a scientific and rational way of serving an objectively greater good.68 Or, as Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz, adds, such a struggle, legitimized by the latest scientific views, justifies the racists conceptions of superior and inferior people and nations and validated the conflict between them.69 Many in Germany recognized the harm of Darwinism, and Nordenskild claimed the Prussian Minister of Education, even for a time in 1875 banned, its teaching:

An interesting question is, would the Nazi holocaust have occurred if this ban had remained in effect? Haeckel was at the center of this fight and garnered much support from:

A biologist writing the above today would certainly drop as they deserve because Haeckel is today acknowledged as an unscrupulous forger who played no small role in the horrible events that occurred in the 1930s and 1940s.

The well documented influence of Darwinism on the holocaust has been greatly downplayed by the mass media. Current writers often gloss over, totally ignore, or even distort the close connection between Darwinism and the Nazi race theory and the policies it produced, but as Stein admonishes:

He adds that there is also little doubt that this contemporary self-protecting attitude is based on a:

Darwin was not just responding to his culture as often alleged. In Hulls words we have all heard, time and time again, that the reason Darwins theory was so sexist, and racist is that Darwins society exhibited these same characteristics. Hull answers this change by noting that Darwin was not so callow that he simply read the characteristics of his society into nature.72

Nazism is often used as a warning example of the danger of religious zeal, yet only occasionally is the key role of the eugenics of Francis Galton, based on the theory of natural selection espoused by his cousin, Charles Darwin, mentioned. Eugenics is still alive in the world today. As late as 1955, a Canadian professor of zoology, notes that possibly the most significant fact is that he [Darwin] finally freed humanity from a great measure of church proscription and won his fellow men a freedom of thought that had been unknown for centuries. 73 He then argues that reducing the churches influence in society allowed the discovery of, not only the means of evolution, but the knowledge that man had the means and that we can either direct evolution or let it take place on its own or, worse, stop it by counteracting the forces which propel it, causing devolution.

Rowan argued that man has, tragically, chosen the latter selection is still as vital to human progress as it has ever been. The great Darwinian principle remains. Then he added, When man acquired intellect, he started on an entirely new path without precedent in the animal world, the course of which now depends, not on further physical changes, but on intellectual and equally intellectual selection.74 Unfortunately, he concludes, humans are saving the intellectually inferior and have failed to order their affairs according to the laws of biology.74 This discussion, although tactful, is clear: those whom evolutionists judge as less fit need to be eliminated, or at the least our efforts in saving them, should be limited and we should let nature do its work. Not to do so will result in the eventual doom of the human race.

Firmly convinced that Darwinian evolution was true, Hitler saw himself as the modern saviour of mankind. Society, he felt, would some day regard him as a great scientific socialist, the benefactor of all humankind. By breeding a superior race, the world would look upon him as the man who pulled humanity up to a higher level of evolutionary development. If Darwinism is true, Hitler was our saviour and we have crucified him. As a result, the human race will grievously suffer. If Darwinism is not true, what Hitler attempted to do must be ranked with the most heinous crimes of history and Darwin as the father of one of the most destructive philosophies of history. An assessment by Youngson concluded that the application of Darwinism to society, called eugenics, produced one of the most tragic scientific blunders of all time:

I wish to thank Wayne Frair, Ph.D., John Woodmorappe, M.A. and Paul Humber, M.A. for their insight and comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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Darwinism and the Nazi race Holocaust – creation.com

Oil industry given Darwinism lesson on adapting to survive in North Sea – Energy Voice

The North Sea oil industry has been given a lesson on Charles Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection.

Executives, geologists, operators, investors and developers were schooled on the subject at the Oil and Gas Authoritys Technology Forum in Aberdeen.

The booked out event drew more than 180 people, who were told that technology was critical to unlocking every last drop of oil held in the UK continental shelf (UKCS).

It comes ahead of the November deadline for the 30th licensing round, focussed on mature areas of the UKCS some of which were last offered for licensing more than 40 years ago.

The November deadline is expected to bring about the most significant offshore round in recent decades.

And Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) operations director Gunther Newcombe said adapting technology to fit the remaining North Sea resources would be seen as a major factor in who is awarded what acreage.

He set the scene to the plenary session, when he said: Do we have a lot of potential remaining in the UKCS still remaining? Absolutely yes.

Another good backdrop to this is that production is up, hopefully 1.7million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of this year and also production efficiency is up to 73%.

Weve got 14 or so new developments coming on stream this year so its quite a vibrant UKCS here that we have in the 30th round.

Theres still plenty of yet-tofind- potential out there.

And technology will be one of the key drivers to unlocking that potential.

One of the things that the OGA wants to do is really drive technology into, not just exploration, but right through development and into production. And we will certainly be looking more and more at companies to engage with technology and apply and adapt technology in the UKCS.

The 30th round has more than 800 blocks on offer , equating to roughly six times the size of Wales.

In that space there is 140 discoveries on offer with around 2.3billion barrels of resource discovered in those areas.

And Newcombe said the OGA expects technology to be included in the applications for the round.

He said: Part of the marking system for the licensing round will be about what technology you are going to offer, adapt and deploy.

Seismic technology and imaging of the subsurface are obviously critical to reducing risk. Trying to get that well cost down is also incredible important.

Geosteering is critically important. We are seen a lot of development in the Southern North Sea in that area in particular.

And also adapting other technologies in the area of wells.

So its about getting the cost in the right place and seeing your reservoirs and seeing your tracks.

He added: You need to tie back these things obviously so if youve got infrastructure there efficient tiebacks is important, looking at in a different way.

For example hot taps to having different types of pipeline like spool pipelines for instance to try and get some of these tiebacks hooked up.

Many of the discoveries are in the standalone environment so we need to look at in a different way rather than having these gold plated structures. Are there smaller things that we could use and adapt for smaller pools? Again, being versatile and being to able to adapt technology to the resource is really important.

More than 35 exhibitors from SMEs to major service providers including PGS, Baker Hughes, a GE company, Amplus and Western Geco, showcased at the event in Aberdeen yesterday.

Chris Pearson, OGTC Small Pools Solution Centre Manager, added: This is another first for the OGA and OGTC. We are working collaboratively with an innovative and supportive group of companies to make the license round a success.

The showcase event highlighted how technology solutions can significantly lower the entire life-cycle cost for UKCS field developments. We can be both incremental and disruptive in our approach to how we deploy the solutions. This approach can make this stable and mature basin an attractive investment opportunity.

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Oil industry given Darwinism lesson on adapting to survive in North Sea – Energy Voice

‘Radical’ new biography of Darwin is unreliable and inaccurate – New Scientist

Charles Darwin wrote many letters during his voyage of discovery on HMS Beagle

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

By John van Wyhe

Charles Darwin: Victorian mythmaker, by A. N. Wilson, John Murray

A. N. Wilson is a prolific author who has written more than 45 books, including many biographies of subjects ranging from Queen Victoria to Hitler. His latest, a biography of Charles Darwin, begins with the startling sentence: Darwin was wrong. Wilson argues that Darwin offered to the emergent Victorian middle classes a consolation myth there was something inexorable, natural about their superiority to the working class.

This book provides an appallingly inaccurate rendition of Darwins theory and its scientific context. According to Wilson, Darwin told his contemporaries that their land-grabs in Africa, their hunger for stock-market wealth in the face of widespread urban poverty, their rigid class system and their everlasting wars were not things to be ashamed of, but actually part of the processes of nature. The theory is not science, Wilson concludes, just another offering in a bazaar of ersatz religions.

Wilson maintains that Darwins theory is wrong and not the basis of current knowledge. He believes Darwinism was about extreme gradualism over geological time. But Darwinian gradualism simply means that one animal cannot all of a sudden give birth to a completely different species. The current view of life on Earth is precisely one of changing lineages branching from common ancestors. This, and not the speed of change, is the core of Darwins theory.

The other component of Darwinism, according to Wilson, is that evolutionary progress happens by conflict. Here is the common misunderstanding that the de facto struggle that occurs because some animals live and some die means conscious fighting. And Darwins theory is not about progress, it is about change.

Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection, as any competent reference work describes, is about the differential survival of individual living things based on tiny differences between them. This differential survival (or selection) in effect filters living things to become adapted to a changing world. DNA evidence indicates that all living things are related genealogically on a vast ever-branching tree of life. This is Darwinism. Wilson instead erroneously describes variations in species, not individuals, and he mocks a Darwinian scenario in which the short-necked ancestors of todays giraffes were supposedly panting to reach those leaves, but without success. This is not Darwinism, this is Lamarckism.

Wilsons book contains numerous and serious factual errors such as if Darwin were correct, there would be hundreds, thousands of examples of transitional fossils. There are. Darwins first grandchild did not die in childbirth as Wilson states. A fragment of Wallaces letter to Darwin from when Wallace was living in Ternate does not survive. Darwin believed that his own theory made it impossible to believe in the Bible. Not so. The first 50 pages of Darwins evolution notebook are not missing, they were located and published by 1967. (Wilson copied this claim from a conspiracy-laden essay, Darwin, Coleridge, and the Theory of Unconscious Creation, published by Loren Eiseley in 1965, two years before Darwins pages were published.)

Wilson claims Darwin never persuaded the scientific community in Britain during his lifetime that one species could evolve into another. In fact, Darwin was world famous for having done so. There are very, very many more. Footnotes lead to incorrect references and many dates are quite wrong. Its hard to see how any care for either historical or scientific accuracy could result in such a book.

Throughout, Wilson bashes Darwin for supposed arrogance, dishonesty and incompetence and trots out a long line of old anti-Darwin myths: for example, that Darwin stole ideas from Edward Blyth, whom Wilson mistakes for an evolutionist. (This too is borrowed from Eiseley.) Wilson invents and condemns a towering ambition Darwin had to be a universal genius. And eugenics and Nazi race laws are also blamed (incorrectly) on Darwin.

The book claims to be a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isnt afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy. The result is one of the most unreliable, inaccurate and tendentious anti-Darwin books of recent times.

More on these topics:

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‘Radical’ new biography of Darwin is unreliable and inaccurate – New Scientist

The Multiverse Is Science’s Assisted Suicide – Discovery Institute

In 2015,Wiredtold us that physicistswere desperate to be wrongabout the Higgs boson. They yearned to push the Standard (Big Bang) Model of the universe in new directions. But the unmindful particle acted just like the model said it would act, obeyed every theorized rule.

In the silence that followed, asking for evidence for these physicists proposed infinity of universes (the multiverse) felt like assaulting a victims feelings. At theGuardian,Stuart Clark laterinformed usthat Brexit and Trump are nothing compared to the alternate universes some astronomers are contemplating. Really? Regional political upsets vie with a multiverse?

Astronomers, Clark tells us, pin their hopes on the Cold Spot, a cool patch of space from the early universe: We cant entirely rule out that the Spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard theory. But if that isnt the answer, then there are more exotic explanations. Indeed. There are more exotic explanations for almost anything.

Eugene LiminsistedatThe Conversationin 2015 that parallel universes are science: Whether we will ever be able to prove their existence is hard to predict. But given the massive implications of such afindingit should definitely be worth the search. Very well, but some people research ghosts on the same basis. What makes the multiverse quest science but the ghost hunt anti-science, once evidence no longer matters as much as it used to?

Cosmologists sense the problem and strive to rescue their multiverse from the nagging demands for evidence. Pop science media offer a window into major trends.

One is cosmic Darwinism. Lee Smolin has advocateda cosmic versionof Darwinian natural selection in which the most common universes will be those most suitable for producing black holes, as our universe does. Is Darwinism the cause? In The Logic and Beauty of Cosmological Natural Selection (Scientific American,2014), Lawrence Rifkinadmittedthat the main problem with the hypothesis is lack of direct evidence:

But keep in mind that from a direct evidence perspective, cosmological natural selection is no worse off at this point than proposed scientific alternatives. There is no direct evidence that universes are created by quantum fluctuations in a quantum vacuum, that we live in a multiverse, that there is a theory of everything, or that string theory, cyclic universes or- brane cosmology even exist.

Then why should we not set all such speculations aside? There is no obvious need for hurry.

Darwinism, as in natural selection acting on random mutations, is a theory developed by Darwin and his followers to account for complex, specified information in life forms on this planet. Whether it iscorrect or notwhen used as intended, if it is applied to an undetected multiverse, it becomes philosophy (metaphysics).

An anecdote suffices. As Michael Egnor has observed here, philosopher Joseph P. Carter told us in theNew York Timesthat the universedoes not careabout purpose. Evolutionary psychologist Michael E. Price disputes that view atPsychology Today,insisting that in a multiverse natural selection can create purpose. His position is denied by most of natural selections advocates in biology. But, riffing on Smolin, Price explains that life is more likely than black holes (or anything else) to be a mechanism of universe replication. If this kind of ungrounded assertion is the best naturalism can do for us now, why do we encourage it?

Physicist Ethan SiegelcounselsatForbesthat we must not doubt the Multiverses existence without considering the very good, scientific reasons that motivate it. But very good scientific reasons are precisely what we lack, unless the term scientific reasons now includes immunity toexperimental and observational tests.Similarly, physicist Brian Coxtold usin 2016 that the idea of multiverses is not too big a leap from cosmic inflation. But he is dealing with leaps of the imagination, not of physics discoveries.

Earlier this year, skeptical mathematicianPeter Woitfretted withscience writerJohn HorganatScientific American,The problem with such things as string-theory multiverse theories is that the multiverse did it is not just untestable, but an excuse for failure. Commenting elsewhere on Zeeya MeralisA Big Bang in a Little Room(2017),he notedthat she contemplates the possibility that string theory and inflation may be conspiring against us in such a way that we may never find evidence for them, and just have to trust in them as an act of faith. He woulddescribe it asa scientifically worthless idea.

With a clash of world views, where to begin?Woitand Horgan assume that post-modern science is a quest to understand reality, just as traditional science has been. It is not.

For many people today, post-modern science is more of a quest to expressan identity asbelieverin science,irrespective of evidence. Cosmologist Paul Steinhardtgot a sense of thisin2014,when he reported that some proponents of early rapid cosmic inflation already insist that the theory is equally valid whether or not gravitational waves are detected. It fulfilled their needs. In 2017, cosmologist George Ellis, long a foe ofpost-modern cosmology,summed it up: Scientific theories have since the seventeenth century been held tight by an experimental leash. In the last twenty years or so, both string theory and theories of the multiverse have slipped the leash.

We have so much more data now. But it provides no evidence for a multiverse. Thats nothing unusual historically (thinkphlogistonandetherfor great ideas that did not work). We used to just adjust. But today, increasing numbers of science-minded people demand a post-modern science that adapts to their needs. After all, we evolved to survive and pass on our genes, not to understand reality.

As a result, many cosmologists and science writers speak as if the multiverse merely awaits routine administrative clearance to morph into textbook science, absent evidence. Characteristically, they see themselves as fighting aconservative(fuddy-duddy) establishment whichclings toa role for mere evidence.

Fine tuningof our planet and our universe for life sets limits onmerebelief by challenging us to calculate probabilities. The multiverse is deeply attractive by comparison because it dissipates evidence. Itconjures unimaginablyinfinite, unproven, and incalculable probabilities. AsNew Scientistputs it,We merely inhabit one out of the infinite selection. That feels so right just now.

The multiverse has only ever existed, so far as we know, in the mind of man. Its most promising research programs,stringtheoryandearly rapid cosmic inflation theory,have bounced along on enthusiasm alone, prompting ever more arcane speculations for which there may never be any possibility of evidence.

But like so many other empty ideas, the multiverse has consequences. If we accept it, we abandon the view that science deals with the observed facts of nature. We adopt the view that it tells us what we want to believe about ourselves. In other words, the multiverse is sciences assisted suicide.

Image: Infinity Room, by Helsinki Art Museum, The Broad [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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The Multiverse Is Science’s Assisted Suicide – Discovery Institute

About the Correction I Received: – HuffPost

To the person who sent me the correction,

I respect you and your views. I also want to emphasize that I wrote this letter because of my genuine concern for you; I do not mean to degrade or ridicule your message in any way.

Before I continue, I suggest you make friends with a homosexual, an immigrant, a Muslim. I want you to get to know the other side that you claim exists.

It is true that two major parties of different social, fiscal, and political ideals compete in the US government. It is also true that in the past year, our political parties have experienced further polarization. It is true that it created a huge divide in our diverse, multicultural nation.

However, it is also true that the censure of white supremacists, KKK, and Nazis in Charlottesville should not be considered a partisan issue. The fact that both Republicans and Democrats had to shame President Trump into condemning these acts shows that he isnt capable of the most basic moral duties of a nations leader. Moreover, it tells me that his self-proclaimed mission of making America great completely excludes a large portion of not only the current American population, but people who were very much a part of our history. If you truly think that your life is being set aside for the likes of homosexuals, immigrants, and Muslims because of your race and your American name, you have not seen what real oppression looks like. I want you to look in our star-spangled history and see liberty, freedom, and global excellence. I want you then to see under the surface(the side Trump doesnt want you to see), the side of history bloodied with slavery, imperialism, Jim Crowe, social darwinism, lynchings, sexism, anti-semitism, and so on. If our president somehow convinced you that people like me are plotting against you, I regretfully say that you have been duped by his hate tactics.

I speak as an immigrant and as a woman of color. I want America to be great too. We all are right there with you. Still, I will stand by my earlier statement that Donald Trump does not want America to be great; he wants the Trump Corporation and its allies to get tax breaks. So yes, I will continue to say that Trump is one of the biggest threats to our nation.

If you want to see America become great again, please dont believe trolls who target former President Obamas religion and private life based on his race(yes, hes really a christian). Please dont make assumptions based on my status in this country. Please stop dehumanizing our struggles. Please understand that ignorance and hate hurt the core values of this nation.

If we all want America to be great, there is no political party, no class, no sexuality, no race.

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About the Correction I Received: – HuffPost

Early Review of AN Wilson’s Anti-Darwin Biography Could Have Been Predicted – Discovery Institute

We havent yet seen a copy of A.N. Wilsons forthcoming anti-Darwin book, which isnt out in the United States until December 12. See David Klinghoffers post, Ouch: A Slashing New Anti-Darwin Biography from Darwins Own Publisher. However, if all you knew was that the biographer and literary critic has written a book titled Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker, and a preview op-ed titled Its time Charles Darwin was exposed for the fraud he was, the response would be predictable.

The book could be good, or it could be bad. Were agnostic. But Darwinists defend their man ferociously, and the offense is worse coming not from a creationist but someone who, given class loyalties, ought to be on their side. A creationist they would simply ignore. Its the class treachery angle that really stings them.

Thus we have an early review for New Scientist, Radical new biography of Darwin is unreliable and inaccurate, by historian of science John van Wyhe who edits the website Darwin Online.

Excerpts from the review:

This book provides an appallingly inaccurate rendition of Darwins theory and its scientific context. According to Wilson, Darwin told his contemporaries that their land-grabs in Africa, their hunger for stock-market wealth in the face of widespread urban poverty, their rigid class system and their everlasting wars were not things to be ashamed of, but actually part of the processes of nature. The theory is not science, Wilson concludes, just another offering in a bazaar of ersatz religions.

Wilsons book contains numerous and serious factual errors such as if Darwin were correct, there would be hundreds, thousands of examples of transitional fossils. There are. Darwins first grandchild did not die in childbirth as Wilson states. A fragment of Wallaces letter to Darwin from when Wallace was living in Ternate does not survive. Darwin believed that his own theory made it impossible to believe in the Bible. Not so. The first 50 pages of Darwins evolution notebook are not missing, they were located and published by 1967. (Wilson copied this claim from a conspiracy-laden essay, Darwin, Coleridge, and the Theory of Unconscious Creation, published by Loren Eiseley in 1965, two years before Darwins pages were published.)

Throughout, Wilson bashes Darwin for supposed arrogance, dishonesty and incompetence and trots out a long line of old anti-Darwin myths: for example, that Darwin stole ideas fromEdward Blyth, whom Wilson mistakes for an evolutionist. (This too is borrowed from Eiseley.) Wilson invents and condemns a towering ambition Darwin had to be a universal genius. And eugenics and Nazi race laws are also blamed (incorrectly) on Darwin.

Wilsons competence or incompetence on Darwin remains to be seen with our own eyes.

Having said that, John van Wyhe is a Darwinian partisan so some of what he says is surely to be anticipated. His claims of thousands of transitional fossils supporting Darwins theory (contra Wilson) and that Darwins theory does not rely upon slow, gradual change are simply incorrect, as Jonathan Wells and Stephen Meyer have thoroughly explained. The Cambrian explosion really is a problem for Darwinism.

The reviewer is too quick to dismiss the influence of Darwinian theory on Nazi ideology (see Richard Weikarts books) and its social implications (see John Wests Darwin Day in America). Van Wyhe is also wrong to criticize Wilson for claiming that Darwins theory made it impossible to believe in the Bible. In his Autobiography,Darwin states his emerging belief in the unreliability of Bible and his rejection of design in nature clearly enough.

Yet van Wyhes criticisms of some factual errors, if accurate, make Wilsons book problematic. Some of the issues attributed to the book are more than just Darwinian talking points, e.g., incorrect dates, bad references, and other basic errors of fact which are, again, if correct, serious matters.

We noticed that, contrary to what Wilson wrote in the previously referenced newspaper article, Cuvier was not an evolutionist. And van Wyhe is correct in describing the giraffe stretching his neck as the iconic illustration of classic Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics, not Darwinism, as he says Wilson suggests.

Also, it is true that the early notebooks of Darwin were discovered in the mid 1960s and published in 1965. They are not missing, as van Wyhe claims Wilson asserts.

The key is exactly what does Wilson say and how does he say it. We know well by now to be cautious of Darwins defenders. They are often cagey and misleading. So at this point, who knows?

Photo credit: Patche99z (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Early Review of AN Wilson’s Anti-Darwin Biography Could Have Been Predicted – Discovery Institute

Darwinism – New World Encyclopedia

Darwinism is a term that is generally considered synonymous with the theory of natural selection. This theory, which was developed by Charles Darwin, holds that natural selection is the directive or creative force of evolution.

The term “Darwinism” also has been applied to the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin in general, rather than just the theory of natural selection. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories, such as Lamarckism, or with more modern versions, such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

According to Ernst Mayr (1991), how the term “Darwinism” has been and is used depends on who is using it and the time period. On the other hand, Harvard evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould, himself a popular writer on evolution, maintains that although the popular literature often equates Darwinism with evolution itself, the scientific community generally agrees that the term “should be restricted to the worldview encompassed by the theory of natural selection” (Gould 1982). That is, the term should be limited to the philosophical concept of Darwin’s theory regarding the mechanism for evolutionary change.

Since the time of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859), Darwinism has confronted challenges from both the scientific and religious communities. Among persistent scientific challenges are the lack of evidences for natural selection as the causal agent of macroevolutionary change; the issue of whether evidences on the microevolutionary level can be extrapolated to the macroevolutionary level; and the surprisingly rapid rate of speciation and prolonged stasis seen in the fossil record (see macroevolution). For religious adherents, the central role accorded “chance” in the evolution of new designs via natural selection is not proved and runs counter to the concept of a creator God. (See Challenges to Darwinism.)

The theory of natural selection is one of two major evolutionary theories advanced by Darwin, the other being the theory of descent with modification. The theory of descent with modification deals with the pattern of evolution: groups of organisms are related with one another, sharing common ancestors from which they have descended. The theory of natural selection (or “theory of modification through natural selection”) deals with the process or mechanism of evolution: how the evolutionary change occurred in order to arrive at the pattern.

Natural selection is the mechanism whereby populations of individuals with favorable traits reproduce more than individuals that lack such beneficial traits, and populations of individuals with deleterious traits reproduce less than individuals without such harmful traits. Over time, this results in a trend toward individuals with traits more conducive to their survival and reproduction. According to this theory, natural selection is the directive or creative force of evolution, creating new species and new designs, rather than just a force for weeding out unfit organisms.

In a modern definition of the term, a Darwinian process requires the following schema:

If the entity or organism survives to reproduce, the process restarts. Sometimes, in stricter formulations, it is required that variation and selection act on different entities, variation on the replicator (genotype) and selection on the interactor (phenotype).

Darwinism asserts that in any system given these conditions, by whatever means, evolution is likely to occur. That is, over time, the entities will accumulate complex traits that favor their reproduction. This is called Universal Darwinism, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1972 book Selfish Gene.

Some scientists, including Darwin, maintain that natural selection only works on the level of the organism. Others, such as Gould, believe in hierarchical levels of selectionthat natural selection can work both on individuals or groups of individuals, such that some populations or species may have favorable traits that promote their survival and reproduction over other species or populations. Richard Dawkins maintained that natural selection worked on the level of the gene, although this has been generally discredited in scientific circles.

On the microevolutionary level (change within species), there are evidences that natural selection can produce evolutionary change. For example, changes in gene frequencies can be observed in populations of fruit flies exposed to selective pressures in the laboratory environment. Likewise, systematic changes in various phenotypes within a species, such as color changes in moths, can be observed in field studies. However, evidence that natural selection is the directive force of change in terms of the origination of new designs (such as the development of feathers) or major transitions between higher taxa (such as the evolution of land-dwelling vertebrates from fish) is not observable. Evidence for such macroevolutionary change is limited to extrapolation from changes on the microevolutionary level. A number of top evolutionists, including Gould, challenge the validity of making such extrapolations.

In Darwin’s day, there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism,” and it was used by proponents and opponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. In the nineteenth-century context in which Darwin’s Origin of Species was first received, “Darwinism” came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society.

One of the more prominent approaches was that summed up in the phrase “survival of the fittest” by the philosopher Herbert Spencer. This was later taken to be emblematic of Darwinism, even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution was more Lamarckian than Darwinian, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory.

What we now call “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with one use of the word “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agendas. Another interpretation, one notably favored by Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, was that Darwinism implied that natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, thus it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and corrective measures would have to be undertakenthe foundation of eugenics.

Many of the ideas called “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin. For example, Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinisms in Germany; though it should be noted that his ideas was not centered around natural selection at all.

To distinguish themselves from the very loose meaning of Darwinism prevalent in the nineteenth century, those who advocated evolution by natural selection after the death of Darwin became known as neo-Darwinists. The term “neo-Darwinism” itself was coined by George John Romanes in 1896 to designate the Darwinism proposed by August Weismann and Alfred Russel Wallace, in which the exclusivity of natural selection was promoted and the inheritance of acquired characteristics (Larmarckism) was rejected (Mayr 2001; Gould 2002). At that time, near the end of the nineteenth century, there was a strong debate between the neo-Larmarckians and the neo-Darwinians.

The term neo-Darwinism was not terribly popular in the scientific community until after the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s, when the term became synonymous with the synthesis. The modern meaning of neo-Darwinism is not “genealogically linked” to the earlier definition (Gould 2002).

It is felt by some that the term “Darwinism” is sometimes used by creationists as a somewhat derogatory term for “evolutionary biology,” in that casting of evolution as an “ism”a doctrine or beliefstrengthens calls for “equal time” for other beliefs, such as creationism or intelligent design. However, top evolutionary scientists, such as Gould and Mayr, have used the term repeatedly, without any derogatory connotations.

In addition to the difficulty of getting evidence for natural selection being the causal agent of change on macroevolutionary levels, as noted above, there are fundamental challenges to the theory of natural selection itself. These come from both the scientific and religious communities.

Such challenges to the theory of natural selection are not a new development. Unlike the theory of descent with modification, which was accepted by the scientific community during Darwin’s time and for which substantial evidences have been marshaled, the theory of natural selection was not widely accepted until the mid-1900s and remains controversial even today.

In some cases, key arguments against natural selection being the main or sole agent of evolutionary change come from evolutionary scientists. One concern for example, is whether the origin of new designs and evolutionary trends (macroevolution) can be explained adequately as an extrapolation of changes in gene frequencies within populations (microevolution) (Luria, Gould, and Singer 1981). (See macroevolution for an overview of such critiques, including complications relating to the rate of observed macroevolutionary changes.)

Symbiogenesis, the theory that holds that evolutionary change is initiated by a long-term symbiosis of dissimilar organisms, offers a scientific challenge to the source of variation and reduces the primacy of natural selection as the agent of major evolutionary change. Margulis and Sagan (2002) hold that random mutation is greatly overemphasized as the source of hereditary variation in standard Neo-Darwinistic doctrine. Rather, they maintain, the major source of transmitted variation actually comes from the acquisition of genomesin other words, entire sets of genes, in the form of whole organisms, are acquired and incorporated by other organisms. This long-term biological fusion of organisms, beginning as symbiosis, is held to be the agent of species evolution.

Historically, the strongest opposition to Darwinism, in the sense of being a synonym for the theory of natural selection, has come from those advocating religious viewpoints. In essence, the chance component involved in the creation of new designs, which is inherent in the theory of natural selection, runs counter to the concept of a Supreme Being who has designed and created humans and all phyla. Chance (stochastic processes, randomness) is centrally involved in the theory of natural selection. As noted by eminent evolutionist Ernst Mayr (2001, pp. 120, 228, 281), chance plays an important role in two steps. First, the production of genetic variation “is almost exclusively a chance phenomena.” Secondly, chance plays an important role even in “the process of the elimination of less fit individuals,” and particularly during periods of mass extinction.

This element of chance counters the view that the development of new evolutionary designs, including humans, was a progressive, purposeful creation by a Creator God. Rather than the end result, according to the theory of natural selection, human beings were an accident, the end of a long, chance-filled process involving adaptations to local environments. There is no higher purpose, no progressive development, just materialistic forces at work. The observed harmony in the world becomes an artifact of such adaptations of organisms to each other and to the local environment. Such views are squarely at odds with many religious interpretations.

A key point of contention between the worldview is, therefore, the issue of variabilityits origin and selection. For a Darwinist, random genetic mutation provides a mechanism of introducing novel variability, and natural selection acts on the variability. For those believing in a creator God, the introduced variability is not random, but directed by the Creator, although natural selection may act on the variability, more in the manner of removing unfit organisms than in any creative role. Some role may also be accorded differential selection, such as mass extinctions. Neither of these worldviewsrandom variation and the purposeless, non-progressive role of natural selection, or purposeful, progressive variationare conclusively proved or unproved by scientific methodology, and both are theoretically possible.

There are some scientists who feel that the importance accorded to genes in natural selection may be overstated. According to Jonathan Wells, genetic expression in developing embryos is impacted by morphology as well, such as membranes and cytoskeletal structure. DNA is seen as providing the means for coding of the proteins, but not necessarily the development of the embryo, the instructions of which must reside elsewhere. It is possible that the importance of sexual reproduction and genetic recombination in introducing variability also may be understated.

The history of conflict between Darwinism and religion often has been exacerbated by confusion and dogmatism on both sides. Evolutionary arguments often are set up against the straw man of a dogmatic, biblical fundamentalism in which God created each species separately and the earth is only 6,000 years old. Thus, an either-or dichotomy is created, in which one believes either in the theory of natural selection or an earth only thousands of years old. However, young-earth creationism is only a small subset of the diversity of religious belief, and theistic, teleological explanations of the origin of species may be much more sophisticated and aligned with scientific findings. On the other hand, evolutionary adherents have sometimes presented an equally dogmatic front, refusing to acknowledge well thought out challenges to the theory of natural selection, or allowing for the possibility of alternative, theistic presentations.

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Darwinism – New World Encyclopedia

Darwinism – definition of Darwinism by The Free Dictionary

.

A theory of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin and others, stating that all species of organisms have developed from other species, primarily through natural selection. Also called Darwinian theory.

Darwinist n.

Darwinistic adj.

Darwinist, Darwinite n, adj

Darwinistic adj

n.

the Darwinian theory that species originate by descent with slight variation from parent forms through the natural selection of individuals best adapted for survival and reproduction.

[185560]

Darwinist, n., adj.

Dar`winistic, adj.

the theory of evolution by natural selection of those species best adapted to survive the struggle for existence. Darwinian, n., ad).

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Darwinism – definition of Darwinism by The Free Dictionary

Darwinism | Definition of Darwinism by Merriam-Webster

noun Darwinism dr-w-ni-zm

noun Darwinism dr-w-niz-m

: a theory of the origin and perpetuation of new species of animals and plants that offspring of a given organism vary, that natural selection favors the survival of some of these variations over others, that new species have arisen and may continue to arise by these processes, and that widely divergent groups of plants and animals have arisen from the same ancestors; broadly : a theory of biological evolution

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Darwinism | Definition of Darwinism by Merriam-Webster

Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theory, see modern synthesis. For Wallace’s defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin’s theories. It subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[1] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, and it has even been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work. It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin’s and of his predecessors’ work in place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[2][3]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[4] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called “the eclipse of Darwinism,” scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. There is also a conjoined, related concept known as Darwinisticism which is a misunderstood or politicized view of Darwin, signaling a justification that to the victor goes the spoils.[citation needed] The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[5]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[6][7] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[8] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[9][10] In the United States, creationists often use the term “Darwinism” as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[6]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[12] Having hailed the book as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism” promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin’s gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[13] Huxley compared Darwin’s achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of “The Origin of Species” an immense debt of gratitude…. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer’s “Researches on Development,” thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[4]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin.

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalisation for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin’s conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[14]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

“Darwinism” soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase “survival of the fittest” by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory in 1859. What is now called “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, was that “Darwinism” implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin’s day there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism,” and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer’s “evolution,” Haeckel’s “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[15] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called “Darwinism” without any problems.[16]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a “greater efficacy” for natural selection.[17][18]George Romanes dubbed this view as “Wallaceism”, noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a “pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory.”[19][20] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[21] Romanes’ definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin’s views and was contrasted with Wallace’s definition of the term.[22]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an “ism”) of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[23] For example, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson makes this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge’s book What Is Darwinism? (1874).[24] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin’s natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book’s title by concluding: “It is Atheism.”[25][26] Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[27] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says “The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin’s original ideas… Yet the choice of terminology isn’t random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism.” [28]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, sometimes called “neo-Darwinism,” from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies. “It’s a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism,'” says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, “Scientists don’t call it ‘Darwinism’.”[29] In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[30]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[31] used the term “Darwinism” in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some “Ultra-Darwinists.” Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid (e.g., Stove suggested that sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism). Philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[32] though a subsequent essay by Stove’s protegee James Franklin’s[33] suggested that Blackburn’s response actually “confirms Stove’s central thesis that Darwinism can ‘explain’ anything.”

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Darwinism – Wikipedia

Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

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Will Hate Trigger A Religious Revival Via Social Media? – MediaPost Communications

Mollycoddling white supremacists and playing footsie with bigots are not activities befitting the presidency, many argue in reaction to Donald Trumps equivocations about the deadly violence in Charlottesville.

The resurgence or reemergence of the far right is also an affront to the nations soul, as Mitt Romney warned. He said Trumps words caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn.

Ominously, Romney added that unless the president corrects course, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.

These dire warnings may prove all too prescient: The national controversy over race and racism now underway has brought forth angry forces that seem to revel in nihilism; they are already tearing our social fabric with acts of violence. But the impact goes beyond them.

Violence and vocal hate also force broad swathes of ordinary Americans to ask themselves what they believe and how they should respond.

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There are many organizations and movements responding to the rise in far-right extremism and hate, most without a religious element. Secularism and tolerance generally go hand in hand. But could those glaring questions, and the heartfelt sorrow of a large part of the American public over racial division, also trigger a religious revival the Fifth Great Awakening in American history?

It may seem like a long shot, but consider the video postedhere.

Is it time to reconsider the generally dismissive views on religion that seem to prevail in more secular circles? Religion remains a powerful force in American life and is capable of uniting people from different communities.

A religious revival now, in reaction to the dangerous outburst of overtly racist and anti-Semitic ideology, would have numerous precedents in the previous Great Awakenings a series of Christian mass revivals that swept America from 1730 to 1980. They often grappled with the most pressing social issues of the day, including abolition, womens rights, temperance and prohibition, and abortion.

As noted in a previous post, each Great Awakening was facilitated by its own new media and the next Great Awakening, whenever it comes, will undoubtedly come via social media.

So far, America has seen at least four epic religious revivals, the Great Awakenings. Each pioneered an innovative communications strategy using the technology available at the time; however, the goal of these strategies was always to get people listening to revivalist preachers.

During the First Great Awakening, from 1730-1755, it was almost entirely word-of-mouth. There weren’t many printing presses in the colonies, the postal system was rudimentary, and many people were illiterate. Communities were small enough for a single word-of-mouth advocate to be quite effective in building buzz around the approach of famous fire-and-brimstone preachers, like Jonathan Edwards.

By the time of the “Second Great Awakening,” from 1810-1840, printing presses were common and more Americans were literate, so the communications strategy evolved to include a big print media push, with the foundation of the American Bible Society in 1816.

The print media strategy included not just mass-publication of Bibles, but flyers and pamphlets promoting social causes associated with the revival. like the abolitionist and temperance movements. They also advocated for womens and childrens rights, for example, opposing child labor in industry.

The same basic technologies dominated the Third Great Awakening, from 1870-1900, which saw the birth of fundamentalist Christianity in response to Darwinism. There was much more use of print, thanks to the growth of newspapers and the popularity of campus revivals at colleges and universities, as well as the work of Dwight Moodys Bible Institute. (Later, the rise of radio in the 1920s allowed fundamentalists to form their own national and local media networks, such as evangelist AimeeSemple McPherson.)

The most recent revival was the Fourth Great Awakening from 1960-1980, in reaction to hippies, gays and abortion, again characterized by the adoption ofthe latest media most notably the modern phenomenon of televangelists like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, Pat Roberston, and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

The wave of televangelism was supported by new broadcast and cable networks dedicated to revival activity, including the Trinity Broadcast Network, as well as new genres of music like Christian rock.

While some of the Great Awakenings were undoubtedly conservative in response to the social issues of their day (Darwin, Prohibition, hippies, abortion, homosexuality), its also worth highlighting the contribution made by evangelical Christian abolitionists many of them women to the struggle against slavery, as well as for womens and childrens rights.

Today, evangelical voters supported Trump in 2016, largelymotivatedby economic insecurity, according to a report from the University of Chicago Divinity School, which noted Surveys showed that many white evangelicals objected to Trumps sexism [and] racism

America once again faces a vast spiritual question about the contents of its own soul fertile ground for religious ferment. Will there be another religious revival uniting the country in condemnation of racism? Or is the American public just too irreligious and apathetic to become excited about religion again?

But one thing is for sure: the Fifth Great Awakening should it come to pass will take place via social media, continuing the tradition of evangelists adopting advanced media strategies. It will be enabled by the massive growth of email, social networks and digital media especially online video.

It will allow individuals and organizations to coordinate evangelizing efforts by followers and reach out to potential new converts.

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Will Hate Trigger A Religious Revival Via Social Media? – MediaPost Communications

‘Radical’ new biography of Darwin is unreliable and inaccurate – New Scientist

Charles Darwin wrote many letters during his voyage of discovery on HMS Beagle

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

By John van Wyhe

Charles Darwin: Victorian mythmaker, by A. N. Wilson, John Murray

A. N. Wilson is a prolific author who has written more than 45 books, including many biographies of subjects ranging from Queen Victoria to Hitler. His latest, a biography of Charles Darwin, begins with the startling sentence: Darwin was wrong. Wilson argues that Darwin offered to the emergent Victorian middle classes a consolation myth there was something inexorable, natural about their superiority to the working class.

This book provides an appallingly inaccurate rendition of Darwins theory and its scientific context. According to Wilson, Darwin told his contemporaries that their land-grabs in Africa, their hunger for stock-market wealth in the face of widespread urban poverty, their rigid class system and their everlasting wars were not things to be ashamed of, but actually part of the processes of nature. The theory is not science, Wilson concludes, just another offering in a bazaar of ersatz religions.

Wilson maintains that Darwins theory is wrong and not the basis of current knowledge. He believes Darwinism was about extreme gradualism over geological time. But Darwinian gradualism simply means that one animal cannot all of a sudden give birth to a completely different species. The current view of life on Earth is precisely one of changing lineages branching from common ancestors. This, and not the speed of change, is the core of Darwins theory.

The other component of Darwinism, according to Wilson, is that evolutionary progress happens by conflict. Here is the common misunderstanding that the de facto struggle that occurs because some animals live and some die means conscious fighting. And Darwins theory is not about progress, it is about change.

Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection, as any competent reference work describes, is about the differential survival of individual living things based on tiny differences between them. This differential survival (or selection) in effect filters living things to become adapted to a changing world. DNA evidence indicates that all living things are related genealogically on a vast ever-branching tree of life. This is Darwinism. Wilson instead erroneously describes variations in species, not individuals, and he mocks a Darwinian scenario in which the short-necked ancestors of todays giraffes were supposedly panting to reach those leaves, but without success. This is not Darwinism, this is Lamarckism.

Wilsons book contains numerous and serious factual errors such as if Darwin were correct, there would be hundreds, thousands of examples of transitional fossils. There are. Darwins first grandchild did not die in childbirth as Wilson states. A fragment of Wallaces letter to Darwin from when Wallace was living in Ternate does not survive. Darwin believed that his own theory made it impossible to believe in the Bible. Not so. The first 50 pages of Darwins evolution notebook are not missing, they were located and published by 1967. (Wilson copied this claim from a conspiracy-laden essay, Darwin, Coleridge, and the Theory of Unconscious Creation, published by Loren Eiseley in 1965, two years before Darwins pages were published.)

Wilson claims Darwin never persuaded the scientific community in Britain during his lifetime that one species could evolve into another. In fact, Darwin was world famous for having done so. There are very, very many more. Footnotes lead to incorrect references and many dates are quite wrong. Its hard to see how any care for either historical or scientific accuracy could result in such a book.

Throughout, Wilson bashes Darwin for supposed arrogance, dishonesty and incompetence and trots out a long line of old anti-Darwin myths: for example, that Darwin stole ideas from Edward Blyth, whom Wilson mistakes for an evolutionist. (This too is borrowed from Eiseley.) Wilson invents and condemns a towering ambition Darwin had to be a universal genius. And eugenics and Nazi race laws are also blamed (incorrectly) on Darwin.

The book claims to be a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isnt afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy. The result is one of the most unreliable, inaccurate and tendentious anti-Darwin books of recent times.

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‘Radical’ new biography of Darwin is unreliable and inaccurate – New Scientist

The Multiverse Is Science’s Assisted Suicide – Discovery Institute

In 2015,Wiredtold us that physicistswere desperate to be wrongabout the Higgs boson. They yearned to push the Standard (Big Bang) Model of the universe in new directions. But the unmindful particle acted just like the model said it would act, obeyed every theorized rule.

In the silence that followed, asking for evidence for these physicists proposed infinity of universes (the multiverse) felt like assaulting a victims feelings. At theGuardian,Stuart Clark laterinformed usthat Brexit and Trump are nothing compared to the alternate universes some astronomers are contemplating. Really? Regional political upsets vie with a multiverse?

Astronomers, Clark tells us, pin their hopes on the Cold Spot, a cool patch of space from the early universe: We cant entirely rule out that the Spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard theory. But if that isnt the answer, then there are more exotic explanations. Indeed. There are more exotic explanations for almost anything.

Eugene LiminsistedatThe Conversationin 2015 that parallel universes are science: Whether we will ever be able to prove their existence is hard to predict. But given the massive implications of such afindingit should definitely be worth the search. Very well, but some people research ghosts on the same basis. What makes the multiverse quest science but the ghost hunt anti-science, once evidence no longer matters as much as it used to?

Cosmologists sense the problem and strive to rescue their multiverse from the nagging demands for evidence. Pop science media offer a window into major trends.

One is cosmic Darwinism. Lee Smolin has advocateda cosmic versionof Darwinian natural selection in which the most common universes will be those most suitable for producing black holes, as our universe does. Is Darwinism the cause? In The Logic and Beauty of Cosmological Natural Selection (Scientific American,2014), Lawrence Rifkinadmittedthat the main problem with the hypothesis is lack of direct evidence:

But keep in mind that from a direct evidence perspective, cosmological natural selection is no worse off at this point than proposed scientific alternatives. There is no direct evidence that universes are created by quantum fluctuations in a quantum vacuum, that we live in a multiverse, that there is a theory of everything, or that string theory, cyclic universes or- brane cosmology even exist.

Then why should we not set all such speculations aside? There is no obvious need for hurry.

Darwinism, as in natural selection acting on random mutations, is a theory developed by Darwin and his followers to account for complex, specified information in life forms on this planet. Whether it iscorrect or notwhen used as intended, if it is applied to an undetected multiverse, it becomes philosophy (metaphysics).

An anecdote suffices. As Michael Egnor has observed here, philosopher Joseph P. Carter told us in theNew York Timesthat the universedoes not careabout purpose. Evolutionary psychologist Michael E. Price disputes that view atPsychology Today,insisting that in a multiverse natural selection can create purpose. His position is denied by most of natural selections advocates in biology. But, riffing on Smolin, Price explains that life is more likely than black holes (or anything else) to be a mechanism of universe replication. If this kind of ungrounded assertion is the best naturalism can do for us now, why do we encourage it?

Physicist Ethan SiegelcounselsatForbesthat we must not doubt the Multiverses existence without considering the very good, scientific reasons that motivate it. But very good scientific reasons are precisely what we lack, unless the term scientific reasons now includes immunity toexperimental and observational tests.Similarly, physicist Brian Coxtold usin 2016 that the idea of multiverses is not too big a leap from cosmic inflation. But he is dealing with leaps of the imagination, not of physics discoveries.

Earlier this year, skeptical mathematicianPeter Woitfretted withscience writerJohn HorganatScientific American,The problem with such things as string-theory multiverse theories is that the multiverse did it is not just untestable, but an excuse for failure. Commenting elsewhere on Zeeya MeralisA Big Bang in a Little Room(2017),he notedthat she contemplates the possibility that string theory and inflation may be conspiring against us in such a way that we may never find evidence for them, and just have to trust in them as an act of faith. He woulddescribe it asa scientifically worthless idea.

With a clash of world views, where to begin?Woitand Horgan assume that post-modern science is a quest to understand reality, just as traditional science has been. It is not.

For many people today, post-modern science is more of a quest to expressan identity asbelieverin science,irrespective of evidence. Cosmologist Paul Steinhardtgot a sense of thisin2014,when he reported that some proponents of early rapid cosmic inflation already insist that the theory is equally valid whether or not gravitational waves are detected. It fulfilled their needs. In 2017, cosmologist George Ellis, long a foe ofpost-modern cosmology,summed it up: Scientific theories have since the seventeenth century been held tight by an experimental leash. In the last twenty years or so, both string theory and theories of the multiverse have slipped the leash.

We have so much more data now. But it provides no evidence for a multiverse. Thats nothing unusual historically (thinkphlogistonandetherfor great ideas that did not work). We used to just adjust. But today, increasing numbers of science-minded people demand a post-modern science that adapts to their needs. After all, we evolved to survive and pass on our genes, not to understand reality.

As a result, many cosmologists and science writers speak as if the multiverse merely awaits routine administrative clearance to morph into textbook science, absent evidence. Characteristically, they see themselves as fighting aconservative(fuddy-duddy) establishment whichclings toa role for mere evidence.

Fine tuningof our planet and our universe for life sets limits onmerebelief by challenging us to calculate probabilities. The multiverse is deeply attractive by comparison because it dissipates evidence. Itconjures unimaginablyinfinite, unproven, and incalculable probabilities. AsNew Scientistputs it,We merely inhabit one out of the infinite selection. That feels so right just now.

The multiverse has only ever existed, so far as we know, in the mind of man. Its most promising research programs,stringtheoryandearly rapid cosmic inflation theory,have bounced along on enthusiasm alone, prompting ever more arcane speculations for which there may never be any possibility of evidence.

But like so many other empty ideas, the multiverse has consequences. If we accept it, we abandon the view that science deals with the observed facts of nature. We adopt the view that it tells us what we want to believe about ourselves. In other words, the multiverse is sciences assisted suicide.

Image: Infinity Room, by Helsinki Art Museum, The Broad [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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The Multiverse Is Science’s Assisted Suicide – Discovery Institute

Darwinism | Define Darwinism at Dictionary.com

British Dictionary definitions for Darwinism Expand

Derived Forms

Darwinist, Darwinite, noun, adjectiveDarwinistic, adjective

Word Origin and History for Darwinism Expand

1864, from Charles Darwin (1809-1882), whose major works were “The Origin of Species” (1859) and “The Descent of Man” (1871), + -ism.

Darwinism in Medicine Expand

Darwinism Darwinism (dr’w-nz’m) n. A theory of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.

Darwinism in Science Expand

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Darwinism | Define Darwinism at Dictionary.com

Oil industry given Darwinism lesson on adapting to survive in North Sea – Energy Voice

The North Sea oil industry has been given a lesson on Charles Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection.

Executives, geologists, operators, investors and developers were schooled on the subject at the Oil and Gas Authoritys Technology Forum in Aberdeen.

The booked out event drew more than 180 people, who were told that technology was critical to unlocking every last drop of oil held in the UK continental shelf (UKCS).

It comes ahead of the November deadline for the 30th licensing round, focussed on mature areas of the UKCS some of which were last offered for licensing more than 40 years ago.

The November deadline is expected to bring about the most significant offshore round in recent decades.

And Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) operations director Gunther Newcombe said adapting technology to fit the remaining North Sea resources would be seen as a major factor in who is awarded what acreage.

He set the scene to the plenary session, when he said: Do we have a lot of potential remaining in the UKCS still remaining? Absolutely yes.

Another good backdrop to this is that production is up, hopefully 1.7million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of this year and also production efficiency is up to 73%.

Weve got 14 or so new developments coming on stream this year so its quite a vibrant UKCS here that we have in the 30th round.

Theres still plenty of yet-tofind- potential out there.

And technology will be one of the key drivers to unlocking that potential.

One of the things that the OGA wants to do is really drive technology into, not just exploration, but right through development and into production. And we will certainly be looking more and more at companies to engage with technology and apply and adapt technology in the UKCS.

The 30th round has more than 800 blocks on offer , equating to roughly six times the size of Wales.

In that space there is 140 discoveries on offer with around 2.3billion barrels of resource discovered in those areas.

And Newcombe said the OGA expects technology to be included in the applications for the round.

He said: Part of the marking system for the licensing round will be about what technology you are going to offer, adapt and deploy.

Seismic technology and imaging of the subsurface are obviously critical to reducing risk. Trying to get that well cost down is also incredible important.

Geosteering is critically important. We are seen a lot of development in the Southern North Sea in that area in particular.

And also adapting other technologies in the area of wells.

So its about getting the cost in the right place and seeing your reservoirs and seeing your tracks.

He added: You need to tie back these things obviously so if youve got infrastructure there efficient tiebacks is important, looking at in a different way.

For example hot taps to having different types of pipeline like spool pipelines for instance to try and get some of these tiebacks hooked up.

Many of the discoveries are in the standalone environment so we need to look at in a different way rather than having these gold plated structures. Are there smaller things that we could use and adapt for smaller pools? Again, being versatile and being to able to adapt technology to the resource is really important.

More than 35 exhibitors from SMEs to major service providers including PGS, Baker Hughes, a GE company, Amplus and Western Geco, showcased at the event in Aberdeen yesterday.

Chris Pearson, OGTC Small Pools Solution Centre Manager, added: This is another first for the OGA and OGTC. We are working collaboratively with an innovative and supportive group of companies to make the license round a success.

The showcase event highlighted how technology solutions can significantly lower the entire life-cycle cost for UKCS field developments. We can be both incremental and disruptive in our approach to how we deploy the solutions. This approach can make this stable and mature basin an attractive investment opportunity.

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Oil industry given Darwinism lesson on adapting to survive in North Sea – Energy Voice

Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theory, see modern synthesis. For Wallace’s defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin’s theories. It subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[1] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, and it has even been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin’s work. It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin’s and of his predecessors’ work in place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[2][3]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[4] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called “the eclipse of Darwinism,” scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. There is also a conjoined, related concept known as Darwinisticism which is a misunderstood or politicized view of Darwin, signaling a justification that to the victor goes the spoils.[citation needed] The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[5]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[6][7] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[8] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[9][10] In the United States, creationists often use the term “Darwinism” as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[6]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[12] Having hailed the book as “a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism” promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin’s ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin’s gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[13] Huxley compared Darwin’s achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of “The Origin of Species” an immense debt of gratitude…. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer’s “Researches on Development,” thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[4]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin.

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalisation for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin’s conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[14]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

“Darwinism” soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase “survival of the fittest” by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer’s own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin’s theory in 1859. What is now called “Social Darwinism” was, in its day, synonymous with “Darwinism”the application of Darwinian principles of “struggle” to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton, was that “Darwinism” implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people, it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin’s day there was no rigid definition of the term “Darwinism,” and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin’s biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer’s “evolution,” Haeckel’s “Darwinism” had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[15] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called “Darwinism” without any problems.[16]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a “greater efficacy” for natural selection.[17][18]George Romanes dubbed this view as “Wallaceism”, noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a “pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory.”[19][20] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[21] Romanes’ definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin’s views and was contrasted with Wallace’s definition of the term.[22]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an “ism”) of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[23] For example, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson makes this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge’s book What Is Darwinism? (1874).[24] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin’s natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book’s title by concluding: “It is Atheism.”[25][26] Creationists use the term Darwinism, often pejoratively, to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[27] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says “The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin’s original ideas… Yet the choice of terminology isn’t random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism.” [28]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, sometimes called “neo-Darwinism,” from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may be used to refer to Darwin’s proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin’s results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies. “It’s a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like ‘Maoism,'” says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, “Scientists don’t call it ‘Darwinism’.”[29] In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil’s Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[30]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[31] used the term “Darwinism” in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some “Ultra-Darwinists.” Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid (e.g., Stove suggested that sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism). Philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[32] though a subsequent essay by Stove’s protegee James Franklin’s[33] suggested that Blackburn’s response actually “confirms Stove’s central thesis that Darwinism can ‘explain’ anything.”

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Darwinism – Wikipedia


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