Agency Darwinism: Will Covid-19 force the agency world to drag itself into the future? – The Drum

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

Charles Darwin

Us agency folk like to think of ourselves as forward-thinking, and we constantly extol the virtues of new technology to our clients. However, we are also an industry steeped in nostalgia, and many of us gaze back through rose-tinted glasses at the bygone eras of mythologised titans like Bernbach and Ogilvy.

Media has undeniably morphed into a different animal since the advent of digital, but how much has the way we work actually changed?

Will Covid-19 prove to be the catalyst for positive evolution?

Historically, many media and performance agencies have enjoyed a heavily office-centric culture and ways of working. While flexi working has always been a popular perk, many of us still relied on in-person collaboration and communication.

However, over the past few months, we have all been thrown into a new norm and have had to get to grips with it at lightning speed. As a result, many have fully embraced the new methods intrinsic to working from home and this enforced period of remote working has proved to be a surprisingly successful launch pad for a new working model for many businesses, with agencies being no exception.

With less face-to-face time available with clients, agencies may move towards regional, or even offshore, options. More flexible and remote working, could provide the catalyst that has been needed to accelerate the industrys inclusiveness. Many agencies will not solely consider a London based work-force but employ those from various geographical locations, and also different lifestyles than before. It could be more realistic for working parents or those with disabilities that are unable to travel, for example to re-enter the job market and work either full or part time from home.

This change will hopefully enable ad land to be less of an echo chamber and benefit from greater diversity, making it more representative of the wider population and thus more effective at communicating with them.

Will flexible ways of working lead to greater creative output?

The daily grind of commuting and rigid work schedules can strip creative headspace for some. This new norm may lead to not only greater creativity in our actual work, but also creativity around how we work; exploring new approaches and ways of working which may lead to even better output. We have the freedom to figure out what works for our businesses to get to where we want to be, without restriction. Lockdown has forced agencies to introduce huge operational shifts across strategies, lines of communication, approach, and implementation, and in some cases look at the business as a whole - flexing or scaling back accordingly.

We have the opportunity to ask ourselves, what will be the very best way to approach things and act accordingly, without an accepted norm limiting this.

We have also had to ask ourselves; do we still have the correct product offering for the new market and our clients, or do we need to expand in certain product lines or service offerings?

At the start of the pandemic we spoke to many of our clients about tech innovation to support their businesses as they adapted to consumers new priorities, and quickly developed a proposition with our voice agency Rabbit & Pork for clients to use to support their call centres, automating responses to simple questions, enabling customer support staff to focus on more complex queries.

We are increasingly talking to clients about more project based work and are seeing great success in our web development & design agency Kitty, with many brands focusing on developing their website either to offer more information to users who are conducting more research during this period of uncertainty or those who are looking to drive more revenue from their website, particularly if they have bricks & mortar real estate. We are continuing to adapt our offering ; joining forces with tech partners and digital transformation companies to deliver end to end for our clients.

We saw a shift in C-suite focus between Q1 and Q2 of this year, with CFOs at the start of the year focusing on cost cutting and where possible minimising the pandemics impact to their business whereas the focus in Q2 was to increase their revenues after lockdown; albeit with a now different business shape.

Those agencies best positioned to survive (and thrive) are those nimble enough to flex their operating models to meet the rapidly changing needs of clients and revised focus. Due to our strong partnerships with our clients we have been able to provide flexible commercial arrangements to support our clients through difficult periods of the pandemic, ensuring continuity of agency service.

In order for us to do this we needed to take a look at our margins, and where we are able to be flexible; naturally this is focused around cost base reduction. A central London office that used to house 70 members of agency staff may not be necessary in totality for a year or more. We have seen tech giant Google allowing their staff to work from home until at least July 2021. This coupled with increased productivity from having a more flexible ratio of working from home and working from the office means that we are seeing more tasks being accomplished in the same number of hours.

There will still be requirements for collaborative in-person working, however a huge amount can be completed with a well planned out virtual team meeting and were encouraging our staff to think ahead of meetings, as well as during to ensure proactive outcomes.

Added value for us now is as much about using the time that was spent commuting, or travelling longer distances for meetings to improve our processes for collaborative virtual working, with increasingly more creative ideas of how we can work for and with our clients. Quicker more regular contact with our clients has enabled us to truly be partners with our clients, perhaps more so than before.

Jessica Hollingbery, associate marketing director, TIPi Group

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TIPi Group

TIPi Group is an award winning network of specialist digital agencies. Our agencies are built on performance and profitability and share an ambition to use the power of digital to shape the future.

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Agency Darwinism: Will Covid-19 force the agency world to drag itself into the future? - The Drum

Alfred Russel Wallace: Shedding Light on Darwin’s Shadow – Discovery Institute

Co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace broke with Charles Darwin over scientific questions that today point scientists to intelligent design. He arguments are more pertinent now than ever.

From Shedding Light on Darwins Shadow, the introduction to the newly released Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russel Wallaces World of Life Challenged Darwinism, edited by science historian Michael Flannery:

Darwinian theists, in fact, share a peculiarly inflated view of nature with many atheists. Noted atheist Daniel Dennett, for example, praises Nature as a wonderful wedding of chance and necessity that leaves him in awe of its sacred magnificence. Similarly, Richard Dawkins talks of the power [of the Darwinian worldview] to dissolve astronomical improbabilities and explain prodigies of apparent miracle. Darwinian theist Karl Giberson exclaims, Nature is grand on so many levels. Does this grandeur have something to do with the fact that it was created by God? Giberson thinks so, but offers little in the way of evidence for that something other than his own feelings. Fellow-traveler Ken Miller is just as transported by it all as he waxes eloquent about chance and wonder and how we should take genuine delight in knowing that we are the products of the natural world, a world the specifics of which could have turned out quite differently. [Deborah] Haarsma [president of the Darwinian theist think tank BioLogos], on the other hand, is more passionate about seeing Gods hand at work in natural processes, and explicitly argues that Natural laws are a testimony to Gods faithful providential care as he upholds the existence of all matter and mechanisms moment by moment, but the underlying mechanisms where she sees the hand of God are . . . largely blind. A providential hand cannot at the same time be a blind one. C. S. Lewis once quipped, Nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.

No amount of numinous language can alter historian/philosopher Arthur Koestlers observation [in The Sleep Walkers (1959)] concerning the rise of philosophical reductionism of the kind ushered in by the Darwinian paradigm. The space-spirit hierarchy was replaced by the space-time continuum as an intelligent spiritual world gave way to a blind law-based nature:

As a result, mans destiny was no longer determined from above by a super-human wisdom and will, but from below by the subhuman agencies of glands, genes, atoms, or waves of probability. This shift of the locus of destiny was decisive. So long as destiny had operated from a level of hierarchy higher than mans own, it had not only shaped his fate, but also guided his conscience and imbued the world with meaning and value. The new masters of destiny were placed lower in the scale than the being they controlled; they could determine his fate, but could provide him with no moral guidance, no values and meaning. A puppet of the Gods is a tragic figure, but a puppet suspended on chromosomes is merely grotesque.

Wallace natures prophet saw this dire assessment long before Koestler. His World of Life offers an alternative. His was an effort to restore nature to the space-spirit hierarchy it once knew.

And that space-spirit hierarchy seems to be confirmed with every new discovery.

There is much more to tell than this excerpt can convey. Read more and learn more from Wallaces own World of Life. You can order it for yourself here.

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Alfred Russel Wallace: Shedding Light on Darwin's Shadow - Discovery Institute

Darwinism Paved the Way to Our Perilous Cultural Moment – Discovery Institute

Photo: Portland riot, by Tedder / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0).

The year so far has delivered a stunning lesson in the fragility of freedom and of civilization. Endless lockdowns matched with urban chaos its hard to believe these two shattering phenomena overlapped entirely by accident. How exactly, though, do they relate? At Mind Matters, Michael Egnor suggests Darwinism as a missing link.

Egnor cites Plato, as analyzed by philosopher Edward Feser. Plato charted a devolution in forms of government, from what he regarded as the best (a sort of philosophical aristocracy) to oligarchy, timocracy, issuing in base democracy, followed by tyranny. Egnor understands totalitarianism Nazism and Communism as the special modern iteration of tyranny, which received its scientific imprimatur from the theory of Darwinian evolution.

The transformation of tyranny to totalitarianism, as explained by philosopher Hannah Arendt (19061975) is Darwinian. Arendt notes that

Darwinism met with such overwhelming success [in totalitarian systems] because it provided, on the basis of inheritance, the ideological weapons for race and well as class rule

Underlying the Nazis belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwins idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human beings, just as under the Bolsheviks belief in class-struggle as the expression of the law of history lies Marxs notion of society as the product of a gigantic historical movement which races according to its own law of motion to the end of historical times when it will abolish itself.

Nazism was clearly inspired in no small part by Darwins theory and Arendt notes that Marx and Engels explicitly credited Darwin with insights essential to Marxism. She points out,

the great and positive interest Marx took in Darwins theories; Engels could not think of a greater compliment to Marxs scholarly achievements than to call him the Darwin of history the movement of history and the movement of nature are on and the same.

This is not to say that Darwin caused totalitarianism. Totalitarians were on the scene a century before Darwin. Marx also drew heavily from Hegels World-Spirit metaphysics and from Feuerbachs atheism and materialist anthropology. But Darwin provided a naturalist rationale a scientific imprimatur for the indispensable characteristic of totalitarian movements, which is the claim that their triumph is an inexorable natural movement. In the Platonic scheme, totalitarians are tyrants (thugs) who rule not by their mere base lusts but by a fanatic devotion to an ideology of human evolution biological/racial evolution (Hitler) or economic/class evolution (Marx, Lenin, Mao).

In each totalitarian variant of tyranny, the pandemonium of late democracy is atomized, terrorized, and paralyzed, like a herd of unruly cattle stampeded in a single direction dictated by the alleged irresistible laws of nature. Totalitarianism is, in short, the tyranny of guided evolution. Thus, Darwin provided a scientific imprimatur for this modern mutation of ordinary Platonic tyranny.

In other words, Darwinism provides a framework and pretext for totalitarian thinking, which sees itself as fulfilling an evolutionary destiny. You can have totalitarian tyranny without Darwin, but the idea of evolution paves the way.

Does this sound overstated? Melodramatic? It would be interesting to ask Cliff Mass. The University of Washington climate scientist took a two-hour walking tour last week through largely abandoned and boarded up downtown Seattle. From lockdown to looting and riot, our once-lovely city has been on a mad plunge to suicide. On his blog, Mass compared what has happened to the city to Kristallnacht, the November 9, 1938 Night of Broken Glass in Hitlers Germany. An online mob came for Professor Mass for that one, and he got cancelled from his gig commenting on the weather the weather! for NPR. Analogies are always risky, especially when they encompass anything to do with the Nazis. But he wasnt entirely off-base. While Nazis rampaged against Jewish businesses, Antifa and other protestors have targeted all business and normal life in general. The government in both cases winked at it, while good people were afraid to speak out.

In 2020, our culture could well be poised on the edge of something still darker than what weve seen so far. Antifa was at it once more last night in Seattle, as Chicago again witnessed rampant looting and anti-police violence. And then there is the ongoing chaos in Portland. Hannah Arendt would not have seen such mayhem and the isolation and powerlessness of lockdown as separate and unrelated. In Michael Egnors reading, neither would Plato. The pandemonium of late democracy walks hand in hand with atomization, terror, and paralysis. The contribution of evolutionary ideology in getting us here should not be neglected.

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Darwinism Paved the Way to Our Perilous Cultural Moment - Discovery Institute

Ignoring the Obvious: Convergent Evolution in Strickberger’s Evolution – Discovery Institute

Photo: Ernst Mayr, by University of Konstanz / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5).

Editors note:Dr. Shedingeris a Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He is the author of a recent book critiquing Darwinian triumphalism,The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms. See also the earlier entries in this series:

The phenomenon of convergent evolution is well documented in the literature of evolutionary biology. In StrickbergersEvolution, Brian K. Hall and Benedikt Hallgrimsson make frequent reference to it. But what does it mean? In the 19th century, St. George Jackson Mivart made convergence a central aspect of his criticism of theOrigin of Species. If the variations on which natural selection acts are produced randomly, Mivart reasoned, one would expect different kinds of variations to arise in geographically isolated populations, leading to evolutionary divergence, not convergence. But the latter is what we see. StrickbergersEvolution, while acknowledging the reality of convergence, tries mightily to ignore the non-Darwinian character of this phenomenon, leading to some striking inconsistencies.

In a chapter outlining evidence for evolution we read:

The evolution of different organisms, or parts of organisms, in similar directions convergent evolution (convergence) indicates that selection for similar features in different evolutionary lineages can, and often does, lead to functionally similar anatomical structures.

But how and why do these similar features arise in different lineages so that natural selection can preserve them? Hall and Hallgrimsson do not say. They even note that air-breathing evolved 67 times, but ignore the larger implications of how such a complex series of similar mutations could occur repeatedly if the mutations are produced without reference to the needs of the organism, or randomly.

This problem becomes even more acute when Hall and Hallgrimsson write:

As in parallelism, convergence derives from the exposure of different lineages to similar environmental factors evincing similar selective forces. Common adaptive features thus can be attained in each group through independent genetic changes.

But selection does not produce the independent genetic changes. It only preserves them once they arise. The phenomenon of convergence thus raises real questions about just how independent those genetic changes are. Also, by focusing so much on the environment as driving evolutionary change, do Hall and Hallgrimsson realize they sound a lot more like Lamarck than they do Darwin?

Nevertheless, in a startling reversal on the very next page, Hall and Hallgrimsson contradict everything they have just said in a discussion of the work of Sandra Mitchell, a philosopher of science who proposed a scheme of hierarchical levels of complexity in organisms. The third level of her hierarchy is called evolved complexity, the principle that similar adaptive challenges have resulted in a diversity of forms of organisms, not a single form. But I thought similar adaptive challenges drove evolution to produce similar adaptive forms! Hall and Hallgrimsson ignore the contradiction.

In fact, just two pages later, seemingly unaware of Mitchells work whichtheycited, they write:

When similar organisms are exposed to similar environments in different localities, evolution can produce strikingly convergent or parallel features, whether a structure, function, or behavior.

Mitchell is correct that Darwins theory predicts evolutionary divergence. Unfortunately for Darwin, evolutionary convergence is often what we observe.

Still, Hall and Hallgrimsson press on undeterred by this gap between theory and observation. In a discussion of plant evolution we read:

Not surprisingly, these beautiful adaptations reflectconvergenceas selection under similar environmental conditions produced similar plant phenotypes in different lineages residing in different geographical localities.

George Ledyard Stebbins, the biologist who brought botany into the fold of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1940s, also wrestled with the meaning of convergence among plants. He saw convergence as evidence for some type of guiding force in plant evolution either natural selection or orthogenesis. As an orthodox Darwinian, Stebbins discarded orthogenesis as a possibility and opted for natural selection by default. But observing how plants with primitive features continue to exist alongside plants with more evolved features, rather than the latter replacing the former, Stebbins wrote:

The differentiation of orders and families of flowering plants through the action of natural selection under present conditions is well-nigh impossible to imagine.

I couldnt agree more. And this is the reason the phenomenon of convergence still stands as a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution, just as Mivart understood as early as the 1870s.

More recently, paleontologist Simon Conway Morris has made convergent evolution the focus of his work. In a striking passage Conway Morris writes:

Wherever one looks it seems as if evolution has very little choice. If, then, we can discover the details of the metaphysical map across which life must navigate to the very few available solutions, then are we not on the threshold of a predictive biology? This view of life cuts cleanly across one of the central areas of neo-Darwinian thinking, an area that insists on the randomness of evolution and the unpredictability of its outcomes.

Such an idea is, of course, anathema to the biological establishment. According to Conway Morris, the best way to enrage an evolutionary biologist is to sidle up and suggest that evolution has a remarkable directionality. If you are lucky, he quips, all youll need is a clean handkerchief to dab the spots of spittle, but sometimes the response is closer to foaming.

Remarkably, even Ernst Mayr (pictured above) was forced to tacitly acknowledge the challenge to Darwinism posed by convergence. Earlier in his career, Mayr agreed with Francois Jacob that a tinkerer made a better analogy for the action of natural selection than an engineer. Engineering was just too teleological a comparison for a process said to have no foresight or directionality. But in his final bookWhat Evolution Is, written in his nineties, Mayr positively marveled at the phenomenon of convergence:

Convergence illustrates beautifully how selection is able to make use of the intrinsic variability of organisms to engineer adapted types for almost any kind of environmental niche.

So much for the tinkerer bumbling about in his garage. Natural selection, according to Mayr, does work more like the intelligent engineer after all.

StrickbergersEvolutionrepeatedly acknowledges the widespread nature of the phenomenon of convergent evolution. But by consistently ignoring the profound challenge convergence poses to Darwinian natural selection, the textbook denies students the opportunity to grapple with big and important questions about the history of life on Earth, questions that got the attention of Mivart in the 1870s, Conway Morris more recently, and that even did not escape the notice of Ernst Mayr. This greatly undermines the very educational process a textbook should be designed to foster.

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Ignoring the Obvious: Convergent Evolution in Strickberger's Evolution - Discovery Institute

Darwinism – Wikipedia

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

Theory of biological evolution

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. English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[1]

Darwinism subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[2] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists[who?] have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life.[3] It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin's and of his predecessors' work, in place of other concepts, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[4][5]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[1] 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. The development of the modern synthesis in the early 20th century, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[6]

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.[7][8] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[9] 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.[10][11]

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.[7]

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.[13] 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,[14] 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.[1]

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 rationalization 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a "greater efficacy" for natural selection.[18][19] 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."[20][21] 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.[22] Romanes' definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin's views and was contrasted with Wallace's definition of the term.[23]

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.[24] For example, in 1993, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson made this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge's 1874 book What Is Darwinism?.[25] 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."[26][27] Darwinism is an attempt to explain "design without a designer", according to evolutionary biologist Francisco J. Ayala.[28]

Creationists use pejoratively the term Darwinism 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.[29] 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." [30]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, which is 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 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.[31] "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'."[32]

In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British atheist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil's Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[33]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[34] 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: for example, Stove suggested that the sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism. English philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[35] though a subsequent essay by Stove's proteg James Franklin[36] suggested that Blackburn's response actually "confirms Stove's central thesis that Darwinism can 'explain' anything."

In evolutionary aesthetics theory, there is evidence that perceptions of beauty are determined by natural selection and therefore Darwinian; that things, aspects of people and landscapes considered beautiful are typically found in situations likely to give enhanced survival of the perceiving human's genes.[37][38]

Evolutionary biology portal

See the article here:

Darwinism - Wikipedia

Darwinism | Definition & Facts | Britannica

Darwinism, theory of the evolutionary mechanism propounded by Charles Darwin as an explanation of organic change. It denotes Darwins specific view that evolution is driven mainly by natural selection.

Beginning in 1837, Darwin proceeded to work on the now well-understood concept that evolution is essentially brought about by the interplay of three principles: (1) variationa liberalizing factor, which Darwin did not attempt to explain, present in all forms of life; (2) hereditythe conservative force that transmits similar organic form from one generation to another; and (3) the struggle for existencewhich determines the variations that will confer advantages in a given environment, thus altering species through a selective reproductive rate.

On the basis of newer knowledge, neo-Darwinism has superseded the earlier concept and purged it of Darwins lingering attachment to the Lamarckian theory of inheritance of acquired characters. Present knowledge of the mechanisms of inheritance are such that modern scientists can distinguish more satisfactorily than Darwin between non-inheritable bodily variation and variation of a genuinely inheritable kind.

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Darwinism | Definition & Facts | Britannica

An Evolution Definition of Darwinism – ThoughtCo

Charles Darwin is known as the "Father of Evolution" for being the first person to publish his theory not only describing that evolution was a change in species over time but also put together a mechanism for how it works (called natural selection). There is arguably no other evolutionary scholar as well known and revered as Darwin. In fact, the term "Darwinism" has come to be synonymous with the Theory of Evolution, but what really is meant when people say the word Darwinism? And more importantly, what does Darwinism NOT mean?

Darwinism, when it was first put into the lexicon by Thomas Huxley in 1860, was only meant to describe the belief that species change over time. In the most basic of terms, Darwinism became synonymous with Charles Darwin's explanation of evolution and, to an extent, his description of natural selection. These ideas, first published in his arguably most famous book On the Origin of Species, were direct and have stood the test of time. So, originally, Darwinism only included the fact that species change over time due to nature selecting the most favorable adaptations within the population. These individuals with better adaptations lived long enough to reproduce and pass those traits down to the next generation, ensuring the species' survival.

While many scholars insist this should be the extent of information that the word Darwinism should encompass, it has somewhat evolved itself over time as the Theory of Evolution itself also changed when more data and information became readily available. For instance, Darwin did not know anything about Genetics as it wasn't until after his death that Gregor Mendel did his work with his pea plants and published the data. Many other scientists proposed alternative mechanisms for evolution during a time which became known as neo-Darwinism. However, none of these mechanisms held up over time and Charles Darwin's original assertions were restored as the correct and leading Theory of Evolution. Now, the Modern Synthesis of the Evolutionary Theory is sometimes described using the term "Darwinism", but this is somewhat misleading since it includes not only Genetics but also other topics not explored by Darwin like microevolution via DNA mutations and other molecular biological tenets.

In the United States, Darwinism has taken on a different meaning to the general public. In fact, opponents to the Theory of Evolution have taken the term Darwinism and created a false definition of the word that brings up a negative connotation for many who hear it. The strict Creationists have taken the word hostage and created a new meaning which is often perpetuated by those in the media and others who do not truly understand the real meaning of the word. These anti-evolutionists have taken the word Darwinism to not only mean a change in species over time but have lumped in the origin of life along with it. Darwin did not assert any sort of hypothesis on how life on Earth began in any of his writings and only could describe what he had studied and had evidence to back up. Creationists and other anti-evolutionary parties either misunderstood the term Darwinism or purposefully hijacked it to make it more negative. The term has even been used to describe the origin of the universe by some extremists, which is way beyond the realm of anything Darwin would have made a conjecture on at any time in his life.

In other countries around the world, however, this false definition is not present. In fact, in the United Kingdom where Darwin did most of his work, it is a celebrated and understood term that is commonly used instead of the Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection. There is no ambiguity of the term there and it is used correctly by scientists, the media, and the general public every day.

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An Evolution Definition of Darwinism - ThoughtCo

Social Darwinism – HISTORY


Social Darwinism is a loose set of ideologies that emerged in the late 1800s in which Charles Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection was used to justify certain political, social, or economic views. Social Darwinists believe in survival of the fittestthe idea that certain people become powerful in society because they are innately better. Social Darwinism has been used to justify imperialism, racism, eugenics and social inequality at various times over the past century and a half.

According to Darwins theory of evolution, only the plants and animals best adapted to their environment will survive to reproduce and transfer their genes to the next generation. Animals and plants that are poorly adapted to their environment will not survive to reproduce.

Charles Darwin published his notions on natural selection and the theory of evolution in his influential 1859 book On the Origin of Species.

Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection was a scientific theory focused on explaining his observations about biological diversity and why different species of plants and animals look different.

Yet in an attempt to convey his scientific ideas to the British public, Darwin borrowed popular concepts, including survival of the fittest, from sociologist Herbert Spencer and struggle for existence from economist Thomas Malthus, who had earlier written about how human societies evolve over time.

Darwin rarely commented on the social implications of his theories. But to those who followed Spencer and Malthus, Darwins theory appeared to be confirming with science what they already believed to be true about human societythat the fit inherited qualities such as industriousness and the ability to accumulate wealth, while the unfit were innately lazy and stupid.

After Darwin published his theories on biological evolution and natural selection, Herbert Spencer drew further parallels between his economic theories and Darwins scientific principles.

Spencer applied the idea of survival of the fittest to so-called laissez faire or unrestrained capitalism during the Industrial Revolution, in which businesses are allowed to operate with little regulation from the government.

Unlike Darwin, Spencer believed that people could genetically pass learned qualities, such as frugality and morality, on to their children.

Spencer opposed any laws that helped workers, the poor, and those he deemed genetically weak. Such laws, he argued, would go against the evolution of civilization by delaying the extinction of the unfit.

Another prominent Social Darwinist was American economist William Graham Sumner. He was an early opponent of the welfare state. He viewed individual competition for property and social status as a tool for eliminating the weak and immoral of the population.

As social Darwinist rationalizations of inequality gained popularity in the late 1800s, British scholar Sir Francis Galton (a half-cousin of Darwin) launched a new science aimed at improving the human race by ridding society of its undesirables. He called it eugenics.

Galton proposed to better humankind by propagating the British elite. He argued that social institutions such as welfare and mental asylums allowed inferior humans to survive and reproduce at higher levels than their superior counterparts in Britains wealthy class.

Galtons ideas never really took hold in his country, but they became popular in America where the concepts of eugenics quickly gained strength.

Eugenics became a popular social movement in the United States that peaked in the 1920s and 1930s. Books and films promoted eugenics, while local fairs and exhibitions held fitter family and better baby competitions around the country.

The eugenics movement in the United States focused on eliminating undesirable traits from the population. Proponents of the eugenics movement reasoned the best way to do this was by preventing unfit individuals from having children.

During the first part of the twentieth century, 32 U.S. states passed laws that resulted in the forced sterilization of more than 64,000 Americans including immigrants, people of color, unmarried mothers and the mentally ill.

Adolf Hitler, one of the worlds most notorious eugenicists, drew inspiration from Californias forced sterilizations of the feeble-minded in designing Nazi Germanys racially based policies.

Hitler began reading about eugenics and social Darwinism while he was imprisoned following a failed 1924 coup attempt known as the Beer Hall Putsch.

Hitler adopted the social Darwinist take on survival of the fittest. He believed the German master race had grown weak due to the influence of non-Aryans in Germany. To Hitler, survival of the German Aryan race depended on its ability to maintain the purity of its gene pool.

The Nazis targeted certain groups or races that they considered biologically inferior for extermination. These included Jews, Roma (gypsies), Poles, Soviets, people with disabilities and homosexuals.

By the end of World War II, social Darwinist and eugenic theories had fallen out of favor in the United States and much of Europepartly due to their associations with Nazi programs and propaganda, and because these theories were scientifically unfounded.

Social Darwinism; American Museum of Natural History.Americas Hidden History: The Eugenics Movement; Nature. September 18, 2014.In the Name of Darwin; PBS.Victims of the Nazi Era: Nazi Racial Ideology; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Social Darwinism - HISTORY

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How Darwin Shaped the Young Joseph Stalin – Discovery Institute

Photo: Paining of Stalin in the Joseph Stalin Museum, by Andrew Milligan sumo, via Flick (cropped).

Michael Egnor points out that Totalitarianism Is Darwinism Applied to Politics, citing Hannah Arendts famous book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, which draws the connection. The Nazis, as well as Marx and Engels, all drew from Darwins well.

Jonathan Wells notes that another figure in the totalitarian tradition was influenced by evolution from a very early age. As a boy, Joseph Stalin

talked about books all the time. If he coveted a volume, he was happy to steal it from another schoolboy and run home with it. When he was about thirteen, Lado Ketskhoveli took him to a little bookshop in Gori where he paid a five kopeck subscription and borrowed a book that was probably DarwinsOrigin of Species. Stalin read it all night, forgetting to sleep, until Keke [his mother] found him. Time to go to bed, she said. Go to sleep dawn is breaking. I loved the book so much, Mummy, I couldnt stop reading. As his reading intensified, his piety wavered. One day Soso [Stalin] and some friends, including Grisha Glurjidze, lay on the grass in town talking about the injustice of there being rich and poor when he amazed all of them by suddenly saying, Gods not unjust, he doesnt actually exist. Weve been deceived. If God existed, hed have made the world more just. Soso, how can you say such things? exclaimed Grisha. Ill lend you a book and youll see. He presented Glurjidze with a copy of Darwin.

The idea of an organic movement in history, sketched by Darwin, leads to thinking that seeks to seize control of society and forcibly direct that movement. Arendt needed a thick book to explain why. The case of Stalin, influential reading by a 13-year-old, is much more direct.

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social Darwinism | Definition & Facts | Britannica

Social Darwinism, the theory that human groups and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin perceived in plants and animals in nature. According to the theory, which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weak were diminished and their cultures delimited while the strong grew in power and cultural influence over the weak. Social Darwinists held that the life of humans in society was a struggle for existence ruled by survival of the fittest, a phrase proposed by the British philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer.

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biology, philosophy of: Evolutionary ethics

form of evolutionary ethics is social Darwinism, though this view owes far more to Herbert Spencer than it does to Darwin himself. It begins...

The social Darwinistsnotably Spencer and Walter Bagehot in England and William Graham Sumner in the United Statesbelieved that the process of natural selection acting on variations in the population would result in the survival of the best competitors and in continuing improvement in the population. Societies were viewed as organisms that evolve in this manner.

The theory was used to support laissez-faire capitalism and political conservatism. Class stratification was justified on the basis of natural inequalities among individuals, for the control of property was said to be a correlate of superior and inherent moral attributes such as industriousness, temperance, and frugality. Attempts to reform society through state intervention or other means would, therefore, interfere with natural processes; unrestricted competition and defense of the status quo were in accord with biological selection. The poor were the unfit and should not be aided; in the struggle for existence, wealth was a sign of success. At the societal level, social Darwinism was used as a philosophical rationalization for imperialist, colonialist, and racist policies, sustaining belief in Anglo-Saxon or Aryan cultural and biological superiority.

Social Darwinism declined during the 20th century as an expanded knowledge of biological, social, and cultural phenomena undermined, rather than supported, its basic tenets.

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social Darwinism | Definition & Facts | Britannica

Darwinism Would Fare Poorly Against Pandemics – Discovery Institute

Photo credit: ThisisEngineering RAEng, via Unsplash.

In anarticlelast month inNature, Ann Reid, executive director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), praised the apparent success of efforts to teach Darwin-only curricula in public schools. Weve addressed some major weaknesses in her account,here,here, andhere. Reids predecessor, Eugenie Scott, oncesaid, There are no weaknesses in the theory of evolution. Reids article frames the NCSEs dogmatic view of evolution as if it is necessary for solving urgent public health crises, such as the current coronavirus pandemic. Shes wrong:

Understanding evolution helped us to make educated guesses about how the [Spanish flu] virus might have changed between 1918 and the 1930s, when influenza viruses were first isolated. This enabled us to design reagents with the best chance of finding the killer virus. Once we had the entire sequence, evolution helped us to understand where the virus came from and how it moved between hosts


As another pandemic sweeps the globe, evolution is again crucial to understanding a pathogen. It helps us to learn how the virus circulates, and to identify its vulnerabilities. It helps us to counter conspiracy theories.

Im glad scientists are helping to give young people an understanding of evolution as they navigate our complicated world.

There is a dangerous irony here. Reid in her article points to medical advances in fighting disease as if they depend on the NCSEs idiosyncratic and dogmatic version of understanding evolution. In fact the progress we all hope for and need depends on rejecting the NCSEs view on Darwinism. It requires appreciating that there are limits to how much features can evolve.

When combatting disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, we dont use the idea that Darwinian evolution is of unlimited creativity. Quite the reverse. We design drug cocktails based on the fundamental premise that there are limits to how much viruses and other living systems can evolve. The more drugs we throw at a disease-causing organism, the less likely it is that the organism will be able to evolve the multiple mutations needed to evade the cocktail and survive, thereby becoming resistant. In his bookTheEdge of Evolution, Michael Behe shows that because there is an edge or a limit to evolution, we can use drug cocktails to combat antibiotic resistance:

To greatly increase the chances of successful treatment, one strategy is to use a cocktail of drugs, each component of which is able to kill a sizeable chunk of cells. For example, in urging that several drugs should be used simultaneously against malaria, one researcher explained:

Resistance to antimalarial drugs arises when spontaneously occurring mutants . . . which confer reduced drug susceptibility are selected, and are then transmitted. Simultaneous use of two or more antimalarials will reduce the chance of selection, because the chance of a resistant mutant surviving is the product of the parasite mutation rates for the individual drugs, multiplied by the number of parasites in an infection that are exposed to the drugs.

Suppose a cocktail contains two drugs, A andB,and that one in a million parasite cells is resistant to drug A, and one in a million to drugB.Assuming resistance to A is due to a different mutation than resistance toB,then the odds that a single individual cell is resistant to both drugs at the same time are multiplied, a million times a million, which is one in a trillion.

(The Edge of Evolution, p. 56)

In areviewof his book posted at their website, the NCSE recognized that Behes new thesis is that there are limits to what Darwinian evolution can accomplish. But they then said he was flat wrong:

Behes thesis of evolutionary limits hangs on the assumption that important evolutionary steps require multiple simultaneous mutations without the benefit of cumulative selection. However, there is no evidence to support this claim.

The NCSE reviews assertion is completely false.There are traits that require multiple mutations in order to provide some selectable effect. If this were not so, we would not use drug cocktails that force organisms to acquire multiple mutations a highly unlikely event before they can survive the antibiotic dose. To put it another way, if there were no evolutionary limits (due to the fact that some features require many mutations before allowing a survival advantage), then we would have no way to combat many rapidly evolving pathogens.

The NCSEs philosophy, if put into practice, would prevent us from being able to fight many pathogenic diseases and deal with pandemics. Yet that philosophy is exactly what the NCSE wants students to learn students, as in our future doctors and medical researchers. Refusing to admit weaknesses in the Darwinian mechanism is not only wrong as science. It also puts health at risk.

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Darwinism Would Fare Poorly Against Pandemics - Discovery Institute

On "Darwinism" – Scientific American Blog Network

He could have just said he didnt believe in evolution, or that evolution had flaws. Or, he could have said that a book with a whole unit on evolution was just too much. But William Buckingham, of the Dover Area School Board in Pennsylvania, didnt use the E word when he explained his objections to the biology textbook selected by the science teachers at Dover High School. Instead, he invoked a term that didnt even appear in that textbook. Prentice Halls Biology: The Living Science, he claimed, was laced with Darwinism from beginning to end. Surely, he must have thought, Darwinism was a disqualifying slander that everyone could understand.

As he explained his remarks to a reporter, Buckingham expanded on that theme, once again invoking the name of Darwin rather than the name of the field itself. Its okay to teach Darwin, said Buckingham, but you have to balance it with something else, such as creationism. Later that year, the school board attempted to do exactly that, pairing Darwinism with Intelligent Design, and leading to the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in 2005. The defenders of evolution won a resounding victory in that trial, but afterwards I was left to wonder how Darwins own name had come to be used as a slur against science.

To find the intellectual roots of that transformation, one need look no further than a 1998 essay by one of Americas greatest living writers, Marilynne Robinson. Author of novels such as Housekeeping, Home and Gilead, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, Robinson is also the author of Darwinism, a provocative essay that forms the cornerstone of her 1998 collection of essays, The Death of Adam. Robinson is no creationist. In fact, she writes that creationism, a caricature of religion, is the best thing that could have happened to Darwinism, since it justifies Darwinist contempt for the whole of religion. What, then, is her objection to evolution?

Surprisingly, she does not seem to have one, at least not a scientific objection. In fact, she regards Darwins work as impressive, and makes no argument for a young Earth, the fixity of species or any of the other usual creationist canards. But to her mind, Darwinism is something else again. She writes that Charles Darwin had a cheerful interest in the extermination of races, that Darwinism is harsh and crude, and that Darwinists regard the human animal as a creature who shares essential attributes with whatever beast has recently been observed behaving shabbily in the state of nature.

Robinson makes no case for the existence of a historical Adam or the Garden of Eden, but she clearly laments the way in which evolution, or Darwinism, has dispelled the civilizing myth of Adam, and the key assumptions that once formed the bedrock of Western culture, even the culture of science itself. If one were to seek an intellectual founding mother for the use of Darwinism as a slander against evolution, Robinson would surely get that honor.

A number of purposes are served by reducing an entire scientific field to an ism based on the name of its founder. The first is obvious. Evolution then becomes an ideology, not a field of science. This view is on full display at the lavishly appointed Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where visitors are assured that scientific data can be interpreted in two waysfrom a Darwinist perspective, or from a creationist point of view. Because both depend only upon ones preconceptions, the creationist viewpoint is just as valid as any other.

Like any supposed ism, Darwinism has an agenda, and its not just a scientific one. It dismisses moral values as the epiphenomena of natural selection, it promotes homosexuality, ruthless competition, selfishness and racism, and it seeks to explain the gems of western civilization, its art, music and literature, as nothing more than individual gambits that advance the artists own interests in sex and reproduction. These supposed evils derive from the way in which it advances a strictly materialistic view of nature, one that, in Robinsons words, denies the mind/soul as spirit, and regards the brain as nothing more than a lump of meat. Darwinism requires the disengagement of conscience, and the grand scale disparagement of the traits that distinguish us from animals. And Darwinists, she notes, take the darkest possible view of the animals.

The overuse of Darwins own name facilitates another line of attack, by pretending that the field relies entirely on Darwins own work, fashioned in an age before the modern sciences of genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology emerged to confirm and expand his ideas. This allows the pretense that evolution is a stolid, unchanging field, with few new ideas that might refresh its 19th century heritage. Any scientist would scoff at this, of course, knowing the vigor that new discoveries constantly infuse into evolutionary biology. But to laypeople, unfamiliar with the rapid pace of scientific discovery, this can be a persuasive argument.

Finally, by constantly railing against pernicious Darwinism, the advocate can map the many personal faults and flaws of Charles Darwin and his like-minded contemporaries onto evolution itself. Darwins racism is thereby presumed to be inherent to the field, as is the imperial condescension that might be found in any upper-class Briton of the period. Closer to the present day, the eugenics movement can be linked to Darwinism as well, misrepresenting the science of evolution as justification for the horrors inflicted in its name.

What, then, is to be done? Should we abstain from the use of Darwins name, stop reading The Origin of Species or co-opt the term by applying it broadly to evolutionary science? While I dont think thats necessary, we should keep in mind that many of our professional colleagues have indeed attached the authority of evolution to assertions that are more political and cultural than biological. One such field is evolutionary psychology, a discipline in which evolutionary principles can indeed be used to great effect. But it is also a field in which Darwinian just-so arguments have been used to explain everything from male and female shopping behavior to music and to tell us that the impulse to rape was favored by natural selectionso all males are potential rapists. A gentler example of this cultural overreach is proudly advanced by David Sloan Wilson, president of the Evolution Institute, who proclaims that in this century the theory of evolution will expand to include all human-related knowledge, including anthropology, art, culture, economics, history, politics, psychology, religion, and sociology. In short, step aside, humanists and social scientists, were taking over.

Maybe so. But Im still waiting for an evolutionary explanation of the thrilling beauty of a Mozart symphony or a James Joyce short story, to say nothing of a truly biological explanation for the particular political situations in the U.S., Venezuela or Germany. In advocating for greater public understanding of evolution, we might do well to keep in mind that it is a theory for the origin of species, not the explanation of all things human, great and small.

But there is a deeper, more powerful strategy that can get to the very heart of the fundamental concerns of intellectuals like Robinson and laypeople who share her concern that evolution diminishes the status of the human person. That is to use evolution itself to highlight the exceptional nature of our species. Yes, there was an element of truth in Henry Gees admonition that There is nothing special about being human, any more than there is anything special about being a guinea pig or a geranium. Frans de Waal made a similar point regarding the human intellect. We are, he asserted, animals not only in body but also in mind. Science blogger P. Z. Myers was even more explicit in his efforts to take us down a notch: we [humans] arent any more special to the universe than a sea slug. While all of these statements emphasize our full-fledged membership in the animal kingdom, they miss somethingsomething essential to a genuine understanding of the place our species holds in the evolutionary narrative.

Referring to the work of two great pioneers of animal behavior, the late Jacob Bronowski wryly pointed out that their studies of birds and rodents fell somewhat short of accounting for the most important details of human behavior: There must be something unique about man because otherwise, evidently, the ducks would be lecturing about Konrad Lorenz, and the rats would be writing papers about B. F. Skinner. That is exactly the point.

We are the children of evolution in every sense, part of Darwins fabled tangled bank. We must never forget that. But we must also remember that we are the only creatures to emerge from that thicket and make sense of it all. Darwinism does not diminish us. Rather, it puts the human experiment into a truly scientific perspective. We are not just hairless bipedal primates. We are creatures capable of the fugues of Bach, the verses of Yeats, the stories of Twain, the creations of Dal and, for that matter, the mathematics of Gdel, Ramanujan and Turing.

In contemplating the lessons of evolution for our species and our culture, this is how we should overcome the mindless use of Darwinism as a slur. Some may feel demeaned by our evolutionary heritage, but I would argue that the more appropriate emotions are joy and delight. Joy that we are approaching a genuine understanding of the world in which we live, and delight at being the very first stirrings of true consciousness in the vastness of the cosmos. Far from diminishing us, knowing the details of Adams journey ennobles each of us as a carrier of something truly preciousthe genetic, biological, and cultural heritage of life itself. Evolution describes not the death of Adam, but his triumph. That is the great truth of our story.

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On "Darwinism" - Scientific American Blog Network

Darwinism Quotes (148 quotes) – Goodreads

[Said during a debate when his opponent asserted that atheism and belief in evolution lead to Nazism:]

Atheism by itself is, of course, not a moral position or a political one of any kind; it simply is the refusal to believe in a supernatural dimension. For you to say of Nazism that it was the implementation of the work of Charles Darwin is a filthy slander, undeserving of you and an insult to this audience. Darwins thought was not taught in Germany; Darwinism was so derided in Germany along with every other form of unbelief that all the great modern atheists, Darwin, Einstein and Freud were alike despised by the National Socialist regime.

Now, just to take the most notorious of the 20th century totalitarianisms the most finished example, the most perfected one, the most ruthless and refined one: that of National Socialism, the one that fortunately allowed the escape of all these great atheists, thinkers and many others, to the United States, a country of separation of church and state, that gave them welcome if its an atheistic regime, then how come that in the first chapter of Mein Kampf, that Hitler says that hes doing Gods work and executing Gods will in destroying the Jewish people? How come the fuhrer oath that every officer of the Party and the Army had to take, making Hitler into a minor god, begins, I swear in the name of almighty God, my loyalty to the Fuhrer? How come that on the belt buckle of every Nazi soldier it says Gott mit uns, God on our side? How come that the first treaty made by the Nationalist Socialist dictatorship, the very first is with the Vatican? Its exchanging political control of Germany for Catholic control of German education. How come that the church has celebrated the birthday of the Fuhrer every year, on that day until democracy put an end to this filthy, quasi-religious, superstitious, barbarous, reactionary system?

Again, this is not a difference of emphasis between us. To suggest that theres something fascistic about me and about my beliefs is something I won't hear said and you shouldn't believe. Christopher Hitchens

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Darwinism Quotes (148 quotes) - Goodreads

Darwinism in full play as the pandemic rages – Deccan Herald

If you are, like most people, anxiously awaiting the good news that the lockdown has finally been lifted, in all likelihood you missed out on all the other news that have been making the headlines recently. Here is a sample of those headlines: How data can aid the fight against COVID-19; Facebook invests $5.7 billion in Indian internet giant Jio; Chile will issue immunity cards to people who have recovered from the virus; Why the wealthy fear pandemics; Miamis rich-poor divide is exposed by flawed Covid-19 testing; With selective coronavirus coverage, China builds a culture of hate; In India, a pandemic of prejudice and repression.

I find the above disconcerting because the overall theme of the articles contents reflects social Darwinism or survival of the fittest. It is hard not to miss the pivotal roles played by social media, e-commerce and money in setting the parameters of coronavirus testing, which is crucial to containing the pandemic.

Now that Facebook has acquired a 9.9% stake in Reliance Jio, it is only a matter of time before FB ends up owning Jio, whose assets of $26 billion pale in comparison to FBs $133 billion. If you think it wont happen, think again. Walmarts attempt to enter the Indian market in a big way was initially rebuffed, but it found a backdoor by buying up Flipkart, Indias e-commerce giant. At the time of the takeover, Flipkart had assets worth $2 billion versus Walmarts $236 billion. FBs first attempt to enter the India market by offering Free Basics was strongly rebuffed. It has since found a backdoor by zeroing in on Jio. All of this does not bode well for the public.

In an incredibly self-serving op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Facebooks CEO Mark Zuckerberg opined that Facebook was in a unique position to help researchers and health authorities get the information they would need to respond to the pandemic since it knew the identities of large numbers of people. Quoting from the op-ed piece, The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good. Note the use of the words we and superpower.

While we lost the war on privacy a long time ago, I think there is still time to contain its fallout.

When a successful vaccine is developed, I presume FB will be in a unique position to identify aggrieved communities to whom the vaccine should be made available. Just as effectively as it did in the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

In two recent coronavirus testing studies done in California, one set of volunteer participants was drawn from a random sample of email addresses and telephone. The second set of participants was obtained through advertising on Facebook. The first people to volunteer came from wealthy neighbourhoods.

Even though the population of New York State is 19.4 million (55% white, 15% black) and that of the State of Nebraska is 1.93 million (86% white, 4% black), NY received a paltry $12,000 in federal aid per infected case while Nebraska received more than $380,000. Likewise, in Europe, Hungary and Poland (both countries have been actively gutting democratic institutions over the past two years) which have recorded around 1,143 and 545 coronavirus deaths respectively, received 48 million Euros in assistance, whereas Italy and Spain, which have more than 60,000 deaths between them, received 6.5 million Euros.

As an article in the Guardian newspaper nicely put it, Using Big Tech to tackle coronavirus risks swapping one lockdown for another. To which I might add, physical lockdown is only temporary and will end, sooner or later, but the virtual lockdown never will.

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Darwinism in full play as the pandemic rages - Deccan Herald

Behe Vindicated Again: Sherpas Climb Everest Easier, Because Darwin Devolves – Discovery Institute

How can Tibetans survive high altitudes that leave lowlanders gasping? The answer is found in broken genes. A new paper on the Tibetan genome vindicates what Michael Behe said in Darwin Devolves: evolution breaks things, but sometimes, like in the case of polar bears, the result can allow organisms to thrive in specific environments. Yes, this follows on the heels of last weeks Behe vindication; see here.

A team of 16 scientists, writing in PNAS, sought to understand the genetic basis for Tibetan high-altitude adaptation in more detail. Tibetans and Nepalese, many of whom serve as guides for lowlanders wanting to conquer Mount Everest, routinely carry heavy burdens at altitudes above 14,000 feet, the average elevation on the Tibetan plateau. In its entry on Sherpa people, Wikipedia notes,

Many Sherpa are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local area. They were immeasurably valuable to early explorers of the Himalayan region, serving as guides at the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region, particularly for expeditions to climb Mount Everest. Today, the term is often used by foreigners to refer to almost any guide or climbing supporter hired for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, regardless of their ethnicity. Because of this usage, the term has become a slang byword for a guide or mentor in other situations. Sherpas are renowned in the international climbing and mountaineering community for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes. [Emphasis added.]

This sounds like a study in the evolution of higher fitness. Wikipedia goes on to say,

Released in 2010 by U.C. Berkeley, a study identified more than 30 genetic factors that make Tibetans bodies well-suited for high-altitudes, including EPAS1, referred to as the super-athlete gene which regulates the bodys production of hemoglobin, allowing for greater efficiency in the use of oxygen.

The news from UC Berkeley about the paper, however, does not specify any random mutation that causes super-athletes to be born in the competition for survival, but rather that the super-athlete gene was named because some variants of the gene are associated with improved athletic performance. Association is not causation. Those variants already existed in the human genome. Wikipedias misleading statement that 30 genetic factors that make Tibetans bodies well-suited needs to be qualified:

The genome-wide comparison, performed by evolutionary biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, uncovered more than 30 genes with DNA mutations that have become more prevalent in Tibetans than Han Chinese, nearly half of which are related to how the body uses oxygen. One mutation in particular spread from fewer than 10 percent of the Han Chinese to nearly 90 percent of all Tibetans.

Nowhere in the two papers published in this 2010 study did the authors establish that beneficial mutation(s) and positive natural selection actually conferred the high-altitude adaptation.1,2 Their measures of positive selection are inferences relying on the assumption, if a gene persists, it must be under positive selection whether or not it shows any benefit to the organism. Even if an adaptation is demonstrated, the variations show association, not causation. For instance:

It is plausible that the diminished Hb levels found in Tibetans offset complications associated with sustained high Hb levels (for instance, hyperviscosity) seen in non-Tibetans exposed to high-altitude conditions. Alternatively, decreased Hb levels could be a side effect of other phenotypes that are the actual targets of natural selection.

The second paper2 touts the EPAS1 gene as the strongest case for positive selection, but they qualify that claim with, Selection may have acted directly on this variant, or another linked noncoding variant, to influence the regulation of EPAS1. Consider this nebulous conclusion:

EPAS1 may therefore represent the strongest instance of natural selection documented in a human population, and variation at this gene appears to have had important consequences for human survival and/or reproduction in the Tibetan region.

The authors write with escape clauses like this, denying knowledge of actual targets of natural selection, hoping that further research will confirm them someday.

Does this research actually help Darwinism? All human beings are interfertile, members of a single species! There is no origin of species going on. We already know that some people are born with better athletic ability than others. The 2010 study appears to speak of the sorting out of existing alleles among populations of people, some of which worked out well for those living at high altitudes. Moreover, this sorting occurred within the past 3,000 years. Odd, isnt it, how human families tend to move together and marry within the group.

Positive selection for fitness, though, is not what the current paper in PNAS found.3 In Tibetan PHD2, an allele with loss-of-function properties, a team led by Daisheng Song found two broken genes that propped each other up.

Genome-wide studies have consistently identified compelling genetic signatures of natural selection in two genes of the Hypoxia Inducible Factor pathway, PHD2 and HIF2A. The product of the former induces the degradation of the product of the latter. Key issues regarding Tibetan PHD2 are whether it is a gain-of-function or loss-of-function allele, and how it might contribute to high-altitude adaptation. Tibetan PHD2 possesses two amino acid changes, D4E and C127S. We previously showed that in vitro, Tibetan PHD2 is defective in its interaction with p23, a cochaperone of the HSP90 pathway, and we proposed that Tibetan PHD2 is a loss-of-function allele. Here, we report that additional PHD2 mutations at or near Asp-4 or Cys-127 impair interaction with p23 in vitro. We find that mice with the Tibetan Phd2 allele display augmented hypoxic ventilatory response, supporting this loss-of-function proposal.

How can two defective genes confer a benefit to Tibetans, protecting them from hypoxia? Picture two walls in a construction project that fall in such a way as to prop each other up, protecting workers underneath from rain. Another analogy might be a leak in a gas line that is compensated for by a slowdown in the gas supply line by an accidental shunt that diverts more of it elsewhere. Thats a bit like this situation.

We propose that Tibetans possess genetic alterations that both activate and inhibit selective outputs of the HIF pathway to facilitate successful adaptation to the chronic hypoxia of high altitude.

The two broken genes end up facilitating the intake of oxygen in the lungs. At elevations that have only 60 percent of the oxygen present at sea level, that is beneficial to someone with the mutations.

Its a bit like the story of polar bear evolution in Michael Behes book, Darwin Devolves. Broken genes conferred on polar bears a better capacity to eat fat and tolerate cold, which has worked well for them in Arctic regions, where fatty seal meat is more abundant than berries that brown bears eat. Natural selection did not create these genes; mutations broke them. Sometimes things work out in certain environments, like Behes proverbial car that gets better gas mileage without the hood and rear seat when gas mileage is the most important concern at the time.

Nowhere do the authors argue for a gain-of-function genetic mutation. There is no mention of positive selection. In fact, the authors undermine earlier claims, saying that loss of function is the primary reason the Tibetans gained an advantage.

Previous studies examining Phd2 loss of function due to either point mutations in or genetic deletion of the Phd2 gene have consistently shown that Phd2 loss of function is associated with increases in either HVR or hypoxia-induced tidal volume, respiratory frequency, or minute ventilation, or a combination of these. These findings therefore support the notion that the Tibetan Phd2 allele is a loss-of-function allele, consistent with the biochemical studies demonstrating impaired interaction of Tibetan PHD2 with p23.

The loss of function in PHD2 is hypomorphic; in other words, it makes the protein weaker but not completely inactive. Intriguingly, another loss-of-function mutation helps compensate for the first one by minimizing damage that would otherwise result from the first break.

We propose that the Tibetan PHD2 allele is a hypomorphic loss-of-function allele that leads to an augmented HVR, while the Tibetan HIF2A allele is a loss-of-function allele that provides protection against pulmonary hypertension and erythrocytosis (Fig. 5C). Lowlanders have a robust HVR [hypoxic ventilatory response], but after long-term acclimatization to high altitude, their HVR declines. Tibetans have an augmented HVR that approaches the ancestral response of lowlanders, which may allow them to maintain high oxygen delivery from the lungs. In contrast to Tibetans, Andeans exhibit a blunted HVR. Thus, this study provides evidence that Tibetans possess a distinct combination of PHD2 and HIF2A alleles that reconfigures the HIF pathway in a manner that facilitates adaptation to the chronic hypoxia of high altitude.

Mistakes just work out sometimes.

Tibetans display augmented hypoxic ventilatory response (HVR), resistance to pulmonary hypertension, and relatively low hemoglobin (Hb) levels. These are considered to be adaptive. For example, the resistance to pulmonary hypertension lessens the risk of right heart failure, while the relatively low Hb levels (which approach that of lowlanders) may decrease the risk of thrombotic events associated with blood hyperviscosity. The augmented HVR can facilitate the intake of oxygen into the lungs.

Although this worked out for Tibetans, one could argue that fully functioning genes are there for a purpose, perhaps to warn humans not to migrate up so high on mountains, which is not their ideal habitat. Normally, human physiology responds by making them gasp for air and get sick.

Thus, the two genes conventionally used to illustrate adaptation by natural selection in Tibetans, PHD2 and HIF2A, are both loss-of-function genes. This reinforces Behes thesis that Darwin devolves by breaking existing genetic information. Darwin needs his magic wand of natural selection to create novelty and bring innovation to the world. He wont get very far by breaking things. Sherpas might be able to help him get up Mount Everest, but not Mount Improbable.

Photo: Climbers on Mount Everest, by Lloyd Smith, via Wikimedia Commons.

Read this article:

Behe Vindicated Again: Sherpas Climb Everest Easier, Because Darwin Devolves - Discovery Institute

52 ideas that changed the world – 49. Ecology – The Week (UK)

In this series, The Week looks at the ideas and innovations that permanently changed the way we see the world. This week, the spotlight is on ecology:

Ecology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of interactions between natural systems.

One core goal of ecology is to understand the distribution and abundance of living things in the physical environment, saysAmerican non-profit organisation theKhan Academy.It investigates the patterns in nature [that] are driven by interactions among organisms as well as between organisms and their physical environment.

Ecology is concerned with two main factors - biotic, which is living-organism-related, and abiotic, which considers nonliving or physical systems.

Ecology developed as a prominent strand of scientific investigation only in the second half of the 20th century, but ecological thinking has been around for millennia, says the Environment and Ecology website.

A form of ecology started with the Ancient Greeks, around 2,400 years ago. Theophrastus, a friend and associate of Aristotle, first described the interrelationships between organisms and their environment, according to theEncyclopedia Britannica.

Modern ecology arguably started with the publication of The Oeconomy of Nature by Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus in 1749.Linnaeus made the argument that if one looks closely at nature it is clear that even the simplest organisms have an important role to play in this natural economy; that no living thing is useless, says Encyclopedia.com.

German explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt advanced these beliefs, devising the theory that nothing in nature could be studied in isolation and all phenomena were connected.

But it is Darwin whose work most significantly expanded the field of ecology, and it is often held that the roots of scientific ecology may be traced back to Darwin, says Environment and Ecology.

On the Origin of Species is full of observations and proposed mechanisms that clearly fit within the boundaries of modern ecology and the term ecology was coined in 1866 by a strong proponent of Darwinism, Ernst Haeckel.

The 20th century brought huge leaps forward in the scientific study of plants and their environments, through groups of botanists in the US and in Europe.

The European botanists concerned themselves with the study of the composition, structure, and distribution of plant communities. The American botanists studied the development of plant communities, or succession, says Encyclopedia Britannica.

The British ecologist and conservationist Arthur Tansley developed the view that since plants exist in communities the ecologist should be concerned with the structure of communities, or plant sociology, says Oxford Reference.

Tansley then coined the term ecosystem in 1935, recognising that it was not possible to consider organisms without considering their physical environment.

Ecosystem ecology became one of the principal forces in ecology in the 1960s and 1970s and the basis of a new theoretical ecology termed systems ecology, says Encyclopedia.com.

Human ecology has become a distinct and important field of study in recent years, as more weight is given to the consideration that humans are a major ecological factor.

For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the weeks news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today

Ecology helps us understand the environment and humans relationship with it, something that is vital for food production, maintaining clean air and water, and sustaining biodiversity in a changing climate, says the British Ecological Society.

The human ecological impacts of climate change are key to understanding the future of the human species, and harnessing that understanding could be critical for human longevity, adds Dr Roger Rosenblatt in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Everything that we have accomplished in the fields of medicine and public health could be undermined if we do not pay attention to these rapid environmental changes, says Rosenblatt. By staying engaged in the natural world, we can help to prevent the collapse of the biological systems upon which we all depend.

Ecological research can also feed into the prevention of human disease. Earlier this month, scientists in Kenyadiscovered a microbe carried by some mosquitos that prevents the insects from being infected with malaria parasites - and by extension, from transmitting the deadly disease to humans.

As well as its importance to human survival, understanding ecology is important to nature conservation and the survival of a broad range of species.

Ecology allows us to understand the effects our actions have on our environment, says Conserve Energy Future.

With this information, it helps guide conservation efforts by first showing the primary means by which the problems we experience within our environment begin and by following this identification process, it shows us where our efforts would have the biggest effect.

Ecology is the foundation of how we can use Earths resources in ways that leave the environment healthy for future generations, says the Ecological Society of America.

Without ecological understanding, we could not protect humans, animals, the environment - it matters now and will continue to matter.

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52 ideas that changed the world - 49. Ecology - The Week (UK)

Sickle Cell, Darwinism, and COVID-19: Is My Life Worth Less Than… – Sickle Cell Anemia News

Survival of the fittest is a phrase I have come to loathe. This manner of thinking is particularly appalling to hear as a sickle cell patient. I have heard the phrase more frequently lately, against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic. But what does it mean?

Historically, the phrase was derived from Darwinian evolutionary theory and speaks to the process of natural selection. Natural selection states that characteristics advantageous to the survival of a species are passed down to future generations at the expense of less dominant characteristics that eventually die out.

Ironically, it has been theorized that the origins of sickle cell disease stem from natural selection. According to the theory, long ago, malaria crippled Africa and the Middle East, and the human bodys response was to adapt to its environment by mutating to protect itself.

People who have this protective mutated gene are described as having sickle cell trait. For the most part, sickle cell trait can be harmless, and members of this group can live relatively normal lives. (And yes, after all these years they are still less inclined to develop malaria.)

But when two people with these mutated genes have children, each pregnancy has a 25% chance of the child developing sickle cell disease.

With this in mind, it is evident that we sickle cell patients did not make ourselves sick. So, you can understand our frustration when people use Darwinism to imply that because we have weakened immune systems, our lives are somehow lesser in value than others. Even in the scenario in which someone contracts an illness due to their lifestyle choices, I think it is wrong to devalue their humanity with such rhetoric.

The U.K.s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic was to pursue herd immunity, a strategy admitted to back in March by the governments top scientific adviser. Yes, you read that correctly. For an at-risk patient like me, the initial response seemed to be, If we enable the virus to spread, large parts of the population will develop an immunity to it. Yes, some people will die, but it will only be a small number.

Additionally, the initial global narrative about the virus that causes COVID-19 was that it is like the common flu, with mortality linked mostly to the immunocompromised and the elderly. The belief that large segments of the population would be unaffected meant that those who are at risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 were left feeling as if they are disposable.

Why should I, and others like me, have our humanity diminished because of circumstances we have no control of? As if that werent bad enough, these comments allowed complacency to settle in peoples minds.

It soon became apparent that many of these assumptions were wrong. We all need oxygen to live, not just the elderly and the immunocompromised. Our respiratory systems work to ensure our bodies receive adequate oxygen. The COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory tract.

Additionally, different things can affect the performance of the immune system, such as diet, weight, sleep patterns, and stress.

Consequently, it makes sense that everyone should be taking the new coronavirus seriously, and we should have been doing so from the start. Children and healthy adults have died from COVID-19, and we also have seen cases of elderly patients recovering fully from the disease.

In the U.K., a TV advertisement emphasizes that COVID-19 is potentially life-threatening to anyone who contracts it, since so little is known about the diseases trajectory in patients. The advertisement adds that anyone can catch and spread the coronavirus.

This new messaging is vital, and I hope similar warnings are being communicated globally. But sadly, it seems that it may take a while before the initial misguided narrative of COVID-19 is completely corrected.

Going forward, I hope everyone will think twice before making sweeping statements about viral outbreaks. I also hope that the humanity of those who are immunocompromised or any group of people is never devalued in such a dreadful manner again.


Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.

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Sickle Cell, Darwinism, and COVID-19: Is My Life Worth Less Than... - Sickle Cell Anemia News

What Is Darwinism? – ThoughtCo

Charles Darwin is known as the "Father of Evolution" for being the first person to publish his theory not only describing that evolution was a change in species over time but also put together a mechanism for how it works (called natural selection). There is arguably no other evolutionary scholar as well known and revered as Darwin. In fact, the term "Darwinism" has come to be synonymous with the Theory of Evolution, but what really is meant when people say the word Darwinism? And more importantly, what does Darwinism NOT mean?

Darwinism, when it was first put into the lexicon by Thomas Huxley in 1860, was only meant to describe the belief that species change over time. In the most basic of terms, Darwinism became synonymous with Charles Darwin's explanation of evolution and, to an extent, his description of natural selection. These ideas, first published in his arguably most famous book On the Origin of Species, were direct and have stood the test of time. So, originally, Darwinism only included the fact that species change over time due to nature selecting the most favorable adaptations within the population. These individuals with better adaptations lived long enough to reproduce and pass those traits down to the next generation, ensuring the species' survival.

While many scholars insist this should be the extent of information that the word Darwinism should encompass, it has somewhat evolved itself over time as the Theory of Evolution itself also changed when more data and information became readily available. For instance, Darwin did not know anything about Genetics as it wasn't until after his death that Gregor Mendel did his work with his pea plants and published the data. Many other scientists proposed alternative mechanisms for evolution during a time which became known as neo-Darwinism. However, none of these mechanisms held up over time and Charles Darwin's original assertions were restored as the correct and leading Theory of Evolution. Now, the Modern Synthesis of the Evolutionary Theory is sometimes described using the term "Darwinism", but this is somewhat misleading since it includes not only Genetics but also other topics not explored by Darwin like microevolution via DNA mutations and other molecular biological tenets.

In the United States, Darwinism has taken on a different meaning to the general public. In fact, opponents to the Theory of Evolution have taken the term Darwinism and created a false definition of the word that brings up a negative connotation for many who hear it. The strict Creationists have taken the word hostage and created a new meaning which is often perpetuated by those in the media and others who do not truly understand the real meaning of the word. These anti-evolutionists have taken the word Darwinism to not only mean a change in species over time but have lumped in the origin of life along with it. Darwin did not assert any sort of hypothesis on how life on Earth began in any of his writings and only could describe what he had studied and had evidence to back up. Creationists and other anti-evolutionary parties either misunderstood the term Darwinism or purposefully hijacked it to make it more negative. The term has even been used to describe the origin of the universe by some extremists, which is way beyond the realm of anything Darwin would have made a conjecture on at any time in his life.

In other countries around the world, however, this false definition is not present. In fact, in the United Kingdom where Darwin did most of his work, it is a celebrated and understood term that is commonly used instead of the Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection. There is no ambiguity of the term there and it is used correctly by scientists, the media, and the general public every day.

More here:

What Is Darwinism? - ThoughtCo

‘Kiss the Son, lest He be angry’ | Columns – Weatherford Democrat

The title is taken from Psalm 2:12. The Psalmist gave this directive considering the reality of the sovereignty of God. He asked a question, which is as relevant today as it was when the Psalmist wrote it. Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Psalm 2:1)

I confess that over the recent weeks I have been angry, first with myself, then with those who profess to know the truth and live ignoring it. I ask, Have I failed to adequately teach Gods people about biblical worship? There appears to be little understanding of our need to gather for worship and whom we worship.

Our spiritual dilemma of faithfulness to Gods word versus civil directives appears to have clouded our, even my, thinking. Of course, we dont want to put others at risk for most activities, that is, except those physical needs considered essential.

The answer: confess my sins daily and constantly remind myself of the God whom we love. The one to whom we bow before in worship, our Redeemer who is the King and Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ!

I believe that our fundamental problem is our desire to be autonomous. We think that we are the center of the universe and certainly the most important thing is our physical health. Charles Darwin, for example sought to eliminate mans need of the Creator God. His theory was purposed in proving that all creation came about through chance and natural selection. He supposed that if his theory of evolution was true then man could assume the place of God.

Most have rejected pure Darwinism. Over the years there have been many caveats made to Darwins original theory. As we have learned more about Gods wonderful and marvelous Creation, pseudo intellectuals have modified Darwins theory to accommodate the observed intricacies of our Universe.

Darwin wrote of one of the weaknesses of his theory. He admitted that the theory of evolution could not explain the complexities of the human eye. He was sure that as technology advanced, those complexities would eventually be explained in evolutionary terms. Today the functions of the human eye are known but the eyes ability to do all that it can still points to the sovereign purpose of God. As we learn more about ourselves and the world around us, Psalm 139:14a gives us great assurance that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a sovereign Creator.

Still men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18) This is precisely the Psalmists point in Psalm 2. Faced with our true place as creatures before a sovereign Creator, we seek to be god and think that we can make ourselves safe. Especially during times such as these, Christians must remind themselves that God is sovereign. He is sovereign over everything. There is nothing that comes to pass that He hasnt ordained. But He is not the author of evil.

Gods word reveals the reality of living in Christ in all circumstances. Psalm 2: 11-12, Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way. For his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Serving the Lord begins with worship. Worship is humble submission to God. The New Testament calls believers to offer themselves as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God because that is our reasonable worship Romans 12:1. I pray that the Church will seek Gods deliverance so that we might again gather to worship and praise Him as He has commanded.

The Psalmist declared what was at stake for failure to know the truth. He said that Jesus anger, judgment and wrath would be experienced by those who persist in thinking themselves to be God. The most evident testimony that one acknowledges Christ before men is to bow before Him in worship.

This is not news. Yet, we have allowed the world to shape our behavior. Weve succumbed too often to the elevated worth of those who rule over us rather than govern us as we have elected them to do.

Jesus said to fear the one who can destroy both our bodies and souls in hell. Dont be deceived, Jesus is the Sovereign Lord. Fear Him trusting in His deliverance. He will have the final say. Christian, persevere in being a true disciple of Jesus. Remain in His word. Kiss the Son!

Lou Tiscione is the pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church.

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'Kiss the Son, lest He be angry' | Columns - Weatherford Democrat