How Emily Dickinson Wrestled with Darwinism – JSTOR Daily

Does Emily Dickinson ever go out of style? A new biography by Martha Ackmann came out just recently. The feature film Wild Nights With Emily, a biographical comedy, is now streaming. The old clich of the cloistered, mystical New England spinster has long been tossed aside for far more nuanced and interesting explorations of Dickinsons life and mind. She had, for instance, a considered engagement in the philosophical issues of the day.

As literary scholar Michelle Kohler explains, Emily Dickinson has emerged from recent studies as an astronomer, geologist, botanist, mental philosopher, and Darwinista learned, if amateur, scholar enlisting the scientific and philosophical discourses she encountered rather than an isolate succumbing to forces she could not control.

Kohler explores Dickinsons rich engagement with scientific and other scholarly disciplines as manifested in her poetry, particularly in her rich metaphors. As the luck of a contingent universe would have it, Dickinsons most prolific years coincided with profound disputes about the nature of knowledge, how knowledge was produced, and what knowledge might even mean. The poet, an avid reader of the Springfield Daily Republican (edited by a friend), Scribners, Harpers, and the Atlantic Monthly, was very well aware of these wider intellectual debates. Her poemsthe vast majority of which were not published in her lifetimeare a treasure trove of documents showing an adult working through what she learned as a child and a youth.

In the wake ofCharles Darwins 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species, to be learned was not simply to wield facts and specialized vocabularies but to be immersed in their undoing, Kohler writes. This destabilization was especially disturbing because scientific and other academic pursuits were not sharply distinguished from theological ones[.]

The theological heritage of Puritanism was strong. One method of research in early nineteenth-century Americathe empirical, or Baconian methodassumed that an immutable, intelligent creation ordered the universe. But the Darwinian notion of a contingent, chance-ridden world was quite another way of thinking. Darwinism, writes Kohler, might produce contingent, mutable units of probable knowledge rather than producing Truth.

For Dickinson, who lived in the middle of this time of intellectual disagreement, this meant a transition. She had been raised under the dominant approach to science in the first half of the nineteenth century: truth was a fixed entity representing divine order. Darwinians like Asa Gray and others engaged in vigorous debate with Baconians (including at least one influential friend of Dickinsons family) in the New England journals.

Kohler reads Dickinsons poems of the 1860s as interventions in this broad and ongoing cultural assessment of truth and the methods that produce it. Studying Dickinsons engagement with science and its methods, then, is to study her engagement with the broad dismantling of any notion of a stable epistemology or fixed notion of truth, whether scientific or theological.

Think Dickinsons poems are elliptical, or disjointed? The times themselves were out of joint. What Dickinson plays with is the possibility of a revised version of revelation or truth, writes Kohler, suggesting that the poet, who died in 1886, remains very much our contemporary.

Editors Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified Louis Agassiz as a Darwinian. He was, in fact, very publicly an opponent of evolutionary theory. We regret the error and thank our careful readers for pointing it out.

JSTOR is a digital library for scholars, researchers, and students. JSTOR Daily readers can access the original research behind our articles for free on JSTOR.

By: Michelle Kohler

Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 67, No. 1 (June 2012), pp. 58-86

University of California Press

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How Emily Dickinson Wrestled with Darwinism - JSTOR Daily

VIDEO: The Unholy Trinity Atheism, Feminism and Darwinism – 5Pillars

Lead instructor at the Islamic Education and Research Academy, Subboor Ahmad, explains the epistemological conflicts between atheism, feminism and Darwinism.

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Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

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VIDEO: The Unholy Trinity Atheism, Feminism and Darwinism - 5Pillars

Was Darwin wrong about ‘survival of the fittest’? Collaboration may be just as natural as competition – Genetic Literacy Project

To put it simply, we have let Darwinism set the horizon of possibility for human behavior. Competition has become a supposed basic feature of all life, something immutable, universal, natural. Yet new research from across various fields of study is throwing the putative scientific basis of this consensus into doubt.

TheNational Institutes of Health recently foundthat over 10,000 microbial species occupy what they call the human ecosystem, outnumbering human cells 10 to 1 and doing diverse kinds of work at almost every level of the bodys processes.

EcologistSuzanne Simard, as one example, has spent the past 2 decades studying the symbiotic fungal networks that nurture and connect trees. Thin tendrils that tangle around plants roots, calledmycorrhizal fungi, provide increased water and nutrient absorption capabilities to plants and receive carbohydrates from photosynthesis in return.

[W]e must learn to recognize the impulse tonaturalizea given human behavior as a political maneuver. Competition is notnatural, or at least not more so than collaboration.

This insight could hardly come at a more opportune time. With our climate crisis mounting, we dearly need new ways to think about our relationships to the diverse entities that share our planet.

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Was Darwin wrong about 'survival of the fittest'? Collaboration may be just as natural as competition - Genetic Literacy Project

Darwin on Trial As Fresh and Relevant as Ever – Discovery Institute

Editors note: Phillip E. Johnson, Berkeley law professor and author ofDarwin on Trialand other books,died on November 2.Evolution Newsis sharing remembrances from Fellows of Discovery Institute. Dr. Behes most recent book isDarwin Devolves. Thefollowing essay appeared originally as the Foreword to the 20th Anniversary edition of Darwin on Trial.

Twenty years can be a virtual eternity in modern science, so rapidly do new discoveries accumulate. Twenty years ago the idea of determining the entire DNA sequence of even a tiny living organism such as a bacterium, let alone the genetic endowment of a large animal such as a mammal, seemed a dream. Yet shortly before I wrote this foreword, the 1000th kind of bacterial genome was sequenced. The DNA code of humans was completed a decade ago. That of other familiar creatures, such as dog, rice, mosquito, and more, are also now public knowledge.

Its not only the genome sequences of organisms that has been brought to light in the past two decades. DNA is the instruction manual that tells cells how to go about building pieces of molecular machinery that actually run the cell. But, like trying to picture the end result of an instruction manual written in a foreign language, it is usually not very straightforward for a scientist to determine what kind of machines are going to result simply by looking at the DNA instructions. However, by performing clever laboratory experiments, investigators can probe the machinery directly. In the past two decades whole new classes of molecular machines have been discovered. One of the most interesting is a class of RNA molecules that helps regulate DNA. RNA (as you of course remember from your high school biology class) is a chemical cousin of DNA, and an intermediate between the information coded in DNA and its translation into proteins, which are the usual components of molecular machines. But other roles have been discovered for RNA including, most surprisingly, the ability to decide when some DNA genes are turned on and off.

In other areas of biology besides the micro-world, too, discoveries have been pouring in. New fossil finds, new ways that the brain communicates, and more, have dazzled the scientific community and the world.

Twenty years can be a virtual eternity in modern science but in logic, not so much. Arguments that rest on faulty premises and strained reasoning are not helped at all by the passage of time. It is the brilliance of Phillip Johnson, Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law, Emeritus, at the University of California Berkeley and an expert in the way arguments are framed and the unspoken premises they rest on, to have written a book, Darwin on Trial, that, despite the intervening years and progress of science, is as fresh and relevant today as when it was first printed.

Johnsons classic masterpiece came about rather serendipitously. While on sabbatical in England over two decades ago, he chanced to pick up two books concerning evolution. The first was The Blind Watchmaker by Oxford biologist and world-renowned atheist Richard Dawkins. Dawkinss book is widely acknowledged even today to be the most vigorous defense of Darwinian evolution available for a general readership. The second book was the less well-known, but soon-to-be-influential, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, by an English geneticist, Michael Denton, who at the time was working in Australia. Denton, an agnostic, was fed-up with the claims Darwinists made for their theory when he saw many problems with it. In the book he detailed his scientific criticisms of Darwinism with nary a single Bible verse to bolster them.

Reading side-by-side books by knowledgeable, secular scientists alternately criticizing and extolling the dominant scientific theory of our age, Johnson was enchanted. Clearly, he realized, something more than just the undisputed facts entered into the weighing of the evidence. And when a large theory such as evolution cuts across many disciplines, no one can claim to be expert in all of the evidence. Rather, the evidence is much better evaluated by a generalist trained to evaluate the logic of arguments and the assumptions lying behind them, as Johnson himself was exquisitely qualified to do.

If you thought tendentious theories and outlandish alibis were confined to courtroom shenanigans, Johnson will quickly disabuse you. Partisan strategies find their way into even the most abstruse scientific arguments. Johnson argues that Darwins theory of evolution relies heavily on the highly tendentious, usually unstated, assumption of materialism: the idea that the only things that really exist are matter and energy in the physical universe. If one begins with that assumption, then one has neatly gotten rid of the chief rival to evolution which has seemed much more plausible to the greatest minds throughout history: that a supernatural entity, God, possessed of great power and intellect, designed the cosmos and the life it contains. If, by postulate, no such Being exists, then something like evolution pretty much has to be true. The universe alone exists, so the universe alone must have produced life.

A neat little trick, and one which saves an awful lot of scientific work. If a scientist can beguile the world into thinking that his theory must be true by definition, and that others must be ruled out from the start, then evidence becomes decidedly secondary, and no rival theories need apply.

But what if one is unwilling to concede that postulate? What if one suspects that there may indeed be a Mind beyond the universe, capable of affecting it, as the overwhelming number of people throughout history have thought? In that case, Johnson argues persuasively, the typical evidence brought forward for Darwinian evolution looks far less compelling than its boosters make it out to be. If Darwinism simply has to be true, then two breeds of finches with slightly different beak shapes seems like stunning confirmation of the theory. If it doesnt have to be true, then you just have two birds with slightly different beaks, and the question of what formed finches in the first place stands. Soon the skeptic of Darwinism comes to the conclusion that a large part of the modern worldview is built not on solid scientific evidence, but on philosophical bias enforced with sociological prejudice.

Make no mistake, however that sociological prejudice has teeth. From ridicule to shunning to dismissal from a job, a variety of unpleasant consequences can be brought to bear on folks in vulnerable situations who dont get with the Darwinian program. You are about to read a dangerous book.

Thats what happened to me. When it first came out in 1991 I saw an advertisement for Darwin on Trial, ordered a copy, and devoured it in two days. Having earlier read Dentons Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (the same book that Johnson read on his sabbatical in London), I realized that Darwins theory had a lot of problems. But Phils book got me to see why it was popular with scientists nonetheless: it was the only game in town the only slightly plausible explanation for life that did not invoke intelligent causes. Then one fine day in 1991 I was strolling through the department office and noticed the latest edition of Science magazine. I stopped to look at the table of contents and noticed there was a news item on an anti-evolution book from an unusual source a U.C. Berkeley professor. I read the item and saw it wasnt so much a story as a warning to faculty to keep their students away from this book it might confuse them.

Im half Irish on my mothers side, so when I see such blatant tendentiousness I get ticked off. I fired off a letter to the editor of Science pointing out that this Johnson fellow seemed pretty bright, noticed grand claims being made for evolution with little data, and was likely to make up his own mind about Darwins theory, thank you very much. A person like that, I wrote, should be argued with, not condescended to. Much to my surprise, Science printed the letter, and to my further surprise a few days later I got a letter in the mail from Phil, thanking me for writing the letter.

Little did I know it at the time, but I was now in the circle of Phil Johnsons useful contacts. Over the years, more academics gathered in Phils circle and joined the high intellectual adventure of battling a decrepit idea that had managed to hang on through a combination of bad science and bad philosophy. Over the years we had our victories and defeats, but because of Phillip Johnsons leadership no informed person will ever again honestly say that Darwins theory flows straight from the data.

In Darwin on Trial Phillip Johnson discusses a number of strands of scientific evidence that in the 1990s purportedly supported Darwins theory, and he neatly shows they are at best inadequate, at worst contradictory. Lets revisit several of these topics and see if the intervening years have been kinder to Darwin. The three areas Ill briefly discuss are, in turn, mutations, fossils, and the origin of life.

Ultimately the fodder for Darwinian evolution is random mutation. Deep in the genetic endowment of some creature a change occurs that makes it genetically different from its parents. Since the DNA of living creatures is highly functional, usually the change is for the worse. The poor creature thus finds itself at a disadvantage in the struggle for life and its line quickly dies out in the process of natural selection. But on rare occasions, the mutation is actually for the better. The lucky creature has an advantage over its brothers and sisters, and its offspring over theirs. Over time the offspring of the fortunate mutant come to dominate the population. Repeat this scenario over and over again, and the result is Darwinian evolution. Or so the story goes.

In Darwin on Trial Johnson discussed what was know about mutation up until the early 1990s, which was mostly speculative. But since that time, with the newly developed easy ability to sequence DNA, evolution experiments can actually be done in real time in the laboratory, and the exact mutations that give organisms an advantage can be tracked down. What have these experiments shown? Just about the time Darwin on Trial was being written a scientist named Richard Lenski at Michigan State University began the largest laboratory evolution experiment ever. Lenski, a microbiologist, decided to grow cultures of the common bacterium E. coli in his lab. Because it is so small, the bacterium can reproduce very quickly (in less than an hour) and grow to enormous numbers (billions in a single test tube). Once the growing bacteria had exhausted the food in one test tube, Lenski and his colleagues would transfer a small portion of them to a fresh test tube. When that test tube became saturated with bacteria, they would transfer another small portion to another fresh tube. They have been repeating this procedure for decades, which in bacterial terms is upward of 50,000 generations and a cumulative population size of hundreds of trillions! This is roughly the number of generations and population size that it supposedly took for some primate ancestor to evolve into modern humans.

Along the way Lenski saw that his bacteria were improving they could grow faster than the starting bacteria could. However, the big surprise came when he and his coworkers tracked down the beneficial mutations. It turned out that mutations in the improved bacteria had broken a lot of genes and thrown others away. In other words, just as it may be beneficial to throw sophisticated-but-heavy computers and machinery off a sinking ship, it was beneficial for the bacteria to toss out sophisticated genes that normally were useful. That actually made the mutant bacteria grow faster than their relatives, but it hardly answers the question of where sophisticated genes come from in the first place. In the end, after 50,000 generations, not only did a new kind of organism not evolve, but rather the original organism was degraded. This is currently our best evidence of what random mutation is capable of: Most mutations are harmful, and the few that are beneficial break genes.

In Darwin on Trial Phillip Johnson criticizes the state of the fossil record circa 1990, and shows that it is not at all what Darwin expected it to turn out to be when he wrote The Origin of Species in 1859. The scarcity of transitional forms, frequency of punctuated equilibrium, the Cambrian explosion, the ever-shifting categorization of, and scandals over, supposedly human-ancestral fossils all gave the skeptic strong reason to think that Darwinism was less of a scientific citadel than a scientific Potemkin village. Yet anyone who glances at a newspaper or watches TV knows that major new fossil finds have been announced about every month or so for the past few decades. Do they make Johnsons argument outdated?

No, they re-enforce it. Lets look at just two fossils that have been among the more prominently publicized recently. In the mid 2000s several fossils were discovered in northern Canada of a strange fish-like creature dubbed Tiktaalik. The fossils were dated to hundreds of millions of years ago, to a time when there were thought to be fish but no vertebrate land animals, or tetrapods. On close examination the fossils were seen to have structures in particular, bones that resembled wrists that were thought to make them good candidates for transitional forms between fish and tetrapods. For several years Tiktaalik was hailed as the missing link between fish and land vertebrates. But its moment of fame was cut short in early 2010 with the discovery of fossil footprints in Poland of true tetrapods which were at least ten million years older than Tiktaalik. At a stroke, the Canadian fossil could no longer be a transitional form, since it appeared later in the fossil record than its supposed descendants. Thus, as Johnson argued in 1991, it continues to be true that fossils dont tell their own stories, and the tale of ancestors being modified into descendants still relies on Darwinian theory to fill in 99 percent of the details. Question the theory and the hard evidence is much less impressive.

In Chapter Six of Darwin on Trial Johnson describes a preview in 1984 for a group of anthropologists of a new exhibit of fossils related to human evolution. It was reported that everyone spoke in reverential hushed tones, and a sociologist remarked Sounds like ancestor worship to me. Intense interest concerning possible human fossils continues unabated and so does the exploitation of that interest. In the middle of 2009, the 200th anniversary of Darwins birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, a major new fossil find was announced of a lemur-like animal classified as Darwinius masillae and nicknamed Ida. It was initially billed as the earliest ancestor of humanity. Oddly, the discovery was announced by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, accompanied not only by a scientific paper in Science magazine, but also a book, a web site, and a documentary released within a week of the unveiling. It seemed that the announcement was choreographed in the hopes of cashing in on the year of Darwin. Unfortunately, Ida was quickly reclassified by unprejudiced scientists as an organism that could not be on the line to humans. The Ida brouhaha, and a remarkably similar one several months later over a fossil nicknamed Ardi, demonstrate Johnsons continuing point that the wish is too often the father of the ancestor in Darwinian theory.

Two decades ago Phillip Johnson also criticized reigning scientific theories of the origin of life as built upon little evidence and much interpretation. Today the advance of science has shown that there are even more severe roadblocks to chemical evolution than were recognized back then, so that the situation for materialistic origin of life theories has gotten substantially worse. Broadly speaking, for decades there have been two categories of origin-of-life theories: the metabolism-first view, where metabolic reactions in an enclosed space precede the occurrence of genetic material; and the genetics-first view, where a DNA-like polymer that is capable of carrying information precedes cells. The partisans of both camps have offered devastating criticisms of each others views, so that none are left standing. A paper published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in early 2010 by the prominent Hungarian scientist Ers Szathmry and co-workers offered a mathematical model that ruled out metabolism-first, and an article in 2007 in Scientific American by New York University chemist Robert Shapiro showed the massive roadblocks facing the genetics-first scenario. Bereft of plausible theories, the only reason at present to believe in a materialistic origin of life is if one holds it as a postulate that life must have had a materialistic origin.

The early years of life on earth, when bacteria and other single-celled organisms reigned, are getting stranger and stranger from a Darwinian point of view. Although Phil Johnson didnt touch on the subject in the early 1990s, the great advance in DNA sequencing of microbes in the past twenty years have given scientists much to think about. And one conclusion that seems increasingly firm, as leading geneticists have voiced, is that Darwins idea of a tree of life where a single primordial cell gave rise to all subsequent organisms is dead. The DNA sequence data cannot be made to fit with the idea. What sort of model, if any, will emerge to take its place in scientific circles is hard to guess, but there is no reason to think that early life was dominated by Darwinian processes.

Twenty years ago Darwins theory seemed a truism, simply because rival explanations had been ruled out of bounds from the start. Then Phillip Johnsons epic Darwin on Trial cut to the heart of the debate. It wasnt about evidence; it was about assumptions. And like the proverbial drunk looking for his car keys, no one searched beyond Darwins lamppost. Two decades later, even as scientific advances accumulate, Johnsons insight remains key. We must cast off arbitrary assumptions. If we are ever to arrive at the solution the search for answers to the question of how life arose and developed has to be free to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Photo: Tiktaalik, Field Museum, by Eduard Sol [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Darwin on Trial As Fresh and Relevant as Ever - Discovery Institute

Your Witness, Mr. Johnson: A Retrospective Review of Darwin on Trial – Discovery Institute

Editors note: Phillip E. Johnson, Berkeley law professor and author ofDarwin on Trialand other books, died on November 2. Evolution Newsis sharing remembrances from Fellows of Discovery Institute. Dr. Meyers forthcoming book isThe Return of the God Hypothesis. Thefollowing essay is drawn from the FestschriftDarwins Nemesis: Phillip Johnson and the Intelligent Design Movement.

I first met Phillip Johnson at a small Greek restaurant on Free School Lane next to the old Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge in the fall of 1987. The meeting had been arranged by a fellow graduate student who knew Phil from Berkeley. My friend had told me only that his friend was a quirky but brilliant law professor who was on sabbatical studying torts, and that he had become obsessed with evolution. Would you talk to him? he asked.

His description and the tone of his request led me to anticipate a very different figure than I encountered. Though my own skepticism about Darwinism had been well cemented by this time, I knew enough of the stereotypical evolution-basher to be skeptical that a late-in-career non-scientist could have stumbled onto an original critique of Darwins theory.

I should have known better, but only later did I learn of Johnsons intellectual pedigree: Harvard B.A.; top of class University of Chicago law grad; law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren; leading constitutional scholar; occupant of a distinguished chair at the University of California, Berkeley. In Johnson, I encountered a man of supple and prodigious intellect who seemed in short order to have found the pulse of the origins issue.

Johnson told me that his doubts about Darwinism had started with a visit to the British Natural History Museum where he learned about the controversy that had raged there earlier in the 1980s. At that time, the museum paleontologists presented a display describing Darwins theory as one possible explanation of origins. A furor ensued resulting in the removal of the display when the editors of the prestigiousNaturemagazine and others in the scientific establishment denounced the museum for its ambivalence about accepted fact.

Intrigued by the response to such an (apparently) innocuous exhibit, Johnson decided to investigate further. He began to read whatever he could find on the issue: Gould, Ruse, Ridley, Dawkins, and Michael DentonsEvolution: A Theory in Crisis. What he read made him more suspicious of evolutionary orthodoxy. Something about the Darwinists rhetorical style, he told me later, made me think they had something to hide.

An extensive examination of evolutionary literature confirmed this suspicion. Darwinist polemic revealed a surprising reliance upon arguments that seemed to assume rather than demonstrate that life had evolved via natural processes. Johnson also observed an interesting contrast between biologists technical papers and their popular defenses of evolutionary theory. When writing in scientific journals, he discovered, biologists acknowledged many significant difficulties with both standard and newer evolutionary models. Yet, when defending basic Darwinist commitments (such as the common ancestry of all life and the creative power of the natural selection/mutation mechanism) in popular books or textbooks, Darwinists employed an evasive and moralizing rhetorical style to minimize problems and belittle critics. Johnson began to wonder why, given mounting difficulties, Darwinists remained so confident that all organisms had evolved naturally from simpler forms.

InDarwin on Trial (Regnery, 1991, 188 pages)Johnson argued that evolutionary biologists remain confident about neo-Darwinism, not because empirical evidence generally supports the theory, but instead, because their perception of the rules of scientific procedure virtually prevent them from considering any alternative view. Johnson cited, among other things, a communiqu from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued to the Supreme Court during the Louisiana creation science trial. The NAS insisted that the most basic characteristic of science is a reliance upon naturalistic explanations.

While Johnson accepted methodological naturalism as an accurate description of method in much of science, he argued that treating it as a normative rule when seeking to establish that natural processes alone produced life, assumes the very point that Darwinists (and neo-Darwinists) are trying to establish. Johnson reminded readers that Darwinism does not just claim that evolution (in the sense of change) has occurred. Instead, it purports to establish that the major innovations in the history of life arose by purelynaturalmechanism that is, without intelligent direction or design. He thus distinguished the various meanings of the term evolution from the central claim of Darwinism, which he identifies as the Blind Watchmaker thesis, following Richards Dawkins the staunch modern defender of Darwinism.

Yet if the design hypothesis must be denied consideration from the outset, and if, as the NAS also asserted, exclusively negative argumentation against evolutionary theory is unscientific, then Johnson argued that the rules of argument. . . . make it impossible to question whether what we are being told about evolution is really true. Defining opposing positions out of existence may be one way to win an argument, but, says Johnson, it scarcely suffices to demonstrate the superiority of a protected theory.

To establish that such philosophical gerrymandering lies behind the success of the evolutionary program,Darwin on Trialevaluated the scientific arguments that ostensibly establish the fact of evolution. Johnson trained his considerable facility for analysis upon the whole edifice of Darwinist argumentation. He found a panoply of euphemism and wishful thinking masquerading as evidence: the pattern of gaps and sudden appearance in the fossil record described as rapid evolutionary branching, superficial variations in moths or fruit flies cited to substantiate the possibility of grand macroevolutionary changes, elaborate depictions of human ancestors based on scanty bone fragments, and biochemical observations laden with evolutionary assumptions used to justify evolutionary claims.

Along the way,Darwin on Trialasks a good many questions rarely asked in polite biological society. Given the fossil evidence, how do we know that hypothetical transitional organisms ever existed? How do we know that natural selection can create complex organs and organisms when genetics suggests the vast improbability of random mutations producing advantageous and novel structures? How do we know that the first cells did arrange themselves from simple chemicals if we havent yet established that they could? In each case, Johnson argued that we know because we have equated scientific method with a philosophy of strict naturalism and materialism. We know because the rules of science imply that some form of naturalistic evolutionmustbe true.

Johnsons attempt to re-open such questions has angered many members of the biological establishment who had grown accustomed to offering the public what Johnson called proof through confident assertion. His criticism of Darwinist orthodoxy initially earned him dismissive reviews inScience,Nature, andScientific American, the latter written by Stephen Jay Gould. Yet these reviews also helped publicize Johnsons thesis which has since struck a responsive cord with many scientists. For example, biochemist Michael Behe, who later authoredDarwins Black Box, the seminal case for intelligent design, first came to Johnsons attention after Behe wrote a letter defendingDarwin on Trialin response to theNaturereview.

Moreover, by the early 1990s some prominent neo-Darwinists such as Arthur Shapiro of the University of California, Davis, and Michael Ruse of the University of Guelph had welcomed the spirited challenge that Johnson provided to their views. Shapiro, Ruse, and eight other scientists and philosophers (including both defenders and critics of modern Darwinism) joined Johnson at Southern Methodist University in the Spring of 1992 to debate the central thesis of his book. The success of that event led to many others like it and a growing movement of scientists and scholars willing to examine the issues thatDarwin on Trialfirst raised.

Darwin on Trialre-opened long-dormant questions by challenging the evolutionary establishments reliance upon philosophically tendentious rules of method. In the process, it helped inspire an intellectual movement and a scientific research program that has begun to redefine our understanding of science and the origin of life.


Your Witness, Mr. Johnson: A Retrospective Review of Darwin on Trial - Discovery Institute

Bible revelation: Richard Dawkins reveals Charles Darwin theory for Noahs Ark – Express.co.uk

The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioural traits.Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring. However, Richard Dawkins has shockingly claimed this same idea can be used to prove Noahs Ark is a myth.

The vessel in the Genesis flood narrative of the Bible is used by God to spare Noah, his family and a selection of the worlds animals from a great flood.

According to the fourth verse of the eighth chapter, following the disaster, Noah's Ark landed on the "mountains of Ararat,and this is what Dawkins has a problem with.

In his new book, Outgrowing God, he wrote: Bible-believing Christians in Kentucky raised the money to build a gigantic Noahs Ark for people to pay to visit.

But youd think they might have given a bit more thought to the story.

If the tale of Noah were true, the places where we find each animal should show a pattern of spreading out from the spot where the biblical Ark finally came to rest when the flood subsided Mount Ararat in Turkey.

Instead, what we actually see is that each continent and island has its own unique animals.

Dawkins went on to point out how different animals originate from all four corners of the globe.

He added: Marsupials in Australia, South America and New Guinea, anteater and sloths in South America, lemurs in Madagascar.

Do people think the kangaroos came bounding out of the Ark and hopped all the way to Australia without having any children on the way?

JUST IN:Moon landing: How NASA employee revealed odds of total destruction given to astronauts

The lemurs all 101 pairs of them made a beeline for Madagascar and nowhere else?

In fact, of course, all the animals and their fossils, are exactly where they should be according to the principle of evolution.

He went on to make a loose connection to Darwinism, claiming the late biologist of the 19th century felt the same as him.

He continued: This was one of the main pieces of evidence Charles Darwin used.

Ancestral marsupial mammals evolved separately in Australia over millions of years, branching into lots of different marsupials kangaroos, koalas, opossums, quokkas, phalangers, and so on.

"A different set of mammals evolved in South America, branching over millions of years, into sloths, anteaters, armadillos and their kind.

Yet another set in Africa, and another set, and so on.

In the Bible, the miracle stories include faith healing, exorcism, resurrection, control over nature and forgiveness of sins.

For many Christians, these are seen as actual events, but others, including many liberal Christians, consider the stories to be figurative.

In addition, there have also been some bizarre discoveries on Mount Ararat.

Amazon Primes Mysteries documentary revealed how one man scaled the huge rock formation.

The 2009 series revealed: In 1955 French industrialist Fernand Navarra and his son scaled the northwest slope of Mt Ararat searching for the ark.

They made their way into a deep fault in the glacier and discovered a five-foot piece of ancient wood.

It was not a part of a tree, but obviously something that had been cut.

Navarras book 'Noahs Ark: I touched it' created an international sensation.


Bible revelation: Richard Dawkins reveals Charles Darwin theory for Noahs Ark - Express.co.uk

Pop Social Darwinism in Contemporary American Capitalist Society: the Marketization of Che as Individualist Symbol – CounterPunch


In what way is the selling of Che Guevara a negation of Che and an assertion of the Hobbesian ideology of rugged individualism and Social

Darwinism in US society? This is the central question that this essay will discuss.


1) In the last 20 years American capitalism has changed drastically due to the computerization of society, politics, economics and finance. For the first time globalization make a practical reality

2) The Soviet challenge to American capital ended and with it the terms under which American economic and political power functioned in the world

3) The alternative socioeconomic, political and ideological challenge of socialism as a practical day to day challenge came to an end, at least in the short term. Thus it became possible for the US capitalist class to dismantle the power that the state had in limiting the operations of private capital in other words, begin a process of dismantling that sector of the state that hindered the operations of capital (welfare state, redistribution, taxation, regulation, et al) In order to do all these things it was necessary to sell an ideological message that made acceptable an ideology that was pre-welfare state, that is, a return to the period from 1898 to the 1920s in the US. That meant a return to Social Darwinism the American ideology of unfettered capitalist enterprise (robber barons and all). But to do that it was necessary to dismantle the regulations requiring fairness in the media and consolidating ownership. The centralization of media ownership is now accomplished. The AM message has been neo conservative and fascist. The same has taken place, but at a different level and scale in the television networks.


The Context

Regardless of what the world may think it is imperative that Americans be duly socialized into the Hobbesian frame of mind if the United States is to get rid of the welfare state at home and engage in the brutal imposition of American power abroad. American culture has to move from the social contract world of liberal thought into the Hobbesian framework that claims that the world is mean, nasty, brutish, vile and violent and only the strongest and fittest survive.

It is not surprising that this is happening just now in the United States. The post-Soviet globalization of the world requires and necessitates that Social Darwinist ideology with deep roots in American history and culture become once again a fundamental part of contemporary popular thought. But the Social Darwinism espoused by William Graham Sumner in the early 20oth century of unencumbered laissez faire now married to sociobiology and narcissistic individualist ideology in order to promote a survival of the fittest attitude that the majority of the population identifies with because it applies to the other person, besides it is fun as well as profitable. That cultural work is the bread and butter of the television networks. For wealth accumulation is the goal of existence, in order to have fun.

If AM radio engages in neo fascist ideological warfare, American television is to teach friendly fascism as a form of entertainment. American television has come up with the survival of the fittest entertainment or cut throat competition. You win by defeating the others. The text found in every TV shows follows the views of Andrew Carnegie, the law of competition, be it benign or not, is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department. (Hs, Kenneth. 1986. The Great Dying: Cosmic Catastrophe, Dinosaurs and the Theory of Evolution. NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. 1986, p. 10).

Naturally, such political values dont flourish in a vacuum, and its no surprise that todays most memorable TV shows are reality programs such as Joe Millionaire, The Bachelor and, of course, the aptly named Survivor, all of which are essentially Darwinian games of selection, extinction and survival. [John Powers, George of the Jungle, LA Weekly, May 9-15, 2003]

B. Types of Social Darwinist TV Shows

1) Social Darwinism inside the corporation: corporate board room with the overpowering magnate where one has to sacrifice others to survive -but this is the text in hyper urbanized Manhattan, [Donald Trumps The Apprentice, The rebel billionaire] then

2) Social Darwinism between groups: shift to Amazing Race or Survivor Vanuatu the survival of the fittest again, who are willing to create coalitions to get rid of the weakest links in a sort of salami tactics approach until you get rid of everyone by means of numerous coalitions against just one (The coalition of the willing, a la Irak) or 3) Social Darwinism among individuals: trading spouses of the The Bachelor (after all they are commodities with use value)


The life and work of Che Guevara challenges Social Darwinist ideology. Neither Marx nor Engels nor Trostky, Stalin, Fidel or Mao seems to hold sway for the new consumerist generations worldwide. But Che, contrary to Fidel or Mao, died young. Marx, Engels and Trotsky are unavailable to people who are barely able to speak fluently in any language and are captured by image. And Korda, among others, without intending it have provided images of Che that have found resonance among the youth of the world. So Che the image-product has been sold.

But Che, the historical, the real, the revolutionary man has to be denied, aborted, erased from the world of the young. Why? Because Che is actually the real negation as symbol, theory and practice of ruthless capitalist globalization.

This leads to two different reactions. One is rejection, thus:

I believe that Social Darwinism coincides with the rules of nature whereas universalism is merely idealism at its worst. Socialists are just capitalists who do not have the ability to be successful. So fuck your Che Guevara t-shirts!

The other is to rob Che of any real meaning and to appropriate his image in such a manner that it becomes a product, one more item to sell and at the same time an emblem of POP SOCIAL DARWINISM.

Hence, the corporate version of Che is a distorted one on purpose. He has to be transformed from historical figure in order to transform him into an individualist, in search of adventure for its own sake so that Che merely tests himself against the world. So we will be provided with images of him crossing the Andes, or as guerrilla in Cuba, the Congo or Bolivia. The message is clear Che the adventurer, and then the next step is you conquering nature, becoming rugged while defeating your competitors. Finally you as triumphant American individualist, giving orders to the small man from little dark corner of the world to hurry up driving you to your destination, then you have triumphed and you will be a millionaire.

What are the qualities that are considered positive in this survivalist shows? Selfishness, deviousness, treachery, secret deals, two faced behavior, manipulation, betrayal, absence of responsibility, sacrifice and toss away the other [a form of downsizing]. And, of course, democracy is the process by which alliances are created to get rid of those considered redundant.


The fascination with Che Guevara and even with Fidel Castro is not because of their ideologies seeking social justice, participatory societies and a high degree of community. Rather, American capitalist ideology requires that they be seen as survivors, who one might detest because of what they stand for but the capitalist ideology envies them because of their ability to have iron discipline and manage to survive against all odds.

Indeed, the succession question what will happen after FC died was the question that revealed American ideology in its ultimate essence. For the capitalist wanted Fidel Castro to die and come to an end because he was NOT one of them, for he was the anti-capitalist, the very negation of the Hobbesian paradigm. Yet, he was also the survivor that Americans project as a sort of radical-Social Darwinist that has endured despite all odds.

And that they envied. They wanted Fidel to die just as it happened with Che, but they were afraid that in dying there will be no more symbols of their rugged individualism (as they conceive of it).

But Che, like Fidel Castro among others were symbols and actors and leaders of mass social struggles and of social organizations and social theories and ideologies that knew that a different world is possible and necessary.


1. Derek Alger, Game Show Darwinism, AlterNet, Posted February 19, 2001.

2. Beverly Lucey, The Social Darwinism Thing, Ethical Oasis, 06/23/2002.

3. Jenifer Johnston, Small, ugly, evil: welcome to Big Brother 5, The Sunday Herald, 23 May 2004

4. Leilla Matsui and Seth Sandronsky, The Passion of the Donald: Getting in Touch With Your Inner Psychopath, http://www.dissidentvoice.org.

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Pop Social Darwinism in Contemporary American Capitalist Society: the Marketization of Che as Individualist Symbol - CounterPunch

Darwinism | biology | Britannica.com

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 | biology | Britannica.com

Darwinism – New World Encyclopedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Darwinism - New World Encyclopedia

An Evolution Definition of Darwinism – thoughtco.com

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 the 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 this 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.com

Social Darwinism – Wikipedia

Social Darwinism is the application of the evolutionary concept of natural selection to human society. The term itself emerged in the 1880s, and it gained widespread currency when used after 1944 by opponents of these ways of thinking. The majority of those who have been categorized as social Darwinists did not identify themselves by such a label.[1]

Scholars debate the extent to which the various social Darwinist ideologies reflect Charles Darwin's own views on human social and economic issues. His writings have passages that can be interpreted as opposing aggressive individualism, while other passages appear to promote it.[2] Darwin's early evolutionary views and his opposition to slavery ran counter to many of the claims that social Darwinists would eventually make about the mental capabilities of the poor and colonial indigenes.[3] After the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, one strand of Darwins' followers, led by Sir John Lubbock, argued that natural selection ceased to have any noticeable effect on humans once organised societies had been formed.[4] But some scholars argue that Darwin's view gradually changed and came to incorporate views from other theorists such as Herbert Spencer.[5] Spencer published[6] his Lamarckian evolutionary ideas about society before Darwin first published his hypothesis in 1859, and both Spencer and Darwin promoted their own conceptions of moral values. Spencer supported laissez-faire capitalism on the basis of his Lamarckian belief that struggle for survival spurred self-improvement which could be inherited.[7] An important proponent in Germany was Ernst Haeckel, who popularized Darwin's thought (and his personal interpretation of it) and used it as well to contribute to a new creed, the monist movement.


The term Darwinism was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in his March 1861 review of On the Origin of Species,[8] and by the 1870s it was used to describe a range of concepts of evolution or development, without any specific commitment to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.[9]

The first use of the phrase "social Darwinism" was in Joseph Fisher's 1877 article on The History of Landholding in Ireland which was published in the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.[10] Fisher was commenting on how a system for borrowing livestock which had been called "tenure" had led to the false impression that the early Irish had already evolved or developed land tenure;[11]

These arrangements did not in any way affect that which we understand by the word " tenure", that is, a man's farm, but they related solely to cattle, which we consider a chattel. It has appeared necessary to devote some space to this subject, inasmuch as that usually acute writer Sir Henry Maine has accepted the word " tenure " in its modern interpretation, and has built up a theory under which the Irish chief " developed " into a feudal baron. I can find nothing in the Brehon laws to warrant this theory of social Darwinism, and believe further study will show that the Cain Saerrath and the Cain Aigillue relate solely to what we now call chattels, and did not in any way affect what we now call the freehold, the possession of the land.

Despite the fact that Social Darwinism bears Charles Darwin's name, it is also linked today with others, notably Herbert Spencer, Thomas Malthus, and Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics. In fact, Spencer was not described as a social Darwinist until the 1930s, long after his death.[12] The social Darwinism term first appeared in Europe in 1880, and journalist Emilie Gautier had coined the term with reference to a health conference in Berlin 1877.[10] Around 1900 it was used by sociologists, some being opposed to the concept.[13] The term was popularized in the United States in 1944 by the American historian Richard Hofstadter who used it in the ideological war effort against fascism to denote a reactionary creed which promoted competitive strife, racism and chauvinism. Hofstadter later also recognized (what he saw as) the influence of Darwinist and other evolutionary ideas upon those with collectivist views, enough to devise a term for the phenomenon, "Darwinist collectivism".[14] Before Hofstadter's work the use of the term "social Darwinism" in English academic journals was quite rare.[15] In fact,

... there is considerable evidence that the entire concept of "social Darwinism" as we know it today was virtually invented by Richard Hofstadter. Eric Foner, in an introduction to a then-new edition of Hofstadter's book published in the early 1990s, declines to go quite that far. "Hofstadter did not invent the term Social Darwinism", Foner writes, "which originated in Europe in the 1860s and crossed the Atlantic in the early twentieth century. But before he wrote, it was used only on rare occasions; he made it a standard shorthand for a complex of late-nineteenth-century ideas, a familiar part of the lexicon of social thought."

Social Darwinism has many definitions, and some of them are incompatible with each other. As such, social Darwinism has been criticized for being an inconsistent philosophy, which does not lead to any clear political conclusions. For example, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics states:

Part of the difficulty in establishing sensible and consistent usage is that commitment to the biology of natural selection and to 'survival of the fittest' entailed nothing uniform either for sociological method or for political doctrine. A 'social Darwinist' could just as well be a defender of laissez-faire as a defender of state socialism, just as much an imperialist as a domestic eugenist.[17]

The term "Social Darwinism" has rarely been used by advocates of the supposed ideologies or ideas; instead it has almost always been used pejoratively by its opponents.[1] The term draws upon the common meaning of Darwinism, which includes a range of evolutionary views, but in the late 19th century was applied more specifically to natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin to explain speciation in populations of organisms. The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase "survival of the fittest", a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.

Creationists have often maintained that Social Darwinismleading to policies designed to reward the most competitiveis a logical consequence of "Darwinism" (the theory of natural selection in biology).[18]Biologists and historians have stated that this is a fallacy of appeal to nature and should not be taken to imply that this phenomenon ought to be used as a moral guide in human society.[19] While there are historical links between the popularization of Darwin's theory and forms of social Darwinism, social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of the principles of biological evolution.

While the term has been applied to the claim that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection can be used to understand the social endurance of a nation or country, Social Darwinism commonly refers to ideas that predate Darwin's publication of On the Origin of Species. Others whose ideas are given the label include the 18th century clergyman Thomas Malthus, and Darwin's cousin Francis Galton who founded eugenics towards the end of the 19th century.

The expansion of the British Empire fitted in with the broader notion of social Darwinism used from the 1870s onwards to account for the remarkable and universal phenomenon of "the Anglo-Saxon overflowing his boundaries", as phrased by the late-Victorian sociologist Benjamin Kidd in Social Evolution, published in 1894.[20] The concept also proved useful to justify what was seen by some as the inevitable extermination of "the weaker races who disappear before the stronger" not so much "through the effects of our vices upon them" as "what may be called the virtues of our civilisation."

Herbert Spencer's ideas, like those of evolutionary progressivism, stemmed from his reading of Thomas Malthus, and his later theories were influenced by those of Darwin. However, Spencer's major work, Progress: Its Law and Cause (1857), was released two years before the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and First Principles was printed in 1860.

In The Social Organism (1860), Spencer compares society to a living organism and argues that, just as biological organisms evolve through natural selection, society evolves and increases in complexity through analogous processes.[21]

In many ways, Spencer's theory of cosmic evolution has much more in common with the works of Lamarck and Auguste Comte's positivism than with Darwin's.

Jeff Riggenbach argues that Spencer's view was that culture and education made a sort of Lamarckism possible[16] and notes that Herbert Spencer was a proponent of private charity.[16] However, the legacy of his social Darwinism was less than charitable.[22]

Spencer's work also served to renew interest in the work of Malthus. While Malthus's work does not itself qualify as social Darwinism, his 1798 work An Essay on the Principle of Population, was incredibly popular and widely read by social Darwinists. In that book, for example, the author argued that as an increasing population would normally outgrow its food supply, this would result in the starvation of the weakest and a Malthusian catastrophe.

According to Michael Ruse, Darwin read Malthus' famous Essay on a Principle of Population in 1838, four years after Malthus' death. Malthus himself anticipated the social Darwinists in suggesting that charity could exacerbate social problems.

Another of these social interpretations of Darwin's biological views, later known as eugenics, was put forth by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, in 1865 and 1869. Galton argued that just as physical traits were clearly inherited among generations of people, the same could be said for mental qualities (genius and talent). Galton argued that social morals needed to change so that heredity was a conscious decision in order to avoid both the over-breeding by less fit members of society and the under-breeding of the more fit ones.

In Galton's view, social institutions such as welfare and insane asylums were allowing inferior humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more "superior" humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with "inferiors". Darwin read his cousin's work with interest, and devoted sections of Descent of Man to discussion of Galton's theories. Neither Galton nor Darwin, though, advocated any eugenic policies restricting reproduction, due to their Whiggish distrust of government.[23]

Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy addressed the question of artificial selection, yet Nietzsche's principles did not concur with Darwinian theories of natural selection. Nietzsche's point of view on sickness and health, in particular, opposed him to the concept of biological adaptation as forged by Spencer's "fitness". Nietzsche criticized Haeckel, Spencer, and Darwin, sometimes under the same banner by maintaining that in specific cases, sickness was necessary and even helpful.[24] Thus, he wrote:

Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it.Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or moral loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man will see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to me to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race.[25]

Ernst Haeckel's recapitulation theory was not Darwinism, but rather attempted to combine the ideas of Goethe, Lamarck and Darwin. It was adopted by emerging social sciences to support the concept that non-European societies were "primitive", in an early stage of development towards the European ideal, but since then it has been heavily refuted on many fronts.[26] Haeckel's works led to the formation of the Monist League in 1904 with many prominent citizens among its members, including the Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald.

The simpler aspects of social Darwinism followed the earlier Malthusian ideas that humans, especially males, require competition in their lives in order to survive in the future. Further, the poor should have to provide for themselves and not be given any aid. However, amidst this climate, most social Darwinists of the early twentieth century actually supported better working conditions and salaries. Such measures would grant the poor a better chance to provide for themselves yet still distinguish those who are capable of succeeding from those who are poor out of laziness, weakness, or inferiority.

"Social Darwinism" was first described by Eduard Oscar Schmidt of the University of Strasbourg, reporting at a scientific and medical conference held in Munich in 1877. He noted how socialists, although opponents of Darwin's theory, used it to add force to their political arguments. Schmidt's essay first appeared in English in Popular Science in March 1879.[27] There followed an anarchist tract published in Paris in 1880 entitled "Le darwinisme social" by mile Gautier. However, the use of the term was very rareat least in the English-speaking world (Hodgson, 2004)[28]until the American historian Richard Hofstadter published his influential Social Darwinism in American Thought (1944) during World War II.

Hypotheses of social evolution and cultural evolution were common in Europe. The Enlightenment thinkers who preceded Darwin, such as Hegel, often argued that societies progressed through stages of increasing development. Earlier thinkers also emphasized conflict as an inherent feature of social life. Thomas Hobbes's 17th century portrayal of the state of nature seems analogous to the competition for natural resources described by Darwin. Social Darwinism is distinct from other theories of social change because of the way it draws Darwin's distinctive ideas from the field of biology into social studies.

Darwin, unlike Hobbes, believed that this struggle for natural resources allowed individuals with certain physical and mental traits to succeed more frequently than others, and that these traits accumulated in the population over time, which under certain conditions could lead to the descendants being so different that they would be defined as a new species.

However, Darwin felt that "social instincts" such as "sympathy" and "moral sentiments" also evolved through natural selection, and that these resulted in the strengthening of societies in which they occurred, so much so that he wrote about it in Descent of Man:

The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probablenamely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.[29]

Spencer proved to be a popular figure in the 1880s primarily because his application of evolution to areas of human endeavor promoted an optimistic view of the future as inevitably becoming better. In the United States, writers and thinkers of the gilded age such as Edward L. Youmans, William Graham Sumner, John Fiske, John W. Burgess, and others developed theories of social evolution as a result of their exposure to the works of Darwin and Spencer.

In 1883, Sumner published a highly influential pamphlet entitled "What Social Classes Owe to Each Other", in which he insisted that the social classes owe each other nothing, synthesizing Darwin's findings with free enterprise Capitalism for his justification.[citation needed] According to Sumner, those who feel an obligation to provide assistance to those unequipped or under-equipped to compete for resources, will lead to a country in which the weak and inferior are encouraged to breed more like them, eventually dragging the country down. Sumner also believed that the best equipped to win the struggle for existence was the American businessman, and concluded that taxes and regulations serve as dangers to his survival. This pamphlet makes no mention of Darwinism, and only refers to Darwin in a statement on the meaning of liberty, that "There never has been any man, from the primitive barbarian up to a Humboldt or a Darwin, who could do as he had a mind to."[30]

Sumner never fully embraced Darwinian ideas, and some contemporary historians do not believe that Sumner ever actually believed in social Darwinism.[31] The great majority of American businessmen rejected the anti-philanthropic implications of the theory. Instead they gave millions to build schools, colleges, hospitals, art institutes, parks and many other institutions. Andrew Carnegie, who admired Spencer, was the leading philanthropist in the world (18901920), and a major leader against imperialism and warfare.[32]

H. G. Wells was heavily influenced by Darwinist thoughts, and novelist Jack London wrote stories of survival that incorporated his views on social Darwinism.[33] Film director Stanley Kubrick has been described as having held social Darwinist opinions.[34]

Social Darwinism has influenced political, public health and social movements in Japan since the late 19th and early 20th century. Social Darwinism was originally brought to Japan through the works of Francis Galton and Ernst Haeckel as well as United States, British and French Lamarkian eugenic written studies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[35] Eugenism as a science was hotly debated at the beginning of the 20th century, in Jinsei-Der Mensch, the first eugenics journal in the empire. As Japan sought to close ranks with the west, this practice was adopted wholesale along with colonialism and its justifications.

Social Darwinism was formally introduced to China through the translation by Yan Fu of Huxley's Evolution and Ethics, in the course of an extensive series of translations of influential Western thought.[36] Yan's translation strongly impacted Chinese scholars because he added national elements not found in the original. Yan Fu criticized Huxley from the perspective of Spencerian social Darwinism in his own annotations to the translation.[37] He understood Spencer's sociology as "not merely analytical and descriptive, but prescriptive as well", and saw Spencer building on Darwin, whom Yan summarized thus:

By the 1920s, social Darwinism found expression in the promotion of eugenics by the Chinese sociologist Pan Guangdan.When Chiang Kai-shek started the New Life movement in 1934, he

Social evolution theories in Germany gained large popularity in the 1860s and had a strong antiestablishment connotation first. Social Darwinism allowed people to counter the connection of Thron und Altar, the intertwined establishment of clergy and nobility, and provided as well the idea of progressive change and evolution of society as a whole. Ernst Haeckel propagated both Darwinism as a part of natural history and as a suitable base for a modern Weltanschauung, a world view based on scientific reasoning in his Monist League. Friedrich von Hellwald had a strong role in popularizing it in Austria. Darwin's work served as a catalyst to popularize evolutionary thinking.[40]

A sort of aristocratic turn, the use of the struggle for life as a base of Social Darwinism sensu stricto came up after 1900 with Alexander Tilles 1895 work Entwicklungsethik (Ethics of Evolution) which asked to move from Darwin till Nietzsche. Further interpretations moved to ideologies propagating a racist and hierarchical society and provided ground for the later radical versions of Social Darwinism.[40]

Social Darwinism is often cited as an ideological justification for much of 18th/19th century European enslavement and colonization of Third World countries;[41] it has often even found its way into the intellectual foundations of public education in neo-colonized countries.[42]

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Social Darwinism - Wikipedia

social Darwinism | Definition & Facts | Britannica.com

Social Darwinism, the theory that human groups and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin had 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 in 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 with the assumption that in the natural world the struggle for existence is good, because it leads to the evolution of animals that are better adapted

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.com

Urban Dictionary: Darwinism

A buzzword that creationists use to refer to the theory of evolution. They use this word to try to equate the theory of evolution with ideologies like communism and fascism.

Such a tactic is dishonest. The theory of evolution is not an ideology. Ideologies are PROSCRIPTIVE--they make value judgments and say what should and shouldn't be done. The theory of evolution, like all other scientific theories like gravity, relativity, etc., is DESCRIPTIVE--it describes and explains facts. Such theories are testable by analyzing them to see what the predictions that they make, and then seeing if those predictions match the facts.

For example, applying the theory of relativity predicts where the stars will be. We look at our hubble telescope and see that lo and behold, the stars are indeed where the theory predicts them to be!

The theory of evolution predicts that the evidence will show that humans and chimpanzees are closely related. We look at human chromosome 2, and see that it's virtually totally analagous to two chimp chromosomes, and lo and behold, human chromosome 2 has a fusion site with telomeres in the middle of the chromosome! (Imagine taking the 2 chimp chromosomes and "scotch-taping" them together--that's what human chromosome 2 looks like).

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Urban Dictionary: Darwinism

Darwinism – Free online games at Gamesgames.com

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Challenge B Origins Six More Summers

As we begin Challenge B with the study of Origins, and Defeating Darwinism, I am positive that one of the areas my students will struggle will be in summarizingthe chapters of the book. The text can be wordy and a bit complicated and thought-provoking even for adults, so Im sure there will be places our kids will get a bit tangled up and summarizing a jumbled up thought will be difficult on a good day.

In an attempt to aid parents and tutors in surviving the summarizing of Defeating Darwinism, I am creating outlines for the chapters, which guide students in summarizing in their own words, but through questions that help them understand what it means to summarize.

Please feel free to download and use these summaries however you see fit.

I actually summarized the entire first chapter for my students and handed it out to them on the first day. We read through the chapter together and discussed how the points in the book were summarized on the page. My plan is to gently wean my students off of needing a template to summarize and to lead them towards formal outlining but Im working a week at a time, so we will see where it leads!

Best of luck as you tackle this big piece of literature. If you have suggestions or comments, please enter them below.

~ Amy

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 1(completed)

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Defeating Darwinism Chapter 3

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 4

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 5

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 6

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 7

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 8

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Challenge B Origins Six More Summers

What is Social Darwinism – AllAboutScience.org

QUESTION: What is Social Darwinism?


Herbert Spencer, a 19th century philosopher, promoted the idea of Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is an application of the theory of natural selection to social, political, and economic issues. In its simplest form, Social Darwinism follows the mantra of "the strong survive," including human issues. This theory was used to promote the idea that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them.

At the time that Spencer began to promote Social Darwinism, the technology, economy, and government of the "White European" was advanced in comparison to that of other cultures. Looking at this apparent advantage, as well as the economic and military structures, some argued that natural selection was playing out, and that the race more suited to survival was winning. Some even extended this philosophy into a micro-economic issue, claiming that social welfare programs that helped the poor and disadvantaged were contrary to nature itself. Those who reject any and all forms of charity or governmental welfare often use arguments rooted in Social Darwinism.

At its worst, the implications of Social Darwinism were used as scientific justification for the Holocaust. The Nazis claimed that the murder of Jews in World War II was an example of cleaning out the inferior genetics. Many philosophers noted evolutionary echoes in Hitler's march to exterminate an entire race of people. Various other dictators and criminals have claimed the cause of Social Darwinism in carrying out their acts. Even without such actions, Social Darwinism has proven to be a false and dangerous philosophy.

Scientists and evolutionists maintain that this interpretation is only loosely based on Darwin's theory of natural selection. They will admit to an obvious parallel between Darwin's theory of Natural Selection and Spencer's beliefs. In nature, the strong survive and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak. According to Social Darwinism, those with strength (economic, physical, technological) flourish and those without are destined for extinction.

It is important to note that Darwin did not extend his theories to a social or economic level, nor are any credible evolutionists subscribing to the theories of Social Darwinism. Herbert Spencer's philosophy is only loosely based on the premises of Darwin's work.

However, according to evolutionary theory, nature is a "kill-or-be-killed" system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. If evolution, through chance, is solely responsible for life as we now know it, why should that process be countered? If "survival of the fittest" or "kill or be killed" cannot apply in what we define as "decent society," then, which is wrong, society or evolution? If neither, then how do we explain morality, charity, and compassion? Why drain resources from the strong to support the weak? Certainly, we should be charitable and help those in need.

Though Darwin did not promote Social Darwinism, basic evolutionary theory raises some nagging questions.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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What is Social Darwinism - AllAboutScience.org

Pseudo-scientific racism and Social Darwinism | South …

Before learning about Social Darwinism, it is important to understand Darwinism. Here is a brief summary, but you can read more in the section in Grade 7 Human Evolution.


Today the theory of evolution is a well supported, unifying principle in biology, which explains how life on earth began and developed. The scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that all living things share a common ancestry.

Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, is the person most remembered for his contribution to how the process of evolution works. He wrote a book, published over 150 years ago, called On the Origin of Species, which was very controversial at the time.

His scientific explanation of how evolution occurs was essentially correct, but incomplete. On the basis of newer knowledge, and particularly advances in genetics and molecular biology, many of Darwin's concepts have developed into the more complete modern theory of evolution.

Science and religion

In the 19th century, Darwin's discoveries made an enormous impact in England, Western Europe, their colonies, and the USA, where Christianity was the dominant religion. Darwin's theory was seen to be in conflict with the literal interpretation of special creation to be found in the Bible in the Book of Genesis, and even today Darwin's work raises emotional responses among fundamentalists.

It can be argued that religion does not explain how the world works. Religion is about faith and hope and answers questions about 'why'. Science on the other hand, is rational and evidence-based and answers questions about 'how'. Religion and science should not be seen as two different worldviews as they do not provide solutions to the same questions.

Many learners and educators struggle with aligning their religious beliefs with scientific evidence and may find it helpful to read:philosophytalk.org

One of the world's greatest cosmologists, a South African based at the University of Cape Town, Prof. George Ellis, won the prestigious Templeton Prize in 2005 for advancing the understanding between science and religion. He is a key figure in the discussion of the boundaries between science and theology.

What is Social Darwinism?

Darwinism and Social Darwinism have very little in common, apart from the name and a few basic concepts, which Social Darwinists misapplied. The theory that there is a hierarchy of human species into 'races' has affected international politics, economics and social development across the globe.

Social Darwinism is a false application of Darwin's ideas such as adaptation and natural selection, and does not really follow from Darwinian thinking in any way. Social Darwinism is a belief, which became popular in England, Europe and America, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher in the 19th century was one of the most important Social Darwinists.

Social Darwinism does not believe in the principle of equality of all human beings. It states that:

Some human beings are biologically superior to others

The strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society

The weak and unfit should be allowed to die

There was a constant struggle between humans and the strongest always would win. The strongest nation was the fittest, therefore the best, and consequently had an inherent right to rule.

Social Darwinism applied the 'survival of the fittest' to human 'races' and said that 'might makes right'. Not only was survival of the fittest seen as something natural, but it was also morally correct. It was therefore natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. White Protestant Europeans had evolved much further and faster than other "races."

So-called 'white civilised' industrial nations that had technologically advanced weapons had the moral right to conquer and 'civilize' the 'savage blacks' of the world. Social Darwinism was used to rationalise imperialism, colonialism, racism and poverty.

The beliefs associated with Social Darwinism were discredited during the 20th century, as the increasing knowledge of biological, social, and cultural phenomena does not support its basic tenets.

The concept of 'human races' is scientifically invalid. Physical characteristics do not relate in any way to mental or behavioural attributes. Many people argue that the word 'race' should no longer be used for the following reasons:

Most scientists today would say that there is no such thing as race.

The misinterpretation of the term 'race' to classify people has gone hand in hand with contempt for human rights.

Social Darwinism is by no means dead, as traces of it can be found in the present.

What is eugenics?

Eugenics is a more extreme form of Social Darwinism, which is linked to the racist doctrines of Nazi Germany. Eugenics was one of the pillars of Nazi ideology, and in Nazi Germany state-run eugenics programs were practiced.

The Englishman, Sir Francis Galton, coined the word eugenics for the study of human improvement by genetic means. Galton believed in:

the idea of planned human betterment through selective mating

a system of arranged marriages between men of 'distinction' and women of wealth to produce a 'gifted race'

mental qualities (such as genius and talent) are inherited.

Conscious intervention to avoid over-breeding by "less fit" members of society and the under-breeding of the "more fit" ones.

In Galton's view, social institutions such as welfare and mental asylums were allowing "inferior" humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more "superior" humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with "inferiors."

What is Genocide?

In 1948, as a result of the Holocaust, the newly created United Nations Organization adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Genocide includes the following acts 'committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group' by:

Killing members of the group

Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Notions of Race: Why is studying human origins important?

The ideas of Social Darwinism also affected South Africa. Because of South Africa's long colonial and apartheid history, the ethnic and racial terms that have been used to categorise us - white, African, coloured, Indian - have in many ways become part of our identities. And because the laws that existed were applied according to these categories, we often still use these racial and ethnic labels. However, it is important to remember that the racial and ethnic categories used to describe South Africans are constructed and based on the false ideas of Social Darwinism.

People often ask 'how does understanding the science of human evolution help us?' A good reason is that it answers the question of 'race'. Scientists say that 'race' is a cultural or social construct and not a biological one. Superficial criteria of physical appearance have been used to create categories of people and classified humans into 'race groups'. The study of human evolution shows us that all humans share a common ancestry - we are all Africans in the sense that we all descended from ancestors who lived in Africa as recently as 100 000 years ago.

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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and …

Why Darwinismlike Marxism and Freudianism before itis headed for extinction

In the 1925 Scopes trial, the American Civil Liberties Union sued to allow the teaching of Darwins theory of evolution in public schools. Seventy-five years later, in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the ACLU sued to prevent the teaching of an alternative to Darwins theory known as "Intelligent Design"and won. Why did the ACLU turn from defending the free-speech rights of Darwinists to silencing their opponents? Jonathan Wells reveals that, for todays Darwinists, there may be no other choice: unable to fend off growing challenges from scientists, or to compete with rival theories better adapted to the latest evidence, Darwinismlike Marxism and Freudianism before itis simply unfit to survive.

Wells begins by explaining the basic tenets of Darwinism, and the evidence both for and against it. He reveals, for instance, that the fossil record, which according to Darwin should be teeming with "transitional" fossils showing the development of one species to the next, so far hasnt produced a single incontestable example. On the other hand, certain well-documented aspects of the fossil recordsuch as the Cambrian explosion, in which innumerable new species suddenly appeared fully formeddirectly contradict Darwins theory. Wells also shows how most of the other "evidence" for evolution including textbook "icons" such as peppered moths, Darwins finches, Haeckels embryos, and the Tree of Lifehas been exaggerated, distorted . . . and even faked.

Wells then turns to the theory of intelligent design (ID), the idea that some features of the natural world, such as the internal machinery of cells, are too "irreducibly complex" to have resulted from unguided natural processes alone. In clear-cut laymans language, he reveals the growing evidence for ID coming out of scientific specialties from microbiology to astrophysics. As Wells explains, religion does play a role in the debate over Darwinthough not in the way evolutionists claim. Wells shows how Darwin reasoned that evolution is true because divine creation "must" be falsea theological assumption oddly out of place in a scientific debate. In other words, Darwinists materialistic, atheistic assumptions rule out any theories but their own, and account for their willingness to explain away the evidenceor lack of it.

Darwin is an emperor who has no clothes but it takes a brave man to say so. Jonathan Wells, a microbiologist with two Ph.D.s (from Berkeley and Yale), is that brave man. Most textbooks on evolution are written by Darwinists with an ideological ax to grind. Brave dissidentsqualified scientistswho try to teach or write about intelligent design are silenced and sent to the academic gulag. But fear not: Jonathan Wells is a liberator. He unmasks the truth about Darwinism why it is wrong and what the real evidence is. He also supplies a revealing list of "Books Youre Not Supposed to Read" (as far as the Darwinists are concerned) and puts at your fingertips all the evidence you need to challenge the most closed-minded Darwinist.

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Challenge B Origins | Six More Summers

As we begin Challenge B with the study of Origins, and Defeating Darwinism, I am positive that one of the areas my students will struggle will be in summarizingthe chapters of the book. The text can be wordy and a bit complicated and thought-provoking even for adults, so Im sure there will be places our kids will get a bit tangled up and summarizing a jumbled up thought will be difficult on a good day.

In an attempt to aid parents and tutors in surviving the summarizing of Defeating Darwinism, I am creating outlines for the chapters, which guide students in summarizing in their own words, but through questions that help them understand what it means to summarize.

Please feel free to download and use these summaries however you see fit.

I actually summarized the entire first chapter for my students and handed it out to them on the first day. We read through the chapter together and discussed how the points in the book were summarized on the page. My plan is to gently wean my students off of needing a template to summarize and to lead them towards formal outlining but Im working a week at a time, so we will see where it leads!

Best of luck as you tackle this big piece of literature. If you have suggestions or comments, please enter them below.

~ Amy

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 1(completed)

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 1 blank(empty for students to fill in)

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 2

Summarization Options and Tips

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 3

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 4

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 5

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 6

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 7

Defeating Darwinism Chapter 8

Read the original here:

Challenge B Origins | Six More Summers

Neo-Darwinism – Wikipedia

Neo-Darwinism is the interpretation of Darwinian evolution through natural selection as it has variously been modified since it was first proposed. It was early on used to name Charles Darwin's ideas of natural selection separated from his hypothesis of pangenesis as a Lamarckian source of variation involving blending inheritance.[1]

In the early 20th century, the concept became associated with the modern synthesis of natural selection and Mendelian genetics that took place at that time.

In the late 20th century and into the 21st century, neo-Darwinism denoted any strong advocacy of Darwin's thinking, such as the gene-centered view of evolution.

As part of the disagreement about whether natural selection alone was sufficient to explain speciation, in 1880, Samuel Butler called Alfred Russel Wallace's view neo-Darwinism.[2][3]

The term was again used by George Romanes in 1895 to refer to the version of evolution advocated by Wallace and August Weismann with its heavy dependence on natural selection.[4]

Weismann and Wallace rejected the Lamarckian idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics that even Darwin took for granted.[5][6] The term was first used to explain that evolution occurs solely through natural selection, and not by the inheritance of acquired characteristics resulting from use or disuse.[7] The basis for the complete rejection of Lamarckism was Weismann's germ plasm theory. Weismann realised that the cells that produce the germ plasm, or gametes (such as sperm and egg in animals), separate from the somatic cells that go on to make other body tissues at an early stage in development. Since he could see no obvious means of communication between the two, he asserted that the inheritance of acquired characteristics was therefore impossible; a conclusion now known as the Weismann barrier.[8]

From the 1880s to the 1930s, the term continued to be applied to the panselectionist school of thought, which argued that natural selection was the main and perhaps sole cause of all evolution.[9] From then until around 1947, the term was used for the panselectionist followers of Ronald Fisher.

Following the development, from about 1918 to 1947, of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology, the term neo-Darwinian was often used to refer to that contemporary evolutionary theory.[10][11]

Biologists however have not limited their application of the term neo-Darwinism to the historical modern synthesis. For example, Ernst Mayr wrote in 1984 that "the term neo-Darwinism for the synthetic theory [the modern synthesis of the early 20th century] is wrong, because the term neo-Darwinism was coined by Romanes in 1895 as a designation of Weismann's theory."[12][1][7][13] Publications such as Encyclopdia Britannica similarly use neo-Darwinism to refer to current evolutionary theory, not the version current during the early 20th century synthesis.[14] Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have used the term in their writings and lectures to denote the forms of evolutionary biology that were contemporary when they were writing.[15][16]

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Neo-Darwinism - Wikipedia