There is a confession that I have to make, I've allowed myself to be restrained in what I've said about Charles Darwin, even in these posts. This morning I did a re-write of the Afterword to yesterday's post to make it a more accurate conclusion drawn from the record of Charles Darwin and what that means for us, today. It was not to Darwin's benefit, though it retained the possibility of uncertainty where I left it yesterday, it pointed out what he can be charged with based on his own words and acts to an absolute certainty.
Charles Darwin has a unique position in the culture of science, there is no other scientist whose persona is so identified with a massive field of science well over a century after his death. There is a real, social and likely professional risk in dissing Darwin. The prohibition in the purportedly educated world on presenting his extremely malignant legacy, as it is right there in plain sight, is a political and not a scientific requirement. And it is, most of all, a class rule to maintain a reputable standing among those self-considered, educated, modern folks. If you are critical of Charles Darwin you will be considered an un-educated, science denying, yahoo, who probably speaks with a Southern accent, is a racist (irony of ironies), has not been to college and who probably doesn't read, follows NASCAR and, of course, is a Biblical fundamentalist, of course, equating all of those things with utter stupidity and backwardness. Considering that it's generally the case that anyone who can hold the mythical Darwin of the self-appointed educated class as a reality is someone who has never read his books, the complete phenomenon of the mythical Darwin is more of a sign of the phoniness of that class as it is today than anything to do with reality.
The greatest irony of all, though, is that modern evolutionary science doesn't depend on Charles Darwin or his conception of natural selection, which was superseded by newer versions, under the same name, continually up till today. Evolution has massive physical confirmation, an enormous physical basis of evidence that would stand even if its most basic theoretical explanation changes, as it has and will with more knowledge. I think it's probable that the continuing position natural selection holds in science is based more in its political status as a flag to be held up than a theory that has the explanatory power it was asserted to have. At times, as used, it seems more like a slogan. As I read more about it from those who assert it, throughout its history, the less distinct it becomes. I suspect it is more a habit of thought than anything else. And it is a habit that still has potential to generate newer forms of eugenics, newer guises for racism, bigotry and even sexism. That is another series of posts that could be done, the sexism in Darwin's book, something which was addressed by his critics within evolutionary science in the early years of Darwinism.