Saturday, June 29, 2013

Paul Bley plays Carla Bley's Olhos de Gato

Did Darwin Lie About What Schaaffhausen Said?

It is one of the famous, or rather infamous passages of The Descent of Man;

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. 'Anthropological Review,' April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

I've been looking for the citation of Schaaffhausen in this passage for several years.  Yesterday I found what I believe are all of the collected series of the Anthropological Reviews for that period, looking through what I believe were all of the volumes of that and found the following paper beginning on page 916 of this pdf file.

The following paper on Darwinism and Anthropology, by Prof. Her- 
mann Schaaffhausen, was then read : — 

Darwinism and Anthropology. By Prof. Hermann Schaaffhausen. 

The question has recently been much discussed in England, whether the theory of Darwin is adequate to explain the variety of human races, and the physical and mental development of the human species. We should not do violence to the phenomena in favour of any theory, but rather look upon the anthropological facts as the touchstone for the question whether the so-called struggle for existence and natural selection represent a universal law of nature. The study of human races, offers greater difficulties than that of plants and animals, because a new force, as it were, presents itself, namely, the intellectual activity of man, whose influence upon the physical conformation is as potent as any other determining human nature. 

Many of the characters which distinguish human races, must be ascribed to climate, such as the colour of the skin, hair, iris, height and constitution of the body. It is the task of physiology to furnish the proofs for the correctness of this view, by studying the intimate relations between the activity of the organs and vital conditions. Many naturalists have, however, considered these physical qualities of human races, as independent of the influence of external natur; because, in the distribution of races over the globe, this dependence cannot always be traced, and because phenomena present themselves in opposition to the above view. Thus, it is said, tall men are found both in the torrid and frigid zones; the colour of the skin is frequently found darker in high latitudes than under the equator. But it is easy to explain these apparent contradictions. Nature preserves certain characteristics with wonderful tenacity, which a certain climate has produced during a long series of generations, under other zones, and the preservation of such well marked characters by transmission, proves itself more powerful than the transforming action of another climate, which could only become dominant after the lapse of a period as long, and under the same circumstances, as was required for the original formation. That climate does produce peculiarities of organisation which persist long after the cessation of climatic influences, man furnishes more striking examples than any animal or plant, because his more perfect organisation renders him more independent. 

It has at all times been recognised that man has to struggle for his existence with the climate, with the animal world, and with his fellow men. But this struggle is not necessarily the cause of an improvement of human nature ; it frequently is merely subservient to a scanty sustenance of life. Even at this day we see savages preserving a miserable existence, as they have done for thousands of years past. The nomads of central Asia are, as regards their mode of life, described by Herodotus as we see them now. But in other cases the struggle for existence produces in the same region the greatest change of phenomena. Between the Euphrates and Tigris there certainly lived in the remotest time, as everywhere else, only savage people ; then arose flourishing empires; but now predacious hordes rove again around the ruins of the Assyrian cities. The struggles of races and peoples with each other present a variegated spectacle, in which physical and mental power measure their strength with alternate results. Flourishing empires are over-thrown by barbarians, and rude force vanquishes refined culture. But those who succumbed to the force of arms finally conquered by their language, their manners, and their culture. Elsewhere, again, we find the powerful sons of the primitive forests succumb before the weak descendants of civilisation. The progress of humanity does not, however, depend upon the display of rude force, however great may be the events it has produced in history ; but upon the development of thought, and especially upon the progressive knowledge of nature, which no doubt can only be acquired by intellectual emulation. 

The theory of natural selection has but a limited validity as regards the development of the human species. Aristotle has indeed, in his ideal state, provided that only the best should intermarry • but in human society the strong pair with the weak, the good with the bad. Altogether we cannot in nature trace such an intention as is kept in view in artificial breeding. As natural selection we can only designate the advantage of a better organisation, which manifests itself in many cases of propagation. But the advantageous or injurious changes of the organisation, will always in the first instance depend on the natural influences of the external world. The miserable emaciated forms of many Australian tribes, correspond with their scanty means of subsistence. When they are better fed they much improve in appearance without the intervention of natural selection. Some English naturalists recently thought that Darwin's theory contained the proof of the unity of the human species, inasmuch as, according to Darwin, all varieties, species and genera proceeded from one species. But the weakest side of Darwin's theory is the assumption of a single origin of species and the denial of a generatio cequivoca, which leads to the assumption of a multiple origin, of equal or similar series of developments, in different regions and at different periods. With a multiple origin, two species standing in the same grade of organic development may very much resemble each other, and yet be of different descent. However much the South Sea negro resembles the Ethiopian of Africa, that is no reason why they should not be of different origin, when we see that in Asia as well as in Africa animal life has independently developed itself from independent forms up to the ape and man. Orang and gorilla are both anthropoid apes;  but what proves their common origin.  The assumption of a progressive development does not exclude the pluralities of human origin. No doubt, if the transformation of species be admitted, then the possibility of the origin of all human races from one pair must also be admitted ; for if an amphibium can become a bird or a mammal, surely a negro can become a Mongol or a Caucasian. But although the unity of human origin is quite possible, it is not probable, because the oldest traces of our species present already profound differences of type. The unity of the human species cannot be proved by the theory of Darwin ; for he cannot produce any valid argument for the assumption that all primitive forces have only been created once. The progressive development of man from lower forms is not a fact because it may be deduced from Darwin's theory, but because the discovery of old crania proves it, by showing us the human brain in a lower grade of organisation than is found in the present inhabitants of the same regions. 

According to Darwin, new races should be continually forming, whilst experience rather teaches that the diversities of races partly diminish by the equalising influence of intellectual culture upon the 
brain and skull. It would, however, be going too far to assert that all peoples will finally form one homogeneous race, for civilisation cannot annihilate the climatic diversities of the different zones, although it may partly moderate their influences. It is a double error of Wallace to maintain that Darwun's theory leads to the apparent contradiction, that man has a single origin and that he at the same time developes himself in the direction of unity. Darwin's theory only leads to the possibility of a single origin, which must not be confounded with a proof of it. A development of the human species in the direction of its unity does not in the least follow from Darwin's theory, but just the contrary. The equalising action of a progressive civilisation in all zones, and under different climatic conditions, has been altogether ignored by Darwin, because it does not in point of fact exist in plants and animals, but is a privilege of man, whose development by intellectual and moral forces, and corresponding organisation, obeys another and a higher law. So long as the animal nature predominates in man, climate and locality have an absolute influence over him; but with the awakening of intelligence arises a force which in the most distant regions strives to liberate man from the constraint of nature, until finally on the highest scale of civilisation, as we may now observe it, the higher classes of human society among all peoples not merely adopt similar customs in dress, habitation, and alimentation, but prove by similarity of thoughts, feelings, and strivings, that higher unity of human nature, which though not expressed in the first origin of our species, yet, what is more important, gleams before as the glorious object of human development. 

I did a search for Schaaffhausen in all of the volumes I could find online and this is the only thing I found remotely matching Darwin's description.  In the edition of The Descent of Man I relied on, I could find nothing matching the date Darwin gave for it, April 1867,  though the numbering and dating of the volumes is extremely difficult and confusing.  This paper was said to have been given on Feburary 18, 1868.

Even more astonishing, though is that the character of what Schaaffhausen said is entirely different from Darwin's characterization of it.  Throughout this paper, the most basic aspects of Darwin's theories are given the most skeptical treatment.  If Schaaffhausen was skeptical of the common origin of, not only different groups of human beings but, different species of apes, I fail to see anything for Darwin to use.

Orang and gorilla are both anthropoid apes;  but what proves their common origin.  The assumption of a progressive development does not exclude the pluralities of human origin.

If that is what Schaaffhausen believed, within the year that Darwin claims to have found his citation,  then Darwin's passage is incoherent.  Where is the link that Darwin proposes will be broken if there is no common origin?

While going through those long, long, files looking for this paper, skimming through hundreds of pages of dense, quite often ridiculous pseudo-scientific, gossip based 19th century anthropology may have addled my mind - I hope temporarily - unless Schaaffhausen was entirely misrepresented or he had some kind of conversion experience in the 10 months between the date Darwin gave and the date given for the reading of this paper, I find no correspondence whatever between Darwin's characterization of Schaaffhausen's ideas and this paper.

Does anyone know if anyone else has looked up this citation in the past hundred forty years?  Or where what Schaaffhausen said that supports Darwin's characterization of his opinion can be found?   Because this is a pretty amazing inconsistency in one of the most often cited passages of The Descent of Man, most often cited because of its depravity.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Letero de mia esperanta ret-amiko

My Brazilian Esperanto penpal, Paulo,  sent me this Youtube.  It's not my usual kind of music but I thought I'd share it with you.

Quite frankly, it's just what I need after this week of hospital waiting rooms and reading 19th century eugenics garbage.

Darwin and Haeckel 1

Stephen Jay Gould, writing about Ernst Haeckel said:

[His] evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a “just” state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his grave words about objective science—all contributed to the rise of Nazism

Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny

Charles Darwin wrote a letter to Ernst Haeckel on the 9th of March, 1864 in which he said,

Dear & Respected Sir

You must permit me to thank you sincerely for the present of your paper & for the Stettin Newspaper. I am delighted that so distinguished a Naturalist should confirm & expound my views, and I can clearly see that you are one of the few who clearly understand Natural Selection.

I feel sure that you do good service by boldly expressing how far you agree with me.

Many men in this country elsewhere really go nearly or quite as far as I do on the modification of Species, but are afraid openly to express such views. I have been particularly struck & interested by your remarks on the individual variability of Sapphirina. This sentence will be remembered by me & quoted hereafter.

With sincere respect I remain dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

In this early letter to Ernst Haeckel, Charles Darwin confirmed that Ernst Haeckel understood him, "one of the few who clearly understands Natural Selection".  It endorses his "boldly expressing how far you agree with me".  He also indicated that Darwinists, five years after On the Origin of Species were already deriving conclusions from it that they were hesitant to make public.

Many men in this country elsewhere really go nearly or quite as far as I do on the modification of Species, but are afraid openly to express such views.

That letter is one in a long correspondence between Haeckel and Darwin,  The Darwin Correspondence Project apparently holds 96, most of which it has not transcribed, many of those are held in the original at Haeckel Haus,.   The earliest collection of Darwin letters published was "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin" by his son,  Francis Darwin (another of the Darwin children involved with eugenics).  In volume 2,  he warmly testifies to the closeness of his father with Ernst Haeckel.

The earliest letter which I have seen from my father to Professor Haeckel, was written in 1865, and from that time forward they corresponded (though not, I think, with any regularity) up to the end of my father's life. His friendship with Haeckel was not nearly growth of correspondence, as was the case with some others, for instance, Fritz Muller. Haeckel paid more than one visit to Down, and these were thoroughly enjoyed by my father. The following letter will serve to show the strong feeling of regard which he entertained for his correspondent—a feeling which I have often heard him emphatically express, and which was warmly returned. The book referred to is Haeckel's 'Generelle Morphologie,' published in 1866, a copy of which my father received from the author in January 1867.

From this we have his son's evidence that the correspondence with Haeckel lasted the rest of Charles Darwin's life, though perhaps not frequent.  It is certain, from the first letter give above, that there were letters Francis Darwin didn't have when he put together the book.

Francis Darwin said that Darwin and Haeckel's relationship was far more than a mere correspondence, that Darwin hosted Haeckel at his home more than once,  Haeckel said he'd been there three times in all,  and that he heard him "emphatically express- "warm feeling of regard"  for Haeckel, "which was warmly returned".  Obviously, Francis Darwin was witness to unrecorded conversations between his father and Ernst Haeckel.  That is something that no one denying a connection between Darwin and Haeckel can overcome  They never heard the man, never mind lived with him and heard him privately, off the record.  They can never overcome the description of those conversations by Haeckel which I note later in this series.    We also learn that Haeckel gave him a copy of "Generelle Morphologie".  The record shows that Charles Darwin was very familiar with Ernst Haeckel's writing up till the time he died.   Of course, Darwin couldn't know what Haeckel wrote after his death but he is known to have read Haeckel through his own words, reaction, commentary and enthusiastic citations.   Many of Haeckel's most controversial, destructive ideas were present in those books which Charles Darwin read, cited and praised as representing his own thinking and as valid science.

Francis Darwin consults Thomas Huxley to provide a description of "Generelle Morphologie":

Mr. Huxley, writing in 1869, paid a high tribute to Professor Haeckel as the Coryphaeus of the Darwinian movement in Germany. Of his 'Generelle Morphologie,' "an attempt to work out the practical application" of the doctrine of Evolution to their final results, he says that it has the "force and suggestiveness, and... systematising power of Oken without his extravagance." Professor Huxley also testifies to the value of Haeckel's 'Schopfungs-Geschichte' as an exposition of the 'Generelle Morphologie' "for an educated public."

Francis Darwin continues about a later letter:

In the following letter my father alludes to the somewhat fierce manner in which Professor Haeckel fought the battle of 'Darwinismus,' and on this subject Dr. Krause has some good remarks (page 162). He asks whether much that happened in the heat of the conflict might not well have been otherwise, and adds that Haeckel himself is the last man to deny this. Nevertheless he thinks that even these things may have worked well for the cause of Evolution, inasmuch as Haeckel "concentrated on himself by his 'Ursprung des Menschen-Geschlechts,' his 'Generelle Morphologie,' and 'Schopfungs-Geschichte,' all the hatred and bitterness which Evolution excited in certain quarters," so that, "in a surprisingly short time it became the fashion in Germany that Haeckel alone should be abused, while Darwin was held up as the ideal of forethought and moderation."]

That is clearly the same use of Haeckel by the present day Darwin cult, setting him up as a vile polluter of the pure essence of science as it flowed from Charles Darwin.  In order to do that they have to lie about what Charles Darwin, himself, said to Haeckel, encouraging him that he was going in the right direction, one of the few who really understood what Darwin meant. They have to ignore the scientific citations and praise that Darwin heaped on Haeckel as he did almost no other scientist.   Despite what is currently believed by some, Haeckel, as early as  "Generelle Morphologie" established himself as the leading representative of Darwinism in Germany, with the approval of Darwin and his foremost English representative.  As Francis Darwin put it:

Mr. Huxley, writing in 1869, paid a high tribute to Professor Haeckel as the Coryphaeus of the Darwinian movement in Germany. Of his 'Generelle Morphologie,' "an attempt to work out the practical application" of the doctrine of Evolution to their final results, he says that it has the "force and suggestiveness, and... systematising power of Oken without his extravagance." Professor Huxley also testifies to the value of Haeckel's 'Schopfungs-Geschichte' as an exposition of the 'Generelle Morphologie' "for an educated public."

Again, in his 'Evolution in Biology' (An article in the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica,' 9th edition, reprinted in 'Science and Culture,' 1881, page 298.), Mr. Huxley wrote: "Whatever hesitation may, not unfrequently, be felt by less daring minds, in following Haeckel in many of his speculations, his attempt to systematise the doctrine of Evolution, and to exhibit its influence as the central thought of modern biology, cannot fail to have a far-reaching influence on the progress of science."

Haeckel could hardly have concluded that he was getting Darwin wrong, between Darwin's confirmation and approval of his aggressive interpretation and Thomas Huxley appointing him the "Coryphaeus [chorus leader] of the Darwinian movement in Germany."  He retained that status for the rest of his life. Charles Darwin never declared him as having gone off the tracks in any document I've seen.

In the letters that follow,  Darwin expresses some reservations about the case Haeckel made for Darwinism, though it's clear that was due to the possibility that it would incite opposition instead of with the scientific validity of what Haeckel said:

Dear Häckel

Your letter of the 18th has given me great pleasure, for you have received what I said in the most kind & cordial manner.  You have in part taken what I said much stronger than I had intended. It never occurred to me for a moment to doubt that your work with the whole subject so admirably & clearly arranged, as well as fortified by so many new facts & arguments, wd not advance our common object in the highest degree.—

All that I think is that you will excite anger & that anger so completely blinds every one that your arguments wd. have no chance of influencing those who are already opposed to our views. Moreover I do not at all like that you towards whom I feel so much friendship shd unnecessarily make enemies, & there is pain & vexation enough in the world without more being caused. But I repeat that I can feel no doubt that your work will greatly advance our subject, & I heartily wish it cd be translated into English for my own sake &that of others. With respect to what you say about my advancing too strongly objections against my own views, some of my English friends think that I have erred on this side; but truth compelled me to write what I did, & I am inclined to think it was good policy.

The belief in the descent theory is slowly spreading in England, even amongst those who can give no reason for their belief. No body of men were at first so much opposed to my views as the members of the London entomolog. Soc; but now I am assured that with the exception of 2 or 3 old men all the members concur with me to a certain extent.  It has been a great disappointment to me that I have never recd your long letter written to me from the Canary I.s. I am rejoiced to hear that your tour which seems to have been a most interesting one has done yr health much good.  I am working away at my new book, but make very slow progress &the work tries my health, which is much the same as when you were here.

Victor Carus is going to translate it, but whether it is worth translation I am rather doubtful

I am very glad to hear that there is some chance of your visiting England this autumn & all in this house will be delighted to see you here.

Believe me my dear Häckel | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

Darwin's early expressed reservations of Haeckel's exposition of Darwinism weren't scientific ones:

"It never occurred to me for a moment to doubt that your work with the whole subject so admirably & clearly arranged, as well as fortified by so many new facts & argumentswd not advance our common object in the highest degree."

Darwin's reservations are explicitly political, based in a fear of motivating opposition:

"All that I think is that you will excite anger & that anger so completely blinds every one that your arguments wd. have no chance of influencing those who are already opposed to our views. Moreover I do not at all like that you towards whom I feel so much friendship shd unnecessarily make enemies, & there is pain & vexation enough in the world without more being caused." 

Apparently Haeckel had chided Darwin for responding to his critics seriously.  Darwin says that he was doing so as "good policy".

"With respect to what you say about my advancing too strongly objections against my own views, some of my English friends think that I have erred on this side; but truth compelled me to write what I did, & I am inclined to think it was good policy."

He's afraid that if too much of the meaning of Darwinism is revealed, it will excite opposition in the period during which it was gaining ground in England and elsewhere.   So a letter with which his champions try to distance Darwin from Haeckel shows that his hesitations at Haeckel's exposition of Darwinism were political, not scientific.

In the letter Darwin refers to a previous visit Haeckel made to him and he eagerly anticipates an upcoming visit.

Another letter of November 19, 1868 from which I have seen one phrase extracted from to distance Darwin from Haeckel is another instance of "quote mining" to support a eugenics-free Darwin.  But a reading of more of what Darwin said shows  when he says "Your boldness, however, sometimes makes me tremble, "  he wasn't talking about Haeckel's more troubling writing.  Darwin was troubled about Haeckel's book because because he was going past where there was current fossil evidence to support his contentions.

Your chapters on the affinities and genealogy of the animal kingdom strike me as admirable and full of original thought. Your boldness, however, sometimes makes me tremble, but as Huxley remarked, some one must be bold enough to make a beginning in drawing up tables of descent. Although you fully admit the imperfection of the geological record, yet Huxley agreed with me in thinking that you are sometimes rather rash in venturing to say at what periods the several groups first appeared. I have this advantage over you, that I remember how wonderfully different any statement on this subject made 20 years ago, would have been to what would now be the case, and I expect the next 20 years will make quite as great a difference. Reflect on the monocotyledonous plant just discovered in the PRIMORDIAL formation in Sweden.

Considering other things that Darwin and Huxley could have trembled about, that doesn't seem worth the effort.

I will be dealing with the strong ties between Darwin and Haeckel this week because this is such a crucial issue in the dispute.  As anyone who looks at the record can see, Darwin's own words and acts, citation and promoting Haeckel's books and his encouragement of what Haeckel was doing,  that connection is clear and undeniable to anyone who doesn't resort to misrepresenting the case or avoiding looking at the evidence.  And Haeckel in 1868 was already saying things that Darwin wanted kept quiet to avoid bad publicity for Darwinism, without objecting to the scientific nature of what Haeckel was saying.  I will go into that in future posts.

Note:  As to the matter of how much of Haeckel Darwin understood in the original German, Francis Darwin excerpts this letter to August Weismann in which Darwin demonstrates he could read technical papers in German, albeit, "so slowly".

January 12, 1877.

... I read German so slowly, and have had lately to read several other papers, so that I have as yet finished only half of your first essay and two-thirds of your second. They have excited my interest and admiration in the highest degree, and whichever I think of last, seems to me the most valuable. I never expected to see the coloured marks on caterpillars so well explained; and the case of the ocelli delights me especially...

While less known to those fighting the Darwin wars,  August Weismann is also an important figure tying Darwin to German eugenics at the beginning of its horrific development and in English speaking countries.  As with George Darwin, I have not concentrated on Weismann and other figures in this controversy yet though I may get around to that in the future.   I will point out that if you do a google search of these, looking for online, primary material, you will find that creationists have looked at those sources already and they use them in their polemics against evolutionary science.   That record has always been out there, it has never been as available in the original documents as it is today, it is not going away.   Scientists who want to protect evolutionary science from political attacks will have to deal with that record and face that the Darwin so many of them grew up with is half of the story at best, a near complete fabrication, most commonly.

Unlike the problem of writing about Schallmeyer for an English speaking audience, that so little of his writing is easily available in English translation, the question of Darwin's relationship with Haeckel is well documented in English, both by what Darwin and others close to him wrote in English and in translations of Haeckel that were made during Darwin's lifetime and which he is known to have read or which he mentioned.  The champions of the eugenics-free Darwin will grasp onto any straw to avoid the conclusions forced by that record.  Which doesn't,  in any way, change the record or that it's available to be read and understood and it always will be.

Update 2013:  I had an enormous amount of respect for Stephen Jay Gould, his science, his political thinking and his writing,  I have great affection for his memory and agreed with him far more often than I disagree with him.  Gould, as virtually all contemporary figures in biology, science and academia, supported the myth of Charles Darwin which I have been talking about.

I cannot understand how he could have failed to notice the complete and full endorsement Charles Darwin repeatedly made for Haeckel's books which contain those very ideas Gould condemned in that quote.  Virtually all of those things Gould condemns were present in the Naturliche  Schopfungsgeschichte, a book which Darwin cited with the highest possible praise, never expressing the least bit of reservation about what Haeckel said in it,never refuting it, not even Haeckel attributing his monistic system's ultimate confirmation in Darwin's theory.  Haeckel's anti-democratic political conclusions arising from natural selection were clearly stated in his book, Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre, a book of which Darwin wrote to Haeckel:

" ....  you must let me have the pleasure of saying how much I admire the whole of it. It is a most interesting essay, and I agree with all of it".  
Letter of Charles Darwin to Ernst Haeckel April 29, 1879

Which would have to include, not only Haeckel's Darwinian rejection of socialism but also his declaration that Darwinism was aristocratic, not democratic.

All I can conclude is that either Gould's courage failed him or he had an irrational blind spot when it came to Darwin's endorsement of Haeckel.  It is implausible to think that as careful a writer as Gould would not have seen those endorsements, certainly not those contained in The Descent of Man.   As Haeckel makes obvious at every point, he considered "his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism" to be an intrinsic part of his Darwinian science.  He had the soundest of reasons for believing that, the continual endorsement of Darwin, Huxley, Lankester and others within the tightest circle surrounding Charles Darwin.    In nothing I've yet read did Darwin refute any of what I've presented here.   I await someone who can produce that document. I've been waiting for that for a number of years, now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm Done Pretending Those Links Aren't There, They've Never Been Missing Only Their Acknowledgement Suppressed

I spent a lot of time revising this post, unable to be satisfied with results.  The reason is that I am holding back the central conclusion because I know it is the final taboo to admit what is obvious.  But I'm going to say it.

You have to grant this to John Wilkins, in this post he came out and said it, well, he said it kind of back to front.  The real reason that Darwin is controversial is his use by atheists in denying the idea that God directs evolution.  At least that's what he claims.  I'd not deny that is an important consideration, atheists latched onto the fact of evolution and the theory of natural selection from about the second the ink of On The Origin of Species was dry, and I mean the manuscript, not the published book.  But the history of the theory of natural selection goes much farther than refuting the first few chapters of Genesis.  The use of natural selection to deny equality of people, to assert that racial, ethnic and class inequality were not only perfectly natural but good and a vital necessity to prevent a catastrophic degradation of the human population, began almost as quickly.  By 1865, in response to the Emancipation Proclamation, Thomas Huxley, Darwin's closest British colleague wrote his infamous essay, Emancipation - Black and White in which, clearly according to Darwinian doctrine he said:

The doctrine of equal natural rights may be an illogical delusion; emancipation may convert the slave from a well-fed animal into a pauperised man; mankind may even have to do without cotton-shirts; but all these evils must be faced if the moral law, that no human being can arbitrarily dominate over another without grievous damage to his own nature, be, as many think, as readily demonstrable by experiment as any physical truth. If this be true, no slavery can be abolished without a double emancipation, and the master will benefit by freedom more than the freed-man

Even more explicitly, he said:

The question is settled; but even those who are most thoroughly convinced that the doom is just, must see good grounds for repudiating half the arguments which have been employed by the winning side; and for doubting whether its ultimate results will embody the hopes of the victors, though they may more than realise the fears of the vanquished. It may be quite true that some negroes are better than some white men; but no rational man, cognisant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still  less the superior, of the average white man. And, if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilisation will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest.

If anyone doubts the Darwinian character of that kind of talk, I would recommend you look at passages from Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man dealing with people of African, North and South American and Polynesian and, worst of all, Australian ancestry.  Charles Darwin may have attempted to sound more scientific and moderate than his Bull Dog, Huxley, but the content is the same down to the remarks about allegedly characteristic physical traits.  And Huxley is mild in comparison with Darwin's other great collaborator for the rest of his life, Ernst Haeckel, who I will deal with in detail next week.

Reading the scientific literature from Darwin, his closest scientific associates and those who had Darwin's explicit endorsement, is to encounter language which would, over the succeeding decades, become increasingly dangerous, increasingly menacing.  Freed from what Galton called "all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science," it seems like a contest to see who among them could make the most cold and even depraved assertions dealing with the life and, more often, deaths of people, their utilitarian value, and judging entire populations based on assignment of "fitness" or superiority.  Once freed of those "ancient authorities" most definitely the prohibition on murder, on enslaving and turning a cold shoulder to the need of the destitute, the elite members of scientific establishments seem to have competed with each other to see who could be the coldest, most unfeeling and - I have every confidence this is how they saw it - most scientific of all.

That result of Darwin's real innovation, applying the coldness of Malthusian economics to biology,  was a far more important reason to criticize the lapses, flaws, baseless assumptions, incomplete explanations, unwarranted assertions, and proposed depravity that came directly from Darwin's natural selection, him, his children, his inner circle and the waves of Darwinism that emanated from those.  It is still the most important consideration in the matter, defending whatever religious and moral holdings against that depravity, for equality, economic democracy, of equal distribution of the necessities of life, that is the real problem I have with Darwin and Darwinism.

John Wilkins said:

No, the reason why Darwin was controversial is very, very simple. Darwin argued that complex designs could arise without a mind to guide it. In short, his controversial idea was natural selection (and sexual selection, but even that preceded Darwin). Almost from the day it was published, critics attacked the implication that the living world was not all that special, and that it lacked a Plan or Meaning. Theologians, moralists and even scientists objected to this, and while even most of the Catholic Church accepted common descent and modification of species, it was natural selection they hated.

All the supposed “controversies” of Darwinism (or that phantom, “neo-Darwinism”) are post hoc attacks based on the prior objection to the lack of a guiding hand in biology. Don’t like natural selection? Attack Darwin by calling him a racist or blaming him for the Holocaust. Say he is antiessentialist. Say he is anti-religion. No matter how much evidence one puts forward that these are deliberate lies manufactured by those who hate Darwin for natural selection, it won’t stop the prevarication industry.

There are a number of problems within those two paragraphs, the one I commented on was the assertion that Darwin wasn't an obvious racist.  You can only say that if you either haven't read him or you change the meaning of racism to pretend to make Darwin's flagrant racism go away, a form of special pleading,  That is unless you include lying about it.  There is no way to pretend he was not a racist except to violate the most basic rules of serious intellectual discourse.  I am quite certain that wouldn't be done for William Jennings Bryan or another religious figure on an atheist blog, nor should it there or anywhere else.  Intellectual honesty is not a matter of desired outcome or even fairness, though practicing a double standard will result in dishonesty.

Using the Holocaust As A Red Herring Is a Two-Edged Sword 

The comment about the Holocaust is only somewhat more justifiable,  Darwin didn't know anything about Nazis, Hitler having been born well after he died.  But there are the strongest of links from Darwin and natural selection to eugenics and Haeckel's monism and those do have a direct link to Naziism.  His son, stating plainly that his eugenics activities are the continuation of his father's life's work, is another direct line between Charles Darwin and the Nazis.  Leonard Darwin was in direct contact with figures involved with the Nazi eugenics program and figures such as the infamous Charles Davenport who were even more involved with Nazis.  With the 1939 piece I wrote about the other day, it is undeniable that Leonard Darwin explicitly approved of Nazi eugenics up till the point that World War Two began.  I cannot trace him saying anything about it after Britain entered the war.  As I noted in an earlier piece in this series, he tied his father to German eugenics at a time when that had to mean Nazi eugenics, Leonard Darwin also complaining at the lack of German eugenics laws before then.  No one denying that link has the authority of Leonard Darwin in the matter.  No one can erase what he said in the absence of someone else as closely related to Charles Darwin to deny it.  You have to lie about the history of eugenics and that species of materialist monism to deny that.  Which is commonly done by Darwin's fans when you point those links out.

One thing that can't be denied, a belief in natural selection did not effectively inhibit early 20th century fascism and Nazism, both of which based large parts of their ideology on the assumptions growing out of the theory.

This final triumph of the monistic conception of nature constitutes the highest and most general merit of the Theory of Descent, as reformed by Darwin.
Ernst Haeckel, Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte

Haeckel, throughout that work and in subsequent works also known to Darwin, said, in terrible detail, just what his monistic conception of nature and what he asserted were inescapable truths about the human species because of that "triumph".  Including murder of those deemed "unfit", of the deaths of groups considered as lower on the ladder of human evolution.  Darwin knew that, he cited Haeckel saying that, accepting and in a few cases extending what he said, presenting it as being reliable science the entire time.

It is undeniable that the Nazi eugenics laws and the American eugenics laws cited as their inspiration were based in the concept of natural selection.  Perhaps someday I will look and try to compile a list of Darwinists who effectively argued against those on the basis of natural selection.  I don't believe I've stumbled across any of those among the most prominent of those, even among the rare Darwinian Marxists.

Design Is Not An Idea Vulnerable To Science

But Wilkins' main point also has problems.   The holding that evolution is not designed or is designed isn't science, it is an ideological assertion in one case and a religious one in the other*.   Both are expressions of faith.  Science can come up with a description of physical evidence and generate analyses of that in scientific terms, it can't deal with whether or not what it describes and what it makes assertions about is designed by a designer.  You don't have to believe either one way or the other but your belief will not be a scientific finding. 

The use of Darwin as an atheist oracle was asserted from shortly after On the Origin of Species was published, in books Darwin endorsed and cited as science.  As early as the original German edition of Haeckel's Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, a book which Charles Darwin had thanked Haeckel for, had read and which he praised in the highest terms in his Descent of Man, he claimed Darwin's theory as the final triumph of his materialist monism.  In that book,  Darwin's theory of natural selection was claimed for atheism and materialism and for an extensive campaign plan to destroy the most basic concepts of morality.  It is a claim and an attribution that Darwin never denied or even complained about.  He never, among all of his extensive citations of the Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte and other works by Haeckel, so much as distanced himself from those books and what Haeckel said in them.  On the contrary, he supported their assertions as comprising the highest scientific thinking

You can add to that statements by Galton, Huxley, Spenser, and many other Darwinists who immediately turned his theory of natural selection, common descent, etc. into a tool of extra-scientific, anti-religious  polemics.  And it has been very effective as a weapon against those whose faith rests on Biblical literalism, though is far less effective among those who don't depend on that.  Which is why latter day Darwinists are always pretending that Biblical fundamentalism is an attribute of all religious believers.  They can't deal with anything but that with their favorite weapon.

That usefulness for atheists has been the real reason that atheists have been so eager to assert an extravagantly over the top cult of Darwin, his greatness and goodness and uncanny predictive abilities, a phony Darwin separate from his own literary record, his letters, his citations and associations and against which any contradiction will not be brooked.   Anyone who dares cite, fully, at length, with confirmatory citations from Darwin, himself..., anything to do with Darwin's racism, his sexism, the class interest that so clearly pollutes his scientific claim to fame, his endorsement of Galton's and Haeckel's eugenics, their racism, the depravity of Haeckel's monism.... will be shunned and cast out of the fellowship of educated people.  Or at least banned from the blogs of atheists who claim to be led to their conclusions by the evidence and an objective, disinterested, evaluation of it.

Is There Nothing Special About The Theory of Evolution? 

Wilkins' post states

Sensible philosophical critics of Darwin focus on selection for that reason. It undercuts our prior belief that We Are Special. Human mentation, cognition, language, morality, religion or economics is somehow privileged in the universe. Bullshit. We are an animal and we arose without the universe seeking us (although, as I have argued, a deity might choose this universe because we evolve in it). The human exceptionalism which critics like Fodor, Fuller, Plantinga and the rest presume but do not argue for unfairly places the onus on Darwinians. It is time to stop taking them seriously.

I'm unprepared to discuss Fodor, Fuller or Plantinga but I can say that the frequent claims that Darwin didn't believe "We Are Special" and, in fact,  that some of us were more special than others is complete and utter nonsense refuted all through his writing on natural selection.  First, he believed in the superiority of those survivors who weren't selected out by death in the form of natural selection.  He states that all through his work, that the surviving populations were more vigorous as a result of others being selected out,  that concept, STATED POSITIVELY, is incorporated even into the full title of On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

It's no wonder that Wilkins' fellow atheist demagogue, Richard Dawkins'  memory failed him so embarrassingly when challenged to state the title several years ago [Hear it here].   Darwinism, as stated by Darwin, from the beginning, held that we, the survivors of hundreds of millions of years of presumed natural selection are "FAVORED RACES."

All through his second major book on the topic covering the human species,  The Descent of Man,  Darwin asserts that superiority in terms of individuals but also in terms of ethnicity, race and economic class in the modern human population, anticipating the extinction of entire races of people he deems less "favored in the struggle for life" than others by reason of their inferiority.  Especially and, for the purpose of this post, their alleged intellectual inferiority.

As Ernst Haeckel does, he explicitly puts Northern European populations at the head of the merit list, his own Anglo-Saxons among the most favored, though, as I noted in my last post in this revised series, not the Irish.  Those groups which Haeckel places at the bottom of the heap of humanity, Darwin also marks as inferior and to be weeded out, as will be seen here next week when Darwin's extremely close relationship with Haeckel will be the topic.

Furthermore, Darwin clearly considered human beings as superior to even our closest living relatives, the magnificent great apes which he, likewise, marked for extinction in a struggle for life along with those races he designated as doomed by their inferiority.  Darwin's theory, as he presented it and as it was clearly understood by his disciples, produced successive improvements in the surviving populations and that human beings were made different from each other by their cultures, their technology and science, in short, by the product of human reason, logic, mathematics and science. None of which exists in any other known species.  Eugenics was based on that and the assertion that human culture, anything that helps to preserve human life, any material or cultural factors, and, in particular, selfless generosity, would induce a backwards motion, a devolution dragging the presently favored parts of the human species back from where it has arisen.  If that were not the case, I wouldn't be writing this series and no one would be reading it.

Any atheist claiming intellectual distinction for their thinking, aspiring to scientific methods, and to discerning a knowledge of nature superior to that held by the common lot of humanity - not to mention that held by every single animal, bacterium, plant, fungus ... which has ever lived - is lying to themselves if they don't admit that they believe human beings are Special, that our peculiar methods of thought, our peculiar intellectual tools have a unique position on the Earth, aspects of a peculiarly human culture.  There is no other species on Earth which has ever elucidated a theory of evolution or of natural selection.  Which would seem to be as SPECIAL as it could possibly be to the Darwin cult.  They certainly hold that those who accept it are to be considered favorably and are, so, special. 

To deny that is to deny that the intellectual product of human and academic life is different from the thought of any animal demonstrating a reaction to their environment or any plant that inclines to the sun.  

That claim, that the belief that "We Are Special" is a superstition that atheists have left behind by virtue of their Darwinian enlightenment is one of the most ludicrous and obviously false beliefs among atheists today.  It is a belief that is contradicted even in the terms that it is claimed,  Even Darwin, himself, couldn't escape it in propounding his theory. Anyone who denies that human beings are unique in their effects on everything they touch, among all other species should be considered a willful denier of one of our most obvious realities. 

Any intellectual movement that requires lies to stand is an intellectual movement that will come to no good as it is up to no good.  Any intellectual stand that disallows the introduction of evidence, while requiring words to mean something other than their common meanings, is also rotten to the core.  Darwinism used to not deny the links to race "science", "racial hygiene", eugenics, class division and other things that Charles Darwin endorsed and asserted to be science. With the horrific history of the 20th century the social and intellectual milieu that made mentioning those things  acceptable has changed.  And with the post-war rehabilitation of Charles Darwin** you have to lie about the real Charles Darwin and suppress anything in his record that contradicts that phony, intellectually cleansed figurehead.

It being forbidden to mention that record -  if you happen to do what most Darwinists don't do these days, read him and his citations and find out that he asserted things to be science which are either discredited as science or discredited by history - you risk becoming a pariah.   For the most part, the only people who talk about that are the enemies of evolutionary science.

Well, brace yourselves, it isn't a violation of intellectual life to tell the truth about Darwin's record, especially his own recorded words.  There isn't any legitimate rule of logic or scholarship that prevents that, only enforced social convention.  If anti-evolutionists support what they say about Charles Darwin to the normal standards of intellectual life then they are correct about that much of it.  If they go overboard, distort or falsely ascribe things to him, as they often do, that is intellectually dishonest.  But their fabrications and distortions are no more dishonest than those regularly practiced by the Darwin industry and fan club.  Only the pro-Darwin side asserts they are all about evidence and intellectual honesty and the highest integrity.   As anyone who has read Darwin, refusing to constantly make excuses for the purely rotten things he said, the frequent assertions that are not supported by data or evidence, etc, will know that PR image of the culture of atheism is largely a myth, as well.

*  I won't go into the interesting idea that it might be designed but not by a conscious designer because I haven't waded through the very complex, very technical arguments and can, therefore, have nothing valuable to say on the topic.

** Evolution in 2012 doesn't require Charles Darwin to be the great and powerful figure of the Darwin cult, it only requires the truth be told about him and his ideas be subjected to physical evidence and the common rules of reason and logic.   Evolution's confirmation is far, far bigger than Darwin or natural selection, you don't need those in the face of an enormous mass of fossil and genetic evidence, though I doubt biologists indoctrinated in natural selection will give up that habit of thought for a number of generations.

As I said, John Wilkins was honest enough to admit the real need for Darwin and natural selection is in extra-scientific assertions of materialism and, ultimately, atheism.   And that is the real reason for the phony, post-War Darwin and the cult that has grown up around that idol.  That materialism and atheism seem to need to lie about him should become more of an issue among those of us who are interested in the integrity of science and intellectual discourse.

Darwin Ignores The Strongest Available Test of Natural Selection to Promote Eugenic Beliefs

Darwin and W. R. Greg  Sometimes called the co-founder of eugenics

If you read Charles Darwin's book,  "The Descent of Man", you will read one assertion after another about natural selection in the human population,  speculations and purported data taken from contemporary people around the world with some historical references.   Those references are taken from many men - I believe all of them were men - of varying scientific credentials.   Some of the references Darwin makes can be found online or in a good university library.   Those I've looked up are of wildly variable character,  some had an impressive looking facade of mathematical tables and calculations and exhibits,  Galton and Haeckel,  some seem to be more like what would be considered gossip, today.  I strongly suspect that a lot of the data wouldn't stand up to current standards of validation but that's for other people to argue.  In some of his contentions,  Charles Darwin doesn't seem to have any real evidence at all.  One infamous passage* that is often cited by those who lay the charge of eugenics against Charles Darwin seems to be an assertion of natural selection to produce an artificial narrative as a substitute for evidence of natural selection, which, completes the circle with the assumption that the artificial evidence constitutes support for natural selection.   I will be dealing specifically with the complex of paragraphs that paragraph is part of later.   It is followed by another passage with its own history of polemical use.

I'm going to ask a simple question about another passage that has gotten some but less attention for what it might indicate about a place where Darwin contradicts that infamous passage directly.   Not only that passage but the contention of his book that natural selection is relevant to human societies and that the struggle  of natural selection, resulting in the deaths of the "weaker members" of a society, would leave the survivors in "a vigorous state of health."   Here is the passage:

A most important obstacle in civilised countries to an increase in the number of men of a superior class has been strongly insisted on by Mr. Greg and Mr. Galton (19. 'Fraser's Magazine,' Sept. 1868, p. 353. 'Macmillan's Magazine,' Aug. 1865, p. 318. The Rev. F.W. Farrar ('Fraser's Magazine,' Aug. 1870, p. 264) takes a different view.), namely, the fact that the very poor and reckless, who are often degraded by vice, almost invariably marry early, whilst the careful and frugal, who are generally otherwise virtuous, marry late in life, so that they may be able to support themselves and their children in comfort. Those who marry early produce within a given period not only a greater number of generations, but, as shewn by Dr. Duncan (20. 'On the Laws of the Fertility of Women,' in 'Transactions of the Royal Society,' Edinburgh, vol. xxiv. p. 287; now published separately under the title of 'Fecundity, Fertility, and Sterility,' 1871. See, also, Mr. Galton, 'Hereditary Genius,' pp. 352-357, for observations to the above effect.), they produce many more children. The children, moreover, that are borne by mothers during the prime of life are heavier and larger, and therefore probably more vigorous, than those born at other periods. Thus the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: "The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts—and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five- sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal 'struggle for existence,' it would be the inferior and LESS favoured race that had prevailed—and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults."

The entire paragraph sets up the passage I've underlined.  Leaving aside W. R. Greg's rather questionable scientific qualifications - though some credit him with Galton as the co-inventor of eugenics -  and noting his obvious bigotry against the Irish, a common prejudice that Darwin would seem to share as he doesn't seem to notice it,  Darwin seems to have forgotten the huge percentage of the Irish population who died in the potato famine of the 1840s, during his life.  We know he knew about the famine because he discussed it in letters as it happened, he was involved with research into blight free potatoes.  I don't know if he knew about the other potato famine of 1782,  or the even worse one, a century before the worst of all, in the  1740s.  Each likewise, reduced what Darwin, as a disciple of Malthus, no doubt, saw as a surplus of the population.   Given that Darwin seems to look for every chance to see natural selection, even in all the wrong places, you wonder how he could have missed the chance to see his claim to fame in action, during his lifetime.  The Irish population had been repeatedly culled by famine in the century and a half before Darwin wrote "The Descent of Man".

The obvious question is why Darwin believed Greg that the surviving population was "careless, squalid, unaspiring" instead of more vigorous than the Scots who hadn't been subjected to Darwinian struggle for life in such a horrifically dramatic way?   

In the book, Darwin is constantly assuring us of the benefits for the population of having lots of people die off, preferably in childhood, weeding out the "weaker members" before they can "propagate their kind", leaving a more vigorous "race".  According to his theory, the Irish, by the 1870s should have been one of the most select of all the populations of Western Europe.  They'd undergone a repeated culling  by famine, abject poverty, military conquest, alien occupation and squalid desperation to an extent that none of Darwins "Anglo-Saxons" had.  If there was a test population for his theory as applied to human beings, it would have been the Irish.   But he doesn't seem to believe that was the case in the one real life example that was nearest in time and location to him.  Clearly, part of that is Darwin's massive bigotry, freely on display throughout the book,  but I think it's also a matter of class hatred.  The Irish were a permanent underclass under British rule,  Irish aspiration was a danger to the British common received opinion.  Not to mention the wealth and investments of many British families Darwin knew.   Perhaps it was wishful thinking on Darwin's part, believing that characterization of the "Irishman".

I will say, outright, that I think there is a lot more wishful thinking in Darwin than leads to good science.  In fact, in this book that was so useful to eugenicists, most of his assertions betray his class bias, his Anglo-Saxon privilege,  his racism and bigotry and his male supremacy.   But, it being Darwin, you're supposed to overlook those and the effect it obviously has on his second major SCIENTIFIC BOOK dealing with evolution.   You are supposed to excuse his disabilities in objective thought due to him "being a man of his time".   But what in most cases of hero worship is merely historically dishonest,  when it's science, which is supposed to be a very reliable source of knowledge about the world and when that world is the one Darwin addresses in The Descent of Man,  that excuse is inadequate. In this case it was extremely dangerous.  If scientists want to enjoy the enhanced credibility and repute that comes with the belief that they have taken the greatest possible trouble to produce real science of the greatest possible reliability, they don't get to use the excuse that their insertion of their own self-interest and their prejudice into the work has an excuse.

Whatever the reason for it, Darwin  missed the contradiction between his prediction of what would happen in a population that had undergone a devastating struggle for life and the population nearest to him that had undergone that culling.  As well, he missed the extreme bigotry of Greg that he parrots to, unwittingly,  undermine his proto-eugenic assertions.   That should force an inquiry into the rest of Darwin's book and the rest of his record to see how much of it is a product of his time, his social class and other avenues of bias and a distortion of reality.   A distortion that is directly responsible for the crime of eugenics.   You can look at what the eugenicists were saying about it if you don't believe that.

Darwin As A "Quote-Miner". 

 John Wilkins did the unintended service of posting the essay of W. R Greg which Darwin took that passage from.  With Wilkins commentary.  You can see in the comments that I was engaged in researching Darwin back then.  I don't know why there is text in the original as given by Wilkins which is not present in The Descent of Man.  I would propose that Darwin might have been sanitizing it a bit, making it slightly more palatable.  Also, Darwin took it from a longer paragraph.  Was Charles Darwin guilty of "quote mining"?   It makes you wonder what a careful inspection of other quotes in the book would show in that line.

‘The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman, fed on potatoes,  living in a pig-stye, doting on a superstition, multiplies like rabbits or ephemera:  the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts,and in a dozen generations, five sixths of the population would be Celts, but five sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal ‘struggle for existence,’ it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed,and prevailed by virtue not of its qualities but of its faults, by reason not of its stronger vitality but of its weaker reticence and its narrower brain. "

Greg's comment "fed on potatoes" is a cruel and despicable thing to say about two decades after the famine ended.  It is impossible to think that Greg and his readers were unaware of what it meant in that context.  Especially considering it was largely because the Anglo-Saxons left them little choice because they exported grain, fish and meat from Ireland for the profit of the English and Scottish landowners and to keep the price of food in England lower than it would have been.  And they did in huge quantities during the famine of the 1840s.  During the famine of 1782, the ports had been closed to prevent exporting food.  Clearly the government during Darwin's time, enlightened by Malthus and the current scientific thinking, decided to not take a chance at preserving the surplus population of  the "carelessness, squalid, unaspiring" race.

I have every confidence that is the reason that Darwin sanitized that particular phrase out of the quote as he published it.  Such is the quality of the "science" Darwin relied on in the book.

I have hitherto only considered the advancement of man from a semi-human condition to that of the modern savage. But some remarks on the action of natural selection on civilised nations may be worth adding. This subject has been ably discussed by Mr. W.R. Greg (9. 'Fraser's Magazine,' Sept. 1868, p. 353. This article seems to have struck many persons, and has given rise to two remarkable essays and a rejoinder in the 'Spectator,' Oct. 3rd and 17th, 1868. It has also been discussed in the 'Quarterly Journal of Science,' 1869, p. 152, and by Mr. Lawson Tait in the 'Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science,' Feb. 1869, and by Mr. E. Ray Lankester in his 'Comparative Longevity,' 1870, p. 128. Similar views appeared previously in the 'Australasian,' July 13, 1867. I have borrowed ideas from several of these writers.), and previously by Mr. Wallace and Mr. Galton. (10. For Mr. Wallace, see 'Anthropological Review,' as before cited. Mr. Galton in 'Macmillan's Magazine,' Aug. 1865, p. 318; also his great work, 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870.) Most of my remarks are taken from these three authors.  With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.  

The passage in bold is what is usually taken from the longer paragraph.  You will notice that both of the named fathers of eugenics,  Galton and W. R. Greg,  are cited as authorities in this.

Update:  I have decided to follow this with another piece that discusses John Wilkins' claims about what makes Darwin controversial, though I didn't include it in the original series.  In responding to Wilkins claim that:

All the supposed “controversies” of Darwinism (or that phantom, “neo-Darwinism”) are post hoc attacks based on the prior objection to the lack of a guiding hand in biology. Don’t like natural selection? Attack Darwin by calling him a racist or blaming him for the Holocaust. Say he is antiessentialist. Say he is anti-religion. No matter how much evidence one puts forward that these are deliberate lies manufactured by those who hate Darwin for natural selection, it won’t stop the prevarication industry

I said that you could only claim that Darwin wasn't a racist by either never reading him or lying about it.   For that unpardonable offense,  John Wilkins banned me from his blog, which is his right.    But that doesn't change anything about the fact that Darwin was a rather extreme racist, ethnic bigot, white, specifically Anglo-Saxon and British supremacist and an extreme elitist who clearly had a deep and abiding faith in the superiority of the wealthy and well born and who explicitly decried the ability of the poor to have children.   Anyone who reads The Descent of Man and denies that is a liar, the entire and large industry that promotes the false eugenics free, bigotry free Darwin is just a competing "prevarication industry".   And they are stupid to make claims that a full reading of Darwin and his "scientific" citations blows apart. You can't escape addressing what Darwin said if you are going to hold up Darwin as a paragon of truth and science.    That is something that his critics, even those who are otherwise dishonest about him, don't need to stoop to. 

Francis Darwin and George Darwin Tie Their Father to Eugenics More Tightly

As mentioned in an earlier post in this series, the first life line thrown to the eugenics-free Charles Darwin is the fact that Francis Galton hadn't gotten around to naming his new "science" "eugenics" until 1883, the year after Charles Darwin died.   And as mentioned in a note yesterday,  George Darwin, Charles' son, was one of the earliest to take up eugenics - as can be seen in Charles Darwin's letter to Galton, it was George who read "Hereditary Genius"  first and enthusiastically recommended it to his father.

came across more refutation to the claim that Charles Darwin couldn't have inspired eugenics because it didn't have a name by the time he died,  made by a source whose authority to say what he did is about as solid as possible.

Francis Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin and the brother of George Darwin, wrote a memoir of his brother when his scientific papers were collected and published after George's death.   It's clear that Francis Darwin saw no problem in identifying his brother's article "On Beneficial Restriction to Liberty of Marriage"  as a "eugenic article" despite it having been published a decade before Galton coined the word "eugenics".

In spite of unwellness he [George Darwin] began in 1872-3 to write on various subjects. He sent to Macmillan's Magazine an entertaining article,  "Development in Dress," where the various survivals in modern costume were recorded and discussed from the stand-point of evolution. In 1873 he wrote  "On benefical restriction to liberty of marriage," a eugenic article for which he was attacked with gross un-fairness and bitterness by the late St George Mivart. He was defended by Huxley, and Charles Darwin formally ceased all intercourse with Mivart.

Francis Darwin:   BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS [of George Howard Darwin] From Scientific Papers of George Howard Darwin vol. Five

Development in Dress discussed form the standpoint of evolution?  How far out on a limb were the Darwins  prepared to go with the old man's ideas?   It sounds like it might have be in the running as the first "Just So" story of the evo-psy kind in history.

[ Update: Since writing this last year I found a copy of On Beneficial Restrictions to Liberty of Marriage online and it does, indeed, read like many of the articles and books promoting eugenics in the period after Galton began to use that word for his "science".  Charles Darwin was, as his son Francis said, aware of his son, George, promoting "eugenics". By his own letters and his actions, described below, we know that George had his support in this.  George Darwin's article on developments in dress, which I've also, since read online, is a pretty bad attempt at humor and like many 19th century examples of humor, I doubt it would seem more than tedious to most people today.]

St. George Mivart, an early convert to Darwinism, is an interesting case.   As a professor and a Darwinian, he attended lectures  on Darwinism given by Thomas Huxley and came away more skeptical than he had been when he started.

As to 'natural selection', I accepted it completely and in fact my doubts & difficulties were first excited by attending Prof. Huxley's lectures at the School of Mines.*

Some of the things he was skeptical of were probably due to the problems that many other competent biologists had with Darwinism.  Natural selection in the 1860s and 70s was hardly a complete theory.  It didn't achieve its modern form until the 1930s with the Mendelian synthesis.   Mivart held it wasn't legitimately a theory but a hypothesis at the time of the dust up.   No doubt Charles Darwin was stung by having a fairly well known convert turn to a skeptic.

The incident of Mivert's criticism of George Darwin's article, which argued, among other things, that marriages should be dissolved if one of the couple was declared insane,  seems to have caused Charles Darwin to set his bulldog on Mivart, later to take his own revenge.

Darwin's revisions to the Origin eventually compromised it, so keen was he to respond to critics. Not only did he defend, he attacked. It is hard to know which to admire more, the skill with which he and his band of disciples went about preparing the ground for the Origin (shrewdly distributing advance copies to potential opponents, for example) or the zeal with which they all, after publication, set about savaging (not always fairly) the critics. Although we are familiar with Huxley's role as Darwin's bulldog, Darwin was quite capable of being his own rottweiler. When a paper by his son Francis was rejected by the Royal Society, Darwin ruthlessly counterattacked in Nature. In 1873, St. George Mivart got into a spat with Darwin's son George over a sort of proto-eugenics. Darwin nearly went to court on behalf of George (who was in the wrong) and later blackballed Mivart for membership in the Athenaeum.

Keith Thomson: American Scientist, Jan.-Feb., 2003

But whether or not Mivart was unjust in his criticism doesn't concern me here. What is important is that Charles Darwin was aware of his son, George, publicly advocating eugenics in the form of nullifying marriages.  Something that was pretty shocking for 1870s Britain.  And young George apparently didn't think that once recovered, the formerly insane should be able to resume the abolished marriage.  Apparently, at one time he compared it to someone being retired not being able to get his job back.  That's a seriously coercive proposal,  I'd say.  And, obviously, what George said in the article was all right by his father who, on most matters like that, is as prim as a Victorian.

But the reason I am posting this in this series should be quite clear.  His own brother, Francis, said, using the "E word",  the proposal his father had no problem with and supported was "eugenics".


I have, as of now, not found out how extensive the involvement of the fourth of Charles Darwin's sons, Horace, with eugenics was, other than that he was involved.  Leonard and Francis both said their father favored eugenics and, as can be seen by Charles Darwin's own actions, he supported George Darwin in promoting eugenics in the form of marriage laws.  Added to Charles Darwin's own scientific citations of eugenics, his assertion of ideas which are undeniably eugenic and citations of works which Francis Galton named as the beginning of his eugenics writing, there is no reasonable or honest case to be made that Charles Darwin was not both the inspiration of and a supporter of eugenics.  The case that he was both only becomes stronger as I look at more of the contemporary evidence.   There is absolutely no question that he inspired the eugenics of Galton, Haeckel, and every other eugenicist who names him and his work as their inspiration.  The case that they were distorting Darwin is also absolutely refuted by his effusive and extensive citations of their works propounding eugenics and the very ideas in them which Darwin endorsed and presented as solid science.

I have found no denial, whatsoever,  that Charles Darwin was a supporter of eugenics from anyone who ever knew him.  All of those people who said anything confirmed that he did support eugenics.  I am beginning to look to see if his co-founder of natural selection,  Alfred Russell Wallace, had anything to say on the matter.  As an ardent opponent of eugenics, Wallace would have had every reason to argue that his colleague was, also, an opponent of it.  As of yet I have found nowhere that Wallace made that claim.  And even if he did, he would have had to contradict every other person who knew Darwin I've read on this topic, including, as I've shown, his own children.

*  Adrian Desmond, Archetypes and Ancestors: Palaeontology in Victorian London, 1850-1875, p. 137.

His discussion of how St. George Mivart fell from grace to be attacked by the Darwin inner circle is an antidote to the pious version of Darwin most people are familiar with from sources like the BBC and PBS.  I will note that Mivart wasn't exactly innocent in the brawl, getting in a few less than clean  punches, himself.  Mivart was certainly wrong about many aspects of evolution, as was everyone else during that period,  including Charles Darwin.   They were all, Darwinist and anti-Darwinist, going far, far past the point supported by evidence.  That seems to be a common trait among those who write informally on the topic and even some of those who write about it as science.   Desmond doesn't seem to mention the George Darwin incident, concentrating on Mivart's publications and the machinations of Huxley's younger associates who were, obviously, trying to bend Darwinism in ideological directions even in that period.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

And now, a Steve Swallow composition, Remember

And here's the lead sheet, provided by Watt World Headquarters in one of the most generous musical gestures I'm aware of.
Carla Bley and Steve Swallow

Houses and People 

If Anyone Doubts That D. H. Lawrence Wrote Some Really Crappy Poetry

D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930).  New Poems.  1916.

From a College Window 

THE GLIMMER of the limes, sun-heavy, sleeping,  
  Goes trembling past me up the College wall.  
Below, the lawn, in soft blue shade is keeping,  
  The daisy-froth quiescent, softly in thrall.  
Beyond the leaves that overhang the street,          
  Along the flagged, clean pavement summer-white,  
Passes the world with shadows at their feet  
  Going left and right.  
Remote, although I hear the beggar’s cough,  
  See the woman’s twinkling fingers tend him a coin,   
I sit absolved, assured I am better off  
  Beyond a world I never want to join.

Banal, self-satisfied, preening as he sits in his absolution, assured he is better off, beyond a world he never wants to join beyond his blue-lawned, daisy-frothed quiescent campus.  No doubt the beggar is one of those he wants to march to death into his giant lethal chamber, his self assurance that the wretch will smile his weary thanks for his murder to the benevolence of the college boy looking out at a world he disdains to ever become a part of the crown of his superiority.  What a pig.

Celebrate The Death of DOMA With Expanded Civil Rights Agitation

It is one of the weirdest turn-arounds in my lifetime that gay rights are progressing as the rights of racial and ethnic minorities and women are dying in the courts and legislatures.  I never would have expected that Gay folk would be able to cut into the line ahead of other groups who had made more progress in the past.   The celebrations of the overturning of the clearly unconstitutional "Defense of Marriage Act" should be muted by the bitter ruling on the Voting Rights Act yesterday and the attacks of the right of women to the most intimate of all rights, the rights to determine the state of their own bodies.  

If gay rights advocates do not turn, immediately, to overturning the Supreme Court's assassination of the Voting Rights Act and the attacks on women's  rights, we will have nothing to be proud of on the next Gay Pride Day.  

If Lesbians and Gay men stop to enjoy this progress, ignoring the attacks on self-government and equality, our rights will prove to be as ephemeral and prone to overturning as the most important civil rights law of the past century.  If they can do that to voting rights, they can do it to any rights. 

The Poisoned Atmosphere In Which Leonard Darwin Discussed The Lethal Chamber As a Eugenics Tool

As I mentioned in the post below, Leonard Darwin was discussing the possible use of the "lethal chamber" as a method of enacting "Eugenic Reform" in the 1920s.  I will admit that he did, somewhat, come out against its use for "racial purification", though he entertained the possibility that mass murder could "purify" the human population.

As to the killing off of the unfit, the objections to this method of racial purification are as follows.  From the moral point of view, it would tend to associate the idea of murder with that of social progress, and would consequently tend to increase the number of murders.  From the racial point of view, it would, as in the case of excessive punishments, be less willingly adopted than other more humane methods and therefore, less effective.  And from the individual point of view, it would cause great distress of mind to many through fear not only that they themselves would be thus 'eliminated,' but also that might be the fate of some beloved relative.  The eugenist  (sic) demands self-sacrifice in order to lessen the sufferings of future generations, and any action tending to stifle the sentiment of pity for those who are now in any way suffering or defective would in the long run hinder the cause of eugenics.  No doubt capital punishment does produce beneficial racial effects; but the number thus eliminated are likely to be so small that, even if the foregoing objections were not valid, the keenest eugenist would hardly think it worth while to advocate its introduction or retention or racial grounds alone.  Certainly “scientific baby murder” cannot be tolerated, and in regard to eugenic reform generally, we must never attempt to act through the agency of the death rate, but only through that of the birth rate.

Considering what he's discussing, the mass killing of human beings by the state for means of "racial” hygiene," you'd think he could go a bit farther than that in discouraging it.  That it would tend to tend to “increase the number of murders” is about the strongest argument he makes against it, though I would guess the possible backlash against eugenics was seen by him as far more of a potential calamity resulting from its use.  As events turned out, after 1945, that was one of the side effects, other than the, apparently,  minor detail of millions of deaths.

If that passage seems disturbingly bizarre in 2013, Leonard Darwin was far from the only member of the British elite who was thinking about a pre-Nazi era final solution by means of gas chamber.  In a chapter From Scott Christianson's book about the history of the Gas Chamber called  "Envisioning The Lethal Chamber"   Christianson documents the disturbing fact that many of the bright lights of the English Speaking Peoples' were advocating that form of mass murder decades before that.  For example, there is the progressive and eugenicist, H. G. Wells

Writing at the dawn of the twentieth century, H.G. Wells often mentioned “lethal chambers for the insane” and mused that the “swarms of black, brown, and dirty­-white, and yellow people . . . have to go.

D. H. Lawrence, the author of the much championed and formerly banned,  "Lady Chatterleys  Lover" and some of the worst English language poetry of the 20th century. [See here]

The novelist D.H. Lawrence gave “three cheers for the inventors of poison gas,” saying, “If I had my way, I would build a lethal chamber as big as the Crystal Palace, with a military band playing softly, and a Cinematograph working brightly, and then I’d go out in back streets and main streets and bring them all in, all the sick . . . the maimed; I would lead them gently, and they would smile me a weary thanks.”

And even the sainted George Bernard Shaw

The dramatist George Bernard Shaw also favored mass use of the lethal chamber. Such talk became so prevalent that some commentators even began using the noun as a verb, saying so ­and ­so ought to be “lethal chambered.”

If anyone wondered where the idea came from, decades before the Nazis made the most extensive use of mass gas chambers, it was openly discussed in polite society by some of the leading lights of "progressive" thinking.  People still held up as paragons of liberal thinking and scientific enlightenment*.    The Nazis staging of the murder of millions, in some cases providing reassuring entertainment as they were marched into the building, reassured that they were about to be given a hygenic shower, could have been slightly modified from that laid out by Lawrence.

And, as Christianson shows, it was not just the Brits who were advocating the mass killing of "undesirables" by means of gas, Americans, figures in the scientific, academic, legal and "progressive" establishment were openly advocating that mass murder as a tool of effecting eugenics.

Grant’s views were widely shared among a hard core of leading eugenicists such as the biologist and American eugenics organizer Charles Davenport and Lothrop Stoddard, the Boston Brahmin politi­
cal scientist and leading anti­Bolshevik who labeled the Jew as “the cause of world unrest.” Many such ideas also enjoyed support among many liberals, such as the government chemist and Pure Food and Drug Act pioneer Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, birth control advocate Margaret Sanger, and civil rights lawyer Clarence Darrow, who said it was just to “chloroform unfit children . . . [and] show them the same mercy that is shown beasts that are no longer fit to live.”28 William J. Robinson, a New York urologist and leading authority on birth control, eugenics, and marriage, wrote that the best solution would be for society to “gently chloroform” the children of the unfit or “give them a dose of potassium cyanide.” Robinson also insisted that splitting hairs about any of their “individual rights” should never be allowed to trump the preservation of the race. “It is the acme of stupidity,” he wrote, “to talk in such cases of individual liberty, of the rights of the individual. Such individuals have no rights. They have no right in the first instance to be born, but having been born, they have no right to propagate their kind.

Liberalism, so called,  clearly took a disastrously wrong turn as it was attempting to become more "scientific".  You can read Marilynne Robinson's essay about the character of 19th century American liberalism, "McGuffey And The Abolitionists"  to see how far the character of "liberalism" had changed for the worse in the succeeding decades.  It is one of the most ironic of all facts of current American culture that the closing speech of William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes Trial, a speech which Darrow prevented Bryan from giving in court by a legal maneuver, reads as far more progressive, far more informed and honest about the culture of Darwinism in the 1920s and far more prophetic of events in the next two decades than anything Darrow said.  But Darrow is presented as a hero of liberalism and Bryan is presented as an ignorant villain.  In reviewing their actual records, both had heroic aspects and both had glaring flaws.  No one in history is without those.  It is a huge mistake to turn any person into a demigod and figurehead of liberalism, even Charles Darwin.

*  If there is one thing that researching this series taught me it is that the impunity granted to figures such as Shaw, Darrow, Darwin etc. by the cumbersome use of paper stored in dusty volumes in distant libraries is over.  As their fuller record becomes available online, especially in media vulnerable to electronic search and key word searches,  all such passages will be made know, exposed and used.  The frequently phony charge of "quote mining" will not hold when it is possible to link to the complete context in which those horrifying passages were made and their authors verifying what they meant by them through citation of their repetition is possible.   The mechanisms of denial used by the Darwin industry to defend him against his own words are clear, suppression, denial, cover up, misrepresentation, and plain, bald-faced lying.

 Liberalism cannot live with the ideas that some of the purported heroes of liberalism espoused, it cannot live with the self-interested misrepresentation of the historical record to defend people who might have wanted more sex but who were, otherwise, no kind of liberal, in the traditional American meaning of the word.

Update:  As an example of this footnote, here is the full context of the quote from H. G. Wells, " Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought" in all its disturbing, sciency depravity.

And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black? how will it deal with the yellow man? how will it tackle that alleged termite in the civilized woodwork, the Jew? Certainly not as races at all. It will aim to establish, and it will at last, though probably only after a second century has passed, establish a world-state with a common language and a common rule. All over the world its roads, its standards, its laws, and its apparatus of control will run. It will, I have said, make the multiplication of those who fall behind a certain standard of social efficiency unpleasant and difficult, and it will have cast aside any coddling laws to save adult men from themselves.[52] It will tolerate no[Pg 316] dark corners where the people of the Abyss may fester, no vast diffused slums of peasant proprietors, no stagnant plague-preserves. Whatever men may come into its efficient citizenship it will let come—white, black, red, or brown; the efficiency will be the test. And the Jew also it will treat as any other man. It is said that the Jew is incurably a parasite on the apparatus of credit. If there are parasites on the apparatus of credit, that is a reason for the legislative cleaning of the apparatus of credit, but it is no reason for the special treatment of the Jew. If the Jew has a certain incurable tendency to social parasitism, and we make social parasitism impossible, we shall abolish the Jew, and if he has not, there is no need to abolish the Jew. We are much more likely to find we have abolished the Caucasian solicitor. I really do not understand the exceptional attitude people take up against the Jews. There is something very ugly about many Jewish faces, but there are Gentile faces just as coarse and gross. The Jew asserts himself in relation to his nationality with a singular tactlessness, but it is hardly for the English to blame that. Many Jews are intensely vulgar in dress and bearing, materialistic in thought, and cunning and base in method, but no more so than many Gentiles. The Jew is mentally and physically precocious, and he ages and dies sooner than the average European, but in that and in a certain disingenuousness he is simply on all fours with the short,[Pg 317] dark Welsh. He foregathers with those of his own nation, and favours them against the stranger, but so do the Scotch. I see nothing in his curious, dispersed nationality to dread or dislike. He is a remnant and legacy of mediævalism, a sentimentalist, perhaps, but no furtive plotter against the present progress of things. He was the mediæval Liberal; his persistent existence gave the lie to Catholic pretensions all through the days of their ascendency, and to-day he gives the lie to all our yapping "nationalisms," and sketches in his dispersed sympathies the coming of the world-state. He has never been known to burke a school. Much of the Jew's usury is no more than social scavenging. The Jew will probably lose much of his particularism, intermarry with Gentiles, and cease to be a physically distinct element in human affairs in a century or so. But much of his moral tradition will, I hope, never die.... And for the rest, those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency?

Well, the world is a world, not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go. The whole tenor and meaning of the world, as I see it, is that they have to go. So far as they fail to develop sane, vigorous, and distinctive personalities for the great world of the future, it is their portion to die out and disappear.

It is worth remembering that Wells' Darwinist pedigree couldn't be more impressive, through his teacher Thomas Huxley, Darwin's protective bull dog and foremost promoter.  Though his relationship has no potential for providing more than third hand knowledge of what Charles Darwin thought.