Home » Darwinism, Evolutionary psychology, Intelligent Design, News » But why are we even asking if Darwinism gave birth to social Darwinism?

But why are we even asking if Darwinism gave birth to social Darwinism?

Did psychology give birth to social psychology?

It just shows you the sheer social power of Darwinism—entirely unmoored from evidence—that we are even asking whether Darwinism gave birth to social Darwinism.

Anyway, Richard Weikart, who spent his life studying this stuff, responds to a recent book claiming otherwise, responds here—not for Darwin’s believers, but for anyone who wants to evaluate the facts:

To give just one more example showing the problem with Bowler’s claim about the death of natural selection around 1900, let’s look at the eugenics movement. Bowler argues that the eugenics movement was non-Darwinian. His evidence? “Yet the majority of the early geneticists were not Darwinians.” (269) The founder of eugenics, Francis Galton, was, according to Bowler, not a Darwinian (though he admits that the leading eugenicist Karl Pearson was). Bowler simply ignores the vast amount of evidence I put forward in From Darwin to Hitler demonstrating that most of the leading figures of the German eugenics movement — Alfred Ploetz, Wilhelm Schallmayer, Fritz Lenz, Eugen Fischer, etc. — were committed Darwinists who not only believed in Darwinian natural selection, but claimed explicitly that it was a foundational idea for their own worldview and specifically for their eugenics.

I could produce many, many further examples to expose the fallacy of Bowler’s claim that Darwinian natural selection was moribund around 1900, but fortunately, I’ve already done this in From Darwin to Hitler, so I refer interested readers there for a wealth of details that undermines Bowler’s arguments. …

Hey, Bowler is just doing what he knows pays: Reassuring Darwin’s faithful lumps of meat that meat-lumpiness pays.

A million more challenges make no difference as long as the funding keeps comin’ in. And some of the money can be set aside to buy legal protection in the form of court judgments too.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

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10 Responses to But why are we even asking if Darwinism gave birth to social Darwinism?

  1. News:

    A very familiar concern, here raised by Weikart:

    One of the problems with Bowler’s book is that he consistently caricatures the position he is arguing against. I thoroughly agree with his repeated claim (and rhetorical questions driving in the same direction) that Darwinism is not the only causal factor behind major historical developments, such as racism, imperialism, Nazi ideology, the two world wars, and the Holocaust. For instance, Bowler is absolutely correct when he states, “But the blanket assumption that all these injustices and horrors were inspired by Darwinism alone simply cannot be sustained once we realize that his was not the only theory of evolution to emerge in the late nineteenth century.” (27) Later he asks, “Can it [Darwinism] really be the only factor that, if eliminated, would have enabled us to avoid the Great War and the Holocaust?” (272) Of course not. But who ever said that “Darwinism alone” was the “only factor” in these historical developments? Certainly not me, and Bowler never indicates who actually believes this position. I smell a straw man. – See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....8eMqn.dpuf

    I am just a tad tired of this misrepresentation habit on the part of darwinists and similar advocates.

    KF

  2. 2

    Did psychology give birth to social psychology?

    That’s an odd analogy. Social pyschology is a term invented by psychologists for a branch of their own field. People call themselves social psychologists. No one calls themself a social Darwinist.
    The term was (essentially) invented by Richard Hofstadter – an anti-Darwinist, anti-capitalist – in 1944 as an epithet for capitalists, especially the laissez-faire, robber baron, dog-eat-dog, style capitalists; and the term was picked up by other Communists as a description for capitalists. It had nothing to do with whether someone believed in Darwinism or not.

    Actually, this prior UD article actually gives a pretty good description of Social Darwinism.
    As the article points out, if anyone can be called the Father of Social Darwinism, it’s probably Herbert Spencer, and he wasn’t even really a Darwinist (although no one really deserves such a title since the history of the period was largely fabricated by Hofstadter, as also pointed out in the article.)

  3. Dr. Weikart continues his response to Bowler with another article today:

    Rescuing Darwin: Another Major Problem with Peter Bowler’s Counterfactual History
    Richard Weikart July 20, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74681.html

  4. Of related interest: Dr. Bergman recently gave a lecture on this topic:

    Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview – June 2013 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMU1PuY1lx8

  5. If Richard Weikart is the best evangelical Christian apologist the IDM can produce as a scholar-historian of ideas related to Darwin and evolution, a much shorter life-span for its ‘strictly scientific theory’ will be the final result.

    Denyse O’Leary (News) rejects Young Earth Creationism; she believes in millions/billions of years. She accepts that ‘evolution’ is “more than a hypothesis,” as her former patriarch Pope John Paul II taught. She should be able to move beyond the ‘culture wars’ in the USA over evolutionism and creationism, given that she is Canadian. Yet why she, like the American-inspired IDM that she backs and profits from, supports the utter damnation of Charles R. Darwin is difficult to understand.

    “But why are we even asking if Darwinism gave birth to social Darwinism? … It just shows you the sheer social power of Darwinism—entirely unmoored from evidence—that we are even asking whether Darwinism gave birth to social Darwinism.” – News

    You (plural, as singular journalist) are asking because you are IDist ideologues. Honestly, from having studied IDists more than perhaps anyone else on the planet, it is a rather obvious conclusion. But most IDists haven’t the faintest idea how ideology is involved in their claim that ‘Intelligent Design’ is a ‘strictly scientific theory’.

    The second sentence quoted above also shows the ‘sheer social impotence’ (absence of power) of IDism qua ideology. But if we look closely, we see a gap between small-id ‘intelligent design’ and Big-ID ‘Intelligent Designism’ the ideology. This is a gap that some IDists don’t want mentioned or articulated because it destroys their ‘hypothesis.’

    Let me challenge Denyse’s notion of “the sheer social power of Darwinism.” She is simply wrong about it and projects fantasies about ‘Darwinism’ that are not true. I have overcome ‘Darwinism’ in a way that Denyse has not yet imagined and perhaps will take years to realise, despite her confident and accusative claims against ‘Darwinism.’

    The IDM has latched itself as a ‘movement’ onto an entirely negative proposition: anti-(neo-)Darwinism (plus the supposed other side of the Wedge). Even ID’s most intellectual supporters know this; you simply cannot (and surely have not) ‘scientifically’ prove(n) Big-D ‘Design’ (i.e. by a transcendent being, as Dembski requires of IDT). So far, you also have nothing positive as a potential alternative to ‘Darwinism’ that actually takes a person’s name, e.g. Dembskiism, Beheism, Meyerism, Wellsism, Nelsonism, Gilderism, etc.

    Weikartism is so far not something with much support and John G. Westism is already a failed project as the DI’s summer program was forced to give up IDism in the humanities and social sciences and morphed into C.S. Lewis’s Christian apologetics against ‘scientism’ in society.

    Besides, as Bowler wrote, IDists are likely too concerned that “a new kind of teleology could replace the old argument from design.” (The Eclipse of Darwinism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983: 53)

    Denyse’s ‘News’ gives no need to have Bowler as a potential friend who would properly reject the IDM’s narrow ‘strictly scientific’ definition of ‘Design,’ that is obviously mixed with a theological ‘design argument/argument from design.’ And Bowler even rejected the Darwinian-Malthusian principle, saying “Not competition but cooperation was the true driving force of evolution.” One might think some IDists would even laud Bowler’s “The Decline of Theistic Evolution,” Denyse, instead of continuing to make unneeded enemies, wouldn’t you?

    But IDists have shown themselves to be intentional provocateurs and wannabe scientific revolutionaries, creatures very much with a similar attitude to G.W. Bush: “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” Quite a polarising lot, as Denyse’s News demonstrates so far and as Philip Cunningham exploits, with the usual Scriptural references included. Scripturally guaranteed ‘strictly scientific’ revolutionaries in the name of Big-ID ‘Intelligent Design’ qua theory.

    Sadly, Weikart’s simplistic ideology is flawed: “Darwinism (natural selection) and Lamarckism (inheritance of acquired characteristics).” Natural selection is just as much Wallacean as it is Darwinian, according to Weikart’s impoverished philosophy of science (PoS) – which I might add is typical of many historians, even those who are not paid by the Discovery Institute like Weikart is. The so-called ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’ becomes most acute with the anthropic principle that the evolutionism vs. creationism dialogue generally obscured.

    There’s a middle ground you folks are missing, much more peaceful and fruitful; rehumanising instead of dehumanising as IDT still intentionally is (‘strictly scientific’).

    Weikart writes: “Bowler uses a very narrow definition of Darwinism to make just about everyone into a non-Darwinian.” Otoh, the IDM “uses a very broad definition of Darwinism to make just about everyone into a Darwinian.” Which is worse or more accurate? You’re playing the extremes against each other!

    As far as Weikart’s claim that “Darwin apparently did not realize this was non-Darwinian,” much the same could be said of Dembski. Case in point: TRIZ. Dembski believes in ‘technological evolution.’ But G. Altshuller, who coined the term TRIZ, which Dembski barely knows, yet champions in his writings all the same, would not have been an ‘Intelligent Design’ proponent. Like most other thoughtful persons who have faced ‘Intelligent Design Theory,’ he would have distinguished human-made from non-human-made things.

    As for Weikart’s definition of ‘Darwinism’ – “evolution through natural selection … in my view is a reasonable definition of Darwinism”. This is like “who throws a shoe?” from Austin Powers. Where did they dig Weikart up to help build their IDM? Neo-creationist America.

    Weikart demonstrates that he is personally not capable of “taking Darwin out of the equation” like Bowler is as a scholar and as a man. Weikart shows his evangelicalist ideological stripes in attacking Darwin at any chance in almost any conversation. This has likewise sadly become a trademark of the ‘Intelligent Design Movement.’ It doesn’t take a non-Darwinist to point this out, though a non-Darwinist such as myself certainly cannot be held guilty by the pointing fingers of IDists. Yet they will continue to try, sold on their ‘strictly scientific’ (post-Darwinist) idea as they are.

    Bowler’s views are interesting, if non-standard. I’ll be ordering his recent book to learn more. But Weikart’s book is less interesting. And Weikart’s evolutionism-centrism is disturbing and twisted (in the end, just let him scare you with Marxism!), apparently by his neo-creationist/evangelicalist ideology.

    Yes, evangelicals may indeed be more balanced than Weikart, but they should then learn prayerfully to discard their anti-Darwin hatred as a wrongly installed tool of their enemy, fed through voices scared of natural-physical sciences who have closed their hearts to Wisdom.

  6. Gregory writes,

    As for Weikart’s definition of ‘Darwinism’ – “evolution through natural selection … in my view is a reasonable definition of Darwinism”. This is like “who throws a shoe?” from Austin Powers. Where did they dig Weikart up to help build their IDM? Neo-creationist America.

    Dictionary.com defines it this way:
    Dar·win·ism [dahr-wuh-niz-uhm] Show IPA
    noun
    the Darwinian theory that species originate by descent, with variation, from parent forms, through the natural selection of those individuals best adapted for the reproductive success of their kind.

    Wikipedia adds: “The meaning of “Darwinism” has changed over time, and varies depending on its context.[4] In the United States, the term “Darwinism” is often used by creationists as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as atheistic naturalism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, evolution by natural selection.[5]

    The term was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in April 1860,[6] and was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts such as Spencerism.”

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism)

  7. It’s just ‘fascinating’ when neo-creationists and/IDists quote dictionaries (especially the most unsubtle Dictionary.com!) *at* people who have studied ‘Darwinism’ professionally for many years. ;P Fuller’s concept of ‘Prot Science’ shows its force in such cases.

  8. Don’t be supercilious, Gregory. It’s not becoming.

  9. A perfect answer for a primary school teacher who hasn’t taken the time to read higher literature (but who will try to slight others for her shortcomings), just Dictionary.com, the wealth of the IDM ;)

  10. It’s simply fascinating that a so-called scholar thinks I am a primary school teacher when, in fact, I am not.

    Being condescending and arrogant gets you nowhere, Gregory. Please try to be better than that, as I am sure your parents taught you.

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