Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin, Father of Scientific Racism

Well, he may not be the Father, but he certainly gave scientific racism quite a boost with The Descent of Man:

 At some future point, not 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, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, Chapter 5.

That is just one quote.  The Descent of Man is full of racist theorizing.  You really have to read it to get the full flavor.  If you do not have the time (or stomach) to read the whole thing, try chapter five.

Give him credit for a very influential theory, although he was not the first or only one to theorize on evolutionary concepts.  But give him credit for all the influences of his theories-- good and bad.  Since it is "Darwin Day," why shouldn't we give as much attention to The Descent of Man as we do to On the Origin of Species?  Whoops, I did not give the full title: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 

According to Darwin, genocide is the natural result of a natural process. And it is all very scientific.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jerry Coyne Embraces Censorship Proudly

Jerry Coyne is proud to be given the Censor of the Year award. He justifies his glee, apparently, because in his eyes his passion for censorship is only to stop bad people from "spreading lies to schoolchildren." The only problem with this justification is that the censorship at issue is of a university professor who is teaching an interdisciplinary course with a fairly broad reading list entitled "Boundaries of Science."  Among the "lies to schoolchildren" that he seems proud to censor are writings of highly regarded scientists and scholars such as as Francis Collins, Paul Davies, Owen Gingerich and C.S. Lewis.

In addition to being a proud recipient of the Censor of the Year award, he also seems to be clearly a "Darwinian Fundamentalist." Will he be proud of this designation as well?


More on Paul Davies here and here.


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