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Response to Leonhard Regarding Charles Darwin.

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  • Response to Leonhard Regarding Charles Darwin.

    First off I would like to ask anyone other than Leonhard to stay out of the thread. I don't actually even feel like getting back into this discussion, but I had written a response, and I felt that I needed to post it. After having had a while to think about what I have written, it is far from complete, but it should be enough for a decently thorough response.

    There will be multiple posts to start, because there is a character limit here. Hopefully it won't be too many.

    Oh, if anyone really wants to start their own thread discussing what I have written here, go ahead. Just know that I'm not getting back into this again.

    Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
    That much is clear Cerebrum, however its also very clear that Charles Darwin didn't hold to eugenics in any of his writings. His son is free to interpret what practical utilities you can have from the work, but that's a side point.

    I did not, and I'm not sure he said anything like this. Degeneration to what?

    First, it's clear that Charles Darwin did indeed hold to eugenics, and indeed supported the most notorious promoters of it, even his own sons works on eugenics were defended and supported.

    That last question I can'[t answer, I can only show you what Charles Darwin said about the dysgenic effects of allowing the "unfit" to reproduce".

    [cite=Charles Darwin:The Descent of Man] 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 aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit*, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.[/quote]

    The whole thing, so I don't get accused of "quote mining". Yes, he does give his little "overwhelming evil" line, but in all the preceding he tells of the horrors, and "degeneration" that await us if we don't enact eugenics measures. He even says that avoiding such without eugenic intervention is "more to be hoped for than expected". The "overwhelming evil" sentence is merely an emotional plea, the rest, backed up by what was considered to be "hard science", and the "urging of hard reason".

    He's even stating vaccinations are overall dysgenic for mankind. The whole thing, along with other parts of Descent of Man is self contradictory. Like this part about "weaker inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound", while elsewhere he states how the weak marry early and more often those of sound mind and body.

    Source: The Descent of Man

    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.

    © Copyright Original Source

    He also mirrored the eugenics/infanticide argument of Ernst Haeckel, who claimed that the Spartans owed their "vigorous health" to their proto-eugenic infanticide.

    Source: Ernst Haeckel: History of Creation

    Many tribes also among the Red Indians of North America (who at present are succumbing in the struggle for life to the superior numbers of the white intruders, in spite of a most heroic and courageous resistance) owe their rare degree of bodily strength and warlike bravery to a similar careful selection of the newly-born children. Among them, also, all children that are weak or affected with any infirmity are immediately killed, and only the perfectly strong individuals remain in life, and propagate the race. That the race becomes greatly strengthened, in the course of very many generations, by this artificial selection cannot in itself be doubted, and is sufficiently proved by many well known facts.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Source: The Descent of Man

    No race or body of men has been so completely subjugated by other men, as that certain individuals should be preserved, and thus unconsciously selected, from somehow excelling in utility to their masters. Nor have certain male and female individuals been intentionally picked out and matched, except in the well-known case of the Prussian grenadiers; and in this case man obeyed, as might have been expected, the law of methodical selection; for it is asserted that many tall men were reared in the villages inhabited by the grenadiers and their tall wives. In Sparta, also, a form of selection was followed, for it was enacted that all children should be examined shortly after birth; the well-formed and vigorous being preserved, the others left to perish. (13. Mitford's 'History of Greece,' vol. i. p. 282. It appears also from a passage in Xenophon's 'Memorabilia,' B. ii. 4 (to which my attention has been called by the Rev. J.N. Hoare), that it was a well recognised principle with the Greeks, that men ought to select their wives with a view to the health and vigour of their children. The Grecian poet, Theognis, who lived 550 B.C., clearly saw how important selection, if carefully applied, would be for the improvement of mankind. He saw, likewise, that wealth often checks the proper action of sexual selection.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Haeckel is far more explicit about what he wants, but Darwin was arguing the same thing. Darwin even lauds Theognis for recognizing the importance of selection.

    This smells a bit like quote mining, we can find icky one liners from the Bible as well, hence the need to read the fulness of the work.
    Yeah, given above.

    Again, where does he say that his father taught him the eugenics he's arguing about? He says clearly that he believes that Charles Darwin would have supported it, but it doesn't say that Charles Darwin did.

    He explicitly credits his father for his eugenics, and so do many others of the period, such as Francis Galton, and was raised by the man, but somehow didn't know how his father really felt about the subject? Really?

    If that's not enough, he credits his father as the inspiration of the idea of eugenics in some of the earliest proponents of the idea, and they too claim him as their inspiration. He even supported their works, and cited them as reliable science. First Leonard Darwin on Friedrich Schallmeyer.

    Source: Leonard Darwin:Friedrich Wilhelm Schallmeyer: 1857-1919 A Pioneer in Eugenics

    ... He [Schallmeyer] advocated the medical registration of all citizens and the state control of the medical profession. He was greatly influenced in his writings by the “Origin of Species,” and he was at that time like the author of that work, [Charles Darwin, of course] a believer in the inheritance of acquired characters, a belief he subsequently abandoned. His ideas were formed in the first instance before he had studied Galton's writings. Indeed it was his desire to study that author's works which led him to learn English, a task perhaps facilitated by his wide knowledge of other languages. He started his eugenic campaign in Germany uninfluenced by Galton.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Here's an interesting bit about Schallmeyer from that blog you thought I might not have read carefully.

    Source: Thought Criminal Blog

    Schallmeyer is an author who doesn't seem to be much available in English. I've read some of him in German, it's hard going but his inspiration in Charles Darwin is stated in his own words, his Darwinism is one of the things that won him the Krupp Prize. The book was Vererbung und Auslese, Inheritance and selection, a title whose most troubling associations would have been unknown to Schallmeyer, perhaps. Schallmeyer won the prize by fulfilling the requirements, which include:

    "What can we learn from the theory of evolution about internal political development and state legislation?"

    [Translation from : S. F. Weiss: Race Hygiene and National Efficiency The eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmeyer]

    © Copyright Original Source

    Now, here's for Francis Galton.

    Source: Francis Galton:Memories of My Life

    THE publication in 1859 of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science...

    © Copyright Original Source

    Source: Francis Galton:Memories of My Life

    Hereditary Genius made its mark at the time, though subjected to much criticism, no small part of which was captious or shallow, and therefore unimportant. The verdict which I most eagerly waited for was that of Charles Darwin, whom I ranked far above all other authorities on such a matter. His letter, given below, made me most happy.


    3rd December

    "MY DEAR GALTON,--I have only read about 50 pages of your book (to Judges), but I must exhale myself, else something will go wrong in my inside. I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting and original--and how Well and clearly you put every point! George, who has finished the book, and who expressed himself in just the same terms, tells me that the earlier chapters are nothing in interest to the later ones! It will take me some time to get to these latter chapters, as it is read aloud to me by my wife, who is also much interested. You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think this is an eminently important difference. I congratulate you on producing what I am convinced will prove a memorable work. I look forward with intense interest to each reading, but it sets me thinking so much that I find it very hard work; but that is wholly the fault of my brain and not of your beautifully clear style.--Yours most sincerely,

    (Signed) "CH. DARWIN"

    © Copyright Original Source

    Now, Ernst Haeckel.

    [cite=Ernst Haeckel: History of Creation] 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.[/quote]

    What else does Haeckel say in this work, well, like I noted earlier he advocates infanticide. Charles Darwin used the same argument as regards the Spartans. Let's see, what next.

    Source: Ernst Haeckel

    The Caucasian, or Mediterranean man (Homo Mediterraneus), has from time immemorial been placed at the head of all races of men, as the most highly developed and perfect. It is generally called the Caucasian race, but as among all the varieties of the species, the Caucasian branch is the least important, we prefer the much more suitable appellation proposed by Friedrich Müller, namely, that of Mediterranean, or Midland men. For the most important varieties of this species, which are moreover the most eminent actors in what is called “Universal History,” first rose to a flourishing condition on the shores of the Mediterranean. For the most important varieties of this species, which are moreover the most eminent actors in what is called “Universal History,” first rose to a flourishing condition on the shores of the Mediterranean. The former area of the distribution of this species is expressed by the name of “Indo-Atlantic” species, whereas at present it is spread over the whole earth, and is overcoming most of the other species in the struggle for existence. In bodily as well as in mental qualities, no other human species can equal the Mediterranean. This species alone (with the exception of the Mongolian) has had an actual history; it alone has attained to that degree of civilization which seems to raise man above the rest of nature.
    Haeckel History of Creation

    © Copyright Original Source

    Haeckel is saying that Charles Darwin's work makes his own conception of nature "triumph". What did Charles Darwin have to say about History of Creation?

    Source: Charles Darwin

    This last naturalist, besides his great work, 'Generelle Morphologie' (1866), has recently (1868, with a second edition in 1870), published his 'Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte,' in which he fully discusses the genealogy of man. If this work had appeared before my essay had been written, I should probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I have arrived I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowledge on many points is much fuller than mine. Wherever I have added any fact or view from Prof. Haeckel's writings, I give his authority in the text; other statements I leave as they originally stood in my manuscript, occasionally giving in the foot-notes references to his works, as a confirmation of the more doubtful or interesting points.

    Charles Darwin: Introduction, The Descent of Man

    © Copyright Original Source

    What did he say about Haeckel and his understanding of natural selection?

    Source: Charles Darwin to Ernst Haeckel, March 9 1864

    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

    © Copyright Original Source

    Full letter here.

    These people, their works, and what they said about Charles Darwin, as well as what he said about them has him quite clearly supporting eugenics.
    Last edited by Cerebrum123; 09-20-2014, 07:06 AM.

  • #2
    I've read a lot of his personal writings and I haven't come across this. He expresses quite a few opinions, and he has some wrong ideas about how traits are inherited, as he went along with Lamarckism, which was a mistake many scientists made back then.
    You've been reading the wrong ones, or missing it in the ones you have read. Specifically where he gives unreserved praise to Ernst Haeckel and his highly depraved "History of Creation", which Darwin cited. Heck, Darwin even said that Haeckel understood Natural Selection more clearly than most, and that his views were being confirmed by Haeckel. He even said that if History of Creation had been out sooner, there would have been no need for The Descent of Man.

    My mistake.
    Hey, it happens.

    We don't do argument by weblink on this forum. That's precisely the kind of thing I was worried you'd bring up. I might read it, but so far you haven't exactly sold me on the idea that Charles Darwin actively supported eugenics, or taught his son about it.
    Since when is giving the basics of my argument, as well as providing a source "arguing by weblink"?

    Charles Darwin gives the foundational argument for eugenics in his second major work, he protected his son George Darwin's eugenics article when it came under attack by St. George Mivart.

    I can as well since Lamarckian genetics implies that when different races mate, something is lost. The white race can be tainted by other races, and once the taint is in it can't be removed only diluted. There was this fear that weaker races could mix their blood with ours and we'd lose the vitality the European race has built up through centuries. Remember in Lamarckian genetics, traits you inherit in life are passed on.

    It was pure bonkers of course, but it would have to wait until Mendelian genetics took the place. Itself to be replaced later with even more sophisticated models of inheritance.
    Then why are all these people citing Darwin rather than Jean Baptiste Lamarck as their inspiration? Why did Stephen Jay Gould explicitly tie these things to Ernst Haeckel's evolution based ideas?

    Source: Stephen Jay Gould

    [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

    © Copyright Original Source

    Why is Lamarckism not cited as a root cause?

    That may or may not be true, if it is, its tragic. However as I've yet to find a nazi who actually understood the theory of evolution, I'm not sure the theory itself should be blamed.
    And I've never met a TE who actually understood YEC, even among those who have claimed to have been one previously. Anyway, back on topic.

    Well, going by the quote from Charles Darwin to Ernst Haeckel about how he "truly understood natural selection", and from Gould about how Haeckel's views led to Nazism, it seems to be pretty clear cut, at least to me.

    Then there was Sir Arthur Keith who said this.

    Source: Sir Arthur Keith: Evolution and Ethics

    ‘The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.’

    © Copyright Original Source

    He's not the only one making this connection, and since eugenics/Social Darwinism was there from the beginning, yeah, I'd say it can be blamed at least in part on evolutionary theory.

    Then in Mein Kampf you have plenty of allusions to the "struggle for survival", and even evolution. Right before a rather common quote mine from that book, you have this.

    Source: Adolf Hitler

    Any crossing between two beings of not quite the same
    high standard produces a medium between the standards of
    the parents. That means: the young one will probably be
    on a higher level than the racially lower parent, but not as
    high as the higher one. Consequently, it will succumb later
    on in the fight against the higher level. But such a mating
    contradicts Nature's will to breed life as a whole towards a
    higher level. The presumption for this does not lie in blend-
    ing the superior with the inferior, but rather in a complete
    victory of the former. The stronger has to rule and he is
    not to amalgamate with the weaker one, that he may not
    sacrifice his own greatness. Only the born weakling can
    consider this as cruel, but at that he is only a weak and
    limited human being; for, if this law were not dominating,
    all conceivable development towards a higher level, on the
    part of all organically living beings, would be unthinkable
    for man.

    The consequence of this purity of the race, generally
    valid in Nature, is not only the sharp limitation of the races
    outwardly, but also their uniform character in themselves.
    The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger,
    etc., and the difference can lie, at the most, in the different
    measure of strength, force, cleverness, skill, perseverance,
    etc., of the various specimens. But there will never be
    found a fox which, according to its inner nature, would per-
    haps have humane tendencies as regards the geese, nor will
    there be a cat with a friendly disposition towards mice.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Some try to make this out to Hitler believing in a "fixity of species", but the underlined shows that without a struggle for survival, and an elimination of the "unfit", there would be no "higher level" of organisms. Sounds like evolution to me. So does this.

    Source: Mein Kampf

    The types of creatures on the earth are countless, and on an individual level their self-preservation instinct as well as the longing for procreation is always unlimited; however, the space in which this entire life process plays itself out is limited. It is the surface area of a precisely measured sphere on which billions and billions of individual beings struggle for life and succession. In the limitation of this living space lies the compulsion for the struggle for survival, and the struggle for survival, in turn, contains that precondition for evolution.

    © Copyright Original Source

    In fact, Mein Kampf means "My Struggle". There is some serious influence from evolution in this work.

    Its very ballsy of you, and not really all that gracious. You don't look like someone who really has a foot on what he's saying. Giving out a rhetorical fib like that is something typically done by people who aren't really sure what they're talking about, or who don't know enough to assess how little they know of a subject. You're free to do it, but I think its bad taste.
    Wow, I go out of my way to give him the benefit of the doubt, and you say it's "not really all that gracious"? How is going for the least problematic of those options "ballsy"? How exactly was what I said a "rhetorical fib". Especially since for most people who think Darwin was just a-okay are simply ignorant of what he wrote. Like I said, I once bought the myth too.

    As for "You don't look like someone who really has a foot on what he's saying". I'll admit that I am not always that great at putting down what I am thinking into written form, but I have done my research on this. I've been doing it for some time too. Every time I see something that just might make Darwin look a bit more innocent, it takes only a bit of digging to find out that most of what's being taught about Darwin is false.

    Our Lord wasn't exactly fond of hypocrites.
    I would expect something like this from Dante Ting, but not you. Hypocrisy is one thing I absolutely can't stand, and right now, other than your little jab I don't see how what I said was hypocritical. You are going to have to do a bit more unpacking than this little soundbite.

    I got that.
    Yeah, I don't exactly hide what I'm thinking.

    This was quite a mouthful. Cerebrum I'm definitely not angry at you, or dismissive. I only saw a quote you gave which didn't really seem up to the task of painting Charles Darwin as a eugenics supporter. Lets say you show that he was, I'll do the following:

    I'll admit it.
    Well, no, you weren't, but many others have been. Even in completely unrelated discussions I have been completely dismissed because I'm a YEC. A lot of people now start equating YEC with stupidity in all areas. Remember when you got upset with the "conservative back patting"(I know that's not the only thing you were upset about)? It feel it's a lot like that.

    Also, you would be one of the very few to actually admit this. Many prefer to preserve Charles Darwin's reputation at all costs. Which is odd if it really doesn't matter at all when it comes to his moral standing.

    Even if Charles Darwin's character was completely obliterated, that he was dishonest, lying, committed serial fraud, scientific fraud and so on. It wouldn't touch the theory of evolution. All it would show is that Charles Darwin was a bad character. Martin Luther went nuts at times and was a huge anti-semite, some think that can be defended as him being a product of his times. Calvin, whom the Reformed venerate, said the Bible was to the be ultimate authority, however he attacked anyone who would dare open their mouth against him, as if they were attacking a bishop, or the entire Church's sanctity, even though those people were merely following the dictates of their conscience.
    I never said that Charles Darwin being a bad person somehow made ToE wrong. For me, it goes to two primary things with this topic.

    Issue #1. If I can't trust these people to be honest about the person who invented the theory, why should I trust them to be honest with the science. Far too much of it is things I can't check for myself, and except for Sir Arthur Keith, none of them even come close to being truly informed, or many times even just honest with this issue.

    Issue #2. We are to judge people by their fruits, and I do the same with philosophy/science. I see only rotten fruit, from a rotten tree, with rotten roots. The fruit are sadly still being eaten, and it looks like we can expect another large harvest of it in the not too distant future. Eugenics seems to be on the rise again, and I predict that as long as ToE is being taught as science, it will always return. It will be of course after the people who are old enough to remember the atrocities first, and second hand have died off.

    Someti`mes a person is a product of their times. At one point a legally acceptable form of capitol punishment was immolation on a fire. So people who sentenced other people to this, and were the ones to light the fire... were they acting in an evil fashion? They might merely have understood that capitol punishment was justified sometimes (as I believe), and that it was deemed acceptable to do it by fire.

    We can have these questions all day long. Some people sometimes rush in and quickly explain that Calvin was merely very anxious about the Bible being read correct (yes, his way, or the highway), at a time when these things were hotly contented and many things were at stake. Some say that Luther was merely dramatic in a way not uncommon and acceptable back then. We can discuss whether Darwin simple held various opinions on the subject as private mussings, and not as actually stated theories, or imperatives.

    However its true that we need to read a person in their historical context. How much Darwin can be faulted, morally, for being wrong depends on what he knew.
    The underlined is the most important part I want you to think about at this point. Darwin knew far more about what was going than he let on. In fact, the only criticism I've seen him give to Haeckel, who was advocating infanticide, was that he needed to be careful with how much he let people know. Otherwise he would anger people, and they would be angry for good reason btw, and that would "so completely blind people that your arguments would have no effect".

    Source: Charles Darwin

    CHARLES DARWIN TO E. HAECKEL. Down, May 21, 1867.
    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.

    © Copyright Original Source


    This was a political move. Darwin understood what was at stake, he knew what was being proposed, and he didn't discourage it in those whom it needed to be discouraged most. In fact, he encouraged it, and when people tried to point out the kind of moral implications of his theory they didn't like, he pretty much just dismissed them in a condescending manner. Much like many here have been doing actually.

    Source: Frances Power Cobbe

    It must be admitted that these two doctrines between them effectively revolutionize morals, as they have been hitherto commonly understood. The first dethrones the moral sense from that place of mysterious supremacy which Butler considered its grand characteristic. Mr Darwin's moral sense is simply an instinct originated, like a dozen others, by the conditions under which we live, but which happens, in the struggle for existence among all our instincts, to resume the upper hand, when no other chances to be in the ascendent. And the second theory aims a still more deadly blow at ethics, by affirming that not only has our moral sense come to us by a source commanding no special respect, but that it answers to no external or durable, not to say universal or eternal, reality, and is merely tentative and provisional, – the provincial prejudice, that we may describe it, of this little world ad its temporary inhabitants, which would be looked on with a smile of derision by better informed people now living on Mars, or hereafter to be developed on earth, and who, in their turn, may be considered as walking in a vain shadow by other races.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Source: Frances Power Cobbe

    Let me say it at once. These doctrines appear to me simply the most dangerous which have ever been set forth since the days of Mandeville. Of course, if science can really show good cause for accepting them, their consequences must be frankly faced. But it is at least fitting to come to an examination of them, conscious that we are criticizing no ordinary problems, but theories whose validity must involve the invalidity of all the sanctions which morality has hitherto received from powers beyond those of the penal laws. As a matter of practice, no doubt men act in nine cases out of ten with very small regard to their theories of ethics, even when they are thoughtful enough to have grasped any theory at all; and generations might elapse after the universal acceptance of these new views by philosophers before they would sensibly influence the conduct of the masses of mankind. But, however slowly they might work, I cannot but believe that in the hour of their triumph would be sounded the knell of the virtue of mankind.

    © Copyright Original Source


    Darwin's response?

    Source: Charles Darwin

    If, for instance, to take an extreme case, men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering. (6. Mr. H. Sidgwick remarks, in an able discussion on this subject (the 'Academy,' June 15, 1872, p. 231), "a superior bee, we may feel sure, would aspire to a milder solution of the population question." Judging, however, from the habits of many or most savages, man solves the problem by female infanticide, polyandry and promiscuous intercourse; therefore it may well be doubted whether it would be by a milder method. Miss Cobbe, in commenting ('Darwinism in Morals,' 'Theological Review,' April 1872, pp. 188-191) on the same illustration, says, the PRINCIPLES of social duty would be thus reversed; and by this, I presume, she means that the fulfilment of a social duty would tend to the injury of individuals; but she overlooks the fact, which she would doubtless admit, that the instincts of the bee have been acquired for the good of the community. She goes so far as to say that if the theory of ethics advocated in this chapter were ever generally accepted, "I cannot but believe that in the hour of their triumph would be sounded the knell of the virtue of mankind!" It is to be hoped that the belief in the permanence of virtue on this earth is not held by many persons on so weak a tenure.)

    © Copyright Original Source

    That last line is a bit off considering that Darwin just advocated moral relativism, and therefore couldn't even truly believe in the "permanence of virtue". Seems to me the only real difference between her, and people like Haeckel, Galton, etc. they wanted what she predicted, while she did not.

    In my experience it depends on the forum Cerebrum. I remember being an atheist and spending time on those forums, and we'd get creationists who made the most awful arguments. They'd stand up proudly and recite "Evolution violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics." And then they'd make an analogous argument about order and disorder. Once you point out to them that the Earth isn't a closed system, they'd either handwave and talk about information (never getting back to their original point), or accuse atheists of 'trying to wriggle out'. They'd make long, long, long since debunked arguments, completely unaware of any posts about it.

    At least any creationist should have read the Talk.Origin post on these things and be able to address the points there, but we didn't even get that. Eventually you just get tired of hearing it Cerebrum. Maybe you're different, I can't say, I choose to be open and nice.
    That's the real reason I'm even responding to you, otherwise I would have just dropped the subject where it was before you responded.

    Personally, I agree with the argument you say is so terrible. I know I can't argue for it in detail myself though. So I won't try.

    Jorge is grating on my ears though, no offence to the owner of this thread.
    I can understand that, I don't always see eye to eye with him myself.

    You do that, thank you for walking the quote through me. Sorry if this got long and fractioned. Respond to any of it if you want. Take care Cerebrum.
    Thanks. I've finished the response, but I don't feel I'm really going to be able to do more than I've offered in this response. Day after tomorrow is when things will really start to hit, and I feel there's not much more to be said*. That Thought Criminal Blog is far more articulate than I am, and puts all the pieces together better than I am probably even capable of. While I disagree with a lot of his other posts, I do highly recommend him on this topic.

    *That part was written over a week ago. I changed my thoughts on "not much else to be said", there is in fact far more. Too much for me to put here at TWeb.
    Last edited by Cerebrum123; 09-20-2014, 07:04 AM.


    • #3
      Thank you for this gracious response Cerebrum. This is certainly far more detailed than what I anticipated. Owing to its length, I hope you'll give me some leeway in responding to you. It'll take a while. I won't be able to interact with all the points you make, and I don't expect you to reciprocate with this post, if you feel like responding at all.


      • #4
        Yeah, I don't expect you to respond any time soon, I don't expect to respond to this myself. Heck, it took me most of a day just to write it.

        Like I said, in the post, I felt you deserved a more detailed response. I didn't want a debate, but with the character limit I felt a PM would be inadequate. I'm actually surprised I was able to fit all this into two posts.

        That being said, I'm a bit burned out on this issue. I've been reading stuff on it for about half a year now. I plan on letting this issue drop, even if brought up by others.


        • #5
          Cerebrum123 & Leonhard regarding Charles Darwin

          Moderated By:

          This is a discussion between Cerebrum123 and Leonhard concerning Charles Darwin and is restricted to just their posts. Anyone else who wishes to comment can post in the commentary thread.

          This is not a formal debate limited to the number of posts or how many words each may use.

          ***If you wish to take issue with this notice DO NOT do so in this thread.***
          Contact the forum moderator or an administrator in Private Message or email instead. If you feel you must publicly complain or whine, please take it to the Padded Room unless told otherwise.

          Last edited by rogue06; 09-20-2014, 02:47 PM.

          I'm always still in trouble again

          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman


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