Saturday 7 August 2021

Two Marxist biologists stopped us from knowing that Darwin was a Social Darwinist

Looking back at my education at Cambridge I notice how many of the ideas I took in were far left. Not just far left lecturers like Eric Foner or Jay Winter, but in books by Communists like John Berger, for example. 

My very clever history master at school, Dr Alan White, who is a genius, taught us that social Darwinism was based on a fallacy, according to Darwin's ideas evolution took place with glacial slowness and so could not be applied to politics or be a call for political action.

Not true at all. Dr White was misled, as was everyone, by influential far left historians.

I quote from an article I read some months ago.
'Also inconvenient for modern tastes is Darwin’s attempt in Descent of Man to shed light on “the differences between the so-called races of man.” “The civilized races of man,” he wrote, “will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” Darwin believed there were “marked differences in the inherited mental faculties between the members of the different existing races,” anthropologist Loren Eiseley wrote in Darwin’s Century. The Descent of Man is full of “Western ethnocentrism” which saw indigenous peoples as “destined to be swept away in the struggle for existence” due to their supposedly feeble intellects, Eiseley concluded. 
'Darwin was no more generous about the poor classes in Victorian society. Under the sway of his cousin Francis Galton, who coined the word “eugenics” and whose writings are frequently cited in The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote that civilization in the form of asylums, hospitals, public charities, and therapeutic medicine obstructed the power of natural selection. All those social services enabled what Darwin called “the weak members” of society to survive and reproduce more of their kind. Worse, “the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members,” he wrote.


'To Darwin, this meant the “degeneration” of the human race was a distinct possibility. If late 19th century Victorian Britain wanted to progress, he warned, it had to prevent “the reckless, degraded, and often vicious” from having children. While Darwin never teased out the policy implications of Galton’s eugenic viewpoints, he did encourage “the most able” to “rear the largest number of offspring.”


'In other words, Darwin himself was a “social Darwinist,” musing continually in The Descent of Man about how his theory of evolution helped explain why human beings behaved and thought the way they did. This is obvious to anyone who reads Darwin, and yet many Darwinians have not only denied that he held these views, they have also insisted that Darwinian theory was a firewall against drawing conclusions about race and sex.


'That the whitewash of Darwinism as somehow a “refutation of racism” has prevailed for so long is largely due to the efforts of two Harvard biologists, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. Both belonged to “Science for the People,” a group of left-wing Marxist scientists. Of the two, Lewontin was a self-professed Marxist, and Gould, who called himself an “old-fashioned materialist,” said he “learned his Marxism, literally at his daddy’s knee.” A critic once accused Gould of teaching “communist biology.”'

Darwin's run of luck, if that is what it is, has run out. Rather say his political ideas are no longer suppressed by bad faith scholarship, but will be suppressed by order of the universities which exist to encourage debate.

Sheffield University has named Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics, and Charles Darwin as figures who may need historical context when their theories are taught because of apparent ties to the Empire, as if the Empire were a bad thing not a good one.

An Oxford University spokesman recently said:
'The university supports the diversifying STEM curriculum project, which is looking at how curricula might change to acknowledge questions of diversity and colonialism.'


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