Sunday, March 11, 2007

Darwin Was Not Gentle

SEE THE ARTICLE The Gentle Darwinians, What Darwin’s Champions Won’t Mention

Darwin and Nietzsche are now portrayed as a "gentle humanists", but this is only possible if we ignore much of what they wrote. In proposing his theory of evolution, Darwin also proposed a massive programme for the cruel elimination of the weaker races, and likewise Nietzsche's championing of individual freedom was coupled to his idea of enslaving millions.

Modern fans of Darwin says that his attitude towards race was merely the product of the intellectual environment of his age, and so he must be excused. Even today, where we live in a pop-culture driven world, people are expected to uncritically go along with the latest trends and scientific theories. In our world, the progressive cultural elites are not to be held responsible for the bad policy consequences of their ideas, especially if those ideas were just the fleeting fashion of the day.

But it was not always so. The idea of a natural law morality, which is always binding everywhere and in all times, and that the seeds of this morality preexist in our conscious, always holds us responsible, without regard to the spirit of the age.

The main problem with Darwinism is not its status as a scientific theory, but rather how Darwinism is used for public policy. That is true with many modern scientific theories: the most prominent one today is the theory of global warming, which is leading to enormous public policy consequences.


  1. I would respectfully suggest you read Chapter 21 of The Voyage of the Beagle, the one in which Beagle having left Brazil, Darwin 'thanks God' that he will never again set foot in a slave-owning nation.

    The fact of evolution mean that ultimately someone would discern and publish its processes: Darwin had the genius to do that even in the absence of the work of Gregor Mendel. There is no such thing a 'Darwinism', there is evolutionary theort (both a fact and a theory) and in using Darwinism as a straw man you being intellectually dishonest. What subsequent people did claiming the leghitimacy of Darwinism: well, that is ground the Church should tread on very warily.

  2. Peter,

    You are right, I don't think Charles Darwin would have ever advocated slavery, rather Friedrich Nietzsche did. The article is a bit confusing because both authors are mentioned together.

    I just used Darwinism as a general term for evolutionism: I know there are lots of distinctions nowadays that don't really interest me. Nor do I care for the alternative theories to evolution put out by the various Christian groups. Rather, I hold to the ancient Catholic idea of a Providential universe which easily accommodates material change.

    What I do strongly object to is the political consequences of scientific ideas. Darwin himself tread very dangerously into the direction of policy in his descriptions of savage and civilized nations.