Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Darwinian vs. the Christian

How it came to be, and yet may again:
Not only can the influence of Darwinism be gauged by the outpouring of books and articles in late nineteenth-century Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (henceforth when I refer collectively to the German-speaking lands I will use the term Germany as shorthand) discussing the social and ethical applications of Darwinism, but we also find it frequently in autobiographical testimony. Richard Goldschmidt (1878—1958), one of the leading geneticists of the twentieth century, captures some of the pathos of his encounter with Darwinian literature in his youth. At age 16, he explained, he read Ernst Haeckel’s Natural History of Creation
with burning eyes and soul. It seemed that all problems of heaven and earth were solved simply and convincingly; there was an answer to every question which troubled the young mind. Evolution was the key to everything and could replace all the beliefs and creeds which one was discarding. There were no creation, no God, no heaven and hell, only evolution and the wonderful law of recapitulation which demonstrated the fact of evolution to the most stubborn believer in creation. I was so fascinated and shaken up that I had to communicate to others my new knowledge, and this was done in the schoolyard, on school picnics, and among friends. I remember vividly a scene during a school picnic when I stood surrounded by a group of schoolboys to whom I expounded the gospel of Darwinism as Haeckel saw it.
Goldschmidt claims that his experience of embracing this Darwinian worldview...was typical for educated young people of his day, and abundant testimony from his contemporaries confirms this. In 1921 the physiologist Max Verworn stated, “One can state without exaggeration that no scientist has exercised a greater influence on the development of our contemporary worldview than Haeckel.”

Ernst Haeckel, the most famous German Darwinist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, enthusiastically adopted Darwin’s theory of natural selection and applied the struggle for existence to humans in many of his writings. He believed the most important aspect of Darwinism was the animal ancestry of humans, which would “bring forth a complete revolution in the entire worldview of humanity.”
(From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany
By Richard Weikart :11)

It is curious that I could be accused of misanthropy for noting some empirical facts by anyone who believes in the Darwinian creation myth while rejecting intelligent design as "humanistic" and rejecting the Anthropic Principle as well. The Darwinian view: "In [Haeckel's] writings, he often criticized the 'anthropocentric fable' as a religious idea no longer tenable in the light of Darwinian science." (Ib. :12) Yet misanthropy is wrong arbitrarily, as if we can enforce political correctness without any foundation in moral and empirical correctness.

It is also interesting that people change their common sense and view of the world based on little more than bits of old bones shown to them by charlatans who consistently bend the empirical facts to suit their Darwinian creation myth, even to the point of fraud when it comes to the empirical facts.

Some of the old mythological narratives of Naturalism told of the Neanderthals:
The Africans, [Klaatsch] thought, shared common traits with the Neanderthal race, which was largely supplanted by the Aurignac race in Europe.
The Africans and Neanderthals...still had more “bestial” characteristics. Klaatsch surmised that European criminals probably had some remnant of Neanderthal traits overriding the good moral traits of their Aurignac ancestors.
Klaatsch once stated that “modern science cannot confirm the exag gerated humanitarianism which sees brothers and sisters in all the lower races.” What practical conclusions did Klaatsch draw from this Darwinian racism? First, he deplored the racial mixture of whites and blacks. Second, he denied that blacks could be educated very much, so colonial powers should not expend too much effort in this regard. Finally, he rejected the notion that people of different races should have equal rights. “The humanitarian nonsense,” he declared, “which grants equal rights to all on the premise of the unity of humanity, is to be condemned from the scientific standpoint.” For Klaatsch, as for many other Darwinists of his time, science showed the folly of egalitarianism, especially racial equality. He also intimated that slavery was beneficial, not only for the slave-holding whites, but also for the black slaves. Klaatsch and his cohort of Darwinian-inspired anthropologists thus overturned the liberal tradition of German anthropology.

Even some of the older generation of anthropologists, including Luschan and Waldeyer, converted to Darwinism around the turn of the twentieth century, simultaneously embracing scientific racism. The simultaneous shift toward Darwinism and biological racism was so pronounced that the historian Benoit Massin concludes:
And for those embracing the new Darwinian approach in German anthropology, the implications of racial evolutionary hierarchies were even more radical: the replacement of the previous humanitarian ethics by a biological and selectionist materialism more concerned with the inequalities of evolution than the universal brotherhood or spiritual unity of humankind.

To be sure, Darwinism does not necessarily imply scientific racism, and scientific racism did not necessarily depend on Darwinism, but the two shared affinities that made them not only compatible, but also alluring to each other. Historically Darwinism and biological racism are linked tightly together, as many historians have demonstrated. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we almost always find them in tandem.
(Ib. :115-116)

Darwinism is poor science, if not pseudo-science, as it typically takes minimal evidence like little bits of bones to expound rather vast mythological narratives of Naturalism. Here is an example:
...the Piltdown brain-case is smaller and more primitive in form than these. The most striking feature is the “pronounced gorilla-like drooping of the temporal region, due to the extreme narrowing of its posterior part, which causes a deep excavation of its under surface.” This feeble development of that portion of the brain which is known to control the power of articulate speech is most significant. To Professor Smith the association of a simian jaw with a cranium more distinctly human is not surprising. The evolution of the human brain from the simian type involves a tripling of the superficial area of the cerebral cortex; and “this expansion was not like the mere growth of a muscle with exercise, but the gradual building-up of the most complex mechanism in existence. The growth of the brain preceded the refinement of the features and the somatic characters in general.”
(Ancestor Hunting: The Significance of the Piltdown Skull
By George Grant MacCurdy
American Anthropologist, New Series,
Vol. 15, No. 2. (Apr. - Jun., 1913), pp. 248-256

See also:
(Man Had Reason Before He Spoke
The New York Times; Dec 20, 1912, pg. 6

Current Opinion (1913-1925). New York: Nov 1913. Vol. VOL. LV., Iss. No. 5

The Neanderthal fossils and their Darwinian "reconstructions" may not be that different although given the fascist tendencies of some scholars questioning their Darwinian interpretation is not common. Typically, the way things are reconstructed are by matching their type. Yet if the presumption or desire is for a new type, an intermediate lack of type in a pseudo-type, then that tends to be what is reconstructed, no matter the empirical evidence.

The flat forehead and projecting jaws are meant to be convincing examples of our ape heritage. Figure 7 is a diagram of Le Moustier’s souvenir slide bought at the museum counter. Both jaws are approximately 30 millimetres forward of their true position.

Figure 8 is a composite of my X-ray of the actual forehead and my X-ray of the top and back of the head, and Figure 9 is my composite drawing from these measurable X-rays. The large arrow in Figure 8 shows the concave socket where the lower jaw fits into the head. There is a tremendous difference between these X-rays with real measurements and real parts as compared to the ape-like reconstructions in Figures 6 and 7.

To their credit, the German museum people are now trying to put the parts together again, accurately this time, and they have requested my X-rays for this purpose.
(Neanderthal children's fossils:
Huge problems have been uncovered in evolutionary
reconstructions of Neanderthal children's fossils
by John W. Cuozzo
Creation ex nihilo(December 1994) 17(1):40–44

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