Darwinism has at all times been an intensely political project, advanced mainly by blackballing dissenters. That is NOT a modern problem; the historical record shows that it was always true.
West shows how Darwin and his allies attempted to discredit those scientists who accepted the occurrence of evolution but did not did not embrace atheistic materialism. For example,
Huxley eventually tried to blackball Mivart from the scientific community, and Darwin vowed to cut off communication after Mivart criticized an article by Darwin's son George that advocated eugenics. (p. 24)
Didn't ever hear that story before? No, because spin takes over. Darwin is portrayed as The Great Enlightened One. Basically, Mivart was a Catholic, so he wasn't likely to support sterilizing people by force because Darwin's supporters considered them inferior.
West goes on to document the ways in which modern Darwinists deny Darwin's materialist sympathies, in defiance of readily available facts. For example, one teacher's edition of a popular Miller and Levine textbook maintains (p. 25) "He remained a devout Christian all his life."
West tells us the facts about Darwin's mature views about religion, especially in his now-available private writings,
In his private writings, Darwin was more direct about his religious skepticism. In his Autobiography, a document originally intended for use by his family, Darwin told of how he "gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine relevation" and had "never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct." Indeed, by the end of his life, Darwin could "hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true." (p. 37)
Darwin was spooked by the doctrine of Hell, noting that it threatened atheists like his father, brother and "almost all my best friends" - making quite clear thereby that Darwinism was a project driven mostly by atheists.
One is staggered by the deception about Darwin on offer, often from academic enterpises and publicly funded bodies. But, in fairness, it is probably self-deception. In the interests of selling materialism - and Darwinism as its creation story - many people simply avoid knowing readily available historical facts, and assert pious fictions instead.
I know, because in the interests of not being painted as an extremist by gullible teachers and clergy, I have done it myself. (See Dhimmi for Darwin no more - a reflection and retraction)
In fact, the evidence is clear that Darwin avoided openly embracing atheism in order to spare the feelings of his family. His Descent of Man explains human life in entirely materialist terms (West, p.41)
Many of his explanations are not very successful, and they pave the way for the nonsensical "evolutionary psychology" propounded in all seriousness in popular science mags today (for an example, see Chapter Four of The Spiritual Brain ("The God Helmet")).
Indeed, as I have shown elsewhere, the whole point of evolutionary psychology is to demonstrate that humans do not make decisions on the basis of mental operations but on the basis of conserved selfish genes that get themselves passed on. The radical materialism that drives the project is best seen in two facts: 1) evolutionary psychologists are not usually expected to identify any actual genes and (2) the behaviour in question can be usually be explained without resorting to evolutionary psychology.
But to make such objections is to miss the point. The point is to insert the pseudo-discipline of evolutionary psychology as a legitimate part of science, not to explain human behavior in an economical and rational way.
Another wakeup call that West's Darwin Day in America provides is about the relationship between Darwinism and the political camps of our time. I had been raised to think that Darwinism had been embraced by the Right but shunned by the Left.
That's easy to understand. My Canadian cultural background is vaguely leftish, so people probably wanted to reduce the sense of conflict between our vestigial Christianity and the materialism whose prophet was Darwin. West painstaking shows that Darwinism has always been part of the bedrock of the Left as well as the Right - because it underscores materialism. One recalls here Joseph Stalin's attempt to hybridize humans and chimpanzees. Funny no one ever told me about that.
Next: Part Three: High spin level warning: "Darwin was not a eugenicist"
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