Fw: Re: REV: Gliboff on Weikart, _Darwin to Hitler_ (2)

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 18:19:33 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carsten Timmermann, H-SCI-MED-TECH" <smtedit@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 8:30 PM
Subject: Re: REV: Gliboff on Weikart, _Darwin to Hitler_ (2)

(1) - (cross-post from h-german)

From: John Howard <JoHo2442@aol.com>
Subject: Re: REV: Gliboff on Weikart, _Darwin to Hitler_
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004

The prophet is not to be confused with his disciples. Richard Weikart
seems to be saying that the views of Herbert Spencer, the father of
Social Darwinism, are the views of Charles Darwin. No less a person
than Thomas Huxley, "Darwin's Bulldog", refuted Spencer's vulgar
interpretation of Darwin's "Theory of Natural Selection". Spencer, not
Darwin, coined the phrase - "Survival of the Fittest". Spencer, not
Darwin, popularized the term "Evolution". Huxley rejected Spencer's
strong Lamarckian and progressivist leanings and his advocacy of Social
Darwinist laissez-faire Economic theories that had nothing to do with
natural selection. To use Spencer's theories of Social Darwinism to
attack Darwin would be like a scholar using NSDAP misinterpretations of
Beyond Good and Evil or Goetterdaemmerung to attack Nietzsche or

Spencer, as we know, was not a scientist.

Another influential popularizer of evolution was Ernst Haeckel, who
idolized Darwin, but who can be seen as a principal architect of Social
Darwinist thinking. Haeckel associated evolution with racial categories,
and like Huxley he saw his advocacy of science as an ideological
battleground. He helped found the scientific arm of the University of
Jena, and he taught there in the 1880s. This was to become the model
National Socialist university, and the concentration camp at
Weimar-Buchenwald was built nearby. It is not difficult to misinterpret
this as a legacy of Haeckel's work, considering the words with which he
greeted Bismarck there 60 years earlier:

"While the booming guns at the battle of Koeniggratz in 1866 announced
the demise of the old federal German diet and the beginning of a
splendid period in the history of the German Reich, here in Jena the
history of the phylum was born." (Quoted in Darwin, Adrian Desmond and
James Moore, Michael Joseph, 1991)

The intellectual history of evolution can be traced back to the Greeks,
possibly even further back into prehistory. Darwin's grandfather,
Erasmus Darwin, used the term "evolution" (aka generation, unrolling)
and, like most biologists of his day, was quite familiar with the idea.
The elder Darwin believed that the process of evolution was due to

"...the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities,
directed by irritations, sensations, volitions, and associations; and
thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent
activity, and of delivering down those improvements to by generation to
its posterity, world without end." [Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, vol. 1
(London: 1794)

An astonishingly prescient idea for his time, but not one unique to
Erasmus Darwin. It was, moreover, mere speculation. There were no
facts, no systematic observations, no meticulous comparisons, no theory
to explain how this could happen. It seems, however, to be borderline
Lamarckian before Lamarck - who expounded his own theory of evolution in
1800 (It was a nice try, but no cigar).

Darwin showed us how evolution worked, he did not discover it. He did
discover the physical mechanism of natural selection, but Charles Darwin
did not understand the genetic mechanism. In fact, he had no conception
of genes. If he had only found a copy of Experiments in Plant
Hybridization (1865) by Gregor Mendel, a contemporary of Darwin, he
would have found the answers to his remaining questions. When Watson,
Crick (and Rosalind Franklin) discovered the structure of DNA in 1952 at
Cambridge, the mechanisms of genetics became clear at the molecular
level It all fit neatly together - Darwin, Mendel, Watson and Crick.

It is always easy to judge the past using the standards of the present,
but it is rarely helpful. Race, as we know, had a much wider meaning at
the time Darwin referred to "Savage Races". In Darwin's time, it could
mean, for instance, nation - as in the American Race. "Savage" might
simply mean anyone who lived in tribes with few modern conveniences.
Anyone who has read The Voyage of the Beagle knows that Darwin
encountered tribes of people who were living a hunter-gatherer
existence, whose lives were as Hobbes described them: "All mankind [is
in] a perpetual and restless desire for ... man against every man" and
make life "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." To say that
Darwin was a racist is unfair and misleading. He was a man of his times,
certainly, but he certainly did not use race as the measure of all
things. The same cannot be said of Herbert Spencer or Ernst Haeckel.

But there is another troubling aspect to Richard Weikart's attempt to
associate Darwin with Eugenics and, by extension, the Holocaust. It is
the ad hominem fallacy - attack the person, his motives, instead of his
argument. By implying that Darwin was a racist, Weikart attempts to
discredit Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. This would be like
implying that Einstein was a pedophile to discredit his Theory of
Relativity. This is not how science works. The argument centers on
whether a theory is correct or incorrect, not on the man, not on his

[According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a scientific
theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the
natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested
hypotheses." No amount of validation changes a theory into a law, which
is a descriptive generalization about nature. So when scientists talk
about the theory of evolution--or the atomic theory or the theory of
relativity, for that matter--they are not expressing reservations about
its truth. In addition to the theory of evolution, meaning the idea of
descent with modification, one may also speak of the fact of evolution.
The NAS defines a fact as "an observation that has been repeatedly
confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as 'true.'" The
fossil record and abundant other evidence, including genetics,
microbiology and so on, testify that organisms have evolved through
time. Although no one observed those transformations, the indirect
evidence is clear, unambiguous and compelling.]

Just as with Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Darwin's Theory of Natural
Selection has been blamed for lax morals, devaluing human life and so
on. The vulgar misinterpretation and misappropriation of these theories
have been used to justify all sorts of behavior, but they have nothing
to do with the science that informs these theories or the theories
themselves. Science does not seek to lay out ways of life or question
religion or undermine the ethos of a people or posit a politics to live
by. It only seeks to understand how things work.

One last point.

Sander Gliboff writes: " The book is very well crafted to maintain a
scholarly stance and avoid any blatant evangelizing or explicit
political advocacy never cites Johnson or other creationists and it does
not identify the author as a fellow of the Discovery Institute."

Weikart writes: "Gliboff tries to marginalize my position by pretending
that the source of my views is creationism, when I am sure that he
knows--but somehow forgets to mention--that many, many scholars have
reached conclusions similar to mine."

Whether creationism or intelligent design, Weikart is not addressing
Gliboff's concern. But then, Gliboff has committed the fallacy of ad
hominem, attacking the motives of the person instead of his argument.

This may be how history works, but it is not science.

John Howard
Independent Scholar
La Canada - Flintridge, California

Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 13:20:29 -0400
From: Patricia Princehouse <patricia.princehouse@case.edu>
Subject: Evolution & God From Darwin to Hitler, Gliboff to speak in
It seems telling that Weikert complains about Gliboff associating him with
creationism, yet chooses not to explain his position as a Fellow of the
neo-creationist lobbying group the "Discovery Institute." (fmi see the
current (Oct) issue of WIRED magazine
Those interested in these issues are warmly invited to hear Ed Larson speak
on the origins of the Discovery Institute on Oct 16 as part of Case
Western's symposium, Evolution & God.
Sander Gliboff will also be speaking; as will:
Jim Moore
Ron Numbers
Ken Miller
Barbara Forrest
Ed Larson
Martin Fichman
& more!
(free admission; details below, and at
www.princehouse.homestead.com/evolutionandgod2.html )
See you in Cleveland!
World-Renowned Authors Will Speak on Relations between Evolution and
CLEVELAND - - It^“s been a century and a half since Charles Darwin published
On the Origin of Species, but the effects of that revolutionary scientific
work continue to reverberate throughout theology, philosophy and politics.
Many Americans today hear m
ore about evolution from evangelists opposed to the idea than they do from
science teachers, and states continue to argue over whether, and how,
evolution should be taught in high schools.
This highly-charged nexus of religion and politics has created many false
impressions about the history of evolutionary theory and its relation to
society. To help create a more accurate picture Case Western Reserve
University^“s History and Philosophy o
f Science program is sponsoring the symposium ^”Evolution and God: 150 Years
of Love and War Between Science and Religion.^‘ It will take place October
15-17 in Strosacker Auditorium on the Case Quad, and is free and open to the
The public is invited to lunch with the authors on Sat Oct 16. Box lunch is
$14 and must be pre-paid by Oct 8.
Here is the schedule of events for the weekend. All events are free and open
to the public:
Friday, October 15:
∑ 11 a.m. James Moore, reader in the History of Science and Technology at
Open University in England and author of the best-selling biography Darwin,
and The Post-Darwinian Controversies, will speak on ^”Wallace in Wonderland:
The story of Darwin^“s Soul
Mate and His Ill-fated Spiritual Science,^‘ in 206 Clark Hall,11130
Bellflower Road.
∑ 7 p.m. Ken Miller, author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search
for Common Ground between God and Evolution and  author of several biology
textbooks, will speak on ^”Making Peace Between Science and Religion^‘ in
Strosacker Auditorium
Saturday, October 16 (all events in Strosacker Auditorium):
∑ 8:30 a.m. Opening prayer led by Reverend George Murphy of St. Paul^“s
Episcopal  Church, Akron (;  welcome from Lynn Singer, Case deputy provost;
and introductions by Alan Rocke, director of the History and Philosophy of
Science program, and Patricia P
rincehouse, who will moderate.
∑ 9 a.m. James Moore will speak on "Darwin: A Devil's Chaplain?^‘ asking the
questions ^”How dangerous was Darwin's science?^‘ and ^”What role did he
give God?
∑ 10 a.m. Ron Numbers, the Hilldale and William Coleman Professor of the
History of Science and Medicine and former chair of the department of
medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin -Madison, and
author of The Creationists and Darwin
ism Comes to America will speak on ^”The Many Faces of Creationism.^‘
∑ 11 a.m. Keith Miller, a geologist at Kansas State University and
evangelical Christian and editor of Perspectives on an Evolving Creation,
will speak on ^”God^“s Evolving Creation: Taking both Science and Theology
∑ 12 p.m. Box lunch with speakers   (must pre-register by Oct 8)
∑ 1:15 p.m. Ken Miller will speak on "Looking for God in all the Wrong
Places: The Theological Perils of 'Intelligent Design'^‘
∑ 2:15 p.m. Ed Larson, the Richard B. Russell Professor of American History
and the Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law at the University of Georgia, and
author of Evolution:  The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory and the
Pulitzer Prize-winning. Summe
r for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over
Science and Religion will speak on ^”The Origins of the Discovery
∑ 3:15 p.m. Barbara Forrest, professor of philosophy at Southeastern
Louisiana University and in the department of history and  author of
Creationism^“s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design will speak on
"Neo-Creationism: Where's the Harm in Th
∑ 4:30 p.m. Lawrence Krauss, chair and Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics
and Professor of Astronomy at Case, will moderate a panel discussion among
Cleveland-area members of the Ohio Board of Education on "Quality Science
Education in Ohio's Public Sc
hools. Panelists will include Virgil Brown, Rob Hovis and Martha Wise.
Sunday, October 17 (all events in Strosacker):
∑ 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Poster session in the Strosacker lobby.
∑ 9 a.m. Eric Kennedy, a senior at Case, will speak on ^”Personal Faith and
Darwin^“s Origin of Species^‘ .
∑ 9:30 a.m. Patricia Princehouse, lecturer in philosophy of science at Case,
will speak on ^”Stephen Jay Gould, Darwinism, and the Uses of Creationism^‘
10:15 a.m. Sander Gliboff, asst prof in the History and Philosophy of
Science department at Indiana University, will speak on  ^”Creativity
without Creation:  Evolutionary History According to Ernst Haeckel^‘
∑ 11 a.m. Martin Fichman, professor  of Humanities  and History at York
University in Toronto, and author of An Elusive Victorian: The Evolution of
Alfred Russel Wallace, will speak on ^”Wallace^“s Evolutionary Cosmology.^‘
∑ 11:45 a.m. Reverend George Murphy, Pastoral Associate at St. Paul's,
adjunct faculty member at Trinity Lutheran Seminary,  and author of Toward a
Christian View of a Scientific World, and The Cosmos in the Light of the
Cross, will speak on ^”Evolution a
nd the Centrality of the Cross.^‘
For further information visit the symposium^“s web site at
http://www.princehouse.homestead.com/EvolutionandGod2.html or call Alan
Rocke at(216) 368-2614
Patricia Princehouse
Dept of Philosophy
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH 44106
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Received on Wed Sep 29 19:16:34 2004

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