RE: [asa] The term Darwinism

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Thu Jun 25 2009 - 17:39:19 EDT

" Newtonianism? Copernicanism, Ptolemaic,"

Aren't those terms all referring to historical ideas, whereas "Darwinism" is an attempt to make it sound like people today are following the Darwin of over 100 years ago? Come on, the theory of evolution has progressed so much since Darwin. Darwin is simply a father- a guy who got the ball rolling. Science is changing/updating so quickly... who could be a "Darwinist" today? "Evolutionist," yes. "Darwinist," no.

I am an evolutionist, because I accept evolution. I don't follow Darwin, but I do appreciate him. I more closely follow people like Ken Miller, Francis Collins, Denis Lamoureux, George Murphy, etc.

I think a better description than "Darwinist" would be "Dawkinist." But Dawkins probably can't call himself that- just like Darwin probably couldn't call himself a Darwinist. If Darwin was a Darwinist, then Dawkins should be a Dawkinist.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Michael Roberts
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:35 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] The term Darwinism

Newtonianism? Copernicanism, Ptolemaic,

Some in maths too
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
To: "Ted Davis" <>; <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 9:12 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] The term Darwinism

Of course, there is no similar usage in Physics. Does that tell us

From: [] On Behalf Of
Ted Davis []
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 4:07 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] The term Darwinism

>>> "Dehler, Bernie" <> 06/25/09 2:13 PM >>> wrote:

Personally, I think it is slanderous to Darwin to call anything "Darwinism."
 I don't think he would appreciate it if alive.


Ted comments:

Well, Bernie, you and Charles Darwin will just have to get over it. The
term "Darwinism" was quite widely used in his day, both by people who agreed
with him and also by those who didn't. Today of course the word seems to be
used mainly as a pejorative, esp by IDists who use it in two quite different
senses: "Darwinism" can mean simply evolution by natural selection,
operating on random mutations; it can also mean an atheistic world view with
all of the cultural ecoutrements. The fact that it's often unclear just
which meaning is intended by the word is, I think, probably deliberate in at
least some cases: some advocates of ID are happy to use the outrage
generated by the latter meaning to enlist creationists and others who also
think the former, non-ideological meaning is to be opposed.

It's not unheard of in the history of science to refer to theories by name,
in this way. That is, "Darwinism" is not unique. For example, after
Mendel's work was rediscovered ca. 1900, his theory of inheritance was often
called "Mendelism," although he was no longer living to have an opinion on
the matter. Another example would be "Mesmerism," though of course its
"scientific" status would be hotly contested today, even more than it was at
the time. If I thought about this long enough I could probably come up with
more nice examples.


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Received on Thu Jun 25 17:40:09 2009

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