Challenging Darwin as the patron saint of science and secularism

It has become a press custom to ask Republican presidential hopefuls, such as Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, whether they believe in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The intention is to trap the politicians between their Biblical literalist supporters and the prestige of Science with a capital S.

Still, Darwin’s ascension in recent decades to his current role as the saint of secularism might raise obvious questions about liberal dogmas, such as the impossibility of hereditary differences having evolved among human races. But those seldom come up, because progressivism has evolved a bizarre yet apparently reassuring theodicy reminiscent of Zoroastrian dualism, in which Ahura Mazda represents all that is good and Angra Mainyu all that is bad.

Similarly, Charles Darwin has come to epitomize everything that a proper progressive should believe, while Darwin’s younger half-cousin Francis Galton embodies crimethink.

This contemporary ritual of scapegoating Galton for the political sins of Darwinism raises the question of what Darwin (1809 – 1882) thought about Galton (1822 – 1911).

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A short 2012 biography—Darwin: Portrait of a Genius, by the prodigious journalist and historian Paul Johnson—offers a less fawning evaluation of Darwin than we’ve become accustomed to seeing in recent decades.

Johnson is particularly concerned with Darwin’s failure to read, or replicate on his own, Gregor Mendel’s 1866 publications outlining the basics of genetics, which weren’t appreciated until 1900:

“The missed opportunity is of the greatest importance, for in 1866 Darwin had a decade and a half of good work ahead of him. If he had been apprised of genetic theory, then he could have entered a new world of discovery.”

Read full, original article: Darwin For Deconstructionists

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