by Peter Franklin
Wednesday, 26
May 2021
Spotted
15:00

Told you so: Charles Darwin next up for cancellation

The scientist's reputation is looking under threat
by Peter Franklin
Is this the end of Charles Darwin?

Last year, I asked whether the woke mob was coming for Charles Darwin. With other eminent persons of the 18th and 19th centuries under attack e.g. David Hume and William Gladstone, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that Darwin might get cancelled too.

Then last week, Science — a prestigious journal — published an editorial attacking Darwin as an “English man with injurious and unfounded prejudices”. The author, Princeton anthropologist Agustín Fuentes, says that we “must push against [Darwin’s] unfounded and harmful assertions.”

As I made clear in my own article, Darwin did indeed have some horrible opinions. But what exactly does Fuentes mean by “push back”? This seems to be the nub of it: “the scientific community,” he says, “can reject the legacy of bias and harm in the evolutionary sciences by … making inclusive practices central to evolutionary inquiry.” 

Yes, let’s be inclusive. However, the only thing that should be central to all scientific inquiry is the scientific method. After all, that’s how the things that Darwin got scientifically wrong have been exposed. 

At the same time, we need to distinguish his scientific errors from his moral ones. They’re not completely unrelated, of course, but fusing them completely provides a basis on which to get Darwin cancelled, and perhaps evolutionary biology itself. So far, the Science editorial has done more to stir up the opponents of cancel culture than its practitioners, but if a cancellation were afoot, these would be the signs to look out for:

Firstly, and most obviously, symbolic actions. Concerted calls to remove statues of Charles Darwin, or rename things named in his honour, would be an immediate cause for concern. All the more so if universities, museums and other institutions comply.

Secondly, the injection of politics into science. As long as it isn’t used as an excuse for indoctrination, it’s legitimate to bring political analysis into studies of the history of science. However, the study of science itself should be about science and science alone. If we allow facts and experimentation to be crowded out by opinion and ideology then we’re in serious trouble.

Thirdly, the ‘de-centring’ of evolution within biology. Sometimes subtle attacks are the most deadly. An overtly political assault on Darwin and Darwinism is, for the moment, likely to backfire. But to achieve a stealth cancellation of Darwin or Darwinism you don’t need to add politics to the scientific curriculum, rather subtract the science you don’t like.

I don’t mean removing all mention of natural selection (too unsubtle), but rather ‘centring’ Darwinism by emphasising other biological mechanisms — especially those that involve cooperation instead of competition between organisms (right now, underground fungal networks are super-trendy). It’s not that these mechanisms don’t exist, but that their potential as symbols are easily abused by ideologues for whom everything is political. 

So, to use another biological metaphor, watch the curriculum like a hawk. 

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Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
11 months ago

Then last week, Science — a prestigious journal — published an editorial attacking Darwin as an “English man with injurious and unfounded prejudices”.
and in so doing, Science lived down to one of the worst habits of the wokerati – their insistence on judging people and events of the past through the eyes of the present. Darwin lived in a specific time and place; of course, this requires the utilization of context and perspective, both of which are anathema to the church of the aggrieved and the offended.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Notice the angry, prejudiced way they sneer about his origin – “an English man” – a total denunciation in three words.

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Yes, I noticed that. Not an Englishman, an English man. How much difference a single press of the space bar makes.
A French minister said to Lord Palmerston ‘If I were not a Frenchman I would wish to be an Englishman’. Palmerston replied, ‘If I were not an Englishman, I would wish to be an Englishman.’ Happy days!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If you sailed the Beagle and looked at what each culture created, and what their civilization was like – would you think differently than Darwin? He left London and hit a huge swath of the world, and saw man in all his variety – and guess what? They were not the SAME!!!!!!!!!! Not even the maddest woke could think head hunters were the same as Tokyo, unless they had done the full course of ‘Critical Theory’ classes as a top University (all of then teach Critical Race Theory)

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I believe CRT is not only taught at Harvard Law School, but originated there.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That’s my point. Darwin must be considered in his time, working inside the world as it was, not as the wokerati wish it to be. One cannot judge the past by the standards of the present, largely because it blinds one to the indisputable changes that have occurred in between.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Science lived down to one of the worst habits of the wokerati
Science did also publish a highly favourable article about Darwin’s influence in the same issue. See my comment beginning “To be fair to Science.”

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

So students will only study people who are judged as nice. Thats going to shorten their reading list.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

When does Unherd get its ‘Fact Checker’ for postings? I worry about my purity of essence reading comments here. I also wonder why I have not been banned yet, what’s with that? I never last this long BTL, I feel Unherd is trying to find its feet – the articles are quite correct, but some postings are really beyond the pale.

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

Survival of the Twittist…

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago

Stalin had thousands of scientists brutatally killed for beileving in Darwinism! It is a theory which is at odds with Communism, Stalin forces state Lamarkism on Russia (setting agriculture back decades).
Stalin forced all the scientists and research institutes to fallow “Lamarck’s ideas on evolution were adopted by some Russianscientists, including Michurin and Lysenko in Stalinist Russia.”
In one of the most insane anti-science events of all time (read on it if you want some crazy Commie thinking), till Woke arrived! With its ‘Frankfurt School “Critical Race Theory”, which is Lamarkian. As 1619 has done to history, wokes will do the same to science as it will not fit their world, it must be beaten into fitting. And F*** the truth.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Quite so. Indeed, the only difference between German and Russian totalitarianism is that whilst the group hatred of the first was based on an utterly mendacious distortion of Darwin, the group hatred of the second was based on an equally brutal and stupid application of Lamarck – for it was held, as you point out, that acquired characteristics could be passed on. Son of a “bourgeois”? Doesn’t matter if you’ve lost every penny – you’re a “bourgeois” – and so deserving of death.
People used to tell me that whilst both totalitarian systems were bad, the Soviet was marginally and crucially better because everyone had a chance. Not so. The Marx / Lamarck matrix snared millions in its evil net; a net which was, in its own way, “racist”.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
11 months ago

As a creationist I am happy to stand with those who seek to defend Darwin and his legacy from the intrusion of the woke mob.
The creationist has nothing to fear from the scientific method. If anything he should argue for its uncensored application wherever and whenever the thinker concerned sees fit to apply it. Let science be and do its thing, and let Darwin be and his legacy stand. What matters above all else is the right of the individual to think unhindered by any and all opposition, to think in freedom, and to share his findings without fear.

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
11 months ago

Hello, I am an anti creationist – but I agree with you 100& in this particular case!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago

I just posted below on Lamarkism but no one thought it interesting – but Lamarkism is Exactly what Wokes believe in. I have a big background in evolution and like reading on them all, Watson, Bates, and
“Lysenkoism (Russian: Лысе́нковщина, tr. Lysenkovshchina) was a political campaign led by Trofim Lysenko against genetics and science-based agriculture in the mid-20th century, rejecting natural selection in favour of Lamarckism and exaggerated claims for the benefits of vernalization and grafting.”
Stalin had 3000 scientists killed and jailed for not agreeing with the mad Lysenkov and Michurin of the above Lamarkism school.

Talk about some serious Canceling! And now the Wokes want to continue where Stalin lead, tearing down Darwin!!!!

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
11 months ago

Where have you been? That’s already been happening.

Evolution has been taking a beating for several years, the sciences are riddled with politics and Darwin’s bust is being removed from the British Library.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Quite so. The rot goes very deep.

Last edited 11 months ago by Simon Denis
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

When in London I always enjoy a evening Book Burning at the British Library, in the court behind, wine and cheese provided if you are a member.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

They have destroyed many hard copy items such as newspapers , so they might get a few books ready for 5th Nov. celebration.Who wants all that old stuff anyway-books are so white privilege you know ?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I have a story of the British Library and the files of sheep marching in…
Years ago – the police stood outside the B Library one day, they took everyone’s name and address going in or out for a bit, and each complied with no issues. Later I discovered it was for stop and search statistics. Each old, or young, middle class sheep was a get out of trouble free card to a cop who wanted to stop and frisk a young thug that was a minority.

‘See, that search was random, no ‘profiling’ here – see how I had stopped and checked out that 55 year old white lady last week?’ sort of thing

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

though apparently the profilers at airports think white old ladies in sensible shoes are the chief enemies of the state ,so you never know-perhaps that 55 year old was a dangerous criminal trying to sneak out an Agatha Christie novel.?

Hazel Simpson
Hazel Simpson
11 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

I’m pretty sure there isn’t a bust of Darwin at the British Library.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Simpson

What are you, a wokeist deliberately finding factual flaws in order to defend the critical race theorists’ campaign of cultural terrorism? You should be delatformed.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
11 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Simpson

Then perhaps I’m confusing it with the Natural History Museum or somesuch, but Darwin’s bust has already been deemed ‘problematic’ and needing to be removed from public show.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
11 months ago

Another 10 years and Darwin will have fallen, Einstein will have been cancelled, Newton will have been de-platformed….the world will be flat (again), apples will fall to the ground but it won’t be gravity, relativity will become…unrelated, we will all be spontaneously created from a homunculus…

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago

That one is fitter than another is sheer elitism justified scientifically. I say it is a time to return to:
“Lamarckism
Lamarckism, also known as Lamarckian inheritance or neo-Lamarckism, is the notion that an organism can pass on to its offspring physical characteristics that the parent organism acquired through use or disuse during its lifetime. “

The text book case is a giraffe which kept reaching for tree leaves grew a longer neck by stretching its muscles, and this trait is passed on to its offspring, who stretch further, and pass they trait on, and so the neck of the giraffe evolved by physical efforts. This was taken VERY seriously for many years.

A good ‘Critical Theorist’ coupled with some Lamark books could come up with the science of ‘White Privilege Evolution’, a physical and inheritable trait meaning White people are genetically bigoted by the wickedness of their past, and thus irredeemable. I see a text book in the making, and it being taught in schools as correct evolution..

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

‘I the Woke your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me’

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

At an individual level Darwin rules, at a society level Lamarck does.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago

Natural selection may well have given rise to our species’ sociability, morality, and cooperation.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Quite so, as Adam Smith realised in his theory of moral sentiments. Indeed, economic competition itself could not take place were there not rules of engagement – so the market mirrors the natural world, as in an extended metaphor. Where tigers eat lambs, to reference Blake, efficient companies take over inefficient ones. Without the rules of sociable cooperation peculiar to mankind, competition would be a matter of sheer personal survival, precluding the more sophisticated competition which takes place between economic agents. Remember Auden’s point: analogy is not identity.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

And then you have fiscal and monetary policy coupled with business taxes politically driven, and natural business selection is utterly distorted. Note the great USA Rust Belt, and similar in UK. The politicians have turned the Western Business environment into some ‘Island of Dr Moreau’ twisted place, easily out competed by the ‘fitter’ East Asian corporations.

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Sorry Sanford, but whilst I have pressed the “Like” button on some of your previous, very eloquent and educated messages – you have now stepped well outside of your comfort zone and, in the case of the UK, and East Asia, you do not have the depth of knowledge to be credible!
So please allow me to enlighten you?
The chief problem for the UK, is Xi Jinping’s efforts to destabilise Western Economies and nothing to do with “some Island of Doctor Moreau twisted place”!
The CIA got fed up with Trump not taking notice of their constant warnings about China! And I quote the CIA, verbatim; “China have Global Ambitions!”
And Ken MacCallum, the new head (last year) of the UK’s MI-5, stated in his maiden speech that; “China represent a Serious threat” [sic]
China are the total cause of the “Lack of Competition” for manufactured goods, because China brutally represses and hugely exploits a workforce which is forced to survive on subsistence wages – so China can make almost anything, and everything, cheaper than any other country in the World!
You tell me how the EU and the UK can compete with that? China have already deliberately destroyed the excellent British Steel-making industry, by flooding the market with cheap Chinese steel, at a fraction of the price! And you will find that many electrical items which are ostensibly made in Thailand, South Korea, Viet Nam etc, have only been assembled in those countries – with all of the parts being made in China!
I am just too tired to go into a huge diatribe about Chinese intentions, and exactly how ruthless Xi Jinping is, because I have dine that recently in a very long message I posted onto “Unherd”, on another thread (only yesterday).
But the lack of competitiveness, to which you refer, is just, very straightforwardly down to the wicked genius of Xi and his Communist cohort!
Why Genius? Because when Xi came to power, almost everything in China was run-down and it was hardly any better than a third-world country!
However, being the fanatical Communist he is, he imagined the potential of a huge repressed population and all of China’s natural resources. It was all on hand! but there was no money for modernisation – and this was the stroke of Genius. He made the West finance all of his dreams (which, by the way, include world domination). No, that is standard Communist dogma!
China is literally awash with Western money, the scale of the Chinese GNP is totally awesome and they manufacture a massive variety of goods for export to the West. Trump was perfectly correct in his attempts to tax Chinese imports into the USA. And that must have been provoked by the scale of cheap Chinese goods hurting the US-economy!
But largely we, the West, have financed China’s aspirations to become technical World-Leaders in an eclectic variety of fields including CRISPR gene-editing technology/microbiological research, Electromagnetic Rail-gun technology, Military Avionic Systems and Artificial Intelligence. They have also perfected facial recognition and learning/predictive human emotion-sensing algorithms incorporated into almost “Blanket” Surveillance-Systems in several of China’s major cities!
We should all be worried about their progress in AI!
And whilst all of this R&D has being going on, completely unlimited by budget or ethics, their military has been enlarged and modernised with cutting-edge technology in every field!
China now have the largest and, arguably, the best-equipped army in the World and an airforce built mainly of Russian Sukhoi and Tupolev design manufactured under license in China, and greatly improved by China’s R&D-Improvement policies.
The Chinese are not very good at inventing, but they can grab another nation’s cutting-edge technologies and understand and improve those technologies, like no other country in the World!
So Sanford, I would say there is no lack of a competitive-edge, within the UK or the EU, but neither can compete with a nation, not of the free World, which ruthlessly exploits its workforce – and all of the Western Democracies have been sleepwalking into a situation which has played straight into Xi’s hands – and we are approaching a point of critical mass where China will be able to do anything it wants, anywhere in the World! The only option being “MAD” (Mutually Assured Destruction) but I wouldn’t mind betting that China have already developed weapons to stifle the threat of any incoming ICBMs or Nuclear-carrying cruise missiles! So “MAD” is now, in all probability “WAD” (Western Assured Destruction.
But whilst I can report upon these developments, I have absolutely no idea as to how the West can force Xi to contain his Communist aspirations for the rest of the WORLD!
Defence Analysts have China’s military as greater than that of the USA (with Russia in a poor 3rd place) between 2032 and 2037. China are already far superior to Russia in military capability!
Have you been following the news of the US-Diplomats who appear to have been brain-damaged by some sort of, as yet unknown, type of Chinese electronic pulse-weapon! It makes extremely chilling reading!
Almost as chilling is the news report in the UK’s “New Scientist” publication in which they reported that credible evidence had emerged that Chinese Microbiologists, utilising CRSPR, had gene-edited a totally new animal species by splicing the genes of two distinct species together. The Chinese would not say which species were involved, but claim to have terminated these new life-forms after 3 months when they were satisfied of the full viability of their creation.!
God, what is the World coming to?
And, if you do not wish to take me seriously, please muse upon this fact. It can be irrefutably proven that, in January 2020. I warned that the New Coronavirus (as it was then called) was certainly going to be a monumental World Pandemic, causing a huge number of deaths and at a great cost to national economies!
Nobody listened, but I based my assertion upon the oxymoron the media were trying to feed us, right at the very start of the contagion, back in January 2020!
What oxymoron – you may ask. Simply that you cannot ascribe the notion of a Hard-Line Communist regime providing “HELP” to any Western Capitalist Democracy, in the same sentence. This notion of “HELP” was always bound to be complete rubbish! Had everyone, but me, forgotten just how appalling Hard-Line Communism is? The very idea of Chinese “HELP” is anathema to the likes if Xi Jinping! No Hard-Line Communist regime has ever afforded “Help” to any Western Capitalist Democracy – and they never will! And that offer of “Hel[p” so gullibly, and incompetently swallowed by the World’s media, was all I needed to know. The alarm-bells sounded in my head, and I sank back into my chair and said to my wife; “God, this is going to be a terrible killer disease!”
It was not a good guess, it was a logical, educated “Given”! And that is where our Governments have let us down so badly! The Antipodean nations got it right – right from the start – so why didn’t the UK and The US? We were failed abysmally!
The only flaw, in Xi’s master-plan (a possible ray of hope for us), lies with the Chinese Nouveau-Riche class who Xi has allowed to grow extremely wealthy. These are the works managers who, by one means – or another have managed to induce the already exploited workforce to work more quickly and efficiently – whilst not increasing their subsistence wages!
I understand that if workers do not achieve their daily targets, they are forced to stay at work until they have!
But if the Nouveau-Riche start to feel disaffected – because their income drops when the rest of the World finally wakes up and dramatically reduces their orders for Chinese export-goods, They could possibly organise a successful revolution if they can persuade some of the Army Generals, who earn but a fraction of the salaries of their civilian counterparts, to side with them. But that is a very long-shot indeed – and Xi will have thought of that years ago – and has already made that impossible within China – Plus, potential dissidents know they will be shot dead on sight, if they are discovered! It has to be as likely as winning the lottery jackpot two weeks in a row! And, depressingly (Sorry) is our only hope of keeping free nations “Free!.
I will leave you with one thought; The recalcitrance of the USA, and the UK, to properly deal with the first wave of Covid-19 was, almost certainly, borne of the attitude that “It can never happen here!”
I am certainly not a conspiracy theorist but I can think of no reasonable argument which rules out the possibility that COVID-19 was a “Designer-Virus” deliberately released to do a perfect job, ridding the world of costly older folks, like me – as well as people of any age, with serious comorbidities, like me, but leaving the able and productive workforce largely untouched, whilst creating economic havoc!
If you take all of the known-for-certain facts and apply Occam’s razor, you are left with a Chinese leader who is guilty of the most heinous crime in human history. There are just too many coincidences for any other conclusions to be credible!
Night-night, its my bed-time now!

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Lambs are perfectly efficient at being lambs! And aren’t competing with tigers.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Pedant.

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
11 months ago

What we evolutionary biologists actually study grew out of the neoDarwinian synthesis (in short: Darwinian natural selection and genetics).
Darwin’s opinions are not important to modern biological science.
Retrospective moralisers should attack science via science, not via personalities.
I’ll leave my own opinion on Darwin out of it for now but must say that some of his work was an inspiration to the young me.

Bertie B
Bertie B
11 months ago

I think you might have missed the point, Darwin wasn’t 100% right, but he took a massive step from the status quo to where we are now.
Darwin deserves to stand on those grounds in perpetuity, even if at a later date he is shown to be 100% wrong (which is a bit difficult as his ideas were so vauge and without mechanism).
Newton has already shown to be wrong (by Einstein – who was also wrong), but also took such massive steps that he deserves to be respected.
Science issn’t about getting it right – its about furthing knowledge and allowing others to build on that.

John Jones
John Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  Bertie B

The mechanismof evolution is natural and sexual selection operating on random genetic mutation.

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
11 months ago

WELL SAID, SIR!

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
11 months ago

You think this is bad? Even Handel is under attack now – from musicians…
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/e7d3020a-bbe9-11eb-8144-d3653cd81e51?shareToken=78f3bfa7615ad7cf3880eb8ff4ba3922

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago

To be fair to Science, they also published a much longer and much more favourable article, ‘Modern theories of human evolution foreshadowed by Darwin’s Descent of Man’, in the same issue. However, Franklin might not like the authors’ contentions, backed by various quotes from Darwin, that he thought cooperation as important as competition for humans, or that morality and mutual aid are not our sole preserve. For example:
The third was that human cooperation and our moral sense, which Darwin viewed as “the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals” [(13), p. 126], evolved from tendencies for mutual aid and self-sacrifice, which “are common to most social animals” 
and
Whereas many scholars have tried to drive a wedge between morality and biology, including Darwin’s public defender Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin himself made an explicit effort to point out the continuities between human morality and animal sociality: “Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral”

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago

Darwin today, Newton and Shakespeare tomorrow! Yet arguably Newton is the greatest physicist/mathematician of all time, towering even over Einstein. And of course Shakespeare towers over all other literary figures (past and present) having described every possible aspect of the human condition with extraordinary insight.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
11 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

And with the exception of Einstein, all were English men.

David Simpson
David Simpson
11 months ago

Just curious. Apart from being a white English man, what exactly is Darwin guilty of?

John Jones
John Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  David Simpson

That’s all it takes.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  David Simpson

He observed headhunters were not as sophisticated as Englishmen, scientifically, philosophically, materially, or politically. He should have blamed this on the Englishmen.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
11 months ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Nothing. It’s just the right wingers here getting their knickers in a twist because matron’s late with their meds.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
11 months ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I’d say it’s your woke pals who have their knickers in a twist — about pretty much anything.

Michael James
Michael James
11 months ago

The Science journal is following the example set by the Nazis, who banned the work of Jewish scientists.

Last edited 11 months ago by Michael James
Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael James

Really? Did it mention banning? “Today, students are taught Darwin as the “father of evolutionary theory,” a genius scientist. They should also be taught Darwin as an English man with injurious and unfounded prejudices that warped his view of data and experience.” Agree or not – and I don’t, though I see the point to an extent – the ‘also’ clearly indicates no intention of banning.
Would you have been happier for the editorial board to have banned this article?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
11 months ago

Does this mean natural selection has produced Dorsey , Zuckerberg & Gates? Does natural selection have an unconscious left wing bias?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
11 months ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Natural selection throws up any number of failures and blind alleys – Dorsey may well turn out to be a Dodo.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
11 months ago

The fantical woke progressive tyrannical wholesale culture/ knowledge control/ censorship/ destruction of western civilisation reminds me of the barbarian Vandals destruction of Rome, and the Dark Ages that followed where maniacal superstition and dogma suffocated human progress for centuries.
While the racist truthless woke left progressives have grabbed much power and influence, we still.have time and opportunity in the west to oppose and dislodge these pretenders from power and save and protect our principles, countries , cultures , peoples from the marxist woke left progressive Vandal tyranny.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

Wow. Science publishes a couple of articles on Darwin, one of which is a bit woke, and you’re reminded of all that. I much preferred the other article, but I can’t say I felt my entire life, culture, heritage and values were in danger from this one.
I wonder who’s fanatical.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

The post was based on the woke progressive censor cancel campaign in general, of which the looming Darwin denouncistion is part of.
The Unherd comment page has been mostly refreshingly free of tiresome woke censor trolls using any irelevant minutae to smear or insult commentstors,Ian, and seems like relatively civil discussion occurs here.Lets strive to keep it that way,at least here.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

The post was based on the woke progressive censor cancel campaign in general
It may have been making a point about wokeism in general, but it’s almost entirely about Darwin in particular.
You mentioned “fantical woke progressive tyrannical wholesale culture,” “racist truthless woke left progressives,” and the “destruction of western civilisation”. All of which still seems a rather fanatical over-reaction to a mere article pointing out, however irrelevantly, some of Darwin’s ideas about sex and race. I don’t see those ideas as having much bearing on his huge contributions to science, and neither did the other article in Science, but I equally don’t see how discussing them is reminiscent of “the barbarian Vandals destruction of Rome”.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Obviously you haven’t been paying ANY attention since the end of May 2020.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
11 months ago

Watching our own evolution go into reverse, canceling Darwin would seem the logical (depressing) next step.
De-centering evolution? Really? I’m off for a lie-down.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
11 months ago

Or watch the woke movement like an underground fungal network

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

That rather suggests the woke movement is highly beneficial.

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
11 months ago

Hitler caused the Holocaust, but have the woke brigade erased him from history? Of cause they haven’t, and for very good reason too!
Wokes may not like Darwin the Man, but tough, so what? They are fully entitled to their opinions – but they have no right to force their opinions upon others!
Ironically, Wokes really need to understand evolutionary theory; The part which states that life-forms must have the ability to adapt, in order to survive. And I would suggest that Wokes
My biggest problem with Wokes is that they cannot be criticised! And, no mater how polite you may be, your criticism will be met with accusations of “Abuse” or “Inappropriate Comments”! – Just like a snail retreating inside the safety of its shell!
I am sorry, but I just wish these wokes would wake-up, grow-up and see life for what it is. It is hard, for most people,! Living is a continual trial of our character – and it is all the more interesting for that. If we cannot learn to turn the other cheek, and ignore what we do not like, then we will be miserable nearly all of the time.
There are a huge number of infinitely more urgent problems to solve, in the World today, as millions of people are suffering Human Rights Abuses in addition to Poverty, Starvation, Lack of good sanitary conditions, Poor Healthcare, Rough Sleeping, COVID-19, Warfare-Refugees, “Ethnic Cleansing”, Psychological “Reprogramming!” et- alia
Most Wokes are so self-serving, they should be ashamed!
Darwin deserves great credit for founding an original theory which flew in the face of the Christian faith – and that took great courage at that particular time! There can be no doubt that the origination of such a revolutionary theory was an archetypal work of pure genius!
I am deeply Christian – but I am an anti-creationist, so I have no problem with evolutionary theory itself. Equally, whatever Darwin’s personal views were, and whatever he may have done in his private life, is history which cannot be undone! Science is Science, and Darwin got it right.
If you don’t like Darwin’s personal life or thoughts. Why not highlight and expose Darwin for what you believe him to have been, Let the World know – if you have the proof to discredit Darwin, do it – as all bad people deserve to be “Outed”, but that really has no relevance to Darwin, the Scientist!
It is Darwin’s theory so, get real, and like it or lump it! No person, on this planet, has any right to change historical facts – and there are great dangers if they promulgate that particular mindset – which neatly takes us full circle and brings us back to Hitler again!

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
11 months ago

“If you don’t like Darwin’s personal life or thoughts. Why not highlight and expose Darwin for what you believe him to have been”
Isn’t that exactly what this Science article does? I agree with much of what you say, but in what way is Science forcing its opinions on others?

Mud Hopper
Mud Hopper
11 months ago

Creationism is alive and well in Wokeland.

Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
11 months ago

UnHerd doesn’t seem like a watering hole for unbiased political debate when everyone’s here to beat the left – they’re not all idiots you know

Z
Z
11 months ago

Some of us are tired of beating only the drum about excesses of the right, so we need to sometimes beat the other drum. We have definitely not given the excesses of the right a free pass tho!

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
11 months ago

Then where is the pushback from the left? They seem very happy with the current madness.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

I count some as members of my family. Not only are they idiots but they are also deplorable human beings

Peter Kaye
Peter Kaye
11 months ago

For a moment I read the title as Charles Dickens, and so wasn’t surprised. Darwin, eh? Killing science because it doesn’t fit ideology? The Russians, Germans, Chinese, and Muslim Arabs have had that. I guess it’s our revolutionary turn now. It isn’t a culture war, it’s a revolution – and nations in other continents are sniggering away.

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
11 months ago

Simon, you talk about “Brass-Neck” yet your generalisation “The Left” is deeply offensive and, in itself, an archetypal example of so-called “Brass-Neck”!
Who, exactly, are you talking about, when you call them “Fanatical Dunces!
For you to use such a phrase, does not become a person of intelligence – and it is highly simplistic! The impression you give to me is one of shallow simplistic elitism – I make no apologies for that, because I am a Socialist but I abhor Communism!
In the UK, the Labour Party is a true Socialist Party, but it is not, and never will be, anything to do with Communism!
I talk with 70 years of experience and, to give you the benefit of the doubt, you sound as if you are not even half my age!
Are you an American? Because many US-Citizens seem to be incapable of differentiating between Socialism and Communism!
Communism sits at the extreme left end of the political scale whereas Elitism, White Supremacism and extreme Nationalism sit on the end of the far right! So PLEASE get your knowledge of politics sorted into a spectrum of finer calibration? And prevent yourself from insulting the many good, and intelligent people, who sit on the left of centre, politically.
We genuinely care about each and every Citizen. We care about Social Injustice, we care about Free Medical Care, we care about affordable housing, we care about good education for all, we care about people sleeping on the streets, et-alia. But we also understand that taxation, within democratic capitalism, is the only way to pay for all of those things whilst still being able to enjoy the personal freedoms which are denied by Communism!
And you call us “Fanatical Dunces”? I suggest the boot is on the other foot!!!
Communism invariably results in totalitarian dictatorship and the repression, and lack of common ethics, which lead to a controlled society with no real freedoms for the individual.
Whereas Socialism is not just another face for Communism within a democratic, capitalist society! Socialism, within that particular context, stands for caring policies for all members of society.
I suppose you and other people are just going to troll me now? Well, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass! And I will not respond.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
11 months ago

I feel that the important question here isn’t whether Darwin’s views were representative of this time – which obviously they were.
But it is, whether (how much) these contributed to the eugenics and ultimately social Darwinist reading of evolution which was the underlying view of the world for many if not most of the horrors that humanity went through in the 20th century.

Nell Larkin
Nell Larkin
11 months ago

This “new” criticism of Darwin is absolutely nothing new. Since the 1970s students have been taught about how evolutionary biology has been used to support racism and sexism, and historians of science have already thoroughly explored and exposed and “pushed back” against Darwin’s racism. What IS new is the implication that evolution by natural selection as a biological process must now be seen as “problematic” and be “decentered” because its discoverer was racist. That is really disturbing. When I was a graduate student in the history of science, several of my fellow female students were discussing feminist criticisms of science as a male construct in which the most basic laws of nature were themselves questioned and “problematized” because they were tainted by sexism. We joked: “So if feminists built an airplane would it fly?” We decided if they did and it flew, it would be because no one can build an airplane that flies without following basic laws of physics, aerodynamics, and engineering that have been discovered by men. The only difference, we concluded, would be that a “feminist-built” airplane would have more bathrooms.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Larkin

I suspect this particular statement is the one under questioning:

However, the study of science itself should be about science and science alone.

After all we’ve seen, can science be trusted to be left alone?