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[24] Darwinism and Social Darwinism.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

February 9, 2011 Darwinism - Challenge not born of oppression or despair - Middle class confidence & definition: science - Charles Darwin - Origin of Species - Charles Darwin (1809-1882) - Mind-state of Europe changed so dramatically - Darwin was the necessary element of scientific-minded people who challenged traditional thinking of Europe - Role of science: very claer in minds of Europeans dating back to dEScartes, galileo - Those who offered parallels b/w science and himan condition --> different definition of what it is to be human and how that fits into civil and economic society - Transition of power => technology supported this - Frame of reference of european minds -- provded basis to how to solve problems - Scientific method, providing evidence, etc. -- became part of euro mentality, part of way they operated - Enlightenment: science and progress were inseparable - sci + tech = makes us “better, happier” - Rejecting principles of modern science = rejecting modernity - Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) = perfected pasteurization; any form of life no matter how signifi- cant, could only be reproduced from a similar form of life - This wasn’t clear to what people called “common sense” -- people think life spontaneously gen- erates itself (creating something from nothing) - People couldn’t believe in magic anymore -- superstition, rituals for something to happen (be- came cultural practice) - This all collapses with things like discovering tiny bacteria --> there are tiny forms of life - If you refuse to believe in science, you reject health (people thought maggots were the result of disease; Pasteur proved bacteria is the cause of disease) and progress - Denying health: you deny greater survival rate of children, well-being of the entire world - Many people felt uncomfortable -- goes against what you’ve been taught by grandparents, Church - Scinee remained “friends and servants of humanity” - Universe and eveyrhitng in it is rational and beneficent => happier, better-fed, more stuff - 1859: Darwin’s ideas were like a bomb exploding - Darwin’s ideas: (1) Provable, rational but (2) Underminded religion and traditional thought - Things were INDEPENDENT of God’s force; universe is made up of random selection - According to Darwin, God is nowhere; man can change environment and himself -- only sci- ence is in charge - Evolution - not a new idea (even Greek philosophers believed) --> species change over time ac- cording to their environment - But no one had evidence to prove it in a way that is scientifically incontrovertible - Darwin provided enough evidence that it couldn’t be attacked - Jean de Lamarck (d.1829) - when environment changes, all species will chage over time and these variants will cause new species to emerge - Transferring some traits from one to the next => leading to change - Most thinkers believed him to be right but he couldn't provide enough evidence to prove it to be true Darwin - Born in family of physicians - His father introduced him to study of nature - Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) - father; biologist - Father and grandfather established scientific method in the house - Erasmus wrote book that laws of life are affected by evoltuion -- only way to explain how we are is to look where we came from - Charles - studied many things -- interest and rigour in science - Professor suggested him to go along a 5- yr. Exploration voyage to collect specimens on Bea- gle and be their naturalist - Darwin had more access to life than he ever could have - Nver let any opportunity pass - Noted similarities and differences b/w animals on islands vs. Inland - Fossilized specimens vs. Living specimens - Collected stuff + asked continually what things mean - Tried to make sense of what he collected - what they mean, how to explain them - Read books for inspiration: Thomas Malthus’...exploration - Struggle for food and dominance; weaker will not survive to reproduce while the rich will - Came to conclusion: seen and understood principle of change in species - 20 years of careful research - published Origin of Species (1859) -
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