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The "Death of Darwinism"

The "Death of Darwinism": Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated

The "death of Darwinism" has been predicted by at least one scientist or popular journalist every decade since Darwin first proposed his theory. (For that matter, there are still a few college trained individuals today who continue to argue in favor of geocentrism! They are emphatic Bible believers of course. See Cretinism or Evilution?, No. 2)

In Darwin's own day, creationists were predicting that his book would be forgotten "in ten years." Darwin replied, "That may be so, but I don't think the subject [of evolution] will be [forgotten]." (See Cretinism or Evilution No. 1 for the quotation.)

Darwin's theory continues to be supported by recent evidence and by the vast majority of biologists. Take the recent book that details the decades-long study of Darwinian evolution of finches on the Galapagos Islands, The Beak of the Finch: The Story of Evolution in Our Times by Weiner. Or see the recent study of the Darwinian evolution of bacteria and viruses, titled, Why We Get Sick by Nesse and Williams. Or see George C. Williams' Adaptation and Natural Selection. "A beautifully written and excellently reasoned essay in defense of Darwinian selection" -- R. C. Lewontin in a book review in Science magazine.

Without Miracles: Universal Selection Theory and the Second Darwinian Revolution by Gary Cziko (MTT Press, 1995) is another "strictly Darwinian presentation that balances the current attack on evolution."

Some other recent works dealing with Darwinism include:

Evolution and Its Influence: The Herbert Spencer Lectures, 1986, edited by Alan Grafen, "reviews the impact of Darwinism on art, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and other fields."

Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism by James Rachels, "shows how the theory of evolution influenced Darwin's own moral and religious views - especially his concern for the welfare of animals - and describes the controversies that followed in Darwin's wake."

In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought by Carl N. Degler, "offers a history of the impact of Darwinism (and biological research) on our understanding of human nature, providing a fascinating overview of the social sciences in the last one hundred years."

A final word on the French. Modern day French scientists appear to be giving Darwin his due. Presses Universitaires de France has recently published (as of March 1996) a three volume Dictionary of Darwinism and of Evolution, edited by Patrick Tort. A work of 4912 pages, it was composed by an international team of specialists in the biological and human sciences. It will contain "The history of transformism ['transformism' being the French term for 'evolution']; the history of the Darwinian theory of natural selection in particular, as well as of adverse theories; the history of theories developed with reference to Darwinism in the various sectors of biology and the human and social sciences; the history of the influence of these theories on society [on a country by country basis]."

Creationists take note, the French are coming! And the next time you hear a creationist tell you that some French scientist called evolution a "fairy tale for adults," tell him that the University of France Press has just published the Dictionary of Darwinism and of Evolution. Evolution is not a "fairy tale" to French scientists.

Besides which, Jean Rostand, the fellow who said, "Transformism [evolution] is a fairy tale for adults," also wrote that "Transformism may be considered as accepted, and no scientist, no philosopher, no longer discusses [questions - ED.] the fact of evolution." (L'Evolution des Especes [i.e., The Evolution of the Species], Hachette, p. 190). Jean Rostand was also an atheist who would have viewed the Biblical account of creation as a "fairy tale for adults."


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