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Carnival of Socialism: Darwin’s 200th

Sunday, February 15, 2009

darwinFor this Carnival of Socialism I’ve decided to collect links on Darwin and science from Marxist/Marxian and leftist blogs.

Special thanks to Leftwing Criminologist and Jim Jepps for e-mailing me links for the carnival.

mole333 (site under maintenance right now) blogs:

Darwin’s theory of evolution has been one of the most robust theories in science. With some modifications, it is still the basis of our understanding of most of biology.

Shiraz Socialist posts an article by Richard Dawkins:

“You can pare Darwin’s big idea down to a single sentence (again, this is a modern way of putting it, not quite Darwin’s): ‘Given sufficient time, the non-random survival of hereditary entities (which occasionally misccopy) will generate complexity, diversity, beauty, and an illusion of design so persuasive that it is almost impossible to distinguish from intelligent design’…

Mike E. posts an article written by Manuel Garcia, Jr.:

Darwin was the son of a wealthy doctor, and soon showed an interest in natural history. He received an excellent education, first at the University of Edinburgh and then Cambridge, drifting from medicine to taxidermy, and numerous topics in natural history: marine biology, geology, botany, entomology. Darwin gravitated to the company of other gentlemen naturalists and parsons-to-be, who viewed their scientific studies as religious natural theology, the elaboration of the details of the divine design. At 22, he was invited to join Captain Robert FitzRoy, as a self-financed naturalist and gentleman companion, on the planned two-year voyage of the HMS Beagle to chart the coastline of South America.

Rowland Kenshena posts an article by Ian Angus:

Outside official scientific circles, Darwin’s ideas found strong support in the workers’ movement. Friedrich Engels said Origin was “absolutely splendid”, and Karl Marx called it “the book which contains the basis in natural history for our view”.

Marx’s friend Wilhelm Liebknecht later recalled that “when Darwin drew the conclusions from his research work and brought them to the knowledge of the public, we spoke of nothing else for months but Darwin and the enormous significance of his scientific discoveries”.

In Origin, Marx and Engels found a materialist explanation of nature’s history to complement and strengthen their materialist explanation of human history. They particularly valued Darwin’s demonstration that nature has a history that can be explained in materialist, natural terms.

Michael blogs on Darwin and Lincoln:

Ironically, it was Abraham Lincoln who, even in the midst of our nation’s greatest struggle for survival (both physical and as a nation of freedom and equality for ALL), created our National Academy of Sciences.  He sought not only to preserve the Union physically, but to enrich its future through promotion of scientific inquiry.   Origin of Species was only published in 1859 and The Descent of Man was not published until 1871, so it is unclear if Lincoln had ever heard of any of Darwin’s researches or theories.

Despite the robustness of his theory Reenee blogs:

Fast forward to Texas where opposite sides were foaming at the mouth over this issue. This occurred at a hearing before the Texas State Board of Education. Scientists were on one side, social conservatives were on the other. They were arguing over a rule that requires science textbooks to cover “the strengths and weaknesses” of evolutionary theory. Read on why you can guess how this argument will end.

Rorschach blogs:

It is simply pathetic and repulsive that some Christians feel the need to attempt to co-opt a man’s death

Laytoya Peterson shows us an interesting article:

Reader Elton sent in an intriguing article from The UK’s Telegraph. The headline says it all:

    Charles Darwin’s research to prove evolution was motivated by his desire to end slavery.

Bhupinder posts on materialism and Darwin:

Last couple of days, I have been reading the sixth chapter of John Bellamy Foster’s much acclaimed work Marx’s Ecology which brings many other important and interesting facts to light. For one, Foster points to Darwin’s categorical commitment to materialism, though it was of the non- dialectical variety.

On materialism and science, Josh blogs:

When the idea of Marxism as a science was first put forward by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, I think the concept “science” probably had a significantly different angle to it than it often does today (thought there certainly isn’t consensus even now), meaning basically a tendency to re-evaluate problems based on reason and analysis, quantifiable data, and a materialist viewpoint. Also it meant to get to a clear understanding of the “natural laws”, in this case meaning first and foremost “laws” of social change. I think Marxism fits those criteria just fine.

Ian Angus blogs:

Historian Paul Heyer has written (correctly, in my opinion) that “while one can be a Darwinian in biology and reject Marx on the grounds that history is not subject to scientific understanding, a respectable if somewhat limited intellectual position, one cannot proclaim fidelity to the Marxian world view and reject Darwin.” (Nature, Human Nature and Society, p. 27)

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3 Comments
  1. Michael Westmoreland-White permalink
    Monday, February 16, 2009 12:20 am

    Um, thanks for the link but I’m not a Marxist and neither is my blog. I am no fan of laissez-faire capitalism and I am not a knee-jerk anti-Marxist, but neither am I a disciple. I think Marx was right about some things and DEEPLY wrong about others.

    I am a democratic socialist, but from the British socialist tradition that predates Marx by a century.

    I think doctrinaire Marxism is bankrupt and justly died in in the ’90s with the breakup of the USSR. The weird thing is that laissez-fair capitalism is even MORE bankrupt (as revealed in the current crisis) but still has far too much support.

  2. Monday, February 16, 2009 2:07 am

    Ummmm…I never said you were a Marxist, this is the Carnival of SOCIALISM which implies a broad spectrum of beliefs from democratic socialism to Marxist-Leninist and generally lefty views.

  3. modernityblog permalink
    Sunday, February 22, 2009 2:18 pm

    those were the days, when Marxists used to denounce democratic socialists as reformist scum and not fit to wipe their revolutionary boots on, but nowadays they can’t be too choosy!

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