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Monday, 23 November 2009

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Vance Maverick

Wilkins gives short shrift, I think, to Darwin's skill as a writer. Reading the Origin, I was astounded by the persuasive organization of the text. (But then I haven't read too many 19thC works of science.)

SEK

This is where the speculation turns into mush, because I would say that Huxley produced similarly forceful prose, but he likely wouldn't have without Darwin's more staid and workmanlike prose. But yes, certainly, the fact that his theory was compelling and intelligible to non-scientists is a large part of the reason that Darwin became as widely vilified as was.

Ahistoricality

Would it be more accurate, then, to refer to that school of thoughts we call "Social Darwinism" as "Social Lamarckism"? Either way, the concept of nation/race was well on its way by the time of Darwin, and the nation-state system wasn't going to get any less competitive or self-destructive anytime soon.

SEK

Would it be more accurate, then, to refer to that school of thoughts we call "Social Darwinism" as "Social Lamarckism"?

Or "social Spencerianism," with the note that Spencer was, unbeknownst to himself, a Lamarckian. (As I argued here, way back when.)

Ahistoricality

Would "social Spencerianism" be redundant, like "biological Darwinism"?

SEK

It's a necessary distinction because he also wrote books like this, and the work in there subtended his sociological theories.

Ahistoricality

Ah, got it. The great age of generalists....

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