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Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 12 2008,10:15   

Quote (Dr.GH @ July 12 2008,09:40)
Unfortunately, Karl W. Giberson gave Weikart full marks in "Saving Darwin" and fails to have read anything on the Nazis beyond Weikart.

He's in good company, then. Stephen Jay Gould apparently was quite influenced by an earlier Weikart-esque book, Daniel Gasman's 1998 work Haeckel's Monism and the Birth of Fascist Ideology, as well as a 1971 Gasman book, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism. Gould took up the cudgel against Haeckel in 1977 in his first book, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, and continued for years, culminating in a 2000 essay in Natural History.

Richards advances the thesis that Gould's antipathy was partially due to his conviction that a current nemesis, sociobiology, was a perversion of Darwin's theory, and Haeckel was part of the thread leading from Darwin to sociobiology. Gould certainly was no friend of sociobiology; he started hammering on it within a year of the publication of E.O. Wilson's seminal book on that topic, and continued right up until his death. So that explanation has some merit, IMHO.

It is interesting how even a scientist and science popularizer like Gould could parrot an explanation that had its roots in Christian fundamentalism's visceral reaction to Darwin via Haeckel. The Richards book thoroughly debunks Gasman's and Weikart's thesis, but it took a lot of digging with an historian's eye to unravel a fabric that anti-Darwinists started to weave in the 1860's! Gould did not have the benefit of that scholarship, and that's a pity.

Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

  29999 replies since Jan. 16 2006,11:43 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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