Thursday, May 01, 2008

Darwinism at the turn of the century

The last century, i.e. As the venerable Jesuit magazine America dealt with it, during the centennial celebrations of Darwin's birth, in 1909. Excerpts from two articles from 1909 and 1910. Check it out!
It is well to remember, however, that Darwin himself con­fessed that his book, "The Origin of Species," had noth­ing to say about origins, that he was sorry, as he wrote to a friend, that it had been called by that misnomer, and he would have preferred the title, "The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life." It is indeed of preservation and not of origins that Darwin has anything to say. Supposing species, in existence, origin unknown and unaccounted for, then natural se­lection keeps certain of them best fitted for survival in existence. This is what Darwin's book really was. Professor Ritter has another expression of Darwin's which, unfortunately, more of his disciples do not take to heart. After he had thought over natural selection for twenty years he observed to Wallace, "My work will not fix or settle anything." Still listening, as we are, to the echoes of the Darwin Centenary, it is well to recall that it is to the smaller men and minds that have followed Darwin and who pushed his often tenta­tive conclusions to extremes, that the unfortunate over-­Darwinization of biology has been due.

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