Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Changing Ideas About The Origin Of Life

I recommend this article by Enrico Uva: Changing Ideas About The Origin Of Life.

Here are the main points—but you should read the whole thing.

  1. Primordial catalysts were probably not proteins nor RNA
  2. First Energy Source Likely Involved Proton Gradients
  3. Knowledge of New Bacterial Kingdoms Downplays Role of Fermentation In First Cells
You should also read The beginnings of life: Chemistry’s grand question by Ashutosh Jogalekar. Here's an excerpt.
While Miller and his fellow “soupists” blazed the initial paths in origins of life research, a startling new era dawned in the 80s with the discovery of potential life-sustaining factories in the most unlikely environments. The finding that life thrives in deep hydrothermal vents opened a whole new chapter in the field, again avowedly chemical. Black smoker chimneys located miles beneath the ocean have for millions of years been orchestrating a tumultuous union of hot, metal-rich, acidic chemicals arising from volcanic vents with cool alkaline waters. The unholy meeting of these two chemical opposites leads to a violent precipitation of minerals including the silicate mineral olivine, one of the most ubiquitous components of our planet’s rocky landscape. The precipitation of these minerals results in chimney like structures that can be miles high. The convecting thermal currents in these chimneys provide an abundant source of life’s sine qua non – energy. The metals can act as catalysts for simple reactions which involve sulfur, carbon monoxide and water. In recent years, because of the sheer energy hidden inside them, their capacity to catalyze key reactions like the Krebs cycle and concentrate reactants and products in microscopic pores and the uncanny resemblance of some of the iron and sulfur compounds to crucial iron-sulfur cores found in proteins, these mighty smokers have been considered by many scientists to precede or at least accompany the origin of life on the surface. Prominent among the “smokers” are scientists like Nick Lane and the patent attorney Günter Wächterhäuser who moonlights in the field as a “hobby”. These theories provide the “metabolism first” counterpart to the “replication first” camp. Together they may account for both genetic inheritance and chemical metabolism.
It doesn't matter whether you're a soupist or a smoker but you'd better be aware of the controversy. Too many scientists think that the primordial soup is still the best, and only, game in town in spite of its severe problems.


359 comments:

  1. Could one process meet the other for life?

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  2. When the origin of life's information will be known then the origin of life problem will be solved.

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  3. Here chicken chicken chicken chicken ...

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  4. Without the actual evidence of the original organism and its earliest offspring, nothing will be known about the origin of life. Science will generate endless speculations presented as information about the origin of life with competing contenders going in and out of fashion (a speculation based on the observation of scientists on the make for fame and renown ). Look at evolutionary biology that has a base of physical evidence as well as most other areas of science.

    Until that evidence of sufficient resolution is available, nothing will be known about the origin of life, though if it was based on RNA or other sufficiently complex, fragile molecules, its being accidental seems ever more unlikely.

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    1. It's true that we may never know how life originated but at least we have some plausible scenarios and we're making progress.

      Do you have any data on the origin of God? Any ideas?

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    2. I didn't bring God into the discussion. The more complex a result, the more possible breaks in the long trail of links in the process or alternatives veered into, the larger the number of alternative results, the less probable for the one that happened. You want something as complex as RNA in the original organism you're going to have to accept that it's probability is extremely small, even if you can come up with some speculative explanation getting over all of the possible problems. The history is that large numbers of people are convinced of intention being involved as probabilities against the result increase. Don't blame me for that.

      I did say that my guess is that the original organism was of a quite simple and entirely unknowable character, though I'd bet it was the most complex entity on the planet at the time. And that modern biology probably evolved within organisms, something that couldn't have happened for the original organism.

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    3. It's certainly true that we can never really "know" how life originated on the basis of some geological evidence we can dig up, or phylogenetic reconstruction/bioinformatics evidence.

      But we can do something else. We can do experiments that attempt to replicate conditions that constitute plausible natural hatcheries of life, and if such an experiment some time in the future should yield some kind of entity we can describe as life, then we can say we have shown how life *could* have originated.

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    4. Rumraket, as I ask my mother when she watches three different weather reports, which one do you believe when they don't agree?

      I don't see how you could do anything but show how you might be able to manufacture something in a lab, not say how life began in whatever unknown conditions it arose with whatever possible problems were avoided to result in an unknown organism. That's one of the things people seem to forget, you have to know what the result was in order to say how it came about and you can't do that without knowing what that organism was like.

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    5. Rumraket, as I ask my mother when she watches three different weather reports, which one do you believe when they don't agree?
      The one backed up by experimental evidence and observation. I'm talking about an experiment, not a bare hypothesis.

      I don't see how you could do anything but show how you might be able to manufacture something in a lab not say how life began in whatever unknown conditions it arose with whatever possible problems were avoided to result in an unknown organism.
      If an experiement is designed to mimic naturally ocurring conditions/physical phenomena, then your argument seems to be that it doesn't demonstrate naturally occuring conditions anyway just because a scientist somewhere set it up. Taking this argument to it's conclusion an experiment could never be used to elucidate how nature works or how "something could have happened". I think that kind of thinking is obviously fallacious.

      That's one of the things people seem to forget, you have to know what the result was in order to say how it came about and you can't do that without knowing what that organism was like.
      It seems to me all you need is an experiment that shows how some kind of protocell capable of evolving came about, then you'd have demonstrated how life could originate. This isn't the same as saying that this is how life as we know it did originate, which we already established we can never do with any great deal of certainty.

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    6. I'm talking about an experiment, not a bare hypothesis.

      If the topic is the origin of life on Earth, you need considerably more than that, you need to have evidence of what that actually was. The origin of life was an actual event with its own specific character. The original organism, the first organism to be alive, to reproduce and successfully leave offspring was what it actually was, it wasn't some theoretical something, it was specific and unique. The only way to know if you are addressing that organism is to have physical evidence of what it was like. That evidence is not available and, given the age of life on Earth, the unknown location of where that evidence (presumably microscopic) would be located, how you would identify whatever it is you managed to find as that organism with its unique history, and the complete likelihood that that evidence has been destroyed or is unresolvable, it almost certainly never will be available. I would guess that such a preservation and the ability to identify it as the original organism might be reasonably considered to be miraculous.

      A specific, living organism is not like a non-living object that can be discerned from principles of chemistry or physics, living organisms are far too complex, far too unpredictable to be discernible from general principles. Life that far back is very likely unlike its descendants from hundreds of millions of years later, through unknowable generations of, presumably, mutating, changing, diverging organisms. And, unlike every single one of its descendants, down to today, it was not the product of biological reproduction, its origin was unique, it can't be discerned from any available evidence. How much less can it be known without any evidence directly associated with it, whatsoever.

      No experiment can tell you anything about any of that in any reliable way. An experiment might lead you in the wrong direction. And you might want to be careful about asserting that any experiment done with scientific erudition has created the equivalent of the origin of life on Earth because such an experiment would exist by, would be done with and its result would be the product of intelligent design. Do you really want your ideological opponents to be able to make that point to a receptive public?

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    7. If the topic is the origin of life on Earth, you need considerably more than that, you need to have evidence of what that actually was.
      No I don't. I need only to know about what kinds of enviroments might have existed on the early earth and proceed to do physical and chemical experiments that mimic these conditions and see what happens. That's all I need to do.

      The origin of life was an actual event with its own specific character. The original organism, the first organism to be alive, to reproduce and successfully leave offspring was what it actually was, it wasn't some theoretical something, it was specific and unique.
      This is profoundly trivial. A is A and A is not not A.

      The only way to know if you are addressing that organism is to have physical evidence of what it was like.
      This is an usupported a-priori assumption that only one kind of first life could lead to ours.

      That evidence is not available and, given the age of life on Earth, the unknown location of where that evidence (presumably microscopic) would be located how you would identify whatever it is you managed to find as that organism with its unique history, and the complete likelihood that that evidence has been destroyed or is unresolvable, it almost certainly never will be available.
      I would even go as far as to argue that there is nothing left in the form of physical evidence of what the origin of life was like. The crust of the planet has been replaced several times over it's lifetime and all that is left from that time is some extremely-hard-to-melt crystals in certain types of rock, or some obscure piece of rock that has managed to survive on the surface until today. But as I argue above, we don't need direct physical evidence of actual "first organisms" to make experiments that mimic physical and chemical conditions extant on the primordial planet.

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    8. I would guess that such a preservation and the ability to identify it as the original organism might be reasonably considered to be miraculous.
      I don't believe in miracles.

      A specific, living organism is not like a non-living object that can be discerned from principles of chemistry or physics, living organisms are far too complex, far too unpredictable to be discernible from general principles.
      Nonsense. Life is just physics and chemistry. All known forms of life constitute evolving, self-replicating, proton-gradient across lipid-membrane encapsulated chemical systems. How's that for "far too unpredictable and discernable" general principles?

      Life that far back is very likely unlike its descendants from hundreds of millions of years later, through unknowable generations of, presumably, mutating, changing, diverging organisms.
      Yes, we've already been over this. We don't know what the first form of life was like. But if we can set up experiments that mimic naturally occurring chemical and physical conditions on the early earth, and observe the emergence of entities with the above described "general principles", then we have pretty good reason to think we have shown how life could have originated.

      And, unlike every single one of its descendants, down to today, it was not the product of biological reproduction, its origin was unique, it can't be discerned from any available evidence. How much less can it be known without any evidence directly associated with it, whatsoever.
      That's why origin of life research isn't so much biological as it is physics, chemistry, geology and astronomy based.

      What do we know about the early solar system, planet formation and the geological history of the planet? What do we know about the earliest forms of life we have evidence of? Given this knowledge, what kinds of environments could have existed on the early earth? Given these environments, could some have given rise to organic molecules? Could these organic molecules be chemically related to the earliest life we know of? Can we imagine a form of life based on these types of molecules? Can we imagine and do we have examples of naturally occurring physical and chemical phenomena that would assist the formation of a kind of life with basic properties (general principles), like a proton gradient across a membrane and the capacity for self-replication, from these molecules?

      There are answers to these questions, and these answers are arrived at through observations in geology and astronomy and they are further supported by experiments in chemistry and physics.

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    9. No experiment can tell you anything about any of that in any reliable way.
      Counter-factual blind assertion. I've already explained how this is wrong.

      An experiment might lead you in the wrong direction.
      In which case instead of wallowing around in ignorance you do more experiments instead of sitting down on your hands, give up and declare goddidit.

      And you might want to be careful about asserting that any experiment done with scientific erudition has created the equivalent of the origin of life on Earth
      I only want to be careful about making evidentially unsupported statements. If an experiment that mimics a natural physical and chemical phenomenon yields a living entity, then we have an example of how life could originate. Do I really need to make it explicit for the fifth time that this is not the same as saying we know how OUR kind of life originated. It is, however, sufficient to demonstrate how life *could* have originated, in order to show that we don't need to invent miracles and deities to explain the existence of life.

      because such an experiment would exist by, would be done with and its result would be the product of intelligent design.
      Yes, the experiment would. But the conditions which the experiments mimic would not. The map is not the terrain.

      Are you seriously making the argument that an experiment can't help explain a natural phenomenon?

      Do you really want your ideological opponents to be able to make that point to a receptive public?
      I only hear arguments this dumb from ID-proponents. Why even try and hide it, are you ashamed of your beliefs?

      In any case, I already annihilated this point above so my "ideological opponents" can scream all they want to people who already believe them. Those of us who can think will just laugh and shrug it off.

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  5. The primacy of replication will be wrested from my cold, dead hands!

    I’m reasonably convinced by the scenario that places chemiosmotic processes first, so if that’s what ‘metabolism -first’ means, fair enough. Proton gradients across some kind of barrier are a plausible source of energy that can be tapped to drive many an exothermic reaction against its own thermodynamic gradient (as an aside, the author equates entropy with order … can we sign a pledge that we will never, ever illustrate it thus again?).

    Micro-membranes localise the energy, which is precisely what makes Life so damned nifty. Energy is packaged at the molecular level and ‘surgically’ applied. So this does have a lot more appeal than free-floating molecules being energetically favoured en masse.

    The key intermediary is clearly ATP. Whatever other molecules could be made by tapping into a localised energy gradient, ATP has the remarkable property of being stackable. The energy driving that stacking comes from the phosphates. And that, to me, would have to be a key development. I don’t know how much part ATP’s broader structure plays within its ‘other’ role as general energetic intermediary, as is or in CoA, NAD etc. But its stackability seems crucial.

    I don’t see that ATP would emerge from the chemical mess for any reason except its role in nucleic acid. A world in which it took part in complex energetic pathways before something discovered … “hey! This central energy currency – if you condense it just so …”? Seems unlikely.

    Before you can get anything much more complex, I think you need Darwinian evolution. Then you can start to elaborate, and find secondary ‘uses’ for that handy phosphate tail. Energy is important, but not necessarily for 'metabolism'.

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    1. The key intermediary is clearly ATP.

      I don't think so. I suspect that the earliest "high energy" molecules were molecules like phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate, and phosphocreatine. They are still used today in many reactions. Christian DeDuve argued persuasively in Blueprint for a Cell that a thioester world came before a phosphate one. It makes sense.

      I don’t see that ATP would emerge from the chemical mess for any reason except its role in nucleic acid.

      I agree. Early life didn't use ATP until it "invented" nucleotides and nucleic acids. That probably took a long time.

      Before you can get anything much more complex, I think you need Darwinian evolution.

      Why not just say "evolution"?

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    2. (as an aside, the author equates entropy with order … can we sign a pledge that we will never, ever illustrate it thus again?)

      No. It's much too difficult to explain the concept of entropy without using the "order/disorder" metaphor. If we had to rely on a strict statistical mechanics definition then nobody except a subset of scientists would have a clue what we're talking about [entropy].

      As a textbook author, I've debated this issue many times over the past 25 years. None of us has come up with a satisfactory way of explaining entropy to most college students without using the "order/disorder" metaphor. If you have discovered such a way then please describe it to me.

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    3. None of us has come up with a satisfactory way of explaining entropy to most college students without using the "order/disorder" metaphor. If you have discovered such a way then please describe it to me.

      Reduction of the energy available to do useful work? Equilibration? Following gradients releases energy, requiring the energy to be input from elsewhere? Order/disorder may help avoid the statistical mechanical aspects of microstates, but I think a hell of a lot of people are confused by it. The entropy change involved in arranging my cds alphabetically is pretty much the same as that of putting them in a completely random sequence. There are many more non-alphabetical sequences ...

      When there is a potential for equilibration, there is energy available from the equilibration process. As equilibration proceeds, energy dissipates as heat, itself to equilibrate with the temperature of the contact region, and is unrecoverable.

      Gradients abound - free energy gradients down chains of electronegativity, pressure gradients, gravitational gradients, temperature gradients ... and when they are followed, useful energy dissipates, and has to be reinput to re-establish the potential gradient. I'm not a physicist, and my biochemistry is over 30 years old, so I may be heading for a failing grade on this. But the whole 'running-down-of-the-universe' thing seems to me to be a matter of equilibration from a primordial non-equilibrium (and totally disordered) state.

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    4. Allan: Before you can get anything much more complex, I think you need Darwinian evolution.

      Larry Why not just say "evolution"?

      Because that would not convey what I mean. People may think 'chemical evolution', or maybe 'neutral drift'. I specifically mean the population process that leads to adaptation by differential survival of variants in a replicating population.

      Without this - neutrally - you simply repeat the trick ad nauseam, constructive neutral evolution aside. It takes NS to improve replicative abilities. And it takes replicative linkage - covalently linked, in the case of nucleic acid - to ensure that each novel chemical 'trick' is retained by the next-generation replicator.

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    5. Questions of teaching entropy as disorder/dispersal discussed here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_%28energy_dispersal%29

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    6. On the matter of entropy/order, Frank Lambert has been tirelessly persuasive in battling against this metaphor. He tends to refer to it as energy ‘spreading out’.

      Perhaps a ‘bottom-up’ approach might work. An atom in a box, perfectly insulated from the outside world. It has motion dependent upon its temperature (losing no energy on contact with the walls). The perfect closed system, and the atom is in equilibrium with itself. However ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ it is, it has one microstate that cannot change.

      Take two such boxes and place them in contact. One contains an atom at 0K, the other at 300K. Only one of these is moving, so initially, the microstates are all dependent on the position of the moving atom. But it hits the stationary one. That moves; the other slows down. You could have performed work from the kinetic motion as the hotter atom moved into the other box. Entropy has gone up to the maximum available in that closed system. We have more microstates – more permutations after equilibration than were available before. With both atoms in equilibrium, no work can be performed (although sometimes we will return to the starting configuration; one stopped dead and one at maximum – but the directional component has been lost.). Then you add a third, and again there is work available from equilibration if it is either hotter or colder thean the other two ... such a model can be built up to deal with interactions between the atoms themselves – phase transitions, molecular interactions etc.

      But at no point is there any meaningful change in ‘order’. And it gets more confusing when you look at matter condensation, or gravitation. When two masses respond to gravitation and collide, the kinetic energy of that motion is converted into ‘dissipative’ energy. Energy must be put in to separate them. Entropy is higher – and yet the collided state is arguably more ‘ordered’. I can’t think of any entropy-changing process that lacks the element of ‘equilibration’ down a notional gradient, but I can think of plenty that don’t obviously involve a decrease in ‘order’.

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  6. I agree with Allan Miller, and for me it's almost definitional.

    Before you get evolution of sequences of nucleic acids, you need nucleic acids that can react just so. You don't have assembly lines to make nucleic acids, with the machines on the assembly lines made of protein or nucleic acids. Not until after you have a way to make the proteins or nucleic acids the machines are made of. You can't expect to build assembly lines at random from proteins etc that assemble themselves at random, and get an adequate result.

    You somehow need an environment that makes nucleic acids etc. Then you can evolve our kind of life.

    How do you get that environment? I currently have no clue.

    One way to get it is with some other kind of life. Maybe its genes ere coded in sequences of carbohydrates or something weirder. This other life did its metabolism, and made nucleic acids -- maybe as a waste product? -- and then when the nucleic acids evolved their own life they exterminated all the old life. This is an improvement if you can easier imagine a lifeless world full of carbohydrates than a lifeless world full of nucleic acids, and you can imagine that life producing a lot of random nucleic acids.

    It looks like the argument is about what kind of environment it takes to produce life. OK, somehow that environment has to produce all the components you need for life, and keep producing them, and it needs to recycle whatever waste products the life needs or those waste products will build up enough to inhibit the reactions that the life needs. If people have some detailed ideas how that can happen, then great! I have trouble imagining anything like a general principle about it.

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  7. Before you can get anything much more complex, I think you need Darwinian evolution.

    I'd guess that just about everything we know, today, about biology is the result of unknown biological actions and events during the hundreds of millions of years the long black spot at the start of the history of life. There is no way of knowing if "Darwinian" evolution is relevant to that or not. I very much doubt that RNA was present in the earliest organisms. Darwinian theories of evolution are dependent on a substrate of particulate inheritance of traits in organisms, which would need a mechanism that might not have been present at the start. I don't see how it could possibly have been relevant to the actual origin of life or how their presence as a result of random chance at the start could have been anything but stupendously improbable. You can take your pick, it was either something extremely simple and of unexplained and likely unknowable character or that the assumption that it was the result of random chance was of probably unbelievable improbability. Neither choice is based on evidence of the event, they are mostly based in preference.

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    1. Two points:

      1) You cannot compute the probability of an event you know nothing about, even to ascribe it to the vague 'stupendously improbable' region.

      2) You have a knee-jerk reaction whenever you see the name "Darwin". I used 'Darwinian evolution' as a shorthand for a process whereby a replicating population with variation will be enriched in such variants that improve survival and reproduction, and impoverished in those that do worse. This is something of a universal, and - but for the role of probability rendering any given trial uncertain - axiomatic. Digital organisms in a GA, E. Coli in a chemostat, replicating chemicals (if such can be made), elephants and fruit flies. If there is a consistent differential in survival and reproduction of these entities, then 'evolution' will follow. You may doubt its scope, but there is no doubting that such a winnowing process must operate whenever those circumstances - variation, reproduction, finite resources - apply. So the mechanism would have been present 'at the start', if by that we mean the 'dawn of life'. The moment exponential replication was encountered, evolutionary processes (of which Darwin's is the only one known to produce adaptation) would be in train.

      Doubting the first organisms had RNA is a very different proposition from doubting that they were replicators of some kind. If they weren't, they weren't organisms, of any kind. Life is replication, and the many complexities that arise in its service. Somehow, I think you may disagree...

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    2. When the word is "Darwinian" my first association is natural selection, something the name is rather connected to. Since
      Darwin was kind of in the dark about genetics, not to mention molecules not discovered until he'd been dead for 70 and more years, I don't think my knee is what's jerking in this case.

      Sorry, but I'm helpless to resist a pun.

      Doubting the first organisms had RNA is a very different proposition from doubting that they were replicators of some kind. If they weren't, they weren't organisms, of any kind. Life is replication, and the many complexities that arise in its service.

      Replicators. How did they replicate independent of biology? What were they? Where did they come from? How do you know they were there? How do you know that the conditions that you propose were present on the Early Earth? Where? Saying "replicators" doesn't really do much to get you past the lack of evidence of what actually happened, it just delays the problem of accounting for your "replicators" being relevant to the origin of life on Earth without evidence demonstrating that relevance. Just how detailed are there "replicators" you're talking about? How specific is your speculation about them?

      Why do you assume that e. coli, which would seem to have evolved in the guts of large multi-cellular organisms and, which I believe, has a rather recent history, are relevant to life more than 3.5 billion years ago? Do you propose that the common ancestor of e. coli and all other life was either the first organism or among its earliest descendants?

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    3. When you hear the word "Darwin", your first association is frequently "Hitler", "wrong about some stuff...", or "over-praised"! So I admit to some jerking. :0P

      But fair enough, if you thought "Natural Selection", then you got the point. Yet Natural Selection is a broader principle, not restricted to the life we currently see. Darwin didn't make that extension, although he did take it as axiomatic that a reproducing population with variation would become generationally enriched in the qualities that promote survival and reproduction. It will also be subject to drift. In fact, the whole shebang is a 'sampling' issue, mathematically characterisable and universal.

      "Replicator" is a vague word for any entity that produces approximate copies with the same capacity to produce approximate copies. One does not have to characterise a particular replicator to know that, if it replicates in a finite world, and undergoes variation, then it will be subject to Selection - the concentration of 'better' qualities, and dilution of worse, in descendant populations. Without this adaptive potential, chemistry remains just chemistry, and cannot be refined.

      If you follow your ancestry back, you go through a series of replicative events. Each of these events took place in a population of 'replicators'. Go back to LUCA, which was one of teeming hordes of cells alive at that time - replicators all. Keep going back, you get to LUCA's LUCA. Again, replicators all. But at some point, you will get back to a 'minimal' state. You get to one or a few 'first replicators'. And we can say that, whatever they were, if they replicated, they were subject to 'evolution'. What came prior to that unknown organism were some unknown chemical interactions. But without the linkage provided by 'doing-something-and-then-producing-a-copy-that-does-the-same', and the potential for exponential growth that this provides, chemistry remains just chemistry, dissipative and uncoordinated.

      Why do you assume that e. coli [...] are relevant to life more than 3.5 billion years ago?

      An odd reading of the passage in which e coli was mentioned, in which I also mentioned digital organisms, flies and elephants. Illustrations of the generality of constraint upon replicating populations. I don't propose that the common ancestor of modern life was anywhere near the first organism, far from it.

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    4. Replicators. How did they replicate independent of biology?
      Crystals have the property of self-replication. There's even a crystal origin of life hypothesis based on this idea. Not that I think it's particularly convincing but my point is to point out that self-replication isn't a unique trait of life.

      http://originoflife.net/

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    5. Rumracket, if you don't find it convincing, why cite it?

      Is there a theory of abiogenesis that some other person working in abiogenesis doesn't think is particularly convincing? I'm unaware of one.

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    6. Why would you ask a question I answer in the very sentence you reply to?

      Let me help you out: "Not that I think it's particularly convincing but my point is to point out that self-replication isn't a unique trait of life."

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    7. Rumraket,

      TTC does not give a damn about your answers. he cares a lot about ways of dismissing your answers. He reads into what you say what he wants you to say, and holds to it rather than try and understand what you actually said. It's his M.O. just take a look around.

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    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Allan Miller, I have gone out of my way to disassociate Darwin from Hitler. Darwin had been dead for seven years before Hitler was born. Though, as I have occasion to read more of German eugenics "science", German eugenicists are no less explicit in citing Charles Darwin's inspiration than Leonard Darwin and Francis Galton were in British eugenics. A number of the people making that association either knew Charles Darwin as intimately as his own children or knew him or corresponded with them. The attempt to disassociate him from eugenics comes entirely from people who never knew the man. I'm not lying about that so that his fan club can foolishly impose Charles Darwin as the team mascot in what has to be the most failed PR campaign of the past hundred-fifty years. I've also read through The Descent of Man a couple of times and Darwin was a pretty horrible person who was quite capable of making pretty horrible statements out of assumptions of natural selection, with no data whatsoever to back them up. He handed lots of the material that the creationists use as propaganda against science to them in that book, as did his children in their eugenics activities. Someone called British eugenics a Darwin family cottage industry, and they were right about that right up to the 1950s.

    Your citing the vagary of the idea of "replicators" only supports my points about the necessity of specificity if the question is the actual origin of life on Earth. I don't think you quite get that that was a very real, very specific historical event. It had the specific character it did under the specific conditions it happened in and it had the very specific result it had, a result that is unique in the history of life on Earth. When you are talking about a living organism, those specific items are what is relevant and without knowing any of those you can know nothing about that very real historical event. The earliest information about life on Earth comes from what was almost certainly hundreds of millions of years after that specific event, given your assumptions of change over time (which I share) the earliest information is likely to not tell you much of anything about that original organism. One thing that is certain, those organisms were the product of biological reproduction, the original organism wasn't. That is an enormous difference, especially since the question is how that unknowable event happened.

    Your last point about the common ancestor being well after the first organism supports my contention that what can be known of modern life is of unknowable relevance to the first organism and it could well lead away from knowledge of that original organism.

    With no physical evidence of that real event, science can tell you nothing reliable about it.

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    1. Darwin and eugenics - heard it. Ho hum.

      Of course I am aware of the difference between 'non-life' and 'life' This is why I cite the boundary as an entity performing some kind of replication that had no origin as 'child of a replicator'. But I repeat my point, suspecting that you will continue to think that I don't get something vital, that without replication, and all that goes with it, elaboration of simple chemistry will simply stall. Local thermodynamic gradients will be explored, and equilibrium reached. It is only in the service of a replicating entity of some kind that elaboration by repetition and refinement can take place. And somewhere in our history, going back through the generations till you can go back no further, you get to the earliest replicating entity of some kind. So yeah, I do get that it was a real event - that was pretty much the thrust of my 'LUCA's LUCA's LUCA' backward-looking progression.

      Your last point about the common ancestor being well after the first organism supports my contention that what can be known of modern life is of unknowable relevance to the first organism and it could well lead away from knowledge of that original organism.

      In my view, the first organism was the first entity with the capacity of replication. That must have happened at some point between the formation of the earth and now. Identifying the fundamental dynamics of replicating populations is entirely relevant, even if this entity lived long before LUCA, and we can know nothing of its composition. Those dynamics have a fundamental significance to the manner in which bare chemistry could become cellular life.

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    2. Ho hum.

      There are more than a few people who don't share your indifference. More than a few people had their rights rather seriously violated. You see, some of us don't see people as being mere "replicators" but as loci of inherent rights that have real existence, meaning and consequence. Though the line of eugenicists explicitly denied there was anything important about those. And yet you wonder why so many people in the years during which eugenics was a policy arm of Darwinism - I cited his son, Leonard Darwin, to that effect here last week - took a dim view of old Chuck's ideas. Right down to living memory.

      http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/gamechanger/2011/11/14/leilani-muir-vs-alberta-govt-on-wrongful-sterilization/

      This is why I cite the boundary as an entity performing some kind of replication that had no origin as 'child of a replicator'.

      I think you mean "posit" instead of "cite". There is nothing to cite, no physical evidence, no data, no possible other example in nature, nothing that could possibly be securely linked to that event, happening as it happened, in the physical conditions in which it happened, that is known to have any relevance to that incident.

      Some "entity of some kind" is all well and good as speculation but you can't say anything about it that rises to the level of reliability that is the only reason to call something "science".

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    3. @Criminal-

      I don't see how you can possibly argue that Darwinism was causative of eugenics. Correlation doesn't prove causation, but in this case you can't prove correlation, in fact I would argue that anti-correlation proves the absence of causation.

      By anti-correlation I mean that opponents of evolution supported eugenics at least as strongly as the average evolutionist, or more so. Every major creationist from 1920 to 1970 supported eugenics, before and after WWII, and continued to support eugenics long after Hitler's T9 program was exposed.

      This is of course what follows logically from creationism, because anti-evolutionists believe in micro-evolution, and eugenics was always about micro-evolution. Micro-evolution, all sides agree, is an observed, empirical phenomena and creationists noted this and distinguished their support for eugenics from macroevolution.

      But logically you would expect eugenics to be more strongly supported by creationists for several reasons, all of which are demonstrably real factors in the history of creationism.

      1. Most creationists believed that humans had degenerated from the ideal, Adam and Eve, but not all races had degenerated equally. Blacks, South Africans, Australians etc. were universally held up as examples of the most extreme degeneration.

      Young Earth creationists believed that degeneration was happening at hyper-speed, to be fit into 4,300 years since Noah's Flood.

      Obviously John Sanford build a career on "Genetic Entropy." He may not support eugenics, but it follows logically from his anti-evolution. Certainly racist Reconstructionist creationist Rousas Rushdoony emphasized hyperfast degeneration as justification for eugenics.

      2. Eugenics was worst when it attempted to control mankind's supposed "moral" or intellectual properties, based on the belief that genes control those "moral" or intellectual properties (i.e. biological determinism.) One of the main "evidences" advanced for inheritance of moral and intellectual differences was alleged present racial differences. And all major creationists were racist up until the 1980's, so they simply considered racial differences, and thus biological determinism, to be self-evident.

      The person who did the most to undermine racial determinism was of course Franz Boas.

      3. The origin of human racial differences since Noah's Flood are attributed by many creationists to micro-evolution at hyperspeed. So they hypothesize a brutal "reign of tooth and claw" (and they call it that) producing human diversity. For YEC's, that means a huge amount of variation must be squeezed into 4,300 years, so that logically implies a more brutal natural selection than evolutionists postulate.

      Moreover, let's look at the historical record.

      Many supporters of eugenics justified it by saying it was the traditional practice of their race, including Nazi propaganda (Darre) and creationist Rousas Rushdoony.

      As for real evolutionists, many were against eugenics, including Clarence Darrow, J.B.S. Haldane, Sewall Wright, T. H. Morgan, Alfred Russell Wallace, and Herbert S. Jennings. R. A. Fisher, of course, was for it.

      Hitler always used creationist language to describe his motivations for eugenics. This is very clear in Mein Kampf and Nazi eugenics propaganda, awash in creationist language. In Mein Kampf Hitler does not describe any biological process which we would not call microevolution (race-mixing, extinction) except for some vague, debatable "Lamarckism."

      Hitler constantly, over and over, justified his racism, his support for racial separation from Jews, and his eugenics, on the grounds that his race was created in the image of God. He said "image of God" over and over and over. That was his sockdolloger, Hitler's religious argument which he believed would silence all opposition.

      Believing humans are made in the image of God does not guarantee good behavior, and has been used to justify horrible behavior.

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    4. Oh super - a Darwin-derail! "Ho hum" meant don't want to rehash that yet again. I'm not aware that Darwin violated anyone's rights. And nor have I. As I said, you have a knee-jerk reaction when you see the name "Darwin". See above.

      On the relevance of what we know today to what we may infer about early originsm, if the best you can do is nitpick the word 'cite' ... principles operating today can reasonably be inferred to be in operation in the past. The properties of atoms do not change, nor thermodynamic limitations, nor the fundamental behaviour of replicating populations. I don't need to know anything about the first replicator to be able to infer some constraints that would act upon it. The only response to a mystery is to shrug?

      You would infer the action of a completely unconstrained being, I presume. Capable of computing, from the vast array of possibilities, the correct composition of a replicating organism. And manipulating matter just so, right down at the molecular level. Probably made the matter too, with just the properties it would need to be capable of this assembly.

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  9. I don't see how you can possibly argue that Darwinism was causative of eugenics.

    I don't have to argue it. The inventor of eugenics said so, explicitly. Francis Galton couldn't have been more explicit, his inspiration for eugenics was his reading of On the Origin of Species and that his cousin, Charles Darwin, encouraged his earliest writing on the topic. See Chapter XX of his "Memories of My Life".

    THE publication in 1859 of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science.

    ... I was encouraged by the new views to pursue many inquiries which had long interested me, and which clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race. The current views on Heredity were at that time so vague and contradictory that it is difficult to summar' ise them briefly. Speaking generally, most authors agreed that all bodily and some mental qualities were inherited by brutes, but they refused to believe the same of man.

    "MY DEAR GALTON,--I have only read about 50 pages of your book (to Judges), but I must exhale myself, else something will go wrong in my inside. I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting and original--and how Well and clearly you put every point! George, who has finished the book, and who expressed himself in just the same terms, tells me that the earlier chapters are nothing in interest to the later ones! It will take me some time to get to these latter chapters, as it is read aloud to me by my wife, who is also much interested. You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think this is an eminently important difference. I congratulate you on producing what I am convinced will prove a memorable work. I look forward with intense interest to each reading, but it sets me thinking so much that I find it very hard work; but that is wholly the fault of my brain and not of your beautifully clear style.--Yours most sincerely,
    (Signed) "CH. DARWIN"



    As I mentioned, Charles Darwin's son, Leonard, said that he was carrying out is father's work in his book "The Need for Eugenics Reform".

    “Dedicated to the memory of MY FATHER. For if I had not believed that he would have wished me to give such help as I could toward making his life's work of service to mankind, I should never have been led to write this book.”

    I could cite many other eugenicists who cite Charles Darwin as the inspiration of their eugenics activity but there is no one who is more authoritative than his own son or, indeed, his letter encouraging his cousin Francis Galton, who could disassociate Charles Darwin and, specifically, natural selection, from eugenics. Eugenics is entirely based on the concept of natural selection and the contention that modern civilization impedes its action in the human species, leading to dysgenic effects. As mentioned, Charles Darwin asserts that in "The Descent of Man" in the most unambiguous of terms.

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    1. I have not found a single prominent Darwinist before WWII who tried to disassociate him from eugenics, no one I've asked to present that evidence has. There is no one with a more intimate association to Charles Darwin than his children, at least four of whom were very active in eugenics and his cousin, the founder of eugenics. His grandson, Charles Galton Darwin, was bemoaning that democracies wouldn't put eugenics methods into effect IN THE 1950S, after the Holocaust was known!, ("The Next Million Years").

      That, Diogenes, is what is called an open and shut case. You really should change your name, it's about as ill suited a pseudonym as I've seen.

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    2. I should add that Alfred Russell Wallace, on the other hand, was an ardent opponent of eugenics. Unlike Darwin's intellectual lineage, he didn't see it as following from the idea of natural selection. He held it was unscientific and “simply the meddlesome interference of an arrogant scientific priestcraft,”. He advocated that people oppose legislation trying to do what the Darwins and other Darwinists were advocating up till after WWII.

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    3. "a single prominent Darwinist before WWII"
      J.B.S. Haldane? Ernst Mayr? Sewall Wright?

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    4. Provide the dated quotes.

      And then you can tell us how they would know Charles Darwin's mind better than Leonard Darwin did or say that Francis Galton was wrong about what inspired him to invent eugenics.

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    5. Who cares about knowing "Charles Darwin's mind" ? One does not become a "Darwinist"(whatever this even means to you) by adhering strictly to what Charles Darwin thought, on any subject.

      Before this can even proceed you need to specify what a Darwinist is?

      If a Darwinist is merely someone who accepts that evolution is the best explanation for extant biodiversity, then there'd countless "prominent Darwinists" before WW2 that weren't eugenists.

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    6. Name them. I'd like to know how many "countless" consists of.

      And your definition of "Darwinist" is way too self-serving by a long shot as it would include Larmarckians [who more than just existed for most of that period and even into the post-war period] and others who were hardly Darwinists.

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    7. Criminal: I have not found a single prominent Darwinist before WWII who tried to disassociate him from eugenics

      I already listed some evolutionists who opposed eugenics, so this is pre-refuted. Did you read my post at all, or anything in it beyond the first sentence? You read my thesis but not the evidence for it. You could at least read the evidence before you spew inanities.

      Meanwhile, you have zero evidence that Charles Darwin himself was in favor of coerced eugenics, and we know he opposed it. Sorry, we are not dumb enough to fall for your quote mining.

      The quotes you gave from Darwin were from Dalton's book on inheritance of genius. You tried to make it appear as if he agreed to coercive eugenics, which is audaciously dishonest of you. Cunning.

      Your quote shows Darwin agreed that intelligence was partially inherited. Shocking, considering that he lived in an imperial England under a hereditary monarchy and a hereditary aristocracy.

      We're not falling for the quote mine, but I'm impressed by the cunning of it. You're sure you don't work for the DI?

      Darwin opposed coercive eugenics. As for "eugenics" in the sense of research into inherited diseases, he was for it, and so are the rest of us today, in that sense of the word.

      As I just got done saying, many evolutionists were against eugenics and many anti-evolutionists were for it. As for real evolutionists against it, let's list Clarence Darrow, J.B.S. Haldane, Sewall Wright, T. H. Morgan, Alfred Russell Wallace, and Herbert S. Jennings.

      I'll add to that Charles Darwin.

      Criminal: Provide the dated quotes.

      That's a bold claim coming from a quote miner, who has zero evidence Charles Darwin supported coercive eugenics, and who ignores the evidence Darwin opposed it.

      The quote miner wants quotes. OK.

      Here's Sensuous Curmudgeon's analysis of everything Darwin ever wrote on eugenics.

      As for Clarence Darrow, you can start with his "The Eugenics Cult" from 1926.

      Darrow: "Amongst the schemes for remolding society this [eugenics] is the most senseless and impudent that has ever been put forward by irresponsible fanatics to plague a long-suffering race."

      Herbert S. Jennings resigned from the American Eugenics Society in 1924, citing its “clearly illegitimate” arguments.

      T. H. Morgan resigned from the committee on Animal Breeding of the American Breeders Association in 1915 as a protest against what the abuse of genetics by political policies.

      The Carnegie Institute concluded in the late 1920's that eugenic science was largely a fraud.

      But perhaps Criminal believes that his "open and shut case" is based on the fact that no pro-eugenics person tried to dissociate the person of Charles Darwin from eugenics.

      This is a ridiculous argument, because anti-evolutionists were for eugenics. Every major creationist except one (GM Price) between 1920 and 1970 was pro-eugenics. If in fact Darwin were associated with eugenics, the pro-eugenics creationists would have dissociated CD from the policy they supported.

      But they didn't. Creationists distinguished between what we would call microevolution and macroevolution. Everybody believed in microevolution. Pro-eugenics creationists associated Darwin with macroevolution, and they associated eugenics with microevolution.

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    8. Not "a single prominent Darwinist before WWII" against eugenics:
      Would Bernard Rensch do ? (apart from the others I mentioned)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Rensch

      Thought Criminal is very short on evidence for his thesis that Darwinism entails eugenics. Unfortunately, he requires anyone who opposes him to prove a negative.

      Could Thought Criminal provide examples of prominent evolutionary biologists who were eugeneticists, rather than go on flaunting a list of eugeneticists?

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  10. Eugenics being "inspired by" Darwin's natural selection does not show causation, the story is much more complicated. Darwin was "inspired" by artificial selection causing man-made evolution, uses natural selection to explain evolution in nature. Therefore artificial selection inspired... itself!

    Eugenics reflects poorly on a multitude of people in that era - progressives, religious leaders, politicians, and especially scientists.

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  11. Eugenics being "inspired by" Darwin's natural selection does not show causation

    What is that supposed to mean? "Causation" makes the invention of eugenics sound like some kind of natural event instead of the intentional, intellectual, act that it was. Again, look at what Francis Galton said about his inspiration:

    I was encouraged by the new views [specifically what C. Darwin had written in On the Origin of Species] to pursue many inquiries which had long interested me, and which clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race.

    Francis Galton: Memories of My Life, Chapter XX Heredity


    Also, before Galton published the letter from Charles Darwin given above:

    Hereditary Genius made its mark at the time, though subjected to much criticism, no small part of which was captious or shallow, and therefore unimportant. The verdict which I most eagerly waited for was that of Charles'Darwin, whom I ranked far above all other authorities on such a matter. His letter, given below, made me most happy. ibid

    There is nothing to argue about. Galton invented eugenics, he said his main inspiration was his reading "On the Origin of Species". He is the only possible expert on the matter of his inspiration.

    Unless you can find some place where Galton explicitly retracted what he said in 1908, that is definitive proof that On the Origin of Species was the inspiration of eugenics. I'll point out that it is entirely more definitive proof than that anything in abiogenesis tells us anything about the origin of life on Earth.

    As I pointed out, Leonard Darwin also, explicitly said that his work in eugenics was furthering the work of his father. His other sons, George Darwin, Horace Darwin and Francis Darwin are among the many Darwins and relatives friends and associates of Charles Darwin who were active in eugenics. Not to mention the many eugenicists who, likewise, cited Charles Darwin as influencing their eugenics beliefs. They are the only people who can tell us what the causation of their belief in eugenics was.

    Eugenics is inseparable from Charles Darwin, despite what the post-war party line on that is. It is simply a matter of the historical record, a record that is available, in the words of eugenisists, themselves.

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    1. Except that ideas like the purity of bloodlines and breeding for enchancement of traits go back to antiquity.

      In any case, who gives a fuck? If Darwin's children were eugenisists, then what? Plenty of people have become eugenisists or held similar views through history without ever having even the merest of contact with the works of Charles Darwin.

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    2. Rumraket, Charles Darwin not only praised Francis Galton's seminal work in eugenics, "Hereditary Genius", he cited it and other sources of eugenics and Social Darwinism favorably in "The Descent of Man", in order to support things he claimed in the book. His citations are just more evidence that his son was right about their eugenics involvement being the continuation of his work.

      You, Rumraket, as well as every single other person alive today, and as every other person I've ever read denying the link between Charles Darwin and eugenics, have the distinct disadvantage of never having met the man. No one with a shred of honesty would hold you or them as greater authorities on Charles Darwin's thinking than his own Children, his closest associates and others who knew him intimately.

      And eugenicists are, likewise, the only ones who can tell us if Charles Darwin did or did not inspire their eugenics. I'd like to know of any who have disavowed his influence.

      Your mascot is a millstone around the neck of science. Evolutionary science should dump him as the face of evolution.

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    3. How about if we dump dishonest quote miners instead?

      Charles Darwin not only praised Francis Galton's seminal work in eugenics, "Hereditary Genius", he cited it and other sources of eugenics and Social Darwinism favorably in "The Descent of Man"

      Darwin did not support coercive eugenics. He opposed it. He supported voluntarily being careful about who you marry, which is still legal in the US, and practiced more and more thanks to genetic testing for Tay-Sachs etc. That is a kind of eugenics-- voluntary eugenics-- and still legal.

      He also supported eugenics in the sense of research into hereditary disease. Everything Darwin supported is still legal internationally.

      You don't have any quotes from CD supporting coercive eugenics, and you ignore his quotes against coercive eugenics. So we'll dump you instead.

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    4. Diogenes, "quote mining" is a charge that can be made against anyone who quotes anything. I didn't mine Darwin's note to Galton, I cited the entire thing. I also provided links where anyone who wants to look can read the entire documents and citations when those aren't available online. I more than fulfilled the requirements of honest citation. Something I notice you don't try to support what you said.

      I'm not sorry to be able to tell you that Leonard Darwin and his eugenicist siblings are far more expert in their father's ideas about eugenics than you or anyone else who didn't know him. Unlike anyone alive today, they had direct access to what he said off the record. There is absolutely no way for his fan club to get past that record or the fact that they had access to more information on that count than we do today. The case distancing Charles Darwin from eugenics is hopeless because of what they and Charles Darwin, himself, wrote. It is a dishonest distortion of history. It is a lie transparent enough that the evidence proving otherwise has been available since at least the 1920s. It's part of why evolutionary science has been on an increasingly losing end of a political brawl for the past century.

      And you guys think you're the clever ones.

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  12. Rumraket, Charles Darwin not only praised Francis Galton's seminal work in eugenics, "Hereditary Genius", he cited it and other sources of eugenics and Social Darwinism favorably in "The Descent of Man", in order to support things he claimed in the book.
    I don't care. It's irrelevant.

    Isaac Newton believed all sorts of crazy shit and he's still appreciated as perhaps the greatest scientist who ever lived. For good reason. He made massive contributions to science and thus, to mankind.

    His citations are just more evidence that his son was right about their eugenics involvement being the continuation of his work.
    And this is relevant to what this thread is about?

    You, Rumraket, as well as every single other person alive today, and as every other person I've ever read denying the link between Charles Darwin and eugenics , have the distinct disadvantage of never having met the man. No one with a shred of honesty would hold you or them as greater authorities on Charles Darwin's thinking than his own Children, his closest associates and others who knew him intimately. And eugenicists are, likewise, the only ones who can tell us if Charles Darwin did or did not inspire their eugenics. I'd like to know of any who have disavowed his influence.
    Quote one fucking sentence of mine denying such a link. There's a difference between telling you that I think you're wrong and that I don't care whether you're wrong. Learn the distinction. Whatever the fuck Charlies Darwin or anyone else thought about eugenics is incomprehensibly irrelevant to whether life has a natural origin and whether evolution took place or not. Just what IS the purpose of this mindless Darwin/Hitler/Eugenics diatribe anyway?

    Your mascot is a millstone around the neck of science.
    No, not really. I don't have a mascott, and Charles Darwins contributions to our understanding of the human condition and biological origins is so massively beyond anything else ever produced before him it effectively renders preceding thoughts irrelevant on the subject.

    Evolutionary science should dump him as the face of evolution.
    The founder of evolutionary theory should be dumped as the face of evolution? Are you a little bit nuts?

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  13. Isaac Newton isn't cited as their inspiration by people who advocated the forced sterilization of people and other serious violations of civil rights. He never accused those who feed the poor and vaccinate them of risking a future disaster by degrading the human species. As an aside, it's always so revealing to see those who seem to ignore that Charles Darwin, in unambiguous language, condemned the practice of vaccination:

    There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.

    That "reason to believe" was his theory of natural selection because there was absolutely no data presented in his presentation that was the case. You'd think that those who correctly rail against the anti-vaccination crowd would find that kind of disturbing, especially considering its context in a book filled to the brim with bigotry, racism and, yes Social Darwinism.

    The reason, Rumracket, that this is important is the political activity that directly flowed from Charles Darwin's writing, as cited by his children, his professional friends and associates, those they influenced. In the United States AND CANADA, those led to serious violations of civil rights. In Germany, no matter what Darwin apologists contend, Darwin's foremost disciple, Haeckel was a direct link between Darwin and Naziism. I'm sure that Steven J. Gould would have been surprised to find that this quote would become as famous as it apparently has but, he did say it:

    [Haeckel’s] evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a “just” state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his grave words about objective science—all contributed to the rise of Nazism. Stephen Jay Gould

    You put that together with Darwin writing to Haeckel early in their correspondence:

    I am delighted that so distinguished a Naturalist should confirm & expound my views, and I can clearly see that you are one of the few who clearly understand Natural Selection.

    I feel sure that you do good service by boldly expressing how far you agree with me.

    http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-4422

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    1. cont. As Darwin was still citing Haeckel and praising his ideas in The Descent of Man, there doesn't seem to have been any falling out. Here's a sample from Descent of Man:

      In man, the canine teeth are perfectly efficient instruments for mastication. But their true canine character, as Owen (42. 'Anatomy of Vertebrates,' vol. iii. 1868, p. 323.) remarks, "is indicated by the conical form of the crown, which terminates in an obtuse point, is convex outward and flat or sub-concave within, at the base of which surface there is a feeble prominence. The conical form is best expressed in the Melanian races, especially the Australian. The canine is more deeply implanted, and by a stronger fang than the incisors." Nevertheless, this tooth no longer serves man as a special weapon for tearing his enemies or prey; it may, therefore, as far as its proper function is concerned, be considered as rudimentary. In every large collection of human skulls some may be found, as Haeckel (43. 'Generelle Morphologie,' 1866, B. ii. s. clv.) observes, with the canine teeth projecting considerably beyond the others in the same manner as in the anthropomorphous apes, but in a less degree.

      Considering the racist use of ape-like depictions of Africans and other racial and ethnic groups, including the Irish, in Britain and North America, something Darwin could hardly have been unaware of, he must have realized that what he wrote would have confirmed that racism. The man wasn't stupid.

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    2. cont. Of course, in one of his more infamous passages in that book, Darwin famously said:

      But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. 'Anthropological Review,' April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

      So we can see that among the things which Darwin said "we may hope" was the extinction of entire racial groups. Leading, of course, to a wider distinction between the "Caucasians" and whatever species were left after the "anthropomorphous apes" had likewise gone. Darwin sort of gives himself away by expressing this prediction as a "hope".

      That would be consistent with his foremost British disciple's more infamous pieces, published as the American Civil War was ending.

      The question is settled; but even those who are most thoroughly convinced that the doom is just, must see good grounds for repudiating half the arguments which have been employed by the winning side; and for doubting whether its ultimate results will embody the hopes of the victors, though they may more than realise the fears of the vanquished. It may be quite true that some negroes are better than some white men; but no rational man, cognisant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still [67] less the superior, of the average white man. And, if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilisation will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest.

      http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE3/B&W.html

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  14. Oh god. Didn't I already explain that I don't give a fuck? How is any of this crap relevant to the topic of the thread?

    1. It isn't.
    2. Racial purity and eugenics is not a phenomenon uniquely associated with evolution or darwin. As I said, these concepts go back to antiquity.
    3. Evolution still happens regardless.
    4. Charles Darwin was still first to formulate a proper scientific theory of evolution.
    5. His personal views on any, ANY subject at all, does nothing to somehow invalidate this marvelous contribution to science. (Because evolution still did and does happen).

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  15. For someone who repeatedly exclaims that he doesn't "give a fuck" you seem to be giving quite a bit of something.

    Evolutionary science has moved on from Darwin, the vast majority of the information about evolution came after he died, much of it has little to nothing to do with natural selection. I've got a strong feeling that eventually natural selection will either turn into something quite different (it's already quite a bit different from what Darwin meant by it) or that it will be abandoned for better theories. But that's just a hunch that a theory based in what was known in the 1850s will prove inadequate when more of evolution is known.

    A scientific explanation of the origin of life on Earth requires physical evidence of that origin, just as evolution did. Until that evidence is found, as it almost certainly never will be, science can tell us nothing of what that really was.

    There is abundant physical evidence of evolution but that is still a tiny fraction of what that most massive of natural phenomena consisted of, so any general explanation of it is probably impossible and almost certainly always will be.

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  16. This argument has taken a strange turn.

    I would think that if the ideas of evolution are true, we should learn about them because they are true. If somebody argues that evolutionary thinking leads to bad consequences and therefore we should suppress evolutionary thoughts, then my response is to say we should try to suppress the bad consequences and not the truth.

    On the other hand, if ideas of evolution are not true, we should find out how to discover ideas that are more true and then spread those ideas instead.

    In more detail, the argument seems to be that thinking about evolution is bad because it leads to people doing eugenics. This makes no sense to me. Eugenics is probably not bad. If somebody has Huntingdon's chorea and wants to arrange for his children not to have it, there's nothing wrong with that. There's the possibility that the genes which cause it are good for something and should not be removed from the population, but I don't think that possibility justifies forbidding him to have healthy children, or require him to have his full number of diseased children along with the ones he wants. If you think that gene is so important, you can pay him to continue it.

    Oh, wait, are they thinking of the people who used the idea of eugenics as a disguise for racism? People pretend racism is eugenics so evolutionary thinking is bad? No. That dog won't fly.

    Let's take it a step farther. Suppose Darwin himself was a racist. It's not so implausible, likely most of the british were racists back then, and the upper classes tended to be racist about the lower classes. Suppose Darwin was racist. So what? Does that say anything about whether his evolutionary ideas were right? If they are right, should we give them up because one of the people who created them was a racist?

    Suppose it were to turn out that a primary inventor of the transistor was racist. Should we give up transistors?

    Maybe I've missed the point of the argument. If I understand it, it does not make sense.

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    1. Re J Thomas

      Let's take it a step farther. Suppose Darwin himself was a racist. It's not so implausible, likely most of the british were racists back then, and the upper classes tended to be racist about the lower classes. Suppose Darwin was racist. So what? Does that say anything about whether his evolutionary ideas were right? If they are right, should we give them up because one of the people who created them was a racist?

      As painful as it is, I have to agree with Mr. Thomas here. As an example, Nobel Prize winning physicists Johannes Stark and Philip Lenard were Nazis and antisemitic racists. That in no way, shape, form, or regard means that the Stark effect doesn't exist because he was a despicable human being.

      In defense of Darwin, it should be pointed out that he was a strong opponent of slavery in America. He and his very influential inlaws, the Wedgwood family were quite influential in preventing the British Government from intervening on the side of the confederacy in the Civil War. As I recall commenting elsewhere, there was considerable support in Great Britain for intervention, in part because of their fear that a united nation on the North American continent would eventually become a world power with the wherewithal to present a challenge to British naval superiority. Looking ahead to the 1916 declaration of President Wilson about building a navy second to none, their fears were well grounded.

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    2. Read what Leonard Darwin said about F. W. Schallmayer, one of the more infamous of the German eugenicists. Note that he seems to have developed German eugenics independently, from his reading of Charles Darwin as well:

      He advocated the medical registration of all citizens and the state control of the medical profession. He was greatly influenced in his writings by the “Origin of 'species,” and he was at this time like the author of that work, a believer in the inheritance of acquired characters, a belief he subsequently abandoned. [I've read this several times and am astonished that L.D. doesn't try to disassociate his father from what was in the previous sentence.] His ideas were formed in the first instance before he had studied Galton's writings. Indeed it was his desire to study that author's works which led him to learn English, a task perhaps facilitated by his wide knowledge of other languages. He started his eugenic campaign in Germany uninfluenced by Galton.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2962339/pdf/eugenrev00235-0042.pdf

      He goes on to note that Schallmayer won the Krupp prize. In the book that won him that rather ominously titled prize he said:

      This view [Darwinism] had an especially powerful influence on ethics. It led not only to new views about the origin and evolution of ethical commands and thus to new foundations for them, but also led to the demand for a partial alteration of the presently valid ethical views. (trans. Richard Weikart)

      Wilhelm Schallmayer, Vererbung und Auslese im Lebenslaufder Volker. Sine Staatswissenschaftliche Studie auf Grund der neueren Biologic (Jena, 1903), ix-x.

      Leonard Darwin, himself, states the purpose of the prize, "What do we learn from the principles of biological evolution in regard to domestic political developments and legislation of states?" in the original German. I assume he read the book, which is full to the brim of proto-Naziism.

      But the right of the stronger, that manifests itself in the victory of the better adapted
      forms over the less perfect, reigns not only in nature, but also in human social history.


      Making the unequal equal can only be an ideal of the weak.

      You might want to note Leonard Darwin's comments about Alfred Ploetze, at the end of the article. It's pretty disturbing to see this kind of praise of Schallemayer and Ploetze by Leonard Darwin, but as his subsequent writing shows, he was remarkably stupid about the rise of German racism as science, up into the Nazi period.

      He held that Ploetze and Schallmayer competed for eminence in “ changing German thought in the right direction”.

      In no place have I yet read Leonard Darwin distancing his father from this kind of stuff and there is no one I've read who knew him better that did either.

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    3. Oh, I left out the URL for the original of Schallmayer's book, for anyone who doesn't believe it's as putrid as it is.

      https://play.google.com/books/reader? id=bEYwAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&authuser=0&hl=en&pg=GBS.PR9

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    4. Well, you can cite scads of scientists who did and said awful things, but the question here is Charles Darwin's role in the origin of eugenics, so the only thing relevant is what he and the eugenicists who cite him as their inspiration said about it.

      I've got a lot more citations of eugenicists who say they were inspired by Charles Darwin, I'm afraid it gets worse the more of those you see.

      I've yet to find a pre-WWII eugenicist who denied his role in eugenics yet. If you've got those citations, I'd like to see them.

      Delete
  17. Why oh why didn't I just say "Natural Selection", way upthread? But then ... we'd see arguments about what was 'natural', and who is doing the selecting! And tautology, and ...

    :0P

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  18. J. Thomas, if you read The Descent of Man, one of the things you might be struck by is that a number of the things Darwin said weren't supported by data, they were the result of asserting what he and those he cited BELIEVED was the logical result of natural selection. What he said about vaccination is a good illustration. If you do a word search "vaccination" of the text:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2300/pg2300.html

    You will get two passages:

    Notwithstanding that savages appear to be less prolific than civilised people, they would no doubt rapidly increase if their numbers were not by some means rigidly kept down. The Santali, or hill-tribes of India, have recently afforded a good illustration of this fact; for, as shewn by Mr. Hunter (60. 'The Annals of Rural Bengal,' by W.W. Hunter, 1868, p. 259.), they have increased at an extraordinary rate since vaccination has been introduced, other pestilences mitigated, and war sternly repressed....

    I have borrowed ideas from several of these writers.), and previously by Mr. Wallace and Mr. Galton. (10. For Mr. Wallace, see 'Anthropological Review,' as before cited. Mr. Galton in 'Macmillan's Magazine,' Aug. 1865, p. 318; also his great work, 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870.) Most of my remarks are taken from these three authors. With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

    There is, though, no evidence that was available that supported the contention that mass vaccination led to "the degeneration" of the human race. No more than feeding the poor would. The only reason Darwin asserted that was that he thought it was a logical conclusion of natural selection, a case of using theory to invent something to stand as "evidence" when there was no evidence, something that his children and other followers often did in their assertions of eugenics.

    If his fans here want to pretend that there is evidence supporting what Darwin said, they'll have to explain how the World Health Oraganization's vaccination campaigns won't lead to disaster.

    I'd probably next go into what he said in the same book about the Irish, who had gone through one devastating culling during his lifetime (he mentioned it in letters) and another one a century before. Somehow Darwin doesn't believe that the mass death of two famines, exactly the kind of event he talks about, natural selection here and now, had a beneficial effect on the Irish who remained. That is a major inconsistency in his thinking, one that obviously was in line with his own prejudice. His citation on that was a textile baron turned make-believe scientist.

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    1. I will note that in that passage Darwin cited Galton's "Hereditary Genius", the seminal source of eugenics, to support his contention. Clearly Darwin not only inspired eugenics, he cited eugenics in his own work.

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    2. I should add: ... a case of using theory to invent something to stand as "evidence" when there was no evidence, and then using that "evidence" to support the theory, something that his children and other followers often did in their assertions of eugenics.

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    3. Thought criminal, what is your problem?

      Darwin came up with a profound idea, and he tried to apply it as best he could wherever he could. So what?

      He argued that "primitive" people had their populations limited by their environment, as has surely happened most of the time throughout history and prehistory. It sounds like you object to him saying that. How come?

      Everybody who writes long philosophical books gets away from the science some. It happens. Take what you need and leave the rest.

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    4. "Take what you need and leave the rest."

      J Thomas, that is exactly the kind of idea that Richard Dawkins loves to use against Christians. He accuses them of cherry picking Biblical passages to distance themselves from those which show god in a profoundly negative light. He is not interested in their argument that the New Testament 'redeems' the god of the Old Testament, and accuses them of willful ignorance in this regard. I, too, find the argument that the NT redeems the OT very unconvincing. But then, I am not a Chrisitan. If people, and there are many, are living essentially good lives by following the parts of the Bible that inspire them and 'leaving the rest' then I am not going to hyperactively protest, as Dawkins does, that they have to own the ogre-like actions of the OT, they just HAVE to, as if I, and not they, get to be the arbiter about what they are and are not allowed to believe.

      You may not agree with Dawkins that this is a fair and valid criticism of Christians. I personally feel there is validity and wisdom in the idea that one can 'take what you need and leave the rest' (a line from a song by The Band, I believe).If Dawkins himself had used your argument, though, I would consider that a glaring hypocrisy. Would you agree?

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    5. J Thomas, that is exactly the kind of idea that Richard Dawkins loves to use against Christians. He accuses them of cherry picking Biblical passages to distance themselves from those which show god in a profoundly negative light. ....

      If Dawkins himself had used your argument, though, I would consider that a glaring hypocrisy. Would you agree?

      It depends.

      If a Christian says that the Bible as written is divinely inspired, and that it is all easy for him to understand and all of it is correct, then I don't think it's wrong to ask him to explain some of the obvious hard parts.

      I personally am a Christian, and I believe that it takes divine inspiration to read the Bible. If it turns out that no two people get quite the same meanings, that's OK because maybe no two people have quite the same needs. I would not argue that the book of Genesis means that geology and biology are wrong. I'm not sure I understand that part of Genesis, and I'm quite ready to believe that I don't need to understand it. So if Dawkins or anybody tells me I'm hypocritical on this topic I will not take their argument seriously unless they say something I don't expect.

      But if somebody says the Bible is entirely correct and they are certain the way they understand it is entirely correct, then it's their own lookout if somebody calls them on it.

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  19. @ The Thought Criminal:
    I have a simlilar problem with that bastard Einstein. I can never forgive him for those disaters at Three mile island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
    And don'tget me started, please, on the Wright brothers and 9/11

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    1. Not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, Einstein was probably more responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki then Darwin was for Eugenics. It was the letter written by Leo Szilard, that Einstein affixed his signature to that started the Manhattan Project which led to those two cities getting the chop.

      And by the way, Issac Newton was notorious for proposing to hang counterfeiters during his sojourn as head of the British Mint.

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  20. @ The Thought Criminal:
    I have a simlilar problem with that bastard Einstein. I can never forgive him for those disasters at Three mile island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
    And don't get me started, please, on the Wright brothers and 9/11

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  21. Rkt, I'm sure your wit is what seems like an adequate answer in the Darwin fan club.

    The problem is that Darwin's fan boys have to lie to distance him from eugenics and the information needed to refute that lie is available. You've got to lie to hold him up as a saint just as much as creationists have to lie to deny the evidence supporting evolution. And the evidence against Darwin's sainthood is far more conclusive and far more easily understood, so they've got the more effective case.

    The choice of scientists is clear, you can either have St. Darwin or you can keep fighting a losing battle for that myth.

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    1. Quote one person holding up Darwin as a saint. One fucking person will do. Until that time, you're just making shit up.

      Delete
    2. Why would Darwin have to be a saint? And why distance him from eugenics? What's wrong with eugenics? If people find out how they can have fewer children with Tay Sachs or sickle-cell or cystic fibrosis, what's wrong with that? There have been people who used eugenics as an excuse for racism, but they didn't really feel like they needed an excuse and I doubt it made much difference.

      Blaming eugenics for racism is just as silly as blaming evolutionary theory for eugenics.

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    3. What's wrong with eugenics?

      Did you happen to miss the 20th century? If you're so uninformed that you have to ask what's wrong with eugenics I'm not surprised that you can't follow the rest of the evidence.

      I wonder if Arlo Guthrie has ever commented on your kind of eugenics.

      Larry Moran, what about it, you figure eugenics is AOK?

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    4. If you're so uninformed that you have to ask what's wrong with eugenics I'm not surprised that you can't follow the rest of the evidence.

      Eugenics: The study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics).

      Is that so terrible? Nowadays, in many cases people who have known genetic defects can arrange to have children without them. How is that a bad thing?

      For a good long time we've known how to estimate the chance that people have particular undesirable recessive genes, or variable penetrance ones, and we could do counseling so that the victims could make informed choices. Marry someone who does not carry the gene and on average half your children will be carriers but none will get two copies. Is there something wrong with that?

      In the 20th century people did some things you probably disapprove of. Like, in Virginia for awhile they sterilized people they thought were feebleminded on the assumption that otherwise they would have a lot of children that the state would have to support. I consider that eugenics done wrong.

      But if you want to say that eugenics is plain bad, consider also that during the 20th century we had two world wars. Armies got into awful wars during the 20th century, so armies are bad. Don't have one.

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    5. You want to limit eugenics to innocuous sounding things, that's not the history of eugenics as practiced in the United States, Canada, Germany and the history of proposals by eugenicists, including things like copying Sparta in allowing children deemed to be inferior to die or be killed - in reports from North Korea.

      You're pretending that history didn't happen and that in Germany, Austria and elsewhere eugenics turned rather easily into mass murder.

      There's a reason that the boys are going into a swivet over these things being pointed out. There's a reason that the Darwin industry has had to invent the myth that he had nothing to do with eugenics or Social Darwinism.

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    6. Thought Criminal, you are being too cavalier with meanings here.

      I mean, look at the horrible messes that bankers have put us through. Shouldn't we get rid of all the banks? (Actually I don't like that example because more and more I think that yes we should get rid of all the banks. But....)

      It looks like you want to blame Nazi genocide programs on the concepts of eugenics. But doesn't it make more sense to blame them on government? If there had been no government for the Nazis to take over, they couldn't have started WWII. Government is the evil we need to get rid of, not eugenics.

      Consider the old witch hunts that Christians used to do. Isn't that a good reason to get rid of Christianity? I would argue that no, it isn't. They were doing it wrong. We shouldn't try to stamp out Christianity just because some people did Christianity wrong. We shouldn't get rid of the government just because there have sometimes been bad governments. We shouldn't give up on eugenics just because some people in the past did it wrong. The banks -- I guess I'll grant you the banks.

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    7. You are, as are SLC and the others, too interested in changing the subject. Clearly because you can't do what would be necessary to prove your case that Charles Darwin wasn't the inspiration of eugenics. To prove it you would have to present people as or more intimately associated with Charles Darwin than his children. You would have to present other intimates of Charles Darwin who denied he was the inspiration of eugenics. You would have to present such denials because both its inventor, Francis Galton, and his own children, Leonard Darwin in particular, said he was the inspiration of their eugenics activity and promotion.

      There is no stronger evidence removing responsibility for inspiring eugenics from Charles Darwin or it would have been presented to refute their claims, which I cite. It would be rather difficult to get past those claims made by people who spoke with him regularly, who knew him intimately, in a way that those denying that link never knew him. Given Charles Darwin's own encouragement to Francis Galton as Darwin was reading the seminal work of eugenics, "Hereditary Genius", and his many laudatory citations of that book and the work of other eugencists in "The Descent of Man", without those other intimate associates denying his inspiration of eugenics, your case is impossible. The only recourse is to lie about it or to change the subject to deflect attention from that impossibility.

      As can be seen in his article about Schallmayer, which I link to above, Leonard Darwin attributes the independent invention of German eugenics to Schallmayer's reading of "On the Origin of Species" and that he was influenced by Galton only after that. Schallmayer's own citation of Darwin in his book which I link to, but which is in German, supports the contention, made by his own son, that Darwin was the inspiration of German eugenics.

      Present you evidence relevant to that issue and then maybe we can go into some other issues.

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    8. Present you evidence relevant to that issue and then maybe we can go into some other issues.

      I'm not disagreeing with you. I think Darwin may easily have been one of the inspirations for eugenics, just as Malthus was one of the inspirations for Darwin.

      I'm saying, so what? Why is this belief so important to you? Is there some point you want to make about it?

      Also, I'm saying that eugenics is a good idea that was carried out badly. We shouldn't try to discredit the idea just because a bunch of racists and "class warriors" tried to grab it for evil purposes. We should wrench it out of their hands and use it right.

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  22. Heh, you know the creIDiot has realized he's lost the discussion when he's compelled to descripe his opposition in religious terms.

    St. Darwin, atheist crusade, Dawkins inquisition etc. etc.

    I laugh every time.

    In the mean time, evolution still did and does happen and Darwin still established the field. *yawn*

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  23. Rumraket. You haven't presented an argument, you've presented a bunch of insults and unsupported assertions and a few F-bombs. I know that passes as erudition in the Darwin fan club but I'm not really interested in people who can't deal with the issues.

    SLC, if Einstein had ridden the bomb down like Slim Pickens it wouldn't get St. Darwin off of the eugenics charge. You might not want to read what Karl Pearson said about that, claiming Charles Darwin's authority for eugenics but it's there for the thinking world to read.

    http://ia600303.us.archive.org/7/items/darwinismmedical1912pear/darwinismmedical1912pear.pdf

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    1. Excuse me, you haven't presented arguments relevant to the topic either for a long time. If you can post irrelevancies, I can laugh at them. You'll let me know when you have something to say about the science, right?

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    2. Rumracket, lying about the argument when what was said in it is visible for anyone seriously interested in it to see doesn't change the record. See my last answer to J Thomson above.

      Delete
  24. I was in Shrewsbury a few weeks ago (nice part of the country to travel around), I could not miss the opportuntity to visit the old library and have photographs taken by the nearby statue of Darwin. Nice memory. His meticulous work, analytical mind, and the power of his ideas - that is how he is rightly remembered. His work allowed great leaps forward in human thought and helped to root out ignorance. It is remarkable how much his ideas are still valid and especially (when you think how little evidence was available to him at the time) how little he needed to revise his work in his remaining years. Did he slurp his soup? Don't care. It's about the ideas. After Darwin, anybody who asserted that we live on a planet that is just a few thousand years old could be exposed as a fool. For this alone we can be very grateful, a key moment in severing the ties which held back the human race (and reducing the dead-hand of religious authority figures). There was much, much more, of course, but this always strikes me as amazing. As a comparison, the people who had opposed Galileo were just dead wrong: the ones opposing Darwin (more importantly, his work!) are dead wrong too. It is completely equivalent. Decades after Galileo, was it universally accepted that the sun did not orbit the Earth? No. Funny things, humans.

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  25. Thought Criminal has a reading comprehension problem, in addition to his other self-inflicted cognitive defects:"Of course, in one of his more infamous passages in that book, Darwin famously said:

    But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. 'Anthropological Review,' April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

    So we can see that among the things which Darwin said "we may hope" was the extinction of entire racial groups."

    "as we may hope" is for man in a more civilized state, not the other extinction observations that unfortunately are all too accurate, regardless of Darwin being wrong about a "ladder" with the rungs baboons -> anthropomorphous apes (gorilla)-> aborigines and African -> caucasian

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    1. "for man in a more civilized state"

      As the proposed mechanism for producing this " more civilized state" is due to the extinction of "the negro or Australian" and not to anything else, it would seem that extinction "is AMONG the things which Darwin said "we may hope". I don't see anything he proposes that is going to make "Caucasians" any higher than they are, he, clearly, holds that "Caucasians" were already "man in a more civilised state".

      I do find it sort of morbidly fascinating to see how far back the Darwin fan club will bend to deny that the man said what he said. Not amusing but morbidly fascinating.

      Or do you think there's some reason for Darwin to hope for the extinction of the great apes? He's remarkably placid about the entire thing, not proposing means of preventing the extinction of "the negro or Australian or the gorilla".

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    2. Boy, that Darwin, the great exterminator of the African race who opposed slavery strongly enough to join the Wedgwoods in opposing the intervention of Great Britain in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. I guess that Mr. McCarthy will argue that Darwin wanted to free the slaves in America, the better to give them the Eichmann treatment. End snark.

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    3. Nice try at pretending I said what I didn't, SLC, but I only said that Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics, as shown by his words, those of Francis Galton who invented eugenics, by other eugenicists who knew him or who corresponded with him, including his own children. His racism might be related (as it is obvious) but that's a different argument than the one I'm making.

      It's not surprising that you and the boys would want to change the subject, since you've got nothing to refute the evidence presented.

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  26. Thought criminal inadvertantly supports my argument:

    "Eugenics being "inspired by" Darwin's natural selection does not show causation."

    TC:"What is that supposed to mean?"

    It means that inspiration is not casuation!

    TC" "Causation" makes the invention of eugenics sound like some kind of natural event instead of the intentional, intellectual, act that it was. Again, look at what Francis Galton said about his inspiration:

    I was encouraged by the new views [specifically what C. Darwin had written in On the Origin of Species] to pursue many inquiries which had long interested me, and which clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race."

    Note how Galton said he pursued inquiries "which had long interested me", i.e. before Darwin's new views existed.

    In short Darwin is responsible for what he said, or what logically follows (not inspired by).

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    1. "It means that inspiration is not casuation!"

      It does when the person inspired says that his reading "On The Origin of Species" is what caused him "to pursue many inquiries which had long interested me, and which clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race."

      Galton gave that as the reason he pursued what became eugenics. He also said that Charles Darwin's approval of his first major book on the subject. Again:

      The verdict which I most eagerly waited for was that of Charles'Darwin, whom I ranked far above all other authorities on such a matter.

      And, as can be seen in Darwin's note that Galton published as well as his citations of Hereditary Genius in The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin approved of eugenics as Galton invented it.

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  27. @Thought criminal: have you considered posting about the science?
    If you regard that as a bizarre request (since it is clear you are more suited to rubbishing people),ask yourself: are you wasting a lot of time - your time, and everyone elses time too? Choices would seem (you are not actually making any progress, are you) to walk away, or talk science. I revisited your posts, and, well, you acknowledge that evolution is good science! (Pity that you did not leave it there, but you still have the basic choice I mentioned before - think about it).
    My take on this is that you began from an anti-evolution outlook, examined the evidence and switched at some point, however it annoys the hell out of you and you almost wish the switch hadn't happened.

    That would explain the amount of spite you feel towards Darwin: just can't forgive the guy for being absolutely, completely and utterly correct? Kick out at ideas you deplore, fair enough (as long as you put flesh on the bones), save the bile and personality-assasination-routine for a different audience.

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    1. The list of scientists that Mr. McCarthy has bad mouthed is quite long. Mr. McCarthy, who to my knowledge, has never published a paper in the peer reviewed scientific literature, nor made any contribution to scientific knowledge, presumes to criticize scientist such as Charles Darwin, Richard Feynman, Murray GellMann, Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, Neil Tyson, etc. (this is not a complete list). He has also bragged about visiting blogs on string theory and giving the folks there a hard time. I bet they get a big yuck about a schmuck like McCarthy pontificating on a subject that he totally lacks the mathematical background to understand.

      By the way, he is also a big supporter of ESP and PK, pseudo-scientific notions that have been almost unanimously rejected by the scientific community and are only published in obscure journals and depend on statistical inferences that don't pass the significance test required in physics (e.g. 5 standard deviations). Basically, he is a nothing, a zero, a nonentity, a pimple on the asshole of humanity.

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    2. SLC is CSI troll who couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it.

      What did I say about any of those guys that was untrue? Give quotations and links like I just about always do. As I have here.

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    3. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Mr. McCarthy is a congenital liar. I informed him previously that I have not now nor have I ever had any association, no matter how tenuous with CSI. Now that he has been informed about this yet again, I suggest that he stop lying.

      As for Mr. McCarthy's quotations and links to bad things that eminent scientists have done, nobody here give a shit. The only thing of interest is their very considerable record of accomplishments in scientific investigation, unlike Mr. McCarthy who has none. I don't care if Pearson and Fisher were racists. Has not the slightest impact on their accomplishments in statistics. I don't care that Stark and Lenard were Nazi antisemites. Has no impact on their accomplishments in physics, which impressed the Nobel Prize Committee to the extent that they were awarded the prize. I don't care if Darwin believed in eugenics. Doesn't detract in the slightest from his publication of On the Origin of Species, unquestionably one of the most important contributions in the history of science, along with Newton's Principia.

      I daresay that one could find something untoward in the lives of every great scientist who has ever lived.

      To take an example from another field of human endeavor, the composer, Richard Wagner was a thoroughly abominable human being. Vicious antisemitism was only one of his many deficiencies. Doesn't detract from his musical accomplishments which were monumental.

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    4. Mr. McCarthy is a congenital liar. SLC

      Given the context of this discussion, do you even know what "congenital" means?

      CSI

      You'll have to endure my skepticism over your claims to have no connection to the Paul Kurtz cult. I know that line of ideology when I read it.

      I don't care if Darwin believed in eugenics.

      Sure you don't. That's why you're trying to change the subject and throw up flack faster than the Romney campaign will when the Social Darwinian aspects of the Paul Ryan budget get brought up. I gather from this declaration that you, unlike others here, realize that you can't refute what Galton, the Darwin sons, other eugenicists and Charles Darwin, himself, said that proves that Charles Darwin was the source of eugenics. If post-war science had spent the time de-eugenicizing evolutionary science that it spent lying about the historical record, it might be as moot as it should be. But it hasn't for reasons that are entirely more ideological than scientific, leaving that effort to the future.

      "Skepticism" is based entirely on PR (as Dennis Rawlins so long ago pointed out) and lies.

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    5. Oh, and notice, SLC didn't, when challenged, list what I'd said about his pantheon of the elect that wasn't true. That's because I provided links to support what I said about them.

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    6. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Gee, now poor old Darwin gets the blame for Paul Ryan. Somehow I think that Ayn Rand should get the blame, but, I suspect that Mr. McCarthy will blame Darwin for her too.

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    7. Oh, SLC, but you don't believe that Darwin is responsible for "Social Darwinism", do you? That's not in keeping with the post-war "scientific" revision on that point, from the period after Social Darwinism lost its general support. Spencer ("our great philsosopher," C. Darwin Descent of Man) is 100% responsible for that "distortion" of Darwinism, isn't he?

      Or do you think that the Ryan budget isn't a prime example of Social Darwinism?

      You really think that Paul Ryan isn't able to hold two entirely contradictory ideas at the same time? Or that Ayn Rand's psychotic program is incompatible with the worst of eugenics and that her ideas on state aid to the disadvantaged isn't close to identical to Spencer's? And that Paul Ryan's budget isn't a giant step towards that identical end? Somewhere I recall reading some right-wing diatribe against people citing both Rand and Spencer to describe the opposition to Barack Obama's health care law.

      Well, I have come to the conclusion this year that materialism is fatal to liberalism. The extent to which you define Darwinism as materialism, to that extent it will prove problematic to liberalism. Darwin went both ways on that, from what I've read.

      Delete
    8. Maybe Mr. McCarthy should also be concerned about Ryan's record on LGBT issues.

      http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2012/08/hrc-paul-ryan-voted-against-hate-crimes-law-end-of-military-ban-letting-gay-couples-marry-adopt.html

      Delete
    9. Maybe Mr. McCarthy should also be concerned about Ryan's record of denial of climate change.

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/11/677051/meet-paul-ryan-climate-denier-conspiracy-theorist-koch-acolyte/?mobile=nc

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    10. Just as you can lie and dissemble at the same time, I can oppose eugenics and homophobia at the same time. In fact, if you knew anything about it, you'd know there are times it's been the same sort of thing.

      Delete
  28. My take on this is that you began from an anti-evolution outlook, Rkt

    Your take would be based either on ignorance or illiteracy, then.

    ReplyDelete
  29. - With man we see similar facts in almost every family; and we now know, through the admirable labours of Mr. Galton (10. 'Hereditary Genius: an Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences,' 1869.)
    - As a struggle may sometimes be seen going on between the various instincts of the lower animals, it is not surprising that there should be a struggle in man between his social instincts, with their derived virtues, and his lower, though momentarily stronger impulses or desires. This, as Mr. Galton (49. See his remarkable work on 'Hereditary Genius,' 1869, p. 349.
    - also his great work, 'Hereditary Genius,'1870.)
    - But the daughters of parents who have produced single children, are themselves, as Mr. Galton (12. 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870, pp. 132-140.) has shewn, apt to be sterile; and thus noble families are continually cut off in the direct line, and their wealth flows into some side channel; but unfortunately this channel is not determined by superiority of any kind.
    - Mr. Galton says, "I regret I am unable to solve the simple question whether, and how far, men and women who are prodigies of genius are infertile. I have, however, shewn that men of eminence are by no means so." (15. 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870, p. 330.)
    - See, also, Mr. Galton, 'Hereditary Genius,' pp. 352-357, for observations to the above effect.)
    - (26. See the ingenious and original argument on this subject by Mr. Galton, 'Hereditary Genius,' pp. 340-342.)
    - (28. 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870, pp. 357- 359.
    - so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on 'Hereditary Genius,' that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.

    And those are just the citations of "Hereditary Genius", the seminal work of eugenics, in The Descent of Man, there are other citations of articles by Galton and other eugenicists to support Darwin's contentions. If he rejected eugenics he wouldn't have cited what he did and he wouldn't say what he did.

    ReplyDelete
  30. But the daughters of parents who have produced single children, are themselves, as Mr. Galton (12. 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870, pp. 132-140.) has shewn, apt to be sterile; and thus noble families are continually cut off in the direct line, and their wealth flows into some side channel; but unfortunately this channel is not determined by superiority of any kind.

    What is your objection to this? RA Fisher studied that at some length. His hypothesis was that there are basicly two ways to get rich. One is to be smart and mean and you do whatever it takes to extract wealth from others. The other way is you come from people who're somewhat infertile. If you're an only child you may inherit the money they would have spent on other children. If your parents were also each an only child then you may inherit everything from four grandparents. So, rich by being smart and mean, or rich by being infertile.

    And smart, mean people who get rich tend to marry other rich people....

    Fisher presented some rather inconclusive evidence supporting his claim.

    It sounds like you're making some sort of moral issue from this. If it's true, what's wrong with noticing it? If it isn't true, what's wrong with studying the issue and finding out the truth?

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    Replies
    1. Other than that I doubt it would stand up as a general rule in the human species by modern standards of science?

      I didn't cite it to object to it but to show that Charles Darwin accepted Galton's eugenics as being science. Which is what the argument is about.

      Delete
    2. As for the charge that I'm "making some kind of moral issue from this", I didn't make it a moral issue, it was a moral issue from the beginning. If you can read through The Descent of Man and not see the moral issues, if you can read through any of the books or tracts of the eugenicists who cite Darwin as their inspiration without seeing the moral issues, or even you can manage to find any who don't, if you can look at the history of eugenics in practice and not see the moral issues, your idea of morality is seriously defective.

      Try reading from about page 13 of this and tell me you don't see moral issues.

      http://ia600303.us.archive.org/7/items/darwinismmedical1912pear/darwinismmedical1912pear.pdf

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    3. Thought Criminal, thank you! A presentation by Pearson, one of the early giants of statistics. And it turns out that he fell into the same sort of statistical traps he accused the MDs of doing. Sad, except it's so funny.

      And yet, morally, isn't he correct? Resources put into public health pay off. We should be doing far more of that than we are. His supporting ideas were dodgy. He wanted to think that when unhealthy poor people had unhealthy poor children while healthy rich people had healthy rich children that it meant the difference was genetic! He was so eager to get some definitive result....

      You have to admit it was funny when he explained that women with rickets used to die in childbirth but with the spread of caesarians they were surviving and their babies were surviving and so genetically weak people weren't getting weeded out. Tragic and grotesque, but you have to admit it was funny.

      He thought that public health officials armed with statistics could find out things like what caused rickets in a few months. It didn't work that way, and yet we did find out what causes rickets. The world he wanted is here, and we don't have to maintain it by suppressing the lower classes.

      And what's your complaint? That the people who gave us some of the tools that got us to here, didn't think like modern PC liberals?

      Delete
    4. If Mr. McCarthy wants to bad mouth statisticians, Ronald Fisher, one of the giants of the field, is a better target then Pearson. Fisher was an unabashed racist, every bit as bad as William Shockley. Doesn't reduce his contributions to statistical science.

      Delete
    5. Is that what you got from reading that? You thought the sections on rickets was funny? How about the gushing enthusiasm for early death of children as a means of increasing the vitality of the remnant?

      Are you nuts?

      Did you ever hear of Nazis? Do you have any knowledge of the history of the last century? Or are you totally callous to the violations of rights under eugenics laws in North America or what that led to in Europe where it led to the murders of huge numbers of people?

      How did you like this section?

      Our social instincts, our common humanity enforce upon us the conception that each person born has the right to live, yet this right eessentially connotes a suspension of the full intensity of natural selection. Darwinism and medical progress are opposed forces, and we shall gain nothing by screening that fact, or, in opposition to ample evidence, assertiong that Darwinism has no application to civilised man.

      "Darwinism and medical progress are opposed forces" a kind of recapitulation of the passage containing the evidence free assertion of Charles Darwin about the dysgenic effects of vaccination that I noted above. About four years ago I went looking for information about whether or not Darwin and his followers ever followed his advice and refused to have their families vaccinated. Charles Darwin was famously a valetudinarian, perhaps a hypochondriac, but someone who, at any rate believed himself to be chronically sick. Moreover, he married his first cousin (something I notice was a topic of one of the other pamphlets in the Cavendish Lectures). I found no evidence that Charles Darwin limited his reproduction, he had many children, I saw no evidence that he neglected to vaccinate them - there is no evidence that any Darwins from his generation on had small pox that I found. I saw no evidence that he ever subjected himself or his family to natural selection in any way, certainly not by denying them the most modern medical care available. I suppose you'd classify him as a modern PC liberal. I'd classify him as a complete hypocrite as well as everything else I've noted he was, including an obvious eugenicist.

      If there is one thing that is clear, the "modern PC liberal" line on Darwin is full to the top of pseudo-history, a history cooked up in the post-war period after it was clear what Darwinism as politics could lead to. And it's clear that you think that's just great. As I said, there's something seriously defective with your concept of morality.

      Delete
    6. SLC, I guess you liked what Pearson said in that pamphlet as much as JT did. Which wouldn't surprise me one bit, though it also wouldn't surprise me if you didn't read it before gassing on about it.

      I'm not into hero worship but if I was Karl Pearson would probably not make it to my top fifty billion list.

      The Darwin fan club doesn't seem to find eugenics objectionable. Except they don't like it when it's called eugenics because the word is disadvantageous in a PR campaign. And they don't like someone pointing out that their mascot was the inspiration of the whole thing.

      Don't be surprised when other people don't swallow the lie, at least not if they actually do what most of you haven't and read the record.

      Delete
    7. Hey Thought Criminal, I have a question for you. Now that you've gone on and on about all this inspiration for eugencis from Darwin, I still want to ask: So what?

      You bombard this thread with this information for what purpose? What is your goal, what do you want us to do, what is it you want to achieve?

      This is the thing I don't get, it's so out-of-nowhere. What the fuck is the point? You've written several walls of text now on the subject, none of them contain a conclusion or expand on what you think this means and how you think it should affect us to do X, Y or Z.

      Delete
    8. If you can't understand the point of the argument your continued participation in it is rather pointless, isn't it, Rumrackt? Clearly, despite your continuing claims that it's unimportant, you think it's worth keeping up. Clearly you guys who can't produce any evidence refuting Darwin's role in the origin of eugenics or you would have by now. One way to deflect attention from your inability to present a refutation is to lie about it, another is to claim that the argument is unimportant. In which case, why are you still here?

      "it's so out-of-nowhere"

      To be precise, it's so out of Allan Miller's false claim about what I said last Thursday.

      Delete
    9. You thought the sections on rickets was funny?

      Yes! Didn't you? Well, I guess not. Oh well. Some people just don't have a sense of humor. I want to suggest that if you ever have to deal with horrible things, a sense of humor is one of your best mental defenses. That and love. "Laugh or cry, there ain't no inbetween."

      How about the gushing enthusiasm for early death of children as a means of increasing the vitality of the remnant?

      Yes, see he assumed that the differences were caused by genetics, and once he made that assumption everything he saw seemed to fit it. He was not ready to consider poverty. A poor man with six children had a harder time feeding them than a man whose two oldest children had already died. Duh. And he assumed it was bad genes or something!

      Are you nuts?

      Perhaps one of us is.

      Did you ever hear of Nazis? Do you have any knowledge of the history of the last century? Or are you totally callous to the violations of rights under eugenics laws in North America or what that led to in Europe where it led to the murders of huge numbers of people?

      They did it wrong. What conclusion do you want me to draw from that?

      How did you like this section?

      Our social instincts, our common humanity enforce upon us the conception that each person born has the right to live, yet this right essentially connotes a suspension of the full intensity of natural selection. Darwinism and medical progress are opposed forces, and we shall gain nothing by screening that fact, or, in opposition to ample evidence, assertiong that Darwinism has no application to civilised man.


      He was misapplying new ideas. Maybe part of it was that Darwin didn't understand Mendelism and so his idea needed a tremendous supply of mutation that was constantly getting selected out. With that model, if you relax the selection then you immediately get lots of barely-viable mutants who swamp everything else. I don't know whether Galton understood it that well, but he acted like he did. Of course the model was wrong.

      Delete
    10. If you can't understand the point of the argument your continued participation in it is rather pointless, isn't it, Rumrackt?
      Yeah yeah, let's say I'm not particularly smart and you can pretend to try to explain it to me, then, right?
      So I ask again, what's the point?

      Clearly, despite your continuing claims that it's unimportant, you think it's worth keeping up.
      Yes because, frankly, I'm intrigued. As I said, it's so out of nowhere. We had a discussion about the origin of life up earlier in the thread which you have now completely dropped and instead you're just pressing on about this eugenics crap, out of nowhere. Why? What transpired that made you feel this was suddenly the most important subject for this thread, and why do you persist in hammering on it despite it being off-topic?
      Perhaps even more importantly, why won't you directly answer why you took it up to begin with and now persist in it?

      I asked for your goals and your motivations. The point of it all. How come this is difficult for you to answer?

      Clearly you guys who can't produce any evidence refuting Darwin's role in the origin of eugenics or you would have by now.
      Personally, I don't know much about the history of eugenics, I haven't studied it myself. What I do know is that the underlying ideas predate Darwin and the origin of species. Whether Darwins theories helped to establish a scientific basis for it really is outside my interests. As I said earlier in the thread, and other people have done too, there's been plenty of great scientists that also held some nutty or grotesque beliefs. But you are singling out Charles Darwin and the origin of species for what purpose? This, again, comes back to your motivations and your goals in this thread. What are you trying to achieve?

      Clearly, there's something you want us to do, something you want us to "see" that you don't think we're getting. Otherwise you wouldn't persist with this level of emotional investment. What's your endgame?

      One way to deflect attention from your inability to present a refutation is to lie about it
      Quote me and detail the lie.

      another is to claim that the argument is unimportant.
      As a matter of the original topic of this thread, it is. And regarding the history of eugenics in general, as I also said above, it's not something I have ever had any interest in(not because I want to ignore it, it just never caught my interest). However as I said above, the fact that you persist in wanting to argue about it makes me curious about why that is.

      In which case, why are you still here?
      I'm curious.

      "it's so out-of-nowhere"

      To be precise, it's so out of Allan Miller's false claim about what I said last Thursday.

      What false claim? Did it transpire in this thread? There's a lot of large posts now and I can't be bothered reading through all of them again.

      Delete
    11. "Darwinism and medical progress are opposed forces" a kind of recapitulation of the passage containing the evidence free assertion of Charles Darwin about the dysgenic effects of vaccination that I noted above.

      Look at it in its historical context, apart from modern PC values.

      Traditionally almost everybody tried to have lots of children, because they knew their children could die young. Primogeniture kept rich families rich because their extra children had to fend for themselves. Typically the population would rise until a famine reduced it. Then there would be good times when people could raise more children, and the extra crops got more precarious until the next famine. It was only a few hundred years before Galton that the agriculture and distribution got better so that they talked about "dearth" instead of "famine". Only the poorest starved, each year. Britain then had rather more people than needed, and so could afford to send armies around the world on colonial adventures. A whole lot of them died, but they were surplus anyway. Poor men led by younger sons.

      Agriculture (and transportation) got so efficient that lots of tenant farmers got pushed off their land and moved into cities. Conditions in factories were hard partly because there was such a surplus of new workers.... Meanwhile the poor kept breeding, but the cities were so unhealthy that they died a lot.

      Then cheap sanitation came in. The poor were breeding but not dying so much. They were demanding the vote. Soon by sheer numbers they would take over the government and then the aristocrats would be completely out of a job. Aristocrats did not like that idea at all and struggled with ways to cope with it. If they had lots of children themselves and made them all aristocrats, pretty soon they'd be nearly as poor as everybody else. If they let themselves become a tiny minority they would become irrelevant. It would be convenient for them if natural causes went back to killing off the poor the way it used to, but they couldn't bring themselves to make it happens. They struggled and did not find a way to resolve their dilemma. Then WWI came and Britain lost over a million killed and 2 million wounded. That didn't delay the problems for long.

      Is it any wonder that Churchill felt no guilt for trying to mislead WWII German bombers into bombing British slums instead of important targets? He thought he had too many poor people.

      British aristocrats had a problem. Their way of life was disappearing and they didn't like that. They wanted to solve that problem but they failed. Of course they considered about Malthus and Darwin and Galton when they were looking for solutions. "When you really want to drive nails, every tool looks like a hammer."

      You don't have their problem and you think they should have found a humane solution. I agree. People ought to find creative innovative solutions to their problems. People should be good and not evil. And very often in practice they fail to think things out.

      So?

      Delete
    12. J Thomas, if you find what Pearson said about rickets funny I wonder how much of the rest of it you found funny. The historical context in which Pearson was warning of the dangers of modern medicine was one in which most poor people in the world had no access to medical care at all and much of what was provided was due to private charity instead of government action. That private charity could have dried up quite easily. He said it the same year that Agnes Bluhm was addressing the international conference of eugenesists to the effect that doctors should stop trying to save the life of "defective" children. I am pretty certain that Pearson must have been aware of that kind of talk as it was rampant among eugenicists, especially in Germany.

      I'm going to have to save this exchange because I'd known things in what passes as the educated class were degenerating as the lesson of WWII faded from memory but I hadn't realized how quickly and how badly things had returned to pre-war conditions. It seems that requiring courses in modern history are far more important to the continuation of democracy than high school students going over science topics they'll never use to make a single decision in their lives.

      They did it wrong.

      As their "it" was the extermination of entire ethnic groups as well as anyone they decided to be unfit in order to establish something like the Spartan rule of an elite over the suppressed majority, I'd like to know what you think would be doing "it" right.

      I wonder, considering Charles Darwin's history of illness, his marrying his cousin, do you think he was irresponsible to produce all those children? Including those eugenicist sons who his fan club wants so badly for everyone to ignore. Don't you think he should have resisted the temptation to vaccinate his children or provide them with medical care in order that the less than fit die before they can breed, that he would not be responsible for what "leads to the degeneration of a domestic race". I mean, if you think Pearson was on to something, doesn't it follow that the eugenicists should have, in the absence of a change of governmental policy, at least allowed the "weak members" in their families to die off before they could "propagate their kind"? And the survivors to exhibit greater vitality? Shouldn't you guys do that today? I mean, it's hardly public policy to limit populations through the theories of eugenics. There are a lot of Republicans in the U.S. and Conservatives in Canada who would like to avoid universal access to modern medicine, I can imagine them giving a ready ear to this kind of stuff. They certainly did in the past. Maybe they should revive the Alberta Eugenics Board instead of awarding settlements to those who were sterilized by them within living memory, a majority of those First Nations people.

      I can only conclude from reading this thread that eugenics, named or not, is the common policy of creationists in the American Republican party and many Darwinists, who are about as left wing as the creationists, when all is said and done.

      Delete
    13. Rumracket, as you keep finding this "pointless" and I'm finding addressing your continued posts in a "pointless" discussion rather pointless. You're not presenting any evidence to support points or making arguments, as I already pointed out. So I'm not going to address your, admittedly, "pointless" participation in this discussion.

      Maybe you should find a nice game to play with some other sci-rangers instead.

      Delete
    14. I haven't used the word pointless even once so it's a bit disengenous to quote and use it three times as if I did.

      I did ask you what the point of it all was. Why don't you just answer it?

      Delete
    15. I don't usually use F-bombs, they make the user sound so stupid in most contexts.

      Delete
    16. Okay, so I'm stupid in this context. You're still not answering my questions. I have a new one now: Do you imagine you're occupying a moral and intellection highground in our mutual discourse?

      Delete
    17. I'm the one who has produced evidence with citations to support a contention, as anyone who wants to read this thread could see. It's something we used to think was necessary to discover the truth.

      Delete
    18. Are you ever going to answer questions I ask?

      Delete
    19. I did. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that you have to like the answer.

      Delete
    20. I didn't ask you to describe your behavior. So once again, are you ever going to answer questions I ask?

      Delete
    21. I don't have to imagine what I've done here, it's there to be seen. I intended to support a contention and I supported it with cited evidence whereas you haven't. It's all there to be seen, imagination doesn't come into it.

      Delete
    22. TTC, you keep utterly missing the point.

      In those days there was blatant class warfare going on. Blatant. In France they had killed their aristocrats and somewhat replaced them with a new class of rich people who were more discreet, and somewhat with a State that had all the rights of a king without having a king at the top. About the time Pearson was writing, Russia did the same thing except their rich had to stay entirely underground. Open class warfare with real guns and bullets.

      British aristocrats didn't want to kill off the lower classes. They just didn't want so many of them. Get too many commoners and they'd get out of control.

      It sounds like you want to blame that on eugenics, and blame eugenics on evolutionary theory. But isn't it more likely the other way round? The class war influenced Malthus, and Darwin, and Galton?

      The historical context in which Pearson was warning of the dangers of modern medicine was one in which most poor people in the world had no access to medical care at all and much of what was provided was due to private charity instead of government action.

      Yes, and public health made all the difference. Indivdidual MD/patient relationships much less so, at far higher cost. So now we argue about providing expensive individual care to everyone, and public health is starved for funds. Like the class warriors are still active on one side.

      I wonder, considering Charles Darwin's history of illness, his marrying his cousin, do you think he was irresponsible to produce all those children?

      Not if he wanted to. The way we find out whether they are "fit" is by seeing how well they survive. If Darwin was willing to let things take their course, then that's fine. Of course, society gives some people lots of advantages at that. I could come up with a genetic rationale for why it might be good for the population in the long run for society to do that, but I doubt you'd like it. And I'm not at all confident that I know what's good for the population in the long run. In the short run maybe there's still a class war going on and I don't like that at all.

      Don't you think he should have resisted the temptation to vaccinate his children or provide them with medical care in order that the less than fit die before they can breed

      I can't speak for him, but he probably thought that as an aristocrat his genes were superior. Why would he then give them an artificial disadvantage? If he strongly believed that medical care, vaccinations, and sewers were bad for England then he could have lobbied to have all that made illegal. It would be hypocritical for him to do it after he denied it to everybody else. Stupid to deny it to himself when the people he considered his inferiors got it.

      I can only conclude from reading this thread that eugenics, named or not, is the common policy of creationists in the American Republican party and many Darwinists, who are about as left wing as the creationists, when all is said and done.

      You're hung up on a label. Eugenics is a good thing. The people you object to, did it wrong. Now we have new technology which theoretically will allow people to improve their genomes in unprecedented ways. That meanst the opportunity for unprecedented new mistakes, along with potentially wonderful results. We need to study the subject carefully. But you give the impression you're so caught up in the troubled past that you aren't thinking about it at all.

      And anyway, what is your point?

      Delete
    23. And anyway, what is your point?

      For crying out loud, J Thomas, I just told your friend Rumracket, it was to support the contention that Charles Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics. Which I did.

      Where did you learn history? Eugenics is a good thing? What have you read about the history of eugenics? Name some titles.

      Delete
    24. And anyway, what is your point?

      ... it was to support the contention that Charles Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics.

      OK, well, I can sort of see that you've sort of done that. I've presented a good counter-argument, just because I could and not because it's really important for anything.

      So my question then is why do you want to support the contention that Darwin was the inspiration for eugenics?

      Why does that matter to you?

      Eugenics is a good thing?

      Of course! Except, of course, they did it wrong.

      Wouldn't you agree the same is true for Christianity?

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    25. So my question then is why do you want to support the contention that Darwin was the inspiration for eugenics?

      It's true. I'm sort of odd in thinking that things being true sort of matters. And I've more than "sort of done that", I've done that, there isn't any valid argument against it for the reasons I've given. Not unless you can find those missing associates of Charles Darwin who deny he was the inspiration of eugenics.

      You haven't told me what books about eugenics you've read. I'm not answering any more of your questions until you come up with a list of books you've read on the topic.

      Delete
    26. TTC, the parts of eugenics you disapprove of are in fact thinly-disguised racism and classism.

      Eugenics: The study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population.

      There is nothing wrong with this. Eugenics is is a good thing. Deciding that the human species would be improved if we kill off people we disapprove of is a bad thing.

      Thoughts of killing other races and culling the lower classes did not start with a eugenics label. It was claimed to happen as early as the Exodus story, when in the story the Egyptian government thought it had too many lower class people and tried to cull them.

      British aristocrats thought about culling their lower classes because they realized that otherwise their aristocratic privileges would be taken away from them. Which in fact has largely happened. They came up with various rationalizations for doing it. Coming up with silly evolutionary arguments and silly eugenics arguments was part of that. Now you want to say that we shouldn't improve our genetics?! Because people a hundred years ago had some stupid ideas?!

      And you appear to have something against evolutionary theory because Darwin wasn't a saint. Or something, in many repeated attempts you have never explained what your point was.

      You have refused to say what your point was. Suppose for the sake of argument we say that you are right and Darwin inspired the idea of eugenics. What does that mean? Why should anybody care? You have consistently refused to say about that.

      Why should anybody care about what you say? Why does it matter? It sounds like you're saying Hitler was bad, and Hitler was inspired by eugenics so eugenics is bad, and eugenics was inspired by evolution, so evolution is bad. But that would be stupid. Surely you mean something else. But what?

      I'm not answering any more of your questions until you come up with a list of books you've read on the topic.

      OK! You have never made your point whatever it is. Or if you have made it, it was boring and useless. You are ready to quit. So am I. I have made a good faith effort to figure out what you're nattering on about.

      Delete
    27. So you're making all of these declarations about eugenics on the basis of never having read anything on the topic, that's what I've got to conclude from your not being able to name a single book you've read.

      You see, I'm kind of surprised. In my field we generally like to have read a thing or two about something before we assert an opinion about a topic.

      Delete
    28. Hey, you haven't gone away yet. Why haven't you gone away?

      You have not told us anything about why you keep talking about this silly topic. You say that it's true and that's reason enough. I could probably arrange to go on for days about where George Washington was on a particular day in 1774, but I don't. Even if I was sure I had it right and my claim was true.

      You don't answer my question, why should I answer yours?

      If you want to claim that because I don't tell you what I've read that I haven't read anything, then I think it's fair for me to argue that since you consistently refuse to tell us what your point is that you have no point.

      Incidentally, what is your field? Does it have something to do with deciding who is morally wrong so we know who to blame for the evil in the world?

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    29. Rumracket, J Thomas, maybe someone needs to tell you that if you think it's a silly topic there's nothing forcing you to keep talking about something you're obviously not prepared to discuss.

      Do you accept this level of stuff in the classroom?

      Delete
    30. Do you accept this level of stuff in the classroom?

      No, when I'm teaching I have material to cover and I don't accept silly side issues to take up much time.

      And when I took classes if I ran into something like this from a teacher before the drop date then I would have punted.

      But it's clear that the discussion is over, and now you're trying to persuade any hypothetical third parties that the failure was not your fault.

      I still wonder what your field is. Postmodern studies, perhaps?

      Elsewhere you said that rhetoric is important. So here is a rhetoric tip -- it's easier to make your point when you can say what your point is.

      It isn't enough to say "I have demonstrated that Socrates has corrupted the youth of Athens.". You need to also state the point. "Therefore the Athenian government should put Socrates to death."

      Sometimes it's also useful to include the other leg. "We must not let Socrates continue to corrupt the youth of Athens, and we must show his imitators what will happen to them, and so the remaining youth of Athens will remain uncorrupted. Also we deserve revenge."

      Despite many chances and much urging, you entirely failed to state your point. This failure is yours alone.

      Delete
    31. J Thomas, you're the one who wants to talk about everything under the sun unrelated to the question. "Postmodernism". Not to put too fine a point on it but that accusation is the last stand of an intellectual fraud on the losing end of an argument. Though, given what you've said here, it's no wonder that someone making a case to prove a point with evidence and citations might seem far out to you. Clearly, you have a very odd notion of scholarship.

      As for Socrates, as I had to point out on another thread last week, after his boy thugs had brought Athens two brutal putsches in a decade and the old snob was still badmouthing democracy, he was asking for it. If you can bring yourself to read a book you might try "The Trial of Socrates".

      I'm amazed that someone with the bio you present online could get away with the kind of hooey you've been pitching here and keep an academic job.

      Try reading a few books about the history of eugenics. Not written by eugenicists or evo-psy phonies but by authors who care about civil rights.

      Delete
    32. As for Socrates, as I had to point out on another thread last week, after his boy thugs had brought Athens two brutal putsches in a decade and the old snob was still badmouthing democracy, he was asking for it.

      See, you can make the point about Socrates after I spoonfeed it to you. But you can't make your own point even after I give you hints.

      It's understandable that you would blame the only people who continued to respond to you, for your own shortcomings. But try to get past that. Remember -- whatever flaws I have, or Rumraket has, we did continue to pay attention to you long after everybody else quit.

      Delete
    33. I don't have to imagine what I've done here, it's there to be seen. I intended to support a contention and I supported it with cited evidence whereas you haven't. It's all there to be seen, imagination doesn't come into it.
      I haven't made any contentions that deny that there's a link between post-Darwin eugenics and Darwin's work. In fact I have even said that I think it would make sense to say that since Darwin established evolutionary theory as a science, he could be argued to be the first to have given eugenics a scientific basis. This isn't to say that ideas like killing off the weak or maintaining "racial purity" and "noble bloodlines" originates with Darwin, because they don't. These concepts go back long before Darwin.

      Now, I have asked you what you want to achieve with telling us about this Darwin-inspired eugenics several times, and you avoid answering that question like Mitt Romney avoids showing his tax returns.

      Delete
    34. TTC, I have been interested in this thread and I think you've made some very good points along the way. You've pointed out that:
      - it's ironic that many for whom Darwin is a hero like to use an opposition to vaccination as a way of ridiculing their opponents while the man himself (albeit for different reasons) had his own reservations about vaccinations.
      - Darwin, confidently, inferred that Africans and Australian aborigines were closer than Caucasians to other species of apes. Since this belief is neither supported by science nor is it something that any intelligent person in this day and age would be proud of thinking (although, sadly, many benighted people still DO), it does not exactly show the man in the most flattering light.
      - Darwin, since it is apparent he did not believe in any supernatural source of morality, considered (using your passages as a reference) traits like charity and altruism to be merely acquired, incidental traits along man's evolutionary journey, ones which he himself seemed not entirely convinced of the value of.

      I think these are points worth making about the man. Why? Because he is being held up as a hero for reasons that are not, exclusively, related to his scientific discoveries. Look at the quote that Larry provides from Richard Dawkins on the left side of his home page:

      "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist (excerpted)"

      This is an area where Darwin TRULY shines for people like Dawkins. NOT because his science was so good. He didn't understand the genetic reasons for random mutation, his belief that natural selection was the sole instrument of adaptation is no longer considered accurate, etc. Was he the greatest scientist who ever lived, as Larry Moran maintains? I'm not sure why that would be the case, given the above. But what he IS is an icon for freeing human beings from what his followers see as blind belief in deities, a path-shower and liberator who made it possible for them to write books like "The God Delusion". I can see why it would be more than a little uncomfortable for them to see his darker side exposed, and feel that you have done a service for readers here by pointing it out.

      Delete
    35. while the man himself (albeit for different reasons) had his own reservations about vaccinations. andyb

      I wrote an essay on this topic four years ago, which is when I did most of the research I've used in this argument. I said:

      How does this clear warning of dire consequences stemming from the vaccination of the lower orders differ in kind from the Imams in Nigeria advising people not to have their children vaccinated for polio several years ago? That is a real question and there is an answer. The difference is that the Nigerian Imams were afraid of the vaccine being tainted. There had been a drug test in Nigeria several years before which, they believed , had killed eleven children and disabled 200. ***They were also concerned that HIV might be spread through contamination during the immunization program. The clerics and government officials in Nigeria acted through ignorance and paranoia, perhaps, but their crime, for which they were roundly condemned, was an ill informed and ignorant attempt to protect children, not a tacit approval of their culling for racial hygiene. Does anyone reading this doubt that Darwin would have classed these children among the ‘savages’. With a footnote from the BBC about the disastrous drug trial that killed and maimed a number of Nigerian children.

      I certainly think "On the Origin of Species" is an important book and that natural selection has been in important idea, even if I'm skeptical that it is an idea that will prove to be as enduring as has been believed. It is certainly not, as some of its proponents have asserted, the "universal acid" that explains even all of evolution as other mechanisms, especially genetic drift and neutral theories could be far stronger ways of change. I also did an informal experiment and asked four or five biologists and biology teachers (with degrees in the subject) to define natural selection and got quite different answers. I think it's turning into more a general concept and a habit of thought than an actual theory as time goes on. And habits have a tendency to change with time. I very much doubt that the small amount that is known today about what is, beyond doubt, about the biggest phenomenon science has proposed to study, has produced an effective general theory about it that will stand if much more is known. And so much more is known about evolution than was available to Darwin and Wallace, not to mention the other, perhaps, independent inventors of the idea.

      As I mention above, Wallace, who is considered an independent inventor of natural selection (a name he correctly thought would prove problematic) absolutely rejected eugenics. So it is possible to do that.

      I think your point about Dawkins position in atheist ideology is the reason that even people who can't be bothered to read even the first paragraph of his most famous book (the one Dawkins flubbed the title of when challenged to give it after he made a big deal about the ignorance of faith heads last year) require people to observe the pious myths constructed about him is spot on. I can't think of a single other important figure in science about which that is required, not even Newton. It's no accident that you can diss him on atheist blogs and not hear any complaint.

      Evolution is true, natural selection is an idea used to explain something about it but an idea that has spawned some of the worst law and policy in the recent history of democracy as well as dicatatorships. That malignant legacy is continuing and open advocacy for trying eugenics again is current, as Lewontin and Gould - both excessive Darwin fans, in my opinion - warned was coming in the mid-1970s.

      Delete
    36. See, you can make the point about Socrates after I spoonfeed it to you. J Thomas

      After you "spoon fed" it to me? Jeesh, JT, haven't you made enough of a fool of yourself with not being able to name a single book about eugenics after going on all day about how one of the biggest shames attributable to the misuse of science, something that had a role in the crimes of not only the Nazis and Imperial Japan but in many other dictatorships and even Democracies, in the countries we are both sitting on was so "good"?

      As I took that point directly from The Trial of Socrates by I. F. Stone, a book I read shortly after it was published in 1988, a book I recommended to you as I used the point, it would be rather difficult for you to have "spoon fed" it to me. Unless you believe you are channeling that great reporter.

      You are an intellectual fraud.

      Delete
    37. Rumracket, you are just a fraud who can't even be bothered to make an argument and couldn't even bother to look upthread to find the place where Miller made the false accusation that began this part of the discussion. As I said to JT, try reading something on the topic.

      Delete
    38. andyboerger,

      I was an atheist some time before I had ever heard of evolution, or Darwin. He provided an explanation for the patterns in nature that immediately resonated with me - because I was interested in nature. I couldn't have given a shit about religion, really, and I needed no scientific or philosophical justification for its absence in my life.

      Darwin was wrong about stuff? He had a 'dark side'? Well knock me down with a feather, he was just like every other goddamned human being that ever lived then. I have pursued TTC's points on the factual basis behind attempts to knock him off this assumed pedestal, and have not found the case convincing. I regret inadvertently providing the opportunity for him to go through it YET AGAIN here, by my mention of the sainted name.

      But one is not allowed to examine the case (eg on eugenics) and find it unconvincing without being dismissed as some kind of 'fan-boy'? And even if one accepts the case, continuing to admire the science cannot be permitted without suspicion that the defence rests on ideological grounds? My reaction can be summed up succinctly: piss off! Why can't people be given the respect of a rational opinion without suspicion of some underlying motive, unrecognised even by them?

      Linus Pauling was an avowed eugenicist, wrong on the hereditary material and eccentrically devoted to Vitamin C. Also one of the greatest chemists of the last century. None of those views is especially controversial, nor incompatible. But then, he isn't iconic.

      I can't speak for anyone else, but my fundamental reason for disagreeing on the case for (for example) Darwin's eugenicism is that the case is weak at best (save your fingers TTC, I have seen it half a dozen times). But of course I would say that, because I'm just a Darwin fanboy, and my opinion therefore worthless. Only anti-Darwinians can examine the case dispassionately, I suppose.

      Delete
    39. It's certainly entertaining to read this diatribe about "pious myths" constructed by atheist boogeymen about "St. Darwin". This is just another hilarious recurrence of that ridiculous phenomenon I described earlier, where the people who don't have anything else to offer in a discussion starts describing their imaginary opposition in religious terms.
      One can't help notice that entirely irrelevant swipe at Dawkins "flubbing" the title of The origin of species(as if this matters in ANYTHING other than the diseaced skulls of people who have a problem with atheism and/or evolution). Apparently full book titles are that important and if you're accusing ignorant faithheads of being just that, well if you can't remember the full title of the origin of species, then your criticism is.. wrong? Right.

      It's also entertaining to read how natural selection is dismissed in the most knee-jerk fashion as "an idea" to which some imaginary(and I stress imaginary) section of adherents feebly cling. It's a bit odd really because anyone who has even the most cursory of familiarity with the field knows it has moved on since Darwin's time, so why it's apparently felt required to keep hammering on about how evolution is more than the process of natural selection is not obvious. I could understand it if it was done with the intention of correcting the misapprehensions of a group of complete laymen, but you won't find many of those here.

      Interestingly, if that is indeed the goal about the evolution-is-more-than-NS argumenters here, their time would be better spent on creationist/ID forums getting it through THEIR skulls than here. But it does take place here and not there, which leads me to suspect there's ulterior motives involved in hammering away on this silly strawman. It does, of course, give off the false impression that there's some kind of academic dialectic going on.

      Delete
    40. Oh, rereading these posted comments, of course that should read: "I think your point about Darwin's position in atheist ideology is the reason that even people who can't be bothered to read... "

      It's quite impressive how fragile the ideological campaign of present day atheism is, one that sells itself as fearless adherence to evidence and a campaign for the truth, that calls one of its main asserted virtues "skepticism" when it is one that can't tolerate someone looking at the historical record objectively.

      As I said above, if science had spent the time on removing the rot of eugenics from evolutionary science instead of denying it was covered with the stench, all of this could be a moot point. But, as mentioned, eugenics is sprouting again like invasive hogweed in my state. When the disaster recurs, don't expect that you can cover it up again. Dumping Darwin as the mascot of evolutionary science will prove to be essential.

      Delete
    41. Andy Miller, perhaps you missed where I pointed out to someone who wanted to assign blame for the atomic bomb on Einstein, that if he'd ridden the bomb down like Slim Pickins it wouldn't change the fact that Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics. And it is a fact.

      SLC, to maintain your intellectual, uh, integrity you'll need to hound those dissing Einstein and Pauling as well as other eminent scientists.

      Rumracket, you are a waste of keystrokes.

      Delete
    42. Andy Miller, perhaps you missed where I pointed out to someone who wanted to assign blame for the atomic bomb on Einstein, that if he'd ridden the bomb down like Slim Pickins it wouldn't change the fact that Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics. And it is a fact.

      (While we're on the subject of reading, my name is Allan.) I'm afraid I don't get why that is such a killer point that you felt it worth repeating. Is the problem Darwin himself and eugenics, or Darwin's legacy and eugenics?

      Artificial Selection was the inspiration for Darwin. Eugenics is Artificial Selection. He may, or may not, have been a eugenicist himself (that itself covers a multitude of 'sins'). His son and his cousin were, and many people would claim inspiration for their own eugenic sympathies by direct 'descent' from his Origin - if for no other reason than that he goes into breeding in some depth. He may, or may not, have been a decent bloke on the whole. He was a scientist. He was very thorough in his consideration of pros and cons. His findings have relevance to religion.

      These are separate threads you seem incapable of disentangling in your iconoclastic mission.

      Delete
    43. Rumracket, you are just a fraud
      Thank you. Please qualify what you mean by a fraud in this context, it doesn't make sense to me. If you wish, you can also continue to insult me with what you deem a lack of intelligence. As taxing as this may be, maybe you can imagine taking on the role of a teacher tutoring an ignorant student?

      who can't even be bothered to make an argument
      About what? The topic of the thread or your derail about eugenics? I already told you I don't deny that there's a link between Darwin and post-origin of species eugenics.

      and couldn't even bother to look upthread to find the place where Miller made the false accusation that began this part of the discussion.
      No such fucking false accusation took place. Allan Miller merely stated that you have a knee-jerk reaction to the name Darwin, when you see it you start babbling about eugenics. Well look at this thread, it's a bloody testament to the that fact.

      As I said to JT, try reading something on the topic.
      I couldn't give a shit about the topic. As I have expressed now so many times a dead man would get it, I want to know why it is you take up the subject at all. You wern't invited to take it up, and nobody mentioned any of it before you did. Why do you persist in talking about it? What's the motherfucking point of it all? (Remember here that you think I'm really stupid, you've made that clear now multiple times, so please just tell it to me, okay? I can't figure it out!).

      Delete
    44. Allen Miller, sorry about the name, it happens to me all the time.

      Francis Galton, himself, said that reading On the Origin of Species was his inspiration in inventing eugenics, so there is no doubting that eugenics as it is known in most places is attributable to Darwin's inspiration. Leonard Darwin said that Schallmayer invented German eugenics independently of Galton from his reading of OoS, as well, even before he'd read Galton. Leonard Darwin said that he was carrying on his father's work in advocating eugenics. You might make a rather unconvincing case to get Charles Darwin off the hook if that's all there was, even if there are no possible better witnesses than his own family and the inventor of eugenics. However, there is his laudatory note to Galton on his reading "Hereditary Genius" his lavishly enthusiastic citations of, that book and other writings of Galton, and also many citations of other eugencists in "The Descent of Man" to support Darwin's own arguments that support and assert the theories of eugenics.

      I pointed out what you would need to counter that massive and massively convincing evidence that Darwin was, not only a "convert (his word)" won over by Galton, but also an enthusiastic participant in the early stages of eugenics. You would need clear statements by those who knew Charles Darwin as well as his own children that disassociate him from eugenics and those statements don't seem to exist. As I pointed out, his children and those who knew him well would have heard what Darwin said that never was published. What they said about him is credible in a way that all of the post-war apologists making a false case absolving him will never be. That campaign has been a success only with those who want with all their hearts to believe the man had no responsibility for eugenics. And belief is what their faith in that lie is because there's no evidence to support it.

      Artificial Selection was the inspiration for Darwin.
      It's been a long time since I dipped into Darwin's autobiography so I don't remember what he said inspired him other than his famous attribution to Malthus on Population, which Darwin said he read "for amusement". "For amusement," Darwin's use of that phrase in the context of Malthus on Population is as revealing of his real character as are the cold blooded statements about the beneficial effects of the early deaths of human beings in The Descent of Man. Revelations that won't be convincingly changed by the one or two mealy-mouthed demmurals that Darwin included after he'd made an allegedly scientific case that charity, vaccination and medical aid to the great unwashed would lead to a catastrophe.

      Knowing the above, the case absolving Darwin will not be convincing for anyone but a true believer in the mythical Darwin constructed after eugenics and Social Darwinism became a political liability due to the those being seen for what they produce in reality instead of theory.

      Delete
    45. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    46. It's quite impressive how fragile the ideological campaign of present day atheism is, one that sells itself as fearless adherence to evidence and a campaign for the truth, that calls one of its main asserted virtues "skepticism" when it is one that can't tolerate someone looking at the historical record objectively.
      Don't mistake a question about what you're trying to achieve with a lack of tolerance for hearing what you have to say. It's an interesting phenomenon to note that intolerance usually results in censorship, but that hasn't taken place here. As I have said now at least 5 times, I still wonder why you started babbling about Darwin and eugenics, and I wonder why you persist in not answering the question when I ask it.

      As I said above, if science had spent the time on removing the rot of eugenics from evolutionary science instead of denying it was covered with the stench, all of this could be a moot point.
      But there is a scientific basis to eugenics, you're mistaking moral philosphy with science. Furthermore, evolutionary science is the science about how extant biodiversity did and continues to evolve, it has no obligation to distance itself from it's usage as a tool in social and ethical discussions. It's a field of science, not an individual. Individual scientists are welcome to express their views if they wish, but you can't blame the field in it's entirey for the beliefs of a part of it's individuals. As it happens there are those for and those against. This isn't the catholic church where the pope lays out the official doctrinal line and everyone has to follow it.

      But, as mentioned, eugenics is sprouting again like invasive hogweed in my state. When the disaster recurs, don't expect that you can cover it up again.
      No "cover-up" ever took place you silly jokester.

      Dumping Darwin as the mascot of evolutionary science will prove to be essential.
      Please don't be that naive. No, what will prove to be essential is to passionately argue what kind of society we want to live in.

      Delete
    47. Allan Miller, just so you know, I too was an atheist long before I delved into anything resembling a deep understanding of Darwin's theory. Though I no longer am one, and no longer describe myself in such terms, like you my reasons for becoming one had nothing to do with science. I am not addressing people like you, who simply tossed off religion because you weren't interested in it.

      I am referring to people like Dawkins, Coyne, etc. and many of the people whom I refer to as 'scientific triumphalists'. Dawkins is in someone who DOES get apoplectic and act shocked, shocked! when anyone refers to Darwin's dark side, so your satire is misplaced. I'm not inventing the reaction I've described. It's partly about science, partly about being anti-religious, and partly about, well, British-ness. Darwin has a very prominent position among Royal Academy members, and Dawkins takes this into account as well. Biochemist James Shapiro has stated that among European biologists, Darwin is not esteemed in the same way as he is in Anglo countries, but Dawkins surely has a vested image in keeping his image sterling, as he has pretty much staked his entire career on insisting that the old man got everything right.

      Delete
    48. Jesus Christ this TLC dude sees bogeymen everywhere. Who are these "true believers" in the "mythical Darwin" and just what is this obsession with faithheads and their need to describe their ridiculous imaginary interlocutors in religious terms?

      "Maybe if I can equate the evil Darwinist atheist eugenist nazi with a religious fundamentalist, nobody will notice there's zero basis for my irrational beliefs".

      Delete
    49. Rumracket, I'm familiar with new atheists inventing quotes, it's been done to me lots of times. I said what I said here and anyone with intelligence and integrity can read it.

      I'm really not going to make a career of correcting the lies you folks make up about me. It would take all of my time.

      Delete
    50. It would take all your time to search for said lies because once again you seem to be having a conversation with an invisible entity not accessible to the rest of us. Not a wholly unheard of phenomenon in these kinds of discussions I'm afraid.

      Delete
    51. TTC, you have revealed more in your responses to Allan Miller, and maybe now I can state your point for you. (I was saddened to hear that you did not figure out how to make the point about Socrates but merely regurgitated it from a book you read.)

      1. Mass murder is bad, and unjustified murder is bad even in individual cases. Similarly it is bad to involuntarily sterilize people.

      2. Ideas of eugenics were responsible for mass murder in Germany and to murder and involuntary sterilization elsewhere. This was bad, and was due primarily to belief in eugenics. Without eugenics it would not have happened.

      3. Since belief in eugenics is bad, anything connected to belief in eugenics is bad.

      4. Darwin was connected in various ways to the first founding of eugenics, therefore Darwin was bad. There was no concept of eugenics before Darwin, and no mass murder or sterilization to eliminate inferior genes. It happened because of Darwin, and would not have happened without him.

      5. Ideas of natural selection lead naturally to ideas of eugenics, therefore thinking about natural selection is bad. (However, Wallace could think about natural selection while opposing eugenics, so there is some hope on this.)

      6. Natural selection may turn out to be unimportant in science anyway, since neutralism and other newer ideas can explain most of evolution without resort to natural selection.

      7. Atheists believe in Darwin and Natural Selection as an alternative to God. It is important to show that they are wrong, since they are in fact wrong and belief in atheism is bad for society, bad for the individuals that hold it, and bad for God.

      8. Therefore: three points.

      8A. We should spread the truth about what an awful person Darwin was. This has the advantages that it will help persuade people that atheists are wrong, and it will help to undermine faith in natural selection, and it will help prevent eugenics.

      8B. Science should distance itself from Darwin and from natural selection because these are unpopular ideas that will get more unpopular, and being associated with them is bad for science.

      8C. Science should distance itself from Darwin and from natural selection because the idea of natural selection leads to eugenics, which otherwise will be attempted again with disastrous results. So not only for the good of science but for society, science should avoid this evil idea.

      Did I get it right, or is your point different from these?

      Delete
    52. It would take all your time to search for said lies

      Well, there are a whole lot of them and I don't keep clippings. A lot of them were lost Haloscan went extinct.

      While I wouldn't say that blog atheists are quite as dishonest as Republicans, they're catching up.

      Delete
    53. Wow, that blind assertion totally established an evidential basis for your case. In fact, it almost made me a deist. If you make a few more you just might bridge the gap and tempt me all the way to theism.

      I'll have to go and recite Selfish-gene passages now to cleanse my mind of this heresy.

      Delete
    54. J Thomas, you're clearly not getting the point here. You're asking TTC to detail his true thoughts and intentions on the matter, are you crazy? They'd no longer be immune to scrutiny and criticsm then.

      Delete
    55. Rumraket, I don't think he has a strategy to hide his thoughts so people won't criticize them. I think he simply does not understand how any honest sane person could disagree.

      I've run into that before in discussions with Republicans. We'd be discussing some economic idea and at some point the guy would say "And so that shows that this idea involves government interference in free markets." And he'd quit. I'd ask him, "Yes? Where do you take it from there?" And he wouldn't say anything. I'd go, "Don't you want to look at who is hurt by it and how much, and who is helped and how much, and decide whether it's worth it?" And he'd go "Hey, we have established that it's about government interference in free markets. This discussion is over."

      See, if somebody can't imagine that anything less than a complete free market can ever be good, then he doesn't know how to argue that something less than a complete free market is imperfect. He can't understand that anybody would ask the question. If he does understand that the question is being asked then the natural next step is "Damn, you're a communist! No reasonable person would have anything to say to you."

      Like that.

      Delete
    56. I see what you're saying J Thomas and I take your point. This also makes me realize the futility of trying to get TTC to state his vision in clear terms. Some people just can't be argued with I guess.

      I almost can't accept it. It's the one irrational belief I have that I just can't shake. They have to be within reach of reason, don't they? If not, I can't help but feel very sad inside.

      Delete
  31. Perhaps you are ready for a change of 'target'?
    Any thoughts you would like to share, say, about a scientist you actually do like? If that does not float your boat: how about Beethoven? Gandhi?
    It's late here. You're on your own, pal.

    Got a biochem. book just waiting for me to resume. (The pictures are neat).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Got a biochem."

      New College of the Humanities?

      Well, I have held that science students might be so overly specialized that they don't learn about things like basic logic and rhetoric. Don't expect science to happen without at least the first one. Don't expect anyone who can do the first to be convinced without both.

      Delete
  32. Origin and nature of Earth life:

    Liberate your mind from concepts dictated by religious trade-union AAAS.
    Life is just another mass format + re-comprehend natural selection + natural selection is ubiquitous.

    Life Evolves by Naturally Selected Organic Matter


    I.
    Homegrown Organic Matter Found on Mars, But No Life
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/05/homegrown-organic-matter-found-o.html?ref=em

    II. EarthLife Genesis From Aromaticity/H-Bonding
    http://universe-life.com/2011/09/30/earthlife-genesis-from-aromaticityh-bonding/
    September 30, 2011

    A.
    Purines and pyrimidines are two of the building blocks of nucleic acids. Only two purines and three pyrimidines occur widely in nucleic acids.

    B.
    Pyrimidine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound similar to benzene and pyridine, containing two nitrogen atoms at positions 1 and 3 of the six-member ring.
    A purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, consisting of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring. Purines, including substituted purines and their tautomers, are the most widely distributed kind of nitrogen-containing heterocycle in nature.
    Aromaticity ( Kekule, Loschmidt, Thiele) is essential for the Krebs Cycle for energy production.

    C.
    Natural selection is E (energy) temporarily constrained in an m (mass) format.

    Natural selection is a universal ubiquitous trait of ALL mass spin formats, inanimate and animate.

    Life began/evolved on Earth with the natural selection of inanimate RNA, then of some RNA nucleotides, then arriving at the ultimate mode of natural selection – self replication.

    Aromaticity enables good constraining of energy and good propensity to hydrogen bonding. The address of Earth Life Genesis, of phasing from inanimate to animate natural selection, is Aromaticity.Hydrogen Bonding.

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/2012/02/03/universe-energy-mass-life-compilation/

    tags: life genesis, natural selection,

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    Replies
    1. I think you should go back to the 22nd century. You are proof that humans are degenerating. :-)

      Delete
  33. TTC find the place where Miller made the false accusation that began this part of the discussion.

    That would be the place where I said "you have a knee-jerk reaction when you hear the name 'Darwin'", and you proceeded to two-fistedly grab the opportunity to rehearse your argument for the dozenth time, thereby demonstrating my 'knee-jerk' jibe to be utterly without foundation? Good one.

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    Replies
    1. That would be when you said this:

      Allan MillerThursday, August 09, 2012 3:28:00 AM
      When you hear the word "Darwin", your first association is frequently "Hitler"

      Your complaining about the door you opened being opened is kind of foolish.

      Delete
    2. You argued Hitler by extension by throwing Haeckel in as the missing link.

      These are your exact words: In Germany, no matter what Darwin apologists contend, Darwin's foremost disciple, Haeckel was a direct link between Darwin and Naziism.

      Thank you for once again failing to demonstrate how Allan Miller was wrong.

      Delete
    3. The first time I mentioned Haeckel in this was Friday, August 10, 2012 7:14:00 AM, after Miller opened the door, when I said:

      ...In Germany, no matter what Darwin apologists contend, Darwin's foremost disciple, Haeckel was a direct link between Darwin and Naziism. I'm sure that Steven J. Gould would have been surprised to find that this quote would become as famous as it apparently has but, he did say it:

      [Haeckel’s] evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a “just” state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his grave words about objective science—all contributed to the rise of Nazism. Stephen Jay Gould

      I'm not going to lie about that. Anyone who did what his adoring fans here clearly haven't done and read The Descent of man would note many citations of Haeckel, who Darwin was obviously familiar with. Here's what he said in his introductory section of that book:

      ... and especially by Haeckel. This last naturalist, besides his great work, 'Generelle Morphologie' (1866), has recently (1868, with a second edition in 1870), published his 'Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte,' in which he fully discusses the genealogy of man. If this work had appeared before my essay had been written, I should probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I have arrived I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowledge on many points is much fuller than mine. Wherever I have added any fact or view from Prof. Haeckel's writings, I give his authority in the text; other statements I leave as they originally stood in my manuscript, occasionally giving in the foot-notes references to his works, as a confirmation of the more doubtful or interesting points.

      You can't escape the fact that Haeckel is as much a disciple of Darwin as Thomas Huxley, as well as a cited colleague.

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    4. And as can be seen in the 96 letters at the Darwin Correspondence Project, a correspondent of long standing.

      You can read this summary of a letter (the original is given in German)
      Summary
      No book has made such a powerful impression on EH as the Origin. Most older German scholars opposed to it, but number of supporters growing among the young. Fortunately strength of religious dogmas now small among educated Germans. Situation in Jena especially favourable. Defended CD’s theory last year at Congress of German Scientists in Stettin.

      http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-4555

      You can search through a lot of Darwin's correspondence through the Project. All kinds of unfortunate things got said by some pretty unfortunate associates. And, as I understand, new Darwin letters are always turning up.

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    5. I hadn't thought to check before just now, but Darwin seems to have read Haeckel's Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre, in which he expounds on the political use of Darwinism "Darwinismus" (especially on pages 73 and 74) to advocate inequality and to condemn the attempt to achieve political equality.

      The Project, for whatever reason, doesn't transcribe Darwin's letter but it does say:

      Admires EH’s Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre [1878].

      http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-12017

      Neither does The Project transcribe Haeckel's letter thanking Darwin (Thanks CD for comments on Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre [1878].)

      entry-12148

      Having looked at the book, that's one of the most disturbing things I've yet seen in Darwin's record.

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    6. You keep up this discussion under the unwarrented delusion that we're flatly denying what you present us with. And you keep portraying this entirely imagined denial as the result of an "adoring fanclub". What, pray tell, has transpired in this thread that warrants these idiot accusations and insults? Maybe you should go the place these people you're so keen on arguing with are?

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    7. Rumraket, Diogenes and somebody anonymous did deny TTC's assertions. Also t_p_hamilton disagreed. You yourself disagreed with him though your major point was that it was utterly unimportant.

      The general thrust of disagreement was that creationists supported eugenics more than evolutionists did. People gave lists of names of famous evolutionists who opposed eugenics, but I don't recall anybody mentioning a single prominent creationist who opposed it.

      That is, they did not dispute the factoids he presented but argued that the correlation was not there.

      In all honesty, that could be a bogus argument. If fifty million christians supported eugenics and also a thousand biologists, and the biologists were more influential, then what the biologists thought would be more important than what the christians thought. I don't think it worked out that way. We pretty much had a democracy then and people used science to justify what they already intended to do anyway. But the logical possibility is there that it could have been like that.

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    8. Rumraket, Diogenes and somebody anonymous did deny TTC's assertions.
      I went back and read the posts by Diogenes and Anonymous, and it's correct that Diogenes denies Darwin fathered the concept of eugenics. He makes the point that many outright non-Darwinians also held eunegist views. This is not the same as saying that the works of Darwin weren't also used to support eugenist views.

      Also t_p_hamilton disagreed.
      With the contention that there were no prominent Darwinists before WW2 that opposed Darwinism, which, again isn't a denial of the link TTC is babbling on about.

      You yourself disagreed with him though your major point was that it was utterly unimportant.
      This is straight up wrong. I have not denied this link at any fucking point, I have pointed out that I don't care if such a link exists and that the ideas also predate Darwin. I have even stated now multiple times that it makes sense to say Darwin's theory of evolution could be said to be first to establish a scientific basis for eugenics.

      The general thrust of disagreement was that creationists supported eugenics more than evolutionists did. People gave lists of names of famous evolutionists who opposed eugenics, but I don't recall anybody mentioning a single prominent creationist who opposed it.
      Yes, this discussion took place between TTC, Diogenes and a few others. I actually stayed out of it intentionally, but nowhere in this discussion did anyone actually straight up deny that Darwins works were used by eugenists. Several different discussions have taken place around the subject of eugenics now, but this imagined denial of the link remains imagined.

      That is, they did not dispute the factoids he presented but argued that the correlation was not there.

      In all honesty, that could be a bogus argument. If fifty million christians supported eugenics and also a thousand biologists, and the biologists were more influential, then what the biologists thought would be more important than what the christians thought. I don't think it worked out that way. We pretty much had a democracy then and people used science to justify what they already intended to do anyway. But the logical possibility is there that it could have been like that.

      None of which I deny or have denied at any point. But this is not what is asserted by TTC in this most ridiculous and caricaturing manner, to be denied.

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  34. I never denied that creationists support essentially the same social policy as the Darwinist-eugenicists. I said, quite explicitly that they shared the same social policy, The Thought CriminalSaturday, August 11, 2012 10:35:00 AM.

    ... I can only conclude from reading this thread that eugenics, named or not, is the common policy of creationists in the American Republican party and many Darwinists, who are about as left wing as the creationists, when all is said and done.

    That is a variation on a point made by Marilynne Robinson who pointed that out, I can't recall exactly where, so I didn't give a citation.

    The citations I presented from Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, Leonard Darwin, Schallamayer, Haeckel... aren't "factoids" they are facts that prove the case that Charles Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics as well as an early participant. I await the transcription of that last exchange between Darwin and Haeckel because it is pretty shocking that Darwin could have approved of that book by Haeckel. If he encouraged him along that line, it's pretty damning, which makes one wonder at the motives of the Darwin Correspondence Project for failing to transcribe them.

    I began this whole thing about six years ago in the naive belief that the case absolving Charles Darwin was a strong one and, step by step, have found that case isn't only weak, it's nonexistent, contradicted by the relevant documents. The more you read of that record, left by many of the major figures in science and politics from the late 19th and up till the mid-1950s, the more obvious it is that Darwinism and eugenics were like conjoined twins.

    Evolutionary science will have to divorce itself from that heritage or it will continue to pay a price for it. People won't put up with political Darwinism.

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    1. This is borderline delusional. Are you seriously attributing a lack of translation from german to english in an ongoing project to some kind of intentional conspiracy? How many people on the planet do you reckon can read or have access to from-german translation? You yourself now sit here telling us(below) that if you had it readily available translated, it would even improve your case, supposedly because you understand german and therefore already read it, understood it and know what it contains.

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    2. I doubt Darwin's letter was in German, the ones of his I've read are in English. They provided the pretty shocking summary of the unpublished letter:

      Admires EH’s Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre [1878]

      They didn't even give the German, they do in other of Haeckel's letters. They also published the summary of Haeckel's response:

      Thanks CD for comments on Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre [1878]

      So they obviously read the letter.

      Having read some of what Haeckle says about "Darwinismus" as politics in that book, it's shocking that Darwin wouldn't object to his name being tied to it and if he didn't, that speaks volumes in itself. I doubt that S. J. Gould could have been aware of those two letters and that book because he couldn't have maintained his view of Darwin if he didn't object to that use of his name.

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  35. I don't recall anybody mentioning a single prominent creationist who opposed it

    Creationism isn't a feature of Catholicism, being pretty much a fundamentalist property. Much of the organized opposition to eugenics came, quite explicitly and forcefully, from Catholics. I've read some people say that G. K. Chesterton was as responsible as anyone for limiting the damage of eugenics in Britain. As I mentioned, A. R. Wallace was vigorously opposed to it.

    This is an interesting passage:

    Many sophisticated geneticists — including some who provided refuting evidence — supported some form of eugenic program at one point or another. Although he denounced the negative eugenics of the American movement, Herman Muller remained committed to a personal brand of positive eugenics based on individual worth. Despite the fact that the Hardy-Weinberg showed that sterilization would have little effect on incidence of feeblemindedness, most geneticists still believed that affected individuals should not be allowed to reproduce. The Catholic Church opposed eugenics from the outset, and helped to ward off eugenic social legislation in much of Europe. However, the Catholic viewpoint held little sway in Protestant America. With Buck vs. Bell providing the full approval of the U.S. Supreme Court, state legislatures continued to enact new eugenic sterilization laws up until WWII.

    http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/topics_fs.pl?theme=26&search=&matches=

    If you can read German, a lot of the eugenicists froth and rail against religious opposition to eugenics. Just about all of the early eugenicists I'm aware of were anti-religious.

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  36. I've got to mention that with the ease with you can find documentation online - and I'm hardly a computer nerd- , I've got to conclude that the lack of citations and documents by Darwin's champions means they can't find any primary sources to make their case with. As I said, I couldn't find them either. All of those seem to support the case I'm making.

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  37. I went back and read the posts by Diogenes and Anonymous, and it's correct that Diogenes denies Darwin fathered the concept of eugenics. He makes the point that many outright non-Darwinians also held eunegist views. This is not the same as saying that the works of Darwin weren't also used to support eugenist views.

    Ys, but he denied that TTC had shown Darwin was the main inspiration for eugenics. I think TTC believes his links prove that Darwin was just that.

    When I think about it, TTC's links don't prove that -- regardless what some prominent eugenists may have said, what got support for the movement was probably not Darwin who was after all pretty controversial.

    But Diogenes's point also is not definitive. Even though many people supported eugenics who vigorously denied evolution, still they could have latched onto this idea from Darwin even while they denied the rest. It doesn't seem particularly plausible to me that they would, but it isn't impossible.


    You yourself disagreed with him though your major point was that it was utterly unimportant.
    This is straight up wrong. I have not denied this link at any fucking point, I have pointed out that I don't care if such a link exists and that the ideas also predate Darwin.

    I think I was right to say you thought it was unimportant. You said that eugenics ideas came before Darwin, and that Darwin himself did not support coercive breeding or nonbreeding. (TTC has quotes that he probably believes disproves that latter claim.) And when you say that eugenics came before Darwin you are disagreeing with him that Darwin was the source. Since he thinks his links definitively prove he is right, and you disagreed with him, it's only natural that he would call you a denier even though you specifically said you didn't deny his links. You said you didn't deny his links, but you do deny his conclusions. And call them unimportant.

    ...nowhere in this discussion did anyone actually straight up deny that Darwins works were used by eugenists.

    But his implicit claim is that since Darwin's thinking created eugenics and Darwin himself approved of eugenics, science should disassociate itself from Darwin. When you disagree with any part of that, you disagree with him. Since he thinks his links prove his conclusion then to disagree with him you must somehow disagree with his links. He figures that if you understand and accept his links then it follows -- as the night the day -- that you must also agree with the rest of it.

    If I have misunderstood TTC's position perhaps he will say how he really thinks.

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    1. Ys, but he denied that TTC had shown Darwin was the main inspiration for eugenics. I think TTC believes his links prove that Darwin was just that.

      When I think about it, TTC's links don't prove that -- regardless what some prominent eugenists may have said, what got support for the movement was probably not Darwin who was after all pretty controversial.

      But Diogenes's point also is not definitive. Even though many people supported eugenics who vigorously denied evolution, still they could have latched onto this idea from Darwin even while they denied the rest. It doesn't seem particularly plausible to me that they would, but it isn't impossible.

      I have no intention of actaully digging into that discussion, it simply doesn't interest me. My response was only to point out the difference between what was said, what TTC claims what was said and correct misapprehensions about what I said myself.

      I think I was right to say you thought it was unimportant.You said that eugenics ideas came before Darwin
      Not entirely correct. I haven't said it was unimportant. I have said it was uninteresting to me, and unimportant TO THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD. I have, in fact, directly asked TTC to detail why HE thinks It's important to start having a discussion about IN THIS THREAD.

      and that Darwin himself did not support coercive breeding or nonbreeding.
      False. I have not said this anywhere.

      And when you say that eugenics came before Darwin you are disagreeing with him that Darwin was the source.
      That darwin was the first and only source of similar views on breeding, yes I disagree with that. I don't care whether you explicitly call it eugenics, if the underlying principles are the same then "eugenics" or "trait-breeding" or whatever else you want to call it, and ideas associated with them like maintentance of "racial purity" and "purity of bloodlines", are all concepts that have been around long before Darwin.

      Since he thinks his links definitively prove he is right, and you disagreed with him
      You're not distinguishing the disagreements properly. I have a specific disagreement about whether Darwin truly fathered the concepts, not a general denial that Darwin and his works inspired or supported any eugenics. How many fucking times do I need to make this clear?

      it's only natural that he would call you a denier
      He's not explicitly calling me a denier, he can't, since I have nowhere denied the link he argues for. He's labelling some imaginary entity nowhere to be found, I suspect, in an attempt to expose some kind of badguy out there that is supposed to make us follow the train of thought you yourself detailed above when you ask him about his motives.

      He's written several posts attacking "Darwin fanboys" as if they are in some kind of state of denial and I keep asking who and where these people are. Now, worryingly, you seem to be laboring under the same halluscination he does. Where ARE these people and their posts full of all this denial?

      even though you specifically said you didn't deny his links. You said you didn't deny his links, but you do deny his conclusions.
      What conclusions? His conlusion is that Darwin and his works inspired a lot of eugenics thinking and I haven't denied this whether explicitly or by implication. This has transpired NOWHERE.

      And call them unimportant.
      To the topic of this thread, yes. Again, I asked TTC for why HE thought it was important to start babbling about here.

      Would you guys please start accurately attributing views and reading peoples posts? Here's a quick hint: Don't try to gauge MY views from TTC's responses thereto. He's having a discussion with an imaginary entity. Please don't tell me this affliction is infectious :P

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    2. I think I was right to say you thought it was unimportant.You said that eugenics ideas came before Darwin

      Not entirely correct. I haven't said it was unimportant. I have said it was uninteresting to me, and unimportant TO THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD.


      I hope you will accept that I thought you meant that, when you said this:

      Except that ideas like the purity of bloodlines and breeding for enchancement of traits go back to antiquity.

      In any case, who gives a fuck? If Darwin's children were eugenisists, then what?


      I didn't mean to say anything to your disadvantage, I just thought you implied it wasn't important.

      and that Darwin himself did not support coercive breeding or nonbreeding.
      False. I have not said this anywhere.

      Oops! I apologize. It was Diogenes and I confused who said it. I was wrong.
      Meanwhile, you have zero evidence that Charles Darwin himself was in favor of coerced eugenics, and we know he opposed it.

      Since he thinks his links definitively prove he is right, and you disagreed with him
      You're not distinguishing the disagreements properly.

      I believe that *he* is not distinguishing the disagreements properly. He believes that if you are honest about his links then you have to admit that Darwin was bad, and science should disassociate itself from him. If you disagree with his conclusions then you deny him somewhere along the line. But since he believes his links are true and all his logic leading from them is ironclad, you have to be either illogical or dishonest to disagree with him about any of it. I truly believe this is his reasoning.

      He's written several posts attacking "Darwin fanboys" as if they are in some kind of state of denial and I keep asking who and where these people are.

      He's run into them before in other places. At least some of them were aggressive atheists who argue that Darwin showed life can evolve without God. Since he believes that only dishonest or illogical people can disagree with him, he tends to think everybody who disagrees with him is like those.

      even though you specifically said you didn't deny his links. You said you didn't deny his links, but you do deny his conclusions.
      What conclusions? His conlusion is that Darwin and his works inspired a lot of eugenics thinking and I haven't denied this whether explicitly or by implication.

      You deny his implicit conclusions. You deny that it is important for science to discredit Darwin and distance itself from him.

      The founder of evolutionary theory should be dumped as the face of evolution? Are you a little bit nuts?

      Would you guys please start accurately attributing views and reading peoples posts?

      I apologize for attributing a Diogenes quote to you. For the rest, yes, you and TTC are talking past each other. You look only at his explicit claim that Darwin inspired some particular eugenicists, and say you don't disagree. But you do disagree with him about other things, and he cannot imagine how an honest person could accept the truths he has documented and still disagree about the rest.

      Whatever the fuck Charlies Darwin or anyone else thought about eugenics is incomprehensibly irrelevant to whether life has a natural origin and whether evolution took place or not.

      In several places you appear to argue that someone can be an evil person and still a good scientist. TTC appears to be arguing that science will be punished for that attitude, that evil people must not be admired as good scientists.

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    3. J Thomas thank you for your clarifications. I don't have much interest into going into the details now, this discussion with TTC is becoming ridicolous to me now. I think you're right, though, in that we're talking past each other TTC and I. I've been trying to get him to state his position now several times, but he has some deep averion to openly stating what this is all for. I suspect his motivations are along the line you've described here and above, but it would be really nice to see it straight from his own mouth. I don't like having an argument with a person who's opinion I don't know, when said opinion is the topic I'm interested in arguing about. Maybe TTC sensed this, which is why he's avoiding it like Mitt Romney avoids publishing tax returns.

      Oh well...

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  38. J Thomas, as you spent all of yesterday saying that eugenics was good, I'm not really worried that an honest person who might review this discussion will take the rest of what you say seriously.

    As I said, the more I look at primary source material around this issue the more obvious it is that Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics and, from his and his children's failure to distance himself from it, as well as what he wrote in DoM, he agreed with it.

    I will warn Larry Moran that I've got much more material than I've presented here and, as I look at things like the Correspondence Project, I find new material. If I had the time to translate some of the German things, and a lot of it isn't available in translation, it would make a far stronger case.

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    1. You will warn Larry Moran. Warn him? A warning implies some kind of danger. What world are you living in?

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  39. J Thomas, as you spent all of yesterday saying that eugenics was good, I'm not really worried that an honest person who might review this discussion will take the rest of what you say seriously.

    Ah, the ad hominem argument!

    You say I am a bad person so people should ignore my reasoning.

    Do you say the same about Darwin? He was a bad person who approved of eugenics, so we should not study evolution?

    Person and Fisher were bad people so we should throw away their work on probability and statistics?

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    1. I don't believe I mentioned R. A. Fisher. If I did, I could mention his opposition to the UNESCO Statement on Race because it asserted racial equality.

      Sir Ronald Fisher has one fundamental objection to
      the Statement, which, as he himself says, destroys the
      very spirit of the whole document. He believes that
      human groups differ profoundly “in their innate capacity
      for intellectual and emotional development” and con-
      cludes from this that the “practical international problem is that of learning to share the resources of this planet amicably with persons of materially different nature, and that this problem is being obscured by entirely well intentioned efforts to minimize the real differences that exist


      ... Fisher’s attitude towards the facts stated in this paragraph is the same as Muller’s and Sturtevant’s, but this is how he puts his objections: “As you ask for remarks and suggestions, there is one that occurs to me, unfortunately of a somewhat fundamental nature,
      namely that the Statement as it stands appears to draw
      a distinction between the body and mind of men, which
      must, I think, prove untenable. It appears to me unmistakable that gene differences which influence the growth or physiological development of an organism will ordinarily pari passu influence the congenital inclinations and capacities of the mind. In fact, I should say that, to vary conclusion (2) on page 5, ‘Available scientific knowledge provides a firm basis for believing that the groups of mankind differ in their innate capacity for intellectual and emotional development,’ seeing that such groups do differ undoubtedly in a very large .number of their genes.”


      http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000733/073351eo.pdf

      However, I haven't looked to see if his scientific racism could be attributed directly to Darwin or to the general pollution of British science by the pseudo-science of eugenics. So the influence might be indirect.

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    2. Eugenics is a pseudo-science now? When did this tranpire?

      Rampant eugenics may lead to a horrible society we don't want to live in, this doesn't mean there isn't a scientific basis for it. Ever heard of artificial selection? Tell me why it wouldn't work on Homo Sapiens.

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  40. I'm warning him that if you guys keep this up I'm quite able to keep up my end of it. Though, given what he says about science vs. humanities above, perhaps as long as I keep providing supporting evidence he doesn't object to me supporting the contention.

    I should confess that learning how little you guys care about evidence as well as the most basic requirements of logic and scholarship is an interesting side line of this exchange.

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    1. When you say we don't "care about evidence", you're implying we're denying what you say. Please point out where this transpired.

      Do you see this J Thomas? This is what I refer to when I say TTC is having a discussion with an imaginary entity. He sees some weird, third atheist-darwin-fanboy-denialist here somewhere, apparently deeply invested in denying what TTC says. This is fascinating to behold.

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    2. Keep what up, TTC? What are we "keeping up"? What is it that we do that makes you keep telling us about this link between Darwin, his works, and eugenics?

      Lie down and tell me about it. What does it look like? How does it make you feel?

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  41. You say I am a bad person so people should ignore my reasoning. J Thomas

    I'm saying you're a lousy debater who doesn't bring any evidence to support your contentions and who, when challenged to present even a few citations to back up the incredible assertion that eugenics is good, is unable to name a single book you've read on the topic.

    You're not someone anyone interested in reason or scholarship needs to take seriously, at least not on this topic.

    I've said anyone who could think what Pearson said about rickets in that pamphlet was funny has something seriously wrong with them.

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    1. TTC, this is sad. You have been unable to state your own position. When I state it for you, you still have been unable to state an improved version. You haven't been able to refute my arguments, so you argue that people should ignore me -- based on logical fallacies.

      For the example of eugenics, I provided a definition.

      Eugenics: The study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population.

      That's simple and straightforward. How can you argue this is a bad thing? Well, but you say people who tried eugenics got bad results. Yes. I said they did it wrong. You said I should prove I've read books about the details of how they did it wrong. I see no reason to provide that proof -- we are agreed that what they did was not right. So what?

      Here's the same arguments laid out on a different topic:

      Democracy is good.
      No it isn't, Hitler got elected by a democratic government.
      They did it wrong.
      No, democracy is bad because it led to Hitler. Unless you've read enough books about how Hitler came to power your opinions about democracy are worthless.

      Can you see your logic mistake yet?

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    2. As you made that up for me to have said, it's your logical mistake. Or your lie. Take your pick.

      You guys lying does nothing to make me suspect that I've got it wrong.

      Name the books you're talking about.

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    3. I'll note it's been more than 24 hours since the first time I asked you to name the books about eugenics you'd read. So far, nothing.

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  42. TTC, I notice that it's been even longer since I asked you to say what your point was, and you have consistently refused. Perhaps I should assume you have no point....

    But no, you seem to merely be unable to state it. You let bits of it slip, like you talk about science "distancing" itself from Darwin because he did evil things, but you don't know how to put the pieces together.

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  43. I told you what my point was when you asked. To support the contention that Charles Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics. As I've shown both the British inventor of eugenics said, plainly, On the Origin of Species was what inspired him to develop eugenics and Leonard Darwin said that the originator of German eugenics, Schallmayer, was also inspired, independently by his reading of On the Origin of Species, I did that. I've also quoted other eugenicists who attributed the inspiration of eugenics to Charles Darwin, including his son who succeeded Galton as the head of British eugenics.

    I don't know how many times I have to repeat that that is my point, apparently an infinite number of times wouldn't be enough.

    If I'd really wanted to be cruel, I could have pointed out the section in his encomium to Schallmayer in which Leonard Darwin points out that he called the eugenics he derived from reading Charles Darwin, "Rassehygiene". And I could have quoted more of Schallmayer's book that won him the Krupp prize, in which he, also cited Charles Darwin as the inspiration of Rassehygiene.

    There, that make you happy?

    Now, tell me what books about eugenics you've read as I clearly answered your question, yet again.

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    1. I don't know how many times I have to repeat that that is my point, apparently an infinite number of times wouldn't be enough.
      TTC, for my own part, I can state that this point has been apparent to be from the beginning. Never once did I deny such a link.

      My point, however, has been to try and find out what your purpose with making that point, is. Could you perhaps scoll up and read J Thomas same question to you on this topic and say whether his portrayal is correct? This would go a long way in clarifying what it all is for.

      Thank you.

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