Charles Darwin: Myth vs. History

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Charles Darwin: Myth vs. History

  1. 1. Charles Darwin Myth vs. HistoryMichael D. Bartonhttp://thedispersalofdarwin.wordpress.com
  2. 2. OHSU Library, 4th floor, through April 21st
  3. 3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/darwin/evolutionarytheory.html
  4. 4. OHSU Darwin materials on display
  5. 5. OHSU Darwin materials on display
  6. 6. OHSU Darwin materials on display
  7. 7. A very brief biography of Charles Darwin
  8. 8. Myths, misconceptions & misrepresentationsin the history of science
  9. 9. Two forms:Accidental misinformation vs.Intentional misinformation
  10. 10. Darwin discovered evolution on the GalapagosCLAIM: Charles Darwin set out on HMS Beagle seeking evidence forevolution; or, Darwin had a eureka moment in the Galapagos Islandswhen he observed the 13 species of finches and tortoises there
  11. 11. Darwin was not official naturalistCLAIM: Charles Darwin, the world-renowned naturalist, wasactually not the official naturalist on HMS Beagle, but rather only agentleman companion for Captain Robert Fitzroy
  12. 12. Darwin was always a bearded old manCLAIM: Darwin was most prolific as a naturalist and published hismajor works as an old, bearded man
  13. 13. Darwin was always a bearded old man
  14. 14. Darwin was always a bearded old man
  15. 15. Darwin was always a bearded old man 1849 1842 1841 1853 18741859/60 1869 1881
  16. 16. Darwin was always a bearded old man
  17. 17. Darwin was always a bearded old man
  18. 18. Darwin was always a bearded old man
  19. 19. Darwin was not offered a knighthoodCLAIM: While many prominent scientists received a Britishknighthood, Darwin was never knighted because the AnglicanChurch considered his views on evolution too controversial
  20. 20. Darwin too afraid to publish his theoryCLAIM: Darwin, having developed his theory of evolution bynatural selection, sat on it for twenty years because he feared thereligious response
  21. 21. Darwin too afraid to publish his theory
  22. 22. Darwin advocated for eugenicsCLAIM: Darwin’s advocated for the practice of eugenics, and thisultimately led to Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust
  23. 23. Darwin advocated for eugenics
  24. 24. Darwin advocated for eugenics
  25. 25. Darwin advocated for eugenics
  26. 26. Darwin advocated for eugenics“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. Wecivilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the processof elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and thesick. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate theirkind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animalswill doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.Hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” – Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871)
  27. 27. Darwin advocated for eugenics“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survivecommonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do ourutmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, themaimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skillto save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccinationhas preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed tosmall-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No onewho has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must behighly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or carewrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case ofman himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of theinstinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, butsubsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widelydiffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deteriorationin the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing anoperation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we wereintentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with acertain and great present evil.” – Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871)
  28. 28. Darwin recanted on his deathbedCLAIM: On his deathbed in 1882, Darwin renounced his theory ofevolution and accepted Christ and was thus saved, so much for thetheory of evolution!
  29. 29. … and many moreDarwin did not steal ideas from the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace andincorporate them into his own workDarwin did not coin the phrase “survival of the fittest”On the Origin of Species did not sell out on its first day of releaseDarwin did not give up Christianity because of the death of his daughterAnnieDarwin did not, as claimed by antievolutionists, doubt his own theoriesKarl Marx did not offer to dedicate Das Kapital to DarwinDarwin did not say: “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor themost intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”
  30. 30. Conclusion
  31. 31. http://thedispersalofdarwin.wordpress.com

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