Evolution Category

A Brief Note on Cambridge’s History of Science Volume VI : Modern Life and Earth Sciences

Perhaps the most engaging—and perhaps most relevant for my current research interests—installment of this series is Peter J. Bowler and John V. Pickstone’s (eds.) The Cambridge History of Science Volume VI: Modern Life and Earth Sciences (2009). This volume seeks to present an “overview of the development of a diverse range of sciences through a […]

Read More

Preaching at the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Secularism of George Jacob Holyoake

Wrapping up a series of essays I have been reading from The British Journal for the History of Science, I now come to two interrelated and complimentary essays by Ciaran Toal, “Preaching at the British Association for the Advancement of Science: Sermons, Secularization and the Rhetoric of Conflict in the 1870s” (2012), and Michael Rectenwald, […]

Read More

Huxley, Agnosticism, and the X-Club

In assessing the “climate of opinion” in Victorian Britain, and more specifically the context of the evolution debates and narratives of conflict between science and religion that bolstered them, I have been engaging with a number of articles and books about prominent nineteenth-century dramatis personae, including Charles Darwin, Richard Owen, Thomas Henry Huxley, John Tyndall, […]

Read More

Darwin’s Rhetoric of Positive Theology in the Origin of Species

In his Of Apes and Ancestors: Evolution, Christianity, and the Oxford Debate (2009), Ian Hesketh stresses that the Origin, “far from being the secular text it is often presented as, establishes the theory of evolution from within the Christian framework.” Indeed, “Darwin was very careful to at least appear to be writing from within the […]

Read More

Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False

Thomas Nagel’s Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False (2012) has caused quite a stir. Maria Popova at Brain Pickings finds “Nagel’s case for weaving a historical perspective into the understanding of mind particularly compelling.” She sees it as “a necessary thorn in the side of today’s all-too-prevalent […]

Read More

New Harris Poll on Evolution

Those surveyed were given a list of topics—including God, miracles, heaven, Jesus as God or the son of God, angels, survival of the soul after death, the resurrection of Jesus, Hell, the virgin birth, the Devil, “Darwin’s theory of evolution,” ghosts, creationism, UFOs, astrology, witches, and reincarnation—and asked, “Please indicate for each one if you […]

Read More

Science and Religion: Some New Historical Perspectives: Some Words on Evolution and the Politics of Publishing

Conflict occurs at multiple levels. Principally, it is a tension created within the mind of an individual when confronted with information and beliefs that appear to be in opposition. Preachers, teachers, writers, media and so on often reinforce dicotomies rather than look for middle ground. These conflicts are, as they have always has been, between […]

Read More

Geographies of Scientific Knowledge: Site, Region, Circulation (Part 2)

In his first chapter on “Site,” Livingstone demonstrated that science embraces a huge range of activities carried out in many venues. In heterogeneous spaces, nature is differently experienced, objects are differently regarded, claims to knowledge are adjudicated in different ways. It is only when the practices and procedures that are mobilized to generate knowledge are […]

Read More

Myths about Science and Religion – That Creationism is a Uniquely American Phenomenon

Continuing the discussion from the previous post, Cohen’s tenacious assumptions about creationism and the Scopes trial undoubtedly arises from the notion that the movement is geographically contained. His examples of Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas are no accident, and the underlying political assumptions are plain. But as Ron Numbers has made quite clear in […]

Read More

Climate Change the New Scopes?

Andrew Cohen, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, argues that the forces that initiated the Scopes Trial (1925) are still present today in the dogged renewal of the fight to teach creationism and in the rancor over the truth about the human causes of global warming. In his article, What the Scopes Trial Teaches us […]

Read More