Not quite Literary Darwinism for Dummies:
Darwin to the Rescue: A group of scholars thinks evolutionary science can reinvigorate literary studies
by Britt Peterson
Chronicle of Higher Education 1 August 2008
Literary Darwinism should be deselected, naturally
Guardian blog, 5 September 2008
The Literary Darwinists by D T Max NYT Magazine 6 November 2005
7 November 2005
links back to Dennis Dutton’s, The Pleasure of Fiction, in Philosophy and Literature 28 (2004)
Darwin and Wallace’s papers were presented to the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858. Neither attended.
The Guardian’s contribution to the anniversary. My eye was caught by the panel at the top left bylined Teflon Charlie. There are a few interesting blog posts by Adam Rutherford.
In a TimesOnline promo-interview for Dawkin’s new Channel 4 Series, Dawkins on Darwin, Dawkins says:
“There’s a very important misunderstanding of the relationship between Hitler and Darwin, which is relevant to this,” ….. “A lot of people think that Hitler sort of was a Darwinian, which he absolutely wasn’t. What Hitler did was to take the principle of domestic breeding of animals and apply it to humans. What Darwin did was to take the principle of the domestic breeding of animals and apply it to nature. It’s all done by nature….”
which made me think yet again of section 2 of a short 1997 paper by Allison Barnes and Paul Thagard, Empathy and Analogy, dealing with Analogy as a cognitive process. To explain what they mean, they use Darwin’s use of analogy in The Origin of Species, as an example.
Just as artificial selection by breeders using the natural variability of organisms explains how new breeds of plants and animals can arise, so variability and natural selection explain how new species arise.
The analogical comparison in this example involves more than seeing the correspondences between attributes such as develop and relations such as selects. The explanatory power of the analogy derives from the correspondence between the high-level causal relations: just as human selection of traits causes new breeds to develop, so natural selection of traits causes new species to develop. In this example, natural selection is the target analog which needs to be understood and developed, while artificial selection is the source analog that is intended to further explanation and problem solving.
A lot of people might react to the Dawkin’s Hitler point by saying we are animals.
The clarity of the explanation of analogy in the paper could be used by Dawkins.
John Angus Campbell
Dawkins ( Why Darwin Matters, Guardian, 9 February 2008 ) :
….natural selection is all about differential survival within species, not between them.
Although it is a well-established scientific fact, evolution remains a controversial subject in the United States, and especially the issue of teaching evolution or creationism in public schools. An argument that appears to be increasingly popular among creationists is based on a postmodernist notion that science is simply one among many different but equal “ways of knowing,” and that its ascendancy over other methods is due to conflicts between social power structures rather than any objective superiority. Several creationist writers have argued that science’s exclusive reliance on natural causes (so called “methodological naturalism”) is an a priori assumption, or an arbitrary preference, and therefore that both it and religion are equally valid epistemologies. In addition, they argue that the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment prohibit government from endorsing or granting “preferences” to science over supernaturalism.
This article is a response to these theories. In Part I, I argue that science is an objectively superior means of knowing, and that methodological naturalism is not an a priori assumption, but both an a posteriori preference and one that is necessary for any valid epistemology. I also reject the argument that naturalism or “humanism” are “religions” or that science requires a “leap of faith.” In Part II, I address whether the First Amendment requires the government to remain “neutral” between supernatural and naturalistic worldviews. I conclude with some general observations on the conflict between science and supernaturalism.