One must be desperate to discredit Darwin when it’s done by trashing someone Darwin probably didn’t know, and whose ideas bare little similarity to Darwin’s. But that’s the technique of Jim Fletcher; whose work we recently wrote about here: Evolution is a Leftist Conspiracy.
As before, Fletcher’s latest essay appears in WorldNetDaily (WND) — the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus that jolly logo displayed above this post.
The title of today’s piece in WND is Inside the dinner that changed America. With no further delay, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Do you ever wonder why things are the way they are? Young people are leaving church in droves. Social issues have divided the country. An American president minimizes the country’s Christian heritage. Appointed judges stamp decisions with personal bias. Business “leaders” engage in ruthless practices.
Like you, I’ve wondered about all this. Unlike some, I believe the core problem can be traced to the marketing of Darwinian philosophy in the United States. Now, a book has been written that outlines this fascinating, corrosive advancement of naturalism.
Barry Werth’s “Banquet at Delmonico’s” is a landmark book. His research into the colliding worldviews of the 19th century provides an answer for why our society functions as it does.
Good grief! We wrote about that book when it first came out, two and a half years ago. See Banquet at Delmonico’s — Spencer and Social Darwinism. You can check that out to see how far from Darwin’s theory Spencer’s “social Darwinism” really was. As we’ve often observed, adding the prefix “social” to a word is a good way to negate the meaning of the word (e.g., social security, social science, social work, social justice, etc.). We ended our long-ago post like this:
Clearly, this doesn’t have much to do with evolution or creationism, but because Spencer’s ideas are so often used by creationists to criticize Darwin, it’s worth knowing how unrelated their thinking really was.
Now that Fletcher and WND have stumbled upon Spencer, let’s read some more of what they have to tell us:
Spencer, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, exported his philosophy of naturalism across the Atlantic with the help of several fawning American friends, and America is still reaping the whirlwind. Werth’s detailed research into not only the dinner at Delmonico’s, but also the lead-up is riveting and informative.
Yes, Spencer was a “contemporary” of Darwin’s. So was Jack the Ripper. But like the Ripper’s activities, Spencer’s trip to America to promote his babbling about “social Darwinism” occurred after Darwin was dead, and the great scientist had no connection with Spencer or the Ripper. As the Wikipedia article on Herbert Spencer informs us:
… Spencer extended evolution into realms of sociology and ethics, he also made use of Lamarckism.
Spencer believed that this evolutionary mechanism was also necessary to explain ‘higher’ evolution, especially the social development of humanity. … Spencer believed in two kinds of knowledge: knowledge gained by the individual and knowledge gained by the race. Intuition, or knowledge learned unconsciously, was the inherited experience of the race.
In other words, Spencer was a flake. We continue with Fletcher’s article:
Werth has done a terrific job of showing how the marketing of evolutionary thought had as much to do with its wide acceptance as the work of the scientists. Beecher, along with men like Asa Gray and John Fiske, helped Spencer, Darwin, and Huxley export this philosophy of death (although, to be fair, its adherents saw wonder and grandeur in Darwin’s theory) to the shores of a still-young America. Soon after, spiritism and the occult gripped the nation.
Yes, a “philosophy of death.” One more excerpt — the last sentence in Fletcher’s brilliant essay:
We have been reaping that rotten fruit ever since.
You gotta admit, dear reader, WND is never a disappointment.
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