Social Implications on Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

Darwin’s discoveries were debated because he was not able to offer substantial evidence – one of the reasons he waited twenty years to publish Origin of Species. The social aspects of the response to Darwin’s theory showed society taking natural selection’s abilities into the communal sphere of reality, encouraging capitalism. Bowler and Morus said, “Others stress the parallel between natural selection and the competitive ideology of Victorian capitalism and see Darwin as someone who projected the social values of his own class onto nature itself.”[1] So much for objectivity in masculine science, <smh> smells like corruption through propaganda – after all, Darwin did say that the female skull and brain were smaller than males, and therefore less intelligent and less capable of developing intelligence; he devoted a section to The Descent of Man (1871) entitled “Difference in the Mental Powers of the Two Sexes,” and he summarized in one line: “Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman.”[2] Women were noted as less selfish than men as means to take care of their offspring and subject themselves to male domination – backing up the “cult of domesticity” and place of woman – while man delighted and benefited from competition, thriving on selfish ambition and intellectual powers above lower, and sexually centered, woman.[3] Intellectual powers for males included: observation, reason, invention, or imagination,[4] because they benefited the hunt and were attached to the outside world was woman was chained to the household, her life revolving around producing and rearing children. Evelleen Richards highlighted the negative social issues at play via education limitations that showed few women were allowed or accepted into university – and if they were, it was even less seldom in masculine fields such as science or mathematics.[5] Richards quoted J.N. Burstyn from “Education and Sex: The Medical Case against Higher Education for Women in England, 1870-1900,” and said, “It seemed only a matter of time before middle-class women not only gained the franchise, but would be able to take out degrees and compete professionally with men …”[6] Men did not want to compete with woman possibly for fear of being less intelligent than her, nor did he want to allow room for his servant-wife to grow consciousness and a spine.

Some men, however, took advantage of wealthy women who pined for purpose and a voice: Francesco Algarotti, a Venetian merchant, took to travel and writing to grant him a luxurious salon-life he was accustomed to as protégé of Marchioness Elisabetta Ratta for his poetry and support.[7] He received much contempt from literature and science because, as an author and artist, he was not qualified or respected as a scientist. Algarotti, funded by his ladies, wrote appropriately to address female issues and aptitude. He addressed the ladies because their emotional nature responded to the attention – other male scientists shrugged women off as incapable of being scientists, taking support through Darwin who saw the place of woman as purely sexual and not able to reason like men.[8] Women were attributed as more emotional than men and therefore unable to achieve pure objectivity. As we have discussed in previous weeks, the human ability to remain objective is an impossible feat as each individual is reflective of their own values of societal or religious connotation – elements to cloud reason or form it, dependent on how one thinks. So why then is this imaginary “objectivity” not extended to female scientists if it is extended to males? Well, another aspect of rejected feminist thought might be of use; Bowler and Morus noted the contradictory starting point between gender: “Men typically regard themselves as apart from nature and therefore as needing to be able to control it, while women typically regard themselves as part of nature and therefore as being in harmony with it.”[9] Male scientists want to control nature and women – unfortunately, this whole scam is still going down. Male science may be keeping female scientific-thought out of science for the specific purpose of maintaining control of society and re-instilling the world-view of the earth as a machine because it is more profitable to humankind in terms of progress. If the major consent in society recognized the earth as a living entity then the average “good-natured” person would not want to harm, rape, or destroy anything alive. Women by nature are more empathetic than men, on average, and more emotional – but they are also subject to suppression, and the feminine cause can be attached to many of humanity’s list of victims such as the abolition movement in America that displayed women championing the cause of the oppressed African-American before she had the right to vote herself. It only seems natural then, to saddle the feminine with Mother-Earth to relate to victimization at the hands of the masculine force.



Bowler, Peter J. and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Darwin, Charles. “The Descent of Man (1871).” Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York:  W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 175-254.

Mazzotti, Massimo. “Newton for Ladies: Gentility, Gender and Radical Culture.” British Journal for the History of Science, 37.133: p. 119-46 ProQuest. Web. 31 Dec 2015.

Richards, Evelleen. “Darwin and the Descent of Woman (1983).” Darwin:  A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 435-444.

Picture c/o:

[1] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 143.

[2] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 234-235.

[3] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 234-235.

[4] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 235.

[5] Richards, “Darwin and the Descent of Woman (1983),” p. 441.

[6] Richards, “Darwin and the Descent of Woman (1983),” p. 441.

[7] Mazzotti, “Newton for Ladies: Gentility, Gender and Radical Culture,” p. 124.

[8] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 503.

[9] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 505.


Science Wars

The “science wars” involve the process of science and scientists who do not want other branches of knowledge poking around in their processes. Bowler and Morus said, “The modern ‘science wars’ – in which scientists have responded bitterly when the objectivity of science itself has been challenged by sociological critics – illustrate that there is more at stake here than a simple conflict between scientific fact and subjective values.”[1] Science aims for perfect objectivity, but as the scientist is human, this is impossible, human and perfect cannot happen – a human will always have a personal subjective perspective, even when addressing a topic objectively.

While conflicting views were offered in the readings, the advances and discoveries of the seventeenth and eighteenth century are rightfully labeled as the “Scientific Revolution.” The term revolution is applicable because the type of discoveries made upset and reorganized the general conception of natural philosophy, and a new science began to form. The science of 17th and 18th c was not modern science but the beginnings of understanding science with modern implementation – modern science’s great grandfather. Bowler and Morus said, “… the fundamental changes that took place in the ways in which Western culture viewed the universe and the methods used for finding out about the universe during this period were so cataclysmic that they deserve to be described as revolutionary.”[2] Humans, much like the earth, were not the center of existence.[3] Old science was based on scholasticism while new science followed a scientific method that required rigorous experiments in efforts to establish objective truth. Astronomy shifted from being a figurative appearance in geometry to a condition applicable to reality.[4] Mathematics earned esteem (yet weakened its social value by commonality of trade use) to rival philosophy because of its practicality for trade, business, and exploration: one could not navigate the seas without math – Galileo saw nature as mathematical.[5] Mechanical philosophy held the cosmos as a machine, but the new science was empirical and based on the authority of the senses instead of scholasticism.[6] Francis Bacon insisted that experience was to determine the outcome of natural laws – but the experimenter was required to be a gentleman so as to ensure the truth would be addressed in efforts to form a collective information system.[7]

Newton may be the father of science, but there were other members that made up the family – father alone cannot claim victory. Variant types of minds were needed, and men such as Copernicus, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Brahe, Bacon, and Boyle were responsible for expanding knowledge. Newton’s contributions to science included: Principia and the Laws of Motion, the creation of Calculus, and Opticks on the theory of white light. Historically, Newton was not given credit for his activities involving alchemy, but modern science now finds it rather intriguing.[8] During the seventeenth-century, alchemy was negatively viewed by society – although noted as the beginnings of chemistry, alchemy is still not held as a scientific practice, but Newton addressed alchemy as experimentation with natural elements.[9]


Bowler, Peter J. and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Science: A

Historical Survey. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press,


Newton’s Dark Secrets. PBS. Nova, 14 Nov 2005. Online video. 8 Dec


Picture c/o:

[1] Bowlser and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 2.

[2] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 23.

[3] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 29.

[4] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 27.

[5] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 41-2.

[6] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 43.

[7] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 43-45.

[8] Newton’s Dark Secret.

[9] Newton’s Dark Secret.

Natural Survival: Letter 8

Letter 8

To Mrs. E_______, America

Salekard, Dec. 20th 20___.

Father Newton found him, dear deprived Father Charles, screaming out for death and cursing the rain. He prepared a grand funeral pyre, the flames stretched nigh the heavens, and gentle Father Charles nestled, seated atop the brambles, awaiting the fingered flames to succumb him to nothingness. Yet, Mother Nature could not endure her body void of such a notable creature and saw fit to cast down tears of sympathy, heavy tears in a rush to squelch the flames and free the man of the face of death. Father Charles ironically chuckles now, as he relates the tale, yet I am seized with fascination at the workings of Nature – that She alone would recognize the inherent goodness inside the man to whom society turned a blind eye. Father Newton willed Father Charles down from his aborted death throne and ushered him into a wretched cave in which the former resided, nursing him back to health with tender humane kindness. The initial reason for Father Newton’s intervention held selfish means as the older man’s hunting expedition of the day was greatly disturbed due to the lamenting cries of Father Charles – he intended to wrestle with the culprit until, nearing the hulking figure, he deduced an injustice so trite he could not leave the man to face his demons alone.

Your loving brother,