Darwin and Social Darwinism

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NewSouth, Incorporated, Feb 1, 2013 - 50 pages
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In this volume, excerpted from Charles Darwin: A Celebration of His Life and Legacy (NewSouth Books, 2013), Guy Beckwith compares the impact of Darwin's ideas on humankind to that of the Copernican Revolution. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) removed Earth and humankind from the center of the universe. Then Darwin dealt the human ego a second blow by making humankind the product of natural selection acting on chance variations, not necessarily the purposeful creation of a Creator. Beckwith details the Victorian world's strong opposition to evolution by natural selection after publication of On the Origin of Species. Yet Darwin's ideas not only persisted, they flourished. Why? Beckwith persuasively argues for two major factors: (1) Darwin's personal characteristics as a scientist and (2) the ease with the theory of natural selection was coopted by those with social and political agendas.

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About the author (2013)

Guy V. Beckwith is Associate Professor of History at Auburn University. He earned a BA in English from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an MA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an interdisciplinary PhD focused on the history and philosophy of technology, also from Santa Barbara. He teaches courses in Technology and Civilization for undergraduates, and a seminar in the Theory of History for PhD candidates. His research interests include the uses of technological imagery in the western literary tradition, and the cultural role of technology in the ancient world.

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