Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

19th Century Science v. Religion Panel

It is long (just over an hour and a half) and a bit dry but I found this lecture panel very informative on the history of 19th century science v. religion on my search for information for my paper. Give it a watch if you have time.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Aug.1 Reports

REPORTERS, please post an assignment and a quiz (6+ quiz questions and at least a couple of discussion questions) ASAP prior to your presentation date so we can all add supplemental questions & comments. The assignment can be a reading selection, a YouTube video, a podcast etc.

Pending Chris's questions...

1. What did Dawkins recant from the 1987 1st edition, in 1996?

2. What does he say Darwnism encompasses?

3. How does he say anti-evolutionists are always motivated?

4. Darwin made it possible, Dawkins thinks, to be an intellectually respectable what?

5. Living complexity embodies the very antithesis of what?

6. How does Dawkins distinguish biology from physics, with respect to their respective subjective matter?

  • Do you agree with Dawkins that Hume's critique of Paley's design argument is unsatisfying?
  • Is there anything objectionable about reductionism, in the sense that Dawkins defends?
  • Is it "infantile" to seek the meaning of your life from someone else?
  • How would you account for the different receptions accorded Darwinism and "Einsteinism"?

Pending Chase's questions...

1. Why do the authors consider themselves lucky?

2. What is the "deep mystery" according to Nanrei Kobori?

3. We humans are like a what?

4. What's the "cost of coming of age"?

5. [See below] Human vanity cherishes what absurd notion?

6. The new replicators are not DNA, they're what?

7. What should we try to understand about "a raving demagogue counseling hatred for other, slightly different groups of humans"?

  • Are modern humans generally all lucky, compared to other species or earlier epochs, with respect to the degree of nurture we've received from our progenitors and predecessors?
  • How many generations of your own family history are you familiar with, or even aware of?
  • Do you agree with Samuel Butler's view of chickens and eggs? [see below]
  • What do you think "the passionate resistance of so many of us" to the idea of being vitally related to all other lifeforms says about humans? Is it something we can grow out of?

“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” 
“…the Genesis story is just one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants.” 
“Evolution has no long-term goal. There is no long-distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criterion for selection, although human vanity cherishes the absurd notion that our species is the final goal of evolution.” 
“[W]e may now be on the threshold of a new kind of genetic takeover. DNA replicators built 'survival machines' for themselves — the bodies of living organisms including ourselves. As part of their equipment, bodies evolved onboard computers — brains. Brains evolved the capacity to communicate with other brains by means of language and cultural traditions. But the new milieu of cultural tradition opens up new possibilities for self-replicating entities. The new replicators are not DNA and they are not clay crystals. They are patterns of information that can thrive only in brains or the artificially manufactured products of brains — books, computers, and so on. But, given that brains, books and computers exist, these new replicators, which I called memes to distinguish them from genes, can propagate themselves from brain to brain, from brain to book, from book to brain, from brain to computer, from computer to computer.” 
“Many of us have no grasp of quantum theory, or Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity, but this does not in itself lead us to oppose these theories! Darwinism, unlike ‘Einsteinism’, seems to be regarded as fair game for critics with any degree of ignorance.” 
“In the case of living machinery, the ‘designer’ is unconscious natural selection, the blind watchmaker.” 

Image result for sagan cosmos

"We were very lucky. We were raised by parents who took seriously their responsibility to be strong links in the chain of generations..."

'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic. 

They've served their purpose. 

Nature is unsentimental. 

Death is built in.”
“If the Earth were as old as a person, a typical organism would be born, live and die in a sliver of a second. We are fleeting, transitional creatures, snowflakes fallen on the hearth fire.” 
“We are rendering many species extinct; we may even succeed in destroying ourselves. But this is nothing new for the Earth. Humans would then be just the latest in a long sequence of upstart species that arrive on-stage, make some alterations in the scenery, kill off some of the cast, and then themselves exit stage-left forever. New players appear in the next act. The Earth abides. It has seen all this before.” 
“Even if we ourselves are not personally scandalized by the notion of other animals as close relatives, even if our age has accommodated to the idea, the passionate resistance of so many of us, in so many epochs and cultures, and by so many distinguished scholars, must say something important about us. What can we learn about ourselves from an apparent error so widespread, propagated by so many leading philosophers and scientists, both ancient and modern, with such assurance and self-satisfaction? 

One of several possible answers: A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them--without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. With untroubled consciences, we can render whole species extinct--for our perceived short-term benefit, or even through simple carelessness. Their loss is of little import: Those beings, we tell ourselves, are not like us. An unbridgeable gap has thus a practical role to play beyond the mere stroking of human egos. Darwin's formulation of this answer was: "Animals whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equals.” 
“Each of us is a tiny being, permitted to ride on the outermost skin of one of the smaller planets for a few dozen trips around the local star.”
“So next time you hear a raving demagogue counseling hatred for other, slightly different groups of humans, for a moment at least see if you can understand his problem: He is heeding an ancient call that—however dangerous, obsolete, and maladaptive it may be today—once benefitted our species.” 


Whenever scientists examine the best way to test a theory, or wonder how scientific models relate to reality, they’re doing philosophy. Via

  1. Listening to audiobook Demon-Haunted World. Carl Sagan should have won Nobel for LITERATURE. Badly read by Englishman whose mis-emphasis of words betrays inattention to meaning. Chapter 12 is read (far better) by Seth MacFarlane. Almost sounded like Sagan. Wish he’d read it all.

Following up on last week's discussion of cosmic optimism/pessimism etc.-

   (To the doctor) 
  He's been depressed.  All off a sudden, 
  he can't do anything.

  Why are you depressed, Alvy?
   (Nudging Alvy) 
  Tell Dr. Flicker. 
   (Young Alvy sits, his head down.  His 
   mother answers for him) 
  It's something he read.

   (Puffing on his cigarette and 
  Something he read, huh?  

   (His head still down) 
  The universe is expanding.

  The universe is expanding?

   (Looking up at the doctor) 
  Well, the universe is everything, and if 
  it's expanding, someday it will break apart 
  and that would be the end of everything!

Disgusted, his mother looks at him.

  What is that your business? 
   (she turns back to the doctor) 
  He stopped doing his homework.

  What's the point?

   (Excited, gesturing with her hands) 
  What has the universe got to do with it?  
  You're here in Brooklyn!  Brooklyn is not 

   (Heartily, looking down at Alvy) 
  It won't be expanding for billions of years 
  yet, Alvy.  And we've gotta try to enjoy 
  ourselves while we're here.  Uh?

Dr. Flicker's right!

And so was William James when he told Henry Adams we don't need to be depressed about cosmic entropy:

Though the ULTIMATE state of the universe may be its ... extinction, there is nothing in physics to interfere with the hypothesis that the PENULTIMATE state might be ... a happy and virtuous consciousness. In short, the last expiring pulsation of the universe's life might be, "I am so happy and perfect that I can stand it no longer."
As Darwin said: "the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply."

And that leads me to a question for you: should I offer an MALA version of my Philosophy of Happiness course next summer? Or, a course on peripatetic (walking) philosophy? Or, do you have other suggestions?
Playing here with the cloud audio embed feature, since my old podcasting platform ("Opinion") went away...

To follow up on Don's discussion of Dewey, and my closing question about what he might say of democracy and education in our time:

Democracy Is a Habit: Practice It - John Dewey on the culture democracy requires

...Is democracy in the United States really so robust? At the outset of World War II, American philosopher John Dewey cautioned against so easy a conclusion—and the simplistic picture of democratic society that it presumes. In Freedom and Culture (1939), he worried that democracy might succumb to the illusion of stability and endurance in the face of threats to liberty and norms of decency. According to Dewey, we must not believe
that democratic conditions automatically maintain themselves, or that they can be identified with fulfillment of prescriptions laid down in a constitution. Beliefs of this sort merely divert attention from what is going on, just as the patter of the prestidigitator enables him to do things that are not noticed by those whom he is engaged in fooling. For what is actually going on may be the formation of conditions that are hostile to any kind of democratic liberties.
Dewey’s was a warning to be wary not just of bad governance but of a more fundamental deformation of society. “This would be too trite to repeat,” he admits, “were it not that so many persons in the high places of business talk as if they believed or could get others to believe that the observance of formulae that have become ritualistic are effective safeguards of our democratic heritage.”

Democracy Is a Habit: Practice It

  1. But how to change a culture of red-voters' partisan indifference to lying is unclear, and would be to Dewey too. We're just gonna have to beat 'em with the institution of the ballot, no?

Walt Whitman, great poet of democracy, advises optimism-as-resistance, “vitalized by regular contact with out-door light” https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/07/26/walt-whitman-specimen-days-democracy/

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dayton observations

Dayton observations

The trip to Dayton was a great way to conclude our semester on evolution. It was easy to reminisce about what it was like in 1925. There were new buildings and perhaps a few renovated ones from then and new cars along with some antique ones on display. The people that wandered around the arts and crafts booths and sat on benches listening to bluegrass music could easily have been at home with their ancestors ninety-three years ago.

Fortunately, the courtroom was air-conditioned and the temperature outside was very mild compared to what it was in 1925. The museum in the basement contained lots of additional information about Rhea County, Dayton, and the trial. The little restaurant, Monkey Town Brewing Co, where we dined before returning home had good southern food and some appropriately named drinks and food. On the walls there were old newspapers hanging in frames describing some of the events of the time.

It was easy to imagine Matthew Chapman touring the town and we even drove around the campus of Bryan College but didn’t have time to stop and see if Professor Kurt Wise was still there. I don’t know how similar the play that Chapman missed was to the one we viewed, but it was well-rehearsed and choreographed with many actors ranging in age from young children to senior citizens. Some live in Dayton and others commute. The storyteller is from Murfreesboro.

In reflecting on our discussion of evolution and natural selection, I observed the diversity of fauna and flora that existed on the way from Murfreesboro to Dayton as we passed acres and acres of trees and shrubs in McMinnville and several stretches of highway were kudzu has overwhelmed the native species. Non-native trees planted in fields row after row made me imagine what would happen to them if left unattended for fifty years. Would the area revert to what existed before? Also, the kudzu reminded me of what can happen when a species of plant overwhelms an area, killing everything under it. I’m sure Darwin would have had some thoughts about both.

Rhea county once was known as the strawberry capital of the country. Then disease hit the strawberries. Nature isn’t always kind to a species and since disease resistant strawberries didn’t evolve, the strawberry industry was wiped out.

If you couldn’t make the trip to Dayton, you might want to go sometime to enjoy the beautiful scenery and if you went, you might want to return.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Chapter 6 summary- Consciousness

     This one is short and sweet as my thoughts did not stay with the theme of the chapter...

     Free will. “It is said to be the most discussed problem in all of philosophy, going back to the ancient Greeks and beyond. This issue raises strong feelings because freedom implies responsibility. We consider ourselves responsible and we hold others accountable for their actions on the assumption that they freely chose to act the way they did.” (p.85)

     I read and reread this passage several times before moving on through chapter 6, and while this chapter brings up a lot of interesting points on the biological perspective of free will and consciousness as far as brain function and what is taking place inside the brain while neurons are firing away, I was more intrigued of the social implications this notion of free will presents. If we do have such a thing as free will, and we are in ‘charge’ of our own consciousness and doings, then that forces us to be very trusting of our fellow man, does it not? Yet most of us do not dwell on the fact that we have to interact with strangers throughout the day and one of them my harm us or act outlandish for some odd reason. Oddly for some reason, most of us have some inherent idea of what is right and wrong/ moral and immoral/ good and bad.

     So, like previous posts and discussions I have made, does this not warrant some investigation into a universal consciousness? If we as a species for the most part can agree on basic core values at some level, where does that connectedness come from? Food for thought.


I made a slideshow to commemorate our field trip to Dayton last Saturday. 

Scopes Trial 2018 from Osopher

This features commentary from the late Stephen Jay Gould:

Asa Gray's Reviews in the Atlantic Monthly

Asa Gray's first review was in a scientific journal. I had some difficulty posting that and it would have been good if you could have reviewed that first, but here is the link for his three reviews in the Atlantic Monthly.

When you begin the first page, you will notice that part of the left margin got cut off when they scan it and there may be instances where the letter "c" replaces the letter "e".

Hopefully this will work for you. You may want to copy and paste it into Google.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Presentation July 25th

Evolution in America
MALA 6040
Dr. James P. Oliver

Books and essay selected for presentation: On the Origin of Species edited by Gillian Beer, The Book That Changed America by Randall Fuller, and The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy by John Dewey.

Links to Asa Gray's reviews on separate post.

I first read parts of On the Origin of Species as a teenager, when I was interested in science. Unfortunately, I remembered little of it. As I began to read The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation by Randall Fuller (2017), I realized that to better appreciate its impact on America in the 1860s, I needed to re-read it which I did, but Fuller’s account led me to several interesting backstories that were not directly related to the scientific basis of Darwin’s theory. They provided some details about individuals who were affected by the Origin and address the question, did the Origin change America and if so in what way?

For the initial impact of the Origin, to place this book in a proper historical and literary context, we must consider some of the events that transpired within three years of its being published in 1859. Other notable books published in 1859 were A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Adam Bede by George Eliot, and On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. Louisa May Alcott had her first story published in the Atlantic Monthly in March 1860 and immediately began writing a second story about an interracial marriage between a biracial man and a white woman. James Russell Lowell, the editor, thought it was too incendiary to publish because of how it would be received in the south; it was subsequently published in 1862. Alcott had a close personal relationship with Emerson, having unlimited access to his library and with Thoreau. She later incorporated them as primary characters in her first novel. Nathaniel Hawthorne joined the community and became Alcott’s neighbor. His novel, Marble Faun, was published in 1860. Also, in September 1860 Henry David Thoreau read his “Succession of Forest Trees” to the Middlesex Agricultural Society, in Concord. According to Fuller, it was an “early response to a world Darwin had introduced—a place divested of God and yet made wonderful by science, a world of weakened faith and exciting discovery.” Two years later in November 1862, the Atlantic Monthly published Thoreau’s Wild Apples. These writings captured a naturalistic direction that was generated by Darwin’s Origin. I found this circle of friends particularly intriguing, many were members of the Concord Transcendental Society and it is interesting for me how many times great minds meet and generate great ideas. Movie directors, Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas, Coppola, and de Palma all hung out with each other and were instrumental in creating some great movies by inspiring each other.

Historical events during this time included John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry on October 16, 1859; he was captured, tried, and hung on December 2, 1859, Abraham Lincoln’s nomination on May 18, 1860 to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States, South Carolina’s decision to be the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860, Confederate forces attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 that began the Civil War, and President Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. When we look at any historical, literary, philosophical, sociological, or cultural event we need to consider it in the context of the other disciplines and related events. They are not isolated.

With these events occurring concurrently with the appearance of the Origin in America, how was it received? Fuller stated that Asa Gray, the Harvard botanist, was “almost certainly the first American to read Darwin’s Origin in its entirety.” Gray also first wrote a long essay about the Origin for the American Journal of Science which was intended for an enlightened scientific audience and then three articles for the Atlantic Monthly intended for layman. The first of these three Atlantic articles was very supportive of Darwin and probably created a favorable first impression that Gray was forced to walk-back in his last article. (I am including all four for your review – the Atlantic articles are accessed by a link to address any potential copyright issues.)  I realize that time will probably not permit you to first read On the Origin of Species before you read Gray’s reviews. Try to imagine the internal conflict Gray must have experienced. He studied under Agassiz, an opponent of Darwin’s theory and had established his own reputation as an exceptional collector of botanical specimens (this is how he secured his position at Harvard). He was an expert in his field. His opinion would have influenced an American public who didn’t have the time to read the Origin or have the knowledge to understand it. Gray met Darwin a couple of times before the Origin was published but it was the exchange of a letter to Gray around 1855 that preserved Darwin’s role in being the first to consider natural selection. They later developed a friendship with Gray going to visit Darwin in England and walking the famous Sandwalk.

After Gray read and annotated his copy of the Origin, he shared it with Charles Loring Brace, husband of his cousin, Jane Loring Gray. Brace brought it with him to a meeting at the home of Franklin Benjamin Sanborn on January 1, 1860. Also, in attendance were Bronson Alcott, father of Louisa May Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau. Sanborn was a member of the “Secret Six.” The other five were Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Samuel Gridley Howe, Theodore Parker, Gerrit Smith, and George Luther Stearns. They had been instrumental in funding John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry and all were under scrutiny for having potentially committed treason against the United States; an action carrying with it the death penalty.

As they celebrated the new year, after they ate, they retired to talk, and Brace produced the book he had brought with him. Its complete title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Sanborn was engaged in his own struggle for life, certainly a little on edge to be attending a meeting where he could be subjected to arrest. He twice left the country to avoid being taken to Washington DC and being questioned and almost certainly convicted of treason. Later, marshals physically removed him from his home and it was only the quick thinking of his wife who rallied the citizens to block his being taken that prevented him from almost certain death by hanging.  Fuller suggested that “Sanborn felt that On the Origin of Species described the world he inhabited. The depiction of constant struggle and endless competition in the Origin perfectly captured what it felt like to live in America in 1860.”
Fuller said that “Brace saw the Origin as leading to something ultimately good and as a defense against slavery. We were all descended from one prototype.” Of those present, Thoreau was probably the most deeply affected. According to Fuller, Thoreau had already read The Voyage of the Beagle when it was first published in America nearly a decade earlier. He had loved the book from the first. Thoreau became more engaged with Origin because he could relate to it from his own observations and previous notes. He focused “especially on the book’s third chapter ‘The Struggle for Existence.’” He relived the devastation of a fire he had created in 1844 that wiped out “a large swath of the Concord woods.”

Fuller found critical reviews of the Origin as early as February 1860 that stated that “The Origin was nothing less than a ‘sneer at the idea of any manifestation of design in the material universe,’ and its theories ‘repudiate the whole doctrine of final causes,’ rendering obsolete ‘all indication of design or purpose in the organic world.’” Gray did his best to counter these reviews by arguing that, “Darwin’s ideas were no different from those of Isaac Newton, whose ‘theory of gravitation and …nebular hypothesis assume a universal and ultimate physical cause, from which the effects in nature must necessarily have resulted.’” Gray asserted that the theory, “broke down a centuries-old belief that species were stable and immutable,” and he believed that a “spirited conflict among opinions of every grade must ensue” about natural selection and special creation.

While there were several precursors to the evolution theory, like Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1799, and Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation by an anonymous author, published fifteen years before the Origin, James Hutton, Charles Lyell, William Buckland, and Erasmus Darwin, Charles’s grandfather, Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection is what distinguished him from these individuals. According to Fuller, “Natural selection was a brilliant concept, but like many brilliant concepts it assaulted long-cherished ideas and beliefs. It threatened the notion that human beings were a separate and extraordinary species, differing from every other animal on the planet. Taken to its logical conclusion it demolished the idea that people had been created in God’s image.”
Natural selection appealed to Thoreau, his essay “The Succession of Forest Trees” resulted from “Thoreau’s encounter with Darwin…He challenged Clark’s and Agassiz’s explanation of spontaneous generation as the way plants appeared on land that had been burned and defoliated. He did it through observation…Thoreau like Darwin initially were conflicted about what they witnessed as observers that was based on science and what they thought might reflect ‘the idea of design.’” What was remarkable about Thoreau’s essay was his recognition of the importance of the seed. “His touchstone was the seed…millions upon millions of seeds and spores are produced and scattered, broadcast by the air and by animals in order that a few plants may find their niche and grow.”

Darwin defined natural selection in On the Origin of Species in this way, “ Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight, and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring. The offspring, also, will thus have a better chance of surviving, for, of the many individuals of any species which are periodically born, but a small number can survive. I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection.” If we stop to reflect, we realize that many seeds and infant animals never survive. As difficult as it may be to believe, only a rare baby bunny survives to adulthood. They are caught in their nest and eaten by cats, dogs, or foxes. If they make it out of the nest, they are vulnerable to the same predators in addition to hawks and eagles, diseases, and lastly to humans from hunting to cars. We just never see the cruel reality of their trying to survive in Nature and theirs is just one example of many animals including insects that live from moment to moment. But beyond animals we see this in societies throughout the world were refugees struggle to survive, but to avoid that unpleasant reality, we usually change the channel, look the other way, or tune out. Perhaps, even among humans, those that do survive have inherited a variation that will help future generations survive.

Natural selection also appealed to Brace because he argued that “Darwin’s theory implied that all peoples shared the same basic humanity and were therefore capable of more or less the same level of development,” but he also realized that the theory “could be used against black people as easily as it could be used on their behalf—that in fact Darwinism could be used to support just about any social or political claim one wanted to make.” Those claims became ever more prevalent as nations pursued the industrial revolution and Social Darwinism took hold to justify the survival of the fittest and to defend the existing plutocracy during Reconstructions and the Gilded Age and today’s disproportionate income inequality.

Darwin’s conception of all of life represented by a great tree explained how “all animals and all plants throughout all time and space should be related to each other in group subordinate to group, in the manner which we everywhere behold—namely, varieties of the same species most closely related together, species of the same genus less closely and unequally related together, forming sections and sub-genera, species of different genera much less closely related, and genera related in different degrees, forming sub-families, families, orders, sub-classes, and classes.” This led him to conclude that, “On the view that each species has been independently created, I can see no explanation of this great fact in the classification of all organic being.”

Darwin’s detailed analysis and mention of Gray may have influenced Gray initial positive reviews of the Origin. His view of Darwin’s theory evolved through his essays as he reflected on the implications of the theory. By his third essay, he retreated to a position, “that natural selection might be the process by which God has fashioned the world.” He found it “impossible to live in the world Darwin had imagined: a world of chance, a world that did not require a God to operate.” Gray and Darwin continued to correspond and in one of the most poignant exchanges, Darwin shared his thoughts. “Toward the end of 1860, Darwin wrote, [to Gray], ‘I had no intention to write atheistically,’ but he admitted that he could not accept Gray’s arguments on behalf of intelligent creation. ‘I grieve to say that I cannot honestly go as far as you do about design…I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of design.’” “There seems to be too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [a parasitic wasp] with the express intention of their feeding with the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.”

Did the Origin change America and ignite a nation? There are some books that did change America – Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and perhaps to some degree On the Origin of Species. It strongly influenced the abolitionists who saw it as an argument against slavery because all humans originated from an earlier progenitor and if we reserve judgement to before Reconstruction, it did. However, after the Civil War, it was used to justify racial superiority and inferiority. It was used to excuse poverty, child labor, domestic abuse, mistreatment of women, and income inequity and its significance continued to 1925 and still today since we are still debating the theory and still arguing whether it is factual or theoretical.

John Dewey delivered a lecture in 1909 fifty years after the Origin was published, entitled “The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy,” in which he recognized that “In laying hands upon the sacred ark of absolute permanency, in treating forms that had been regarded as types of fixity and perfection as originating and passing away, the ‘Origin of Species’ introduced a mode of thinking that in the end was bound to transform the logic of knowledge, and hence the treatment of morals, politics, and religion.” He also understood that “the greatest dissolvent in contemporary thought of old questions, the greatest participant of new methods, new intentions, new problems, is the one effected by the scientific revolution that found its climax in the ‘Origin of Species.’” That revolution is still on going and perhaps in another one or two hundred years there will be a greater acceptance of the contribution that On the Origin of Species made in changing America then, now, and in the future.

1.       According to Fuller, who was probably the first American to read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species?
2.       What was the “Secret Six” society?
3.       What is the complete title of Darwin’s book?
4.       According to Fuller what “demolished the idea that people had been created in God’s image”?
5.       What was Thoreau’s touchstone?
6.       Why did Darwin say he could not “look at each separate thing as the result of design.”?