Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Was Darwin a Socialist?

Given that Charles Darwin was a contemporary of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is there any credence to the speculation that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was driven by socialism?

By: Ringo Bones

After reading A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution and Cooperation by Peter Singer a few years ago, I can – with utmost confidence – safely conclude that any intrusion of ideology, religious or otherwise, into science is an invitation to wishful thinking. But given that in contemporary America – when the conservative White Anglo-Saxon rhetoric now leans toward xenophobia – can Charles Darwin be properly considered as a true socialist?

Unfortunately, White conservative xenophobic America refers to anything that they don’t like – i.e. corporate social responsibility, ethical business governance – as socialism. Even Conservapedia – the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’s conservative version of Wikipedia – had been busy “redefining” the good works done by Jesus Christ 2,000 or so years ago that could be misconstrued as Marxist-Leninist Socialism in Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh era White America of today. Which could only give Dan Brown a bottomless creative wellspring for another The DaVinci Code-type sequel. And given the fact that Peter Singer wrote most of A Darwinian Left during the economically prosperous paradise of the Clinton Administration, can it still be used as research material to prove whether Charles Darwin embraced socialism when he was still alive?

The “official” historical accounts of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is that Darwin tried as hard as he can to make his newly discovered “plasticity of species” phenomena shoehorn into the prevailing Victorian zeitgeist of the Christian-based Creationist view of his wife. And the historically documented political upheaval in Europe during the very end of the 19th Century often points out that those extolling the virtues of Marx and Engels’ ideology often uses Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to show that socialism / communism is “natural” because it is how nature works. Which make Darwin’s Theory of Evolution the driving influence of socialism / communism from a mere ideology to grow into a “newfangled” way to run a state. But can this “convoluted” truth really be that self-evident?

During Victorian times – as well as today’s conservative White Anglo-Saxon American current fascination with the atheist writer Ayn Rand – cooperation is often viewed as an unabashed manifestation of socialism / communism. While competition to better one’s social and economic is everyone’s birthright in an ethical system established by organized Christianity in what is often referred to as the Protestant Work Ethic. Something that is often rationalized by mankind’s dominion over nature because of our divinely ordained status that looks kind of arcane from a scientific viewpoint and nothing more than an excuse to separate ourselves from nature. Given that mankind had now reached a point that competition had created a problem that threatens to kill us all – i.e. global warming and while our only salvation is cooperation through establishing binding treaties to curb greenhouse gas emissions – hints of socialism. Does this prove that Mother Nature wants mankind to embrace socialism in order for us to save from ourselves?

Maybe communism got such a bad rep when Lenin knowing he won’t be alive for much longer introduced the ideology in a traumatic way to most of the unsuspecting Russian populace. But is this historical event repeating itself when it is Mother Nature who is now forcing us to embrace communism or suffer from runaway greenhouse effect? Maybe the failure of the recent 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference is a sure sign of this. Unfortunately, given that the loudest voices who are currently defining what is, what isn’t or should be communism / socialism are the White Anglo-Saxon conservative xenophobes of America, communism / socialism could turn from a mere ideology into the law of nature. Something Charles Darwin for all intents and purposes overlooked when Marx and Engels first published their communist manifesto back in February 1848.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The 2009-Year of Charles Darwin: No New Ground Broken?

As the 2009-Year of Charles Darwin draws to a close, is religious orthodoxy’s superiority over science the only established certainty in this day and age?

By: Ringo Bones

As our celebration of the 200th Birth Anniversary of Charles Darwin in 2009 draws to a close, it seems as if religious orthodoxy has yet again gained an upper hand despite of being relegated to the sidelines since the Age of Reason. Compared to other great historical figures that were honored in 2009 – like the somewhat polemic reexamination of Abraham Lincoln’s life and politics by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Charles Darwin and his “radical” Theory of Evolution has been proven yet again as time goes on. None more so than in 2009 when it is clearly self-evident – if you know where to look – that the religious orthodoxy’s opposition and debunking of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is really nothing more than part of a grand scheme / conspiracy of the American crude oil and coal lobby in order to debunk the science behind global warming. But is there more to this science versus religion Kultur Kampf over Darwin’s Theory of Evolution that the religious orthodoxy – especially the American Religious Right – had us believe?

When Charles Darwin’s most famous contemporary disciple – Professor Richard Dawkins – released another one of his literary magnum opus titled The Greatest Show on Earth this 2009 Darwin Year, the timing couldn’t have been more apt. As Dawkins’ latest book is released concerning why Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the only game in town – i.e. planet Earth and beyond. It started to become more and more self-evident in 2009 that the American crude oil and coal lobbyists on Capitol Hill armed with their almost inexhaustible war chest is busy “influencing” and “convincing” everyone – through cold hard cash – that the science behind global warming / climate change is highly suspect. Even the “foolproof” and infallible “reasoning” of the religious orthodoxy eventually bowed down to the irresistible temptation of fossil fuel industry money, when supposedly the supposed purpose of celebrating 2009-Year of Charles Darwin was supposedly to use Darwin’s scientific voyage into the Galapagos Islands as a rallying cry to better take care of our planet’s life-support system.

So is there a new ground broken during everyone’s celebration of the 2009-Year of Charles Darwin? It depends, though Darwin’s other near contemporaries – the Sierra Club founder John Muir and famed outdoorsman, National Park system supporter, and former US President Theodore Roosevelt – are more famously known for supporting environmentalism than Charles Darwin himself. Darwin’s “radical” Theory of Evolution today only highlights how reason is still vulnerable to the powers-that-be intent to undermine it this day and age. Thus showing us why the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference had became an utter failure in terms of a science-based framework of limiting excess industrial greenhouse gas emissions, instead of political and industry-driven cuts.