ID the Future Podcasting on Intelligent Design and Evolution
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A Farewell to Gertrude Himmelfarb, Early Darwin Critic

Episode
1286
Guests
Michael Flannery
Duration
00:15:59
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On this episode of ID the Future, science historian Michael Flannery pays tribute to Gertrude Himmelfarb, the pioneering Darwin critic who passed away in late December 2019. Even as the world was praising Darwin at the 1959 centennial of The Origin of Species, she was writing of his rhetorical sleight of hand, by which “possibilities were promoted into probabilities, and probabilities into certainties, so ignorance was raised to a position only once removed from certain knowledge.” Gutsy, bold, and precise in her scholarship, she saw Darwin’s theory as offering convenient “scientific” support for the class-divided, untrammeled survival-of-the-fittest industrial competition of the day. And she showed that Darwin’s scholarship — especially in his philosophical sources — was thin and thoroughly forgettable, even 60 years ago. Flannery says that when almost no other prominent scholar was saying such things about Darwin, she spoke up to tell the world the emperor had no clothes.

Michael Flannery

Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Michael A. Flannery is professor emeritus of UAB Libraries, University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds degrees in library science from the University of Kentucky and history from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has written and taught extensively on the history of medicine and science. His most recent research interest has been on the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). He has edited Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace’s World of Life Challenged Darwinism (Erasmus Press, 2008) and authored Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life (Discovery Institute Press, 2011). His research and work on Wallace continues.
Tags
Charles Darwin
Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution
Darwin Centennial
David Lack
Gertrude Himmelfarb
industrial revolution
Jacques Barzun
Julian Huxley
Ronald Fisher
Theodosius Dobzhansky