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Once Again, About the Word “Darwinism”

David Klinghoffer

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The release yesterday of the new Discovery Institute documentary Human Zoos is a great occasion to revisit the word “Darwinism.” As evolutionist Nathan Lents has complained about us, “They try to use ‘Darwinist’ like an albatross linking evolution to Darwin’s Victorian white supremacy.” Another frequent ID critic emailed me the other day with the same gripe, claiming that ID proponents misuse the term, whose scientific content was long ago abandoned.

I answered that of course the science that constitutes Darwinism has evolved considerably since Darwin’s own time, but the term remains a convenient shorthand. Darwinists for the most part also seek to deny the heritage of pseudoscientific racism revealed by Human Zoos. (Alt-right Darwinists would be a different story.) But our use of the word “Darwinism” is not our invention or some mischievous idiosyncrasy. 

Don’t believe me? See the document, “Have Design Proponents ‘Invented’ Terms about ‘Darwinism’?” That Discovery Institute white paper should settle the question.

Photo: Darwin’s statue, Natural History Museum, by http://www.cgpgrey.com [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



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