Of immediate relevance to Darwin’s generation were writers who can be traced in a fairly direct line from the beginning of the 19th century.
As Alec Ryrie pointed out in his history of Doubt, “intellectuals and philosophers may think they make the weather, but they are more often driven by it.”
Charles Darwin, as we saw yesterday, pulled off an intellectual coup against the major thinkers of the Western tradition. How did he do it?
Bottom line: Darwin did not have a single scrap of empirical fieldwork to document his conjectures.
The year so far has delivered a stunning lesson in the fragility of freedom and of civilization.