Darwinian Evolution

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Antony Flew
Transaction Publishers - Social Science - 149 pages
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In little more than a hundred years the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin has conquered the thinking world. No other body of ideas has enjoyed such unrivaled success. But precisely because of its scientific status, Darwinism has sometimes been invoked to sustain other ideas and beliefs with a much less solid foundation. "Darwinian Evolution "is a study of the historical background of Darwin's ideas, of their logical structure, and of their alleged and actual implications.

Flew explores the Scottish Enlightenment, an important and often neglected aspect of Darwin's intellectual background. He compares Darwin with such figures as Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and Karl Marx, emphasizing not the similarities, but the differences between the natural and social sciences. Flew argues that social science must do what natural science does not: take account of individual choice. He examines the creationist controversy in Britain and the United States and discusses the possibility of a human sociobiology.

In his new introduction, Flew updates his book by discussing relevant works that have appeared since it was published thirteen years ago. He discusses two different tendencies among both social scientists and those who develop or promote social policies according to various findings in the social sciences: (1) to assume there is no such thing as human nature; and (2) to take no account of the possibility that differences between sets of individuals may be genetically determined. Flew maintains that both these tendencies violate Darwin's theory. "Darwinian Evolution "is an intriguing study that should be read by sociologists, biologists, philosophers, and all those interested in the impact of Darwin and his work.

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Contents

FROM DARWINS ORIGIN TO TODAYS SYNTHETIC THEORY
1
CHARLES DARWIN 180982
2
THE ARGUMENT OF THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
10
BLENDING VARIATION ANDOR SALTATORY MUTATION?
20
DIFFICULTIES OBJECTIONS AND SOME ANSWERS
23
THE PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS
32
THE LOGICAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS OF DARWINS THEORY
33
THE CHALLENGE TO RELIGIOUS ASSUMPTIONS
51
MAKING VISIBLE THE INVISIBLE HANDS
83
AN ATHEIST PROVIDENCE GUARANTEEING UTOPIA?
92
THE CHALLENGE OF SOCIOBIOLOGY
113
PROGRESS SOCIAL DARWINISM AND AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE
120
A GUARANTEE OF PROGRESS?
121
FROM IS TO OUGHT
124
SEEING IN AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE
129
BIBLIOGRAPHY
133

SOCIAL SCIENCE EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY
73
MALTHUS POWERS CHECKS AND CHOICE
74
INDEX
145
Copyright

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Page 85 - By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security ; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain; and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
Page 12 - And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Page 85 - ... intends only his own security ; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.
Page 122 - Epoch, we may feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence we may look with some confidence to a secure future of great length. And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.
Page 12 - And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Page 105 - What I did that was new was to prove: 1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production, 2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat, 3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.
Page 46 - From these remarks it will be seen that I look at the term species, as one arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms.

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