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Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Not Just Science

Dr. Cornelius Hunter's recent article offers yet another reason why it's important to be an accurate historian...
"The influence of evolutionary thought reaches far beyond science. Consider, for example, the histories we are given of how the theory of evolution arose. Charles Darwin and co-founder Alfred Wallace were deeply influenced by non scientific considerations and these influences have, to a certain extent, been explored. Janet Browne, Peter Bowler, Michael Ruse, Keith Thomson, Neal Gillespie, Adrian Desmond and James Moore are but a few of those who have elucidated the cultural, political and other non scientific forces that influenced Darwin and Wallace. As Bowler explains, historians are now far more concerned about the social environment within which scientific knowledge was generated, and far more willing to admit that the development of science is not the inevitable triumph of a series of factually true assertions about the natural world. That sounds like good, solid historiography. But there’s a catch.

Today’s history tellers cannot avoid the undeniable non scientific influences in evolutionary thought. But they do avoid the obvious implication; namely, that evolution entails non scientific premises. It is, as it were, a social construct. Evolution is a theory created by humans, out of human concerns that have very little to do with science..."
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