Thursday, May 01, 2003

I still need to mull over what the Scientist has said below, but let my add just one thought. It is worth noting that the developments that Brooke seems to assign to the post-Darwinianian nineteenth century ideas that were on the move well before Darwin. Aguste Comte was pushing for a religion of Reason and Science in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Also, there is at least an argument to be made that with Darwin the causation flows the other way. Ideas of progression, selection, and the survival of the fitest were on the move in social theory before they got into biology via the H.M.S. Beagle. Malthus and Spencer were writing before Darwin and Holmes was developing a "Darwinist" jurisprudence simultaneous with the rise of Darwinism (althogh Holmes was obvioulsy influenced by Darwin). All of this suggests that it may be that there was some underlying zietgiest at work in this period that cannot be reduced simply to the rise of science as the causal explanation.