Welcome back to my Hodge-Podge!
Today as I was leaving the University Park campus, I saw a group of youngsters (mostly female) lifting banners to celebrate Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday, and also, as I was to discover later, the 150th Anniversary to the publication of his Origin Of Species.
What's most interesting to me is that many people who celebrate Darwin's Origin Of Species would probably be horrified to read the sequel of his evolutionary theory, The Descent Of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. To me, as I commented to a couple of persons today, the relevance of Descent is probably higher today than when it was first published in 1871.
Darwin proposes, for example, the idea that all men must be of a common origin, meaning that the different races are not to be deemed as superior or inferior by color of the skin or geographic origin. Therefore, we can infer all men should be treated with the same dignity, as he posits there is no evidence to believe that the evolution happened simultaneously from different ethnic backgrounds. Hence, this is a big "no" to any form of racial discrimination. Also, the whole eugenics field is put under strong question. He and Francis Galton proposed better coupling/matching as a means for evolution, not selective births or genocidal acts. This argument posits an implicit defense of human dignity under all circumstances.
He also argues that infanticide, contraception and abortion are just varieties of the same act, namely originated in the need women have to keep themselves from losing their juvenile beauty/sex appeal, understanding all this in the context of Darwin's Theory of Sexual Selection (the human version being the subject of Part III of the book), which in simple terms is just the need for individuals to collect perceived characteristics which would provide them with comparative reproductive advantages over other competitors from the same sex.
Darwin highlighted the importance of maintaining family unit, and well as beliefs and morale as a means to reach higher stages of evolution for society.
However, all this doesn't mean that I agree with everything that Descent contains. In particular, its constant belief that women are by construction inferior to men, both intellectually and physically, is an argument I cannot grasp.
Anyway. I still find funny that so many liberals, evolutionists, and feminists are celebrating so fervently Darwin here at Penn State. My guess is that many would have been offended if they actually had taken the time to read what Darwin wrote. He was closer to morally (if slightly left-wing) conservatives than to Liberalism, if anything.