CHARLES F. URBANOWICZ on CHARLES R. DARWIN

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
California State University, Chico / Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.]; 530-898-6824 [FAX]
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu
home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban

6 October 1998 [1]

© [All Rights Reserved.] This paper was presented to Dr. Carolyn Heinz's ANTH 300 (Core Seminar in Cultural Anthropology) on October 6, 1998. Urbanowicz is a Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Chico. He received his B.A. (1967) from Western Washington University and the M.A. (1969) and Ph.D. (1972) from the University of Oregon. Charlie taught at the University of Minnesota in 1972-1973 and came to Chico in August 1973. This paper draws heavily on numerous Urbanowicz/Darwin items. MARCH 2001 NOTE} If you desire a recent "Darwin" item you should check out the November 2000 paper at: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Darwin2000.html which includes numerous post-1998 references, including two "Darwin videos" available on the WWW.

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH300.html]

SUMMARY STATEMENT

Summarizing this paper in a single phrase: I attempt to "humanize" Charles R. Darwin, place him within the context of his times, and discuss some of the impact (and interpretations) of his work. The presentation deals with (#1) some of the scientific research of Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882), specifically his monumental 1859 publication entitled On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life and (#2) demonstrates some of the "multimedia" attempts I have made, working with others on campus, to portray Darwin as an intelligent human being. Darwin's theory of "natural selection" is hopefully well known but how did the culture of his times influence his ideas and the development and acceptance of his theory? What happened before Darwin published Origin and what came after his numerous other publications? Charles Darwin was an important individual for a variety of reasons: the data he collected, the experiments he conducted, and the theory he proposed influenced a variety of disciplines, from anthropology to zoology as well as ecology, ethology, geology, and the general social sciences. His influence continues to be condemned, supported, and debated after almost 150 years; I am personally conducting my on-going research into Darwin with an eye towards the year 2009 which will be the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

PERSPECTIVE/CONTEXT

"Perspective is everything. Pacific Studies, imperial history, maritime history, and antrhopology tend to worlds of their own; sailing among them over the past few years, I have often felt a sense of dislocation. Theoretical and methodological approaches can differ radically between disciplines, and some times different academic cultures are in open opposition to one another." Jane Samsom, 1998, Imperial Benevolence: Making British Authority In The British Islands (page 1).

As an anthropologist who did fieldwork in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga more than a quarter-of-a-century ago, it is interesting to read the above statement, for indeed, "perspective is everything" and without placing things into perspective we fail as anthropologists.

Questions one should consider, include the following: In what year was Charles Darwin was born? In what year did Charles Darwin die? In what year did Darwin sail from England on his trip around the globe? In what year did Darwin return to England? What was the name of Darwin's ship? Name of Islands in the Pacific Ocean that Darwin visited where he discovered the significance of finches? Darwin married Ms. Emma Wedgwood and how many children did they have? In what year did Charles Darwin publish his most famous work? (Hint: Originally entitled On The Origin of Species....) Total number of editions of On The Origin of Species....published in Darwin's lifetime? (The first edition was published in 1859: How many other editions of Origin did Darwin publish in his lifetime?) What contemporary individual is often called the "co-discoverer" of evolution? Three other areas of interest that Darwin published in, in addition to On The Origin of Species....), were? Darwin "borrowed" the phrase "survival of the fittest" from? The individual known as "Darwin's Bulldog" was? Two other individuals extremely supportive of Darwin's scientific work were? The Austrian monk who did experimentation with peas (and hence "genetics) was? After his death, where was Darwin was buried? The celebrated "Scopes Trial" was held in what year?

RATIONALE/CONTENT

The rationale for creating instructional videotape(s) dealing with Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882) is an attempt to convey not only the content of Darwin's work, but also the context and the impact his ideas for contemporary University students. I hope to get them (and others) understand that impact. In many respects, it is an attempt through the use of multimedia to convey what Freeman Dyson wrote about Albert Einstein: "This book shows him as he was--not a superhuman genius but a human genius, and all the greater for being a human being" (Alice Calaprice, 1996, The Quotable Einstein, page xiii).

DARWIN BACKGROUND

Charles Robert Darwin was born in the village of Shrewsbury (England) on February 12, 1809, and he died on April 19, 1882. He is buried in London in Westminster Abbey. Over the years 1831-1836 Darwin took part in a fourty-thousand mile voyage around the globe and other eminent Victorians were also exploring and gathering information about the world about them; the zeitgesit was an expanding one!

"The Victorians' fascination with the past was thus the product of an age obsessed with change, desperately hoping that history itself might supply the reassurance that could no longer be derived from ancient beliefs. ... The Victorians' obsession with history was fueled by an immense extension of the range of past events open to their investigations." Peter J. Bowler, 1989, The Invention of Progress: The Victorians and the Past (Oxford: Basil Blackwood), page 3.

K. Theodore Hoppen wrote in the 1998 publication entitled The Mid-Victorian Generation: 1846-1886 the following perceptive words:

"The characteristics of any past age are revealed not simply by political and social developments, but by the manner in which contemporaries tried to explain their situation in time and place and by the language and concepts in which such explanations were formulated and discussed. In the case of mid- and late Victorian Britain the ambiguous and slippery notion of 'evolution' generated perhaps the most striking cluster of concepts around which the governing ideas of the time were put together and assessed. ... The key mid- and late nineteenth-century figures in this new comparative endeavour--the lawyer Sir Henry Maine, the anthropologist General Pitt-Rivers, J. F. McLennan, and E.B. Tylor, the philosopher and sage Herbert Spencer--placed as they were amidst the ruins of utilitarianism, performed the remarkable feat of reasserting the essential unity of mankind, not by means of theories of human identity as such, but by explaining obvious differences as no more than different stages in the same universal and evolutionary process. ... Cutting across much of this, but also drawing considerable inspiration from Lyell's geological researches, was the work of Charles Darwin, whose book on The Origin...appeared in 1859." (1998: 472-473)

DARWIN'S MONUMENT

Change is apparent where Darwin is concerned and his most monumental work was his 1859 publication of On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Origin went through five additional editions in his own lifetime (in addition to his numerous other publications). When Darwin's book was published in November 1859, there was consternation and discussion of his ideas (and data presented to support those ideas) on both sides of the Atlantic: in England, perhaps, the most famous debate occured at Oxford University (June 30, 1860) at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), often referred to as "Darwin's Bulldog" debated Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873) "known to everyone as 'Soapy Sam' because of his ingratiating manners." Darwin, Huxley, and mid-19th century science were vindicated. (See, for example, Ashley Montagu, 1974, Frontiers of Anthropology, pages 157-159). In America, a pro-Darwin scientist was the eminent Professor of Natural History at Harvard University (and plant taxonomy expert) Asa Gray (1810-1888); an equally eminent anti-Darwinian scientist was the Professor of Zoology and Geology at Harvard University Louis Aggasiz (1807-1873). Their discussions took place in the scholarly journals and scientific debates of the day and Aggasiz would write in a July 1860 review of Origin the following: "I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory a scientific mistake, untrue in facts, unscientific in its method, and mischevious in its tendency." Gray, on the other hand, is recorded as follows:

"Gray began his public defense of Darwin, also in the American Journal of Science, with a positive review of Origin in the March 1860 issue. He wrote that Darwin's ideas on variation within plants and animals were 'general, and even universal.' He supported the English naturalist's use of domesticated animals as examples and beleived that Darwin's various association of facts '[seem] fair and natural.'" David B. Williams, 1998, "A Wrangle over Darwin." Harvard Magazine, September/October, page 49, pages 47-49).

Earlier that year, Williams in the article referenced above quotes from a January 5, 1860 letter from Gray to the English botanist Joseph Hooker (1817-1911) and one of Darwin's staunchest supporters (and who would eventually visit Chico in July 1877 and give us the famous "Hooker Oak" appellation):

"'It is crammed full of most interesting matter--thoroughly digested--well expressed--close, cogent; amd taken as a system it makes out a better case that I had supposed possible.' Several paragraphs later [Williams continues] he described a much different response from Aggasiz: '...when I saw him last, [he] had read but part of it. He says it is poor--very poor!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he growls over it much like a well cudgeled dog [and] is very much annoyed by it.'"

Not everyone agreed with Darwin's work and not everyone continues to agree with the interpretations of Darwin! One must form one's own opinion.

On "change being a constant in Darwin's work" (my phrase), please consider the following changes which took place over the SIX editions of Origin (from M. Peckham, Editor, 1959, The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin: A Variorum Text (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press):

THE VARIOUS VOLUMES:

YEAR
COPIES
Sentences
Sentences
Sentences
TOTAL
% CHANGE
1859/1st
1,250

3,878

1860/2nd
3,000
9 eliminated
483 re-written
30 added
3,899
7 %
1861/3rd
2,000
33 eliminated
617 re-written
266 added
4,132
14 %
1866/4th
1,500
36 eliminated
1073 re-written
435 added
4,531
21 %
1869/5th
2,000
178 eliminated
1770 re-written
227 added
4,580
29 %
1872/6th
3,000
63 eliminated
1699 re-written
571 added
5,088
21-29 %

In the 1869 edition Darwin used the famous phrase "Survival of the Fittest" (borrowed from Herbert Spencer [1820-1903]) and by the 1872 edition, "On" was dropped from the title. In 1859 Darwin originally only wrote the following about human beings: "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history" and by the 6th edition of 1872, Darwin wrote as follows:

"In the future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be securely based on the foundation already well laid by Mr. Herbert Spencer, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Much light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." (Chapter XV, "Recapitulation and Conclusions")."

Considering Darwin's reference to Homo sapiens in this monumental work, it is somewhat ludicrous to read Edward Said, writing in his influential 1993 publication entitled Culture And Imperialism, invoking Darwin's name to support the following phrase: "All of these [individuals] developed and accentuated the essentialist positions in European culture proclaiming that Europeans should rule, non-Europeans be ruled" (page 100). This was not correct for Darwin; neither is Said correct when he uses Darwin to justify a colonial "scheme of peoples guaranteed scientifically by scholars and scientists" into "superior" and inferior" human beings (page 140). James Ryan wrote an intriguiging book entitled Picturing Empire: Photography And The Visualization of the British Empire (1998) and while he is quite correct in stating that "the British Empire was constructed in the Victorian imagination through a variety of cultural texts" (page 20), it is clear that Origin was not one of those cultural texts; please remember that all Darwin wrote in 1859 was "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history."

Charles Darwin published "seventeen works in twenty one volumes, or fifteen if the three volumes of geology of the Beagle are treated as one" (R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion, page 77). His non-imperialistic and non-colonial "cultural texts" of the 19th century include The Zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle...during the years 1832 to 1836 (5 parts, 1838-1842), A Monograph of the fossil Lepadidae, or pedunculated cirripedes, of Great Britain. A Monograph of the fossil Balanidae and Verrucidae of Great Britain (two volumes, 1851 and 1854), A Monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species (two volumes, 1851 and 1854), On The Various Contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing (1862), On the movements and habits of climbing plants, and The power of movement in plants (1880). These are only a few publications, in addition to his monumental 1871 publication of The Descent of Man, And Selection in Relation to Sex (where human beings and an African origin of mankind was hypothesized) and his 1872 publication, truly cross-cultural and cross-species, entitled The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. In 1965 an edition of Expression was reprinted with an introduction by the outstanding 20th century naturalist (and 1973 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989), who wrote:

"The branch of behavior study commonly called ethology, which can be defined succinctly as the biology of behavior, has a special right to claim Charles Darwin as its patron saint. It is more immediately dependent on the selectionist approach than any other biological science I could name, and it has done its fair share in verifying Darwin's theories. Furthermore, in his book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin has forseen in a truly visionary manner the main problems which confront ethologists to this day and has mapped out a strategy of research they still use. ... I believe that even today we do not quite realize how much Charles Darwin knew." (Konrad Lorenz, "Preface" in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, University of Chicago Press, pages xi-xii)

Indeed, in 1998 yet another "reprint" of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was published by Oxford University Press, with a sub-title of Definitive Edition with an "Introduction, Afterward and Commentaries" by Paul Ekman. Ekman points out that while the first edition of Expression appeared in 1872, a second edition was edited and published by Charles Darwin's son Francis in 1889, and some changes that Darwin planned to make were not included by Francis Darwin in his edition. (Please recall Darwin's re-writing of Origin!) Ekman is well worth reading but just a few words: "...Darwin's insights that facial expressions of emotion are universal has stood the test of time" (page 366).

To summarize: if one wishes to cite Darwin, be it on "imperialism" or religion or evolution, one must read Darwin. Darwin has also been called an "atheist" by some, but please note that in the second edition of 1860 Darwin had the following words in closing his book (and incorporated them into all editions published in his lifetime):

"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator [STRESS added] into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

TEMPORARY DARWIN CONCLUSIONS

"In complex environments, individuals are not fully able to analyze the situation and calculate their optimal strategy. Instead they can be expected to adapt their strategy over time based on what has been effective and what has not. One useful analogy to the adaptation process is biological evolution. In evolution, strategies that have been relatively effective in a population become more widespread, and strategies that have been less effective become less common in the population." (Robert Axelrod, 1997, The Complexities of Cooperation: Agent-Based Models of Competition and Collaboration, page 14)

These words by Robert Axelrod, University of Michigan "Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy" and author of the seminal 1984 publication entitled The Evolution of Cooperation, takes us almost full-circle: from the social and political context of Darwin's time to evolution and biology and back to social policy and the context of the times! Darwin does have an influence, for in his 1984 publication Axelrod wrote:

"In this chapter Darwin's emphasis on individual advantage has been formalized in terms of game theory. This formulation establishes conditions under which cooperation in biological systems based on reciprocity can evolve even without foresight by the participants." (1984, page 105)

Elsewhere in the 1984 volume Axelrod wrote:

"The evolutionary approach is based on a simple principle: whatever is successful is likely to appear more often in the future. The mechanism can vary. In classical Darwinian evolution, the mechanism is natural selection based upon differential survival and reproduction. In Congress, the mechanism can be an increased chance of reelection for those members who are effective in delivering legislation and services for their constituency. In the business world, the mechanism can be the avoidance of bankruptcy by a profitable company. But the evolutionary mechanism need not be a question of life and death. With intelligent players, a successful strategy can appear more often in the future because other players convert to it. The conversion can be based on more or less blind imitation of the successful players, or it can be based on a more or less informed process of learning [stress added]." (1984, pages 169-170).

Learning how to adapt to the ever-changing environment is the key for Homo sapiens.

One should read Darwin in the original (just as one should read as many original works as possible) and form your own opinion and not necessarily accept the opinion of others. The ideas that Darwin advocated in the last century continue to influence us in this century and will certainly take us into the 21st century. Charles Robert Darwin was an extremely important individual for a variety of reasons: the data he collected, the experiments he conducted, the books he wrote (more than twenty), and the theories and ideas he proposed influenced a variety of disciplines, from anthropology to zoology as well as biology, ecology, ethology, ecology, and the general social sciences. In the 1990s there is a field called "Darwinian Medicine" as well as "Evolutionary Psychology."

If one is not familiar with Darwin's "closing words" in the various editions of Origin of Species (from the 2nd edition of 1860 onwards), one does not really appreciate, I think, William H. Durham's closing paragraph in his 1991 Coevolution: Genes, Culture, And Human Diversity: In 1991 Durham wrote:

"Finally, I hope to have shed new light on human differences and their history. The reader will please forgive me if I find the evolution of human diversity, not merely the production of higher animals, the most exalted object that we are capable of conceiving, and if I find the control and direction of that process not simply in the war of nature, from famine and death, but also in ourselves, from choice and imposition. Nevertheless, Darwin did have it right: there is grandeur in this view of life" (page 467)

Darwin had the following words in closing Origin:

"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator [STRESS added] into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

I have argued in print, and on the web, that the history of the discipline is the most important of all anthropology courses in the curriculum and reading various works "in the original" is very important.

EPILOGUE

In his 1876 autobiography, Darwin wrote that at the time of Origin he could be viewed as a theist, or one who had the conviction of the existence of God. Ideas and perspectives change over time and in 1876 Darwin stated: "The mystery of the beginning of all things is impossible by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic." (S. E. Hyman, 1963, Darwin for Today, page 371). Darwin had his final and fatal heart attack on the 19th of April 1882 and he made no deathbed statement as to his faith, but had he been asked the question by someone: "Darwin, have you made peace with God?" perhaps he would have chosen to respond with the words attributed to Thoreau (1817-1862) on his deathbed, who is said to have responded to that question with: "I didn't know we had quarreled."

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SPECIFIC DARWIN WEB SOURCES LOCATED AT CSU, CHICO:

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/DarwinArt197.html [Darwin and Modernism for Art 197, September 30, 1998, CSU, Chico]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Darwin_Folklore.html [1998 Folklore paper Concerning Charles R. Darwin]

1997 Darwin Continues To Evolve: Urbanowicz On Darwin (Again!). (For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum on September 11.)

http://www.csuchico.edu/anth/CASP/1996.html (1996, The Chico Anthropological Society Papers, Number 16, Special Edition on Darwin)

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Forum/Nov7-96.html (November 7, 1996, Anthropology Forum Darwin handout)

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Forum/darwin.mov (1996 Quick Time move: 14 seconds)

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Darwin/DarwinSem-S95.html (1995 Seminar Paper for ANTH 303)

SELECTED DARWIN WEB SITES LOCATED ELSEWHERE:

http://www.literature.org/Works/Charles-Darwin/voyage/ (The Voyage of the Beagle)

http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/biomed/his/darwin/darintro.htm (Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle - Birds)

http://www.literature.org/Works/Charles-Darwin/origin/ (The Origin of Species)

http://rjohara.uncg.edu/ (The Darwin-L Web Server)

http://www.wehi.edu.au/~wilkins/Precursors/darprecs.html (Darwin's precursors and influences)

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/Edarwin.html (Erasmus Darwin)

http://www.uib.no/zoo/classics/new_species.txt (Alfred Russell Wallace 1855 paper)

http://www.uib.no/zoo/classics/varieties.html (Alfred Russell Wallace 1858 paper)

http://homepages.iol.ie/~spice/alfred.htm (Alfred Russel Wallace: 1823-1913)

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/thuxley.html (Thomas Henry Huxley: 1824-1895)

http://netspace.org/MendelWeb/ (Gregor Mendel = MendelWeb)

http://www.dimensional.com/~randl/scopes.htm (The Scopes "Monkey Trial," or "A 1925 Media Circus")

"New Pages" Not cited/consulted in previous Urbanowicz Papers include:

http://149.152.105.38/Honors/EText/Darwin/DarwinTimeLine.html (Charles Darwin "timeline')

http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/victorian/darwin/darwin4.html (Darwin and Evolution Timeline)

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin.html (Origin, 1st Edition)

http://149.152.105.38/Honors/EText/Darwin/DarwinOriginContents.html (Origin, 6th Edition)

http://149.152.105.38/Honors/EText/Darwin/DarwinAutobiography.html (Various Darwin publications)

http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~spaceuk/darwin.html (Darwin summary)

http://fig.cox.miami.edu/Faculty/Tom/bil160sp98/03_darwin.html (Darwin and Evolution)

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/scopes/SCO_BIBL.HTM (Scopes Trial Bibliography)

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/scopes/EVOLUT.HTM (Scopes Trial Information)

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/scopes/SCO_INHE.HTM (Inherit The Wind production)

http://www.clark.net/pub/wright/toc.htm (from The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life, 1994, by Robert Wright)

http://www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/nathist/darwin/darwin.html (Charles Darwin and Darwinia)


1. © [All Rights Reserved.] This paper was presented to Dr. Carolyn Heinz's ANTH 300 (Core Seminar in Cultural Anthropology) on October 6, 1998. Urbanowicz is a Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Chico. He received his B.A. (1967) from Western Washington University and the M.A. (1969) and Ph.D. (1972) from the University of Oregon. Charlie taught at the University of Minnesota in 1972-1973 and came to Chico in August 1973. This paper draws heavily on numerous Urbanowicz/Darwin items. To return to the beginning of this page, please click here.

To go to the home page of Charles F. Urbanowicz.

To go to the home page of the Department of Anthropology.

To go to the home page of California State University, Chico.



VISUALS FROM VARIOUS WEB LOCATIONS (sources given below image):

source: http://www.dropbears.com/brough/sweers/beagle.jpg

 

source: http://geoclio.st.usm.edu/beagle.jpg

 

source: http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/south_america/volcan_darwin.gif

 

source: http://buglady.clc.uc.edu/graphics/bio106/galapago.gif

 

source: http://tyrrell.magtech.ab.ca/tour/finches.gif

 

source: http//mambo.ucsc.edu/psl/win.html

 

source: http://tyrrell.magtech.ab.ca/tour/darwin.gif

 

source: http//www.lib.virginia.edu/science/parshall/darwinport.html

 

source: http://www.windows.umich.edu/people/images/darwin.gif


END:

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH300.html]


To go to the home page of Charles F. Urbanowicz.

To go to the home page of the Department of Anthropology.

To go to the home page of the Museum of Anthropology at CSU, Chico.

To go to the home page of California State University, Chico.


© [Copyright: All Rights Reserved] Charles F. Urbanowicz

Cosmetic changes on 27 March 2001 by CFU

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