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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Textbook Watch: Marx, Freud and Darwin as the "textbook triad" of materialism

Discovery Institute notes the following from Douglas Futuyma's Evolutionary Biology (1998, 3rd Ed., Sinauer Associates), p. 5:
Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose. By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx's materialistic theory of history and society and Freud's attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin's theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism…

This is especially interesting in view of the sometimes-heard claim that ID advocates invented the Marx-Freud-Darwin triad of materialist influences. That was unlikely in principle because, in order to communicate with a broad audience, the ID advocates had to riff off an already accepted cultural pattern. But this instance of the usage by a prominent pro-Darwin and anti-ID source demonstrates that the claim is incorrect. Which doesn't mean you won't hear it again and again - and again. I would be interested to know if this paragraph appears unaltered in the just-released 2006 edition, but Toronto Public Library seems to have nothing later than the 2nd edition.
My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

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