Key Figures, Philosophies in the rise of Materialistic Scientism & Church of Scientism


Copyright 1995 - Leading Edge Research Group


Herbert Spencer, British Philosopher

Herbert Spencer, British Philosopher (1820-1903): The Social Darwinist [i.e., one who applied Darwinian biology and evolutionary theory to social and political institutions] most influential in the United States, Spenser was an exceedingly ambitious self-made materialistic philosopher who endeavored to unify all scientific knowledge, the record of this endeavor being his multi-volumed work, Synthetic Philosophy. Though he took issue with the principle of Natural Selection [ see The Inadequacy of Natural Selection], he was a champion of Malthusian Darwinism. According to Richard Hofstader, "His categorical repudiation of state interference with the 'natural,' unimpeded growth of society led him to oppose all state aid to the poor. They were unfit, he said, and should be eliminated." Hofstader continues, quoting Spencer, "The whole effort of nature is to get rid of such, and to make room for better...If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they should die." Spencer was opposed to state-supported education, sanitary supervision, regulation of housing conditions, protection of the people from medical quacks, tariffs, state banking, and governmental postal systems. [Richard Hofstader, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1962 [1944]). P.41]

Thomas Huxley, British Social Darwinist

Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895), "Darwin's bulldog": Huxley, a naturalist and principal Social Darwinist, was the key personage in a triumvirate (which included Joseph Hooker and John Tyndall) that governed and determined the official side of scientific affairs in London during much of the latter half of the 19th century. He was elected as president of the Royal Society in 1883. Two years later he retired from public life on account of ill health, but continued to write and publish until the time of his death.

The British Royal Society

The Royal Society: The oldest scientific society in Great Britain and the most famous in the world. The full title of the organization was "The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge." It was incorporated with the sanction of Charles II in 1662. Within a year after incorporation, the Society entered into active correspondence on learned questions with philosophers and scientists of France, Germany, Spain and Italy. In 1664, it began publication of Transactions. Within ten years of incorporation, the Society was considered semi-official by the British government. According to the 1927 edition of the World Book Encyclopaedia, "the society practically controls the British Meteorology Department, the National Physical Laboratory, several scientific trust funds and the governing bodies of many British public schools." Sir Isaac Newton was in his time a president of the Royal Society. The fact that the British Empire was able to become so all-pervasive and all-powerful as it was, was due in no small measure to its superior intelligence system, the Royal Society being an important component. British Intelligence per se was established in the reign of Elizabeth I.

Social Darwinism

Social Darwinism: The phrase "Social Darwinism" dates from the 1930's, but as an intellectual movement, it dates from 1859, the year Darwins Origin was published. The concept embraces all efforts to apply Darwinian biology and evolution to human society. Given the fact that Darwinism rapidly became the orthodox biology and evolutionary science, Social Darwinism underlies virtually all of the social sciences. One key premise is that "the masses are unprincipled, dangerous to themselves, society and the planet."

There are two basic schools of thought regarding an "appropriate" response to this condition: (1) Laissez faire,--do nothing for the masses except that which will accelerate their self-destruction; and (2) exercise complete control over the masses, and at the same time refine the scientific means to "handle the problem of the masses" at a fundamental level, e.g., the genetic level. Historically, laissez-faire did not work. The masses proved "far more cunning" than the elites supposed. Thus, option (2) became the standard policy; in political terms, this option translates into "state socialism." State socialism is not the bright-eyed optimistic socialism of those who invented socialism, the "utopian scientists" according to Marx. State socialism is a direct political expression of Social Darwinism.

Sir Francis Galton, Father of Eugenics

Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911). A cousin of Darwin's, Galton is the "father of eugenics." In his acquisition of the doctrine of Natural Selection from Alfred Wallace, Charles Darwin unwittingly stole "the devil's pitchfork." Cousin Francis endeavored to make the "pitchfork" into a scientific instrument, to breed better crops of humans by means of scientific techniques. In 1883, Galton coined the word "eugenics," meaning "good birth," to describe his work, and published several books on the subject, including Hereditary Genious--Its Laws and Consequences, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development, and Natural Inheritance. He distinguished between two types of eugenic processes: Negative eugenics seeks to prevent the multiplication of those considered unfit; and positive eugenics seeks to encourage the multiplication of the fit. Hitler's "race purification" and the "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia are examples of the former.

On one occasion, Galton expressed the hope that eugenics would become "the religion of the future" [Stefan Kuhl, The Nazi Connection--Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), p.16]. Kuhl cites anthropologist Roger Pearson's Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe (1991) as a comprehesive defense of eugenics,which is defined therein as "the practical application of genetic science toward the improvement of the genetic health of future generations." The movement of eugenics was politically and scientifically influential in the first half of the 20th century, particularly in Great Britain, Germany and the United States. The word eugenics was originally taken in 1883 by Galton to mean "the science of improving the stock." In his view, the eugenics movement should aim to give "the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable." [p.4]

Suppression of Knowledge of Symbiotic Evolution

Suppressed: Symbiotic Evolution, i.e., evolution through the establishment of cooperative [rather than competitive] relationships among organisms. See discussion in the main narrative of Petr "Prince" Kropotkin's Mutual Aid--A Factor of Evolution. In the 1880's and 1890's, Kropotkin published a number of excellent papers challenging the Hobbesian Darwinism of Huxley et al. Kropotkin was ignored.

Suppression of Concepts of Idealistic Socialism

Suppressed: Idealistic socialism (all forms). The term "socialism" was first used in England in 1833 with reference to an organization called the "Association of All Classes of All Nations." The first socialist party (Social Democrats) appeared in Germany in 1863 with a very simple program--a "democracy," which means literally "rule of the people" [as opposed to rule by aristocracy or capitalistic oligarchy, the current U.S. system]. Socialisms of all kinds are based on the Hobbesian premise of struggle, the State of Nature as a constant struggle, and the only solution being the handing over of all power to a Government that will "own" and manage the means of production. In other words, socialism is simply a latter day version of monarchism, with the difference that the sovereignty is vested in the State rather than in the monarch.

Idealistic socialism theorizes that the creation of the said State can be accomplished without violence (i.e., cooperatively); Marxian (materialistic) socialism ridicules idealistic socialism as "utopian," and regards violence as a necessary means of political evolution.

Like Dawinism, Marxism emerged as "the orthodoxy" in its field--political science. In the process, idealistic socialism was suppressed, along with anarchism [which means opposition to hierarchical orders, not opposition to order], and various European versions of egalitarian republicanism. At the present time, the only economic system in Europe worth imitating is egalitarian rather than socialistic. This is the so-called "Mondragon" system developed in the Basque region of Spain. The system is comprised of over 500 producer-owned cooperatives, one of them being a bank. (19th century British socialists Beatrice and Sidney Webb declared that "producer co-ops could never work," and that idiotic view became socialist doctrine in the 20th century. The architect of the Mondragon system was a Catholic priest.)

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