Friday, December 09, 2005

Belloc the Out-of-Touch Crank?

Blogimus Maximus wrote a post earlier this week about "intelligent design" and "evolution." In it he refers to Hilaire Belloc's A Companion to Mr. Wells's 'Outline of History'.
The first thing [Belloc] attacks in Wells's [Outline of History] is the beginning, which treats of the origin of life. Belloc describes Natural Selection, the theory to which Wells held, as "dead."

The "well-educated" modern reader will smile at this out-of-touch crank...but I wonder what this reader would think if he ever got to the appendix, where Belloc quotes several eminent scientific contemporaries, saying quite clearly that Natural Selection was an inadequate explanation for evolution. Belloc may have been wrong, but it was not a matter of "him and William Jennings Bryan" vs. "Science". There seemed to be a great deal of "science" on his end of things; just what on earth was happening back then, anyway? We can be sure that if there ever was some academic reaction against Darwinism during which it became unfashionable, the Darwinian propagandists have smoothed over this little bump in Progress. Or did it never happen? Was every one of those professors Belloc quoted simply a crank? I have my doubts.

LINK to the full post at Blogimus Maximus.

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