Darwin’s view of women and their effect on society

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Today, many secularists blame Christianity for the misogyny and mistreatment of women. However, many would be shocked to learn that the “father of the theory of evolution”, Charles Darwin, believed and taught that women were inferior to men. His opinions greatly influenced society and scientific research both in his time and for future generations.

Darwinian pseudoscience for male superiority

Darwin’s book The descendants of man is a deeply racist book that clearly sets out the disturbing implications of evolution when applied to human beings. But his statements about women are no better. The book contains a section titled “Men’s and Women’s Mental Powers” where it states that men achieve “higher eminence, in all they undertake, than women, that they require deep thought, reason or imagination, or simply the use of the senses and the hands. His brain is absolutely bigger. . . .”2

Darwin had an evolutionary reason for this assumption. He believed that the struggle to reproduce was central to evolution. He believed that males were engaged in a “continual struggle with other males for possession of females.” Darwin viewed women as more passive in this regard. He believed that selection created stronger men over time, but it did not affect women at all.4

Darwin seems to have believed that “the traditional stereotype of breadwinner father and stay-at-home mother [was] really is part of our biological make-up.

Darwin seems to have believed that “the traditional stereotype of breadwinner father and stay-at-home mother [was] really is part of our biological make-up. As a young man, he wrote that the main advantage of marriage was to have children and to have a woman as a constant companion, a friend in old age “who will feel interested in a [an] object to be loved and played with – better than a dog anyway – House, and someone to look after the house – Charms of music and female chatter. These things are good for health. »6

Early on, some recognized a problem with this belief, namely that children inherit characteristics from both parents, so even if females were passive and therefore not subject to selective pressure, female offspring would be affected by intelligence, strength, etc. fathers. Less intelligent and weaker females would also negatively affect their male offspring.

Darwin had a rationalization for this. He reasoned that just as secondary sexual traits such as beards are passed from fathers only to their sons, intelligence could only be passed on to sons and not daughters. The fact that there was never any evidence that intelligence was a secondary male sex trait was never explained by Darwin.

Darwin observed the animal kingdom’s emphasis on reproduction during mating seasons and came up with his theory. However, this ignores the differences in human marriage, such as the element of love, romance, and the need for companionship and mutual attraction. Since Darwin believed that humans evolved in the same way as all other mammals, he concluded that human reproductive drives must be similar to theirs.

Darwin’s views had a major influence on academia

Some 19th century evolutionary biologists argued for the inferiority of women to attack the contemporary feminist movement. They believed that “uncontrolled female militancy threatened to disrupt” gender roles and “hijack the orderly process of evolution.”7 One sees a similarity to the attitude expressed by men in Esther 1:16-21. In other words, evolutionary ideas about female inferiority have given a scientific veneer to the worst stereotypes of female inferiority. A modern professor even said that evolutionary psychology was “a learned field whose main purpose seemed to be to convince readers who are not specialists in the scientist the validity of our culture’s worst gender platitudes. 8 Among the examples she gives are that “men are wired to cheat on their partners; women are the faithful sex.

Darwin’s Female Opponents

Among those who opposed Darwin’s views on women was Mrs. Caroline Kennard (1827–1907), who sent a letter to Darwin asking for his views. As a person whose scientific achievements enabled him to be listed as a specialist in the botany of ferns and mosses in the 1886 International Directory of Scientistsshe was an example of a woman who refuted Darwin’s views regarding female inferiority.

She expressed her surprise that such an eminent scientist as Darwin believed that women were biologically inferior to men. She assumed that Darwin’s views must have been twisted by misogynists who co-opted Darwin’s work for their own ends, so she wrote to ask him to clarify.

Darwin replied to him, assuring him that his opinions were not misunderstood. “Women . . . are intellectually inferior,” he wrote.

Darwin replied to him, assuring him that his opinions were not misunderstood. “Women . . . are intellectually inferior,” he wrote. But he conceded that he believed women were superior to men in terms of moral qualities.9 Darwin concluded the letter by stating, “I wrote this letter . . . for your private use only,” implying that it should not be shared with others.

Dissatisfied with Darwin’s letter, Mrs. Kennard wrote a lengthy response noting evidence against her views. She, for example, argued that most educators (she gave the figure of 83%) are women.10 If Darwin responded, it was not located by the Darwin Correspondence Project, nor in the correspondence massive in the archives of the Cambridge Public Library. and special collections.11

Eliza Burt Gamble

Eliza Burt Gamble (1841–1920) was an eloquent teacher, school principal, and the author of three books. She realized that scientists who accepted Darwin’s thought regarding female inferiority were ignoring important facts that contradicted his views.

To prove Darwin wrong, Gamble spent a year at the Library of Congress researching Darwin’s view of sexual inequality. His research led to his book, The sexes in science and history: investigation of the dogma of the inferiority of women in relation to men (Wager 1916). It was hugely popular and a century later can be found in over 3,000 libraries. Although her book received positive reviews, “the scientific and mainstream press balked at her conclusions and claims to write about ‘science'” because she was not a scientist12.

And because she was not a scientist, most scientists, especially evolutionists, dismissed her book as unworthy of consideration. In fact, evolutionists “have only become more obsessed with . . . applying the dogma that men are somehow better than women. »13

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), who wrote Women and economy: a study of the economic relationship between men and women as a factor of social evolution (1898). His book was very popular and translated into seven languages, and it is still in print today.

Gilman’s interest in evolution was developed by his father, Frederick Gilman. He introduced him to Darwinism, in particular how it might be applied to anthropology. Charlotte became concerned about the portrayal of women as inferior in Darwinism and became a leader in debunking these ideas.

Darwin’s lasting influence

Darwin was not the only scientist to make these claims; his cousin Francis Galton also echoed them, but Darwin was much more influential.14 People generally believed that “Darwin based his theories on rigorous scientific observation and experimentation and that they have, on the whole, proved accurate.”15

Thus, Darwin’s views on the inferiority of women were widely accepted for over a century and are still accepted by some today.

Unfortunately, Darwin’s views on the inferiority of women have been widely accepted for over a century and are even accepted by some today. This has resulted in widespread discrimination against women in science. A leading feminist, Gloria Steinem, concluded that Darwin’s influence in the latter part of the 20th century was still sufficient to cover Darwin’s contribution to the problem of discrimination in many of his writings.

Darwin’s view of the inferiority of women perpetuated by evolutionists throughout the 20th century had a major negative effect on the way women were perceived and their opportunities for advancement in scientific fields. Ironically, many people who rejected these ideas accepted evolution and attempted to harmonize their view of gender equality with the evolutionary forces they believe created humans.16

In contrast, the Bible teaches that God created male and female in his own image (Genesis 1:27), so both are of equal value and importance. God created Eve to be a “helper” for Adam, and the Hebrew word used is ‘ezer. ‘Ezer is used twice in the Old Testament to refer to Eve (Genesis 2), three times to refer to other nations who help Israel, and sixteen times to refer to God helping people.17 If ‘ezer is used to refer to God , this clearly cannot imply inferiority. On the contrary, women are created in the image of God also alongside men and given the designation “helper” God used to describe himself. On the contrary, the biblical view elevates women from the naturalistic Darwinian view.

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