The most useful tells are short and sweet – you twit someone with something, and their response reveal their real beliefs and real motivations. This tell is, unfortunately, long, tedious and complex, but it not only reveals an elite that believes or pretends to believe in official truth absolutely regardless of evidence, but reveals that there is an official line, and the politically correct know it – reveals that they do not just believe certain improbable things because its is fashionable, or because it is what all the right people believe, they believe in the edicts of a a highly centralized authority, after the fashion of Orwell’s Winston Smith, believe because they are damned well told to, fear punishment from on high for heresy, that they are not speaking what they believe, nor what is fashionable to believe, nor what is high status to believe, but what they are damned well told to believe, like communist party members who would spout the official line, and claim to have always spouted that line, and that the line had never changed, even when the line had reversed itself yesterday.
The communist left was infamous for its abrupt reversals on Hitler and Pol Pot, and its confident proclamation, continuing to this day, that the most recent line on these topics had been its line from the beginning. Progressives, unfortunately, do not have anything so spectacular and shameful, but the obscurity of the examples where the line has abruptly changed make their rigid adherence to the line, though less spectacular, all the more revealing of totalitarianism, of highly centralized authority over the line, where a single voice speaks a lie, and every other voice echoes the lie, a million megaphones with one microphone.
A nice short tell, revealing insincerity is to twit a progressive with “Mike’s Nature trick … to hide the decline” They will deny that “trick” and “hide” mean what they sound like they mean, but will then explain, not what “trick” and “hide” really mean, but what “decline” really means, implicitly admitting what they explicitly deny, implicitly admitting that they know that “trick” and “hide” mean exactly what they sound like they mean. But they could be doing that because of sincerely held religious convictions about man raping nature or some such, rather than because they are taking orders from someone above them, rather than doing what they are damn well told as Orwell’s Winston Smith was told.
This tell, the Lamarck common descent tell, is a tell that justifies a more paranoid and conspiratorial view of disagreements. It reveals that progressives, and anyone employed by the government, media, or a university, are, like communists, faceless minions of higher authority insincerely parroting not merely the fashionable line, the high status line, but the official line, knowing that any deviation is likely to be punished, fearing that they are under continuous scrutiny for any deviation from a ten thousand point official line.
You twit a progressive, or an academic, or a government employee, or a supposedly libertarian and conservative academic, or a supposedly heretical not-all-PC academic, or a government employee, with the fact that history gets rewritten at alarmingly frequent intervals, and everyone important falls into line on the new version, forgetting it was ever different, and failing to notice that no evidence is produced for the new version, while the evidence that supported the older version disappears from newer books, and everyone mysteriously forgets it ever existed.
While all of history is frequently rewritten, I focus on rewrites of science history, because the history of science is the history of what the particular scientists who made history wrote for their colleagues, thus the true version is not in any doubt. Perhaps the latest account of feudalism or colonialism reflects a deeper understanding, rather than barefaced lies, though I doubt it, but the latest version of science history is always barefaced lies, and lies that can be easily checked by reading the works of the scientists that they are lying about.
The revision of history indicates a centralized authority operating Winston Smith style with world wide power, or at least power over the anglosphere, most of europe, and most of the third world, especially Africa.
Your academic, confronted with the evidence that history changed, and that the new version is false, will deny the change, will at first weasel around trying to avoid taking any position on the new version, will sort of change the subject, but will, if pressed, eventually assert the new version is true, and not only true, but was indeed always accepted:
O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and four fingers extended. “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”
“And if the party says it is not four but five – then how many?”
To which your academic dutifully replies
By endorsing a flagrantly false version of history, he reveals that this is not the Zeitgeist, not the climate of opinion, it is people shutting up and saying what they damn well told to say. He reveals that he is afraid.
That the story changed in an abrupt and coherent fashion, with additional details being fabricated to make it all fit together, reveals that the story is decided by centralized authority. Someone must have said to John Painter: “Telling students that Darwin is famous for natural selection focuses undue attention on natural selection. Correct references to Darwin”. And so John Painter then fixed it by making Darwin famous for common descent, and then, like Winston Smith inventing comrade Ogilvy to fill the gap, had to adjust Lamarck to fit by denying that Lamarck proposed common descent. Whereupon everyone everywhere was instantly convinced, and instantly forgot that yesterday they had believed that Lamarck, among several others, had proposed common descent, had proposed that groups of species that resemble each other, resemble each other because of physically relationship by blood or sap.
That if you twit an academic with this, or any other, revision of history, he will go along with the official version and deny that history has been revised shows that the existence of this highly centralized authority is not exactly secret, merely plausibly deniable – and those who most deny it show by their behavior that they most believe it.
On the big issues, official truth tends to be sophisticated and subtle: It is on the minor and obscure issues that the official truth tends to be simplistic, rigid, and absurd, and it is on these obscure minor issues, not the big issues, where one will see O’Brien hold up four fingers and every supposedly high IQ person with tenure swears he is holding up five fingers because the party declares it to be so..
Fraud on Lamarck is a good illustration, because what modern historians of science say is provably false. We may argue about how Harold died at the battle of Hastings, but what Lamarck really said is not in genuine doubt.
Every respectable authority before 1972 that mentions Lamarck’s position on common descent says Lamarck proposed common descent, often quoting from Lamarck at length. Every respectable authority after 1972 that mentions his position on common descent says that Lamarck rejected common descent, without, however quoting anything substantial from Lamarck, or mentioning that past authorities disagreed.
Twit an academic with this abrupt change on Lamarck, and he will weasel around, perhaps instead argue that Darwin has legitimately become an unperson because his unspecified theory has been discredited in some unspecified way by new and improved science, but if pressed, will eventually loyally endorse the official line, and deny any rewrite of history,
No one from post 1972 said, “hey, everybody pre 1972 was wrong and here is why they were wrong” Instead, all those writers were flushed down the memory hole. That’s not what normally happens when a shift in opinion occurs. When Einstein revised physics, nobody flushed Newton down the memory hole. Everyone said explicitly, “hey, look here everybody, Einstein revised Newton’s physics. Turns out that Newton was only accurate for velocities much less than that of light, which of course was all that he could easily observe”. But when claims about what Lamarck meant reversed in 1972, nobody said, “hey, look here everybody, the past wrong understanding of Lamarck has been revised.” Why the secrecy about the fact of the shift? It’s weird. It’s significant. It’s the same as what’s done in the photos that Stalin had his victims airbrushed out of.
If in the Soviet Union you started trying to explain changes in photos, you would be out in the Gulag, and if today you started trying to explain changes in the history books, you would be out of academia. Even if your explanation was politically correct, it would still draw attention to that which you are forbidden to notice.
Even if you wrote “The earlier photograph showing the commissar was in error, and the error happened because Trotskyite wreckers”, you would still be in the gulag double plus quick, for drawing attention to the change in photographs.
And so, when you twit an academic with a rewrite of science history, no academic will be able to explain why large numbers of people before 1972 “mistakenly” thought that Lamarck proposed common descent, and why no one doubted that he proposed common descent. Even if the academic was to explain it as evil fabrication by right wing creationist Christian racists, drawing attention to the discrepancy would get him untenured mighty fast. (The commenter Bill, whose knowledge of academia is more current than my own, assures me you would not get untenured, but would merely have eyes rolled at you, and find that your office was eventually transferred to the basement. He knows more than I, but strangely, I see only very mildly heretical documents issuing from offices located in university basements. )
So if your academic or left winger lies on this incredibly obscure and minor point, which he will, he is lying on another ten thousand incredibly obscure and minor points. Your academic will deny that old authorities differ from recent authorities, and claim that the new version is supported in some unspecified way by Lamarck’s words. It is just a little lie, but its very unimportance and obscurity implies he lies on everything.
This world wide, or at least anglosphere and academia wide, U turn on the history of science was as abrupt and unexplained as Orwell’s hate week, which U turn implies a single command, a decision made by one man, or a group of people small enough to meet around a table and feel each other’s breath, a decision made by a few, and imposed on all, to which all academics, major publishers, and so on and so forth, world wide, servilely and abruptly submit, except perhaps for a tiny handful so unimportant and obscure, at such low status universities, that they did not get the message – and thereby demonstrate their low status by having an out of date version of official history.
What happened in or around 1972, that caused this universal 180?
Affirmative action caused it.
I first became interested in this issue when there was a debate on the blogs as to whether Lamarck proposed common descent, and by an interesting coincidence, every blog that claimed Lamarck proposed parallel descent, also took an supporting position on affirmative action. Checking the books, every biology text book that claimed that Lamarck proposed parallel descent, also de-emphasized or denigrated natural selection.
Rewriting Lamarck’s position on common descent looks to be a knock on effect of rewriting the history of science to revise Darwin’s position on race, much as Bergholz got an invented history as a side effect of revising Beria out of history. When Beria suddenly became an unperson, this left a gap in the Soviet Encyclopedia at Ber, which was filled by an invented history of Bergholz, an event parodied in “1984”, when Winston Smith invents Comrade Oglivy to replace the gap created when Comrade Withers becomes an unperson.
Beria became an unperson. Darwin did not become an unperson, but his accomplishments became unfacts, because of the horribly politically incorrect implications of his theory for human races and genders, implications that he was not shy about mentioning. So just as it became necessary to invent a comrade Bergholz to replace the unperson Beria and a comrade Oglivy to replace the unperson Withers, it became necessary to give a new important accomplishment to Darwin to replace the unfacts for which Darwin had previously been famous. And thus, necessary to take that accomplishment away from Lamarck.
De-emphasizing or denigrating natural selection meant that all these busts of Darwin around the biology department were hard to explain. Students might ask? “Why do we have busts of this obscure little known nineteenth century racist”. So it was necessary to give Darwin something else to be famous for. That, or chisel the busts off. So John Painter gave him common descent, which meant that he had to take it away from Lamarck.
And so, whenever you accuse someone who rejects evolutionary psychology of rejecting Darwinism, he will be sincerely puzzled and point out that he believes in common descent, he believes that men and apes had a common ancestor, that he believes that men and monkeys had an earlier common ancestor, and that all mammals had an even earlier common ancestor, that the likenesses between species indicates common descent, descent from a common ancestor, indicate physical relationship by blood or sap, and thinks that this makes him a Darwinist. By and large, those who reject evolutionary psychology associate Darwin with common descent, not with natural selection. And, similarly, if you refer to slavery practiced and still practiced by Arabs and blacks, they will have difficulty comprehending what you could possibly be talking about. To them, it is only slavery if the slaves are owned by white male capitalists.
Which implies that history is being rewritten in an abrupt centralized, conspiratorial, and planned way, after the fashion of Winston Smith in “1984”. And we observe that when history changes, it changes everywhere in the world at once, every academy, in every nation, or at least every western nation, and most non western nations.
An individual might misrepresent the facts on his own initiative, or change his mind on the evidence.
When everyone changes their minds at the same time, without explanation, and declines to admit ever holding a different position, they are lying because the official line has been officially imposed.
Science history of the idea of common descent before 1972
In his preface Lamarck had already declared that “the thread which gives us a clue to the causes of the various phenomena of animal organization, in the manifold diversity of its developments, is to be found in the fact that Nature conserves in offspring all that their life and environments has developed in parents.” Heredity “the hidden bond of common descent” tempered with the modifications induced by changed habits which changed habits are due to new conditions and surroundings this with Lamarck, as with Buffon and Dr. Darwin, is the explanation of the diversity of forms which we observe in nature. He now goes on to support this briefly, in accordance with his design but with sufficient detail to prevent all possibility of mistake about his meaning.
1882 Nature, Volume 26
While he [Lamarck] was engaged in substantially classifying and describing not merely the forms already in existence, but also their extinct ancestors which he incorporated into his system, there was disclosed to him the inner morphologic connection between the former and the latter, and from this disclosure he inferred their common descent
1895 Geological biology an introduction to the geological history of organisms, New York: Henry Holt and Company, pp. 158–159, (full context in Internet Archive)
The portion of the theory of Development [Evolution] which maintains the common descent of all species of animals and plants from the simplest common original forms might, therefore, in honor of its eminent founder, and with full justice, be called Lamarckian ; on the other hand, the theory of Selection, or breeding, might be justly called Darwinism being that portion of the theory of Development [Evolution] which shows us in what way, and why, the different species of organisms have developed from those simplest primary forms.
1897 The evolution of Man by Ernst Haekel page 58 (Incorrectly dated by Google as 2004, creating the illusion of a break in the pattern wherein everyone before 1972 attributes common descent to Larmarck, and everyone after 1972 denies that Lamarck proposed common descent.)
Lamarck was the first to formulate as a scientific theory the natural origin of living things, including man … the rise of the earliest organisms by spontaneous generation, and the descent of man from the nearest related mammal, the ape
… his theory of the common descent of man and the other animals.
1901 The Century Cyclopedia Volume 4 pp. 3334 (full context in Internet Archive)
Tells us that Lamarckism is:
the general body of doctrine propounded by the French Naturalist J.B.P.A. de Monet de Lamarck (1744-1829): the theory of evolution as maintained by him at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the effect that all plants and animals are descended from a common primitive form of life. In its fundamental principles and essential features Lamarckism differs from Darwinism in assuming that changes resulted from appetency and the active exertion of the organism.
(quoting or paraphrasing Ernst Haekel above)
Lamarck was the first to point this out and to explain it by his theory of common descent. But the science of his time did not afford a sufficient body of facts in proof of his conception, and he failed to convince his contemporaries.
Context is that “this” is resemblance, the common characteristics, that group species together. “This” is the “unity of organization” of related life forms.
… in order to find a conclusive proof of the idea of Lamarck. Common descent is now acknowledged as the natural cause of the unity of organization. …
1928 Outline and general principles of the history of life By William Diller Matthew, Ayer Publishing, page 52 tells us (full context available in google books):
Lamarck and many others of his time believed that the different species of a genus resembled each other because they were of common descent, and each species had gradually changed in form and become distinct and ceased to interbreed; and in his studies on the fossil mollusks in the Tertiary strata of the Paris basin he believed that he saw the actual record of those changes preserved in the fossils from the successive strata.
Every single relevant pre-1972 book that came up in Google books advanced search told the same story, often, as in the case of Samuel Butler, supporting their account with copious quotes.
One way of rationalizing this away is to claim that rather than history abruptly changing in 1972, the meaning of common descent abruptly changed in 1972, but the 1928 quote from William Mathew above
ceased to interbreed
shows that common descent meant then when what it means now – actual physical ancestry by blood or sap – as indeed would most of the quotes should I give sufficient context. This 1928 quote, like the 1972 quote, makes clear and precisely defines what “common descent” means, so that there is no way you can reconcile the change in the history books by adjusting the meaning of “common descent” between 1928 and 1972.
Science history of the idea of common descent after 1972
1972 Biology Today by John Painter, page 638
The central claim of that book [The Origin of Species] can be fairly simply stated. According to the Darwinian theory, any natural group of similar species-all the mammal species, for instance-owe their common mammalian characteristics to a common descent from a single ancestral mammalian species
Which is of course total bunkum. The central claim of “Origin” is natural selection.
And since common descent, rather than natural selection was now supposedly Darwin”s claim to fame, they had to lie about Lamarck: Page 641:
Lamarck’s theory is not a hypothesis of common descent, which ascribes the common characteristics of a particular species to their common descent from a single species. He claims that mammals are produced by the gradual complexification of reptiles and that this elevation is going on constantly. Although all mammals are descended from reptiles, they are not descended from the same reptiles.
(Which, oddly, no longer shows up on google book search, though it appears to be the original of the new version of history, of which all subsequent versions are merely repetitions. However I scanned the above from an actual printed book, printed in ink on paper in 1972)
Somehow they neglect to mention that everyone before 1972 thought that Lamarck’s theory was a theory of common descent, or explain what caused this change of mind, nor do they mention any authority who made this discovery about Lamarck. Some people cite Ernst Mayer “Lamarck Revisited” as such an authority, but he says nothing of the kind in the original version of his paper. The assertion just appears from nowhere in 1972 as if everyone had always uncontroversially known it and no one had ever doubted it.
This 1972 quote, like the 1928 quote, makes clear and precisely defines what “common descent” means, so no one can weasel out of the abrupt change in history by saying that the meaning of “common descent” changed in 1972
Darwin’s two other main postulates were essentially new concepts. One was the postulate of common descent. For Lamarck each organism or group of organisms represented an independent evolutionary line,having had a beginning in spontaneous generation and having constantly striven towards perfection
In context, denies common descent to Lamarck
And what, you might ask was Darwin’s other main new postulate? The authors (it is a committee) eventually and reluctantly kind of admit it was natural selection, while doing their best to obfuscate and ignore this inconvenient and embarrassing bastard child of Darwin. They show, however, no similar reluctance in listing all the objections to natural selection.
He [Darwin] departed from Lamarck in supposing a common descent.
Departing from Lamarck in supposing natural selection being something to horrible to mention.
1982: The Growth of Biological Thoughtpage 345
Lamarck had no theory of an origin of species nor did he consider common descent.
1999: The Darwinian Revolution: Science red in tooth and claw By Michael Ruse, page 10
Lamarck’s theory was in no way a theory of common descent …
Michael Ruse tells us that Lamark’s evolutionary diagram looked like the one on the right above. But Lamarck drew an evolutionary diagram of the animals, what we now call the bilaterians
And here is Lamarck’s diagram, translated by Elliot, which you will notice is strikingly different from Michael Ruse’s account of Lamarck’s diagram
The accompanying text in Elliot’s translation of Lamarck can most reasonably be interpreted as showing that Lamarck believed that the common features of worms, flies, men, and seals, what we now call bilaterians, were due to their common descent from an ancient spontaneously generated simple worm, that seals have hands inside their flippers because they share a more recent common ancestor with men, though he thought it likely that jellyfish and such (infusorians, polyps, radiarians) evolved from a separate spontaneously generated ancestor.
And if Michael Ruse wants a different interpretation, he needs to explain away Lamarck’s diagram and text instead of making up his own diagram and confidently attributing it to Lamarck. He needs to acknowledge Lamarck’s diagram and explain why his interpretation is better than the interpretation of everyone before 1972
Lamarck’s theory, unlike Darwin’s, should not be seen as a theory of common descent. Darwin’s emphasis was on common ancestry …
No, Darwin’s emphasis was on natural selection. Again, we see that taking the credit from Lamarck and giving it to Darwin is done to de-emphasize and minimize natural selection.
A 2009 change back?
After I posted this, two of my commenters have drew my attention to a high status post in Nature attributing common descent to Lamarck. Fortunately I had already covered my self against such an embarrassing possibility by writing …
Not the last rewrite on evolution
Gould’s approach to reconciling biology with equalism seems to be out of favor, so tomorrow morning, Lamarck might be reinstated, his arguments for common descent restored to science history. But if he is reinstated, that he was ever removed will be erased. Should science history once again tell the truth on this matter, suddenly no one will remember that it ever lied on this matter. Similarly Hitler went from good guy to bad guy and back again several times amongst the communists, and when he was officially a good guy, no one ever remembered that he had ever been officially a bad guy, and when he was officially a bad guy, no one ever remembered that he had ever been officially a good guy, which Orwell parodied in “1984” as “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”
If tomorrow morning, official history once again officially tells us that Lamarck proposed common descent, as well it may, not one academic will remember ever doubting it.
Why history was adjusted.
The full title of “The Origin” is “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”
By races, Darwin means both human and non human subspecies. Selection occurs on the level of species, races, and individuals. Races, Darwin tells us, originate by differential selection pressures on populations, and races tend to differentiate into species, eventually becoming so different that crosses have reduced or nonexistent fertility. Races are the origin of species. Darwin cheerfully and optimistically tells us:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
In short, natural selection is raaaaciiiiiiist! That animals are evolving implies that humans are evolving. That humans are evolving implies that human races are unlikely to be equal.
Darwin also concluded that sexual selection means that the differences between the human sexes are likely to be substantial and politically incorrect. In fact, he originated every major way in which biology leads to politically incorrect conclusions. Every politically incorrect fact from evolutionary psychology, you will find foreshadowed in Darwin, plus a pile that no one dares go near any more.