Read Darwin still raising controversy...for another reason, by Susan Troller in the CapTimes.
Charles Darwin was able to stir up almost as much controversy with notions about dogs and emotions as with chimps and evolution.It’s interesting that although the “scientific” objections of Skinnerians and Marxists are not necessarily the same, both come from the same root as the religious objections – a faith in a worldview that’s based outside of science.
Although Darwin's pioneering notions about natural selection and evolutionary biology continue to draw plenty of fire and fury from religious creationists, he has another book that ruffles feathers, too: "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals," published in 1872.
Skinnerians (behaviorists) want to think they are pure scientists because they believe only what they can directly observe. But their belief in the separate natures of humans and animals really grows out of a biblical foundation – the supposedly separate creation of humans and animals. They demand proof that there is congruence between humans and animals rather than starting from the Darwinian position that evolution logically implies similarity.
Marxists, of course, tend to deny human nature because they would like to think all human differences, beliefs and customs are created by culture, as writing on a blank slate, not locked in by chemistry or genetics.
Affirming a biological basis for human nature, and admitting that we share some of that nature with our fellow creatures is not the same as saying human behavior is pre-determined (as some fear). But it is the necessary starting point for understanding our behavior, which is step one in making a more civil society.