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Quaker responses to Darwin

Cantor, G. (2001) Quaker responses to Darwin. Osiris, 16. pp. 321-342. ISSN 0369-7827

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Abstract

[FIRST PARAGRAPH] In his seminal work Darwin and the General Reader (1958), Alvar Ellegird surveyed the British periodical press over the period 1859 to 1872 in order to discover how Darwin's theory had been received in a hundred publications reflecting a wide range of social, religious, and political opinion. He paid attention both to the amount of space devoted to Darwinian topics and also to each periodical's stance with respect to such issues as the theory of natural selection and the naturalistic account of the formation of humankind. In each case he summarized his findings using a numerical scale. Among the journals he examined were two Quaker periodicals- the Friend and the Friends' Quarterly Examiner-from which he concluded that Quakers paid little attention to Darwin's theory and that the few references that appeared were generally antagonistic to the new theory. The quotations Ellegird selected confirmed this judgment: for example, in characterizing the Friend as anti-Darwinian he cited an 1861 entry in which a reviewer regretted the large number of converts to Darwinism, exclaiming, "Alas, their name is legion." Despite the somewhat higher scores achieved by the Friends' Quarterly Examiner, Ellegird did not adequately distinguish between these two periodicals, which reflected significantly different sections within the British Quaker community. Rather surprisingly, he also lumped Quakers with Congregationalists, Baptists, and certain other dissenting groups that appear to have responded similarly to Darwin's theory but shared little of religious significance with Quakers. In contrast to these denominations, Unitarians scored higher but Methodists were lower still on Elleglrd's scale.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2001 by The History of Science Society. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > School of Philosophy (Leeds) > Division of the History and Philosophy of Science (Leeds)
Depositing User: Leeds Philosophy Department
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 15:03
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:04
Published Version: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0369-7827%282001%...
Status: Published
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3221

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