Darwin cancelled?

Noah Carl is a notorious racist who was fired from a position at Cambridge for racism. Now he’s complaining that Darwin might get “cancelled” because he wrote racist stuff in the 19th century. Yeah, so? Would that mean we couldn’t worship Darwin as a god anymore? Because we don’t anyway.

So I had to grumble a bit.

I don’t even know what “cancelled” means yet.


  1. bcwebb says

    Well, I expect Darwin’s tenure would get revoked for nonfeasance since he’s very very dead. I would say he’s about as cancelled as a postage stamp.

    PZ Myers will be able to get around the “failure to teach problem” since his youtube videos will persist beyond the grave. He could make arrangements now to lower his standards and start doing papers and blog posts in MPU (Miminum Publishable Units,) like some of the more character-challenged authors, and his students and colleagues will be able to continue his scientific publications and college career out to the next millennium.

  2. wzrd1 says

    Well, this 100% Sicilian derived SOB reviewed that crap live, Goya is extinct.
    The rice is nice, the Malta Goya my favorite beverage, literally.
    The CEO’s not even having a motherfucking clue, abominable.
    Some made note that it’s a privately held firm, I reminded those idiots that there are creditors that invested and got ass fucked by the senior-most Officer, fully exposing all holders to massive loss.
    Due to fiduciary responsibility.
    Yeah, I’ve worked there and do know the law, contract law and well, reality.

    Darwin is dead, as we all know all too well, an thought process, novel at the time did better describe nature ensues and grew.
    Anyone rejecting that is required to reject nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, as rejecting one is rejecting all thought processes.

  3. says

    I don’t think Charles Darwin would even care about having statues of him around to begin with. At the same time, I think it’s fair to take the baseline of his day and age into account. Did Darwin stick out positively or negatively? I’d argue that, even though he probably believed that “less civilized” races were so innately, he also vehemently opposed slavery and colonial exploitation of native peoples. In that sense, Darwin deserves more of a statue than most of his contemporaries.

  4. mailliw says

    A historical not on defenestration. All those defenestrated in Prague in 1618 survived.
    As the victims were Catholic noblemen, the myth soon spread that they had been “saved by angels”, or possibly because they fell into a dung heap, depending on which side of the story you believe.
    The defenestrations were rather a trivial event compared to the Thirty Years War that followed them. A war that lasted so long to a large extent because of the business interests of those supplying mercenaries to the various religious and political factions that were fighting.

  5. says

    “cancelled” may mean many things at the same time.
    For privileged assholes “being canceled” means being rightfully criticised. And most cases you hear about, bekong to that cathegory
    For those without power, without platform, being cancelled means being shunned/riddiculed/misrepresented/bullied for daring to dissent from common position among those with powers.
    And historically it usually happens to minorities, leftist, progressive people. Only when it happens successfully you don’t see that.
    Kaepernick almost got cancelled, Bernie was maybe not cancelled but contained for many years, mainstream journalist who were opposing Iraq war straight from the begining were practically cancelled.
    It is hard to define amorphous concept so it is nothing strange people misuse it all the time.

    Mocking the concept itself may not be wise since historically being cancelled is what happens to left mostly.

    About Darwin – you have to be sanctimonius arsehole to believe if you were raised in that time you would be better.
    So we should point out how wrong the time was, but judge people on how they stood out compared to their contemporaries.

  6. mailliw says

    Thank you PZ, a very sensible assessment.

    I suppose those who believe that people who believe in essentialism, think that “geniuses” can do no wrong. However like everyone, someone who is brilliant in their area of expertise can hold profoundly mistaken views over things of which they no little.

    We should honour or criticise what people do, not who they are.

    Take the example of soccer team Sturm Graz, they had named their stadium after local hero Arnold Schwarzenegger, but after Arnie refused to commute death sentences in California they removed his name. I suppose some people would claim that Schwarzenegger had been “cancelled”, rather than the club taking a reasonable moral stance, based on Schwarzenegger’s behaviour not on his personality.

  7. mailliw says

    Perhaps the right form of commemoration of scientific achievements in the future should be sculptures of Galapagos finches, the double Helix and so forth.not of people.

  8. wzrd1 says

    @mailliw, no, I disagree.
    Most of cancel culture does rely upon the shunned giving feedback.
    So, I agree that Darwin should be shunned and eagerly await his feedback on being shunned.
    I suspect that I’ll have a very long wait to hear back.

  9. mailliw says



    blockquote>Most of cancel culture does rely upon the shunned giving feedback.<//blockquote>

    Apparently Schwarzenegger was very upset about his home town removing his name from the Stadium, however it didn’t stop him having people executed. But at least a country that has abolished capital punishment could voice its disapproval of one that hasn’t.

  10. wzrd1 says

    Defenestration, I really like it!
    I will happily commission a 100 foot tall statue of my own gargoyle self, just to see defenestration of said statue and even help out tossing that 100 foot tall statue! It is out of a window, by definition, so I’ll be highly entertained in the very attempt!
    It would also, of course, remove a rather large eyesore from the public view, while entertainingly damaging the very building it is thrown out of, as improbable in all proportions would be required to do so. Still, there are far more worthy physical efforts, but who am I to declaim what physical efforts one engages in?

    Meanwhile, the writer of that drivel entirely missed the point that a CEO pissed off essentially his entire customer base, all due to worshiping a god-king emperor wannabe, ignoring reality and literally disposing of his fiduciary duties to his corporation. If I had invested in that private corporation, I’d be royally pissed off enough to have my legal staff ensuring my financial wellbeing!
    You know, canceling the SOB and his company for wasting my fucking money that used to have a return value on.
    Thankfully, I engage in investments that are far less risky! After all, I do have a goal of wanting to retire in another 392 years or something.

  11. says

    If cancelled means your statue is removed the Charlie has been cancelled.I was at the British Museum a couple of years ago and hoped to get a photo of myself next to his statue on the main staircase. Sadly he was removed because of ongoing renovations. At least though the haven’t dug him up and removed him from Westminster Abbey. His memorial slab is still there., zealously guarded by attendants lest some nefarious person tries to sneak a quick photo, (I know I tried). The irony of an atheist being buried there is priceless. There are many other statues of notables in the museum. While prowling the halls I came across one of Thomas Huxley balefully staring at a statue of Sir Richard Owen across the corridor. An appropriate placement given that by all accounts they couldn’t stand each other.

  12. jrkrideau says

    @ 5 mailliw

    they had been “saved by angels”, or possibly because they fell into a dung heap

    Dung heap but it took a lol of angels with dungforks to build that heap.

  13. mailliw says

    @14 jkrideau

    This is like the old theological question of how many angels can dance on a pinhead? The following question being; how many more angels do you need to hold the pinhead down while the other ones are dancing on him?

  14. kingoftown says

    @13 garydargan
    It’s the Natural History Museum, not the British Museum which is separate. Kind of funny that the Richard Owen statue is now facing Huxley. That statue used to be were the Darwin one is now, pride of place for the original director of the museum. Darwin was put there for his bicentenary about 10 years ago and the Owen statue was never put back. Owen would probably be furious about Darwin getting such prominence at his museum.

  15. Stuart Smith says

    As far as I can tell, ‘cancelled’ is a synonym for ‘publicly criticized.’

  16. says

    After having watched Ollie PhilosophyTube’s video I have to rescind. He didn’t do enough to oppose the road towards social darwinism.