Those darn immigrants

Go back where you come from! You violate our traditions and are trying to replace us!

I guess that’s a familiar complaint. Britons were complaining about all those immigrants from the European mainland who were waltzing in, smug as you please, after the fall of Rome, and I presume they were taking all the jerbs. Now science demonstrates the takeover.

In the eighth century C.E., an English monk named Bede wrote the history of the island, saying Rome’s decline in about 400 C.E. opened the way to an invasion from the east. Angle, Saxon, and Jute tribes from what is today northwestern Germany and southern Denmark “came over into the island, and they began to increase so much, that they became terrible to the natives.”

But in the later 20th century, many archaeologists suspected Bede, writing centuries later, had exaggerated the invasion’s scale. Instead, they envisioned a small migration of a warrior elite, who imposed their imported culture on the existing population. Now, a sweeping genomic study, published this week in Nature, suggests Bede may have been at least partly right. New DNA samples from 494 people who died in England between 400 and 900 C.E. show they derived more than three-quarters of their ancestry from Northern Europe.

It was the Angles and the Saxons!

“You can’t deny there was a big shift in material culture—Roman Britain looks very different from the Anglo-Saxon period 200 years later,” Hills says. In spite of that, “Most archaeologists have been critical of the idea of migration,” rejecting it as an overly simplistic explanation for cultural change.

But the new DNA analysis revives it. Together with previously published DNA, samples from more than 20 cemeteries along England’s eastern coast suggest a rapid, large-scale migration from Northern Europe, beginning by 450 C.E. at the latest. “Some Anglo-Saxon sites look almost 100% continental European,” says co-author Joscha Gretzinger, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. “The only explanation is a large amount of people coming in from the North Sea zone.”

Anglo-Saxons go home! Pack up your things and move back to Germany. Or France. Or Poland. And take your foreign ways and your strange foods and your filthy habits with you.<

Except…here comes the kicker.

Traces of western British and Irish ancestry in people buried on the continent suggest a reverse migration, too, with migrants’ descendants moving back after generations in Great Britain. The results undercut the idea of Great Britain as an isolated island, upset only occasionally by invasions. “Actually, the North Sea was a highway, where people were coming and going,” Hills says. “Maybe mobility is a more normal human state than we think.

So, like, maybe we should just get used to populations changing over time?

Hooke doesn’t get enough respect

This is an impressive microscope. It doesn’t look like much, but this is the kind of instrument Leeuwenhoek used to make his observations, back in the 17th and early 18th century. I did not know until now that it was a mystery how he could magnify specimens 270 times with a simple lens — we didn’t know exactly how he constructed the lens, and he wouldn’t tell anyone. It was his secret, which is not a proper scientific attitude, but OK, it was his key to fame.

Until now, that is. The secret of Leeuwenhoek’s lenses has been cracked! It turns out he borrowed a technique of Robert Hooke’s and improved on it.

But on his most powerful lens, neutron tomography revealed that Van Leeuwenhoek used another technique entirely. It was almost perfectly spherical and completely smooth, without the sharp rim inevitably created by a traditional grinding cup. Even more tellingly, the lens retained the faint remnants of a snapped stem, concealed by the brass plates since the day Van Leeuwenhoek had placed it there.

The stem is a smoking gun. It’s the unavoidable result of forming a lens by melting a thread of glass until a bead forms on its end and then snapping it off. In other words, to make his greatest lens, Van Leeuwenhoek copied Hooke’s simple recipe from the book that likely inspired him. Cocquyt believes this may explain why he was so circumspect when Hooke asked about his methods; he wanted to avoid giving credit to Hooke himself.

Published in Science Advances last year, Cocquyt’s discovery that Van Leeuwenhoek used a well-known technique reveals a deeper truth about the state of microscopy in the 17th century. It suggests that for all the crafting genius required to make his tiny, super-powered lens, Van Leeuwenhoek’s greatest insight may have been that there was something new to see by making one.

I mean, everyone was copying Robert Hooke in the 17th century and then hiding the fact. Hooke was a real genius, and it makes me wonder why no one wanted to credit him for anything. Apparently, he was an unpleasant character, vain and jealous, and that has damaged his legacy. The lesson: be courteous and nice with your peers!

Men never change

I suppose a woman could have carved this stone found along Hadrian’s wall, and from the 2nd century CE, but somehow I doubt it.

The stone is fairly small, measuring 40 cm wide by 15 cm tall (15 inches by 6 inches). Experts in Roman epigraphy recognized the lettering as a mangled version of Secundinus cacator, which translates into (ahem) “Secundinus, the shitter.” The penis image merely added insult to injury—a clever subversion of the traditional interpretation of a phallus as a positive symbol of fertility. The Vindolanda site now has 13 phallic carvings, more than have been discovered at any other dig site along Hadrian’s Wall.

The last laugh is on whoever carved it, because we remember Secundinus’s name and not his.

Ancient Romans were diverse? Who would have thought it?

I wouldn’t have guessed that they’d ever get DNA from the dead of Pompeii, but they have. It’s not complete — heat isn’t compatible with DNA preservation — but they were able to make some mundane conclusions.

The man’s genome assembly had just 0.42x coverage, indicating that the reads had little overlap, and there were gaps. Still, according to Scorrano, the sequence was good enough to analyze certain aspects of the DNA. The results suggested the Pompeian man was genetically similar to modern Mediterranean populations and, when compared to other published genomes from ancient Rome, that he was closely related “to Imperial Roman Age individuals,” Scorrano says, adding that that’s what the team expected to find. But at the same time, he notes that Rome was packed with people from diverse genetic backgrounds back then. In fact, the markers of the man’s maternal and paternal lineages were absent among those previously published sequences, which suggests the region had high genetic diversity during that time.

The Italian Peninsula was “incredibly heterogeneous” when Vesuvius erupted—people were “coming from all over the empire” into Rome or into port cities like Pompeii, says University of Chicago archaeologist Hannah Moots, who did not participate in the study but has previously characterized the genomic pool of ancient Rome. It is exciting to have genomes from Italian regions outside Rome, she says, adding that looking at sites like Pompeii is “really interesting” because they can provide insights into more rural areas.

Mundane isn’t bad — it’s what was expected. And they did find some novel markers. Just learning that Roman society was diverse is a good reminder to all those people who think monocultures are superior.

Lara Logan: A classic example of not even wrong

A Fox News host went on a QAnon show, and the absurdity just blew up from there. She started talking about Darwin.

What is the only thing on Earth that is actually renewable? It’s life. And they can, you know, go back to the big-bang theory and Darwin. I mean, when I found out, does anyone know when, who employed Darwin? Where Darwinism comes from? Well, I mean, you know, look it up, the Rothschilds. It goes right back to 10 Downing Street and the same people who employed Darwin and that’s when Darwin, you know, wrote his theory of evolution and so on and so on. And I’m not saying that none of that is true. I’m just saying Darwin was hired by someone to come up with the theory. Right? Based on evidence. OK, fine.

Um, no one employed Darwin. He was independently wealthy, getting his money from his inheritance (being related to the Wedgwood industrialists helped), rents and business investments, and book royalties. No one paid him to write The Origin, other than John Murray, that is, who was his publisher, and who also published Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. Now there’s a grand group of conspirators.

I know of no connection with the Rothschilds, other than that an anti-Semitic hate group (a term that applies to both Fox News and QAnon) wants desperately to connect the Jews to everything.

I did look it up, and didn’t find any links between Darwin and the Rothschild bankers. Well, except for maybe this weird incoherent rant about Rothschild-Khazarian Mafia.

Irony Alert! Darwin’s famous “scientific” voyage to the Galapagos Islands as the resident naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle in 1831 was ostensibly made to catalogue different species of plants and animals, but in actuality was a prelude to pervert the history and Biblical origins of Mankind with the publication of his scientism (fake science) books, On the Origin of the Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871).

Of course Darwin (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, and many, many other scientists and academics, philosophers and intellectuals since the last quarter of the 17th century) were virtually all financed with Rothschild (Fake Jewish Khazarian Mafia) money, (including all his books, essays, articles, and lecture tours) proposing his Theory of Evolution Atheism and Eugenics Racism which brought with it instant national and international fame and celebrity. Why were the Rothschilds interested in financing this obscure naturalist with no scientific expertise in either biology or zoology? Following the Kabbalah Law of Opposites and Babylonian Talmudism, the Rothschild Khazarian Mafia funded these anti-intellectual enterprises with the specific intent to deconstruct and ultimately destroy Christianity by pushing the academic atheism Big Lie that mankind is no different than the animals, and in fact descended from them.

If the crazed grammar doesn’t persuade you, they also published this image.

Yeah. Look it up.

One thing I don’t miss from Salt Lake City

Yikes, there’s something off about the whole story

Really, it’s a lovely place to live, and it’s usually easy to overlook the Mormons. The Salt Lake Tribune is also a good newspaper, except…they have a tendency to soft-pedal Mormon absurdity. Case in point: their coverage of Mormon archaeology. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Mormon religion was founded by a 19th century con artist who wrote this pretentious, long-winded piece of fan fiction about the lost tribes of Israel colonizing North America and creating, out of whole cloth, a pseudo-history of pale-skinned people building cities and fighting wars all across the continent. There’s no evidence for any of this nonsense. But the Salt Lake Tribune reports it as if this is legitimate history and archaeology, and the religious kooks digging around for support for their myths are heroic.

Forget Indiana Jones. Try Iowa John.

Yes, John Lefgren and other supporters of the Heartland Research Group aren’t hunting for the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, but they are searching high and low — in this case, really low — for archaeological evidence supporting the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon.

Right now, they’re on a quest to find Zarahemla … in southeastern Iowa.

They’re using light detection and ranging sensors — along with carbon dating, magnetometry and other technological tools — to pinpoint the ancient Nephite capital, which they believe is waiting to be discovered underground just outside of Montrose.

Nope. There were no Nephites. There was no Nephite nation. There was no Zarahemla. Montrose, Iowa happens to be just across the Mississippi from Nauvoo, Illinois, where Joseph Smith and his followers fled to after they were chased out of Missouri — Smith just incorporated anywhere he found himself into his fantasy fictional history. So they’re digging in a random spot and claiming any evidence of human habitation supports the Book of Mormon.

The Heartland Research Group thinks it may have found the site of Zarahemla—a notable city in the Book of Mormon—outside of Montrose, a small southeast Iowa town located on the banks of the Mississippi River.

John Lefgren of the Heartland Research Group said in his faith, Zarahemla would be comparable to Jerusalem for Christians. The exact location of Zarahemla has not been verified, so being able to pinpoint it would be a milestone.

“Iowa is an important place,” Lefgren said. “In the fourth century, Montrose, Iowa, had the largest city in North America.”

According to Lefgren, in its heyday of AD 320, Zarahemla had a population of about 100,000 and it was the largest city in the Americas.

Nope. Nauvoo/Montrose are on the Mississippi, about 200 miles from Cahokia. This was the heartland of the Mound Builders culture, which actually existed, and was thriving at the time the Mormons claim there was an entire Hebrew civilization living in the same place, riding horses and wielding iron swords, somehow replacing the real human beings who lived there. They’re going to misinterpret everything they find.

One method they hope can help verify Zarahemla’s location is by finding fire pits. The group theorizes that with a population of about 100,000, there would be one fire pit for every 10 residents within a mile or so of the city center.

“We’ve gone down into the ground with core sampling to get charcoal/carbon from fires that are 1,700 years old,” Lefgren said. “It’s all serious stuff; all serious stuff right here in Iowa.”

The samples will be sent to the Vilnius Radiocarbon Laboratory in Lithuania for carbon-14 dating to determine the age of the recovered charcoal.

Let’s just pretend there wasn’t a thriving American Indian culture right there 1700 years ago, and that those people cooked their food in their villages along the banks of the Mississippi. They’re going to find ashes and declare victory, they found proof that Joseph Smith’s grand con was true.

And the Mormon newspapers will go along with it.

The most charming magical bar that has ever been

The other day, I got in my car and discovered a few fine strands of silk between the steering wheel and the dashboard. Just a few; some spider had been making a few exploratory leaps inside the car, leaving traces behind, and then probably left because there isn’t much spider food in there. It made me just a little bit happy, though. It’s good to see the little ones out and about.

I can only dream of someday owning a Cobweb Palace.

That’s the interior of a San Francisco saloon that existed between 1856 and 1893, established by a wise gentleman and kindred spirit named Abe Warner.

Cobweb Palace was unlike any other saloon in that it had dense spider webs fixed on the bar’s ceiling. More threads draped over the shelves that stored the liquor bottles. The spiders cast a veil over nude portraits on the walls, and some of the webs reportedly grew 6 feet wide at times. But Warner refused to destroy them.

“The spiders just took advantage of me and my good nature,” Warner told the San Francisco Chronicle. “When I first opened up here, I didn’t have time to bother with ‘em and they grew on me. It’s a great neighborhood for spiders, anyway, and the news got around among ‘em that I was easy and they founded an orphan asylum and put all the orphans to work spinning webs.”

All good things must come to an end, though, and the enchanted saloon eventually failed after a prosperous 40 year run.

Cobweb Palace would continue showcasing its curios, wild animals, and web-covered ceiling for nearly four decades, until the crowd outgrew their taste for the peculiar fortress Warner created. The saloon began to lose its luster in the 1870s, when the area became mostly industrial. Years later, the Sausalito ferries moved away from Meiggs’ Wharf, causing a bigger blow to Warner’s business.

Customers stopped coming to Cobweb Palace and Warner couldn’t make enough cash to pay the rent. The property owner had no choice but to evict Warner by 1893 to tear down the saloon and make way for new housing.

The end of Abe Warner was especially poignant. Is this me in a few years time? If it is, it’s not that terrible a way to go.

Warner is remembered in historic articles as a man whose only friends were the spiders, and in a way, they were. Warner’s best days were among the spiders that coexisted inside his bar as they kept him company long after the crowd abandoned him. Some webs had been undisturbed since the saloon’s inception until the auctioneers finally cleared them out.

Warner refused his daughter’s call to return to New York after the failure of Cobweb Palace. It would be too painful of a move after the decades spent in San Francisco. Even when local relatives wanted to take him in, Warner declined their offer, preferring his own solitude. Then, three years after the saloon’s permanent closure, Warner passed away in 1896 without a dime to his name. He was 82 years old and died alone, save for the spiders that watched over him until the very end.

What’s especially sad about that is that I haven’t accomplished anything as glorious as the Cobweb Palace. I’m going to have to get to work fast in my remaining years.

Also, anyone else read his story and think he sounds like a great character for an urban fantasy novel?

German engineering! Also, German history

Yesterday, I learned about the history of some microscope companies. I was a little surprised.

In the business of biology, there is a hierarchy of prestige. The highest rated microscopes are typically made by Zeiss, and the price reflects that. They really are sweet machines with excellent optics, and rock solid, reliable mechanicals. I adore the old Zeiss Universal, and if one dropped into my lap I would be overjoyed in spite of my shattered femurs. Second on my list would be a Leica scope, but the ranking is a little unfair — it’s based partly on reputation, not necessarily the quality of the modern instruments, and one of the reasons Zeiss is prized is pure status-seeking. Then there’s Nikon and Olympus, two Japanese companies with excellent scopes…but they aren’t German. There’s a strong cachet to German engineering, but really, the Japanese optics are pretty darned good.

My lab microscope is a Leica and I’m very happy with it. We also have a fair number of student microscopes made by American companies, and I confess with some patriotic embarrassment that they’re junk. Cheap, but junk. I had the displeasure of working with some student scopes yesterday and was dismayed at the lack of that silky smooth feel and crisp, clear optics, but then, we can’t afford to drop $10,000 each on the 30 scopes we might need to equip a student lab.

Notice that my top two microscope brands are German, and these are old companies, established in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And that makes one wonder…what were they doing during WWII and the rise of the Nazis? It’s an uncomfortable question, and a little bit unfair, since every German company had to make accommodations to coexist with the Nazis, and it’s not as if they could have shuttered their factories and labs and moved to a different country in 1933. We could ask how enthusiastically they cooperated with the regime, however.

There, Zeiss disappointed me. Zeiss used forced labor from the concentration camps during the war.

On October 18, 1944, 200 female workers were allocated to the ZEISS Goehle-Werk, an additional 300 women had been transported from Auschwitz on October 28, 1944, and yet another 200 were transported on December 14.

According to prisoner statements, the prisoners were guarded by female SS members who were armed with rubber truncheons, which they used. Some of the guards had previously worked at ZEISS-Ikon. The women were housed on one level of the factory, and they worked two or three levels below.

The ZEISS Werk Reick, located in the southeastern part of Dresden, was one of four ZEISS-Ikon AG plants in Dresden. Like the ZEISS-Ikon Goehle-Werk, it became the site of a subcamp in October 1944. However, unlike the other subcamps with female prisoners in Dresden, the Werk Reick is less well known. That may be because of no trial was held, in contrast to the case of the Goehle-Werk. The camp evacuation took place in mid-April 1945 after the allies occupation.

Moreover, there was evidence that during the war (1941-1944), ZEISS has utilized thousands of forced labor workers, which comprised about 30% of all its employees. Furthermore, according to reports, ZEISS also provided direct economic support to the national and local Nazi-party organizations (Reference: 6. Carl Zeiss. Die Geschichte Eines Unternehmens. Band 2, 2000).

Yikes. They profited from slave camps.

You might argue that, well, they had to. Optics were critical to the German war effort, and the Nazis basically held a gun to the head of every company in their territory. They just did what they had to do. But then, I read about Leica during WWII and the Leica Freedom Train.

“Under considerable risk and in defiance of Nazi policy, Ernst Leitz took valiant steps to transport his Jewish employees and others out of harm’s way,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “At a time when the Nazis were steadily advancing their nation on a path toward war and the Holocaust, Leitz had the courage to defy their directives while risking his life to save others. In the moral void that engulfed the world in those nightmarish days when the cruelty of the Nazis ran rampant, Ernst Leitz had the Courage to Care. If only there had been more Oskar Schindlers, more Ernst Leitzs, then less Jews would have perished. We remember and honor his act of selfless moral courage in the face of absolute tyranny.”

Yeah. The company saw what was coming and started hiring Jewish workers and assigning them to foreign offices to get them out of harm’s way.

As early as 1933 and continuing as late as 1943, Leitz quietly established what has become known as the “Leica Freedom Train”, a covert means of allowing his Jewish employees, their families, and even non-Jews to leave Germany under the guise of being ‘assigned’ overseas. These refuges were sent to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and the United States. They were trained, housed at company expense and paid a stipend until work was found for them in the photo industry.

As new Leitz “employees” arrived in New York they made their way to the Manhattan offices of E. Leitz Inc., each with a symbol of freedom around their necks – a new Leica Camera. The total number of escapees has never been established but may have been as high as 200-300 in the United States alone.

Unfortunately, the company wasn’t large enough to employ 6 million people overseas.

I am now a little happier with my Leica DM (although I really had no complaints about it before), but I’m giving a few dirty looks to my Wild (a Zeiss-associated company) M3C, even though it is an objectively magnificent tool.

It’s like reading the letters section of my local newspaper!

Small town newspapers occasionally get letter-feuds going — it fuels subscriptions, since you really want to know how angry Sally Jo is going to get with Fred over his dog tearing up her petunias, and the back and forth can go on for months. Sometimes science gets that way, too.

The backstory: Augustin Fuentes wrote an editorial for Science in which he pointed out that Charles Darwin was a flawed, prejudiced Victorian man, as part of a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Descent of Man. While he may have been somewhat more progressive than many of his contemporaries, he still had awful racist views.

Darwin portrayed Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia as less than Europeans in capacity and behavior. Peoples of the African continent were consistently referred to as cognitively depauperate, less capable, and of a lower rank than other races. These assertions are confounding because in “Descent” Darwin offered refutation of natural selection as the process differentiating races, noting that traits used to characterize them appeared nonfunctional relative to capacity for success. As a scientist this should have given him pause, yet he still, baselessly, asserted evolutionary differences between races. He went beyond simple racial rankings, offering justification of empire and colonialism, and genocide, through “survival of the fittest.” This too is confounding given Darwin’s robust stance against slavery.

Not to mention his ideas about women.

In “Descent,” Darwin identified women as less capable than (White) men, often akin to the “lower races.” He described man as more courageous, energetic, inventive, and intelligent, invoking natural and sexual selection as justification, despite the lack of concrete data and biological assessment. His adamant assertions about the centrality of male agency and the passivity of the female in evolutionary processes, for humans and across the animal world, resonate with both Victorian and contemporary misogyny.

“GASP!” went some scientists. How dare he be so rude? Think of the harm it will do to science education if we reveal the flaws in our heroes! So they fired off a letter to the editor.

We fear that Fuentes’ vituperative exposition will encourage a spectrum of anti-evolution voices and damage prospects for an expanded, more gender and ethnically diverse new generation of evolutionary scientists.

Oh, dear. So rather than be interested in the truth, we should conceal those past embarrassments, lest a creationist discover them. This is a terrible idea, because eventually someone will discover them (they’re in books in the public domain, you know), and then it’ll be the cover-up that is the scandal. Have they learned nothing from political history?

In The Descent he demolished the slavery-justifying view of different races as separate species, so inspiring the anti-racist perspectives of later anthropologists like Boaz. On sexism, Darwin suggested that education of “reason and imagination” would erase mental sex differences. His theory of sexual selection gave female animals a central role in mate choice and evolution.

On races, sure, he was better than many, and he also criticizes the race “science” of his day, noting that none of the proponents of that dangerous nonsense could even agree on the number and boundaries of the various races. He was an abolitionist, but as we Americans should know from our history, you can oppose slavery while still having demeaning views of black people. While it is correct that he demolished the idea of different races as different species, he still thought the races had different characters, which is a belief that still feeds racist views. Like this, from the Descent of Man.

There is, however, no doubt that the various races, when carefully compared and measured, differ much from each other,—as in the texture of the hair, the relative proportions of all parts of the body, the capacity of the lungs, the form and capacity of the skull, and even in the convolutions of the brain. But it would be an endless task to specify the numerous points of structural difference. The races differ also in constitution, in acclimatisation, and in liability to certain diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotional, but partly in their intellectual, faculties. Every one who has had the opportunity of comparison, must have been struck with the contrast between the taciturn, even morose, aborigines of S. America and the light-hearted, talkative negroes.

Oh, those light-hearted negroes, chattering away happily out on the plantation, with their distinct mental characteristics! How dare you accuse Darwin of still clinging to the stereotypes of his day, and being less enlightened than he should have been?

What about his views on women? Did Darwin really think the differences in intellect between men and women would be erased by education?

Here my comparison to conflicts in the letters section of my local newspaper falls down, because Science hasn’t published what should be the next reply in the chain. Holly Dunsworth called the Darwin apologists on their claims by actually reading their citation that purportedly shows how egalitarian Darwin was. Ooops. Here’s Dunsworth’s letter in full:

Whiten et al. described Fuentes’ editorial as a “distorting treatment” of Darwin’s writing in Descent of Man.

As counterpoint to Fuentes’ points about Darwin’s racism and sexism, Whiten et al. wrote that,

On sexism, Darwin suggested that education of “reason and imagination” would erase mental sex differences (1, p. 329).

From that sentence, a reader might reason that Darwin wrote about how educating women could make them equal to men in mental powers. And, a reader might imagine that Darwin advocated for such a thing.

Darwin did neither in the cited passage which says,

In order that woman should reach the same standard as man, she ought, when nearly adult, to be trained to energy and perseverance, and to have her reason and imagination exercised to the highest point; and then she would probably transmit these qualities chiefly to her adult daughters. The whole body of women, however, could not be thus raised, unless during many generations the women who excelled in the above robust virtues were married, and produced offspring in larger numbers than other women. As before remarked with respect to bodily strength, although men do not now fight for the sake of obtaining wives, and this form of selection has passed away, yet they generally have to undergo, during manhood, a severe struggle in order to maintain themselves and their families; and this will tend to keep up or even increase their mental powers, and, as a consequence, the present inequality between the sexes. (1, p. 329)

There is no hope for women and, by the end, Darwin is back on about how men are superior and suggests that they may evolve to be even more so.

It took extraordinary imagination to read that passage from Descent of Man and present it casually in Darwin’s defense as Whiten et al. did.

Now that’s a distorting treatment.

Wow. That passage could be happily quoted by MRAs, anti-feminists, and the general mob of misogynists as perfectly compatible with their views. Do not get into a sparring match with Dr Dunsworth, she’ll cut you.

One other curious thing about that passage…Darwin at the time he wrote Descent of Man was, unfortunately, lacking in a good theory of inheritance and had stumbled into pangenesis — he was basically a Lamarckian. That’s what that bit about how an adult woman had to be trained to “energy and perseverance” so that she would similarly train her daughters, who over many generations might rise to be as smart as a man, if such clever daughters might succeed in producing as many children as those other silly, flighty women. It’s not only profoundly sexist, it’s bad evolutionary logic! He’s not touting the equality of women at all — he’s simply promoting his wrong ideas about the inheritance of acquired characters.

(I’ve written about this before, so this is old ground. Darwin had some even more blatantly sexist passages in the Descent of Man. What’s really going to “encourage a spectrum of anti-evolution voices” is this embarrassing idolatry.)