Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were evolutionists before they encountered Darwin's "The Origin of Species" - (Dec 12, 1859) Engels wrote to Marx: "Darwin who I am now reading, is splendid" (Morris 1989, 83 quoting Zirkle). Like Darwin, "Marx thought he had discovered the law of development. He saw history in stages, as the Darwinists saw geological strata and successive forms of life... In keeping with the feelings of the age, both Marx and Darwin made struggle the means of development" (Morris 1989, 83 quoting Borzin). "There was truth in Engel's eulogy on Marx: 'Just as Darwin had discovered the law of evolution in organic nature so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history'" (Morris 1989, 83 quoting Himmelfarb).
"It is commonplace that Marx felt his own work to be the exact parallel of Darwin's. He even wished to dedicate a portion of Das Kapital to the author of The Origin of Species" (Morris 1989, 83 quoting Barzum). Indeed, Marx wished to dedicate parts of his famous book to Darwin but "Darwin 'declined the honor' because, he wrote to Marx, he did not know the work, he did not believe that direct attacks on religion advanced the cause of free thought, and finally because he did not want to upset 'some members of my family'" (Morris 1989, 83 quoting Jorafsky).
Other Soviet Communist leaders are evolutionists as well. Lenin, Trostsky, and Stalin were all atheistic evolutionists. A soviet think tank founded in 1963 developed a one-semester course in "Scientific Atheism" which was introduced in 1964. Also, a case can be made that Darwinism was influential in propagating communism in China.
Interestingly, according to Morris, Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University, the co-founder of the punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution is a Marxist in philosophy, along with other distinguished Harvard evolutionary scientists and university professors across the country. One has to ask - could a person espouse the Marxist view and tolerate creationism?
References: Morris 1989, 82-92Continue with: Evolution and Social Darwinism
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