Chapter

A Mania for Facts

David E. Shi

in Facing Facts

Published in print July 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106534
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854097 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195106534.003.0005
A Mania for Facts

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Long before the outbreak of the Civil War, a brawny new phase of scientific development laid siege to the citadels of philosophical idealism and theological orthodoxy. The modern scientific spirit led many people to equate belief in facts with the substance of belief itself. Modern empirical scientists taught people not to wonder at natural phenomena but to experiment and reason, to discern and dissect, to classify and compare. Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species. Darwin's provocative thesis that the “modification” of species occurred through a ceaseless process of “natural selection” challenged the biblical story that all animal species had originated in an act of divine creation which had forever fixed their forms. Darwinism had taken possession of the human mind. After the Civil War, social sciences and pragmatic realism emerged.

Keywords: facts; Charles Darwin; Origin of Species; natural selection; Darwinism; social sciences; pragmatic realism

Chapter.  5544 words. 

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