Response to Aaron P. Baldwin’s Amazon review of my book the Dark Side of Darwin

Dr. Jerry Bergman

The most common objection to the Dark Side of Darwin is the book amounts to nothing more than an ad hominem argument, yet all the critical reviews are nothing more than ad hominem arguments against the author. Aaron Baldwin on a recent post on Amazon about my book The Dark Side of Darwin claims that he read the entire book and looked up most of its close to 1,000 references. Thus, the few examples he gives were, presumably, the best examples that he was able to locate. The Dark Side is a review of the literature and, accordingly to the literature, Baldwin’s human species argument against my book is wrong. He claims

chapter 13 (“Darwin’s view of women”) we learn that, “The intelligence gap that many Darwinists believed existed between males and females due to selection was so great that some evolutionists classified the sexes as two distinct species – males as Homo frontalis and females as Homo parietalis” Really Mr. Bergman? Darwinists said this? Well it turns out that the original statement is not from a `Darwinist’ or `evolutionist’ at all, but from a German anatomist named Emil Huschke. One of Huschke’s goals as a scientist was to find evidence of a soul in the morphology of humans (?!). In comparing the shape of the brains between males and females he claimed to find a 1% difference in frontal and parietal shape, he wrote “Woman is a Homo parietalis and interparietalis, man a Homo frontalis, and the shape of the woman’s brain is therefore more round than that of the man”. Nowhere is he classifying a species, he his making a morphological distinction (however imaginary this may be). AND he wrote this in 1854, five years before Origin so in no way could be called a Darwinist or selectionist. So one guy, not a Darwinist or an evolutionist, using Latin to describe brain morphology can accurately be described as Darwinists classifying the sexes as different species?

Now this one made me laugh. Bergman writes, “Darwin himself concluded that the differences between human males and females were so large that it was surprising “such different beings belong to the same species” and that “even greater differences” had not evolved. Well Bergman cites Sue Rosser who is citing Darwin. However, it was Bergman who added the modifier implying that Darwin was talking about humans. What was Darwin talking about? He was talking about barnacles. “the two sexes; and how enormously these sometimes differ in the most important characters, is known to every naturalist: scarcely a single fact can be predicated in common of the males and hermaphrodites of certain cirripedes, when adult, and yet no one dreams of separating them.” (Darwin, 1859). Tell me Mr. Bergman, why would you claim that Darwin was talking about humans when he is clearly not? Rossman recognized this, and I am sure you must have also seen the original citation in Origin of Species. I am suspecting that it is because while Bergman knows this, he knows his target audience does not and will not endeavor to find out.

This may appear to be a valid criticism, but on examination is not. That claim that species is not referred is incorrect as is clear from the genus-species binomial nomenclature used: Homo parietalis for women, Homo frontali for men, such as Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens.

Emil Huschke may not have been an evolutionist, but some of those who used the concept Homo parietalis, Homo frontali terms for species were. Baldwin’s claim that Darwin was not in agreement with this assertion is dealt with by historians. For example, eminent science historian, Professor Sue Rosser, Ph.D., is a leading academic with a BA, MS and PhD in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her professorships include of anthropology, zoology and women’s studies. Her 52 page summary of her academic work includes 13 books, 73 book chapters, and 67 peer reviewed journal articles, including several on women in science, in. She wrote that

Writing in the nineteenth century, but echoed by sociobiologists (Barash 1977; Wilson, 1978) in this century, Charles Darwin (1867) remarks specifically on the vast differences between males and females. What amazed him was the fact that such different beings belong to the same species (see chapter 3). As Darwin depicts male-female interaction, it seems that the former constitute something like a separate group, interacting mainly with each other in relation to another quite separate group. In order to make the differentiation between males and females as strong as possible, the theory of sexual selection is needed. It is the agent of differentiation, that which assures an ever-increasing separation between the sexes, their operation in two quite distinct realms that touch only for the purpose of procreation. At one points Darwin even suggests that it is as preposterous to suggest that a human male should be born of a female as it is that “a perfect kangaroo were seen to come out of the womb a bear” (Darwin, 1967, p. 425) (Quoted in Rosser, 1992, p. 155).

She elaborated this further, writing that

Darwin’s suggestion that human females and males differ as much as separate species has stuck in my mind ever since I first studied the passage some 14 years ago. Early this year while reading in an introductory biology text the standard definitions of interactions between species, this passage from Darwin again came to mind. It occurred to me that the metaphor of woman as a separate species … has served as a useful construct for evolution of some Marxist-feminist theory (Rosser, 1992, p. 155).

Furthermore, she concluded from her decades of research on this topic that

What seems to have struck Darwin most when he observed males and females of species throughout the natural world was the tremendous difference between them: “How enormously these sometimes differ in the most important characters is known to every naturalist” (Darwin, 1859, p. 424). What amazed him was the fact that such different beings belong to the same species. When viewing the human world in the light of other natural realms, he was even surprised to not that even greater differences still had not been evolved. “It is, indeed, fortunate that the law of the equal transmission of characters to both sexes prevails with mammals; otherwise it is probably that man would have become as superior in mental endowment to woman, as the peacock is in ornamental plumage to the peahen” (Darwin, 1871, p. 565). At first view it may seem strange that Darwin stresses the differences between the sexes. In the Origin he depicts the struggle for existence as a mainly intraspecific conflict, claiming that competition is fiercest among those closest in the scale of nature (Darwin, 1859, p. 76) (Rosser, 1992, p. 59).

As to his other claims, all are incorrect. He must have reviewed the old edition. The new edition says “He was fully engaged in his research, which included doing dissections of living animals (Browne, 1995, p. 214).” Given these quotes, it seems Baldwin’s research was rather superficial.


Darwin, Charles. 1859. The Origin of Species. London: John Murray

Rosser, Sue V.  1992.  Biology and Feminism; A Dynamic Interaction.  New York: Twayne.

______. 1997. “Possible Implications of Feminists Theories for the Study of Evolution.”  Chapter 2 pp. 21-41. Feminism and Evolutionary Biology. Edited by Patricia Adair Gowaty. New York: Chapman &Hall.

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