Advertisement

Journal of the History of Biology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 457–491 | Cite as

Last Judgment: The Visionary Biology of J. B. S. Haldane

  • Mark B. Adams
Article

Abstract

This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in1927, “The Last Judgment” – the sequel to his better known work, Daedalus (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the “new biology” for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career.

J. B. S. Haldane biology politics genetics evolution population genetics physiology Darwinism experimental biology eugenics Britain Russia India Soviet Communism socialism philosophy vision literature popularization religion human experimentation bioethics Venus Mars science fiction technocracy futurology H. G. Wells Julian Huxley Olaf Stapledon C. S. Lewis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, Mark B. 1968. “The Founding of Population Genetics: Contributions of the Chetverikov School, 1924-1934.” Journal of the History of Biology 1: 23-39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. — 1990a. “A. I. Oparin.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 18, pp. 695-700. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar
  3. — ed. 1990b. The Wellborn Science: Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. 1990c. “Eugenics in Russia: 1900-1940.” In Adams (1990b), pp. 152-216.Google Scholar
  5. — ed. 1994. The Evolution of Theodosius Dobzhansky: Essays on His Life and Thought in Russia and America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Allen, Garland E. 1975. Life Science in the Twentieth Century. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Beatty, John. 1992. “Julian Huxley and the Evolutionary Synthesis.” In Julian Huxley: Biologist and Statesman of Science, ed. C. Kenneth Waters and Albert Van Helden, pp. 181-189. Houston: Rice University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bergonzi, Bernard. 1961. The Early H. G. Wells. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bernal, J. D. 1967. The Origin of Life. Cleveland and New York: World Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, Ronald. 1968. J. B. S.: The Life and Work of J. B. S. Haldane. London: Hodder and Stoughton; reprint 1969. New York: Coward-McCann.Google Scholar
  11. — 1972. “Haldane, John Burdon Sanderson.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 6, pp. 21-23. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. 1963. Profiles of the Future. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  13. 1968. “Haldane and Space.” In Dronamraju, pp. 243-248.Google Scholar
  14. Coe, Sophia Dobzhansky. 1994. “Theodosius Dobzhansky: A Family Story.” In Adams.Google Scholar
  15. Conklin, Groff, ed. 1962. Great Science Fiction By Scientists. New York: Collier-Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. 1972a. “Francis Galton's Contributions to Genetics.” Journal of the History of Biology 5: 389-412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. — 1972b. “Francis Galton's Statistical Ideas: The Influence of Eugenics.” Isis 63: 509-528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. — 1977. “Nature and Nurture: The Interplay of Biology and Politics in the Work of Francis Galton.” Studies in History of Biology 1: 133-208.Google Scholar
  19. Crossley, Robert. 1994. Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future. Syracuse NY: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  20. “The Cuddly Cactus.” 1956. New Statesman and Nation 51: 7.Google Scholar
  21. Dronamraju, Krishna R. (ed.). 1968. Haldane and Modern Biology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  22. — 1985. Haldane: The Life and Work of J. B. S. Haldane With Special Reference to India. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press.Google Scholar
  23. — (ed.). 1995. Haldane's Daedalus Revisited. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  24. Farley, John. 1974. The Spontaneous Generation Controversy: From Descartes to Oparin. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Fel'dman, G. F. 1976. Dzhon Berdon Sanderson Kholdein 1892-1964. Moscow: Nauka.Google Scholar
  26. Fiedler, Leslie A. 1983. Olaf Stapledon: A Man Divided. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Filner, Robert E. 1977. “The Social Relations of Science Movement (SRS) and J. B. S. Haldane.” Science and Society 41: 303-316.Google Scholar
  28. Green, Roger Lancelyn and Hooper, Walter. 1974. C. S. Lewis: A Biography. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  29. Haeckel, Ernst. 1900. The Riddle of the Universe. London: Watts; reprint 1902.Google Scholar
  30. Haldane, J. B. S. 1924. Daedalus, or Science and the Future: A Paper Read to the Heretics, Cambridge on February 4th, 1923. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.Google Scholar
  31. — 1927a. Possible Worlds and Other Essays. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  32. 1927b. “Science and Politics.” In Haldane (1927a), pp. 188-189.Google Scholar
  33. 1927c. “The Duty of Doubt.” In Haldane (1927a), pp. 220-221.Google Scholar
  34. 1927d. “The Last Judgment.” In Haldane (1927a), pp. 287-312.Google Scholar
  35. — 1932a. The Causes of Evolution. London: Longmans, Green, & Co.; reprint 1966. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  36. — 1932b. The Inequality of Man and Other Essays. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  37. 1932c. “Possibilities of Human Evolution.” In Haldane (1932b), pp. 78-96.Google Scholar
  38. 1932d. “Man's Destiny.” In Haldane (1932b), pp. 142-147.Google Scholar
  39. 1932e. “The Origin of Life.” In Haldane (1932b), pp. 148-160.Google Scholar
  40. 1932f. “The Gold-Makers.” In Haldane (1932b), pp. 271-295.Google Scholar
  41. — 1938. The Marxist Philosophy and the Sciences. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  42. — 1946a. “Auld Hornie, F. R. S.” The Modern Quarterly (N.S.) 1(4): 32.Google Scholar
  43. — 1946b. A Banned Broadcast and Other Essays. London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
  44. — 1949. “Human Evolution: Past and Future.” In Genetics, Paleontology, and Evolution, ed. Glenn L. Jepsen, Ernst Mayr, and George Gaylord Simpson, pp. 405-418. Princeton: Princeton University Press; reprint 1963. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  45. — 1951. Everything Has a History. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  46. — 1963. “Biological Possibilities for the Human Species In the Next Ten Thousand Years.” In Man and His Future: A Ciba Foundation Volume, ed. Gordon Wolstenholme, pp. 337-361. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.Google Scholar
  47. — 1968. Science and Life: Essays of a Rationalist. The Humanist Library. London: Pemberton.Google Scholar
  48. — 1973. John B. S. Haldane: Reader of Popular Scientific Essays, comp. G. D. Fel'dman and O. D. Meshkov. Moscow: Nauka.Google Scholar
  49. — 1976. The Man With Two Memories. London: Merlin.Google Scholar
  50. — 1985. On Being the Right Size and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Haldane, J. B. S. and Huxley, Julian. 1927. Animal Biology. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  52. Heinlein, Robert A. [Anson MacDonald]. 1942. “Beyond This Horizon.” Astounding Science-Fiction (April and May).Google Scholar
  53. — 1948. Beyond This Horizon. Reading, PA: Fantasy Press.Google Scholar
  54. Hillegas, Mark R. (ed.). 1969. Shadows of Imagination: The Fantasies of C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Huxley, Aldous. 1932. Brave New World. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  56. Huxley, Julian. 1970. Memories.New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  57. Kevles, Daniel J. 1985. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  58. Krementsov, Nikolai. 1996. “A 'Second Front' in Soviet Genetics: The International Dimension of the Lysenko Controversy, 1944-1947.” Journal of the History of Biology 29: 229-250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lewis, C. S. 1966. Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, ed. Walter Hooper. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  60. Lunn, Arnold and Haldane, J. B. S. 1935. Science and the Supernatural: A Correspondence Between Arnold Lunn and J. B. S. Haldane. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode.Google Scholar
  61. Mayr, Ernst. 1995. “Haldane's Daedalus.” In Dronamraju (1995), pp. 79-89.Google Scholar
  62. Mazumdar, Pauline M. H. 1992. Eugenics, Human Genetics and Human Failings: the Eugenics Society, its Sources and its Critics in Britain. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  63. McConnell, Frank. 1981. The Science Fiction of H. G. Wells. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. McOuat, Gordon and Winsor, Mary P. 1995. “J. B. S. Haldane's Darwinism in Its Religious Context.” British Journal of History of Science 28: 227-231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Metchnikoff, Élie. 1908. The Nature of Man. London: Putnam.Google Scholar
  66. Moskowitz, Sam. 1963. “How Science Fiction Got Its Name.” In Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction, ed. Sam Moskowitz, pp. 313-333. Westport CN: Hyperion Press.Google Scholar
  67. Paul, Diane B. 1983a. “A War on Two Fronts: J. B. S. Haldane and the Response to Lysenkoism in Britain.” Journal of the History of Biology 16: 1-37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 1983b. “Eugenics and the Left.” Journal of the History of Ideas: 567-590.Google Scholar
  69. — 1998. The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine, and the Nature-Nurture Debate. Albany NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  70. Pauly, Philip J. 1987. Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Pirie, N. W. 1966. “J. B. S. Haldane.” Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 12: 219-249.Google Scholar
  72. Provine, William B. 1971. The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  73. Russell, Bertrand. 1924. Icarus, or The Future of Science. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.Google Scholar
  74. Shaw, George Bernard. 1982. Man and Superman, A Comedy and a Philosophy: Definitive Text. New York and London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  75. Smith, John Maynard. 1985. “Introduction.” In Haldane (1985), pp. ix-xii.Google Scholar
  76. — 1987. “J. B. S. Haldane.” In Oxford Surveys in Evolutionary Biology, ed. Paul H. Harvey and Linda Partridge, vol. 4, p. 8. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  77. 1968. “Introduction.” In Haldane.Google Scholar
  78. Stapledon, Olaf. 1930. Last and First Men. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  79. — 1953. To the End of Time: The Best of Olaf Stapledon, ed. Basil Davenport. New York: Funk and Wagnalls; reprinted, Boston: Gregg Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  80. — 1979. Far Future Calling: Uncollected Science Fiction and Fantasies of Olaf Stapledon, ed. Sam Moskowitz. Philadelphia: Oswald Train.Google Scholar
  81. Wells, H. G. 1893. Text Book of Biology. 2 vols. London: Clive.Google Scholar
  82. — 1895. The Time Machine: An Invention. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  83. 1897. “The War of the Worlds.” Pearson's Magazine (December).Google Scholar
  84. — 1898. The War of the Worlds. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  85. — 1899. Tales of Space and Time. London: Harpers.Google Scholar
  86. — 1901. The First Men In the Moon. London: Newnes.Google Scholar
  87. — 1905a. A Modern Utopia. London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  88. 1905b. “The Empire of the Ants.” The Strand Magazine, December.Google Scholar
  89. — 1920. The Outline of History. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  90. — 1934. Experiment in Autobiography. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  91. — 1935. Things To Come. London: Cresset Press.Google Scholar
  92. — 1978. The Collector's Book of Science Fiction by H. G. Wells: From Rare, Original, Illustrated Magazines, comp. by Alan K. Russell. Secaucus, NJ: Castle Books.Google Scholar
  93. — N.d. Seven Science Fiction Novels of H. G. Wells. New York: Dover. Werskey, Paul Gary. 1971. “Haldane and Huxley: The First Appraisals.” Journal of the History of Biology 4: 171-183.Google Scholar
  94. — 1978. The Visible College: the Collective Biography of British Scientific Socialists of the 1930s. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  95. White, M. J. D. 1965. “J. B. S. Haldane.” Genetics 52: 1-7.Google Scholar
  96. Williamson, Jack. 1973. H. G. Wells: Critic of Progress. Baltimore: Mirage Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark B. Adams
    • 1
  1. 1.History and Sociology of ScienceUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations