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Darwin, Dharma, and the DivineEvolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan$
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G. Clinton Godart

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824858513

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824858513.001.0001

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“Evolutionary Theory Is the Superstition of Modernity”

“Evolutionary Theory Is the Superstition of Modernity”

(p.157) Chapter Five “Evolutionary Theory Is the Superstition of Modernity”
Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine

G. Clinton Godart

University of Hawai'i Press

The 1930s and the wartime period saw the rise of religious—mainly Shintō—antievolutionary thought. Evolutionary theory took on a complex role in this period, as it was discussed by biologists, Marxists, liberals, Kyoto School philosophers, and Shintō ideologues, among whom Kihira Tadayoshi is the central figure. Antievolutionary thought in Japan emerged largely as a reaction against the use of evolution by the Japanese Left, and also as part of a larger skepticism and reaction against modernity, ideas of progress, and the West. Evolutionary theory was attacked for its association with both liberalism and Marxism. Ultimately, despite the conflict between religiously inspired state ideology, evolutionary theory and religion found an uneasy coexistence.

Keywords:   evolutionary theory, Kihira Tadayoshi, state ideology, Marxism, Hirohito, Overcoming Modernity

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