Sunday, September 2, 2007

George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll
George John Douglas Campbell, 8th and 1st Duke of Argyll (30 April 182324 April 1900) was a prominent United Kingdom Liberal politician as well as a writer on science, religion, and the politics of the 19th century.

Argyll was not only a politician, but also an eminent scientist, or at least an eminent publicist on scientific matters, especially evolution and economics. He was a leader in the scholarly opposition against Darwinism (1869, 1884b) and an important reality-based (i.e., heterodox, non-classical) economist (1893) and institutionalist (1884a), in which latter capacity he was quite similar to his political opponent, Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield. While some of his works seemed quite strangely reactionary and obsolete at the times and for many decades, recent trends in scholarship - in evolutionary and institutional economics, as well as in ("post-genomic") biology - have led to some very positive reevaluation of his work. He was a man of the highest character, honest, courageous, and clear-sighted, and, though regarded by some professional scientists as to a certain extent an amateur, his ability, knowledge, and dialectic power made him a formidable antagonist, and enabled him to exercise a useful, generally conservative, influence on scientific thought and progress.

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