Haeckel’s scientific religion
Haeckel, however, was not simply a biologist in the sense that we would use that word today. For he saw himself—and was seen by many German intellectuals and artists in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century—as the founder of a new scientific religion. He called his philosophy monismand saw himself as the leader of a movement of aggressive rationalism which would eventually rid Germany of the last traces of superstitious religion and replace Christianity with a religion which glorified modern science.
Richard Webster, Why Freud was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis, Basic Books, p. 229–230, 1996.
What was the reception of German scientists to Darwin originally?
German scientists at first laughed at Darwin
“Darwin’s ominous book [Origin of Species] had been available in Bronn’s translation for two years. The German professional zoologists, botanists and geologists almost all regarded it [Darwin’s theory] as absolute nonsense. Agassiz, Geibel, Keferstein, and so many others, laughed until they were red in the face –” 1
1. Bölsche, W., Haeckel — His life and work, (a favourable biography)
Professor Johann H. Blasius, director of the Ducal Natural History Museum of Braunschweig, Germany, 1859 about Darwin’s Origin of Species:
“I have seldom been so quick to buy a book. I must add to that, though, that I have also seldom read a scientific book which makes such wide-ranging conclusions with so few facts supporting them.”
More at Blast from the Past: Museum director Dr Johann Blasius v Darwin
Justin Brierley’s interesting blog- Unbelievable with Justin Brierley: Stephen C Meyer & Charles Marshal debate Darwin’s Doubt