The flattest form of materialism, the materialism of the city proles, is to be found in Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Idea.
The will, as thing-in-itself, constitutes the inner, true and indestructible essence of the man; in itself, however, it is without consciousness. For consciousness is conditioned by the intellect and this is a mere accident of our being, since it is a function of the brain, and that again (with its dependent nerves and spinal chord) is a mere fruit, a product, nay, even a parasite of the rest of the organism, inasmuch as it does not intervene directly in the latter's activity but only seves a purpose of self preservation by regulating its relations with the outer world.
The intellect as mere weapon of the will-to-life in the struggle for existence.
The popularity of this metaphysic, like Darwin's, being due to the ease by which it could be understood by the growing number of intellectual mediocrities in megalopolitan areas who had so enthusiastically confused the harnassing of non-animal energy sources with their own excellence once this dramatic and epochal transformation had freed enough of them up to sit in their rooms speculating.
The fact that the speculations were in constant danger of being revealed as triviality was glossed over by the weaving of big words into tapestries, waving of the arms, twisting of the fingers and serious facial distortions. Enough of formula was retained to provide an atmospheric illusion of profundity and exclusiveness and --hey presto- the civilised view of the world became complete and simple enough to be understood by anybody who read the appropriate newspapers and periodicals which employed the more astute members of the caste.
The system anticipates Darwin. In the chapter Zur Metaphysik der Geschlechtsliebe of Schopenhauer's Ueber den Willen in der Natur (1835) there is the struggle for existence, the intellect as instrument in the struggle and sexual love as unconscious selection according to biological interest. There is also the idea that the intellect is a bungler and unconscious and impulsive actions are completely efficient. In other words natural selection is anticipated in full.
The economic origin of Darwinism, by the Manchester School of Industrialists out of Malthus, is easily seen by the fact that it is cobbled together from the similarities between men and higher animals, ceases to fit with the plants and becomes absurd as soon as it is applied with its will tendency to primitive organisms such as microbes however well evolved. It applies equally well to tool design as we have seen with Deepwater Horizon.
The proof is a presentation of selected facts in such a way that they conform to Darwin's not very original preconceived idea of "Evolution". It is the application of the causality principle, so beloved of the Manchester School, to living things and is a method and not a result. And all its essential details were known in the 18th century. It is the political element of the Manchester School which accounts for its acceptance. It proved that if you were rich you were superior biologically however you got rich. Anti-American I would have thought.
It represents that change from the Culture of the countryside to the Civilisation of the megalopolis which is at the root of the debate. Deepwater Horizon was drilling to get the cities their daily fix. The theory was read into Nature rather than out of it as with Goethe. It is flat and not upright, it is mechanical and not organic, it is progress and not inner fulfillment , it is law and not emblem and it is a superficial system of utilities and not Destiny. It is pessimistic. The pessimism sent Nietzsche booloo.
It is also Socialist and thus purports to be directed to the welfare of mankind which no real philosopher ever spends a thought upon. Materialism, Socialism and Darwinism are conjoined triplets.
And then comes the man with the nerve to follow it out to its logical conclusion. Bernard Shaw and Man and Superman. Shaw didn't step fastidiously aside like Nietzsche did after simply noting that Darwin's idea involved "breeding" and leaving it at that. Shaw said that there was no point in talking about it if nothing is going to be done about it and he set forth the demand that mankind be transformed into a stud farm as Hitler attempted to do.
So will the real materialists step into the light and explain the mechanical operations their own logic entails. They cannot know any other modes. The who, the what, the where and the how and the degree of compulsion so dear to the socialist's heart.
If you need guidance just study the English factory system of Darwin's day. If you weep you are a closet Christian. And Deepwater Horizon has brought the whole rag-tag-and-bobtail to the surface as well as the crude oil.