Ronald Campbell Macfie

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Ronald Campbell Macfie (1867–1931) was a Scottish medical doctor, poet and science writer specialising in eugenics and evolution.[1][2]


He was a Scottish physician and writer. He had qualified in medicine in Aberdeen in 1897 and specialised in the treatment of tuberculosis.[3]

He was also a Liberal Member of British Parliament mentioned in The Bookman Treasury of Living Poets (4th edition 1931) as a contributor to such works as Fairy Tales for Old and Young (1909), and The Golden Treasury of Scottish Poetry (1940). Among his works are "Man’s Record in the Rocks" (My Magazine, May 1921) The Art of Keeping Well Cassell & Co. 1918/The Vegetarian Society and Evolutionary Consequences of War (cited below).

Campbell Macfie suggested that male war deaths (during World War I) would create a surplus of fertile women, thus reducing the overall birthrate whilst the surviving men would select partners from a wide range of 'surplus' females according to eugenically (sexually) attractive characteristics. He averred that:[4]

Nature has wisely arranged that men should be attracted (to women) by characteristics that imply a superior capacity for motherhood... (thus)...every war will do something to set up evolutionary tendencies opposite to its own, brutal, truculent, anti-social spirit.


Macfie was a critic of Darwinism and developed his own non-Darwinian evolution theory which was a form of neovitalism. He believed that chance played no role in evolution and that evolution was directed; he discussed these views in his book Heredity, Evolution, and Vitalism (1912).[5] Macfie was also a panpsychist as he believed mind was to be found in all matter.[6] MacFie had dedicated one of his books and a poem to the naturalist J. Arthur Thomson in honor of his efforts to promote a neovitalist biology.[7]

Books published[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ T. Bose; R. N. Colbeck (1 November 2011). A Bookman's Catalogue Vol. 2 M-End: The Norman Colbeck Collection of Nineteenth-Century and Edwardian Poetry and Belles Lettres. UBC Press. pp. 508–. ISBN 978-0-7748-4481-9. 
  2. ^ The Congregational Quarterly, Volume 13, Congregational Union of England and Wales, 1 Jan 1935, p. 169
  3. ^ Gillian Lindsay Flora Thompson: The Story of the Lark Rise Writer Hale, 30 Apr 1990, p. 87
  4. ^ Ronald, Cambell Macfie (Oct 1917). "Evolutionary Consequences of War". The Lotus Magazine. 9 (1): 7–12. ISSN 2150-5977. JSTOR 20543937. 
  5. ^ Peter J. Bowler Reconciling science and religion: the debate in early-twentieth-century Britain 2001, pp. 385-386
  6. ^ Aberdeen University Review, Volume 2 University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Alumnus Association, 1915, p. 61
  7. ^ Peter J. Bowler Science for all: the popularization of science in early twentieth-century Britain 2009, p. 235