Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


Darwin’s Tree of Death: My Reply to Readers

posted by David Klinghoffer
378px-Tree_of_life_by_Haeckel.jpg
Responding to my post on the Columbine shooting and the social consequences of Darwinism, some objecting readers argued that the Bible, after all, has also inspired evil acts. Which is true, of course, but misses the point. Biblical faith has been used for good and abused for evil. That’s why we can justifiably speak of its being “abused” — because it has this other record of goodness. 
The ideas that comprise Darwin’s worldview, set forth in his books, have justified social movements for evil — racism, colonialism, eugenics, etc. — but none, that I’m aware of, for good. If anyone can think of counterexamples, please let me know.
Bottom line: Ideas have consequences.
Now does that mean that the Darwinian idea is false as a scientific description of how life developed? No, obviously it doesn’t mean that. As I’ve argued all along, Darwinism’s social record is simply and nothing more than a good reason to take a second look at the science behind it. And that’s what uninformed people like Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs adamantly refuse to do.

So when bad guys have used Darwin to justify racism and other evils, were they abusing his thought? Consider Darwin himself on “lower” peoples.
The “extermination” (a favorite word of Darwin in his writings) of failed races, whether animal or human, is a great theme in Darwin’s books and a key feature in the advance of the evolutionary process as he conceived it. The elimination of human groups was a phenomenon parallel to that of animal groups: “The New Zealander seems conscious of this parallelism,” Darwin reflected in the Descent of Man, “for he compares his future fate with that of the native rat now almost exterminated by the European rat.” 
Reflecting on the terror that Europeans once felt about the rise of the Turkish nation, Darwin celebrated, in a letter to the Irish philosopher William Graham, “Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.” 
He saw advantages to the unapologetic way barbarians went about the labor of killing off the weak. 
Darwin entertained no faith in the equality of races. In the Descent he wrote that the “mental characteristics” of the human races, including the “light-hearted, talkative negroes,” are “very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotional, but partly in their intellectual faculties.”
The implications of this theory were plain, and he spelled them out in his scientific writing. Inferior races and peoples were simply lower down on the tree of life – they were losers in the struggle for existence and would, in the course of nature’s normal way, be eliminated. 
Darwin observed that “when civilized nations come into contact with barbarians, the struggle is short.” The problem came if the dynamic of struggle was somehow impeded. This would be “highly injurious to the race of man.” There was little hope that backward peoples would somehow advance to equality with their betters.
A difference between Darwinian and pre-Darwinian racism is that the pre-Darwinian variety regarded “barbarians” not as permanently inferior quasi-animals but as something more like children. Animals remain animals. Children, at least, will naturally grow up and mature. 
The late Stephen Jay Gould, a modern scientific champion of Darwinism, admitted that “Biological arguments for racism…increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.”
But please understand this is just the absolute tip of the iceberg. I’ve written elsewhere lots and lots on this theme. For more information on Darwin in America, read my colleague John West’s thorough and impeccably documented Darwin Day in America. For Darwin in Europe, read Richard Weikart’s startling From Darwin to Hitler.


Advertisement
Comments read comments(19)
post a comment
R Hampton

posted April 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm


Atheism is a worldview, Evolution is a scientific theory — there is a world of difference:
Say never again to Holocaust, Holocaust denial, Cardinal Kasper urges
Catholic News Service, Apr-1-2009
German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s top official on Catholic-Jewish relations, said March 25 that not only must the Holocaust never be permitted to recur, but that Holocaust denial must likewise never happen again … He added, “The main Christian churches today no longer have difficulty in reconciling creation and evolution.”
However, he said, “this does not mean that (Charles) Darwin becomes a new father of the church and evolution a new dogma. Evolution is and remains a scientific theory or hypothesis and not a matter of faith. “So those who believe they have the evidence can deny evolution, but they cannot do it in the name of Christian faith,” he said.
“In this sense theologians of all the main churches now leave it to the fundamentalist Christians, as well as the fundamentalist atheistic movements, … to see belief in creation and the theory of evolution as mutually exclusive alternatives, and to counter the theory of evolution with creationism — a literal understanding of the biblical creation narrative,” Cardinal Kasper said.
“Theology which deserves to be taken seriously,” he said, “knows how to distinguish the assertion of belief that God created the world from the scientific question of how the origin and development of the world came about.”
http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0901496.htm



report abuse
 

David Klinghoffer

posted April 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm


R. Hampton: A worldview is a comprehensive answer to the question of how the world works, what forces drive it and to what end. Darwin certainly offers a worldview.



report abuse
 

R Hampton

posted April 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm


Science as a whole explains how the universe (world included) works by the interaction of forces like gravitation, electro-magnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, etc. In toto it does represent an amoral (neither moral nor immoral) worldview.
On the local (Earth) level, the scientific discipline of genetics explains the bio-chemical process of genes. Evolution’s part is merely the conservation or loss of those genes through mutation, natural and sexual selection, et al.
That’s why Roman Catholicism – a religion with a very definite worldview – can accept a scientific theory like “Darwinianism” without moral/spiritual conflict.



report abuse
 

Turmarion

posted April 21, 2009 at 10:07 pm


David: Bottom line: Ideas have consequences. Now does that mean that the Darwinian idea is false as a scientific description of how life developed? No, obviously it doesn’t mean that. (emphasis added)
I’m glad you acknowledge this.
As I’ve argued all along, Darwinism’s social record is simply and nothing more than a good reason to take a second look at the science behind it.
Let’s grant, for the sake of argument, that Darwin was an evil racist who favored genocide. Let’s grant (although it’s more debatable) that people drew nasty conclusions from, or justified horrible behavior by appealing to the Darwinian concept of evolution. Heck, let’s even, for the sake of argument, grant that evolution inevitably leads to bad results. How is any of this relevant to whether it’s true or not?
One could argue, e.g., that evils unleashed by the splitting of the atom far exceed any benefits. Does this mean we should question whether the atomic theory of matter is true? Or do we just need to learn to deal with the genie that’s been let out of the bottle?
Another example: Newton was an occultist and alchemist who was obsessed with calculating the end of time. Moreover, as I’ve pointed out before, it could be cogently argued that Newton’s work was the final nail in the coffin of a humanistic, God-centered cosmos, moving the world to view the universe as cold, impersonal, meaningless, and hostile. At least, many did,/i> draw these conclusions. Is the social record of the post-Enlightenment world sufficient reason to “take a second look at the science” of Newton’s physics? In short, does the fact that Newton’s discoveries may have helped lead to the excesses of post-Enlightenment Europe (secularization, anti-clericalism, atheism, the Reign of Terror, etc.) mean we should question the Law of Inertia or the Universal Gravitational Constant? I hope the absurdity of this is obvious.
And that’s what uninformed people like Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs adamantly refuse to do.
Well, once again, consider physics, one of the areas of my training. If it could be proved that Newton was the Antichrist and all the effects of his science evil, I still wouldn’t take a “second look” at Newtonian physics because I have studied enough physics to know that they are in fact true. I don’t know what Charles Johnson’s background is, but I do know several biologists personally and by reputation, and not one of any accomplishment, regardless of personal religious beliefs, thinks evolution is untrue or undemonstrated. Ditto physicists, geologists, astronomers, etc., since some of the concepts that demonstrate an ancient Earth and evolution come from those disciplines. Once again, I don’t know about Johnson, but the well-informed scientists I know are all in agreement about evolution–it did happen.
I guess the following things frustrate me about what’s being said here.
1. David makes heavy use of the “poisoning the wells” fallacy. E.g. “Darwin was a bad man and his followers were bad people, therefore his science is incorrect. This, of course, does not follow.
2. He makes the related, weaker argument, “Darwin was a bad man and his followers were bad people, therefore we ought to take a second look at his science”. This doesn’t follow, either. Scientific ideas are re-evaluated (and sometimes modified or discarded) only on the basis of new evidence obtained by the scientific method, not on the basis of any negative results they incur. Hiroshima made a lot of people want to ban nukes, but it didn’t make anyone want to go back and see if nuclear physics was correct or not. That would have been patently absurd.
3. David seems to dissemble by acknowledging that Darwinian evolution must be evaluated on scientific grounds, regardless of its consequences, then turning around and claiming it’s wrought nearly every evil of the last century with the strong but unstated implication that it is false and that therefore only blackguards with ulterior motive or deluded fools would support it. Frankly, this is an insulting ad hominem.
Finally, I would pose David a direct challenge. As a thought experiment, suppose that tomorrow someone published absolute, conclusive proof beyond all shadow of a possible doubt, so unshakable that you would be forced to acknowledge it, that Darwinian evolution is, in fact, true. How would you respond to this? I would be very interested to know.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted April 22, 2009 at 4:21 am


Turmarion in his excellent response has covered all but one points I wanted to cover.
The only point left is about taking a second look at the science.
Scientists did take a second look. And a third look. And a hundredth look.
This is how it was discovered that piltdown man is a hoax, that the first neanderthal had a curved spine not because he was so primitive, but because he was old and in poor health, that of all apes the bonobo is the one closest to man, that ramapithecus is a “missing link” not to human but to orangutan, etc. etc. This is how Darwin’s own mistakes were discovered (and he did make quite a few, not only in the area of human “races.”)
More looks are being taken now. Biologists are arguing about them all the time. But the basics of evolution are still there.



report abuse
 

mikev6

posted April 22, 2009 at 11:32 am


I notice in this followup post a complete absence of further
discussion of the Columbine shooting or the ties to
natural selection in that event. The original post had
only a cursory mention of specifics leading to a conclusion
totally at odds with any real analysis of the shooting, and
now the followup has nothing? Instead of illuminating our
understanding, you’ve muddied the information which potentially
increases rather than decreases the chance of another Columbine
happening.
This whole post has little or nothing to do with Columbine.
The title could have been “Slouching towards [X]” where [X]
could be any event tied to social Darwinism, and you have
a number of choices here [e.g. Nazism] that actually form
a better platform for your arguments. Instead, you seized
on Columbine because it’s timely and attention-grabbing.
While debating the supposed moral lapses of Darwin’s
theory, you might want to take a few minutes and
consider your own actions as well.



report abuse
 

Glen Davidson

posted April 22, 2009 at 11:42 am


As usual, Klinghoffer refuses to deal with evolutionary theory as a science, instead referring back to Darwin’s books which reflected common racial prejudices of the time. In this vein, I would note that he omits the important fact that Darwin was an ardent abolitionist at a time when the US still had legal slavery.
Once again, Klinghoffer fails to recognize that we think well of Darwin not because we consider him to be the final authority on evolution. Rather, it is because a number of his ideas work and work well to explain cladistic branching, the limited constraints encountered over the course of evolution (the eukaryotic flagellum, a favorite of Behe’s, is made up of parts shared with other eukaryotic systems), and especially the “poor designs” of transitional organisms, such as Archaeopteryx whose limits are obviously due to its rather incomplete transition from its dinosaur ancestors (it is due to evolutionary constraints, not mere sloppiness on the part of some “designer”). No one I’ve ever encountered took Darwin’s Victorian views on economics and politics as important considerations for today’s students (other than with respect to context).
What Klinghoffer can’t do, and seems oblivious to the necessity for doing, is to demonstrate that evolutionary science is inherently racist/evil. For indeed, we certainly didn’t learn of humanity’s close relatedness from religion, it was from science which was informed by evolutionary theory. Where the anti-evolutionist Louis Agassiz could believe in separate origins of the races, the evolutionary view could not allow that. Nothing in evolution predicted that all races would be as closely related as they are, but we knew from “mechanistic” evolutionary theory we were related, something that “design” and other pseudoscientific notions could not tell us.
Should we be forced to question the glacial ages of the earth, because Agassiz was racist, rather more than Darwin was? Of course not, science doesn’t work that way. We do not doubt condensed matter physics and the workings of the transistor, either, due to the fact that Shockley (one of three instrumental in developing the transistor) was a racist.
Apparently Klinghoffer is against evaluating scientific ideas solely on their scientific merits. Which makes sense, as he has nothing scientific with which to oppose evolution by scientifically-known means.
As such, he remains more intellectually akin in this aspect with anti-Darwinists such as Stalin.
Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



report abuse
 

bjedwards

posted April 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm


mikev6 wrote…
“I notice in this followup post a complete absence of further
discussion of the Columbine shooting or the ties to
natural selection in that event.”
Yes, Klinghoffer has conveniently avoided his intellectual dishonesty in the Columbine post for which he was called on.
Now he has written a post devoid of rational meaning and completely unsupported, to wit: “Darwinism’s social record is simply and nothing more than a good reason to take a second look at the science behind it.”
I have to wonder if Klinghoffer actually has a conscience.



report abuse
 

Steve

posted April 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm


David wrote: “Now does that mean that the Darwinian idea is false as a scientific description of how life developed? No, obviously it doesn’t mean that. As I’ve argued all along, Darwinism’s social record is simply and nothing more than a good reason to take a second look at the science behind it.”
David, why is “Darwinism’s social record” “simply and nothing more than a good reason to take a second look at the science behind it?” Why? Evolution is true. That’s the way it is. Specifically, some of my ancestors are fish. “Darwinism’s social record” does not in any teeny tiny way make the idea of common descent less likely. Not even a little bit. It has no effect. Whether a claim is known to be true is completely irrelevant to whether people’s believing that the claim is true has good consequences.
Moreover, we should show people that common descent is known to be true, and show people why common descent is known to be true. First, knowledge is an end in itself. Second, there is no reason to believe that teaching that common descent is known to be true will result in more harm than good. For instance, our understanding of evolution has helped us come up with important medical breakthroughs, such as anti-viral medications. Moreover, I believe that evolution is true, and I’m an ethical person. Every person in my family believes that evolution is true, and they are all ethical people. Every person I know well who believes that evolution is true is an ethical person. In addition, the percentage of people in Scandinavia and Iceland who believe that evolution is true is much higher than the percentage of U.S. citizens who do so. And Scandinavia and Iceland are good countries. They are good democracies. Moreover, they have significantly lower violent crime rates and lower child poverty rates than the U.S. does.
Moreover, even if there were reason to believe that teaching that evolution is true would cause more harm than good, we still should teach that evolution is true. Analogously, even if you were to have some concerns that teaching people that the earth is not a flat disk that rests on the back of giant tortoise will cause some people to do bad things, we should still teach people that the earth is not a flat disk that rests on the back of a giant tortoise.
Now if I knew that teaching that evolution is true would result in a nuclear war and that not mentioning evolution would not result in a nuclear war, then I wouldn’t mention evolution. But, obviously, that’s not the case here.



report abuse
 

Glen Davidson

posted April 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm


Responding to my post on the Columbine shooting and the social consequences of Darwinism, some objecting readers argued that the Bible, after all, has also inspired evil acts. Which is true, of course, but misses the point. Biblical faith has been used for good and abused for evil.

Aside from the “no true Scotsman” fallacy there, I think that the actual point is that the Bible commands actions such as genocide, ethnic/religious discrimination, and accommodations for slavery. The most charitable reason one can give for this is that it reflected the mores of its time, much as Darwin’s writings do. The colossal difference is that Darwin opposed the slavery that the Bible accommodates, and, whatever prejudices he reflected, Darwin hardly recommended genocide and the other evils “commanded by god.” Whatever we may object to in Darwin’s writings, the latter are merely passive reflections of his society, not at all the active commands to do evil that we find in the Bible.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7



report abuse
 

Glen Davidson

posted April 22, 2009 at 6:47 pm


The ideas that comprise Darwin’s worldview, set forth in his books, have justified social movements for evil — racism, colonialism, eugenics, etc. — but none, that I’m aware of, for good. If anyone can think of counterexamples, please let me know.

Here’s a good start:

Conversely, the theory of Reform Darwinism, also based on Darwin’s theory of evolution, focuses on the need for activism to change the environment, thus accelerating human adaptation, and ensuring survival.

Reform Darwinists have offered an alternative school of thought in regard to the hardships felt by those who had been unable to break through poverty, joblessness, discrimination, and the invisible, yet obvious American social caste. Reformers set out to improve conditions within the community, act as stewards of goodwill and support those who had been long forgotten. Without the works of these compassionate humanitarians it is hard to imagine what life in the United States would be like today. Reform Darwinists helped to create many of the regulations we appreciate today, such as overtime pay, the abolishment of child labor, safer environmental policies, and rent control. These reforms act as a bridge to the progression of positive change within American society.
The Evolution of Human Potential: The Bridges and Barriers of Social Reform

I suppose it could be argued that Reform Darwinists had utopian, teleological ideas of evolution, which did not actually reflect Darwinian notions of evolution. Well, so what if that’s true? Neither did Social Darwinism or Naziism reflect the science of evolution, while Klinghoffer feels free to hang that bastard idea around the neck of science.
And does David really doubt that passages like these, from Darwin’s autobiography, led to good?

in the voyage at Bahia in Brazil he defended and praised slavery, which I abominated, and told me that he had just visited a great slave-owner, who had called up many of his slaves and asked them whether they were happy, and whether they wished to be free, and all answered “No.” I then asked him, perhaps with a sneer, whether he thought that the answers of slaves in the presence of their master was worth anything. p. 74

He has been all-powerful in impressing some grand moral truths on the minds of men. On the other hand, his views about slavery were revolting. In his eyes might was right. His mind seemed to me a very narrow one; even if all branches of science, which he despised, are excluded. It is astonishing to me that Kingsley should have spoken of him as a man well fitted to advance science. He laughed to scorn the idea that a mathematician, such as Whewell, could judge, as I maintained he could, of Goethe’s views on light. He thought it a most ridiculous thing that any one should care whether a glacier moved a little quicker or a little. p. 113

Of course, I’d like to return to the gist of my earlier comments, which are that, regardless of Darwin’s views and the use to which they were put, he’s praised primarily for his science, which is interested in “objective truth,” not in “social results.” And that although we might find any number of Darwin’s views distasteful, his writings were not commands to treat people ill, unlike many passages of the Bible.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/6mb592



report abuse
 

david ford

posted April 22, 2009 at 10:19 pm


Darwin to W. Graham
http://pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin/texts/letters/letters1_08.html
Down, July 3rd, 1881.
==
Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not
so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the
Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The
more civilised so-called Caucasian races have
beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for
existence. Looking to the world at no very distant
date, what an endless number of the lower races
will have been eliminated by the higher civilized
races throughout the world. But I will write no more,
and not even mention the many points in your work
which have much interested me. I have indeed
cause to apologise for troubling you with my
impressions, and my sole excuse is the excitement
in my mind which your book has aroused.
I beg leave to remain,
Dear Sir,
Yours faithfully and obliged,
CHARLES DARWIN.
1871 Darwin: [CD]”the civilised races of man”– e.g. [CD]”the Caucasian”– [CD]”will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races”– e.g. [CD]”the negro or Australian,” as in Australian aborigine– with the end result being [CD]”man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=b1c67abe.0407060404.711490be%40posting.google.com
Darwin: “the New Zealander… compares his future fate with that of the native rat now almost exterminated by the European rat”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1135178729.788016.144250%40o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com
Hitler & Darwin on
[Hitler & Darwin]”master[s]”
over
[Darwin]”subjugated… men”
having
[Darwin]”utility to their masters”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1135100164.057260.78490%40o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com
some findings re: Hitler, pro-death Darwinists
http://www.google.com/groups?selm=1149886564.932994.211090%40f6g2000cwb.googlegroups.com



report abuse
 

david ford

posted April 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm


[Glen Davidson on April 22, 2009 11:42 AM]“anti-Darwinists such as Stalin”
Stalin encounters the T0E in seminary: A Victory for Atheism
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1118511187.489582.241590%40g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com
Hitler encounters the T0E as a child: A Victory for Atheism
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1118403178.860854.170600%40g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com
mass-killer & atheist Stalin: “The Party…stands for science, while religious prejudices run counter to science”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=1183123155.932783.229860%40q69g2000hsb.googlegroups.com
Stalin allegedly preached atheism using Darwin bible
http://groups.google.co.in/groups?selm=1175268167.876265.221930%40l77g2000hsb.googlegroups.com



report abuse
 

david ford

posted April 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm


[David K.]“he spelled them out in his scientific writing. Inferior races and peoples were simply lower down on the tree of life”
1923 Holmes; parallel between Hitler and [Darwin]”the inferior vitality of mulattoes is spoken of in a trustworthy work*(5) as a well-known phenomenon”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1133927305.339964.266320%40o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com
“The late Stephen Jay Gould, a modern scientific champion of Darwinism”
Yes and no. For the ‘no':
_Paleobiology_ 3: 134 (1977), Gould & Eldredge:
In fact, most published commentary on punctuated equilibria has
been favorable. We are especially pleased that several
paleontologists now state with pride and biological confidence
a conclusion that had previously been simply embarrassing (‘all
these years of work and I haven’t found any evolution’).
Gould’s 1980 “Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=b1c67abe.0406040941.7de39c48%40posting.google.com
“admitted that ‘Biological arguments for racism…increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.’”
Gould: “Haeckel…. contributed to the rise of Nazism”
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1158864074.051352.81770%40h48g2000cwc.googlegroups.com
[Glen]“we should show people that common descent is known to be true, and show people why common descent is known to be true”
Do you think ORFans fit into a nested hierarchy?
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1165334818.498006.131640%40f1g2000cwa.googlegroups.com
“Moreover, I believe that evolution is true, and I’m an ethical person. Every person in my family believes that evolution is true, and they are all ethical people.”
What are 5 actions you consider it immoral to do?
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1164369427.832117.68420%40j72g2000cwa.googlegroups.com
“the Bible commands actions such as genocide, ethnic/religious discrimination, and accommodations for slavery”
What rationale was there for the “genocide” commands?
What’s your stance on child sacrifice?
slavery in the Old Testament
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.atheism/msg/929bfe2a831069e6?hl=en
Who are some famous or semi-famous promoters of “the theory of Reform Darwinism”?
“Neither did Social Darwinism or Naziism reflect the science of evolution”
Hitler’s actions make sense given his atheism and eugenic, social Darwinist vision
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1134145559.645139.229550%40f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com
Multi-Pronged Role of Darwinian Thought in Shoah’s Arrival
http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/10ac5d963dfa0eba?hl=en&
“although we might find any number of Darwin’s views distasteful, his writings were not commands to treat people ill”
Do you consider born human life deserving of being treated well?
What’s your stance on abortion?
Darwin
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1138716868.472338.186610%40f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com
In Sparta, also, a form of selection
was followed, for it was enacted that all children should
be examined shortly after birth; the well-formed and
vigorous being preserved, the others left to perish.*(3)
an exercise: parallels between 1871 Darwin & 1924/5 Hitler?
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=1134448996.907734.300780%40g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com
4 more Hitler-Darwin parallels
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1135092414.972723.104980%40g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com



report abuse
 

steven the wise

posted April 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm


If it is a matter of judging a theory by its social consequences,
then I have to severely question the patriotism of David Klinghoffer
and his comrades at the Discovery Institute (Hebrew name: moshav letzim).
Here’s why; The scientific theory of evolution is a keystone of modern science. To deny evolution is to reject modern science. For America to reject science will allow other nations to forge ahead of it in science and technology, leading this great country down the road to scientific and technological (and, therefore, also business) oblivion – a road which will consign the United States to political slavery, in the form of economic subservience to more forward-looking, science-savvy, countries.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted April 24, 2009 at 8:53 am


There is an amazing amount of silliness in all this; the “science” is clear, understood and understandable. The knowledge base from geology, biology, physics, chemistry, anthropology, astronomy, and all the subsets of paleontology, is why the acceptance of the genius of Darwin us is universal. The greatest scientific notions of all time, Einstein and relativity, Darwin and biological evolution, are indisputable. One wonders which is sadder, putting up Ernst Haeckel’s bizarre “tree of life,” and passing it off as Darwinian in any form indicates a less than adeqyuate dedication to intellectual honesty. Similarly to cast darwin himself as a racist is similarly absurd. Darwin was a gentle soul and about as liberal a Victorian as one could find. Seeking of Steve Gould’s political ghost is more an act of desparation that savy; poor Steve’s “mythology” is a bit tarnished by the precise analyses of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins. It is time to give up the absurd and “fear not the truth.” The usside is that one will stop looking annoyingly silly.



report abuse
 

Michael D. Barton

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm


I encourage readers, if they go to one of the books suggested by David (From Darwin to Hitler), to also consider looking at these:
“Darwin’s Sacred Cause” by Adrian Desmond and Jim Moore:
http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Sacred-Cause-Slavery-Evolution/dp/0547055269/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240858270&sr=8-1
—————————————
“The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought” by Robert J. Richards: http://www.amazon.com/Tragic-Sense-Life-Struggle-Evolutionary/dp/0226712141/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240858371&sr=1-5
In the second, see specifically the appendix “The Moral Grammar of Narratives in History of Biology—the Case of Haeckel and Nazi Biology” (Richards’ 2005 Ryerson Lecture). This is reprinted in other places, and freely available online:
“Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology” (PDF):
http://home.uchicago.edu/~rjr6/articles/Moral%20Grammar%20of%20Narratives–illustrated.pdf
“The University of Chicago Record” (PDF):
http://home.uchicago.edu/~rjr6/articles/Ryerson%20Lecture–%20Moral%20Judgment%20in%20History.pdf
Also on his website:
“Myth: That Darwin and Haeckel were Complicit in Nazi Biology” (PDF), in the forthcoming “Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion”:
http://home.uchicago.edu/~rjr6/articles/Myth.pdf



report abuse
 

Tennwriter

posted May 1, 2009 at 9:48 pm


Nice article.
As to the attackers, let me reccomend a course of treatments for rabies. You’re frothing at the mouth. One suspects the point of your excessive enthusiasm is not persuasion, but intimidation.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted May 31, 2009 at 10:05 am


I have missed the one good argument against “Social Darwinism”: the rise and fall of species (entities with a great majority of similar genomes) is study subject of evolutionary theory as part of natural sciences; the rise and fall of ethno-cultural groups (from bands to urban civilizations) should be the subject of historiography and related social sciences; again mentally and physically malformed and deformed people should be the study subject of pathologies as part of medical sciences. “All humans are equal in their species characteristics” is therefore a norm rather than reality, and morally oriented people (morality, faith etc, being some general characteristic of humans as distinct from animals) will keep trying to treat all other humans as their kind.
Declaring “laws of natural change” as the ones that should rule social relations and social changes is a moral decision, which leads to racism, religious hate, etc.
Isn’t the Jewish Bible full of many kinds of racist opinions, having led to slaughtering of many opponent, sometimes mere adjacent, cultural groups during a great part of the history of the Israelites; inspired and even instigated by their God?
Klinghoffer is right in that aspect that this is one of the legacies taken over by the other two “Abrahamic faiths”.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Kingdom of Priests. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Kabballah Counseling Happy Reading!

posted 11:24:22am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Animal Wisdom: The Voice of the Serpent
Our family watched Jaws together the other evening -- which, in case you're wondering, I regard as responsible parenting since our kids are basically too young to be genuinely scared by the film. The whole rest of the next day, two-year-old Saul was chattering about the "shark teeth." "Shark teeth g

posted 3:56:33pm Mar. 16, 2010 | read full post »

Reading Wesley Smith: Why the Darwin Debate Matters
If the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate doesn't receive the support you might expect from people who should be allies, that may be because they haven't grasped why the whole thing matters so urgently. I got an email recently from a journalist whom I'd queried on the subject. "All told

posted 5:07:12pm Mar. 15, 2010 | read full post »

The Mission of the Jews
Don't miss my essay over at First Things on the mission of the Jews to the world. This, I think, the key idea that the Jewish community needs to absorb at this very unusual cultural moment, for the time is so, so right. Non-Jews are waiting for us to fulfill the roll God gave us in the Torah. Please

posted 6:14:16pm Mar. 05, 2010 | read full post »

Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult
Of all the regrettable cultural forces that Darwinism helped unleash, perhaps the most surprising and seemingly unlikely is its role in sparking the creation of modern occultism. Charles Darwin himself could not have been less interested in the topic. But no attempt to assess the scope of his legacy

posted 2:04:11pm Mar. 04, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.