Friday, February 16, 2007

News Flash: Darwin Claimed Responsible for All the World's Evil!

One of my friends sent me an article from yesterday which fawningly reviewed a video presentation titled Darwin's Deadly Legacy. According to the article Jerry Newcomb, one of the program's two co-producers, claimed that "...Darwinian theory, 'which is scientifically bankrupt, has probably been responsible for more bloodshed than anything else in the history of humanity...'" He goes on to claim that "Darwin led to eugenics, which led directly to Hitler," and blames Darwin and the theory of evolution for everything from Hitler and the Holocaust to the Columbine High School massacre to modern attempts by parents to choose the sex and attributes of their children. One D. James Kennedy, PhD (although the subject of his doctorate is not given) hosts the video, and is quoted in the article as saying' "To put it simply - no Darwin, no Hitler."

I think the producers and their backers need to go back to school and learn to separate their religious beliefs from their science.

First of all, to blame Darwin and the theory of evolution for the twisted Nazi racial theories is just like blaming the inventor of gunpowder for the deaths of everyone who has ever been killed by a firearm. Dr Kennedy describes the theory of evolution as "a set of theories based on a crumbling scientific foundation." Evolution is a theory, true, but it's a theory with a pretty impressive load of scientific evidence to back it up. It's certainly not a perfect theory, as even its supporters will tell you, but it certainly has more factual scientific evidence supporting it than pseudo-scientific "theories" like Intelligent Design, which is nothing more than the Biblical story of Creation masquerading as scientific fact.

Adolf Hitler's racial concepts were shaped and motivated by a lot of twisted ideas that were current in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It wouldn't surprise me if Darwin's theory was churning somewhere in that mix of ideas, but to baldly state that Darwinian theories led directly to Hitler is ludicrous, and to quote Karl Marx (as Mr Newcomb did) as if his limited endorsement of Darwin's ideas proves the point is just silly.

The sad fact that the theory of evolution is being applied by some parents to select the sex or other attributes of their children doesn't make the theory itself wrong or inherently makes the application of that theory by human beings unfortunate. I would point out that devout Christians have committed unspeakable evils according to their interpretation of the Bible (more so in the past than today), and that radical Muslims do the same almost every day. But no one criticizes the Bible as being responsible for such actions, and radical Muslims will threaten to behead you if you imply that the Koran is anything other than perfect.

I think it's infuriating that people swallow claptrap like this video without thinking it through. Regular readers of this blog know that one of my recurring themes is that unthinking reliance on blind faith, whether religious or scientific, is a dangerous thing. Yesterday in this blog, I wrote about the latest flip-flop in the state of Kansas's attempts to decide whether they will craft their school curriculum according to accepted scientific theories or conservatively-dictated religious pseudo-science. True science has, for the moment, won out in Kansas. The Darwin's Deadly Legacy video, unfortunately, shows that the pseudo-science is still alive and well.

I'm sorry for all the people who will watch this documentary and swallow it whole without looking to see what agenda is being pursued behind it.

Don't let anyone - least of all me - do your thinking for you. Be skeptical. Study claims of truth from all sides. And learn the difference between hard science and quasi-religious demagoguery.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


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