‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Sunday, 29 March 2009

BBC baulks at full implications of Darwinism

‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’, the BBC2 series presented by Andrew Marr, has flinched from biting the bullet on the link between Darwinism and genocide. The title of this month’s three-part documentary promised more than it delivered – admitting that evolution was dangerous in the wrong hands, but absolving evolution of all the evil resulting from its adoption in the public and political sphere.

In his own BBC article promoting the series, Andrew Marr explains why Darwinism might be dangerous. He concludes: “However we celebrate the old man [Darwin], we mustn’t let his work crust into creed or harden to dogma.”

But he’s too late. Darwin’s idea hardened into dogma long ago. So much so that even Marr himself asks, “There’s no doubt that Darwinism, and indeed scientific truth generally, can supply people like me [atheists] with some of the nourishment religion offers… Darwin’s vast brow hangs over us all. His foamy white beard cascades down in the familiar Michelangelo Old Testament style. He speaks to mankind of ancient origins and end times. In this year of his double anniversary, are we in danger of turning Charles Darwin if not into God, at least into the founder of a secular religion?”

Marr in the end says that’s not the case, but he avoids the evidence. The truth is that the scientific establishment has long treated evolution as sacred doctrine and excommunicated anyone criticising the theory. And the consequences have been disastrous. Although the series highlighted the bad politics that came from Darwinism – the eugenics and genocidal policies of Nazism and Communism – it presented that fact as just an unfortunate perverting of Darwinism and not a logical consequence of believing in it. A convenient but inadequate response to the historical evidence: it’s plain wrong to divorce Darwinian theory from its impact on society. On this I can agree with Marr: Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has been one of the most politically and culturally consequential ideas of the past 200 years. But he sees it as a positive force – I see it as mainly negative. And here’s why.

There is a direct causal link between Darwin and the Holocaust, Darwin and the genocides in Stalinist Russia, and Darwin and slavery. Not to mention a whole lot of lesser evils that have arisen from ‘social Darwinism’ – the expansion of Darwin’s ideas out of biology and into political and social influences. Yet defenders of evolution like Marr downplay or deny this link. Darwin himself, Marr says, never approved of such applications. But that is irrelevant. It is also untrue. Although Darwin almost entirely avoided applying evolution to the human arena in ‘On the Origin of Species’, he himself applied his theory to society in his later book, The Descent of Man. In it he talked about natural selection’s implications for race, welfare, morality and even marriage.

Darwin researcher John G. West says, “In that book, Darwin insisted that there are significant differences in the mental faculties of ‘men of distinct races’ and argued that the break in evolutionary history between primates and humans came ‘between the negro or Australian and the gorilla’, thus making blacks the closest human beings to apes.”

Although Marr says rightly that Darwin opposed slavery, Darwin’s evolutionary analysis of human races led directly to the justification of racism by scientists. Marr is honest enough to admit that “most Europeans [of Darwin’s time] believed that slaves from Africa belonged to an inferior race. Some believed they were a different species.” But he fails to ask why this should be so. They couldn’t have got this idea from the Bible, because it teaches that all people are equal in God’s sight, and all descended from one fully human couple – Adam and Eve.

They got it from evolution, because evolution as an idea was around in intellectual circles a long time before Darwin. For example, Darwin’s own grandfather wrote a book that promoted the concept (what was missing was a mechanism to explain evolution, which Darwin, in theory, provided). So it can only have been scientists influenced by evolution that conceived of Africans as a lower race or even a different species. And certainly, once Darwin’s theory became accepted, this view of Africans and Australian Aborigines accelerated and gained a more overt scientific justification.

Whilst the majority of scientists rejected racism in the wake of the discovery of the Holocaust, even today the concept of racial superiority has not been entirely eliminated. As recently as 2007, Nobel prize winner James Watson, who co-discovered the DNA helix, claimed that black Africans are genetically inferior to whites due to their evolutionary past. And in the TV series, Marr himself gets tested to see if he has a gene which is said to have ‘evolved’ 6,000 years ago and is being associated by some scientists with higher intelligence and the white races. Darwin’s ‘The Descent of Man’ also paved the way for eugenics. At its beginning, in the early 20th century, it was a science-led campaign to eliminate genetic illnesses by preventing ‘unfit’ people from being born. Their method was to sterilise the mentally ill, the ‘weak-minded’ and a range of victims of various disabling diseases. By the Nazi era the elimination of the so-called ‘unfit’ was carried out not by sterilisation but by murder.

Marr, as usual, seeks to exonerate Darwinism as the cause. But Darwin himself said that humanity was under threat because society had halted natural selection by helping the poor and genetically weak to survive: “No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man… [E]xcepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” His comparison with animal breeding was the basis of eugenics.

And so eugenics gained the support of the majority of the scientific community, leading to a campaign for forced sterilisation of the ‘unfit’ that failed to gain political approval in the UK, but was successful in America and in some European countries. As Marr states in programme two of the series, “Between 1907 and 1970, more than 60,000 people in the USA were forcibly sterilised” and “70,000 disabled people were sterilised in Nazi Germany for the crime of ‘impure race’.” But that was the tip of the iceberg. The mentally handicapped were sent to the gas chambers. Between 1939 and 1945 almost 250,000 disabled men, women and children were killed. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the Nazi extermination of Jews and Eastern Europeans…

A perusal of Mein Kampf makes it clear that because Hitler saw the Aryan race as the height of evolutionary achievement, he believed all other races were inferior. He believed he was just accelerating the process of natural selection and human evolution. In explaining the Nazi thinking behind the ‘Final Solution’, Marr reveals that “the Nazis said the Jews who survived the concentration camps would be the most resistant due to natural selection, and if released, they would provide the seed for a new Jewish revival. Therefore, according the Wannsee Protocol, they must be eradicated.”

In truth, modern science shows that all humans belong to the same race, but this has not been concluded from Darwinism. It has been proved by the study of genetics. And it was of course asserted by the Bible 2,000 years ago. Marr defends Darwin by saying that “the selective breeding scheme of the Aryan master race was inspired by a crude manipulation of Darwin’s theory of evolution – the survival of the fittest.” In similar vein, he says evolution was “abused” to justify imperialism, discrimination and mass murder, and that the Nazis “quite explicitly used a perverted interpretation of Darwin’s theory as they finalised their plan for the Holocaust.” But was it really a ‘crude manipulation’, an ‘abuse’ of the science and a ‘perverted interpretation’?

If evolution is true, then the idea of eugenics and even the murderous Nazi programme to purify the Aryan race is a completely logical conclusion to draw. You need some other input of ethics to oppose eugenics. There is none to be found in evolution. If we are all in a competition to survive, and our creation was not the design of a loving Creator but an accident of physics and chemistry, then the only law that counts is not the Ten Commandments but the law of survival. And if there is no Creator, then there is no need to answer to him for our behaviour – either in this life or the next. In that case, human life is no more valuable than that of a flea.

Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer cites Darwin to justify his view that “the life of a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.” Darwin himself was never an active atheist, but he certainly created an intellectual excuse for atheism. As Marr says in the TV series, “Evolution did not describe the world of liberty, equality and fraternity that Darwin himself believed in. It described a world of violence, competition and remorseless struggle for survival.”

So is it any wonder that a new worldview emerged that lay the foundations for the casual attitude to human life that was displayed by the Nazis and Communists (and is still displayed by the atheistic Communist regimes like N. Korea and China that continue to exist today)? In the first episode of the series, Marr correctly explained how evolution had removed the Bible as the authority to which people looked for the truth about their origins – yet he fails to recognise the consequences of this. If evolution proposes that life is all about treading on others to survive, where does that leave morality and compassion?

The Bible teaches that bad fruit comes from bad trees and good fruit from good trees, so we can identify good and evil from their fruit. If the fruit of evolution is a worldview that not only denies the Bible’s teaching on origins but on morality and faith, and has given rise to atheism, persecution and genocide – why are some Christians so blind that they embrace evolution as divine truth?

Christians who believe in evolution must be living in denial. Would they really rather believe in a man-made theory that has been responsible for destroying the faith of millions and taking the lives of many more millions than question the scientific validity of evolution? Obviously they either haven’t joined the dots yet, or they are simply refusing to believe that the connection is real.

One thing you can be sure of is this: the ultimate author of all evil is a liar and deceiver, and the Bible predicts that in the last days even the very elect shall be deceived. Satan will use any and all means to lead people away from God, and one of his classic ploys is to take something good – like science – and pervert it into something bad.

For non-Christian scientists, evolution has become a replacement religion. As the saying goes, when people lose belief in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything. Evolution has filled that gap for many of scientific persuasion. And they hold to it as if it were their god. Evidence of this is the ridicule handed out to anyone who questions evolution, and the academic persecution of non-evolutionary scientists, who have been fired, demoted or refused work because of their views – despite being eminently qualified. Italian geneticist Giuseppi Sermonti says, “Darwinism... is the ‘politically correct’ of science.”

In every programme the BBC have produced on evolution in this year of Darwin celebrations, they have held unswervingly to the party line. And sadly Andrew Marr’s series, despite its title, was no different. But then Marr is, by his own admission, someone who has abandoned faith and is a believer in evolution. So how could he ever have made a programme that looked at evolution in an objective way? Well, as the journalist he is, he should have. And in that respect, he has let us down badly.
Andrew Halloway, Editor, Writer and Publishing Consultant.


Watcher said...

In a recent TV program in Australia on ABC2, the program Compass, a religious program, interviews with a few well known Australian atheists were shown. The program was well worthwhile for disarmingly frank interviews, for the interviewer's failure to probe, and the blindness to evidence of interviewees.

The interviewees shrillly extolled the virtues of athesim, setting out to free the world from the shackles and restraints of religion. But the only societies we have seen in recent history to do this have been the most deadly, the cruelest and controlled oppressively in every way by tyrannical governments.

If the evidence is in, it is the reverse of the atheists' hopes; it is religious influence, specifically Christian that has given us modern democracy, free expression, modern science and free thought...it was Luther, so suggested a philosophy lecturer of mine, who opened the modern mind's critical engagement with texts, thinking afresh by the individual elevated above the authority of the classic authors.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the bits in Mein Kampf where Hitler claims to be a Christian passed you by then?

And of course no Jews were ever killed by Christians before 1859?

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote that Hitler claimed to be a Christian. It was 'positive' Christianity, closer to the type of positivism that atheists love than real Christian faith.

Also a bit of German would reveal that 'mein kampf' means 'my struggle' as in Hitler's vision of endless war because of 'survival of the fittest.' Nice one Darwin.

Watcher said...

Thanks anon#2; anon#1, problems with the pudding do not absolve the stew from its own problems. That is, if people who claimed to be christian killed jews, it does not relieve non-christians of their crimes. Those christians (if they were such) were acting contrary to their espousal. Hitler, and the others I mentioned, were acting in line with theirs. Indeed, their 'life-world' structure required them to do the very things that were eschewed by the atheists I heard who claimed that atheistic society would bring a new era of peace and happiness. The FACT is, whenever it has been tried, it has brought death on a vast scale (nothing like anything before), suffering, oppression and fear that dominated life in those societies. QED.

BTW, you could slip over to: http://answers.org/apologetics/hitquote.html for some great quotes from Adoph himself.

John said...

Hey, Anonymous, have you actually ever read Mein Kampf? If you had, one thing is certain, Hitler, IN CONTEXT (i.e. not ripping out a half sentence from its setting) doesn't admit to being a Christian. He goes to great length to explain that he has to win over the churches in order for them to be destroyed and chastises Germans who openly attack the Church (see ch10 especially). His theory was solely based on the superiority of race and that some races were more evolved. (see esp ch 11)

Hitler did not believe in the Christ of the Gospels, that much is sure. He didn't even believe Christ was Jewish. The word 'Christ', is either mentioned once or not at all in the book. I can't recall which. On that account you'd be really drawing a non-existent long bow to call him Christian.

Anonymous said...

Hey retard John I think will find that Hitler was following in century’s old tradition of German aggressive Protestantism by implicating the Jews as killers of Christ and Luther like blaming them for everything.

Centuries of persecution driven by Christians have been unleashed on Jews, it hardly need Darwin to originate it.

But that dirty little secret we must not mention. I suppose much like the Seminary education of Stalin and his praying every day in his own Chapel.

"Also a bit of German would reveal that 'mein kampf' means 'my struggle' as in Hitler's vision of endless war because of 'survival of the fittest.'"

Really following that Logic Gaynor's I Will Survive is a hymn to Darwinism...who would have thought. Dumbass!

Anonymous said...

You have to admire the logic of some Darwinists - in order to prove the moral superiority of their position they have to insult anyone who disagrees with them. As the blog moderator I'll leave that post online for all to see.

John said...

Looks like Anony"mouse" hasn't even read the book. He obviously thinks that because he can tell us what the English translation of Hitler's book is that will divert our attention away from the clear fact that he hasn't even bothered to read it. Pathetic, really.

And to think he has to stoop to calling people by that awful and cheap name, drawing upon people who have a disability to score points. So, who is the Nazi now?

Son, I feel truly sorry for you as it's obvious to anyone here that you've got some serious personality issues to deal with. Hopefully as you mature a bit of that anger may ease.

Anonymous said...

"Looks like Anony"mouse" hasn't even read the book. He obviously thinks that because he can tell us what the English translation of Hitler's book is that will divert our attention away from the clear fact that he hasn't even bothered to read it. Pathetic, really."

That makes no sense at all!

I don't think John that calling you a retard has anything to do with being a Nazi, it may be impolite but it’s not really much to do with German fascist nationalism.

Yes John, I'll mature to believe in Fairies!

I don't think I've ever said I'm morally superior to anyone, although it is humorous seeing people who brand others "Nazi's" getting all coy about being called a Dumbass.
The Irony is you who think you ARE morally superior produced a post which DOES insult people.

You are a Dumbass!

John said...

Mr Moderator,

Please don't erase Anony"mouse"'s latest entry. I'll return every once in a while just to have a chuckle at this unfortunate's effort to exculpate himself from his belittling of people with a disability. Apparently Barack Obama and he have something in common.

Anonymous said...

John I realise you are stupid but I compared you to a retard, if I wished to belittle retards I would compare them to you, but that would be too cruel even for me.

John said...

Keep them coming Anony"mouse". The more the better for our cause.

Anonymous said...

Is that the best you can come up with John?

You know I realise that if I were half the man you are, I'd be a quater of the man I am already!

Hitch said...

Anonymous? He's afraid to reveal his own name.

A petty little fellow who hasn't the intellect of "a quater of the man" he thinks he is.

Indeed, under a Darwinian paradigm, he may not be fully human yet, coming from a long lineage of sub-evolvees who have not yet undergone the "smart gene" mutation.

If I were half the clown he is, I'd still be 10 times the man he isn't.

Ya just gotta love Hoyle's statement about Darwinists, "So it came about from 1860 onward that new believers became in a sense mentally ill, or, more precisely, either you became mentally ill or you quitted the subject of biology, as I had done in my early teens. The trouble for young biologists was that, with everyone around them ill, it became impossible for them to think they were well unless they were ill, which again is a situation you can read all about in the columns of Nature." (Hoyle, F., Mathematics of Evolution, [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.3-4).

Anonymous said...

Hitch its good idea to try and be coherent on websites and not to try and steal others quips in an attempt to be humorous.

You see my idiot little friend, you are not half the clown I am, your not even a man, my girlie desperately in need of recognition diminutive chump.

"Indeed, under a Darwinian paradigm, he may not be fully human yet, coming from a long lineage of sub-evolvees who have not yet undergone the "smart gene" mutation."

Yes an idiot you are!

It's so much fun to laugh at people like you Hitch...yes we are laughing.....laughing...you are the clown...you are THE CLOWN!