Dispatches from the Creation Wars

ID Apologists as Cheating Husbands

Psychologists tell us that one of the primary manifestations of guilt is to accuse others of doing what one is guilty of themselves. This is why, for instance, a cheating husband will often exhibit jealous paranoia about his wife cheating on him, and vice versa. They know the lies that they’ve been telling, so they continually presume that they are being lied to as well. For a perfect illustration of this phenomenon, look no further than the recent obsession of ID apologists like Casey Luskin with Nazi comparisons in the ID/evolution dispute. While howling in feigned outrage at the terrible unfairness of such comparisons, they ignore the fact that such comparisons have been used by them and their colleagues for constantly for years. The latest example of John West’s post on the DI blog, complaining about a comment made by Jeffrey Selman, the plaintiff in the Cobb County case. He writes:

The tasteless, over-the-top effort by some Darwinists (especially those at the ACLU) to castigate anyone who disagrees with them on evolution as Nazis or Holocaust deniers continues unabated.

And so does the hypocritical nonsense from the ID apologists in pointing the finger at others that is more justifiably pointed at themselves. For a brief list of the literally dozens of instances where ID apologists have compared us to Nazis or Stalinists, go here. For a longer list, go here.

In a recent article in the Cleveland Jewish News, ACLU attorney Jeffrey Selman, who brought the Cobb County case, implies that if we allow students to hear about scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory we are one step away from putting Jews in the ovens

This is wrong. Selman is not an attorney and he is not with the ACLU. He is a computer programmer who was represented by the ACLU in that case, specifically by Georgia attorney Michael Manely. It’s certainly true that the comment Selman made, as reported in the Cleveland Jewish News, is rather baffling. It doesn’t really say anything, so it can hardly be evaluated as accurate or not. He said:

When a federal judge in Georgia ruled last week that a local school board’s decision to put a small sticker on its science textbooks labeling evolution “a theory, not a fact” was unconstitutional, Jeffrey Selman said it was primarily an American issue.

Still, he said, he could not help but view it through the lens of his Jewishness.

“Look what happened in Germany,” said Selman…”The German Jews said, ‘We’re Germans. We’ll be fine.’ The next thing you know, they were opening the oven doors for us.”

It’s a very odd statement, and it’s edited so I have no idea what he was actually referring to. If he has some sort of argument to make for a connection between the Cobb County case and Nazi Germany, it isn’t made in that quote and I can’t conceive of what it might be. It just looks like a superfluous and pointless comment to me, and deserves to be criticized as such. But it takes extraordinary chutzpah for a guy like John West, the associate director of the DI’s Center for Science and Culture, to criticize that statement as “tasteless” and “Orwellian” when so many of the people under his charge at the CSC have said far worse things and made far more specific comparisons between evolutionary scientists and Nazis, or Stalinists, or any other bad guys they can think of. His boss, Stephen Meyer, has even gotten into the act, doing an impression of Ken Miller as Hitler’s propaganda chief, much to the delight of Jonathan Wells (who mistakenly thought that said chief was Himmler when it was in fact Goebbels).

I would submit, Mr. West, that the only thing “Orwellian” about this situation is the continual demagoguery that you and your friends have engaged in on this issue for the past several weeks. It is obvious that your frantic fingerpointing on this issue is intelligently but hypocritically designed to distract attention from the undeniable fact that the bulk of the Nazi comparisons have come from your side of the dispute and that has been true for years. Sadly, most of those who lap up the nonsense you shovel out will accept it uncritically. But in the end, all you have really shown is your commitment to the Big Lie strategy of marketing. But the more you repeat this lie, the more those of us on the other side will shine the light on your own actions and expose you for what you are.

Update: I see that the DI has now edited the post linked to above to correct the error in calling Jeffrey Selman an ACLU attorney. It now says “whom the ACLU represented in the Cobb County case.” They didn’t note that they had made such a correction, of course, because admitting error is beneath them. More importantly, it seems obvious that they did read my critique, since they made the correction, yet they don’t seem to care in the least that they are being hypocritical and accusing “Darwinists” of doing the very thing they are guilty of themselves. Anyone shocked?

Comments

  1. #1 Matthew Phillips
    January 24, 2005

    I’m kind of disappointed in the way that you have, if only passively, agreed that the holocaust denial comparisons are wrong. There is no logical reason why the comparisons should be made, and their faked outrage is only because the comparisons are so accurate.

  2. #2 Ian Gibson
    January 24, 2005

    With regards to the Selman quote, I presume he was just giving a ‘slippery slope’ analogy i.e. “It’s just a sticker now, but soon we could have creationism in textbooks, then we could see the removal of evolution from textbooks”. In the same way, some Jews rationalized what was happening in the early days of Hitler, saying the petty harrassment could never lead to anything major, beacuse after all, “we are Germans”..

  3. #3 Ed Brayton
    January 24, 2005

    With regards to the Selman quote, I presume he was just giving a ‘slippery slope’ analogy i.e. “It’s just a sticker now, but soon we could have creationism in textbooks, then we could see the removal of evolution from textbooks”. In the same way, some Jews rationalized what was happening in the early days of Hitler, saying the petty harrassment could never lead to anything major, beacuse after all, “we are Germans”..

    I still don’t see how one could reasonably lead from that to the holocaust. At best the argument might be that removing evolution from textbooks leads to a more pervasively Christian society which leads to anti-semitism historically which leads to another holocaust. That’s a really thin argument, it seems to me. But regardless, the thinking of Mr. Selman doesn’t interest me all that much. My only point was that those who complain about this sort of thing engage in it constantly themselves.

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    January 24, 2005

    I’m kind of disappointed in the way that you have, if only passively, agreed that the holocaust denial comparisons are wrong. There is no logical reason why the comparisons should be made, and their faked outrage is only because the comparisons are so accurate.

    I’ve written before that the comparisons between ID advocates and holocaust deniers have some justification. There certainly are some similarities in terms of the types of arguments that they use. But I would rather the comparison not be used simply because there are equally good but less inflamatory comparisons that one could make. Still, that has nothing to do with the feverishly overheated claims and utter hypocrisy of the ID crowd.

  5. #5 Ian Gibson
    January 25, 2005

    I agree the Selman quote is bizarre and doesn’t really mean anything in the context given, and I certainly don’t see how it’s an ‘American issue’, unless it’s about the First Amendment.
    I agree that the broader point is the hypocrasy coming from the ID camp, who know more than most about wildly inappropriate rhetoric.

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