It seems to be all over the place, with both the Discovery Institute and the various overtly (as opposed to the DI’s stealthy) religious creationists. It’s the one message they are all pounding out consistently.
It, of course, is the argumentum ad consequentiam, the Great Godwinization of the debate, the constant claim that Charles Darwin was the evil monster responsible for the Holocaust, all modern racism and oppression, anti-semitism, whites-only seating on buses, slavery, eugenics, abortion, man-on-pig sex, gun control, job discrimination, illegal aliens, feminism, the birth control pill, hedonism, Mexicans, atheism, hippies, and anything other than the average social mores of 1950s America, and therefore evolution is false.
Anyone with half a brain can see right through this argument: Darwin could have been a baby-raping cannibal and it wouldn’t have affected the validity of his arguments one whit. That Darwin was actually a fairly conservative British gentleman who was also an abolitionist and advocate for fair treatment of all races (although, admittedly, not equality of all races) similarly doesn’t affect the status of his theory, but does allow us to comfortably celebrate the man, and not just the work.
Furthermore, it is ahistorical nonsense. Darwin’s ideas were a relatively late addition to Western culture, arising in the last half of the 19th century. Many of the evils Darwin is blamed for, like slavery and anti-semitism, preceded his birth, and many are even literally endorsed by by a book the liars for Jesus revere, the Bible.
This is an argument that relies entirely on a deep and all encompassing ignorance on the part of the listener to be accepted — they have to be oblivious to the rules of basic logic, they have to be complete blanks on even the roughest outline of history, and they have to be willing to allow visceral reactions to the key words the creationists are spitting out to be tied to unrelated concepts. They have to be stupid and uneducated. This is the state the creationists must perpetuate if their argument is to succeed.
Who is making these transparently idiotic claims? John West, Ken Ham, Geoffrey Simmons, D. James Kennedy, and Tom DeRosa to name just a few. These are people leading a campaign to keep your children stupid.
The latest to jump on the Darwin-caused-Hitler bandwagon is — and I dislike linking to her bad prose and pathetically transparent inbred link-farm — is Denyse O’Leary. Watch how quickly she spirals into lunacy in a single paragraph.
Darwin was instrumental in discrediting the traditional way of looking at human beings. This is a fact that everyone admits and many celebrate. How often have you heard that Darwin’s great achievement was to knock humanity off its pedestal and show that we are merely evolved animals, accidentally evolved at that? And that had everything to do with the Holocaust.
It is true that one thing Darwin accomplished was to challenge the traditional exceptionalist view of human beings as somehow privileged — a hierarchical view that was also used to rank races within the human species — and this was a good thing. While he didn’t always meet his own standard to “never speak of higher and lower,” it was a commendable goal.
But notice how O’Leary twists it: we are merely evolved animals, as if our status as animals somehow excuses our abuses of our fellows. I always wonder if people who make this argument also pull the wings off flies. Darwin did not demote humanity, he elevated it and all life on earth to the exalted position of equal products of long eras of evolutionary history.
This had nothing to do with the Holocaust.
The idea of making Jews extinct in the sense that the dinosaurs are extinct – as the Nazis tried to do – was derived culturally from Darwin, not from the Church. Also derived from Darwin and his supporters – rather than the Church – was the view of Jews as simply a gene pool rather than a race/religion/culture/Jesus’s family/God’s chosen people/essential part of history/essential part of our neighbourhood/people we know. The stew of traditional issues sometimes overflows into violence, but not into a eugenics program.
Look right there, in O’Leary’s preferred view: Jews are “God’s chosen people.” Some people, apparently, are better than other people; we are therefore justified in exterminating those other people if they get in the way of the chosen ones. And who gets to say who are the chosen ones? Why, the chosen ones themselves.
The biological view that arose from Darwinian thought is that there are no specially preferred groups. Jews are as unique and valuable as Palestinians, Chinese, Basque, Germans, Italians, Swedes, New Guineans, Inuit, or Canadians. “Simply a gene pool”? What nonsense. If the other is “simply a gene pool,” then so are we, and none of us have grounds for demanding privileged status.
As for the claim that the Nazi efforts to exterminate the Jews was derived from Darwin, all we have to do is look at Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies to see how false that claim is. Luther published in 1543, 316 years before Darwin, and in that little pamphlet lays down an 8-point plan for destroying the Jews.
- “First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. …”
- “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. …”
- “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. …”
- “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. …”
- “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. …”
- “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them. … Such money should now be used in … the following [way]… Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed [a certain amount]…”
- “Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow… For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”
- “If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country” and “we must drive them out like mad dogs.”
In the blinkered, shuttered, moldy attic of O’Leary’s mind, the fact that Darwin used the word “race” in the title of his book is far more evil than the fact that an influential leader of the church ranted openly about hating the Jews and published specific plans for their destruction.
Here’s what’s really appalling. This whole argument on their part is so blatantly stupid and false, yet somehow the diverse group of leaders of creationism in this country have all informally reached a consensus that their followers are ignorant enough that they will actually accept it. Sense, reason, history, logic, the plain and documented facts can all be ignored — they can delude themselves and lie, lie, lie, and the state of the creationist mind is so abysmally benighted that they can reliably expect a large following to believe them.