Pharyngula

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.

  1. “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. …”
  2. “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. …”
  3. “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. …”
  4. “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. …”
  5. “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. …”
  6. “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]…”
  7. “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.”
  8. “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.

Comments

  1. #1 J
    February 23, 2008

    Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, so do they want to throw out the First Amendment?

    Oh, wait…bad example.

  2. #2 Delta Whisky
    February 23, 2008

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord”(Hitler 1943, 65).

    “The undermining of the existence of human culture by the destruction of its bearer seems in the eyes of a folkish philosophy the most execrable crime. Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.” (Hitler 1943, 383)

    Hmmmmm….

    Instead of blaming other things, people need to start taking personal responsibility.

  3. #3 J
    February 23, 2008

    From D’OL:

    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.

    Right, that explains this clearly Darwinian motto.

  4. #4 chancelikely
    February 23, 2008

    Well, not to be too cynical, but it seems that counting on people to be stupid, ignorant, or credulous has worked for other people in other times.

  5. #5 MAJeff
    February 23, 2008

    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.

    Then what was that whole Inquisition and Expulsion thing about?

    There is truly something wrong with these people.

  6. #6 raven
    February 23, 2008

    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, etc.

    Sure, it is their current strategy. The Goebbel’s strategy, lie big and lie often.

    It is more likely to mark the increasing desperation of their movement. With time, all that are left are hardcore and increasingly irrelevant extremists. They long ago lost in the arena of well educated, literate citizens.

    Reality always wins in the end. Although whether that will be before or after the fundies long sought Dark Ages remains to be seen.

    Based on the persistence of geocentrism (20% of the US population, 26% of fundies) 400 years after Copernicus, it looks like the US population will never drop below 20% creos and that may take decades or even centuries. No one should stay up waiting for a lightbulb to go on in their heads.

  7. #7 Umkomasia
    February 23, 2008

    There is nothing new about this strategy. Creationists have been using it for years. It was on the back burner for a while as the ID crowd tried to make a “scientific” case that would pass muster. Since that strategy has failed miserably, they are going back to the “evolution is responsible for all evils in the world” arguments. But I repeat, nothing new here.

  8. #8 Andy James
    February 23, 2008

    I wonder if any of them have thought about how many Sunday Sermons preached messages about the inferiority of women, or that of the Black Man. How many times have other religions been pronouned evil? How many reverends railed against the jews as the killers of Jesus?

    How many of those sermons led to lynchings or mob murders? How many of those sermons put someone in a state of misery for their entire lives?

    Have they thought about it, or will they bring it up?

    No they will not, because they are fundamentally dishonest. To support the lie of god takes many other lies, and that has become their lifestyle.

  9. #9 RamblinDude
    February 23, 2008

    It’s astonishing what obscene disregard for truth you can promote if you qualify your lies with “praise God”.

  10. #10 Kseniya
    February 23, 2008

    This stuff drives me batty. Repeat a lie often enough, with enough conviction…

    If the cdesign proponentsists behind Dembskiism had anything substantial to offer in support of their hypothesis, they wouldn’t have to rely so heavily on the misrepresentation of the ToE or on these endless ad consequentiam and ad hominem arguments. It is they who are the lying propagandists and intellectual fascists, not the “powers” behind so-called Big Science.

  11. #11 raven
    February 23, 2008

    The fundies strategy of blaming the Nazis and Hitler on Darwin is a loser.

    Most serious historians as opposed to fundies Making Stuff Up trace this movement to German Xianity. As noted in the post, Luther was a rabid antisemite who proposed a final solution 400 years ago. Hitler himself invoked god and Jesus often and those writings are widely known, available, and quoted.

    Nothing says fundies can’t lie but nothing says anyone has to believe poorly crafted and easily refuted lies. The truth is out there and Xianity has got some explaining to do about WWII.

  12. #12 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 23, 2008

    You know, the creationshits (that’s a typo that I’m leaving intact) and the IDeologues object loudly when anyone calls them stupid. I have always tended to avoid doing that.
    No more.
    These people are either stupid or mendacious…or both.

  13. #13 Graculus
    February 23, 2008

    ..or Canadians

    That may be going a little too far, eh?

  14. #14 J Myers
    February 23, 2008

    …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.

    Check… check… check… check…

    Shit.

  15. #15 Fernando Magyar
    February 23, 2008

    #5 MAJeff,

    There is truly something wrong with these people.

    It must have taken you an enormous amount of time to craft, what has got to be the epitome of understatements ;-)

  16. #16 MAJeff
    February 23, 2008

    They’re the intellectual equivalents of David Irving.

  17. #17 dzho
    February 23, 2008

    Shorter PZ: “creationists are just like the mainstream media.”
    I was tracking fine up to the last paragraph.

  18. #18 Barry of Denver
    February 23, 2008

    Yes, PZ, but it is a game they will ultimately lose. It may take a couple more generations, but truth usually wins out. I was raised in a religious, creationist home, but could only deny the truth for so long. The firmer they try to affirm the world is less than 10000 years old, the faster will be the defection of their children and grandchildren.

    Plus, we have dinosaurs on our side. Talk about having an effective spokesperson.

  19. #19 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 23, 2008

    Oh yes, Darwin was responsible for slavery. After all, the Origin of Species was published in 1859, and slavery was lawful in the Confederacy until 1865. Coincidence? I think not!!!!

  20. #20 gene
    February 23, 2008

    This is a detailed and well-reasoned piece and therein lies the problem. Reason is the enemy. People won’t listen and I don’t know why…

    It beyond depressing.

    I can have these same arguments with friends I’ve known for years and years without denting their belief systems, oft times in direct contradiction of the established facts (Martin Luther being a prime example)…

    And I don’t know what to do, except to keep fighting…

  21. #21 PalMD
    February 23, 2008

    “man-on-pig sex”

    No,that one was the liberals.

  22. #22 Ben
    February 23, 2008

    I love how she argues that Christian antisemitism would never lead to genocide, because Christians can’t afford to _totally_ wipe out the Jews before the Apocalyse – since they need at least some Jews there to convert or, presumably, be cast into the flames.

  23. #23 Monado, FCD
    February 23, 2008

    And then there’s all the genocide in the bible…. e.g. “God commands Amalekite Genocide.” That’s not an example?

  24. #24 Susan B.
    February 23, 2008

    You know, there’s something I have in common with the creationists. See, there is this well-supported theory, with evidence all around, and they simply can’t believe it because it contradicts the worldview they wish were true. Even though the facts are right in front of them, they just can’t believe it.

    I can understand this, because even though the evidence is right in front of me for how stupid and dishonest creationists can be, and how gullible the people who listen to them, I just can’t believe it. I want to believe people are mostly intelligent and well-meaning, and so I just can not believe the evidence in front of my own eyes. How can they possibly be this dumb?

  25. #25 I have none
    February 23, 2008

    Martin Luther also called the jews ” a brood of vipers”, a term Hitler adopted happily.

  26. #26 Fernando Magyar
    February 23, 2008

    #16 MAJeff,

    They’re the intellectual equivalents of David Irving.

    Yup! (how’s that for understatement?)

  27. #27 Glen Davidson
    February 23, 2008

    Nothing’s new about this strategy, except for the present intense focus on it. Their other lies have been exposed and demolished (not that this stops them from repeating them), but the scapegoating, and attempts to morally neutralize the science they react to so prejudicially, continue and even increase.

    Of course the secondary claim is the Expelled‘s theme, the idea that ID/creationism isn’t ruled out in science because it’s moralistic religious tripe, but because “Darwinists” are evil.

    The Constitution still has the slavery provisions in it, although these have been superseded by amendments. What Darwin opposed, slavery, was allowed for by the American law of the land.

    I guess America with its freedoms really does deserve to be eviscerated by wretched theocrats, since our Constitution enshrined so much misery and oppression.

    Of course, since the theocrats like to claim that the Constitution is based on the Bible, it’s the latter which is most deserving of execration and (virtual) elimination. The Constitution, certainly, was originally a rational step up from the Bible, even though it was an abomination of pro-slavery sentiment by comparison with Darwin’s writings.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  28. #28 negentropyeater
    February 23, 2008

    Yes, and what makes Ann Coulter say stupid things (Christians are perfected Jews) is of course, her brilliant knowledge of evolutionary theories, her readings of Charles Darwin, and not her Bible soaked brain.

    O’Leary is another Ann Coulter, same with all these other racist, antisemists, anti gay, anti feminists, you-should-do-what-I-sayists, people-haters.

    PZ, you are absolutely right, this is now their clear strategy, and it will be a disaster for them.
    Because it will give the possibility to all people who want to defend reason and Science above all, to focus on this issue, wether they are Atheist, Agnostics, Deists or religious moderates.

    We need to find ways to get the religious moderates to denounce this nonsense. This is a beautiful opportunity.

    It’s time we focus on something. This is it.

    Who cause more hate ? Science, or Religious fundamentalism ?

  29. #29 Judas
    February 23, 2008

    How come Martin Luther’s little pamphlet is not rendered in Comic Sans? I don’t think it deserves the “normal” font…

  30. #30 PZ Myers
    February 23, 2008

    Comic Sans is amusing and mocks the foolishness of the creationists. Luther deserves a more actively evil font. I’ve got a few wicked-looking jagged fonts on my machine, like Nosferatu and CreepyGirl, but they aren’t going to be widely available.

    If you’ve got a suggestion for a good font suggesting evil that most people have, let me know. I can’t think of any…

    …except maybe MS Arial.

  31. #31 Monado, FCD
    February 23, 2008

    It’s brain pollution. The adult part of the brain is contaminated with beliefs imposed in childhood by parents and others. That’s one reason why it’s bad to treat religion with too much respect nor mention any doubts: we reinforce the entrenched point of view.

    However, the ordianary religious person is not stupid: rather, it’s as if they have a deep-seated fear of Friday the 13th or love of a certain lullaby. Or they’re used to eating with a fork or with chopsticks or driving on the left or right side of the road. It’s a habit. It’s part of the community. It’s not rational and will not be helped by insults. “Damn braces, bless relaxes.” And a relaxed person will listen more.

    Changing religious attitudes might be helped by gentle ridicule of the beliefs; discussions of the fruits of religion (if atheism causes orgies, then belief causes massacres); or straightforward appeals to reality: “I see no evidence” or “I believe in it as much as you believe in the Hindu religion and its sacred texts.”

    Finally, some people want a comforting certainty and they will always search for one. It’s best to offer an alternative belief–perhaps in the value of life and our environment. Every time I slap a mosquito I’m conscious of ending a 4-billion-year journey. Or help them to tackle the problems of the here and now. Protecting species from extinction while giving every person a fair slice of the pie, security of person, equality before the law, and a productive life will be a challange as great as any crusade.

  32. #32 Sastra
    February 23, 2008

    The creationists don’t have to rely on people being “stupid” — they only have to rely on a religion-soaked culture resulting in a populace which frames everything in terms of “faith” and “choice.” It can take a clever mind to do this well.

    How do you know which church or group of people are REALLY trying to understand God as God, and not just distorting God in order to follow their own desires? Oh, that’s just so easy. You look to see how they behave. You look at the consequences. If you can see good results from believing in God, or believing in Jesus — or believing in Church or Synagogue or Mosque or Coven X — then this is where you find Truth. Show people you have Truth by being Good. That’s how they “choose” God. And “choose” a religion.

    As PZ points out, they’re framing science theories just like they’re framing faiths. Having faith is important. Choosing to believe means you’ve got good character. And you choose to believe in whatever “makes you a better person.” If the religious belief leads to bad things, it must be wrong. Militant Muslims with suicide bombs cannot possibly have TRUE religion. Unless, of course, you’re on the other side, where people who allow too much freedom cannot possibly have TRUE religion. Consequences, consequences.

    People who start out with this desire for the Good Outcome as the basis for figuring out what is true are easily lead into the view “if the science theory leads to bad things, then it must be wrong.” It’s the most familiar approach, after all.

  33. #33 Adrian Thysse
    February 23, 2008

    It was the first Christians who lay the foundations of anti-semitism. The gospel of John is rife with anti-semetic comments, including, of course, making them completely culpable for the death of Jesus. The Crusaders picked up on this grand tradition by laying waste populations of all non-catholics on the way to Jerusalem: Muslims, Jews and even the Eastern Orthodox. Catholocism, and later the break-away ‘Protestants’, such as Luther were no help, even into WW II.

    Today, churches still condemn all who do not believe in Jesus to eternal damnation – fiery torture forever.If they can still believe that today, who is to say that they could even now, fail to stand up against a genocide of non-christians? After all, what is a bit of torture here on earth compared to what they will suffer in hell?

  34. #34 gerald spezio
    February 23, 2008

    PZ, I am confident that you haven’t forgotten long suffering professor of Disinformation DOCTOR Nisbet.
    Last year our charming champion of yuppie framing skills gave us the rock-em-sock-em definition of the mystical powers of framing.
    Unfortunately, there is no way out of its repeat application to sweet church lady O’Leary’s recent engineered agit-prop;

    Again here is DOCTOR Nisbet at his UNABASHED best:

    “That’s the power and influence of framing when it resonates with an individual’s social identity. It plays on human nature by allowing a citizen to make up their minds in the absence of knowledge, and importantly, to articulate an opinion. It’s definitely not the scientific or democratic ideal, but it’s how things work in society.”

    A more glaring plea for elitism, manipulation, racism, anti-science, anti-objectivity, & anti-humanism, would be hard to find.

    For a tenured professor to make such a glaring argument for “making up their minds in the absence of knowledge” ( knowledge that he proposes to deliver!) has to rank as a modern classic of trained unadulterated intellectualism gone mad.

    But DOCTOR Joseph Goebbels, a modern precursor & master, comes close when he waxed framingly in 1934;

    “Political propaganda in principle is active and revolutionary. It is aimed at the broad masses. It speaks the language of the people because it wants to be understood by the people. Its task is the highest creative art of putting sometimes complicated events and facts in a way simple enough to be understood by the man on the street. Its foundation is that there is nothing the people cannot understand, but rather things must be put in a way that they can understand. It is a question of making it clear to him by using the proper approach, evidence, and language.”

  35. #35 Holydust
    February 23, 2008

    #25: The “brood of vipers” Luther statement, adopted happily by Hitler, as you pointed out, goes back farther — it’s a quote from Jesus in the Bible (Matthew 12:34). John the Baptist said it, too. But Jesus especially liked using it to refer to his enemies. “Generation of vipers”, etc. Referring to Jews.

  36. #36 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 23, 2008

    WTF. What do you have against Arial? Arial is clarity itself — that’s why it’s used for Wikipedia –, so it’s no good for obscurantism.

    What about Banjoman or Century Gothic?

  37. #37 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 23, 2008

    WTF. What do you have against Arial? Arial is clarity itself — that’s why it’s used for Wikipedia –, so it’s no good for obscurantism.

    What about Banjoman or Century Gothic?

  38. #38 CalGeorge
    February 23, 2008

    In this one post, PZ, you’ve very concisely and helpfully clarified the modus operandi of these creationist creeps.

    Excellent!

  39. #39 Tosser
    February 23, 2008

    The fact that IDers speak “on message,” and that their messages can be so quickly spread throughout their community, demonstrate that ID is mainly a political movement.

  40. #40 Carlie
    February 23, 2008

    Do they honestly think that the concept of genocide for “inferior” groups didn’t exist before the 1850s?
    Gosh, I seem to remember one really clear older example of a group in power who didn’t like another group living near them, and put them into slavery, and treated them badly, and tried to thin out their numbers by killing off all the male babies, and then tried to throw them out of the country, and then hunted them down to kill them all. You know, genocide, the kind that Hitler could easily have used as inspiration. I just can’t remember exactly where I read about that one…

  41. #41 Joe Mc Faul
    February 23, 2008

    Intelligent design. These people really are Holocaust denialists.

  42. #42 Joe Mc Faul
    February 23, 2008

    Intelligent design. These people really are Holocaust denialists.

  43. #43 Stanton
    February 23, 2008

    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.

    Actually, creationists are physically incapable of acknowledging the fact that Hitler’s fireside chats were plagiarized from Martin Luther’s Of the Jews And Their Lies. They also tend to deny the fact that Martin Luther was an anti-Semite by either refusing to acknowledge that Martin Luther waxed poetically about the fiery torture and destruction of all who opposed him, including Jews, Copernicus, and people who disagreed with him, remembering him, instead, as the hero who punched the Pope out, or they think that Charles Darwin stole H.G.Wells’ time machine and forced Martin Luther to write Of the Jews and Their Lies at gunpoint so he could ensure that his protégé, Adolf Hitler would remain a homicidal lunatic.

  44. #44 uncle frogy
    February 23, 2008

    the last paragraph echoes my feelings with all the arguments against science. I am so amazed by the arguments as to be speechless.
    My first reaction is to defend as in this case it would be Darwin which is actually mostly ineffective and very unsatisfactory. With the second “tactic” as in this example I have much more fun. I do not fool myself into thinking I am going to convince “my opponent” to change their mind in any way so I want to have some fun anyway. I admit my mastery of all the facts is not perfect by any means but I realize that the “fundy” does not even understand what the facts are anyway so I question the facts in this case what is the history of slavery and racism and how does that bare on the made up conclusions and causes. It does best when you can get an actual response.
    I am mostly completely dumb founded!!!

  45. #45 uncle frogy
    February 23, 2008

    the last paragraph echoes my feelings with all the arguments against science. I am so amazed by the arguments as to be speechless.
    My first reaction is to defend as in this case it would be Darwin which is actually mostly ineffective and very unsatisfactory. With the second “tactic” as in this example I have much more fun. I do not fool myself into thinking I am going to convince “my opponent” to change their mind in any way so I want to have some fun anyway. I admit my mastery of all the facts is not perfect by any means but I realize that the “fundy” does not even understand what the facts are anyway so I question the facts in this case what is the history of slavery and racism and how does that bare on the made up conclusions and causes. It does best when you can get an actual response.
    I am mostly completely dumb founded!!!

  46. #46 Paul A
    February 23, 2008

    Typo alert – On The Jews And Their Lies was published in 1543, not 1453. Best change that or the fundies will use it as further proof that Darwin was actually Hitler’s paternal grandfather and that bellief in evolution causes cancer. Or something like that :)

  47. #47 Paul A
    February 23, 2008

    Typo alert – On The Jews And Their Lies was published in 1543, not 1453. Best change that or the fundies will use it as further proof that Darwin was actually Hitler’s paternal grandfather and that bellief in evolution causes cancer. Or something like that :)

  48. #48 MAJeff
    February 23, 2008

    spezio, just shut the fuck up. My god you are a twit.

  49. #49 Tamar
    February 23, 2008

    If the creationists are honest in their argument (ha!), shouldn’t they include Mendel in their “creators of all evil on earth” list? After all, he was the one who showed how characters are inherited, so basicly he’s the one who started the “people are a gene pool” notion.
    Yea, I think we should reject all that genetic thing. The idea that God create all the souls and send them down to earth is so much more wholesome.

    O, wait – Mendel was a Christian monk… Does that give him immunity?

  50. #50 IanR
    February 23, 2008

    I strongly recommend Theologians Under Hitler – either Robert Erickson’s book or Steven Martin’s film. Neither are anti-Christianity in any way, but they show the profound way that some of the 20th century’s top Protestant theologians were complicit in the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust (especially Gerhard Kittel).

    The irony of it is that Kittel’s work is still a standard work in seminaries. Kittel (re-)framed the “Jewish Question” in Nazi Germany (for which a “Final Solution” was then implemented). You can argue that Luther was long enough ago that his influence has dissipated into the culture at large (although Erickson argues otherwise), but Kittel’s scholarship is still at the heart of Protestant Christianity. Now I think it’s ridiculous to taint one with the other – Kittel’s scholarship is independent of his antisemitism, just like Darwin’s beliefs are irrelevant in assessing evolution. But when people who trained using Kittel’s work (as Kennedy and Dembski would have) try to play this game, there’s a stink to their hypocrisy.

  51. #51 sailor
    February 23, 2008

    “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,”
    You forgot torturing puppies!

    What is quite clear is what they are doing is all strategy, they don’t really believe a word of it, they are pathetic ammoral liers, willing to twist anything to their cause. Reminds me in a way of communism at its worst.

  52. #52 Holydust
    February 23, 2008

    Whoa, MAJeff… I hadn’t even realized there was something to get angry about in spezio’s post. Is it that I haven’t seen other posts by him that I didn’t catch some opposition in his comment? Needless to say it was a bit… wordy.

  53. #53 decius
    February 23, 2008

    PZ, one possibility is embedding the desired font in the page, it isn’t very difficult.
    Here is an how-to tutorial, with both available methods explained in detail.

    http://www.webmonkey.com/design/fonts/tutorials/tutorial2.html

  54. #54 Reginald Selkirk
    February 23, 2008

    Darwin could have been a baby-raping cannibal

    Now you just know you’re going to get quote-mined on that one.

  55. #55 Stanton
    February 23, 2008

    O, wait – Mendel was a Christian monk… Does that give him immunity?

    Given as how his successor burned all of his journals and notes because, at the time, it was considered improper behavior for a man of God to putter around in a garden as a hobby, no, that does not give him immunity.

    I’m thinking that they didn’t go farther with Mendel, in that one can not excommunicate the dead, that his standing in the Church, and that his crimes were not severe enough to warrant his remains being exhumed and ritually mutilated and or scattered throughout the land.

  56. #56 MAJeff
    February 23, 2008

    holydust,

    It’s just a constant thread of nonsensical rambling. One post bleeding into another, all demonstrating a man with delusions of intellect. It’s like that Andy Bell line in the Erasure song “Waiting for Sex,”

    Your eloquence is nothing more than hearsay.
    Your intelligence leaves much to be desired.

    He could have been describing gerry. It’s just so bloody tedious.

  57. #57 Blake Stacey
    February 23, 2008

    Quote-mining the baby-raping cannibal remark? It’s already been done.

  58. #58 ndt
    February 23, 2008

    Some of you expressed optimism that this strategy by the creationists is doomed to fail. I do not share it. Lies can get entrenched in cultures for long periods of time – look at the longevity of jingoism in the US, or the Jewish blood libel in many Muslim countries. Most of the Muslim world regressed from intellectual sophistication to backwards ignorance centuries ago, and it’s stayed that way since. And that’s just one example of intellectual regression.

    If this ignorance and dishonesty does fail, it will be because people like PZ and the commenters here fought it tooth and nail, not because we waited patiently for it do die out on its own.

  59. #59 Holydust
    February 23, 2008

    MAJeff: I understand. It was so hard to pick through that I missed his point completely. So now I understand your initial point. >:D Nitwittery, indeed.

  60. #60 Glen Davidson
    February 23, 2008

    The creationist “strategy” has always been to say that evilutionists only say what they do because they’re evil godless souls who are following Satan.

    The well has to be poisoned, since those who drink from it oppose fundamentalist bullshit.

    The IDists are simply a bit more sophisticated about it. Well, I don’t know if they really are–look at how over-the-top Expelled‘s trailers are–but they at least are willing to pay $3.5 million to dress up yahoo nonsense in some competent cinematography.

    The upshot, though, is that it’s wrong to think like a scientist does. That message comes in various aspects, from Bible-thumping preachers denouncing anything that contradicts “God’s word,” to the attempts to make evolution out to be responsible for the major atrocities of the 20th century. The actual fact that creationists/IDists share the Nazi and Stalinist penchant to use government to decide science is lost on them, since their whole point is to denounce and punish science for committing the sin of questioning God (whether or not science really does this–I don’t think that it does as science, though science supports philosophical judgments that God is not a sound hypothesis).

    Trying to link evolution with Stalinism and Naziism is just a way of trying to call evolution sinful, while using a more secular and universal definition of sin. It does not matter that they like far more racist and anti-Semitic authors and books than Darwin and Darwin’s writings, for they have very little in the way of “argument” against evolution other than that it is wrong and sinful, and that it is accepted simply because people don’t want to believe in God.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  61. #61 Tony Popple
    February 23, 2008

    James Clerk Maxwell was a scientist in the same time period as Darwin. He was credited with formalizing the mathematics for electromagnetic fields and waves.

    If historians stumbled apon some collection of documents that showed Maxwell to be among the worst racistists of the Victorian era, do you think that people who are demonizing Darwin would give up their cell phones and Televisions.

  62. #62 Michael X
    February 23, 2008

    Of course if you were to quickly turn the spyglass around and look on the results of those who claim to be True Christians, you’d see AIDS supported in Africa, people swindled by prosperity gospel preachers, and untold family misery created by those who claim connection to absolute truth and won’t rest until their relatives agree with them.

    So people are dying, poorer, and unhappy (to name a very select few things) as a direct consequence of their beliefs.

    Only two ways out of this situation. Either say it’s Darwin’s fault that they have those problem too, or state that god “works in mysterious ways.” I bet they’d say both. In any case, the mechanism for oppression is only allowed to work one way.

  63. #63 Stanton
    February 23, 2008

    Of course if you were to quickly turn the spyglass around and look on the results of those who claim to be True Christians, you’d see AIDS supported in Africa,

    Technically speaking, it’s not that Christians support AIDS in Africa, they are constantly being taught and told that AIDS is either a “white man’s disease,” or that only sinful people contract it, and more importantly, they are taught and told that various methods of prevention, namely wearing contraceptives, are, in fact, sinful.

  64. #64 Hank Roberts
    February 23, 2008

    Someone in the PR industry has figured out that attacking “founders” from history is the way to attack contemporary ideas, I think.

    Have you noticed the “sidestream smoke” opposition now labeling the epidemiology as coming from Nazi theory?

    Bullshit — science grows like kudzu, starting new wherever there’s something interesting, and its newest roots are its most prolific — science isn’t like a religion or a redwood tree with one origin that can be cut off that will topple the whole thing.

    But if you’re trying to do PR on people whose worldview is based on the idea that everything arises from an Original Founder — attacking the founder for any other idea is likely effective.

    I’d suggest backing off a bit and seeing if attacking founders is developing as a widespread PR strategy — if so, likely it’s because it’s been found to be convincing to a majority of those who vote.

    Who studies this stuff? Where would it be published?

  65. #65 Michael X
    February 23, 2008

    I completely agree. I was using “support” as in: such actions continue the spread of AIDS, thus supporting it as an epidemic. Not as in the “I want people to get AIDS” type of support. Though, I don’t doubt that there are people out there who may wish AIDS on those who are sinful.

  66. #66 Holydust
    February 23, 2008

    Michael X: consider also that along with the points you brought up, there are occasions where totally “pious” people just happen to get AIDS — like say a rare accident giving blood or during a hospital stay. When that happens, they rarely are willing to stick with the “you’re just sinful, so you got AIDS” ideology.

    I wonder what they do think in such a case?

  67. #67 Beowulff
    February 23, 2008

    Holydust: probably they’ll say it’s a test of faith.

  68. #68 jimmiraybob
    February 23, 2008

    “man-on-pig sex”
    No,that one was the liberals.

    Posted by: PalMD |

    On the chance that this isn’t sarcasm or that it could be construed as not sarcasm I would like to call your attention to this at News Hounds.

    Anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley: “Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.”

  69. #69 porkchop
    February 23, 2008

    I’d like to take this opportunity to promote my new book, From Newton to Hitler, in which I demonstrate conclusively that Hitler’s nefarious plan to lob V2 rockets at London can be traced back to Newton’s materialistic theory of gravity.

    Actually, that might be a less crazy idea than the Darwin fantasy. After all, Philipp Lenard and Johannes Stark did promote ‘Aryan Physics’ in the official SS newspaper, and they claimed Newton as the prototypical Aryan physicist (must have confused that with ‘Arian’).

  70. #70 Tosser
    February 23, 2008

    I’d like to take this opportunity to promote my new book, From Newton to Hitler.

    Porkchop, you and I should do a publicity tour together. My new book, Einstein Left the Toilet Seat Up, lifts the lid on the secret life of Mr. Relativity and thus flushes the notion that E=MC2.

  71. #71 Ichthyic
    February 23, 2008

    People won’t listen and I don’t know why…

    There’s something wrong with these people

    nobody seems to want to admit the fact that there is an obvious psychology that is so strikingly parallel to those who have been brainwashed into cults it’s scary.

    the kind of “religion” these people ascribe to, and force their kids to ascribe to, is nothing less than a cult.

    look up what needs to be done to “deprogram” a cult member, and you will see why these folks appear to be so intractable.

    it really is that simple.

  72. #72 Ichthyic
    February 23, 2008

    spezio, just shut the fuck up. My god you are a twit.

    seconded.

  73. #73 DiscoveredJoys
    February 23, 2008

    In-group loyalty and out-group hostility appear to be one of the human universals (although individuals may show differing levels of this trait).

    Organised religion is a parasitic amplifier of this trait, sometimes for the general good, but more often for the strengthening of the in-group at the expense of the out-group. Some religions even have special names for the out-group. The religious adherents ascribe special powers to their leaders and prove their loyalty by meeting in special places and following special rules and rituals.

    It follows that attacking the out-group requires attacking the out-group leaders (as seen by the religionists) and claiming that the out-group breaks all the (sacred) rules. This is why ‘they’ attack Darwin. Such activities are driven by the human universals and are not easily countered by reason (that Johnny-come-lately of mental skills).

    IMHO sweet reason will reach the moderates of all debates but it will only harden the fundamentalists resolve. My suggestion is that ‘we’ debate the moderates fairly and to deprive the fundamentalists of any recognition (or validation in their own eyes). A toughie to do, especially as ‘scientists’ or atheists have no strong in-group identity and amplification of their own.

    In practice I think ‘we’ should choose to answer the attacks of Ham/Hovind/Dembski etc with answers directed at the hidden moderate audience and not counterattack the fundamentalists using their methods (lies, name calling, insults etc) tempting though it may be.

    This will eventually, after a very long time, disenfanchise the fundamentalists.

  74. #74 Colugo
    February 23, 2008

    While West et al have dumbed down and distorted the history, there is such a thing as protesting too much. An absolutist stance sits uneasily with the facts that I discussed here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/02/ruse_on_the_darwinhitler_link.php#comment-745095

    “Darwin could have been a baby-raping cannibal and it wouldn’t have affected the validity of his arguments one whit.”

    Correct. That is what the counter-creationist argument has to rest upon: the genetic fallacy.

  75. #75 Dan
    February 23, 2008

    Anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley: “Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.”

    Posted by: jimmiraybob

    That really never gets old, does it? I wonder what poor Neal is doing now?

  76. #76 jeh
    February 23, 2008

    As stated above, this is an old strategy. Hal Lindsay (the Tim LaHaye-esque “prophet-eer” of the 70s), made similar arguments in his books, as here. Of course, he went the full 9 yards, why link Darwin just to Hitler and Stalin, when you can also link him to Satan!

    This may be a sign of desperation, but keep in mind that these holy warriors have been effective in defining public policy concerning the rights of women (ERA, reproductive rights) through the use of extremist rhetoric.

    What is frightening to contemplate is what–out of their desperation–might come next, especially if the religious right continues to lose political influence. There are still people like Terry Randall out there (“Let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good….”), fully capable of fomenting something much worse in the name of God.

  77. #77 SteveM
    February 23, 2008

    These are people leading a campaign to keep your children stupid ignorant.

    Fixed it for you. Since there was so recently about 100 comments discussing the difference between “stupid” and “ignorant”, I’m surprised you would use “stupid” in that sentence.

  78. #78 Tony Jeremiah
    February 23, 2008

    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 god revere, the Bible Old Testament.

    The Bible is essentially broken into two parts: Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi) written in a time range from 200-1200 years before Jesus; the New Testament (Matthew to Revelations) was written from 45-140 years after Jesus, based on information provided on Wikipedia.

    I suspect creationists adhere to the Old Testament (which says nothing about Jesus) and spend less time in the New Testament, which contain words (particularly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Jesus presumably said. When one examines the Old and New Testaments, there seems to be a significant difference in tone between them. The Old Testament seems more authoritarian (hell fire, locusts, commandments, sinner and what not); the New Testament (especially the Jesus parables) seems closer to that of a wise, tolerant, hippy, philosopher.

    If the creationists were really Jesus advocates, they should seem more like wise, tolerant, hippy, philosophers. Instead, they come across like the Old Testament god.

    Which leads me to believe Jesus was adopted.

  79. #79 J
    February 23, 2008

    Tony,

    Wouldn’t it be great if Christian fundamentalists were fanatical about spreading peace and love instead of damnation and willful ignorance? We can dream….

  80. #80 mayhempix
    February 23, 2008

    Great post PZ.

    They are taking holocaust denialism to a whole new level.

  81. #81 mayhempix
    February 23, 2008

    “man-on-pig sex”
    No,that one was the liberals.
    Posted by: PalMD | February 23, 2008 12:25 PM

    WTF?

  82. #82 Holydust
    February 23, 2008

    Beowulff: Ah. No, you’re absolutely right. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it, but that’s probably the only possible conclusion they could come to in that situation. Sad. :(

  83. #83 foxfire
    February 23, 2008

    Speaking of John West, C

  84. #84 foxfire
    February 23, 2008

    *Sigh* Let’s try this again (sorry folks):

    Speaking of John West, right now (5:33pm PST) he on on CSPAN’S Book TV, peddling his new book. Now he is claiming that teaching evolution is teaching theology.

    It’s on again tomorrow at 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM (see fur yerself:) http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=9088&SectionName=&PlayMedia=No

    What a freekin’ weenie nut-job.

  85. #85 Monado, FCD
    February 23, 2008

    Speaking of batshit crazy, I notice that Intelligent Design apologist Denyse O’Leary is speaking March 20 near Toronto as part of the Copernicus Lecture Series on Science and Faith put out by the Richmond Hill Chinese Community Church. I know someone ought to put on a decontamination suit to go and listen and make notes and ask questions, but I’m afraid I’ll get cooties, waste an evening, or be driven to hysterical laughter in the back row. Is there someone else who can go? I’d rather be playing shinny.

    Other speakers in the series include Kirk Dunston, the Rev. Tony Costa, Geoff Francis, and.., well, just browse http://www.thecopernicuslectures.com.

  86. #86 jeh
    February 23, 2008

    When one examines the Old and New Testaments, there seems to be a significant difference in tone between them. The Old Testament seems more authoritarian (hell fire, locusts, commandments, sinner and what not); the New Testament (especially the Jesus parables) seems closer to that of a wise, tolerant, hippy, philosopher.

    This is not strictly true, especially if you consider the latter parts of the synoptic gospels and the apocalypse. The former depicts an increasingly angry itinerant preacher (e.g., “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida!”), while the latter depicts God as the destroyer, with Jesus leading the charge in the final battle. Even the parables often end with someone receiving a horrible punishment (“”Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”). Hardly gentle Jesus, meek and mild.

    The point being is that taken as a whole, I would argue that the Old and New Testaments are not that different in outlook. Even though there are portions that advocate lofty goals (OT minor prophets, Sermon on the Mount), there are plenty of others that represent the more basal human desire for retribution or revenge.

    With one exception, the Song of Solomon. However did erotica get in the canon???

  87. #87 Glen Davidson
    February 23, 2008

    The link may be tenuous, but it’s here. Expelled is one of the biggest whiners on these matters, and they’re busily distorting what others have said. While the following is rather minor compared with the whoppers they’ve told about science and about Darwin, such dishonesty is still worthwhile to view and denounce:

    If his entire movie is as much of a farce as the publicity material, we all will be in for a good laugh.

    While checking out the official Expelled website last night, I came across a link to a post by my fellow WIRED Science blogger Brandon Keim.

    Our headline, Denied Tenure, Astronomer Alleges Intelligent Design Witchhunt, must not have been good enough for the honest folks at Premise Media Corporation. On their site, they decided to rephrase it as WIRED Suspicion: Gonzalez is Honest & Competent. The funny thing is, in that post, Keim never called Gonzalez honest or competent. He did, however, mention that the astronomer was as more prolific than some of his colleagues, but had one tenth as much research funding. In academia, grant money is part of the trinity that wins professors tenure. If they are not brining in lots of cash, the university punts them — no matter what they believe

    Considering that the people behind Expelled had to distort one of our blog entries as fodder for their website, the argument in favor of intelligent design is looking as thin as ever.

    Please let us know if you find any other misinformation on the Expelled website by posting it in the comments section below.

    [Emphases added]

    blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/02/video-ben-stein.html

    I wish that it were news that the people at Expelled are dishonest, but perhaps it is somewhat interesting how thoroughgoing and detailed their dishonesty is.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  88. #88 Stevie_C
    February 23, 2008

    what a dumbass.

  89. #89 Steve_C
    February 23, 2008

    another dumbass… or the same one sock puppeting.

  90. #90 Virge
    February 23, 2008

    After a very long break Phunicular says

    Martin Luther, Christian hero,
    Rated all the Jews as zero:
    Work them! Out them! Purge the stain!
    We’re at fault for Jews not slain.

    Charlie Darwin fancied finches,
    Measured up their beaks in inches,
    Gathered gobs of evidence…
    OMG! This all makes sense!

  91. #91 Tony Jeremiah
    February 24, 2008

    @76

    Indeed.

    @83

    I agree that the violent content generally exists throughout the Bible, which probably reflects the time in which it was written. It still seems though, that in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (which mostly reflects the teachings of Jesus), that there’s relatively less violent content relative to the other chapters.

    It’s important to consider that the Jesus parables are meant to tell a story, and thus much of what is said are probably metaphors closely connected to the time period. In fact, the stories do read something like Shakespeare. For example, the Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth , is from the Wedding Banquet parable.

    In that Parable, Jesus is telling the story about getting into club Heaven. He talks about how everyone is invited, but like most clubs, there are some rules to follow. Apparently, the two fundamental rules are to love God and one’s neighbors (Matt 22:37-40). In the parable, God is represented by a king who prepares a wedding banquet for his son (presumably Jesus) and invites everyone to come. He sends servants out with invitations, but they refuse. In some instances, some of the king’s servants are killed (for apparently no good reason), and the king responds by searching for the murderers and giving them the death penalty.

    The king then seeks out other people to come to the banquet and some do come. To understand the quote you referenced, you have to consider that a wedding custom during Jesus’ time, was for the host (king) to provide wedding clothes for invited guests. If anyone was found not wearing them, they would be thrown out (not unlike some fancy restaurants where you have to wear certain clothing). In this case, the king found one person not wearing wedding clothing and threw that person out into the streets (as described by the quote).

    That’s my take anyway, when I consider the quote in its entirety. As in most things, quotes can be misinterpreted when taken out of context (especially when one is unaware of the customs of the time period when this literature was written).

  92. #92 arachnophilia
    February 24, 2008

    pz,

    i’m not sure we could blame the bible for anti-semitism, as your statement above (accidentally?) implies. i’d need a good argument that such is the case, and it’s not merely misrepresentation as people are so eager to do. slavery, i’ll grant you.

    but i’ll go one step further on your luther argument. you go right from exterminating races to luther — why not tie it back in nicely with the bible, like you seem to have set up earlier, with the bit about many of the ill blamed on darwin being endorsed by the bible?

    But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

    deuteronomy 20:16-18. genocide — the elimination of an entire race… SIX entire races, commanded by the bible. not darwin, the bible.

    and skip the whole luther thing. it’s a little over the heads of a lot of people. i’d surprised if many lutherans knew who martin luther was or why he was important. with this sort of ahistorical argument, i’d go right for the jugular here. because blaming human nature (and our more animalistic tendencies) on someone who simply described how nature works, well. it sure doesn’t explain how these things existed beforehand, does it? these people clearly don’t understand or know much about history, and trying to use it against them will never work.

    and i wouldn’t go blaming it on religion, either. if one recognizes the pattern here, the social darwininists existing before darwin and such, we should realize that perhaps these sort of things are merely excuses and pseudo-rationalizations for existing behaviours. the danger of religion is in its usefulness as an excuse — but people will commit genocide with other excuses long after religion is gone. people are the problem, really.

  93. #93 arachnophilia
    February 24, 2008

    @Tony Jeremiah (#75)

    The Bible is essentially broken into two parts: Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi) written in a time range from 200-1200 years before Jesus;

    more like 8 parts, the torah (900-600bc), the nevi’im (~600bc), the kethuvim (?-200bc), the apocrypha* and pseudepigraphica* (ages vary, but a lot between 200bc and 200ad), the gospels/acts (~100ad), the episples (~60ad), and revelation (i forget).

    *may not be actually in your bible

    I suspect creationists adhere to the Old Testament (which says nothing about Jesus) and spend less time in the New Testament, which contain words (particularly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Jesus presumably said. When one examines the Old and New Testaments, there seems to be a significant difference in tone between them. The Old Testament seems more authoritarian (hell fire, locusts, commandments, sinner and what not); the New Testament (especially the Jesus parables) seems closer to that of a wise, tolerant, hippy, philosopher.

    er, not exactly. there’s a lot of different opinions, points of views, and ideologies in the old testament. the problem with people who make arguments against christianity is that they very frequently have exactly the same passing familiarity with the bible that the christians do. hillarity does not ensue.

    the first major problem is that people go looking for things and ignore context. look at the ritual purity laws of leviticus — such things shouldn’t lend support to homophobes. after all, the book is directed at the levites (the priests) and not the general population. and taken in the context of the rest of the old testament, well. one of the most famous relationships in the bible is between two men — king david and jonathan. yeah, christians tend not to have thought of it that way either.

    the second major problem is that the majority of the old testament is predominantly written under a certain ideology designed to keep the nation of judah together through exile in a foreign land. that included not intermingling and retaining cultural identity. they did this with hate and xenophobia. makes the whole of it seem authoritarian and nasty.

    the third problem is that people kind of stop paying attention at about genesis 5. so and so begat… *snores.* but later in the same book, god asks abraham for advice and expects an argument and to be bargained down. hardly “authoritarian” even if he comes of that way a few chapters earlier.

    and the fourth… a surprising amount of that wise, tolerant, hippy stuff jesus said actually comes from the old testament. “love your neighbor” comes from leviticus, right between those two anti-gay verses. the wise part is knowing what bits to apply, and how — because so much of can be applied so horrifically. (one can, and should argue that it would be better to derive ones morality in other ways)

    Which leads me to believe Jesus was adopted.

    jesus was a jew. one can actually follow the lines of thought that lead up to (and through, and back around) jesus if you pay close enough attention. the evolution of judean ideology is actually rather clearly laid in the text of the bible, if one approaches it as an ancient ideological/philosophical/historical group of texts. but i have always appreciated the irony that people often do things in jesus’s name that jesus himself is portrayed as arguing against.

  94. #94 Michael X
    February 24, 2008

    Oh Jeh,
    I LOVE Hal Lindsey! He’s my favorite comic writer! I’ve never laughed harder than when I read “The Late Great Planet Earth” a few years ago. Nothing beats reading ridiculously specific claims made in the 70′s and laughing your ass off at them in 2004. I got the book from a company member at my theater. Come to find a good deal of the resident artists love laughing at such inanity. We have a stack of such books in the green room. Also, if you haven’t actually read it, I highly recommend “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich von Däniken for another good, long, laugh-riot of a book. Not as religious, but still hilarious.

  95. #95 arachnophilia
    February 24, 2008

    @jeh (#83)

    i agree with your entire post. there is not as clear a division in tone between the old and new testaments as people seem to think. there are humanitarian and compassionate arguments in both; there are nasty threats and violence in both. jesus in particular speaks a lot like the minor prophets, as you say.

    With one exception, the Song of Solomon. However did erotica get in the canon???

    because you had to wash your hands afterwards. well, that was the argument, anyways.

    really, though, why not? there’s just about everything else. song of solomon is actually a very interesting text to have, because so many of the authors of the old testament seem to have been stodgy old men who were so afraid of even talking about sex that when they HAD to cover the subject they used crude euphemisms. at least shir shirim uses beautiful poetry. much better than the ending of ruth where we’re all left confused because we didn’t understand the sexual euphemism. or, worse, the story of ham raping his sleeping father noah, which we just have to GUESS about because they split the damned euphemism up and left it as an implication.

  96. #96 Paul Phoenix
    February 24, 2008

    I wouldn’t worry too much about these tactics. Although the annoy *us* hugely they represent the cretinist defeat in all the other areas. Propaganda like this is just a sign of defeat and everyone, even the christians, will see through this!

  97. #97 Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth
    February 24, 2008

    So, had he the power Luther would have made the Holocaust himself! He and Calvin were evil. And while their evil is separate from their doctrines, those doctrines in themselves are evil!
    D.James Kennedy is a nut.
    By the way, Kenneth Miller,not only let intelligent design in by the back door when he let it out the front door in “Finding Darwin’s God” as Amiel Rossow @ Talk Reason notes, but now he wants to put design in evolution. We see patterns, not designs or designoid. Designs imply purpose and that begs the question.Causalism implies no purpose and that is what we discern.
    P.Z., please help dispel Miller’s notion! Thanks for everything1

  98. #98 anevilmeme
    February 24, 2008

    So this is their post Dover plan? Wyle E Coyote could come up with a better plan.

  99. #99 negentropyeater
    February 24, 2008

    Gee, Denise O’Leary is also adept of similar practices as Ken Ham and this 62 yold bulgarian farmer ?

    Wow, this is really starting to get interesting.

    You guys should show a little bit of respect, there’s nothing wrong with that, afterall, let’s not forget that St Anthony was the patron saint of swineherds.

  100. #100 Chrysostom
    February 24, 2008

    Don’t forget 4th century Church Father Chrysostom’s anti-Jewish murderous rage Homily Against the Jews:

    [T]he Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: “Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer.” … Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: “But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them.” (Luke 19:27)
    - Saint John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407) in ???? ???????? [Adversus Judaeos or Against the Jews], Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1.

  101. #101 Chrysostom
    February 24, 2008

    Here’s more early Christian Jewish hate:

    1. It was … declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … avoiding all contact with that evil way. … who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. … a people so utterly depraved. … Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord. … no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews.
      o First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, in which the Christian Church separates the calculation of the date of Easter from the Jewish Passover. See The Epistle of the Emperor Constantine, concerning the matters transacted at the Council, addressed to those Bishops who were not present and Life of Constantine Vol. III Ch. XVIII by Eusebius.
    2. Nothing is more miserable than those people who never failed to attack their own salvation. When there was need to observe the Law, they trampled it under foot. … On this account Stephen said: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart, you always resist the Holy Spirit”, not only by transgressing the Law but also by wishing to observe it at the wrong time.
      o John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407), Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1
    3. [T]he Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: “Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer.” … Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing.
      o John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407), Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1
    4. Before they committed the crime of crimes, before they killed their Master, before the cross, before the slaying of Christ, [Jewish sacrifices were] an abomination.
      o John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407), Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1
    5. You [Jews] did slay Christ, you did lift violent hands against the Master, you did spill his precious blood. This is why you have no chance for atonement, excuse, or defense.
      o John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407), Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 6
    6. [T]he Jews are enduring their present troubles because of Christ.
      o John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407), Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 6
    7. We know that salvation belongs to the Church alone, and that no one can partake of Christ nor be saved outside the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith.
      o John Chrysostom (349-ca. 407), De Capto Eutropia
  102. #102 Tony Jeremiah
    February 24, 2008

    @Arachnophilia(#90)

    Interesting info arachnophilia.

    The Old/New distinction I suggested is based on what I read on Wikipedia. It looks like it is based on books written before and after Jesus. From the info you provided, it seems as though the torah, the nevi’im, the kethuvim, the apocrypha* and pseudepigraphica* would be classified as Old Testament (OT) books, and the gospels/acts, the episples, and revelations would be classified as New Testament (NT) books.

    At any rate, I just did a Bible study of a scientific kind. I have the NIV (New International Version–Red Letter Edition) Bible, which has a handy feature at the back that allows you to quickly locate particular topics/words throughout the Bible. So using this feature, I did a quick content analysis, which is a technique used in the social sciences that allows one to determine whether there are particular themes and biases within various forms of communication.

    So I looked for how many times on average the word law, commandments (which seem like authoritarian terms) and love (a presumably non-authoritarian term) are used in books classified as OT and NT. The OT books referenced use the words law 2.4 times (on average), while the NT books uses the word law 5.7 times. The word commandment is used in the OT 2.3 times, and 1.9 times in the NT. The highest frequency for the word law in the OT is in Psalms (11 times) and in the NT, Romans (35 times). The highest frequency for the word commandment in the OT is in Deuteronomy (6 times), and in the NT, John (4 times).

    The word love is referenced in the OT books 3.3 times (on average); and in the NT books, it appears 3.0 times. The highest frequency for the word love appears in Genesis (8 times), and for the NT, John (19 times).

    One cannot be assured that this sampling from the back of the NIV accurately reflects the actual average use of these words (it would be easier to do this with an online Bible, whereby the software tallies up how many times particular words are used). However, if we go with this data, it appears that (on average), use of the word love and commandment decrease from the OT to the NT, while (on average), use of the word law increases. The pattern remains the same for the words law and commandment when we look at the highest frequency use of these words in the OT and NT. However, the highest frequency of the word love can be found in the OT (Genesis) and NT (John)–basically starting with God and ending with Jesus. Furthe, when we look at these two books only, use of the word love increases in frequency.

    This leads me to believe that there are two different voices speaking in the Bible. One seems to speak about the law of love (highest use of the word in both the OT and NT) and the other about authoritarian (commandment) laws.

    Jesus’ words in Matt 22:37-40 suggests that Bible readers should be paying more attention to the law of love.

  103. #103 dwarf zebu
    February 24, 2008

    …and skip the whole luther thing. it’s a little over the heads of a lot of people. i’d surprised if many lutherans knew who martin luther was or why he was important.

    Posted by: arachnophilia | February 24, 2008 3:07 AM

    You’re kidding, right? Are you going to argue that Calvinists don’t know who Calvin was, too? Sheesh, you can’t be confirmed in Lutheran churches without knowing who Martin Luther was.

    I will readily admit that the less savory and anti-semitic writings and teachings of Luther were not made available to the laity, but we sure knew who the man was.

  104. #104 Stanton
    February 24, 2008
    …and skip the whole luther thing. it’s a little over the heads of a lot of people. i’d surprised if many lutherans knew who martin luther was or why he was important.

    Posted by: arachnophilia | February 24, 2008 3:07 AM

    You’re kidding, right? Are you going to argue that Calvinists don’t know who Calvin was, too? Sheesh, you can’t be confirmed in Lutheran churches without knowing who Martin Luther was.

    I will readily admit that the less savory and anti-semitic writings and teachings of Luther were not made available to the laity, but we sure knew who the man was.

    Talking about Hitler’s Anti-Semitism, while insisting on not talking about Martin Luther, the person whose Anti-Semitic rantings whom Hitler plagiarized for Der Fuhrer’s own is akin to insisting on talking about how the Puritans fled from England because of religious persecution, while simultaneously insisting on not bringing up the facts of how the Puritans also were intolerant of all other English citizens outside their sect, and that they became hated and despised by their fellow Englishmen because they burned down the Globe Theater.

  105. #105 arachnophilia
    February 24, 2008

    @Tony Jeremiah: (#99)

    At any rate, I just did a Bible study of a scientific kind. I have the NIV (New International Version–Red Letter Edition) Bible,

    not the greatest translation, highly ideologically driven and willing to fudge the details to make the bible match that ideology.

    So I looked for how many times on average the word law, commandments (which seem like authoritarian terms)

    probably not the best assumption. if you know any jewish people, and you’ve ever heard any of them talk about a good deed they’ve done, they’ll say something like, “it’s a mitzvah.” mitzvah literally means “commandment.”

    and love (a presumably non-authoritarian term)

    also probably not a good assumption, when love is wrapped up in duty and obedience, as it is in the service of god. really, context and content are what matters, and searching for words and counting them will not give you that kind of information.

    while the NT books uses the word law 5.7 times.

    it’s also worth noting that when the NT uses the word “law” it’s probably in the context of “the law,” ie: referring to the torah. that newer books refer to older ones is not a surprise — jesus quite frequently speaks on how to interpret “the law.”

    This leads me to believe that there are two different voices speaking in the Bible.

    try close to 60.

    @dwarf zebu: (#100)

    You’re kidding, right? Are you going to argue that Calvinists don’t know who Calvin was, too? Sheesh, you can’t be confirmed in Lutheran churches without knowing who Martin Luther was.

    i dunno, the lutheran churches i’ve been have all been a lot more lax, and certainly never referred to anything luther said or wrote. and confirmation doesn’t mean a whole lot. in judaism, you have to be able to read hebrew at your bar/bat mitzvah. yet none of the jewish students i took hebrew with in college could read more than a word or two, and i was at no disadvantage being a goy. “knowing it for the test” and “actually knowing it” are two very different things.

    @stanton: (#101)

    Talking about Hitler’s Anti-Semitism, while insisting on not talking about Martin Luther, the person whose Anti-Semitic rantings whom Hitler plagiarized for Der Fuhrer’s own is akin to insisting on talking about how the Puritans fled from England because of religious persecution, while simultaneously insisting on not bringing up the facts of how the Puritans also were intolerant of all other English citizens outside their sect, and that they became hated and despised by their fellow Englishmen because they burned down the Globe Theater.

    did hitler actually crib from luther? if so, that’s a damned good point. i was under the impression he got it from other sources, but i am no scholar on the holocaust.

    still, however, for people who are arguing that darwinism is blame while holding up the bible as the alternative, i think the best argument is to point out that this sort of bigotry is in fact in the bible.

  106. #106 Tony Jeremiah
    February 24, 2008

    arachnophilia@102

    That was about the simplest content analysis that could possibly be conducted (took about 5 minutes and use of a calculator). A more sophisticated analysis would require significantly more time (probably a year), more people, and a more complicated thematic analysis, whereby themes (rather than text frequency) are analyzed (e.g., jewish persons reading and rating how many times commandment is used in the mitzvah sense).

    It would be interesting to compare such data in relation to the time period in which the various books were written, to see from a numerical standpoint, if there’s a change in the tone of the various versions of the Bible across the time they were presumed to have been written.

    I have no idea whether such research has been done. My (anecdotal) sense is that when the Bible is discussed, most of the interpretations do involve ideological discussions without some kind of quantitative analysis.

    Of course I may be entirely wrong and such research has been done.

  107. #107 Stanton
    February 24, 2008

    did hitler actually crib from luther? if so, that’s a damned good point. i was under the impression he got it from other sources, but i am no scholar on the holocaust.

    still, however, for people who are arguing that darwinism is blame while holding up the bible as the alternative, i think the best argument is to point out that this sort of bigotry is in fact in the bible.

    If you read Mein Kampf, you’ll notice how, in the parts where Hitler waxes poetic about how it’s the German/Aryan people’s divinely appointed duty to exterminate the Jewish people sound suspiciously similar to Martin Luther’s Of The Jews And Their Lies. Plus, the steps that Martin Luther set for exterminating the Jews sound very much like the methods the Nazi government took to disenfranchise Jewish people prior to beginning Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

    Of course, those who allege that Hitler based his madness on “Darwinism” make no effort to explain why they say so even though none of Hitler’s memoirs/journals/speeches, or the memoirs/journals/speeches of his staff, aides and or confidants ever suggested that Hitler even touched On The Origins of Species, nor do such people try to make an effort to explain why On The Origins of Species were among the books banned by the Nazi government.

  108. #108 jeh
    February 24, 2008

    “That’s my take anyway, when I consider the quote in its entirety. As in most things, quotes can be misinterpreted when taken out of context (especially when one is unaware of the customs of the time period when this literature was written).”

    I agree 100%, and I was using that quote as one example of the kinds of harsh punishments meted out at the end of the parables. Other punishments in parables include metaphors of fire, execution, and disposal of waste. It is true that the full cultural meaning would be most apparent to contemporaries of the gospel writers, but I think it is also important to note that Jesus was tapping into 1st century apocalyptic descriptions of hades/hell/Gehenna, as places of punishment for those who do not take Jesus’ message to heart. The particular metaphor “outer darkness” is used several times in the gospel of Matthew, and is also used in the Book of Enoch as a destination of punishment for fallen angels.

    A good example of how these metaphors were used in an apocalyptic sense is in Matthew 13: “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.”

    Apocalyptic movements start with a desire to see justice done, but they soon quickly degenerate into bloodlust for revenge and retribution against one’s enemies. I think the Apocalypse of John falls into the latter category, as do the writings of the Left Behind authors.

  109. #109 Longtime Lurker
    February 24, 2008

    I could not help being struck by this gratuitous nod to the current fad of Islamofascism obsession:

    “When I was a dhimmi for Darwin”

    Bizarre, the way they seem to think that secularism is some sort of Trojan Horse for the imposition of sharia law on God-fearin’ Merkins… though Chuck D. did have a classic Taliban-style beard.

  110. #110 arachnophilia
    February 24, 2008

    @tony: (#103)

    That was about the simplest content analysis that could possibly be conducted (took about 5 minutes and use of a calculator). A more sophisticated analysis would require significantly more time (probably a year), more people, and a more complicated thematic analysis, whereby themes (rather than text frequency) are analyzed (e.g., jewish persons reading and rating how many times commandment is used in the mitzvah sense).

    yes, of course. it will take literary criticism, not counting. (though, that last bit is just a little silly. mitzvah MEANS “commandment” it’s just that some “commandments” are the sorts of things jesus taught: “love your neighbor” is certainly one of the 613 mitzvot.)

    It would be interesting to compare such data in relation to the time period in which the various books were written, to see from a numerical standpoint, if there’s a change in the tone of the various versions of the Bible across the time they were presumed to have been written.

    when, where, and by what group.

    I have no idea whether such research has been done.

    yes, it’s one of the subjects of academic bible study and criticism. it’s rather ongoing, i might add, a whole field of study, under the heading of ancient literature. it’s actually quite interesting, as well, to look at these things under the context of the surrounding cultures — helps to bring it into focus, a little. for instance, you will find that a lot of the more hateful literature was written to counteract the surrounding cultures’ tolerant cosmopolitan attitudes.

    My (anecdotal) sense is that when the Bible is discussed, most of the interpretations do involve ideological discussions without some kind of quantitative analysis.

    in church, yes. having discussed the bible with many fundamentalists (and having been one at one point myself) i’ve found that churches rarely pay close attention to what the bible says, let alone apply any kind of cognitive analysis of it.

    @stanton: (#104)

    If you read Mein Kampf…

    maybe that’s the problem. i’ve never really cared to add “mein kampf” to mein reading list. you make a good point.

    Of course, those who allege that Hitler based his madness on “Darwinism” make no effort to explain why they say so even though none of Hitler’s memoirs/journals/speeches, or the memoirs/journals/speeches of his staff, aides and or confidants ever suggested that Hitler even touched On The Origins of Species,

    of course not. it’s a baseless smear. it just sounds good in their heads because darwin’s title mentioned “favoured races” and the nazis thought they were a favoured race. nevermind that this isn’t what darwin meant at all, or that the actions of the nazis were not even close to akin to the things in nature that darwin described, or that hitler never once referred to darwin… it’s reasons like this that godwin’s law has a corollary: the first person to bring up hitler in a debate automatically loses.

    nor do such people try to make an effort to explain why On The Origins of Species were among the books banned by the Nazi government.

    probably because it challenged the fruity religious stuff their ideology was actually based on.

  111. #111 Stanton
    February 24, 2008

    Arachnophilia, I agree that Mein Kampf is unsuitable reading material, if only because Hitler does very little beyond rant about how it’s the rest of the world’s, especially the Jews’, fault about how the German people, aka “God’s Chosen,” have yet to conquer the entire world, and him waxing poetic about how the German people are destined to rule the world because God said so.

    That, and he comes to the conclusion that the Aryans, a Semitic culture of cattle-herders who conquered India over 7 thousand years ago were actually the forerunners of the Teutonic people who would eventually give rise to the Germans (despite the fact that evidence shows that the Aryans originated in what is now Iran, and went in the opposite direction).

    I recommend Discovering Fossil Fishes by John Maisey, or The Smaller Majority by Piotr Naskrecki, instead.
    Both books are coherently written and have fabulous photographs, though the former needs more pictures in my opinion.

  112. #112 Mena
    February 24, 2008

    I wonder what she and others like her think of people like me who have never let the fact that someone comes from a different gene pool prevent us from falling in love with them and/or doing the naughty with them. Sorry Denyse, we are all the same species. This makes life more fun and valuable, not less.

  113. #113 Tony Jeremiah
    February 25, 2008

    arachnophilia (#107)

    yes, of course. it will take literary criticism, not counting. (though, that last bit is just a little silly. mitzvah MEANS “commandment” it’s just that some “commandments” are the sorts of things jesus taught: “love your neighbor” is certainly one of the 613 mitzvot.)

    It’s somewhat difficult to explain, but my reason for choosing the words love, law, and commandment, was to examine the relationship between these three words. What I was getting at was determining whether law is being used throughout in an authoritarian (i.e., justice) sense; if so, there should be a (positive) correlation between the words law and commandment. Or, whether it is being used in a caring (i.e., love) sense; if so, there should be a (positive) correlation either between love and commandment, or law and love. The numbers I calculated indicated more of a correspondence between love and commandment–which seems more connected to the term mitzvah. What’s the jewish word for commandment, in more of a rule following, authoritarian sense?

    In psychology, a number of moral reasoning theories have distinguished between caring and justice morality, which often appear in the context of gender differences, or cultural differences (i.e., differences in thinking between Buddhist and Western religious thinkers).

    when, where, and by what group.

    Have no idea. That was me thinking out loud. I suspect this would belong in the domain of psychologists that study religion. I’m a bit more of a general psychologist.

    in church, yes. having discussed the bible with many fundamentalists (and having been one at one point myself) i’ve found that churches rarely pay close attention to what the bible says, let alone apply any kind of cognitive analysis of it.

    Yes. So it would make rather interesting research to see how various persons interpret Biblical texts; perhaps the interpretations boil down to personality differences.

  114. #114 Ichthyic
    February 25, 2008

    #94 sums up almost every objection I’ve made over the last several months in one short post.

    hat’s off.

    I would add to that list the problems with the framing issue Nisbet is introducing into science communication, and the parallel to Miller (but much worse) problems Francis Collins introduces in his writings and speeches.

    The directions these folks have taken wrt to their personal philosophies might create short term tactical gains in the war against creobots, but in the long term, will only introduce more confusion. As such, they might not be worth bringing the hammer down on YET, but we should all keep a close eye on how Miller, Collins, and Nisbet are trying to drive the direction of communication.

  115. #115 Colugo
    February 25, 2008

    Hitler does not cite Darwin and Darwin’s works were banned. Nevertheless, the German founders of what evolved into Nazi eugenics and racial science were Darwinists. Even the notion of a Nordic Christ (part of the doctrine of Positive Christianity) was promoted by Ernst Haeckel. (Note that “Darwinism” is far from the same thing as contemporary evolutionary biology, and there are many “Darwinisms.”) The origins of Nazi biopolitics have deeper roots than Darwinism, including Malthus, Hegel and, of course, Lutheran antisemitism. These and other ideas were reinterpreted and reinforced by early evolutionary biologists, most importantly for the German experience, Ernst Haeckel. Nazi racial hygiene did not spring wholly developed from the mind of Hitler; it had ancestors. Ideas emerge from, are embedded in, and change with their own places and times.

    G Stein. 1988. Biological science and the roots of Nazism. American Scientist 76:50-58.

    “Haeckel … would revive Gobineau’s ideas by claiming, unlike the anti-modern, antiscience folkists, that the science of Darwin established the truth of Gobineau’s unscientific speculations of Aryan superiority. Furthermore, a biologically superior elite could use the instruments of the modern, urban technological state to practice a biopolicy of natural selection, which would maintain Aryan superiority in spite of Gobineau’s prognosis.”

    Paul Weindling, Health, race and German politics between national unification and Nazism, 1870-1945.

    p. 95: “The eugenicists, Forel, Ploetz, Schallmayer and Woltmann, were concerned to reconcile the contradictions between socialism and Darwinism.”

    An evolutionary theorist Adolf Hitler was not. But see Chapter 11 (‘Nation and Race’) of Mein Kampf and Chapter 2 (‘The Necessity of Strife’) of the unpublished ‘Secret Book.’ for his Malthusian and “naturalistic” doctrine of struggle.

    Virulent antisemitism was hundreds of years old. Certainly Christian antisemitic indoctrination going back generations was a precondition for the Holocaust. But in the era of modern biological science this antisemitism was biologicized.

    Nazi Party discussion materials distributed by the offices of Goebbels and Robert Ley, 1944 (Calvin College German Propaganda Archive, online resource):

    “The Jew is the parasite among humans.
    That is the natural law. He can not do differently. He needs a host people to be able to live himself.”

    Francis Galton, 1884 letter to a colleague: “The Jews are specialized for parasitical existence upon other nations.”

    Certainly contemporary scientific racists like JP Rushton believe that their work is in the tradition of Darwin, Galton, and other early evolutionary biologists. They are not deluded. Problematic for them, however, is the fact that modern evolutionary science has left those ideas behind.

    A defense of contemporary evolutionary biology should include a full awareness of the development of modern biological concepts and their interpretation and use in political movements.

  116. #116 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 25, 2008

    With one exception, the Song of Solomon. However did erotica get in the canon???

    By being attributed to Solomon.

    How did the Revelation to John and the Letter from John get into the canon? By being attributed to John the Evangelist.

    because you had to wash your hands afterwards. well, that was the argument, anyways.

    LOL! Or maybe that’s it. :-D

    The Old/New distinction I suggested is based on what I read on Wikipedia. It looks like it is based on books written before and after Jesus.

    Uh… what do you mean “it looks like”? Didn’t you know that that’s what it is? Didn’t you know that the OT alone is the Jewish Bible?

    From the info you provided, it seems as though the torah, the nevi’im, the kethuvim, the apocrypha* and pseudepigraphica* would be classified as Old Testament (OT) books, and the gospels/acts, the epis[t]les, and revelations would be classified as New Testament (NT) books.

    Of course.

    Interesting idea for a study, though!

    On The Origins of Species were among the books banned by the Nazi government.

    Really? Wow. Do you have a source for that?

    1st century apocalyptic descriptions of hades/hell/Gehenna

    I recently saw on TV that Ge-Hinnom was the valley that served as the city dump of Jerusalem.

    the Aryans, a Semitic culture

    Er… no. :-|

  117. #117 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 25, 2008

    With one exception, the Song of Solomon. However did erotica get in the canon???

    By being attributed to Solomon.

    How did the Revelation to John and the Letter from John get into the canon? By being attributed to John the Evangelist.

    because you had to wash your hands afterwards. well, that was the argument, anyways.

    LOL! Or maybe that’s it. :-D

    The Old/New distinction I suggested is based on what I read on Wikipedia. It looks like it is based on books written before and after Jesus.

    Uh… what do you mean “it looks like”? Didn’t you know that that’s what it is? Didn’t you know that the OT alone is the Jewish Bible?

    From the info you provided, it seems as though the torah, the nevi’im, the kethuvim, the apocrypha* and pseudepigraphica* would be classified as Old Testament (OT) books, and the gospels/acts, the epis[t]les, and revelations would be classified as New Testament (NT) books.

    Of course.

    Interesting idea for a study, though!

    On The Origins of Species were among the books banned by the Nazi government.

    Really? Wow. Do you have a source for that?

    1st century apocalyptic descriptions of hades/hell/Gehenna

    I recently saw on TV that Ge-Hinnom was the valley that served as the city dump of Jerusalem.

    the Aryans, a Semitic culture

    Er… no. :-|

  118. #118 tourettist
    February 25, 2008

    If I understand the protestant form of Christianity, it says you are saved by FAITH, not by being good. The Bible itself has passages that say believing in Christ gives you freedom to do anything. I wish the protectors of our culture would criticize the “consequences” of that. We could end up with a world where people lie, cheat, steal, murder, lynch, destroy property, and molest children and think they’ll be forgiven as long as they believe.

    Oh wait, we have that.

  119. #119 arachnophilia
    February 25, 2008

    @stanton: (#108)

    Arachnophilia, I agree that Mein Kampf is unsuitable reading material, if only because Hitler does very little beyond rant about how it’s the rest of the world’s, especially the Jews’, fault about how the German people, aka “God’s Chosen,” have yet to conquer the entire world, and him waxing poetic about how the German people are destined to rule the world because God said so.

    yes, well, have you read much of the bible?

    @tony: (#110)

    It’s somewhat difficult to explain, but my reason for choosing the words love, law, and commandment, was to examine the relationship between these three words. What I was getting at was determining whether law is being used throughout in an authoritarian (i.e., justice) sense; if so, there should be a (positive) correlation between the words law and commandment

    well, that’s precisely my objection. you’re missing the context. for instance many of the christian writings tend to view the law as a curse, because it sets forth requirements that no one can keep at all times. but jews tend to view the law as a blessing, because it’s their end of their relationship with god, and it is what sets them apart as special. just counting the words does not necessarily reflect how they are being used. look at how people will speak of something like marriage — some as a blessing, some as a curse. i suppose there’s a reason jesus compares religion to marriage, lol.

    What’s the jewish word for commandment, in more of a rule following, authoritarian sense?

    “jewish” isn’t a language, hebrew is. i’m not sure of the particular connotations (not an expert here), but you can also use mishpat, chuq, and kelal. those are generally used for secular laws, not religious laws, i believe. for instance, in genesis 47, joseph makes an agricultural law for pharaoh, and the word used is chuq. but “authoritarian” will always be subjective, and open for debate. every ordered society — even the non-authoritarian ones — have laws governing that society. it takes a more qualitative analysis to say what is and what is not authoritarian.

    when, where, and by what group.

    Have no idea. That was me thinking out loud.

    no, i was agreeing and adding more. there is a change in tone in various biblical texts based on when they were written — but ALSO based on where they were written (judah vs. israel), and by what group. in fact, there are rather large ideological disputes between texts. job, for instance, argues against the wisdom movement, which was responsible for many of the major prophetic works.

    @David Marjanovi?, OM: (#113)

    By being attributed to Solomon. How did the Revelation to John and the Letter from John get into the canon? By being attributed to John the Evangelist.

    not a good reason. there are very many religious works that are attributed to important biblical figures, but did NOT make it into the bible, such as the gospels of thomas, mary magdeline, the other apocrypha of john, etc. for the NT, the answer is rather surprising: “democracy.” the NT list was compiled by polling the various churches and seeing what was in their libraries, and the ones that where in just about everyone’s church were kept. lesser used texts were deemed heretical. so the real question isn’t “how’d it get into the bible” but “how’d it come to be in so many churches?”

    as for solomon, the “wash your hands” bit above was something of a crude joke, but actually quite true and having to do with ritual cleanliness. holy texts would require hand-washing after reading or handling (why not before? i dunno, but i didn’t make it up). and when rabbis got together to discuss why or why not to include texts in the kethuvim, this is the argument that apparently won — song of songs is the “holiest” of texts, requiring a lot of hand-washing. the attribution to solomon may not even be relevent, really — rabbis were certainly arguing against it, in spite of the attribution.

    I recently saw on TV that Ge-Hinnom was the valley that served as the city dump of Jerusalem.

    yes, it is, and trash was typically burned there. it is one of the sources of the dogmatic christian “hell.” the other obvious sources being the lake of fire in revelation, the jewish grave (sheol), which slowly evolved into a more helenistic hades, and hades itself.

    @tourettist: (#114)

    The Bible itself has passages that say believing in Christ gives you freedom to do anything.

    and passages that say the law is still in effect. even in paul’s sake, i don’t think he meant you could (and should) do anything you want, he just meant to shift the focus from following the law to having morality, as jesus tried to do. james, on the other hand, spells it out in the second chapter of his epistle: faith without works is “dead.”

    christians like to use to say that people like adolf hitler were “not really christians.” much debate ensues.

  120. #120 Reynold Hall
    February 26, 2008

    What the IDists and creationists do is take a very distorted view of history. They ignore or explain away anything that shoots down their scapegoating theories and just talk about what makes their opponents look bad.

    Creationist bullshit artist Johnathon Sarfati is a prime example:

    Instead, as documented in the current Journal of Creation,3 Nazis eagerly made use of the evolutionary concepts already entrenched in German academia. Note that the subtitle of Darwin’s The Origin of Species by means of natural selection was: The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. Evolutionary teachings were simply carried to their logical conclusion by the Nazis who tried to exterminate the ‘inferior’ races like the Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs, as well as the ‘unfit’ (e.g. the handicapped). This is confirmed by the evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith, who wrote:

    ‘The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.’4

    Too bad for the liar Sarfati didn’t bother to effing read “The Origin of Species”, otherwise maybe he’d have caught this

    from the Wikiplex…..

    Here the term “races” is used as an alternative for “varieties” and does not carry the modern connotation of human races – the first use in the book refers to “the several races, for instance, of the cabbage”, and Darwin proceeds to discuss “the hereditary varieties or races of our domestic animals and plants”

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!