Pharyngula

I get email — and create a contest!

Want another reason to avoid debating creationists? It’s like giving a mangy, limping, scab-encrusted starving fleabait cat a saucer of milk — you’ll never be rid of the whimpering dependent. Ross Olson of the Twin Cities Creation Science Association has taken to pestering me and Mark Borrello with his plaintive demands, and unfortunately I can’t just stuff him into a carrier and drag him down to the humane society or the vet.

Here’s his latest missive. He cuts right to the chase and Godwins with the very first word.

Hitler

Dr. Myers,

The most emotional audience response in the debate came to the charge that
evolution influenced Hitler.

Actually, there is a strong case that it did, as shown in the linked
article.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v13/i2/nazi.asp

Would you be so kind as to respond directly? We will certainly post your
reply.

Also, your claim that evolution increases complexity needs evidence.

Thanks.

Ross

PS I still think that you should use your influence to rein in your most
vehement supporters in the blog — it resembles mud wrestling and is
probably an embarrassment to serious evolutionists and atheists.

The linked article is on the Answers in Genesis site, and is authored by none other than Cap’n Squirrely himself, Jerry Bergman. It is truly awful.

I thought about giving him a short, pithy answer — after all, it’s transparently obvious that development and evolution lead to increases in information, and the claim that evolution influenced Hitler is both trivial and misleading, since we could also say that evolution influenced creationists with as much truth. But then I realized something…

I have a mud-wrestling pit!

So here, I take two questions, 1) Was evolution a significant and essential factor in guiding Nazi thought? And 2) Can natural processes produce an increase in complexity? I throw them down into the alligator-infested pit of churning chaos, and I leave it to you to produce an answer.

The rules: answer each question separately in less than 500 words (as it is, that will strain creationist attention spans), and leave it as a comment in this thread. Be sure to leave a valid email address (which I will see, but no one else will) in the comment header.

Judging: I will be the final arbiter, so the two winners will be determined subjectively and arbitrarily. Other commenters can cheer on their favorites, though, and perhaps I will be swayed by popular acclaim. I’ll also get the Trophy Wife’s™ opinion, which will probably sway me even more than popular opinion. As long as it isn’t overlong, length won’t be a factor; an effective single-sentence answer can win.

Deadline: Let’s say…Tuesday, 15 December. I’ll declare the winners on 16 December.

Rewards: I have stacks and stacks of books, and what I will do is reach into the pile and extract something that I can send to each of the winners. It could be something wonderful, it could be some weird-ass crap. It will be a surprise to all of us.

I’m not going to rein anyone in, that’s for sure. I’m confident the seething maelstrom here will produce answers better than anything Prissy-pants Olson can churn out.