Will the ID cranks ever tire of the appeal to consequences?

Short answer, no.

The latest is Dembski laughing with glee at the latest bigoted ramblings of James Watson who apparently has gone and said Africans are stupid and that's why Africa suffers. This is not the first, or last time that Watson will say something dumb, offensive, and backwards. Like some people who have received enough accolade that they are safe from any repercussions for their actions, he seems to just revel in being an ass. Like, as Zuska points out, his recent diagnosis of Rosalind Franklin as autistic, as if she was the asshole in that conflict.

As if Watson's shenanigans aren't embarrassing enough for humanity, Dembski has to then weigh in with the usual numbskull analysis and say, "See! If people believe in Darwinism we'll have racist eugenics again". No I'm not kidding. He asks:

Anybody willing to offer predictions about when Darwinists will be getting back big time into the eugenics business?

Let's make this abundantly clear, eugenics was nothing but the use of science to justify pre-existing racist ideas scientists had about other races. These ideas were not scientifically valid. Dembski, and others with their historically indefensible "From Darwin to Hitler" nonsense, seem to be suggesting there is some scientific validity to this idea of inferior races. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that this is inadvertent, but it makes it no less tiresome.

The idea of inferior races, is, of course, nonsense, and the attempts to pin the ills of racism and the holocaust has even raised the ire of the Anti-Defamation League . Anyone who has read Stephen Jay Gould's Mismeasure of Man realizes that in the case of eugenics the researchers were biased, the theories flawed, and the science manipulated to favor the outcome of a specific ideology. They started with their conclusions, and made the science fit their racist beliefs.

The IDers should be careful. The real similarity isn't between modern evolutionary biologists and eugenicists, but between ID and the eugenics movement.
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Remember that the eugenicists believed that an undirected evolution would lead to deterioration.

Even many of the Young-Earth-Creationists accept the reality of evolution within a "kind", specifically "mankind". And eugenics is only about this "micro-evolution", not about the "macro-evolution" that the creationists deny.

And the creationists insist upon ranking living things into "higher" and "lower", the old idea of the "scale of nature", with moral implications.

This blend of acceptance of micro-evolution, the moral lessons of nature, and the need to give direction to micro-evolution, and you have something very much like eugenics.

It is fortunate that the creationists are not sticklers for consistency.

The real similarity isn't between modern evolutionary biologists and eugenicists, but between ID and the eugenics movement.

Indeed. After all, show them examples of artificial selection, and they'll insist that it's not evolution, it's ID. They effectively claim eugenics as their own in one breath, then blame it on us in the next.

Whenever ID advocates bring this crap up, they should be reminded that the Bible itself has historically been used as a justification for racism and slavery. (Seems like Genesis 9:25, and a dual meaning in Hebrew of the name "Ham" as "burnt" or "black", seems to be the source of this).

This continues in the present day. White supremacist groups often claim a biblical basis for their nonsense. (They usually cite the "anti-christ", which is whoever they want to hate this week).

By Tim Farley (not verified) on 17 Oct 2007 #permalink

"Anybody willing to offer predictions about when Darwinists will be getting back big time into the eugenics business?"

So Dembski admits that Darwinists are not at present in the eugenics business.

Didn't the human genome project teach us evolutionists what we already suspected: That race is either nonexistent or trivial, much to the dismay of fundies?

I rather suspect that Watson thinks Franklin was austic because of her behaviour at King's College London. It is true that she was considered to be rather aloof by her colleagues and did not mix or socialise much and that those could be signs of a mild autistic disorder. It is far morel likely though that her aloof behaviour had far to do with the fact she was barred from the common room because she was a women, and her boss, Maurice Wilkins seems to have been something of a mysogonist. It is also worth noting that her relationship with Francis Crick was cordial, to the extent that she went to stay with Crick and his wife when recovering from an operation to treat her breast cancer.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 17 Oct 2007 #permalink

Hows come when someone uses Evolution poorly it's characteristic of all of Science, but when a Christian shoots an abortion doctor, kills Arabs in the desert, or other nameless atrocities, They're just the extremists, and don't count?

By Brendan S (not verified) on 17 Oct 2007 #permalink

Well, not "big time" yet, at any rate, paul.

Great post! I just wrote on the same topic at The Primate Diaries and emphasized their extreme hypocrisy for also promoting the bigoted commentator Ann Coulter while claiming that all evolutionary biologists are inevitably racists.

Perhaps we can understand how the creationists can tie evolutionary biology with those social/political movements of the early 20th century. Perhaps it is due to the basic misunderstanding of evolution which is widespread. And remember that in the early 20th century "darwinian" evolution was in an "eclipse", when it wasn't generally appreciated how undirected variations could lead to complex outcomes.

In other words, I am being charitable to the creationists, and ascribing their accusations to a lack of understanding.

There are some things about evolution which are difficult to grasp:

*That there is no "scale of being" with evolution being a matter of progress.

*That undirected variations can lead to complex outcomes.

Add, to this this lack of comprehension, some of the age-old ideas of "nobility" being an inerited trait (think of "blue blood").

There were indeed people of the early 20th century who appealed to evolution in support of these socai/political movements. But, I believe, if you are careful when reading those arguments, you will see little appeal to Darwin, but more to Mendel or Lamarck or Haeckel or even, perhaps, Bergson. (Remember that Mendel and genetics were thought to be in conflict with Darwin and selection.)

Even worse is commenter Jason Rennie (comment #3) on that blog when he "answers" that question:

"Anybody willing to offer predictions about when Darwinists will be getting back big time into the eugenics business?"


They've been there since Sanger started Planned Parenthood and never got out of the game.

Evidence, Jason? Do "Darwinists" in general still support eugenics?


We shouldn't be surprised that someone like Watson who embraces an a-telic Darwinist account of life embraces ideas like this. Without some conception of the equality of all men provided by (to cite one good example) The Imago Dei, there is no reason to think that all men are equal, and we should applaud Watson for at least being honest and taking his Darwinism seriously.

It makes a nice change from the dubiously honest rhetoric we are normally treated to.

Huh? "taking his Darwinism seriously"? It's obvious that Jason is speaking from ignorance or perhaps dubiously honest rhetoric about how Darwin thought here. For more honest, knowledgeable information check out
http://home.att.net/~troybritain/articles/darwin_on_race.htm

Seems I can't register at Dembski's site at the moment, so I'll just have to comment here then hopefully later I can get on to their site...

Jason also said in comment #46
Maybe you need to actually do the hard work and stop reading it like it was a newspaper written yesterday for your personal consumption and not ancient documents written to people in a different culture and place.

Sure that takes some hard work and thinking, but that seems preferable to this knee jerk ignorance you display don't you think ?

Kind of like your ignorance you're displaying about how Darwin viewed other people, Jason? Have a look at that site, and what it references, and see if you can still say that Darwin would approve of eugenics.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA005_1.html

You may also want to read that link, as well.

So, speaking of consistency, you complain about eugenics today, yet when someone calls you up on your faith's moral inconsistencies when it comes to "god's" treatment of people in the OT that is the best defence you can come up with? What about this consistent absolute moral basis you people are always prattling on about?

I should change my last paragraph to read:

"So, speaking of consistency, you complain about eugenics today, yet when someone calls you up on your faith's moral inconsistencies when it comes to "god's" treatment of people in the OT that (his comment #46)is the best defence you can come up with? What about this consistent absolute moral basis you people are always prattling on about?"

About Weikart:
http://www.skepticfriends.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=8176

Also, http://www.talkreason.com/articles/Genocide.cfm may be good for examining old xian reasoning for OT genocides, as well as the xian history of anti-semitism. He wrote that in response to Weikart's book.

Well, I posted a modified version of what I said above...guess what happened? It showed up in the previews, but NOT when I actually tried to post. When I tried to re-post, it said that I had submitted a "duplicate comment". When I re-posted and just typed in a period, THEN my comment showed up, waiting for moderation!

What I find fascinating with this whole Watson thing is just how quickly people who claim to believe in evolution (i.e. when its time to criticize creationism and intelligent design) turn into creationists (were all born equal!) when people like Watson take the idea of evolution to its logical conclusion (quote:There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.).

Evolution doesn't produce equality. You can believe in either one or the other but not in both. Leave your egalitarian morality at the door please.

No one is challenging that VLC, the issue is whether or not the data really supports inferiority of one race or another. It doesn't, and you're ignoring the historical context of the use of science to confirm racist biases - leading to some of the worst, biased nonsense in the scientific literature. Historical examples of this kind of research have been some of the ugliest stains on the scientific enterprise, and pretty uniformly disproven as racist bias, every time (including the Bell Curve).

There's a difference between saying there may be genetic differences between people of different races (which is in itself a stupid distinction) that affect intelligence. It is a different beast to say "blacks are stupid" and to use the proof that Africa is all messed up (ignoring centuries of damage from imperialism).

There's a difference between saying there may be genetic differences between people of different races (which is in itself a stupid distinction) that affect intelligence. It is a different beast to say "blacks are stupid" and to use the proof that Africa is all messed up (ignoring centuries of damage from imperialism).

Have I missed the ScienceBlogs take on the age old question?

Cochran mirthfully bats their complaints away. "I don't see what the big deal is here," he says when I reach him at his New Mexico home. "I havent actually told people how to make a hydrogen bomb out of baking soda in their garages."
[...]
Their reasoning is straightforward enough: If the gene mutations responsible for diseases in Ashkenazim didn't confer some evolutionary selective advantage, they wouldn't persist. Cochran and Harpending liken these defective genes to the genes in Africans that often deform hemoglobin. Carrying one copy of the gene, most research suggests, helps ward off malaria--surely an adaptive advantage. Two copies, however, cause sickle-cell anemia.

Cochran and Harpending reasoned the same must be true of the genes that cause illness among Ashkenazi Jews, particularly the four that cause mutations in the enzymes responsible for breaking down fats: Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher disease, and mucolipidosis type IV. Two copies cause devastating illness, but one, they speculate, mutely aids the carrier.

and

What's Larry David's evidence for his exceptional brainpower? "To be paranoid, you need a very good imagination."

Hi, with respect I asked you if you think there is no difference whatsoever, but whatsoever, among a German male and a Skimo. Did they have the same I.Q. ? And among a Chilean male and a Mapuche indian ? Are they equal in inteligence ?
I relay more in experience than in a Book like the Bible, written by a lot of old guys with little information (living among wars and all, and no scientific apparatus whatsoever, except the baculo). And talking with those other guys, you will notice they cannot grasp immediately what you are telling them; also, they revolve around the same occurrence one and time again; while the white race are quite quite different, as you must know, being one.
We are not alike. We invented God, and Nietzsche killed him. RIP.

The level of generalization and counter claim of eugenic acusations reminds me of an argument between kids. One kid visits another and while playing asks to borrow a toy. After playing with the toy for a while the kid who owns the toy tries to take it back. The kid currently playing with it refuses and the "mine - no its mine" argument begins. What foolishness is that. Likewise borrowing from ideas in history where Christian ethics have been claimed to support things like slavery is to say that the kid borrowing the toy really owns it. Christianity teaches to uphold the lowly and downtrodden. Darwinian evolution teaches that the strongest adaptators survive. The philosophical contradiction is unavoidable. Darwinism has built-in motivation for atrocity of the strong against the weak- Neitzche would agree that only the overpowering ideas win. Christianity in the hands of the manipulator has been blamed for evil, but a true biblical understanding provides no motivation for dominance and control.

By Jordan Wallace (not verified) on 10 Sep 2009 #permalink