Darksyde on Ben Stein and Reducto ad Hitlerum

Darksyde rightly skewers Ben Stein and his creationist fellow travellers for claiming that evolutionary biology led to the Holocaust:

Religion and science are different species of course. But one thing they share in common is both can be used for great good or nightmarish evil. Particle physicists developed the theories underpinning everything from PET/CAT scans to the device you are reading this post on. They also brought us the hydrogen bomb. Biochemists developed antibiotics, saving the lives and limbs of countless millions of suffering people. The same science produced Zyklon B, a substance used by the Third Reich to economically exterminate families by the trainload.

Only an exceptionally stupid asshole, or an intentionally dishonest creep, would blame chemistry for Auschwitz, and that asshole would be roundly laughed off the world stage -- assuming they somehow finagled a spot on it in the first place. Unfortunately, when it comes to biology, modern day Intelligent Design Creationists and their old fashioned fire and brimstone Young Earth Creationist ancestors are precisely those kinds of assholes. And they're not shameless in the least, quite the contrary: they're proud of it. Then again, why shouldn't they be? Creationists get a free pass from the media when they tie biology to the most horrific events in human history and, too often, a pat on the shoulder straight from the conservative pulpit.

What makes Ben Stein so despicable is that, as a fellow Jew, he blithely ignores the long, horrific history of European anti-Semitism that has partial roots in the Christian Church. He knows better. What? He's never said Av Harachamim?

The claim to authority he makes based on the loss of his relatives during the Holocaust is even more foul: most Jews of European ancestry had large portions of their families exterminated by the Nazis (this includes my family).

Disgusting. And that's before one considers that medical research--particularly genetics and genomics--would be impossible without the tools and methods developed by evolutionary biologists.

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The parallels between creationism and Holocaust revisionism are striking - both involve heavy denial of research and scholarship. I'm going to be discussing the subject with the executive director of a state commission on Holocaust education.

And lest we forget, remember what happened in Louisiana (one of the handful of states still considering "academic freedom" antievolution bills) in 2001:

House Concurrent Resolution 74 was introduced in the legislature in April 2001, and referred to the Education Committee. As introduced, this resolution opposed racism. It then asserted that Charles Darwin and his books promoted the justification of racism, and that Adolf Hitler ultimately exploited these same views to justify killing millions of people. In addition, the resolution deplored and rejected "... the core concepts of Darwinist ideology that certain races and classes of humans are inherently superior to others..."

It is claimed by some creationists that Darwin and/or acceptance of evolution are responsible for essentially all the ills (real and supposed) of modern society, from Marxism to Fascism, from racism to eugenics, from abortion to feminism, from homosexuality to school shootings. It is ironic in this case that Darwin, and his extended family, had very progressive views on race for their day and were fervent opponents of slavery. The sponsor of HCR 74 was quoted in a newspaper story as suggesting that a disclaimer for textbooks discussing evolution could be the next step following this resolution.

On May 1 the Education Committee considered the resolution, and after a one-hour hearing voted 9-5 to recommend passage to the full House. The proposed resolution provoked considerable discussion in the Louisiana press and was labeled "weird" by Governor Mike Foster, speaking to a convention of reporters. On May 8 HCR 74 was considered in the House of Representatives. By a vote of 65-28 the House adopted an amendment which removed all mention of Darwin and Darwinism, leaving a straight-forward condemnation of racism. The resolution was then passed without objection and sent to the Senate. On May 29 the Senate approved the amended resolution 29-3.