Home » Darwinism » Darwin as racist, vs. Darwin as anti-slavery hero

Darwin as racist, vs. Darwin as anti-slavery hero

From some correspondence with a friend:

Darwin was a racist, pure and simple. Why can’t people just accept that fact, and get PAST it?

I have become increasingly suspicious of efforts to excuse Darwin’s racism by saying that the old boy was also anti-slavery.

Lots of racists are anti-slavery. That was true thousands of years ago, by the way.

Slavery is a bad social institution because it disrupts the ties that hold a normal society together.

For example, a man can have two sons, one by his wife and one by a slave girl he rapes. He can lavish the best on the first son and sell the second down river to some horrible fate – without thinking he is doing anything wrong, and irrespective of their merit*

That unfits men for normal relations with women and children – which are (under natural human circumstances) always negotiated relationships.

[= Girl thinks: You want me? Why me? Why not my older sister? My cousin? Have you spoken to my father? What are you offering? And, have you ever been married before? What happened?]

Over time, slavery leads to stupid immorality, brutality, and the downfall of the societies that sponsor it. It is not hard to see why.

(*By the way, that fact alone pretty much disproves Dawkins’s “selfish gene” thesis. But I assume that no intelligent person believes Dawkins’s thesis anyway.)

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34 Responses to Darwin as racist, vs. Darwin as anti-slavery hero

  1. Here are a couple of related videos:

    The Dark Legacy Of Charles Darwin – 150 Years Later – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060594

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

  2. I agree he was racist, as was pretty much everyone in those days. So what is the point? The only people who can’t get past it and seem obsessed by his personal qualities are religious people.

  3. zeroseven, I am glad that YOU agree, but am amazed at the sheer numbers of Darwinists who defend Darwin’s racism by pointing out that he was anti-slavery. As if that proves anything.

    Slavery was abolished in Canada in 1797, when probably most of the population was racist by today’s standards.

    It has nothing to do with religion, but rather with the foreseeable consequences to society, as I noted above. Selling people down the river, Nat Turner’s rebellion, civil war, etc., are all possibilities, perhaps remote ones.

  4. -”The only people who can’t get past it and seem obsessed by his personal qualities are religious people”

    I don’t think it has much to do with religious people. The problem with darwinism (not the man himself) is that it has been turned into a religion in its own right. Hence why you often see it attack other religions. I think that’s fairly evident to any neutral or even biased observer. I don’t think that it can even be doubted.

    Having said that the blind devotion to darwinism that we see in some parts of society is extremely problematic as it is often used to explain ethics away, excuse barbarities and dehumanize mankind. I for one don’t give a toss about charlie in the same way that i do not care for other historical figures whose ideology had distructive consequences on society (e.g. nihilism, marxism etc). What matters to me is that charlie’s philosophy (which ought to be distinct from science although the two are often conflated by darwinists) remains outside of the sphere of influence that effects society and people.

    I have a feeling that if that were the case, much fewer people (believers and non-believers) would have issues with the theory of evolution (not to be confused with darwinism).

    ps. Just to indicate the blind darwinian dogma I am refering to, and how destructive it can be consider will provine’s statement:

    “There are no gods, no purposes, no foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will.”

    When you have darwinists make such absurd claims what do you expect?

  5. ”The only people who can’t get past it and seem obsessed by his personal qualities are religious people”

    Excepting, of course, people like David Berlinski, who is one of the most ardent opponents of Darwin and his theory, and who is himself an agnostic.

  6. For example, a man can have two sons, one by his wife and one by a slave girl he rapes. He can lavish the best on the first son and sell the second down river to some horrible fate – without thinking he is doing anything wrong, and irrespective of their merit*

    (*By the way, that fact alone pretty much disproves Dawkins’s “selfish gene” thesis. But I assume that no intelligent person believes Dawkins’s thesis anyway.)

    Not at all. The free-born son will likely have reproductive access not only to a free wife, but also to multiple slave females. The slave-born son will have reproductive access to a single slave wife if he’s lucky, and there’s a good chance he won’t be able to put many resources into raising them. He may even be separated from them. In terms of passing on genes, the free-born son is a much better bet, even if he’s substantially less meritorious than his slave-born half-brother.

    Of course, when one is living in a slave-holding, racist society, there are also non-genetic reasons to treat one’s free offspring better. It’s also questionable whether slavery has been around long enough in the human population to select for this sort of behavior genetically.

  7. Above:

    I agree it has been turned into a religion, but by Christians not “Darwinsts”. On the whole, scientists and other atheists do not idolise Darwin or indulge in a cult of personality. They believe he was a great thinker and scientist who provided the foundation of a vastly productive field of scientific enquiry.

    I have never seen so much preoccupation with Darwin the man and his personal foibles as I have on this blog. I often wonder why that is – why people here seem so obsessed by him. I don’t know the answer to that, but it makes for an interesting psychological study.

  8. @zeroseven

    -”I agree it has been turned into a religion, but by Christians not “Darwinsts”. On the whole, scientists and other atheists do not idolise Darwin or indulge in a cult of personality.”

    I categorically disagree! More often than not, atheists/materialists/darwinists idolize darwin more so than I have seen Christians idolize the Pope. I don’t mean to be rude, but I have a hard time seeing how you could miss that. Not everyone is like that of course but a great many people are.

    I feel I need to clarify my point however. In previous post my claim was that darwinism as an ideology has become a religion. darwin is just the standard-bearer. That’s what my criticism was directed at. That I don’t see how anyone can argue against to be honest. It’s as clear as day.

    ps. I must clarify however, that not all people who accept darwinism as guilty of this. Many are not, but just as many are.

  9. @Above

    Can you clarify what you mean by the ToE being turned into a “religion?” That is, what is characteristic about religion to you?

  10. I am not talking about the theory of evolution but rather about philosophical darwinism.

    I am careful to make a distinction between ToE and darwinism and keep the two seperate. The first is a theory (though incomplete and problematic) about diversity of life in biology. The second is the attempt to unwarrantedly extrapolate from the ToE certain principles, conflate them with philosophical materialism and create an absurd dogma construed as an existential narrative that is beyond the very limited scope of biology.

    It is the latter I am critical of.

  11. What does any of this have o do with the Scientific theory of Intelligent Design?

  12. 12

    07,

    “I have never seen so much preoccupation with Darwin the man and his personal foibles as I have on this blog. I often wonder why that is – why people here seem so obsessed by him. I don’t know the answer to that, but it makes for an interesting psychological study.”

    The predominant charge among Darwinists not log ago was that Darwin doubters never read Darwin, and if they did, they never understood him. We talk so much about Darwin precisely because we have endeavored to understand him. It’s very telling that those who “follow Darwin” should not be interested in who the man was. If non-Darwinists are “preoccupied” with Darwin as a person, Darwinists are preoccupied with Darwin’s ideas without understanding the socio-political and personal influences, which led to such ideas.

    So we’re not really involved in an anti-Darwin cult: rather, we’re involved in distinguishing what can truly be attributed to scientific thinking, and what can be attributed to a particular socio-political environment of the man and his time. It’s an important issue that should not be so readily dismissed.

  13. Onlookers:

    Just one year past, we were feted to a year-long hagiographic celebration of Darwin 200.

    How the Darwinists above would want us to forget that, and to forget or excuse the clay feet of their hero: racism and social darwinism as are so horrendously documented in the Descent of man, written after his theory triumphed. But such were latent in the subtitle of Origin: “preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.”

    I am therefore utterly incensed when I see a word like “foibles” used to describe the sort of cool predictions of genocide without batting an eye that we find in Ch 6 of Descent. Let me remind you:

    foi·ble (foibl)
    n.
    1. A minor weakness or failing of character.

    Let us contrast what Darwin said in Descent Ch 6, and then turned back to his main point of explaining away gaps in the fossil record, as if he had not identified a major moral hazard in his theory:

    Man is liable to numerous, slight, and diversified variations, which are induced by the same general causes, are governed and transmitted in accordance with the same general laws, as in the lower animals. Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species . . . .

    At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla . . .

    As noted, Darwin then went on to his main academic point, having predicted the genocide of hundreds of millions, as though he had said nothing! (At least, H G Wells warned of this implication in War of the Worlds, ch 1, if we would have but listened. And Heine warned his German compatriots on the bloody implications of apostasy led by fascination with skeptical philosophy and ideologised science, in 1831.)

    Foibles indeed!

    For shame!

    The bloody history of Social Darwinism (and the above is enough to show a key root of that doctrine, and Ch 5 is scarcely less horrible on Saxons, Scots and Celts [i.e. Irish]), Darwinism-tinged racism [Look at the above and the subtitle of Origin, again] and the scarcely less heinous crimes of the eugenicists over the past 100+ years — all rooted in the sea-change we owe to Darwin and those with him — cannot reasonably be characterised as resulting from “foibles.”

    Those who make such a dismissive minimisation of something so evil, are themselves a sign of just what is wrong, and how horribly wrong and dangerous IT STILL IS.

    So, let us face the truth, FOR ONLY SO CAN WE FIND A CURE.

    Over the past 150 years, Darwinism has become a central plank of a worldview, which may be descriptively termed evolutionary materialism. It has influenced others who actually adhere to other views, to make compromises with it, to get along with those who hold power in key institutions of science and education, not to mention the media etc. In several key instances, its inherent amorality — noted ever since Plato, 2,300 years past — has lent itself to abuses premised on the concept of survival of the fittest or its close analogues.

    And, in somewhat different forms, the same amorality and radical relativisation of values, including the value of human life, are still with us. Just in the US, 50 MILLION unborn children have been slaughtered since 1973. Now, in the name of science — and in teh teeth of clear evidence that so called adult stem cells work, not embryonic ones, so called — we see a move to proceed on claimed medical cures based on what amounts to high tech cannibalism.

    We need not detail the wider impact of the radical relativisation of morals and knowledge, driven by the tide of evolutionary materialism.

    And yet, that philosophy, that worldview, that ideology, for all its pretensions, is not only utterly unscientific and imposed artificially on science, but is inherently self-refuting, is amoral as well, and by reduction to self-referential incoherence, cannot be correct.

    So, the issues cannot be dismissed by raising the bogeyman of “religious objections” tot he “foibles” of DARWIN.

    Sorry, that attempt warns us all the more that he danger is not past. In fact, it indicts those who would make such an inexcusably irresponsible argument.

    07, you owe millions of ghosts an apology.

    GEM of TKI

  14. PS: Lest we forget, here is Plato’s counsel in The Laws, Bk X, 360 BC:

    _____________________________

    >> Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view!] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them. >>
    ____________________________

    We cannot fairly say we were not warned, and warned in good time by minds at the very top tier of our civilisation.

  15. LYO:

    This issue is not a scientific one, it is a moral one, in a context where science has been taken captive by materialistic ideology, and used to promote a frame of mind in our civilisation that has had serious consequences, horrible consequences.

    Consequences that must be faced squarely. And BTW, it is the same imposition that prevents — a priori — a fair consideration being given to the inference to design from empirically reliable signs.

    Those are utterly serious matters, not to be dismissed or derided.

    GEM of TKI

  16. kairosfocus,

    “I am therefore utterly incensed when I see a word like “foibles” used to describe the sort of cool predictions of genocide without batting an eye that we find in Ch 6 of Descent”

    –Without batting an eye? Darwin was usually a dry writer, but one of the few exceptions to this was when he would write about the treatment of the native peoples of the Americas and Africa, etc, which is when he would often become quite irate and impassioned. (You quoted perhaps the one time that this didn’t show up, but even there, there was the hidden little gem “more civilised state, as we may hope” – he often wrote of how astonished he is that “civilized” nations could treat others the way he witnessed.)

    So he was hardly cheering on the genocides – in fact, quite the opposite. The genocides weren’t even much of a prediction – more like he was reporting on what he himself had witnessed on his travels (in horror), and likely saw no reason for it to stop.

    For his time, Darwin was quite egalitarian. Some of Darwin’s passages are obviously, and unfortunately, racist (although one should check out many of Darwin’s Creationist opponents – absolutely chilling!). But I guess I don’t see the point in all the vilification of someone who was remarkably ahead of his time, for not being ahead of his time enough. I wonder how many people would have – as Darwin did – jump between a slave-master and the slave he was beating.
    Lincoln wrote some shockingly racist things, but in that case people usually do the reasonable thing and judge him within the context of his place and time. I guess there are no political benefits to vilifying Lincoln.

    From the same book you quoted from:

    “As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.” – Charles Darwin; The Descent of Man

    Try to find other writings of the period with such a sentiment. They will be very few and very far between. This was groundbreaking stuff. And this time, he was making a prediction that he was cheering on.

  17. GUN:

    Kindly take a few moments to READ Ch 6 of Descent of Man, especially tie context of the just cited.

    The time for hagiography is over.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  18. PS: While you are at it, read Ch 5 on the saxon [English], the scot and the celt [Irish].

  19. kairosfocus,

    I’ve read the book.

  20. GUN:

    Pardon, but unresponsive.

    I didn’t ask if you had read Descent of Man, I asked you to give us some context and explanation on two specific incidents in it, given the implications on social darwinism and racist genocide, joined to the matter of fact, move on to the next topic tone, esp. in ch 6.

    Kindly explain:

    Ch 5:

    Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman
    multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting,
    ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith,
    sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years
    in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind
    him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a
    thousand Celts- and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the
    population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the
    power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons
    that remained. In the eternal ‘struggle for existence,’ it would be
    the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed- and
    prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults.”
    There are, however, some checks to this downward tendency. We have
    seen that the intemperate suffer from a high rate of mortality, and
    the extremely profligate leave few offspring. The poorest classes
    crowd into towns, and it has been proved by Dr. Stark from the
    statistics of ten years in Scotland,* that at all ages the
    death-rate is higher in towns than in rural districts, “and during the
    first five years of life the town death-rate is almost exactly
    double that of the rural districts.” As these returns include both the
    rich and the poor, no doubt more than twice the number of births would
    be requisite to keep up the number of the very poor inhabitants in the
    towns, relatively to those in the country. With women, marriage at too
    early an age is highly injurious; for it has been found in France
    that, “Twice as many wives under twenty die in the year, as died out
    of the same number of the unmarried.” The mortality, also, of husbands
    under twenty is “excessively high,”*(2) but what the cause of this may
    be, seems doubtful. Lastly, if the men who prudently delay marrying
    until they can bring up their families in comfort, were to select,
    as they often do, women in the prime of life, the rate of increase
    in the better class would be only slightly lessened . . .

    Notice the cool tone as he discusses implications of the horrors of early industrialisation and abusive social orders. The very immiseration of the urban poor that was the driving force behind Marxist socialism, predicated on the rise of an angry proletariat.

    Say what you will, Marx plainly felt the issues deeply and tried to come up with a solution.

    Ch 6:

    . . . The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest
    allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species,
    has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is
    descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear
    of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the
    general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the
    series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in
    various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies-
    between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridae- between the elephant, and
    in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna,
    and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of
    related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not
    very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will
    almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout
    the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor
    Schaaffhausen has remarked,* will no doubt be exterminated. The
    break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it
    will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may
    hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon,
    instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

    With respect to the absence of fossil remains, serving to connect
    man with his ape-like progenitors, no one will lay much stress on this
    fact who reads Sir C. Lyell’s discussion,* where he shews that in
    all the vertebrate classes the discovery of fossil remains has been
    a very slow and fortuitous process. Nor should it be forgotten that
    those regions which are the most likely to afford remains connecting
    man with some extinct ape-like creature, have not as yet been searched by geologists . . .

    Catch that context in which the genocide of 100′s of millions is just a side point on a main argument. Catch how, evidence adduced, the main argument now picks right back up?

    As though nothing had happened?

    Remember, on 5, we have the irish potato famine as a living memory event, and on 6 not only do we have the Jamaica Baptist War rebellion context of abolition of slavery in the 1830′s, but the Morant Bay uprising in the 1860s — and skipping over events in New Zealand with the Maori and those in Australia and Tasmania [not to mention news of Indian wars in the US and run-ups to bush wars in Africa] — setting a context in which we are looking at colonial resistance and genocide of 100′s of millions.

    So, in that context, why do we see the patent refusal to address the horror just projected?

    Let me contrast a responsible academic, Heine in his prophetic closing comments in Religion and Philosophy in Germany:

    Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered [the Swastika, visually, is a twisted, broken cross . . .], the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. …

    The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals. …

    … Do not smile at my advice — the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians, Fichteans, and philosophers of nature. Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder … comes rolling somewhat slowly, but … its crash … will be unlike anything before in the history of the world. …

    At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead, and lions in farthest Africa will draw in their tails and slink away. … A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.

    Something is wrong.

    GEM of TKI

  21. Simply Chilling kairos,,

  22. kairosfocus,

    “I didn’t ask if you had read Descent of Man, I asked you to give us some context and explanation on two specific incidents in it, given the implications on social darwinism and racist genocide, joined to the matter of fact, move on to the next topic tone, esp. in ch 6″

    –Ah, Ok. I would say that the explanation for the passages is that he was racist and an English paternalist. Although, as I said, for his time, he was relatively egalitarian.

    I’m really not sure what your argument is. I can spam endless quotes from his books and letters where he gives impassioned pleas for man to be kinder to his fellow man and to end the cruelty he witnessed to people around the world. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with his writings were (and are) well aware of his feelings on the subject – and he makes his feelings known several more times in the very book your quoting from. Is your argument that… because he didn’t go off on a tangent on the Irish potato famine, the Jamaican Baptist War rebellion, the Morant Bay uprising, the events in New Zealand with the Maori and those in Australia and Tasmania [not to mention news of Indian wars in the US and run-ups to bush wars in Africa]… in the middle of a scientific argument he was attempting to make… that he didn’t care about such incidents? Is that really your argument? Part of me thinks you must be kidding.

    It doesn’t matter, for instance, that he publicly argued for the arrest of Eyre for murder (the person responsible for the massacre during the Morant Bay uprising) and joined a committee that fought for such. Since he didn’t bring up the subject in the middle of an argument – THERE – on page 168 of Descent of Man – he didn’t actually care. Is that really a rational argument?
    “So, in that context, why do we see the patent refusal to address the horror just projected?”

    Maybe cause he addressed such issues elsewhere, and thus wan’t necessary, and wanted to stick to a particular point in that particular instance instead of going off on a tangent in the middle of it? I don’t know – just a guess.

  23. GUN:

    Thanks for your onward remarks.

    I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge the racism and “Paternalism” [I think Mrs O'Leary's "toffery" is more accurate though maybe less polite].

    My concern is that there is an amorality hole in the heart of the Darwninain system, that historically lent itself to the creation of “scientific” racism on the theme of survival of the fittest, to social darwinism, to eugenics and to genocide. Thus, we see much of the saddening history of the century just past.

    In particular, I am underscoring the point where in Ch 6 of Descent, Darwin — in making a fairly minor point — draws from his struggle for existence and extinction of inferior races/varieties themes, a prediction of the genocide of 100′s of millions of those inferior varieties of humankind such as the negro or the australian.

    WHEN YOUR THEORY PREDICTS THE LIKELY EXTERMINATION OF 100′S OF MILLIONS OF FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS (THROUGH MALTHUSIAN “NATURAL SELECTION”), HOW DO YOU NOW RESPOND?

    This is a pivotal test: he has identified a major moral hazard in his theory.

    How will he respond?

    How did he respond?

    Sadly, we saw above how he DID respond: having made his side-point, he goes right back to the main line of his discussion as though nothing has just happened. Showing yourself personally compassionate or concerned with misery and suffering elsewhere does not answer to this. YOU ARE DEALING WITH A PREDICTION OF POTENTIAL GENOCIDE OF 100′S OF MILLIONS HERE.

    And, I am sorry, when you predict the potential mass murder of 100′s of millions of people, your level of responsibility just went up.

    At minimum, CRD needed to make a footnote pointing to an appendix where he addressed the issue in a responsible manner.

    Better yet, he should have rethought what he was saying and where it was pointing, coming to grips with the moral hazard in the heart of his theories; indeed, since it seems that issues on natural evils were central in his thought process, it may have led him to a comparative difficulties analysis that would probably have led to a different view.

    The failure to do so, even at minimal level, therefore shows a dangerous — and portent-filled — moral blindness.

    In so failing the test, he inadvertently revealed a major moral hazard. And, the gap in the associated evolutionary materialistic worldview, that has in it no foundational is that can ground ought.

    By contrast, when H G Wells — taught by Huxley — opened his War of the Worlds, in 1897, he gave a thinly veiled, but crucially important, warning:

    _____________________

    >> No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water . . . No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us . . . . looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.

    And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them.

    And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit? >>
    _______________________

    That is what a responsible intellectual does when such an issue is on the table.

    And, it is therefore high time that we face the issues of the moral hazards at the heart of Darwinism and the wider worldview of Evolutionary materialism seriously.

    And no, I am not kidding.

    The very fact that you would thus trivialise the point is telling me that this is not a dead issue. Similarly, above, 07 spoke of “”foibles,” not major hazards that have to be squarely faced and seriously addressed. Unfortunately, such unresponsiveness is all too common.

    That, in turn, is a very serious, sobering, and saddening sign for our civilisation.

    We better wake up fast.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: BA, yes, chilling indeed. And with HGW, substitute Germans for Martians and Jews and Poles for Englishmen [the invasion was of course set in England] and you see just how accurately he read the danger.

  24. PS: I am of course aware that CRD was involved in the attempt to put Eyre on trial, which succeeded; though the Governor was released. Eyre and the colonial office were controlled by the same malthusian thought-frame that drove Darwin’s thinking.

    When the people of Stony Gut, having petitioned Queen Victoria for help in famine and having been told to be like Scots not the wastrel Irish, protested how men were being tried and punished for praedal larceny in a famine [cf the Mosaic law on allowing the poor to glean your fields!] and a riot broke out. They were fired on, and attacked the courthouse, killing the Custos and others. In the suppression that followed, hundreds were court martialed and hanged [including a certain member of the assembly who had stood up and warned of the danger at hand . . . a relative of mine], or simply shot. 1,000 cottages were burned to the ground.

    So, yes, CRD did respond appropriately to this incident.

    WHY THEN DID HE SIMPLY PASS ON AS THOUGH NOTHING HAD HAPPENED WHEN, ON HIS THEORY, HE FORECAST PROBABLE EVENTS A MILLION TIMES WORSE?

    Why did he not soberly reconsider and solidly address the key points of concern that this raises with his theory?

  25. PPS: Onlookers, don’t forget just how many footnotes there are in Descent.

  26. “My concern is that there is an amorality hole in the heart of the Darwninain system, that historically lent itself to the creation of “scientific” racism on the theme of survival of the fittest, to social darwinism, to eugenics and to genocide. Thus, we see much of the saddening history of the century just past.”

    –Of course it’s amoral, as with any scientific theory.
    The first genocide of the 20th century took place in Turkey – hardly a Darwinian hotbed. And such incidents were nothing new. I don’t think the past century was much different than previous centuries except that evildoers have much more technology at their disposal. I dread to think what would have occurred if past centuries had the technology of the 20th century. As for race relations of the past century, I believe I’d prefer to be a black westerner living in the 20th century rather than the 19th, or 18th, or 17th, etc. Many people like to link Darwin with the Hitler (who banned Darwin’s books for being inconsistent with Nazism) and Stalin (who banned Darwin’s books for being inconsistent with Communism). From my reading of Hitler though, from his public works (Mein Kampf and speeches) to his more private mutterings (Table Talk), he sounds every bit like a follower of pre-Darwinian Creationist ideas such as “racial purity”, “racial cleansing”, “Chain of Being”, and Gobinism (still quite popular in central Europe then. Gobineau, incidentally, came up with “Aryanism”. But I guess there aren’t any political benefits from villainizing pre-Darwinian Creationists). Gobineau ranked the races from highest to lowest and believed that mixing of the races would somehow cause the downfall of a nation due to the mixing somehow weakening the “spirit” of a nation and cause immorality. Such sentiment is found throughout Hitler’s words, but can be found nowhere from Darwin. From Gobineau’s book “Inequality of Human Races”: “The idea of an innate and permanent difference in the moral and mental endowments of the various groups of the human species, is one of the most ancient, as well as universally adopted, opinion. With few exceptions, and these mostly in our own times, it has formed the basis of almost all political theories, and has been the fundamental maxim of government of every nation, great or small. The prejudices of country have no other cause; each nation believes in its own superiority over its neighbors, and very often different parts of the same nation regard each other with contempt.”

    From Mein Kampf to Table Talk, Hitler states that life came from God, and argues against speciation, and never once mentions Darwin. Every instance I’ve seen where people think he’s spouting Darwinism, it has actually been example of “Chain of Being” philosophy or Gobinism with its stance against miscegenation. At most, he believed that some change was possible within ‘kinds’ (which even Creationists believe).
    Some passages from Mein Kampf:
    ‘Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law—one may call it an iron law of Nature—which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind.’…
    “The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc.”

    Another influential pre-Darwinian Creationist was Josiah Nott:
    “Nations and races, like individuals have each an especial destiny: some are born to rule, and others to be ruled. And such has ever been the history of mankind. No two distinctly marked races can dwell together on equal terms.”- Josiah Nott “Types of Mankind” 1854
    (Any doubt that Nott would be considered a “Darwinist” if it wasn’t for the inconvenient fact that his book pre-dates Origin?)

    Hitler was a Creationist who got his racial ideas primarily from other Creationists. As for his eugenics ideas, he credited the ancient Spartans.

    Some passages from Table Talk:
    “From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” (Self explanatory I think)
    “A skull is dug up by chance, and everybody exclaims ‘That’s what our ancestors were like.’ Who knows if the so-called Neanderthal man wasn’t really an ape? What I can say, in any case, is that it wasn’t our ancestors who lived there in prehistoric times.”

    I don’t know what Hitler thought of Darwin, since there’s no indication that Darwin or Darwinism ever crossed his mind. But another passage from Table Talk may give us a clue:

    “Who’s that little Bolshevik professor who claims to triumph over creation? People like that, we’ll break them. Whether we rely on the catechism or on philosophy, we have possibilities in reserve, whilst they, with their purely materialistic conceptions, can only devour one another.”
    (The name he was looking for was Oparin – sometimes known as the Father of Abiogenesis. It doesn’t’ look like he would have cared much for Darwin. Obviously, Hitler didn’t appreciate men looking for natural causes for things that he believed were caused by God.)

    “WHEN YOUR THEORY PREDICTS THE LIKELY EXTERMINATION OF 100?S OF MILLIONS OF FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS (THROUGH MALTHUSIAN “NATURAL SELECTION”), HOW DO YOU NOW RESPOND?”

    –He wasn’t talking about the genocides because his theory somehow mandates it – but because he was WITNESSING it. If he thought that they were inevitable, he likely wouldn’t have fought so hard to prevent it. He didn’t think it inevitable though. In fact, I previously quoted to you an alternative – and opposite – prediction of his.

    You missed the point he was trying to make. Nobody, not even his biggest opponents, doubted that extinctions were common – or doubted that a big reason for them was intra or inter-special competition, and it was hardly a new idea. His point was that due to these extinctions (that everyone agreed were occurring) that the links in the taxonomic tree aren’t as smooth as they otherwise would be and that therefore the minor breaks aren’t a powerful argument against evolution (if all the breeds of dog except chihuahuas went extinct, I wonder how many Creationists would still accept that their ancestors were wolves).

    And this doesn’t strike me as “moral blindness”:
    “Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless; it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.” – Charles Darwin; The Descent of Man

    I wonder if you notice that in neither passage you quote from Descent of Man, that aside from the racism (which I maintain was quite tame for its time – especially compared with most of his contemporary Creationist opponents) – there is nothing that even modern Creationists would disagree with. Both passages deal with “change within a kind”. Even most modern Creationists would agree that, yes, through selective breeding certain diseases could be eliminated, and possibly even raise our average IQ. So why not do it? Because, as Darwin said, and I think most Creationists would again agree, we would lose “the noblest part of our nature” and it would be an “overwhelming present evil”.
    And so your argument, so far, seems to boil down to “He only gave warnings against forced eugenics on this page and this page and this page, and not also – once again – on this page”. Pardon me if I view that as trifling.

    But why did eugenics become so popular in the early 20th century? There’s a clue to the timing. Notice that its heydey started after 1910, not the 1890s. What was happening during that time? Another idea was becoming popular. As Davenport explained:
    “Formerly, when we believed that factors blend, a characteristic in the germ plasm of a single individual among thousands seemed not worth considering: it would soon be lost in the melting pot. But now we know that unit characters do not blend; that after a score of generations the given characteristic may still appear, unaffected by repeated unions…. So the individual, as the bearer of a potentially immortal germ plasm with innumerable traits, becomes of the greatest interest.”

    Many Darwinists and Creationists alike were pro-eugenics (I believe the first eugenics laws were passed in Indiana – hardly a Darwinian hotbed), and many from both sides were against it. To be a eugenicist, all that was required is to believe in “change within a kind” (all I’ve seen eugenicists argue for is “improving” our “Kind”, not in humanity speciating into something else), and believing in Mendelism was a huge help (I don’t recall Mendel warning against potential misuse of his theory – perhaps Mendel had an “amorality hole”. But I guess there are no politcal points in villainizing Mendel.) So there’s every reason to believe that eugenics would have been just as popular without Darwin and ideas about the “common descent of all life”. All I can see Darwin contributing to the discussion, are arguments against eugenics (which I quoted above). The anti-eugenicists agreed with the change within kind (the only change relevant to eugenics) and also agreed with his arguments against eugenics. It was the pro-eugenicists that disagreed with Darwin.

  27. GUN:

    I am sorry, but you are again unresponsive and distractive:

    [26::] Of course it’s amoral, as with any scientific theory.
    The first genocide of the 20th century took place in Turkey – hardly a Darwinian hotbed. And such incidents were nothing new. I don’t think the past century was much different than previous centuries except that evildoers have much more technology at their disposal . . .

    However, the particular way in which you responded further underscores some of what is wrong:

    1 –> Darwinism existed and exists in a context of the history of ideas and (even more importantly) the wider influence of leading thinkers and their ideas on a culture, its worldviews and its behaviour.

    2 –> In that context, when your theory leads you to a prediction of the likely genocide of hundreds of millions [or even billions, as he spoke to the centuries to come] of the “inferior races” [ exemplified by Negroes and Australians], your degree of responsibility just went up. That obtains despite your additional claims that:

    He wasn’t talking about the genocides because his theory somehow mandates it – but because he was WITNESSING it. If he thought that they were inevitable, he likely wouldn’t have fought so hard to prevent it.

    3 –> I must first note that while Darwin may have objected to some particular incidents, he did not set out to fight hard to prevent the genocide, and the silence at the key point in Descent Ch 6 is a capital demonstration of that. Sorry, he may have objected to fairly minor though bad cases of abuse and oppression, but when he predicted the mass murder of 100′s of millions on racial grounds of extinction of unfavoured inferior races though natural selection [and the context is explicit in this regard], the record demonstrates that he was tellingly silent.

    4 –> Moreover, the peculiarity of Darwinism, and the immediate context of the origin ["Descent"] of man (as CRD’s Descent of Man specifically addressed), is that this brings up the origin of both mind and morality — key distinguishing characteristics of humanity.

    5 –> Now, scientists cannot escape being human, and in our culture leading scientists in particular cannot escape affecting society, thus moral responsibility and at length moral accountability for the ideas and influences they propagate. So, to say that “any scientific theory” is amoral is also to immediately imply that science as so conceived is a MENACE to humanity.

    6 –> That is what Plato was pointing out 2,300 years ago in The Laws Bk X, when he denounced the avant garde sophists [= "wise men"] and the implications of their evolutionary materialism, relativism, amorality and appeal to might makes right:

    Ath. . . . [The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view!] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold that] . . . the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them.

    7 –> Thus, while indeed, humans of every civilisation are tempted to indulge in abuse, oppression and murder, the issue is that 130 – 150 years ago, we saw injected here a key worldview level idea stream that undermines moral restraint [and indeed morality itself], so that in the name of scientific progress, there was now a claimed justification for racism, oppression and exploitation of the other, and for not only eugenicism [soft form racially tinged genocide as we can see from the original rationale for say Planned Parenthood] but also outright mass murder.

    8 –> This will doubtless be dismissed, so it is time to not only remind ourselves of H G Wells’ warning in War of the Worlds — and BTW, in Time Machine, he envisioned one class of people farming another class of people for food, chillingly anticipating the envisioned high tech cannibalism of our day: farming embryos for medical products — but to cite Hitler in his Mein Kampf, Bk1 Ch XI, where he lays out the darwinist influences on his thought, in the chain deriving through Haeckel et al in Germany:

    Any crossing of two beings not at exactly the same level produces a medium between the level of the two parents . . . Consequently, it will later succumb in the struggle against the higher level. Such mating is contrary to the will of Nature for a higher breeding of all life . . . The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings would be unthinkable.

    The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc., and the difference can lie at most in the varying measure of force, strength, intelligence, dexterity, endurance, etc., of the individual specimens. But you will never find a fox who in his inner attitude might, for example, show humanitarian tendencies toward geese, as similarly there is no cat with a friendly inclination toward mice . . . .

    In the struggle for daily bread all those who are weak and sickly or less determined succumb, while the struggle of the males for the female grants the right or opportunity to propagate only to the healthiest. [That is, Darwinian sexual selection.] And struggle is always a means for improving a species’ health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development . . .

    [ . . . ]

  28. 9 –> Thus, the animal-isation of humanity implicit in the themes of Descent, have had appalling consequences. Consequences that CRD foresaw on his theory and closely linked racial views on superiority and inferiority [remember the sub-title of Origin regarding preservation of favoured races in the struggle for existence], and then just went on to his next point, as though he had not just predicted the destruction of hundreds of millions of lives.

    10 –> And, sorry, the above cited plainly shows that Hitler’s agendas are indeed derived in material part from Darwin’s thought, whatever he may or may not have done with Darwin’s actual books. BTW, it did not start with Hitler, as the former 41st US Secretary of State noted in the 1920′s in his The Menace of Darwinism:

    Darwinism leads to a denial of God. Nietzsche carried Darwinism to its logical conclusion and it made him the most extreme of anti-Christians . . . . As the [First World] war [of 1914 - 1918] progressed I became more and more impressed with the conviction that the German propa-ganda rested upon a materialistic foundation. I se-cured the writings of Nietzsche and found in them a defense, made in advance, of all the cruelties and atrocities practiced by the militarists of Germany. Nietzsche tried to substitute the worship of the “Su-perman” for the worship of God. He not only re-jected the Creator, but he rejected all moral standards. He praised war and eulogized hatred because it led to war. He denounced sympathy and pity as attributes unworthy of man. He believed that the teachings of Christ made degenerates and, logical to the end, he regarded Democracy as the refuge of weaklings. He saw in man nothing but an animal and in that animal the highest virtue he recognized was “The Will to Power”—a will which should know no let or hin-drance, no restraint or limitation . . . . His philosophy, if it is worthy the name of philos-ophy, is the ripened fruit of Darwinism — and a tree is known by its fruit . . . . In the American preface to “The Glass of Fashion” these words are to be found: “Darwinism not only justifies the sensualist at the trough and Fashion at her glass; it justifies Prussianism at the cannon’s mouth and Bol-shevism at the prison-door. If Darwinism be true, if Mind is to be driven out of the universe and accident accepted as a sufficient cause for all the majesty and glory of physical nature, then there is no crime or vio-lence, however abominable in its circumstances and however cruel in its execution, which cannot be justi-fied by success, and no triviality, no absurdity of Fash-ion which deserves a censure: more — there is no act of disinterested love and tenderness, no deed of self- sac-rifice and mercy, no aspiration after beauty and excel-lence, for which a single reason can be adduced in logic.” [W J Bryan (US Secretary of State, 1913 - 15), pp. 52 - 54. Emphases and explanatory parentheses added.]

    11 –> This of course brings out as well the responsibilities of other leading thinkers, but it is clear that the injection of an origins science theory with worldview level implications that tend to make amorality seem reasonable or credible is a grave act indeed.

    12 –> So, let us again hear what Historian of Biology, Cornell prof William Provine had to say in his U Tenn Darwin Day address in 1998:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists [i.e. the world is amoral]; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will [thus, moral responsibility in any meaningful sense!] is nonexistent . . . . Natural selection is a process leading every species almost certainly to extinction . . . Nothing could be more uncaring than the entire process of organic evolution. [Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life, Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration Keynote Address, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February 12, 1998 (abstract).]

    ____________________

    Thus, when Darwin ever do coolly predicted the mass murder of hundreds of millions on the excuse of evolutionarily derived racial inferiority, then simply went back to his main line of argument, our civilisation passed a terrible threshold.

    (And distractive remarks on Turks, Nott or the eugenicists — who, as a part of the cultural elites [including those in Indiana or California etc] were unquestionably deeply influenced by Darwin, in the name of the assured results of “Science” — cannot erase of obscure that responsibility though they can hide it behind a cloud of poisonous smoke from burning strawmen soaked in ad hominems, an unfortunately common rhetorical tactic nowadays.)

    GEM of TKI

  29. PS: As to the belaboured attempt to distance Darwin from the Eugenics movement, we need only mention the foundational involvement by Darwein’s family members and the circumstances of the first two International Conferences on Eugenics.

    For instance, Galton was Darwin’s cousin and sought to use intelligence to improve on nature, i.e we are dealing with an extension of the theory though elaboration of sexual selection [the second main Darwinian mechanism, and he gateway for intelligence to play a part], not a contradiction to it (which it is plainly rhetorically convenient to now present eugenics as — as well as to try to spread the guilt around as much as possible).

    The eugenics movement then held its first conference in 1912 in London under the chairmanship of Leonard Darwin, son of Charles. Noteworthy is the definition of eugenics in the logo for the Second International Conference, for which invitations were issued around the world through the US State Department, and which was held at the American Museum of Natural History — i.e. a very temple of Darwinist thought — in 1921: “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution.” [Notice the "scientific" context and implied rationale.]

    Sorry, the ex-post facto revisionism to distance Darwin from the moral consequences of the ideas and themes he introduced does not comport well with the historical facts.

  30. Onlookers:

    Do you see why I am increasingly concerned that — in light of the sort of tortured reasoning by Darwin’s defenders above and elsewhere — these issues on the importance of origins science in society and the dangers it poses for our future are plainly not merely dead ones of purely historical interest?

    GEM of TKI

  31. F/N: By 1922, the indefatigable G K Chesterton was on the Eugenics ball, and — as usual — hit it for six (he was British, so we will use the cricket equivalent to a home run) right up into the stands.

    Excerpts, to give a taste for the cake:

    _________________

    >>Though most of the conclusions, especially towards the end, are conceived with reference to recent events, the actual bulk of preliminary notes about the science of Eugenics were written before the war. It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies — not visibly very distinguishable from other babies — sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilization, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses . . . .

    Scientific officialism and organization in the State which had specialized in them, had gone to war with the older culture of Christendom. Either Prussianism would win and the protest would be hopeless, or Prussianism would lose and the protest would be needless. As the war advanced from poison gas to piracy against neutrals, it grew more and more plain that the scientifically organized State was not increasing in popularity. Whatever happened, no Englishmen would ever again go nosing round the stinks of that low laboratory. So I thought all I had written irrelevant, and put it out of my mind.

    I am greatly grieved to say that it is not irrelevant. It has gradually grown apparent, to my astounded gaze, that the ruling classes in England are still proceeding on the assumption that Prussia is a pattern for the whole world. If parts of my book are nearly nine years old most of their principles and proceedings are a great deal older. They can offer us nothing but the same stuffy science, the same bullying bureaucracy and the same terrorism by tenth-rate professors that have led the German Empire to its recent conspicuous triumph. For that reason, three years after the war with Prussia [note the direct parallel with Bryan here], I collect and publish these papers . . . .

    The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late [this was written in 1922 before Hitler's farcical attempt in the beer halls of Munich] . . . A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.

    There exists to-day a scheme of action, a school of thought, as collective and unmistakable as any of those by whose grouping alone we can make any outline of history . . . It is called for convenience “Eugenics” . . . .

    It is not really difficult to sum up the essence of Eugenics: though some of the Eugenists seem to be rather vague about it. The movement consists of two parts: a moral basis, which is common to all, and a scheme of social application which varies a good deal. For the moral basis, it is obvious that man’s ethical responsibility varies with his knowledge of consequences. If I were in charge of a baby (like Dr. Johnson in that tower of vision), and the baby was ill through having eaten the soap, I might possibly send for a doctor. I might be calling him away from much more serious cases, from the bedsides of babies whose diet has been far more deadly; but I should be justified. I could not be expected to know enough about his other patients to be obliged (or even entitled) to sacrifice to them the baby for whom I was primarily and directly responsible. Now the Eugenic moral basis is this; that the baby for whom we are primarily and directly responsible is the babe unborn. That is, that we know (or may come to know) enough of certain inevitable tendencies in biology to consider the fruit of some contemplated union in that direct and clear light of conscience which we can now only fix on the other partner in that union . . . .

    What is perfectly plain is this: that mankind have hitherto held the bond between man and woman so sacred, and the effect of it on the children so incalculable, that they have always admired the maintenance of honour more than the maintenance of safety. Doubtless they thought that even the children might be none the worse for not being the children of cowards and shirkers; but this was not the first thought, the first commandment. Briefly, we may say that while many moral systems have set restraints on sex almost as severe as any Eugenist could set, they have almost always had the character of securing the fidelity of the two sexes to each other, and leaving the rest to God. To introduce an ethic which makes that fidelity or infidelity vary with some calculation about heredity is that rarest of all things, a revolution that has not happened before . . . .

    If men did not marry their grandmothers when it was, for all they knew, a most hygienic habit; if we know now that they instinctively avoided scientific peril; that, so far as it goes, is a point in favour of letting people marry anyone they like. It is simply the statement that sexual selection, or what Christians call falling in love, is a part of man which in the rough and in the long run can be trusted. And that is the destruction of the whole of this science at a blow.

    The second part of the definition, the persuasive or coercive methods to be employed, I shall deal with more fully in the second part of this book. But some such summary as the following may here be useful. Far into the unfathomable past of our race we find the assumption that the founding of a family is the personal adventure of a free man. Before slavery sank slowly out of sight under the new climate of Christianity, it may or may not be true that slaves were in some sense bred like cattle, valued as a promising stock for labour. If it was so it was so in a much looser and vaguer sense than the breeding of the Eugenists . . . The shortest general definition of Eugenics on its practical side is that it does, in a more or less degree, propose to control some families at least as if they were families of pagan slaves. >>
    __________________

    A breath of fresh air to drive away the poisonous smoke of burning strawmen, no less bracing for being nigh on ninety years old.

    GEM of TKI

  32. kairosfocus,

    “And, sorry, the above cited plainly shows that Hitler’s agendas are indeed derived in material part from Darwin’s thought, whatever he may or may not have done with Darwin’s actual books.”

    If you recall, I previously said that Hitler “sounds every bit like a follower of pre-Darwinian Creationist ideas such as “racial purity”, “racial cleansing”, “Chain of Being”, and Gobinism”.

    Let’s break down the second paragraph first:
    “The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves.”

    –You think this sounds like Darwin? You will never find such a phrase as “racial purity” in any of Darwin’s writings – but you WILL find that EXACT phrase, over and over again (and other related phrases Hitler uses, like “purity of blood”), in the writings of Gobineau (that guy that came up with “Aryanism”). The phrase was also popular with other contemporary opponents of Darwin. The next part of the sentence gets even better. One of the bitterest battles between Darwin and Darwinists and their anti-evolutionary opponents was whether there was a “sharp delimitation of the various races” – with the anti-evolutionists (like Gobineau) saying there was, and the Darwinists saying there wasn’t. Darwin at various times would go so far as to MOCK the very idea that such a thing existed (from Descent of Man):
    “But the most weighty of all the arguments against treating the races of man as distinct species, is that they graduate into each other, independently in many cases, as far as we can judge, of their having intercrossed. Man has been studied more carefully than any other animal, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges whether he should be classed as a single species or race, or as two (Virey), as three (Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven (Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory de St-Vincent), sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawfurd), or as sixty-three, according to Burke. This diversity of judgment does not prove that the races ought not to be ranked as species, but it shews that they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them.”
    (Also notice here that Darwin is actually having to fight against the idea that “humanity” is actually made up of different species! A chilling reminder of the time Darwin lived in.)

    Then the phrase “uniform character” – that hardly fits with evolution. Here’s Darwin again:
    “It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant. Savages, even within the limits of the same tribe, are not nearly so uniform in character, as has been often asserted.”
    “NOT nearly so UNIFORM in CHARACTER” as has been often “asserted” – asserted by who? His opponents – like Gobineau.
    And without a “sharp outward delimitation of the races” and “uniform character”, the very idea of “racial purity” is rendered meaningless.

    (I was about to say that there could hardly be a sentence more contrary and opposed to Darwinism – but then I remembered the NEXT sentence: “The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc.,…”)

    Now let’s take a look at the first paragraph. Hmm, one of those “…”’s in there. I’m sure it was left off because it’s inconsequential, but let’s see what it was:
    “This means that the offspring will indeed be superior to the parent which stands in the biologically lower order of being, but not so high as the higher parent.”

    “order of being”? What the heck is THAT? Oh wait, it sounds familiar – From Lovejoy’s “The Great Chain of Being: a study in the history of an idea”:

    “The Ape or the Monkey that bears the greatest similitude to man, is the next order of animals below him. Nor is the disagreement between the basest individuals of our species and the ape or monkey so great, but that, were the latter endow’d with the faculty of speech, they might perhaps as justly claim the rank and dignity of the human race, as the savage Hotentot, or stupid native of Nova Zembla…. The most perfect of this order of beings, the Orang-Outang, as he is called by the natives of Angola, that is the Wild Man, or the Man of the Woods, has the honour of bearing the greatest resemblance to human nature.”

    The “order of being” was another term for “scale of nature” or “chain of being”, which Lovejoy describes as “one of the half-dozen most potent and persistent presuppositions in Western thought. It was, in fact, until not much more than a century ago, probably the most widely familiar conceptions of the general scheme of things”. You don’t hear those phrases much anymore. What happened? Darwinism happened. It was an idea held by many (probably most) of Darwin’s opponents – like Gobineau.

    This order of being or chain of being is what Hitler was talking about with the different “levels”. Notice also that Hitler views the different “levels” breeding as if it were an immoral act. For beings of different levels to breed (miscegenation) was widely viewed as a crime against both God and Nature or “contrary to the will of Nature”, as Hitler put it. Elsewhere Hitler describes miscegenation as a “sin against the will of the Eternal Creator.”

    Here’s Hitler again:
    “The lost purity of the blood alone destroys inner happiness forever, plunges man into the abyss for all time, and the consequences can never more be eliminated from body and spirit.”

    Not to beat a dead horse, but here’s Gobineau again – compare this to the sentence above and to the first paragraph you quote – they use the same phrases, often word for word – these two are like twins who can finish each other’s sentences:

    “If mixtures of blood are, to a certain extent, beneficial to the mass of mankind, if they raise and ennoble it, this is merely at the expense of mankind itself, which is stunted, abased, enervated, and humiliated in the persons of its noblest sons. Even if we were to admit that it is better to turn a myriad of degraded beings into mediocre men than to preserve the race of princes whose blood is adulterated and impoverished by being made to suffer this dishonourable change, yet there is still the unfortunate fact that the change does not stop here; for when the mediocre men are once created at the expense of the greater, they combine with other mediocrities, and from such unions, which grow ever more and more degraded, is born a confusion which, like that of Babel, ends in uttere impotence, and leads societies down to the abyss of nothingness whence no power on earth can rescue them.”

    So here’s Hitler, a Creationist, plagiarizing the heck out of Darwin’s Creationist opponents, and people point and go “that’s Darwin!”

    If you view the paragraph just before the first one you quoted of Hitler, you’ll see that Hitler also viewed miscegenation as a sin because it disrupts that original “delimitation of the various races” as set by the Eternal Creator. While not nearly as popular as it once was, this view still has some currency among modern Creationists. Recall the recent controversy at Bob Jones University? “Intermarriage of the races is a breakdown of the lines of separation which God has set up and, therefore, is rebellion against God.” – Bob Jones. I doubt Bob Jones got that from Hitler, but they both got the idea from similar sources – 19th century and early 20th century Creationists (Bob sure as heck didn’t get it from Darwin).

    “In that context, when your theory leads you to a prediction of the likely genocide…”

    –His theory didn’t lead to that prediction. The only “prediction” was that the behavior of man – known from all of man’s history – would continue for the time being. He wasn’t exactly being a prophet or Carnac the Magnificent here. The ‘prediction’ was about on par with “the future will have rain” – more of an observation than anything, with an added “and this is what will occur if things don’t change” – how dare he! He even gave us a roadmap to how to change things – “to extend our social instincts and sympathies to men of all nations and races” (you can lead a horse to water…).

    He wasn’t using the genocides – present or future – as evidence or an argument for his theory (perhaps that’s the misunderstanding?). He was using the genocides (and extinctions) to counter the arguments by those that argued that the taxonomic tree was too full of holes – with his response basically being “well, look at the all the extinctions – of course there are going to be holes. And in the future, the holes will probably be bigger”.

  33. GUN:

    Your “Hitler was a creationist” turnabout guilt by accusation canard goes beyond the pale of civil discourse, and cuts off further dicussion in this thread. (If necessary I will speak to onlookers beyond this, simply to expose and correct. Consider yourself sent to Coventry to reflect on what you have done.)

    ++++++++++++

    Onlookers,

    Let us simply observe again; first, Hitler:

    The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings [= evolution] would be unthinkable.

    In that context, he plainly advocated active elimination of the less fit through eugenics measures [which is what his racial purity doctrine argued for], and then he hints at genocide of perceived inferior races. Yes, he used rhetoric that traces to the Aryuan man myths of Blavatsky and co [the idea of a lost higher race that was bred out but could be recaptured then improved on], and he speaks of purity of races, but he sets that in a context that is plainly evolutionary: moving on to higher levels of development, i.e. plainly, evolution.

    Now, let us contrast the actual teaching of the prime Biblical Creationist source document, in Paul’s speech to the intellectual elites of Athens on Mars Hill in ADE 50, as recorded in Ac 17 and as can now be seen in the original Greek on a bronze plaque at the site of Mars Hill:

    22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

    24″The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, We are his offspring.’

    29″Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

    Racism is thus decisively undercut by this keynote message of the Apostle to the Nations, to the intellectual elites of these nations.

    Christians may indeed become racist, but only by falling into heresy.

    And, on heresies, the same apostle warned us on misleading endarkened claims to knowledge, in words that speak directly to scientific pretensions as well as esoteric speculative philosophy:

    Col 2:8 8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

    1 Tim 6: 20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge [gnosis], 21which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith [i.e. into apostasy and heresy].

    No wonder Heine warned Germany so stoutly — and prophetically — on the consequences of wandering from the Christian faith, in the 1830′s!

    The Poles and Jews came first on the genocide wing of Hitler’s project [eugenics and euthanasia came first, within Germany . . . even bed-wetting children were put to death], and by the time we hit 1945 25% of Poland was wiped out: 3 mn Jews, 90% of the Jews of Poland, and 3 Mn Christian Poles, respectively 1/2 the Jewish genocide, and 60% of the non-Jewish genocide in the holocaust.

    Second, let us see the definition of eugenics, per the 1921 logo for the 2nd Int’l Conference, to which Leonard Darwin sent a message: Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution.

    That is, as Chesterton summarised, the idea here is to inject society-level “intelligence” — by force of tyrannical law imposed in the name of the assured findings of evolutionary science accepted by all serious-minded educated people [including church-going people] — into Darwin’s second selection mechanism, sexual selection. The object being to accelerate the hoped for higher evolution of the Superman envisioned in Darwin’s Ch 6 of Descent.

    A superman whose emergence was projected to be the result of both evolutionary development to a higher state than Caucasian, Victorian Toffery, and by the wiping out of the inferior breeds of man, especially the negro and the native australian.

    In short, the wiping out of the native populations of the continents of Africa and Australia, and we can imagine as well, Latin America and probably Asia.

    Just on Africa, we are talking of a genocide of hundreds of millions.

    [ . . . ]

  34. Let us hear Darwin in his own words in Ch 6 of Descent, again, as he makes a supportive point to his argument on why there are gaps in fossil records etc, and then just before he goes back to his main point as if he had not just predicted genocide of 100′s of millions as a consequence of natural selection in action among human beings:

    ____________________

    >>Man is liable to numerous, slight, and diversified variations, which are induced by the same general causes, are governed and transmitted in accordance with the same general laws, as in the lower animals. Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species . . . .

    At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla . . . >>
    ____________________

    So, now, let us finally note: on page after page of Descent, we find footnote after footnote.

    Why then, when we see a prediction of the genocide of hundreds of millions, we do not even ind a footnote?

    I think the answer is plain. Darwin believed his theory, and the power and consequences of natural selection. So, when he introduced Origin, and again as he concluded, he wrote:

    In the next chapter the Struggle for Existence amongst all organic beings throughout the world, which inevitably follows from their high geometrical powers of increase, will be treated of. This is the doctrine of Malthus, applied to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms. As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form . . . .

    these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.

    Malthus’ positive checks on populations that outstrip sustaining resources include disease, famine and war, with genocide as of course the natural accompaniment of war.

    So, while Darwin may well have been repelled by specific cases that came under his ken, and did indeed take some steps of protest and intervention, it is also undeniable that his core theme pivoted on malthusian struggle for existence with extinction the penalty for being inferior.

    Put that in a context where darker skinned peoples are seen as “obviously” inferior by comparison with advanced Victorian races and cultures, and the sort of predictions we see in Ch 6 of Descent directly follow. Darwin was in the iron grip of his theory, multiplied by the implications of the racism that was so much a feature of his socio-cultural environment. For, the plain corollary to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life is the extinction of inferior races.

    All, presented as an “assured result” of “science.”
    ________________

    Instead, let us acknowledge that science is at best provisional, and that origins sciences try to even more provisionally reconstruct an unobserved remote past on inferences to best explanation from patterns observed and inferred in the present. So, its results should not be allowed to lead us into amorality and abuse. Regardless of implications for whatever worldviews we favour, and whatever we may think of the premise that the conscience points us to God and to our duty under God.

    At the least, Darwin should have been able to recognise that there is something transcendent in the human breast that tells us of what is right and what is wrong, and that mass murder is most definitely wrong. So, while brute amoral competition for scarce resources might tempt us to actively wipe out so-called inferior peoples, the light of conscience-guided reason should tell us that this must never be indulged in, on any excuse.

    For man is a creature not simply of natural laws, but of moral government.

    And, that failing at a key point, turned out to be pivotal for the century past, at horrendous cost.

    Let us learn a sobering lesson, therefore.

    And, given the stout resistance to this lesson, let us realise that the lesson has not been learned well enough, and so we had better be on our guard from today’s hers tot he Kantians, Fichteans and natural philosophers that Heine warned us against.

    GEM of TKI

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