Home » Intelligent Design » Darwinists, just divorce racism. Get back to me when you have filed, okay …

Darwinists, just divorce racism. Get back to me when you have filed, okay …

Just up at an earlier post at  Uncommon Descent (comments box):

“Since ID is not a religious program, but a scientific one, I fail to see why an ID proponent needs comment what a religious organization does or doesn’t do. Evolution is all about science (or so we’re told), as such its founder clearly held racists views drawn directly from the science. If you have a similar connection between racism and ID, we’re all ears.” – Donald McL

Thank you, Donald! that is precisely my point.

I certainly do not hold myself responsible for everything anyone has ever done in the name of religion, simply because I am a Catholic Christian.

I have also never held any individual Darwinist responsible for everything anyone has done in the name of Darwinism.

But I am – at best – surprised by the lack of interest of science societies in backing away from Darwin’s racism.

It would be EASY to do.

I do not want to quarrel uselessly about this. I am simply asking all members of societies that have made statements supporting Darwin vs. intelligent design to FOLLOW UP with a formal statement *divorcing* Darwin’s racism.

Just divorce Descent of Man now! Just DO it!

Don’t tell me that you individually disagree with it. That means nothing in the current climate.

Now, if the Darwinists do not do it, won’t we know something useful?

I think we will know something very useful indeed.

I will be VERY happy to publicise any upcoming divorces from The Descent of Man!

Darwinist, do you or don’t you divorce this book?

I hope and pray you do. Look, I have friends and in-laws from across the globe, from all races and nations under heaven.

I want to reach across the ideological divide and ask you to use the “year of Darwin” to finally divorce racism.

And if you don’t, we will know.

We will definitely all know whether you did or not.

And most of us will not listen to you in the slightest until you do.

Just do it, okay?

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129 Responses to Darwinists, just divorce racism. Get back to me when you have filed, okay …

  1. Since you have chosen to open a new thread for this post I have combined my two previous answers as follows:

    Eugenics is a form of directed evolution in which a favored ‘race’ is ‘encouraged’ to propagate at the expense of less-favored races which are allowed to dwindle away to extinction as they lose the competition for resources or are actively eliminated.

    Intelligent design must also be a form of directed evolution if the Designer does anything other than allow natural selection to follow its course. However if, as must happen in the case of design, the Designer arranges things so that the course of evolution is shaped or directed towards a chosen end, in other words, if the Designer for whatever reason has chosen to favor the survival of one ‘race’ over all the others, then that Designer and the Intelligent Design program itself are both eugenicist and racist by definition.

    Following from that, it should be clear that what is described in the Bible can also be viewed as a form of directed evolution since it lays out the course of God’s Chosen People. And the God of the Old Testament is no passive observer. He clears a path by striking down the less-favored ‘races’ or assists his chosen ‘race’ in wiping them out. At one point, in the Great Flood, he even goes so far as to annihilate not just other races but all other life on the planet, in effect, wiping the slate clean so that his favored ‘race’ could have a clean start. That is genocide on a scale of which Hitler or Stalin could only have dreamed.

    To put it bluntly, Christianity, from that perspective, is a racist and eugenicist program.

    Darwinist, do you or don’t you divorce this book?

    And if Darwinists dissociate themselves from The Descent of Man because of its alleged racist and eugenicist overtones, will you, Denyse O’Leary, also dissociate yourself from the Bible for the same reasons?

  2. Denyse

    Now, if the Darwinists do not do it, won’t we know something useful?

    I think we will know something very useful indeed.

    What would you know? The obvious conclusion would be that they have not read your post.

  3. Isaac Newton believed fervently in the Christian God. And alchemy. All kinds of weird stuff.

    Should Newtonians (those who accept his theory of gravity) have to divorce themselves from the Principia?

  4. This whole idea that you keep pushing is ridiculous.

    First, the first commenter on the previous post clearly lays out a number of cases of scientists disavowing racism and eugenics. See http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-307306

    Second, the idea of needing to publicly apologize for the failure of historical figures to measure up to modern standards makes no sense. We don’t require constitutional lawyers to publicly disavow Thomas Jefferson’s racism before taking them seriously because we understand that he was a product of his time. Keynesian economists are not required to publicly disavow John Maynard Keynes’ anti-semitism. The same could be said for any public figure who came from a time in which racism or intolerance was commonplace. We embrace the ideas that still have merit today and throw away the rest.

    You say that you aren’t responsible for what others do in the name of your faith, but what about the Catholic Church itself? Will you publicly denounce all the violations of human rights committed by the Catholic Church throughout history?

  5. 5
    George L Farquhar

    Seversky has a point O’Leary.

    But I am – at best – surprised by the lack of interest of science societies in backing away from Darwin’s racism.

    Perhaps it’s because they have already disavowed racism in general? Why would any “science society” worthy of the name feel the need to “back away” from racism then are not practicing in any case?

    I suspect what you really object to is the simple fact that Charles Darwin’s theory exists at all.

    The funny thing is that on other threads we have people saying that biblical slavery should be viewed as “a product of the time” and other assorted justifications and should not reflect badly on the bible and god overall.
    Yes, they say, children were married or sold off but you know, often arranged marriages worked out better then unarranged ones (so sayith Kariosfocus’ teacher, so it must be true.

    Things were different then, they say. Slavery did not mean the same thing back then, it was more like saving up for a car, they say. Poor? Broke? Hungry? Why not become a slave! Only 6 years and you’ll have that car you always wanted! Or cart! Or donkey!

    Yet here we see you chastising Darwin, fact is he was far more reasonable then most in his time and was outspoken in his views in the unfairness of racism.

    A student of history you are not Madam.

  6. 6
    George L Farquhar

    Oh yeah, I forgot. This seems relevant

    Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?

  7. Seversky

    Intelligent design must also be a form of directed evolution if the Designer does anything other than allow natural selection to follow its course. However if, as must happen in the case of design, the Designer arranges things so that the course of evolution is shaped or directed towards a chosen end, in other words, if the Designer for whatever reason has chosen to favor the survival of one ‘race’ over all the others, then that Designer and the Intelligent Design program itself are both eugenicist and racist by definition….
    To put it bluntly, Christianity, from that perspective, is a racist and eugenicist program.

    This argument might work if this perspective on Christianity were even close to accurate, but it really isn’t. But, it also beside the point. Evolution qua evolution is a scientific research program. So is ID.

    Regardless of one’s interpretation of this or that religious point view or scripture, there is no one I know of in ID who has written a paper or published a book claiming a heirarchy of races supported from an ID perspective. If you know of such a work, by all means, please cite it (and the Bible doesn’t count we’re talking science here, not religion). Further, it is by no means a given that “Intelligent design must also be a form of directed evolution if the Designer does anything other than allow natural selection to follow its course.” Why think that? There’s nothing I know of in ID that makes this a “must”. The rest of your argument is, as far as I can see, fraught with theological problems and misunderstandings. But this really isn’t the forum to discuss all that.

    On the other hand, we have Darwin’s Descent of Man which ties such an heirarchy directly to evolutionary theory. In other words the science of evolution led Darwin to this idea of racial superiority and inferiority. There is no such corollary in ID.

  8. Denyse,

    Speaking of influential books and divorcing oneself from the unsavory views of their authors do you divorce yourself from the racism, brutality, slavery, and misogynism found in the old testament?

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  9. George

    Oh yeah, I forgot. This seems relevant

    Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?

    No, it isn’t relevant at all for the reasons I just stated to Seversky.

  10. Exodus 21:20-21 If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

  11. Seversky:

    “Genocide” refers to the selective destruction of one race or ethnic group, solely because it is the race or ethnic group that it is. In genocide, all members of the target group are eliminated, regardless of their individual track records of honesty, courage, charity, industry, kindness to members of other ethnic groups, etc.

    The Noah story relates a destruction of the entire human species, not of any race or ethnic group within it, and therefore is not a story of genocide, as that term is normally used. (It could be called a story of “anthropicide” or “hominicide”, I suppose.) But that’s a merely terminological objection. What’s more important is that in the Noah story, Noah is preserved because of his righteousness, not because of his “race”; and the rest of humanity (other than Noah, his sons and their wives) is wiped out because it is wholly evil, not because of its “race”. Thus, the term “genocide” (which indicates an indiscriminate destruction of a race or ethnic group, carried out without consideration for the moral qualities of individuals within the group) is inapplicable to the Noah story.

    Even when ethnicity might seem to be a factor in the various destructions of peoples recorded in Old Testament stories, closer examination shows that it is not. For example, Pharaoh and his army are destroyed in the Red Sea because they are determined, against the express command of God, to keep Israel captive, not because they are of the Egyptian “race”.

    Again, if we take the reason given by the Bible at face value, the Canaanites are destroyed because of their immorality and wickedness, not because their ethnicity differs from that of Israel. Similarly, Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed explicitly because of their wicked ways, not because their citizens are from a different race than that of Abraham and Lot.

    The election of Israel by God is not based on any alleged biological superiority of the Israelites (in terms of intelligence, strength, health, beauty, talent, etc.) over other peoples such as the Persians, Philistines, Egyptians, Africans, Syrians, Greeks, or Romans. It is based entirely on Israel’s projected willingness (albeit frequently accompanied by stubborn non-compliance and examples of apostasy) to live in accord with the laws and ways that God requires. The election of Israel has nothing to do with “race” as Darwin and his contemporaries understood it, or as the eugenics movement understood it, or as Hitler and his “Aryan” Nazis understood it.

    In sum, the Old Testament doesn’t teach any doctrine of racial superiority, anywhere that I’m aware of. Insofar as it gives a special place to Israel, that place is not based on Israel’s ethnicity. Thus, you are misapplying the texts. You are interpreting spiritual teachings in a carnal way.

    Further, you incorrectly equate the stories of the Old Testament with Christianity itself. The Old Testament stories are only a part of Christianity, and many of them are not particularly important for Christian theology and have been largely ignored by Christian writers over the centuries. Further, many of the Old Testament stories which are deemed important for Christianity have been re-interpreted by the Christian Church to harmonize them with the teaching of the New Testament. But most important for the present discussion is that you completely miss the crucial change between the Old Testament focus and the Christian one: the Old Testament stories are focused on Israel, which is a national entity (in the original sense of the word “national”, i.e., ethnic), whereas Christianity is focused on the Church, which is a trans-national (i.e., trans-ethnic) entity. So even if the Old Testament taught the biological superiority of Israel as a national or ethnic group (which it doesn’t), it wouldn’t matter, because the Church is not tied to Israel’s national or ethnic identity at all. The death-blow to that tie between religion and ethnicity was dealt by the teaching of Paul that the Gentiles (which just means the other “nations” or “ethnicities”) could adopt Christianity without having to adopt any part of the Jewish Law. A Nigerian or an Irishman could become just as fully Christian as a Jew could.

    Of course, you have every right to reject various stories in the Bible that you find morally unacceptable, if that’s what you want to do. For example, you can reject the justification given in the Bible for the slaughter of the Canaanites. You can argue that Israel is guilty of the mass murder of innocent civilians and children, and that the divine justification for this action was dreamed up by chauvinistic Israelite writers and is morally unacceptable. That’s up to you. But it’s one thing to disagree with what the story teaches, and another thing to claim that it teaches something that it doesn’t. It appears to teach that the Canaanites were rightfully exterminated because of the moral and religious abominations that they practiced. It does not teach that they were rightfully exterminated because they were of inferior biological stock to the Israelites.

    P.S. There are many Christians who are deeply troubled by the Biblical justification of the slaughter of Canaanite non-combatants and children, and who have explicitly distanced themselves from it. I don’t know if Denyse is one of those; she can speak for herself. But if she is one of those, she is far from being alone.

    T.

  12. O’Leary has now posted her “Darwinists, just divorce racism” screed a half-dozen times, with hardly any modifications and virtually no real acknowledgment that many national and international organizations of scientists and evolutionary biologists have indeed repudiated both racism and eugenics on multiple occasions. Interesting isn’t it, that I can give her multiple examples of exactly what she wanted to see, but that’s apparently not even enough for her to deign to mention them. Why not?

    There’s a well-known rhetorical gambit known as the “Have you stopped beating your grandmother yet?” ploy. O’Leary’s version of this tactic stands as the title of this thread. Since she has pointedly ignored any evidence that evolutionary biologists have done precisely what she has called for, then the obvious conclusion is that this isn’t really what she wants. What she’s really saying is “All Darwinists are racists” and the proof for this assertion (according to O’Leary) is that evolutionary biologists (notice that she puts this in quotes – “evolutionary biologists” – so that you’ll all understand that what she’s really saying is “racist Darwinists”) haven’t yet publicly “repudiated Darwin”.

    O’Leary is apparently well-trained in this kind of propaganda. She’s not just calling for “evolutionary biologists” to repudiate the racism in Darwin’s Descent of Man, she’s calling for them to repudiate the entire book, and indeed all of Darwin’s ideas. Here’s the game: If “Darwinists” want to really repudiate the racism in The Descent of Man, they must repudiate all of Darwin’s work.

    And many of the pro-ID commentators on this thread have taken her hint and made exactly this assertion. Never mind that what is currently practiced by evolutionary biologists bears only a passing historical resemblance to Darwin’s original theories. Never mind that many individual evolutionary biologists and national scientific associations have repudiated both racism and eugenics. Never mind that I have repeatedly provided documentary evidence for precisely what she says she’s looking for.

    Never mind, because that isn’t really the point. The point is clearly character assassination, guilt by association, and ad hominem argument. And, just as clearly, this switch in tactics away from arguing about the current scientific merit of ID and toward books written a century and a half ago indicates to me that she and the ID movement haven’t been getting enough attention lately. Time to “reframe” the argument away from science and toward politics.

    O’Leary seems to find nothing disingenuous about posting the same things over and over and over and over and over again, hoping that if she makes the same forced connection between Darwin’s views and modern evolutionary biology someone will believe it. And she keeps reposting the same ad hominem arguments without responding to documentary evidence of precisely the kind of public repudiation of racism by evolutionary biologists that she is supposedly seeking.

    And so (as promised) here is my response, slightly modified and updated from last time. So long as O’Leary keeps ignoring it and strongly insinuating that all evolutionary biologists are racists, I’ll keep posting documentary proof that shows that she’s either misinformed, a very slow learner, or deliberately distorting the facts:

    At this year’s Darwin Bicentennial Celebration at Cornell the department of ecology and evolutionary biology co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Evolution and Racism”. All four of the panelists, two of whom were African Americans (three were evolutionary biologists and one was a sociologist) agreed that by today’s standards Darwin and most of his contemporaries were racists. And they also pointed out that evolutionary biologists today – people like Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Will Provine, and Robert Trivers – are among the strongest and most vocal opponents of racism, especially “scientific racism”. You can read about it here:

    http://www.google.com/calendar.....a/New_York

    Two years ago I served on a panel at the Cornell Darwin Day Celebration that dealt with “Evolution and Eugenics”. All four of the panelists (three evolutionary biologists and a Tallman Prize winner) agreed that Darwin’s ideas were used by eugenicists to justify their heinous policies. They also pointed out that prominent evolutionary biologists were among the members of the UNESCO panel that issued the United Nations’ 1950 statement on eugenics and race, which condemned both in the strongest of terms, and that virtually no evolutionary biologist has actively supported eugenics since 1945. You can read about it here:

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/st.....n.lgk.html

    Now admittedly, the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell is not “a world association of evolutionary biologists”. However, it is widely recognized as one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. We’ve done what O’Leary has asked for. Why hasn’t she acknowledged this?

    How about this statement:

    “The simple fact remains: there is no “inferior” race; the genetic differences between races are trivial.”

    This statement comes from the National Center for Science Education, as part of a report on “Racism and the Public’s Perception of Evolution”, available online here:

    http://ncseweb.org/rncse/22/3/.....-evolution

    (paragraph 31, second sentence)

    Even ID supporters might be willing to admit that the NCSE is a “world-recognized organization of evolutionary biologists”. After all, they complain about the immense political power of the NCSE, and the fact that virtually all evolutionary biologists agree with their organization’s views, including the one quoted above. Seems pretty definitive to me. Apparently not so to O’Leary. Why not?

    There have also been multiple sessions at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meetings on this and related subjects, which have condemned the use of evolutionary biology to support racism.

    Last, but not least, one could also read The Mismeasure of Man, perhaps the strongest indictment of “scientific racism” published in the second half of the 20th century, by Stephen Jay Gould, one of the premier evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, and a tireless opponent of racism and the perversion of evolutionary science for political means.

    I made a prediction last time: none of these will satisfy O’Leary, because her demand is not made with the expectation that there will be any evidence to the contrary. No, her demand is that some unspecified “world association of evolutionary biologists” make a “public retraction of Charles Darwin’s views”, which would, of course, include his theory of evolution.

    And lo and behold, O’Leary has done precisely what I predicted she would do. She has ignored any and all evidence that evolutionary biologists have done precisely what she claimed she wants us to do, and continued to demand that “Darwinists, just divorce racism”. Yes, it’s usually the case that ID supporters pointedly ignore any and all evidence that evolutionary biology might actually have a valid explanation for the evolution of life on Earth. And it’s also the case that many of the commentators at this website very clearly haven’t gotten the memo that ID isn’t about denying evolutionary explanations, it’s about a different theory of evolution, one in which the Intelligent Designer “guides” evolution to places where it couldn’t get on its own. But to me it’s very telling that O’Leary very pointedly ignores any and all evidence that “Darwinists”, both individually and collectively, have repudiated racism and eugenics, on multiple occasions.

    So, here you go, O’Leary. In the interests of honest debate and intellectual integrity, we expect you to call for all of the religious organizations that have opposed Darwin’s scientific theories to do the same thing you demand of evolutionary biologists. That is, publicly retract their previous support for racism, based on their religious views. You can start with these:

    • William Bell Riley – who founded the World Christian Fundamentals Association and sent William Jennings Bryan to Dayton, Tennessee in 1925 to prosecute John T. Scopes for teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee’s Butler Act- advocated white supremacy as well as a ban on the teaching of evolution.

    • Evangelist Billy Sunday endorsed the Klan Kreed of white supremacy and bitterly attacked evolution.

    • Early in the 20th century, Bob Jones Sr’s revivals were supported financially by the Ku Klux Klan. Later, as most religious denominations in the US denounced the Klan, Southern Baptists – whose denomination was organized in 1845 as a haven for pro-slavery Baptists – were “unanimously silent on the question of the Klan” Southern Baptists opposed not only integration and other antiracist efforts, but also the teaching of evolution, denouncing Darwinism as “a soul-destroying, Bible-destroying, and God-dishonoring theory”. Sound familiar?

    • Bob Jones University, founded by Bob Jones Sr. in 1927 (two years after the Scopes trial) as “a college with high academic standards; an emphasis on culture; and a down-to-earth, practical Christian philosophy of self-control that was both orthodox and fervent in its evangelistic spirit”. Until a massive public-relations problem forced the university to reconsider its policy in 2000, it prohibited interracial dating, which was viewed as “playing into the hand of the Antichrist” by defying God’s will regarding God-made differences among the races.

    • For over a century the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) justified their racist discrimination against non-whites on their theology, and also opposed evolutionary theory as being both wrong and productive of anti-Christian values and behavior. Recently their racist practices have been toned down, but not as a result of a repudiation of their former theological positions, but rather on the basis of “new revelations”, tempered by political expedience.

    I can keep this up as long as you can, O’Leary, and if you continue to avoid my questions it will eventually occur to even the most biased readers of this blog that perhaps you aren’t really interested in “truth”, but simply scoring propaganda points.

  13. DaveScot (#6): “Speaking of influential books and divorcing oneself from the unsavory views of their authors do you divorce yourself from the racism, brutality, slavery, and misogynism found in the old testament?

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

    The Bible reports brutality, slavery, and other nefarious deeds of human beings—it does not condone them. You now have no point.

    We know in 1837 and 1838, that is, twenty years before Darwin published, he rejected the Bible (Autobio:85-87). THEN he “noticed” that apes in the London zoo resembled dark skinned peoples that he had encountered on the previous five year Beagle voyage (Edward Larson, “Evolution: The History Of A Remarkable Theory” 2004:66-67). The point is, AFTER God is rejected as creator of mankind, Charles Darwin relied upon his pre-existing racism to answer a question about human origins that did not exist before.

    Charles Darwin:

    “Nearly all will exclaim, your arguments are good but look at the immense difference. between man, —forget the use of language, & judge only by what you see. compare, the Fuegian & Ourang & outang, & dare to say difference so great” (Notebook M, 1838:153).

    Human evolution was born in Darwin’s racist mind. This is what happens when the Genesis Creator is rejected as maker of Adamkind.

    According to MIT Professor Huston Smith: “In 1919 the Brooklyn Zoo exhibited an African American caged alongside chimpanzees and gorillas” (”Why Religion Matters” 2001:17).

    And we had been told since Darwin published “Descent Of Man” in 1871 that human evolution was based on evidence. The evidence says human evolution was based on gutter racism.

    As for the Bible and Christianity: Joseph married Pharaoh’s daughter; the birthright children, Ephraim and Manasseh, were half African. Moses married an Ethiopian woman. The O.T makes a huge deal of the fact that Naaman the Syrian got healed by God while lepers in Israel did not. St. Mark was the Bishop at Alexandria. The Ethiopian eunuch was converted by an original Apostle in the Book of Acts. The origins of Christianity embraced dark skinned peoples as did Judaism.

    The origin of Darwinism, as we have seen, was based in gutter racism (dark skinned peoples “resembling” apes).

    Ray

  14. DaveScot wrote:

    Denyse,

    Speaking of influential books and divorcing oneself from the unsavory views of their authors do you divorce yourself from the racism, brutality, slavery, and misogynism found in the old testament?

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    More to the point, just as she demands “darwinian organisations” (rather than individuals) to distance themselves from Darwin, she should insist on the Catholic church divorcing itself from these things.

  15. Seversky (#1): “Eugenics is a form of directed evolution in which a favored ‘race’ is ‘encouraged’ to propagate at the expense of less-favored races which are allowed to dwindle away to extinction as they lose the competition for resources or are actively eliminated.”

    “Eugenics” is a euphemism for “white superiority.”

    R.A. Fisher, the so called greatest scientist since Darwin, a man who had no degree in biology or any degree higher than a four year degree, was Professor of Eugenics.

    The so called “evidence of evolution” gave powerful white men in science the “facts” to justify their pre-existing white superiority beliefs.

    Recently Darwinian micro-biologist and Nobel winner, James Watson, got caught spewing “we are more intelligent than Africans” KKK idiocy. The only surprise is that he got caught.

    Ray

  16. BTW, the term for annihilating an entire species is xenocide:

    Xenocide (“zeen-oh-side” alt. “zehn-oh-side”) From Greek xenos “other” and Latin <cidium “the act of killing”.

    1. The complete annihilation of a species, either by a person or a group.

    Coined by Mormon science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card, in his 1991 novel Xenocide.

  17. Allen MacNeill:

    Thanks for your information on “xenocide”. It’s a clever and even reasonable coinage. (And since my name is “Timaeus” I didn’t even need the translation of the Greek root.) However, I’m not sure why a word dreamed up by a science fiction writer as recently as 1991 has to be accepted by everyone as standard English.

    “Xenocide” works well in the case of, say, human beings wiping out dodo birds, because we are a species, and dodo birds are an “other” species. But it’s a bit awkward to use “xenocide” for God’s wiping out man in the Flood, because, while man is a species, God is not, so man can’t really be said to be an “other” species in relation to God. So I’ll stick with my own clever coinage of “anthropicide”, which would apply whenever anyone (God or space aliens, heh, heh) wipes out the human race.

    By the way, since I have your attention directly here, I was surprised when you discontinued our earlier meaty and civilized conversation, and didn’t resume even when other UD posters (with no prompting from me) asked you to. It would be presumptuous of me to suppose that the reason you withdrew was that I had refuted all your arguments, so I infer that you simply found the exchange boring. In that case, I apologize for failing to keep up your interest.

    T.

  18. This sounds like a “boy we got ‘em we got ‘em” argument. However, it is silly and childish. Whether the modern theory of evolution is right or not is in no way based on whether darwin was a racist, or whether the scientific community acknowledges it or not.

    If all of the scientists get together and in one loud voice declare their rejection of Darwin’s racism, because Ms. O’Leary has requested it, the debate that this forum is about will in no way be impacted.

    This is a very ineffective “gotcha”.

  19. Mr. MacNeil,

    “she and the ID movement”

    A rather large brush you’re using there. Let’s keep this personal. O’Leary doesn’t speak for all of us.

  20. Timeaus

    You’re right. Xenocide doesn’t describe God’s judgement very well. He basically killed almost all of his children. Filicide is the correct term but doesn’t really convey the magnitude of the atrocity since it doesn’t imply killing one’s children by the millions.

  21. Can you find anyone from Darwin’s era that wasn’t a racist in this sense?

    Wasn’t it the biologists that have shown there’s no such thing as the concept of biological race in the human species?

  22. I certainly do not hold myself responsible for everything anyone has ever done in the name of religion, simply because I am a Catholic Christian.

    Thus, you would subscribe the following:

    The same is true of the numerous stupid and clumsy attacks on Christianity. Remarks such as “Christianity has done nothing but harm” prove only that the person who makes the remark has no tact. It is easy to criticize the political church; and even the most devout Christians condemn the atrocities committed in the name of the cross during the Inquisition and Witch Trials. But one cannot blame the mistakes and perversions of individuals on one of the most powerful institutions of mankind.

    For untold millions, the Christian religion has meant hope and spiritual elevation that transported them beyond human suffering to God. The entire culture of the Middle Ages was inspired by the sign of the Cross. The heroic deeds, self sacrifice, fervour and courage of faith all had their roots in Christianity. One must always distinguish between the, spiritual nucleus of Christianity and the distortions of its secular manifestations.

    Would you?

  23. I going to disapprove your 1st comment Seversky, I cannot allow such language about God being worse than Hitler or Stalin.

  24. George,

    “A student of history you are not Madam.”

    Apologize to Denyse.

  25. I must say that it is very telling that Denyse’s request to divorce “Descent of Man” is met with a full blown skeptic’s attack on the Bible as an counter argument.

    Why would any Darwinist try to protect their sacred books from criticism by comparing it to a religious book?

    I took part in the discussions regarding the morality of the Bible, that was mentioned here. It came from a thread called” “We cannot live by skepticism alone”. Anyone who like to measure the full strength of the skeptic arguments can go and read them on that thread. Especially notice the clear philosophical description of the skeptics irrational behavior, followed by the most beautiful examples of this behavior from the skeptic proponents themselves.

    With this said, I just like to endorse Denyse’s request, so we can once and for all get science to be accountable for the social impact it has. I despise Darwinist science for having the audacity to create a “scientific justification” for something like racism, eugenics, infanticide and the list goes on and on…

    I also despise the relativist and skeptic that conjure up his or her own concoction of reality and tries to force it down the throat of unsuspecting onlookers. In this same fashion I like to reiterate to George L Farquhar that …scream as you like, the Bible does provide a complete picture of the objective truths that successfully guided the great Western Civilization for centuries and is proven far more valuable than any scientific notions regarding social constructs. (Just measure the track record of your Oh… so precious Darwinist science’s influence in society.)

    P.S. Do you people think we can blame “Darwin’s doubt” for fueling post-modern thinking as well?

  26. 26

    Allen,

    The difference, that is being overlooked, is that Darwinian evolution is inherently a system that determines evolution only against others. It’s a comparative endeavor. If there were nothing to compare, there would be no ability to show any differences, and thus no evolution or progression from one thing to another. Applied to human races, it stands to reason that some are more evolved than others. However, the same cannot be said about the very system of Christianity, for there are only two races, the race of the first Adam, (those who are not regenerate) and the race of the second Adam (those who are washed by the Blood). And we are in the New Testament now, in which there is no such things as even the Jew or Gentile, male or female in Christ. The point is that any Christian who regarded racism as true did it IN SPITE of Christianity–not in accord with it. According to scripture, everyone can from Adam and Eve. However, Those who see differences between races have acted in accordance with Darwinian evolution, which is inherently a comparative endeavor to even discern evolution in action. We should also remember the killing of Australian aboriginals during the early part of the 20th century by Darwinian scientists who believed that they were missing links between apes and humans, and less than human and more than ape.

  27. 27

    Denyse,

    I do not want to quarrel uselessly about this.

    I kind of think you do.

    I am simply asking all members of societies that have made statements supporting Darwin vs. intelligent design to FOLLOW UP with a formal statement *divorcing* Darwin’s racism.

    That would suggest that all members of such societies care what you want.

    Now, if the Darwinists do not do it, won’t we know something useful?
    I think we will know something very useful indeed.

    What we will know is how seriously such socities take an ultimatum from you. Nothing more.

    Clive, I’m sorry if this seems “disrepsectful.” But there’s nothing remotely respectful about Denyse’s posts on this topic.

  28. I can see between the lines that this discussion is making it clear that materialistic science has very little to offer when it comes to the essence of being human, having a consciousness and acting moral. The moment materialists ventures beyond its logical bounds (i.e. when materialists start reasoning about reason) they make a mess of interpreting the artifacts of all conscious labors, (i.e. materialistic (including Darwinian) science has no place for design, which is part of the essential human nature.)

  29. Clive #25
    We should also remember the killing of Australian aboriginals during the early part of the 20th century by Darwinian scientists who believed that they were missing links between apes and humans, and less than human and more than ape.

    What are you talking about? Gun-toting Darwinian scientists rushing out of the lab to eliminate what they believe to be living evidence of the link between ape and man.

  30. Clive
    “Applied to human races, it stands to reason that some are more evolved than others.”

    What do you mean by “more evolved”?

  31. “We should also remember the killing of Australian aboriginals during the early part of the 20th century by Darwinian scientists” – Wow citation please.

    Also wasn’t the Baptist churches belief that the Negros were the decendants of Ham (and thus damned) was used as the Biblical justification for slavery.
    I think that the definition on this blog about who is a Christian is shrinking rapidly

  32. Sorry Mark,

    Why would you like to read into “killing of Australian aboriginals”, …”eliminate” the whole aboriginal population? This statement clearly implies that at least two (…plural – aboriginals) were killed just to be studied by Darwinian scientists. Your argument is a feeble attempt and shows a lack of character from someone in the wrong. (The only thing you are doing wrong is to defend Darwinisms’ foundations.)

    If killing two for science is not just as bad as trying to wipe out a whole population, then your moral compass is certainly not fixed on anything worth trusting.

    To redeem yourself and Darwinian science just have to proof to us all that not even 2 aboriginals were killed JUST to be anatomically studied.

  33. 33

    Clive Hayden

    Applied to human races, it stands to reason that some are more evolved than others.

    You highlight the exact problem when you say that. It is not at all reasonable to say that Darwinism says that some creatures are more or less evolved than any other. All living creatures (and races) are equally evolved since they have all survived to this day. However, they can be considered to be better or worse adapted for the environment in which they live. If a creature is not as well adapted as another in it’s environment, it is less likely to survive than it’s better adapted counterpart.

    The problem of eugenics arises when someone comes to the conclusion that something is less likely to survive for whatever reason, and that it therefore should not survive. It takes the logical conclusion that something is less likely to survive and transforms it into the illogical conclusion that it must not survive and that it should be helped along in some way. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the idea of how we should try and determine for ourselves how likely any creature is to survive. This is not a logical extension of Darwinism, but is in fact an illogical distortion of it.

    The same kind of problem plagues those who attempt to support racist views by utilizing the framework or Darwinism. The underlying assumption is that some creatures (or races) are “better evolved” than others, and that the other creatures/races deserve to be subjugated or eliminated because of this imagined superiority. Darwinism does not say that any creature is superior to any other creature in any way whatsoever, except in the short term sense that one creature can be better or worse adapted to it’s environment than another. Even this doesn’t imply any actual superiority of any kind, but only a higher likelihood of survival. And this can change in an instant so that something that was very well adapted to it’s environment can suddenly find itself at an extreme disadvantage when the environment changes for whatever reason.

    Let me repeat so that you don’t misunderstand. Eugenics and racism are based on the assumption that some creature or race is “more evolved” and therefore “superior” to all others, which is not a logical conclusion of Darwinism, but is a separate assumption altogether. This is all very well understood among Darwinists. It’s so patently obvious to anyone who really understands evolution that it would be ridiculous to get every evolutionary scientist and organization together just to say so.

    Now, the reason that people bring up Christianity when replying to the accusations that you’re throwing is because you argue exactly the same thing to justify the fact that you have not “apologized” for Christian atrocities at the same level that you demand of Darwinists. That is to say that slavery, racism, genocide, etc… in the name of Christianity are all distortions of Christianity, and do not follow from a proper reading of the Bible or a proper understanding of Christianity. This is exactly the same problem that plagues Darwinism, and yet you choose to pretend that Christianity is justified in claiming this, while Darwinism is not.

  34. Re #29

    Mullerp – I was only asking hat he was talking about. I am not aware of a single case of an aboriginal being killed for “scientific” purposes. Do you know of any?

  35. As far as I know there are some receipts, signed by scientists, for orders placed on aboriginal corpses, but I have no reference for you. I read it in some history book long ago. I suppose someone here might be able to verify that for you or you can phone the “Department of Aboriginal affairs in Australia”, they tend to keep track of these kind of thing.

    Let me know if you are redeemed or if it actually happened the way Clive stated the facts.

  36. KRiS,

    Is this your own definition:

    “All living creatures (and races) are equally evolved since they have all survived to this day.”

    Could you give me a reference from any of Darwins’ writings that supports this view? Sorry my friend your sugar coat does not stick.

    Your adaptation spiel is very modern and would imply that people like the Australian aboriginals and the San people of Southern Africa is fare more advanced than the westerners if it comes to surviving in harsh climates. However in the Western environment the well adapted indigenous people tend to become very unstable to the extent that whole populations implode (think of the North American Indians).

    Heaven forbid a future where only the one human culture survives because evolution so decrees. Remember, culture create human environment and is a product of “human reason” and even though evolution is not very good at explaining anything, it is particularly bad when it want to explain “human reason”.

  37. Re #32

    mullerpr

    I think maybe you having me on. You can hardly be serious.

    You make an accusation based on something you read in some history book long. You give almost no information about who is accused, what they did or when they did it.

    Then you expect those you query your accusation to redeem themselves by calling the “Department of Aboriginal affairs in Australia” (in my case from the UK). If they fail to do this then the alternative is that the accusation is true.

    Guilty until proven innocent – I guess?

  38. KRiS,

    Your attempt to justify the argument from Christian atrocities miss the point completely and only throws Darwinism into a religious basket with Christianity. I know for one thing ID as an ideology never wants to share that basket with Darwinism and Christianity or any fallen state of human thought. At least ID strive to something better, as does Christianity.

    This challenge from Denyse is designed to redeem Darwinism from this “religious like” conduct. But if you want to keep that argument to defend Darwinism then you have to accept Darwinism as a “fallen theory” born from evil moral thoughts (…see the religious words?).

    The nice thing about Christianity is that it boldly acknowledge the fallen state of humans and supply all humans with a proven and effective way to redeem themselves and overcome evils like racism.

    As I mentioned in another thread. It was Christians like William Wilberforce that took the lead in abolishing slavery, because the fallen state of man corrupted it. If any secularist want to claim they are more successful at protecting all peoples’ dignity and freedom, then I would beg them to proof their case in an African context.

    In conclusion… All arguments here supports the fact that Darwinism has to be counted in with religions like Christianity and not with science.

  39. Mark at #34,

    Your argument is with Clive, I simply pointed out that your argument in #28 is dumb and that you should have shown Clive that not even 2 aboriginals has been killed for science in those days. He made a claim and your counter claim will be worthless if you cannot substantiate it.

    The fact that I did read some where some time ago about science experiments on aboriginals is just as valid as your claim that you are “…not aware of a single case of an aboriginal being killed for “scientific” purposes. Do you know of any?”

    Shifting the burden of proof does nothing to resolve this argument. To help you I will be on the look out for a reference in this regards.

  40. 40

    mullerpr [32]

    As far as I know there are some receipts, signed by scientists, for orders placed on aboriginal corpses, but I have no reference for you. I read it in some history book long ago. I suppose someone here might be able to verify that for you or you can phone the “Department of Aboriginal affairs in Australia”, they tend to keep track of these kind of thing.

    Let me know if you are redeemed or if it actually happened the way Clive stated the facts.

    This looks like an interesting topic, but my Google searches haven’t come up with anything except undocumented claims by someone named Carl Wieland. If Darwinian scientists deliberately killed Australian aborigines, that would have been an atrocity and should be widely known. What were the facts? Who were these cruel and callous people? Names, dates, and places are needed.

    [37]

    To help you I will be on the look out for a reference in this regards.

    Indeed, mullerpr, it is great to have your help in digging out the facts.

  41. mullerpr

    #37

    I fear you are being serious. How do I set about showing that “not even 2 aboriginals has been killed for science in those days”. It is virtually impossible to prove such a negative (e.g. can you provide evidence that no ID supporter has used violence to support their aims?) Surely it is for Clive or someone to first clarify their accusation (which was the intention behind #28) and then provide evidence.

  42. 42

    Mark Frank [39]:

    Please show some patience. I’m confident that the evidence will soon be provided.

  43. 43

    mullerpr

    “All living creatures (and races) are equally evolved since they have all survived to this day.”
    Could you give me a reference from any of Darwins’ writings that supports this view?

    Unfortunately I cannot because I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of his writings. When I say that they are equally evolved, I’m using the word “evolved” in the sense of “adapted for survival”. All living creatures are (so far) equally adapted for survival as is evidenced by the fact that they have survived until now. As for the future, who knows?

    However in the Western environment the well adapted indigenous people tend to become very unstable to the extent that whole populations implode (think of the North American Indians).

    Heaven forbid a future where only the one human culture survives because evolution so decrees.

    This really highlights another false assumption that people here are working under. That is the assumption that the theory of evolution dictates what should happen, rather than describing what does happen. The instability you describe is a result of the change in their environment caused by the invasion of other species or (in the case of the North American Indians) races. They were unable to adapt quickly enough, which is often the case with what is known as an invasive species (or in this case invasive races). Does this mean that it should happen? Of course not. Does Darwinism dictate that any invasive species/race must wipe out any existing species/race? Of course not. It describes what can and often does happen when an invasive species/race does appear. Anyone who attempts to “cause” evolution by attempting to subjugate or exterminate another species/race is working on a false assumption of their own superiority and on the false assumption that Darwinism is proscriptive rather than descriptive. Both are distortions of Darwinism.

    DaveScot

    “Evolved” is synonymous with “changed”.

    Okay, I can accept that, though I don’t think that that’s the way that Clive was using the word. (see above for my explanation of my own use of the word) If we use your definition, then Clive’s statement can be paraphrased as “Applied to human races, it stands to reason that some [have changed more] than others.” While this may or may not be true (I’m not even sure how you’d measure that within a single species), his usage implies that this means that “changed more than others” necessarily equates to superiority. Again, Darwinism is concerned only with survivability and puts no value judgment whatsoever on whether one creature is better or worse than another. In the case of evolved meaning “changed more than others”, that can actually be a disadvantage in many cases. For instance, sharks have remained stable for so long because they are so well adapted to their environment that too much change can put a shark at a disadvantage (unless of course one assumes that they have not changed only because they haven’t mutated or gotten a virus or been modified in any way for that long…I kind of doubt that myself). If one were to force a value judgment on this, then a “more evolved” shark would be “inferior”. That aside, the original point still stands in that the assumption that “more evolved” (by any definition) equals superior is an assumption made apart from Darwinism and is a distortion of the theory, not a logical consequence of it.

    You’re a troll but even worse you’re a moron. Take a hint and take a hike numbnuts.

    I’m curious about just how quickly I would be banned if I were to use similar language.

  44. DaveScott
    ““Evolved” is synonymous with “changed”. If we begin with the standard assumption that all life diversified from one or a few cell lines beginning billions of years ago then quite obviously some cell lines changed more than others. Thus some cell lines are move evolved than others.”

    How can you quantify this out of interest?

  45. Re #38

    Adel – I think you have found the source! This is a story that seems to be recycled around some of the more bizarre creationists (and I mean creationist not ID) including Carl Wieland.

    Well at least I know what Clive was referring to…

  46. 46

    Mark Frank,

    Let’s let Clive speak for himself.

  47. Adel DiBagno:

    If Darwinian scientists deliberately killed Australian aborigines, that would have been an atrocity and should be widely known. What were the facts? Who were these cruel and callous people? Names, dates, and places are needed.

    You want documentation. OK. Here it is. It doesn’t actually show Darwinian scientists killing Australian aborigines, but they certainly did everything else short of that. Warning: this will turn your stomach.

    http://www.griffith.edu.au/gri.....l_Ed21.pdf

  48. 48

    A few minutes searching on Google produced this:

    http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/hist.....rnbull.htm

    Fairly compelling academic research into Darwinist-motivated killing of aborigines, from a source that isn’t associated with any creationist organisation as far as I can tell.

    For what it’s worth, I’m with DonaldM on all of this and I think that this subsequent discussion is a bit of red herring. Sure, some Darwinists are racists and have used Darwinism to justify their positions. So, sadly, are some Christians, though in my view it takes a lot more ingenuity to justify their position from the Bible when in fact it teaches the exact opposite.

    Either way, this is a science blog and the only really pertinent question is whether the logic of ID leads to racism in the same way as the logic of Darwinism clearly does. No-one, as far as I know, has tried to argue that, so perhaps we should wind all of this up.

  49. KRiS,

    I sure don’t know why David used such harsh words to describe your condition and I don’t approve of that. However, I haven’t read much of your musings on UD and the current sample that I had makes it clear that you haven’t think your subject through.

    I said in #33:
    “Heaven forbid a future where only the one human culture survives because evolution so decrees. ”

    Let me help you quickly. Evolution is always progressive in the core of its assumptions – without it there is no evolution. “Adaptation to the environment” means things must progress to benefit some evolving entity individually and entities collectively (Over time evolution is oblivious to the steps in between. The fact is according to evolution progress has to happen.). In that sense evolution does decrees progress – like a force of nature.

    For anyone considering this kind of inevitable “natural progression” …always to something better adapted, it should logically followed that the ultimate state within a specific environment (like earth or our universe or a multi-verse for that matter) has to be reached. For us humans I simply called that state “one culture” or you can see it as “the single best adapted culture” (Today we even have a process called Globalization to depict this drive to progress.) Again… evolution decrees this type of progression and since “TIME is on evolution’s side” this will happen.

    (You should think this one through… For instance: …if evolutionary progression is inevitable and there is an infinite number of past evolutionary events, then it logically follows (regardless of the infinite “steps in between” withing infinite number of environments) that the ultimate evolutionary state has to have emerged and infinite number of events ago. This ultimate evolutionary state must be fully adapted to any possible environment. It will therefore also have all the properties we currently attribute to God and a lot more adapted traits that we cannot even imagine.)

    Back to your argument:
    Your counter argument is counter evolutionary as well. Try again and try to focus on understanding an argument before you assume ignorance. Also… work from the strengths of your argument without changing it to suite your perceptions.

    P.S. You might find this difficult to accommodate but if you manage to understand something like Alvin Plantinga’s “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism” then you will start to see all the weird and wonderful “logical” consequences of evolutionary thinking. It is fun, you should try it.

  50. Count me with Denyse on this one. It’s one thing to apologize for evil, and indeed materialists have apologized for evil committed in the name of their ideology, but I have yet to see them consider the connection between ideology and action.

    Such blindness is a hallmark of the Cultural Left. What materialism seems unable to do is introspect.

    Also I’m rather disgusted with the vilification of the Hebrew Scriptures by so many so utterly ignorant of what they really say and of the three and a half millennia of Jewish interpretation. If you don’t have the guts to trash the Koran then why trash the Book that inspired the liberty and freedoms you now enjoy?

    As David Gelernter, a victim of the Unabomber, has pointed out many times, America’s founders were more students of the Old Testament than the New, this because the former was most concerned with matters of state and the latter a little more with survival as a powerless minority.

    What would shock me is to see the materialists admit that Darwinism can be dangerous. Not the misuse of Darwinism or the perversion of Darwinism, but simply taking Darwin seriously unguided by any attachment to traditional morality. When they quit changing the subject to an attack the Jewish Book and introspect just a little, maybe then Denyse will quit bringing it up.

  51. Re #44:

    “Even so, I could find no credible evidence that any would?be skeletal collector in Queensland frontier districts had been directly implicated in the killing of Aboriginal people for their remains.”

    “There is no conclusive proof that the bones Lamond offered the museum were of people killed by the Native Police.”

    Direct quotes from the pdf. I don’t know what kind of stories you consider to be “evidence”, but neither of these would be admitted in a court of law. Indeed, a prosecutor attempting to do so would be flirting with a contempt of court citation by most judges.

    So, your “smoking gun” evidence consists of hearsay and fourth-hand stories.

    Typical…

  52. Just to put atrocities in perspective:

    “Atheist Atrocities
    We’ll grant you the witch-hunts, the Inquisition, and some of the Crusades, but beyond that, organized Christianity can’t really be blamed for the killing of innocents. No, you atheists have pretty much cornered the market on murder and mayhem, bearing responsibility for over 259 million deaths around the world. In fact, atheist governments, which are also largely Communist, have killed more people than all the wars of the past century. The Soviet Union alone took 126 million lives, while Communist China has murdered 114 million people and counting. By way of comparison, note that during the 25 years of the Spanish Inquisition only 2,000 individuals were executed, while the atheist governments of Vietnam, North Korea, and Cambodia have killed 3 million people each. The most telling statistic? Try this: 41 percent of all deaths in the twentieth century were perpetrated by atheist governments—during peacetime, mind you, and against their own people. I know what you’re going to say—atheism didn’t kill these people; they were murdered by confused individuals who just happened to be atheists—but then that pretty much lets us all off the hook, now doesn’t it?”

    This is from a Christian magazine called Salvo. Now the 41% number is obviously wrong so I am guessing that it may mean non natural deaths or something like that.

    Also from the same magazine

    “What’s So Great About Christianity

    The New Atheists maintain that “religion poisons everything”—that Christianity in particular is responsible for all that is wrong with the world and nothing that is right. Well, they may want to recheck their facts. Here are just a few of Christianity’s contributions to civilization: The rise of science that began in the sixteenth century can be directly attributed to Christian Scholasticism and the medieval Catholic universities. In fact, most major scientific advances throughout history stemmed from the belief that God had ordered the universe in such a way that its secrets could be discovered.

    •It was the Christian conclusion that slavery was an abomination in the eyes of God that led to its abolishment in the West.

    •Most of the great art of the past two millennia was inspired by Christianity. Artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, El Greco, and even Dali—to name just a few—all took their cue from the Christian Scriptures and church tradition, as did writers such as Dante and Chaucer.

    •Prior to the Civil War, 92 percent of American colleges and universities were established by a branch of the Christian church, including Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale, William and Mary, the University of California, and Northwestern.

    •Every hospital that bears the prefix “St.” in its name evidences the foundational role that Christianity played in worldwide healthcare; and the world’s most successful charitable organizations, including the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and the YMCA, all have Christian origins.

    •There are no predominantly Christian nations in the world that fail to ensure religious freedom. It is only in non-Christian countries, such as China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, that religious freedom is inhibited.

    •Due to St. Paul’s pronouncement that “there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Christian women throughout the world fare much better than their non-Christian peers, experiencing statistically less gender-related oppression, violence, and dehumanization.”

    You may want to quibble over the details but essentially Christianity has been a very big plus on the plus/minus scale (my favorite hockey statistic.)

  53. We must not for a moment seek to excuse the excesses of the organized Church or atrocities committed in its name, but at the same time we do well to contrast, as Jerry does in 49, the historic influence of Bible based religion with the Dark Side of the Enlightenment whose prophets claimed the mantle of messiah. Solzhenitsyn may have missed some of his own Christendom’s failings, but he surely touched a nerve of that Dark Side in his Harvard Address.

    Oh, and perchance some might want to read Gelernter’s Americanism – & Its Enemies, originally published in Commentary.

  54. In #45 Stephen Morris claims that the article by Turnbull contains:

    “Fairly compelling academic research into Darwinist-motivated killing of aborigines…”

    Nothing in the article posted qualifies as “evidence” of any kind,; certainly not evidence that would hold up in any court of law (or be accepted by any scientific journal).

    Here are the only three quotations from Turnbull’s article relating to this topic. All of them are from letters about “how things used to be” (two from the same correspondent). Neither relate any documented event, and no other “evidence” is presented:

    “A Gorilla or a Chimpanzee can be caught and sent alive to the Zoological Gardens, or killed and forwarded in a cask of rum to the British Museum, but loud would be the outcry were similar attempts made to promote the study of Anthropology (Busk, 1862, p. 348).” [Turnbull calls this a "lighthearted" comment; i.e. a joke]

    Note the date of Busk’s letter; Darwin’s Descent of Man was published in 1871. Prior to 1871, Darwin did not publish anything about the evolution of humans.

    “To what strange uses are our noble primeval inhabitants to be devoted! At your prices I could have procured about œ2000 worth in the last six years. I shall start on the warpath again! Hope to succeed in slaughtering some stray skeleton (Mitchell Library MSS 1589/2/193)”

    And:

    The shooting season is over in Queensland and the ‘Black Game’ is protected now by more humane laws than formerly. So it is impossible to obtain reliable skulls & skeletons (Turnbull, 1991, p. 115).

    No statements about “Darwinian scientists” either killing Aborigines or contracting with anyone to do so, or even encouraging someone to do so. And, of course, no evidence that anything like that ever happened.

    Indeed, Turnbull’s only mention of “Darwinistic” science comes in this sentence:

    “The rapid acceptance of Darwinistic modes of thought from the early 1860s is traditionally seen as a watershed in the history of the human sciences.

    Again, Darwin’s Descent of Man was published in 1871.

    Turnbull then ads this:

    However, we would do well not to overlook some important historical continuities, notably how procurement, exhibition and giving of Aboriginal remains served a variety of social ends.[Emphasis added]

    Interesting; why didn’t Turnbull say “scientific” or “Darwinist” ends? Because the whole thrust of his article was about the social perversion of anthropological and archaeological science, and especially the desecration of Aboriginal burial sites by grave-robbers (who sold artifacts obtained by grave-robbing to museums). IOW, Turnbull’s article is not about the direct application of Darwin’s theory of evolution to the procurement of museum specimens, nor does it contain any evidence that “Darwinists” (as opposed to anthropologists and archaeologists) were involved in questionable means of obtaining specimens from grave-robbers.

    Now let’s compare this to Clive’s Hayden’s assertion in #25:

    “We should also remember the killing of Australian aboriginals during the early part of the 20th century by Darwinian scientists who believed that they were missing links between apes and humans, and less than human and more than ape.” [Emphasis added]

    What are we supposed to remember? Clearly, we are supposed to remember something that never happened, and for which there is no documentary evidence of any kind.

    Is there anyone reading this who thinks that Clive’s assertion does not qualify as blatant propaganda, if not an outright lie?

  55. Allen,

    Sorry to say but your attempt does not work. This is certainly not a complete case in a single reference. What would help you far better than attacking this reference is if you could bring us some references where a scholarly study show that the alleged events did not take place. Show us the alibi, because there is a prima facie case on the table.

    Be careful about the “client” you want to represent… It might turn out that you need to have a certain Darwin on the stand testifying about “Descent of Man”.

  56. “We’ll grant you the witch-hunts, the Inquisition, and some of the Crusades, but beyond that, organized Christianity can’t really be blamed for the killing of innocents. No, you atheists have pretty much cornered the market on murder and mayhem, bearing responsibility for over 259 million deaths around the world. In fact, atheist governments, which are also largely Communist, have killed more people than all the wars of the past century.”

    This is a bit of a digression but this comparison strikes me as unreasonable. The communist governments were atheist but with some far smaller exceptions they didn’t kill people because they were religious. They killed them because they didn’t conform to their plans, were intellectuals, were seen as potential rebels, all sorts of horrific reasons – but rarely because they were religious.

    Virtually all government in Europe from the Dark Ages until the end of the 18th Century was through Christian monarchs who considered themselves justified by the divine right of Kings. Are we to blame Christianity for everyone they killed? Of course not. And we should not blame atheism for everyone atheists have killed.

  57. Allen MacNeill does us a service if he dispels any aspect of these claims that are not true (if he actually can), because when the truth is on your side embracing exagerations and urban legends always weaken you. But one also wonders at the reluctance to see the straight line between Darwinism and the eugenics movement and the upsurge of racism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Yes, supporters of the biblical God do well to acknowledge evil committed in the name of that God. But in so doing let’s not acquiesce to the adversaries claim that that evil can be rightly justified by the Book. The point here is whether materialism and its attendant utilitarianism or Übermensch or nihilism has within itself the logical resources to avoid the next holocaust. That is not to say that we in our common humanity cannot revolt against such horror, it’s just that you cannot root that revolt in Darwinism.

  58. 58

    Kris,

    “You highlight the exact problem when you say that. It is not at all reasonable to say that Darwinism says that some creatures are more or less evolved than any other. All living creatures (and races) are equally evolved since they have all survived to this day.”

    You part company with everyone who talks about a higher or lower life forms in evolution, including Darwin himself. The definition of evolution changes as much as evolution it seems. Evolution, it seems to me, can only be discerned by comparison to others who are similar enough to be directly linked by comparison, and yet evolution is supposed to be evidential by concentrating on the differences by comparison. Apply this to humans, and the logical inference is that some “races” are more along a continuum than others. Unless you want to define evolution as anything that ever does anything, you have to have an idea of a progression, as opposed to a digression, otherwise, if evolution is defined as the mere movement in any direction, nothing would stand to falsify it, except staying static, but nothing would stand to falsify the direction itself, and so it would become vacuous; it would be like congratulating yourself for reaching your destination, and defining your destination as the place that you’ve reached. I can’t understand a construction of evolution in that way. Please forgive me if I misunderstood your point. Evolution has to be directional, and if it is not directional by definition, I can’t see how it is an evolution.

  59. Clive at #57

    I imagine you wrote this before reading the subsequent comments where Wieland and other evidence is discussed.

  60. 60

    Apply this to humans, and the logical inference is that some “races” are more along a continuum than others. Unless you want to define evolution as anything that ever does anything, you have to have an idea of a progression, as opposed to a digression, otherwise, if evolution is defined as the mere movement in any direction, nothing would stand to falsify it, except staying static, but nothing would stand to falsify the direction itself, and so it would become vacuous; it would be like congratulating yourself for reaching your destination, and defining your destination as the place that you’ve reached. I can’t understand a construction of evolution in that way.

    It’s no wonder you believe that Darwinism necessarily leads to racism and eugenics. You assume a priori that there is a goal or destination that evolution is leading toward, and that therefore some people or creatures (presumably humans of your own race, or possibly another race if you’re a self hating whatever) are “closer” to this goal. Evolution has no goal. It has no direction except the immediate direction of survivability. This is why there is so much divergence into so many different classes and families and species of animals. Each population changes in whatever way is available to it at the moment, and this change is different for almost every creature depending on the environment in which it finds itself. Successful changes are those that allow survival. There is no better or worse, more or less evolved (in the sense that I explained before), or closer or farther from the “goal”.

    Evolution has to be directional, and if it is not directional by definition, I can’t see how it is an evolution.

    The underlying assumption here is that if something moves in a given direction then it must be because it was supposed to move in that direction. The fact that evolution moves in any direction at all (and obviously it must because it is not static) gives plenty of opportunities for falsification without having to assume that the direction was somehow preordained or was somehow moving toward a specific goal. You can believe that that is the case if you want, but it is not a prediction of the theory of evolution so much as your own beliefs projecting themselves upon the theory.

  61. In my opinion, O’Leary is not arguing that Darwin was a racist and therefore all evolutionists are racists. I think she is saying that the theory of evolution itself leads to racism if taken at face value. After all, many famous proponents of evolution including Nobel prize winners (e.g., Crick and Watson) have used their understanding of evolution to cast doubt on the equality of the races. This makes sense because evolution seems to argue for the superiority or inferiority of various species depending on their ability to compete for survival.

    As to the accusation that the Bible is racist, let me point out that Mosaic law forbade the children of Israel to mistreat foreigners. In fact, any foreigner who wanted to become an Israelite and accepted its laws and statutes was to be treated the same way as any direct descendent of Israel (Jacob). God even forbade the Israelites to harass the children of Ishmael, the son of Abraham (half brother of Jacob) and the ancestor of modern Arabs. There are many passages in the Bible where God showed favor to people or individuals of various races or ethnic backgrounds.

    As to the further accusation of genocide on the part of the God of the Bible, let me point out that God does not judge humans according to their racial/genetic lineage but according to their spirits. All spirits are bad (e.g., David was an adulterer and a murderer). So God does not judge according to one’s righteousness or race. He must know something about the human spirit that we don’t. As far as I know, spirits do not evolve over generations or change during the course of one’s lifetime. They just are.

    Of course, my argument means nothing to materialists but it should ring a bell among Christians.

  62. “They killed them because they didn’t conform to their plans, were intellectuals, were seen as potential rebels, all sorts of horrific reasons – but rarely because they were religious.”

    What a pathetic comment. This is a new low in justification and puts color to every comment the originator makes or has made. We point out a couple hundred million killed and this is the response. You do not think the lack of any moral standard or religious morals might have had something to do with this. I would have attacked it on the numbers. It was my impression the number was about 100 million but then again that would not look good to be haggling over such a number. Does not make those goody goody atheists look so good.

    I would bet a lot of those eliminated especially in Russia, China and Vietnam had a religious orientation that would not have accepted the atheism of communism and thus had to be eliminated. But don’t let a little issue let you in the way of wiping them out.

  63. In #55 mullerpr wrote:

    “Show us the alibi, because there is a prima facie case on the table. Be careful about the “client” you want to represent… It might turn out that you need to have a certain Darwin on the stand testifying about Descent of Man.”

    CASE: People v. Charles Darwin et al

    JUDGE: Hon. Public O’Pinion, presiding

    PROSECUTOR: C. Haydon, DA, assisted by P. R. Muller (of the law firm of Haydon, Muller, and O’Leary)

    DEFENDANT: C. Darwin and un-named co-conspirators

    CHARGE: That the Defendant did knowingly, deliberately, and with malice aforethought incite and conspire with co-conspirators to murder two Australian Aborigines (unnamed) for the purpose of using their remains for scientific experiments and display

    PRINCIPLE WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION: P. Turnbull (at http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/hist.....rnbull.htm and http://www.griffith.edu.au/gri.....l_Ed21.pdf )

    COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENSE: A. MacNeill, Esq.

    JUDGE PIONION: Gentlemen, if you please, your opening statements.

    C. HAYDON, DA: The prosecution will show that the defendant indirectly conspired with Darwinian scientists to cause the deliberate murder of two Australian Aborigines (unnamed) for the purpose of using their remains for scientific experiments and display. Furthermore, the prosecution will show that the defendant’s public statements on the subject of human evolution clearly support the allegation that the defendant did so as a result of his racist viewpoints about the victims, who the defendant clearly believed were a “lesser form of life” and therefore deserved nothing more than to be slaughtered as museum specimens.

    A. MACNEILL, CftD: The defense will show that 1) no such murder was committed, 2) that the defendant did not believe that Australian Aborigines (and, by extension, no other human “race”) were a “lesser form of life” and therefore deserved nothing more than to be slaughtered as museum specimens. Furthermore, the defense will show that the prosecution has brought charges against the defendant for spurious and defamatory purposes unrelated to the defendant’s scientific theories.

    JUDGE PIONION: The Prosecution may proceed.

    C. HAYDON, DA: Call P. Turnbull, chief witness for the prosecution.

    (Turnbull takes his place on the witness stand)

    C. HAYDON, DA: Mr. Turnbull, would you please tell the court what you discovered in the course of your studies concerning the charges against the defendant, Mr. Darwin?

    P. TURNBULL: “I could find no credible evidence that any would-be skeletal collector in Queensland frontier districts had been directly implicated in the killing of Aboriginal people for their remains.” [http://www.griffith.edu.au/griffithreview/campaign/apo/apo_ed21/Turnbull_Ed21.pdf]

    C. HAYDON, DA: But, Mr. Turnbull, didn’t you in your deposition quote a Mr. Busk to the effect that “A Gorilla or a Chimpanzee can be caught and sent alive to the Zoological Gardens, or killed and forwarded in a cask of rum to the British Museum, but loud would be the outcry were similar attempts made to promote the study of Anthropology”? [http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/articles/turnbull.htm]

    A. MACNEILL, CftD: Objection, your honor. The witness’s testimony is hearsay.

    JUDGE PIONION: Objection sustained. You may proceed, Mr. Hayden.

    C. HAYDON, DA: Mr. Turnbull, did you in your deposition quote an un-named correspondent to the effect that ““To what strange uses are our noble primeval inhabitants to be devoted! At your prices I could have procured about œ2000 worth in the last six years. I shall start on the warpath again! Hope to succeed in slaughtering some stray skeleton”? [http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/articles/turnbull.htm]

    A. MACNEILL, CftD: Objection again, your honor. This testimony is hearsay as well.

    C. HAYDON, DA: Mr. Turnbull, did you in your deposition quote another un-named correspondent to the effect that “The shooting season is over in Queensland and the ‘Black Game’ is protected now by more humane laws than formerly. So it is impossible to obtain reliable skulls & skeletons”? [http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/articles/turnbull.htm]

    A. MACNEILL, CftD: Once again, I object, your honor. Like all of the testimony presented by the prosecution so far, this testimony is hearsay and has no place in a court of law.

    JUDGE PIONION: Objection sustained. Mr. Hayden, your principle witness has testified that the crime with which the defendant is charged did not, in fact, take place. Are you prepared to present evidence that it has?

    P.R. Muller, AssDA: But, your honor, there is a prima facie case on the table!

    JUDGE PIONION: Mr. Muller, there is no such thing. It appears to this court that the Prosecution has failed to present a case that an actus reus has even been committed, much less that they have presented a case of mens rea on the part of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Therefore, it is therefore the judgment of this court that this case be dismissed and that the defendant is absolved of all charges of directly or indirectly inciting the murder of anyone. Mr. Darwin, you are free to go.

    And Mr. Haydon and Mr. Murphy, you are hereby warned that any further attempts to bring charges of this nature against innocent members of the scientific community will be dealt with in the same fashion as this case has. You have been warned.

    POSTSCRIPT: Read this:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive......html#more

    And yes, the abbreviation DA does indeed stand for “Duck’s Ass”

  64. 65

    Mark Frank [59]

    Clive at #57

    I imagine you wrote this before reading the subsequent comments where Wieland and other evidence is discussed.

    As I recall, Clive did post a reference to the same Wieland material on this thread earlier today.

    That post is now gone, and it’s to Clive’s credit that he vaporized it.

    (It doesn’t look good for ID supporters to quote Creationist slanders.)

  65. “… innocent members of the scientific community …” There you go again! Particular murders and dispicable acts need to be dealt with in a court of law, but as good liberals would we muzzle the historian who seeks “root causes”?

    On the other hand let us not suppose that religion itself is the answer—not even the gods are. A few years back when I was in Nara the story in the brochures was that Shintoism, which honored the gods, was not an ethical religion, and hence the introduction of Buddhism as here with the T?dai-ji (???). Thus the Japanese simultaneously adhere to two religions: Shinto for the gods and Buddhism for ethics.

    I have worked with people who have taught their religion by narrating the exploits of the gods, how that the gods introduced to the world murder and adultery and theft, and then they admonish the children, “Now let that be a lesson. Don’t do as the gods do!” But then think: how is that any different than the Greco-Roman religion or that of the Vikings?

    It is for this reason that the Bible is central to the rise of Western Civilization. Along that line some of you might be amused by this old article titled Return of the Gods.

  66. #63 and #66:

    Yep, this thread is over. Having realized that the original argument is now dead meat, they’ve changed the subject.

    Move along, nothing to see here…

  67. The thread did not begin with a slanderous urban legend, and if such was introduced and exposed that’s good, but it’s false to suggest that was Denyse’s original argument.

  68. First, a comment about the Australian stuff. The great slaughters of the aborigines took place in the late eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century, with the Tasmanian genocide effectively complete by the 1830s.

    The great enthusiasm of anatomists for body snatching of the various aboriginal people of the world began in the early nineteenth century and continued to the early twentieth.

    People can see all this as having a lot to do with a book published in 1871 if they want to, but I think that would be a rather strange interpretation.

    A comment on the original post that needs to be made, I think, is that its author is asking a very multi-racial, international 21st century body of people, “evolutionary biologists” to make some kind of gesture about 19th century misconceptions about race.

    I find that odd. But I think that all those interested in the question should perhaps read the book she’s referring to, as it might give us some insight to what information the Victorians actually had to go on in relation to race as compared to us.

    Hindsight is easy!

  69. 70

    No, you’re right Rude. It began with a character assassination and an attempted ultimatum, as I addressed above in [27]. It just seemed a natural place for a slanderous urban legend.

  70. 71

    Kris @ 60,

    I make no such argument that evolution is approximating to a goal or anything else–what I am saying is that it comes from something–leads out of something–and leads in a direction from that something. It is not necessary for me to talk about the destination, in order to know that some are farther ahead on the road from the origin.
    I make no claims about any pre-ordination in evolution. My argument is that evolution can only exist by comparison to those who are close to others. To see the similarities is by comparison to say that they are closely related, and to see the differences is by comparison to see how one is evolving from the other. And once that determination is made, it is discerned that the one is either more or less evolved than the other by comparison. Evolution cannot escape this comparison; it’s inherent in the very framework. Evolution is explained, after all, as the struggle for life and fitness is an environment, emphasis on struggle.

  71. Here’s a nice story

    Ota Benga: the pygmy put on display in a zoo

    http://creation.com/ota-benga-.....y-in-a-zoo

    One Scientific American article said:

    ‘The personal appearance, characteristics, and traits of the Congo pygmies … [they are] small, ape-like, elfish creatures, furtive and mischievous … [who] live in the dense tangled forests in absolute savagery, and while they exhibit many ape-like features in their bodies, they possess a certain alertness, which appears to make them more intelligent than other negroes …

  72. Those defending Darwin here against charges of racism are engaging in special pleading. Let’s cite several well-known examples from history and see who lets the following off the hook, or decide we need a special committe to decide their exact degree of racism:

    David Duke: racist or not?

    Abraham Lincoln: racist or not?

    General Erwin Rommel: racist or not?

    Cite any source or quotation you want, and I can find someone who has a *worse* case of racism than any of the above three. If I look far enough I can find some of their contemps who were better or worse. I can even invoke the “standards of the day” argument. But I am not sure any of that would matter one grain of sand to a single slave or murdered Jew, would it? Darwin was a racist, but the reason his supporters don’t llike to admit it is because it makes him almost untouchable, and as Denyse said, disgusting. If you want to believe in Evolution that’s okay, but let’s not hold Darwin to a different standard because some are emotionally invested in him.

  73. I read the entire thread.

    It is true that Darwin’s views on racism have no bearing on the veracity of TTOE.

    On the other hand to many people, (me at least) it seems reasonable that if evolution is true then certain groups/individuals of living things are in competition with each other for the means of survival. While it may not make sense to say they are more evolved, one might as easily say they are “better adapted” than others. It stands to reason that certain groups/individuals through RM and NS are “better adapted” to survive than other groups just as certain individuals are better adapted via RM and NS. (The engines of evolution)

    Further, if RM and NS produce aggressive behavior or thought systems which aids survival of individuals/group by producing domination and extinction of individuals/groups without the identical adaptation – then TTOE, as defined by the engines of RM and NS can be considered the cause of aggressive behavior and aggressive thought systems.

    Seems pretty clear to me…

    If a group of bees develops a “Killer” mentality they are better adapted and can take over the “regular” bees. (We of course actually see this happening in the Southern US.)

    The bottom line is with TTOE, Ken Miller aside, there seems to be no “ought” there is just “is.” Therefore which groups survive and which group go extinct is not a moral question at all but is instead one of survival. If a racist mentality helps a group exist/reproduce there is no moral constraint. TTOE in the least then, to my way of thinking, makes no moral judgment on racism and partially enables it by suggesting that some groups will be “better adapted” than other groups. Some groups of living things will become extinct as conditions change. It also makes good sense that groups that are “better adapted” would not want to be bred with groups that are not as well adapted and would also keep the less well adapted groups/individuals from the finite resource pool.

    I believe there is even a push now through artificial insemination to cull your kids for certain hair colors/types as well as IQ levels.

  74. Jeez guys, what does it matter if Darwin ate babies ?
    He’s dead, what lives on are his ideas, like gravity etc.
    Why the constant fixation with Darwins character?

  75. Re Darwin and racism:

    I’ve been doing a bit of research on the Web. Here’s a summary of what I found:

    (1) Scientific racism did not begin with Darwin. Allen MacNeill is quite right on this point, and I would like to apologize to him if I gave the impression that I believed Darwin was personally responsible for originating or propagating it as part of his scientific arguments. The true villains of the piece are Carol Linnaeus and Johann Blumenbach, whose work predates The Descent of Man by about a century.

    Carolus Linnaeus (1707–78), a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, who laid the bases of binomial nomenclature (the method of naming species) and is known as the “father of modern taxonomy” (the science of describing, categorizing and naming organisms) was also a pioneer in defining the concept of “race” as applied to humans. Within Homo sapiens he proposed four taxa of a lower (unnamed) rank. These categories are, Americanus, Asiaticus, Africanus, and Europeanus. They were based on place of origin at first, and later skin color. Each race had certain characteristics that were endemic to individuals belonging to it. Native Americans were reddish, stubborn, and angered easily. Africans were black, relaxed and negligent. Asians were yellow, avaricious, and easily distracted. Europeans were white, gentle, and inventive.

    In addition, in Amoenitates academicae (1763), Carolus Linnaeus defined Homo anthropomorpha as a catch-all race for a variety of human-like mythological creatures, including the troglodyte, satyr, hydra, and phoenix. He claimed that these creatures actually existed, but were in reality inaccurate descriptions of ape-like creatures…

    Edward Long, a British colonial administrator, created a more simple classification of race in History of Jamaica (1774). The next year, Johann Blumenbach published his thesis, On the Natural Varieties of Mankind, one of the foundational work of scientific racism (cited from Wikipedia article on Scientific racism).

    More on Blumenbach:

    Blumenbach argued that physical characteristics like skin color, cranial profile, etc., were correlated with group character and aptitude. He interpreted craniometry and phrenology to make physical appearance correspond with racial categories. The fairness and relatively high brows of Caucasians were held to be apt physical expressions of a loftier mentality and a more generous spirit. The epicanthic folds around the eyes of Mongolians and their slightly sallow outer epidermal layer bespoke their supposedly crafty, literal-minded nature.

    The dark skin and relatively sloping craniums were taken as wholesale proof of a closer genetic proximity to the monkeys, despite the fact that the skin of chimpanzees and gorillas beneath the hair is whiter than the average Caucasian skin, and that orangutans and some monkey species have foreheads fully as vertical as the typical Englishman or German (cited from Wikipedia article on Johann Friedrich Blumenbach).

    Later in life, Blumenbach concluded that Africans were not inferior to the rest of mankind, but by then, his pernicious earlier ideas had already influenced other naturalists.

    (2) Darwin’s own racism was relatively mild by the standards of his day, and he detested the cruelty of slavery, as other contributors to this post have amply documented.

    (3) The chief danger of Darwin’s views, however – and this was perceived long before his Descent of Man was published in 1871 – was that it asserted that (i) humans sprang from animals (an idea not new to Darwin); and (ii) in the natural order of things, “fit” races of living creatures would supplant “unfit” ones. After all, the subtitle of Darwin’s 1859 work, On the Origin of Species, was: Or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

    If you were the kind of person who tended to identify what is “natural” with what is good or right (and Darwin himself was not), then you might well think, after reading Darwin’s work, that those who hastened the demise of unfit races were carrying on nature’s work, and hence doing something praiseworthy or meritorious. And if you happened to think that humans sprang from animals, it would be tempting to rationalize such wicked acts on the grounds that the victims represented a lower order of humanity.

    If, on the other hand, your concept of goodness was entirely divorced from your concept of what is natural, and you abhorred “nature red in tooth in claw”, then you would not be tempted to think in this way – which is why Darwinists like Dawkins and Gould have felt entirely justified in rejecting racism.

    (4) Unfortunately, there were many scientists in the nineteenth century who interpreted Darwin’s Origin of Species in a normative sense. What significance did this have for the Australian Aborigines?

    Some contributors have correctly pointed out that grave-robbing and desecration of Aboriginal remains occurred long before Darwin’s works were published. That is indeed the case. However, as Professor Paul Turnbull points out in his historical survey (cited below), Darwin’s account of the process whereby unfit races were eliminated, coupled with the then-commonly-accepted view (espoused by Darwin and many other naturalists before him) that the Aborigines were less “fit” than the European immigrants, lent an added legitimacy to these barbaric practices, for those inclined to think that they were simply furthering nature’s work:

    From the 1860s onwards, factors such as the professionalism of science, the rise to prominence of national scientific bodies, and the operations of associated patronage networks, rendered metropolitan science more homogenous in its guiding aims and practices. Contributing to this homogeneity was the widespread assent given Darwinistic modes of thought (Stocking, 1989)….

    The half-century or so after 1860 also witnessed a remarkable surge of interest in procuring Aboriginal remains for science. Darwinian sciences construed Aboriginal people as distinct “primitive types” or “races” in the time-scale of human evolution. They offered, among other things, what seemed a powerful explanation of the history of Aboriginal mortality since 1788 in terms of the sad, but inevitable, extinction of a biologically inferior race. By the same logic, the procurement of remains was an urgent necessity (cited from Ancestors, not Specimens: Reflections on the Controversy over the Remains of Aboriginal People in European Scientific Collections at http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/hist.....rnbull.htm )

    (5) Some contributors have suggested that Darwin be put on trial, as if he were in a court of law. That suggestion is laughable, for law courts require an unrealistically high standard of evidence, in order for attain certainty “beyond reasonable doubt.” History deals in probabilities, not certainties. The historical question we need to address is: did Darwin’s ideas (not Darwin the man) play an instrumental role in legitimizing despicable practices, such as the desecration of Aboriginal remains? Darwin is not on trial here; Darwinism is.

    (6) Allen MacNeill attempts to smack down damaging evidence as “hearsay” – a derogatory phrase, commonly connoting unreliable testimony, but which in fact means nothing more than “information gathered by the first person from a second person concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no direct experience (Wikipedia).” By that definition, most historical data is hearsay. Excluding this kind of evidence en masse as unworthy of credence is simply obtuse.

    Here’s an example from Professor Turnbull’s article “Theft in the Name of Science” at http://www.griffith.edu.au/gri.....l_Ed21.pdf, discussed in a post (#64)above.

    …Archibald Meston, the flamboyant frontier entrepreneur, politician and self?styled anthropological expert, was on several occasions in the 1880s publicly accused of accompanying the Native Police on expeditions to secure Indigenous artifacts. When approached in March 1887 by Edward Pierson Ramsay, curator of Sydney’s Australian Museum, about supplying the museum with Aboriginal skulls, Meston replied with grim humor: “Re skulls &c. skeletons of the festive myall!! To what strange uses are our noble primeval inhabitants to be devoted! At your prices I could have procured about £2000 worth in the last six years. I shall start on the warpath again! Hope to succeed in slaughtering some stray skeleton for you. Shall also see to weapons dilly bags &c. &c.”

    Professor Turnbull then supplies documentation for the remark: Meston to Ramsay, 15 March 1887, E.P. Ramsay Papers, Mitchell Library (State Library of New South Wales), MS 1589/2.

    I don’t really care whether some smart-aleck lawyer can shoot this down in court as hearsay. What I want to know is: is it true? We have good documentary evidence, so my conclusion would be: probably.

    (7) So I return to my original question: is Darwinism dangerous? The answer hinges on whether nature is taken as ethically normative. Very few people divorce the concepts of “good” and “natural” entirely, in their minds. For most people, “natural” connotes “good”, and if I wanted to know what a good diet was, I should begin by investigating our biological nature as human beings. The danger of people rationalizing bad behavior as “natural” is real.

    The only way for Darwinism to escape the charge of lending an added legitimacy to the barbaric practices described above is to divest “nature” of all normative status – which is what many Darwinists did from the outset. If they wish to do this, however, they should make it clear to school and college students that Darwinism is unable to supply us with any ethical norms, and that the workings of nature are utterly amoral. On this account, then, Darwinism can no more prescribe what is good for us than atomic physics.

    But then, of course, you are left with a question: where DO our ethical norms come from? The implication is that that morality is a purely human construct. Given the enormous differences in human sentiments and in accepted cultural practices, that sounds like a pretty fragile basis of morality to me.

  76. The only way for Darwinism to escape the charge of lending an added legitimacy to the barbaric practices described above is to divest “nature” of all normative status – which is what many Darwinists did from the outset. If they wish to do this, however, they should make it clear to school and college students that Darwinism is unable to supply us with any ethical norms, and that the workings of nature are utterly amoral. On this account, then, Darwinism can no more prescribe what is good for us than atomic physics.

    Darwinism is not like physics, it’s hardly the same type of knowledge given that it allows one to cite imagining things about the past as the equivalent of empirical evidence. Given that it is said to be a scientific theory that explains the existence of ethical norms themselves it cannot be separated from them. Of course it does not actually explain them but if you’re ignorant or stupid enough to believe that Darwinian theory explains biology and organisms in general then it “explains” ethics just the same.

    To the extent that people think that they have a form of knowledge which is as certain as the theory of gravity which explains ethics, debating ethics becomes as moot as debating whether or not an object “should” fall to the floor. We are all subjects of gravity and that’s all that can be said. This was the view of Darwin and the Nazis with respect to the inevitable extermination of certain groups of people. It was not an issue of what should or should not happen, it was merely a brute scientific fact of nature. Given this view lamenting the inevitable fact of extermination is akin to lamenting the fact that objects subject to gravity fall to the floor. Darwin lamented it based on his pseudo-scientific ideas of supposed vestiges of a “noble instinct” and the Nazis engaged in the same type of pseudo-science. As Robert Lifton noted this allowed them to engage in “doubling” and so on and allowed them to separate their private ethical concerns from their public, medical and scientific roles.

    The argument that people can have knowledge (Or believe themselves to have it based on the sort of charlatanism promoted by proponents of Darwinism.) similar to the theory of gravity* and then simply “separate” it from public life or fail to apply it is merely an abstraction. History shows that in theory they could but in fact they do not.

    *The fact that the earth revolves around the sun is another favorite but one can use whatever puerile argument of association needed in order to maintain the illusion that Darwinian theory has progressed beyond the hypothetical goo of “evolution” in general.

    Things change…yes, imagine that!

  77. If they wish to do this, however, they should make it clear to school and college students that Darwinism is unable to supply us with any ethical norms…

    There is evidence that students are ignorant in this area. They are being taught the same mistakes again. In my experience many begin to murmur the word science as if it is the definition of progress and mistakenly begin to associate Darwinism with progress as we know it. It seems that they are confusing a mythology of Progress with what can be known about progress historically.

    Edwin Black notes that ignorance is typical:

    Genetics has become a glitter word in the daily media. Most of the twenty-first century’s genetic warriors are unschooled in the history of eugenics. Most are completely divorced from any wisp of eugenic thought.
    Few, if any are aware that in their noble battle against the mysteries and challenges of human heredity, they have inherited the spoils of the war against the weak.
    (War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black :425)

    In fact, Obama’s recent action on embryos was rationalized with the same ignorant view of science. Something along the lines of: “This is the scientific view of this issue. It is purely scientific, separate from politics and ethics.”

    It’s not without precedent:

    For the biologists, the test of a scientific outlook was generally identified with a society’s attitude towards eugenics; that is, its willingness to adopt a genuinely scientific stance towards questions of what used to be called “race betterment.” The Marxist and Fabian biologists believed that Western societies had largely failed this test.
    (Eugenics and the Left by Diane Paul
    Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 45, No. 4. (Oct. – Dec., 1984), pp. :569)

  78. From Allen MacNeil’s link:

    A few additional highlights from Lewontin’s study are worth careful consideration. Only 6.3 percent of the total genetic variation of 17 human polymorphic traits is explained by race, i.e. the between-group variance. Nearly ninety-four percent of human genetic variation occurs as WITHIN-GROUP variation. In other words, for the variables measured individuals within socially determined categories of “race” were more biologically dissimilar from one another than they were between supposedly seperate “races.” [...]They found that up to 98.5 percent of the observed variance occurred WITHIN subpopulations at the individual level.

    But Darwinian charlatans also claim that we share 98% of our DNA with chimps. So if that 2% difference generally “explains” the difference in intelligence, civilization, art and so on between chimps and humans what is one supposed to conclude about DNA percentages used for a different type of charlatanism. Apparently that “2%” (the way “sharing” is counted may vary) could have something to do with vast differences in intelligence, creativity and so on. Especially if you’re stupid enough to believe genetic puppetry theorists who lecture about “selfish genes” and so on.

    As Johnathan Marks notes these types of percentages generally don’t mean what people think they mean:

    The problem is that in being told about these data without a context in which to interpret them, we are left to our own cultural devices. Here, we are generally expected to infer that genetic comparisons reflect deep biological structure, and that 98% is an overwhelming amount of similarity. Thus “the DNA of a human is 98% identical to the DNA of a chimpanzee” becomes casually interpreted as “deep down inside, humans are overwhelmingly chimpanzee. Like 98% chimpanzee.” ….
    …whatever the number is, it shouldn’t be any more impressive than the anatomical similarity; all we need to do is to put that old-fashioned comparison into a zoological context.
    The paradox is not that we are so genetically similar to the chimpanzee; the paradox is why we now find the genetic similarity to be so much more striking than the anatomical similarity. Scholars of the eighteenth century were overwhelmed by the similarities between humans and chimpanzees. Chimpanzees were as novel then as DNA is now; and the apparent contrast between our bodies and our genes is simply an artifact of having two centuries’ familiarity with chimpanzees and scarcely two decades’ familiarity with DNA sequences.
    (What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee by Johnathan Marks :28-31)

  79. 80

    Clive

    It is not necessary for me to talk about the destination, in order to know that some are farther ahead on the road from the origin.

    This assumes a linear progression of evolution. To try and understand better where I’m coming from you can think of evolution as a kind of brownian motion. In brownian motion each particle reactes only to it’s immediate surroundings and ends up travelling, sometimes quite far from where you first measured it. From a given starting point, you can see that a given particle has moved over time in a definite direction. If you look only at the starting point and the end point, it describes a linear progression. However, it is understood that the progression of the particle itself has not been linear, but has zigged and zagged along the way, so that any given particle found on or near that line has not done a better or worse job of traversing that line. Rather it happens to conform to a greater or lesser degree to the arbitrary line that you have dictated as the “road from the origin” by simple virtue of the fact that random jostling has just happened to move it more or less in that direction. Change the point that you measure from or to, or even just wait a moment and measure along the same line, and you will see that the particles that conform more or less to that line has changed drastically.

    The same kind of progression occurs as a result of evolution. Any individual creature or population isn’t travelling along any line of any kind. It is reacting only to it’s immediate surroundings, and so “evolves” in whatever direction allows it to survive, zigging and zagging in response to environmental pressures. You can choose to measure evolutionary change from what we understand to be the origin to any living creature and claim that creatures are to a greater or lesser degree “further” along that line than others, but that is an arbitrary line determined by you and your personal views rather than anything predicted by evolution. Change where you measure from or to, or even just wait a while, and you will see that the creatures that conform more or less to your arbitrary line has changed drastically (of course, waiting a while on an evolutionary scale can mean millions of years). Evolution doesn’t say that something is “more evolved” because it conforms to some arbitrary line along which evolution is moving. There is no line. There is only the brownian motion of survivability.

    Now, let’s ignore all that and just assume for a moment that there is such thing as “more evolved”, just for the sake of argument. Since evolution is concerned only with survivability, if a creature can survive without killing or subjugating another creature, then there is no evolutionary reason to do either. So to claim that “I am more evolved, therefore evolution dictates that I am better than you and can kill or subjugate you how I please” is to inject a foreign ideology into the theory, distorting it into something else completely. Racism and eugenics do not follow from the theory of evolution, but are distortions of the theory caused by individual ideology, even if you do accept the idea that a creature can be more or less evolved than another, which I obviously do not.

  80. Adel #65

    That post is now gone, and it’s to Clive’s credit that he vaporized it.

    How do you remove/edit a post? Do you need special privileges?

  81. Mynym #79

    Quoted from Alan’s link:

    “Only 6.3 percent of the total genetic variation of 17 human polymorphic traits is explained by race, i.e. the between-group variance. Nearly ninety-four percent of human genetic variation occurs as WITHIN-GROUP variation.”

    Your comment:

    But Darwinian charlatans also claim that we share 98% of our DNA with chimps. So if that 2% difference generally “explains” the difference in intelligence, civilization, art and so on between chimps and humans what is one supposed to conclude about DNA percentages used for a different type of charlatanism. Apparently that “2%” (the way “sharing” is counted may vary) could have something to do with vast differences in intelligence, creativity and so on.

    You need to read up what a polymorphic trait is. You are comparing a percentage of the entire genome with a percentage of a very small subset.

  82. Social Darwinism is the major culprit.

    Having studied Aboriginal Australia through my University years, and of course lived with Australian Aboriginals, it was always a mixture of the worst aspects of colonisation and the social beliefs of the white colonisers that decimated the population.

    Social Darwinism has to face the scrutiny for what it delivered the Aboriginal people.

    As Gary Foley considers, one aspect of life that Australia shared with Germany in the first part of this century was the popularity of racial theories based on Social Darwinism. As Karl Schleunes wrote, “The publication of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution in 1859 had an immediate impact in Germany’, and when Professor Ernst Haeckel developed these theories to incorporate a general theory of human and social development, the notion was used by racial theorists to justify their, ‘conceptions of superior and inferior peoples and nations’. These were some of the major contributing elements for the Nazis to later concoct their policies against ‘inferior’ ‘races’, such as Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and Blacks.

    In Australia Social Darwinism was also very popular, especially among the scientific community. Andrew Markus has said, ‘One doesn’t have to read extensively to discern that a central concern of anatomists was to establish whether Aborigines were closer to the animal than human’. The Elder Professor of Anatomy at the University of Adelaide in 1926 said that Aborigines were, ‘too low in the scale of humanity’ to benefit from ‘the civilising influence of Anglo Saxon rule’. In the 1920’s and 30’s Australia’s Aborigines were a treasure trove of curiosity for scientists and academics who believed that here was the ‘missing link’ species that would advance the cause of Social Darwinism. Consequently, thousands of Koori peoples in communities all over Australia, were subjected to the whims of ‘scientists’ interested in such things as similarities between Aborigines and Chimpanzees, brain capacity and cranium size (one study in 1920 concluded that, ‘the average brain capacity of Aborigines was between the normal medium intelligence of twelve or thirteen year old children’) This Australian fascination with racial theories, phrenology and eugenics, closely mirrors a similar obsession with identical notions by German society of the same period in relation to the Jews.

    Professor A. P. Elkin, one of the most revered and ‘enlightened’ anthropologists in Australian history, in 1929 wrote,

    “…some races possess certain powers in greater degree…than do others. Thus, the Australian Aborigines and the African negroes are human and have their powers, but they are not necessarily equal to the white or yellow races.”

    In Germany the same year as Elkin wrote the above, one of the leading racial theorists in the Third Reich, Professor Hans F. Gunther, said, ‘If an illustrator, painter or sculptor wants to represent the image of a bold, goal-determined, resolute person, or of a noble, superior, and heroic human being, man or woman, he will in most cases create an image which more or less approximates the image of the Nordic race.’. At the other end of the racial/social spectrum were the Aborigines of Australia.

    Many eminent Australian scientists of the day were to express similar attitudes. In Victoria, throughout the frontier years (between 1835 and 1850) the intellectual argument that the Aborigines more closely resembled “the ourangoutangs than men” made it easier for the squatter to treat the Aborigines as subhuman, to lump them with the dingo and shoot them as a “rural pest.”

    Australia during the 1930s was a society that held almost identical racial theories of evolution and Social Darwinism as those that dominated the ideology of Hitler’s Germany. It was the inherent assumption that ‘inferior’ peoples could be disposed of that led to genocidal acts being perpetrated in both societies.

    In Australia the greater part of the mass murder and genocide of Indigenous peoples occurred in the 150 years prior to the advent of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, and that the most destructive phase of the Australian concentration camps occurred from the 1930s through to the 1960s.

    To get more local, for me, the Tasmanian Aboriginal was regarded as the missing link between apes and humans. The construction of Tasmanian Aboriginal people by 19thC evolutionary science and by evolutionists like John Lubbock and E.B. Taylor as Paleolithic survivors went hand in hand with the robbing of fresh graves in getting those ‘scientific specimens’ to study. These men suggested that, in an evolutionary sense, the Aboriginal people were arrested in their development.

    Clive Haydon brings up the article about the ‘Body Snatchers’ that took ‘fresh specimens’. He is totally correct that these things happened in the colony at that time. Aboriginal Australia has certainly been mistreated, and you must remember it wasn’t until 1967 that Australian Aborigines were even given the vote!

    To have Aborigines shot was common place. For them to be taken and used as a scientific experiment was also a practice. Allen MacNeill’s court room example should be evidence enough: it was staged in the USA (we don’t have DA’s here, we have Barristers) where the courts of law are severely biased, and the ruling was incorrect.

    Sound familiar?

  83. Denyse: “I do not want to quarrel uselessly about this. I am simply asking all members of societies that have made statements supporting Darwin vs. intelligent design to FOLLOW UP with a formal statement *divorcing* Darwin’s racism.”

    May I ask that the Catholic Church issue a formal statement *divorcing* the Church from the Lateran Treaties that Pope Pius XI signed with Benito Mussolini? These treaties declared the Vatican to be a separate country, gave the Church control of education and paid the church a yearly stipend. In return, the Catholic church gave its complete backing to Mussolini and the Fascist government which enabled him to consolidate his power over Italy.

    I’d also like the Church to issue a formal statement *divorcing* the Church from the Concordat it signed with Adolph Hitler in 1933. The church got money out of this one, too, as well as control over education. They had to give a little more than mere approval of the Nazi Party, however. They also had to spike the Catholic Centrum political party, which opposed the Nazis and was keeping Hitler from achieving total power. The Centrum party was taken over by envoys from the Vatican and directed Catholic voters to support the Third Reich, enabling Hitler to finally consolidate his power over Germany and cleared the way for him to begin his more “ambitious” plans, such as WWII and the Holocaust.

    It might also be nice to also have the Church issue a formal statement *divorcing* the Church from the notorious “Ratline” that enabled many high ranking Nazi officials, including Adolph Eichmann, to escape to South America, the US, Canada and the Middle East. In the Vatican’s favor, however, I must admit that this was more the work of Bishop Alois Hudal and others.

    Mind you, we don’t hold you personally responsible for the moral failures of your church, although you did join it voluntarily as an adult and remain a member in good standing. But we are – at best – surprised by the lack of interest in the Church at erasing this stain from its history.

    Don’t tell us you individually disagree with your Church’s actions. That means nothing in the current climate.

    Now, if the Church does not do it, won’t we know something useful?

    I think we will know something very useful indeed.

    I will be VERY happy to publicise any upcoming divorces from the Lateran Treaties it signed with Mussolini or the Concordat it signed with Adolph Hitler.

    Pope Benedict XVI, do you or don’t you divorce your church from this evil history?

  84. “It is not necessary for me to talk about the destination, in order to know that some are farther ahead on the road from the origin.

    This assumes a linear progression of evolution.”

    In fact, there has been a movement in evolution despite the protestations of many to deny that this is part of the theory. It does not have to be a linear progression but it is linear in nature if one plots the changes over time. One way of looking at the evolution is easy. Namely cell types. A typical mammal has 200+ cell types and this has linearly changed since the Cambrian Explosion. And these cell types allows more functions by the individual organisms. Is it perfect line? Of course not but the effect of the changes has been mainly linear and not geometric or some other curve. It is a windy road mainly in one direction.

    One of the roads has been a movement to more advance neural capabilities. And this is probably the dimension under scrutiny. It is kind of silly to say there has been no movement or that some are not further along on the road on some capabilities especially this capability. It is certainly true that there are many capabilities and no one species is best on all and it is obvious that some are almost completely deficient on some. But to say that there has not been movement along various dimensions does not meet with reality.

    ID is well aware of the various claims made about the purposeless of evolution but the actual evidence is contrary to that. However, movement is also supported by basic claims that such progress is just a natural outcome of variation and selection dealing with competitive environments. That is a major claim of all the evolutionary biologists. That competition drives increased capabilities.

    This is a peripheral part of this thread but it is nonsense that evolution does not progress and is acclaimed as such by the hard core natural and anti ID evolutionary biologists.

  85. jerry,
    of course we can see broad evolutionary patterns of increase, as well as decrease, and plenty of stasis.but are “increased neural capabilities” really a goal? or just an outcome of a process? is the massive reduction of genome size in buchnera symbionts of aphids a goal? how about the loss of uv vision in mammals? the loss of hemoglobin in notiothenoid fish? is that part of the grand evolutionary progression as well? what about the trillions of organisms that still only have a single cell type? or do they not count, because as you clearly imply, evolution has one major goal, and that’s a progression towards humans and everything else is just noise?

  86. “Jeez guys, what does it matter if Darwin ate babies ?
    He’s dead, what lives on are his ideas, like gravity etc.
    Why the constant fixation with Darwins character?”

    Darwin came up with gravity? I thought that was Newton. I think the point is that Darwinists have made public statements against ID as scientific, yet they never did the same for racism as scientific despite its many defenses by prominent individuals arguing that it was some kind of scientific fact.

  87. Aussie ID:”Social Darwinism is the major culprit.

    “Having studied Aboriginal Australia through my University years, and of course lived with Australian Aboriginals, it was always a mixture of the worst aspects of colonisation and the social beliefs of the white colonisers that decimated the population.

    Social Darwinism has to face the scrutiny for what it delivered the Aboriginal people.”

    Were the slaughterers of aborigines prior to Darwin’s first publication on evolution “Social Darwinists” and was Darwin a “Social Darwinist”, and are the modern “evolutionary biologists” whom Ms O’Leary is so concerned about likely to be “Social Darwinists”?

    If tectonic plate theory tells us that plates move around the earth’s surface, does that tell us that it’s a good or bad thing that they do so, and should we perhaps attempt to help push them on their way?

    AussieID: “Many eminent Australian scientists of the day were to express similar attitudes. In Victoria, throughout the frontier years (between 1835 and 1850) the intellectual argument that the Aborigines more closely resembled “the ourangoutangs than men” made it easier for the squatter to treat the Aborigines as subhuman, to lump them with the dingo and shoot them as a “rural pest.” ”

    Were they inspired by the book we’re discussing in this thread? Written in 1871?

    The Australians were slaughtered and pushed off land for the same reason that the conquistadors got rid of perhaps a quarter of the South and Central American population three centuries before. Human economic drive, otherwise known as “sheer greed”!

    The specific excuses that people make to themselves in these circumstances are based on whatever’s available (heathens, savages, etc.) and make an interesting study for social psychologists, but they are not the real reasons. No single specific excuse is needed, as people can always make new ones up.

    Here’s an interesting twist for the thread. Evolutionary biology has been taught to some extent (not much) in western schools after the modern sythesis, starting in the 1930s. The first generation effected by this would have become adults around 1950.

    Since 1950 then, have we witnessed:

    (a) A marked increase in racism?

    (b) A marked decrease in racism?

    (c) About the same level of racism?

  88. You need to read up what a polymorphic trait is. You are comparing a percentage of the entire genome with a percentage of a very small subset.

    Actually I was comparing a percentage of genetic charlatanism to another percentage of it. In fact I’d say that the percentage of charlatanism is about 99% similar, scientifically speaking. Charlatanism aside, the simple fact is that we generally do not know what is “determined” by genes anyway.

    Like the magicians and alchemists who are part of their tradition modern scientific charlatans generally cannot admit that they do not know, privately they may but publicly they generally do not. It’s simply not in their interests. Fortunately there are typically a few iconoclasts here and there who point out that charlatans have less then half the knowledge that they claim to. So if you want to know about what we do not know then you have to read them. (On Darwinism read David Berlinski, Michael Denton, David Stove and others.)

    Darwinists/biologists are generally charlatans when dealing with the public (enter the ever ironic flat earth error and so on here), yet the greatest barrier to progress in knowledge is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge that charlatanism creates.

  89. Jeez guys, what does it matter if Darwin ate babies ?
    He’s dead, what lives on are his ideas, like gravity etc.

    Darwinism is not like the theory of gravity, it is not an objective form of knowledge.

    All knowledge is ultimately unified so if someone is a moral degenerate it may call into question other forms of scientia/knowledge. The more objective someone’s knowledge is, the less that they as a subjective person may have to do with it but pure objectivity is a myth. Perhaps the reason that a mythology of “Darwin the good guy, let’s have Darwin day.” has developed around Darwin as a person (There is no Newton day that I know of.) is because his knowledge was subjective. He imagined things about the past one way but it’s possible for another person to imagine things about the past another and so on. How do you unify a “theory” rooted in hypothetical goo of this sort other than idolizing a single figure? There is little consistency to be had in the so-called “theory of evolution” itself given that it is generally a collection of a hypotheses about change, not a unified theory predicting it.

  90. The Australians were slaughtered and pushed off land for the same reason that the conquistadors got rid of perhaps a quarter of the South and Central American population three centuries before. Human economic drive, otherwise known as “sheer greed”!

    Given that Darwinism is the projection of human economics onto nature it’s little wonder that it made people feel “natural” about their evil. Sheer greed? Isn’t that exactly what Darwinian reasoning predicts as natural?

    Darwinists seem to want things both ways, on the one hand Darwinism is celebrated as a “universal acid” which eats away at traditional understandings of good and evil but on the other it is said to be totally separated from ethics and so on. Does Darwinism “explain” the evolution of sentience, intelligence and ethics or not? If it does not then why would anyone have any problem with people noting the fact that the transphysical nature of language, information and intelligence and/or spiritual ethical judgments may impact biology? If a person decides to be celibate for spiritual reasons that impacts evolutionary biology. So is Darwinism a universal acid which explains all of biology or isn’t it? If it is then ethics are not separable, nor are they separate but equal. If Darwinism is a universal acid and the total truth of things then all that matters is what is true biologically speaking.

  91. Since 1950 then, have we witnessed…

    …the end of a World War and the fallout of an attempt at the extermination of lower races that Darwin predicted.

    As Dawkins has noted the main thing that has held people back from looking at the application of Darwinian theory to man is Hitler.

    E.g.

    I wonder whether, some 60 years after Hitler’s death, we might at least venture to ask what the moral difference is between breeding for musical ability and forcing a child to take music lessons. Or why it is acceptable to train fast runners and high jumpers but not to breed them. I can think of some answers, and they are good ones, which would probably end up persuading me. But hasn’t the time come when we should stop being frightened even to put the question? Link

    Perhaps you can explain why Dawkins is wrong? Why can’t you breed for musical or mathematical ability?

    It seems to me that people should be educated in the world of ideas so that we do not have to learn by experiencing the brutal realities of the real world where words become bullets. Nietzsche was very similar to Darwin given that he essentially prophesied Nazism. He in the world of “fiery” ideas, Darwin in the real world of biology where lower races get “exterminated” like bugs. Battles lost in the world of ideas and information have a way of being made manifest in the “real world” where formations of matter are all that exists. So here’s an idea, what’s wrong with Dawkins mentally incompetent idea that musical and mathematical ability are linked to certain biological structures that can be bred for and so on?

  92. mynym “Given that Darwinism is the projection of human economics onto nature it’s little wonder that it made people feel “natural” about their evil. Sheer greed? Isn’t that exactly what Darwinian reasoning predicts as natural?”

    In a social species? No.

    How did “Darwinism” make the conquistadors and the early nineteenth century slaughterers feel natural? They’d never heard of it.

    And are you under the impression that variation, natural selection and common descent are some kind of philosophy?

    mynym “So is Darwinism a universal acid which explains all of biology or isn’t it?”

    Of course not. We’ve come a long way since Darwin!

    mynym “…the end of a World War and the fallout of an attempt at the extermination of lower races that Darwin predicted.”

    I can understand why you want to avoid the question I actually asked.

    (a), (b), or (c)?

    It’s not difficult.

  93. 94

    AussieID @ 82,

    Great Comment.

  94. 95

    Kris,

    You’re missing something important when considering evolution–and that is the fact that it is directional by necessity, in the respect something comes out of something else–it is matter of new birth, descent. So there is a road and a DIRECTION. It’s not explosions of particles all unrelated–evolution is a matter of relation, and struggle. The stronger may not have a mandate for taking the position of superiority, as you’re alluding that I hold that view–but they take that position nonetheless. It may not be normative in ethics, but it is pragmatic in evolution. And if you want to argue that stronger or more evolved doesn’t mean that might “should” take their evolutionary right to “win” the struggle for life, you’ll have to take that up with nature.

  95. 96

    Is it appropriate to raise the issue of the decimation of the original inhabitants of North America? Was Darwin to blame here, too?

  96. Arthur Smith

    Is it appropriate to raise the issue of the decimation of the original inhabitants of North America? Was Darwin to blame here, too?

    That depends. If it were the case that the actions taken towards the native americans were based on a racial view influenced by Darwin and his writings, then maybe. Has anyone tried to make such a case and connection between the two?

  97. khan said

    ” because as you clearly imply, evolution has one major goal, and that’s a progression towards humans and everything else is just noise?”

    I can always count on khan to misread things that are on this site. He is very good at it. I never said that evolution progressed towards humans and everything else is just noise or that is has one major goal. A long list of non sequiturs. Sometimes I do not know whether it is ignorance or inanity that drives the anti ID people who come here but it definitely helps ID.

    Khan, I am just repeating what many anti ID evolutionary biologists say. To argue that many organisms are not further on the road than others is sheer folly and is recognized by current evolutionary biology. So I thank you for yet more irrelevant comments.

    And yes folks, we do not pay khan to make these nonsense comments here. It does it pro bono.

  98. 99

    That depends. If it were the case that the actions taken towards the native americans were based on a racial view influenced by Darwin and his writings, then maybe. Has anyone tried to make such a case and connection between the two?

    Checking with Google, it seems Darwin has, so far, escaped the blame for this outrage. Perhaps it is a fruitful avenue for research

  99. 100

    DonaldM [97],

    If it were the case that the actions taken towards the native americans were based on a racial view influenced by Darwin and his writings, then maybe. Has anyone tried to make such a case and connection between the two?

    Any connection would have to include a time machine.

  100. 101

    What sort of time machine were you thinking of, David? Please answer carefully.

  101. jerry,
    then what exactly were you trying to say? because I have a hard time making sense of things like this:

    It is kind of silly to say there has been no movement or that some are not further along on the road on some capabilities especially this capability. It is certainly true that there are many capabilities and no one species is best on all and it is obvious that some are almost completely deficient on some. But to say that there has not been movement along various dimensions does not meet with reality.

  102. We have a couple of issues here and a lot of heat has been generated and not too much light. We seem to spend a lot of time on Darwin’s personal character and the social implications of his ideas.

    For example, it is obvious that Darwin did not invent racism or slavery so any comments on either topic prior to 1859 are meaningless other than to show what was typical of human kind or socially accepted ideas. But reliance to these pre Darwin facts as proof that he or his ideas did not have any applicability to race is also nonsense. The issue is whether his ideas has any effect post 1859. Now we can probably say that the first few years after 1859 are out of bounds too but let’s say did Darwin’s ideas have any effect on racial attitudes either positive or negative post 1875. Interesting sub issue to this is what is a positive or negative racial attitude? Obviously the eugenics movement thought they were on a positive agenda.

    Was Darwin himself a racist? And a related issue is if he was, did this attitude have any affect on what was written. Can we examine his works and come to any conclusion as to whether he was a racist or not and if he was a racist did it have anything to do with what he wrote about evolution in general.

    The third thing is the validity of Darwin’s ideas regardless of his personal attitudes. Suppose he was a racist but his ideas were bogus and these bogus ideas affected other’s attitudes either positively or negatively on racial matters. What are the implications. Interesting enough many of Darwin’s ideas are accepted by ID so it would be interesting to see which of Darwin’s ideas are contributing to the various attitudes people had post 1875.

    All of this could make several PH.D. dissertations or several books and not likely to be solved here or in any of the dissertations or books.

  103. In #76 vjtorley wrote:

    “If [Darwinists] wish to do this, however, they should make it clear to school and college students that Darwinism is unable to supply us with any ethical norms, and that the workings of nature are utterly amoral.”

    I teach evolutionary biology at Cornell, and this is precisely what I do. And when I do so, I cite the work of G. E. Moore, who over a century ago made precisely the same point: that one cannot legitimately derive ethical prescriptions from scientific descriptions. That is, one cannot derive a statement about how the world ought to be from a statement about how the world is.

    As to the question of where ethical prescriptions are supposed to come from if not from nature, that is legitimately the purview of philosophical ethical theory. Pick any introductory textbook on the subject of ethics and you will learn quite quickly that philosophers have debated this subject for centuries, and concluded that all ethical theories can be divided into two different types: those that are justified by their effects (for example, utilitarianism) and those that are justified with reference to logical consistency with a non-naturalistic principle of justice or fairness (for example, the theory of justice of John Rawls).

    Ergo, discussions in which “Darwinism” is linked to morality are completely philosophically bankrupt, regardless of which side in the EB/ID debate makes them, and illustrates their complete misunderstanding of basic ethical theory.

  104. In #81 Mark Frank asks:

    “How do you remove/edit a post? Do you need special privileges?”

    Yes, if you are a moderator for this website. You can tell the people who are moderators: their posts show up with a white background. Like Clive’s, so that was how he could make his embarrassingly false statements disappear. Fortunately for those of us who are interested in getting to the bottom of an argument made on the basis of evidence rather than character assassination, guilt by association, and ad hominem “logic”, most of the commentators on this thread have no such special privileges.

  105. In #83 aussieD wrote:

    “Many eminent Australian scientists of the day were to express similar attitudes. In Victoria, throughout the frontier years (between 1835 and 1850) the intellectual argument that the Aborigines more closely resembled “the ourangoutangs than men” made it easier for the squatter to treat the Aborigines as subhuman, to lump them with the dingo and shoot them as a “rural pest.”” [Emphasis added]

    Once again, Darwin’s Origin of Species (in which he did not discuss human evolution) was published in 1859, and his Descent of Man was published in 1871. Ergo, it is literally impossible (unless one believes in “backwards causation”) for his ideas to have inspired the events aussieD imputes to his inspiration.

  106. In #85 jerry makes some good points, and then drives off a cliff:

    “That is a major claim of all the evolutionary biologists. That competition drives increased capabilities.”

    This is simply not the case. One of the most fertile areas of evolutionary theory in the second half of the 20th century has been the development of theories explaining the evolution of sociality in animals. Every one of these theories (and there are several) agree on one fundamental point: that the evolution of sociality is driven by the evolutionary advantages of cooperation, rather than competition. That is, those individuals who cooperate with each other have a higher evolutionary “fitness” than those who compete. Furthermore, it is now becoming clear that this advantage is not necessarily tied to genetic relatedness.

    Which leads me to a brief consideration of what evolutionary biologists consider “fitness” to consist of. It is clear that virtually none of the ID supporters commenting on this thread have the faintest idea of how evolutionary “fitness” is measured. In brief, “fitness” is a measure of reproductive success. That is, those individuals who produce the most surviving offspring in a given population have the highest “fitness” in a population.

    Furthermore, the kind of “fitness” that generally matters is “relative reproductive success”. That is, what matters is how many surviving offspring an individual has relative to the other individuals in its local population. Ergo, simply having a huge number of offspring may not be conducive to higher “fitness” if most of them die (or fail to reproduce, which is the same thing from an evolutionary viewpoint).

    Now, let’s apply the basic principle of “fitness” = “reproductive success” to the arguments made by most of the ID supporters in this thread. Is it the case that evolutionary biologists today, using this definition of “fitness”, believe that “Nordics” (or any other group, for that matter) have a higher “fitness”? Of course not, because fitness is not a function of groups, it is a function of individuals. Natural selection happens at the level of individuals, not groups (at least in the “modern synthesis” version of mathematical evolutionary theory).

    So, virtually all of the criticism leveled by the ID supporters in this thread against evolutionary biologists and evolutionary theory as they exist today has simply demonstrated that they have virtually no understanding whatsoever of the basics of evolutionary biology. And, their continued attempts to link the science of evolutionary biology to the philosophy of ethics demonstrates that they have virtually no understanding of basic ethical theory as well.

  107. “Does Darwinism “explain” the evolution of sentience, intelligence and ethics or not?”

    No

    Maybe, but we don’t know how yet

    No

  108. In #98 jerry wrote:

    “To argue that many organisms are not further on the road than others is sheer folly and is recognized by current evolutionary biology.”

    “Further on the road” to what? To humans? To liver flukes? To intestinal viruses? This comment demonstrates precisely the problem: evolutionary theory and most evolutionary biologists are quite clear that evolution is not progressive. There is no goal to natural selection, nor to any of the other processes that result in biological evolution.

    Indeed, that evolution is not progressive or goal-oriented is one of ID’s criticisms of evolutionary theory. ID supporters believe very fervently that evolution is progressive and goal-oriented, and that the goal that it is guided toward is the evolution of humans, right? Not to mention other forms of “specified complex information”.

    I thought the whole disagreement between EB and ID was that evolutionary biologists fail to admit that evolution is “purposeful” and “guided” by an “intelligent designer”. But here, in this thread evolutionary biologists (beginning with Darwin) are charged with exactly the opposite. That is, we are charged with promoting the idea that certain races are “chosen” by evolution as being “superior” over others, and therefore deserving of “special consideration”.

    Hmm, the parallelism between that sentence and the idea of a “chosen people” doesn’t seem accidental to me. Would the ID supporters on this thread like to speculate where the idea that certain “races” are “chosen” and “special” comes from? Does this idea find its justification in Darwin’s theory or, just perhaps, some other corpus of “theory” about origins? Just curious…

  109. To be as explicit as possible, if unaided evolution (i.e. without guidance) cannot produce “complex specified information”, and therefore requires the guiding intervention of an “Intelligent Designer” (identity unspecified), then which theory is progressive and goal-oriented, and which isn’t?

  110. 111

    It is clear that virtually none of the ID supporters commenting on this thread have the faintest idea of how evolutionary “fitness” is measured. In brief, “fitness” is a measure of reproductive success. That is, those individuals who produce the most surviving offspring in a given population have the highest “fitness” in a population.

    Wow Allen, how profound. No one in the ID camp had any idea that was the mark of fitness. It so crazy that in all the text written in support of evolution and no one ever thought to comment that fitness was measured in reproductive success.

    Golly. We should get Michael Denton on the phone, I bet he didn’t know this tidbit of evolutionary wisdom either!

    - – - – - –

    Allen, are simply incapable of humility?

  111. Allen_MacNeill seems confused. For an ID supporter to point out that Darwin’s ideas were used (in part) to justify eugenics, Hitler’s selective killings, etc. doesn’t mean we think science *should* be used to determine morality, ethics, etc. It’s only an observation that some have. Similarly, various supporters of neo-Darwinism have extrapolated that human life is no more important than animal life, that there is no basis for morality (because there must be no God), etc. To point out these inappropriate uses of “science” (I’m reluctant to call neo-Darwinism science), doesn’t mean that we condone the behavior. Some have used Darwin’s ideas to conclude that nature (or perhaps destiny) has selected some races as superior to others. That’s simply a fact. This is one of the reasons why Expelled! was so important. It points out WHY it is important that scientists be able to dissent from mainstream thought — because any position that cannot be challenged can is more likley to lead to horrific acts. Look at the embryonic stem cell debate. We are now being told that scientists should determine how to best approach research. What? Isn’t that also allowing scientists to determine that which is ethical? To take a page from “Watchmen”: Who’s watching the scientists?

  112. Personally, I think that the decision about whether to pursue embryonic stem cell research should be made by the public and their elected representatives, rather than scientists. And, oddly enough, that’s exactly who has made the decision this time…unless you want to argue that President Obama and the senators and representatives who have supported his decision to remove the ban on certain limited forms of embryonic stem cell research are all evolutionary biologists.

  113. Upright biped asks if I am incapable of humility. Actually, one of the first things I tell my students is that I certainly do not know everything about the science of evolutionary biology, much less the science of biology as a whole. Therefore, when we hit a subject about which I am not informed, we all (me and my students, but especially me)have a responsibility to learn as much as we can about it, so that we can at least follow arguments about the subject, if not participate in them.

    And so, let me ask the question again: how, precisely, does the fact that “fitness” is defined in terms of individual relative reproductive success in any way lead to the conclusion that certain “races” are “superior” to others? Please be as explicit as possible with your answer.

  114. 115

    Allen_MacNeill,

    “In brief, “fitness” is a measure of reproductive success.”

    Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy?

    And secondly, Darwin must not have been very fit himself by that measure.

  115. Allen,

    You wrote:

    I thought the whole disagreement between EB and ID was that evolutionary biologists fail to admit that evolution is “purposeful” and “guided” by an “intelligent designer”.

    There are different views on this within the ID community, probably most people reject macroevolution (speciation) completely — because we see no solidly credible speciation in the fossil record where we should see a series of transitional forms leading from one species into a new species — everywhere — and no similar findings about speciation in the living world. There are others though who believe in a guided evolutionary paradigm, they even may accept common descent, though not necessarily that it happened over a long period of time (due to the problem of the fossil record) but they still believe that unintelligent forces cannot be the cause for the incredible complexity and seeming design in nature(e.g. the brilliantly artistic color coordination and symmetry we in the natural world, like say this — wow.jpg — or this — http://www.pbase.com/selvin/flowers_of_hawaii

    You also said:

    It is clear that virtually none of the ID supporters commenting on this thread have the faintest idea of how evolutionary “fitness” is measured.

    That is like a typical ad hominem arrogant obnoxious type of statement we see made at arrogant obnoxious blogs like PT and PhGuLA by people who know better. Anyone who has even done a minute amount of research into the ID community would know full well that our rejection of evolution isn’t based upon our lack of understanding of what neo-darwinism espouses. That’s an obnoxious pretense made in an attempt to misguide people into believing that “if those idiots only understood evolution then they wouldn’t be reject it”. It’s dishonest, and ironic, seeing how you have carried on in this thread about Denise.

    You claim that neo-darwinian evolution isn’t “goal oriented”. Neo-darwinism postulates that the guiding mechanism of evolution is natural selection. When we claim that neo-darwinian evolution is blind and without intelligent purpose — and therefore unfit to produce what we see, guys like Dawkins get all bent out of shape and insist that evolution is not blind or unintelligent because it is guided by natural selection. Is natural selection goal oriented?

    If evolution was solely based upon mutation then there would be no goal, but the whole point of keeping Darwin’s natural selection as part of the synthesis theory was in order to give a causation to the development of helpful mutations leading to speciation. How can specified complex limbs develop over time, say, like a flightless species developing wings, unless the goal is flight? Wings and the bodies of species that can fly are specifically designed to fly. We study birds to help us understand how to fly better. How can birds or other flying species develop the necessary design without the goal of flight? From a flightless species into a flying species: what would be needed? Development of aerodynamic form, the changing of heavy bones into light flexible bones, the development of different internal systems to facilitate the heavy load on the heart of flight, wings, etc. Can natural selection realistically account for all of that — without the goal of being able to fly?

    How can a sightless species develop eyes unless the goal is vision? Eyes are only valuable to conscious beings, e.g. since plants are not conscious they don’t need eyes and therefore there are no plants with eyes. Why do we see eyes only on conscious life forms? Can mutation + natural selection understand that a life form is conscious and therefore can see, and therefore sets out to develop eyes? Of course not. Yet we have eyes that are extremely sophisticated and are only of use to us because we are conscious. Why are the only species that have eyes are the ones that are conscious? Without the goal of giving us the ability to see we shouldn’t see eyes only on conscious species.

  116. A series of questions, followed by a series of answers, based on 150 years of research into evolutionary biology:

    “Is natural selection goal oriented?”

    Not as far as anyone has ever been able to tell, based on empirical investigations. Indeed, how would one design an empirical investigation to show that some process was goal oriented, unless they could investigate the entity(s) who were pursuing the goal?

    “How can specified complex limbs develop over time, say, like a flightless species developing wings, unless the goal is flight?”

    As the result of variety, heredity, fecundity, and unequal survival and reproduction. How can a rock fall to the ground without the goal of reaching the ground? How can hydrogen and oxygen atoms form amazingly complex structures without the goal of forming snowflakes? How can continuously exploding thermonuclear reactions balanced by the force of gravity form out of clouds of hydrogen and helium without the goal of forming stars? How can helium nuclei be fused together in the cores of red giant stars without the goal of forming carbon? How can carbon combine with hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen without the goal forming amino acids and nitrogenous bases?

    Through the action of natural laws working around us.

    “Why are the only species that have eyes are the ones that are conscious?”

    Are flatworms conscious? How about scallops? Slugs? Spiders? Ants? And how would you go about showing that they were? Ask them? How do you even know that anyone else around you is conscious? Yes, you could ask them, but they might be programmed to give you a convincing answer.

    Consciousness isn’t an answer nor a solution to anything.

  117. Simply asserting that something can’t happen without providing evidence that it can’t happen isn’t an explanation for anything. And it certainly isn’t science.

  118. Allen MacNeill,

    Sometimes I think your only purpose here is to find fault with others and often in that quest you fail to think clearly. But you occasionally impart some useful information and one of them was the Vrba and Eldredge book on macro evolution which I have read a few chapters or articles. Your comments about direction are contradicted by you and others in evolutionary biology in this book and in other places. That evolution finds itself on many roads and when on these roads will head down the road further and further is a basic principle of evolutionary biology.

    Once a capability or road is opened up, for instance vision, time and competition will tend to increase the capability. Or is the predator and prey phenomenon not a part of evolutionary biology. This does not say that the road/capability is never ending or has a specific end point but it can be well traveled and many will not travel it as far as others.

    For example, you do believe that vision is better than a light sensitive spot? The model for the development of the eye is the gradual improvement over time of its ability to discern the outside environment visually. It was a section of one of Richard Dawkins’ books and it is a repeated example elsewhere. It is the famous Nillson and Pelger calculation of how long it would take for an eye to develop. If that is not direction, then I do not know what is.

    You should read your Vrba and Eldredge book and see what they think is the origin of large scale organisms which I believe you repeated the other day.

    “These new cell types (and multicellular organisms) had to wait until the “snowball Earth” melted enough to allow sunlight to penetrate to sufficient depths in the epicontinental oceans to allow for macrophytic photosynthesis, which set the stage for macrophagy and the evolution of the metazoa.”

    A lot of very technical words but it sounds like a direction to me, namely large multi-cellular organisms. And as these organisms grew they increased in complexity as my example of the cell types meant to show and which comes from James Valentine, that well known creationist.

    Then there is the Peterson et al article in the Vrba and Eldredge book and their quote on the same idea of the direction of multi-cellular organisms:

    “that was the ultimate cause of the Cambrian Explosion, as their spectacular radiation, and the radiations of their pray (and predators) were inevitable once these animals evolved pattern formation processes” The word “inevitable” seems like a road to me.

    As another example, take a look at Brosius’ article which was the opening review for Vrba and Eldredge’s book. If he does not talk direction, then please tell me what he means by his last paragraph. And by the way what does the comments about Simon Conway-Morris in Brosius’s article say about the character of Brosius, Vrba and Eldredge who wrote and edited the article. All have to qualified as low lifes to let such an attack appear in a scholarly journal article.

    And then there is the old adage about natural selection and that it is not random but sets a direction for evolution once the environment and the initial conditions are set. That is basic holy tenet of evolutionary biology. If there is no direction then natural selection is a random phenomena. So which is it?

    By the way I never said how much of this I actually believe. All I was doing was reporting what evolutionary biologists believe and that ID is consistent with a lot of it. But your quickness to jump on me for the obvious says more about your attitude in commenting here than it does about the topic under consideration.

  119. Clive Hayden in #115:

    “Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy? And secondly, Darwin must not have been very fit himself by that measure.”

    My wife and I almost never go to see movies (and I never go by myself): we have four children (the youngest of whom is two), and we have a lot of work to do. We also never watch television, or even have one in the house; I haven’t watched a broadcast television show in twenty years. Too much to do, and so little time to do it…

    And you are quite correct; from the standpoint of fitness theory, Darwin probably wasn’t particularly “fit”, especially by the standards of the 19th century. He and his wife, Emma, had ten children, but only three of them had children of their own (and three others – Annie, Mary, and Charles – died in childhood).

    However, to say this confidently, one would have to know the relative reproductive success of the other members of his population (i.e. other human males) at the time, so I honestly can’t say for certain. He himself thought he was not very “fit” at all, and considered it very likely that his children were probably congenitally “unfit” due to his “inbreeding” with his first cousin (he and his wife shared the same grandparents: Josiah Wedgwood and his wife, Sarah).

    By the way, having long passed the 100 comment mark, I have decided to stop following this thread. I’m sure we will meet again…

  120. 121

    Clive

    You’re missing something important when considering evolution–and that is the fact that it is directional by necessity

    Any movement of any kind is directional by necessity. It is not, however, linear by necessity. If I were standing on a grid so that you could map my movements, and I rolled a die at each square to determine whether I would turn left (1-2), go straight (3-4), or turn right (5-6), it is absolutely true that I would be moving in a definite direction at each step. I enter the square, I roll the die, and I move on to the next square, so there is “a road and a direction.” Imagine thousands of people doing exactly the same thing. Who would you say is further along? In what direction? Why that direction and not another? How do you define “further along”? These are questions of a global nature that are referring to a process that is local in nature. Any attempt to answer any of these questions requires a definition of things like “further along” which do not follow from the process, but are imposed from the outside.

    Now, obviously evolution is more complicated than simply throwing a die to determine which direction to move in, but the idea is essentially the same in that the motion of evolution is determined as a local process. Individual populations react only to the immediate pressures of their environment, and do not choose any direction over another for any reason except where it’s necessary simply to survive.

    Questions such as “who is more evolved” or “which direction is evolution moving in” are global questions, and can only be answered by imposing arbitrary definitions which do not follow from the theory itself. For instance, if your “road and direction” were to be defined as the road from the first living creature to the latest living platypus, we would be considered far inferior because the platypus would be the standard by which we measure “most evolved”. If it were measured to the latest living sea anemone, we would be considered far inferior for the same reason. The choice of human as the most evolved is every bit as arbitrary a choice as a platypus or a sea anemone. If you want to be more technical you could count the types of cells, or measure the body symmetry, or count the total population, or use any number of other criterion to measure how evolved something is, but each is an arbitrary choice for measurement.

    Because of this, any attempt to say that any creature (or race) is superior to another requires an arbitrary definition of superior which does not follow from the theory of evolution, but is imposed from outside of the theory.

    Having said that, I agree with Allen:

    …having long passed the 100 comment mark, I have decided to stop following this thread.

  121. Since Allan MacNeill has decided to stop following this thread, he won’t reply to my rebuttal here. That’s nothing new, since he avoids replying to me anyway, but he can hardly expect us all to stop conversing just because he has left the room, and I want to express my objections to a couple of his posts above.

    Allan MacNeill wrote (#118):

    “Simply asserting that something can’t happen without providing evidence that it can’t happen isn’t an explanation for anything. And it certainly isn’t science.”

    Very true, Allan. And the converse is also true: simply asserting that something can happen, without proposing any detailed, realistic mechanism which could make it happen, isn’t an explanation for anything, and isn’t science. Take neo-Darwinism, for example. Neo-Darwinism asserts that the mechanism which makes finch beaks a tad longer, or gives microbes antibiotic resistance, can account for the rise of radically new, highly-integrated body plans. It has not demonstrated this, and whenever it is asked to demonstrate this, it resorts to hypothetical and purely qualitative narratives which are almost by nature untestable. It is therefore not science.

    Allan MacNeill also decided to take a stroll out of his biology lab and make some pronouncements about philosophical matters (#104):

    “Ergo, discussions in which “Darwinism” is linked to morality are completely philosophically bankrupt, regardless of which side in the EB/ID debate makes them, and illustrates their complete misunderstanding of basic ethical theory.”

    Both the terminology Allan uses, and the philosophers he cites (Moore, the utilitarians, Rawls), reveal his presumption of the general validity of modern philosophical approaches to ethics, and his implicit rejection of pre-modern ontology. That is, his entire discussion only makes sense within a framework of doing philosophy which already presupposes the invalidity of Greek and Medieval philosophy. In light of this implicit rejection, it is not surprising that Allan upholds the fact/value distinction which is so typical of modern philosophy, but which is highly questionable once one adopts a pre-modern perspective.

    Of course, it is true that within the narrow conception of philosophy entertained in the modern era, one cannot derive “values” from “facts”, and it is also true, as Allan says, that modern “science” cannot yield “values”, i.e., cannot tell us what we ought to do. But the very bifurcation of reality into “facts” and “values”, and the very notion of “science” which Allan accepts, are consequences of the generally deformed apprehension of reality which characterizes most of modern philosophy, from the time of Bacon through to the present.

    From the perspective of ancient and medieval philosophy, fact and value are more closely connected, and the anti-teleological conclusions of Darwinism do have ethical implications. For example, if Darwinism is correct, then all “substances” (to use the Aristotelian language) are radically historical, and the whole idea that there is an “essence” or “nature” of any creature, including man, must almost certainly be rejected. With that rejection the traditional connection between ontology and ethics is lost. This could have ethical implications for the previously assumed differences between man and the “nearer” lower animals, e.g., apes, and it could have implications even for the small differences between human “races” (since on Darwinian assumptions “races” are essentially varieties, and hence potential new species).

    This is not the place to work out exactly how Darwinian assumptions would translate into the sphere of human morality and politics. Nor is it the place to carry on an argument about the relationship between ethics and ontology in modern versus pre-modern philosophy. The point is simply that the pronouncements which our biologist friend Allan is making (on the basis, apparently, of introductory ethics textbooks) cannot be taken seriously, in their unqualified form, by anyone who is well-versed in the history of philosophy.

    T.

  122. Hi T,
    Yes, we are over 100 by just enough.

    Speaking of Allen MacNeill and fact/values, what does one versed in philosophy think of MacNeill’s violation of his admonition as it occurs in the reverse?

    In a previous thread -where he advocated ESCR, claimed equivalence between ASC and embryos and asserted that most thoughtful people agreed with him that a fetus became and gained protection rights as a human being at viability
    (as per his #54 I don’t know if this was just ‘blatant propaganda’ or his other option…) – Allen Mac Neill had the epiphany that our values actually determined the facts.
    He found out that a person was that which we valued, Ergo, a fetus (or ay entity, apparently) becomes a person when we develop an emotional attachment to it.

  123. jerry:
    And then there is the old adage about natural selection and that it is not random but sets a direction for evolution once the environment and the initial conditions are set. That is basic holy tenet of evolutionary biology. If there is no direction then natural selection is a random phenomena. So which is it?

    Maybe reproductive success is what determine the ‘direction’?

  124. 125

    Allen Said:

    And so, let me ask the question again: how, precisely, does the fact that “fitness” is defined in terms of individual relative reproductive success in any way lead to the conclusion that certain “races” are “superior” to others? Please be as explicit as possible with your answer.

    I propose:

    It is true that Darwin’s views on racism have no bearing on the veracity of TTOE.

    On the other hand to many people, (me at least) it seems reasonable that if evolution is true then certain groups/individuals of living things are in competition with each other for the means of survival/reproduction. While it may not make sense to say they are more evolved, one might as easily say they are “better adapted” than others at reproducing and eliminating competition. It stands to reason that certain groups/individuals through RM and NS are “better adapted” to survive than other groups just as certain individuals are better adapted via RM and NS. (The engines of evolution)

    Further, if RM and NS produce aggressive behavior or thought systems which aids survival of individuals/group by producing domination and extinction of individuals/groups without the identical adaptation – then TTOE, as defined by the engines of RM and NS can be considered the cause of aggressive behavior and aggressive thought systems.

    Seems pretty clear to me…

    If a group of bees develops a “Killer” mentality they are better adapted and can take over the “regular” bees. (We of course actually see this happening in the Southern US.)

    The bottom line is with TTOE, Ken Miller aside, there seems to be no “ought” there is just “is.” Therefore which groups survive and which group go extinct is not a moral question at all but is instead one of survival. If a racist mentality helps a group exist/reproduce there is no moral constraint of “ought”…only “is”. TTOE in the least then, to my way of thinking, makes no moral judgment on racism and partially enables it by suggesting that some groups will be “better adapted” at reproducing and eliminating competition than other groups. Some groups of living things will become extinct as conditions change. It also makes good sense that groups that are “better adapted” would not want to be bred with groups that are not as well adapted and would also keep the less well adapted groups/individuals from the finite resource pool.

  125. 126

    Arthur Smith [101],

    What sort of time machine were you thinking of, David? Please answer carefully.

    One intelligently designed from a DeLorean? No, there weren’t DeLoreans in Darwin’s time. A locomotive, perhaps? Where’s Doc Brown whe you need him?

    The point, anyway: The Origin of Species was published in 1859. Almost all the genocide of the American Indian had already occurred by that point.

    Of course, there was still Wounded Knee, the last great massacre of the Indians, which took place just after Christmas in 1890. Can we blame Darwin for that? Please?

    What an obnoxious set of posts on this topic. They have yet to be reasonably defended, I suspect because reasonable defenses are unavailable.

  126. Allen

    “Why are the only species that have eyes are the ones that are conscious?”

    Are flatworms conscious? How about scallops? Slugs? Spiders? Ants? And how would you go about showing that they were? Ask them? How do you even know that anyone else around you is conscious? Yes, you could ask them, but they might be programmed to give you a convincing answer.

    Awareness is a property of consciousness. So, yes, spiders, worms, etc, have consciousness, i.e. they are conscious of their world to some degree. How do you think spiders build a web or trap flies or mate without being conscious? You call yourself a biologist?

    It’s funny ow you equate developing wings and the ability to fly from a flightless species with what happens with gravity orother simple things.

    Is that the best you can do?

    How sad and pathetic that a prestigious university passes off such malarky as science.

  127. 128

    One intelligently designed from a DeLorean? No, there weren’t DeLoreans in Darwin’s time. A locomotive, perhaps? Where’s Doc Brown whe you need him?

    Sorry, David.

    Just my British sense of humour (sic)

  128. 129

    Arthur, you mean Darwin was a (The) Doctor?

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