The "lighter" side of Darwin
"If the biblical account of creation in Genesis isn't true, how can we trust the rest of the Bible?"

-- Beverly La Haye, president of Concerned Women for America. (quoted in Ron Bailey's Origin of the Specious.)

Belated birthday greetings to the much-embattled Charles Darwin!

I guess if yesterday was his 199th birthday, he's now in his 200th year, and he's probably more hated now than he ever was in his lifetime (certainly in terms of sheer numbers of people).

This editorial by Tony Campolo reflects an increasingly common view of social conservatives that because Darwinian theory was used by the Nazis to justify genocide that the theory is dangerous.

I agree that in the hands of demagogues and evil doers, virtually any theory can be dangerous. (As Paul Johnson notes, Einsteinian relativity has been invoked to justify moral relativism, against Einstein's own views.) But I don't see how the misapplication of a theory is in any way an argument against the theory. Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot were Marxists and atheists, and they murdered many tens of millions to force into being the economic theories of a Victorian philosopher. Whether Marx would have agreed with what happened will never be known. So, while I think Marx's theories have been proven bogus, I've never quite understood how Marx (much less atheism) can be held responsible for mass murder.

On a lighter note I very much enjoyed Don Surber's "Darwin at work" -- on copper wire thieves who electrocute themselves:

"The sheer stupidity of cutting through power cables should be glaringly obvious to everyone," said Phil Wilson, Customer Operations Manager with Central Networks (which I take it is the local electric utility).

Thieves ain't too bright.

I hope Mr. Copper Thief has no children. Really, the gene pool does not need him.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

Anyway, before this dreadful cold takes me out of any possibility of being the gene pool, I did think I should offer a video I found which I think fits into the "Darwin at work" category.

For entertainment purposes only. Don't let this happen to you!

Glenn Reynolds' link to the "close intellectual kinship between creationism and leftist postmodernism" caused me to engage in guilt by association speculation. While it's a sore point with the vegans, it's generally acknowledged that Hitler was a vegetarian. This, coupled with the way vegan activists trivialized the Holocaust, means that veganism = genocide! (Hey, anything can be made relative if you're a dogmatic absolutist! So, if you believe that "the leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps," it's a small step from relativism to nihilism.)

And it occurred to me that not only is Darwin to blame for the way many people rationalize the feelings of contempt for the individual in the above video, but so is Hugo Chavez.

The man is a tyrant who got us addicted to his oil and then cut it off, right?

Glenn Reynolds linked a post which explains how it is that by cutting off our oil he's ultimately setting in motion a chain of events which will cause his own head to roll.

And he's called melonhead, right? And he sold the oil that probably (or might as well have) ignited the melon, right? And he's a Commie, right?

But Lenin is supposed to have said that the capitalists would sell us the rope with which the Commies would use to hang them. Obviously, Chavez can't even get his Leninism right, nor can he get his capitalism right.

May Darwin pity him.

Clearly, the flaming melonhead in the above video is some sort of metaphor.

posted by Eric on 02.13.08 at 12:39 PM


I've never quite understood how Marx (much less atheism) can be held responsible for mass murder.

Because advocating an economic system that anyone with a functioning brainstem would have recognized as quickly and reliably resulted in mass starvation and communal societies where attempting to be successful or leave must be punished in order to work is very decidedly unethical, especially doing so knowingly.

You've got the right to say whatever you want or preach whatever theories you want, but you can't teach kids that arsenic is a great Kool Aid flavorer and expect to get out morally scot-free.

gattsuru   ·  February 14, 2008 10:12 PM

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