Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Of Hitler and Darwin

I posted a comment on Bria's blog a few days ago and received a lengthy response from a gentleman named Corey, which you can read here.

Rather than clog Bria's comments with such a lengthy reply, I thought I'd post it here instead.

Your comment covered a lot of ground, and I don't think I'll be able to respond directly to all of it... but I would like to address some of the main points.

1. Of course racism and genocide existed before Darwin. In fact, there were even attempts at scientific defense of these practices well before Darwin, as noted by Stephen Jay Gould in his 1977 book Ontogeny and Phylogeny: "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory."

I never suggested that Darwin was the father of all racism, merely that his theory on origins is inescapably racist. At the very least this is true in the historical sense. Modern Darwinian thinkers have tried to distance themselves from racist philosophy by referring to "ethnicity" rather than race; which I think is a wise move on their part. But this modern adjustment of terminology does not absolve the Darwinian School of atrocities committed against Australian Aborigines and other primitive tribes in the name of science (going so far as to put one Congolese man, Ota Benga, on display in the Bronx Zoo), the eugenics movement (particularly the efforts of Francis Galton and Margaret Sanger), and, I maintain, the attempts at refining a Master Race under Hitler.

Incidentally, your assertion that racism and slavery have seen a decline since Darwin's time is patently untrue. Anti-Slavery groups and analysts around the globe estimate the number of enslaved humans worldwide at anywhere from 20 to 200 million persons; which, even at the low end rivals or exceeds the greatest enslavements of history. The vast majority of these are in Asia and Africa, where much of the bondage and abuse is ethno-centric... ironically, in a geographic area where the ethnic diversity would seem comparatively minor!

2. Notwithstanding your quotations as to the motivation behind Hitler's actions, I would argue that he operated from a profoundly Darwinian ethic. In Mein Kampf he stated, "If reproduction as such is limited and the number of births decreased, then the natural struggle for existence, which only allows the strongest and healthiest to survive, will be replaced by the obvious desire to save at any cost even the weakest and sickest; thereby a progeny is produced, which must become ever more miserable, the longer this mocking of nature and its will persists.... A stronger race will supplant the weaker, since the drive for life in its final form will decimate every ridiculous fetter of the so-called humaneness of individuals, in order to make place for the humaneness of nature, which destroys the weak to make place for the strong." (emphasis mine)

This seems to me the very essence of Darwinian evolution: The weak must make way for the strong. I would also refer you to pages 113-115 here.

3. I will join you in your condemnation of religious bigotry and hypocrisy; which I see evidenced both in Hitler and in many of the events surrounding the Crusaders and Conquistadors... though we would probably disagree on many of the particulars. However, I vehemently disagree that creationism is even remotely based upon such bigotry.

My views on the origins of mankind, and indeed all other elements of the created order, are based upon the Inspired account of Genesis, and backed by plenty of good science. This approach is religious, to be sure, but not bigoted until I completely refuse to give any hearing to other views... which, I trust this exchange of comments will preclude.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Measured Patriotism

1 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

God of our Fathers,

In this season of patriotic fervor and celebration, we are rightly mindful of and deeply grateful for the rich heritage left us by our forebears in this land. We thank You for the examples You have set before us in the courage and humility of George Washington, the brilliance and decisiveness of John Adams, and for the farsighted wisdom and discernment of Patrick Henry. Help us to follow them as they followed You, while, of course, bearing in mind that they were, inevitably, imperfect men. Guard us from the temptation to put our heroes, or as is far more common, our nation on an unlawful pedestal. Remind us that while “we” are indeed Your chosen nation; the “we” is New Israel, the Church, and not these United States of America. And yet we pray for our nation, Lord God. We cry out to You to turn America and our leaders away from our wicked ways! Continue to expose the misdeeds of unscrupulous senators and cavorting congressmen for what they are, and visit the unrepentant with Your judgment! Visit our president with the terror of Your holiness, and cause him to turn from his socialistic and totalitarian policies. Teach us, as a nation, to kiss the Son lest He be angry… preferably before His wrath is kindled against us. And renew in us a love of history; Your story, giving us discernment as we seek to profit from the lessons You have taught through the centuries.

We ask that You teach us to understand our times, as the Sons of Issachar, and strengthen our fingers to fight the good fight. We thank You for giving us such powerful weapons as prayer and Your word, and ask that You would help us to wield them with skill, authority, confidence, and devastating effect. Even as Your Son Jesus did when He modeled so poignant a prayer for His disciples, saying…