Again at Café Philos, the anti-Darwin fifth columnists do their best to continue distortions of history, in this case, in high irony, claiming NOT to defend John Freshwater.
Not in defense of Freshwater’s walking over the Constitution and zapping burns on students in the shape of a cross? Why bother to go after Darwin? No explanation is necessary. It’s like the story of the frog and the scorpion. Creationists are like scorpions. It’s in their nature. (I believe it is a corruption of human nature that creationism visits on those who allow the demon in.) (“Paging Bobby Jindal! Creationist Demon Possession in the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion; what? You’re already there? When’s the exorcism this time?”)
Here’s the exchange. If you find it boring, my apologies. I do weary at the prospect of having to do this again, and again. On the crashed hard-drive of my first laptop, I have files now 15 years old discussing this same silly claim. I’m posting here for the record, for my easy reference, with hope that someday it will not be necessary to post this stuff at all. You may need some of these links some day, and here they are, below the fold.
A poster with the handle Sweet said:
Am I to believe then that Charles Darwin repudiated the idea of eugenics?
No, don’t put faith in it. Read what he wrote, and quit putting out your thoughts for his. Read the blessed book, will you? Darwin posed a rhetorical question about whether human stock would get frail as a result of altruism — but, I’ve answered this argument of yours three or four posts ago. Darwin did not argue for eugenics, ever. Not ever. You failed to note the argument at all, but blindly go on butchering Darwin quotes as if you have any idea what Darwin and his editors intended. Balderdash. Go back and read it as I wrote it before. Quit ignoring the answers. Darwin said let natural selection work naturally in humans. Darwin said stop genocides. Darwin said aboriginals are superior to “civilized” tribes and should be left alone. Darwin said nature takes care of what he regarded as less-than-top-quality stock among humans, no intervention necessary.
Even though he had very little relationship with Galton until both were mature scientists, and that Darwin initiated the contact?
Ah, so now your claim is that if you write a letter to me, you have adopted all of my ideas. Good. Where shall I send you the address? We can get you a full education in Darwin very quickly — just send me a letter.
More seriously, you make the case here yourself that Galton is not Darwin, and that imputing the views of one to the other is insanity.
So stop it.
The letters between them can be found with just a little bit of searching. Did they always agree?
The immediate issue is whether they agreed on eugenics at all. Your claim is that Darwin repudiated his life-long views of egalitarianism and no-interference in human breeding. You’ve offered no evidence of such a repudiation, but instead have offered a weak guilt-by-association claim with regard to Galton.
That doesn’t make your case. There is no evidence Darwin shared Galton’s views on eugenics, and as I have noted before, it would be contrary to what Darwin wrote in Voyage of the Beagle all the way through to Descent of Man, not to mention completely contrary to Darwin’s own actions through his entire life.
You’re making an extraordinary claim, Sweet. You need extraordinary evidence, not just half-quotes from Darwin, not just sections of his writings you have ripped untimely and irrationally from their context.
No, yet it was not the issue of eugenics that caused a real snit between the two, it was Galtons testing of a theory of Darwin’s which proved Darwin wrong that caused friction between the two. I don’t give two hoots whether you believe I’ve read Darwin or not, I know the reality.
You’re denying the reality. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read Darwin — I hope you haven’t. If you haven’t read him, you’re merely deluded. If you’ve read him, you’re a two-faced, dishonest scoundrel.
That’s your ticket: You’ve never read Darwin at all, but instead have seen only the bawdlerized versions offered by stiff-necked creationists. That’s your story, and you should stick to it, for the sake of honor.
The fact that I did not take from it what you did certainly does not show me a liar. Nor have I only read Darwin, I have read a great deal beyond Darwin, to those who support and those who did not. I have read books that date back more than a hundred years, as well as newer books. My conclusions are simply not yours.
But they should be. And since your views are not mine, and your views are incorrect on the history alone, you should repent.
And since it is perfectly clear that eugenics, both positive and negative, were based on evolution.
Well, yes, if you ignore the 5,000 years of animal husbandry upon which that part of evolution is based.
Good heavens! Have you not bothered to read the first two chapters of Origin of Species just because you misinterpreted the title? In those chapters Darwin details the history and state of animal husbandry, noting that it relies on exactly the same mechanisms as evolution, only with artificial selection substituted for natural and sexual selection.
Now, are you going to go all Ben Stein on us, and make the unevidenced and irrational claim that eugenics also involves murder? You haven’t read Galton, either, have you.
Galton is clear on this. And since Galton and Darwin were corresponding why did not Darwin simply tell him he was all wet?
Galton and Darwin corresponded on the science of breeding and selection, and evolution. You’re claiming Darwin adopted Galton’s political views. That’s a different kettle of fish, a horse of a different color, an entirely different species.
But if you don’t know much about evolution, maybe you don’t recognize the differences in species of arguments, either, eh?
He [Darwin] did make some statements that indicates he does not completely agree with certain theories, but he does not repudiate the overall ideas.
Nor does he adopt the eugenics theory. As Darwin wrote to Galton upon the publication of Hereditary Genius, “you have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think [this] is an eminently important difference.” (See Desmond and Moore’s biography of Darwin, p. 572)
Did you notice that Darwin listed himself an opponent of Galton’s ideas? Do Darwin’s real words count for anything with you , Sweet?
Darwin made a theory, the progressives took it and ran, including those in Darwin’s own family. One can’t help but wonder how it would be that Darwin’s son headed up the Eugenics society if dad was so opposed to what it represented.
Oh, yes, it’s quite uncommon for the son to differ from the father on any issue at all, isn’t it? Franklin and his Tory son, Hemingway and his non-hunting, non-drinking sons, the right-wing Joseph Kennedy and his sons . . . Santayana warned about those who don’t know history.
Do you have a father, Sweet? Do you have a son? Your claim is fatuous.
Or maybe the various members of the family were just rebelling against the old man.
If I thought you didn’t offer that in sarcasm, I would hold you redeemable.
Oooooh: Warning to Readers: Here comes the violence and murder part we knew Sweet was warming up to; here’s where Sweet goes all Ben Stein:
This past century has been the century of the progressives, and it was perhaps the most bloody century humans have known.
You cut even your own quotes. Notice that most of the mass murders were not committed by progressives, however, but by totalitarians, by fascists in name and fascists in deed — and not by progressives like Galton, the Roosevelts, Churchill, and others who actually read Darwin.
The biggest lie of the past century has been that the Nazi’s were not behaving like other progressives. Not Marxists, progressives. 2 very similar, despite differences, socialists. A bit like the Lutherans and Catholics. A spate between branches of the family.
Again, I refer you to my earlier comments, in which I noted that the Nazis burned Darwin’s books. Ashley Montagu wrote several pieces over the 1950s and 1960s noting how the Nazis repudiated most of real science, but especially evolution. Adolf Hitler believed heritage passed in the blood — as the Bible argues, but not as Darwin argues — and so prohibited the use of blood banks, causing the needless deaths of tens of thousands of German soldiers. There is no evidence Darwin ever crossed Hitler’s mind, except as an example of a degenerate Brit, which is what Hitler called him in essence.
Nazis didn’t get their ideas from Darwin. They repudiated Darwin’s science, they burned Darwin’s books, they impugned Darwin’s nation and everything it ever produced. Which part of “Hitler didn’t like England or the English” did you fail to pick up on in history class?
And of course, Stalin was worse. Stalin banished the Darwinists, fired, expelled and imprisoned anyone who he thought might be Darwinist, and murdered a few for good measure.
Do creationists ever read history?
I do not agree with what this teacher did at all, as far as I am concerned he assaulted a child, and had this been my child I would not have been nearly as nice as the parents involved. This alone is why he should be fired, but very few people focus on what he did to a kid do they? No they focus on his belief system, and the reason he should be fired comes down to their disagreement with that belief system. Read the responses here, some of which are terribly nasty. The idea is that he professes Christianity, combined with the cross shape that was burned means he’s just a crazy Christian, you know, just like the rest of those rabid crazy people who help sustain evil in the world. Witness the above, I spread and sustain evil simply because I do not agree with Erik.
I do not think you can find anyone who has argued that Freshwater should be fired for being Christian. Of course, I don’t think his blasphemous work with the Bible was Christian, but that’s beside the point — he has a right to be Christian.
He has no right to teach religious dogma in place of good science. He has no right to injure students. And if you check the remarks above, more than 150 of them, I’ll wager you don’t find anyone who claims he should be fired for being a Christian. Not one (and I haven’t looked).
You mistake arrogance and totalitarian theocracy for Christianity. You’re not paying attention.
But of course, if you really believed that, why do you bother to spend so much time falsely maligning Darwin, impugning the reputation of a great man and one of the greatest ideas of western civilization? Nothing you have written could change anything about Freshwater’s manifest manifold sins.
And later Sweet said:
Please note this is a second edition [of Descent of Man] -sounds like he’s praising Galton to me. Certainly isn’t repudiating the theories, but instead is using them as citations.
You do have the most annoying, creationist habit of butchering the words of Darwin. Why did you stop where you stopped, without continuing to the concluding paragraph? Ah, well, Darwin rather undercuts your argument there — so you couldn’t very well cite that, could you? And thinking that surely no one else would bother to snip any of the 8 or 9 on-line editions of the book, you hoped to get away with impugning the great man by putting ideas to his work that the words of his pen do not support?
Here is Darwin’s conclusion, which you so uncharitably leave out entirely — starting from the line you last quoted (the link goes to all of chapter 5; you may search from there):
[Darwin wrote:] Natural selection follows from the struggle for existence; and this from a rapid rate of increase. It is impossible not to regret bitterly, but whether wisely is another question, the rate at which man tends to increase; for this leads in barbarous tribes to infanticide and many other evils, and in civilised nations to abject poverty, celibacy, and to the late marriages of the prudent. But as man suffers from the same physical evils as the lower animals, he has no right to expect an immunity from the evils consequent on the struggle for existence. Had he not been subjected during primeval times to natural selection, assuredly he would never have attained to his present rank. Since we see in many parts of the world enormous areas of the most fertile land capable of supporting numerous happy homes, but peopled only by a few wandering savages, it might be argued that the struggle for existence had not been sufficiently severe to force man upwards to his highest standard. Judging from all that we know of man and the lower animals, there has always been sufficient variability in their intellectual and moral faculties, for a steady advance through natural selection. No doubt such advance demands many favourable concurrent circumstances; but it may well be doubted whether the most favourable would have sufficed, had not the rate of increase been rapid, and the consequent struggle for existence extremely severe. It even appears from what we see, for instance, in parts of S. America, that a people which may be called civilised, such as the Spanish settlers, is liable to become indolent and to retrograde, when the conditions of life are very easy. With highly civilised nations continued progress depends in a subordinate degree on natural selection; for such nations do not supplant and exterminate one another as do savage tribes. Nevertheless the more intelligent members within the same community will succeed better in the long run than the inferior, and leave a more numerous progeny, and this is a form of natural selection. The more efficient causes of progress seem to consist of a good education during youth whilst the brain is impressible, and of a high standard of excellence, inculcated by the ablest and best men, embodied in the laws, customs and traditions of the nation, and enforced by public opinion. It should, however, be borne in mind, that the enforcement of public opinion depends on our appreciation of the approbation and disapprobation of others; and this appreciation is founded on our sympathy, which it can hardly be doubted was originally developed through natural selection as one of the most important elements of the social instincts. (31. I am much indebted to Mr. John Morley for some good criticisms on this subject: see, also Broca, ‘Les Selections,’ ‘Revue d’Anthropologie,’ 1872.)
Intelligence is shared among all men, education is the key to upward mobility and progress. Which part of that equation do you disagree with, Sweet? No wonder you cut it out.
And while you’re there, get the full context, will you? The next section of the chapter is titled, alluringly, “ON THE EVIDENCE THAT ALL CIVILISED NATIONS WERE ONCE BARBAROUS.”
Give it up, Sweet. Darwin was right. Darwin was not evil. Freshwater’s sins that merit his dismissal have nothing to do with a genuine practice of Christianity, nor can his faith cover up for his totalitarian theocratic actions, or his abuse of students with electricity.