Todd S, Australia, wrote in with a comment about Namibian genocide: precursor to the Holocaust, a review of the book The Kaiser’s Holocaust. He argues that while evolution was misused by racists, their racist beliefs cannot be linked back to evolution. Dr Carl Wieland responds.
I have just finished reading this exceptionally well written book, and appreciate the time and effort made for your review of it.
However, in my opinion, it is somewhat concrete and facile, to condemn the ‘belief system’ of Evolution on the basis of the misuse of this ‘belief system’ by a group of self serving miscreants, as this book illustrates horrifically.
As many of our articles point out (accessible easily via the search engine or using the topics/Q&A menu function), it is not properly regarded as a misuse. See for example ‘Christian’ vs evolutionary atrocities.
By way of a quick response, though, in the interim, I would write as follows:
First, if we are mere effervescences of nature (reorganised pond scum, as it has been less eloquently put), by what criterion or standard other than a totally subjective and arbitrary one could you even refer to it as a ‘mis’ (i.e. ‘wrong’) use? Why would Nazi morality, for instance, be ‘wrong’?
The same logic would condemn all religious belief on the basis of any misuse of religion,
eg any of the multitude of religious wars, from the crusades onwards, or any misdeeds by those with religious affiliation,
Not quite. There is a missing ingredient in the logic here. If a Nazi or any other committed evolutionist comes to believe that it is right and natural for the strong to wipe out the weak, and acts upon that belief, he may be making an unnecessary connection, but not an illogical or irrational or even inconsistent one, i.e. it is consistent with his world and life view. (See here for the documentation by a Professor of modern European history of the direct and logical Darwin-Nazi link, including an actual clip from a Nazi film that was viewed prewar by my own mother who grew up in Germany under Hitler.). Whereas for a Christian to perform atrocities would be inconsistent with the teachings of the founder of the faith (you hinted at the answer yourself when you said it was a misuse; the antidote to a misuse is a return to the correct use). The same could not be said of an Islamic jihadist, who can point to direct exhortations by the founder of his faith to justify violence against unbelievers (see also Unfair to Islam? that deals with your ‘moral equivalence’ approach).
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