WE HAVE NEVER before employed such a harsh title, but this one seems entirely justified. We’ve already “honored” WorldNetDaily with the Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award in this earlier posting, so there’s not much left for us to do except to continue slamming them for their shameless behavior.
In today’s WorldNetDaily they published this: Darwin’s deadly delusions. The article leads off with a quote:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. …
~ Charles Darwin
That is a classic example of a particularly despicable tactic so widely known that it’s described in a Wikipedia article: Quote mining:
The phrase originated in the mid-1990s. It is commonly used by members of the scientific community to describe a method frequently employed by creationists to support their arguments, though it can be and often is used outside of the “science vs. faith” discussion. … Entire books of quotes have been created by creationists, such as That Their Words May Be Used Against Them, by creation scientist Henry Morris …
There is also an extensive “library” of mined quotes maintained here: The Quote Mine Project, Or, Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines.
But still, you’ve got to be wondering: Did Darwin really say such a damnable thing?
That’s the nature of quote mining; it creates doubt — which is why bottom rung “journalists” and creation “scientists” love to use the tactic. So here’s the rest of the story:
Yes, those words were written, but it’s not what you might think. When you see that “quote” in context, you immediately understand that Darwin was saying something completely different. Here’s the statement in full, and unlike the creationist publication we’re writing about today, we will give you a source so you can verify what we’re telling you: THE DESCENT OF MAN, by Charles Darwin, 1882 edition. It’s in chapter VI. You’ll have to search for the specific text, but it’s there.
For our presentation of the relevant portion of Darwin’s writing, we’ll put the “mined” section in red, and some omitted (but essential) before-and-after phrases in blue, so you can easily see the way WorldNetDaily has dishonored itself:
The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies—between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridæ—between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
Contrast that, dear reader, with the misleading snippet published by WorldNetDaily. They didn’t even get the final phrase in its proper sequence! But that’s a quibble.
[Addendum: That scrambled snippet is more than a quibble; it's a clue. Like a mutated gene, we can trace it back to an earlier ancestor. We found the likely source -- the missing link, as it were. Can you guess where the mined snippet came from? It's the Discovery Institute, and they published it here: Re-examining the Darwin-Hitler Link. Truly, today's article in WorldNetDaily is one of the great moments in creationist journalism!]
The full paragraph we copied (from a reliable source) begins where the one before it ends, with Darwin’s explanation of what had been a great puzzle — the scarcity of species showing human ancestry. Darwin explains that such gaps are quite understandable, given what we see in nature — related forms sometimes die out. Apes are going extinct. Primitive people often don’t survive contact with advanced nations. These two examples are as true today as they were when Darwin wrote about them.
The important thing here is how easily one can see that Darwin’s paragraph isn’t even remotely advocating genocide. It discusses the existence of gaps in the evolutionary record. One would have to be either retarded or demented to distort that paragraph’s meaning, or so it seems to us.
Darwin was a naturalist, not a racist! It was probably the farthest thing from his mind to be urging his countrymen to go out and exterminate the barbarians. Yet that is precisely the false impression of Darwin that WorldNetDaily intentionally (or perhaps incompetently) gives you.
We strive to make our opinions clear, so here’s a summary: Quote-mining is a disgusting tactic, it’s practitioners are liars, those who mindlessly copy such material are intellectual scavengers, and WorldNetDaily is an odious rag.
Copyright © 2008. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.