The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — have again hauled out one of their “fellows,” Michael Flannery, to blame Charles Darwin for yet another of the evils of modernity.
The last time we wrote about Flannery was Discovery Institute: Beyond Despicable. That time he was blaming Darwin for Stalin’s deeds. He’s quite the historian!
This time it’s another of their oldie-goldies — eugenics. Flannery’s new article is Galton on Darwin and Eugenics.
We’ve previously discussed how nonsensical such claims are (see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin), in which we said:
Unless Darwin had a time machine which enabled him to instruct the Spartans about destroying defective infants, and to encourage Plato to write about a selective breeding program for the republic, he’s innocent of the charges so thoughtlessly made by creationists.
There is no connection between Darwin and the eugenics ideas of his cousin, Francis Galton — except that the two men were biologically related. As we mentioned in our earlier post, in Descent of Man Darwin specifically distanced himself from his cousin’s views, and in doing so he mentioned Galton by name. He wrote that because rapid multiplication is good for evolution, “our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means.”
Those who have read even a small portion of Darwin’s correspondence know how scrupulously polite he always was, even when writing to people with whom he disagreed. A published repudiation of Galton’s ideas (albeit delicately done) was an extraordinary thing for Darwin to do. Flannery doesn’t care. Nonsensical claims are the foundation of creationism and Intelligent Design, and Flannery is happy to contribute to the cause.
In his latest essay, Flannery says, with bold font added by us:
I’ve read many defenders of Charles Darwin who try to distance him from the eugenics movement. While their efforts are patently false, I ran across this interesting quote from the founder of eugenics, Francis Galton, in his autobiography Memories of My Life (1908). You may be familiar with it already, but it’s worth repeating:
Then he purports to quote Galton saying how impressed he was with Darwin’s work. So what? Wernher von Braun was impressed with the work of Isaac Newton, especially the laws of motion. Thus inspired, he built rockets that landed on London. Would Flannery conclude that Isaac Newton was responsible for the Blitz? Perhaps he would.
Here’s one more excerpt from Flannery’s brilliant essay:
What Darwin himself may have thought of eugenics is far less important (though I think he was unquestionably a racist) than the impact his ideas had on generations of devoted readers. Can there really be any doubt that the eugenic program advocated by Darwin’s cousin was the application of Darwinian evolutionary theory to society?
What can we say about writing like that? We don’t need to say much, because when the facts are known, Flannery’s work speaks for itself. However, we shall flatter Flannery by adopting his tactics. We are confident that he would approve of our historical analysis:
The Discovery Institute was founded in 1990. Not long after the Discoveroids’ founding, Osama bin Laden — who shared with the Discoveroids a belief that there should be much more religion in our laws and our lives, and who also hated the theory of evolution, began actively plotting against the United States. The World Trade Center was destroyed on September 11, 2001, and the world has been in turmoil ever since. The connection is clear! No Discoveroids, no Osama bin Laden!
We are grateful to Flannery and the Discoveroids for leading us to The Truth™ of 9/11.
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