Klinghoffer: Darwin and Mao (Attila Next?)

IF you already know who David Klinghoffer is, you can skip the next paragraph:

David Klinghoffer is a “Senior Fellow” (i.e., full-blown creationist) among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). David also operates his own blog, Kingdom of Priests, a part of Beliefnet. What Klinghoffer writes at Beliefnet sometimes shows up at the Discoveroids’ blog, so we regard each blog as an extension of the other.

David Klinghoffer has written a series of bizarre essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to:

the Columbine shootings,
Charles Manson,
Holocaust Museum shooter, James von Brunn, and
the Ft. Hood Massacre

Those essays, Klinghoffer’s fantasy account of Darwin’s legacy, are void of scientific content and are thus utterly unrelated to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Rather, we regard them as Klinghoffer’s continuing and increasingly desperate cry for help. We can’t help him; we doubt that anyone can.

Anyway, he’s just done it again. We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Darwin and Mao, which appears at the Beliefnet blog.

We won’t excerpt much of it. Most of David’s essay consists of his quoting someone else. We don’t know if David’s source is being quoted fairly. We suspect that there’s a lot wrong with David’s scholarship, but we haven’t checked It’s really too much bother, considering that we’re dealing with Klinghoffer. He’s got a track record. The lad has cried “Hitler” too many times.

We’ll give you some of David’s own writing, which appears after he’s finished quoting his source, and then you can draw your own conclusions The bold font was added by us:

Yet I’m guessing that this is the first time you’ve heard of the Darwin-Mao connection, as most people don’t know about the Marx-, Lenin-, and Hitler-Darwin connections. Most who’ve heard of it, dismiss it since that’s the prestige attitude to take.

Or maybe prestige has nothing to do with it. Perhaps it’s because embracing such imaginary connections is — shall we say — a bit daft? Let’s read on:

I just wonder why this thread of history is suppressed. I mean, the abuses of religion are well known. The Crusades are part of the Christian legacy, despite the fact the nothing at all in the New Testament would lead you to expect such an abuse.

Religious maniacs usually justify their actions with quotes from scripture. But Marx didn’t justify his goofy economics with quotes from Darwin. Neither did Hitler quote (or even mention) Darwin in Mein Kampf; and although we’ve never read Mao, we’re confident that he didn’t quote Darwin either. Also, none of those people were biologists. Biologists don’t exhibit such behavior. But the Crusades were initiated and sanctioned by clergymen. See the difference, David?

Here’s the end of his essay:

When it comes to evaluating the relationship between ideas and their consequences, why does Darwinism always get a free pass and a whitewash while religion is held to strict account? This is not a rhetorical question. Please do help me understand.

As we said, this is a cry for help.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Klinghoffer: Darwin and Mao (Attila Next?)

  1. Let’s see. We’ve still got Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, a whole bunch of African Despots, and Carrottop to blame on Darwin, so expect more essays from Klinghoffer when someone forgets his medication.

  2. Albanaeon says: “Let’s see. We’ve still got Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein …”

    I nominate Bonnie & Clyde.

  3. retiredsciguy

    You beat me to it, Albanaeon. I was thinking of Pol Pot and Idi Amin while reading Curmy’s post.

    Hmm. No one’s mentioned Rodney Dangerfield yet…

  4. In this age of iPods and digital music, the phrase “like a broken record” probably dates me but, that is what Klinghoffer sounds like. He keeps trotting out his tired old mantra that “ideas have consequences” and just plugs in a different ‘evil’ that he blames on the ‘idea’ of ‘Darwinism’. He seems to think there is no difference between theories based on scientific fact and ideas based on religious or philosophical positions. He likes to blame the idea for the way some people have twisted and misused it to serve their own purposes.

    For all his harping on the evils resulting from ‘Darwinism’, I still don’t know what Klinghoffer expects us to do. Throw out the theory of evolution because some crazy people may have vaguely referred to it? Quit doing science because we may stumble on facts that can be used in negative ways? (The atomic theory leading to the atomic bomb comes to mind.) Stop thinking because our ideas may have unintended consequences?

  5. comradebillyboy

    A biologist named Lysenko was Stalin’s favorite biologist. Lysenko’s ideas about biology were in no way consistent with the concept of common descent or natural selection. Lysenko was a scientific fraud. Biologists who differed with Lysenko were often arrested and sent to labor camps.

  6. I think Klinghoffer has it wrong that “ideas have consequences”. An idea can’t do anything. It takes people to ACT on them. It seems typical nowadays to blame anything but the person doing the act. Grandma spills her coffee and burns herself. It’s McDonald’s fault because the coffee was too hot, not that grandma was clumsy. Hitler killed Jews because of ‘Darwinism’, not because he hated Jews and needed a scapegoat to gain power.

    It’s not the idea that has consequences, it’s the way some people misuse them for their own purposes.

  7. retiredsciguy

    Klinghoffer should start to realize that it’s *ignorance* that has consequences, not necessarily ideas. Ideas *can* have bad consequences — if they’re the wrong ideas.

    On the other hand, good ideas can have good consequences. The closer an idea comes to fitting all the observed evidence, the better that idea is. It’s absolutely preposterous to think that hundreds of thousands of PhD. biologists, geologists, paleontologists, anthropologists, and just about every other “gist” one could name could all be wrong about evolution.

  8. I left a comment on Mr. Klinghoffer’s blog and for the first time received this message, “Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.” I don’t know if this is because I have left critical comments previously or if he has just decided all comments need to be moderated. Since most of the comments that are allowed when he talks about “Darwinism” seem to be critical of his views, I can only assume he has been receiving too many rude comments calling him an a-hole and wants to weed those out.

  9. RogerE says:

    I think Klinghoffer has it wrong that “ideas have consequences”. An idea can’t do anything. It takes people to ACT on them.

    Causes have consequences. The trick is to identify the specific cause for an observed consequence, and that takes a bit more effort than just bringing a prejudice to the table.

    Ranting about the alleged consequences of “ideas” leads nowhere. We’re all exposed to thousands of ideas. Marx, Hitler, and Mao were all exposed to algebra. Therefore …

  10. @RogerE, while I agree that “the way some people misuse” ideas does not reflect on the ideas, in the case of Hitler and Darwin, there was not even a misuse of Darwin’s ideas.
    Hitler did take Koch as a model, in a misuse of the germ theory of disease.
    But the Nazis did not favor the idea of common descent, and they claimed that natural variations (without direction) could only lead to deterioration.

  11. Quit doing science because we may stumble on facts that can be used in negative ways?

    Klinghoffer takes astrology very seriously-because Talmud does. This is not a guy who cares about science.

    Grandma spills her coffee and burns herself. It’s McDonald’s fault because the coffee was too hot, not that grandma was clumsy.

    In that particular case, McDonald’s was holding their coffee at 180 F–third degree burn territory– so it would keep longer. When you make coffee at home, it’s typically about 140 F. If she had tried to drink that coffee she’d have needed her mouth replaced. McDonald’s was found to be responsible because nobody expects coffee to be hot enough to burn your face off.