WorldNetDaily: Diabolical Darwin

Buffoon Award

YES, dear reader, that jolly logo is your clue that we’re once again visiting the trashy pages of WorldNetDaily (WND), an early winner of our Buffoon Award.

Usually, when scanning WND, we start out wondering: “How crazy can it get?” But after reading an article by Ellis Washington we’re left wondering: “How can anything be that crazy?”

Ellis is the intellectual giant about whose work we wrote about here: Scripture Trumps Darwin. That dealt with a WND article in which Ellis informed us of the syllogism that was “a foundation of Western civilization”:

If A = B, then A + B = C.

Well, Ellis has done it again. We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from The Liberal-Fascist Axis, Part 2. We don’t recall seeing Part 1, but we doubt that we missed much. Okay, here it comes, with bold font added by us:

Prologue: Slavery, abortion, Social Darwinism (evolution), eugenics, fascism (i.e., Nazism, communism, liberalism), are perhaps the five most diabolical and irredeemable ideas of the past 160 years; yet despite civil wars, world wars, social revolutions, civil-rights acts, Christian revivals and political reforms, this five-headed monster is still alive and thrives under the totalitarian cult of liberalism, now called “progressivism.”

That’s the introduction, in which we are told of “the five most diabolical and irredeemable ideas of the past 160 years.” It’s a peculiar list, but the first thing that strikes us as odd is that Ellis uses the last 160 years as his historical yardstick. This being 2010, it suggests that everything started to go downhill in 1850. That’s a strange year to choose as the the end of the golden age.

It makes no sense whatsoever to assign fascism, slavery, and abortion — three of Ellis’ big five “diabolical ideas” — to such a limited time frame. Fascism is merely one form of tyranny, which is ancient. Slavery and abortion are also ancient. By 1850, slavery — at least in the Western world — was soon to end. What else was going on 160 years ago?

Well, Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859. The 150th anniversary of that event was widely celebrated last year. And we note that two of the items on Ellis’ list (social Darwinism and eugenics) are — in his mind — attributable to Darwin. Hey, 150 is close to 160. We’ve already seen a good example of Ellis’ mathematical skill, so it obvious that he’s got Darwin on his mind. Therefore, let’s skip the anachronistic three parts of Ellis’ “five-headed monster” and focus on the two that he attributes to Darwin. Ellis says:

Social Darwinism (evolution): Social Darwinism understands that the laws of Darwinian evolution by natural selection are applicable to social structures and public policy. Despite the instant and worldwide cult following of evolution since the 1860s, Darwin was rightly skeptical and in a famous letter to AsaGray, Darwin shared his doubts about evolution, writing: “… I am quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science. … It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaw[s] and holes as sound parts.”

Jeepers — what a devastating quote! But it sounds familiar. Where have we seen it before? Oh yes, in the pages of WND, and — surprise! — it was in an earlier article by Ellis. We discussed it here: Global Warming, Creationism & Brain Death, and referred to it as an oldie-goldie mined quote which is debunked in the TalkOrigins Quote Mine Project. We discussed the same bogus quote here: Creationist Wisdom — Example 63.

Does Ellis check his citations? If so, then he knows he’s writing nonsense. If not, he’s incompetent. Either way, he’s a sack of creationism. Let’s read on:

In his 1882 book, “Selection in Relation to Sex,” Social Darwinism was his major thesis:

Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man … hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

Who determines who lives and who dies? Progressives, of course.

That one is really bizarre, even for Ellis. The line “hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed” is in the first chapter of Origin of Species, in a discussion of how humans mimic the way natural selection works by their behavior in agriculture and ranching — the worst of the crop or herd are not used for breeding. But that entire book has nothing to do with the breeding of humans.

As for Ellis’ claim that his quote comes from Darwin’s 1882 book, “Selection in Relation to Sex,” it amuses us to point out that there never was such a book. If we had time we’d chase down the creationist website from which that clunker was copied.

We continue now, as Ellis gets around to discussing the other “diabolical idea” to come from Darwin:

Eugenics: “Eugenics is the study and practice of selective breeding applied to humans, with the aim of improving the species.” Eugenics was founded by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton. Margaret Sanger zealously propagated eugenics …

We’ve pointed out many times that the idea of selective breeding of horses obviously predates the Trojan War, and applying the same practices to humans goes back at least as far as Plato, who recommended state-supervised selective breeding of children. See: The Republic by Plato, Book 5. Eugenics was never advocated by Charles Darwin. Indeed, he rejected his cousin’s ideas in that direction, as we’ve mentioned here: Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.

What else does Ellis have to tell us? We don’t care. Click over to WND if you like, and read his article for yourself. We think it’s worthless. As for Ellis himself, no — he’s not worthless; no one is. He might be an organ donor.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “WorldNetDaily: Diabolical Darwin

  1. Evidently there was an 1882 edition of “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.” See:

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F955&viewtype=side&pageseq=1

  2. RogerE says:

    Evidently there was an 1882 edition of “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.”

    Yes, but that quote isn’t to be found there. Or anywhere that I can determine.

  3. Ben Stein misquoted Darwin’s writings, too.
    Too lengthy to post so here is a link that hopefully
    explains the not too clever misquotes.
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Notable_Charles_Darwin_misquotes

  4. Thanks, Charley Horse. So Ellis got his “quote” from Ben Stein’s “documentary.”

  5. Reading a bit further in the Darwin Misquotes you will see this:
    The Expelled Exposed website also points out that the same misleading selective quotation from this passage was used by anti-evolutionist William Jennings Bryan in the 1925 Scopes Trial

  6. SC, “but that quote isn’t to be found there.”

    Actually it can. Use the drop-down menu (the one that says [spine]) and go to page 134. Of course, Mr. Washington leaves out a significant part of the passage and it is ludicrous for him to say “Social Darwinism was his major thesis” based on this (or anything else written by Darwin).

  7. Curmudgeon: “Usually, when scanning WND, we start out wondering: ‘How crazy can it get?’”

    So crazy that even “Discoveroid” Michael Medved gave WND his own “buffoon award” several times on his radio show.

  8. Frank J says:

    Michael Medved gave WND his own “buffoon award”

    I wonder who was first, Medved or me?

  9. Curmudgeon: “I wonder who was first, Medved or me?”

    Yours is the only official one. Call me a cynic, but I think that the main reason that Medved does not take WND seriously is that they are too idealistic, whereas Medved is more of a pragmatist (he supported McCain in ’08 because McCain had a chance of winning, even though he really wanted Huckabee).

    WND’s Joseph Farah (a Hovind-esque YEC) once replied to my email stating that he thought OECs were “wrong too.” That of course is too politically incorrect for the DI’s big tent. Medved is an OEC who probably also accepts common descent, but is mainly committed to the big tent.