Discovery Institute: Breivik a “Social Darwinist”

Buffoon Award

It was only a few days ago that we posted WND: Norwegian Terrorist Was “Darwinian”, in which we discussed the crazed allegation of WorldNetDaily (WND) that Anders Behring Breivik. the Norwedian terrorist, was a “Darwinian.” WND had quote-mined Breivik’s 1,500 page manifesto and produced nothing to support their bizarre claim. We didn’t think anyone else would attempt to blame Darwin for this terrorist’s actions, but we were wrong.

As we should have expected, when there’s creationist madness in the blogosphere, right in the middle of it you’re likely to find the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

At the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we see this new article: Fundamentalist Christian or Deranged Social Darwinist? It’s written by John West. Most of you know who he is (we affectionately call him “Westie”). It’s in his honor that we have adorned this post with our jolly Buffoon logo, because he’s a winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award. Westie is Associate Director of the Discoveroids’ creationist “think tank,” which consumes almost half of the Discovery Institute’s’ $4 million budget (see Their 2007 Tax Return). That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy.

Like WND, Westie doesn’t give any quotes from Breivik’s manifesto to seriously support his claim. He can’t, because there just aren’t any. But he does his best — which isn’t very good. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Since the horrific acts perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway last week, the newsmedia have been scrambling to uncover the worldview of Mr. Breivik. After initially speculating (wrongly) that the Oslo bombing and subsequent youth camp massacre were committed by a radical Muslim, establishment media outlets like CNN sought to depict Breivik as “a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.” Think Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson with a machine gun.

Westie is correct to dismiss those “Christian fundamentalist” claims. However, he can’t leave it at that. No, like a good creationist he’s compelled to blame Breivik’s behavior on Darwin. How does he do that, when Breivik’s manifesto doesn’t say that he was inspired by Darwin or his theory of evolution? Westie does it by mining several quotes from the manifesto in which Breivik says he wasn’t all that religious (albeit regarding himself as a cultural Christian). That’s really all there is, but it’s enough for Westie to claim that it’s all Darwin’s fault. You’ll see. Let’s read on:

To be sure, Breivik identifies himself as “100% Christian” in his manifesto (p. 1403), and he certainly talks incessantly about defending “Christian” civilization. But he also makes clear that his Christianity is a simply pose adopted for political reasons.

No, we’ve read the manifesto. Breivik’s identification with what he called Europe’s Christian civilization wasn’t a pose — that seems to be how he felt. He rejected Islam; he rejected Marxism, and what was left was the Christian West, which Breivik embraced as his culture. We continue, as Westie plucks a few quotes from the 1,500-page manifesto:

As for his own religious beliefs and practices, Breivik frankly admits: “I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person as that would be a lie. I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment.”

Not particularly “Darwinian,” is it? Here’s more of Westie’s quote-mining:

[H]e adds that he has not yet actually prayed to God for strength, he expects that he may do so when he goes on his murderous rampage: “If praying will act as an additional mental boost/soothing it is the pragmatical thing to do. I guess I will find out… If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past.” (p. 1345) Note the “if” in his statement about whether God exists. Breivik himself doesn’t even appear to believe in God. He frequently identifies himself as a “cultural Christian,” a term which he defines at one point as the same thing as a “Christian atheist.”

That doesn’t have anything to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Got anything else, Westie? No, he doesn’t, except a few more lame innuendos — for example:

Unsurprisingly, Breivik’s idea of “cultural Christianity” has little to do with Christianity as most people would understand that term. For example, Breivik makes clear that to join his movement for cultural Christianity “[i]t is not required that you have a personal relationship with God or Jesus.”

Oh, the Darwinism! The next excerpt is as close as Westie gets to his central claim, and it’s merely a statement that Breivik respects science (which Discoveroids abhor). The bold font here was added by Westie::

Indeed, Breivik emphasizes that he wants a secular European state where “[t]he Church and church leaders will not be allowed to influence non-cultural political matters in any way. This includes science, research and development and all non-cultural areas which will benefit Europe in the future. This will also include all areas relating to procreation/birth/fertility policies and related issues of scientific importance (reprogenetics).” (p. 1137, emphasis added)

Westie takes that quote and runs with it, interpreting it as if he has special insight into the terrorist’s thinking:

As can be seen, Breivik harbors a special concern that Christians not be able to influence issues related to science and pubic policy “in any way.” Why?

Because he sees biological science–not traditional religion–as the ultimate savior of society. In his view, advances in biology will makes possible a vigorous new form of Social Darwinism that will save the Nordic race through positive eugenics.

That’s all there is. As you can see, it’s nothing. As we’ve pointed out before, Darwin specifically rejected eugenics (see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin).

Westie concludes his silly post by promising yet another article which well tell us more about “Breivik’s frightening eugenics agenda.” We conclude by asking: Who cares? Anyway, nice try, Westie.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Discovery Institute: Breivik a “Social Darwinist”

  1. But Plato always gets a pass on HIS advocacy of eugenics. The Darwin time machine strikes again.

  2. Could it be that fueled by such bizarre nonsense as this latest post by Westie, or the inane ramblings of the incredibly ignorant Anika, or the creationist mumbo-jumbo squeaked out by Attack Gerbil Casey, that the DI is edging towards implosion?

    Sadly, probably not.

    I guess we need cesspools, and the DI certainly fills that bill.

  3. It matters not that Darwin never entered Breivik’s mind – the DI will find a way to blame any mass murder on the gentle scientist.

    I argue that since the purpose of his killing was to start a revolution to restore a culturally christian Europe, that christianity had a much greater influence on his actions than any nineteenth century scientist. We will learn much more in the coming weeks about his motives, as he testifies in court.

  4. You know… if I turned in a paper to a philosophy class that was as poorly written as ol’ Westie’s paper here, I’d receive back a paper that was totally covered in red ink and had a bad grade on it.

    But these folks want to get published in academic journals???

    That makes no sense. Much like the Chewbacca defense.

  5. As we’ve pointed out before, Darwin specifically rejected eugenics…

    Darwin also rejected genocide and slavery. (Unlike the Bible, which is positively steeped in both – an inconvenient fact Mr West neglects to mention.)

    That makes no sense. Much like the Chewbacca defense.

    By gum, it IS the Chewbacca defense. Why doesn’t he just cut to the chase and bring out the chimpanzee puppet already? “Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey! You see, lambs – it’s all Darwin’s fault!”