They get no respect. Who? 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).
This is not a new theme. We wrote about it three years ago: Discovery Institute: They Get No Respect! The universal scorn which is heaped upon them is not just because they’re regarded as the biological equivalent of the Flat Earth Society. It’s also because, like the most primitive creationist websites, they keep recycling their old clunkers which were debunked years ago, and then they complain that no one takes them seriously.
The Discoveroids have posted several recent articles at their blog complaining about The Uncivil Style of Intelligent Design Critics. But what respect have they earned? To us the answer is none — none at all. Consider their latest article: Francis Galton’s Novel: A Vision of Horrors to Come.
It’s about Darwin’s cousin, who was a eugenics enthusiast. But Darwin wasn’t a fan of eugenics, and he said so in Descent of Man. We quoted him extensively in this post Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. He specifically mentions Galton, and then he says:
Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means.
It couldn’t be more clear that Darwin rejected eugenics; he thought it interfered with the natural process of evolution. Further, his theory wasn’t the spark that created the eugenics movement. Anyone who has only a casual familiarity with history knows that eugenics goes back at least as far as Sparta. The Athenians were also familiar with the idea. Plato (the darling of the Discoveroids and of mystics everywhere) actually recommended state-supervised selective breeding of children: The Republic by Plato, Book 5.
We’ve pointed this out before, and so have others. Do we need to take such claims seriously every time the Discoveroids repeat them? No, we don’t. The only appropriate response is scorn and ridicule.
Why do the Discoveroids endlessly attempt to blame Darwin for eugenics? We don’t know. It’s probably the same kind of obsession that keeps them insisting that Darwin is to blame for Hitler. So now what have they written about Galton? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Darwin’s cousin will never live down the dark side of his legacy. Yes, Francis Galton did some good things: weather maps, fingerprinting systems, social science work. But his baby, eugenics, was a monster that has risen again in his own words: a chilling novel that didn’t get destroyed.
His own family tried to destroy it. Francis Galton wrote a novel named Kantsaywhere that presented his vision of an ideal society, where science bred the best human stock and eliminated the unfit.
Aldous Huxley did it better. See Brave New World. Anyway, the Discoveroids claim that bits and pieces of Galton’s work survived, and they’re making the most of it. They say:
Galton got the message and took his cousin’s philosophy to its (arguably) logical conclusion.
Why — why? — doesn’t anyone respect the Discoveroids? Here’s how they conclude their article on Galton:
His novel-writing exercise never quite got around to “the rest of the story” — 164 million cold-blooded murders that would begin within the decade. As a result of those “unintended consequences,” Galton is no longer remembered as a legitimate scientist, but as the Father of Eugenics.
Whoopie — yet another nonsensical Hitler connection! And the Discoveroids complain that their critics are “uncivil.” We think we’ve been treating them with far too much gentility. Anything more than zero is too much.
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