Darwin Caused World War One, Part 3

Buffoon Award

Today is Veterans Day in the US, and the Discovery Institute is celebrating in their unique way. They just posted something by John West (whom we affectionately call “Westie”). Westie was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo above this post. He is also a Discoveroid Senior Fellow and Associate Director of their creationism think tank, the Center for Science & Culture.

In his new post, On Veterans Day, Remembering the Roots of World War I, Westie is repeating some stuff and promoting the same video the Discoveroids posted about a few months ago, about which we wrote Darwin Caused World War One, Part 2. We debunked it all at that time, so although the Discoveroids don’t mind repeating themselves, we don’t need to bother. We’ll excerpt only the stuff that’s new, with some bold font added by us. Here we go:

And while we are remembering the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the War, it would be wise to remember the roots of the fanatical militarism that helped give rise to the conflict.

You know what’s coming, don’t you? Even if you didn’t know the Discoveroids, our title gave it away. Westie hawks his video, and then he says:

My aim in creating the video was not to provide a comprehensive examination of the causes of the war, which were undeniably tangled and complex. Instead, I wanted to explore one of the influences on German militarism that has been largely forgotten by our culture: Social Darwinism.

As we’ve mentioned before, Darwin probably never heard of social Darwinism, which was concocted by Herbert Spencer — see Banquet at Delmonico’s — Spencer and Social Darwinism. It would make just as much sense to blame our problems on Einstein, because of somebody’s idea of “social relativity.” Let’s read on:

If you think ideas about biology and human nature are far too abstract to be consequential, I’d invite you to watch this video and share it with your friends, especially the segment about genocide in German South-West Africa. Ideas really do have consequences, and the consequences of bad ideas have a way of repeating themselves unless we take the time to remember what happened in the past and then try to learn from our mistakes.

Westie is quite the scholar. There’s no need for him to research the complicated causes of the Great War. It’s so much easier to blame it on Darwin. Westie’s dreary post concludes with this:

Indeed, as viewers will find out at the end of the documentary, the Social Darwinism of World War I did not go away. It helped set the stage for another worldwide catastrophe within two decades.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! As we’ve also said before, the only WWII leader known to have actually read anything by Darwin was Winston Churchill. See Hitler, Darwin, and … Winston Churchill?

So there you are. That’s how the Discoveroids are celebrating Veterans Day. What a great bunch of folks!

See also: Discovery Institute: Another Peer-Review Triumph.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Darwin Caused World War One, Part 3

  1. They are the most dedicated group of turd polishers Thecworld has ever seen.

  2. No powered flight, no 9/11 attacks. Materialist OrvilleandWilburWrightism will be the end of us all.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Curmie, are you testing us to see if we actually use the hyperlinks you provide to your source material. I actually wanted to see what Westie said for myself (I forgot why now), yet I see no handy link to do so.

  4. They already tried to blame Hitler on Darwin. I suppose it was inevitable that “German militarism”, which as we all know was the real cause of the Great War, should be blamed on him, too. Nothing to do with two or three centuries of Prussian tradition, going back to Frederick the Great’s father. Nothing to do with Bismarck and the elevation of the King of Prussia to Emperor of Germany. No, no, it was all because of an English country gentleman’s research into living things.

    Idiots. No, worse than idiots. Con-artists.

  5. Roger Bannister in his 1979 book, Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought (Temple University Press), argued persuasively, I think, that “social Darwinism” was merely a term of abuse used to describe what the speaker opposed and has been applied to such contradictory ideas as laissez faire economics, opposition to aid to the poor, exploitation of workers, militarism, imperialism, racism, eugenics, nationalism, collectivism, industrial regulation, social reform and just about anything else that the person wielding the term didn’t like.

    Peter J. Bowler, The Non-Darwinian Revolution, (Johns Hopkins Paperbacks, 1992) pointed out that eugenics (the heart of the DI’s claims) became popular during the period known as “the Eclipse of Darwinism,” when biologists promoting Mendelian genetics and Orthogenesis thought that natural selection had little or no part in evolution. As Bowler says “The popularity of eugenics must thus be accounted for in terms of broader social factors. It was certainly not the result of Darwinism promoting the idea of artificial selection of the human population.”

    Both Bannister and Bowler are real historians, as compared to West or even Richard Weikart, who West got this guff from.

  6. Ah, yes, I do recall reading about Kaiser Wilhelm II and his obsession with Darwin. It’s well documented that he said over and over the destiny of the German State was built on Darwinian principles. Go Westie.

  7. Charles Deetz says: “I see no handy link”

    Egad, I somehow forgot to do that. My oversight has been corrected now. Thanks for pointing it out.

  8. Darwin’s fellow Englishmen were, if anyone, most knowledgeable and conversant in his theory during the second half of the 19th century, leading up to WWI. However, the English did not militarize, conduct pogroms against Jews or other ethnic minorities, euthanize their less gifted citizens, or any of the myriad of effects blamed on Dawin by the DI and other creationist. In fact, in both world wars, rather than let the struggles on the continent play out to determine the fittest nations in some Darwinian fashion, the English did the opposite – they went to the aid of their allies, at great cost to themselves. If Darwin’s ideas lead to the consequences imagined by the DI, why were the English so unaffected by them?

    Secondly, what possible effect do the social consequences of a scientific theory, imagined or real, have to do with the truth of the theory?

  9. Off topic, but Philae has successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

    Which is very, very cool!

  10. Ed gets to the core of the issue.

    The truth or falsehood of a scientific theory is utterly unrelated to the presumed moral consequences of belief in it. It’s true, or it isn’t, period, and this depends not on morality but on facts and logic.

    Note that in any case I said “presumed” moral consequences. In Copernicus’ day, belief in a stationary Earth at the center of the universe was linked to the truth or falsehood of the Bible, and the argument was made that accepting Copernicus’ new view would overturn Biblical authority not just in regard to science but in moral matters as well. But Copernicus was right, and eventually the Catholic Church (and its fledgling Protestant rivals, who were no better in this regard) gagged that down. Not even fundamentalists dare argue these days that believing that the earth goes around the sun corrupts morality. Fundamentalists are still doing it with evolution, though, and likely will for centuries to come.

  11. @Eric Lipps
    My guess is that something will change, practically overnight, which will make everyone forget that there was a controversy. No one will be able to figure out what caused this change in attitude, but, obviously, it will not be new evidence or a new rational argument. Obviously, also, this will not usher in a new era of rationality – there will still be silly ideas. And my guess is that this will happen within this century. Oh, of course, people will argue that nobody ever believed in creationism.
    I can not defend any of this.

  12. Eric Lipps: “The truth or falsehood of a scientific theory is utterly unrelated to the presumed moral consequences of belief in it. It’s true, or it isn’t, period, and this depends not on morality but on facts and logic.”

    Well-said! Can’t think of any way to say it better.

  13. The Tooters’ adherence to pseudoscience is rivaled only by their love of pseudohistory. David Barton must be envious.

  14. @Megalonyx:

    And, articles such as the one here at CNN are reporting things such as: “Rosetta is trying to answer the very big questions about the history of our solar system,” Matt Taylor, ESA Rosetta project scientist, said in the article on the ESA website. “What were the conditions like at its infancy and how did it evolve? What role did comets play in this evolution? How do comets work?”

    Which means that the DI & AIG should soon be out with some idiotic rejoinder, thereby providing our Curmudgeon with something else to blog about!