Discovery Institute: Darwin and Euthanasia

The Discovery Institute’s limited répertoire of subject matter is on display again. They’re back on the subject of euthanasia. It was practiced by the Greeks and the Romans in ancient days — if it weren’t a common practice, the Hippocratic Oath wouldn’t mention it — but as with everything else the Discoveroids don’t like, they blame it on Darwin.

Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we find The Darwinian Origins of Euthanasia Advocacy. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Scientism is the notion that science can tell us everything we need to know about ethics and about how to order a flourishing society.

Yes! When your Curmudgeon is faced with an ethical problem, all we need to do is look at our wall chart of the periodic table of the elements, and then we know what to do. But Klinghoffer finds that inadequate. He has a better way:

Another view is that nature itself represents merely the fulfillment of a design conceived outside the material world. In this latter perspective, rather than imagining that science — a limited, human endeavor — can inform us in all things, we reasonably seek the guidance of the intelligent source of nature’s design.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] That sounds so much better! Then Klinghoffer refers to an essay by the Discoveroids’ favorite historian, Richard Weikart, and declares:

Eugenic thinking, we know, has its roots in 19th-century evolutionary science. Less familiar is the extent to which advocacy for euthanasia, “mercy killing,” shares these Darwinian origins.

Uh huh, “Darwinian origins.” Except that Darwin never advocated euthanasia — see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. Let’s read on:

It goes back, not surprisingly, to Haeckel:

[Klinghoffer quotes Weikart:] In Germany the first serious proposal to kill people with disabilities came from Ernst Haeckel, a leading Darwinian biologist. … [H]e proposed killing infants with disabilities. He worried that modern medicine and humanitarianism would allow the weak and sick to survive to reproduce, thus subverting humanity’s evolutionary progress.

As we’ve written before in this article, those ideas are at least as old as Athens and Sparta. Unless Darwin had a time machine which enabled him to instruct the Spartans about destroying defective infants, and to encourage Plato to write about a selective breeding program for the republic, he’s innocent of the charges so thoughtlessly made by creationists.

Klinghoffer continues, and as the Discoveroids love to do, he blames Hitler’s atrocities on Darwin:

Weikart chillingly recalls how under the Third Reich, “The physicians and staff at Hadamar were so enthusiastic about their mass murder of those with disabilities that they threw a party celebrating the death of their ten-thousandth victim.” By the end of World War II, the figure had reach 200,000 murdered.

We rebutted that nonsense about a Darwin connection long ago — see Hitler and Darwin. Here’s more from Klinghoffer:

The picture of human life as cosmic flotsam not only should permit but should positively demand a cavalier attitude to taking life, where eliminating the weak and vulnerable suits society’s other purposes.

Human life is mere “cosmic flotsam.” That’s the Discoveroids’ perverted version of Darwinian evolution. Moving along:

On the other hand, recognizing that a human being — or indeed even a gorilla — reflects a designer’s creative purpose implies a very different view.

Yes — oh yes! We must abandon Darwinism and recognize the creative purpose of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — because that’s the true source of ethics. And now we come to the end, where Klinghoffer asks a profound question:

Everything in ethics, every single weighty cultural issue I can think of, hinges on the question of biological origins. The stakes are tremendous for us, whether as individuals or as a society. Why more pro-life advocates have not recognized this — or if they recognized it, fail to emphasize it — is a good question.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids are attempting to build an alliance with the anti-abortion people. But first, they’ll need to post a few essays claiming that Darwin was an abortionist. That would be a good project for Weikart.

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10 responses to “Discovery Institute: Darwin and Euthanasia

  1. Our Curmudgeon advises the Discoveroids:

    they’ll need to post a few essays claiming that Darwin was an abortionist

    Am I misremembering, or didn’t Darwin manage to rouse himself from his own deathbed in order to perform one last abortion on Lady Hope?

  2. …euthanasia. It was practiced by the Greeks and the Romans in ancient days — if it weren’t a common practice, the Hippocratic Oath wouldn’t mention it — but as with everything else the Discoveroids don’t like, they blame it on Darwin.

    It’s amazing how far back in time Darwin’s ideas and ‘negative’ impacts predate his birth.

    On the other hand, recognizing that a human being — or indeed even a gorilla — reflects a designer’s creative purpose implies a very different view.

    Yet it’s okay to shoot the gorilla because humans have total dominion over such creatures. OTOH, this thought does have far reaching consequences as it’s the basis of the anti-abortion movement, save for the gorillas.

  3. michaelfugate

    What is the DI’s stand on the death penalty?

  4. David says, “It’s amazing how far back in time Darwin’s ideas and ‘negative’ impacts predate his birth.”

    He’s like a 19th century Barack Obama.

  5. How do we know what the putative designer’s creative purpose was? How do ethics flow from a supposedly unidentifiable designer? What specifically are they, and why does Klinghoffer believe they are dependent on being designed?

    Why do cultures which do not believe in a supernatural deity nevertheless have laws and ethics? Buddhism, for example, is not based on a creator, but has core ethical principles.

    For that matter, what code of ethics can we derive from even the designer of the bible – there is quite a bit of disagreement between various sects of Jews, Christians and Muslims. Who is to say what these ethics are, or should be?

    Are honor killings ethical? Do the people doing the killing believe they are exercising God’s will?

    There is just no support for Kling’s assertions. The ethics the result from humans trying to get along with each other are far superior than any ethics made up by a priest class intent on extending their power.

  6. docbill1351

    Wasn’t it Darwin who proposed that early North Americans may have migrated from Asia over a northern land bridge? If so, there could be a story there:

    Darwin and Utes in Asia

  7. So the Klingster now says that the Designer is outside the material world and that we need to to seek the Designer’s guidance. Wonder how he is going to manage that?

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    Whoo, did Klingy just go there? The designer should be prayed to for guidance? Whoopsie, let slip the religious (and unscientific) truth about his beliefs and will likely be fired by the DI on Monday.

  9. Derek Freyberg

    @Charles:
    Who are you kidding?
    Love,
    The DI

  10. Dave Luckett

    The only comment I can make, as I stare dumbfounded at Klingon’s monumental misrepresentation, is the same as Ted Williams’ to Donald Trump: “Have you no shame, sir?”