A Lesson in Discoveroid Newspeak

The lack of evidence for their “theory” about a mystical designer is deeply troubling to the Discovery Institute. Lately, they’ve resorted to fantastical displays of various creationist tactics to keep their creationist website alive. We recently wrote A Lesson in Discoveroid Debate Tactics, and then A Lesson in Discoveroid Quote-Mining. Now another hoary creationist technique is on display. Their latest post is Robert Richards and Evolutionary Apologetics, and like the others in this woeful series, it has no author’s byline.

Before we proceed, we ask you to savor their title — which mentions “Evolutionary Apologetics.” As you know, the word apologetics has only one generally accepted definition — it’s “the branch of theology concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity.” Using that word in the context of a scientific theory is an extreme example Newspeak. According to Wikipedia:

Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a controlled language created by the totalitarian state Oceania as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace.

We’ve written before about this Discoveroid stratagem — see Discovery Institute: Their Own Version of Newspeak. Now they’re doing it again, with a rant about “Evolutionary Apologetics.” We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. First, they define their made-up expression:

Evolutionary apologetics is the defense of Darwinian theory against all challenges — scientific and otherwise.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There are no scientific challenges to the theory of evolution. As for non-scientific challenges, well, we shall see. After that nonsensical definition, they say:

That Darwinism has not coincidentally been put to evil ends, while not in itself evidence of invalid science, would seem indisputable.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] It is “indisputable” that “Darwinism” has been put to evil ends. Hey — Newton’s laws of motion are routinely used in artillery bombardments, so maybe we should also suppress “Newtonism.” Ah well, let’s see what evil the Discoveroids claim to be the product of “Darwinism.” They tell us:

Its role in shaping Nazi ideology would also seem clear enough to anyone who has read a little about the subject.

[*Groan*] Not that old clunker again. We’ve debunked it several times — see Hitler and Darwin, which we wrote in the earliest weeks of this humble blog. Nevertheless, the Discoveroids often deploy a vicious slogan, “No Darwin, no Hitler” — see Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, which was the first in a long series of related posts. But no amount of debunking can stop them.

Today they’re playing the Hitler card again. The Discoveroids’ entire post is a series of links to and quotes from articles by their people and by fellow-travelers, all attempting to blame Darwin’s theory for the atrocities of the Hitler regime. We’ve discussed that rot before, so we won’t bother with it again. At the end, imagining that they’ve made their point, the conclude by saying:

Quite simply, evolutionary apologetics must have its own historical alternative reality. The defense of Darwin demands it, and so the dish is served.

So there you have it, dear reader — a fine demonstration of Discoveroid Newspeak — according to which, when we deny the idiocy of the alleged Hitler-Darwin connection, we’re engaging in evolutionary apologetics.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “A Lesson in Discoveroid Newspeak

  1. I invoke Godwin’s Law!

    Creationists don’t seem to realize how ridiculous they sound when they compare Darwin and believers in his ideas to Hitler and the Nazis. In doing so, they reveal they know nothing of Darwin or of Hitler’s actual ideas. Nor do they care to acknowledge that in the 1930s, and even later, fundamentalist Christians eagerly embraced Hitler’s ideas about Jews and such “inferior races” as blacks and Asians. (The Nazis had to do some fancy footwork when it came to the Japanese. If they’d won, I bet the Axis would have disintegrated pretty fast.)

  2. I’d wager the piece was at least partially written by Denyse O’Sneery. It is sufficiently over the top and incoherent to smack of her style. But then again, those earmarks apply to most of ENV’s articles.

  3. He accidentally added a word to that sentence. It should say:

    Its role in shaping Nazi ideology would also seem clear enough to anyone who has read little about the subject.

  4. michaelfugate

    Since they mention Robert Richards – here is a good paper to read:
    http://home.uchicago.edu/~rjr6/articles/Myth.pdf

    [Daniel] Gasman’s thesis has been used by religious fundamentalists as a crude lever by which to pry Darwinian theory away from public approbation. Put “Haeckel” and “Nazis” into any web search engine, and you will get thousands of hits, mostly from creationist and intelligent design websites that set alight Haeckel’s Darwinism in an electronic auto-de-fé.

    and

    Pseudo-scientific justifications for racism would be ubiquitous in the early twentieth century, and Hitler’s own mad anti-Semitism hardly needed support from evolutionary theorists of the previous century. Weikart and Christian conservatives have attempted to trace a path from Darwin to Hitler by way of Haeckel, but their efforts must stumble against the many barriers I have noted in this chapter. While attempting to hack through an impenetrable thicket of facts, they failed to notice the great highways leading to the Third Reich that passed through the wreckages of the First World War—the economic havoc, the political turmoil, and the pervasive anti-Semitic miasma created by Christian apologists. Complex historical phenomena such as the advent of the Nazi regime require complex causes to give them account—a historiographic axiom unheeded by those perpetuating the myth of Darwinian complicity in the crimes of the Nazis.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    That the DI is so separated from online discussion and debate that they don’t know about Godwin’s Law, why it exists, and what a fool you look like when you violate it. Denyse is over-the-top enough not to care, and Savvy Sarah is young enough to not get the memo yet. Anyone else at the DI is either dumb or stupid to try this gambit, or let it hit their web page.

  6. The Curmudgeon taunts the discoveroids with “Newton’s laws of motion are routinely used in artillery bombardments, so maybe we should also suppress “Newtonism”. True. However that would debase a quote mining treasure trove for creationists with respect to Newton’s religious beliefs. Creationists get to pick and choose their targets based on how seriously that scientist’s work threatens fairy tales originating in the Pacific NW. Darwin is their great satan.

  7. The creationists hone their skills on the Bible. They have their preferred beliefs, and they read the Bible on the alert to find what they already believe, and ignore what is not consistent with their convictions.
    As examples of trivia which are not in the Bible: the apple in the Garden of Eden, the landing on Mount Ararat.

  8. ‘Evolutionary apologetics’ is an oxymoron, just like ‘false prophets’ is a pleonasm.

  9. I’m sure SC could make a nice list of these, with examples