Ten years ago, in the earliest days of this humble blog, our seventh post — and the first one about the Discoveroids — was Discovery Institute: Enemies of the Enlightenment.
That was written a little more than two years after Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District — a major setback for the Discoveroids to be sure — but they had a multi-pronged campaign to promote their version of creationism. They were were actively lobbying for their anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act, and the Louisiana Science Education Act would be passed a few months later. Also, they were promoting their “documentary,” Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed — which eventually ended up in bankruptcy.
They’ve suffered a number of setbacks since then. They’re nowhere in the academic world — except bible colleges. All their court battles have failed, and except for Tennessee, no other state has adopted their “academic freedom” bill. So they ceaselessly blame their failures on bullying, censorship, Lysenkoism, etc. But the fact is that their “theory” of intelligent design is going nowhere — and they seem to know it. So they rant about the evils of Darwinism, naturalism, and of course, the Enlightenment.
Now they’re at it again. Their latest is On the History of Darwinism, Scientific Racism, and Hitler, Is Steven Pinker Objective? As with their last attack on Pinker and the Enlightenment, this one was written by Discovery Institute “fellow” Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In his zeal to defend science from the onslaught of those allegedly waging a “war on science” Steven Pinker (in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education [The Intellectual War on Science] taken from his recent book, Enlightenment Now [Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress ] cries foul against anyone who dares suggest that science (including Darwinian science) has anything to do with racism. Racism, Pinker informs us — as if anyone needed to be informed — is much older than the dastardly scientific racism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Groan — not racism again! See Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. Then he says:
To be sure, Pinker is absolutely correct that science didn’t create racism, which was influential long before scientific racism arose. However, this misses an important point. Scientists, including Charles Darwin, not only believed in racial inequality, but they imported it into their theories of human evolution and anthropology, and then claimed that science proved human inequality. In The Descent of Man Darwin used hard data to “prove” racial inequality: the cranial capacity of Europeans was larger than that of any other human race.
Weikart doesn’t give us any quote for that. We’re not surprised. And of course he doesn’t metion any of the countless creationists, like William Jennings Bryan, who were outspoken racists. Moving along, he tells us:
In order to rebut the notion that science contributed to the Holocaust, Pinker claims that Hitler rejected the idea of human evolution. Unfortunately for Pinker, in this instance the data is not on his side, because Hitler repeatedly said that he did believe in human evolution. A chapter of my recent book, Hitler’s Religion [link omitted], is entitled “Was Hitler a Creationist?” and it lays to rest the mistaken notion that Hitler rejected human evolution. I can only provide a few examples here to prove this, but anyone wanting much more evidence can refer to that chapter.
In the case of the influence of Darwinism on Hitler, Pinker lays aside the empirical evidence and data. Too bad, because Pinker is right that we should formulate our ideas based on evidence, not bias and preconceptions. Quite clearly, scientists — including Pinker himself — are not always able to achieve this ideal.
So there you are. When all else fails, rant about Hitler — and the Enlightenment too. It’s just what you’d expect from the promoters of a failing, supernatural ideology.
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