Discovery Institute Returns to Its Roots


When the Discovery Institute has nothing new to talk about — which is most of the time — they return to their roots and repeat some of their founding dogma. That’s what they’re doing today. The latest at their creationist blog is titled Richard Weikart on How Darwinism Fueled Scientific Racism, and it has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

On a new episode of ID the Future [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], historian and Cal State Stanislaus emeritus professor Richard Weikart speaks with host Michael Keas about the dark history of “scientific” racism.

Richard Weikart? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey — he has a write-up at Wikipedia: Richard Weikart. It’s not very favorable. He’s famous around here for being the author of From Darwin to Hitler — that’s the book at Amazon. We’ve debunked the bizarre Darwin-Hitler claim a number of times. One of our favorites, from ten years ago, is Hitler, Darwin, and … Winston Churchill? Then the Discoveroids say:

Racism, of course, long pre-dated Darwinism [A surprising admission!], but as Weikart argues, Darwin and Darwinian evolutionary theory greatly fueled racist thinking in the late 19th century and even down to the present. Download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted!]

Darwin fueled racism? Most of the racists in the U.S. were fundamentalist religious creationists — like William Jennings Bryan. Anyway, the Discoveroids tell us:

Weikart notes that Darwin himself was “intensely racist,” writing (in The Descent of Man, 1871) that “at some time the civilized races of man will exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.” Darwin didn’t merely predict this; he thought it would advance human evolution.

Aaaargh!! We regard that as one of the most vile examples of quote-mining. You can see Darwin’s words in their actual context here: WorldNetDaily — Worthless Creationist Rag!

The Discoveroids end their ghastly post with this:

His cousin Francis Galton, a strong proponent of eugenics, agreed, as did Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger a few years later.

Groan — that’s another ancient clunker. We quote Darwin himself to debunk creationist allegations that he agreed with Galton or Sanger — see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.

So there you are. The Discoveroids haven’t changed a bit. They keep hauling out their old clunkers and dumping them into the empty minds of their drooling followers. Amazing, isn’t it?

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19 responses to “Discovery Institute Returns to Its Roots

  1. From one of the links: “Suppose that such checks had been in action during the last two or three centuries, or even for a shorter time in Britain, what a difference it would have made in the world, when we consider America, Australia, New Zealand, and S. Africa!”

    Not really. Great Britain may have been the most powerful, but it was not exactly the only colonial power. Those countries would have spoken French, Spanish or – in one case – Afrikaans. For the indegenous people the results would have been largely the same: genocide or other forms of massacre.
    So Darwin was wrong.
    Darwin was wrong on several aspects.
    The thing is, modern evolution theory hardly depends on Darwin being right (one example our dear SC prefers to systematically neglect for ideological reasons is Darwin focusing only on the role of competition and totally neglecting cooperation; it’s ironical that Darwin himself seems to have realized this – see the link underneath).
    But try to hammer this through the skull of a creacrapper.

    The perverse irony of course is that some racists liked to quotemine Darwin in exactly the same way as creacrappers.

    An example of criticizing Darwin that’s not crappy (at least not the creationist way):

    This does not mean I accept the criticism presented in this link; for one thing I’m hardly qualified (though I think Fodor writes nonsense).

  2. Another fine example of criticizing Darwin that won’t suit the IDiots from Seattle:

    There is some overlap (especially horizontal gene transfer).
    Again my point is that attacking Darwin with the goal of undermining evolution theory is about as stupid as attacking Newton with the goal of undermining modern models of our Universe.
    So it’s totally unsurprising that creacrappers stick to this stupidity.

  3. Besides quote mining another logical fallacy that’s popular among creacrappers (and our dear SC takes it over when defending Free Market Supersition) is the naturalistic fallacy:

    The entire “from Darwin to Hitler” non-argument is amongst others one big naturalistic fallacy. So is the “from survival of the fittest to free market” non-argument, including the variation “only free market is compatible with evolution theory”.
    It’s a remarkable psychological phenomenon that those who cling to such fallacies immunize themselves for empirical data contradicting their conclusions, thus betraying what they claim to defend. So let me add a disclaimer: I’m not saying, as often has been suggested on this very blog, for instance when our dear SC asked me if Stalin would have done better, that state regulations of economy always are preferable. I’m not a state socialist like the Bolsheviks. I’m rather a fan – but not exclusively – of cooperatives. Note that early christians organized themselves in a similar way, following the example of Jesus and his fans.
    That’s a form of socialism indeed.
    But try to hammer that through the skulls of those who suffer from Free Market Superstition or 19th Century British Empire Grandeur.

  4. Michael Fugate

    What’s comic is that the DI doesn’t want to cancel Darwin over racism, but over evolution. They couldn’t care less about racism. They just want to be special. Do you see them forming a DEI committee to diversify their all white staff? Any goals or statements opposing the systemic racism that put them in the positions they have? Can anyone imagine that they got into college on merit alone? Or that any idea they have ever had could pass peer review?

    I think this goes back to authoritarianism, essentialism, and determinism. Conservative Christians have latched onto genetic determinism to dehumanize LGBTQ+ Individuals and women while humanizing zygotes, but genetic determinism is also the basis for racial/ethnic eugenics. Another issue is fixed versus growth mindsets, where in the latter almost everyone with training can learn. We aren’t special by virtue of where we were born or who our ancestors were, but by what we ourselves do.

  5. chris schilling

    How brave, judging the moral shortcomings of the past by the (purported) standards of our own.

    Would “diversifying” DI really improve things? Wouldn’t this mean giving opportunities to minorities to participate in the same rubbish that the current mob disseminate? Or would it truly change things, for the better?

  6. Michael Fugate

    ChrisS, most likely not, but I would rather see a Black trans woman make $200K than Meyer or West. Why not let some underrepresented person write trash and get paid for it?

  7. All Things Bright and Beautiful

    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    God made them high and lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

  8. FrankB, I’ve asked this before, but hey-ho, once more into the breach, dear friends: Would you or some other person learned in the field care to offer a definition of what is meant by “socialism”, or at least, what you mean by the term? It appears that we are talking about two different things, you and I, when we attempt to discuss the matter, and some clarity of definition is required.

  9. Dave Luckett asks

    Would you or some other person learned in the field care to offer a definition of what is meant by “socialism”–

    Don’t look at me!

    Not only am I not learned in that field, I have learned to eschew such conversations on the ground they inevitably end up as No True Scotsman imbroglios, whether the topic be religion or politics.

    F’rinsance: by the standards of many Americans, Margaret Thatcher was a ‘socialist’ and the UK National Health Service an agent of Bolshevism.

    As bad if not worse are arguments about TRVE Christianity (or any other religion). e.g. Who is more truly Christian, Jim Jones or Jerry Falwell Jr.? Beh!

    More interesting IMHO is the relationship between soi disant ‘socialism’ and ‘Christianity’. Harold Wilson famously noted that the British Labour Party owed more to Methodism than to Marx, and in 1996 Tony Blair noted “I regard Jesus as my teacher, and for me, as I get older, the social message of Jesus is the important one.”

    Given the range of folks who self-identify as either ‘Socialists’, or ‘Christians’, or indeed both at the same time, it would be futile to find a satisfactory definition of either, it would seem.

  10. Set your mind at rest, Megalonyx. I am perfectly happy to go with whatever definition you care to use. Indeed, you might find, no doubt to your surprise, that there are definitions, or at least instances, of what you would call socialism that I have no issue with whatsoever. But I must admit that I can see no prospect of a meeting of the minds of any sort if we do not define terms.

  11. Megalonyx, playing the definitions game can be a grand futility. It’s not simple, like support of this government program or that. For me, the key feature is opposition to and suppression of property rights and economic freedom.

    Also, although I’m aware of comments that use expressions like the “superstition” of free enterprise, I’m not going to be dragged into a debate about this. If things get out of hand, I’ll do some censoring, but I’d prefer that everyone remains civil.

  12. Our Curmudgeon notes:

    playing the definitions game can be a grand futility

    Agreed–that was the point I thought I was making, above. And it’s a game I have no interest in playing

    I have never understood the point of evaluating, say, a government policy or a personal ethical decision, primarily on the basis of conformity to some abstract principle rather than emprical pragmatism.

    In the UK, we have seen dogmatic applications of both nationalisation and privatisation applied; both have had some successes and some disasters. Neither ISTM can be successfully applied in all cases. So: such matters have to be examined on a case-by-case basis; abstract definitions do nothing to illuminate the problems nor advance their solutions

  13. Our Curmudgeon notes

    playing the definitions game can be a grand futility

    Yeppers–that was my point. It’s not a game I play.

  14. Megalonyx, I donno why your earlier comment was in the trash. That’s where I found it, so I restored it. It’ll stay restored unless you have some other preference.

  15. Michael Fugate

    This your basic right-leaning free market think tank at work – keeping white privilege alive…

    Aren’t we special!

  16. @ Our Curmudgeon: My only preference is that the whole of humanity adopts the wise, tolerant and benevolent grace of TRVE Cosmic Aardvarkism…

  17. Megalonyx, you are unusually wise for a pre-Sapiens.

  18. FrankB. I mostly concur with your statement about cooperatives. Coops can co-exist in capitalism. People banding together to present a united product or service. Just a different type of corporation. One that allows small providers (mostly farmers and ranchers but others also) to compete against or successfully negotiate with large corporations.