Was Darwin the Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived?

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. It’s at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog where they have this new post: Webinar with John West: “Darwin’s Three Big Ideas That Impacted Humanity”.

Ooooooooooooh! It’s about John West (whom we affectionately call “Westie”). Wikipedia describes him as: “a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (DI), and Associate Director and Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs of its Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which serves as the main hub of the Intelligent design movement.”

Their post 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. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Darwinian theory is a lot more than just an idea in science. [Huh? What else is it?] Its validity as an explanation of biological origins can be debated, but the reasons it arouses the passion it does go beyond science.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Darwin’s theory goes beyond science, and that’s why it arouses passion. You didn’t know that, did you? Well, stay with us, and maybe you’ll learn something. Klinghoffer says:

Atheist Daniel Dennett was not wrong when he called it “Darwin’s dangerous idea.”

It’s true that Daniel Dennett is the author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, but Klinghoffer may be distorting the situation somewhat. Wikipedia says: “Dennett is referred to as one of the ‘Four Horsemen of New Atheism,’ along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.” He’s not a biologist, and we don’t know much about him, but we doubt that he could be considered an ally of the Discoveroids. Anyway, Klinghoffer tells us:

Actually, though, as Discovery Institute Vice President and Senior Fellow John West will explain in a Zoom webinar on Thursday, Darwin had three very destructive ideas.

Ooooooooooooh! What were those destructive ideas? Klinghoffer continues:

Join Dr. West on April 15 from 4 to 5:30 pm Pacific time for “Darwin’s Three Big Ideas That Impacted Humanity.” From the event description:

Charles Darwin introduced three “big ideas” that have had catastrophic consequences in human history [Gasp!] in terms of theories and policies related to moral relativism, “scientific racism,” eugenics, abortion and infanticide, and atheism. This presentation will uncover the Darwinian undertones seen in modern society.

Aaaargh!! Racism, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, and atheism. It’s a catalog of horrors! And the Discoveroids say Darwin was responsible for all of them! In this universe, however, they’re wrong — totally wrong. As we said in Debating Creationists: The Big Lie:

If evolution were the road to evil, one must wonder how Darwin himself somehow managed to lead such an exemplary life. And where are the headlines screaming: “Another Biology Teacher With 30 Bodies Buried in His Back Yard!” It’s certainly interesting that those who are the most involved with the theory of evolution are the least likely to justify the creationists’ fears.

You may also want to see Morality, Evolution, and Darwin, and also Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. There’s more, but that’s enough. Klinghoffer ends his amazing post with this:

More information and a link to join is here. [Link omitted!] No registration is required. The event is sponsored by the Areopagus Forum.

We found their website: Areopagus Forum. It’s not surprising that they’re friends of the Discoveroids. Anyway, if you attend the event, let us know what you learned.

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

18 responses to “Was Darwin the Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived?

  1. “Atheist Daniel Dennett was not wrong when he called it “Darwin’s dangerous idea.”
    Typical creationist quote mining. Sadly for the idiots at the DI, the thing that Darwin’s idea was dangerous to was established orthodoxies like creationism. West, the lying sack of dog crap, didn’t even get past the title.

  2. docbill1351

    Westie projecting again.

  3. “ Charles Darwin introduced three “big ideas” that have had catastrophic consequences in human history [Gasp!] in terms of theories and policies related to moral relativism, “scientific racism,” eugenics, abortion and infanticide, and atheism.”

    Yes, and we all know well that none of these objectionable, to Westie and the creationist flock, existed before Darwin’s time. Indeed, Darwin introduced so much evil that never existed, even in the Bible.

  4. I have a little problem with counting.
    How are moral relativism, scientific racism, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, and atheism THREE bad things?

  5. Theodore J Lawry

    Sounds to me that West is a little bit jealous of all the publicity that Meyer is getting.

  6. I agree the creationists are crazy when it comes to Darwin/evolution being evil. But how do we square this with the recent near-universal condemnation of R.A. Fisher for racism/eugenics, e.g. from PZ Myers today? Someone somewhere must be wrong about something. (I think it’s the anti-Fisher folks, but they are not interested in having any sense of proportion when it comes to Fisher.)

  7. chris schilling

    @anova
    ‘Woke’ leftists like PZ Myers decry racism/eugenics as a means to virtue-signal. The Discoveroids decry it as a pretext to bash Darwin/’Darwinism’.

    Both have arrived at a similar point, but from opposite sides, at it were.

  8. Dave Luckett

    West blames Darwin’s theory for “moral relativism, “scientific racism,” eugenics, abortion and infanticide, and atheism”. It’s an enumeration of everything he thinks is wrong with the world, and all due to one man. That’s ludicrous on the face of it, but it’s what’s behind it that I find interesting.

    “Moral relativism” first. What is that? Why, it’s the idea that good or evil should be assessed by some rational rubric, the usual one being the relative amount of weal or harm a given action or idea causes; and that there is no black-and-white and arbitrary division between them. Jesus concurred. For him, the assessment of an action or ideal is by its practical result. “You shall know them by their fruits,” He said.

    “Scientific racism”? West is probably aware that if he claimed that racism originated with Darwin, nearly everyone would gape or giggle. Ah, but “scientific racism”, what is that? It would be the notion that the “races” of mankind differ, and that this difference can be demonstrated by scientific observation.

    But science demonstrates that there are no “races” of mankind in the sense that the racist invariably means. There is more genetic divergence among Africans than there is in the whole of the rest of humanity. That, of course, is what you’d expect, since humans only left Africa relatively recently. But even if science were to demonstrate that there are differences in, say, average intelligence between the classical ethnic groups, would that justify racism? Isn’t racism the idea that the classical “races” should be differently treated because of their “race”? The word “should” in there is a signal that this is a moral idea, although an utterly repugnant one. Of course it is not and can never be justified by any scientific observation, even if one were made.

    So there never was any such thing as “scientific racism”. There was and still is racism, but it has no scientific basis, any more than it has a moral one. Racists have always grabbed anything, any notion, any misrepresentation, any falsehood, that will serve their cause. They used the Bible with equal enthusiasm or more.

    “Eugenics” is next on the list. This is the idea that humans should be bred for favourable characteristics, and prevented from breeding if they have unfavourable ones. Again, a moral idea, and again monstrous; but the theory of evolution by natural selection is entirely opposed to it. Humans, like all living things, are subject to natural selection. There is no need to interfere, and it could have disastrous consequences. Take a look at modern dog breeds. Would anyone give such authority to any human institution? Certainly Darwin wouldn’t. The idea would have revolted him.

    But West totally jumps the tracks (and the shark) at “abortion and infanticide”. How on earth he has so inverted reality as to imagine that evolution by natural selection favours or explains abortion and infanticide is beyond me.

    Finally, atheism. It’s true that evolution by natural selection is a huge shift in human consciousness. The understanding that life evolved without noticeable divine intervention makes atheism more possible. Only more possible, mind. It was always possible. But with a viable explanation for the living world that didn’t involve fiat creation, God recedes into the background. There just isn’t an authority laying down the law on how things be, any more. We are as we evolved.

    And that is the real burr in the butt of J West. He’s an authoritarian. He really believes, albeit in a way completely impervious to rational examination, that there must be, there MUST be, an authority, a layer-down of the law, a compeller, an imperator. He cannot order his own life or reality without one. It is absolutely essential to him. Which is why he is where he is, doing what he does. Which is, in this and most cases, to yammer palpable nonsense and purvey obvious lies.

  9. “Huh? What else is it?”
    Now that’s a funny question! On this blog it’s used as a logical fallacy to justify Free Market Superstition!

    “the reasons it arouses the passion it does go beyond science”
    This is correct, though especially creacrappers are passionate about it.

    @Anova: “how do we square this with ….”
    Is there something that has to be squared then? Not that I side with PZ (and even less so with JerryC). I simply don’t understand your question. That people are right on one topic (like evolution theory) never has stopped them to go crazy about other ones. Three of the four horsemen mentioned in SC’s blogpost provide fine examples.
    The problem that really needs to be squared is this one. Atheists claim to be rational, independent thinkers. Then why do they keep on searching for role models, leaders and even heroes? It’s a recipe for disappointment, over and over again.
    One explanation I can think of (but I’m totally unsure if it’s correct) is that many atheists keep on searching for a secular messias. It’s pathetic. As for ChrisS’ answer, I see it as a secular counterpart for fighting sin with sword and fire (pardon me the Dunglish). Atheist fundamentalism is silly terminology, but there is an atheist counterpart to christian fundagelicalism. I recognize it in both PZ and JerryC.

  10. @DaveL: “[Moral relativism is] the idea that good or evil should be assessed by some rational rubric”
    No. It’s the idea that morals depend on particular standpoints.

    https://iep.utm.edu/moral-re/#:~:text=%20Objections%20to%20Moral%20Relativism%20%201%20a.,Acceptable.%20The%20most%20serious%20objection%20to…%20More%20

    This conflicts with the idea that morals are issued by a creator-god (which indeed is connected with authoritarianism like Westie’s).
    Moral relativism is correlated with the popularity of evolution theory, but unsurprisingly it’s far more complicated than creacrappers assume.

    “So there never was any such thing as “scientific racism”.”
    Indeed, because “race” almost always is ill-defined. Ironically it’s exactly JerryC who has pointed out that it is possible to adequately define “race” in biological terms. The consequence is that it cannot justify discrimination anymore.
    At the other hand – and then “scientific racism” means something different – science (ie biology) has been used in the past to justify racism. Most racists realize that that has been refuted, ao for the reasons you gave, so now their bet is cultural superiority. That’s what the two most important Dutch racist leaders do: Geert Wilders hammers on the so-called judaeo-christian tradition (many a Dutch atheist completely accepts it) while Thierry Baudet has coined the “boreal world”. The underlying idea remains the same: “they” are inferior, “we” are superior.

  11. I should have mentioned that scientific racism goes back to Carl Linnaeus. His taxonomy is still used by creationists, so yes, Westie and co are liars and hypocrites.

  12. TomS confesses that he has

    a little problem with counting

    That’s because you weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquistion

    “Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise….”

  13. @FrankB, “Atheists claim to be rational, independent thinkers. Then why do they keep on searching for role models, leaders and even heroes?”

    I don’t think any of the atheists that I corresponding with do this. For what it’s worth, I have never heard the expression “four Horsemen” used except by outsiders, and of these four, among those to whom I discuss these things, Dawkins is regarded as arrogant and pompous, and strongly criticised for his purely adaptationist presentation of evolution; Hitchens is is esteemed for being what he claimed to be, an inkstained pamphleteer, no more, nor would he have claimed more; Dennett is respected as a philosopher who actually has some appreciation of the science, and Sam Harris regarded as an incoherent and naïvely reductionist fraud.

    As for PZ Myers …

  14. Dave Luckett

    FrankB: I think the idea that morals depend on particular standpoints necessarily implies definition of those “standpoints”, which necessarily implies assessment; and that the very act of assessment necessarily requires that some rational rubric be used. How else is one to assess them? Irrational prejudice? Superstition? Pure selfishness? Tribalism?

    Therefore, “moral relativism” requires that morals be assessed by a rational rubric. I chose to define “moral relativism” by that necessary characteristic.

  15. @PaulB: “I don’t think any of the atheists that I corresponding with do this.”
    Not any of the ones I know either. Sorry for my unclear formulation; I didn’t mean atheists in general (or a majority of them). But PZ does and so does his fanbase.

    “I have never heard the expression “four Horsemen” used except by outsiders”
    Say ten, fifteen years ago it was used as a compliment by their admirers on internet and there were many more of them than nowadays. Already at that time I saw them the way as you described, which as usual didn’t exactly make me popular in certain atheist circles.
    The only thing you have demonstrated – and actually it’s a good thing – is that you know very few New Atheists (as defined by Tim O’Neill). PZ is far from the worst one.

    @DaveL: as you know I don’t care very much about labels. My only point is that your definition is so unusual that you’re in for a few misunderstandings. So I simply refer to the link I gave.

  16. Dave Luckett

    On reflection, FrankB, I think you’re right. “Moral relativism” is indeed the idea that morals are relative to standpoints, that is, to points of view which differ between various societies. That is to say, there are no absolutes, from which it must follow that it is impossible and unreasonable to judge the moral structures of other societies as good or bad.

    West’s accusation that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection gives rise to moral relativism is, on this showing, obviously nonsensical. They have nothing to do with each other.

    But more: I accept Darwin’s theory – as developed and refined by modern scientists – as the only factual explanation for the origin of species and the variety of living things. I am, to use West’s jargon, a Darwinist. And moral relativism appears to me to be slightly correct and utterly wrong.

    Of course different societies have different moral structures. They grew up in different environments. We would expect them to evolve somewhat different mores, customs, ideals. But I tell you this: no matter what Romans thought about crucifixion as an entertaining public spectacle suited for punishing rebellious slaves; no matter what Jesus said about the correctness of whipping them for minor offenses and cutting them asunder for major ones, I tell you now, I tell you forever, cruel punishment is immoral. Period. Amen. I don’t give a hairy damn for the folkways of your people. I couldn’t care less about the laws of Moses or anybody else – it’s wrong.

    Greed is wrong, not matter the Pareto principle or any other insight into capitalism or anything else. Avarice is wrong. Uncharity is wrong. Injustice is wrong. Going back on one’s word is wrong, unless a greater wrong would be done by keeping it.

    For most of the rest, I find myself in perfect agreement with Dorothy Sayers:
    “As I grow older and older,
    And totter towards the tomb,
    I find that I care less and less
    Who goes to bed with whom”.

    The same, with many a different last line.

    So I, a “Darwinist”, find myself in limited agreement with moral relativism, in what I regard as some of its more trivial applications, while furiously rejecting its main heads. How is this possible, in West’s universe?

    It isn’t, of course. So West is simply wrong. The theory of evolution does not cause “moral relativism”. The rest follows.

    Phew! This soul-searching is a somewhat painful exercise. But no pain, no gain.

  17. Retired Prof

    Daniel C. Dennett has fascinating things to say. I especially recommend *From Bacteria to Bach and Back.”

    He’s a philosopher, a profession I am leery of because many philosophers treat the field as a game in which persons with large vocabularies dither over the definitions of abstract nouns without ever attaching the abstractions to anything concrete, or applying them to actual human problems. Dennett has concrete references for all his abstractions, and demonstrates a deep knowledge of convoluted relationships among actual physical things at all scales.

    He’s not a Messiah or anything like that, but his stuff is good.

  18. I agree with Retired Prof. I am a big Dennett fan. The “dangerous” in his title does refer to the fact that Darwinism destroys our conception that a design implies a designer.

    Paraphrasing liberally, because I don’t have the book in front of me:

    Any system that reproduces with modifications under conditions where there is selection for which modifications are more or less likely to continue to reproduce is a Darwinian system.

    In all such systems, we will get objects that are well designed to meet the conditions that allow for better reproduction.

    The design is real, but the work of designing is done by trial and error and selection, which does not require intelligence.