‘Christian’ vs evolutionary atrocities
This correspondent, Jeff D. from the USA, objects to our article Darwin’s bodysnatchers: new horrors: People deliberately killed to provide 'specimens' for evolutionary research. But these are tired old canards that Christians do bad things themselves, and in any case, the Bible has nasty things in it. Although we have addressed these claims many times on our site already (see related articles below), we thought it was worthwhile to answer these claims, using both new and old material. Thus the letter is printed first in its entirety, then re-printed with point-by-point responses by Dr Jonathan Sarfati interspersed.
It is interesting when a Christian does something terrible, the response is “they are not real Christians”. But of course, if someone does something wrong using natural section as the basis for that decision, that simply means everyone who accepts the theory is evil and the theory itself is wrong. Perhaps they were not ‘real evolutionists”? Have some bad things been done in the name of evolution? Yes. But that does not mean the theory is wrong.
Atomic theory allowed for the creation of atomic bombs. Does that mean when one explodes that the theory is evil? If someone uses the theory to harm someone, how does that mean that the theory is actually incorrect? Or is it the people who use atomic bombs to hurt other the evil ones?
Mathematics provides the use of accounting. If someone used accounting to develop a process for deciding on rationing who gets health care, does that make mathematics evil or wrong? Or was the evil action simply the people who did the rationing?
People use many ideas in bad ways. People have used religion to justify witch burning and killing of infidels.
But here is the rub. When people use a scientific theory to harm people, that is the decision of those specific people. They are not doing it because of a belief in a higher power. When people use religion to harm people, they do so because they believe their god desires that action. And trying to convince people their religion is evil is very hard. You Christians believe it was ok for god to drown the entire world. This included one day old infants, because they were “evil” in his eyes.
When you can stand up and say that was wrong, we will take your protests a little more seriously.
And additionally, the Bible says witches and unbelievers are evil. It specifically points out that those people are evil. Show me the passage in any biology book discussing evolution that says some people are inferior and should be killed.
Of course, or more accurately, they were acting inconsistently with real Christianity, which is revealed in the Bible. But atrocities in the name of evolution are consistent with the theory, as we have explained in articles such as The Bible vs slavery and apartheid.
This misses a major point. The two main logically independent issues that CMI addresses are:
- Is evolution right?
- Why does it matter?
When we point out the horrors done by followers of Darwin, we are not even pretending to address #1, since this would be the fallacy of appeal to consequences. Rather, the articles address #2, since many even in the Church think “creation/evolution is just a side issue”, so we show why it makes a huge difference even in practice.
To demonstrate the independence, many unbelievers didn’t want people to share their beliefs, since religion was keeping the masses ‘good’ even though it was false (according to the unbelievers). Even Richard Dawkins recently admitted:
There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.
For an example of the contrary, i.e. an allegedly true theory that has proven useless in practice, it has become fashionable to claim that behaviour is encoded in our genes (including, presumably, a gene that makes us behave in a way to promote the idea that behaviour is encoded in our genes). Compare this amusing clip from British comedian John Cleese below.
But this is one theory that even if it were proven true, it would be harmful to apply. This is shown by recent history in the Western world. For example, crime was decreasing in the decades to the 1960s, when we punished criminals more. E.g. in America, the absolute number of murders committed in the U.S. in 1960 was less than in 1930, 1940 or 1950, even though the population was larger (murder is a particularly clear indicator of lower crime, since no one can simply dismiss this with “there was just less reported crime back then”). But then evolution-based ideas infected the justice system: this ‘root causes’ nonsense, proclaiming that the criminals were ‘victims of society’ such as poverty and racism. Yet these factors were much higher in the 1950s when there was lower crime. But the results were predictable: lower the ‘cost’ of crime, and there will be more of it. This has been thoroughly documented in Dr Thomas Sowell’s fine book The Vision of the Anointed.
Rather, even if we regard voluntary will and human responsibility as illusory, our society will function best if we treat people as free moral agents who respond to incentives. I.e. we will generally get more of what we reward, and less of what we punish.
We have long ago pointed out that science itself describes only what does happen, not what ought to happen.
See above. Mathematics is essential, but it can’t decide who should be given medical treatment.
As we have already stated in a book review:
The Salem witch trials constitute the best-known example of religiously motivated violence. However, fewer than 25 people were killed in the trials, falling far short of the ‘perhaps hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions’ that the late antitheist Carl Sagan wrote about.
Having shown that Christianity’s ‘religious crimes’ are far less horrendous than atheists would argue, [the author of the book being reviewed] goes on to show that atheism, not religion, is responsible for mass murders. In fact, ‘atheist regimes have in a single century murdered more than one hundred million people’. Even adjusting for changes in population size, atheist regimes are responsible for 100 times more deaths in one century than Christian rulers inflicted over five centuries.
Indeed, as we have documented, the deaths from atheistic or evolutionary regimes include:
77 million in Communist China, 62 million in the Soviet Gulag State (https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM), 21 million non-battle killings by the Nazis (https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM), 2 million murdered in the Khmer Rouge killing fields (http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM).
But here is the rub. When people use a scientific theory to harm people, that is the decision of those specific people. They are not doing it because of a belief in a higher power.
Indeed, part of this is because they lack belief in a higher power to whom they are accountable. Or conversely, it could be put that they believe that they will not be held accountable by any higher power, since atheism is an active belief despite what some claim. As the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) puts in the mouth of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov, “Without God, everything is permissible; crime is inevitable.” This does not say that atheists can do no good, but that this ‘good’ does not come from their evolutionary beliefs. A recent discussion on such issues appears in Unborn babies may “be planning their future”: What now for the abortion lobby?
That depends on the religion. See for example Unfair to Islam? Part 1 and part 2. In other cases religion has nothing to do with it, e.g. most wars had nothing to do with religion. Similarly, Rev. Dr Mark Durie points out in Creed of the sword:
The example of the IRA, so often cited as Christian terrorists, illustrates the Christian position, because the IRA’s ideology was predominantly Marxist and atheistic. IRA terrorists found no inspiration in the teachings of Christ.
Similarly, while some village atheists claim that Timothy McVeigh was a ‘Christian terrorist’, his own words and writings make it clear that he was a christophobic agnostic right to the time he was executed.
Again, it depends on the religion. But contrast articles such as What good is Christianity?
It was not wrong; you are making a category mistake. God commanded us, as creatures, not to take innocent human life because it is made in His image. But God is Creator, not creature, so has the right to take the life He created in the first place. The normal atheopathic ‘argument from outrage’ also ignores ancient corporate responsibility, where everyone shared the consequences for the deeds of those in dominion over them. Why should atheists care anyway, since they believe we got here by survival of the fittest, involving the death of millions of innocent animals?
Indeed, the Israelites before the Resurrection of Christ were a theocracy under the Mosaic Law. In fact, Deuteronomy has the typical form of an Ancient Near East suzerain-vassal treaty, with YHVH-God as suzerain and Israel as his vassal, and it repeats the 10 Commandments. Any departure from the first three commandments was tantamount to a treaty violation and act of treason. Most nations that have ever existed have made these capital crimes, so why should the Bible be singled out? How we deal with them today is explained in a refutation of philosophy/religion professor on biblical exegesis and the problem of evil.
Such a comment could be made only by one ignorant of history. In America, the leading school biology textbook was George Hunter’s A Civic Biology. The famous Scopes Trial was about the atheistic ACLU’s defending the right to teach from this book. This book was ardently eugenicist:
“If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with success in this country.”
The book also blatantly taught white supremacy:
“At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the others in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”
It is no accident that America itself put such views into practice before they were discredited by the horrors of Nazi Germany. Did you know that in the first three decades of the 20th century, 27 American states introduced 'anti-miscegenation' laws, i.e. against mixed-'race' marriage, and the government sterilized 60,000 US citizens against their will.
That this is no aberration from Darwin himself, see his words in The Descent of Man:
At some future period … the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous [Having or suggesting human form and appearance] apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope … the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
There is no doubt that Darwin himself was a 'social Darwinist' . That these horrors were consistent with Darwin is shown by the fact that it was his own family members who advocated eugenics. Non-creationist Denis Sewell documents in his book The Political Gene:
“[In the] years leading up to the First World War, the eugenics movement looked like a Darwin family business. … Darwin’s son Leonard replaced his cousin Galton as chairman of the national Eugenics Society in 1911. In the same year an offshoot of the society was formed in Cambridge. Among its leading members were three more of Charles Darwin’s sons, Horace, Francis and George.”
Furthermore, Darwin’s leading advocates in Germany advocated similar things. His main champion was the fraud Ernst Haeckel. He made one interesting admission:
“All these five [speaking of an earlier classification than Haeckel’s own] races of men, according to the Jewish legend of creation, are said to have descended from ‘a single pair’ – Adam and Eve, and in accordance with this are said to be varieties of one kind or species. … The excellent paleontologist Quenstedt is right in maintaining that, ‘if Negroes and Caucasians were snails, zoologists would universally agree that they represented two very distinct species, which could never have originated from one pair by gradual divergence.’”
Note that he actually attacks the Bible for teaching one human race, a hostile witness to the anti-racism of Scripture. Thus he rejected the Bible as wrong precisely because it contradicted his own evolution-based views of racial supremacy.
And even before the horrors of the Darwin-inspired Holocaust, this view had produced an earlier holocaust in Africa, such as the Herero genocide. A review of the book The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism pointed out:
Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, with its brutally materialist account of nature as bleak survivalism, was made to serve as justification for the extermination of Namibian tribes and, later, for Hitler’s biological anti-Semitism.
- Professing Christians who committed atrocities were acting inconsistently with the teachings of Christianity. Conversely, evolutionists who committed atrocities were acting consistently with evolution.
- The term ‘atrocity’ has meaning only under a Judeo-Christian world view; it has no meaning in an evolutionary philosophy.
- The horrors of eugenics, racism and the Holocaust were hardly aberrations, but were advocated by mainstream evolutionists. Darwin’s own cousin and sons were founders of the Eugenics movement; both American and German scientific establishments advocated racism and eugenics based on their understanding of Darwinism.