Is evolution to blame?
Published: 5 February 2012 (GMT+10)
Todd S, Australia, wrote in with a comment about Namibian genocide: precursor to the Holocaust, a review of the book The Kaiser’s Holocaust. He argues that while evolution was misused by racists, their racist beliefs cannot be linked back to evolution. Dr Carl Wieland responds (his comments are interspersed with those of Todd S, who writes):
I have just finished reading this exceptionally well written book, and appreciate the time and effort made for your review of it.
Carl W: Thank you.
However, in my opinion, it is somewhat concrete and facile, to condemn the ‘belief system’ of Evolution on the basis of the misuse of this ‘belief system’ by a group of self serving miscreants, as this book illustrates horrifically.
As many of our articles point out (accessible easily via the search engine or using the topics/Q&A menu function), it is not properly regarded as a misuse. See for example ‘Christian’ vs evolutionary atrocities.
By way of a quick response, though, in the interim, I would write as follows:
First, if we are mere effervescences of nature (reorganised pond scum, as it has been less eloquently put), by what criterion or standard other than a totally subjective and arbitrary one could you even refer to it as a ‘mis’ (i.e. ‘wrong’) use? Why would Nazi morality, for instance, be ‘wrong’?
The same logic would condemn all religious belief on the basis of any misuse of religion,
eg any of the multitude of religious wars, from the crusades onwards, or any misdeeds by those with religious affiliation,
Not quite. There is a missing ingredient in the logic here. If a Nazi or any other committed evolutionist comes to believe that it is right and natural for the strong to wipe out the weak, and acts upon that belief, he may be making an unnecessary connection, but not an illogical or irrational or even inconsistent one, i.e. it is consistent with his world and life view. (See here for the documentation by a Professor of modern European history of the direct and logical Darwin-Nazi link, including an actual clip from a Nazi film that was viewed prewar by my own mother who grew up in Germany under Hitler.). Whereas for a Christian to perform atrocities would be inconsistent with the teachings of the founder of the faith (you hinted at the answer yourself when you said it was a misuse; the antidote to a misuse is a return to the correct use). The same could not be said of an Islamic jihadist, who can point to direct exhortations by the founder of his faith to justify violence against unbelievers (see also Unfair to Islam? that deals with your ‘moral equivalence’ approach).
This crucial matter of consistency with the premises explains readily why the really massive democides of history, with over 100m slaughtered by their own governments, were all in the 20th Century and involved
a) overtly anti-biblical ideology in the ruling forces involved
b) Materialism and/or ruthlessness to the weak directly and overtly justified by repeated emphasis on Darwinism. (Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot … )
Furthermore, the huge numbers involved were orders of magnitude greater than those killed in all the religious conflicts in history. Some love to cite the Spanish Inquisition but even that has taken on legendary proportions. The reality is far less spectacular than the oft-believed fantastic proportions. To quote from our review of Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist:
The Spanish Inquisition is another ‘crime of religion’ that atheists showcase. But the sole purpose of the Spanish Inquisition was to root out people who professed to be Christians but were secretly practising other faiths; it had no control over professing Jews, Muslims or atheists. Torture was rarely used, and only when there was strong evidence that the accused was lying. Even then there were strict controls in place. And in nearly 350 years, only 3,230 people were sentenced to death, hardly the bloodbath of millions that it is sometimes made out to be.
eg abuses by Catholic ‘carers’ of those minors in their ‘care’. This would really be throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Indeed those abuses, totally inconsistent with the morality a Christian professes to hold dear, should be condemned. And, as a Protestant, I would add that the same is true for such sinful and shameful things occurring within Protestant churches, schools, families—not just Catholic clergy. I have devoted a section of my recent book, One Human Family, to ‘Christian pedophiles, atrocities and more’.
However, often such priests are best described as homosexual pederasts, since they usually target boys, but it’s too politically incorrect to say so. Also, the incidence of sexual abuse of children is about 100 times higher in the government schools where evolution is the established religion, than in the church, but the mainstream media ignore that.1
I also doubt that a single pregnant mother has ever elected to abort her fetus as a knowing act of genocide, based on any Darwinian/ Evolutionary theory.
As we argued in the feedback Are vaccines biblical, safe, or effective?, the juxtaposition of the Latin word ‘fetus’ (which really just means ‘little child’) and the English word ‘mother’ is also linguistic dishonesty. In other words, you use ‘medicalese’ for the unborn baby (‘fetus’), but the everyday term ‘pregnant mother’ for what in ‘medicalese’ would be the ’gravida’. It would be more honest to either use the Latin terminology for both, or the English terminology for both. As it is, the Latin ‘dehumanizes’ the baby in the womb.
She has simply decided that, for her, having that baby would be too difficult. I struggle to see a cogent link that you seem to imply between abortion and Evolutionary theory.
Or have I misunderstood the implications of your last paragraph?
It would seem so. Here again, a cursory search on our site might have been helpful. Here goes the reasoning:
- Genesis teaches that human life is sacred because human beings are created in the image of God, so the deliberate taking of innocent human life is murder, forbidden by one of the Ten Commandments (as well as in the Noahic Laws of Genesis 9, and in the Law of Christ).
There are biblical and logical reasons to regard human life commencing at conception. Even many rabid abortionists today concede that the unborn does not suddenly become human when it starts to get its oxygen from air, rather than its previous source. Philosopher and ethicist and animal rights activist, Australian-born Princeton Professor Peter Singer, has conceded as much. He also states that the only reason to forbid infanticide as an absolute would be if we were made in the image of God, as was once believed. Since that is not so, he states, and since we allow in many countries abortion (i.e. killing the baby) right until the time its head appears (and for the sorts of reasons—including inconvenience or personal hardship, or just plain preference—that you mention in your email) it would be rational for a society to seriously consider giving parents of the newborn an arbitrary period following birth (say 3 months) to decide whether that baby should go on living. See this article. Singer also points out that similar things were customary in a number of pagan societies, e.g. ancient Rome. Singer’s writings show that his entire ethic is informed and driven by his understanding of evolution, so a rabbit has more rights than an infant in the womb at a certain stage of its development.
When a society becomes increasingly shifted in its worldview from a Christian foundation to an evolutionary/humanist one, it drives all sorts of changes in the society as a whole that influence the way individuals think and behave, without the connection necessarily being made by the individual. For example, an individual in a once-Christian country may commit deed XYZ without the qualms they would likely have had if living at an earlier time in that society, simply because that act is no longer the subject of what we can call a ‘group prohibition’ in that culture when it had a higher cultural regard for the biblical norms of behaviour. The reason for this change is very much related to the huge influence of evolution on that culture, thus undermining the authority of the Bible, which is clearly wrong if evolution is fact. However, that does not mean by a long shot that the individual thinks explicitly something like, ‘Oh, I’m a product of chance evolution, therefore I can now do XYZ.’
Thus, in Australian society in the 50s in which I grew up, even my non-Christian parents had their thinking informed and their actions constrained by the (Christian) societal norms of the time. This is no longer the case today. Part of that social consensus was that the Bible had some sort of authority, even for non-Christians; and that there was absolute morality, that it would be terrible to see open homosexual displays, etc., (which are now annually celebrated on the streets of Sydney) and that there was some sort of Creator who made us, thus owns us, etc. And abortion was also subject to a huge taboo precisely because it was taking innocent human life, prohibited in biblical morality. For the majority of girls back then contemplating the difficulty of an unwanted pregnancy, abortion was either quickly or eventually dismissed because of this social consensus, the social stigma. Now what has changed all that is that starting in about 1960, the teaching of evolution in Australia became dramatically accelerated (see the reference to Sputnik in this article on our site for why it happened at that point in time). The Bible’s history in Genesis was openly questioned, then taught against, then progressively relegated to a quaint belief, similar to leprechauns. Thus, the biblical brakes were off, so to speak, and now someone contemplating abortion has no such restraints; the very questions they ask of themselves and others are going to be different, while not giving a second thought to the origins issue in most instances.
Incidentally, speaking as a former medical practitioner I can vouch for the fact that some abortion clinics in earlier decades (I don’t know the situation today) openly promoted Haeckel’s now-discredited ‘embryonic recapitulation’ theory to their prospective clients. This was to help them overcome their qualms about killing a human—at that stage of pregnancy, it was more like killing a worm or a fish, say. One only has to look at the massive takeoff of abortion statistics in the whole Western world around that time to see dramatic reinforcement of that logically-deduced link. The link to genocide in Marc Ambler’s article is not, as you question, whether anyone today condemning an individual baby to death is thinking of genocide. Rather, that the scale of the abortion industry in the world today is more than comparable to the worst genocidal holocaust in history. To me that was obvious from the text.
Further, still going back to my GP days, I can also vouch that the handful of girls that came to me seeking referral to an abortionist had already swallowed the ‘killing a fish’ type of idea. All I did, while being sensitive of their predicament, was to gently show them some actual colour images of what their baby by that stage would have been like. In every case that I can recall, they changed their mind.
Some fellow creationists (probably even I myself at one time) have claimed that the humanity of the unborn ‘is not the issue’, rather it is solely the authority of the Bible. But this overlooks the fact that we can’t appeal to the Bible’s prohibition of murder unless the subject of the prohibition is human. All the same, this appeal to the humanity of the baby may have worked only because these girls had at least a vestige of Christian morality: that murder is wrong. Showing them that the baby was human was enough.
But if they were consistent evolutionists like Singer, it would have failed; see further discussion on such points in Unborn babies may be ‘planning their future’.
Similarly, many young people today, when confronted with the facts, and sound ethical reasoning, quickly change their minds about whether abortion is acceptable. See some dramatic examples of this in the new online video 180, produced by Ray Comfort.
Thanks again for your review.
A pleasure. I will pass your appreciation on to the article’s author.
All the best,
- T. Hoopes, Has media ignored sex abuse in schools?, cbsnews.com, 22 September 2009, accessed 22 December 2011. Return to text.