Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Creationist support of eugenics and genocide in the past

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This is a follow up to : Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview

UD’s purpose is serving the ID community. Even if I may not necessarily agree with the Darwinists, there are times things they say merit our attention and consideration. It is fair to say Darwinism inspires a lot of bad science as well as twisted morality. But I have to offer cautions if one wants to play the eugenics or genocide card because if you’re a Jew or Christian, if you play these cards, it can be thrown right back at you because of the abundant and zealous genocide practiced by God’s people in the Old Testament. In that sense, Old Testament “creationists” were also advocates of genocide and eugenics.

I’m not saying to stop connecting Darwinism to eugenics and genocide, but if you’re a Jew or Christian, be prepared to respond when the Old Testament genocide issue is raised. To that end I provided my ideas in : Malicious Intelligent Design and Question of the Old Testament God because I found some of the explanations for Old Testament genocide largely unsatisfactory and probably wrong. For example, one essay circulated by Christians said it was a kind thing to euthanize babies since the children of Israel killed the kid’s mommy and daddy in the holy war! That had to be one of the most awful things I’ve ever read coming from Christians. I’m sorry I don’t have a link to that essay. I was so disgusted reading it.

It should be worth mentioning there seems to be credible evidence a few creationists have also supported eugenics. Dr. West meet Dr. Tinkle.

Even more problematic for the claim that “Darwinism” was critical and instrumental in the development of eugenics is the uncomfortable fact that eugenics was also openly embraced by opponents of evolution (the first eugenics sterilization laws in the world were passed in 1907 Indiana, hardly a hotbed of “Darwinists”). The most notable of these anti-evolution eugenics supporters was probably William J. Tinkle, geneticist and prominent Creationist. Tinkle taught at religious LaVerne College and Taylor University, and participated in the activities of the Deluge Society, the first “Creation Science” organization. He then joined forces with the “young lions” of Creationism, Henry Morris, Duane Gish and Walter Lammerts, and with them he was one of the 10 Founding Fathers of the Creation Research Society, which later became the Institute for Creation Research.

Tinkle opposed evolution and Darwinian theory, but was an enthusiastic proponent of eugenics, and published several articles on the subject. In his 1939 textbook “Fundamentals of Zoology” he devotes a section to “The Need of Human Betterment”, where he laments the existence of “defective families” who “give birth to offspring like themselves” , producing “persons of low mentality, paupers and criminals in much greater ratio than the general population” [8, p. 130]. Negative eugenics via institutionalization seems to have been his preferred eugenic solution:

It is an excellent plan to keep defective people in institutions for here they are not permitted to marry and bear children.[8, p. 131]


[Scientists who are working at the task of improving the human race] would like to increase the birth rate of families having good heredity, while those people having poor heredity should not marry at all.[8, p. 131]

The author of Genetic Entropy, John Sanford himself confessed in his book while he was a Darwinist, he was a eugenicist at heart. To his credit he no longer holds that view even though he firmly believes the human genome is deteriorating.

I’ve provided this not because I think the creationists are in any way as guilty as Darwinists in eugenics (or abortion), but to suggest caution if one is going to play the genocide and eugenics cards. Playing what you think are good cards may not be as easy as one supposes. I know that from experience on many levels. 🙂

[posted by scordova in his service to the News desk and commentary on News for 1 week]

Frankly, I don’t even hope its correct, but in most cases it seems to match the facts.
Oh my! Very close to my own sentiments, thank you for your candor.
My conclusion (based on a quite a bit of research, not just what I’ve discussed here) is that the Bible is probably true, but God is not the nice guy he is commonly portrayed as. Its disappointing, but I try to not let emotions distort my conclusions.
My sentiments exactly. scordova
Scordova, Thanks for the response. I have not read the links you posted yet, but I wanted to get in a quick response. I'm glad to see that others have similar conclusions about the handling of the Midianites and other things in the Bible. The least unpalatable understanding I've come up with is that God could essentially undo all of the suffering, and that its a matter of perspective. After all, what is a quick death compared to eternal life? Of course that doesn't explain why the virgin girls were left to live, but it makes the death of other non-threatening innocent people more understandable. Its certainly not a very satisfying answer. Once that kind of answer is accepted, almost anything can be accepted. That results in the same kind of mindset that (I think) Darwinists have, where given enough time, anything is possible. I think that the God of the New Testament has been neutered. Most discussions focus on the happy stuff and ignore the bad stuff. A full reading of the NT includes a lot of unpleasantness, and its really only fair to consider the unpleasantness too. My conclusion (based on a quite a bit of research, not just what I've discussed here) is that the Bible is probably true, but God is not the nice guy he is commonly portrayed as. Its disappointing, but I try to not let emotions distort my conclusions. I'm a firm believer in Intelligent Design. Almost everything I have studied (including and especially things written by opponents of ID) convinces me that ID is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence. I'm not as convinced that the Bible, and Christianity's interpretation of the Bible, is correct. Frankly, I don't even hope its correct, but in most cases it seems to match the facts. Your answer was definitely helpful. Its good to see that thoughtful people question, but don't necessarily discount, the Bible. Thanks. dl
dl, IMHO, there are no comforting answers to the death of the Midianites. The thought may cross one's mind whether the Bible is true and whether the account of the slaughter was some rationalization by a people wanting to feel less guilt for their crimes. That would almost be more palatable than to think the Creator God would actually encourage the slaughter. But I believe the command came from God. Why? Jesus before He died and rose from the dead wept over Jersualem. He knew that many of the people in that city were going to be slaughtered. He knew judgment was coming, and in the New Testament, at the end of time we read of "The Wrath of the Lamb" that is so fearful people plead to be buried under the rocks. So if one believes in Jesus, the Old Testament accounts are consistent with the New Testament accounts of "The Wrath of the Lamb". And the Lamb is Jesus himself. In the New Testament, God no longer uses his people in the same way to execute judgment as was done on the Midianites. The Midianites were an example of what God could have done to all of us! We are blessed with God's grace that we were not objects of His wrath because we were just as deserving (though it is hard for us to comprehend that we are deserving of such cruelty). I explain my thoughts in the following link based on observations in biology... Intelligent Design is a much easier pill to swallow than creationism, because creationism entails accepting many accounts in the Bible of God's horrifying judgment. What I tried to convey in that essay on Malicious Intelligent Design is that as difficult as the problem of God's cruelty is to understand, Christian theology says His grace is even more difficult to understand. With that in mind, I've had more peace on the matter. I posted what I believe is the best answer I could find: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/philosophy/malicious-intelligent-design-and-questions-of-the-old-testament-god/ There is a lot of pain in the world, that is also a huge difficulty. I posted some thoughts on that here: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/philosophy/the-shallowness-of-bad-design-arguments/ I hope that helps. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. scordova
Im very happy to see this subject raised here. I would appreciate hearing about some potential justifications for the treatment of the Midianites, which I believe was that everybody had to be killed except for the virgin girls. I can think of one satisfactory (in that it makes sense) explanation, but that explanation is that it was a human decision, possibly to increase population, but almost certainly to just get more girls. I was raised in a religious family. I was taught that blind faith is a bad thing and I continue to believe that. I definitely am not a Darwinist, so I'm not questioning this from the Darwinist perspective, but to me it is very difficult to understand. dl
Some 2,300 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote: “The best of either sex should be united with the best as often as possible, and the inferior with the inferior as seldom as possible.” The term “eugenics” was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, a British scientist and cousin of Charles Darwin. The word comes from Greek terms meaning “good in birth” or “noble in heredity.” Galton knew that various flowers and animals could acquire certain desirable qualities through selective breeding. Might not humanity be improved by similar methods? Galton believed that it could. He reasoned that if a fraction of the cost and effort devoted to the breeding of horses and cattle were spent on “the improvement of the human race,” the result would be “a galaxy of genius.” Reflecting the popular notions of his day, the leader of a powerful nation wrote: “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind. . . . Any group of farmers who permitted their best stock not to breed, and let all the increase come from the worst stock, would be treated as fit inmates for an asylum. . . . Some day we will realize that the prime duty of the good citizen of the right type is to leave his blood behind him in the world, and that we have no business to perpetuate citizens of the wrong type.” Those words were written by the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. Many today would consider it ludicrous to compare the advances in genetic engineering with Hitler’s eugenic program. Sixty years ago, there were harsh demands for racial purity. Today people talk about improving health and the quality of life. The old eugenics was rooted in politics and fueled by bigotry and hatred. The new advances in genetic research are fueled by commercial interests and consumer desires for better health. But while there are major differences, the goal of shaping people to our own genetic prejudices may sound much like the old eugenics. Barb
God ordered the killings in the old testament. So its not genocide. its not murder. Its judicial justice. Remember the Mosaic code. people were to ke executed for many things. So executing whole peoples for doing these things or really much worse like the canannites was entirely justified. Including babies. Gods standard for justice was so high it was the reason christ had to come to die for mankind. People go to hell for reasons unrelated to human criminal law. Who knows what the vote was on eugenics or its demographics back in the old days?? I always heard in Canada and though it was common consent that retarded people were fixed so as to not reproduce . Results of it and their foolishness in not knowing how to avoid pregnancy. Later I learned this was a myth and rightly so. Yet i though it was kind and just for the babies and society. One must differ between motives. Back in the day many thought things were right because of trying to do right. nOt because they were trying to do evil. Robert Byers
I watched an interesting video on YouTube and all moral evil stems from, greed, lust and power. If you think about it, those three were the motives for all crime ever committed. The one thing everything has in common though, is humans and their free will to do so. Andre

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