As is often the case, I really debated over whether or not to even take up a response to Ted Davis’s recent blog, “Did Darwin Promote Genocide.” In the end, I thought it warranted some consideration.
Davis acknowledges that Darwinism was used to justify eugenics.
So if we agree to all of these things, why has Davis decided to take up arms (or pen) against Moore? Why bother? In my opinion, it is because there is a more subtle hand at work in this. Because Davis is a defender of evolutionary creationism (a view that seeks compatibility between Darwin’s theory and the Christian faith), he seems to feel the need to soften the impacts of Darwin’s theory. And, if possible, to distance Darwin from any negative impacts resulting from his theory. So what is Davis really doing here? First, he’s muddying the waters by diverting the discussion towards the person Charles Darwin and his personal holdings. This is to stare at the tree and miss the forest. As I’ve already noted, Davis is right in pointing out that Moore is misguided at best, and perhaps even a bit dishonest in his cut-pasting of quotes. But, the grand issue we must all grapple with is not whether Darwin was a racist (he was) or a proponent of genocide or eugenics (on balance, he seems not to have been. He certainly did not support slavery). The issue is what sorts of ideas his theory offered to society.
Take home messages: 1) some races are more developed than others. 2) by the struggle to survive and the war of nature, those more primitive races will be destroyed (outcompeted) by the superior ones. Of course, Darwin doesn’t come out and say that we should actively seek the destruction of the inferior races. He was a smart guy. Even if he did feel that way (which I don’t believe he did), he wouldn’t have said so to the English public. But, if you’re a decision-maker in society, what do you do with the apparent facts proposed by Darwin? How should they guide your actions? More.
Darwin made racism “scientific.” People who believe that all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve, if they are honest, can only be racists with a bad conscience, fearing judgement. People who believe that the universe has no inherent meaning, we are just animals, and life is a struggle with competitors for survival have a rational, though not moral, justification for racism.
Oog would understand. So would the alt right.
See also: The alt right, Donald Trump, and – oddly enough – Darwin. Anyone not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be ‘alt right’.
Darwin’s alt right is back, dumping Christianity now