Darwinism Global Warming Intelligent Design Philosophy

Pathological consequences of Darwinism vs ID

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The global warming debate has striking parallels to the evolution/intelligent design debate. James Lewis explores the pathological consequences when political correctness replaces the search for truth in science: “Trofimko Lysenko is not a household name; but it should be, because he was the model for all the Politically Correct “science” in the last hundred years. Lysenko was Stalin’s favorite agricultural “scientist,” peddling the myth that crops could be just trained into growing bigger and better. . . . Hundreds of thousands of peasants starved during Stalin’s famines, in good part because of fraudulent science. . . . The explosive spread of AIDS occurred when the known evidence about HIV transmission among Gay men was suppressed by the media. . . .” “. . . Rachel Carson’s screed against DDT caused malaria to re-emerge in Africa, killing hundreds of thousands of human beings. . . .”

How and why do we allow theories to control public policies and resource allocation?

Bjorn Lomborg launched the Copenhagen Consensus with the question “How to spend $50 billion to make the World a Better Place(2006, ISBN-13: 978-0521685719). The 2004 Copenhagen Consensus published “Global Crises, Global Solutions” (2004, ISBN 0 521 60614 4) where eight distinguished economists ranked global challenges by cost effectiveness. The 2004 Copenhagen Consensus results were:

  1. Control of HIV/AIDS
  2. Providing micronutrients
  3. Trade liberalisation
  4. Control of malaria
  5. Develop new agricultural technologies
  6. Community-managed water supply and sanitation
  7. Small-scale water technology for livelihoods
  8. Research on water productivity in food production
  9. Lowering the cost of starting a business
  10. Lowering barriers to migration for skilled workers
  11. Improving infant and child nutrition
  12. Scaled-up basic health services
  13. Reducing the prevalence of LBW
  14. Guest worker programmes for the unskilled
  15. Optimal carbon tax
  16. The Kyoto Protocol
  17. Value-at-risk carbon tax

Why was controlling disease and health the most cost effective, while controlling climate change ranked dead last? Yet high profile global warming advocates dominate the news, research funding and resources – at the expense of far more cost effective applications benefiting millions of lives.

Consider the parallels to the moral and philosophical consequences of Darwinism versus Intelligent Design. What if some randomly “fitter” Homo sapiens dominated others? What if they controlled resources resulting in millions dieing with little consequence. Compare intelligent beings having value as the product of Intelligent Design. In the 20th century, totalitarian regimes appealing to Darwinian evolution caused the deaths of 125 million people. They especially targeted those holding to Intelligent Design and opposing Darwinism. Advocates of both theories claim they are founded on scientific principles. Yet both theories have far reaching consequences and moral implications.

Will Darwinian policies again cause over 100 million deaths by diverting funds from the greatest needs of human suffering to ineffectual efforts to control climate change?

61 Replies to “Pathological consequences of Darwinism vs ID

  1. 1
    eddiehaskell says:

    Hypothetical: In the future, maybe religion/design/meaning will be wiped away, thus leaving nothing for naturalists to unite about, rebel against and smother out of existence. After many decades of everyone being left to their own thoughts and religion/design/meaning being nothing more than a joke, two kinds of humans emerge: the conservative naturalist and the radical naturalist. The conservative naturalists want to live in the godless utopia (sort of socialist) that many of today’s atheists envision and the radicals who consider themselves more fit desire dominance and power (they aren’t buying baseless emotional pleas of “as humans we are all equal”). 🙂

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    I’m curious – what are the moral implications of ID? I assume you accept the distinction between ID and creationism, so I find it difficult to see what you’re getting at.

    Bob

  3. 3
    Bugsy says:

    You do realize Lysenkoism was specifically formed because Stalin and company didn’t like the implications of Darwinian evolution for ideological reasons? Lysenkoism is the archetypal form of anti-Darwinian biology, if anything its consequences seem to support Darwinism. Accusing Darwinism of behaving like Lysenkoism is like accusing relativity of being aether theory.

    Also, the 125 million figure is just wrong. Are you including Stalin? I think you must be, because any estimate that high probably does and he’s the leading culprit for atheist atrocities. Stalin wasn’t Darwinian, he was Lysenkoin, as you just said. He thought you could create heritable mutations to break the population of their bourgeois tendencies, which was part (okay, all) of the motivation behind the bolshevic Revolution.

    As for the actual science, you do realize that Darwinism and global warming are not related at all, yes? Many global warming activists are religiously motivated. I mean, the bad science might be similar, but global warming is basically about physics, it’s not even remotely the same science as biology. Also, global warming isn’t killing anyone today, it’s a future problem, it’s natural people would want to spend money on problems that are killing people today.

    I’ve come to expect much better than this from ID, if we’re just going to randomly throw incorrect rhetoric around without fact-checking we’re no better than the materialists supporting Darwinism.

  4. 4
    getawitness says:

    The order of items in the list mainly illustrates the thinking of economists, who were the ones asked. They are not asked what’s most important but what’s most cost-effective. The position of global warming might just as well reflect an attitude of despair (“it’s unstoppable, we’re doomed”) as indifference. This is, after all, a list that puts “trade liberalization” several places above increasing infant nutrition. The dismal science indeed: talk about your moral implications.

  5. 5
    getawitness says:

    BTW, there are several misspellings: “Pathological” in the post title and “Consensus” in the body.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Bob O’H,

    You could start a really long debate about moral implications of ID beginning what is the meaning of moral.

    ID has the obvious implications in that someone designed what we see around us and this can send people in lots of directions. There are several thousand years of this because nearly everyone in the past thought the world was designed.

    So Bob, do your homework and read about the past and you will find a thousand ways people thought life should be lived based on what they believed were the intentions of the designers.

    Belief in no design is a recent phenomena and one that defies reason.

  7. 7
    DLH says:

    Bob O’H
    Good question on moral consequences of ID vs revealed religion. I suggest that the empirical observation of universal use of right/wrong and fair/unfair indicate human beings have innate morality. By inference, this is a design feature. Consequently, I infer that the Intelligent Designer has moral attributes. By contrast, random combinations of the four forces of nature have no obvious moral implications. Consequently whatever can be interpreted as benefiting one person or group over another to survive can be deemed to be useful. The holocaust is justifiable for Darwinism as giving fewer mouths to feed and for providing slave labor that benefited the majority etc.

    PS Thanks getawitness for pointing out consensus.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Ellazimm

    It seems you have cited a notoriously questionable article [apparently based on bad statistical methods], by an even more questionable, highly biased and agenda-driven underqualified author, appearing in a source of the same ilk.

    Cf the discussion here. The bottomline comment on the article there [after taking a look at a broader range of statistical factors and data than Mr Paul evidently did] is telling:

    . . . it appears to us that Mr. Paul has selected data, both in terms of countries considered and specific crimes looked at, in such a way as to paint the picture that was already on his mind. As demonstrated above, a broader look at available data presents a far more nuanced picture . . . . In the mind of Gregory S. Paul, nothing good can come out of Christianity and religious faith. He has believed this for many years and has done his best to make his ideas available for public consumption. In this regard, bloggers who contacted The Journal of Religion and Society where Mr. Paul’s opus was published learned that the original draft made even greater claims for the data and had to be toned down.

    On moral consequences of evolutionary materialism, I think DLH has raised a core question: on such premises, whence morality as anything beyond in the end might makes right? [Onlookers needing a bit of a tutorial may wish to cf. my own introductory level remarks on this and related issues here.]

    GEM of TKI

  9. 9
    getawitness says:

    DLH (and Bob O’H),

    It seems to me that design has moral implications only if, as I have been arguing in other threads, the designer is non-physical (i.e., spiritual). Design of life on earth has no moral implications if the designer is embodied (i.e., material). So it has no moral implications for someone holding the panspermia hypothesis. Should we be morally beholden to a material designer who seeded life on Earth? Design has moral implications only if we take the spiritual consequences of the design inference seriously.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    I think there is a basis to connect Darwin with communism and there is much truth in this connection especially with Marx and Trotsky but Stalin apparently rejected anything to do with genetics after he got control mainly for political reasons. So bringing up Lysenko might be a dodge because the god figure of communism was certainly in the Darwinian camp.

    Thus, there can be some justification of the 125 million number because the two atheistic “isms” of communism and nazism chalked up those numbers between them and each of their founding fathers were worshipers at the altar of Darwin.

  11. 11
    jerry says:

    getawitness,

    I am not sure what the distinction of spiritual and non spiritual has to do with it. What about the deist supposition of God. He created the universe and us and then took a hike and any plans for an after life based on how we lead our lives is our wishful speculation.

    I think morality lies elsewhere than our origins with a spiritual being. It lies with the intent of God, not the fact that He is spiritual or supernatural.

  12. 12
    tribune7 says:

    Indeed, the U.S. scores the highest in religiosity and the highest (by far) in homicides, STDs, abortions, and teen pregnancies.

    Oh my! We must get the Bible, prayer and Christmas carols out of our schools immediately!!!!!

    I’m sure that after a generation or two of stridant secularization, homicides, STDs, abortions and teen pregnancies will drop to what they were in the 1950s.

  13. 13
    jstanley01 says:

    ellazimm

    Yeah. Conflating correlation with causation can produce all kinds of nonsense like Paul’s, one example being race as a cause of crime.

    The fact is, when African Americans are factored out in these kind of studies, crime rates between the US and Europe appear identical.

    So are higher crime rates among African Americans due to race? Not just “no” but “h*ll no!”

    Rather, they are a cultural legacy of chattel slavery — which itself was a crime — the fallout from which American society (and African American culture withing that society) is still sorting out.

  14. 14
    Stanton Rockwell says:

    jstanley01:

    When you refer to “African Americans” are you including Americans of, for example, Libyan, Moroccan, and Egyptian descent? Just wondering.

  15. 15
    getawitness says:

    jerry,

    “I think morality lies elsewhere than our origins with a spiritual being. It lies with the intent of God, not the fact that He is spiritual or supernatural.”

    If that is the case, ID has no moral implications and the post is based on a false dichotomy.

  16. 16
    jerry says:

    ellazimm,

    Do you know who Gregory S. Paul is and his qualification to write the article he did?

    You should also read more about the crusades. Yes, the Albigensian crusade in France produced a lot of unwarranted killing but the crusades in the Muslim lands did not do much except for possibly the initial taking of Jerusalem.

    You seem to be susceptible to certain types of misinformation.

  17. 17
    getawitness says:

    Let me correct what I said in [15] above. ID certainly has moral implications if my argument is accepted that ID science leads to a spiritual conclusion. If not, then either ID has no moral implications or ID is not (only) science.

  18. 18
    jerry says:

    getawitness,

    Yes, I do not think ID has any moral implications of itself. But I can see ID leading to a more positive morality because it suggests the existence of God but then there are it seems an unlimited number of interpretations of God and all sorts of morality that can flow from these interpretations.

    I personally don’t see ID leading to anything bad of itself where I can see very easily the connection of Darwinism to atheism and to negative moral outcomes. It is not a necessity as some have argued here but Darwinism seems to have left a unsavory legacy in its 150 year existence. After all Darwinism made Darwin an atheist, at least according to some who have written biographies of him. And as I pointed out above some of the high priests of atheistic destructive movements were Darwinists. And you cannot deny eugenics which also can be attributed to Darwinian thinking too. I have also seen German militaristic thinking in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was based on Darwin and this led to WWI.

    The defenders of Darwinism really have to be blind to the potential outcomes of this type of thinking even if they themselves can proclaim they are as pure as the driven snow.

  19. 19
    DLH says:

    Bugsy
    Please reconsider your logic and facts. Lewis points out the problem of political correctness in science and politics. Both Darwinism and Lysenkoism are examples of political correctness causing millions of deaths, and Stalin supported both.

    1) Stalin & Darwin: When Stalin was introduced to Darwin as the “scientific” basis of origins, it turned him from Christianity and studying to be a priest, to atheism and one of the greatest tyrants ever. Search on “Stalin Darwin” e.g., What happened when Stalin read Darwin, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao et al: The Role of Darwinian Evolutionism in Their Lives etc.

    2) Hitler & Darwin: “‘The German Fuhrer … consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution” Sir. Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics, Putnam’s, New York, 1949, p. 230. See From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (2004 ISBN-13: 978-1403965028); Social effects of the theory of Evolution etc.

    On deaths consequent to Darwinism, the 125 million was from the US Congress on deaths due to communism. E.g.,

    Tyrant Civilians killed or starved

    1. Mao Tse-Tung, China 50-70 million
    2. Stalin, USSR 20-40 million
    3. Hitler, Europe 10-20 million
    4. Lenin, USSR 4 million
    5. Eastern Europe 1 million
    6. Pol Pot, Cambodia ~2 million
    7. Kim Il-sung, N. Korea ~2 million
    8. Mengistu, Ethiopia 1 million
    9. Tito, Yugoslavia 0.5 million
    10. Ho Chi Minh, N. Vietnam ~1 million
    11. Afghanistan ~ 1.5 million etc.

    The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression Nicolas Werth et al. Harvard University Press, 1999, 858 pages, ISBN 0-674-07608-7 ;
    Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm

    The issue of global warming is that it is being enforced by political correctness rather than a search for truth. It elevates the status quo of the earth’s present climate to religious levels, ignoring the great needs of humanity today. This mentality is rooted in Darwinism whose “survival of the fittest” justifies ignoring the needs of the poor.

  20. 20
    Stanton Rockwell says:

    I think I understand what getawitness is getting at. I, as a believer, have no issues with moral ambiguity because the purpose of my being (the motivations the designer) have been revealed. On the other hand, if we adhere to a strictly scientific (observational) view of ID, we are left without access to the designer’s intentions, and thus no foundational moral code. Without knowing something about the identity and motives of the designer, we are rudderless ships. While it may be true that knowledge of the designer’s identity is peripheral–or even irrelevant–to the question of biological teleology, it seems to me that there are definite moral implications that must lead us to question the identity and motives.

  21. 21
    DLH says:

    Stanton
    In #8 I suggest that the empirical existence of morality can be incorporated as part of ID and by inference, to the Intelligent Designer, based on ID assumptions and limitations. There are common understandings of morality in almost all ethnic groups: “do not steal”, “do not murder”. For the Designer’s intentions, see revealed religion.
    The challenge in this post is identifying pollitical correctness and its consequences, and raising the consequent issues in public.

  22. 22
    DLH says:

    To compare the two issues, see: Bjorn Lomborg’s testimony on Perspective on Climate Change, after Al Gore’s presentation before the Energy and Commerce Committee, US House of Representatives, on March 21, 2007.

  23. 23
    Bugsy says:

    Sorry, no. When it came to his very narrow involvement in science, Stalin worshiped at the altar of Lamarck. This is very clearly represented in the history of Bolshevism and their policies, and your initial post has direct reference to it. Claims that Stalin was promoting Darwinian eugenics or heavily influenced by Darwin just aren’t true; Stalin’s “eugenics” were Lamarckian, as interpreted by Lysenko. They were still social engineering of a sort, but they weren’t Darwinian. Even without questioning that the rest of the list represents Darwin-related massacres, that tips the list down to roughly 100 million, maximum.

    I’m fine with comparisons of global warming and Darwinism, since the comparison is apt, but passages like this:

    “Will Darwinian policies again cause over 100 million deaths by diverting funds from the greatest needs of human suffering to ineffectual efforts to control climate change?”

    are simply incorrect and only damage our case.

  24. 24
    hrun0815 says:

    I really don’t see how Communism or Socialism can be seen as Darwinian. If one considers the issue, they are actually as anti-Darwinian as they could be.

    If Darwin is boiled down to ‘survival of the fittest’, then Capitalism comes immediately to mind. Everybody is responsible for their own luck/well-being. The weak, the lazy, the sick and the stupid are on their own and can languish and die (very Darwinian).

    On the other hand, Socialism and Communism strive to equalize every person, thus, the strong and the weak, the hard working and the lazy, the smart and the stupid, the healthy and the ill all get exactly the same treatment and are all taken care of the same way (very anti-Darwinian).

  25. 25
    jstanley01 says:

    Stanton:

    re: When you refer to “African Americans” are you including Americans of, for example, Libyan, Moroccan, and Egyptian descent?

    Of course not. Admittedly the term is inexact (although no more so than the term “blacks”). But it’s clear enough in context, and in light of common usage, exactly who I am talking about.

    Obviously, the groups you refer to are statistically insignificant. Meanwhile, my point about correlation versus causation — the former being conflated with the latter in the “drive-by science” cited by ellazimm — seems lost on you.

  26. 26
    DLH says:

    Bugsy and hrun01815
    The foundational point is that reading Darwin turned Stalin from Christianity to Atheism, and from a seminarian to tyrant. Darwin was also foundational to the policies of Hitler, Marx, Mao, Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot etc.

    If you analyze deaths in countries founded on Darwinism vs those with constitutions referring to God, you will see a strong association of atrocities with Darwinism and atheism.

  27. 27
    Bugsy says:

    I’ve never found any reference to Origin of Species converting Stalin in any other biography, and I’ve read a few. All indications and most histories show that Stalin converted to Marxist atheistic thinking during his time at seminary, due to the surging anti-establishment Marxist and anarchist counterculture in place at the time. My seminary at least isn’t quite the same sort of center for counterculture, but I digress.

    And … I don’t know how to be delicate, but the biography you linked is from dedicated geocentrists, and the book cited is from 1940, during world war two and the politics of the day surrounding Stalin, by a virtual unknown. I am afraid I can’t bring myself to take anyone who insists on geocentrism too seriously for their works of biography, especially when studying and really understanding atheistic ideology is so crucial to taking it apart.

    Stalin was atheistic, but he wasn’t Darwinian. It’s just not so. He loathed Darwinian theory in favor of Lysenkoism. Social Darwinism was foundational to Hitler, but Stalin was definitely not a fan of Darwin (in part because of how much he hated Hitler, I imagine) and the other dictators mentioned are questionable influenced by Darwinism. The big beast there is, I think, Marxism, which is also atheistic but just isn’t Darwinian.

  28. 28
    Carl Sachs says:

    And, just to beat a dead (or dying) horse: logic is not subjective.

    This means that whether or not a conclusion follows from a set of premises does not depend on whether someone believes that it follows.

    So, even if Stalin or whomever believed that it followed, from Darwinism, that mass murder was justified, their believing that it followed does not mean that it really did follow.

    On this blog, I’ve noticed in the past that theists have claimed that atheists are unable to account for the objectivity of logic or of morality. (I do not think that is true, of course, but that’s another — related — matter.)

    Nevertheless: if one is a theist, or if one accepts that logic is independent of subjective belief, then one must think that Stalin’s beliefs about what follows or doesn’t follow from Darwinism are irrelevant to assessing Darwinism.

    If Stalin thought that Newtonian mechanics warranted mass murder, we wouldn’t say, “this shows the pernicious social consequences of Newtonian mechanics.” Instead we would — rightly — say, “this gives us one more good reason for thinking that Stalin was a bloodthirsty nutcase.”

    And besides which, what about all the atheists who don’t become bloodthirsty nutcases?

  29. 29
    Carl Sachs says:

    Ha! I should have said “what about all the Darwinists who don’t become bloodthirsty nutcases?”!

  30. 30
    nullasalus says:

    Ellazimm, did you even read what you posted?

    “During many of the attacks on Jews, local Bishops and Christians made attempts to protect Jews from the mobs that were passing through.”

    “This in a culture which knew only Christian morals and ethics.”

    Local bishops and christians making attempts to protect jews from christian fury. You imply that there was a singular moral and ethical system known by all – but obviously that wasn’t the case, hence the differing actions and views.

    Paying attention to the lessons of history involves more than quoting what you think backs up your view.

  31. 31
    Bugsy says:

    Some communists were against the purges, too, it doesn’t follow that Stalin is a non-communist with non-communist motivations.

  32. 32
    nullasalus says:

    I didn’t get into questioning the motivations of the deliverers of ‘christian fury’. I pointed out that the culture that ‘knew only Christian morals and ethics’ still did not have singular and uniform morals and ethics – bishops and christians were working to protect jews and christians from so-called ‘christian fury’.

    I’m well aware of what has been done in the past, in christianity’s name – who isn’t, really? But even taking it all as ellazimm quoted, we’re left with a more complicated situation than ‘christians killed people in the name of christianity’.

  33. 33
    Bugsy says:

    I don’t think anyone’s denying that it was more complicated than that. Ellazimm included context, including the Bishops trying to give shelter, after all.

    It remains true that the crusaders knew only Christian morals and ethics, and killed in the name of Christianity.

    It is also true that some Christians tried to give shelter to the Jews. It’s not a dichotomy. There is no contradiction between these two facts. The only way to support the allegation that there is are rooted in speculation about implications.

  34. 34
    Janice says:

    Carl Sachs @ 30,

    Ha! I should have said “what about all the Darwinists who don’t become bloodthirsty nutcases?”!

    There are ways and ways of being bloodthirsty. No doubt you’ve heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

    How many babies have been died from being aborted since Roe vs Wade? Those who are involved in this mass murder no doubt think of themselves as nice, caring, moral people.

  35. 35
    Bugsy says:

    They would be in error. They would, however, be in error for reasons that do not involve the descent of man, or the gradual alteration of life by means of mutation and natural selection. Nowhere does evolutionary theory state whether or not a fetus has a soul.

    I do not see the connection.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    All:

    A few notes:

    1] EZ on details for why GSP is not to be taken seriously

    Please go to 9 above for a link. You can also do a search for George Gallup’s Touchstone article.

    The fact that the site you linked, after two years in which correctives have been issued [including by the magazine that published the GSP article it seems], still has up the claims, is telling on its lack of credibility and want of responsibility.

    2] On Evolutionaism and evolutionary materialism-influenced Democides.

    DLH above [OP] is actually low in his numbers. Citing Rummel on democide:

    The total for the communist democide before and after Mao took over the mainland is thus 3,446,000 + 35,226,000 + 38,000,000 = 76,692,000, or to round off, 77,000,000 murdered.

    This exceeds the 61,911,000 murdered by the Soviet Union 1917-1987, with Hitler far behind at 20,946,000 wiped out 1933-1945.

    For perspective on Mao’s most bloody rule, all wars 1900-1987 cost in combat dead 34,021,000 — including WWI and II, Vietnam, Korea, and the Mexican and Russian Revolutions . . . . With my reevaluation of Mao’s democide, I now put the total at 212,000,000, of which communist regimes murdered about 148,000,000. Also, compare this to combat dead. Communists overall have murdered four times those killed in combat, while globally the democide toll was over six times that number.

    Nazism is rooted in the racist, eugenicist-genocidal form of Darwinism, which has roots traceable to Darwin’s The Descent of Man, and is foreshadowed by that notorious quote from his letter in which he foresees exactly the sort of genocides as we saw in C20.

    Communism is an evolutionary materialist system, and indeed Marx wanted to dedicate his magnum opus to Darwin. The view extends the “scientific” principle of evolution to social evolution as the vigour of lower classes triggers a predictable chain of social systems and revolutions until the final revolution leads to the rise of a socialist state ruled at first by the dictatorship of the proletariat, but then as the state becomes no longer necessary it withers away and the golden age of Communism appears.

    That is why the USSR was a declared SOCIALIST state.

    But of course, the problem was that repeatedly, the largely unrestrained tyranny of such evo mat anchored dictatorships led to the most murderous tyrannies ever.

    Nor can this be written off as the accidental rise of madmen. The same philosophy and thinking won the adherence of millions of highly educated people over a century, who ardently defended it, right up until the system collapsed in the 1990s.

    On this, too, we should note that it is commonplace that Stalin attended Seminary [probably the only access to tertiary education he had] and reading Darwinism was a key component of his conversion to atheism and communism.

    Resemblance to Nietzsche’s superman in all of the relevant cases is plainly not accidental.

    3] Bernard Lewis sets a record straight

    There is a tendency on the one hand to put up plaster saints, and the other to put up blue-eyed devils. Let BL speak, from his famous Sept 1990 Atlantic Monthly article on the roots of Muslim rage:

    . . . revulsion against America, more generally against the West, is by no means limited to the Muslim world . . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst . . . .

    Slavery is today universally denounced as an offense against humanity, but within living memory it has been practiced and even defended as a necessary institution, established and regulated by divine law. [It was abolished officially in Saudi Arabia, a theocracy, in 1962, and lingers in places like Sudan etc] The peculiarity of the peculiar institution, as Americans once called it, lay not in its existence but in its abolition. Westerners were the first to break the consensus of acceptance and to outlaw slavery, first at home, then in the other territories they controlled, and finally wherever in the world they were able to exercise power or influence — in a word, by means of imperialism . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases.

    In this context, a material part of the liberating influence just cited came from the impact of putting the Bible in the hands of the ordinary man as apart of the Reformation, and the rise as well of conscience-guided, Gospel Ethics based leaders such as William Wilberforce, Sir Thomas Buxton, Elizabeth Fry and many, many others.

    So, while there are indeed many sins of Christendom, there were always those who stood up for the right, and this has especially had great liberating impact over the past 500 years, once the common man had the Bible in his own hands in a language he could read.

    Of course, such reform movements of fallen, fallible, finite humans also had their gaps and sins: the glory and the shame, in Peter Hocken’s apt words.

    4] CS, 29: even if Stalin or whomever believed that it followed, from Darwinism, that mass murder was justified, their believing that it followed does not mean that it really did follow.

    Ah, but the basic problem is that as long since linked and extensively discussed [cf Aug 20 Darwin thread], evolutionary materialism claims to be anchored in “science,” specifically in large part, darwinian theory.

    Evo Mat then, through application of basic logic, leads straight to the undermining of the general credibility of mind [as the product of RV + NS without agency] and so too necessarily undermines morality as a key function of minds who have to make values-laden choices.

    What “value” does a bit of detritus tossed up by a blind random cosmos acting though natural regularities that just are, have?

    Never mind that detritus’ pretence to being accurately self-aware and thinking “logically” and valuing “objectively” — all easily explained away as accidents of evolution and the delusion that we have a reliable mind!

    Indeed, the law of nature on this view is: nature, red in tooth and claw, i.e might makes “right.”

    5] I’ve noticed in the past that theists have claimed that atheists are unable to account for the objectivity of logic or of morality

    Now, Judaeo-Christin thought ever since at least Rom 1 – 2, holds that all normal men have an interior life and live in an exterior world that points to the God who created it and gave it a logical and moral order. In particular, we have moral intuitions that boil down to the generic form of the Golden Rule [cf Rom 13:8 – 10 and Locke’s telling citation of Robert Hooker in his 2nd Essay on Govt; discussed in my linked below], especially in terms of fairness and not doing harm.

    But, we to often turn away from the direction these point to, and then choose for ourselves worldviews that we should realise only lend fallacious persuasiveness to indulging our pleasures, proclivities and power agendas. Thus, repentance and reformation are always challenges to individuals and cultures.

    In that context, we have pointed out that Evo Mat thought, as a worldview, runs repeatedly into inescapable self-referential incoherence in trying to GROUND its appeal to the objectivity of mind and morality. Thus, we have strong grounds for rejecting it as a live option worldview.

    by contrast, the Judaeo-Christian, Creation anchored worldview argues for instance:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men [thus, Prof Macneill, the US Constitution relates to the covenant of Government under God in a Judaeo-Christian context; as is readily apparent from its overall structure and context as inter alia securing the blessings of liberty in the year of our Lord 1787 . . .], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed [ratification, to 1789], –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government [as per the US Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution], laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form [as per the Constitution of 1787 in the end], as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . .

    In short, walk away from this Biblically anchored frame of reference, and you end up in absurdity.

    That is, on the plain record, exactly what happened with evolutionary materialism anchored secularist systems over the past 100 years.

    GEM of TKI

  37. 37
    Janice says:

    Bugsy,

    I’m not sure to whom you’re referrring. Who would be in error?

  38. 38
    Janice says:

    Or even to whom you’re referring.

  39. 39
    Bugsy says:

    “Those who are involved in this mass murder no doubt think of themselves as nice, caring, moral people.”

    It seems like a distinct nonsequitor. At most it implies a criticism of Darwinism without actually making an argument for it.

  40. 40
    nullasalus says:

    Bugsy,

    “It remains true that the crusaders knew only Christian morals and ethics, and killed in the name of Christianity.”

    You say there is no dichotomy, but there has to be: Christians stopping christians from acting in the name of christianity owing to christian motivations. The two of them can both have their morals and ethics rooted in a christian tradition, but that doesn’t preclude there being some serious branching of personal thought. I agreed that learning from history is important – what I objected to, and still object to, is the idea that the lesson of the crusades is as simple and one-sided as has been stated.

  41. 41
    Bugsy says:

    This is going to get repetitious.

    Nullasalus: The Crusades were bad. The Crusades were Christian. The Soviet purges were bad. The Soviet purges were Stalinist. Some Stalinists and some Christians dissented against them in both instances. This does not exonerate either.

    To my knowledge, no one has put forth any form of argument simpler than that, so stating it’s “not that simple because of the dissenters” is a false dichotomy. Additionally, no one has countered the points about them being bad.

    Kairosfocus: Stalin did not convert because of Darwin, and Marx never considered dedicating Das Kapital to Darwin. Both are urban myths. We should not be repeating urban myths if we want to put forth a coherent argument against materialism.

    Stalin at least loathed Darwinism, since it seemed fascist and denied the possibility of revolutionary change. Mao, to my limited knowledge of his ideology, had no particular fondness for Darwinism in his politics. Blaming Darwinism instead of Marxism for these things requires some serious contortions. The Nazis undeniably framed their ideology around social Darwinism, but Marxism is more or less fully political.

    Marxism also has more resemblances to our Christian eschatology than to anything Darwin ever wrote. Marxism is almost assuredly not anchored in Darwinism, especially given that the majority of its most important followers were illiterate peasants who had probably never heard of Darwin. Darwinism does have corrosive moral effects sometimes, as with the Nazis, but it’s simply not a visible presence in Marxism.

    Honestly, I’m too worn down from trying to help us avoid the really gross errors to do anything else here, it seems.

  42. 42
    nullasalus says:

    Bugsy,

    Nullasalus: The Crusades were bad. The Crusades were Christian. The Soviet purges were bad. The Soviet purges were Stalinist. Some Stalinists and some Christians dissented against them in both instances. This does not exonerate either.

    I haven’t bothered talking about the crusades or whether they were bad or not. The focus has been on specific acts of some crusaders running around, killing jewish and orthodox christian civilians. Yes, those acts were certainly bad in my view. Yes, they did so while flying the flag of christianity.

    Where you’re tripping up is here: Those bishops (Bishops – christian clergy) and christians who were opposing the acts of the crusaders could also be doing so out of their christianity. I’m pointing out that christians (crusaders) were doing bad things, and christians (bishops and citizens) were actively opposing them. You’re trying to pretend that there was one moral and ethical guideline on the scene – some monolithic Christianity that determined all christian thought and action – and somehow playing off christian opposition to the crusaders as not worth talking about.

    I haven’t denied that christianity had strong influence with both crusaders and resisters – I’ve said as much outright. I’ve said that the situation was far more complicated than ‘christians ran around killing jews and orthodox’. Hell, the crusades were in part about a division between catholics in the west and orthodox in the east. The history doesn’t get simplified by declaration.

  43. 43
    Carl Sachs says:

    In re: (43) — author! author!

    Apart from that:

    1) I find it striking that when most people today want to discuss the deleterious effects of “social Darwinism”, they rarely mention the main effect of that insidious ideology: the destruction of communal and personal integrity and well-being due to an ideology that justifies unrestrained (i.e. laissez-faire) capitalism.

    2) Even if Charles Darwin himself was a “social Darwinist,” it doesn’t follow from that that “Darwinism,” understood as a theory about the mechanisms that produce biological diversity, itself entails “social Darwinism,” understood as an ideology about the inherent goodness of selfishness and the badness of everything that restricts or counter-balances selfishness.

  44. 44
    Bugsy says:

    “You’re trying to pretend that there was one moral and ethical guideline on the scene – some monolithic Christianity that determined all christian thought and action – and somehow playing off christian opposition to the crusaders as not worth talking about.”

    No, I’m not. I’ve been specifically saying that I’m not saying this for several posts now. I’m fairly sure no one else has said this either. This is a straw man.

  45. 45
    DLH says:

    Bugsy – Some evidence:
    Stalin was inspired by Darwin & Marx, and frustrated by Jesuits

    One primary source detailing the influence Darwin and Marx had on Stalin is: E. Yaroslavsky, Landmarks in the Life of Stalin (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing house, 1940), Chapter 1 Childhood and Youth, pp. 1-10. See excerpts from an online reprint: People’s Publishing House, Bombay, March 1944, reprint of the Lawrence & Wishart Edition, London, April, 1942. (TIFF reader required. e.g. Alternatiff)

    “At a very early age, while still a pupil in the ecclesiastical school, Comrade Stalin developed a critical mind and revolutionary sentiments. He began to read Darwin and became an atheist.
    G. Glurdjidze, a boyhood friend of Stalin’s, relates:
    “I began to speak of God, Joseph heard me out, and after a moment’s silence, said:
    “‘You know, they are fooling us, there is no God. . . .’
    “I was astonished at these words, I had never heard anything like it before.
    “‘How can you say such things, Soso?’ I exclaimed.
    “‘I’ll lend you a book to read; it will show you that the world and all living things are quite different from what you imagine, and all this talk about God is sheer nonsense,’ Joseph said.
    “‘What book is that?’ I enquired.
    “‘Darwin. You must read it,’ Joseph impressed on me” P 2

    “While still at the Gori Ecclesiastical School, as well as becoming familiar with the works of Darwin, Stalin first became acquainted with Marxist ideas.” p 3

    “In protest against the humiliating regime and jesuitical methods that prevailed at the seminary, I was ready to become, and eventually did become, a revolutionary, a believer in Marxism as the only genuinely revolutionary doctrine.” P4
    “Thus, in order to disabuse the minds of our seminary students of the myth that the world was created in six days, we had to acquaint ourselves with the geological origin and age of the earth, and be able to prove them in argument; we had to familiarize ourselves with Darwin’s teachings. . . . I recall that we read Lyell’s “Antiquity of Man” and Darwin’s Descent of Man,” the latter in a translation edited by Sechenov. Comrade Stalin read Sechenov’s scientific works with great interest. . . . Comrade Stalin brought these books to our notice. The first thing we had to do, he would say, was to become atheists. Many of us began to acquire a materialist outlook and to ignore theological subjects.” p 5

    Trotsky inspired by Darwin

    Leon Trotsky read Darwin’s Origin of Species and his Autobiography while in prison in Odessa. Trotsky later wrote, ‘Darwin destroyed the last of my ideological prejudices. … In the Odessa prison I felt something like hard scientific ground under my feet. Facts began to establish themselves in a certain system. The idea of evolution and determinism—that is, the idea of a gradual development conditioned by the character of the material world—took possession of me completely.

    ‘Darwin stood for me like a mighty doorkeeper at the entrance to the temple of the universe. I was intoxicated with his minute, precise, conscientious and at the same time powerful, thought.” Eastman, M., Trotsky: A Portrait of his Youth, New York, pp. 117-118, 1925.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    Further notes:

    1] N, 42: Christians stopping christians from acting in the name of christianity owing to christian motivations

    In this case, the answer is obvious. Abusers of power acting under the false colour of the Christian Faith [and abusing institutions originally set up to promote that faith with its social ethics that as Rom 13:8 – 10 points out, includes things like: do no harm . . .] were objected to by those acting in the Spirit of that Faith.

    Beyond that, we should note that he original ME Crusades were in fact fundamentally a counter-offensive to the earlier thrust of the jihads, and were triggered by inter alia massacres, enslavement and harrassment of Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land.

    There is a lot more to the crusades than meets the eye.

    In therms of the persecutions of Cathars etc, I believe that there was violence on both sides, and that in some cases it was triggered by the Cathars.

    There is more to this than easily meets the eye.

    2] Citing B: the crusaders knew only Christian morals and ethics

    Not at all. First, no-one “only” knows specifically Christian morals and ethics. For, from our earliest days, we experience ethical=-moral situations that tempt us into living by a very different spirit!

    So, we all struggle to see, think and act aright. Indeed, the theology of moral struggle is deeply embedded in the Christian faith and teachings, and beyond it the Jewish faith and teachings. Not to mention, it is the common experience of mankind insofar as we struggle to rise above vice to virtue.

    Then, too, in the Middle Ages, both clergy and laity notoriously were ignorant of even basic Christian teachings, not least because of the low level of literacy in general and also because of the insistence on using the Bible in what was by then a language for educated elites: the Vulgate, Latin Bible.

    But, the basics on loving and doing no harm to one’s neighbour are sufficiently plain that it is obvious that we are not dealing with a challenge in ethics, but on the madness of crowds and the power of the powerful to stir up oppression in their perceived interests.

    As Christian historian Lord Acton noted: power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely; great men are bad men.

    3] B, 43: Some Stalinists and some Christians dissented against them in both instances. This does not exonerate either.

    This simplistically ducks the core issue that Stalinism was predicated on an evolutionary materialist belief system that boils down to might makes “right.” The Christian faith is the exact opposite: right must expect to suffer persecution in the teeth of powerful and evil men. So, you here commit the fallacy of moral equivalency.

    4] Stalin did not convert because of Darwin, and Marx never considered dedicating Das Kapital to Darwin. Both are urban myths.

    First, kindly document and cite your claims. My acquaintance with both observations, and in reasonable sources [hence my “commonplace” comments], long preceded the era of Internet legends and the like.

    And even today, a quick first level check with Enc Brit ’01 as a basic CD reference work turns up the interesting debate: He . . . moved to the Tiflis Theological Seminary, where he secretly read Karl Marx, the chief theoretician of international Communism, and other forbidden texts, being expelled in 1899 for revolutionary activity, according to the “legend”–or leaving because of ill health, according to his doting mother.

    That discreet silence as to just what other forbidden works he was reading is interesting.

    In any case, this is a side point.

    The main point — which I stressed above and which you do not address — is as I summed up: Marxism is at its core predicated on the Darwinist view of the world, which grounds the evolutionary materialist worldivew that undergirds it. It then extends the evolutionary determinism through Dialectical Materialism, to the socio-cultural and historical stage — through the defined stages of society and successions by revolution up to the rise of the socialist then communist stages. Thus, its claim to be SCIENTIFIC Socialism.

    Nor can you overthrow this; I know it not only from reading books and hearing talks in the classroom etc, but from rubbing shoulders and arguing with Communists for years in the university I attended [including helping to disciple ex-Communists], and in an era where the agenda of revolution towards socialism dominated my homeland’s politics. Sadly, materially contributing to its current social and economic woes.

    5] Blaming Darwinism instead of Marxism for these things requires some serious contortions. The Nazis undeniably framed their ideology around social Darwinism, but Marxism is more or less fully political.

    I have pointed out in outline the way Marxism grounds its thought in the evolutionary materialist view of the world, which in turn rests ont eh Darwinist-style account as the core warrantign argument for its “scientific” vieww of the world.

    Indeed, that is why Communists were officially required to be atheists, to show their “scientific” attitude. For instance, as I recall, presenting of a paper in defence of Atheism was in the USSR a condition of being awarded a PhD. Modern Atheism, of course, notoriously is grounded in the Darwinian account of origins, evo mat form. Paternity is not so easily denied.

    In short, this is not contortions, it is well-known fact; fact that I am also personally acquainted with from having to deal personally with Communists and ex-Communists over the course of many years.

    Indeed, here in the Caribbean, where the spiritual view of the world is much deeper rooted than in much of the West, people growing up under Communist regimes often externally conformed while quietly holding their own personal views.

    As at the last I heard, though, Castro has finally given up the fight and has now at length admitted non-atheists into the Party.

    6] Marxism is almost assuredly not anchored in Darwinism, especially given that the majority of its most important followers were illiterate peasants who had probably never heard of Darwin

    I have already shown the structure of Marxist thought. Marxism, as a system of thought and praxis, was and is indubitably anchored in the evo mat form of the Darwinian view of the world.

    In terms of leaders and followers, key cadres of the Party always were highly educated people, often university students or graduates. They provided the leadership. These cadres invariably were given control of any institutions they worked with, thus the vanguard party concept. (In the USSR, for instance, the Party Commissar was a ubiquitous figure. In Cuba, the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution fulfill a similar role, community by community.)

    In Jamaica, the base of the principal Communist party in the 1970s – 90s was the Faculty of Social Sciences at UWI Mona Campus. It was led by several key lecturers based in that faculty.

    The associated trade union — all major parties in Jamaica have affiliated trade unions — was led at its core by selected communists, who received the equivalent of serious tertiary education from their leaders [complete with exams!]. the base of the union was the ancillary staff at the university campus: University and Allied Workers’ Union.

    Many workers in various industries affiliated with the UAWU union, but in so doing their motivation was pragmatic: the union (unsurprisingly, given its leadership’s academic calibre) was effective in bargaining for rights and pay.

    Also, schooling in Communism dominated countries, from primary level on, was and is militantly atheistic in an evolutionary materialistic, Darwinian framework. This, to cultivate the proper “scientific” attitude.

    7] gross errors

    The only gross errors I see on this topic, sadly, are your own. Remember, I am not speaking out of books here principally: I lived with Marxism day by day, conversation by conversation, friendship by friendship, for years — and in its principal centre in the Anglophone Caribbean.

    So, for cause, I do not find your attempted dismissals particularly impressive.

    GEM of TKI

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    DLH:

    Thanks on sources.

    The cite from that childhood friend is one of the ones I am specifically familiar with and immediately recall on reading your excerpt, though of course I long since have forgotten my own original sources on it.

    GEM of TKI

  48. 48
    DLH says:

    Kairosfocus & Bugsy:
    Re Marx’s dedication/urban myth: Marx respected Darwin and sent him a copy of Das Kapital. Apparently Edward Aveling, lover to Marx’s daughter Eleanor, asked if he could dedicate “The Student’s Darwin” to Darwin.

  49. 49
    Bob O'H says:

    4] Stalin did not convert because of Darwin, and Marx never considered dedicating Das Kapital to Darwin. Both are urban myths.

    First, kindly document and cite your claims. My acquaintance with both observations, and in reasonable sources [hence my “commonplace” comments], long preceded the era of Internet legends and the like.

    On Marx dedicating Das Kapital to Darwin, see (for example) pp363-9 of Francis Wheen’s biography of Marx, called (obscurely) ‘Karl Marx’. The request for a dedication came from the (later) lover of one of Marx’s daughters, a guy called Edward Aveling.

    A more academic reference (given by Wheen) is
    Fay, M.A. (1978) Did Marx offer to dedicate Capital to Darwin? Journal of the History of Ideas XXXIX: 133-146.

    Bob

  50. 50
    DLH says:

    Further on Social Darwinism, see: From Darwin to Hitler – a clear path, though not an inevitable one By Denyse O’Leary

  51. 51
    Janice says:

    Bugsy @ 37

    They would, however, be in error for reasons that do not involve the descent of man, or the gradual alteration of life by means of mutation and natural selection. Nowhere does evolutionary theory state whether or not a fetus has a soul.

    ?

    So what? Evolutionary theory (considered as scientific and therefore [these days] as materialistic) implies the absence of a soul in absolutely every person, since the soul is non-material. Unborn babies lose out on two counts however. Not only don’t they have a soul but, according to some (evolution inspired) philosophers, they’re too undeveloped even to be considered as persons.

  52. 52
    allanius says:

    Just when I was in need of a good laugh, the Paul article descended like manna. Where but in the Postmodern academy can you find an article in a tome calling itself the Journal of Religion and Society that identifies religion as the soure of all evil?

    But of course this is just the sort of unreflecting groupthink that the original post was intended to illustrate. People fall for claptrap when they’re in an environment where everyone thinks the same thing and critical thought is neither valued nor encouraged.

    Same thing with the hilariously precious attitude seen in academic circles toward the Crusades. The first premise of Postmodernism is that all history is a lie cooked up to keep the The Capitalists in power. This heroic antithetical attitude faciliates the moral preening seen in those who consider themselves especially modern and enlightened. It is based on an annihilation of history, however, and therefore cannot produce any sensible historical discourse.

    Crusaderism–groupthink–takes many forms. The Modern crusade has been against God and Capital. If the modern crusaders are unable to see the link between the blood that flowed in the last century and the Crusades themselves, then so much the better for them. They rest easily in their beinghtedness.

    This slumbering groupthink is in for a rude awakening, however. ID exposes the emptiness of the modern crusade. There are cracks in the facade, and every post like the one above helps to make them a little wider.

  53. 53
    getawitness says:

    allanius,

    “People fall for claptrap when they’re in an environment where everyone thinks the same thing and critical thought is neither valued nor encouraged.”

    That is so true! And well put.

    “The first premise of Postmodernism is that all history is a lie cooked up to keep the The Capitalists in power.”

    That sounds like a premise of Marxism, not Postmodernism. Few po-mos are Marxists.

    The first premise of Postmodernism, to the extent that it has one, is that it has no first premises, or as Jean-Francois Lyotard put it, there are no master narratives.

  54. 54
    DLH says:

    Carl Sachs @ 45; et al.
    Re: “2) Even if Charles Darwin himself was a “social Darwinist,” it doesn’t follow from that that “Darwinism,” understood as a theory about the mechanisms that produce biological diversity, itself entails “social Darwinism,” understood as an ideology about the inherent goodness of selfishness and the badness of everything that restricts or counter-balances selfishness.”

    Encourage you to reconsider, particularly the parallel between “natural selection” or “survival of the fittest” and selfishness epitomized by the oligarchy of the communist party and subsequent tyranny.

    I see the same Darwinian “algorithm” applies to both physical and social realms. Both are amoral with no consideration for weaker elements. e.g., they have no explanation for the origin of cooperative “social” behavior and friend/foe communication among protozoa or bacteria, nor of altruism among humans.

    I encourage you to read at least Richard Weikart’s web page, reviews and especialy his response to critics on:
    FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY (2004)

    Weikart gave many caveats in his book that address many of the objections above as well as examples of Darwin’s thought. e.g., “Like most of his contemporaries, Darwin considered non-European races inferior to Europeans,. . . ”
    General Response to Critics

    “. . . though he did not promote it, in The Descent of Man he does discuss racial extermination at length, presenting it as an integral part of the evolutionary process. . .”. etc. Response to Robert Richard’s Lecture
    Weikart was prompted in his research by James Rachels’ book, Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism. (1991 ISBN13: 9780192861290)

  55. 55
  56. 56
    DLH says:

    Further resources:

    “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. . . . from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved..” Charles Darwin, Origin of Species CONCLUSION. CHAP. XIV p 490.

    * The Pearcey Report
    * Nancy Pearcey Total Truth 2004, ISBN 1-59134-458-9

    Part 2 Starting at the Beginning pp 153-250

    • Ch 5 Darwin Meets the Bernstain Bears
    • Ch 6 The Science of Common Sense
    • Ch 7 Today Biology, Tomorrow the World
    • Ch 8 Darwinism of the Mind
  57. 57
    Bugsy says:

    I’m very tired of repeating myself, so I’ll be very brief.

    Ellazimm: I agree. I don’t think anyone would disagree that it’s never that simple, either.

    Regarding Stalin and Mao: Whatever the intellectual leanings of modern Marxists, Stalin was not a Darwinist. Neither was Mao, really. There was nothing Darwinian about him, trying to assign evolutionary algorithms to his behavior is misleading.

    The only source you have saying he did read Darwin is a Soviet Bolshevik’s propagandist’s word from under Stalin’s rule.

    Against this, you have Stalin’s execution of geneticists (Darwinian scientists!) and Stalin’s great famines brought on by Lysenkoism. This was mentioned in the opening post. Lysenkoism also spread to China, under Mao’s rule, and was a large part of the massive failures of Chinese farmland.

    And I continue to find this in particular:

    “Will Darwinian policies again cause over 100 million deaths by diverting funds from the greatest needs of human suffering to ineffectual efforts to control climate change?”

    to be entirely misleading, wrong, and grossly in error. A policy that necessitated murdering Darwinian biologists to replace them with pseudoscientists is “Darwinian”? Truly, you could not be more wrong. Even if the man who did it was, somehow, a great believer in the dogma he violently suppressed, his actions did not abide by it.

    No amount of repeating quotations from a Soviet book no one has read and insisting all brutal atheism is based in evolution will change this.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    GAW, EZ and B etc:

    Every now and then, it is worth while going back to fading threads.

    here I note briefly:

    1] GAW, 55: as Jean-Francois Lyotard put it, there are no master narratives.

    But, the bolded is precisely what it attempts to deny — a master- narrative in embryonic form. Thus, it refutes itself.

    2] EZ, 59: I was rather ill for a couple of days . . .

    Trust you are better now and are in general good health.

    3] No matter what Stalin actually believed he supported Lysenko and his non-Darwinian approach otherwise even the communists would have gone a different direction especially if they were Darwinists

    In fact, the Communists were enthusiastic darwinists [starting from Marx himself] and broader evolutionary materialists, taken as a whole. Lysenkoism is the aberration, not the rule. Too much evidence has already been cited to go on and on with such a diversion.

    But, we need to put this to bed. So, here is that ever so humble source Wiki on Lysenkoism and its context:

    When Lysenko began his fieldwork in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, the agriculture of the Soviet Union was in a massive crisis due to the forced collectivization movement. [Note the timeline please . . .]

    Many agronomists were educated before the revolution, and even many of those educated afterwards did not agree with the collectivization policies. Furthermore, among biologists of the day, the most popular topic was not agriculture at all, but the new genetics that was emerging out of studies of Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as fruit flies. Drosophilidae fruit flies made experimental verification of genetics theories, such as Mendelian ratios and heritability, much easier. Only much later would this research have obvious application to the problem of agriculture, and during the 1920s and 1930s it was easy for a radical like Lysenko to castigate these theoretical biologists for spending their time bent over trays of fruit flies while famine raged on around them . . . .

    Trofim Lysenko . . . claimed to have developed an agricultural technique, termed vernalization . . . which used humidity and low temperatures to make wheat grow in spring. He promised to triple or quadruple crop yields using his technique. In reality, the technique was neither new (it was known since 1854, and was extensively studied during the previous twenty years), nor did it produce the yields he promised.

    Soviet mass-media presented Lysenko as a genius who had developed a new, revolutionary agricultural technique . . . Lysenko’s widespread popularity provided him a platform to denounce theoretical genetics and to promote his own agricultural practices. He was, in turn, supported by the Soviet propaganda machine, which overstated his successes and omitted mention of his failures. Instead of making controlled experiments, Lysenko relied upon questionnaires taken of farmers to claim that vernalization increased wheat yields by fifteen percent . . .

    In short, this is an instructive example on the politicisation of science [and popular-level sci education] associated with propaganda campaigns that smear those who beg to differ on scientific grounds.

    A telling comparison begs to be made, with the agenda of groups such as NCSE etc in the US!

    And of course it also raises serious questions over current approaches to global warming as shown in the recent award of a Nobel Peace Prize to Mr Gore, in large part for a dubious documentary!

    So, it seems that Lysenkoism is indeed relevant to the issues in this blog, but not in the way that was suggested above.

    4] even if a society’s morals are singularly defined individuals are frequently motivated by fear or greed or stupidity and act in a way that has no basis in their stated beliefs

    Enough has been cited and linked [I give here just one, very introductory level, example] long since to show that we are not dealing with the mere fallibility of men but with serious issues on the implications of Darwinist thought in the wider evo mat context. The comparison you attempt is irrelevant, as it insistently begs a question that has been answered long since.

    5] B, 60: Whatever the intellectual leanings of modern Marxists, Stalin was not a Darwinist.

    On the direct contrary, as DLH showed by citing from and linking to credible sources at 47, Stalin was a darwinist and evolutionary materialist from childhood and youth, associated with his becoming a Marxist activist in the Bolshevik movement.

    6] The only source you have saying he did read Darwin is a Soviet Bolshevik’s propagandist’s word from under Stalin’s rule. Against this, you have Stalin’s execution of geneticists (Darwinian scientists!) and Stalin’s great famines brought on by Lysenkoism.

    Now, first, notice the attempt to dismiss by attacking the source instead of addressing the merits. That you do so suggests strongly that you don’t like where the testimony of Stalin’s childhood friend etc point, but wish to dismiss it so you object tot he source without serious substantiation of the reason on the merits that you wish to reject the testimony.

    On the issue of Lysenkoism, I think a read of the above excerpt will be instructive and balancing.

    In particular, the famines etc were brought on by collectivism, and Lysenkoism thereafter emerged in reaction to the overly theoretical focus of the biologists in question [for, extremes provoke extreme responses], and was then boosted by the propaganda machine because it gave a way to excuse failure and assign blame to defenseless scapegoats; while offering seemingly practical quick-fix cures. [Resemblances to some of what is happening on Global warming are probably not coincidental; for, such are the foibles and vulnerabilities of human nature . . . .]

    7] No amount of repeating quotations from a Soviet book no one has read and insisting all brutal atheism is based in evolution will change this.

    Sorry, you have here committed a major strawman, and in so dong have gone on to other fallacies as addressed supra.

    It is plain that some of us have read the testimony of Stalin’s childhood friend, and since there is a demonstrable link from Darwinism and evolutionary materialism to the Marxist form of same, we draw the conclusion that there is no reason on the face of it to reject. Can you SHOW evidence of fraud or imposture? if not, we are entitled to take it seriously.

    We have also pointed out relevant historical evidence that shows that there is a pattern of movements that stemmed from the rise of darwinian and evo mat scientific and philosophical views, esp. racist eugenics and associated genocide, and as well Marxist-Leninist [and Maoist] tyrannies in the name of “Scientific” Socialism. This too is a matter of record and clearly derivable trends in the history of ideas and movements based on these ideas.

    Kindly address the matter on the merits, not the red herrings and strawmen.

    GEM of TKI

  59. 59
    Janice says:

    Stalin’s execution of geneticists (Darwinian scientists!)

    Wrong. It wasn’t Darwinian scientists of all stripes that he executed. It was the Mendelian ones whose ideas he would not countenance. The Larmakian ones were fine by him.

  60. 60
    Bugsy says:

    I didn’t say he executed Darwinian scientists of all stripes. I said that geneticists were Darwinian, and that they were replaced with pseudoscientists. Stalin specifically stated:

    “As regards the forms of movement, as regards the fact that according to dialectics, minor, quantitative changes sooner or later lead to major, qualitative changes — this law applies with equal force to the history of nature. Mendeleyev’s “periodic system of elements” clearly shows how very important in the history of nature is the emergence of qualitative changes out of quantitative changes. The same thing is shown in biology by the theory of neo-Lamarckism, to which neo-Darwinism is yielding place.”

    Darwinism was a casualty of Lysenko, and neo-Darwinism was considered as something to replace with Lysenkoism. Trying to make Lysenko or Stalin “Darwinian politicians” or even less than explicitly hostile to Darwinian biology remains simply wrong and contradicts both of their public policies.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    Bugsby

    I don’t know if I have back a bit allowance for this to go through, but some further comments are appropriate on Lysenkoism, Darwinism and Stalinism.

    First, note again from DLH at 47.

    During Stalin’s reign, this work was published; but it does not carry the implication you tried to give it at 60: for, Stalin’s controlled press APPROVED a book that spoke to his intellectual roots from childhood on in Marxism AND Darwinism.

    Thus, the point I and others have made on the intellectual progenitors of Marxism-Leninism etc stand even on this minor point. (Onlookers, observe how B et al have tried to latch on to what they think is an error of fact on Stalin’s personal story, while they have been — apart from a dismissive wave of the hand or two — tellingly silent on the survey of the sources and structure of Marxist evolutionary thought that I learned from Marxist students and lecturers on the Mona Campus UWI in the 1970’s – 80’s, and from the readings I had to do to understand and respond to them. I suspect a start from Fuerbach and Marx’s inheritance from him may be an interesting point of further departure, on the linked materialist philosophical roots from the 1840’s on.)

    Further to this, perhaps, B, you are not aware, but as I recall, Darwin toyed with some very Lamarckian ideas as well. In short, insofar as we may make a distinction between Darwinian and Lamarckian evolution, it glides over some pretty grey areas between the two men.

    Thirdly, as I pointed out, the critical issue on Lysenko so far as politics was concerned was about the overly theoretical, purist research approach of the biologists, which came up short in Stalin’s eyes as compared with Lysenko’s quick fixes. On technical issues, this spilled dover into “debates” over evolutionary mechanisms: e.g. issues on inheritance of acquired traits.

    Indeed, to this day, there are people around who argue that there are mechanisms that can get acquired traits into the genes, thus they champion a neo-Lamarckianism in contradistinction to the Neo-Darwinian synthesis to which Lysenko [and Stalin] objected.

    Interesting as they may be, such debates simply do not address the critical, worldview level issue on why evolutionary materialism — and Darwinism as a part of it [used to provide persuasive “scientific” support] have so often lent themselves to the degradation of morality, including to tyranny. In particular, to Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist and Maoist tyranny. And, leaving some room for flexibility on materialism, Nazi Aryan man racist tyranny. And, allowing room for the many theistic evolutionists involved at technical and popular levels, for the horrors and abuses of the eugenics movement in the US and elsewhere.

    In short, it is the worldview-linked elements and associations of evolutionary theory that have historically been (and God help us, even now are) used as a prop for materialism, for racism, and for various linked doctrines that undermine our duty to respect and care for one another as fundamentally equal and valuable in nature. And once we put in a wedge like that into ethics, so that we can denigrate, devalue, dehumanise and abuse the “other,” we are in big trouble. 45 million unborn babies worth of trouble, for just one instance. Watson’s recent dismissal of Africa as genetically isolated and intellectually deficient is another.

    No, Lysenko is not an effective smokescreen.

    GEM of TKI

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