I know. It’s WorldNutDaily, so it’s guaranteed to be abysmally ignorant, but I had to comment on the opening bits of this dreadfully bad review of Wiker’s book that blames Darwin for the Nazis.
As a prologue to this book review, I propose the question: Can an idea, a theory, even a delusion kill? A cursory review just of 20th century dictators who overtly or covertly embraced and applied Darwin’s ideas about evolution, survival of the fittest and natural selection to humanity, resulting in tens of millions of corpses they left in their wake, lamentably beckons a resounding, Yes!
I agree that ideas can be powerful things that can lead to lamentable outcomes. That’s why I insist that all ideas must be regarded with skepticism, tested thoroughly, and only those that meet some standards for rigor be accepted…and even that, only provisionally. Evolution has met those standards to a degree that you have to be a fool to reject it, especially when your alternative is the empty promises of Intelligent Design, and the bogus dogmatism of creationism.
Those millions of deaths are a consequence of fanatical adherence to poorly supported ideas: the ideologies of communism and fascism. Evolution is not at fault, and can’t be legitimately blamed, especially if your reasoning is as bad as Wiker’s.
In the opening chapter on Darwin, Wiker wrote: “Reading Charles Darwin’s ‘The Descent of Man’ forces one to face an unpleasant truth: that if everything he said in his more famous ‘Origin of Species’ is true, then it quite logically follows that human beings ought to ensure that the fit breed with abandon and that the unfit are weeded out.”
Wiker actually said that? He’s a bigger idiot than I thought. Does he also read books about epidemiology and assume that the science is all about killing the most people possible with microorganisms? Is oncology all about inflicting slow painful deaths on people? Are the police out to foment crime, and firemen have the job of starting fires?
What logically follows from Darwin’s theory is that fit individuals are those that survive and have offspring. There is no presumption that there is only one possible strategy to accomplish that survival: if we maintain a state that helps the weak and sick live and have children, then we have increased their fitness.
Maybe it’s just me, but I read the truth of evolution as saying that we can work to oppose brute nature and make life better for our fellow human beings, or we can surrender and refuse to resist nature’s course. We have a choice. You can be an enabler of greater rates of selection (using arbitrary criteria that may not generate enhanced survival for anything but the select occupants of a totalitarian state!) or you can work for a better life for more.
It’s somehow predictable that right-wing hacks always project their hateful vision of increasing mortality on a theory that allows for the possibility of change by reducing it.