No Darwin, No Hitler: Spinning Natural Selection
I recently asked two friends, who happened to be evangelical Christians, how the laws in America would read if biblical Christianity had complete political power. They both paused and then did their best to field this difficult question. Their answers, as I could have guessed, were very dissimilar. The reality is there is no "one way" government would operate if completely under biblical rule. Why not? Because there are just as many opinions and interpretations of the Bible as there are Christians. Those differences have been argued from the beginning of Christianity. Division has been a defining attribute of Christendom. In the world today there are at least 20,000 different groups and denominations within the ranks of biblical belief. Therefore, doctrinal, theological, and political unity is a far cry, at best. There are religious groups in America, however, that think unified Christian supremacy can and will be achieved in these United States. The desire to conquer and rule is the real motive driving the creationist propaganda engine.
Dr. James Kennedy, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is a powerful religious and political influence in America. He is the founder of Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM), a $37-million-a-year nonprofit corporation with an audience of three million. His weekly television program, the "Coral Ridge Hour," is carried on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and INSP Network, and syndicated on numerous other stations. His daily radio program, Truths That Transform, is heard across the U.S. and in over 200 countries, and is available on the program website. According to the website, "Dr. Kennedy's broadcast messages are televised from the nearly 10,000-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church to 40,000 cities and towns across the United States." If you have ever listened to Kennedy, you know that he considers himself a very conservative, ethical, and moral example to the world. He also champions one of the greatest bald-spot comb-overs I have ever seen, but I digress.
The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ (RAC) is the political extension of Coral Ridge Ministries. RAC hosted Ann Coulter during a "Reclaiming America for Christ Conference" on March 2-3. It sincerely grieves me to even utter the name Ann Coulter, and not because of her embarrassingly absurd right-wing political and spiritual views. Coulter represents something far more disturbing than fundamentalist political and religious extremism; she embodies a large number of people in the United States as an ambassador of scientific and political hatred. This form of abhorrence is nothing new under the Sun. No, her brand of odium is an old insult spewing from a contemporary tongue. But this article is not about her, with all of the typical appeals to her ethics, political incorrectness, and misguided etiquette. It's about misrepresenting science in exchange for religious and political gain.
Before I get to that, I want to remind my readers of a few of Ann Coulter's statements, and that she makes no apology for them. On the Today show, Matt Lauer asked Coulter, "Do you believe everything in this book [Godless], or do you put some things in there just that cater to your base?" Coulter responded, "Of course I believe everything." A few quotes by Ms. Coulter:
I would like evolution to join the roster of other discredited religions, like the Cargo Cult of the South Pacific. Practitioners of Cargo Cult believed that manufactured products were created by ancestral spirits, and if they imitated what they had seen the white man do, they could cause airplanes to appear out of the sky, bringing valuable cargo like radios and TVs. So they constructed "airport towers" out of bamboo and "headphones" out of coconuts and waited for the airplanes to come with the cargo. It may sound silly, but in defense of the Cargo Cult, they did not wait as long for evidence supporting their theory as the Darwinists have waited for evidence supporting theirs."
The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet--it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars--that's the Biblical view."
I think our motto should be, post-9-11, "raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences."
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.
You don't want the Republicans in power, does that mean you want a dictatorship, gay boy?
They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment.
My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.
It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950--except Goldwater in '64--the Republicans would have won, if only the men had voted.
Incidentally, if (Joe) Wilson believed his own Walter Mitty fantasy about his wife being a covert spy--so secret that his entire family could be killed if her identity were revealed--maybe he should have thought twice before writing an op-ed for the New York Times calling the President a liar based on information acquired solely because his wife works at the CIA.
During her invited guest appearance at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in March, 2007, Coulter expressed an anti-gay slur and excused the murder of doctors who perform abortions. Coulter made light of the murder of abortion doctors and clinic personnel. Noting that seven doctors and clinic personnel had been killed, Coulter said:
Those few abortionists were shot, or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure with a rifle performed on them. I'm not justifying it, but I do understand how it happened. The number of deaths attributed to Roe v. Wade--about 40 million aborted babies and seven abortion clinic workers; 40 million to seven is also a pretty good measure of how the political debate is going.
The anti-gay slur against presidential contender John Edwards was a repeat of a remark that she had earlier made during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. Answering an audience question during the Fort Lauderdale event, Coulter said:
I spoke at CPAC yesterday, and I [took questions] about Obama and Hillary and Gore and global warming, and I said I was going to also have a few remarks about the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but apparently you have to go to rehab if you use the word "faggot."
Americans United (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group founded in 1947 and based in Washington, D.C. The organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United Executive Director, sharply criticized Coulter's incendiary rhetoric and called on Gary Cass, head of the Center for Reclaiming America, to publicly repudiate it. "Ann Coulter's statements can only be described as loathsome," said Lynn. "It is astounding to me that this type of vitriol was unleashed before a religious organization that claims to be 'reclaiming' America for Christ. This rhetoric must be repudiated immediately."
But this was not Coulter's first dance with CRM. Pastor Kennedy originally aligned himself with Coulter back in August, 2006, when Coral Ridge Ministries produced the documentary Darwin's Deadly Legacy, a film asserting that Adolph Hitler grounded his genocidal actions on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. In a statement, Kennedy said: "To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler. Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it." The documentary aired August 26-27 during Coral Ridge Ministries' the "Coral Ridge Hour," accompanied by a book titled Evolution's Fatal Fruit: How Darwin's Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions. It was broadcast on international Christian cable networks and about 200 television stations in the United States. Hosted by Kennedy, the documentary also features Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler, Lee Strobel, author of The Case for a Creator, Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution, Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial, Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box, Ian Taylor, author of In the Minds of Men, and last but not least, Ann Coulter. Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church obviously had no problem with the statements and ethics of Ann Coulter when signing her for the film, so much so they invited her back to speak at the church in March 2007.
Darwin's Deadly Legacy "connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolph Hitler," a prebroadcast CRM statement claimed. The statement boasted that "the program features 14 scholars, scientists and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin's theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler's ovens." CRM spokesman John Aman contended that "Darwinism is a philosophy, it's a worldview, and one of the key things in it is that evolution advances by death, so death is a good thing. Hitler thought he was doing civilization a favor by eliminating lives that were not worth living. We, of course, think that is an egregious moral tragedy and a consequence of the worldview that was initiated by Darwin and popularized by his followers."
One scientist, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, was "absolutely appalled" at how his comments were used in the film. "I had no knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy's program utterly misguided and inflammatory," Collins told the Anti-Defamation League. "I would not have agreed to participate if I had understood that the program would promote the concept of a direct connection between Darwin's theory of evolution and the evils of the Holocaust and the massacre at Columbine High School. My own views on evolution and faith are ... strongly discordant with the perspective put forward by the producers of this documentary."
I am not going to try and figure out if Ann Coulter really believes her own words, much less try to convince you that she does. She told Matt Lauer that she does. But that is not the point I am making. What is important is that a significant portion of the population does take Coulter, Kennedy, and other science spin doctors seriously. Many people are getting and believing the very false message that:
Evolution is just a counter religion to Judeo Christianity. No, it is not. Two books that many Christians are famous for not reading:
Darwin's teaching of evolution is not a belief. It is a science. Also, it's not the antithesis to creationism. Darwin's natural selection is a demonstrative biological fact; creationism is based on faith. Natural selection is verified science; creationism is a religious belief. In addition, Darwin's Origin of Species does NOT claim to explain the origin of life itself. Rather, Darwin explained how life evolves. Here the believer usually jumps on the wagon and claims that a super-god (who is conveniently invisible, of course) is the cause for life. I respond to that by asking the following: What caused god? Logically, claiming that a god is the cause of life produces a much bigger improbability. The improbability of a being powerful enough to [poof] the universe into existence is astronomical. Therefore, simply claiming that a god created the universe does not solve the problem; it actually produces a much greater problem. The reality is that humans simply do not yet know how the universe came into existence. Science, again, has the humility to admit that the facts are not yet in. Religion, however, continues to arrogantly claim that it knows something that it actually does not.
All people who accept Darwinian evolution are anti-American. No, they are not. Most humans in the world accept some form of religion. Most of those religions include an action-packed creation story. Most all scientists reject theism and religion in general. Understanding and accepting Darwinian biology is a matter of education, not nationalism. Also, many people simultaneously embrace evolution and religion.
Darwin's teaching directly causes genocidal philosophy. Those of us who have studied all of Hitler's quotes and writings know that it is uncertain whether Hitler was a Christian, an atheist, or something else. He made statements that would lead us to think that he was, at some points of his life, a theist, and at other points an atheist. Considering Hitler's actions, however, we would do well to limit any credibility to his own words! Agreed, religion has been the overwhelming influence for genocide and war in history. And, of course, Christianity was the primary German religion in the 20th century. If one had to make an honest choice based on probability, one would choose the Christian religion, not atheism, as the primary influence on Nazi Germany.
Social Darwinism, the idea that biological theories can be extended and applied to the social realm, is employed by a number of biblical believers, such as Kennedy and Coulter, to gain political leverage, religious credibility, and wealth. Take a look at the history of science in Western Culture: many key scientists were imprisoned, tortured, and killed due to the religious politics of their times. Religious leaders have fervently fought scientific research and discoveries for centuries, only to be found wrong by later generations. The religious opposition we are seeing today to stem-cell research, evolution, and birth control is a constant reminder that we are not out of the politically religious woods.
The most important thing I can say about Hitler and Social Darwinism is this: There is no proof whatsoever that Hitler based his genocidal ideology on Darwin's teaching. Much more importantly, even if he had founded his philosophy on Darwin's teachings, that would not mean that Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) was incorrect or evil; it would simply mean that a sociopath dictator chose to rob, torture, and kill millions of people based on an ideological view of biology.
Let's say, for instance, that I looked at nature's system of killing and then based a human mass murder on that observation. It would not mean that nature is guilty! If a biological observation leads you to commit a crime, then you should be held accountable for your crime. Outside of humanity, nature animates and destroys with no regard to species, sex, color, race, or religion. The same Sun that warms this planet scorches the surface of Mercury. My cat, who loves me deeply, is a natural born killer in my back yard; mice and birds are not safe there. To form a moral, religious, or political system based simply on the observed universe can produce both indiscriminate charity and random killing. Also, if I read of the many genocidal killings in the Bible and then committed a mass murder based on that information, I would now be without excuse here in the 21st century; the religious moral zeitgeist has changed. The premise of Social Darwinism is only relevant to the perpetrators who utilize it.
Science should not be a political tool, and nature is neither an excuse nor a license to thieve the life and liberty of fellow humans here in the 21st century nor anytime henceforth.
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