Happy 200th Birthday!

He was a truly remarkable individual.  He changed the world in so many important and soul-satisfying ways.  He set many, many people free from ignorance and slavery.  He wasn’t the best looking guy who ever stood erect, but had a way of seeing things more clearly than most.  He saved the country, even though he almost tore it apart to save it.  He was truly a great American!

What?

Oh, you thought I was talking about Charles Darwin?  No, I was talking about Abraham Lincoln.  Turns out Charlie and Abe had the same birthday.  What a coinkidink!

And what a stunning contrast.  According to www.Darwinday.org, there are 659 Darwin day events scheduled.  I Googled Lincoln Day, and found a wreath laying, a dinner in Galveston, and a smattering of other trivial events.  

Let’s see.  What truly valuable contributions has Charlie made to the world?  In a post called “The Teflon Naturalist”, Charles Colson said this:

  

The Teflon Naturalist
Giving Darwin a Pass
March 30, 2007  

Since its publication in 1859, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people have been killed in the name of ideologies that cited Darwin’s Origin of Species as justification for their actions.

Yet, despite this bloody history, Darwinism, and especially Darwin himself, have benefited from a Teflon coating that would have made Ronald Reagan jealous. Darwinists have characterized any connection between Darwinism and these ideologies as aberrations and distortions. And they have been particularly keen to absolve Darwin himself of any responsibility.

But a recent article in the liberal religious journalCommonweal gives us ample reasons to question that absolution.

In it, writer Peter Quinn describes the attempt by Darwin’s defenders to “[insulate Darwin] from any unpleasantries associated with his ideas or their consequences.” Instead of presenting the historical Darwin, they create what Quinn calls this “gentle Darwin”—a “benevolent naturalist fighting against entrenched ignorance.”

Thus, “Social Darwinism,” which justified the oppression of the poor and the weak, is nearly always portrayed as an after-the-fact corruption of Darwin’s thoughts. Yet, Darwin’s own notebooks make it plain that “Darwinism was invented to explain human society.” They anticipate Darwinism’s influence on “competition, free trade, imperialism, racial extermination, and sexual inequality.”

Then there’s eugenics, the attempt to improve “human hereditary traits through direct intervention.” The attempts to “improve the race” produced unimaginable human suffering: Mandatory sterilization laws in the United States left countless women unable to have children. And then there was Nazi Germany and its “racial hygiene” laws.

Nobody can deny the connection between eugenics and Darwinism—not only because its principles were derived from Darwin’s work, but also because the father of eugenics, Francis Galton, was Darwin’s cousin.

Yet, pointing out this connection is regarded as unfair and outrageous. We are told that Darwin was, in fact, one of the “greatest exponents and examples” of humanism. Far from being the worldview of bloody tyrants, Darwinism, we are told, is “humanism in flight” and “roomy enough for ordinary love to breathe in.” Oh, my.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the real Charles Darwin, in the second edition of The Descent of Man, endorsed Galton’s eugenic theories. He called them “remarkable” and labeled the higher birth rates among the poor “a most important obstacle in civilized countries.”

To be fair, by all accounts, Charles Darwin was an honorable and kind man. But he also knew and even approved of some of the horrible uses to which his theories could be put. While that does not make him necessarily responsible for the Nazis, for example, it makes the whole “humanism in flight” notion laughable.

Ironically, one species of Darwinism was directly linked with care for the poor and the alleviation of suffering: that of Darwin’s wife, Emma. Her “kindness was legendary.” She fed the village poor, ministered to their sick, and even provided pensions for their elderly.

As Darwin’s biographers put it, Emma “understood human suffering.” Not surprisingly, Emma was “a practicing Christian” who remained “true to her Anglican faith.” That’s why, as Quinn says, “She was the one and true gentle Darwinian.”

So, happy birthday, Abe.  There are still a few people left who appreciate the contributions you made to save our country from our own tyranny.  The fact that Abe stood up to the slavers has allowed hundreds of millions of human beings to live as free men and women.  They are free enough to aspire to any office, including the office of President.  

A tip of the top had to you, sir!

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Happy 200th Birthday!

  1. Pingback: Topics about Christian life and Bible readings » Archive » Happy 200th Birthday!

  2. dippydipper

    You know, in your rants on Darwin and Dawinists, it strikes me that if you were to change the word Darwin for Christ and Darwinism for Christianity then you arguements would still make sense. i.e…………………….”Since its publication in 1859, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people have been killed in the name of ideologies that cited Darwin’s Origin of Species as justification for their actions.” …………………. I am not sure if that means Darwinists revere Charles Darwin too much or if Christians should lay off them a bit because they share the same ridiculous following of an ideology and not keeping an open mind. You have Faith and they have faith. They just have a bit more scientific evidence to make their faith seem real.

    1. dippydipper – Sadly – tragically, I agree with you. The difference is that Darwinism, if followed to its logical conclusion, offers no hope for any of us. There is no morality, so the only kind of government that will work is the most brutal kind of tyranny. There is no life after this one, so why should I care about anyone but me? There is no justice (the rich and the powerful will never be abolished) so the only way to live better is to get more stuff, power, fame, etc. And since true love – the kind taught in the Bible – is kind, patient, not envious or boastful or proud, is not rude or self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres, and since the absence of that kind of love is what Hell is all about, then we have no hope.

      Ghandi once was asked what he thought of Christianity. He reportedly said ‘I like their Christ. I don’t like their Christians.’ And that’s why we are in such a mess. If everyone followed Christ, we would have Heaven on Earth.

      Thanks for asking.

  3. You are a real piece of work. Blaming the Holocaust on Darwin and not the rabid anti-Semitism that centuries of religious persecution of Jews by Christians produced. Hitler was a Christian. He felt and stated multiple times that he was doing God’s work. Germany was a Christian nation. Hitler tried to establish a united German Christian Church. How many times did Hitler cite “Origin of Species” (the answer is none) and how many times did he invoke God? (the answer is many times)

    http://nobeliefs.com/hitler-myths.htm

    Heritability of traits was well known and had been used for millennia in the selective breeding of domesticated animals and plants. Darwin didn’t discover that. Farmers had been using that for millennia. Hitler wasn’t an atheist, he was a Christian. Hitler despised atheists, just like you do.

    As a 9 year old boy, I remember a boy my age telling me that Jews used the blood of Christians in Passover rituals. I knew that was untrue because Passover predated Christianity, so there could have been no Christian blood for Passover. Jews have never used human blood for such things. Blood is never kosher. Human blood is not kosher. He was repeating the blood libel that had been used for centuries to whip up anti-Semitism.

    You are doing exactly what the religious anti-Semites did, spreading lies trying to whip up hysterical hatred and animosity toward “Darwinists” and atheists. What is next, a Pogrom to kill us?

    Again you are lying and bearing false witness against me and against everyone who doesn’t agree with you. Where did I lie to you? Is your position so weak that you can only advance it by lying?

    1. I did not attribute the Holocost to Darwin. That connection was made by Charles Colson. Hitler was a Christian? What an absurdity! He killed Christians just as indiscriminately as he did Jews.

      It’s amazing that a guy who says he has read the Bible cover to cover “numerous times” can be so ignorant of what Christianity is. One thing you may not realize is that Satan – the father of lies – was thrown out of Heaven for committing the very sin you and Hitler are most guilty of: pride. Satan has dominion over the Earth for a time, even though his defeat is a done deal. In the meantime, though, he wants to capture as many souls as possible. And, being the best liar ever, he has used Darwinism to capture your soul. He owns you. You have no free will. You do his bidding. Your will be a restless wanderer all your life, never knowing why you feel so empty, so lost. Your sin, like the demons that surround and protect your mind and your heart, are legion.

      Jesus Christ is the way, and the truth, and the life. Everyone on His side listens to Him. He is either your Father, or your father is Satan. Your father tells you that I am a liar, but he lies. You accuse me of lying, yet I have been truthful with you from the start.

      Once again, I would like to be your friend. I do not want you to suffer eternal torment. But I believe that unless and until you adopt a humble heart, admit that you don’t have all the answers, and actually ask for help from someone who wants to love you even when you are completely unlovable, you will stay lost. And it will be forever. But it’s antirely up to you.

  4. Damian

    Mr Andrews, Charles Colson is making that up. If you can find a single mention of either Charles Darwin or, “The Origin of Species”, in any ideological text that lead to the killing of millions, I will retract what I am about to say. And yes, Hitler was a Christian, and so were most of the Nazi’s. Committing the No true Scotsman fallacy won’t help you, I’m afraid.

    Social Darwinism is an unfortunate and truly horrendous aspect of history. It was neither started nor endorsed by Charles Darwin, however. Indeed, although Darwin may have been perceived as a racist by today’s standards, he was, from his writings, far more enlightened than most in his time.

    Social Darwinism wasn’t even the application of Darwin’s theories, anyway. One of Darwin’s great ideas came from looking at artificial selection — something that had been around for thousands of years — and extending the analogy to nature. Social Darwinism and eugenics were actually the application of artificial selection, not natural selection, so it is tenuous at best to even suggest that they were the application of Darwin’s theory.

    Would you suggest, for instance, that Newton and Einstein are responsible for the fact that people often die from falling off cliffs, buildings, and in plane accidents? Of course not! A scientific theory stands or falls on its merits. They are descriptive, not prescriptive. To take the findings of a scientific theory and argue that it should be applied to society is to commit the “is-ought” fallacy.

    From Wikipedia:

    “While the term has been applied to the claim that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection can be used to understand the social endurance of a nation or country, social Darwinism commonly refers to ideas that predate Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species. Others whose ideas are given the label include the 18th century clergyman Thomas Malthus, and Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton who founded eugenics towards the end of the 19th century.”

    And a quote by Darwin, himself:

    “The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil”

    But let’s say that none of this is true, and that what you have said in this post is all supportable. It says absolutely nothing of the truth or falsity of evolutionary theory. Darwin could have been a mass murderer, rather than the kind and gentle family man that all evidence suggests that he was, and it would not matter one bit. Indeed, by all accounts Isaac Newton was a thoroughly nasty individual, but I don’t see you using that to argue against Newtonian mechanics or Calculus.

    This is a shameful tactic that reveals the true length that an individual is prepared to go to in order to escape the conclusion that life on earth has evolved. Are you not better than this? Is it okay to smear the name of a great scientist, simply because you wish that the theory that he outlined 150 years ago wasn’t true? Shame on you, sir.

    And why have you not either dealt with Steve Novella’s criticism or admitted that, yes, all life is related by common ancestry?

    Also from wikipedia:

    “The Anti-Defamation League has rejected such attempts to link Darwin’s ideas with Nazi atrocities, and has stated that “Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.””

    1. Damian – Here’s an excerpt from Darwin’s “Descent of Man”.

      With savages [i.e., those in more primitive societies], the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health…. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed….

      If…various checks…do not prevent the reckless, the vicious and otherwise inferior members of society from increasing at a quicker rate than the better class of men, the nation will retrograde, as has occurred too often in the history of the world. We must remember that progress is no invariable rule….

      Does that send chills up your spine? It should. From that and the purely naturalistic view of random changes and survival of the fittest, came such wonders as eugenics. We also, having no particular regard for the sanctity of human life over any other form, have, since Roe v. Wade, murdered so many humans that it makes the holocaust look like a warmup. To date, the number is over thirty eight million.

      Now, to be fair, I do not hang that all on Darwin any more than I hang the Holocaust on him alone. I simply assert that his ideas, carried to their logical conclusion, lead to hopelessness, despair, disorder, and death. Further, I do not reject at all, much of what Darwin accomplished. I am among those who accept the possibility that some of his theories have proven true. I simply do not accept all of them dogmatically. And I am reminded that we are still learning – at least we should be. And while I am a Christian, and therefore believe that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe and everything in it, I can see such elegance and beauty in the universe and in living organisms, that I cannot imagine how anyone can dismiss the possibility that they were designed.

      So perhaps it would be constructive for us to stop using terms like “evolutionary theory” or “intelligent design”. Maybe it would be more productive to look at specific aspects of the two broad theories, and actually learn together. I suspect neither camp has a lock on the truth.

      With regard to Steve Novella, I have not had time to go back to his site, and his question was not posted here. I’ll take a look when time permits. By the way, it’s Andrew, not Andrews.

  5. Actually, your myth about “justice” in the next world feeds right into the injustice of this world. Why struggle to make this world fair and just if all injustices will be “made up” in the next world? Don’t worry, be happy, there will be pie in the sky when you die.

    What a great philosophy for the rich and powerful to promote. Gosh, what a surprise, that is the philosophy that the rich and powerful do promote. It is a lot cheaper than paying decent wages, providing health care and decent lives for their workers.

    1. Remember all those times when Jesus humbled Himself – praying to the Father, washing feet, submitting to the Roman cross willingly so that all could be saved? I know you read them numerous times. Did you forget?

      Once again, I do not hate you. I would like to be your friend. But it takes two. I’m still praying for you.

  6. Damian

    “Does that send chills up your spine? It should.”

    No, actually, it doesn’t. I know what you are doing here, Mr Andrew, and frankly I’m appalled. Would you like me to look through this site to find things that, taken out of context, make you look rather barbaric?

    And that is the point. There is no question that, at that time (and for centuries before and after that), many of the ideas that were floating around — among all people, including clergy, scientists, and the leaders of each nation — look to us, now, in the 21st century, as distasteful. That is not up for dispute. But to extrapolate that to suggest that somehow it suggests that Darwin would have supported mass genocide, or that his ideas, “followed to their natural conclusion”, mean that we shouldn’t care about human life, is entirely of your own making. And I’ll tell you what, I am far more appalled and disgusted by your actions, in the 21st century, than I am by anything that Darwin said.

    Shall I go and find quotes from some of the spiritual leaders that no doubt influence you, today (from the bible, perhaps)? It would be almost trivially easy to do so. So the question then becomes, taken out of context, would it be fair to do so? I say that it is not — that it is the sign of a desperate man, and that it both cheapens serious historical scholarship, and the individual that engages in it. You obviously believe differently, and that is your right, but let’s not pretend that you are engaged in anything other than historical revisionism and shoddy scholarship.

    And you have been caught out. The first quote that you present is directly followed by the first quote that I used — you know, the one suggesting that not caring for the weak of a society would lead to a, “deterioration in the noblest part of our nature”, which would constitute, “an overwhelming present evil.” Mr Andrew, I submit to you sir, that you have no intention of engaging in a serious conversation, here. That you are only interested in yourself, and the fact that you must, at all costs, discredit the work of a great scientist, lest you be forced, morally, to accept that what you have believed for much of your life, is, in fact, wrong. I can sympathize with that, of course, but I cannot sympathize with your attempt to smear a man that has been dead for more than a century. That disgusts me.

    And I have no intention of getting in to a discussion about abortion with you, either. If your respect for scholarship is as it appears, there would be little point. Suffice to say that many religious believers support the right to an abortion, as well as many non-believers not doing so, and a whole continuum in between. I have grave doubts that you would be able to define things such a “life”, or explain when it begins, scientifically, and I am simply not prepared to engage in the simplistic nonsense that you appear to want to. Black and white in a world made of gray is not something that I am prepared to engage in. But rest assured, I will fight for the right to be able to calmly and rationally assess those gray areas, as I have great faith that the majority of people are comfortable with the world as it is, rather than as you would appear to want it to be.

    Thank you for your time.

  7. [daedalus2u]”Hitler wasn’t an atheist, he was a Christian.”

    1938 Hitler: “It is charged against me that I am against property, that I am an atheist. Both charges are false.”
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1149082560.401910.7770%40h76g2000cwa.googlegroups.com

    1939 Goebbels: “The Fuhrer is… completely anti-Christian.”
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1145975885.494352.40950%40g10g2000cwb.googlegroups.com

    a claim: Hitler was a Christian
    http://www.google.com/groups?selm=1131389424.486586.51840%40g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com

  8. [Damian]”Hitler was a Christian, and so were most of the Nazi’s”

    atheism-adherent Mussolini science experiment disproved existence of God of theism
    http://groups.google.co.in/groups?selm=1177901807.528939.160150%40n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com

    Hitler greatly admired his fellow atheism-adherent Nietzsche
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1167247411.828687.13380%4073g2000cwn.googlegroups.com

    the Nazi Robert Ley was an atheism-adherent who worshiped Hitler and Nature
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1143171898.121370.76730%40e56g2000cwe.googlegroups.com

    1942 Nazi atheism-adherent Martin Bormann: “National Socialist and Christian Concepts are Incompatible”
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1167155551.253465.117650%4048g2000cwx.googlegroups.com

    Himmler block quote, in
    Hitler opposed Christianity
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1117657689.616680.167840%40g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com

    Heydrich’s “almost pathological hatred of the Churches”
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=1179798080.743194.308290%40p77g2000hsh.googlegroups.com

    the Nazi SS rejected Christianity (and its accompanying Judeo-Christian morality)
    http://groups.google.co.in/groups?selm=1175341802.025602.289620%40n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com

    “If you can find a single mention of either Charles Darwin or, ‘The Origin of Species’, in any ideological text that lead to the killing of millions”

    1942 Eichmann: “possible final remnant… is the product of natural selection,” 1942 Heydrich
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1122008128.957294.314360%40g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com

    an exercise: parallels between 1871 Darwin & 1924/5 Hitler?
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=1134448996.907734.300780%40g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com
    4 more Hitler-Darwin parallels
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1135092414.972723.104980%40g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com

    Draft 2 of a chronology of Darwinian thought and the march to the Final Solution
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=dford3-1122434358.640904.162640%40z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com

    Multi-Pronged Role of Darwinian Thought in Shoah’s Arrival
    http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/10ac5d963dfa0eba?hl=en&

  9. On the basis of science alone, how would Darwin justify the statement you use here – “…deterioration in the noblest part of our nature”, which would constitute, “an overwhelming present evil.”? I submit that he would be unable to do so. He would need something else – philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, or religion. The statement itself is not testable using the scientific method. Yet neo-Darwinists insist that science is the only way in which anything worth knowing can be known. Darwin himself believed that. And he taught his children to shun the faith their mother embraced and to adopt atheism.

    What is it exactly that I said in my last post that causes you to feel justified in attacking me personally? If I were intent on ‘discrediting the work of a great scientist’, why would I acknowledge that “I do not reject at all, much of what Darwin accomplished. I am among those who accept the possibility that some of his theories have proven true.”? If that’s an attack meant to discredit, it’s a pretty weak one. Darwin was a man, and therefore his life was characterized by some good and some bad. I do not attack the man, and I do not attack his science. I have grave reservations about his theories, and I do not understand why scientists get so apoplectic when I question them.

    Further, what I believed for the first 57 years of my life would have pleased you. I assumed that scientists had pretty much rendered the Genesis account of creation to mythology. My acceptance of Christ as the way, the truth, and the life, caused me to start opening my mind to alternative explanations of the origin of life. I accepted the faith because what Jesus said about how we should live was absolutely compelling. Nobody before or since ever spoke about life with such wisdom and authority. Dispute that if you wish, but I offer it here as an explanation of my conversion.

    Now, tell me this. As a scientist (I assume you are one), how can you assert you do not know when human life begins? Is a new human not genetically complete at conception? And if it is genetically complete, how can we justify killing it for the sake of the freedom of choice of the mother? Have you ever seen the body parts of aborted human babies? If not, take a look sometime on YouTube. There are plenty of videos of them available. Then tell me you do not know when life began. Stories appear from time to time of babies being found in dumps or trash cans. Everybody is horrified. Yet if the mother had walked into an abortion clinic two days earlier, she could have had her baby removed and killed for her, and nobody would challenge her right to do so legally. What difference did a 6 inch trip down the birth canal make in determining whether the baby was human? And remember, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for men of good will do do nothing.

    One final point: Please understand that Christianity is different. It makes claims that other “religions” do not, including the one that our God is triune – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, as one of the three persons of the Trinity, Jesus was and is God. He said “I and the Father are one.” So if you want to argue against anything I say, please do not use the catch-all word religion. And, in case you feel like arguing against Christianity, please do not invoke other spiritual leaders. Invoke Christ if you wish. He is the authority to which we turn in settling disputes about all of life. We do not leave our beliefs about life at the church when we leave. Neither do we turn off our minds when we go in.

    Thanks for your questions. Now let’s continue a dialogue without personal attacks or angry condemnation, O.K?

  10. Pingback: Consistent Dissonance « Bloom Where You’re Planted

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