Friday, October 16, 2015

Hate Mail - "You're Making "Standard Creationist" Arguments"

No, I'm not giving "creationist arguments" I'm stating what any rational, non-ideological   interpretation of the primary documentation shows.  If creationists read that documentation and point out what it says, there is no rule that they can't do that.  There is nothing unfair about stating what words, sentences, paragraphs, letters and books say, explicitly.  That is especially true of books and other material presented by the writer as having the reliability of science.   Creationists are almost certainly wrong about the fact of evolution having happened, that doesn't mean they can't get the historical record tying Charles Darwin's natural selection to eugenics and, rather directly, to eugenics in Germany right.   That the "science side" has to lie about what those primary documents say isn't to the credit of those lying about it.

I can point out that no one I have read from before the end of the Second World War, no one from the wildest supporter of eugenics, the most convinced scientific supporters of natural selection, ever argued that Charles Darwin and natural selection was not the inspiration of eugenics.  I have challenged the true believers in the post-war myth that Darwin and natural selection had nothing to do with eugenics, its awful form in places such as the United States and Canada or its most awful forms in Germany to present anyone from before 1940 who made that argument.

I have also challenged anyone to find a single person who knew Charles Darwin who objected to the association of him and his theory of natural selection with eugenics, in English or in German.

No one in the past seven years since I first made that challenge has come up with anyone who did that before the end of the Second World War, no one has ever, yet, uncovered a single person who knew Charles Darwin who objected to the association of him with eugenics.

Having already given the long form of my argument, twice, running to many, many blog posts with many, many citations and links, I will give you the short one here, today.

The sons of Charles Darwin, Leonard, George, Francis, Horace, were all active in eugenics in Britain, Leonard Darwin having assumed the leadership of The British Eugenics Society from Francis Galton, repeatedly said that his own eugenics activity was a continuation of his father's work and would have had the approval of his father.  For example, in a letter to the geneticist Karl Pearson in 1914:

"I should chuck most of it but for a sense of duty and a belief that my Father would have liked me to do what little in me lies as regards Eugenics."

He, himself, said he would give up his activities in eugenics if it were not for his sense of duty to his own father's wishes.

He repeated that in 1926 in the dedication to his father of his book, The Need of Eugenic Reform

"For if I had not believed that he would have wished me to give such help as I could toward making his life's work of service to mankind, I should never have been led to write this book.

I am not going to apologize for suspecting that Charles Darwin's own son, Leonard Darwin, knew his fathers' mind better than a bunch of ignorant blog trolls in 2015.   For a start, Leonard Darwin heard his father speak candidly and off the record, something no one who insists that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with eugenics in the post-war period ever did.   And, as could be pointed out, he was hardly the only Darwin son who associated their father with eugenics, Francis Darwin did and it was openly known that Charles Darwin had supported his son, George's, early proposal to change laws to match eugenic thinking.  No Darwin I have ever seen who knew him or who knew someone who knew him ever disassociated Charles Darwin or natural selection from an association with eugenics, in English speaking countries or in Germany.

No Darwinist in the pre-war period who I have ever read or heard of attempted to second guess his sons and closest scientific associates to make the claim that eugenics, in English speaking countries or in Germany was anything but an extension of the thinking of Charles Darwin and an application of natural selection.

Every, single instance in which someone has asserted that Charles Darwin and natural selection had nothing to do with eugenics and, especially, German eugenics, comes from the post-war period and was never made by someone who knew the man and, in most cases, was made by people who never seem to have read Charles Darwin's books on the topic, especially The Descent of Man but, also, later editions of On the Origin of Species in which he, himself, unambiguously equates natural selection with Spencer's Social Darwinism.

Most serious of all, is the April 1939 article by Leonard Darwin which, in line with his previous statements in earlier decades, associates his father and natural selection with German eugenics through Wilhelm Schallmeyer.

... He [Schallmeyer] advocated the medical registration of all citizens and the state control of the medical profession. He was greatly influenced in his writings by the “Origin of Species,” and he was at that time like the author of that work, [Charles Darwin, of course]  a believer in the inheritance of acquired characters, a belief he subsequently abandoned. His ideas were formed in the first instance before he had studied Galton's writings. Indeed it was his desire to study that author's works which led him to learn English, a task perhaps facilitated by his wide knowledge of other languages.  He started his eugenic campaign in Germany uninfluenced by Galton.

I should note that I checked a number of the facts stated by Leonard Darwin in the article and those I could check were accurate, so arguing that this article was senile babbling is not supported by the evidence.   In this passage he undoes what so many of those spouting the post-war myth assert, that Galton was to blame and that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with eugenics and that he was not, in any way, associated with the most appaling of all eugenics programs, the one in Nazi Germany.   There had been no eugenic laws in Germany until the Nazis imposed them in 1933, a political triumph for the German eugenicists who had been trying, with the help of those in Britain, America and elsewhere, to get those laws passed in Germany. 

Even worse for the argument disassociating Charles Darwin from German eugenics and the Nazi eugenics laws is this passage:

Which of these two pioneers [Schallmyer and Ploetz] had a greater influence in changing German thought in the right direction is not for a non-German to attempt to decide. Schallmeyer, was anyhow first in the field. 

As I said in my earlier post on the topic, Leonard Darwin's language in that passage is amazing - "changing German thought in the right direction" -  he said that in  April of 1939, months before the Nazis invaded Poland,  six years after the Nazis had already started their eugenics program in 1933. Five months after Kristallnacht and the laws outlawing Jews from civil life.   In September 1939,  they would start killing "those who are not fit to live".  There is every reason for Leonard Darwin to know that's where German eugenics was headed in April of that year.   Leonard Darwin had far more than just ample reason to distance his father from eugenics, if he thought there was any way that could be done.   But he did the opposite.   

For those who don't know, Alfred Ploetz was a Nazi who was quite actively involved with Nazi eugenics.   He is especially interesting in 1939 because he started out not being an anti-semite in the 1890s but became one under the influence of scientific arguments made using natural selection and racial theories of the kind that Charles Darwin also made in The Descent of Man.  

In the very years in which the Nazis passed eugenics laws for the first time in Germany, against the opposition of the Catholic church and many other religious institutions, and imposed increasingly oppressive measures on the disabled and racial, ethinic and other groups openly and explicitly designated by them as inferior human beings,   Darwinists took no opportunity I have ever read to say that what they did violated anything about Darwin's theory of natural selection.  I would welcome anyone who, after posing that challenge for seven years, could come up with something like that.  I would like to test the credentials of those who made such statements before the Second World War, if any such statements exist, against those who knew Charles Darwin.   But until some of those who are still spouting the common received line on that which every respectable member of those who are considered educated are required to tow produce that evidence, I'm going to have to assume it doesn't exist.  

The assumption which such folk are required to believe is that creationists are uniformly evil liars who have defamed the great and saintly Charles Darwin by associating him with eugenics which, as a fact of history and the documentary record, includes the Nazi eugenic programs, up to and including the genocides they carried out.   But the words of Darwin, Galton, Haeckel, Leonard Darwin, etc. are there for anyone to read, words written down to express, clearly, what those people thought and asserted as scientific truth carrying the guarantee of scientific reliability.  Those words will always be there, they exist in handwritten originals which have been published and posted online, their texts are ever more available in ever greater quantity.   You're not going to put that evil genie back in a bottle and seal the cork with super-glue.  The case is what's closed.  

Update:  Sims, you obviously don't understand the issue so I'm not posting your silly comments on this, it's too serious an issue to allow you to be a distraction. 


  1. here's Darwin on eugenics

    "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. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind;"

    now, if you'd read the material you would have known about the rest of the quote... but if you were trolling creationist sites, you wouldn't. So, you are either deliberately lying about Darwin, or deliberately lying about using creationist boilerplate. Either way you are a liar.

    1. Ah, Darwin's self-provided escape hatch in which he pretends to not advocate the benefits of the early deaths of the poor and those he deems the "weaker members" of society even as he is advocating that their dying would be a great benefit. Not only that but warning of the dysgenesis of the human species if they are allowed to live long enough to have children, over and over again and as, throughout the book, he asserts the benefits of the "weaker members" dying to the survivors.

      You obviously didn't even read the passage that is so typically clipped from that paragraph. For example, try reading the last sentence alone, "Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind;" as he complains, over and over again about the disasters that "hard reason" says will result from them living.

      I have analyzed that passage, the complete paragraph, over and over again. As his support for George Darwin's early eugenic proposal shows, he was quite prepared to see marriages involuntarily and irrevocably dissolved by the state.

      And, as shown by his support for the benefits of such things as infanticide, in line with Ernst Haeckel's proto-Nazi assertions and the book in which Haeckel made those assertions, he was speaking out of both sides of his mouth in the same book.

      Of course, as seen in what was said about Charles Darwin's relationship to eugenics by his sons' his closest scientific colleagues and everyone who knew him who expressed a thought on the topic, all of them discounted his pathetic smoke screen and admitted his inspiration and support of eugenics.

      Try reading the many posts with the original source material I depended on to come to my conclusions. No one in the pre-war period pretended that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with eugenics, least of all Francis Galton who not only cited Origin of Species as his inspiration but also included the letter of support Charles Darwin sent him after reading his first major work on eugenics, Hereditary Genius.

      You and your fellow liars don't have the standing of Leonard Darwin, Francis Darwin, George Darwin, Francis Galton, Ernst Haeckel, etc. in this matter. You never knew him, you never talked to him, all of them did, many times.

  2. Still clear to me that paragraph justifies U.S. eugenics laws of the early last century.