Evolution’s Harmful Deceit

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” declared poet Sir Walter Scott.

The observation applies to education.  Teaching falsehoods is a recipe for disaster, because students inevitably extrapolate from the falsehoods to erroneous conclusions.  Falsehoods about life issues are the worst.

Evolution theory states that humans are merely evolving animals.  The claimed biological struggle for survival that brought humans here is continuing.  Man’s long-term survival is, according to evolution, a biological survival of the fittest.  Evolution theory teaches that there must be a biological struggle for survival among various human races and groups.

Charles Darwin declared in Descent of Man:

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked,* will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”  Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (London: John Murray, 1901), pp. 241-42 (footnote * is a reference to Anthropological Review, April, 1867, p. 236).  http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-descent-of-man/chapter-06.html

Darwin was not the first to claim racial superiority.  But he was the first to teach that some races of man “will almost certainly exterminate, and replace” other races of man.  Tragically, many intellectuals believed him.  They developed a new intellectual field called “eugenics” for this mythical biological struggle.

Eugenics.

The word “eugenics” is offensively based on Greek roots meaning “well born,” although the Merriam-Webster dictionary won’t admit this.  (Compare at http://www.m-w.com the roots for eugenics (missing) against the roots for eulogy and genesis.  A 1966 dictionary lists the eugenics roots).

The Merriam-Webster dictionary does provide the date of origin for the word “eugenics”: 1883.  That was when Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, first coined the term.  Later Darwin’s son, Leonard, served as the president of the First Congress of Eugenics in 1912 in London.

An encyclopedic overview of eugenics is provided at http://www.fwkc.com/encyclopedia/low/articles/e/e007001431f.html .  It describes eugenics as now being “in disrepute,” although Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University and others apparently continue to promote it.

In the early 1900s, many influential officials advocated Darwinism and eugenics.  Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes became a strong proponent.  So did many others in prominent government and academic positions.  Members of the British Eugenics Society, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, are listed at http://www.africa2000.com/ENDX/eug_ij.htm .

Eugenics in America.

Between 1907 and 1937, 32 American states passed eugenics laws requiring sterilization of citizens deemed to be misfits, such as the mentally infirm.  Oliver Wendell Holmes and all but one conservative Justice upheld such laws in a Supreme Court decision that included Holmes’ offensive statement that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”  Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 207 (1927) (available at http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html).  In fact, the third generation “imbecile” was very bright, but was declared by a eugenics “expert” as “supposed to be a mental defective,” apparently without an examination.

Eugenics was taught as part of the evolution curriculum of many science classes in America in the early 1900s.  For example, it was featured in the textbook used in the famous Scopes trial in 1925.

“By 1928, the American Genetics Association boasted that there were 376 college courses devoted exclusively to eugenics.  High-school biology textbooks followed suit by the mid-1930s, with most containing material favorable to the idea of eugenical control of reproduction.  It would thus have been difficult to be an even moderately educated reader in the 1920s or 1930s and not have known, at least in general terms, about the claims of eugenics.”  See “Science misapplied: the eugenics age revisited,” Technology Review, August-Sep 1996 (Vol. 99, No. 6), at p. 22(10), by Garland E. Allen.

Important remnants of the evolution-eugenics approach exist today, in part because many of Justice Holmes’ opinions are still controlling law.  The very first quote in the infamous Roe v. Wade abortion decision is an unprincipled statement of Justice Holmes in a 1905 opinion.  Indeed, Holmes once wrote favorably in a letter to a future Supreme Court Justice about “restricting propagation by the undesirables and putting to death infants that didn’t pass the examination” (9/3/21 Letter to Felix Frankfurther).  (For a brilliant criticism of Justice Holmes’ judicial Darwinism, see Professor Albert W. Alschuler’s Law Without Values: The Life, Work, and Legacy of Justice Holmes (Univ. of Chicago Press 2000).)

Existing laws requiring students to receive controversial vaccines are based on a eugenics-era decision granting the State the power to forcibly vaccinate residents.  Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905).  That decision, in fact, was the cited precedent for Justice Holmes’ offensive “imbeciles” holding quoted above.

For the same reason that evolution teaching led to eugenics, evolution teaching today encourages acceptance of abortion and euthanasia.  Under evolution theory, after all, we are merely animals fighting for biological survival.

Eugenics in Europe.

German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel promoted evolution by drawing fraudulent pictures of humans embryos, to pretend that their developmental stages imitate an historical evolution of humans from other species.  These fraudulent drawings remain a part of American textbooks and were exposed as false by the New York Times weeks ago (see posting on Discussion One).

In 1904, Haeckel reiterated the view of Darwin quoted above:  “These lower races … are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes or dogs) than to civilized Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives.”  Ernst Haeckel, The Wonders of Life (New York: Harper 1904), 56-57 (emphasis added).

It wasn’t long before intellectuals viewed war as an essential evolutionary process.  Vom Heutigen Kriege, a popular book by Geberal Bernhardi, “expounded the thesis that war was a biological necessity and a convenient means of ridding the world of the unfit.  These views were not confined to a lunatic fringe, but won wide acceptance especially among journalists, academics and politicians.”  (A history of Germany 1815-1990, 4th ed., at 205, by W. Carr).  In America, Justice Holmes similarly wrote that “I always say that society is founded on the death of men – if you don’t kill the weakest one way you kill them another” (2/26/22 Letter to Sir Frederick Pollock).

World War I entailed a brutality unknown in the history of mankind.  Gregg Easterbrook, a senior editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, observed that “prior to the Scopes trial [in 1925, William Jennings] Bryan had been on a revival tour of Germany and had been horrified by the signs of incipient Nazism. Before this point, Bryan had been a moderate in the evolution debate; for instance, he had lobbied the Florida legislature not to ban the teaching of Darwin, only to specify that evolution must be taught as a theory rather than a fact. But after hearing the National Socialists talk about the elimination of genetic inferiority, [historian Gary] Wills wrote, Bryan came to feel that evolutionary ideas had become dangerous; he began both to oppose and to lampoon them.”

The march of evolution/eugenics continued unabated in Germany.  By the 1920s, German textbooks were teaching evolution concepts of heredity and racial hygiene.  The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics was founded in 1927.

In 1933, Germany passed the Law for the Protection of Heredity Health. Next was the Nazi sterilization law entitled “Eugenics in the service of public welfare.”  It required compulsory sterilization for the prevention of progeny with hereditary defects in cases including congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis and hereditary epilepsy.

The German schools indoctrinated their students.  In 1935, a German high-school math textbook included the following problem: “… how much does it cost the state if:

  1. 868 [mentally infirm] patients stay longer than 10 years?
    b. 260 [mentally infirm] patients stay longer than 20 years?
    c. 112 [mentally infirm] patients stay longer than 2 years?”

See Science misapplied, supra.

One German student was Josef Mengele, who studied anthropology and paleontology and received his Ph.D. for his thesis entitled “Racial Morphological Research on the Lower Jaw Section of Four Racial Groups.” In 1937, Mengele was recommended for and received a position as a research assistant with the Third Reich Institute for Hereditary, Biology and Racial Purity at the University of Frankfort.  He became the “Angel of Death” for directing the operation of gas chambers of the Holocaust and for conducting horrific medical experiments on inmates in pursuit of eugenics.

The liberal Journal of the American Medical Society provided this summary: “The publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859 led to the rise of the eugenics movement in Europe.  Eugenics supporters believed that races could be improved by selective breeding.  The Nazi Party adopted this belief and began a campaign against the Jews. Many physicians joined the Nazi Party because they needed jobs.”  “Medicine against society: lessons from the Third Reich,” The Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 27, 1996 (Vol. 276, No. 20), at p. 1657(5), by Jeremiah A. Barondess.
Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionist, was more succinct:  “The Nazi racial hygiene program began with involuntary sterilizations and ended with genocide.”  http://www.georgetown.edu/research/nrcbl/scopenotes/sn28.htm

People, not theories, commit crimes.  But as American psychiatrist Leo Alexander testified in 1947 at the Nuremberg Doctors Trial: “Whatever proportions [Nazi] crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they started from small beginnings.  The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.”

Conclusion.

Has any scientific truth caused overall harm to society?  Some cite the atom bomb, but it killed only a tiny fraction of the World War II victims, and likely saved many more.  Since WWII, the atom bomb has maintained peace between the superpowers and provided the basis for cheap nuclear power.
The falsehood of evolution has been associated with great harm, without yielding any benefits.  Falsehoods beget falsehoods, and worse.  Truth does not bear such awful fruit.

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Class Assignment:

You’ve just read the lecture….now it’s your turn to participate!

On our Discussion Board, you’ll share your thoughts and questions with your fellow students and instructor….. it’s simple!

Here’s just a sample of what you’ll find:

MESSAGE TITLE: Reply to “Left also has facts”
POSTED BY: andy1
MESSAGE TEXT: You said “You cannot deduce the truth of a statement just by whether it is said by right-wingers or left-wingers.” I agree. But something is unlikely to be “scientific fact” if its believers have a strong political correlation. That’s the case for evolution theory — its proponents are strongly correlated to the political Left. You cite the fact that “most of those on death row are poor.” Nobody denies this. The believers in this fact are not strongly correlated to one end of the political spectrum. What conclusions may be drawn from that fact are disputed, of course. If I said that belief in a certain factual claim is highly correlated to one end of the political spectrum, is that claim likely to be “scientific fact”? I don’t think so. Andy
RESPONSE TO: The Left also has facts: I question the reasoning in the statement: But if evolution is a fact, then why is it so highly correlated to the political Left and to abandoning religion? No other recognition of a scientific “fact” shows such correlation. There are a lot of facts that the Left likes to cite much more than the Right. Eg, facts about inequality, racism, poverty, ecology, etc. Suppose I say, “Logging reduces the habitat for spotted owls.” or “Most of those on death row are poor.” Assuming that these are facts, they are a lot more likely to be said by left-wingers than right-wingers. The Right has its favorite facts also. You cannot deduce the truth of a statement just by whether it is said by right-wingers or left-wingers.

Now, we’d like to hear from you ….                                        

To get you started, tell us what you think about some of the following?

Questions for further thought and discussion:

1. Did governments ever commit genocide on their own people before Darwinism and eugenics?

2. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates opposed abortion on ethical grounds, centuries before Christianity and thousands of years before Darwin.  Do evolutionists ever oppose abortion on ethical grounds?

3. Name another country that indoctrinates its students through its schools.