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Sunday, September 3, 2006
WND Misrepresents Quote on Social Darwinism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An alert ConWebWatch reader noted that amid all of the work WorldNetDaily undertook to promote a new video by D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries linking Darwinism to Adolf Hitler (and downplay the controversy of Coral Ridge's unauthorized misuse of comments by Human Genome Project director Francis Collins, it misrepresented the views of a scientist on the issue.

From an Aug. 23 WND article:

Even Niles Eldredge, curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, said there's a link.

"Social Darwinism," he wrote, "has given us the eugenics movement and some of its darker outgrowths, such as the genocidal practices of the Nazis in World War II – where eugenics was invoked as a scientific rationale to go along with whatever other 'reasons' Hitler and his fellow Nazis had for the Holocaust."

By throwing this quote in, WND conflates social Darwinism and evolutionary theory. But even Coral Ridge didn't misrepresent Eldredge the way WND did. An essay by Tom DeRosa on the Coral Ridge website containing Eldredge's quote notes -- as WND doesn't -- that Eldredge regards social Darwinism "as an illegitimate offspring of Darwin’s theory."

DeRosa ultimately joins WND in conflating social Darwinism and evolution. While he does note that "contemporary apologists of Darwin" make a distiction between the two, he dismisses it: "Today when evolutionists are questioned as to how Darwinian evolution gave birth to Hitler’s Nazism, they immediately want to beg the question, answering that racism has nothing to do with science. They are correct! Racism has nothing to do with science, but it has everything to do with evolution—a fact that is unavoidable."

The distinction is important, since the aim of Kennedy and Coral Ridge is to discredit evolutionary theory as a whole -- not just social Darwinism, a application Darwin did not promote -- by linking it to Hitler.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 3, 2006 12:12 PM EDT

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