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Monday, July 5, 2010
Fallacious Video Gets Another Boost
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, we detailed how WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah baselessly defended a Coral Ridge Ministries video endeavoring to link evolution to the Holocaust, attempting to defend the video's fallacious premise that evolution and social Darwinism are the same thing. Now WND has given the makers of the video a say.

A July 2 WND column by John Aman, director of communications at Coral Ridge Ministries, similarly defends the video -- and embraces the same fallacy:

Well, the facts are clear, as we show in our 2006 documentary, "Darwin's Deadly Legacy."

"Among German historians, there's really not much debate about whether or not Hitler was a social Darwinist," according to historian Richard Weikart, author of "From Darwin to Hitler" and a featured guest on our DVD. "He clearly was drawing on Darwinian ideas."

British evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith agreed. He wrote in the 1940s: "The German führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist. He has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution."

Even leading evolutionist Niles Eldredge freely admits the link between Darwin and Hitler. Eldredge, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, has written that "social Darwinism," which he regards as an illegitimate offspring of Darwin's theory, "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."

Much of that claim is taken word-for-word from a Coral Ridge press release issued after the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman pointed out that "Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people."

Regarding Aman's (or whoever wrote it) claim about Eldredge, Ed Brayton pointed out its contradictory nature:

Are they too stupid to understand that if social darwinism was an illegitimate offspring of evolution, as it is both in reality and in Eldredge's view, then it cannot be an admission of a "link between Darwin and Hitler"? Or are they just lying, knowing that most of their followers are too stupid to recognize the obvious contradiction in this paragraph? And does it really matter whether the explanation is stupidity or dishonesty to exploit stupidity?

Regarding Aman's invoking of Weikart, Brayton writes:

Kennedy's response also tries to gain credibility by citing Richard Weikart, author of a book called From Darwin to Hitler and, not surprisingly, a Discovery Institute fellow. Other historians have almost universally rejected Weikart's thesis, including at a conference on Judaism and evolution attended by ScienceBlogger John Lynch last year, where every single historian in attendance other than Weikart rejected his simplistic argument.

Brayton also destroys Coral Ridge's presumption that the Holocaust could have only been inspired by Darwin:

In order to be a valid argument, there would have to have been no genocide in pre-Darwinian history, back when that alleged Christian ethic of the value of every human being held sway. But not only is that not the case, one can point to instances of genocide not only justified by Christian theology but explicitly ordered by their Biblical God (according to their scripture, of course; I don't believe it for a moment). And to go even further, there is a vast history of Christian pogroms against the very group that Hitler's genocidal zeal was aimed, Jews. And as I showed a few days ago, Hitler cited those anti-Jewish statements by Christian theologians over the centuries to justify the Final Solution.

We know that it was possible for people to target the Jews for oppression and even death based solely on Christian hatred of the Jews because it happened several times throughout the history of Europe. After the Roman Empire converted to Christianity in the 4th century, it instituted a long series of anti-Jewish laws similar to the Third Reich. The Justinian Code, based so heavily on Biblical laws, had an entire section on the rights of Jews, essentially forbidding them from having any. They were forbidden to build synagogues, forbidden to read their scriptures in Hebrew, and even forbidden to gather in public places. Their property was confiscated.

There were many church conferences that passed anti-Jewish laws. The Trulanic Synod in 692 even made it illegal for a Christian to go to a Jewish doctor. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 required Jews to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Christians (sound familiar? Remember, this was centuries before Darwin was born). The Council of Basel forbid Jews from attending universities. All of this was perpetrated by Christians long before Darwin lived; so much for the notion that before Darwin undermined Christianity, everyone was valuable.

And do we even have to go into Martin Luther, a man whose vicious anti-Semitism virtually knew no boundaries? It's not an accident that Luther was Germany's most influential theologian and Lutheranism the official church of Germany at the time of Hitler's takeover. It was largely Luther's virulent anti-Jewish screeds that provided fertile ground for Hitler's assault on the Jews. It was Luther who encouraged his followers to set Jewish synagogues on fire and declared that "they ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like gypsies, in order that they may realize that they are not masters in our land, as they boast, but miserable captives, as they complain of incessantly before God with bitter wailing." Sounds a lot like a concentration camp, doesn't it?

We've not seen where anyone from Coral Ridge has responded to Brayton.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT

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