Do you deny the link between Darwin’s theory, the Holocaust and Stalin’s genocide?

There’s a fantastic theory in science, called gravity. Gravity describes things being attracted to large masses. Despite this rather concrete description of reality, humans have not confined themselves to a prescription of gravity. Instead, we have built planes and rockets and space shuttles and we’ve had the cheek to launch things right out of our solar system. There’s another scientific theory called germ theory. A very accurate description of reality, indeed. But very few people are arguing we should create a political system which permits the free passage and spreading of germs. In fact, much like aviation did with gravity, antibiotics are a way of saying we can control the implications of this scientific description. A scientific description is not a prescription at all.

That is, unless you don’t like the description. If you don’t like the description you can try to convince people its false, not with evidence, but by relating the description of reality to something which, tentatively, could be the prescription of that description.

Readers, you’re right! Without an example, that idea is unclear and clunky. So I shall illuminate it with the example provided by the question. People who do not like Darwin’s descriptive theory of reality have decided to try to tar describing biology with eugenics and mass murder. The premise they are working on is this: there is no conceivable difference between how nature works without management and how nature should work with management (unless the manager is God). Therefore, if the somewhat trite summary of evolution “survival of the fittest” is apt for the scary world beyond cities and politics, then it should be apt for the political world too.

I hope the problem is clear.

Without adding a great many extra premises, one cannot get from ‘evolution is true’ to ‘mass murder to right’. Don’t be a moron!

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29 thoughts on “Do you deny the link between Darwin’s theory, the Holocaust and Stalin’s genocide?”

  1. At one time, if you were not “the best”, your ability to survive was limited, and your ability to pass on those genes, even more limited. Nowadays, we have relentlessly pursued technologies to give the lesser fit at least the same ability to survive and procreate as the fittest. Although this allowed the race to develop aspects which were originally perceived as not being important for survival, it also removed any culling of dangerous genetic problems allowing them to become more prevalent.

    1. Fitness in evolutionary terms means second generation reproduction. That’s it. It does not mean strength or size or ability. Survival of the fittest It has nothing to do with one’s ability to survive as an individual. It has everything to do with producing the greatest number of successfully reproducing offspring.

      Because so many religious people don’t understand even this basic understanding of evolution, they associate fitness with strength, with individual survival at the expense of others. From this misunderstanding comes all the absurd claims about linking evolution (an unguided, purposeless biological mechanism that produces changes to allele frequencies in the genetic inheritance through succeeding generations) with human brutality and selfishness (because genes simply organize towards reproduction).

      Whenever I come across this association of evolution and the victims of totalitarian governments) I know I’m dealing with someone who lacks even a basic grounding in modern biology as well as an agenda to vilify the godless no matter what reality has to say in the matter.

      1. I suggest that strength and ability USED to be a significant factor in achieving second generation reproduction. If one was not able to mate because of the lack of strength or ability or even the perception of that lack, then there would be no second generation to reproduce. And even if offspring were achieved, they would need to be protected and nourished until they were capable of second generation reproduction.

        Religious people don’t accept the theory of evolution, or at least not the unguided version. So how are they going to extrapolate anything from something they don’t believe in? Wouldn’t it be the NON-religious people, who accept the theory of (unguided) evolution as fact, who might then extrapolate from that basis?

        1. Some of the fittest critters are the smallest, least aggressive niche critters. It’s all about reproductive second generation numbers when it comes to fitness not by an individual but by the genes they successfully pass on in ever greater geometric numbers. In fact, there is a robust correlation between strength/ability and less fitness. Think of spectacular wild carnivores… their food supply is usually much more fit! Think of how long the young require to both gestate and come into sexual maturity versus their food supply. The correlate of fitness is actually inverse to this idea of being strong enough and able to dominate others.

          Many religious folk do indeed accept gravity, germ theory, and yes, even evolution… the strongest of the three by far. I don;lt care what ‘they’ extrapolate from evolution; if they don’t accept it then they do so for reasons antithetical to respecting reality. In other areas, we call such dismissal of reality either ‘delusional thinking’ or the more common term ‘denialist’.

          So tell me, eq, what do people extract – what do you think they should extract – from, say, understanding gravity? Should we call such people ‘gavitationalists?’ If those who refused to go along with our understanding of gravity because they were taught to believe in some divine interventionist force made stuff ‘heavy’ by fiat and embedded a ‘nature’ that desired itself to reunite with its earthly parent ‘heavy’ ground-of-being – granted by divine desire to have this purpose POOF!ed into them as an ethereal property called ‘heaviness’- then are we to excuse such people from understanding why their hypothesis is batshit crazy in the name of anti-gravitationalist respect?

          Why should batshit crazy creationists be treated any differently: with ridicule and derision?

  2. Why should anti-evolutionary creationists be protected from receiving well-deserved ridicule and derision for thier batshit crazy magical thinking?

    1. Well first of all, we should separate the anti-evolutionary creationists from the guided evolution creationists. And for that matter, separate the “theory of evolutionists” from the “evolution unquestionable factists “. Then perhaps, we should have some pity on the wack jobs on both ends of the spectrum and not ridicule them. I don’t know about you, but its been a while since I’ve been in high school, where that sort of juvenile behavior abounded.

      And perhaps every person has some thinking which somebody else might think is crazy or magical or just plain wrong.

      1. Well first of all, we should separate the anti-evolutionary creationists from the guided evolution creationists.

        No we shouldn’t. Evolution scientifically understood is not guided. There is absolutely zero evidence for and overwhelming evidence against this mewling idea that perhaps, maybe, there’s a guiding force for evolution. no. There isn’t. Period. Stop altering reality to suit those people who really, really, really wish there was such a force in operation and start backing up such anti-scientific religious apologetics with something more than wishful magical thinking.

        This creation of a false spectrum of belief is another example of religious apologetics at work. Evolution is true. Evolution is a fact. Evolution is the strongest scientific theory humanity has ever devised. One is no more an ‘extreme’ evolutionist if one understands why any more than one is an extreme gravitationalist understanding that all mass exhibits an attraction. It’s just the way reality is and no amount of misguided mewling support for anti-reality ideas – religious or not – is going to do anything but undermine this respect for allowing reality to arbitrate our beliefs about it. What your doing here is supporting religious apologetics where what one wishes to believe is granted some level of respect for demanding that one’s beliefs should arbitrate reality. In whatever arena we find such thinking, we should ridicule it bnecause it’s batshit crazy and a danger to everyone. One need look no further than climate change denialism to realize just how dangerous to all of us such muddled, reality-denying rationalizations can be.

        1. Sorry, I did not get the memo where the Theory of Evolution was determined to be fact. Can you forward it to me? Or are you going with the “I believe it, therefore it must be so” methodology? Which is also a way of fudging “reality”. Each person has a different “reality”; some slightly different from others, and some wildly different from the norm.

          There is no “evidence against evolution guidance”. None whatsoever. Of course, none for, either, unless you rely on the tremendous odds against “us” happening without guidance. But probabilities are not evidence. According to probability, people “can’t” win Powerball, yet people do.

          You seem quite fond of bat guano; are you in the cosmetics industry perhaps? 🙂 (inside joke, that is a component of many lipsticks).

        2. (1) Evolution is a fact. That isn’t written in a memo, but a vast repository of documented research in anatomy, genetics, biogeography and even evolutionary science.
          (2) People do not have different realities. They may have different models, interpretations of even experiences (as life is only a sample of reality). But reality is independent of us and we exist in the same one.
          (3) There doesn’t have to be evidence against guided evolution. There is only needs to be a complete model that accounts for the relevant data that doesn’t include a guiding force. That’s what there is. Evolution, unguided.
          (4) The odds of us in particular are irrelevant. The odds of complexity (which is what evolution explains) given replication with heritability and variation (life, the phenomena evolution comes immediately after) is the only relevant question.

        3. You saying it doesn’t make it so, no matter how many times you say it and no matter how definitely. In fact, that is a technique often used to give credence to a lie.

        4. Pretty much everything he says with force and condescension. Maybe it’s just his way, or maybe he’s trying to suppress his own doubts. I doubt he’s deliberately lying, but perhaps he has been influenced by those deliberately using the same techniques.

        5. Such anti-scientific opinion as yours presented under the guise of what you merely think is reasonable religious – not scientific – accommodationism, while at the same time and with intention claiming those who respect reality are extremists equivalent to batshit crazy creationists, deserves cutting ridicule and scathing mockery because you have to work at being this illiterate, this ignorant, and this conceited in your own credulity and be determined to stay so.

          That’s not worth social niceties from those you’ve already vilified and called extremists because such determined stupidity and ignorance as yours (rather than honest inquiry and questioning what you might not know nearly enough about to make such an astounding stupid and erroneous equivalency) is not just dangerous to yourself but actually lethal to others. That you think your opinion in this matter is reasonable as well as skeptical – enough to suggest the zealotry of those who actually understand why the explanatory model we call evolution is true beyond any reasonable doubt because that’s what reality demonstrates when there is nothing but contrary and overwhelming evidence from reality to counter your position – demonstrates just how egotistical and willfully blind one has to be to maintain it! If you’re willing to be this conceited about your own confidence in your ignorance, then why on earth should any reasonable person – ie extremist – not mock and ridicule you?

        6. Those who respect “reality” are those who understand that there is the possibility that the reality they perceive may not be exactly what they think it is. Some things are colored by their own perception, sometimes new evidence comes to light; reality has a bit of fluidity, particularly over time.

          It is said that “those who admit that they can be insulted are admitting they have no control over their emotions and are pleading with everyone else to do it for them”…

          “extremist” does not equal “normal”. a “normal” person does not consider everyone who disagrees with him “extremist” (just wrong 🙂 ). A person has to “earn” the title of extremist, by being, well, extreme.

          You remind me of the the religious people who attempted to beat me over the head with their statements of “fact”, driving me further away from Jesus. Every time you let loose with a broadside about how right you are and what a twit I am, the only conclusion I can draw is that you are deathly afraid of finding yourself wrong and the only way to avoid that is to force everyone else to either agree with you or run away. It is my contention that no argument can be “won” WITHOUT those pesky “social niceties”. Anyone you get to agree with you through browbeating and/or insults will almost certainly rethink their position after you have gone away. And may well even move further away from your “truths”, concerned about “your side” having “that kind of people” on it.

        7. What I may or may not think doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn, EQ. But I take great exception to fools who think they can deny reality in the name of something else. It doesn’t matter if I believe in gravity to be foolish to deny that matter possesses an attraction or suggest that it’s fine and dandy for people to ‘choose’ whether or not to believe in gravity. This is what you’re doing with evolution: denying reality. It has nothing to do with me.

          Evolution is true because applications, therapies, and technologies that use the model for their products find that it happens to work for everyone everywhere all the time… regardless of what some people may choose to believe about it, choose to perceive about it. You are entirely misguided to think you can impose your beliefs on reality and presume reality will comport to them, that there is some imaginary middle ground between what is and what you want to believe there is. That’s foolish. That’s dangerous. That’s disingenuous.

          The reason why I took such exception to your comment was because you went one step too far in your ignorance and vilified those who understand the science of why evolution is true and respect reality’s arbitration of that claim to be accurate, to be correct, to be highly productive with new avenues of knowledge and compounding understanding of how life changes over time. This extra step you took demonstrated a gigantically misplaced conceit on your part about your right to describe reality based on your ignorant belief about it and is therefore deserving of ridicule and mockery for that egotistical, misguided, ignorant attack on others. You speak from ignorance and I think you should be held accountable for your own ignorance and ego. That you seem unwilling to learn, to replace your ignorance with knowledge, makes you in my eyes contemptible.

        8. I didn’t intentionally “vilify” anyone.

          There is “evolution” and then there is Evolution. If you are talking about how a species reacts to a change in environment or other stress (either accidental or deliberate), then yes evolution is as you describe it. I have not heard of any thing verifying that the theory that one species can evolve into another, but on the other hand, I have not heard of any thing indicating that it would be impossible. If it did happen, it took so long that no, mankind would not be able to consider it as you describe.

        9. So rather than assume the answer, why don;t you honestly inquire? See the conceit in action?

          How about, how does speciation occur? What is the evidence? How do we know it’s evolution and not something else? Is there any indication of purpose or any hint of guidance?

          My point is that such answers exist. You just don’t look, don’t seek, don’t honestly inquire; instead, you make room for Oogity Boogity, room for some ethereal agency not because you have any indication this idea has merit but because you seem to suggest that it’s only reasonable to make such room. Furthermore, anyone who doesn’t go along with your wishes to make such room is deemed by you to be at some extremity of inquiry.

          This is dishonest of you.

          You seem quite willing to position yourself as if you were reasonable and fair-minded but then act exactly opposite to this and assign an extremity to those who actually have a good understanding because unlike you they have bothered to find out about evolution and have been shown why it is unquestionably true… in the sense that this model is better informed by compelling and mutually supportive evidence adduced from every related field than any other. It is better supported than any other scientific theory, the kind of scientific theories upon which all of our technologies, applications, and therapies seem to reliably and consistently work for everyone everywhere all the time, better than our understanding of aerodynamics, germs, chemical interactions, better than astrophysics and orbits, better than our understanding of thermodynamics, and so on. Evolution is better informed than all of them. Those who have hoinestly inquired into evolution quickly come to realize this: evolution isn’t just a scientific theory that accurately models how life changes over time but guides profitability for billion dollar industries.

          Yet along comes Equippedcat who thinks s/he is the smartest person in the room and whose ill-informed opinion is actually better able to describe the strengths and weaknesses of evolution and conclude what almost no biologist would come to… and think that these others are extremists while s/he is wisely ensconced in some middle position. This presentation is not believable – except to the most ill-informed; it is actually asinine.

          Rather than take exception to formulating an opinion based on your remarkable conceit and obvious ignorance about the subject, you take exception to someone who points these out to you in a forceful manner. You might even feel insulted. Poor you. It’s not your arrogance, ignorance, and conceit that’s the problem here… no, it’s the tone of someone who points this fact out to you without mincing niceties.

          Get over yourself and go learn something. There is no greater reward in knowledge than studying more about why evolution is true. You will then discover how this scientific fact has been targeted by mealy- mouthed, apologetic religious mewlers trying to create an alternative model without producing one jot or title of equivalent knowledge. You, too, will grow frustrated at the scope and depth of ignorance like you once exercised used to thwart actual understanding. I suspect your tone might change, too.

        10. (1) The whole concept of a species is pretty arbitrary.
          (2) There is plenty of evidence of speciation, in nature and in the lab.
          (3) There is a phylogenetic tree of life, which mimics a family tree, by comparing similarities in the genome. Things that look more distantly related according to their anatomy often are things that are also distantly related genetically.
          (4) I’m on Tildeb’s side here: if you haven’t seen the evidence that’s not because it isn’t out there, but because you haven’t looked.
          (5) Even if speciation hadn’t occurred within a human life span (but, spoiler, it has!) there is still fossil evidence. You can date an event that causes geographic isolation of two communities of the same species, date the fossils of the ‘grandparent community’, and then date the fossils of the two new communities either side and document the change.

        11. Okay, but what of the 4 points I listed don’t you agree with.
          If your explicit disagreement is not with content, but how someone is comporting themselves, don’t pretend to make it about content.

        12. 1) I agree that “evolution” is a fact. Because we can see it in our lifetimes. I’m not so sure about “Evolution”, as in the Theory of Evolution, as the explanation of how everything which exists now came to be from absolutely basic building blocks. A lot of evidence, yes, but enough to discard the “Theory” aspect? I’m sure there are people who claim that, but how do I ensure that those people have the capability and honesty to be relied on? People who discard the notion of God may “need” this alternative; I don’t. I can accept it at the Scientific Theory level which can be relied on but is not at the “Truth” level.
          2) Because “reality” can be interpreted differently by each person and at different times, it is effectively a null concept. There is “reality” and some people can perceive it more accurately than others, but because “no one” can perceive it absolutely, using it as a basis for argument is non-productive.
          3) In order to formally reject a theory, there does have to be evidence against it. Of course, anybody can reject a theory FOR THEMSELVES for any reason. Hopefully there is an alternate theory, and even better, a Scientific Theory. This may make other theories much less likely, but does not make them invalid. Only evidence can do that.
          4) Yes, astronomical odds against “us” are not evidence of anything. Evolution is “AN” explanation, and a pretty good one. Until 1) is unquestionably resolved, it is not the only one.

        13. Evolution properly understood IS unquestionably resolved. There is nothing in human knowledge more thoroughly ‘known’ than evolution the mechanism inherent and absolutely fundamental in the explanatory model we call the Theory of Evolution. Nothing.

          Please, let that sink in for the moment. Of all human knowledge about the world we inhabit and how things work in it, NOTHING is as well described and understood by adduced and compelling evidence overwhelming in content than the explanatory model of evolution. Nothing. Not the understanding of electromagnetic waves used for cell phones and radiology and medical imaging tools nor the thermodynamic understand of motion for maneuvering water, land, air, and space. What we know about why these things work pales in comparison to our understanding of allele changes to populations over time.

          How does this fact – that evolution is unquestionably resolved already – alter any of your preceding points?

          Well, for starters, it indicates two things: the first is that you don’t understand what the theory of evolution – the actual explanatory model used – means or you wouldn’t suggest it is somehow lacking, and the second is that you don’t understand what knowledge about an objective reality means. This aspect of reality is demonstrated by stuff that works consistently and reliably for everyone everywhere all the time.

          I come across this opinion about perceiving only a subjective reality all the time and it baffles me how people pull it out in support of some kind of denialism yet seem unwilling to use the same argument about, say, cell phones, viruses, elevators, and airplanes. It’s such a poor argument – that reality is really quite subjective and so I can therefore deny outright or at least feel confident enough to doubt all kinds of working models of applied knowledge based on these explanatory models – as soon as one extends it into everyday life. People DO NOT assume what appears to be a busy highway is subjective enough a reality to cross with nary a concern about one’s safety. Funny, that. Put another way, isn’t it astounding how many drivers seem willing to accept a red or green light… almost as if it exists independent of how we choose to perceive it. Funny, that.

          Reality-can-only-be-perceived-and-therefore-understood-subjectively is such a patently ridiculous assumption that it’s a marvel to me that otherwise intelligent people continue to use it in defense of their unreasonable doubt in some particular case… in this case in defense of there being two kinds of evolution, apparently… the theory kind and the practice kind. I hate to burst this bubble but the subjectivity going on here is either evolution properly understood or evolution improperly understood. There is no middle ground. The subjectivity has nothing to do with evolution as a brute fact about reality. To deny the brute fact and claim it must be subjective has everything to do with the denier of this objective reality that evolution successfully models across all related biological fields (when it didn’t have to work in all cases if there were a weakness in the explanatory model) and nothing whatsoever to do with what is actually the case.

        14. Oh, good grief. You’re one of those scientifically illiterate but well meaning fence sitters, are you?

          That evolution is called a ‘scientific theory’ is the first clue that it has already surpassed all testing by reality. That it has aligned perfectly with genetics to form the Great Synthesis carries little weight with you, I see. I mean, it could have been a coincidence, right? That nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution (who really cares about chromosome 2 anyway?) really doesn’t sway you, does it? No, no, no… one must keep an open mind (so open that it’s a marvel the brain stays in place and yet still functions) and hold such exacting scientific modeling – modeling that is successfully used by all related fields and billion dollar industries to produce knowledge, applications, technologies, and therapies that by the greatest of coincidences just so happens to comport with reality in every case – to be a kind of equivalent ‘faith’ to the possibility of some kind of mysterious agency of Oogity Boogity going about and utilizing the mechanism of POOF!ism to cause ‘guiding’ effects that look identical to evolution in action.

          Riigghht…. one of those deep thinking ‘skeptics’, are you? How very… reasonable…. of you. Not an extremist at all. One of those let’s-find-a-middle-ground kind of people because, hey, facts are just too brutal to be anything but ‘extreme’.

          Good grief.

        15. Well meaning, I like to think so. Fence sitter, kind of. Scientifically illiterate, not completely. Cautious when someone states something as an absolute, definitely.

          no, “theory” does not mean “already surpassed all testing by reality” unless, at a minimum, you add “so far”. There is no requirement for a theory to be provable, just that it cannot be disproven. Note that “scientific theory” is more rigorous than just theory, but just means that nothing known contradicts it.

        16. I don’t lime saying this of you, EC, but I’m not entirely sure you’re sincerely in this conversation.
          What you said was ““scientific theory” is more rigorous than just theory, but just means that nothing known contradicts it”. And that isn’t complete; there also have to be a lot of evidence in support.
          Evolution has a body of evidence in support of it… evidence that is also fully explained by the theory of evolution (in fact, Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution [http://www.phil.vt.edu/Burian/NothingInBiolChFina.pdf]).
          As Tildeb has already mentioned, not only does the theory explain the evidence, but the principles of the theory are used in machine learning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm), which demonstrates the power of simply applying variation and selection.

        17. Sorry if it came off that way. What I meant to say was “AND no credible evidence to the contrary”. In other words, a Scientific Theory must be supported by all of a significant amount of evidence and not be contradicted by any credible evidence.

  3. Yes. No disagreements. I will leave one (out of many) possible extensions…

    Scientific humanism will drain the fever swamps of religion and blank-slate dogma” and it is “the only worldview compatible with science’s growing knowledge of the real world and the laws of nature.” — E.O. Wilson

    Well written Allallt. 🙂

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