Here is prime example of rudeness: insinuations that science is a stepping stone towards racial terrorism
A coda to the Buffalo shooter bears mentioning, because it is also connected to science.
In his manifesto, the shooter says he didn’t always hold his current hateful views. So when did things change? He recalls: “I started browsing 4chan in May 2020 after extreme boredom, remember this was during the outbreak of covid.” (p. 13) Left to himself, he had endless time to lurk on the web, which means he had endless time to discover — and then be persuaded by — the arguments of the vile merchants of white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and scientific racism.
Recall that most schools were closed for in-person interactions in 2020. So were churches. So were gyms and recreational facilities. So were many other institutions of normal socialization. The shutdowns were imposed in the name of science and with the support of leading scientific and medical authorities.
At the time, some people dared to raise questions about what the unintended consequences might be for young people if we shut them off from healthy in-person interactions. Now we have the answer for at least one person.
Only one data point, I know. But in coming months, I fear we may have more.
Think about it: If humans truly evolved through a blind and accidental process that did not have them in mind, it’s not much of a jump to believe that some human populations must have evolved in ways superior to other human populations. Thus, a tendency toward racism was sort of built-in to evolutionary theory from the get-go.
Rather than mere tone-policing or ad hominems, this is significantly worse.
In his purported manifesto, the shooter asserts that blacks “are a different subspecies of human.” Why? Because “Whites and Blacks are separated by tens of thousands of years of evolution, and our genetic material is obviously very different .” (emphasis mine, p. 14) Elsewhere he suggests that Europeans and Asians are more recently evolved than blacks (p. 17), which sounds eerily reminiscent of the view of countless racists of the past (including Charles Darwin himself) that blacks are the lowest humans on the evolutionary ladder.
The part that West emphasizes if, of course, blatant nonsense, and anyone who has studied evolution to the degree John West would know this. Yet he does nothing to correct the claim. So, if anything, West is simply perpetuating the misunderstanding of evolution that he seems to believe help fueled this murderous rampage. And, of course, perpetuating the misunderstanding of evolution is something he and the rest of the DI have been doing for years.
I find it interesting that West absolves Christianity for the misapplication of its principles:
It certainly wasn’t Christianity. In a manifesto posted online that has been attributed to the shooter, the author does make a bizarre claim that he “believe[s] in and practice[s] many Christian values.” (p. 7) Apparently “thou shalt not murder” and “love thy neighbor as thyself” aren’t among them. More importantly, this pro forma statement in the manifesto follows an unequivocal rejection of Christianity. “Are you a Christian?” the manifesto’s writer asks himself. “No. I do not ask God for salvation by faith, nor do I confess my sins to Him.” He goes on to suggest he is an out-and-out materialist: “I personally believe there is no afterlife.”
Whilst damning Evolutionary Biology for the misapplication of its principles:
In his purported manifesto, the shooter asserts that blacks “are a different subspecies of human.” Why? Because “Whites and Blacks are separated by tens of thousands of years of evolution, and our genetic material is obviously very different .” (emphasis mine, p. 14) Elsewhere he suggests that Europeans and Asians are more recently evolved than blacks (p. 17), which sounds eerily reminiscent of the view of countless racists of the past (including Charles Darwin himself).
This exhibits a ludicrously blatant double standard. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.
Also I noticed this rather bizarre claim:
You won’t find the shooter drawing on Tucker Carlson or Donald Trump in his manifesto.
Given how that the shooter apparently drew heavily on the Great Replacement Theory, which has been heavily promoted on Fox News by Tucker Carlson, I must assume that it is some other Tucker Carlson that West is alluding to.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Sad that it has to be said at all, but this is a sort of well-poisoning fallacy meant to discourage acceptance of evolution by making people afraid of the consequences of said beliefs. And it boggles my mind that there are people who don’t appear able to see through it.
Even on the ridiculous assumption that acceptance of evolution tends to make people behave worse, we can still know the argument is false and that nothing about whether evolution is true or not follows from how people who believe it happens to behave.
We can go even further and understand that, even on the blatantly false assumption that “Whites and Blacks are separated by tens of thousands of years of evolution”that would not provide any moral justification for mass murder, mistreatment, or discrimination of any kind. As if mere degree of relatedness implies how you ought to treat others. Neither would it provide justification for such things that anyone is more or less intelligent/attractive/strong, more or less “evolved”(whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean), and so on.
I am amazed at how widespread this kind of naturalistic fallacy type of thinking is.
Want to take bets on whether beliefs in the moral and intellectual inferiority of blacks is more or less widespread among Tucker Carlson fans and Trump voters, compared to the population as a whole? Are we to pretend we don’t know the answer to that?
I think that the reason we hear so much of this type of thing is precisely that. Knowing that they have an immense problem with racism, the creationists would like oh, so very much to point the finger at others. This is why, for example, you hear about obscure Germans who had daft notions about what evolutionary theory might somehow be strangely construed to say about various ethnic minorities, but you never hear them talk much about Martin Luther’s On The Jews and Their Lies.
I doubt that it fools anyone. But it may soothe some of those who are in the core audience of the DI and Tucker Carlson.
Not an argument, but just some information here. I don’t know who “them” includes, but I recall a fellow grad student, who was a Lutheran pastor in addition to a Ph.D. student, say quite openly that he, along with a good number of Luther scholars, fully admitted Luther’s prejudice and were deeply embarrassed by it. He offered no excuses for it.
That said, my impression of most fundamentalists is that, unless they happen to be specifically Lutheran fundamentalists, they have read very little of Luther. This is true even of non-fundamentalists. I taught at a non-Lutheran, non-fundamentalist Protestant seminary for a while, and if the students knew anything about Luther at all, it was from maybe a very quick pass through, say, his essay on Galatians, if they read even that. There were survey courses on Protestant theology, but no courses with titles like: “Lutheran Theology” or “The Main Works of Luther.” It would be quite possible for most Protestant lay people and even most Protestant seminary students (if their professors did not bring up the topic) never to have come across the passages where Luther comments on the Jews. So the lack of commentary on Luther’s remarks about the Jews, while it may in some cases be a result of deliberate avoidance of the topic, is probably in most cases due to simple ignorance of what Luther wrote.
I previously posted an article (full article now available here) a while back that found correlation between rejection of evolution and bigotry (including against Blacks and immigrants).
I’ve just done some more scratching around, and found these results of a survey:
… which finds a correlation between ‘Great Replacement’ beliefs and Christian Nationalism (which is itself strongest among White Evangelical Protestants, Republicans, Conservatives, those who trust Fox News and/or Far Right TV News, and QAnon Believers).
Nevertheless the history of Christian anti-semitism does show that Christians have engaged in racial massacres. And it seems to me that the German portion of that history - which is hardly limited to Luther - is more relevant to the Holocaust than anything that Darwin wrote. Which is certainly not to say that it was the only factor, or even the most important factor - I would make neither claim.
I’m a firm believer in multicausal origins of historical events, so I certainly don’t disagree with you that the Holocaust had many sources, and I agree that Christian anti-Semitism (or at least, anti-Semitism practiced by Christians) was one of those causes. I believe in fact that it was the most important single cause. It doesn’t follow, however, as some people here (I’m not speaking of you) seem to have suggested in the past, that certain ideas found in Darwin played no role in the justification of the Holocaust.
I’d be the first to say that whether or not evolution (by which I mean descent with modification) is true as a biological claim is not affected by the nasty uses which some people have made of evolutionary ideas. One can firmly believe that evolution in fact happened without endorsing Nazi racial theory or any other theory of the inferiority of certain human groups. Nonetheless, to deny, or completely ignore, the use of Darwinian language in the framing of Nazi and other racialist theories is to willfully turn a blind eye to some thought-connections which have actually existed in the past and which still exist today, and is therefore historically and sociologically irresponsible. If a man writes several books and articles documenting hundreds of such connections, it is unwise to simply dismiss all that research as fantasy or error – especially when the majority of those doing the dismissing (on this site, anyway) have not actually read that research, but take their opinions about it from negative book reviews or other sources hostile to the conclusions of that research.