This past Saturday one of the C-Span book reviews featured Dr. John West’s book Darwin Day In America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science. Dr. West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute argued that the domination of science in American society has led to the corruption of our morals.
I must admit my astonishment at West’s proposition. He reminds me of the preacher who proclaimed, “You don’t need to read nuttin but the bible.” Dr. West verges on suggesting ignorance and stupidity produce good morals. When talking about the theory of evolution that is essentially his position. The Discovery Institute’s mission is to fabricate reasons to deny the 150 years of research that stands behind the theory of evolution because it contradicts a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. Has Dr. West ever heard of Galileo?
Dr. West and his Discovery Institute constituents are among the less than 1% of Ph.D.s in science combating the 99% of Ph.D.s in science who consider evolution a fact. West is scrambling for a reason that the Intelligent Design (ID) idea might be credible. Thus, Dr. West asserts that science and particularly Darwin ’s theory of evolution must be responsible for the corruption of morals.
West goes on to make the incredible claim that Darwin ’s evolution is responsible for anti-Semitism. Darwin’s Origin of Species first appeared in 1859. If West’s assertion is true then there could not have been any anti-Semitism prior to 1859.
On the contrary, anti-Semitism goes back at least 1,500 years. It has ranged from individual Christian expressions of hatred and discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs on Jewish communities. Extreme instances of persecution include the German Crusade of 1096, the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the Jew’s expulsion from Spain in 1492, the Jewish expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms, and the 20th Century’s most infamous Holocaust under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Martin Luther, student of the bible and namesake of Lutherans, wrote a pamphlet in 1543 entitled “On the Jews and Their Lies.” Luther sets forth the Christian obligation to destroy the Jews. Luther states Christians should “set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them.” . . . “Their houses also be razed and destroyed.” . . . “Their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.” . . . “Their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb.” . . . “safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews.” . . . “usury be prohibited to them and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them.” . . . “If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country” . . . “we must drive them out like mad dogs.”
Martin Luther was a virulent anti-Semite long before Darwin was born. Luther’s hatred of Jews was grounded in the loving words of Jesus and Paul written centuries years before Darwin.
The Discovery Institute has all the appearances of respectability. They are Christians whom one assumes would never violate God’s Commandment against lying, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” Yet, they lie with abandonment. They are the victim of what happens when ideology supersedes common sense. The Discovery Institute is so consumed with their ideology that they have lost all concern for honesty and truthfulness. They have no scruples and depend on the gullibility of their constituents to propagate their nonsense.
All the immorality Dr. West ascribes to Darwin is undeniably justified in and by the bible. West’s problem is not the fault of science, but of blind allegiance to religious ideology.
Further, West’s reasoning illustrates the logical fallacy of “appeal to consequences.” This fallacious argument concludes a premise (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. It is an appeal to emotion and is a logical fallacy since the desirability of a consequence has no bearing on the truth-value of the premise.
The scientific method of thought ascribed by Aristotle, reinvigorated by the Enlightenment and paid with the blood of many martyrs made possible our deliverance from the Judeo-Christian doctrines justifying slavery, oppression of women and anti-Semitism. America’s enemies are not external but within our midst and must be exposed at every turn.