Friday, 21 March 2008

Darwin, Dawkins and Dictatorship

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The impact of an idea.

"We civilised men ... build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. [...] Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man." (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1882)

"The demand that it should be made impossible for defective people to continue to propagate defective offspring is a demand that is based on most reasonable grounds, and its proper fulfilment is the most humane task that mankind has to face." (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf)

Is there any link between Darwinism and dictatorship, and what are the modern implications? A Lecture given at St Mary's Church, Henham, Maundy Thursday 2008.

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  1. "Defective" organisms are unlikely to produce offspring since they would have been naturally selected against.

    And even if they survive it doesn't mean that they would produce "defective" young. Even the reproductively fit are capable of producing "defective" young.

    It requires scientific objectivity to read Darwin and apply his theory to the appropriate situation. Unfortunately Adolf Hitler, Richard Dawkins and creationists have none of this objectivity.Objectivity is unlikely to breed hatred.

    B Vallejo
    Manila,The Philippines

  2. Certainly Darwin can reasonably be called "The Grandfather of the Holocaust", and the destruction of innocent humans, it is said, follows directly from his ideas, and not a misappropriation of them by bad people, as his apologists claim.