Nazis in Kentucky?

The Associated Press is reporting that the creationist museum is at least partially admitting that Darwin was right:

A new exhibit at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum argues that natural selection — Darwin’s explanation for how species develop new traits over time — can coexist with the creationist assertion that all living things were created by God just a few thousand years ago.

“We wanted to show people that creationists believe in natural selection,” said Ken Ham, founder of the Christian ministry Answers in Genesis and frequent Darwin critic.

What makes this story particularly interesting is the fact that natural selection, popularly known as “survival of the fittest,” was featured as the centerpiece of Ben Stein’s argument blaming Darwin for the Holocaust. According to Stein, Hitler’s justification for trying to wipe out the Jews was that nature itself allegedly teaches us that weaker kinds don’t deserve to survive. Evolutionists (aka “Darwinists”) obviously disagree with this particular interpretation of natural selection, but Stein sided with Hitler. According to Stein, natural selection implies a justification for genocide, and therefore anyone who says natural selection is true is supporting genocide.

And now the Creation Museum is saying natural selection is compatible with creationism. Fun times, eh?

What Stein and Hitler have overlooked is the fact that natural selection is only part of evolutionary theory. Without genetic variation, natural selection becomes merely a road to extinction, not a mechanism for originating new species. And even if natural selection did teach us that only the strong deserved to survive, genetic variation would teach us the complementary proposition that diversity is what makes us strong. A full and objective understanding of evolution leads us to reject genocide and other forms of mutually destructive behaviors, not to embrace them.

Truth, as I always say, is consistent with itself, and whenever you try to spread a lie (as Expelled! did), you shoot yourself in the foot. Sooner or later the truth is going to come back around to haunt you. Natural selection is part of real life, and even creationists can’t successfully deny it. So when creationists like Ben Stein agree with Nazis about natural selection justifying genocide, they only make themselves look anti-Semitic.

The non-racist alternative is to agree with the “Darwinists” that natural selection, though true, does not justify genocide, nor even present the whole story. And if you can’t understand the truth well enough to agree with that, then maybe you deserve to be expelled, because you’re flunking out.

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Posted in Science, Society. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Nazis in Kentucky?”

  1. Dave Rattigan Says:

    I don’t think those of Ken Ham’s ilk would give up the fight so easily. Blaming the horrors of the Holocaust on Darwinism is a major weapon in the creationist’s artillery.

    I imagine they’re just redefining natural selection to make it fit in with their religious ideas.

  2. Nemo Says:

    I think the main point is that evolutionary theory doesn’t justify anything whatsoever; it’s just a description of what happened. There’s some unspoken part that Stein et al. are reading into it — something like “humanity is wonderful, and it’s the product of natural selection; therefore natural selection is wonderful” — which of course isn’t part of it at all, and doesn’t logically follow.

    On this point, read almost anything by Dawkins, who will tell you quite plainly that evolution is a brutal process that we ought not emulate or put on a pedestal. It’s just natural history.