Blame Hitler or Darwin?

by Dan Quinn

During the debate over science curriculum standards in Texas early last year, anti-science fanatics argued that serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer’s depravity was the result of “believing” in evolution. Yeah, that was pretty crazy. But it’s not any crazier than the more common smear tactic of tying the acceptance of evolutionary science to Nazi Germany. The far-right group American Family Association sent out an e-mail yesterday doing just that.

The AFA is hawking a DVD set entitled What Hath Darwin Wrought?, which features an evangelical radio host (Todd Friel) and three “fellows” (John West, Richard Weikart, David Berlinski) with the anti-evolution Discovery Institute in Seattle. The propaganda program suggests that “the 20th century was the bloodiest century in human history” because of Charles Darwin and evolutionary science:

Why did the world suddenly find itself murdering millions of innocent people?

Is it possible that one specific idea influenced or provided a justification for the atrocities we know as Nazi Germany, the eugenics movement and abortion?

Is it possible that idea was Darwinian evolution? Charles Darwin loved his wife and children. He paid his taxes and he never kicked his dog. But Charles Darwin had a big idea, and ideas have consequences.

Can we thank the advocates of natural selection for the deaths of millions of people? Or were their ideas twisted and misapplied?

Yes, we know it’s really hard to take these folks seriously — until you remember that they are taken seriously by people who decide what millions of students will learn in their public school classrooms. Sadly, you will find people like that on the Texas State Board of Education.

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