Hold the presses: Collins is being used

| 74 Comments

A reader wrote to Francis Collins about the use of his name to promote D. James Kennedy's upcoming ahistorical anti-evolution program, and Collins wrote right back. He's doing exactly the right thing.

(Oops, no — Collins doesn't want to be quoted on this, so I've removed the email. He's unambiguous in stating that he was interviewed about his book, and that was then inserted into the video without his knowledge.)

Good for him, and that'll teach me: just when you think there are no further depths to which a creationist will sink, there they go, plumbing ever deeper. Kennedy and his crew are apparently putting together the video equivalent of a quote mine.

I apologize to Dr Collins for assuming he was a party to this creationist video, and I hope he sues those frauds.

74 Comments

I wonder what he can sue them for. Is it illegal to use someone’s statements in a misleading way? If so, Salvador would get the death penalty :-)

I am happy that Dr. Collins’s name has been cleared, and apology for blaming him before all the facts came to light is in order. Just one more illustration of creos dishonesty (as if as proof of itwas needed)

Steve S,

I wonder what he can sue them for.

IANAL, but I can think of a couple of possibilities. Depending on how bad the misuse actually is, and how much effect it has, he might be able to sue for libel and/or defamation of character. Having his name associated with a creationist production definitely damages his reputation.

If records exist of the agreement or contract under which the interview was conducted, and that agreement included something about what the interview record was supposed to be used for, then he might have a case for breach of contract or other violations of contract law. I think there’s something called “failure to negotiate in good faith.”

Sounds like they pulled a Dawkins Information Challenge on him, and he’s doing the right thing. I hope he’s able to more publicly make his case in the near future.

Of course, if repudiating Coral Ridge is doing the right thing, then ex hypothesi not repudiating them would have been doing the wrong thing.

Yay Collins :) I’m happy that we haven’t lost a decent populiser to the Dark Side.

Guilty until proven innocent, eh?

Anton/Suttkus -

Have answered your quite lengthy posts a few days after - see Understanding Charles Darwin and Vaccine/Smallpox threads.

I’m so glad to hear this. I just knew there was some mistake.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 2, column 268, byte 645 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

He’s still culpably naive. Anyone who has more than five minutes involvement with the crevo issue learns that any engagement with creationists will be exploited ruthlessly and if necessary dishonestly. Rather than rail ignorantly against Dennett, Wilson, and Dawkins, Collins needs to educate himself about his co-religionists.

Of course, he’s on record as wondering philosophically how atheism can lead to moral behavior. So Dawkins, Dennett and Wilson, by his reasoning, should be the ones twisting his words. How odd that it’s fellow Christians like Dembski and Kennedy doing it instead.

Wow, I lose internet access for a day and I come back to find people jumping all over a man for his personal religious beliefs and assuming the worst of character over involvement in an ID scam, instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt, when these people know full well that CreationIDists will use any and everything they can possible take out of context to their advantage and, ironically, admonish Dr. Collins for making such a mistake. This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting. Kudos for cooler heads who insisted on waiting to see the nature of Dr. Collins’ “contribution” before making snap judgements and armchair finger-waggling.

In addition to not being a scientist, I’m also not a lawyer, but I wonder whether they had him sign a release. If not, they may argue that he is a “public figure.” I hope he confronts them both to protect his reputation and to spotlight their tactics.

This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting.

That’s funny, I find the anti-religious sentiments here sadly few and far between.

He’s still culpably naive. Anyone who has more than five minutes involvement with the crevo issue learns that any engagement with creationists will be exploited ruthlessly and if necessary dishonestly. Rather than rail ignorantly against Dennett, Wilson, and Dawkins, Collins needs to educate himself about his co-religionists.

Maybe we can send Francis and Allen “Mr. Civility” McNeill to “Know Your Creation Peddlers” Training Camp.

“This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting.”

“That’s funny, I find the anti-religious sentiments here sadly few and far between.”

Perfect - on this topic, we strive to be mildly annoying to all readers. ;-)

Yes, jumping all over Collins prematurely was a bad thing, and apologies should be given where appropriate. However, unlike some other sites – *ahem* – at least the Panda’s Thumb crew has the integrity and the nerve to stand up say “we were wrong.”

Thanks to Karen, Mike, Nick et al. who suggested that we wait for all the facts on this one. I’m disturbed by how quickly some people assumed that Collins was willing to participate in a smearfest. He has a clear record of statements condemning ID and describing himself as a theistic evolutionist (though not necessarily in those words). Even if you don’t like how he attempts to reconcile his religion and his science, at least give him credit for being pretty low-key and reasonable about it. I also think that it’s harsh to condemn him as being ultra-naive. If Kennedy in fact clip-mined a video on a completely different topic, that is sooooo low that even a fairly savvy person might be blindsided by it. Anyone who know Francis even slightly knows that he is pretty politically astute, but also a straight shooter and a genuinely nice guy, maybe too nice to anticipate such slimy tactics.

I think everyone needs to take a look at this again:

http://www.skeptics.com.au/journal/[…]crexpose.htm

Surely all Christians should be above the tactics used by Keziah productions to trick Richard Dawkins. In my opinion, what was done to him was not a very Christian act. I’m still surprised he hasn’t sued !

It will be interesting to see what Kennedy comes up with. I’m sure there will be some very selective editing !

I’m sorry, but “assume” and “conclude” are two different things.

The press release said “The program features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.” It listed Collins as one of those authors. People concluded, not assumed, that he participated as advertised.

Shame on me for not sticking with the old heuristic that everything DJK says is a lie. And it’s relieving to know Collins is not insane. His general dismissal of ID should have been a bigger clue. But it is not the sign of “guilty until proven innocent religion-bashing” to draw the conclusion that a man who wears his credulity on his sleeve and is in print claiming he doubts atheists can have a reason to be moral might be willing to proffer Nazism as a cudgel when the program description claims that is what he does.

I’m not a lawyer, but I opine he could get a court of competent authority to issue a cease and desist order regarding distribution of the video.

Jacob Bronowski is the best counter to this perverse creationist lie. I’m getting ready to show my students the “Knowledge and Certainty” episode of his “Ascent of Man” series. Should be required viewing for all citizens. In it this Polish Jew very forcefully shows that this notion that science produced the Nazis is a (lets see, I already used the word “perverse”) obscene lie. Couldn’t get any more 180 degrees about.

I saw this episode live in 1975 as the Ascent of Man was being shown on PBS. It made a lasting impression on me. As Bronowski walked out into the pond of ashes, we sat stunned.

Never again, he said.

One must stand against wrongness. Thus..

Creationism is wrong. We must stand against it. United, arms linked.

Doc Bill wrote:

Creationism is wrong. We must stand against it. United, arms linked.

And then we’ll sing “I want to buy the world a coke…”

Some Francis Collins quotes for his admirers here to defend. They are from his Salon interview

Frankly, I think many of the current battles between atheists and fundamentalists have really been started by the scientific community.

If you look at the history of the intelligent design movement, which is now only 15 or 16 years old, you will see that it was a direct response to claims coming from people like Dawkins.

I have trouble with the argument that altruism can be completely explained on evolutionary grounds. Evolutionists now universally agree – I think Dawkins and Wilson and Dennett would all agree – that evolution does not operate on the species. It operates on the individual.If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.

(This is unscientific crap, of course. I’d expect an undergrad. biology student to be able to refute it. And here’s more…)

All of these altruistic things seem to be a universal feature of human beings. And yet, they’re a scandal to evolutionary biology because they motivate people to do things that are exactly the opposite of what evolution would require.

I can’t imagine anyone posting here is unaware of the voluminous research on the evolution of altruism. So why is Collins claiming it doesn’t exist? Why is this different from a fundie denying transitional fossils?

And one more thing. Collins has sent a private email claiming he was deceived. Yet he is unwilling to have that email posted publicly, and he has done nothing so far, publicly, to disavow this TV show. His name is still on the credits. Let’s see if it comes off.

And here some quotes Same Harris pulled from Collins’s book, “The Language of God.” at this link: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item[…]e_ignorance/

Again, attributing morality only to men, not animals:

According to Collins, the moral law applies exclusively to human beings:

Though other animals may at times appear to show glimmerings of a moral sense, they are certainly not widespread, and in many instances other species’ behavior seems to be in dramatic contrast to any sense of universal rightness.

One wonders if the author has ever read a newspaper. The behavior of humans offers no such “dramatic contrast.” How badly must human beings behave to put this “sense of universal rightness” in doubt? And just how widespread must “glimmerings” of morality be among other animals before Collins—who, after all, knows a thing or two about genes—begins to wonder whether our moral sense has evolutionary precursors in the natural world?

Going farther yet:

Having established that our moral sensitivities are God-given, Collins finds himself in a position to infer the nature of our Creator:

And if that were so, what kind of God would this be? Would this be a deist God, who invented physics and mathematics and started the universe in motion about 14 billion years ago, then wandered off to deal with other, more important matters, as Einstein thought? No, this God, if I was perceiving him at all, must be a theist God, who desires some kind of relationship with those special creatures called human beings, and has therefore instilled this special glimpse of Himself into each one of us. This might be the God of Abraham, but it was certainly not the God of Einstein.… Judging by the incredibly high standards of the Moral Law … this was a God who was holy and righteous. He would have to be the embodiment of goodness.… Faith in God now seemed more rational than disbelief.

I hope the reader will share my amazement that passages like this have come from one of the most celebrated scientists in the United States. I find that my own sense of the moral law requires that I provide a few more examples of Collins’ skill as a philosopher and theologian…

Here’s an example of non-sequiter logic:

After finding himself powerless to detect any errors in the philosophizing of C.S. Lewis (a truly ominous sign), Collins describes the moment that he, as a scientist, finally became convinced of the divinity of Jesus Christ:

On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains … the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.

If this account of field research seems a little thin, don’t worry—a recent profile of Collins in Time magazine offers supplementary data. Here, we learn that the waterfall was frozen in three streams, which put the good doctor in mind of the Trinity…

It is at this point that thoughts of suicide might occur to any reader who has placed undue trust in the intellectual integrity of his fellow human beings. One would hope that it would be immediately obvious to Collins that there is nothing about seeing a frozen waterfall (no matter how frozen) that offers the slightest corroboration of the doctrine of Christianity. But it was not obvious to him as he “knelt in the dewy grass,” and it is not obvious to him now. Indeed, I fear that it will not be obvious to many of his readers.

If the beauty of nature can mean that Jesus really is the son of God, then anything can mean anything. Let us say that I saw the same waterfall, and its three streams reminded me of Romulus, Remus and the She-wolf, the mythical founders of Rome. How reasonable would it be for me to know, from that moment forward, that Italy would one day win the World Cup? This epiphany, while perfectly psychotic, would actually put me on firmer ground than Collins—because Italy did win the World Cup. Collins’ alpine conversion would be a ludicrous non sequitur even if Jesus does return to Earth trailing clouds of glory.

A non-sequiter with a failure of imagination:

On the question of why God simply doesn’t provide better evidence for his existence:

If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, then the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith. But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence. How interesting would that be?

One is tempted to say that it might be more “interesting” than a world unnecessarily shattered by competing religious orthodoxies and religious war, only to be followed by an eternity in hell for all those who believe the wrong things about God. But, to each his own.

I don’t know too much about Collins’ views, but much of what he wrote in the Salon article I find entirely reasonable. Other statements I’d want to hear some clarification on, but on a straightforward reading I don’t find anything damning about them. To be more specific:

Frankly, I think many of the current battles between atheists and fundamentalists have really been started by the scientific community.

If you look at the history of the intelligent design movement, which is now only 15 or 16 years old, you will see that it was a direct response to claims coming from people like Dawkins.

There are definitely atheists, like Dawkins, who are essentially “evangelicals” for their lack of faith. Because these very visible atheists wield clout as scientists, there has been a reaction against science and against evolution on the part of religious people. Note that Collins does not agree with this reaction (see the rest of this paragraph and the next, on p.2 of the interview)– he seems simply to be stating that it happened. And, indeed, a number of the ID people have a chip on their shoulder against people like Dawkins. I don’t see why these statements from Collins are at all controversial. They are not, AFAICT, intended to let ID off the hook.

I have trouble with the argument that altruism can be completely explained on evolutionary grounds. Evolutionists now universally agree — I think Dawkins and Wilson and Dennett would all agree — that evolution does not operate on the species. It operates on the individual.If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.

Minus the first sentence, I find this paragraph uncontroversial. I’d want some clarification before agreeing or disagreeing with that first sentence– I’m suspicious of it. If he means “Evolutionary mechanisms can’t account for human altruism”, then I disagree. If he means “Human altruism goes well beyond what we might have expected, given what we know about natural selection,” then I’d agree; cultural forces seem to make people generalize the altruistic urge well beyond close kin, which is what I’d expect under natural selection. Yes, I’ve heard evolutionary explanations for, e.g., Mother Theresa, but the explanations I’ve heard have been pretty dubious– more like exercises in hand-waving than empirically-supported science.

All of these altruistic things seem to be a universal feature of human beings. And yet, they’re a scandal to evolutionary biology because they motivate people to do things that are exactly the opposite of what evolution would require.

This, too, seems quite reasonable. As a biologist, I find it fascinating that humans go out of their way to help people who they’re unlikely to see again. Is this a holdover from the days when we lived in small groups of kin– can it be accounted for by kin selection? Is this a relic from group-level selection in our past? Did this urge toward altruism evolve because altruists earn social status and therefore may increase their fitness? Or is it some cultural pressure gone so far that it makes people do what’s not in their genetic self-interest?

Collins seems to be suggesting that the human moral impulse can be taken as evidence for God, and I wouldn’t follow him that far– it smells too much like ID– but I don’t think it’s warranted to say that he’s denying the existence of research on the evolution of altruism. Maybe I’m not being suspicious enough, but I think you’re taking your suspicions entirely too far.

It looks to me as though people are reacting not to what Collins has actually said or done, but are instead basing their reactions on whether or not they approve of religion. Those who can get along with religion are giving him the benefit of the doubt; those who hate religion are looking for reasons to dislike him.

Re ““If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.””

Hmmm. What about worker bees in a hive? Worker ants in a colony? For that matter, the cells in a multicellular organism?

Henry

There are definitely atheists, like Dawkins, who are essentially “evangelicals” for their lack of faith.

uh… noo…

I think you missed something.

Collin’s claim as to the history of ID flies in the face of how it actually developed, or did you miss that whole trial at dover thing?

ever think that Collins might be projecting on to Dawkins exactly what he should be projecting on to ID?

Ever consider that’s exactly what you are doing as well?

Your “arguments” make a great case to support the notion that the irrational cannot be reached.

you read the entire thread, read collins’ quotes, should know the actual history of the ID movement, if you’ve spent any time looking at it at all, and yet your mind still spits out such erroneous spins on reality it’s scary.

yikes.

are you one of those who keeps wondering why PZ goes off on religion like he does?

wonder no longer.

though i actually do disagree with him that it’s the religion itself that’s the issue.

it’s the cognitive dissonance that results from doing exactly what collins is attempting to do.

exactly what you find so “reasonable”.

did you actually even bother to really think about saying something like:

Because these very visible atheists wield clout as scientists, there has been a reaction against science and against evolution on the part of religious people.

‘cause this is just so much BS it’s funny.

the “reaction” is artificially generated by those who feel personally offended by anybody who expresses a different viewpoint from the evangelical claptrap they spout.

it’s generated by the very folks like we here denigrate; folks like Kennedy, Robertson, Dobson, etc.

frankly, the fact you see it in such an ass-backwards fashion should make you think twice.

There are definitely atheists, like Dawkins, who are essentially “evangelicals” for their lack of faith. Because these very visible atheists wield clout as scientists, there has been a reaction against science and against evolution on the part of religious people. Note that Collins does not agree with this reaction (see the rest of this paragraph and the next, on p.2 of the interview)— he seems simply to be stating that it happened. And, indeed, a number of the ID people have a chip on their shoulder against people like Dawkins. I don’t see why these statements from Collins are at all controversial. They are not, AFAICT, intended to let ID off the hook.

This is simply unhistorical. The ID movement was a direct reaction to Edwards vs. Aguillard; its replacement of ‘creation science’ was a response to the court decisions barring teaching of creation from school. Even today, I doubt 10% of Americans could tell you who Richard Dawkins or E.O. Wilson or Dan Dennett are; and certainly back at the birth of ‘modern ID’, their views were even more obscure.

Minus the first sentence, I find this paragraph uncontroversial.

You find it uncontroversial to claim that “If that’s the case, then it does seem that in any given circumstance, the individual’s evolutionary drive should be to preserve their ability to reproduce at all costs.” That doesn’t even permit kin selection, for heavens sake!

I’m sorry, but I think he’s constructing one more gap for his God to live in. Pretending that altruism is a ‘scandal in evolutionary biology’ is nonsense. It’s an active and fertile area of research. Nobody doubts that humans, as intelligent, culturally-sensitive beings, do altruistic things that certainly aren’t genetically programmed - we don’t have a gene for posting on the internet, either - but in fact there is excellent evidence for the evolution of a facility for quite complex altruisitic behavior, in our species and in others.

Collin’s claim as to the history of ID flies in the face of how it actually developed, or did you miss that whole trial at dover thing?

ever think that Collins might be projecting on to Dawkins exactly what he should be projecting on to ID?

Ever consider that’s exactly what you are doing as well?

Um, you completely missed the point of my post. I don’t think anyone’s claiming that all of the motivation of the ID’ers arose from the statements of people like Dawkins, Dennett, etc. However, it’s true that ID was kick-started when Phil Johnson read “The Blind Watchmaker” and decided to write his own screed to counter it. Hence “Darwin on Trial”. That’s the sense in which I think Collins is correct: ID started as a direct response by Johnson to Dawkins’ book.

Oh, and yes, I know the history of the ID movement– I’ve taught a course on the subject.

Kindly don’t assume that, because I criticize the statements of a few scientists, that I don’t find Dobson, Kennedy et al. a thousand times worse. It’s not an either/or game, STJ. I pointed that out in my original post.

If you think that the statements of, say, Dawkins or Dennett or Provine or Sagan don’t help to motivate the IDers, then why are the IDers constantly repeating quotes by these folks?

Sorry, it’s not me who missed something. You seem to have read into my post an awful lot of stuff that I didn’t intend.

This is simply unhistorical. The ID movement was a direct reaction to Edwards vs. Aguillard; its replacement of ‘creation science’ was a response to the court decisions barring teaching of creation from school.

See above. Collins is correct about the founding of the ID movement; of course, as soon as it was sparked, all the creation science folks shifted over to it.

Pretending that altruism is a ‘scandal in evolutionary biology’ is nonsense. It’s an active and fertile area of research.

Of course it’s an active (and fascinating) area of research. It’s active and interesting because the phenomenon in question appears at first glance to fly in the face of what we would expect. I think Collins is putting it too strongly here, as I said, but– as I also said– I think people are making this more of a referendum on Collins’ attempt at reconciling science and religion than on what he actually said. I doubt that what he actually said would strike you as heretical if it had come from someone less religious.

SHAUNG wrote:

This Kennedy guy is absolutely terrible, I’ve seen him spew creationist lies from his PULPIT. He’s a self parody and I don’t know how anyone could attend his church much less have any respect for him as a supposed christian. He’s almost as bad as Phyllis Schafly

Here’s an example of Kennedy in action earlier this year SHAUNG:

http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/[…]gious_right/

I actaully saw this sermon (I often watch just to hear his anti-evolution statements) but this one seemed particularly nasty. I’m actually surprised that Stephen J. Gould’s family didn’t comment on it.

Unfortunately thousands of people seem to attend his church (At least that’s the way it appears on the Coral Ridge hour !)

Isn’t Kennedy connected in some way to AIG’s creation museum ? I think he may be a trustee.

I actaully saw this sermon (I often watch just to hear his anti-evolution statements) but this one seemed particularly nasty. I’m actually surprised that Stephen J. Gould’s family didn’t comment on it.

Another Kennedy lie: in the comments section of the pharyngula link, I found a reference to an old creationist lie (pardon the redundancy) about Huxley. I tracked it to this page.

I almost fell out of my chair. A public television interviewer had just asked Sir Julian Huxley, a leading defender of evolution until his death in 1975, why he thought Darwin’s idea caught on so quickly. His answer astonished me. “[I suppose the reason] we all jumped at the Origin [Darwin’s On the Origin of Species],” Huxley said, “was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” “Mores,” of course, is a secular term for morals.

Well, no he almost certainly didn’t. The lie is pretty nicely run to earth here. Note that Kennedy repeated it two years ago, even though his mendacity had already been exposed. He’s not just a liar, he’s a shameless liar.

How do you know D. James Kennedy is lying? All together now.…

I’ve heard Kennedy expound on the Julian Huxley lie on several occasions Gerald. I suppose it just shows what the man is capable of.

I also came across this interesting letter to Kennedy on some of his lies regarding astronomy etc.:

http://csharp.com/kennedy.html

I also found this statement by Ed during his correspondence with Coral Ridge interesting:

I pray sometimes, or sometimes just listen quietly and pray internally. I am not against prayers. I figure there’s a bit of theist inside even atheists, and a bit of atheist inside even theists. As I said, I have my own private beliefs and hopes in God and an afterlife, just as Deists and philosophical theists and people of many different religions have since time immemorial.

I’ve been saying exactly the same thing to my wife over the last few months. It’s funny when you see someone else reach the same conclusions as yourself, albeit from a different perspective !

Interesting bit of obfuscation, Toejam. First you offer to “examine this statement [that Dawkins tries to link science with atheism] in detail;” then you ask the question: “Is Dawkins linking science with atheism?” Then you hem and haw and rephrase the question a couple of times, and then completely fail to provide an answer. No quote from Dawkins himself on the subject? That’s sounding kinda evasive…

This is one of the reasons I find certain anti-religious sentiments on this site extremely distasteful and off-putting.

Too bad you don’t find the anti-atheist sentiments expressed by Collins and in this thread to be extremely distasteful and off-putting.

I don’t find it much different from finding anti-astrology, anti-homeopathy, anti-psychic medicine, anti-sasquatch, anti-ufo-abduction, etc. sentiments to be extremely distasteful and off-putting but not to find anti-science sentiments to be extremely distasteful and off-putting.

I’m not criticising anything Dawkins said. I am merely pointing out that creationists, like other dishonest extremists, will indeed pretend that the least credible evolutionists represent their opponents, and ignore or belittle those evolutionists whose voices are more likely to persuade the masses.

Yeah, sure, implying that Dawkins is among the least credible of evolutionists is not to criticize anything he’s said.

Popper’s Ghost wrote:

Too bad you don’t find the anti-atheist sentiments expressed by Collins and in this thread to be extremely distasteful and off-putting.

How do you know that Wheels doesn’t feel that way? Do you just make that assumption of anyone who expresses distaste for fundie-atheist rhetoric?

“his own screed” applies to Darwin on Trial. It doesn’t apply to The Blind Watchmaker, AFAICT.

“his own screed” implies that what it was a response to was also a screed; otherwise one would simply say that he wrote “a screed”.

How do you know that Wheels doesn’t feel that way?

I know that he doesn’t express it.

Do you just make that assumption of anyone who expresses distaste for fundie-atheist rhetoric?

It’s not just an assumption that such people (you being a prime example) are hypocrites.

I know that he doesn’t express it.

If he doesn’t express an opinion, then how can you know he has it? Are you a mind-reader?

It’s not just an assumption that such people (you being a prime example) are hypocrites.

Really? All I see is an assumption, spat out with no supporting logic or evidence.

If he doesn’t express an opinion, then how can you know he has it? Are you a mind-reader?

It’s called inference.

Really? All I see is an assumption

So what? Your inferential skills are known to be poor.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled flame war to bring you this:

ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin For Hitler

New York, NY, August 22, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.” After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy’s project, Dr. Collins said he is “absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy’s program utterly misguided and inflammatory,” he told ADL. ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:”This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis. “It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of ‘Christian Supremacists’ who seek to “reclaim America for Christ” and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.” The documentary is scheduled to air this weekend along with the publication of an accompanying book “Evolution’s Fatal Fruit: How Darwin’s Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions.” A Coral Ridge Ministries press release promoting the documentary says the program “features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.”

I’d say Dawkins is just a convenient target for frothing fundies. It’s not as if they would be any less vocal, active, or dangerous if no scientist ever even mentioned God, because their problem is bigger than that. Their problem is that the findings of science at least marginalize and at most refute a great many of their religious beliefs. Evolution is particularly problematic, because it undermines their notion of special creation. At the same time, they are increasingly culturally marginalized. So they gather in their Coral Ridges for mutual reassurance and lash out to varying degrees at all perceived threats.

As long as the social/political agenda they fund is kept in check, I’m happy to let them have their megachurches and persecution complexes.

As long as the social/political agenda they fund is kept in check, I’m happy to let them have their megachurches and persecution complexes.

I quite agree. I’m quite content to let them revel in their stupidness, so long as they don’t attempt to use the machinery of the state to inflict their stupidness onto everyone else.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on August 20, 2006 10:02 AM.

Et tu, Francis Collins? was the previous entry in this blog.

Design Challenge Results: “Evolution is Smarter than You Are” is the next entry in this blog.

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