Sundays With The Christianists: Charles Darwin Was A Very Bad Man, A Very Bad Man Indeed
If it's Sunday, it must be time for another foray into the mind of Colorado radio man o' God and homeschooling big wheel Kevin Swanson, the genius who warns that the Girl Scouts are communist lesbians whose cookies fund abortions and lesbianism, although we aren't sure why lesbians are having all those abortions anyway. We've been delving into Swanson's 2013
freshman term paper book Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West, a sloppy little history of the ideas and thinkers who have been ruining Western Culture by making it what we think of as "Western Culture." Last week, we learned that Karl Marx was a monster who starved his children (no he wasn't) and who was driven by actual contact with demons. This week, it's Charles Darwin's turn to get Swansoned, although we suppose it's possible that even after Apostate has completely dismantled him, Darwin may still be considered important, because people are just that stubborn and prone to evil.
In this chapter, Swanson can't actually find any "evidence" that Darwin was directly in league with Dark Forces, so he settles for devoting a few paragraphs to proving that Darwin's science was all wrong, because Bible, and then gets to the serious work of showing us that Darwin was a terrible person who invented racism and genocide, and also made everyone an atheist. It's hard to say whether Swanson thinks Marx or Darwin was the greater enemy of God; if nothing else, they were a tag team that murdered Christianity in the West, and Darwin dealt a diving headbutt to all that was good and holy:
November 24, 1859 may be the most important date in modern history. The world would never be the same after the publication of Charles Darwin’s magnum opus, On the Origin of Species. After 28 years of research and intense mental struggle, Darwin introduced his ideas to a world that was waiting for an intellectual explanation for a materialistic ontology. The first print run sold out in a day.
In one sense, Darwin met a market need. The modern world was looking for an escape hatch from the Christian faith and the biblical God, and this was their opportunity.
So Darwin was both a monster who ruined everything and an opportunist who just came along at the right moment. And in one of those lovely bits of handwaving that you find throughout the book, Swanson confuses cause and effect -- if Darwin's ideas turned out to be bad for Biblical literalism, then obviously, Darwin started out with an animus against God and merely concocted a "scientific theory" to fit his heretical agenda:
Darwin worked powerfully on the psyche of the Western world. He could not disprove the existence of God. But if he could identify a natural mechanism for the development of the complexity of life forms, then there would be less of a need for God as a causal force ... Darwin’s hypothesis perfectly accommodated the growing deism and agnosticism of the day, because it took God out of the picture. If this was a viable explanation for the development of the complexity of biological life, then it rendered a Creator God obsolete in the process. These were heady times for modern man who thought he could rid himself of God!
Swanson announces later in the chapter (arrogantly using the editorial first person plural as if he were Yr Wonkette), "We are less interested in Darwin's science than we are in his worldview," which may seem rather insane given that most people regard Darwin's influence as having a thing or two to do with his science. But it makes sense for Swanson's purposes. First off, Darwin's science obviously has to be wrong, because it denies the literal facts in the Book of Genesis. Beyond that, Swanson simply doesn't care about science as long as it doesn't interfere with fundamentalist Christianity. He's quite happy to ride in an airplane because Daniel Bernoulli never came up with anything that messed with God (although NASA might question the lifting capacity of angels' wings). For that matter, Swanson is probably OK with modern medicine, just as long as drug developers recant the heretical idea that pathogens evolve (and that's "micro" evolution anyway, and it's OK, as long as no microbes turn into a duck).
Even so, Swanson does need to let us know that Darwin was a complete failure as a scientist anyway. We'll just leave this paragraph full of perfectly accurate Science Facts for our readers to have fun with. Just how many fibs can you find?
But alas, over the years things did not go well for Darwin’s hypothesis. Although much of the scientific world still embraces the macro-theory, many evolutionary scientists have now given up on gradualist mechanisms. Some evolutionists now postulate a strange, unproven mechanism called “punctuated equilibrium,” which can hardly be considered a natural process and rather resembles supernatural creationism. Furthermore, no substantial evidence for transitional forms have been found in the fossil record, forms which might have helped identify a mechanism. Considering that scientists have never replicated cross-species evolution in a laboratory setting and the fossil record has added little substantiation to the theory over 150 years, the theory is more tenuous now than ever. Darwinism will not survive the test of time.
In other words, scientific ideas change with new evidence, therefore science is bunk. And, as fundies have predicted since John Scopes was in knee-pants, evolution will be tossed in the dustbin of history any day now, you bet.
Swanson has far more fun proving that Charles Darwin was a sadistic racist who "took great enjoyment from torturing and killing animals," and who was so wholeheartedly dedicated to the project of eugenics that to say anything nice about Darwin or evolution is pretty much the same as endorsing Auschwitz. After all, in The Descent of Man -- which Swanson devotes far more space to than to Origin of Species -- Darwin wrote an infamous passage that really does sound like a lot of 19th Century English dudes. Swanson sets up the quote with an advisory that you may want to have your smelling salts and fainting couch handy: "Warning: These may be the most evil words ever recorded in human history, as measured by the subsequent effects on human society":
At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes...will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.
Yup, that is pretty fucked-up! But Darwin did not invent the ideas of race and white supremacy, and superior and inferior variations of humanity. He was what you could call "a product of his time." Swanson would also have us believe that this paragraph is somehow intrinsic to Darwin's thinking, and that it has therefore infected all of biological science, because apparently science worships every single word of Darwin just like fundamentalists believe in Biblical literalism.
Even goofier is Swanson's insistence that, in contrast to "Darwin's worldview" it's simply unpossible to use the Bible to justify racism:
Against this sad legacy of racism, eugenics, and genocide stands the eternal truths of God’s revelatory truth. The Bible acknowledges variance in culture, nationality, language, and skin pigment (Jer. 13: 23), but there is no “racial” differentiation with a people who trace their lineage to Noah and Adam. God soundly condemned Miriam and Aaron for discriminating against Moses for his Ethiopian wife (Num. 12: 1-12). As far as intermarriage is concerned, the Bible sees no issue with intermarriage across families and cultures except for the unequal yoking between believer and unbeliever, light and darkness (2 Cor. 6: 14).
No, Swanson will not even acknowledge that slaveowners used the Bible to justify slavery, not even to call them bad Christians -- they simply don't merit mention, and neither do Christian racists who blather on about the "mark of Cain" or the "curse of Ham" as justifications for racism. As for those mean old atheists who suggest that God commanded a few genocides in the Old Testament, Swanson explains that God had a real good reason, and how dare you question Him:
God is the ultimate Judge of the earth and the standard of all morality. If God should choose to judge an entire nation for its widespread use of infanticide, child sacrifice, and homosexuality, He performs His judgment based on morals (not on some cold, necessity in a naturalist-materialist world). Of course, those who are given to sins of infanticide, abortion, and homosexuality would be terribly offended by a God who should wish to judge them on the basis of His laws! The problem with atheists is that they have forfeited any absolute ethical standard, so they undermine their own right to argue any ethical case whatsoever.
Aha -- so if you criticize the Bible for being full of bloody genocide -- plus the odd excuse for murdering people you think might be witches -- it's only because you are probably out there homosexxing and abortioning yourself, you perv.
Our favorite passage in the chapter cheerfully blames Darwin for the racist attitudes of 19th-Century British missionaries:
Every man, woman, and child, regardless of ethnic and cultural background, is made in the image of God. Some have lived in darkness and degradation for a longer period of time than others, such as the South Sea islanders and the Australian aborigines who had little access to the Christian West and the Christian gospel until the mid-19th century. In the 1870s and 1880s, missionaries like John Paton fought hard against Darwinian whites who were committed to eliminating the “savages” in Australia by mass murder. Even Christian pastors like Charles Kingsley were convinced that “The black people in Australia cannot take in the gospel ... poor brutes in human shape ... they must perish off the face of the earth like brute beasts.” Theistic evolutionists were a sad lot from the beginning. In spite of Darwin and his ilk, the gospel has succeeded in reaching these far off lands, and thousands who at one time cannibalized one another now commune together at the Table of Christ.
We were hoping Swanson might find a way to make Darwin responsible for American slavery, too, but we suppose even he realized that Darwin would have needed a time machine for that accomplishment.
Finally, of course, the worst thing that Darwin did was to make everyone an atheist. Swanson pretends astonishment:
What possible influence could this agnostic, racist, mentally-ill sadist have had on any person or persons of intellectual or moral stature in the world? Of course, his influence was titanic. According to multiple recent polls, Charles Darwin is still considered the most influential person in the world. I know this doesn’t say much about the character of the masses in the modern world.
And just look at the terrible influence he's had!
Regrettably, Darwin’s dreary influence still looms heavily over the whole world. His ideas have impacted the way everybody thinks. Godlessness prevails everywhere -- in school classrooms, media, entertainment, and politics. Even for the average born again Christian, God is often a distant reality; He seems so very far away. We may look at His creation, but we scarcely see His fingerprints anymore. We seldom use terminology that speaks of “the Creation.” Instead we speak of ecology, biology, reproductive systems, and rising atmospheric pressure. Charles Darwin’s naturalistic materialism has so changed the Western metaphysic that the average person hardly senses God’s providential interaction with the world, let alone His existence.
Egad! "Rising atmospheric pressure" -- in front of the children, no less! Worse, it turns out that almost everyone in the sciences is an atheist, or a bad pseudo-Christian who believes in theistic evolution even though it's a lie. To explain, Swanson unleashes another dose of that goofy backwards logic that he loves so much. Scientists want to reject God so they -- and everyone else! -- can sin at will with no moral absolutes, and that's why they make up all this "evolution" stuff:
If God is unnecessary for the gradual development of complexity in certain life forms, then perhaps science could somehow eliminate the necessity of God as the source of all life forms, matter, and energy. What apostate scientists are looking for are pseudo-intellectual reasons to apostatize from the Christian faith. With the Darwinian hypothesis, they hope to find convenient justification for their apostasy. If man could separate God from his reality and origins, he would have no trouble separating Him from his ethics (which is the real issue). If he could separate God from ethics, he wouldn’t have to worry about bothersome issues like guilt, God’s judgment, God’s law, or even God’s redemption plan in Jesus Christ. Instead, he could be a law to himself, free to determine his own ethics and his own future in a world without God.
And that, children, is where antibiotics come from: the desire to usurp God's authority and do sins.
Next Week: On to the arts! How Shakespeare and Hawthorne got demons all over Western Literature.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.