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Stupidest Thing I’ve Read Today Award: Blame Darwin Edition

May 8th, 2007 · 4 Comments

I realize that the canons of journalistic objectivity preclude interspersing any coverage of the rabid opponents of evolutionary theory with periodic observations that they’re totally fucking crazy, but can we at least get a brief aside when they say something that’s just verifyably gibberish? To wit:

“Both Nazism and communism were inspired by Darwinism,” [George Gilder] continued. “Why conservatives should toady to these storm troopers is beyond me.”

Quick, and incredibly simple, reality check:

There were communists who said nice things about Darwin, obviously, and the Times article linked above quotes some praise from Marx. But you’d think while they were at it they might note the implausibility of arguing that one intellectual tradition “inspired” another that significantly predates it. But hey, as long as you’re tossing science in the junk bin, why not do away with those pesky laws of causality? I’m sure Gilder can write a high-sounding but incoherent book on “Quantum Causation” or some such that proves Hilary Clinton is responsible for the Armenian genocide.

Tags: Stupid Shit



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 matt z // May 8, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    I totally agree that Gilder is a science hating, fucking crazy dbag etc etc BUT i think that the point he is making, which doesn’t really make much sense, is that soviet/20th century communist totalitarianism was “inspired” by darwinism. This still, of course, is really stupid.

  • 2 Pithlord // May 9, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    That would arguably be even more stupid. It is at least true that Marx admired Darwin, and saw his own work as analogous to Darwin’s. Stalin, on the other hand, backed Lysenko’s anti-Darwinian Lamarckism with the power of the totalitarian state.

  • 3 Brian Moore // May 9, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Even more randomly, what does “inspiring” have to do with anything? Even if you hate “Darwinism,” you have to admit that it doesn’t say anything about killing large numbers of nice Jewish people, invading Poland, 5 year plans or gulags. It simply doesn’t follow.

    If Nazis or Communists or eugenicists claim to derive inspiration (even secondarily) from Darwinism, they are simply wrong. Their logic is faulty. You can’t blame Darwin (or Darwinists) for that. This is just one massive Godwinization, and it’s pretty obvious that at least at the moment he said this, Gilder was not really listening to reason.

  • 4 catchy // May 10, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Even worse, Darwin modeled his theory of natural selection on Adam Smith’s theoories of individual competition for resources in a market economy.

    The theory of evolution’s most direct ancestor is capitalism.