Saturday, June 13, 2009

Explaining the Fallacy of Consequences to the DI, Again

The vultures over at the Discovery Institute, never ones to miss a chance to try to smear Charles Darwin (because of course smearing the man negates the science), and apparently not getting enough mileage out of their Hitler-Darwin propaganda, are trying to assign blame for the recent museum shootings by a white supremacist at the feet of poor Charles. David Klinghoffer writes:

"Our culture is very comfortable reminding us often of atrocities committed in the name of religion -- whether it's the Crusades, the Inquisition, or 9/11. Ironically, the day of the Holocaust Museum shooting, an interesting new Jewish web magazine, Tablet, published a fascinating scholarly essay by Paula Fredriksen about how under the Nazis, some German theologians tried to fit Jesus into a Nazi mold. They drew on anti-Jewish writings widely available in Christian tradition.

Is it 'beyond the pale' to point this out? No, of course not. So what's the difference?"

Here's the difference David, real slow, so maybe you'll get it this time. Religious views are supposedly morally superior to other views, and belief in them is supposed to result in a morally superior person. Having followers of a religion commit horrible atrocities naturally calls into question that claim, and perhaps, the religion in general. Those involved in the crusades, or 9/11, call into question those religions because they were active followers of those religions.

Now if someone is not a follower of the religion, but simply mentions some of the religion's figures or symbols, this would not call the religion into question, but rather would suggest that the person in question is merely another nut in a long line of nuts who looked for any means to rationalize his behavior.

Evolution is a scientific theory about how species change over time. That is the the standard by which it is measured. It does not make moral prescriptions. Were someone to take evolution, use it to do science and found that it led to inaccurate predictions and results, then evolution would rightly be called into question. But someone committing an atrocity mentioning evolution in passing, or even as a supposed motivation for his acts, places no blame at the feet of evolution the scientific theory, any more than a murderous youth mentioning Ozzie Osborne makes Ozzie complicit in the murder.

Now that we've cleared up the abstract problem, let's not forget to mention the real-world issue here. The Discovery Institute is a propaganda organization dedicated to destroying evolution as a scientific theory, and will stoop to any means to do so: propaganda films like Expelled, wacko conspiracy theories linking Darwin to the Nazis (the Nazis, in supreme irony, expelled scientists working from Darwinian principles), to blaming any random murder on Darwin if he or his work is mentioned anywhere, in any capacity, near the act. This is as predictable as the rising sun, and as such, warrants zero credibility for their views. Their stories are written before the acts even occurred, waiting only for the details to be filled in. XXXXX commits atrocious act YYYYY, Darwin to blame. [yawn]

If you'd like to give Klinghoffer your opinion, you can make comments here.

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