I was unprepared for the level of deception involved in the claims that West cites in Darwin Day in America: that Darwin was not a eugenicist.
On the Understanding Evolution website funded by the National Science Foundation, users will find a cartoon showing Charles Darwin yelling "Get out of my house!" to a proponent of eugenics. (p. 128)
So speaks the cartoon Darwin. And here's what the REAL Darwin said, (p.32)
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. (The Descent of Man (1871) p.168-169)
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, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, 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 a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. (The Descent of Man (1871) p.201)
Yes, you did read that right. Darwin thought that black people were nearer gorillas than white people.
And THAT is the man that the Darwin Day folk compare to Abraham Lincoln, saying
February 12th, 1809
On this date, two great men were born -
Abraham Lincoln, Emancipator of American Slaves
Charles Darwin, Emancipator of the Human Mind
Their Positive Legacies Still Endure
Let's have some Lincoln-Darwin Celebrations
That Darwin Day flaks say this isn't significant. Presumably, they say whatever they think will sell their cause. What's significant is the tacit willingness of opinion leaders to let them get away with it.
Actually, I think the deception is mostly self-deception. The National Science Foundation writer, for example, needs Darwin to be against eugenics. Arranging not to know what he really thought, the writer collects her cheque and opinion leaders cooperate without comment. Welcome to Darwin Day in America.
Can there be Darwinism without materialism? No, for the same reason as there can't be communism without violation of human rights. What communists actually believed meant that violating human rights was an integral part of their system, not an exception to it. And what Darwin's heirs actually believe means that interpreting human behaviour as if it were animal behaviour is an integral part of the system and not an exception to it. All the rest follows.
See also: Dhimmi for Darwin no more: A reflection and retraction
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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