Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Dick Wolf taught me about Expelled.

I have written many times that I don’t believe evolution led to Nazism. Nor do I believe that Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism led to Nazism. Hitler led to Nazism, and he was willing to use any language and co-opt any ideology to further his aims. Talking to a group of religious Germans? Invoke Luther. A group of German academics? Invoke evolution.

But what would be the ramification if either of these connections were actually true?

What if (and, based on what I have heard, this is the secondary tenet of Expelled) Hitler and his supporters were true believers in evolution, and they sincerely believed that the holocaust was thereby justified. Would that actually impugn evolution?

No it would not. If evolution is true, then is a morally neutral fact. Actually I take that back—if it is true then it is, I’d say, as part of creation, necessarily good.

It would be a similar situation to those who sincerely believed the bible justified southern slavery. Did such people actually exist? Perhaps—or perhaps they simply co-opted passages to justify their ideology. But for the sake of argument, suppose they sincerely thought they were interpreting scripture correctly. Does that impugn Christianity? No, it impugns only an erroneous exegesis.

Asked differently, suppose you arrive at the conclusion that (a) evolution is correct and (b) it really did lead to Nazism. What would you do? Outlaw a correct scientific theory as being a dangerous idea?

That doesn’t sound like a plan to me.

The evolution-Nazi connection that I have heard is rehashed in Expelled is, according to my superb University of Law and Order legal education, simply prejudicial and meant to inflame the jury of public opinion. It is totally irrelevant, even if true, to the question of whether ID academics face discrimination—which is what the movie is supposed to be about.


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