Thursday, October 08, 2009

Columbine and Creationism: A Case Study

 
Here's an excellent example of the fallacious argument referred to as "guilt by association." The idea is that you develop an association between some evil person and the position you want to attack.

For example, suppose you wanted to show that fundamentalist Christianity was bad. What you do is find some fundamentalist Christian who behaved immorally—not hard to do—then allow readers to draw the "obvious" conclusion.

Or, you could do the same thing with those who accept evolution as Barry Arrington does on Uncommon Descent [Darwin at Columbine Redux].
As the attorney for the families of six of the students killed at Columbine, I read through every single page of Eric Harris’ jounals; I listened to all of the audio tapes and watched the videotapes, including the infamous “basement tapes.” There cannot be the slightest doubt that Harris was a worshiper of Darwin and saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles. For example, he wrote: “YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE??? Natural SELECTION! It’s the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms . . . but it’s all natural! YES!”

Elsewhere he wrote: “NATURAL SELECTION. Kill the retards.” I could multiply examples, but you get the picture.

It was no coincidence that on the day of the shootings Harris wore a shirt with two words written on it: “Natural Selection.”

I am not suggesting that Auvinen’s and Harris’ actions are the inevitable consequences of believing in Darwinism. It is, however, clear that at least some of Darwin’s followers understand “survival of the fittest” and the attendant amorality at the bottom of Darwinism as a license to kill those whom they consider “inferior.” Nothing could be more obvious.
For the record, I reject all attempts to discredit Christianity by pointing to priests who molest children; the fact the Kent Hovind is in prison; or the tribulations of Jimmy Swaggart. We can gloat about those incidents and revel in the hypocrisy but they say nothing at all about the truth of Christianity.

Similarly, I do not apologize for nor condone the behavior of stupid people who accept evolution. It's irrelevant to the debate over the facts of evolution.

Everyone should adopt this position. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people on the other side who get all uppity whenever a Christian is caught with his pants down but see nothing wrong with blogging about evil evolutionists.

The word you're looking for is "hypocrisy." It seems to be quite common on that side of the debate.



7 comments :

  1. It's not *quite* that simple, Larry. Christianity includes the claim that it teaches the principles of the virtuous life, and empowers the adherent to live it. All that stuff about "being a new creation in Christ", the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, etc. Significant evil on the part of Christians therefore goes directly to the truth of at least that aspect (and it's not a trivial detail, either) of the religion.

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  2. It's quite fascinating to watch the goings on over at Uncommon Descent right now - Barry Arrington looks like he has completely lost it. Just in one thread he has already banned 4 people (including an ID supporter) and has been heavily editing a large number of comments. Rather ironic for an attorney who specializes in first amendment rights!!!

    It's quite interesting to note that UD seems to have completely lost its bearings about being a "science" blog, and has morphed into a neo-con site (and a rather scary one at that...)

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  3. Everyone should adopt this position. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people on the other side who get all uppity whenever a Christian is caught with his pants down but see nothing wrong with blogging about evil evolutionists.

    I'm inclined to agree. You're nothing if not fair Larry!

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  4. And Adolf Hitler was a vegeterian!

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  5. I am not suggesting that Hitlers' or the Abbot of Citeaux’s actions are the inevitable consequences of believing in God. It is, however, clear that at least some of God’s followers understand “Gott mit uns” (and only uns) or “Kill them all and let God sort them out” and the attendant amorality at the bottom of religion as a license to kill those whom they consider “sinners.” Nothing could be more obvious.

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  6. The Columbine fools' version of 'Darwinism' was the product of Harris' absorbing the false version of 'Darwinism' promoted by the very creationists Arrington stands with. There's nothing in either Darwin's life or his work, nor in a sound understanding of evolution that would lead to some young asshole taking upon himself the task of weeding out the people he considers inferior. However, the perverted version of evolution peddled by the creationists would offer a jerk like Harris the scientific gloss he apparently enjoyed layering onto his hatreds.

    So, if you trace Harris' ravings back to their origins, the path leads not to Darwin and evolution but to the lies about them that are repeatedly told by the creationists such as Arrington and the crowd at UD.

    When you lie about Darwin and evolution, like Arrington and Co do, and someone like Harris believes your lies and adopts your version of Darwin and evolution, the finger of blame points to you.

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  7. For the record, I reject all attempts to discredit Christianity by pointing to priests who molest children…


    The point of bringing that up is not to debunk Christianity per se, it’s to show that organizations such as the catholic church are not moral arbiters or our moral superiors, and that being Christian doesn’t necessarily make you good. In pointing out these facts, priests who molest children are fair game.

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