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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Censorship at Uncommon Descent

Barry Arrington posted this message on Uncommon Descent.
The moderation policy does not apply to you; you are held to a higher standard. I expect your posts to have at least some tangential relationship to Darwinism, ID, or the metaphysical or moral implications of each. The purpose of this site is not to provide a place for you to jump up and rant on one of your pet peeves. DaveScot will no longer be posting at UD.
What in the world did DaveScot do to deserve this?

He posted an article pointing out that religious people were often racist. He challenged the current dogma on Uncommon Descent that was trying to link Darwin to racism. You can read it here but you won't find it at Racism Sans Darwin - other inspirations on Uncommon Descent. Here's an excerpt ...
Since we now seem to be focused on racism instead of design detection and my motto is “When in Rome do as the Romans do” in order to balance the picture of the theory of evolution’s role in racist movements let’s look at some of the other modern history where evolution isn’t the banner around which racists rally.

Selected bits from Religious Tolerance on Christian Identity Movements . Timothy McVeigh, for instance, was a card carrying CIM member.

The Christian Identity movement is a movement of many extremely conservative Christian churches and religious organizations, extreme right wing political groups and survival groups. Some are independent; others are loosely interconnected. According to Professor Michael Barkun, one of the leading experts in the Christian Identity movement, “This virulent racist and anti-Semitic theology, which is practiced by over 50,000 people in the United States alone, is prevalent among many right wing extremist groups and has been called the ‘glue’ of the racist right.”

The largest Christian Identity movement has traditionally been the Ku Klux Klan which was reorganized in 1915 by William Simmons, a Christian pastor. He had been inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation which portrayed the KKK as a champion of white civilization. The KKK slid into obscurity by the second World War, but was revitalized in the mid 1950’s as a reaction to enforced racial integration in the southern US.
I guess the IDiots at Uncommon Descent don't want anyone to distract from their "Darwin was a racist" campaign.

DaveScot was a big fan of Expelled I wonder if he'll complain to Ben Stein?

[Hat Tip: Afarensis]


  1. Actually, Dave was critical of this aspect of Expelled; and said so in an article on Uncommon Descent last year. See: A complete Darwin quote with a brief translation. It's quite a good article, well above the usual standard on UC. Here is the last paragraph. There are nits to pick, the primary message is spot on.

    "If there’s any real case to be made for Darwin and the holocaust it’s the opposite of what’s messaged in Expelled. The holocaust resulted from a failure to heed Darwin’s warning that eugenics could only be practiced by sacrificing the noblest part of our nature, the very part and only part that separates us from other animals. Those responsible for the holocaust, beginning with the eugenics movement in America, were the true animals. Those opposed were nobler than the animals."

  2. I can recommend Voyage of the Beagle to those who think that Darwin was racist by the standards of his day.

    In fact, Darwin seemed to condemn racism; he once noted that a Black woman jumped to her death rather than be recaptured and returned to slavery. He remarked that, had a Roman done this, it would have been considered "noble" but people of the time saw her act as "animal obstinance".

  3. DaveScot was banned from UD?

    LUKE: Are you all right? What's wrong?

    BEN: I felt a disturbance in the web. As if a million irony detectors cried out as one...

  4. DaveScot banned at UD -- for being honest and fair-minded?

    I'm torn between saying "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy" and thinking I've fallen into Bizarro World.

  5. In fact, Darwin seemed to condemn racism

    Seemed to condemn? The guy who in his diary called Brazil "land also of slavery, and therefore of moral debasement."? Who said "On the 19th of August we finally left the shores of Brazil. I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country."? That's not "seemed to condemn"; that's really clear condemnation.

    A few bits from the Voyage of the Beagle.
    As long as the idea of slavery could be banished, there was something exceedingly fascinating in this simple and patriarchal style of living: it was such a perfect retirement and independence from the rest of the world.

    I feel glad that this happened in the land of the Brazilians, for I bear them no good will—a land also of slavery, and therefore of moral debasement.

    On the 19th of August we finally left the shores of Brazil. I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, I heard the most pitiable moans, and could not but suspect that some poor slave was being tortured, yet knew that I was as powerless as a child even to remonstrate. I suspected that these moans were from a tortured slave, for I was told that this was the case in another instance. Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have staid in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten, and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal. I have seen a little boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horse-whip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean; I saw his father tremble at a mere glance from his master's eye. These latter cruelties were witnessed by me in a Spanish colony, in which it has always been said, that slaves are better treated than by the Portuguese, English, or other European nations. I have seen at Rio Janeiro a powerful negro afraid to ward off a blow directed, as he thought, at his face. I was present when a kind-hearted man was on the point of separating for ever the men, women, and little children of a large number of families who had long lived together. I will not even allude to the many heart-sickening atrocities which I authentically heard of;—nor would I have mentioned the above revolting details, had I not met with several people, so blinded by the constitutional gaiety of the negro, as to speak of slavery as a tolerable evil. Such people have generally visited at the houses of the upper classes, where the domestic slaves are usually well treated; and they have not, like myself, lived amongst the lower classes. Such enquirers will ask slaves about their condition; they forget that the slave must indeed be dull, who does not calculate on the chance of his answer reaching his master's ears.

    It is argued that self-interest will prevent excessive cruelty; as if self-interest protected our domestic animals, which are far less likely than degraded slaves, to stir up the rage of their savage masters. It is an argument long since protested against with noble feeling, and strikingly exemplified, by the ever illustrious Humboldt. It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. Those who look tenderly at the slave-owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter;—what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children—those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own—being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one's blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty: but it is a consolation to reflect, that we at least have made a greater sacrifice, than ever made by any nation, to expiate our sin.

  6. Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

    Only one reason to edit this title!

    BTW, there is a clear connection with Darwinism and athiesm and ultimatly communism, the ideology that killed millions for NO reason, and millions more for opposing communism.

    BTW I am print screening this in case you do censoring!

  7. Anon.

    Lincoln, a close contemporary of Darwin's (very close) would have been considered racist by today's standards. You should actually read some of the things he said besides the sanitary little soundbites that get thrown around.

    If Darwin is so closely linked to capitalism, then why did Stalin work so hard to sensor evolutionary theory and replace it with Lysenkoism?

    "BTW I am print screening this in case you do censoring!"

    That is like taking pictures of a bunch of stringy milfoil on the end of a fishing line. I wouldn't put it on the braggin' board but if that is a personal best for you, well knock yourself out.

  8. Anon,

    Do yourself a favour and read "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". As you do, keep track of every use in it of the word 'race' and cognates like 'racial'. The see if Darwin was using the word to refer to sub-groups of species, in the way that we might refer to breeds of dogs.

    For extra credit, you should then read 'Descent of Man'. See if Darwin refers to categories of humans that are somehow inferior to others or less deserving of respect. Oh, and bear in mind that Darwin, like many scientists, used a dialectical style, presenting arguments both for and against a position before stating his own view, whether conclusive or tentative. So no quote-mining from the 'prejudiced' side of the argument: tell us what Darwin thought, not what he said the other side thought.

    Your comment suggests your are either ignorant or stupid. Ignorance, at least, is curable. Do something about it.

  9. Anon - go read the bible - it's pretty racist, comands genocide and endorses slavery!

    Michael, you dont actually expect him to read it do you - He probably gets told what to think.

  10. Nah, the ones who troll like that know that there are Right Books and Wrong Books. All you have to do is read the Right Books to know all you need to know about the Wrong Books. (Do I make myself perfectly opaque?)

    But I wrote what I did because there are people who genuinely want to know why scientists don't agree with what they heard in Sunday School. Even if reading Darwin doesn't make them change their mind about science (Why should it? Darwin is mostly of historical interest by now, science has moved on in 150 years!) it might save them embarassing themselves with weapons-grade dumbness like Anon did.