Science’s Not so Missing link to Controversy

Charles Robert Darwin is often the subject hate speech and character assassination. Popular ad hominem attacks include linking him to Hitler, the holocaust, Stalin, eugenics and any and all horrible things. Ray Comfort wrote a forward attacking him put it in front his book “The Origin of Species” and handed it out to college students. Ben Stein, that guy from the Clear-Eyes commercials, made an entire “documentary” film bashing him. With so much vitriol in his direction you may think he’s holding rallies and inciting riots, but he’s not: he’s dead. He’s been dead since 1882. That’s right he’s been in the ground for more than a hundred years. Part of me wants to be that influential. It’s not likely I will have a picture of my head on an apes body on both Wikipedia and Conservapedia.

The general problem is that even if Darwin was a despot (he wasn’t) who wanted to kill all inferior peoples of the earth (he didn’t), it wouldn’t do anything to damage the credibility of evolutionary biology. His discoveries stand on their own and have only been added to since he first presented them. Even scientists who are in some way considered evil still have their ideas and works count. Discovery is discovery and truth is truth no matter who presents it.

Darwin was, despite the attempts to smear him, a man of great moral philosophy. He once wrote “As man gradually advanced in intellectual power… his sympathies became more tender and widely diffused, so as to extend to men of all races, to the imbecile, the maimed, and other useless members of society – and finally to the lower animals – so will the standard of morality rise higher and higher.”

The 12th of February has become known as Darwin day. By the time I remembered there wasn’t enough time to make a post worthy of celebrating it. It’s my hope that this day gain more notoriety, official recognition, and perhaps a spot on the shelf next the Valentine’s Day heart shaped pomp and circumstance at the grocery store. Next year please don’t forget to join me in celebrating this heavy weight champion of Science Education!

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