Tuesday, 16 October 2012


The historian Paul Johnson has published a new biography of Charles Darwin. I have not read it yet but from a review that came to my attention it contains the suggestion that Darwinian thinking made some contribution to Nazi philosophy. Having read Richard Weikart's book 'From Darwin to Hitler' I happen to believe this thesis is highly arguable and most likely true. Weikart is a professor of European history and his book is full of scholarly references, at the very least I assert that the case can be argued, and not just because both books (Origin of Species and Mein Kampf) have the word 'struggle' in the full titles.

Don't get me wrong. I do realise that whether or not that suggestion is true has no bearing on the validity of Darwin's biological ideas. I also know that if Darwin's thinking proved inspirational to people who later did very bad things (depending on what we mean by 'bad' if the universe is blind and indifferent as Darwin taught) that would not necesarily make Darwin wrong, or bad. I do know all that, and so does Richard Weikart as he has made abundantly clear.

However, from the review I have read Paul Johnson is severely castigated for making the connection. I will have more to say about that once I have read the book, but for now what interests me is the large and growing number of Darwinians who have logged on to Amazon and castigated the book, giving it a minimum 1 star (quote 'I gave it one star as its not possible to give negative stars!!!' and attacking Johnson for writing it with comments like 'this proves that Johnson has no credentials as a historian' (from someone I'm sure is no historian either.)

It is perfectly clear from the nature of the mainly very brief comments that THEY HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK. This is evidently organised web activism.

All very typical. It reminds me of the passage in Acts of the Apostles where in order to prevent the Gospel being preached the silversmith who gets his living from selling idols gets everyone to chant 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!' until a riot almost broke out.

I will have a better idea what I think of the book once I have read it. But for the faithful, there is no need to read it any more than a Muslim needs to read Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses' before condemning both book and author. It allegedly blasphemes their god and must be shouted down, the author given unperson status. Silence the blaspheming heretic!!!

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