Sunday, September 03, 2006

An Old Battle's Fresh Wounds

An Old Battle's Fresh Wounds:

Alan Cooperman, Washington Post (free registration required)
"Holocaust history is not a field for academic sissies. It takes a certain sang-froid even to approach the topic. And never mind the crackpots and deniers; even among serious scholars there are epic clashes over who really could have derailed Hitler's Final Solution but did not: Pope Pius XII or Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Ordinary Germans or American Jews?

Now, a book defending FDR and a television documentary about Hitler's brand of Darwinism have thrown patriotism and evolution into the mix, and the debate is turning vicious. ..."

I admit it. I'm a sissy. Read the entire article. Another quote from the article gives some perspective when trying to deal with the intersection of facts and ideology:
'...The whole episode, he [Rabbi Irving Greenberg] added, is a reminder of the "twin dangers" of Holocaust research. "There's the danger you become so objective that you grow cold, and there's the danger you become so full of emotion that you can't tolerate anybody disagreeing," he said. "It really shows the wound is still raw. It hasn't turned to ancient history." '

Skipping over this controversial issue, the second part of this article relates some questionable use of sources by Coral Ridge Ministries, a Florida organization founded by evangelist D. James Kennedy. They have produced a TV documentary, "Darwin's Deadly Legacy", that attempts to establish a causal relationship between Darwin's theories and Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jews.

The point of view put forth by this documentary appears to be strict creationist, and in their initial release quoted Francis Collins, the author of The Language of God, which I reviewed in the three previous posts on this blog. Collins, a committed Christian, is by no means a creationist, and took quick and public exception to his words being used in such a way:
"I would not have agreed to participate if I had understood that the program would promote the concept of a direct connection between Darwin's theory of evolution and the evils of the Holocaust and the massacre at Columbine High School," Collins said in a written answer to questions from The Post. "My own views on evolution and faith are . . . strongly discordant with the perspective put forward by the producers of this documentary."

Coral Ridge Ministries has agreed to remove the segment involving Collins from any future broadcast of the documentary, and will cease using Collins' name to promote it and the views contained therein.

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Western geologist said...

ID-proponent Michael Behe's contribution to "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" was also extracted from an earlier interview. When asked about his role in the show he stated:

"I'm "associated" with it only in the sense that a clip of my appearance on a TV show of Dr. Kennedy's from years ago apparently is used in the film. I didn't know this program was in the works, have had no conversations with anyone from Coral Ridge about it, and had no input into it."

Denis Hancock said...

It sounds like CRM is a bit cavalier when it comes to claiming support.

I dropped by your blog this afternoon. Sounds like you have some interesting posts. What kind of geologist are you? Moving to Texas might suggest oil, but that would be making an assumption.

I took two years of geology courses as an undergraduate (Physical, Historical, and a full year of Paleontology) on my way to a zoology major.

Western geologist said...

I'm flattered that you liked my blog. I'm actually not employed by oil, although I do have some research interests that overlap with the petroleum industry (I'm a structural geologist). I moved to Texas to become a geology professor.

I'm always happy to hear that someone was interested enough in geology to take a class or two (and not just for self-serving reasons - or at least not entirely). I wish I could say that I took a zoology course, but the closest I came was AP Biology. I suppose it's never too late.

I noticed that you're a mountain main reenactor. I used to love going to a Rendezvous when I was growing up. Unfortunately I haven't been to one for years.

Denis Hancock said...

Rendezvous are fun. My brother is a renaissance fair musician and I described the reenacting to him as being like a renaissance fair with black powder rifles.

Geology has always been interesting to me, but when I was a senior, my advisor noted that I had more than enough credits in zoology to satisfy requirements. He told me he didn't want to see me in the building except for Senior Seminar, and suggested the Philosophy Department as a place to fill out my schedule. I ended up taking three philosophy courses (all religion-related), and I do not regret getting out and broadening my education.