About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dawkins reviews Expelled

Richard Dawkins now has a superb review of Expelled over on his site - which, unfortunately, seems to have been overloaded with traffic all morning.

The best part of the review, when you can actually read it, is his cogent response to one of the main points that Expelled evidently tries to make in a ham-fisted way: that Darwinian evolutionary theory leads to Nazism. Dawkins says it better than I can, but his point is something like this. Yes, Hitler may have been influenced by some garbled version of Darwinian theory, to which he added a good dose of Humean fallacy, thus producing one ingredient in the racist, totalitarian witches' brew of Nazi ideology. That by no means entails that Darwinian theory leads to Nazism. It also has nothing to do with whether the essentials of Darwinian evolutionary theory are actually true. (And while it likewise doesn't disprove the truth of Christianity, Hitler is likely to have been influenced at least as much by the long history of anti-Semitism in Germany, founded on Christian hostility to the Jews.)

1 comment:

Blake Stacey said...

And now Matt Nisbet has entered the fray. . . feh. I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone in the whole science-blogging orbit who operates more like clockwork.

It's probably best for my overall health to treat this as my signal to write about nothing but arcane mathematics for the next month. Oh, for the days when talking and learning science was a simple joy. . . . But anyway, Brian Switek wrote a post with which I largely agree (he's good at doing that), and I left my take in the comments.