TGSOE-jacket
So says Richard Dawkins–scientist, author, and activist for atheism–in his upcoming book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.

Later today, I’ll ask you what you think about this method of vocal confrontation and if it’s the most effective means for spreading the truths of science.

I’ve included a few excerpts from his book below. Read more at TimesOnline.

Imagine that, as a teacher of European history, you are continually faced with belligerent demands to “teach the controversy”, and to give “equal time” to the “alternative theory” that the Holocaust never happened but was invented by a bunch of Zionist fabricators.

Fashionably relativist intellectuals chime in to insist that there is no absolute truth: whether the Holocaust happened is a matter of personal belief; all points of view are equally valid and should be equally “respected”.

The plight of many science teachers today is not less dire. When they attempt to expound the central and guiding principle of biology; when they honestly place the living world in its historical context — which means evolution; when they explore and explain the very nature of life itself, they are harried and stymied, hassled and bullied, even threatened with loss of their jobs.

… This book is necessary. I shall be using the name “historydeniers” for those people who deny evolution: who believe the world’s age is measured in thousands of years rather than thousands of millions of years, and who believe humans walked with dinosaurs.

Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eye witnesses to the Holocaust. It is the plain truth that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins still of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips . . . continue the list as long as desired. That didn’t have to be true. It is not self-evidently, tautologically, obviously true, and there was a time when most people, even educated people, thought it wasn’t. It didn’t have to be true, but it is. We know this because a rising flood of evidence supports it. Evolution is a fact, and [my] book will demonstrate it. No reputable scientist disputes it, and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it.

BTW: Dawkins doesn’t much like the headline of the article, but I found it quite provocative, even though it takes the discussions to Hitler instead of to the seat of the problem, which is the anti-scientific views and biases prevalent in our societies. Do you think it distracts from the message or emphasizes the point?

Excerpt ©Richard Dawkins 2009, Bantam Press

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5 thoughts on “Evolution Deniers think like Holocaust Deniers”

Rooker · August 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Mike Godwin created his law for a very good reason. Unless the discussion is actually about Nazis, comparing someone to Hitler is the end of the discussion as it then becomes an argument about whether or not you should compare someone to Hitler. How valid or truthful the comparison might be does not matter because nobody will be paying any attention to it as they argue about someone being compared to Hitler.

As for the Times Online, that place is a tabloid that abandoned journalistic ethics years ago. No surprise they gave it a headline fit only for supermarket aisles.

godlessgirl · August 25, 2009 at 6:14 pm

So who do you think is being compared to Hitler in this situation, anyway?

ConverseAtheist · August 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm

You pose a tricky question here, and I think there are two considerations.

First, what is it that Dawkins is aiming at? Is he merely wanting people to believe in the facts of evolution because the proper authorities have told the unwashed masses what to believe? Or does he want people to actually understand how science and skepticism works — and to follow the conclusions with intellectual honesty?

I've clearly tipped my hand with my phrasing of the questions, but I think that is roughly how Dawkins sees it. It is not merely a matter of % of people who agree about evolution specifically — he wants to get at the root cause of how and why people believe what they do about the world.

Second, once we're clear on what 'we' want to accomplish, the question of tactics becomes important. It's not obvious to me what is the right path to take, but many people employing many different methods with the same goal may be one route…

NotSoMightyGod · February 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I recently heard Richard Dawkins address the ‘controversy’ between creationism and evolution in the following way. The context was that teachers should present students with the ‘controversy’.

Dawkins said that if you followed that line of thinking that procreation should be presented as a ‘controversy’ between two schools; the ‘sexual reproduction’ school and the ‘stork’ school.

Obviously the commonality of people who deny the holocaust in light of captured Nazi records, photography and film included, and the people who deny evolution is that they claim a certainty that is contradictory to the evidence. Why would they do this?

I think that the answer is that they’re clinging to a dogma which appeals to them emotionally. They just cannot accept reality and the implications that it carries with it. The weight of releasing such closely held beliefs and redefining their own place in the world is just to much. Ego.. They just cannot accept that their own place in the greater scheme of things could be so small.

After all, God loves them and created an entire universe around them. Damn it, why can’t they be special?!?!?

Science vs. Religion | Godless Girl · August 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

[…] read Richard Dawkins’ strong position on evolution vs. creationism. Should scientists and atheists be so adamantly vocal and in-your-face […]

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