charles darwin

Barton: Founding Fathers Were Against Teaching Evolution; Revolution Was Fought To End Slavery

Pseudo-historian David Barton visited the Christian television program Celebration on the Daystar Television Network with host Joni Lamb on Monday to discuss his right-wing, pro-GOP view of American history.

Barton, who says that the Founding Fathers like Ben Franklin opposed Net Neutrality, claims he also knows the views of the Founding Fathers in the debate over whether schools should teach Creationism alongside evolution in public schools. Naturally, Barton says that the Founding Fathers “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution,” and sided with Creationism. Of course, Charles Darwin wrote On The Origin of Species in 1859 andThe Descent of Man in 1871 – but apparently the Founding Fathers knew about evolution science:

Barton continues to lash out at “deconstructionism” in the education system for distorting the truth about the Founding Fathers, arguing that the Founding Fathers did not support slavery or engage in the practice themselves. While Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry were all slaveholders, Barton has created his own theory of the cause of the American Revolution: the Founding Fathers’ desire to reject the British Empire’s endorsement of slavery. “That’s why we said we want to separate from Britain, so we can end slavery,” Barton said:

He concluded his talk by saying “I want to see Christians take over the Democrat Party, I want to see Christians take over the Republican Party, I want to have a fight for who has the more Biblical candidate.” Barton, a proponent of Seven Mountains Dominionism, called on people “to move the most Godly candidate through” both parties:

Creationists boost Islamic Fundamentalists in Turkey

Fundamentalist Christians are not generally big boosters of Islamic fundamentalism. But it appears that American creationists hate Darwin and the science of evolution even more, and are aggressively helping Islamic fundamentalists undermine both science and the secular governmental traditions in Turkey. According to an article in the Washington Post, the teaching of evolution is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists armed with materials created by American creationists. The article opens with an anecdote that, with one exception, will be all too familiar to U.S. science educators:

Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students' ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it.

"They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution," she said.

Anti-evolution forces are blossoming, according to the article, thanks to American backers of creationism and intelligent design:

Translated and adapted for a Muslim society, the purported proofs that Darwinism and evolution were wrong came directly from American proponents of Christian creationism and its less overtly religious offshoot, intelligent design.

Ergezen's experience has become increasingly common. While creationism and intelligent design appear to be in some retreat in the United States, they have blossomed within Muslim Turkey. With direct and indirect help from American foes of evolution, similarly-minded Turks have aggressively made the case that Charles Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong and is the underlying source of most of the world's conflicts because it excludes God from human affairs.

"Darwin is the worst Fascist there has ever been, and the worst racist history has ever witnessed," writes Harun Yahya, the most assertive and best-known critic of evolution in Turkey, and long a favorite of more conservative American creationists.

The article notes that Turkey, with it secular government traditions, has been more open to scientific understandings of evolution than other Muslim countries, but that's changing with the help of American institutions like Seattle's Discovery Institute and The Institute for Creation Research in Dallas.

To many Turkish scientists and educators, this is a worrisome development. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was an advocate of science, education and, some say, even evolution. Turkish science has been especially strong in the Muslim world. If Turks close their minds to evolutionary thinking, advocates say, it won't be long before religion and politics shut off other scientific pursuits.

To John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, however, the news could hardly be more encouraging.

"Why I'm so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society," said Morris, a Christian who has led several searches for Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Members of his group have addressed Turkish conferences numerous times.

The Discovery Institute of Seattle, which researches and promotes intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution, also sent speakers to Turkey after being invited by the Istanbul municipal government in 2007. President Bruce Chapman said the institute helped bring Turkish evolution critic Mustafa Akyol to a 2005 Kansas school board hearing on teaching critiques of evolution.

The Post quotes Aykut Kence, an American-trained scientist with a doctorate in evolutionary biology, who has been targeted by local creationists circulating leaflets with pictures of him and Mao, equating the teaching of evolution with communism. Where have we heard that before?

After a decade in the trenches, Kence said he believes aggressive creationism "is part of a larger plan to convert people to a more conservative Islam."

The Islamic-oriented government, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2007, has telegraphed its views on evolution by adding doses of creationism to a required public school course on "Religion and Morals," proponents of evolution say. This year, the editor of one of the nation's prominent science journals, Science and Technology, was fired by government officials over her magazine's plans to put Darwin on its cover.

Major Religious Right conferences like the Values Voter Summit have devoted many hours in recent years to talking about the threats posed by radical Islam. Will they now add the Discovery Institute and the Institute for Creation Science to their list of those aiding and abetting the nation's enemies? Or is their hatred for Darwin and secularism so strong that they're willing help those pushing for a more theocratic Islamic government in Turkey?

Kirk Cameron Debunks Evolution, This Time Without a Banana

Kirk Cameron has once again teamed up with Christian apologist Ray Comfort to announce the release of Comfort's own edition of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" which will once and for all prove the existence of God and ultimately reverse the spiritual decline of America:

Of course, the last time these two teamed up, they gave us this:

 You can see Comfort's version of Darwin's book here [PDF].

Right Wing Round-Up

  • You really should read the excerpt from the forthcoming book by former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer published in GQ.
  • Rush Limbaugh says that "in Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering."
  • TPM: Did Joe Wilson Lie About Having Been An Immigration Lawyer?
  • Everything you need to know about the Tea Party movement can be learned for Mark Williams' pathetic appearance on AC360.
  • Everything you need to know about the 9/12 rally can be learned from this ten minute video.
  • Eric Boehlert: Michelle Malkin and the anatomy of the 2 million protester lie.
  • What does Thomas Sowell's race have to do with his views on healthcare reform?
  • A movie about Charles Darwin apparently can't find a US distributor due to fears about a Religious Right backlash.
  • SPLC: FAIR Embraces Racist Founder.
  • Finally, be sure to read Jamison Foser on the dumbest media-bias claim of the day.

Virginia GOP Chair goes all Cro-Magnon on Darwin, on his birthday

Yesterday was the birthday of Lincoln and Darwin, and Virginia GOP chairman Jeff Frederick couldn't pass up the opportunity to go all Cro-Magnon on the father of modern biology.

Frederick obviously put a lot of thought into his assault on evolution and created a foolproof (or so it seemed) plan -- put Darwin up alongside Lincoln and let the people see Darwin for the monster he was.

First he talked about Lincoln; it went haltingly but we got his point:

"Abraham Lincoln is best know (sic), as you all well know, for freeing the slaves by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation affirming in his Gettyburg (sic) Address in 19, I'm sorry, 1863..."

Then on to that bad, bad man:

"Darwin however is best known for the theory of evolution, arguing that men are not only, quote, are only, not, not created, but they are not equal, as some are more evolved... Darwin's theory was used by atheists to explain away the belief in God."

I can only imagine what this guy has up his sleeve for Galileo's birthday, but it's really a shame that Frederick knows so little, perhaps nothing, about the man he's attacking.

He could have learned a lot from this recent piece marking Darwin's bicentennial:

"While many of his contemporaries approved of slavery, Darwin did not. He came from a family of ardent abolitionists, and he was revolted by what he saw in slave countries[.] 'It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty.'"

But anyone who's familiar with Frederick knows that this kind of thing is par for the course -- Karen Tumulty captured him in his element last fall:

He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary." [...] "And he won't salute the flag," one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born."

It's pretty clear in which direction Frederick is taking the Virginia GOP. No wonder the party has continued to lose ground under his tenure.

But maybe I'm being too hard on Frederick. He is after all facing a strong challenge to his chairmanship from this gentleman:

[Note to interested readers: you too can look like the guy above by shopping here]

More De-Evolution in Texas

Last month we noted the oddly creative creationism views being put forth by Don McLeroy, Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. Now it looks like McLeroy will be getting some company on the Board:

Social conservatives on the State Board of Education have appointed three evolution critics to a six-member committee that will review proposed curriculum standards for science courses in Texas schools.

Two of the appointees are authors of a book that questions many of the tenets of Charles Darwin's theory of how humans and other life forms evolved. One of them, Stephen Meyer, is also vice president of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based group that promotes an explanation of the origin of life similar to creationism. The other author is Ralph Seelke, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Also on the panel is Baylor University chemistry professor Charles Garner, who, like the other two, signed the Discovery Institute's "Dissent from Darwinism" statement that sharply questions key aspects of the theory of evolution.

The Texas Freedom Network's President Kathy Miller notes that the Texas Board of Education is now staffed with out-of-state ideologues, but the right-wing Free Market Foundation notes that it is necessary to keep the Board "balanced"

Jonathan Saenz of the conservative Free Market Foundation said the panel is "balanced" because two of the other three members, UT-Austin biology Professor David Hillis and Texas Tech Professor Gerald Skoog, have joined a group of science educators wanting to eliminate a current requirement that weaknesses of the theory of evolution be taught.

"If the theory of evolution is so strong and without weaknesses, why are the evolutionists so afraid to let students have a discussion about it?" he asked.

"Close-minded efforts to ban students from [hearing both sides] is dangerous and a clear detriment to students."

The Free Market Foundation is sister organization to the Liberty Legal Institute, the organization that was recently active up in Alaska trying to quash the "Troopergate" probe.  Both are run by Kelly Shackelford whom was recently on James Dobson's radio program crowing about how Sarah Palin was the answer to the right-wing movements prayers and explaining his efforts as part of the GOP's platform committee in drafting “the strongest pro-life platform ever in the history of the [Republican] party."

Ailing Televangelist and Religious-Right Pioneer Retires

D. James Kennedy

D. James Kennedy, who built up Fort Lauderdale, Florida megachurch and television empire over the last half-century, has officially retired, eight months after he was first hospitalized following a heart attack. Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has nearly 10,000 members, and his broadcast ministry claims 3.5 million listeners and viewers, but he is best known as one of the founding figures of the Religious Right in the early 1980s, known as the “Ivy League Jerry Falwell.”

Kennedy, who once said that “the diabolical mission” of People For the American Way was “to crush the influence of the Christian religion in American society,” became active in political issues from battling pornography, “secularized” education, abortion, and civil rights for gays to supporting Reagan administration policies like SDI, Iran-Contra, and the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. His involvement grew in the 1990s and 2000s, as he organized national conferences for religious-right activism and expanded his influence in Washington.

The 76-year-old Kennedy’s retirement comes just a few months after the death of Jerry Falwell, and again heralds the inevitable passing of the older generation of religious-right leaders -- Falwell, Kennedy, 71-year-old James Dobson, 69-year-old Don Wildmon, and others who built the infrastructure and set the pattern for fundamentalism-charged politics.

Much more on D. James Kennedy’s political career below.

Center for Reclaiming America Shutting Down

It appears as if D. James Kennedy’s Center for Reclaiming America is undergoing a bit of “streamlining”:

The Center for Reclaiming America has closed, halting its conservative activism and throwing the future of its signature annual conference in doubt.

An undisclosed number of employees were laid off on Thursday at the center's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and its congressional chaplaincy office in Washington, D.C., in what its parent organization, Coral Ridge Ministries, called a "streamlining."

The closures put a stop to day-to-day actions such as e-mail and petition drives against abortion, pornography and same-sex marriage.

"We're getting back to our core competency, the production of media," said Brian Fisher, executive vice president at Coral Ridge Ministries, founded by the Rev. D. James Kennedy. "Our heart and soul is the teaching of Dr. Kennedy, and getting it to more people than those who come to church."

Fisher wouldn't divulge how many workers were laid off but said Coral Ridge Ministries still has more than 120 employees. The organization produces TV and radio programs and publishes books by Kennedy, pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. It reported a budget of more than $37 million in 2005, according to spokesman John Aman.

Hopefully, Coral Ridge’s decision to focus on “production of media” means we can expect more videos from them like the one explaining how Charles Darwin was directly responsible for the Nazi Holocaust.  

After Right-Wing Conference in Oregon, Darwin-Hitler Link Enters Public School

When Florida televangelist D. James Kennedy asked his viewers to donate towards the production of a TV special on the “harmful effects” of evolution – “everything from the Nazi death camps and attempts to create a super-race to the modern push in many nations for euthanasia” – he warned that “The other side has the entire public school system of America as its platform,” whereas he came armed with only “the national network of television outlets that God has given to us.” While it’s true that most high school science classes stick to scientific curricula on evolution and stay clear of attempts to equate Charles Darwin with Adolph Hitler, the Religious Right’s campaign against the teaching of evolution has its share of recruits across the nation.

After less than two weeks on the job, part-time biology teacher Kris Helphinstine was fired by the Sisters, Oregon school board for drawing his course materials from a far-right creationist website. Echoing Kennedy, Helphinstine’s attempt to “get kids thinking” involved a PowerPoint presentation linking evolutionary science to Planned Parenthood and Nazi Germany. From The Oregonian:

Helphinstine said in retrospect slides of Nazi death camps weren't appropriate for his freshman and sophomore students.

And given a second chance, he said he wouldn't introduce arguments from Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, a group building a Creation Museum in Cincinnati dedicated to teaching a Bible-centric view of natural history.

Answers in Genesis is a straightforward advocate of young-earth creationism; the group is building a Creation Museum in northern Kentucky apparently set to open this summer. The group provides quite a few classroom resources for teaching creationism.

This material was apparently the focus of the teacher’s entire tenure at the school:

One parent, John Rahm, said his daughter reported that only "one day of 10" was devoted to the study of evolution, with the rest devoted to devoted to "Intelligent Design" materials.

"The test as well was 90-plus percent ID material," Rahm said.

It could be a coincidence, but Helphinstine, 27, began his new job only a couple weeks after a right-wing conference convened near Portland, around two hours away. Among the presentations at the 2nd Annual Restore America Conference was “Session for teachers, parents and students” on “Upholding a Christian Worldview in Education.” The speaker was Stephen Williams of Prepare the Way Ministries, based in nearby Bend, which is dedicated to “empower[ing] Christians … to uphold a biblical worldview in our schools and society.” Williams is known for suing the school where he taught fifth grade over his use of “supplemental materials” meant to emphasize the idea of America as a Christian nation.

Hitler as Darwin's Love Child

In the past when right-wingers wanted to link some idea they didn't like to Nazism, they would use an analogy so they wouldn't have to take direct responsibility for raising the specter of Hitler. 

For instance, James Dobson attacked stem-cell research by making this not-so-subtle Nazi comparison  

In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind.

Others, like Russell Johnson, prefer to innocently suggest that evangelicals who are pro-life but don’t get involved in politics are akin to “the kind of people who enabled Hitler to take care of Auschwitz."

The point is that people rarely make a direct connection between current controversies and Hitler, preferring rather to insinuate that certain things share specific qualities with Hitler or Nazism.  

No more.  Now, poor Charles Darwin is not only being compared to Hitler -- he's being held directly responsible for the Nazi genocide.

As we have noted several times before, D. James Kennedy is the main proponent of the “Darwin = Hitler” idea and now he is bringing his message to the masses

Author and Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolf Hitler in Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, a groundbreaking inquiry into Darwin’s chilling social impact. The new television documentary airs nationwide on August 26 and 27 on The Coral Ridge Hour.  

The program features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.

“To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler,” said Dr. Kennedy, the host of Darwin’s Deadly Legacy. “Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it.”

And should Kennedy’s rigorous logic and rock-solid arguments needs any further bolstering, it’ll undoubtedly be provided by noted scientific expert Ann Coulter, who is featured on the program.  An excerpt of her contribution was shown on this week’s “Coral Ridge Hour”  [Watch the video: Broadband or Dial-Up]

I’ll let the scientists decide what should be taught in science class,  but it seems to me the one thing that shouldn’t be taught in science class is a crack pot nineteenth century mystery religion … [public schools are] the left’s madrassas and they propagandize to the children six hours a day, 12 years of the child life.

Take that, Darwin!  Your meager little theory’s days are numbered, for there is simply no way that it will be able withstand this sort of attack coming from intellectual and scientific heavyweights such as Kennedy and Coulter.  

D. James Kennedy Needs Your Help

D. James Kennedy continues his crusade against the theory of evolution and he needs your financial support so that he can explain to the world how Charles Darwin was responsible for the Holocaust and pretty much every other horrible thing that has ever happened.

Watch the Video: Broadband or Dial-Up

I’ve asked my television staff to produce a brand-new documentary that explores not just the theory of evolution but also the vast and devastating consequences of that theory.  I don’t think most people realize the horrific events that have stemmed from evolution: everything from the Nazi death camps and attempts to create a super-race to the modern push in many nations for euthanasia. The tentacles of evolution reach far and wide and I intend to demonstrate these chilling facts in this brand-new documentary, but I’m going to need your help to pull it off.  

The other side has the entire public school system of America as its platform, but we have the national network of television outlets that God has given to us.  Let’s put them to good use. 

If you believe evolution is just a harmless theory of origins … you’ll discover how Darwin’s so-called “tree of life” has brought death to millions – yes, millions – of people and that is no exaggeration my friends.

The entire program appears as if it will be based on the book “Evolution's Fatal Fruit” which just so happens to have been written by Tom DeRosa, executive director and founder of the Creation Studies Institute which was founded in 1988 at Kennedy's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.  

Apparently, Kennedy and DeRosa are hoping to use that “national network of television outlets” God gave them to single-handedly destroy evolution and take back the “entire public school system of America.” 

Yeah, good luck with that. 

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