Sunday, May 06, 2007

One truly wonders whether there can be any intellectual honesty in science reporting among the current crop of 'conservative' journalists. Larry Arnhart uncovers the latest example.
Ferguson quotes from Steven Hayward's introductory remarks the claim that social Darwinist principles were "invoked by the Confederacy's most articulate theorist, Alexander Stephens." What he doesn't say is that Darwin explicitly criticized slavery and the Confederacy and argued against the claim of scientific racists that the human races were actually separate species. Nor does he say that the American proslavery folks were able to quote the Bible as supporting slavery. I have commented on this extensively on this blog and in Darwinian Natural Right.

Ferguson quotes a passage from chapter 5 of Darwin's Descent of Man a passage that appears to endorse Francis Galton's eugenics. But Ferguson very carefully does not quote the immediately following passage in which Darwin declares that "sympathy" as "the noblest part of our nature" teaches us that we must care for the weak and the helpless. Nor does Ferguson quote from Darwin's comments in the last chapter of Descent in which he rejects Galton's eugenics as "utopian". I have a whole chapter on social Darwinism and eugenics in Darwinian Conservatism.
When it comes to science, this lazy, slipshod, dishonest journalism is, I'm sad to say (as a conservative) the standard swill being recycled in virtually every conservative magazine, whether it's National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator or even Commentary. That conservative journalists should be so cyncial is one of the most depressing things I've learned over the past decade.

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