Sunday, April 13, 2008

Expelled features anti-Semitic anti-Darwinist

John Lynch has discovered an unintentional irony in "Expelled." While the movie tries to argue that Darwinism led to Hitler, one of the anti-Darwinists interviewed in the film, Maciej Giertych, also happens to be an old-fashioned anti-Semite who thinks that Jews intentionally create ghettos to live in, are unethical swindlers who do not have any moral respect for the law, and who move to rich countries in order to exploit them. One commenter points out that Giertych has also praised Spain's fascist leader Francisco Franco (who is still dead). Another observes that Giertych is, in at least a small way, a Holocaust denier, denying that gentile Poles carried out the Jedwabne pogrom of 1941.

Giertych has also been published by Answers in Genesis' Creation magazine, in 1995, and is a signatory to the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism" statement.

Clearly, racism does not require a belief in evolution.


Hume's Ghost said...

Franco, heh.

Tangential, but its also been nice to observe the irony of the online editor of the magazine that said of the quasi-fascist Franco (I accept Robert Paxton's argument that Franco wasn't quite fascist)

General Franco is an authentic national hero... [with the] talents, the perseverance, and the sense of the righteousness of his cause, that were required to wrest Spain from the hands of the visionaries, ideologues, Marxists, and nihilists that were imposing... a regime so grotesque as to do violence to the Spanish soul, to deny, even, Spain's historical destiny. He saved the day.... The need was imperative... for a national policy [to]... make this concession to Churchill this morning, that one to Hitler this afternoon.... Franco reigns... supreme. He is not an oppressive dictator.... only as oppressive as is necessary to maintain total power...

wrote a book arguing that fascism is a form of liberalism and that every major Democrat from Wilson to FDR to JKF to Hillary Clinton is a fascist.

Ktisophilos said...

Far more evidence of antisemitism from Dawkins than from Giertych:

'Jews monopolize American policy'

Leading UK scientist draws fire from Jewish organizations; ADL: his remarks are 'classical anti-Semitism'

Yaakov Lappin Published: 10.08.07

A top British scientist drew fire from American Jewish organizations on Monday, after remarking that the American Jewish lobby is "monopolizing American foreign policy."

Professor Richard Dawkins, a leading evolutionary biologist at Oxford University, was quoted by the British Guardian newspaper as saying last week: "When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and (yet they) more or less monopolize American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."

The article quotes shocked Jewish reaction to this, and also reports that Dawkins was also a signatory to the academic boycott of Israel, that led to scholars being fired just for being Israeli.

It's not necessarily antisemitic to criticise Israel, but singling Israel out for special vilification while ignoring far worse violations by their enemies and neighbours certainly counts, as Alan Dershowicz points out in The Case for Israel. It is also insulting to the others, implying that we hold them to lower standards than the Israelis.

Jim Lippard said...

Dawkins has been rightly criticized for his remarks. See this commentary by Orac at the Respectful Insolence blog at Science Blogs, for example.

But I don't see that what Dawkins said constitutes "far more evidence of antisemitism." Dawkins hasn't said that Jews as a group have poor moral character, as Giertych has. He hasn't denied the reality of genocidal actions against Jews, as Giertych has. Why on earth do you think that Dawkins' statement is worse than what Giertych has written?

Ktisophilos said...

Good for you in not defending Dawkins. All the same, this is Protocols of the Elders of Zion stuff, providing much impetus to antisemites for the last century, and is still popular in Arab lands. And already, Dawkins has contributed to the firing of Israeli academics for being Israeli. The Holocaust started from such small beginnings.

And from the links you gave, Giertych has not denied any part of the Holocaust, but whether the Jedwabne massacre was an atrocity committed by Poles, rather than by a Nazi Einsatzgruppe as was thought for decades. There seems to be ongoing debate about this:

"... a detailed study of the event by Polish-Jewish-American sociologist and historian Jan T. Gross, who described the massacre as a pogrom. Gross concluded that, contrary to the official accounts, the Jews in Jedwabne had been rounded up and killed by mobs of their own Polish neighbours, without any supervision or assistance from an Einsatzgruppe or other German force. He referred to the number of victims (1,600) presented on a memorial stone in Jedwabne. Nevertheless Gross states that this massacre could be a provocation, considering that two main local leaders inspiring the mob to murder, Zygmunt Laudański and Karol Bardoń, were NKVD agents.

"Not surprisingly, the book caused enormous controversy in Poland and many people, including historians, questioned its conclusions. Tomasz Strzembosz, Professor of History at the Catholic University of Lublin and at the Polish Academy of Sciences' Institute of Political Studies, argued that though Poles would have been involved, the operation had been supervised by the German forces."

Jim Lippard said...

You're correct that it is a different form of denial--denial of responsibility of a particular group, not denial that the actions occurred at all. I retract that point.

I'm not aware that "Dawkins has contributed to the firing of Israeli academics for being Israeli"--do you have a reference?

Ktisophilos said...

As per the link above:
Fired for being Israeli

Two noted Israeli scholars have been sacked from European journals, victims of a boycott against Israel. Why are progressive intellectuals descending to such bankrupt tactics?


According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 300 European academics have in the past few months signed a petition calling for a boycott of Israeli cultural and research institutions until Israel initiates serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians. There are now several such petitions in circulation on the Internet. One of the most notable was signed by such distinguished intellectuals as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins -- and by 10 Israeli scholars who don't seem to sense the counterproductivity of such a drive.

Jim Lippard said...

An academic boycott seems to me like a stupid and counterproductive idea applied to any country. Academic boycotts should be restricted to individual scholars who engage in unethical research practices.

I think it's legitimate to criticize Israel's political policies, but why punish academics?

Sorry I missed the link the first time you posted it. Links don't come through in the copies of comments that are emailed to me.

Jim Lippard said...

And I guess I should have seen the text, even without the link...

Ktisophilos said...

Agreed. Lots of academics would not agree with their political leaders, so it's crass to punish the academics.

It's also legitimate to criticize Israel's policies. The line I draw is singling them out for criticism for things handled far worse by their enemies.