Francis Collins Repudiates D. James Kennedy’s Darwin = Hitler Prog

From Pharyngula:

A reader wrote to Francis Collins about the use of his name to promote D. James Kennedy’s upcoming ahistorical anti-evolution program, and Collins wrote right back. He’s doing exactly the right thing.

Collins did not wish for his written response to become public, but

…He’s unambiguous in stating that he was interviewed about his book, and that was then inserted into the video without his knowledge.

…I apologize to Dr Collins for assuming he was a party to this creationist video, and I hope he sues those frauds.


UPDATE: Collins is “appalled”; the ADL condemn “trivialization of the Holocaust”. See this entry.

Human Genome Project Director to Appear on TV Show Linking Darwin to Hitler

D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries is preparing its latest volley in the war against science: a new TV programme which will show that Charles Darwin was responsible for Adolf Hitler. WND reports (link added):

“This show basically is about the social effects of Darwinism, and shows this idea, which is scientifically bankrupt, has probably been responsible for more bloodshed than anything else in the history of humanity,” Jerry Newcomb[e], one of two co-producers, told WorldNetDaily.

…Co-producer Jerry Newcomb[e] said before the advent of Darwinian beliefs, the basic concept was that man was made in the image of God, and was therefore valuable. But Darwin changed all that.

Newcombe’s co-producer is John Rabe, who has a blog here. The TV show was inspired by book by Richard Weikart, who lays out his case in a trailer:

Adolf Hitler was clearly trying to speed evolution along, and he wasn’t the only one. He was drawing on what many other scholars, biologists, geneticists, in Germany were also preaching and teaching in the early twentieth century. Natural selection was a guiding idea for Hitler and the Nazis, in fact if you read just about any books about the Holocaust, you come across the word “selection”, because in the camps that’s exactly what they did, they used the term, and the term was related directly to Darwinian terminology, that when you went to the camps you went through a selection process. They were selecting this person to survive, and this person to go to the gas chambers.

However, Weikart does not tell us whether the idea of the fittest organism being the most likely to survive in a given environment is in fact a myth created by proto-Nazis, or whether it is true but immoral and wicked for us to make such an observation. PZ Myers at Pharyngula responds:

How absurd can you get? Racism, anti-semitism, and ethnic cleansing long preceded Darwin, and the idea of selection was common to anyone who had domesticated and bred plants and animals. They might as well have claimed, “no farming, no Nazis” (although I think even that would be dubious—hunter-gatherers also have enemy tribes, and will kill to get rid of the competition.).

PZ also draws attention to the programme’s line-up (his emphasis, links added):

The one-hour program features Ann Coulter, author of Godless; Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler; Lee Strobel, author of The Case for a Creator; Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution; Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial; Michael Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box; Ian Taylor, author of In the Minds of Men, and Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project.

Collins has recently become a religious believer, and his book The Language of God is to be published in September. However, Collins’ new Christian faith is somewhat mystical, and he is not a proponent of either “Intelligent Design” or of the Young Earth Creationism promoted by Kennedy and his allies. So why is he now apparently lending support to a fundamentalist project which, judging from the trailer, is concerned purely with using hysterical and slanderous rhetoric to promote fear and hatred of science and scientists?

UPDATE: Answer: he’s not – see here.