Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Atheism, Materialism Make You Stupid, Evil

That seems to be the point of this post on Evolution News and Views. The subject is Larry Darby and his opposition to Alabama's attempts to introduce ID into science classes.

As for Alabama's attempted 'Academic Freedom' bills, I've commented on them here. Darby, as we all know by now, is the holocaust denying wacko running as a Democrat for A.G.

The post describes Darby:

Increased attention has been paid to Mr. Darby because of his campaign to become Attorney General of Alabama. Most of the spotlight has been on his outrageous views about the Holocaust. According to "Candidate: Holocaust didn't happen" (by Jay Reeves [Associated Press], Montgomery Advertiser, May 13, 2006), Mr. Darby apparently claims that only 140,000 Jews died in the Holocaust, and that most of those deaths resulted from typhus. This is Holocaust denial in all its ugly un-glory. Previously, Mr. Darby had made national headlines for calling AL Governor Bob Riley's prayer meetings "Christian terrorism."

The very next sentence states:

But through it all, Mr. Darby's die-hard commitment to philosophical materialism has made him one of the fiercest critics of Alabama's Academic Freedom Act. "Science deals with materialism," he reportedly said at that 2004 House Committee hearing.

Although the Alabama Academic Freedom Bill does not mandate or call for the teaching of the theory of intelligent design, Mr. Darby has been a staunch critic of ID all along. He has been a featured speaker and participant at events sponsored by the "Atheist Alliance" that included emphatic denunciations of ID. Most interesting is Mr. Darby's appearance at the Alabama "Rally for Reason," alongside Jeffrey Selman. The rally was sponsored by the Atheist Law Center, of which Mr. Darby is apparently past-president.

So what does the first quote have to do with the second? Is Evolution News & Views telling us that holocaust denial, atheism and opposition to teaching ID are morally and intellectually equivalent? Or that the three are inherently related? Or both? Your guess is as good as mine.

The post never explains how the three are related. All it tells us is that one guy happens to hold to all three positions. From that, I suppose, we are to infer that the three are somehow causally connected.

But that a person holds two ideas simultaneously does not necessarily mean those ideas are related at all, never mind causally related. Darby, for example, in addition to denying the holocaust wants to put National Guard Troops on the border to control immigration. Does that necessarily mean that if you want troops on the border you are also a holocaust denier? Darby also probably believes two and two equals four. Does that mean holocaust denial has anything to do with basic math?

Besides, in practice I'm sure about 99.9% of atheists and ID opponents would strongly condemn Darby for his holocaust denial. Evolution News & Views ought to be ashamed of itself for so irresponsibly trying to tar people who disagree with its views on creation. At the least, they could have tried to support the charges with some arguments.