Wednesday 1 June 2011

Eugenics, boo! (Therefore God?)

Moving right along, Chapter 18 of Dembski & Licona's Evidence for God is "Science, Eugenics, and Bioethics" by Richard Weikart. And just like the previous one, this chapter presents no evidence or arguments for God. It seems to be a history of the eugenics movement, with a barely concealed subtext that portrays science as immoral, mentioning Darwin whenever something needs to be labelled as evil. Weikart's essay, however, is not without equivocation:
Eugenics, at least as an organized movement, died out in the mid-twentieth century for a variety of reasons. Biological determinism was in decline in the mid-twentieth century, especially in the fields of psychology and anthropology, but in many other fields too. Also, critics of eugenics were able to capitalize on the shoddy quality of some of the science underpinning eugenics. Nazi atrocities brought eugenics into greater disrepute. Finally, the call for freedom of reproductive choice that accompanied the Sexual Revolution in the 1960s contradicted the compulsory measures advocated by earlier progressives. (p 99.)
Some ambivalence about freedom there, I see.

Not that any of this matters when considering the evidence, or indeed arguments, for God. These chapters, from Chapter 8 up to this one, are in the section titled The Question of Science. I had expected something related to science (something scientific) to be put forward as evidence for God. It's not an unreasonable expectation, I think, that each of the 50 chapters in a book with the strapline "50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science" should actually attempt to do what the cover promises. Whatever your views on eugenics — morally or historically — they have no direct bearing on evidence or arguments for God.

I'm beginning to think that the title of this book is merely a dishonest ploy to present arguments not for God, but against Darwin. Christians of a certain kind seem to be obsessed with Darwin.