My longtime readers should remember Ellis Washington, the incredibly dishonest right-wing columnist and self-declared “intellectual.” I tangled with him many times, often over his highly dishonest use of quotes that were either out-of-context or just plain fake. So I decided to look up some of his recent columns just for fun. And he’s still got a problem with quotes, even ones that I corrected him on directly more than five years ago.
He has a two-part column called “On Darwin and the eternal lie of evolution atheism.” The phrase “evolution atheism” is, of course, gibberish. He begins by lying about the title of Darwin’s magnum opus, which was “On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.” And he captions an image of the book thusly:
Original title of Darwin’s book on evolution showing his invidious racist intent.
This is such a tired old lie. In that day, the term “races” was often used to mean “species” and that is how Darwin meant it. Darwin was, in fact, quite progressive on the subject of race for his day. He was a passionate opponent of slavery and a critic of racism. The primary support for racism at the time, in fact, was religion. But we’re just getting started on the dishonesty. He then offers this quote:
It [evolution theory] is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaw[s] & holes as sound parts.
~ Darwin (letter to friend Asa Gray, June 1859)
Here’s why I find this amusing. First of all, this is from a letter to TH Huxley, not Asa Gray. Secondly, he pulls it out of context. Here’s the full quote:
My dear Huxley
I meant to have added one other word. You speak of finding a flaw in my hypothesis, & this shows you do not understand its nature. It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaws & holes as sound parts.— My question is whether the rag is worth anything? I think by careful treatment I can carry in it my fruit to market for a short distance over a gentle road; but I fear that you will give the poor rag such a devil of a shake that it will fall all to atoms; & a poor rag is better than nothing to carry one’s fruit to market in— So do not be too ferocious.
Ever yours | Most truly | C. Darwin
This was quite typical of Darwin, who was so insecure about the theory that he had come up with and so fearful that others would tear it down that he did not publish it for many years after he came up with it. He was asking Huxley to evaluate his hypothesis, which he did, of course. Huxley thereafter became perhaps the foremost proponent of common descent by natural selection, so much so that he is still to this day referred to as “Darwin’s bulldog.”
But here’s the kicker: Washington knows this. He knows that the quote was in a letter to Huxley, not Asa Gray. How do I know that? Because I told him that in an email and showed him the original letter. And yet here he is, more than five years later, still telling the same lie.
This is normal behavior for Ellis. I caught him many times using fake quotes in his column. I informed him of those fake quotes by email and he never once issued a correction and kept right on using them. To make this all the more hilarious, he pompously declared to me in an email, “I am not scientist, but a philosopher and an intellectual so the way I approach all bodies of knowledge is from reason and veritas (truth).” A man who has been caught lying repeatedly claims to approach everything from “veritas.” The punchline writes itself.
He then blathers:
On November 24, 1859, Darwin published On the Origin of Species explaining his theory of evolution with sophistic evidence in that his book tried to reconcile evolution based on spontaneous regeneration of the species with the numerous number of scientific denunciations of earlier conceptions of transmutation of species. By the 1870s Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and his second treatise on evolution, The Descent of Man (1871) many prominent members of the scientific community like Thomas Huxley, humanist intellectuals and much of the general public had accepted evolution as fact. On a macro-political level, Darwin’s book on evolution was viewed as the triumph of science over Christianity. Now Marxists, Socialists, Atheists and Progressives had a “scientific” foundation it could use to deconstruct America’s Judeo-Christian traditions in society and replace them with a Darwinian evolution atheist worldview which as the 1900s ensured, they would undertake to do with the zeal of an irredeemable fanatic.
I think this gives you some idea of the man’s intellect. He has nothing intelligent to say about Darwin’s theory, so he only offers false quotes and inane gibberish like claiming that Darwin “tried to reconcile evolution based on spontaneous regeneration of the species.” That he thinks that is an accurate description of what Darwin did shows you just how deep Ellis’ virulent ignorance goes. And since he has nothing intelligent to say, he just demeans his opponents as Marxists and socialists. As if that had anything at all to do with whether evolution is true or not.
Regarding Darwin’s precursors the problem of Social Darwinism and eugenics racism, natural selection and missing links, for example, the basis of analysis appears in his discoveries, his conceptions, and his theory and yet based on my decades of study of Darwin and to many other academics associated with the Intelligent Design movement, Creationism or origins of life ideas independent of Darwinism, his evolution atheist ideas seem inexorably connected to and inseparable from their personal, partisan political, philosophical, and religious expectations, thus having nothing substantive in common with legitimate scientific investigations. In other words, Darwin’s evolution atheism appears to be the fulfillment of the political Left’s overt Romantic longings dating back to the Enlightenment Age (1600-1800). Said another way, Darwinism wasn’t so much a new theory as it was a grand scientific rationalization for the origins of life based on atheism. (Remember, Aristotle, Lucretius and others beat Darwin by 2-3,000 years). Nevertheless, scientific justification or necessity which is the political Left’s reflexive and enduring hatred of Western Civilization’s 4,000+ year reliance on Judeo-Christian suppositions on the origins of life, was the principal reason the scientific establishment of the Victorian age so unthinkingly accepted Darwin’s evolution theory as religious fact.
He does toss a delightful word salad, don’t you think?
On the Origin of Species was the defining work that gave Darwin demigod status in the scientific community and in the highest circles of Victorian society, nevertheless the original title specifies it is not evolution as a comprehensive field theory of biological, or cosmic, history, but the origin of species with which Darwin appears to be primarily concerned. He is concerned with proving the fact that new species do evolve over the course of time, counter to those (including Christianity) who presuppose the species of living things to be fixed in number and unchangeable in kind from antiquity to the present age.
Uh, what? Why would he think that Christianity presupposes that species are fixed in number and are unchangeable? Even young earth creationists do not believe that, for crying out loud (in fact, they have to believe in hyper-evolution in order to get from two of every “kind” on the ark to the millions of species living today). Old earth creationists and ID-type theistic evolutionists don’t believe that either. Again, Washington is just babbling about things he has no knowledge of.
He just goes on and on like this, one incoherent and ignorant paragraph after another. After many years of paying no attention to this clueless dolt, it’s nice to see that he hasn’t changed a bit.