Saturday, August 24, 2013

Avalos v Weikart Darwin and Hitler BEST CHECK

This debate ( audio | 35m41s ) took place on the radio in 2008 and it concerned the link between Darwin and Hitler. It pitted Hector Avalos versus Historian Richard Weikart.

DB:  2m28s

4.75 stars. BEST CHECK

PhilVaz 3/5
APF review: 3.5/5

This is a short debate that took place on the radio in 2008. Though it's the radio, it was set up as a formal debate between Avalos and Weikart. In 2008, the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in the Classroom came out. I actually saw it in the movie theaters and it was pretty bad. Besides saying that science is purposely censoring ID, the movie also makes connections between Darwinism and Hitler. This is nothing new, but one of the more resent academics to exploit this misconception is Richard Weikart, who wrote From Darwin to Hitler, a book used in the movie.

Hector Avalos asked to debate Weikart about this and so here we are. Weikart's arguments are still pretty weak and unconvincing. He certainly has a knowledge of German thought and history around the time contemporary with Hitler and the height of eugenics, but his complete ignorance of the more obvious influences on the racial ideology and propaganda promoted in Nazi Germany is just too glaring and Avalos does a great job of pointing this out.

If you listened to the later debate that these two had on Unbelievable in 2011 (that I review here) you're gonna hear more of the same stuff. I actually think Weikart does a little better in that one, though not by much.

Weikart comes off as a little too dismissive too when he does briefly address Avalos' arguments: at one point he argues that Martin Luther's call for the murder of Jews was only specific to Jewish rabbis which thereby renders it nothing like Hitler's policies is kinda laughable. Avalos also does a great job of showing how tactically stupid it would be to use Darwinism as the main force of indoctrinating a nation to hate different ethnic groups when religion has such a stronger hold on a given population and is so much more accessible. I mean, why argue from a scientific theory little understood by a general population than from a religious doctrine that is so important to the lives of the members of that population? The fact that Kristallnacht happened on Luther's birthday, Luther was both a German and religious hero AND Hitler lists him as one of his heroes doesn't really help Weikart's case, either.

Again, the only issue with Avalos' side that I have is his style. His responses are effective and well argued, but he has a tendency to present his speeches in a way that make it seem like he isn't really addressing his opponent's arguments. I can sympathize with someone who was persuaded by Craig in his debate with Avalos and with Weikart in this debate, when they stated that Avalos failed to address their arguments. Though Avalos does a little better in this debate and his own arguments were just too damning.

Technical: Great AQ because it's radio.

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