I woke up this morning with pictures in my head of Dr. Bergman waving around that copy of "Hitler's Ethic," needing us to understand that no scientists openly resisted Hitler; needing us to acknowledge that this was somehow supportive of the case for intelligent design. It made me wonder about the lengths to which people will go, in order to maintain belief.
That length for arguing against atheism is often Hitler, and now I guess it works for creationism, too. He's the worst example of palpable human evil that we can come up with, and the events of the Holocaust happened practically yesterday in the scope of time.
It's pretty extreme, I think, and it's meant to be a trump card: you don't believe in God? Well, Hitler was an atheist. So there. You use science to achieve knowledge? So did Hitler. So there.
Hitler has become the biggest "So there" in the history of debating.
And the thing is, it's not an argument. Even if it were true that no scientists openly opposed Hitler, it would not mean that scientists are bad or science is wrong. Even if it were true that Hitler was an atheist, it would not make atheists bad or atheism wrong.
Plus, I don't see that it's helpful to their own argument: saying that scientists supported Hitler and then bragging about all the scientists who support you.
It has made me wonder about myself: are there beliefs* that I hold onto, only seeking out evidence that supports that belief and denying everything else? I'll be thinking about that for awhile as I evaluate the world around me and my reactions to it and assumptions about it, and if only for that reason, last night's debate was a good thing.
*by "belief" here, I mean assumptions about the way things are, that are held based mainly on emotion. I do not "believe" in evolution; evolution is a fact that is not there for me to believe or disbelieve. It is there to be understood and studied.