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Stalin's policies were influenced by Darwin (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Stalin's policies were influenced by Darwin (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CA006.2: Stalin accepted Darwinian evolution, which he used to justify oppression and murder.

Source: AiG, 1988. What happened when Stalin read Darwin? Creation 10(4) (September): 23

(The Creation magazine article is no longer on the AiG web-site, but can still be found on the Creation Ministries International web-site.)

CreationWiki response:

Talk.Origins misrepresents the claim. The article does not say that Stalin used Darwinism to justify oppression an murder. Rather, it says that Stalin's policies and practices resulted from him rejecting his Creator, and that this rejection was a result of reading Darwin.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Stalin rejected neo-Darwinian evolution in favor of Lamarckism.

The point of this response is not clear. Neo-Darwinism is a modification of Darwin's evolution, but Darwin accepted Lamarckism to some extent. The response does not refute that Stalin was influenced by Darwin.

Stalin and Lysenko rejected evolution and genetics for ideological, not biological, reasons.

Is Talk.Origins claiming that Stalin was a creationist? If not, what did he reject evolution in favour of? On the contrary, Stalin rejected a particular formulation of evolution, not evolution itself.

As for his rejection being ideological and not biological, he would have been following in the steps of Darwin who rejected creation for ideological, not biological, reasons.

2. Stalin was, first and foremost, a Marxist dictator, far above any allegiance he might have had to any theories concerning the origin of species, whether Lamarckian or Darwinian.

What does Talk.Origins mean by Stalin's Marxism (a form of atheism) and dictatorship being "first and foremost"? Talk.Origins has not refuted the article's claim that it was evolution that convinced Stalin to become an atheist. Chronologically and causally, at least, it was Stalin's beliefs about origins that led to his Marxism.

3. Oppression and murder have been used as tools of statecraft long before Darwin published his work.

True, but evolution had also been around long before Darwin, and evolution provides intellectual justification for atheism, which, by denying God, denies the absolute standards by which Stalin's atrocities can be considered wrong. People did murder and oppress before Darwin, but without the same degree of justification for doing so.

4. There is no evidence that Darwin's work was used as a justification for oppression and murder. Stalin doubtless accepted Newton's theory of gravity, but creationists do not claim that Newton's theory should be suppressed because Stalin believed it.

This point has several misleading aspects:

  • The article does not claim that Stalin "used" Darwin's work as justification for oppression and murder, as explained above.
  • The article does not claim that evolution should be suppressed. Rather, it is pointing out one of the consequences that belief in evolution has had.
  • The article does not claim anything about evolution "because Stalin believed it". Rather, the criticism of evolution is because of the results that it had.

There are no serious ethical implications with acceptance of the theory of gravity, nor a causal link between gravity and evil. There are, however, serious ethical implications with the acceptance of a theory of origins (such as a form of evolution) that removes any and all ethical foundations that have been established. That is, Newton's ideas are not relevant to morals, whereas ideas that propose that the source of right and wrong doesn't exist has clear implications for morals.

The Creation magazine article provided the evidence of evolution being justification for oppression and murder, contrary to Talk.Origins' claim.