Anyone who watches a lot of reality TV in America or just haphazardly turns the channel to TLC for a few seconds has heard of or seen the show 19 Kids and Counting. I can summarize the show in two ways: (1) a mother and father of Christian background raise 19 children, and look forward to even more, in similar backgrounds, raising them with unconventional parenting methods that are intended to keep them pure and faithful; or, (2) two Young Earth Creationists (YECs), one of them a breeding hub, raise 19 children under strict Christian morals, albeit somewhat hypocritically, and force them to live and act exactly the way they want them to.
|Smiles? Yes. Smarts? No.|
I could go on about most of this and how their methods are not only ineffective for what they're trying to accomplish, but also harmful to their children's psyche and upbringing (in fact, I may make a post about that in the future, as it pertains to psychology). I could also go on about the number of other families who do this, such as the Bates family from United Bates of America (blech!). But let's get into the good stuff.
So of course, as I mentioned, they're YECs. That means they believe Earth was created 6,000 years ago by the Christian God, and all life came from that time. They believe in the flood, in Jesus, etc. etc. They don't believe in evolution, the Big Bang, etc. etc. If I'm not mistaken, they've actually gone to the Creation Museum and met the lovely Ken Ham, who is the foremost scholar in Biblical Creationism. Stemming from their faith is also their stance on many political/social issues, including gay marriage and abortion.
It's no surprise, then, that a month ago, one of the Duggar daughters stirred up a hive on Instagram when she compared abortion to the Holocaust, and blamed evolutionary theory for the Holocaust.
Now, let me be entirely clear before I continue on with this: I don't hold any malice towards the Duggar children. They've been raised in a toxic household that has kept them from thinking for themselves or straying away from their upbringing and towards anywhere near valid reasoning, or at least some scientific insight. Their fate can only be summed up as inevitable ignorance as a result of their sheltered lifestyle; thus, I don't personally find the children at fault for any of what they say, but rather I blame the parents, and possibly their parents' parents. In my opinion, what they've done to these children is sickening, and the fact that the media glorifies this family as though it's something to behold is even worse.
Moving on, it was widely criticized when Jessa Duggar made a post on Instragram after visiting the Holocaust Museum. This is what she said:
"I walked through the Holocaust Museum again today… very sobering. Millions of innocents denied the most basic and fundamental of all rights — their right to life. One human destroying the life of another deemed ‘less than human.’ Racism, stemming from the evolutionary idea that man came from something less than human; that some people groups are ‘more evolved’ and others 'less evolved.'
So they’re murdered. Slaughtered. Kids with Down syndrome or other disabilities. The sickly. The elderly. The sanctity of human life varies not in sickness or health, poverty or wealth, elderly or pre-born, little or lots of melanin [making you darker or lighter skinned], or any other factor. … May we never sit idly by and allow such an atrocity to happen again. Not this generation. We must be a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Because EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS. #ProLife"Of course, I have to appreciate her opposition to racism and her support for the sick and the poor, on top of a few other things, but there are too many things inherently wrong with her statements that it casts shadow over the positive. That's the purpose of this post: to review the things she said and explain why they're nonsensical. Let's examine the first paragraph to begin.
|Anti-evolution propaganda doesn't understand evolution.|
That's just genocide, though: racism has existed far longer than evolutionary theory has. The most ironic example I could probably think of right now would be the Curse of Ham. Simply put, the Curse of Ham in the Bible has been interpreted since as early as the 9th century as justification for sub-Saharan African inferiority -- that they are the cursed descendants of Ham in the Bible; those with black skin. Of course, this isn't an accurate interpretation of that passage, but it serves the point. I suspect that Jessa's parents, who would never want their children exposed to the horrors that Christianity has exacerbated or influenced, didn't tell them about this.
So it's obvious that racism does not come from evolutionary theory, but then there comes the second implication of Jessa's statement: that evolutionary theory is racist at all. It's actually not. The interpretation that some humans are "less evolved" than others is not a part of original evolutionary theory, but was extrapolated from it to form the social theory of unilineal evolution. Some creatures are not "more" or "less" evolved than others because evolution doesn't work in stages, and does not have an ultimate stance on best, worst, least or most. Organisms evolve to fit their environment so they can survive and reproduce; thus, it is incorrect to say anything is "more evolved" than something else, simply because evolution is not a necessarily quantitative process. The idea that some races are "less evolved" than others, then, is a misrepresentation of evolutionary theory that was used to justify racism and genocide during that era. It also led to some pretty interesting economic theories, but that's beyond the scope of this post.
On a side note, I'd like to comment on her notion that racism was perpetuated by the idea that humans evolved from something "less than human." I don't even see how this favours one race over another; it just says that humans were not human before they became human. Nothing to do with black, white, or teal.
In the second paragraph, Jessa basically draws upon emotional appeal to make the comparison between the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust to abortion, and then hashtags "prolife." This is beyond insulting; it's a shameful, derogatory attack against mothers who have had abortions or may consider getting abortions, and is disgraceful and demeaning to the victims of the Holocaust. Beyond it's emotional implications, the claim is just wrong.
|No I'm not Wendy Davis. Nor do I support her.|
But I get it: the comparison isn't to say that abortion is a real genocide, just that it's the heartless murder of millions of unborn children. The problem is that this is just an appeal to emotion, and is outside the realm of practical or realistic debate. Whether you see the murder of an unborn fetus as morally wrong or not isn't substantive. Beyond this, I could get into a ceaseless debate about abortion, but let me just keep it frank:
Get out of my vagina.
For the purposes of this post, however, I think we've covered enough ground. Some people may prompt me to blame the child for her beliefs since she could've ingeniously come up with them on her own, and was simply told "abortion is murder" by her parents. Some people might say that, but not many, and it's not surprising why: this isn't the first time a Duggar has compared abortion to genocide, and in fact it was the mother who started this trend.
There's a lot to take from this event. First and foremost is that the Duggars (the parents) are vile idiots who should be condemned, not celebrated, for what they're doing to their children. The second is that everything controversial Jessa said was just factually incorrect. The third is that I may now have two posts coming for you in the future: the psychological consequences of the Duggars' way of raising children, and the argument in favour of abortion (which probably won't be new to most of you, but I promise to keep things interesting).
For now, thank you all very much for reading.
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