Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Perfect Retort

Mark Plus posted a comment last night that included a great idea for the perfect retort to all this Darwin leads to Hitler crap. Here it is:

And on 9/11, the World Trade Center was knocked down by creationists who hate evolution. What’s your point?

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 31, 2006

    Now that I’ve wiped the coffee off my monitor…. that is just awesome.

  2. #2 Jason Kuznicki
    August 31, 2006

    But them’s Muslim creationists. They think that “Allah” created the world in six days. I thinks that God did it…

  3. #3 luna_the_cat
    August 31, 2006

    What gets me about all the “Evolution caused the Holocaust” kerfuffle — why the heck haven’t more people pulled out the “Christianity caused the Holocaust” counter-argument?

    I mean, it’s not as if support for such a statement would be thin on the ground:

    “And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.” –Hitler, Mein Kampf, p.174

    “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” –Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 46

    “I had so often sung ‘Deutschland u:ber Alles’ and shouted ‘Heil’ at the top of my lungs, that it seemed to me almost a belated act of grace to be allowed to stand as a witness in the divine court of the eternal judge and proclaim the sincerity of this conviction.” — Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 5

    “….the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.” — Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 11

    —Just a small sampling. It doesn’t take a lot of looking to find a lot more.

    At that point, of course, if Christians make the defense that speaking with the rhetoric of belief doesn’t mean that he was a “real” Christian, or the defense that any good concept can be misused by people who want to distort it for selfish ends, and that such misuse has no bearing on the truth of the concept…well, then you point out the obvious: that if those defenses apply to Christianity, then they apply equally to evolution; that if you insist that a concept or understanding can’t be blamed for the deliberate misuse of it…you see where I’m going with this, surely.

  4. #4 David Heddle
    August 31, 2006

    First of all, one cannot but agree that it is a fantastic comeback.

    Luna_the_cat,

    What gets me about all the “Evolution caused the Holocaust” kerfuffle — why the heck haven’t more people pulled out the “Christianity caused the Holocaust” counter-argument?

    You’re joking, right? You haven’t seen that counter argument very much? That’s quite surprising. To first order, there are an equal number of “evolution caused the Holocaust” arguments as there are “Christianity caused the Holocaust” arguments because whenever one perspective is offered, it is inevitably countered by the other. Then quotes and links are thrown about–for example I could counter your quotes with recent research (and uncovered documentation) from Rutgers University that show the Nazis included, as part of their master plan, the plan to persecute the church.

    The bottom line is that all such arguments are on shaky ground. Any viewpoint, evolution, Christianity, Islam, whatever, anything can be co-opted for vile purposes. It does not impugn that which was bastardized.

  5. #5 Ed Brayton
    August 31, 2006

    I agree with David. I’ve written a great deal about the evidence tying Hitler to Christianity, but I don’t really blame Christianity for Hitler at all. Hitler’s pathology was far deeper than that, and he was a master manipulator. He used any means at his disposal to justify and sell his plan to others. What I find amazing is how people can make the Darwin/Hitler argument and completely ignore all of that evidence, as though it did not exist.

  6. #6 Curt Rozeboom
    August 31, 2006

    The “Darwin & Evolution led to the Holocaust” argument is their answer to the Salem witch trials and the Crusades being used as an example of Christianity gone bad. If they didn’t try to frame Darwin with the Holocaust, it would be another nail in their own coffin.

  7. #7 Dave S.
    August 31, 2006

    In agree with David and Ed. Hitler said whatever needed to be said to rationalize or get support for his movement. He learned his lessons well, that you don’t put all your political eggs in one basket. It’s much better to make everyone believe that he was on their side. He was evil, not stupid.

    Darwin didn’t cause the Holocaust. Christianity didn’t cause the Holocaust.

    Hitler caused the Holocaust.

  8. #8 luna_the_cat
    August 31, 2006

    Oddly enough, while I’ve seen the Christianity counterargument in a few blogs, I haven’t seen it in enough blogs, nor in print, well, anywhere. I had come away with the impression that it was being underutilised.

    The bottom line is that all such arguments are on shaky ground. Any viewpoint, evolution, Christianity, Islam, whatever, anything can be co-opted for vile purposes. It does not impugn that which was bastardized.

    Well, EXACTLY. That was my point. That was what I had thought the whole Christianity-quote thing should be used for; not to actually “prove” that Christianity was the root of the evil, but to demonstrate to these “Christians” that any viewpoint could be thus co-opted, using something they valued.

    Yes, *I* know that Hitler was the cause of the Holocaust, not Christianity, not evolution, not socialism, not anything but Hitler in combination with a wee dab of historical anti-Semitism and crushing national poverty, and that Hitler was an opportunistic politician who was willing to seize on anything he liked which would support what he already wanted to do; the point is that this is what should be brought home to the idiots who want to pin it on an ideology or a scientific framework of understanding.

    [Going for an all-time record for a run-on sentence, there, I think, yes.]

  9. #9 Skemono
    August 31, 2006

    Darwin didn’t cause the Holocaust. Christianity didn’t cause the Holocaust.

    Hitler caused the Holocaust.

    Something that I think gets overlooked in our fervor to make Hitler the equivalent of Satan is that he didn’t slaughter 11 million people by himself. The entire country of that time bears responsibility for the atrocities committed, so I must wonder… did more of them believe in Christianity or evolution?

    True, Hitler may not have really thought God told him to wipe out all the Jews, gays, Roma, handicapped, etc. But he made those arguments, as you say, to manipulate people who, perhaps, did believe it.

    Just musing.

  10. #10 Dave S.
    August 31, 2006

    Skemono –

    Of course Hitler had a lot of help, but can you imagine the Holocaust happening or continuing to happen in the absence of Hitler, at any point? Who else would have the drive and personality to do it? Himmler would be willing, but who’d be willing to follow him.

    Many had and some still have the blood on their hands of direct responsibility. Others bear guilt because they stood by and did nothing and were only too happy to support the Nazis while Germany seemed to be having it good before the war in spite of the already apparent brutality.

  11. #11 Stogoe
    August 31, 2006

    Hitler had two millenia of hatred for the jews to build on. I’d say he held the whip, but Christianity pulled the sleigh.

  12. #12 Loren Michael
    August 31, 2006

    People were hating and killing the Jews for years all over europe, particularly in the east. In 1919 in Ukrane alone, 60,000 jews were killed. It’s very reasonable to make the assertion that the Nazis simply played on preexisting, Christian, antisemetism.

  13. #13 Ed Brayton
    August 31, 2006

    I think there’s little question that centuries of Christian anti-semitism, particularly in Germany because of Luther’s enormous influence, left fertile soil in which Hitler could plant his mad seed. But that’s a different statement than saying that Christianity is to blame for Hitler, or “caused” the final solution.

  14. #14 Loren Michael
    August 31, 2006

    Apologies for being pretty pedantic, but I think the relationship between Chrstianity and the final solution is pretty solid compared to any conceivable link to evolution. I don’t blame Christianity for Hitler, but there’s a very strong historical connection to the road to the holocaust. Luther for one, and the antisemetic (and very complicit nature of) the catholic church during the time and before.

  15. #15 Dave Fafarman
    September 1, 2006

    The kind of Christianity that takes the rap for anti-Semitism is a half-baked, unserious version of the Christian message. In Christian theology, without the action of the Jewish priests, the whole story falls apart and there is no message. Furthermore, the energy of their condemnation of Jesus was not primarily sadistic or venal; it was based on allegations of blasphemy. From a theological viewpoint, this is a serious knot. Besides, Jesus himself, in extremis, forgave his tormentors and (by implication) forbade his followers to practice revenge (let alone, collective punishment). This is why the evangelicals are not sucked in by it.

    Although evolution is meant as a scientific explanation and not a religious framework, I see it as also bearing a moral message (though not as clear as the Christian one). It is a message of human responsibility for ethical action — that there comes a point in evolution where its creatures “eat from the tree of knowledge” (so to speak) and can no longer act with indifference or cruelty without destroying their own souls.

  16. #16 Kevin Jones
    September 2, 2006

    The bottom line is that all such arguments are on shaky ground. Any viewpoint, evolution, Christianity, Islam, whatever, anything can be co-opted for vile purposes. It does not impugn that which was bastardized.

    Two points-
    First, while it’s true any viewpoint can be corrupted to justify evil, it seems to be that religion is tailor made for such corruptability. Scientific ideas, including evolution, are complicated, often non-intuitive, and full of strange little details that make it difficult to really twist them into a good arguement to say, slaughter your enemies. Religion makes it easy- just invoke God/Allah/Thor/Spagetti Monster.

    On a lighter note, this makes me think of the Simpsons episode where Bart becomes Catholic- at the end there’s a scene from the future where two armies fight, one chanting ‘Peace’ the other chanting ‘Love’.

  17. #17 Dave Fafarman
    September 2, 2006

    BTW, I’d like to say that the Mark Plus comment is a splendid response to the “Darwin-Hitler” connection — very succinct. Though there is essentially zero intersection between the Koran and the Origin of Species, the Islamists still manage to be the locus of much of the evil in the world despite the supposed shortage of inspiration. (Note that I am following CAIR’s demand to not use the term “Islamo-Fascist”, it being degrading to the Fascists after all.) ;-)

  18. #18 Leni
    September 4, 2006

    I don’t think Christianity *made* genocide happen, but if enslaving and killing Jews is your goal then you have whatever excuse you need to do that available in the Bible. Conversely if you wish to save them you also have that available. What you find depends almost entirely on what you want. Maybe that’s why parables aren’t the best way to teach moral lessons.

    Christianity gets a partial exoneration because people will do what they want, and read what the want, regardless of what is actually in the Bible. But since it actually has many direct, unqualified, non-parable statements about, for example, killing or severely punishing people for dubious reasons I think we ought to be a little more critical of it than we would be of a scientific theory which says nothing of the sort. Heightened scrutiny, if you will.

    I hardly need to say this, but there are no moral directives in evolution. There are no parables to interpret, there are no commands from god or prime directives dictated by Nature Herself. The processes itself are undirected, which is decidedly NOT a trait of the Holocaust or of human endeavors in general. You really have to make shit up in order to get an excuse for the Holocaust out of the processes of evolution. It is so patently irrational that I don’t even see a connection, much less a moral directive.

    Which is a vast improvement over specifically commanding people to do such questionable things, and then telling them later not to. And then telling them that they can and should, just not as often as they were previously told. And that if a person is (understandably) unsure about the directives they should request guidance from invisible entities who do not respond to most of our requests. I hate to say this, but even Microsoft’s tech support is better than that. (Just barely though…)

    More seriously- while both can be used for whatever ends an individual chooses, only one of them specifically offers the genocide option.

  19. #19 kehrsam
    September 4, 2006

    Leni said: I don’t think Christianity *made* genocide happen, but if enslaving and killing Jews is your goal then you have whatever excuse you need to do that available in the Bible.

    Other than the eighty-odd references to the Jews being “God’s Chosen People,” I suppose. Christian anti-semitism began early because the rival religions were proselytizing the same populations and in many cities the Jewish community was already well-established and could actively oppose Christian practice. Later, Jews were often the only minority, and hence easy to scapegoat. For Luther, he felt he had to draw a line because he was advocating a religious practice (he believed) closer to the Jewish, and did not want to be accused of being a “Judaizer”, although he was so accused in any case. None of this is a good excuse, but the dynamics are understandable.

    As for there being, “no moral directives in evolution,” this is true as a scientific, but not as a social doctrine. Unfortunately, it was inevitable that evolution would be paired with classical liberalism to promote the notion that evolution was a process of improvement, not merely change. And if species are improving, then surely white Europeans are the highest apogee of that improvement! As a Darwinist and a Liberal (not to mention a Christian!) this pains me, but I really would be more surprized if the argument had not been made.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.