Pharyngula

Douglas Theobald passed along an interesting collection of quotes from that atheist evolutionist, Adolph Hitler. It’s particularly interesting the he outlawed atheist and freethought groups in 1933.

It’s a long list of quotes, so I’ll tuck it below the fold.


“The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement)
was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty
Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

[Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]

“I have followed [the Church] in giving our party program the
character of unalterable finality, like the Creed. The Church has
never allowed the Creed to be interfered with. It is fifteen hundred
years since it was formulated, but every suggestion for its
amendment, every logical criticism, or attack on it, has been
rejected. The Church has realized that anything and everything can be
built up on a document of that sort, no matter how contradictory or
irreconcilable with it. The faithful will swallow it whole, so long
as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it.”

[Adolf Hitler, from Rauschning, _The Voice of Destruction_, pp. 239-40]

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a
fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded
by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and
summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest
not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian
and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord
at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the
Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight
against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with
deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact
that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As
a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is
anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is
the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty
to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and
work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only
for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning
and see these men standing in their queues and look into their
pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very
devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two
thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people
are plundered and exposed.”

[Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a
political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on
his personal Christian feelings. Published in “My New Order”, quoted
in Freethought Today April 1990]

“I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of
the Almighty Creator.”

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

“What we have to fight for…is the freedom and independence of the
fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission
assigned to it by the Creator.”

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 125]

“This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the
practical existence of a religious belief.”

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.152]

“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.”

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.174]

“Catholics and Protestants are fighting with one another… while the
enemy of Aryan humanity and all Christendom is laughing up his sleeve.”

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.309]

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so”

[Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]

“Any violence which does not spring from a spiritual base, will be
wavering and uncertain. It lacks the stability which can only rest in
a fanatical outlook.”

[Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, p. 171]

“I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn
splendor of the brilliant church festivals. As was only natural, the
abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my
father, the highest and most desirable ideal.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 1]

“I was not in agreement with the sharp anti-Semitic tone, but from
time to time I read arguments which gave me some food for thought. At
all events, these occasions slowly made me acquainted with the man
and the movement, which in those days guided Vienna’s destinies: Dr.
Karl Lueger and the Christian Social Party.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 2]

“…the unprecedented rise of the Christian Social Party… was to
assume the deepest significance for me as a classical object of study.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“As long as leadership from above was not lacking, the people
fulfilled their duty and obligation overwhelmingly. Whether
Protestant pastor or Catholic priest, both together and particularly
at the first flare, there really existed in both camps but a single
holy German Reich, for whose existence and future each man turned to
his own heaven.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“Political parties has nothing to do with religious problems, as long
as these are not alien to the nation, undermining the morals and
ethics of the race; just as religion cannot be amalgamated with the
scheming of political parties.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“For the political leader the religious doctrines and institutions of
his people must always remain inviolable; or else has no right to be
in politics, but should become a reformer, if he has what it takes!

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“In nearly all the matters in which the Pan-German movement was
wanting, the attitude of the Christian Social Party was correct and
well-planned.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“It [Christian Social Party] recognized the value of large-scale
propaganda and was a virtuoso in influencing the psychological
instincts of the broad masses of its adherents.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

“If Dr. Karl Lueger had lived in Germany, he would have been ranked
among the great minds of our people.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 3, about the leader of
the Christian Social movement]

“Even today I am not ashamed to say that, overpowered by stormy
enthusiasm, I fell down on my knees and thanked Heaven from an
overflowing heart for granting me the good fortune of being permitted
to live at this time.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 5]

“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.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 5]

“Only in the steady and constant application of force lies the very
first prerequisite for success. This persistence, however, can always
and only arise from a definite spiritual conviction. Any violence
which does not spring from a firm, spiritual base, will be wavering
and uncertain.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 5]

“I soon realized that the correct use of propaganda is a true art
which has remained practically unknown to the bourgeois parties. Only
the Christian- Social movement, especially in Lueger’s time achieved
a certain virtuosity on this instrument, to which it owed many of its
success.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 6]

“Once again the songs of the fatherland roared to the heavens along
the endless marching columns, and for the last time the Lord’s grace
smiled on His ungrateful children.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 7, reflecting on World
War I]

“The more abstractly correct and hence powerful this idea will be,
the more impossible remains its complete fulfillment as long as it
continues to depend on human beings… If this were not so, the
founders of religion could not be counted among the greatest men of
this earth… In its workings, even the religion of love is only the
weak reflection of the will of its exalted founder; its significance,
however, lies in the direction which it attempted to give to a
universal human development of culture, ethics, and morality.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 8]

“To them belong, not only the truly great statesmen, but all other
great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great stands Martin
Luther as well as Richard Wagner.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 8]

“The fight against syphilis demands a fight against prostitution,
against prejudices, old habits, against previous conceptions, general
views among them not least the false prudery of certain circles. The
first prerequisite for even the moral right to combat these things is
the facilitation of earlier marriage for the coming generation. In
late marriage alone lies the compulsion to retain an institution
which, twist and turn as you like, is and remains a disgrace to
humanity, an institution which is damned ill-suited to a being who
with his usual modesty likes to regard himself as the ‘image’ of God.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 10]

“Parallel to the training of the body a struggle against the
poisoning of the soul must begin. Our whole public life today is like
a hothouse for sexual ideas and simulations. Just look at the bill of
fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theaters, and you will
hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food,
particularly for the youth…Theater, art, literature, cinema, press,
posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations
of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political,
and cultural idea.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 10, echoing the Cultural
Warfare rhetoric of the Religious Right]

“But if out of smugness, or even cowardice, this battle is not fought
to its end, then take a look at the peoples five hundred years from
now. I think you will find but few images of God, unless you want to
profane the Almighty.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 10]

“While both denominations maintain missions in Asia and Africa in
order to win new followers for their doctrine– an activity which can
boast but very modest success compared to the advance of the
Mohammedan faith in particular– right here in Europe they lose
millions and millions of inward adherents who either are alien to all
religious life or simply go their own ways. The consequences,
particularly from a moral point of view, are not favorable.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 10]

“The great masses of people do not consist of philosophers; precisely
for the masses, faith is often the sole foundation of a moral
attitude. The various substitutes have not proved so successful from
the standpoint of results that they could be regarded as a useful
replacement for previous religious creeds. But if religious doctrine
and faith are really to embrace the broad masses, the unconditional
authority of the content of this faith is the foundation of all
efficacy.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 10]

“Due to his own original special nature, the Jew cannot possess a
religious institution, if for no other reason because he lacks
idealism in any form, and hence belief in a hereafter is absolutely
foreign to him. And a religion in the Aryan sense cannot be imagined
which lacks the conviction of survival after death in some form.
Indeed, the Talmud is not a book to prepare a man for the hereafter,
but only for a practical and profitable life in this world.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 11]

“The best characterization is provided by the product of this
religious education, the Jew himself. His life is only of this world,
and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his
nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the
new doctrine. Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude
toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took the whip to
drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who
then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his
business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while
our present-day party Christians debase themselves to begging for
Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles
with atheistic Jewish parties– and this against their own nation.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 11]

“….the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil
assumes the living shape of the Jew.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 1, Chapter 11, precisely echoing
Martin Luther’s teachings]

“Faith is harder to shake than knowledge, love succumbs less to
change than respect, hate is more enduring than aversion, and the
impetus to the mightiest upheavals on this earth has at all times
consisted less in a scientific knowledge dominating the masses than
in a fanaticism which inspired them and sometimes in a hysteria which
drove them forward.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

“The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this
world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which,
fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its
will against all others.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

“The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations
for compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient
world, but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for
its own doctrine.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

“All in all, this whole period of winter 1919-20 was a single
struggle to strengthen confidence in the victorious might of the
young movement and raise it to that fanaticism of faith which can
move mountains.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

“Thus inwardly armed with confidence in God and the unshakable
stupidity of the voting citizenry, the politicians can begin the
fight for the ‘remaking’ of the Reich as they call it.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 1]

“Of course, even the general designation ‘religious’ includes various
basic ideas or convictions, for example, the indestructibility of the
soul, the eternity of its existence, the existence of a higher being,
etc. But all these ideas, regardless of how convincing they may be
for the individual, are submitted to the critical examination of this
individual and hence to a fluctuating affirmation or negation until
emotional divination or knowledge assumes the binding force of
apodictic faith. This, above all, is the fighting factor which makes
a breach and opens the way for the recognition of basic religious
views.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 1]

“Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord
commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and
contributes to the expulsion from paradise.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 1]

“A folkish state must therefore begin by raising marriage from the
level of a continuous defilement of the race, and give it the
consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images
of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

“It would be more in keeping with the intention of the noblest man in
this world if our two Christian churches, instead of annoying Negroes
with missions which they neither desire nor understand, would kindly,
but in all seriousness, teach our European humanity that where
parents are not healthy it is a deed pleasing to God to take pity on
a poor little healthy orphan child and give him father and mother,
than themselves to give birth to a sick child who will only bring
unhappiness and suffering on himself and the rest of the world.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

“That this is possible may not be denied in a world where hundreds
and hundreds of thousands of people voluntarily submit to celibacy,
obligated and bound by nothing except the injunction of the Church.
Should the same renunciation not be possible if this injunction is
replaced by the admonition finally to put an end to the constant and
continuous original sin of racial poisoning, and to give the Almighty
Creator beings such as He Himself created?”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

“For the greatest revolutionary changes on this earth would not have
been thinkable if their motive force, instead of fanatical, yes,
hysterical passion, had been merely the bourgeois virtues of law and
order.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

“It doesn’t dawn on this depraved bourgeois world that this is
positively a sin against all reason; that it is criminal lunacy to
keep on drilling a born half-ape until people think they have made a
lawyer out of him, while millions of members of the highest culture-
race must remain in entirely unworthy positions; that it is a sin
against the will of the Eternal Creator if His most gifted beings by
the hundreds and hundreds of thousands are allowed to degenerate in
the present proletarian morass, while Hottentots and Zulu Kaffirs are
trained for intellectual professions.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

“It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life,
but the time will come when man will again bow down before a higher
god.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

“Christianity could not content itself with building up its own
altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the
heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its
apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute
presupposition.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 5]

“For how shall we fill people with blind faith in the correctness of
a doctrine, if we ourselves spread uncertainty and doubt by constant
changes in its outward structure? …Here, too, we can learn by the
example of the Catholic Church. Though its doctrinal edifice, and in
part quite superfluously, comes into collision with exact science and
research, it is none the less unwilling to sacrifice so much as one
little syllable of its dogmas… it is only such dogmas which lend to
the whole body the character of a faith.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 5]

“The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in
his own denomination, of making people stop just talking
superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not
let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form,
their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is
declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 10]

“In the ranks of the movement [National Socialist movement], the most
devout Protestant could sit beside the most devout Catholic, without
coming into the slightest conflict with his religious convictions.
The mighty common struggle which both carried on against the
destroyer of Aryan humanity had, on the contrary, taught them
mutually to respect and esteem one another.”

[Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 10]

“For this, to be sure, from the child’s primer down to the last
newspaper, every theater and every movie house, every advertising
pillar and every billboard, must be pressed into the service of this
one great mission, until the timorous prayer of our present parlor
patriots: ‘Lord, make us free!’ is transformed in the brain of the
smallest boy into the burning plea: ‘Almighty God, bless our arms
when the time comes; be just as thou hast always been; judge now
whether we be deserving of freedom; Lord, bless our battle!’

[Adolf Hitler’s prayer, “Mein Kampf”, Vol. 2 Chapter 13]

“The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral
purification of our public life, are creating and securing the
conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life”

[Adolph Hitler, in a speech to the Reichstag on March 23, 1933]

“ATHEIST HALL CONVERTED

Berlin Churches Establish Bureau to Win Back Worshippers

Wireless to the New York Times.

BERLIN, May 13. – In Freethinkers Hall, which before the Nazi
resurgence was the national headquarters of the German Freethinkers
League, the Berlin Protestant church authorities have opened a bureau
for advice to the public in church matters. Its chief object is to
win back former churchgoers and assist those who have not previously
belonged to any religious congregation in obtaining church membership.

The German Freethinkers League, which was swept away by the national
revolution, was the largest of such organizations in Germany. It had
about 500,000 members …”

[New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 2, on Hitler’s outlawing of
atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933,
after the Enabling Act authorizing Hitler to rule by decree]

“I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a
sleepwalker.”

[Adolf Hitler, Speech, 15 March 1936, Munich, Germany.]

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost
duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It
will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation
has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our
national morality, and the family as the basis of national life….”

[Adolf Hitler, Berlin, February 1, 1933]

“Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge
that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy
Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian
spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in
literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to
burn out the *poison of immorality* which has entered into our whole
life and culture as a result of *liberal excess* during the past …
(few) years.”

[The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford
University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872]

I can imagine a few objections that will be raised.

Objection! Hitler was no true Christian.
Reply: None of them are.

Objection! Christians don’t commit genocide.
Reply: Look up the Albigensians, review your history of the Crusades, and what about the Jews of Spain? Did Darwin coin the word “pogrom”?

Objection! Hitler was merely cynically manipulating the German people by using their beliefs in God.
Reply: I’d say something similar of his misuse of scientific theory.

Objection! You’re doing the same thing we are, only instead of blaming Darwinism, you’re blaming Christianity.
Reply: No, I think humans have done evil throughout their history, and are always willing to grab any convenient rationalization for their behavior, whether it’s science or religion or twinkies. Science doesn’t dictate morality, and it’s also rather clear that religion does a piss-poor job of it, too.

Objection! But evolution is a scientific theory that has more rhetorical and philosophical power than mere religion, and therefore must bear a greater weight of responsibility.
Reply: I don’t think the kind of people who blame mass murder on evolution will actually make this argument. Still, I’d just say what is, is. Science describes it and explains it, but doesn’t tell us what we should do with it.

Comments

  1. #1 John M. Price
    August 23, 2006

    You might find another objection based on the book ‘Table Talk’ which is purportedly Hitler relaxed with very close friends and cohorts in the movement. There he is said to deny Christendom as something to manipulate. (By supposed actual quotes.)

    Personally, I am not too sure I’d weight that greatly, but it must be part of the record.

  2. #2 Roman
    August 23, 2006

    Adolf, not Adolph.

  3. #3 Ryogam
    August 23, 2006

    Never let facts stand in the way of a good story.

  4. #4 Goldstein
    August 23, 2006

    Take a look at Inside the Third Reich, by Albert Speer, who pretty much spilled his guts and took the blame at Nurember.

    He relates that Hitler despised Christianity, despised the pastors, thought that Christianity was a Jewish inventin like Communism, and looked forward to the day when, after he had won the war, he could turn on the church.

    As for his public statements above, so what? Like most politicians, Hitler was a liar.

  5. #5 Gerard Harbison
    August 23, 2006

    Just be aware that many of the apparently anti-Christian passages in the English translation of Table Talk, edited by Hugh Trevor Roper in 1953, are fake. Richard Carrier has done a wonderful job tracking this down:

    http://ffrf.org/fttoday/2002/nov02/carrier.php

    German Studies Review 26 (2003) 561-576.

    If you work from an authentic version of the Hitler transcripts, available only in the original German, you find that in four years, while Hitler discussed Christianity at least a score times, often in extended, rambling monologues, he did not mention Darwin’s name once (at least according to the index of persons) and the subject of ‘Darwinism’ is indexed in the subject index five times. Reading the text, I actually don’t regard the segments indexed as having anything to do with evolution.

    Hitler was quite interested in and voluble on the subject of Christianity, and while he wanted to remake the religion in his own fashion, it is clear he believed in a personal God, Jesus Christ, original sin, and redemption. A heretical and distinctly irreverend Christian perhaps, but a Christian nonetheless.

    (Trevor-Roper, who did not himself speak German, was apparently fooled by a Swiss Nazi by the name of Genoud, who added material that he though Hitler should have said, to a French translation he prepared; and by his own translators, who worked from the French tranlation rather than the German, and thus reproduced the fabrications. Trevor-Roper lated authenticated the ‘Hitler Diaries’. He may have been the most gullible historian of the 20th century.)

  6. #6 TheBrummell
    August 23, 2006

    Now, the cretinists will claim that you love Hitler, since you’ve abundandly quoted him. Thanks for the list, I thought such was out there somewhere; it is convenient to have all these in one place.

    When one’s rhetorical opponent is pathologically incapable of reasoned analysis, or comprehension of any new idea, it becomes easy to predict their next move. This is why I avoid any contact with the UnReality based community (eg, anybody who describes themselves as “deeply” religous).

  7. #7 Steve Watson
    August 23, 2006

    Re: Table Talk, I seem to recall hearing that disputed as a forgery, though I may be confusing it with something else. Be that as it may, I have the impression Hitler’s idea of Christianity was not the most orthodox, but there’s little doubt a lot of his inspiration came out of the tradition.

    However, according to this news item I just read, we have a new question to ponder: did Hitler like vindaloo?
    (File under: Wierdness)

  8. #8 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    As for his public statements above, so what? Like most politicians, Hitler was a liar.

    So when Hitler says things you want to hear, he was telling the truth, whereas when he said something inconvenient for you, that’s him lying. Glad you’re just a nobody troll and not a historian.

  9. #9 Owlmirror
    August 23, 2006

    You might find another objection based on the book ‘Table Talk’

    Since I was searching for Hitler quotes recently (regarding Sparta), I found this, which gives more detail about those private conversations, and two quotes in particular.

    http://forums.randi.org/archive/index.php/t-167.html

    Although I just now refreshed and saw the comment from Gerard Harbison about them being probably forgeries, so throw in some salt.

    Oh, and Hitler’s (unsourced) quote about Sparta (so it may also be from a less-than-entirely honest source) was:

    The abandonment of sick, puny and misshapen children by the Spartans was more humanitarian and, in reality, a thousand times more humane than the pitiful madness of our present time where the most sickly subjects are preserved at any price only to be followed by the breeding of a race from degenerates burdened with disease.

    http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/n-s/spartans4.html

    However, we do know that the Nazis also killed the disabled, so regardless of whether Hitler said the above, he certainly acted in accord with its sentiment.

  10. #10 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    It’s been pointed out a million times, and the wingnuts always ignore it, but Hitler’s attitudes toward the Jews trace right back to Martin Luther:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_the_Jews

  11. #11 Owlmirror
    August 23, 2006

    Sorry, wrong URL above. It should be:

    http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/n-s/spartans1.html

    And it’s a long page; the quote is about midway down.

  12. #12 anon
    August 23, 2006

    Objection! Hitler was merely cynically manipulating the German people by using their beliefs in God.
    Reply: I’d say something similar of his misuse of scientific theory.

    and

    As for his public statements above, so what? Like most politicians, Hitler was a liar.

  13. #13 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    The following are the standard sites detailing Hitler’s Christian beliefs:

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/quotes_hitler.html

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

    The first one has a bunch of very good links at the bottom of the page, including a link to that analysis of the Table Talks.

  14. #14 Goldstein
    August 23, 2006

    Notice that anything that helps the argument that Hitler was a Christian is good stuff and any contradictory evidence is claimed to be faked?

    Who ya kiddin? Carrier has an agenda: hes no more objective than Dawkins is on religion.

    Look at Speers remarks on Hitlers views of Christianity in Inside the Third Reich; Hiter depised it as a Jewish invention.

    Or look at Hitlers praise of Nietzsche. Sure, Hitler distorted Nietzsche, but one thing he could not distort and certainly believed was Nietzsche claim that God is dead.

    Shirer reports in Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that Hitler frequently visted the Nietzsche museum, had himself photographed with busts of Nietzsche, and had the ODD habit of…and this in the middle of World War II…giving complete leather bound sets of Nietzshe’s works to Mussolini and others when he needed them to “buck up” and “stay the course!”.

    Nietzche of course called Christianity “more harmful than any vice!” (The Anti Christ, by Nietzsche the Syphillit, sec. 2)

    On the other hand perhaps Speer and Shrirer were lying, and the Nietzche manuscripts are faked.

    Just pick what you like best.

  15. #15 Dan
    August 23, 2006

    Perhaps everyone should read this before discussing this topic any further.

    The fact is that Hitler was neither a fanatic nor an atheist. Like most people, he was somewhere in between, and said and did some conflicting things on the matter over the course of his life.

  16. #16 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    Just pick what you like best.

    Ho, ho, ho, you’re not big on self-awareness, are you?

    Are you are doing is claiming that everything that supports your idea is valid, and simply ignoring the massivec (and much bigger) amount of evidence that shows Hitler believed in God and was a Catholic his whole life. I don’t see you offering any evidence that his Christian statements were invalid, just attacking people who point them out.

    Any idea why Hitler would have outlawed atheist groups?

  17. #17 Squeaky
    August 23, 2006

    So now we’re quote mining Hitler…

  18. #18 A.Y.
    August 23, 2006

    I’m tired of this tripe. Not only are they making logically errant claims of “Well, Hitler was fufilling natural selection, therefore, evolution is false” (Non Sequitur, Red Herring, Guilt by Association, Argumentum ad Hitlerum) but they are historically wrong: http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/darwin_nazism.htm

    It seems when ID-ers, as usual, are incapable of forming an actual scientific arguments for ID and against evolution, they remove their thin disguise and slip back into the creationism we all know they seek to supplant evolution with.

  19. #19 Watchman
    August 23, 2006

    I think the point is not so much whether or not Hitler himself was a devout and sincere Christian – let Hitler’s actions speak for themselves regarding what he was – but more that he used religion so effectively as a means of controlling the citizenry and justifying the perpetration of great evil.

    Surely that is indisputable, just as surely as he is not the only world leader who has ever done – or who will ever do – the same.

    So. To whom, or what, do we assign the blame for this? Jesus? Darwin? The Bible? Socialism? Eugenics? Christianity? Religion in general? Atheism? Christians? Atheists? Germans? The French? Human nature? The blind obedience to authority (especially “divine” authority) to which so many people are succeptible?

  20. #20 Gerard Harbison
    August 23, 2006

    Carrier has an agenda: hes no more objective than Dawkins is on religion.

    First of all, I have no problem with Dawkins’ views on religion.

    But more importantly, we don’t have to rely on Carrier. What Carrier writes about Table Talk is immediately verifiable by anyone who bothers to get the two German versions of the Hitler monologues and knows enough German to compare them with the English version. As it happens, when I read Carrier’s articles (one of which is peer-reviewed, BTW), I bought both the Jochmann and the Picker versions through a used bookseller, and checked the translations for myself (four years of German and living in the country for a year was useful). And what Carrier says is accurate. I’m sorry that that puts a big hole in your ad hominem; maybe it will teach you to argue substance.

    I cited Carrier because he discovered the problem and because he deserves far more credit than he has hitherto gotten for doing so. But I can post about this from my own direct experience.

  21. #21 JackGoff
    August 23, 2006

    Notice that anything that helps the argument that Hitler was a Christian is good stuff and any contradictory evidence is claimed to be faked?

    So, what about the support of the largely Christian German people? Was that faked? Do you honestly think that Hitler’s speeches had no impact on the German people? Are you lying or stupid?

  22. #22 JackGoff
    August 23, 2006

    So now we’re quote mining Hitler…

    Well, when idiots say that Christianity had no part in Nazi rhetoric and philosophy and instead try to blame the Holocaust on Charles Darwin of all people, you have to show them how wrong they are.

  23. #23 Squeaky
    August 23, 2006

    Whether Hitler used evolution as the inspiration for his atrocities isn’t even the issue. What if he did? Does that make evolution wrong? If he did, it just means he was misusing and misunderstanding science and twisting it to justify his own warped goals. And according to the Wikipedia article Dan sent us to, he apparently did the same thing with religion. In the Hitler psyche, it didn’t matter what the tenets of science or religion actually are, as long as they followed HIS rules.

    If Hitler used evolution to justify the holocaust, it in no way negates evolution. It just shows that science can be misused for very evil means. Scientific discoveries can be used for good (our understanding of evolution enables us to create vaccines for the latest flu strain) and for evil (our understanding of evolution enables us to use deadly strains of viruses to kill people). It’s a question of morality, not a question of whether or not the science is wrong.

  24. #24 Squeaky
    August 23, 2006

    Jack Goff,
    “Well, when idiots say that Christianity had no part in Nazi rhetoric and philosophy and instead try to blame the Holocaust on Charles Darwin of all people, you have to show them how wrong they are.”

    So, the best thing to do is use the same ineffective methods that you would criticize Creationists for using?

  25. #25 Squeaky
    August 23, 2006

    “So. To whom, or what, do we assign the blame for this? Jesus? Darwin? The Bible? Socialism? Eugenics? Christianity? Religion in general? Atheism? Christians? Atheists? Germans? The French? Human nature? The blind obedience to authority (especially “divine” authority) to which so many people are succeptible? ”

    Hmm…good points, Watchman. I have a personal agenda against Eugenics, so that’s what I choose to blame for Hitler. I’m being facetious, of course. Actually, I blame Hitler for his atrocities, as Hitler bears full responsibilities for the actions he chose. On the other hand, I could blame that art teacher of his who told him he sucked–just think, we might have only heard of Hitler in our art history classes…

  26. #26 Gerard Harbison
    August 23, 2006

    The Personenregister of the Monologe im Führerhauptquartier, 1941-1944, Werner Jochman, ed., the most complete and authentic version of Hitler’s private thoughts during his last years, contains approximately 600 distinct names, including Aristotle, Beethoven, Gandhi, St. Paul (a lot), and Wagner (even more). Darwin’s name was not mentioned once by the Führer in four years of transcripts.

    Some inspiration!

  27. #27 George
    August 23, 2006

    Hitler used religous fundamentalism for his own political purposes. Uhmm … are we seeing the same from religous groups today, still …

  28. #28 DAS
    August 23, 2006

    Indeed, the Talmud is not a book to prepare a man for the hereafter, but only for a practical and profitable life in this world. – Adolf Schicklgruber

    And nu? There’s something wrong with that?

  29. #29 Todd
    August 23, 2006

    “So, the best thing to do is use the same ineffective methods that you would criticize Creationists for using?”

    The Hitler=Christian quotes show me at least that if you are going to blame Darwin for the Holocaust, based on misleading Nazi rhetoric, you have to also blame Christianity. Quote mining Hitler is, in this case, the tool used to show that quote mining is stupid.

    But my problem (and I assume I share this with other people who like this blog), is that once I get in a couple nice shots at Christianity, in the context of fighting its most disgusting outgrowths, it’s hard not to keep punching, whether I’m being fair or not. It becomes a pointless but fun exercise to pretend Christianity caused the Holocaust.

    Not that I don’t think christian/religious-style magical thinking wasn’t a huge part of how the Nazis managed to do as much damage as they did. Obviously, the Christian Bible is an effectively meaningless jumble of words you can use to rally anyone to any cause, once you convince them that it’s the Revealed Word of God, and that you understand its meaning.

  30. #30 QrazyQat
    August 23, 2006

    I’m sorry that that puts a big hole in your ad hominem; maybe it will teach you to argue substance.

    There’s an important point here about objectivity, bias, agendas, etc. It doesn’t matter if someone — like Carrier in this example — making an argument or investigating a proposition is objective or not as long as they are accurate. As long as they don’t bury contrary evidence and report what they find accurately, they could be the most unobjective, biased person with the biggest agenda and it doesn’t matter if what they’re saying is factual, accurate, and inclusive — like Carrier in this example.

  31. #31 hoody
    August 23, 2006

    Objection! You’re doing the same thing we are, only instead of blaming Darwinism, you’re blaming Christianity.
    Reply: No, I think humans have done evil throughout their history, and are always willing to grab any convenient rationalization for their behavior, whether it’s science or religion or twinkies. Science doesn’t dictate morality, and it’s also rather clear that religion does a piss-poor job of it, too.

    Like hell. You REGULARLY blame religion, most notably Christianity.

    And the VAST majority of those quotes come either frmo Mein Kampf, a book designed to win over Christian German hearts, or prior to his elevation as Chancellor in 1933.

    In other words, he SPOKE Christianity to get into office. Once in office, he abandoned it, as well as any other principle or person who got in his way of European domination.

    You just cannot let it rest, can you?

  32. #32 Bronze Dog
    August 23, 2006

    Quote mining is about taking quotes and using them to mean something other than what the person meant. It’s going against the source’s actual conclusions by taking quotes out of context and so forth.

    Perhaps the people who are accusing us of quote mining should look them up and provide the context and show us that it disagrees or something.

    Simply quoting some choice bits isn’t quote mining.

  33. #33 tomob
    August 23, 2006

    Quote-mining like this is not a useful way to understand Hitler, religion, or anything else.

    In Mein Kampf, the lead quotation in this list, “The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement) was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge,” follows a few sentences after “In nearly all the matters in which the Pan-German movement was wanting, the attitude of the Christian Social Party was correct and well-planned”; Hitler was criticizing the Christian Social Party for its religious ideas, not praising it.

    It’s not that Hitler was or was not a good Catholic. Mein Kampf shows a man bursting with hysterical rage against Jews; full of a fanatical and racist German nationalism; and convinced that he was the world’s greatest genius and Germany’s natural leader.

    He eclectically picked out of the culture of his times and out of German history whatever ideas, religious or pseudo-scientific, that might advance him and his goals.

    Unlike the Christian Social Party, he based his anti-Semitism on what he probably considered science, as you can read here: http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/books/43kampf/kampf43.htm

    He had no idea of what science was and made no effort to learn. But the anti-science American right can find plenty of material for quote mining amid Hitler’s drivel. He was just as capable of embracing the lastest pseudo-scientific fad, such as eugenics, as he was of citing Martin Luther.

    Hitler was also capable of saying whatever he thought was expedient, so you can’t take any quotation as good coin. You coule prove via quote mining that he was an ardent opponent of war.

    The relationship of Nazism to traditional irrationality is rather complex and important to understand, especially because of similarities to the present situation. But this understanding is not advanced by sophomoric debaters’ tricks.

  34. #34 JackGoff
    August 23, 2006

    So, the best thing to do is use the same ineffective methods that you would criticize Creationists for using?

    It’s called reductio ad absurdem. If we wish to blame the atrocities of Hitler on his inspirations, we have to blame all his inspirations, not one. I’m showing the stupidity of their argument.

  35. #35 junk science
    August 23, 2006

    So, the best thing to do is use the same ineffective methods that you would criticize Creationists for using?

    The best thing to show is the truth or falsity of evolution has nothing to do with what Hitler said or thought. If you have to trip Christians up on their own arguments to make them stop babbling, then so be it.

  36. #36 JackGoff
    August 23, 2006

    You just cannot let it rest, can you?

    Only if Christians will let evolution stand as a scientific theory instead of trying to use reductio ad Hitlerem to prove it wrong.

  37. #37 Alon Levy
    August 23, 2006

    It may have been a while since I read The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich, but I don’t remember any Nietzsche-Hitler link there. Shirer’s main thesis is that Nazism is the natural continuation of German historical nationalism from Martin Luther onward; this takes him a few dozen pages to explain, after which he goes into 1,500 pages of non-analytical narrative. In general this tradition is Protestant (although Hitler was Catholic). Existentialism isn’t a very important part of it, although Hitler did borrow a bit from Nietzsche.

    Still, whatever view Hitler held about religion, he detested the Enlightenment, from which modern secularism comes, and had nothing but contempt for science except when he could Nazify it.

  38. #38 Max Udargo
    August 23, 2006

    If North Korea nukes Japan tomorrow, will that prove Oppenheimer wrong? Will we have to stop teaching children about protons and electrons?

  39. #39 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    You just cannot let it rest, can you?

    The snide fratboy whining doesn’t really win arguments, Hoody. When you’re a little older you might understand this.

    Hitler’s pro-Christian sentiments continued WAY into his time of power, when he no longer had to worry about winning over voters. And they’re vastly greater in number and better documented than his anti-Christian sentiments.

    Perhaps you can explain why Hitler outlawed atheist organizations once he was in power? And did you bother to look up that article about how Martin Luther felt about Jews?

    Hitler was a straight product of German Christianity, he never renounced his Christianity, he never left the Catholic church, he had loyal support of the great majority of German Christians (Protestant AND Catholic) and he was never excommunicated by the Vatican. It is impossible to mount an successful argument that Hitler was an atheist.

  40. #40 Max Udargo
    August 23, 2006

    Hitler’s last major counter-offensive, and last desperate attempt to turn the tide of war on his western front, came to be known as The Battle of the Bulge. But Hitler’s codename for it was Operation Christrose. That was in the winter of 1944.

  41. #41 Great White Wonder
    August 23, 2006

    Reading all this made me realize: Hitler was sort of an asshole, wasn’t he?

  42. #42 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    Reading all this made me realize: Hitler was sort of an asshole, wasn’t he?

    He had ‘issues’.

  43. #43 Alon Levy
    August 23, 2006

    George, you can shred people’s arguments without adopting an ageist worldview. “When you grow older, you’ll understand” is the exhortation of every authoritarian adult who can’t understand why people younger than he is don’t subscribe to his prejudices.

  44. #44 Jason
    August 23, 2006

    h, lk. Qt mnng! Thnkflly, trly nfrmd ppl wh rn’t nt-Chrstn bgts knw bttr:

    Ws Htlr Chrstn?

    Th shrt nswr s dfnt “myb” r, mr prcsly, “prbbly nthr.” Th lng nswr s smwht mr cmplctd.

    Hck, vn Stphn Jy Gld grs:

    Schlrs r stll nsr whthr r nt dlf Htlr ws blvng Chrstn r jst pltclly cnnng thst

    nd hr’s n f Htlr’s qts frm Wk tht mks hm snd lk, wll, PZ hmslf:

    t s nt pprtn t hrl rslvs nw nt strggl wth th chrchs. Th bst thng s t lt Chrstnty d ntrl dth. slw dth hs smthng cmfrtng bt t. Th dgm f Chrstnty gts wrn wy bfr th dvncs f scnc. Rlgn wll hv t mk mr nd mr cncssns. Grdlly th myths crmbl. ll tht s lft s t prv tht n ntr thr s n frntr btwn th rgnc nd th nrgnc. Whn ndrstndng f th nvrs hs bcm wdsprd, whn th mjrty f mn knw tht th strs r nt srcs f lght bt wrlds, prhps nhbtd wrlds lk rs, thn th Chrstn dctrn wll b cnvctd f bsrdty. (Tbl Tlk, 14th ctbr, 1941)

    Ws Htlr Chrstn, n thst, r smthng ls? dn’t knw. Hs ls nd ctns spk lt ldr thn ny f hs wrds, hwvr, nd whtvr hs rlgs blfs (r lck thrf), n thng s clr: h ws mrdrs mnstr. wldn’t b th lst srprsd f h thght f hmslf s Gd.

  45. #45 Bro. Bartleby
    August 23, 2006

    Are all atheists fundamentalist?

  46. #46 junk science
    August 23, 2006

    The point, you Christian idiots, is that it doesn’t fucking matter what Hitler was. Evolution is still true, and superstition is still a waste of perfectly good brain matter.

  47. #47 arensb
    August 23, 2006

    Objection! Hitler was merely cynically manipulating the German people by using their beliefs in God.
    Reply: I’d say something similar of his misuse of scientific theory.

    I’d also add, what does it say about Christians that he thought they could be manipulated this way?

  48. #48 Bronze Dog
    August 23, 2006

    Are all atheists fundamentalist?

    That question seems to presume that there’s some sort of atheist standard beyond a lack of belief in a deity.

  49. #49 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    “I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he thought of himself as God.”

    …or someone who was deluded and thought he spoke directly to him.

    Jason, you’re a dope. Darwin, evolution, the truth, do not rely on what Hitler did or did not do. It’s amusing to see that it’s somehow used as rationale against the scientific opinions of PZ. Very weak.

    The assertion that natural selection leads inevitably to what Hitler did is false. Hitler didn’t deselect individuals based on their environmental fitness. His methods and reasoning were obtuse and outside the range of natural acceptance. That’s why those methods eventually were snuffed out when the allies won the war. They were false and misguided. As are you.

  50. #50 Jason
    August 23, 2006

    I’d also add, what does it say about Christians that he thought they could be manipulated this way?

    t sys thy r hmn nd fllbl, jst lk vryn ls. Chrstns hv nvr clmd thrws.

  51. #51 Millimeter Wave
    August 23, 2006

    His lies and actions spoke a lot louder than any of his words, however, and whatever his religious beliefs (or lack thereof), one thing is clear: he was a murderous monster.

    Well, at least that’s something we can both agree on.

    Back to where this all started: it is repeatedly asserted that because Hitler (allegedly) accepted the theory of evolution for the origin of species, and because he (allegedly) used that to justify his actions and policies, we should somehow conclude that this is negative evidence for evolutionary theory. This is the wrong conclusion (even accepting all the allegations at face value, which is being very generous to the argument), and you point it out above.

    The correct conclusion is not “therefore, there must be something wrong with the theory of evolution”, but “therefore, there must have been something wrong with Hitler”.

    I don’t remember the precise construction I used last time I said this, but I’ll go with your “murderous monster” as perfectly adequate.

  52. #52 Jason
    August 23, 2006

    Jason, you’re a dope. Darwin, evolution, the truth, do not rely on what Hitler did or did not do. It’s amusing to see that it’s somehow used as rationale against the scientific opinions of PZ. Very weak.

    The assertion that natural selection leads inevitably to what Hitler did is false.

    Y knw wht’s fnny bt yr ctrwlng? hvn’t vn md my blfs knwn bt th d tht Drwnsm fld Htlr’s rmpg. ‘m rsrvng jdgmnt ntl hr bth sds f th ss. hv t tll y ths, thgh: th sd tht cndmns m nd clls m nms vn bfr thy knw my pnn n th ss sn’t hlpng thr rgmnt. Mks thm sm lk thy hv smthng t hd nd dn’t wnt m t hr bth sds.

  53. #53 s9
    August 23, 2006

    Has anybody seen Godwin, yet?

  54. #54 Numad
    August 23, 2006

    Alex:

    “Hitler didn’t deselect individuals based on their environmental fitness. His methods and reasoning were obtuse and outside the range of natural acceptance.”

    Even if the Nazis had run the most scientifically correct, well conceived eugenics program in the world, there still wouldn’t be a prescriptive link between natural selection and that manifestation of social darwinism.

    But yes, I agree that it certainly look like Hitler’s racial theory was fed in good part by mythology and a certain notion of creation (not to impugn everyone who believes in creation in with the fact, before anyone misread this).

  55. #55 JackGoff
    August 23, 2006

    Christians have never claimed otherwise.

    Ah ha. haha. HAHAHA! I’ll just let that lay.

    Read junk science‘s comment and go away. We’ve already reduced the “arguments” against evolution to absurdity, which was the point. The argument against Christianity has a large amount of other evidience than just “Hitler was a Christian.” If you really want to go there, bring it on. Just leave scientific theories with HUGE amounts of evidence backing them out of it.

  56. #56 junk science
    August 23, 2006

    Has anybody seen Godwin, yet?

    Dude’s been doing tequila shots here for the past hour.

  57. #57 Jason
    August 23, 2006

    nd fr th sk f fll dsclsr: whl tnd t njy D. Jms Knndy’s srmns nd bks, dn’t lwys gr wth hm (.g. hs d tht th Gspl s prtryd n th prcssn f strlgcl sgns), s t’s nt gvn tht wll gr wth ths ltst clm.

  58. #58 Jason
    August 23, 2006

    Ah ha. haha. HAHAHA! I’ll just let that lay.

    Trnsltn: y dn’t hv ny prf t th cntrry, s y smply mck t nd pss vr t s f t wr fls.

  59. #59 JackGoff
    August 23, 2006

    So, you mean the Christians who’ve tried to convert me by saying I was a heathen and was going to hell weren’t saying they knew better than me? Wow! I guess I took their stuck-up sneers as saying that they were less fallible than I was!

    Please, your entire religion is about telling other people how inhuman they are.

  60. #60 Orly
    August 23, 2006

    D. James Kennedy’s […] idea that the Gospel is portrayed in the procession of astrological signs

    So even by Christian standards, he’s a loon.

  61. #61 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    “Even if the Nazis had run the most scientifically correct, well conceived eugenics program in the world, there still wouldn’t be a prescriptive link between natural selection and that manifestation of social darwinism.”

    I think your assertion only holds if you consider humans and human actions outside the scope and function of nature. We, and our actions are not outside that scope. Our existence and actions are as natural as the rain. As a matter of fact, it may turn out that by our actions (global warming, nuclear holocaust, bio hazard, gray goo, etc.) we become extinct. That, I feel, would be an act of nature….i.e. stupidity in action.

    That being said, with intelligence and humanity, come other factors of existence that need to be considered. Human emotion, creativity, and comradery (family, friends, social behaviors) hugely complicate matters of eugenic selection….which is why I consider it unethical.

    I guess that I didn’t like your implication that somehow our (human) actions lie outside the scope of nature. They do not. Nature developed us, and we abide by its mandates. Granted we are clever and can manipulate nature advantageously, but that’s just a matter of scale. Our Sun manipulates nature on a scale much, much larger scale than us. It just lacks the ability to make decisions (thank goodness).

  62. #62 flame821
    August 23, 2006

    Hilter was a manipulative ass with many ‘issues’ and used any tool at his disposal (religion, nationalism, fear, etc) to encourage people to do as he wanted them to. He was charismatic enough to make the common people see him as both a great leader and as ‘someone they could sit down and have a beer with’ to use a recent turn of phrase.

    I have no expertise in Hilter’s history but would think that it should be obvious that in this particular instance the blame lies not with religion, evolution, science or anything else other than the man himself and those who enabled him to rise to his position.

    What I find the most disturbing is how much of 1930-40 Germany I see in America today. Just switch Muslims for Jews and POOF, I can see internment camps springing up all over the ‘heartland’.

  63. #63 Xanthir
    August 23, 2006

    Bookmarked. This page will become invaluable in coming days, I can sense it.

  64. #64 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    Numad, to complete the thought,

    Terminated pregnancys, suicide, even risky behaviors like smoking, obesity, and wreckless driving, put one on a list for genetic deselection…..granted the last examples usually happen after reproduction age and are haphazard. But my point is, our human behaviors are very likely to play the major role in our survivability.

    I strongly feel that irrational thinking and blind belief are the biggest threats to our collective survivability. Hence my disdain for superstitous and magical world-views. If we fail to recognize and appreciate nature on its terms, we won’t fair well in the end.

  65. #65 Owlmirror
    August 23, 2006

    I think your assertion only holds if you consider humans and human actions outside the scope and function of nature.

    I think you are misunderstanding the point. Let me see if this makes more sense:

    The idea of Darwinian evolution by natural selection is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the Holocaust.

    Evolution isn’t necessary to explain the Holocaust because of the pre-existence of the idea of artificial selection (which has far more weight behind it than the relatively novel idea of evolution by natural selection), and with far greater applicability to the Nazi programs.

    Evolution isn’t sufficient to explain the Holocaust because the theory of evolution, in and of itself, is descriptive, not prescriptive.

    What the Nazis decided to do with the idea of inherited traits was to act on their old hatreds, and perhaps give it a thin biological veneer.

  66. #66 Numad
    August 23, 2006

    “I guess that I didn’t like your implication that somehow our (human) actions lie outside the scope of nature.”

    I guess I was unclear again, because that’s not what I meant at all. My comment wasn’t concerned about the distinction between natural and artificial selection as concepts, altough I was under the impression that there was.

    I really don’t know where “the scope of nature” factors into this. My comment was concerned with the scope of science. The scientific observation of natural or artificial selection can’t be said to be prescriptive.

    Yes, a course of human action can be more or less informed of reality by science, but a realistic eugenics program follows scientifically from the observations which make it possible no more than from an irrealistic one.

  67. #67 mndarwinist
    August 23, 2006

    Excuse me, PZ, but what happened to the “disemvoweling”?
    I thought we got rid of the trolls for a while.

  68. #68 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    Owlmirror,

    I’m with you there. Nazi methods were certainly misguided, ugly, and horrific.

    That being said, those actions are available as example and learning. That learning can influence attitudes and actions. Depending on which way the influence goes, could benefit or diminish our chances of survivability. In other words, it helps us to learn from our mistakes.

    Those that do not learn from past mistakes, or keep repeating the same unsuccessful behavior to achieve a goal, have been shown to be less than successful in nature’s terms. And that’s if luck is in their favor.

    That’s all I was trying to say.

  69. #69 Millimeter Wave
    August 23, 2006

    Excuse me, PZ, but what happened to the “disemvoweling”?
    I thought we got rid of the trolls for a while.

    I guess it depends whether they’re actually trolling or not. Whilst I disagree with much of what Jason is saying here, he is at least attempting to present coherent arguments (with references, even).

  70. #70 George Cauldron
    August 23, 2006

    so it’s not a given that I will agree with this latest claim.

    DO you agree with this latest claim, or is that one of those secrets about your religious beliefs that you’re too afraid to reveal?

  71. #71 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    Numad,

    It’s semantics I’m getting goofed up with. It’s maybe a topic for a different thread. I see distinguishing “artificial” and “natural” as a contrivance. Just because man does it, does not make it artificial. That somehow implies that man is not natural. Man is natural, as are his actions.

    If we were to kill ourselves in some global catastrophe, say, nuclear war/winter…..it could be considered that nature deselected us for survival….but it was our (natural) actions that “culled” us from the list.

    Anyway, maybe I’m not expressing myself clearly. It’s happened before. I’m not a Nazi, I disagree with what they did (appaled), and expect that any reason minded person should be as well.

  72. #72 Numad
    August 23, 2006

    “I see distinguishing “artificial” and “natural” as a contrivance.”

    I think it’s more of a convenience for the scientists who use them. I’m not sure how much currency these terms have, but I can see how they could be necessary to distingish between two different processes.

    “Anyway, maybe I’m not expressing myself clearly.”

    I understand what you’re saying. I just wanted to clarify that my own point in this thread had nothing to do with that semantic question.

  73. #73 Cocky Bastard
    August 23, 2006

    Hitler was a cocksucker!

  74. #74 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    “Evolution isn’t sufficient to explain the Holocaust because the theory of evolution, in and of itself, is descriptive, not prescriptive.”

    I’m not sure I totally agree with this assertion. I agree with “Evolution isn’t sufficient to explain the Holocaust”….it’s the “because…” I have problems with. Evolutionary theory is prescriptive. It’s what makes it valuable as a tool….it has predictive capabilities, and therefore, prescriptions for what will statistically be selected for survival can be deduced. Evolutionary theory can tell us what works for specific niches.

    For example, if you’re a lion with no fangs in the Serengeti, your chances are slim for your genes to carry on. Nature (according to E theory) prescribes that lions have large fangs and strong jaws because those that do, pass on their genes. Please excuse the simplistic example and don’t flame me for it. I am open for learning here, but won’t presume to burden anyone with the task.

  75. #75 junk science
    August 23, 2006

    Cocky Bastard, do you have a problem with cocksuckers?

  76. #76 Millimeter Wave
    August 23, 2006

    Evolutionary theory is prescriptive. It’s what makes it valuable as a tool….it has predictive capabilities, and therefore, prescriptions for what will statistically be selected for survival can be deduced.

    This hangs on the distinction between “predictive” and “prescriptive”.

    The theory tells one what one should expect to happen (it’s predictive) not what one should do (it isn’t prescriptive).

    Just my 2c, of course…

  77. #77 Numad
    August 23, 2006

    “The theory tells one what one should expect to happen (it’s predictive) not what one should do (it isn’t prescriptive).”

    My thinking exactly.

  78. #78 Alex
    August 23, 2006

    Ahh…
    Got it. Indeed.

  79. #79 Dan
    August 23, 2006

    Evolutionary theory is prescriptive. It’s what makes it valuable as a tool….it has predictive capabilities, and therefore, prescriptions for what will statistically be selected for survival can be deduced. Evolutionary theory can tell us what works for specific niches.

    I hate to break it to you, Alex, but that’s not what the word “prescriptive” means.

    predictive = “this is what probably will happen”
    descriptive = “this is what happens”
    prescriptive = “this is what should happen”

    The first two are purely factual assertions. The third, however, is a value judgement. The “should” in there is not an expression of statistical uncertainty, it’s a positive claim on what constitutes proper or correct future behaviour.

    An analogy: “descriptive grammar” is about how people actually talk. “Prescriptive grammar” is about how people should talk. Prohibitions against split infinitives and sentence-final prepositions are prescriptive, not descriptive.

    Science does prediction and description, but emphatically does not do prescription.

  80. #80 Dan
    August 24, 2006

    Sorry for the overkill. You responded while I was writing my last comment.

  81. #81 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2006

    I was going to clarify “prescriptive”, but y’all did so already.

    So I’ll just point out that I agree that man is part of nature in the sense of the natural world, but I think the concept of “artificial” – something conciously implemented by humans (or other intelligent agents, I suppose) for some specific goal – is still a useful one, and distinct from “natural” in the sense of the world apart from intelligent human actions.

    Which is how I meant it in “artificial selection”, of course.

    I realize it’s confusing, but I can’t at this moment think of a better word to distinguish deliberate human actions from nondeliberate, nonhuman actions.

    I need to ponder the semantics and definitions of these concepts some more.

  82. #82 Alex
    August 24, 2006

    I’m not trying to be an ass here, truly. I do get the gist of this. But what is it when my doctor prescribes an antibiotic regimen when I’m sick?

    Is it not science doing the prescribing? It seems to me that it is. I can understand “Nature” not doing the prescribing – in the classical sense. It seems to me “science” is used as a tool to prescribe quite often, in medicine, engineering, etc..

    Thank you, Dan and Numad, for your posts. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse. But normally here, it’s kicking the shit out of Jason on these threads. These kinds of discussions are nice once and a while, but I do understand that they can get old quick. Thanks again.

    Regards

  83. #83 Alex
    August 24, 2006

    Thank you Owlmirror for your introspection. I mean that. I (among others) very strongly feel that it’s improtant that:

    “…I can’t at this moment think of a better word to distinguish deliberate human actions from nondeliberate, nonhuman actions…” be looked at carefully. It brings to light some interesting notions.

  84. #84 RedMolly
    August 24, 2006

    Just wanted to say how lovely it is to be able to skip the disemvowelled comments and read only the cogent responses to them, instead–the quotes excerpted from said comments are really all I need to see.

  85. #85 kemibe
    August 24, 2006

    “So now we’re quote mining Hitler…”

    It’s not quote-mining if the passages cited are not truncated so as to avoid mitigating or outright contradictory verbiage or otherwise taken out of context. It’s quoting. Learn the difference.

  86. #86 Numad
    August 24, 2006

    “But what is it when my doctor prescribes an antibiotic regimen when I’m sick?

    Is it not science doing the prescribing? It seems to me that it is.”

    Science supplied the information on how to fight off infections. Nothing more. The notion that the infection had to be fought is itself outside of science.

    That’s how I understand the concept of “prescriptive”.

  87. #87 Dan
    August 24, 2006

    But what is it when my doctor prescribes an antibiotic regimen when I’m sick?

    Is it not science doing the prescribing? It seems to me that it is. I can understand “Nature” not doing the prescribing – in the classical sense. It seems to me “science” is used as a tool to prescribe quite often, in medicine, engineering, etc.

    Science is an abstract concept. It can’t “do” anything at all. It doesn’t prescribe your medications, your doctor does. The fact that he’s basing those prescriptions on scientific facts does not mitigate his/her active agency.

    Hammers don’t build houses.

  88. #88 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2006

    Or:

    The laws of metallurgy, chemistry, and Newtonian mechanics don’t kill people. People kill people.

    Hm. Or even:

    The theory of evolution doesn’t create concentration camps, gas chambers, and crematoria, and then put people into them. People create concentration camps, gas chambers, and crematoria, and then put people into them..

  89. #89 g
    August 24, 2006

    First quotation, in context: “If nevertheless it was unable to achieve its goal and dream of saving Austria, this was due to two deficiencies in its method and to its lack of clarity concerning the aim itself. The anti-Semitism of the new movement was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge. The reason for the intrusion of this mistake was the same which brought about the second fallacy.”

    It’s a pity to begin the list of quotations with one which in its actual context means the exact opposite of what you imply it does. 🙂

    The third quotation, given that it ends with “The faithful will swallow it whole, so long as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it.”, hardly seems like a wholehearted endorsement of Christianity either.

    As other people have pointed out: Hitler made use of Christianity and (to a lesser extent, I think) evolution in his rhetoric, and he may have had some sort of belief in both himself; what’s broken in both cases is Hitler, not Christianity or evolution. It so happens that Christianity is wrong and that evolution is right, but looking at either Hitler’s beliefs or his rhetoric is a pretty useless way to discover either of those things.

    A list like this (even in its present somewhat quote-mined form) may be useful as a reductio ad absurdum of the stupid “Darwin/Hitler” argument; but the people who use that argument are mostly too stupid, or too dishonest, or both, to be enlightened by anything so subtle.

  90. #90 Millimeter Wave
    August 24, 2006

    I do get the gist of this. But what is it when my doctor prescribes an antibiotic regimen when I’m sick?

    When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic regimen, he or she is issuing an instruction that you be given such medicine and that you take it. They are not making a prediction as to the result.

  91. #91 Owlmirror
    August 24, 2006

    When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic regimen, he or she is issuing an instruction that you be given such medicine and that you take it. They are not making a prediction as to the result.

    No, that’s not quite right. The prescription implies a prediction (that is, that the medicine will effect a cure).

    But a prediction does not necessarily imply a prescription, of course.

  92. #92 JS
    August 24, 2006

    In other words, he SPOKE Christianity to get into office. Once in office, he abandoned it, as well as any other principle or person who got in his way of European domination.

    There are two distinct problems with this kind of lame-assed apologetics: Firstly: What Hitler himself did or did not believe is largely irrelevant. He could not have build the camps by himself.

    That he obtained leverage to do so by way of Christianity and largely through the support of the RCC (who played on the wrong horse until long after the fall of Berlin) is in and of itself enough to condemn the role of Christianity during his rise to power.

    The second problem is that nuts – a category to which Hitler indisputably belonged – have an almost pathological inability to keep their real agenda out of the public record. Witness the Waterloo in Dover. Witness the behaviour of the Shrub administration. Witness the various neo-nazi parties around the world. Witness the Baader-Meinhof league. Witness the Catholic Church’s heavyhanded propaganda.

    Fanatics, extremists, and insane nutballs the world over conform to this pattern.

    I see no persuasive reason whatsoever to assume – based on a few testimonies from people I would not otherwise entrust with a box of chocolates, and at a point in time where distancing themselves from their erstwhile Führer was A Healthy Thing To Do – to revise that estimate.

    – JS

  93. #93 windy
    August 24, 2006

    As for his public statements above, so what? Like most politicians, Hitler was a liar.

    A question here- did Hitler goad the German people and military to commit atrocities mostly by

    a) the force of his public statements, or

    b) his atheistic Sith mind control powers?

  94. #94 Lya Kahlo
    August 24, 2006

    Totally off topic but, can I just say I love the disemvoweling? It’s a lot more fun that reading the troll’s verbal waste.

  95. #95 Greco
    August 24, 2006

    I can’t believe no one has pointed out yet that creationism became an issue when Bryan and others blamed Darwin for WWI. Until then, the fundamentalist bogeyman was “higher criticism”.

    It’s the same lie, only the war was changed.

  96. #96 Digressive Steve
    August 24, 2006

    Here’s another quote, from one who claims Christianity.
    “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” George W. Bush 7-9-2004. What’s collateral damage?

  97. #97 Phoenix Woman
    August 24, 2006

    Sorry, Goldstein, but Trevor-Roper (who did NOT speak German) was hosed by the “Table Talk” fakers, much as he was hosed by the “Stern diaries” at the end of his life. We’ve already discussed how the “Table Talk” documents have been debunked, but you seem to be impervious to any information you don’t like.

  98. #98 Keith Douglas
    August 24, 2006

    Alex: More correctly, those are technologies, which involve value judgements. Technology is often more morally useful than crafts (prescientific making of artifacts) because it renders explicit some of the principles by which it operates, whence they can be scrutinized ethically and other matters. This can be seen by examining law statements as found by science. For example assume a law statement of the form “if A, then B”. If B is desirable, we might choose to bring about A. If B is undesirable, refraining from A might help. (Might not, because the law statement is of course compatible with lots of other ways to bring about B)

  99. #99 Kayla
    August 24, 2006

    Hitler was a political genuis, and said and did what he needed to to get where he wanted to be. So it’s hard for us to know how much of these quotes were his actual opinions, and how much was just rhetoric.

    That aside, the point remains that the concept of natural selection has nothing to do with eugenics, and in no way justifies or is responsible for it.

  100. #100 Torbjörn Larsson
    August 24, 2006

    If you believe in Allen MacNeill evolution, religion and warfare is in this together:

    “The Capacity for Religious Experience Is An Evolutionary Adaptation to Warfare …

    It is no accident that humans preparing for war use exactly the same kinds of sensory stimuli described by Newberg and d’Aquili. They have tied such displays to religious activities, and shown the deep similarities between religious rituals and secular ones: “…patriotic rituals… emphasize the “sacredness” of a nation, or a cause, or even a flag…turn[ing] a meaningful idea into a visceral experience.” (Newberg and d’Aquili, p. 90) The two types of activities – religious rituals and patriotic rituals – use the same underlying neurological pathways and chemistry. …

    In the context of warfare, this means that the winners of a battle, or even more so, of a war will pass on to their offspring whatever traits facilitated their victory, including the capacity to believe in a supernatural force that guides their destiny and protects them in battle. The effects of such capacities are not trivial; as Betzig points out, the differences between the reproductive success of the winners of violent conflicts and the losers is measured in orders of magnitude. As noted earlier, wars are bottlenecks through which only a relative few may pass, but which reward those who do with immensely increased reproductive success. …

    Putting all of this together, it appears likely that the capacity for religious experience and the capacity for warfare have constituted a coevolutionary spiral that has intensified with the transitions from a hunting/gathering existence through subsistence agriculture to the evolution of the modern nation-state.”

    http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2006/04/capacity-for-religious-experience-is.html

  101. #101 Tatarize
    August 24, 2006

    “We’re… Hitler” – Squeaky

    There’s quotemining for you dumbass.

  102. #102 Squeaky
    August 24, 2006

    Thanks. You could have said that without insulting me, but I appreciate you revealing your character to me.

  103. #103 mike
    August 24, 2006

    Hitler, of course, stated he was Catholic and Christian in many public pronouncements and writings – as you might expect of a politician. However, privately, he was frequently athiestic and anti-Catholic.

    In fact, according to Albert Speer, his architect, Hitler reportedly bemoaned the fact that the Germans were Christians rather than Muslims! He thought Islam was a more warlike religion and thus a more suitable religion for the people of the Third Reich.

    The truth probably is that Hitler was neither a committed athiest nor very religious. He used religion to the extent that it suited him and attacked it to the extent that it offended him.

    A more balanced picture than PZ Myers-like athiests or Christians care to present can be found here:

    http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ca_hitler.html

  104. #104 Millimeter Wave
    August 24, 2006

    mike,
    I think PZ made it quite clear what his intentions were with this. Specifically:

    Objection! Hitler was merely cynically manipulating the German people by using their beliefs in God.

    Reply: I’d say something similar of his misuse of scientific theory.

    Objection! You’re doing the same thing we are, only instead of blaming Darwinism, you’re blaming Christianity.

    Reply: No, I think humans have done evil throughout their history, and are always willing to grab any convenient rationalization for their behavior, whether it’s science or religion or twinkies. Science doesn’t dictate morality, and it’s also rather clear that religion does a piss-poor job of it, too.

  105. #105 mynym
    August 24, 2006

    It may have been a while since I read The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich, but I don’t remember any Nietzsche-Hitler link there.

    Check page 100:

    …I think no one who lived in the Third Reich could have failed to be impressed by Nietzsche’s influence on it. His books might be full…of “genial imbecility” and “boyish blasphemies.” Yet Nazi scribblers never tired of extolling him. Hitler often visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and publicized his veneration for the philosopher by posing for photographs of himself staring in rapture at the bust of the great man.
    There was some ground for this appropriation of Nietzsche as one of the originators of the Nazi Weltanshauung. Had not the philosopher thundered against democracy and parliaments, preached the will to power, praised war and proclaimed the coming of the master race and the superman-and in the most telling aphorisms? A Nazi could proudly quote him on almost every concievable subject, and did. On Christianity: “the one great curse, the one enormous blemish of mankind . . . This Christianity is no more than the typical teaching of the Socialists.”

    (The Rise and Fall of
    the Third Reich: A History
    of Nazi Germany
    by William L. Shirer
    (Simon and Schuster) 1990 :100)

    Shirer also notes some basic facts of history about the Nazi attitude to Christianity:

    …. the Nazi regime intended eventually to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists. As Bormann, one of the men closest to Hitler, said publicly in 1941, “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.” What the Hitler government envisioned for Germany was clearly set out in a thirty-point program for the “National Reich Church” drawn up during the war by Rosenberg, an outspoken pagan, who among his other offices held that of “the Fuehrer’s Delegate for the Entire Intellectual and Philosophical Education and Instruction forthe National Socialist Party.”
    A few of its thirty articles convey the essentials:
    1. The National Reich Church of Germany categorically claims the exclusive right and the exclusive power to control all churches within the borders of the Reich: it declares these to be national churches of the German Reich.
    5. The National Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.
    7. The National Church has no scribes, pastors, chaplains or priests, but National Reich orators are to speak in them.
    13. The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany.
    14. The National Church declares that to it, and therefore to the German nation, it has been decided that the Fuehrer’s Mein Kampi is the greatest of all documents. It . . . not only contains the greatest but it embodies the purest and truest ethics for the present and future life of our nation.
    18. The National Church will clear away from its altars all crucifixes, Bibles and pictures of saints.
    19. On the altars there must be nothing but Mein Kampf (to the German nation and therefore to God the most sacred book) and to the left of the altar a sword.
    30. On the day of its foundation, the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals and chapels . . . and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika.

    (Ib. :238-40)

    The Nazis viewed the Church as something to be conquered, while biology was something to be applied based on “biological thinking,” e.g.:

    Our whole cultural life for decades has been more or less under the influence of biological thinking, as it was begun particularly around the middle of the last century, by the teachings of Darwin, Mendel, and Galton and afterwards has been advanced by the studies of Ploetz, Schallmeyer, Correns, de Vries, Tschermak, Baur, Riidin, Fischer,Lenz, and others. Though it took decades before the courage was found, on the basis of the initial findings ofthe natural sciences, to carry on a systematic study of heredity, the progress of the teaching and its application to man could not be delayed any more.

    (Hitler’s Professors: The
    Part of Scholarship in
    Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People
    by Max Weinreich
    (New York:The Yiddish Scientific Institute, 1946) :33)

    As I recall, it was the half-wit Haeckel that gave them the slogan of “applied biology.”

  106. #106 mynym
    August 24, 2006

    Science doesn’t dictate morality, and it’s also rather clear that religion does a piss-poor job of it, too.

    That’s true. But if you the intellectuals fail to support civilization based on language and begin to treat the language, selections and intelligence typical to organisms as illusions generated by “natural selection” then it is likely that both science and religion will be used to support what we now think of as barbarism, naturally enough.

  107. #107 Ichthyic
    August 24, 2006

    mynym, you and others here who want to defend your xianity against claims of abuse by hitler, would be far wiser to start off by agreeing that the claims of Kennedy are even more ridiculous.

    otherwise, you come off more like zealots than anything that PZ has ever written can brand him likewise.

    so… are you a xian zealot, or a thinker?

    do you think there is validity to Kennedy’s assesment of the hitler-darwin link, or not?

    is there more evidence to support the xian-hitler link, or the darwin-hitler link, do you think?

    do be specific, otherwise you’ll find many of us here thinking:

    “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

  108. #108 GH
    August 24, 2006

    I am just amazed that people can even think Hitler an atheist. Stunned would be a better word. The man was a Catholic, perhaps not a great one, but a catholic nonetheless.

    Just because he did horrible things doesn’t change that one iota.

  109. #109 Torbjörn Larsson
    August 25, 2006

    mike:
    “A more balanced picture than PZ Myers-like athiests or Christians care to present can be found here:

    http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ca_hitler.html

    Obviously you didn’t observe the care taken here. All Non-Christianity quotes your reference cites are based on “Hitler’s Table Talk”.

    Gerard noted above:
    “Just be aware that many of the apparently anti-Christian passages in the English translation of Table Talk, edited by Hugh Trevor Roper in 1953, are fake. Richard Carrier has done a wonderful job tracking this down:

    http://ffrf.org/fttoday/2002/nov02/carrier.php

    German Studies Review 26 (2003) 561-576.

    (Trevor-Roper, who did not himself speak German, was apparently fooled by a Swiss Nazi by the name of Genoud, who added material that he though Hitler should have said, to a French translation he prepared; and by his own translators, who worked from the French tranlation rather than the German, and thus reproduced the fabrications. Trevor-Roper lated authenticated the ‘Hitler Diaries’. He may have been the most gullible historian of the 20th century.)”

    ( http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/list_of_hitler_quotes_he_was_q.php#comment-201717 )

    And PZ quotes Hitler as “outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933”. Since your reference doesn’t trust public comments, actions speaks louder than words here.

  110. #110 Torbjörn Larsson
    August 25, 2006

    mike:
    Uuups, forgot to show that your reference uses the right wrong version, the English translation of 1953:

    “Hitler’s Table Talk (Adolf Hitler, London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1953).”

  111. #111 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    For what it’s worth, I’ve known several Catholics who’ve grudgingly admitted Hitler was a Catholic. It only ever seems to be rightwing American Protestants who deny it, or worse, claim he was an atheist.

  112. #112 mike
    August 25, 2006

    Millimeter Wave,

    That is kind of my point. I believe Myers is engaging in some of the same sort of irrational sniping that I would expect out of the Bible-thumpers. Instead of trying to present a realistic portrait of what Hitler really believed, he is trying to fob it back on Christians. Petty.

    Yes, science has been abused as well, and that doesn’t make science inherently evil. But all this talk of of whether or not Hitler was a Christian or an athiest or something else entirely misses the point: what evidence is there that belief – or lack thereof – influenced Hitler’s policies and his beliefs?

    I see little evidence that Catholicism had much real influence on Hitler’s political ideology. On the other hand, I see plenty of evidence that a twisted eugenic interpretation of Darwinism had a great deal of influence on Nazism. That isn’t to say that I think science is guilty, but realistically, the eugenic thought of that era was more influential on Nazi thought than Catholicism was.

    I’ve seen plenty of propaganda put out during the Nazi era and quite a bit of it makes reference to the “survival of the fittest” as justification for what the Nazis were doing. By contrast, the Nazis only made the most superficial and minimal efforts to appeal to Catholics, and not in an attempt to bolster their ideology, but merely for the purpose of political pandering.

    Finally, it should be noted that in fairness to religious people, among the relatively few people willing to help victims (especially victims who were practically strangers) of Nazi persecution, a very high percentage were deeply religious people. The “high-minded” intellectuals, at least those who were not direct victims of Nazi persecutation, for all their “deep thought,” risked comparatively little.

    BTW, in case anyone is wondering, I’m an agnostic (tending towards athiest).

  113. #113 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    so are hitler’s actual actions no longer considered evidence, Mike?

    And PZ quotes Hitler as “outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933”. Since your reference doesn’t trust public comments, actions speaks louder than words here.

    oops.

    there’s definetly more evidence for one side of the equation than the other.

    not that that is saying much in the overall scheme of things, but there is a far better case to be made for hitler’s religion than lack thereof.

    it’s not equal across the board.

  114. #114 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    mynym, you and others here who want to defend your xianity against claims of abuse by hitler…

    The Nazis didn’t abuse Christianity, they totally perverted it. E.g.:

    The party stands on the basis of Positive Christianity, and Positive Christianity is National Socialism . . . National Socialism is the doing of God’s will . . . God’s will reveals itself in German blood . . . Dr. Zoellner and Count Galen have tried to make clear to me that Christianity consists in faith in Christ as the Son of God. That makes me laugh . . . No, Christianity is not dependent upon the Apostle’s Creed . . . True Christianity is represented by the party, and the German people are now called by the party and especially by the Fuehrer to a real Christianity . . .

    (The Rise and Fall of
    the Third Reich: A History
    of Nazi Germany
    by William L. Shirer
    (Simon and Schuster) 1990 :100). :239)

    Christianity without faith in Christ as the son of God? That makes me laugh.

    …would be far wiser to start off by agreeing that the claims of Kennedy are even more ridiculous.

    PZ didn’t mention Kennedy in his original post and I have no idea what the claims of Kennedy are, nor do I care what they are. The historical facts are what they are, the very reason that quotes can be mined from Hitler’s speeches such as: “I pledge not to destroy Christianity.” was because the public was concerned that that was exactly what he was doing. It’s the same reason that there are Nazi quotes from Nuremberg about soldiers recieving good Christian burials and so on, because actually they were thorough going pagans.

    so… are you a xian zealot, or a thinker?

    Ironically, zealots of all sorts have been quite the thinkers throughout the ages, perhaps you are one of the passive little fellows who sits about waiting for Mommy Nature to make selections by “natural selection”?

    do you think there is validity to Kennedy’s assesment of the hitler-darwin link, or not?

    What is Kennedy’s assesment of the Hitler/Darwin link?

    is there more evidence to support the xian-hitler link, or the darwin-hitler link, do you think?

    There’s more evidence to support a Nietzsche/Hitler link than either of those. That doesn’t mean that Nietzsche wasn’t brilliant, it just means that his philosophy may not form the type of civilized culture that people currently value.

  115. #115 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    The “high-minded” intellectuals, at least those who were not direct victims of Nazi persecutation, for all their “deep thought,” risked comparatively little.

    if you shortened that to:

    those who were not direct victims of nazi persecutation [sic] (is that a GW word?), risked comparatively little.

    it would be at least more accurate, if still vapid.

    there were plenty of nazi sympathizers in the US before we got involved in the war, of both intellectual and non-intellecutal stripe.

    your comment is vacuous at best.

  116. #116 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    What is Kennedy’s assesment of the Hitler/Darwin link?

    uh, you’re kidding, right?

    did you miss the whole reason this thread was posted?

    oh, I guess you did.

    gees, what cave have you been living in?

    scroll back a page or so, or gander at the thumb to see several posts on the special on how Darwinism “caused” nazism as will be broadcast on the coral ridge hour this weekend, IIRC.

    did you think PZ just whipped this whole thing out of his ass for fun?

    the quotes are in direct response to Kennedy’s thesis.

    get with the program.

  117. #117 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    The man was a Catholic, perhaps not a great one, but a catholic nonetheless.

    Note the Catholics who disagreed, interesting to note that what they were up against were notions of man as nothing more than an animal, etc.:

    The most ringing Catholic protest against “euthanasia” was the famous sermon of Clemens Count von Galen, then bishop of Munster. It was given on August 3 1941,just four Sundays after the highly significant pastoral letter of German bishops had been read from every Catholic pulpit in the country; the letter reaffirmed “obligations of conscience” at opposing the taking of “innocent” life, “even if it were to cost us our lives.” The first part of Galen’s sermon explored the Biblical theme of how “Jesus, the Son of God, wept,” how even God wept “be cause of stupidity, injustice . . . and because of the disaster which came about as a result.” Then, after declaring, “It is a terrible, unjust and catastrophic thing when man opposes his will to the will of God,” Galen quoted the pastoral letter of 6 July and made clear that the “catastrophic thing” he had in mind was the killing of innocent mental patients and “a doctrine which authorizes the violent death of invalids and elderly people.”
    He further declared that he himself had “filed formal charges” with police and legal authorities in Munster over deportations from a nearby institution. He went on in words that every farmer and laborer could understand:
    “It is said of these patients. They are like an old machine which no longer runs, like an old horse which is hopelessly paralyzed, like a cow which no longer gives milk.
    What do we do with a machine of this kind? We put it in the junkyard. What do we do with a paralyzed horse? No, I do not wish to push the comparison to the end. . . . We are not talking here about a machine, a horse, nor a cow… . No, we are talking about men and women, our compatriots, our brothers and sisters. Poor unproductive people if you wish, but does this mean that they have lost their right to live?”
    […] And after a couple of poignant examples of specific people killed, the bishop concluded, as he had begun, with Biblical imagery, this time not of Jesus weeping but of “divine justice”–ultimate punishment–for those “making a blasphemy of our faith” by persecuting clergy and “sending innocent people to their death.” He asked that such people (who could only be the Nazi authorities) be ostracized and left to their divine retribution:
    “We wish to withdraw ourselves and our faithful from their influence, so that we may not be contaminated by their thinking and their ungodly behavior, so that we may not participate and share with them in the punishment which ajust God should and will pronounce upon all those who…do not wish what God wishes!”
    With the authority of his office, a Catholic bishop invoked the wrath of God on those who were killing the innocent. This powerful, populist sermon was immediately reproduced and distributed throughout Germany–indeed, it was dropped among German troops by British Royal Air Force flyers. Galen’s sermon probably had a greater impact than any other one statement in consolidating anti-“euthanasia” sentiment; hence, Bormann’s judgment that the bishop deserved the death penalty.

    (The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide
    By Robert Lifton :93-94)

  118. #118 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    Finally, it should be noted that in fairness to religious people, among the relatively few people willing to help victims (especially victims who were practically strangers) of Nazi persecution, a very high percentage were deeply religious people.

    You should keep in mind that millions of German Christians served Hitler and the Nazi party very loyally. It was not atheists who committed all those atrocities in eastern Europe. I’m not saying their Christianity caused rank and file German Christians to do those things, but it sure spectacularly failed to prevent it.

    And for the umpteenth time, Martin Luther bears a lot of the blame for the prevalent antisemitism among German Christians at the time.

  119. #119 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    mynym:

    You really need to catch up a bit to even have the slightest clue as to why this thread even exists.

    If you don’t want to check out the hundreds of different threads on this issue that have appeared all over the blogosphere in the last week or so, you can go straight to the source:

    http://www.coralridge.org/darwin/connection.asp?ID=crm&ec=I1301

    now kindly STFU until you go there and read that.

  120. #120 mike
    August 25, 2006

    And PZ quotes Hitler as “outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933”. Since your reference doesn’t trust public comments, actions speaks louder than words here.

    oops.

    there’s definetly more evidence for one side of the equation than the other.

    Only in your own mind, I’m afraid. You might want to brush up on your history before making such pronouncements; however emotionally satisfying they might be. Hitler also outlawed tarot readers, people who played with runes, and even a somewhat occult group called the Thule Society, whose members, such as Alfred Rosenberg, strongly influenced Hitler. Hitler banned practically every single group that taught any ideology that might conceivably conflict with the official policies of the Nazi Party; or at least, every group that he felt he could get away with banning, the Catholic church and mainstream Protestant groups were too large and therefore beyond such treatment.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but Hitler did not single out athiest and freethinker organizations for special treatment.

    persecutation[sic]

    Lol. Sorry, you’ll have to excuse my grammar and spelling. I’m very tired but I have to do a few more things tonight (including waiting for certain people to arrive at my place) and I can’t quite retire yet. I apologize for all spelling errors in advance.

    your comment is vacuous at best.

    Lol. If a comment is vacuous at best, what it is at its worst?

  121. #121 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    oh btw, didn’t Coulter claim, like Collins did, that she was not directly consulted for this “special”?

    hmm. then why is her face and quotes plastered all over the front page of the page describing the show?

    lying silly bunt.

  122. #122 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    Note the Catholics who disagreed, interesting to note that what they were up against were notions of man as nothing more than an animal, etc.:

    Splendid, so why did the Vatican never excommunicate him?

    The “high-minded” intellectuals, at least those who were not direct victims of Nazi persecutation, for all their “deep thought,” risked comparatively little.

    This analogy is bogus, since the great majority of ordinary German Christians didn’t risk anything either.

    If your claim is that the German resistance didn’t contain ‘high minded intellectuals’, I would love to see your evidence for that.

  123. #123 mike
    August 25, 2006

    And PZ quotes Hitler as “outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933”. Since your reference doesn’t trust public comments, actions speaks louder than words here.

    oops.

    there’s definetly more evidence for one side of the equation than the other.

    Only in your own mind, I’m afraid. You might want to brush up on your history before making such pronouncements; however emotionally satisfying they might be. Hitler also outlawed tarot readers, people who played with runes, and even a somewhat occult group called the Thule Society, whose members, such as Alfred Rosenberg, strongly influenced Hitler. Hitler banned practically every single group that taught any ideology that might conceivably conflict with the official policies of the Nazi Party; or at least, every group that he felt he could get away with banning, the Catholic church and mainstream Protestant groups were too large and therefore beyond such treatment.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but Hitler did not single out athiest and freethinker organizations for special treatment.

    persecutation[sic]

    Lol. Sorry, you’ll have to excuse my grammar and spelling. I’m very tired but I have to do a few more things tonight (including waiting for certain people to arrive at my place) and I can’t quite retire yet. I apologize for all spelling errors in advance.

    your comment is vacuous at best.

    Lol. If a comment is vacuous at best, what it is at its worst?

  124. #124 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    Lol. If a comment is vacuous at best, what it is at its worst?

    lies, complete distortion, utter idiocy?

    you pick.

    😉

    get some sleep.

  125. #125 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    Sorry to disappoint you, but Hitler did not single out athiest and freethinker organizations for special treatment.

    He banned them. That’s not ‘special treatment’?

    I hate to imagine what you think ‘special treatment’ WOULD be…

  126. #126 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    …Darwinism “caused” nazism as will be broadcast on the coral ridge hour this weekend, IIRC.

    Darwin’s ideas (patterns of ideas rooted in the urge to merge have been around a long time but for the sake of argument we can pretend Darwinism is the be all, end all) shaped a cultural milieu in which Nazism could more easily overcome the “Jewish influence,” Christianity and all of the Greco/Judeo/Christian traditions of the West in general. Thus hospitals were shifted away from the Christian hospitality upon which they were founded and into places of euthanasia, scientific experiments, etc. Modern Darwinists seem to also tend towards believing that Darwinism guides medical advancement, that perhaps those who do not bleieve in the Darwinian creation myth ought not to recieve the medical benefits that supposedly derive from it, etc. Some even seem to believe that given that the notion of progress is written into the Darwinian creation myth that therefore Darwinism is associated with all science, technology, medicine and progress as we know it. Therefore disbelief in the Darwinian creation myth will lead us back to the Dark Ages and so on. The tendency to associate Darwinism with progress is fairly odd, given that we don’t even know what “progress” is unless we use language to specify or recognize it as such.

  127. #127 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    Darwin’s ideas…shaped a cultural milieu in which Nazism could more easily overcome the “Jewish influence,” Christianity and all of the Greco/Judeo/Christian traditions of the West in general.

    You have your head up your ass. Hitler did not need Darwin to find an excuse to kill 6 million Jews.

    Please read this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_the_Jews

    And explain why Darwin gets all the fundy’s blame for the Holocaust and not Martin Luther. The connections sure don’t have to be swathed in psychobabble like you have to do to connect Darwin and Hitler.

  128. #128 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    As i thought.

    mynym is an idiot with a vacuum where his brain should be, but a filter that only allows idiotic distortions of science to waft in when exposed to them, whereupon they re-emerge from his mouth essentially unchanged.

    has anybody ever called you completely worthless before?

    If not, let me be the first.

    You met my predictions exactly, sadly enough.

    now kindly STFU you complete and utter waste of space, ’cause after your latest missive, you couldn’t POSSIBLY have anything of interest to say.

  129. #129 Stanton
    August 25, 2006

    And mynym gives us a perfect example of vacuous idiocy, especially since he conveniently ignores the fact that Christians had a 1,500 year old tradition of oppressing Jews, and that one crucially important aspect of evolution in medicine is the ability of bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens to develop resistance to medications, or that virus strains can develop new ways of being deadly, or that evolutionary biology allows scientists to develop new understandings by comparing similar biological functions of different species.

  130. #130 mike
    August 25, 2006

    “It was not atheists who committed all those atrocities in eastern Europe.”

    Actually, I’m positive there were athiests (and people, not technically athiests, but irreligious anyway) in the ranks of Hitler’s armed forces.

    “I’m not saying their Christianity caused rank and file German Christians to do those things, but it sure spectacularly failed to prevent it.”

    So did all the secular values and institutions that appeared in the several centuries since the Christian church had lost substantial political and social influence in western society; all those values promulgated from the Renaissance and the Enlightenment up to the 20th century failed to make the world any less bloody. That is, in many ways, a truly damning indictment.

    And for the umpteenth time, Martin Luther bears a lot of the blame for the prevalent antisemitism among German Christians at the time.

    Maybe. I suspect that people tend to exaggerate the “depth” of influences on things. Besides, I don’t think Martin Luther was much of a role-model for Catholics. Lol. Though Martin Luther himself, I suppose, didn’t appear in a vaccuum, either. Did he?

    I want to say that while science is not inherently evil, scientist cannot be considered blameless in the rise of Nazi Germany. You need only look back at the eugenicist literature of the twenties and thirties to realize to what extent the scientific community promoted notions that we would consider racist today and how confidently scientists promoted eugenics.
    .
    As athiests pour over the sins of the church, it might be helpful to keep in mind how a lack of skepticism and overconfidence in the certainty of prevailing scientific theories can promote many of the same evils of fundamentalist religion. Scientist can be as stupid and dogmatic and the religious kooks at times and with much the same results

  131. #131 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    I call shenanigans on Mynym.

    everybody get your broom!

    seriously, that was a troll post by mynym if I’ve ever seen one, and I expect PZ will be after it with his disemvowelator at some point.

  132. #132 Numad
    August 25, 2006

    “Darwinian creation myth”

    Do not feed the troll!

  133. #133 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    Mike you’re being reduced to arguing that anything could have had an influence on anything, historically.

    is there really a point to do so?

  134. #134 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    You should keep in mind that millions of German Christians served Hitler and the Nazi party very loyally.

    As Einstein noted, the Church resisted* when others would not. I would note that it is easy to sit back now when things are clear. They weren’t clear at the time. Just as people do not take the anti-Semitism of the Islamofascists seriously or find excuses to make excuses for it, people did not take Nazi rhetoric seriously and believed public assurances instead. Ironically, some of the old public assurances that decieved people then are now being used by PZ to decieve people again.

    *E.g.(Hitler Given First Jolt by Protestant Pastors: Refusal of 4,000 Lutheran Clergymen to be Nationalized Brings Nazi Regime Significant Check
    by Edwin L. James
    The New York Times; Dec. 3, 1933 pg. E1)

    Excerpt:

    The effort to reshape religion in Germany is being undertaken by the German Christians, who belong to the Lutheran Church, but who are all Nazis. Their head is Bishop Mueller. The German Christians, in turn, are divided into extremists and moderates. The extremists would do away with the Old Testament, revise the New Testament. They wish to make a Nordic church… They would look upon Jesus Christ not as a holy figure but as an historical figure. In the long run, they would force all Germans, except Jews, into a German National Church, based not on Christianity but the consecration of the virtues represented by the Nazi political faith.

    It’s curious how elimination of the “Jewish influence” also eliminates creationism or the “fairy tale of the Jews” as the Nazis would put it, by the power of the State.

    It was not atheists who committed all those atrocities in eastern Europe. I’m not saying their Christianity caused rank and file German Christians to do those things, but it sure spectacularly failed to prevent it.

    Christianity was perverted by the scientism of the day into something that doesn’t match the ancient texts of Christianity in the least, therefore it wasn’t Christian. It’s more difficult to say if it was Darwinian because the Darwinian mind usually refuses specification and definition but at any rate, the Nazis stood on the scientism of their day.

    So they believed:

    The Christian churches build on the ignorance of people and are anxious so far as possible to preserve this ignorance in as large a part of the populance as possible; only in this way can the Christian churches retain their power. In contrast, national socialism rests on scientific foundations.

    (The German Churches Under
    Hitler: Backround, Struggle, and Epilogue
    by Ernst Helmreich
    (Detriot: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1979) :303)

    Scripturalists tended to be anti-Nazis, so Christianity did prevent it just as you say it ought. E.g.

    It is noteworthy, but hardly surprising, that the Confessing Church, by and large, furnished the leadership for the revived postwar Evangelical Church.
    The great majority of Evangelical pastors did not join either the [pro-Nazi] German Christian movement or the [anti-Nazi] Confessing Church, although many were in sympathy with the latter. The story of these “neutrals” has yet to be researched and told. […]
    The book is an exceedingly valuable contribution to the literature of the German church struggle; it is exhaustive in scholarly research and rich in bibliographical material, documentation and heretofore unused archival sources.

    (The German Churches under Hitler: Background, Struggle and Epilogue
    by Ernst Christian Helmreich
    Reviewed by Arthur A. Preisinger
    Church History, Vol. 49, No. 3. (Sep., 1980) :347)

  135. #135 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    Actually, I’m positive there were athiests (and people, not technically athiests, but irreligious anyway) in the ranks of Hitler’s armed forces.

    So what? I didn’t deny that. But the great majority of people in Hitler’s armed forces were ordinary Christians.

    “I’m not saying their Christianity caused rank and file German Christians to do those things, but it sure spectacularly failed to prevent it.”
    So did all the secular values and institutions that appeared in the several centuries since the Christian church had lost substantial political and social influence in western society;

    So now you’re saying that Christians didn’t stop the Holocaust because Christianity was a ‘weak institution’? That ‘secularism’ caused the holocaust? Bullshit. The great majority of Germans at the time were Christians, and antisemitism in Germany goes back MUCH further than the advent of any supposed ‘secularism’ in that country. Church attendance in Germany in the 1930’s was FAR higher than it is now.

    And for the umpteenth time, Martin Luther bears a lot of the blame for the prevalent antisemitism among German Christians at the time.
    Maybe. I suspect that people tend to exaggerate the “depth” of influences on things.
    Besides, I don’t think Martin Luther was much of a role-model for Catholics.

    Hitler was known to be a great admirer of Luther, and Luther’s influence on German Protestantism is impossible to exaggerate. See the links.

  136. #136 mike
    August 25, 2006

    Mike you’re being reduced to arguing that anything could have had an influence on anything, historically.

    is there really a point to do so?

    No, quite the opposite. My whole point was that people often tend to go too far with emphasizing that anything could influence anything. To give you an example, some people explain the Iraq-Iran War during the ’80s by blaming it on the centuries of hatred between Sunni and Shia. In reality, much more immediate causes adequately explain the conflict (i.e. oil politics, the jockeying of dictators, etc.). People tend to look too deeply to find causality sometimes.

    Anyway, I’m going to bed shortly. Thanks for the discussion guys and gals.

  137. #137 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    Ironically, some of the old public assurances that decieved people then are now being used by PZ to decieve people again.

    Oh, I can’t WAIT to hear what ‘public assurances’ PZ is using to ‘decieve people’ — DO share.

  138. #138 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    I expect PZ will be after it with his disemvowelator at some point.

    And I suppose that censorship by a Darwinist will prove that Darwinism has nothing to do with Nazism?

    It’s fine. I have never expected the Darwinian mind to be interested in historical accuracy, as instead it tends to believe that imagining a little story about the past is evidence. E.g., “If I can imagine a way of something happening in a way that I call natural, then that is evidence that it happened that way. If I cannot imagine a way of it happening to explain it then my theory absolutely breaks down! Imagine that…”

    You may as well treat historical evidence with respect to Nazism the same way.

  139. #139 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    You have your head up your ass. Hitler did not need Darwin to find an excuse to kill 6 million Jews.

    He needed Darwin, not Luther, to decieve the intellectuals of his day because they believed in science much more than old time religion.

    …explain why Darwin gets all the fundy’s blame for the Holocaust and not Martin Luther.

    First, because fundamentalists tend to believe that old time religion is the cure for all evil in the here and now even when old time religion seems to clearly state that it isn’t. Second, Darwin may deserve some of the blame for the Holocaust.

  140. #140 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    It was not atheists who committed all those atrocities in eastern Europe. I’m not saying their Christianity caused rank and file German Christians to do those things, but it sure spectacularly failed to prevent it.
    Christianity was perverted by the scientism of the day into something that doesn’t match the ancient texts of Christianity in the least, therefore it wasn’t Christian.

    Splendid. So if Christians commit misdeeds, you simply declare they’re not ‘real’ Christians! Pretty neat trick!

    See HERE for your particular fallacy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_scotsman

    As Einstein noted, the Church resisted* when others would not.

    Good. So why did so few Christians resist and so many of them serve Hitler so well?

    Scripturalists tended to be anti-Nazis, so Christianity did prevent it just as you say it ought.

    Christianity prevented the Holocaust? First I’ve heard that! So all those Jews must still be alive after all!

  141. #141 George Cauldron
    August 25, 2006

    He needed Darwin, not Luther, to decieve the intellectuals of his day because they believed in science much more than old time religion.

    That ‘secularism’ again, eh? Please share your evidence that the holocaust was carried out by ‘intellectuals’.

    …explain why Darwin gets all the fundy’s blame for the Holocaust and not Martin Luther.
    First, because fundamentalists tend to believe that old time religion is the cure for all evil in the here and now even when old time religion seems to clearly state that it isn’t.

    This sentence makes no sense whatsoever.

    Second, Darwin may deserve some of the blame for the Holocaust.

    Really? Can you give me a list of Darwin’s anti-Jewish writings? It’ll help your case quite a lot.

  142. #142 Millimeter Wave
    August 25, 2006

    Where to start…?

    Millimeter Wave,

    That is kind of my point. I believe Myers is engaging in some of the same
    sort of irrational sniping that I would expect out of the Bible-thumpers.
    Instead of trying to present a realistic portrait of what Hitler really
    believed, he is trying to fob it back on Christians. Petty.

    mike,
    I was quoting PZ from the original post. I think what he said was
    perfectly clear, and he even stated that it’s humans who do bad things,
    and then create whatever justifications suit their purposes. The point being
    that you can’t accept at face value the justifications he created, based on a
    warped interpretation of evolutionary theory, and not draw the same conclusions
    about repeated public statements about Christianity. They are, naturally, both
    BS.

    I see little evidence that Catholicism had much real influence
    on Hitler’s political ideology. On the other hand, I see plenty of evidence
    that a twisted eugenic interpretation of Darwinism had a great deal of
    influence on Nazism. That isn’t to say that I think science is guilty, but
    realistically, the eugenic thought of that era was more influential on Nazi
    thought than Catholicism was.

    I don’t see that at all. Are you really saying that Hitler’s racism was driven
    by a desire to pursue science, rather than that he perverted the science in
    order to justify his racism?

    I’ve seen plenty of propaganda put out during the Nazi era and
    quite a bit of it makes reference to the “survival of the fittest” as
    justification for what the Nazis were doing.

    Well, quite.

    mynym,

    The Nazis didn’t abuse Christianity, they totally perverted
    it.

    …and what is it that they did to evolutionary theory, exactly?

  143. #143 Alon Levy
    August 25, 2006

    He needed Darwin, not Luther, to decieve the intellectuals of his day because they believed in science much more than old time religion.

    The intellectuals of his day didn’t need any deception; they willingly compromised and went along with his general ideas regardless of justification. The people he did need to convince were the masses who voted for him in 1932, and the close advisors who planned the Holocaust with him in 1942.

  144. #144 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    has anybody ever called you completely worthless before?

    If not, let me be the first.

    You’re not the first and won’t be the last. Yes, the notion that I am “unfit” or “life unworthy of life” does seem to come up. It is because I debate Holocaust deniers, Darwinists and the like.

    It seems that irony is lost on some little fellows.

  145. #145 mike
    August 25, 2006

    OK. One more round, then I’m done.

    So what? I didn’t deny that. But the great majority of people in Hitler’s armed forces were ordinary Christians.

    So what? If you can show me the evidence that Christianity influenced Nazism or that Christians were enthusiatic Nazis to a far greater extent than a comparable group of athiests, then great. Otherwise, your argument effectively amounts to blaming Christianity for athiesm’s failure to catch on among Germans. Excusing athiests on the basis that they simply weren’t numerous is a weak argument. I see little evidence that an individual’s religion or irreligion in the Third Reich played much of a role in making them Nazis. (The sole exception being the previously mentioned point about religious people being more willing to risk themselves when it came to helping victims of the Nazis.)

    Hitler was known to be a great admirer of Luther,

    That may be true. My own personal opinion is that if Hitler wasn’t an admirer of Luther, he would still be an antisemite. I don’t think Hitler’s admiration of Luther, anymore than Hitler’s admiration of the antisemitic Richard Wagner, was a particularly pivotal influence on the development of Nazi thought but again, that is just a personal judgement. I don’t think Luther was particularly influential in the development of Nazi ideology; though he undoubtedly contributed to antisemitism in Germany.

    Still, if Luther was as influential as you think, it is interesting to note that persecution of Jews has historically been much milder in countries that are even more Lutheran than Germany, such as Sweden and Norway, for example, than in neighboring eastern Europe or, for that matter, even France.

    So now you’re saying that Christians didn’t stop the Holocaust because Christianity was a ‘weak institution’? That ‘secularism’ caused the holocaust? Bullshit.

    I stated exactly what I stated; namely, the growth of secular values did not make the world any less bloodier in the 20th century than in centuries prior. Stop twisting my words around. I never stated that secularism, by itself, “caused” anything.

    My point about Christianity was that Hitler could not ban the Catholic church or Protestant denominations because it was not politically feasible (unlike persecuting, for example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses). As Shirer makes clear in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Hitler understood early in his career the importance of not attacking the Church directly.

  146. #146 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    I’m being a good boy and not responing to the obvious troll in the room.

    please take note for future reference, as my knuckles are turning white from restraint, and I doubt you will ever see me refrain from responding to such drivel ever again, even with the imminent threat of disemvowelment given to those who responded to trolls.

    patiently waiting for the disemvoweling to begin.

  147. #147 OB
    August 25, 2006

    Richard Steigmann-Gall’s _The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945_ relies heavily on primary sources from Nazi leaders other than Hitler.

    It’s difficult to imagine that every high-ranking Nazi who supported “Positive Christianity” was merely paying lip service to faith for political reasons. That Christians are easily manipulated through their faith was a bonus… but it seems most of these guys were sincere in their beliefs that what they were doing was the Lord’s work. That’s what makes them so goddamned creepy.

  148. #148 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    … but it seems most of these guys were sincere in their beliefs that what they were doing was the Lord’s work. That’s what makes them so goddamned creepy.

    …and what’s changed?

  149. #149 Millimeter Wave
    August 25, 2006

    I’m being a good boy and not responing to the obvious troll in the room.

    please take note for future reference, as my knuckles are turning white from restraint, and I doubt you will ever see me refrain from responding to such drivel ever again, even with the imminent threat of disemvowelment given to those who responded to trolls.

    patiently waiting for the disemvoweling to begin.

    Agreed. This thread seems to be heading rapidly downhill; I’m done too.

  150. #150 Torbjörn Larsson
    August 25, 2006

    mike:
    Since your are silent on the fakes you presented by your reference, I must assume that you agree.

    “Instead of trying to present a realistic portrait of what Hitler really believed, he is trying to fob it back on Christians.”

    To make that claim you have first to refute PZ’s motivations listed as Objection! and Reply. They check out all right so far.

    “But all this talk of of whether or not Hitler was a Christian or an athiest or something else entirely misses the point: what evidence is there that belief – or lack thereof – influenced Hitler’s policies and his beliefs?”

    I have already noted his outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups. You say: “Sorry to disappoint you, but Hitler did not single out athiest and freethinker organizations for special treatment.” But the point is that he treated atheists and freethinkers and other small groups differently than christians.

    Other evidences have been presented such as the prevalent Lutherian anti-semitism among German Christians he utilised.

    He never ended his church membership.

    “Drawing on Higher Criticism and some branches of theologically liberal Protestantism, Hitler advocated what he termed Positive Christianity, purged of everything that he found objectionable in conventional Christianity.

    “His views were supported by the German Christians movement, but rejected by the Confessing Church. According to Steigmann-Gall, Hitler regretted that “the churches had failed to back him and his movement as he had hoped;”[26] and he stated according to Albert Speer: “Through me the Protestant Church could become the established church, as in England.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler )

    And his army wore christian decals.

    “I’ve seen plenty of propaganda put out during the Nazi era and quite a bit of it makes reference to the “survival of the fittest” as justification for what the Nazis were doing.”

    You really should read this thread first. You are repeating claims that has been answered.

  151. #151 mynym
    August 25, 2006

    So if Christians commit misdeeds, you simply declare they’re not ‘real’ Christians! Pretty neat trick!

    Of course people who claim that their blood is a divine revelation, that Christ isn’t the son of God, etc., are not Christians. They are no more Christians than people that reject natural selection, etc., are Darwinians.

    Of course I simply declare that they are not real Christians, because they aren’t. You saying that they are reveals an abject ignorance with respect to the central teaching of Christ and the core of his doctrine.

    So why did so few Christians resist and so many of them serve Hitler so well?

    It would seem that people are generally a mixture of good and evil.

    “Scripturalists tended to be anti-Nazis, so Christianity did prevent it just as you say it ought.”

    Christianity prevented the Holocaust? First I’ve heard that! So all those Jews must still be alive after all!

    You said, “I’m not saying their Christianity caused rank and file German Christians to do those things, but it sure spectacularly failed to prevent it.”

    Yet the Confessional Church did prevent the rank and file from falling into Nazism based on scripture, a sort of sola scriptura Reformed understanding of it. Apparently Luther’s anti-Semitism was attenuated by some of the purity of his doctrine, ironically Lutherans may have later come to take the teachings of Christ to heart more than Luther did.

    Again, instead of trying to argue about specific persons like Hitler or Luther note some broad historical facts:
    (Hitler Given First Jolt by Protestant Pastors: Refusal of 4,000 Lutheran Clergymen to be Nationalized Brings Nazi Regime Significant Check
    by Edwin L. James
    The New York Times; Dec. 3, 1933 pg. E1)

    I have never seen any historical evidence of this sort: “Hitler given jolt when Eugenics society condemns Hitler’s abuse of Darwinism”

    “German biologists condemn Hitler’s distortion of biology”

    “Darwinists condemn Hitler”

    Etc.

    As for eugenicists, Edwin Black notes that there is historical evidence of all sorts of correspondence between eugenicists and Nazis. See: War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race

  152. #152 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    “Darwinists condemn Hitler”

    what, are you trying to give me arthritis?

  153. #153 Numad
    August 25, 2006

    Remember the jingle, people:

    Just don’t look, just don’t look.

  154. #154 Eric Paulsen
    August 25, 2006

    So if Christians commit misdeeds, you simply declare they’re not ‘real’ Christians! Pretty neat trick!

    The last REAL Christian died on the cross about 2000 years ago, the rest are a mix of well meaning poseurs and cynical manipulators using the religion as a control mechanism. Christianity would be a terrific religion if anybody actually followed it.

  155. #155 Ichthyic
    August 25, 2006

    Remember the jingle, people:

    Just don’t look, just don’t look.

    _______

    REN: Captain’s log. I’m tired. So tired. I can’t believe my own partner attacked me. Maybe…if I occupy his MIND with more DUTIES, I can control his…(unearthly voice) SPACE MADNESS.

    [Button room] REN: Now, listen, Cadet. I’ve got a JOB for you. See this button? (Stimpy reaches for the button) DON’T TOUCH IT! It’s the HISTORY ERASER button, you FOOL!

    STIMPY: So what’ll happen?

    REN: That’s just IT! We don’t KNOW! Maayyybeee something bad?…Mayyybeee something good! I guess we’ll never know! ‘Cause you’re going to guard it! You won’t TOUCH it, will you?

    (Stimpy salutes. Ren leaves.)
    REN: Hehhh…hehhhh…hehhhh…hehhhh…
    (Stimpy marches back and forth, starting at the button.)

    ANNOUNCER: Oh, how long can trusty Cadet Stimpy hold out? How can he possibly resist the diabolical urge to push the button that could erase his very existence? Will his tortured mind give in to its uncontrollable desires?
    (Announcer grabs Stimpy, forces him closer to the button.) Can he resist the temptation to push the button that, even now, beckons him even closer? Will he succumb to the maddening urge to eradicate history? At the MERE…PUSH…of a SINGLE…BUTTON! The beeyootiful SHINY button! The jolly CANDY-LIKE button! Will he hold out, folks? CAN he hold out?

  156. #156 Palmira
    August 25, 2006

    You can have a look at some Hitler’s paintings to confirm that the former altar boy was a catholic until his death – the Catholic Church, that threatens to excommunicate scientists working with stem cells, never excommunicated Hitler (or any of the catholics in the Holocaust, actually John Paul II had one beatified, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, an eloquent and vigorous defendeder of the Ustase or Ustasha Nazi-like regime in Croatia).

    Hitler himself payed the Kirchensteuer – the extra tax to the established church of their choice germans pay even today – to the Catholic church all his life. And never failed to send the Vatican their revenues on the tax. Neither Pius XI or Pius XII ever refused the money…

    Going back to the paintings I find particularly interesting the «Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ».

    Here, or here.

    This is also interesting

  157. #157 Thursday
    August 25, 2006

    “I believe Myers is engaging in some of the same sort of irrational sniping that I would expect out of the Bible-thumpers. Instead of trying to present a realistic portrait of what Hitler really believed, he is trying to fob it back on Christians. Petty.”

    I’m increasingly obliged to believe so.

    “Objection! Hitler was no true Christian.
    Reply: None of them are.”

    That’s an ignorant statement. I don’t know what else I can say to a bigot and his mob in their forum.

    “Objection! Christians don’t commit genocide.
    Reply: Look up the Albigensians, review your history of the Crusades, and what about the Jews of Spain? Did Darwin coin the word “pogrom”?”

    Then they weren’t real Christians. You will undoubtedly say none of them are, but then you’re either claiming to possess knowledge you don’t have or you’re lying. Further, the Crusades were not genocide by any definition of the word and the Jews of Spain primarily fought against Muslims who conquered Spain before the Crusades. Regarding Darwin, he did espouse eugenics. Whatever his scientific work ultimately means, his beliefs were not just and his life far from the glory of any Saint, known or unknown.

    “Objection! Hitler was merely cynically manipulating the German people by using their beliefs in God.
    Reply: I’d say something similar of his misuse of scientific theory.”

    Misuse according to who? Appealing to what standard? You’ve already made clear your ignorance of Catholicism, and your opinion of Christianity and morality. If human beings are nothing more than what you’ve said they are, then there is nothing wrong with any human behavior nor is there any value in it (including Science!). Since you obviously don’t take any of this seriously, there’s no point taking it up with you since you can’t see it. I suppose the question should be whether you just seem blind or if it’s genuine.

    “Objection! You’re doing the same thing we are, only instead of blaming Darwinism, you’re blaming Christianity.
    Reply: No, I think humans have done evil throughout their history… Science doesn’t dictate morality, and it’s also rather clear that religion does a piss-poor job of it, too.”

    Once again, you can call nothing evil so long as you hold to your current beliefs. You really haven’t honestly thought out the implications of your own claims. And you are quite correct that science doesn’t dictate morality, but you fail to mention that it’s because it can’t. Science is not Philosophy. Science does not and can not seek Truth, only fact. If you believe Science is more than it is, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is you really do. And further, since science does not and can not seek Truth, science could never recognize morality so science really doesn’t say anything about morality (as you say) so I find it puzzling that you can then make determinations on what morality is and whether or not religion understands it. You’re groping around in the pitch dark here claiming to have a light when you clearly don’t (actually philosophy does which is how I can see you groping) and you’re only making a fool of yourself.

    “I’d just say what is, is. Science describes it and explains it, but doesn’t tell us what we should do with it.”

    You should’ve stopped after “describes it” since that is the limit of what science does. Once again, you expose a fundamental misunderstanding about what it is you do. (Which is startling as you are a professor!) Science doesn’t explain things in themselves, science observes and describes what it sees. Real explanations, those which are not merely and at most superficial, are the business of Philosophy. I’m always shocked that scientists fail to make that simple aand honest distinction. However, your last sentence is quite right. Science doesn’t tell you what to do with anything precisely because it’s not explaining, but observing and describing. This is a perfect example of the distinction I’ve just illustrated previously, but in your own words, PK.
    The important thing to see here for all you other people reading is that Mr. Myer just exposed the contradictions in his soul. From this moment, no belief, no claim from Mr. Myer can ever be trusted until he resolves his own illusions for he simultaneously holds science to be responsible for what it can’t possibly explain UNTIL it suits him to make an equally irrational jab at religion.

    This irresponsible anti-Christian rant is nothing more than popular bigotry the likes of which I’d expect from a child, not a professional academic.

  158. #158 Thursday
    August 25, 2006

    “I believe Myers is engaging in some of the same sort of irrational sniping that I would expect out of the Bible-thumpers. Instead of trying to present a realistic portrait of what Hitler really believed, he is trying to fob it back on Christians. Petty.”

    I’m increasingly obliged to believe so.

    “Objection! Hitler was no true Christian.
    Reply: None of them are.”

    That’s an ignorant statement. I don’t know what else I can say to a bigot and his mob in their forum.

    “Objection! Christians don’t commit genocide.
    Reply: Look up the Albigensians, review your history of the Crusades, and what about the Jews of Spain? Did Darwin coin the word “pogrom”?”

    Then they weren’t real Christians. You will undoubtedly say none of them are, but then you’re either claiming to possess knowledge you don’t have or you’re lying. Further, the Crusades were not genocide by any definition of the word and the Jews of Spain primarily fought against Muslims who conquered Spain before the Crusades. Regarding Darwin, he did espouse eugenics. Whatever his scientific work ultimately means, his beliefs were not just and his life far from the glory of any Saint, known or unknown.

    “Objection! Hitler was merely cynically manipulating the German people by using their beliefs in God.
    Reply: I’d say something similar of his misuse of scientific theory.”

    Misuse according to who? Appealing to what standard? You’ve already made clear your ignorance of Catholicism, and your opinion of Christianity and morality. If human beings are nothing more than what you’ve said they are, then there is nothing wrong with any human behavior nor is there any value in it (including Science!). Since you obviously don’t take any of this seriously, there’s no point taking it up with you since you can’t see it. I suppose the question should be whether you just seem blind or if it’s genuine.

    “Objection! You’re doing the same thing we are, only instead of blaming Darwinism, you’re blaming Christianity.
    Reply: No, I think humans have done evil throughout their history… Science doesn’t dictate morality, and it’s also rather clear that religion does a piss-poor job of it, too.”

    Once again, you can call nothing evil so long as you hold to your current beliefs. You really haven’t honestly thought out the implications of your own claims. And you are quite correct that science doesn’t dictate morality, but you fail to mention that it’s because it can’t. Science is not Philosophy. Science does not and can not seek Truth, only fact. If you believe Science is more than it is, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is you really do. And further, since science does not and can not seek Truth, science could never recognize morality so science really doesn’t say anything about morality (as you say) so I find it puzzling that you can then make determinations on what morality is and whether or not religion understands it. You’re groping around in the pitch dark here claiming to have a light when you clearly don’t (actually philosophy does which is how I can see you groping) and you’re only making a fool of yourself.

    “I’d just say what is, is. Science describes it and explains it, but doesn’t tell us what we should do with it.”

    You should’ve stopped after “describes it” since that is the limit of what science does. Once again, you expose a fundamental misunderstanding about what it is you do. (Which is startling as you are a professor!) Science doesn’t explain things in themselves, science observes and describes what it sees. Real explanations, those which are not merely and at most superficial, are the business of Philosophy. I’m always shocked that scientists fail to make that simple aand honest distinction. However, your last sentence is quite right. Science doesn’t tell you what to do with anything precisely because it’s not explaining, but observing and describing. This is a perfect example of the distinction I’ve just illustrated previously, but in your own words, PK.
    The important thing to see here for all you other people reading is that Mr. Myer just exposed the contradictions in his soul. From this moment, no belief, no claim from Mr. Myer can ever be trusted until he resolves his own illusions for he simultaneously holds science to be responsible for what it can’t possibly explain UNTIL it suits him to make an equally irrational jab at religion.

    This irresponsible anti-Christian rant is nothing more than popular bigotry the likes of which I’d expect from a child, not a professional academic.

  159. #159 JackGoff
    August 25, 2006

    Once again, you can call nothing evil so long as you hold to your current beliefs.

    You don’t know secular humanism very well, do you? Of course, you don’t know science very well, either. You do know bullshit, though. It seems to be your personal language.

  160. #160 PZ Myers
    August 25, 2006

    Aww, shucks, Mr Thursday, I just got done hectoring the boys and Calamity about not shooting up the saloon everytime someone drops their hat, and you come strutting in with a sneer and a bellyful of piss and vinegar. This isn’t helping.

    Now you’ve rightly caught on to the fact that I detest religion with a passion, but you’ve picked the wrong places to make your case. You’re completely wrong in your interpretation of my replies to the objections (I’d know; I wrote ’em), you haven’t followed the context of this article at all, and you’re making loud noises like you’re spoiling for a fight, thinking that teeny-tiny pop-gun dangling below your belt is a cannon.

    And, goddamnit, you’ve misspelled my name.

    This is fair warning. You might want to slow down a little. There are a few hundred eyeballs following you right now, and they’re holding back the twitches, but they can all count to three.

  161. #161 Steve_C
    August 25, 2006

    Post 3 is coming up…

    everyone is lookin durn rite twithchay…

  162. #162 Steve_C
    August 25, 2006

    http://dorkafork.com/blog/?p=246#more-246

    Dorkafork makes the argument that Hitler was in fact a creationist.
    He believed in microevolution but not macroevolution.
    Does mean he was a nightmare because of it but….

  163. #163 Steve_C
    August 25, 2006

    Does NOT. My bad.

  164. #164 Ichthtyic
    August 25, 2006

    Since you obviously don’t take any of this seriously, there’s no point taking it up with you since you can’t see it.

    then one has to ask the obvious question thursday/troll:

    why did YOU?

    your attempts at preaching have been duly noted.

    whenever you have something of substance to impart, do feel free.

  165. #165 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2006
    “Objection! Hitler was no true Christian.
    Reply: None of them are.”

    That’s an ignorant statement.

    It looks a whole lot like a statement made by a professed Christian.

    The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

    –G. K. Chesterton

  166. #166 Goldstein
    August 25, 2006

    Hitler was a homosexual.

    Everybody knows it.

  167. #167 Owlmirror
    August 25, 2006

    But then, I shouldn’t have to tell someone uses the nom-de-web of “Thursday” about Chesterton.

    And you are quite correct that science doesn’t dictate morality, but you fail to mention that it’s because it can’t. Science is not Philosophy. Science does not and can not seek Truth, only fact. If you believe Science is more than it is, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is you really do.

    Specious reasoning. And you say you know philosophy…

    Even philosophy must be at least not in contradiction to fact. Therefore, philosophy must bow down to science by taking into account scientific discoveries. You know, those fact things.

    And further, since science does not and can not seek Truth, science could never recognize morality so science really doesn’t say anything about morality (as you say) so I find it puzzling that you can then make determinations on what morality is and whether or not religion understands it.

    Piffle and bafflegab. Science at the very least discovers factuals truths. “Truth” (meaning what, the abstract concept of all things that are true?) can never be fully discovered. Not even by philosophy.

    Ultimately, morality and ethics are based on human decisions actions in the real world. Actions can and should be studied scientifically, to determine the facts of their consequences. Human decisions could not be studied until very recently, but with modern neurological equipment, it is now possible to see and record activity in the brain when it is in the process of making judgements and decisions. Again, these are facts that can be studied, and used to base further decisions on.

    So the sciences of sociology, psychology, and neurology can at the very least inform morality.

    What can poor philosophy do, in the absence of facts gained by science? Nothing useful.

  168. #168 Thursday
    August 26, 2006

    “You don’t know secular humanism very well, do you? Of course, you don’t know science very well, either…”

    Of course I’m familiar with it, I simply disagree with it quite often. However, to say I know nothing of science is totally groundless since I’ve yet to mention anything scientific. Not once, not yet. This is generally because many of the articles here and almost all the discussions rarely mention anything scientific either. Am I discussing applied physics? Are you? I am relating the details of an experiment? Are you? That’s science and this isn’t it. In particular, this article is bigotry, politics, and a few quotes attributed to a mid-20th century German dictator pulled off the internet somewhere.

    “Aww, shucks, Mr Thursday, I just got done hectoring the boys and Calamity about not shooting up the saloon everytime someone drops their hat, and you come strutting in with a sneer and a bellyful of piss and vinegar…”

    Howdy partner, I don’t mean no offense! I’m just expressing my ideas fully as your rules say I am permitted to do here. You should probably open up a forum to more easily moderate responses, if you wish.

    “Now you’ve rightly caught on to the fact that I detest religion with a passion, but you’ve picked the wrong places to make your case. You’re completely wrong in your interpretation of my replies to the objections (I’d know; I wrote ’em), you haven’t followed the context of this article at all…”

    Have I picked the wrong place? Hmm, I don’t think so. I also don’t think I’m wrong in my interpretation of your replies. In this life, I’ve found that most people really don’t know what they think, even if they say it (or write it).
    As for possibly misunderstanding the context of this article, I can’t see what you could mean by that.

    “And, goddamnit, you’ve misspelled my name.
    This is fair warning. You might want to slow down a little. There are a few hundred eyeballs following you right now, and they’re holding back the twitches, but they can all count to three.”

    I’m sorry I misspelt your name, Mr. Myer(s!); it was unintentional.
    In that last part, do I detect a threat? Very good, that’s the spirit! I’ve been exceedingly calm during this discourse and have no need to slow down. Nor have I wasted any similar effort on anything less than bigorty, psuedo-science, and profund misinterpretations. Shouldn’t we all be in this quest together?

    “Specious reasoning. And you say you know philosophy…”

    Not really. Actually, it wasn’t even an argument, so it surely wasn’t reasoning. It was simply a fundamental fact of definition between the two disciplines.

    “Even philosophy must be at least not in contradiction to fact. Therefore, philosophy must bow down to science by taking into account scientific discoveries. You know, those fact things.”

    That’s bullocks. Seriously, you don’t know enough about this to be qualified. Philosophy is distinct from science. In order to come to the conclusion that science is legitimate, you must first show philosophically how any observation has any relevance to a reality and you must also then separate the observer. If anything, all first principles of science must rely on philosophy, not the other way around. The quesions of why?, all the philosophical pursuits, are just as valid even if someone knew every scientific fact and superficial explanation. As you people are all very angry and, therefore, prone to incorrect reasoning, I will first say that I’m not an enemy of science and when I say “superficial,” I’m not putting science down for the sake of some religious ferver. I mean just what it says. Science is a tremendous tool, but provides only superficial observations and explanations. All the really big questions necessarily leave the realm of data and conclusion in order to understanding their context and reality using the only tool we, as superficial observers have, and that is reason alone and what it tells us about what we are. Existence is nothing, but to be aware and reflective is to have inside information and is the only genuine experience we have to go on.

    “Piffle and bafflegab. Science at the very least discovers factuals truths. “Truth” (meaning what, the abstract concept of all things that are true?) can never be fully discovered. Not even by philosophy.
    “What can poor philosophy do, in the absence of facts gained by science? Nothing useful.”

    This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what philosophy and science do, what they seek, and what they can know. You must not bring linguistic muddling into this. The conventional definition of philosophical Truth among the educated differs greatly from scientific fact. Sciene at its very least observes and draws rational conclusions. But rational conclusions based on observation alone are blind. They are relative and have no context. Thus, the practical function of philosophical reasoning (in relation to science) is to guide science so that the blind conclusions drawn from blind data don’t contradict what philosophy has necessarily first established. The classic example is that of determinsim v.s. free will. Science observes brain functions, and draws many conclusions. However, it is philosophy which must ultimately determine how the brain has any relation to the self. One cannot be determined and claim to be able to know anythin since their is no guarantee of knowledge, no gain in experimentation if the observer himself is completely part of the same determined system. One needs free objectivity to be sure that the observable repeatable phenomena have any relation to the mind at all. Thus, determinism, a rational conclusion drawn from scientific observation, cripples the instrument of its own discovery and ends in solipsism. Philosophy is left to sort it out. Whatever philosophy says, must then be applied to science so that science has that reflective ability to say, while this conclusion was valid and the data apparently sound, obviously, there’s something we’re missing here that makes the data incomplete. Let’s keep looking and throw out the conclusion we now know can’t be trusted. Once again, this is a perfect example of the relationship and distinction between philosophy and science. Science can never draw conclusions beyond its scope and must itself be constantly examined so that unavoidable illusions don’t give sway to reality, to Truth and thus, to our acceptance of facts.
    So when you ask what “poor” philosophy can do, you must not understand that relationship and distinction. Besides, in matters philosophically theoretical (thus beyond observation, “What can be known beyond science? What about our mutual situation gives us a clue besides observing and making conclusions about repeatable phenomena of which we have no guarantee of their ultimate relation to existence?) what ever made you think was all for the sake usefulness? Is science merely for the sake of usefulness? It has useful application to be sure, but the search for Truth is beyond that narrow sentiment. In answer to your claim, however, I believe I’ve already demonstrated the practical application of philosophy as well.

  169. #169 Ichthyic
    August 26, 2006

    Post 3 is coming up…

    everyone is lookin durn rite twithchay…

    post 3 has now come and gone.

    I call shenanigans on Thursday!

    looks like this thread has gone turtles all the way down.

    oh well, whatever needed to be said has basically been said.

  170. #170 Millimeter Wave
    August 26, 2006

    You should’ve stopped after “describes it” since that is the limit of what science does. Once again, you expose a fundamental misunderstanding about what it is you do.

    [BOOM!]

    Shit

    Does anybody know if Radio Shack stocks arrogance meters?

  171. #171 Palmira
    August 26, 2006

    It is really amusing to see christian arguments are the same around the globe. We have a bunch in Portugal that tried, as this troll, to twist philosophy into a pseudophilosophy and patronize we poor scientists, that have no clue of The Truth…

    «The conventional definition of philosophical Truth among the educated differs greatly from scientific fact.»

    I like the «educated» part as implying we scientists are thoroughly uneducated 🙂

    But I have a doubt: in Metaphysics Aristotle defines truth for classical philosophy: ‘to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.’ implying that truth relies on the possibility to falsity a difference.

    And also says ‘while he whose thought is in a state contrary to the objects is in error’.

    So acording to classical philosophy the pragmatic truth we do seek in science, i.e, an adequatio rei et intellectus, is not only truth but «philosophical» truth.

    But I wonder what all this truth thing has to do with the post. Does the trolll want to imply that all the facts that clearly show Hitler was a devout catholic cannot be reasoned «scientifically» but only «philosophically»? And the scientific conclusion, that Hitler was a catholic is wrong? The Truth being the (pseudo)philosophical aka christian conclusion that Hitler was an atheist?

  172. #172 PZ Myers
    August 26, 2006

    I also don’t think I’m wrong in my interpretation of your replies. In this life, I’ve found that most people really don’t know what they think, even if they say it (or write it).

    While you, of course, know better than I what I think, and can tell me all these things I was thinking that I didn’t even write. How astonishing.

    Have you ever considered the possibility that one reason you have this belief is that you refuse to recognize the actual evidence, preferring to treat your hunches and biases as having greater weight than all that other stuff impinging on your brain from the outside world? You’re one step away from solipsism here.

  173. #173 Jim
    August 26, 2006

    Palmira, there is no evidence that Hitler was a devout Catholic.

    Making references to Catholicism does not mean you are devout.

    There is no evidence Hitler attended Mass or made any Confession at any time during the war, or had any Priests as advisors.

    Further, the “devout” Catholic committed suicide.

  174. #174 palmira
    August 26, 2006

    There are loads of photos picturing Hitler on Mass. As far as going to mass concerns there’s no lack of evidence…

    And upon hearing the news of Adolf Hitler’s death, Cardinal Bertram, Archbishop of Breslau and President of the German Episcopal Conference, drafted an order for a requiem mass to be said for Hitler throughout catholic churches.

    The same Bertram that picked the tradition set by Eugenio Pacelli ( Pius XII): each April 20, Cardinal Bertram sent the “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany” and added with “fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.”

    I don’t know about Hitler’s confessor but he Vatican representative to nazi Croatia, Abbot Marcone, was Ante Pavelic confessor. And catholic Croatia was so «entusiastic» following Hitler’s genocide example that even the SS were appaled…

    Ante Pavelic was Croatia catholic leader, the war criminal (that managed to escape to Argentina via the Vatican ratline) responsible for the murder of ca. 750,000 Serbs (orthodox), 60,000 Jews and 26,000 Roma. Most in Jasenovac, where several catholic clergy were involved in the genocide – notably the Franciscan priest, Miroslav Filipovic, who was one of the commandants of the camp.

  175. #175 Jim
    August 26, 2006

    Links to pictures of Hitler attending Mass, please.

    And as to his making confession, you have admitted that you have no evidence of that. And of course, he had no Priests as advisors.

    Oh, and as to his death…you mean his SUICIDE? Thats definitely a no no for “devout Catholics”.

    And sure Catholics have committed crimes, so have atheists.

    But that is irrelevant to your claim that Hitler was “devout”.

  176. #176 palmira
    August 26, 2006

    Some photos here.
    And from a 1944 speech

    “I may not be a light of the church, a pulpiteer, but deep down I am a pious man, and believe that whoever fights bravely in defense of a natural law framed by God and never capitulates will never be deserted by the lawgiver, but will, in the end, receive the blessings of Providence.”

    «Divine Providence» that had been useful in the past:

    «When Hitler narrowly escaped assassination in Munich in November, 1939, he gave the credit to providence. ‘Now I am completely content,’ he exclaimed. ‘The fact that I left the Burgerbraukeller earlier than usual is a corroboration of Providence’s intention to let me reach my goal.’ Catholic newspapers throughout the Reich echoed this, declaring that it was a miraculous working of providence that had protected their Fuhrer. One cardinal, Michael Faulhaber, sent a telegram instructing that a Te Deum be sung in the cathedral of Munich, ‘to thank Divine Providence in the name of the archdiocese for the Fuhrer’s fortunate escape. ‘ The Pope also sent his special personal congratulations.” »

    I recommend you read With God and the Fascists by the German historian Karlheinz Deschner (Stuttgart, 1965)

  177. #177 JB
    August 26, 2006

    Lots of photos, but not ONE of Hitler actually attending mass as Jim asked for. Looks like a lot of political publicity shots to me.

    And then is no evidence that Hitler made confession, or had a Priest as an advisor.

    Although he DID commit suicide.

    Devout? No way.

    In fact, Albert Speer says in Inside the Third Reich that Hiler despised priests, pastors AND the church, and planned to dispense with all of them when he has “won the war.”

    He also despised Christianity as a Jewish invention, like Bolshevism and as a religion for weaklings, not fit for the master race.

    In fact one of his last personally ordered executions which he took time for in late April 1945, just before he blew his brains out, was of the pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    You would think he would have had other things on his mind at that point.

  178. #178 windy
    August 26, 2006

    In fact one of his last personally ordered executions which he took time for in late April 1945, just before he blew his brains out, was of the pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
    You would think he would have had other things on his mind at that point.

    Bonhoeffer was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler. More power to him of course, but makes the execution order very unsurprising.

  179. #179 GH
    August 26, 2006

    Oh c’mon Jim.

    The man was a Catholic. Who cares if he was devout or not. As if a devout Catholic has never done anything like molest alter boys and such.

    Hitler was a Catholic and like every other human on the planet, he was flawed. His flaws carried deadly results.

    But an honest person admits what they don’t like and he most definetly was a Catholic. And it’s not as if a ‘devout'(whatever that is) catholic has never committed suicide. For the church to make people afraid of themselves is in itself a terrible evil.

  180. #180 Owlmirror
    August 26, 2006

    The Commenter Who Was Thursday:

    I believe I’ve already demonstrated the practical application of philosophy as well.

    You’ve demonstrated nothing but how confused you are.

    Really now, your fundamental error is you bizarre and deluded idea that science is somehow distinct from philosophy. Science is a philosphy; before it was called science, it was called natural philosophy, and methodological naturalism is still science’s most important philosophical axiom. But observations and deductions from science, such as indeterminancy and incompleteness, can then be brought to bear on philosophical reasoning.

    Science and philosphy aren’t distinct, they’re inextricably tangled. A philosophy which denies this is a very poor philosophy indeed!

    Γνωθη σε αυτον, Πέμπτη.

    Science is a tremendous tool, but provides only superficial observations and explanations. All the really big questions necessarily leave the realm of data and conclusion in order to understanding their context and reality using the only tool we, as superficial observers have, and that is reason alone and what it tells us about what we are.

    Bunkum and tommyrot. “Reason alone” without observations and data is vacuous, meaningless, and nonexistent.

  181. #181 Torbjörn Larsson
    August 26, 2006

    (Last) Thursday:
    “However, to say I know nothing of science is totally groundless since I’ve yet to mention anything scientific.”

    Oh, yeah?

    “I’m supposed to accept that this meaningless and transparent charade won a prize?”

    And you troll on here:
    “But rational conclusions based on observation alone are blind. They are relative and have no context.”

    Theories are based on observations and make predictions on observations. Observation is the context, and as Owlmirror says, that is the only context we know. It is both necessary and sufficient to get a grip on reality. Truth? You can’t handle the Truth!

    “In answer to your claim, however, I believe I’ve already demonstrated the practical application of philosophy as well.”

    If you mean the fog that you are releasing, yes.

    Palmira:
    “But I have a doubt: in Metaphysics Aristotle defines truth for classical philosophy: ‘to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.’ implying that truth relies on the possibility to falsity a difference.

    So acording to classical philosophy the pragmatic truth we do seek in science, i.e, an adequatio rei et intellectus, is not only truth but «philosophical» truth.”

    Very philosophical. I have to remember this relation between philosophical truth and observed facts.

  182. #182 Recovering troll
    August 27, 2006

    Hitler was a cocksucker, that much we know.

  183. #183 junk science
    August 27, 2006

    I’m sure he would have liked you.

  184. #184 Thursday
    August 29, 2006

    “While you, of course, know better than I what I think, and can tell me all these things I was thinking that I didn’t even write. How astonishing.”

    Besides the erroneous attempt at Catholic bashing, this isn’t really about me knowing better than what you think. You’re a Professor at a major university for God’s sake! Therefore, you must “know your stuff” and know it well. Right now, this is a dispute about people failing to see the difference between Philosophy and Science.

    I understand how science could think it is searching for Truth, but the case remains that that conclusion is a philosophical one. To mistake philosophy for science is to misunderstand or be ignorant of the questions philosophers ask. One may say that some philosophers come to the conclusion that science is Truth, but once they believe thatm, they cease to be philosophers and become scientists. For there are two pursuits, one emerging from the first for the sake of one reality. Philosophers aren’t searching for new distintions, imagining new names for the boundless minutia of observable phenomena, nor are they categorizing them all into neat easily referenced structures of data to be analyzed and judged. For what is a scientific discovery? Simply, it is an observation and a statement regarding it. A very usful thing it is to be aware of the multitude of repeating phenomena, yet these things philosophers find to be a case of stating the obvious or not-so-obvious. For the philosopher asks what such as system means and why. This is the rational context from which science must follow, and observation is surely not the only context we know. It may be assumed that no one of us has seen everything, therefore, observation as context is horribly incomplete and hardly a standard capable of drawing infallible conclusions. Philosophy is the foundation and guide for all knowledge. Philosophy can validate observation, but observation never validates philosophy for the validity of observation itself is a philosophical issue. Science has the exact opposite relationship with observation.

    “Have you ever considered the possibility that one reason you have this belief is that you refuse to recognize the actual evidence…?”

    What belief? That science and philosophy are different? I’d bet your university has two different departments for each discipline, Professor. My conclusion is based on evidence.

    Now, in regard to the actual article, religion, unlike science, has even higher standards for self-knowledge than an objective and rather democratic system of coordinated observations. Religion doesn’t look at people objectively, record their statements in relation to the sound/written word “Catholic” and inductively come to conclusions regarding its definition. One cannot be Caesar by virtue of claiming so. Religion, especially the Catholic religion, recognizes Truth as reality. This is not to say Hitler didn’t imagine himself to be a Catholic, or that a few Bishops imagined him to be Catholic, or that Hilter himself imagined a false Catholic Church, or a false Christ. I have only one question for you, Professor, and this goes for everyone else who agrees with him:

    Why do you trust Hitler so much?

    That’s what you’re really doing. Between the lines, you are saying, I believe these represent true Catholic ideas because Hitler said so.

  185. #185 Thursday
    August 29, 2006

    ^ All things considered, that’s a poor way to attack religion or the existence of God. If you really want to play, present the problem of evil, and maybe even the relativity of morality, absurd though it may be.

  186. #186 Leana Revard
    January 1, 2010

    Ths s sch grt rsrc tht y r prvdng nd y gv t wy fr fr. I njy sng wbsts tht ndrstnd th vl f prvdng prm rsrc fr fr. I trly lvd rdng yr pst. Thnks!

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