Pharyngula

I have to make this really, really simple for the “Hitler was an evolutionist” dimwits.

There is a central, incredibly obvious fact in Darwin’s insight.

If members of a population die or are killed off, they will leave no descendants for subsequent generations.

It isn’t razzle-dazzle genius. Any idiot can figure that one out — and many idiots have. Farmers have known it for millennia, when they set aside particularly fruitful seed stock or especially robust farm animals for breeding, and eat the rest. Nazis used this elementary logic when they decided to exterminate Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals. Eugenicists used it when they wanted to argue for shifting the distribution of certain properties in a population.

It ain’t “Darwinism”. It’s self-evident, obvious, selbstverständlich, apparent, évidente, transparent. The KKK knows it, farmers know it, dog and horse breeders know it, the Nazis knew it, they didn’t need Darwin to spell it out for them. Blaming that on Darwin is awesomely stupid.

Darwin’s real contribution, the one that had everyone smacking themselves in the forehead and wondering why they didn’t think of it first, was the realization that the natural environment does the killing — that natural selection shapes heredity. The idea of culling populations is not only so easy that a hate-mongering cretin can think of it, but that weather, bacteria, viruses, parasites, predators, etc. have been doing it for eons, with no intelligence required, and that mindless microorganisms have been far greater agents of hereditary change than the worst the Nazis ever accomplished; does Charles Darwin also get the blame for that? Darwin realized that the environment has consequences and can shape the generation-by-generation passage of hereditary traits in populations, and that examination of the natural world reveals that it has been doing exactly that. He realized that ubiquitous forces that are so simple we take them for granted have been quietly and slowly sculpting our heredity since the beginning of life on earth.

When clueless creationists argue that Darwin led to Hitler, or worse, throw away buckets of money making elaborate propaganda films arguing such nonsense, it’s worse than inane. It’s as if they have completely missed the point of the idea they are damning.

Comments

  1. #1 speedwell
    March 28, 2008

    (standing round of applause) Best post yet, Professor Myers, and thank you.

  2. #2 dox^2
    March 28, 2008

    Great post!

  3. #3 Coturnix
    March 28, 2008

    Damn, you are on a roll these last few days, churning out gem after gem!

  4. #4 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 28, 2008

    Nicely put. However the obviousness of your point is likely to be lost on those who believe the tripe. Recognizing obvious things is not their strong suit.

  5. #5 Reed A. Cartwright
    March 28, 2008

    Well, done; good frame.

  6. #6 SteveC
    March 28, 2008

    Let’s see, Martin Luther, father of the Protestant branch of Christianity, wrote a little screed. No, I don’t mean the one he nailed to the church door, the other one, the one Hilter liked. It was called:

    “On the Jews and their Lies.”

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=hitler+martin+luther&btnG=Google+Search

    Hitler got his ideas from the same guy that started Protestant Christianity.

    Fight fire with bigger, badder fire.

  7. #7 Dutch Delight
    March 28, 2008

    I’m afraid this is still to complicated. It’s more then a whole paragraph of words and it doesn’t mention Jeebus anywhere.

  8. #8 Art
    March 28, 2008

    A thought experiment:

    Take away Darwin from the stage of 19th century Europe, pretend he never existed. How does that affect the slide of Europe into the early and mid 20th century? Not much at all. The religious and nationalistic intrigues and wars, the economic and social upheavals that were the foundation for 20th century European fanaticism, they unfold pretty much unaltered by the absence of a theory about the relatedness of living things. The Christian (yes, they were Christian thru and thru) zealots who (eventually) gave us Hitler would have latched onto any old scientific idea to promote their cause.

    OTOH, take away Christianity from the historical stage. Erase it from Europe’s past. Guess what! No Holocaust.** For the simple reason that the foundations of anti-Semitism in Europe are gone.

    The Holocaust, Hitler, the deranged leaders of mid 20th century Europe, they’re all the children of Christianity. Not Darwin.

    ** I’m not so naive as to be claiming that Europe would have been a peaceful Eden without the scourge of Christianity. Unfortunately, that scourge has no monopoly on inhuman behavior.

  9. #9 Dan
    March 28, 2008

    I second the much-deserved ovation.

    It’s just stunning how we’ve gotten to this point, isn’t it? Creationists seem to seek to defame a great man of science so as to justify their own gleaming ignorance. Indeed, they really are trying awfully hard to find a place in this challenging society for their superstitious nonsense.

    Is it simple laziness of thought that drives them? I mean, yes. Biology class was a bitch for me, but never once did I stop and choose the easy way out by saying some magic man created everything and that’s that. I’d like to think I’m better for it too.

    It’s a crushing thing to watch America continually fail and grow dumber and dumber as people concoct the easiest answer available and try to promote it as a legitimate course of study. There is absolutely nothing to intelligent design which would separate a college professor’s mind from that of a garden-variety five-year-old. Only the vocabulary is different, I guess.

    Sorry about that. It just pisses me off.

  10. #10 Jeremy
    March 28, 2008

    It’s as if they have completely missed the point of the idea they are damning.

    Ah, but that’s exactly it! It isn’t just that they’re missing the point, they’re blind to it – everything from animal husbandry to Nazi eugenics requires some sort of human agency. Corn, Briards, and the mythical Nazi “aryan” are all intelligently designed… by people. In a spiritual/magical tradition, that same kind of agency needs to be present in the [super]natural world. Since obviously the weather and geology and microorganims don’t have that kind of agency, they couldn’t possibly be responsible for the kinds of selection that we ourselves do. Really, this isn’t a view that relies on the existence of a conscious creator as it is one that requires humans to be above nature (and, consequently, that there also be something like us and above us to explain why we’re as clever as we are).

  11. #11 Sili
    March 28, 2008

    You forgot “selvindlysendede”.

    Thank you. That was nice a succint. Pretty sure that I’m smarter for reading it. Never paying attention to any biology before encountering this blog has undoubtedly left me with tonnes of misconceptions. But every day I’m here I believe I lose some of them. I may not get as smart as your students, but I do appreciate your taking your time to blog so much.

  12. #12 Brian Coughlan
    March 28, 2008

    Don’t forget the Dawkins Rap : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFXIALf9zDA

    Eugenie Scott’s dancing is particularly enticing, but you do a mean rap too PZ:-)

  13. #13 jaffacakes
    March 28, 2008

    Youll never get religious people to stop spouting off about Hitler wether its on evolution or atheism because its their big gun in the arsenal of fear. Tell younguns about hell tell adults about Hitler to keep them inline and believing it works too sadly.

  14. #14 teac
    March 28, 2008

    They sell the “sizzle” and not the steak.

  15. #16 catman
    March 28, 2008

    Jeez, haven’t they even read the Bible? Specifically, Gen 30:35-43? Even Jacob knew about selective breeding (though he had to start it off with a few carved poplar sticks). If they’re going to blame the holocaust on anyone, maybe it should be Jacob.

  16. #17 tsiatko
    March 28, 2008

    Hitler’s policies were developed from the Eugenics movement which had it’s origins in Mid-West US. Protestantism.

  17. #18 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    March 28, 2008

    Darwin’s real contribution, the one that had everyone smacking themselves in the forehead and wondering why they didn’t think of it first, was the realization that the natural environment does the killing — that natural selection shapes heredity. The idea of culling populations is not only so easy that a hate-mongering cretin can think of it, but that weather, bacteria, viruses, parasites, predators, etc. have been doing it for eons, with no intelligence required, and that mindless microorganisms have been far greater agents of hereditary change than the worst the Nazis ever accomplished; does Charles Darwin also get the blame for that?

    Well, this is the part that backs the theistic evolutionists into the corner, doesn’t it? In order to accept the idea that the Creator is responsible for setting up evolution and letting it “roll” they have to go far beyond theodicy to justify their faith in a God Who Has Mysterious Ways; and that Hitler would be far more comforting. With Natural Selection, their God is no mere tweaker of genes at opportune moments. It is a Creator who programs through destruction, hunger and all manner of death.

    The Theistic Evolutionists Creator, if it had the foresight they wish to see which leads to the Glory of Man, designed the system of natural selection to weaken the ability of predecessor iterations of hominids to reproduce faster than they died off.

    It’s enough to turn an agnostic into an atheist, it is.

  18. #19 SamDyuaa
    March 28, 2008

    You’re going to hate me for this . . .

    Great reframing.

    Sometimes all it take is saying it in a different way, and it all just clicks. You didn’t say anything new for me, but turning it around a little bit gives a great demonstration of exactly where some people get it wrong and how to correct them. Not that it will help much against all the closed minds in the world, but the key is to keep going at it and going at it, like a bulldog, or maybe a squid whose shark is trying to get away.

    I plan to bookmark this page and pass it on at the first relevant opportunity.

  19. #20 Wazza
    March 28, 2008

    “…or worse, throw away buckets of money making elaborate propaganda films arguing such nonsense…”

    Well, it provides employment and keeps the money in circulation, and that’s the main thing

  20. #21 SteadyEddy
    March 28, 2008

    PZ… eloquently and succinctly put as always… so when are you going to publish a book of your thoughts?

  21. #22 Noni Mausa
    March 28, 2008

    It’s as if they have completely missed the point of the idea they are damning.

    More like, coming at it from the other end, like this:

    We know God made the world and all its animals.

    Darwin sez evolution did it. (note the reification here — a process is made into a thing by means of the language used to describe it)

    Ergo Darwin is defying God.

    Well duh. If we say the river carved out great caves in limestone, not even the most confuzzled deist will say “Not so! God did it!”

    But when the river in question is the river of life, a few steps removed from the movement of water but quite similar in effect, confuzzlement is rife.

    Noni
    Pharyngula’s token pagan mystic

    .

  22. #23 Mark Borok
    March 28, 2008

    Should we then blame Newton for discovering the laws of motion that allowed the Nazis to develop the V2 rockets?

  23. #24 king j
    March 28, 2008

    Gott Mit Uns! Stein shit on every Jew slaughtered by the Nazis. The Nazis practiced industrilized murder, not any form of natural selection. My father saw the death camps. He saw women hanging from trees with their stomachs slashed open and their babies hanging out like hogs to slaughter. This slaughter was done in the name of the Christian God, not science. I can only assume that Stein is that much of a money whore to side with a group of creationist wingnuts that would be the first in line to push him into the furnace if given a chance. I simply don’t understand!!

  24. #25 Reed
    March 28, 2008

    Not just selective breeding. The idea that your particular ethnic/cultural group is the Chosen People (a concept hard to reconcile with Darwins own work) and that other groups can or should be eliminated as needed predates Darwin by quite a bit.

    There’s some old book that talks about this. I’m hear it’s rather more widely read Darwins works, and Hitler and his cronies were fond of it.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=9&chapter=15

    This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy [a] everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=5&chapter=2&version=31

    33 the LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. 34 At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed [c] them–men, women and children. We left no survivors.

    Uh huh. That doesn’t sound anything like what Hitler had in mind, does it ?

  25. #26 jdb
    March 28, 2008

    Oh come on, PZ, next you’ll be claiming that genocide is a concept that dates back to the Bible.

    What? Who are these “Midianites” you speak of? (Numbers 31:7-18)

    Hmm. Well, but that’s not really genocide. Moses told them to spare the female virgins.

    Besides, it’s not like any modern Christian leader would defend such a slaughter, right?

    “God told the Israelites to kill them all: men, women and children; to destroy them. And that seems like a terrible thing to do. Is it or isn’t it? Well, let us assume that there were two thousand of them or ten thousand of them living in the land, or whatever number, I don’t have the exact number, but pick a number. And God said, ‘Kill them all.’ Well, that would seem hard, wouldn’t it? But that would be 10,000 people who probably would go to hell. But if they stayed and reproduced, in thirty, forty or fifty or sixty or a hundred more years there could conceivably be … ten thousand would grow to a hundred, a hundred thousand conceivably could grow to a million, and there would be a million people who would have to spend an eternity in Hell! And it is far more merciful to take away a few than to see in the future a hundred years down the road, and say, ‘Well, I’ll have to take away a million people, that will be forever apart from God because the abomination is there.’ It’s like a contagion. God saw that there was no cure for it. It wasn’t going to change, and all they would do is cause trouble for the Israelites and pull the Israelites away from God and prevent the truth of God from reaching the earth. And so God in love — and that was a loving thing — took away a small number that he might not have to take away a large number.”
    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/patmidframe.htm

  26. #27 jjberg
    March 28, 2008

    …and that mindless microorganisms have been far greater agents of hereditary change than the worst the Nazis ever accomplished…

    This is a great post that ought to end all debate (as if there really is any), but how long before some creationist claims PZ secretly supports the Nazis by twisting this quote?

  27. #28 jeh
    March 28, 2008

    It would require divine intervention to keep evolution by natural selection from occurring.

  28. #29 bobby
    March 28, 2008

    Another great post PZ!!

  29. #30 Abyss
    March 28, 2008

    Clearly the solution is that all citizens of the United States with a PhD* (that didn’t come in the mail) should be able to invoke the right of “Prima nocturn”.

    If we can’t teach them out, we’ll breed them out…

    Who says we can’t learn from Mel Gibson.

    *in order to extradite the process, those currently enrolled in grad school are also eligible.

  30. #31 Vic
    March 28, 2008

    This is NOT to disagree, since I agree completely, but I’m currently in the middle of reading Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”, and one of his main theses is that what makes Darwin’s idea so revolutionary is that he identifies evolution as an ALGORITHMIC process: variations in output get filtered through environmental factors, and then have offspring whose variations etc…. I suppose it’s just the same thing with the camera focused on a different area, metaphorically speaking.

  31. #32 Matt
    March 28, 2008

    Here is what really kills me about the people who argue against Darwin: they think that Darwin claimed we descended from apes, which he never did….he suggested that we and the apes have common ancestors, which is not the same as one being the ancestor of the other.

    But if you get very far into an argument with one of them, pretty soon it’ll be “Well, all I know is I didn’t come from no monkey”

  32. #33 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 28, 2008

    But if you get very far into an argument with one of them, pretty soon it’ll be “Well, all I know is I didn’t come from no monkey”

    Ok, It’ll be me

    PYGMIES AND DWARVES

  33. #34 Abyss
    March 28, 2008

    last year I visited the Creation Museum. Every time someone said god created man from the dust of the earth, I’d yell “I didn’t come from no dirt!”

  34. #35 Quidam
    March 28, 2008

    That wasn’t written by Luther. No – I’m sure it must have been Darwin who wrote that

    http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/2909/jewlyingra2.jpg

  35. #36 thadd
    March 29, 2008

    Hmm. The Assyrians effectively eradicated the Israelites around 700 BCE. I don’t think Darwin was around then.

  36. #37 raven
    March 29, 2008

    It is even simpler than that. If you kill people you don’t like, then they are gone forever.

    So simple, a fundie Death Cultist can understand it. Not hard to see where the next Nazis mass murderers could come from.

  37. #38 uncle frogy
    March 29, 2008

    some people are so stubbornly ignorant that it is difficult to talk to them about ordinary things let alone more profound ideas like Evolution. Very clear when explained like that and it does seem obvious now that it seems incredible to me that no one thought of it before Darwin.
    the other problem that those who are skeptics of evolution is the time involved. I do not have any idea how that can be made clear when some I have talked to do not believe that radio-carbon dating is real. How long is long ago?
    you can say that the processes that are going on today are the same ones that where going on in the past and another to get the truly ignorant to understand it.

    I second the motion that PZ should write a book!

    frogy

  38. #39 Doug
    March 29, 2008

    Hold on, the Bible has spotted animals being separated from non-spotted animals in order to produce a certain breed. Couldn’t it be said then that Hitler based his eugenics beliefs upon the Bible? Since the story is in the Old Testament, the scripture of the Jews then we can, using Expelled logic, blame the Jews for the Holocaust.

  39. #40 Azkyroth
    March 29, 2008

    Here is what really kills me about the people who argue against Darwin: they think that Darwin claimed we descended from apes, which he never did….he suggested that we and the apes have common ancestors, which is not the same as one being the ancestor of the other.

    As I understand it, the most recent common ancestor of humans and the handful of extant primates we identify as “apes” would, if alive today, be classified as an ape.

    Nevertheless, humans are not descended from MODERN apes.

  40. #41 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    PZ Myers: “Darwin’s real contribution, the one that had everyone smacking themselves in the forehead and wondering why they didn’t think of it first, was the realization that the natural environment does the killing — that natural selection shapes heredity. The idea of culling populations is not only so easy that a hate-mongering cretin can think of it, but that weather, bacteria, viruses, parasites, predators, etc. have been doing it for eons, with no intelligence required, and that mindless microorganisms have been far greater agents of hereditary change than the worst the Nazis ever accomplished”

    Of course the Nazis knew about the agency of natural selection. Hitler himself may have directly read the debased and ultra-racist revisions of Darwinism by Ludwig Woltmann. Alfred Ploetz and other early German eugenicists who founded what became Nazi biopolitics sought to reconcile socialism, nationalism, and Darwinism.

    True, Ben Stein is an ignorant ideologue on these matters. Hitler and many other top Nazis accepted a extremely heterodox doctrine called ‘Positive Christianity.’ But it is the case that national socialist eugenic and racist thought was influenced by Darwinism, especially its Haeckelian revision. Not that the Nazis were generally willing to admit these influences, given that Darwin and Haeckel’s works were banned.

    Mein Kampf, James Murphy translation, A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

    Allusions to natural selection:

    “Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is
    less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation–which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred–and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development.”

    “Under certain circumstances, in periods of distress or under bad climatic condition, or if the soil yields too poor a return, Nature herself tends to check the increase of population in some countries and among some races, but by a method which is quite as ruthless as it is wise. It does not impede the procreative faculty as such; but it does impede the further existence of the offspring by submitting it to such tests and privations that everything which is less strong or less healthy is forced to retreat into the bosom of tile unknown. Whatever survives these hardships of existence has been tested and tried a
    thousandfold, hardened and renders fit to continue the process of procreation; so that the same thorough selection will begin all over again. By thus dealing brutally with the individual and recalling him
    the very moment he shows that he is not fitted for the trials of life, Nature preserves the strength of the race and the species and raises it to the highest degree of efficiency.”

    “Man is not carved from Nature’s wood. He is made of ‘human’ material. He knows more than the ruthless Queen of Wisdom. He
    does not impede the preservation of the individual but prevents procreation itself. To the individual, who always sees only himself and not the race, this line of action seems more humane and just than the
    opposite way. But, unfortunately, the consequences are also the opposite.

    By leaving the process of procreation unchecked and by submitting the individual to the hardest preparatory tests in life, Nature selects the best from an abundance of single elements and stamps them as fit to live and carry on the conservation of the species. But man restricts the procreative faculty and strives obstinately to keep alive at any cost whatever has once been born. This correction of the Divine Will seems to him to be wise and humane, and he rejoices at having trumped Nature’s
    card in one game at least and thus proved that she is not entirely reliable. …

    For as soon as the procreative faculty is thwarted and the number of births diminished, the natural struggle for existence which allows only healthy and strong individuals to survive is replaced by a sheer craze to ‘save’ feeble and even diseased creatures at any cost. And thus the seeds are sown for a human progeny which will become more and more miserable from one generation to another, as long as Nature’s will is scorned.”

    Hitler’s allusions to macroevolutionary history in Mein Kampf:

    “Just as many varieties of prehistoric animals had to give way to others and leave no trace behind them, so man will also have to give way, if he loses that definite faculty which enables him to find the weapons that are necessary for him to maintain his own existence.”

    “Should the Jew, with the aid of his Marxist creed, triumph over the people of this world, his Crown will be the funeral wreath of mankind, and this planet will once again follow its orbit through ether, without any human life on its surface, as it did millions of years ago.”

  41. #42 themadlolscientist
    March 29, 2008

    jeh says:

    It would require divine intervention to keep evolution by natural selection from occurring.

    Abyss says:

    last year I visited the Creation Museum. Every time someone said god created man from the dust of the earth, I’d yell “I didn’t come from no dirt!”

    WIN x 2!

    Abyss, I hope you went there before lunch. It’s very, very wrong to waste food.

  42. #43 Autumn
    March 29, 2008

    Finally we have the explanation for the faithful who praise god for delivering them from a natural(?) disaster.
    It turns out that the evil Magic-Zombie-Darwin sends the tornadoes/ hurricanes/ tsunamis/ Jack-in-the-Box beef pathogens, but it is almighty god who saves a tiny handful of the affected population.
    Odd how even in the scenario which posits a benevolent deity, Magic-Zombie-Darwin still pwns the bitch.

  43. #44 Nentuaby
    March 29, 2008

    http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/6803/darwinraisesroofss5.gif

    Well. This is going to make really nice visual punctuation in some future forum thread…

  44. #45 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo wrote:

    Mein Kampf, James Murphy translation, A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook
    Allusions to natural selection:
    “Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation–which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred–and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development.”

    That’s not Darwin’s theory of evolution. That’s much older.
    The term “Natural Selection” is older than Darwin, the creationist Edward Blyth had already in the 1830s written about natural selection as a mechanism that weeded out the defective individuals, those who deviated from the species.

    And Hitler’s Mein Kampf talks about racial purity and “race-mixing.” He chooses not the words of evolutionary biology or eugenics, but of religion without even a light touch of eugenic pseudo-science. Aryan blood, lower peoples, racial mixture, racial poisoning, those are the concepts you find in Mein Kampf:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2007/04/if-hitler-was-darwinist.html

  45. #46 Cameron
    March 29, 2008

    The Expelled! movie and IDers are confusing evolution with social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is a bastardized attempt at making artificial selection amongst people seem allowed. Evolution involves natural selection and mutations. Using Nazis to argue against “Darwinism” is fine (I’m not saying they’re right) as long as they recognize they’re arguing against Social Darwinism and not evolution. In summary
    Artificial Selection might have made Nazis feel better and thats Bad.
    Natural Selection is an awesome scientific theory and has nothing to do with Nazis.
    Also, there’s no such thing as a “Darwinist.” It’s a stupid word. No one worships Darwin or considers his book a bible. If any IDers are reading this, please never use “Darwinist” again.

  46. #47 Thomas Howard
    March 29, 2008

    You just know Uncommon Descent or the DI will have a story along the lines of:

    Atheist PZ Myer claims farmers are idiots.

  47. #48 Thomas S. Howard
    March 29, 2008

    Scratch that. It’ll be more like this:
    Atheist PZ Myer claims farmers are idiots; Jews, homsexuals
    inferior.

  48. #49 Andy James
    March 29, 2008

    PZ speaks for us. Me and many of my pals.

    One of which is a woman from Egypt. The rest of us rebels, whom speak locally against the falsehood of the supposed word of god, as former mendicants to the Christian dogma.

    I’m glad to know PZ has attained a prominent position, and is using it to the benefit of Atheists everywhere.

    Thanks PZ, you are our brother in learning and in the continuous human quest for asymptotic truth.

    You have support more than you, or any one of us, know.

  49. #50 Void
    March 29, 2008

    Godwin’s Law, Creationists lose. Are they even trying to look intelligent anymore?

  50. #51 negentropyeater
    March 29, 2008

    PZ, you don’t get it. It’s not because of Evolution that that one should accuse Darwin for the worst dictators, when there is one much more obvious reason :
    – six letter surnames –
    Yes DARWIN had a 6 letter surname, so did
    HITLER
    STALIN
    MUGABE
    POLPOT

    I’m sure this must be coded in the Bible somewhere. Beware of men with 6 letter surnames…

  51. #52 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Cameron wrote:

    Using Nazis to argue against “Darwinism” is fine (I’m not saying they’re right) as long as they recognize they’re arguing against Social Darwinism and not evolution.

    No. Social Darwinism is more like unrestrained capitalism. What the Nazis were doing was pseudo-eugenics and genocide.

  52. #53 MH
    March 29, 2008

    Wikipedia says: On the Jews and Their Lies is a 65,000-word treatise written by German Reformation leader Martin Luther in 1543. In it, Luther writes that the Jews are a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.” They are full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine,” and the synagogue is an “incorrigible whore and an evil slut …” He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and these “poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. He also seems to advocate their murder, writing “we are at fault in not slaying them.”

    And yet the holocaust is being blamed on Darwin?

  53. #54 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Franta Devecka wrote:

    Obviously the idea is simple and didn’t have to wait until Darwin who called it “Natural selection”.

    No. The term “natural selection” was in use before Darwin. It was used by Edward Blyth (google him). However, Blyth was a creationist and he thought natural selection just filtered out the weak and less “perfect.” What Darwin pointed out was that there was no perfect design, life adapted to environmental niches.

  54. #55 Nick
    March 29, 2008

    You make an obvious point. If one spends time considering the issue they should, given the necessary mental capacity, come to your exact conclusion. But I must ask myself why people waste so much time and energy trying to prove that a belief in God or religion is wrong? Anyone who likes to argue should know that you cannot argue someone out of their beliefs or lack there of. Let them believe what they want. Darwin is dead. He made his contribution. Let people believe what they want; if people stop attacking their beliefs they wont feel the need to defend them with exagerated claims.

  55. #56 Julius
    March 29, 2008

    I’m afraid you’re confused about their motivations for forwarding the Hitler argument, and other similar arguments. They don’t really care about the logic or soundness about their arguments. They don’t really expect to convince anyone who’s educated or smart. It’s not debate they’re engaging in. It’s rhetoric. More specifically, it’s sophistry. The idea is to galvanize (or at least maintain) the ranks of believers. It only has to sound good, and appeal to emotion. It doesn’t have to be logical, or sound. Arguing against this propaganda represents lost energy, because your rebuttals will not be heeded — neither by the producers, nor by the audience.

    So how does one combat ignorance? How does one reach these ranks of believers, and shake some sense into them? I’m afraid it will take hard work, over a number of generations. Proper education at public schools is a big part of this, as well as the mainstreaming of atheist thought. Most fundamentalists raised as such from birth are a lost cause, because their neural pathways have calcified into thinking patterns that are beyond hope, but perhaps the offspring of such people can be educated to think properly.

  56. #57 Wazza
    March 29, 2008

    Shit, I have a six-letter last name…

    @Nick: The problem is that we can’t stop attacking their beliefs. Any research into the origins of life or the universe – that is, most science – is perceived by them as attacking their beliefs, because they have tied themselves to a literal interpretation of Genesis. So long as we hold and promote a different view, they will attack us, and so long as they use simpler and more emotive language – which they always will, because science is complicated and less emotional than religion – they will convince everyone without a full understanding of science. So we have to keep fighting, just to hold our ground and keep these ideas alive for the few in each generation who can carry them forward.

  57. #58 craig
    March 29, 2008

    “PZ, you don’t get it. It’s not because of Evolution that that one should accuse Darwin for the worst dictators, when there is one much more obvious reason :
    – six letter surnames –
    Yes DARWIN had a 6 letter surname, so did
    HITLER
    STALIN
    MUGABE
    POLPOT

    I’m sure this must be coded in the Bible somewhere. Beware of men with 6 letter surnames…”

    Jesus CHRIST!

  58. #59 wazza
    March 29, 2008

    @Julius: Personal jinx!

    by the way, the word is “myelated”, not calcified :P

    also, I think there is some hope for fundamentalists, so long as they have a basic level of intelligence which leads them to question their world. That is, if they happen to think like a natural scientist, which does happen occasionally, sooner or later they are going to ask where the proof is. And then maybe they’ll come over. But most fundamentalists have been taught to think about proof in such a different way from us that that won’t happen. Still, it does sometimes happen, I’ve seen it happen, and though they won’t necessarily become atheists after they start asking questions, they will accept and push science, and that’s the real goal for us.

  59. #60 Wazza
    March 29, 2008

    @craig: That even works if you use his mortal and immortal patronymics:

    Jesus bar Joseph

    Jesus bar Yahweh

    :D

  60. #61 negentropyeater
    March 29, 2008

    Nick,
    “Let people believe what they want;”
    What about if their beliefs include amongst other things, denying rights to homosexuals, women who want to abort, people who like to have non reproductive sex …etc
    Think about it, who is more eager in telling others what they ought to do or believe, religious fundamentalists or non believers ?

  61. #62 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    negentropyeater wrote:

    What about if their beliefs include amongst other things, denying rights to homosexuals, women who want to abort, people who like to have non reproductive sex …etc

    And what about our economy and our health care?
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/02/religion-as-force-for-ignorance-and.html

  62. #63 Nick
    March 29, 2008

    Julius,
    I understand what your saying but isnt arguing with them also just rhetoric. You dont honestly believe that you will convince them of your point.
    Wazza,
    Come on now have some faith :) “They will convince everyone without a full understanding of science.” Do you really want people involved in science that just except its claims based on faith rather than understanding of the scientific method? Then you would essentially become what you think a religion is.
    Negentropyeater,
    Then dont vote for them. People believe in all kinds of crazy things. Ultimately the media and government are the most eager to tell people what to think and do.
    I must say to all of you that I really enjoyed reading your responses. You are all interesting people

  63. #64 raven
    March 29, 2008

    I’m afraid you’re confused about their motivations for forwarding the Hitler argument, and other similar arguments. They don’t really care about the logic or soundness about their arguments. They don’t really expect to convince anyone who’s educated or smart. It’s not debate they’re engaging in. It’s rhetoric.

    Shorter version. This is just the Goebbel’s Propaganda strategy. Lie big and lie often.

  64. #65 Allen_MacNeill
    March 29, 2008

    While Hitler uses the word “evolution” in Mein Kampf, it is clear that he is not referring to Darwin’s theory. Indeed, he never mentions Darwin at all. In fact, a look at his writings reveals his sentiments on the subject to be those of an orthodox creationist.

    Like a creationist, Hitler asserts fixity of kinds:

    “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi

    Like a creationist, Hitler claims that God made man:

    “For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x

    Like a creationist, Hitler affirms that humans existed “from the very beginning”, and could not have evolved from apes:

    “From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump , as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” – Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier)

    Like a creationist, Hitler believes that man was made in God’s image, and in the expulsion from Eden:

    “Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against that highest image of God among His creatures would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol ii, ch. i

    Like a creationist, Hitler believes that:

    “God … sent [us] into this world with the commission to struggle for our daily bread.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol ii, ch. xiv

    Like a creationist, Hitler claims Jesus as his inspiration:

    “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them.” – Adolf Hitler, speech, April 12 1922, published in My New Order

    Like a creationist, Hitler despises secular schooling:

    “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people.” – Adolf Hitler, Speech, April 26, 1933

    Like a creationist, Hitler wished to make prayer compulsory in public schools. Unlike American creationists, he succeeded.

    Hitler even goes so far as to claim that Creationism is what sets humans apart from the animals:

    “The most marvelous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator.” – Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier)

    Hitler does not mention evolution explicitly anywhere in Mein Kampf. However, after declaring the fixity of the fox, goose, and tiger, as quoted above, he goes on to talk of differences within species:

    “[T]he various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed.” Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi)

    So, like a creationist, there is some evolution he is prepared to concede — evolution within species, or “microevolution”, to which people like Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe have no objection. It is on the basis of the one part of evolutionary theory which creationists accept that Hitler tried to find a scientific basis for his racism and his program of eugenics.

    Ergo, Hitler did not base his eugenic and genocidal policies on evolutionary theory, but rather on views that are very similar to those held by most creationists and many ID supporters.

  65. #66 negentropyeater
    March 29, 2008

    BTW Norman, liked your post. You ask this question, “is Atheism economically important ?”, to which I would reply, “education is economically important, and higher education is linked to lesser religiosity”.

  66. #67 Allen_MacNeill
    March 29, 2008

    Hahaha, I posted the same list of citations (above) at Uncommon Descent, and have now joined the illustrious ranks of those banned by DaveScot.

    Apparently he doesn’t like refutations of his arguments, especially when they are supported by published references.

  67. #68 Kevin Anthoney
    March 29, 2008

    I think the best example of Hitler’s understanding of “Darwinism” was the SS, which was full of tall, blond, blue-eyed Aryans – until they started to run out of them!

  68. #69 Nick
    March 29, 2008

    accept not except.
    Oh well. Argue all night with the religions. Why is Htler always involved in a science vs religion debate anyway?

  69. #70 wazza
    March 29, 2008

    @Nick: No, I don’t want people involved in science who accept its claims on faith. Hopefully, by the end of graduate education in science, you know enough about the evidence to assess science for yourself. But a lot of people get their ideas about science from b-movies and six o’clock news simplifications. These are the people creationists are trying to convert, and if they get enough of them they can vote in sympathetic politicians who choose sympathetic judges who let creationism into the classroom, and what then? People who learn about science without being taught in the classroom, who love it for itself, are very much in the minority. We need to stay active and push these ideas, so that people don’t think that that minority, who have actually seen and assessed the data, are wrong. We’re the experts, we assess this (often, dare I say it, boring) data so that they don’t have to, then we tell them what we’ve figured out and everyone benefits. But if you try to run science by democracy it doesn’t work, because unlike with government and such, most people haven’t seen how science works and what the different positions are, and so they can’t make an informed decision. Creationists know that, which is why they want to take science out of the hands of the elite. Scientists, on the other hand, know that if it was left to the average people to decide scientific questions, we’d never get anywhere, because most of them haven’t seen the data and don’t know how to assess it.

    OK, I’m rambling a bit. It’s late here. But you get what I mean, right? The creationists say elitism in science is bad; we say it’s necessary.

    And for your second comment: it’s a corollary of Godwin’s law. Basically, if we start discussing both, sooner or later someone will get hurt, so we chuck that in early to cut off all discussion.

  70. #71 Turdus
    March 29, 2008

    I don’t know if anyone has said this already, but, blaming the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazi’s on Darwin is like blaming the Sept 11 attacks on the Wright Brothers! Just another in a long line of absurd arguments presented by the Creationists!

  71. #72 Thomas S. Howard
    March 29, 2008

    Allen_MacNeill:

    How in hell did you last so long over there? I’ve had four accounts just silently stop working and I was nowhere near as argumentative. I never even got the chance, really. My record-holder-for-longevity account only made it to four posts.

    As to DaveScot, I’m pretty sure he only really likes DaveScot. Everyone else is merely tolerated.

  72. #73 Katie
    March 29, 2008

    What about the Spartans? Didn’t they figure that out too?

    And I’d like to highlight out the great thing that the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis pointed out: even with eugenics, recessive genes still persist in the population. So not only is eugenics morally wrong, but it’s empirically wrong too.

  73. #74 Thomas S. Howard
    March 29, 2008

    Katie: well, some of them are a bit confused about history due to having to compress 4.5 billion odd years into 6-10 thousand or so. Some biblical exegesis somewhere probably “proves” that Darwin actually wrote the Spartan constitution.

  74. #75 Bob O'H
    March 29, 2008

    Hahaha, I posted the same list of citations (above) at Uncommon Descent, and have now joined the illustrious ranks of those banned by DaveScot.

    Allen, are you banned, or just on the moderation-lite list? i.e. they will look at your posts before deciding to ban them.

    The reason Allen has lasted so long is that he’s a Significant Figure in the ID debates (or at least Not Totally Insignificant, like me), so he gets treated with some respect. He’s also been courteous and polite, in the face of the usual provocation that passes for criticism over there.

    As to DaveScot, I’m pretty sure he only really likes DaveScot.

    He seems to like me too. I’m not sure why, but he even threatened other UD regulars with bannination for being nasty to me. I’m not sure whether to be proud or not.

  75. #76 Josh S.
    March 29, 2008

    Great and concise rebuttal. Thanks.

  76. #77 Thomas S. Howard
    March 29, 2008

    Re: Uberman’s nonsense — looks like O’Leary flogging that quote every chance she gets is starting to pay off.

  77. #78 Noni Mausa
    March 29, 2008

    Raven said: It is even simpler than that. If you kill people you don’t like, then they are gone forever.

    and you get their stuff!

    This is the flaw in the preventative health care argument. Yes, it is far cheaper to prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer, COPD and heart disease than to treat them — but it is FAR cheaper to just let the b*****s die, without the cost of early OR late treatment.

    Noni

  78. #79 wazza
    March 29, 2008

    Indeed he does, Legion

    there’s a page dedicated to them, and all the reasons set out clearly

    more than one has gotten it for slagging off his progeny, which makes approaching his daughter for conversation unusually nerve-wracking…

    Banning people is the right of a host, and PZ at least tells everyone, and tells them why. Go have a look at the dungeon, everyone. It left me ROFLMFAO, but only in a figurative sense as I don’t actually have a floor, so much as extended shelf space, and my A is still firmly attached

  79. #80 Thomas S. Howard
    March 29, 2008

    Legion ( Ooohh, check out his devious allegatin’): you know he does. Not like it’s a big secret. The difference is, you have to be an extraordinary nuisance to get banned here. It’s actually something of an achievment. At UD, people just get mown down left and right for no rhyme or reason.

  80. #81 Wazza
    March 29, 2008

    Dammit, Albert!

    Now that you’ve popped up here, you know the creationists are going to jump on it…

    “Prominent Nazi Consorts With Leading Atheist SScum”

  81. #82 Margo
    March 29, 2008

    And what IF Darwinism lead to Hitler (which it didn’t, but what if)? Does that make it any less TRUE? Isn’t that the most important issue…?

  82. #83 Zachriel
    March 29, 2008

    If anything, nazi eugenics is applied Mendelism, not Darwinism. The goal is purification of the original Aryan race. It’s all that monk’s fault.

    Meanwhile, Galileo’s advancements in the “science of falling” helped cannoneers bring down castle walls.

  83. #84 Thomas S. Howard
    March 29, 2008

    Margo, that’s the thing of it. They either don’t care, or don’t want to hear that and simply respond with “Yes, but it turns people into Nazis. Yes, but it turns people into Nazis. Yes, but it…..”

  84. #85 MartinM
    March 29, 2008

    So, like a creationist, there is some evolution he is prepared to concede — evolution within species, or “microevolution”, to which people like Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe have no objection. It is on the basis of the one part of evolutionary theory which creationists accept that Hitler tried to find a scientific basis for his racism and his program of eugenics.

    Heh. Remind me again which side believes that going beyond ‘microevolution’ to produce substantial, beneficial changes requires intelligent intervention?

  85. #86 TomS
    March 29, 2008

    Please note the essay at “SkepticWiki”:

    http://www.skepticwiki.org/index.php/Hitler_and_evolution

    Also, it should be remembered that the early 20th century has been called “the eclipse of darwinism”, when specifically darwinian ideas of evolution were not generally held. It was thought that there was a conflict with the genetics of Mendel, and natural selection was not thought adequate.

  86. #87 rufustfirefly
    March 29, 2008

    On another aspect of Expelled, a review of the piece of shit over at that moron Ray Comfort’s blog:

    http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/2008/03/expelled-review.html

  87. #88 BadMA
    March 29, 2008

    I suppose guilt by association (which is obviously a logical fallacy) is just another weapon to get people to avoid thinking about the obvious implication that a deity is not required. However, I suppose it’s inevitable that we have to topple each erroneous argument, but that’s the tactics the creationists have been using for decades. When the Hitler-Darwin angle has been thoroughly debunked, they’ll create yet another bad argument (while still using all the old ones, just because!).

  88. #89 Pati Vitale
    March 29, 2008

    Dear PZ aka WunderTeach,
    I saw your blog post on my facebook feed and well..I had to leave a comment. Okay, I only got as far as
    “It isn’t razzle-dazzle genius. Any idiot can figure that one out — and many idiots have.”
    The reason I stopped there(but will continue reading at my leisure), was because being the Comic that you know I am, I couldn’t help but be highly amused that the very next word after that phrase was “Farmers”.
    I love your style,Sir. But right now, only one question is
    begging to be asked by me to you…
    What is your take on razzle-dazzle idiots?
    (please message me privately on my facebook or myspace with your reply.) I thank the double helix Gods for creating you!
    lol.
    You’re wonderful and insightful to read, PZ. Seriously.

  89. #90 Orac
    March 29, 2008

    Actually, Expelled! has it all wrong.

    Hitler didn’t seek to emulate Darwin. He sought to emulate Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch.

    Really. So why isn’t Expelled! attacking microbiology and immunology?

  90. #91 Reynold Hall
    March 29, 2008

    Damn. rufustfirefly beat me to it…

  91. #92 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2008

    It would require divine intervention to keep evolution by natural selection from occurring.

    Bingo.

    the other problem that those who are skeptics of evolution is the time involved. I do not have any idea how that can be made clear when some I have talked to do not believe that radio-carbon dating is real. How long is long ago?

    Just go here.

    Yes DARWIN had a 6 letter surname, so did
    HITLER
    STALIN
    MUGABE
    POLPOT

    Pol is the surname, Pot is the personal name, and the whole thing is a pseudonym anyway, like Stalin is.

    It would nicely explain the five letters of Myers, though.

  92. #93 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2008

    It would require divine intervention to keep evolution by natural selection from occurring.

    Bingo.

    the other problem that those who are skeptics of evolution is the time involved. I do not have any idea how that can be made clear when some I have talked to do not believe that radio-carbon dating is real. How long is long ago?

    Just go here.

    Yes DARWIN had a 6 letter surname, so did
    HITLER
    STALIN
    MUGABE
    POLPOT

    Pol is the surname, Pot is the personal name, and the whole thing is a pseudonym anyway, like Stalin is.

    It would nicely explain the five letters of Myers, though.

  93. #94 DavidONE
    March 29, 2008

    “It’s as if they have completely missed the point of the idea they are damning.”

    I think that should read:

    “It’s as if they have *intentionally* missed the point of the idea they are damning.”

    They can’t have ‘missed’ the idea – it’s been emailed to them, posted on forums, explained in comments, published in books, sketched on YouTube, explained in conferences.

    I can’t imagine how their brains are working, other than to know it’s ‘not properly’.

  94. #95 Rick
    March 29, 2008

    Wasn’t it the legitimacy that science gave to genocide — rather than the same old folk wisdom about breeding — that the Creationists are riled up about?

  95. #96 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Rick asked:

    Wasn’t it the legitimacy that science gave to genocide …

    Try explaining how exactly science gave legitimacy to genocide. What does genocide accomplish that can be verified by science?

  96. #97 wnelson
    March 29, 2008

    Myers, you are a riot.

    Just admit that Darwinism was in vogue and the Nazis put it in their hideous toolkit — there’s simply no denying it. They hid behind the “scientific” respectability, and everyone knows it.

    What _is_ creepy though, is someone like yourself, who insists on being an atheist — all that exists is matter and energy — self-righteously hawking any system of “morality.” Morality for an atheist is _ultimately_ a matter of expediency. (And you can’t prove otherwise.)

    Try explaining your “morality” to any ruling class in the 20th century who ascribed to the philosophy of Marx — that history is a story of class struggle. Try inserting “eww, that’s not nice” into the world of Russia in the 1930s, or China in the 1960s.

    Which is why you need to get yourself to the philosophy department — at least Hitchens can quote Spinoza.

  97. #98 ndt
    March 29, 2008

    The demographic that believes Darwin led to the Holocaust overlaps with the demographic that thinks Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Evidence and reason don’t matter to them. PZ is 100% right and he lays out his argument with great eloquence, but it won’t make a damn bit of difference.

  98. #99 Steve_C
    March 29, 2008

    Wilson. You’re a tool. Give it a rest.

  99. #100 Reynold Hall
    March 29, 2008

    Well, I used a little bit of someone’s information(in the “germ theory of disease” section here to help in my reply against Ray, but damned if I can remember right now who it is, I can’t find that information on this page right now. Crap. Sorry. Still, I didn’t use too much, so hopefully it’s alright?

    Anyway, this is what’s waiting for moderation on his blog now:

    —–
    As I said in a previous blog entry, the Expelled blog talked a lot about what would be in the movie, and it’s the same old lies…One of which you eagerly embraced, the Hitler ploy. So, I’ve rounded up some info I had lying around (I did say that this is stuff that has been refuted before, right?)

    Please, tell us if Ben Stein is able to refute was I say below, or if he even mentions this information to try to explain it away.

    By the way, what evidence FOR “intelligent design” was in the movie? If they’re claiming to be “suppressed” it’d be nice to see what evidence for ID they present when they have the chance. They sure couldn’t do it in the Dover Trial.

    Anyhoo…here’s what you said:
    It’s now morning, and I have had more time to think clearly about “Expelled.” Again, this is not a Christian movie. There’s no mention of the gospel–not even slightly. Ben Stein is Jewish. He took on this project because he is passionate about the Jewish holocaust, and he can see the same pattern in the United States that led up to Nazi Germany–the suppression of free thought. Blatant censorship.
    Bull. Check out some facts, Ray.

    Evolutionists deny that Hitler and his extermination of those who were weak was motivated by Darwinism, but history attests to it. This is very clearly documented in the film.

    How many times did Hitler say that he admired Darwin? How many times did Hitler mention Darwain in his writings? I’ve read Mein Kampf, and I can tell you. None.

    This is maybe an indicator of how much Hitler liked Darwin
    In 1935, Die Bücherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries listed books to reject:

    Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel). (Die Bücherei 1935, 279)

    They made an undated “Blacklist for Public Libraries and Commercial Lending Libraries” includes the following on a list of literature which “absolutely must be removed”:
    c) All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk. (Blacklist n.d.)

    from the “Index to Creationist Claims is where I first found this. Check out his source.

    Did Ben Stein come across some writings I did not? Guess who Hitler did say he admired in his book? Martin Luther. The guy who wrote On the Jews and Their Lies… He’s one of your guys, isn’t he?

    Here’s another guy who admired your Martin Luther…
    Julius Streicher (one of Hitler’s top henchmen and publisher of the anti-Semitic Der Sturmer) was asked during the Nuremberg trials if there were any other publications in Germany which treated the Jewish question in an anti-Semitic way., Streicher put it well:
    “Dr. Martin Luther would very probably sit in my place in the defendants’ dock today, if this book had been taken into consideration by the Prosecution. In the book ‘The Jews and Their Lies,’ Dr. Martin Luther writes that the Jews are a serpent’s brood and one should burn down their synagogues and destroy them…”

    Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945– 1 October 1946, Vol. 12, p.318

    In Mein Kampf, Hitler said that it was some christian preacher, Karl Leuger who first inculated anti-Jewish hatred in him.
    (see Hitler, Mein Kampf: Volume 1, Chapter 2.)

    Check it:
    “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 … The man and the movement seemed ‘reactionary’ in my eyes. My common sense of justice, however, forced me to change this judgment in proportion as I had occasion to become acquainted with the man and his work; and slowly my fair judgment turned to unconcealed admiration. Today, more than ever, I regard this man as the greatest German mayor of all times … How many of my basic principles were upset by this change in my attitude toward the Christian Social movement! My views with regard to anti-Semitism thus succumbed to the passage of time, and this was my greatest transformation of all.”

    More Hitler fun as he caters to his target audience in his book. Guess who it is, “darwinists” or someone else?
    “Certainly we don’t have to discuss these matters with the Jews, the most modern inventors of this cultural perfume. Their whole existence is an embodied protest against the aesthetics of the Lord’s image.”
    Mein Kampf Volume 1, Chapter 6.

    “What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe.”
    Mein Kampf Volume 1, Chapter 9.

    You can say he didn’t believe that himself, that he wasn’t a true “Christian”, but so what? Who do you think he was catering to there?

    How much stuff from Mein Kampf did Stein show that had Hitler pandering to “darwinists” as much?

    Hitler:
    For us, this is not a problem you can turn a blind eye to-one to be solved by small concessions. For us, it is a problem of whether our nation can ever recover its health, whether the Jewish spirit can ever really be eradicated. Don’t be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst. Speech delivered by Hitler in Salzburg, 7 or 8 August 1920. (NSDAP meeting)

    Did Stein go after the guy who came up with the germ theory of disease, Ray?
    Read Mein Kampf. There’s more of that.

    For similar information, check out GENOCIDE AS IMMUNOLOGY:
    The Psychosomatic Source of Culture
    by Richard Koenigsberg

    For some of Darwin’s views about “races”, check out his “Descent of Man” from 1871

    “But the most weighty of all the arguments against treating the races of man as distinct species, is that they graduate into each other, independently in many cases, as far as we can judge, of their having intercrossed. Man has been studied more carefully than any other animal, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges whether he should be classed as a single species or race, or as two (Virey), as three (Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven (Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory de St-Vincent), sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawfurd), or as sixty-three, according to Burke. This diversity of judgment does not prove that the races ought not to be ranked as species, but it shews that they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them.” (you do realize that all people thought like the first part of the last sentence above in Darwin’s time, but it’s Darwin’s observations that led him to say “it is hardly possible to discover distinictive character between them.”

    About Darwin’s first book,
    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, when they talk about “races” it’s used as an alternative for “varieties” – the first use in the book refers to “the several races, for instance, of the cabbage”, and Darwin proceeds to discuss “the hereditary varieties or races of our domestic animals and plants”.[10]
    From Wikipedia about The Origin of Species. Read the book yourself if you want.

    Tell me, Ray…did Stein give any quotes that had Darwin mentioning Jews at all, much less those of the virulence expressed in Martin Luther’s On the Jews and their Lies?

    If you want, Ray, try looking up “blood libel” on the net. See how much “darwinism” is in there. The Jewish Encyclopedia may be a good place to look, too.

    Time for some reading, Ray:
    The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism
    by David I. Kertzer

    “After Auschwitz: Religion and the Origins of the Death Camps.” Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, Ind., 1966

    “Theologian Richard Rubenstein wrote that the Nazis “did not invent a new villain…They took over the 2,000-year-old Christian trdition of the Jew as villain…The roots of the death camps must be sought in the mythic structure of Christianity…Myths concerning the demonological role of the Jews have been operative in Christianity for centuries…”

    “Has God Rejected His People? Anti-Judaism in the Christian Church”, Abingdon, Nashville, Tenn. 1982

    “Theologian Clark Williamson of Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, said centuries of Christian hostility to Jews “prepared the way for the Holocaust” he said the Nazis “are inconcievable apart from this Christian tradition. Hitler’s pogrom, for all its distinctiveness, is the zenith of a long Christian heritage of teaching and practice against Jews”.

    Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism

    Dagobert Runes’ books: “The Jew and the Cross” and “The War Against the Jew” by Philosophical Library, New York.
    “Everything Hitler did to the Jews, all the horrible, unspeakable misdeeds, had already been done to the smitten people before by the Christian churches….The isolation of Jews into ghetto camps, the wearing of the yellow spot, the burning of Jewish books, and finally the burning of the people-Hitler learned it all from the church. However, the church burned Jewish women and children alive, while Hitler granted them a quicker death, choking them first with gas.”

    Don’t believe those sources? Then check out some sources from Judaism who, unlike Stein, have done research into this. By the way, did Stein mention any of the above factors in anti-semitism, Ray?

    Anyhoo…Here’s a Jewish site where they discuss anti-semitism. Oddly enough, evolution is not brought up…guess what is??
    The jewsforjudaism site. Check out the “New Testament Anti-Semitism” section of the Knowledge Base.

    One criticism that has already surfaced is that the evolutionists who expose their hate- filled agenda in the movie were coerced into being interviewed. Not so. They signed off for their part and were well-paid for their efforts.
    Outright lie, Ray. No one said that they were coerced. They were lied to about the name of the film, and what it was about. They were told it was for something called “Crossroads”, only the domain name for “Expelled” was already bought at the times of the interviews. Check out the PZ Myer’s blog, or Richard Dawkins’.

    If I have time, I may deal with the rest of the bull later.

  100. #101 Scote
    March 29, 2008

    I’m a little puzzled at the attempt by the creationists at laying the idea genocide for selective breeding at the feet of Darwin. The idea of genocide for selective breeding is part of the Old Testament and is the fundamental tenet of the Flood Story. Everybody in the world was wicked but Noah and his family so God, in a clumsy manner, kills off every living thing not in the Ark to persue His latest eugenics program.

    The basic premise behind the holocaust is very clearly written out in the Old Testment, but for some reason neither Jews nor Christians are eager to point out this undeniable fact.

    [cross posted at orac’s]

  101. #102 BruceJ
    March 29, 2008

    This is only a minor falsehood, irrelevant to the aim of the film.

    The true falsehood at the heart of “Expelled” is that it is purporting to be a documentary. It’s actually an extended dog whistle to the ignorant masses (fundie and not) that “Scientists are evil, knowledge is dangerous, you can only put your trust in God.” They know their power wanes if people learn to think for themselves, and believe me, there is no means they will not use to keep that from happening. There is too much political and monetary power at stake.

    We’ll see more of this.

    Ironically, for all their Godwinning the film owes a greater intellectual debt to Joeseph Goebbels than anyone else.

    It’s clear from the clips I’ve seen they did NOT study Leni Reifenstahl…it would have been a far more persuasive film had they aped Triumph of the Will.

    Perhaps we’re fortunate that they’re stuck in their crabbed, intellectually barren, uncreative mindsets.

  102. #103 Monado, FCD
    March 29, 2008

    Let’s carry the argument from consequences to Creationists and remind them of the good that came from the research of Darwin and his fellow scientists.

    How many lives has evolutionary theory saved? Here is the contribution of one scientist, Maurice Hilleman: 27 million lives and still counting.

    Hilleman became a scientist because as a youngster he read The Origin os Species, which had been overlooked by a committee bent on making the local library safe for Creationism. He grew up and developed more than forty vaccines. His sobriquet, given by his contemporaries, was “The Man Who Saved Your Life.”

    Here’s a link to his story from the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research.

    His credits include not only the preventive vaccine for mumps, but also vaccines for measles, rubella (German measles), chickenpox, bacterial meningitis, flu and hepatitis B.

    Many of the diseases that Hilleman’s vaccines helped bring under control have been all but forgotten by a well-immunized generation of Americans. But not that long ago in this country, these diseases not only kept children home from school, they also sent them to the hospital and even the cemetery. Today Hilleman’s measles vaccine alone prevents an estimated one million deaths around the globe every year.

  103. #104 owlbear1
    March 29, 2008

    They tie “Genocide” to Darwin because most of them believe “Survival of the Species” means killing off as many of your own species in order to claim the title: “I am THE FITTEST!!!”

  104. #105 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    If we are going to cite Hitler’s Table Talk:

    “The monkeys, our ancestors of prehistoric times, are strictly vegetarian.”

    Mein Kampf:

    “That is why the struggle between the various species does not arise from a feeling of mutual antipathy but rather from hunger and love. In both cases Nature looks on calmly and is even pleased with what happens. The struggle for the daily livelihood leaves behind in the ruck everything that is weak or diseased or wavering; while the fight of the male to possess the female gives to the strongest the right, or at least, the possibility to propagate its kind. And this struggle is a means of furthering the health and powers of resistance in the species. Thus it is one of the causes underlying the process of development towards a higher quality of being.”

    Note that last phrase: “a higher quality of being.” Not simply maintenance of type or fixity.

    “our planet has been moving through the spaces of ether for millions and millions of years, uninhabited by men, and at some future date may easily begin to do so again – if men should forget that wherever they have reached a superior level of existence, it was not the result of following the ideas of crazy visionaries but by acknowledging and rigorously observing the iron laws of Nature.”

    There is no question that Hitler was an evolutionist, albeit a progressionist evolutionist and more specifically a telic evolutionist.

    Hitler’s references to God have no bearing on whether he was an evolutionist.

    Hitler absorbed the popular understanding of biology of early 20th Century Vienna, which included scientific racism, eugenics, and evolution.

    More importantly, the biopolitical ethos of the larger Nazi movement was heavily influenced by Darwinists, including Haeckel, Woltmann, Schallmayer, and Ploetz. There were many streams of thought leading into the Nazi ethos, including holism and Positive Christianity.

    Hitler, the Holocaust, and germ theory/cancer theory: the idea of eradicating a race that functions as a germ or cancer is derived from social organicism developed by Haeckel, Herbert Spencer and others. It was a major revision of Darwinism: groups as organisms; a major arena of selection is the struggle between social organisms.

    Edward Blythe: Who today or in Hitler’s time cites Blythe? He is an obscure figure. Blythe’s ideas on selection were known from their use by Darwin.

    The “eclipse of Darwinism”: Be that as it may, 19th-early 20th century eugenicists and scientific racists tended to be Darwinists who referred to natural selection. Their malign achievement was to give ancient prejudices against nonwhites outside of the West and Jews a “scientific” basis, justifying their extinction as part of a natural process. As I’ve said before, the biologization of racism and antisemitism acted as an ideological cotton gin, amplifying and sustaining already existing evils.

    Biology itself had to evolve its way out of scientific racism and eugenics. Eventually, it did. But it had not by the time that Nazism emerged.

    It’s perfectly legitimate to refute Ben Stein’s suggestion that Darwinism is responsible for the Holocaust. But let’s not sugarcoat intellectual history in order to do so.

  105. #106 negentropyeater
    March 29, 2008

    Actually, the whole history behind the justification of the Nazis’ Nürnberg Laws is a perfect example of the disastrous effects of confusing pseudoscience and real science.
    It is more the demonstration of what happens when one tries to bend the evidence and misunderstand the real science in order to suit one’s dogmatic beliefs and preconceptions.

    It is quite striking that history seems to repeat itself. Isn’t ID exactly that, the pseudoscientific theory that may serve, in the future, in the hands of confused politicians, to justify sincerely misguided laws on homosexuality, abortion, stemcell research, and “academic freedom” ?

  106. #107 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 29, 2008

    I’m afraid this is still to complicated. It’s more then a whole paragraph of words and it doesn’t mention Jeebus anywhere.

    How about this:

    Selection pressures being equal, it is AFAIU population size that decides rate of evolution. And there is new research that indicates that human evolution the last 10 ky picked up a massive speed, and that claims population increase is the best explanation. Hence when xians “go forth and multiply” they are “evolutionist”.

    (Okay, that’s 1st chapter OT but IIRC NT didn’t rewoke it. So there!)

    Like a creationist, Hitler asserts fixity of kinds

    Allen, that’s awesome! I had completely forgotten that part of Nazi history since last time it was up for grabs, and I’ve never seen such a comprehensive list before.

    It is also awesome that either your comment linger in moderation limbo or your account in creationist hell. Specifically your comment being Expelled in some form is a considerable reaction, showing that IDC release 2.0 (“freedom”) is more desperate struggling than the previous version, if not stillborn.

  107. #108 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 29, 2008

    I’m afraid this is still to complicated. It’s more then a whole paragraph of words and it doesn’t mention Jeebus anywhere.

    How about this:

    Selection pressures being equal, it is AFAIU population size that decides rate of evolution. And there is new research that indicates that human evolution the last 10 ky picked up a massive speed, and that claims population increase is the best explanation. Hence when xians “go forth and multiply” they are “evolutionist”.

    (Okay, that’s 1st chapter OT but IIRC NT didn’t rewoke it. So there!)

    Like a creationist, Hitler asserts fixity of kinds

    Allen, that’s awesome! I had completely forgotten that part of Nazi history since last time it was up for grabs, and I’ve never seen such a comprehensive list before.

    It is also awesome that either your comment linger in moderation limbo or your account in creationist hell. Specifically your comment being Expelled in some form is a considerable reaction, showing that IDC release 2.0 (“freedom”) is more desperate struggling than the previous version, if not stillborn.

  108. #109 bigjohn756
    March 29, 2008

    Who came up with this inane Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, et al, comparison to begin with? I, for one, am fed up with it. It has been so overused that it is now meaningless. I suggest that the next use of it by the religious nuts be simply ignored. If we who can think do not react to it then maybe the ring in the nose folks will give up on this tired, old, cliché.

  109. #110 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    Richard Dawkins, Lying for Jesus?, 3/23/08: “Hitler was ignorant and bonkers enough for his hideous mind to have imbibed some sort of garbled misunderstanding of Darwin (along with his very ungarbled understanding of the anti-semitism of Martin Luther, and of his own never-renounced Roman Catholic religion) but it is hardly Darwin’s fault if he did.”

    Is that really so difficult to consider?

    (Note: Hitler was actually more sympathetic to Protestantism than to Catholicism, and his Positive Christianity doctrine was quite removed from mainstream Christianity.)

    The origin of germ rhetoric and race: social organicism.

    Ernst Haeckel, Eternity: World War Thoughts on Life and Death, Religion, and the Theory of Evolution, 1916:

    “Each cell, though autonomous, is subordinated to the body as a whole; in the same way in the societies of bees, ants, and termites, in the vertebrate herds, and in the human state, each individual is subordinate to the social body of which he is a member.”

    Darwinism was a theory. Charles Darwin was a flawed human being of his time. Modern evolutionary biology is not Darwinism; it incorporates and supercedes Darwinism.

    Charles Darwin, letter to William Graham, 1881: “I could show … natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. … Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”

    Francis Galton, 1884 letter to a colleague: “The Jews are specialized for parasitical existence upon other nations.”

    More sources:

    Patrick Bratlinger. 2003. Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800-1930

    Robert Proctor. books: 1988. Racial Hygiene. 1999. The Nazi War On Cancer.

    G Stein. 1988. Biological science and the roots of Nazism. American Scientist 76:50-58.

    Paul Weindling. 1989. Health, race and German politics between national unification and Nazism, 1870-1945.

  110. #111 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo wrote:

    Note that last phrase: “a higher quality of being.” Not simply maintenance of type or fixity.

    I think you’re reading more into that than is actually there. Higher quality doesn’t mean new species or adaption or improvement over the original. If I want sell “pure water” and filter out all the sediments, pollutants and whatever I could call that a “a higher quality of water” than I originally had.

    It simply contradicts other things Hitler said to read it your way.

  111. #112 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 29, 2008

    Okay, having read Orac’s and Reynold’s texts they definitely show that the main inspiration for Hitler came from other sciences.

    Note that last phrase: “a higher quality of being.” Not simply maintenance of type or fixity.

    It is consistent with Hitler admitting “microevolution” of “its kind”.

  112. #113 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 29, 2008

    Okay, having read Orac’s and Reynold’s texts they definitely show that the main inspiration for Hitler came from other sciences.

    Note that last phrase: “a higher quality of being.” Not simply maintenance of type or fixity.

    It is consistent with Hitler admitting “microevolution” of “its kind”.

  113. #114 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo supposedly quoted Hitler thusly:

    “our planet has been moving through the spaces of ether for millions and millions of years, uninhabited by men, and at some future date may easily begin to do so again – if men should forget that wherever they have reached a superior level of existence, it was not the result of following the ideas of crazy visionaries but by acknowledging and rigorously observing the iron laws of Nature.”

    Source that, please.

    I admit that it’s significant. Significant enough that I have some doubt he really said it.

  114. #115 Nick Gotts
    March 29, 2008

    “It simply contradicts other things Hitler said to read it your way.” – Norman Doering

    Hitler had complete contempt for rationality, and so was not in the least concerned with maintaining consistency. He would use whatever notions suited his purpose of the moment, so detailed exegesis of his words is of dubious utility. Of course the claim that evolutionary theory, or Darwin, is responsible for Nazism is ludicrous, but I agree with Colugo that the intellectual and socio-cultural history of evolutionary theory is complex, and not without its unpleasant side.

  115. #116 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo,

    I’m sorry, I missed what you were getting at. I have so many quotes from Hitler on my page that seem to contradict what you’re saying that I missed the implications.

    Mein Kampf, James Murphy translation, A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

    Allusions to natural selection:

    “Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation–which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred–and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development.

    That does look like an illusion to something akin to natural selection that gets closer to Darwin than I thought Hitler was. The terms, however, are still pretty ambiguous: “a better road for future development,” what does that really mean? And “selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species” looks like more fixity than Darwin meant. Species changed.

    Where in the book is it?
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200601.txt

  116. #117 quantok
    March 29, 2008

    Of course Darwin did it. Hitler sent his agents of death from ghetto to ghetto and from house to house visiting annihilation upon any occupants forced to bear the mark of David, sparing none, not even newborns. From a reading of which revered book, other than the Origin of Species, can Hitler have possibly derived the idea that this awful destruction of innocents would be a virtuous thing to do?

  117. #118 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo,
    I found it. The context is not what you think:

    Even in those days I already saw that there was a two-fold method by which alone it would be possible to bring about an amelioration of these conditions. This method is: first, to create better fundamental conditions of social development by establishing a profound feeling for social responsibilities among the public; second, to combine this feeling for social responsibilities with a ruthless determination to prune away all excrescences which are incapable of being improved.

    Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation–which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred–and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development.

    During my struggle for existence in Vienna I perceived very clearly that the aim of all social activity must never be merely charitable relief, which is ridiculous and useless, but it must rather be a means to find a way of eliminating the fundamental deficiencies in our economic and cultural life–deficiencies which necessarily bring about the degradation of the individual or at least lead him towards such degradation. The difficulty of employing every means, even the most drastic, to eradicate the hostility prevailing among the working classes towards the State is largely due to an attitude of uncertainty in deciding upon the inner motives and causes of this contemporary phenomenon. The grounds of this uncertainty are to be found exclusively in the sense of guilt which each individual feels for having permitted this tragedy of degradation. For that feeling paralyses every effort at making a serious and firm decision to act. And thus because the people whom it concerns are vacillating they are timid and half-hearted in putting into effect even the measures which are indispensable for self-preservation. When the individual is no longer burdened with his own consciousness of blame in this regard, then and only then will he have that inner tranquillity and outer force to cut off drastically and ruthlessly all the parasite growth and root out the weeds.

    In context it looks like Hitler is talking about social development not the evolution of life. It’s a bad metaphor to use evolutionary concepts that way.

  118. #119 craig
    March 29, 2008

    “What _is_ creepy though, is someone like yourself, who insists on being an atheist — all that exists is matter and energy — self-righteously hawking any system of “morality.” Morality for an atheist is _ultimately_ a matter of expediency. (And you can’t prove otherwise.)”

    Even if this were true (and it ain’t) what does it have to do with the way the universe came into being, etc?

    You don’t get to choose the hows and whys of the universe based on what gives you a personal morality. It is what it is and you have no input.

    These kinds of arguments for theism are either a tacit admission of the fact that theism is a lie, or a narcissistic attempt to take on godlike powers yourself by bending reality to your own preference.

    Either way its bullshit.

  119. #120 Eric
    March 29, 2008

    PZ,

    I think you’re missing the point: what Darwin dd was to take this obvious idea and make it part of an account of how nature operates. Anyone who knows anything about the history of philosophy knows that people have often looked to nature (and Nature) to reach conclusions about ethics, and about how we are to live. Once you place this “obvious” fact within an account of how the natural world *in fact* operates, some will see it as a basis for a new naturalistic account of ethics. Now, this isn’t tantamount to saying “Darwin did it,” but it is a bit more subtle than the simplistic and hyperbloic reading you gave it.

  120. #121 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    quantok wrote:

    From a reading of which revered book, other than the Origin of Species, can Hitler have possibly derived the idea that this awful destruction of innocents would be a virtuous thing to do?

    Are you trying to suggest it was the Bible?

  121. #122 Citizen Z
    March 29, 2008

    How, exactly, are we supposed to believe Hitler was influenced by “Darwinism” when he endorsed a book in Mein Kampf:

    How much the whole existence of this people is based on a permanent falsehood is proved in a unique way by ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, which are so violently repudiated by the Jews. With groans and moans, the FRANKFURTER ZEITUNG repeats again and again that these are forgeries. This alone is evidence in favour of their authenticity. What many Jews unconsciously wish to do is here clearly set forth. It is not necessary to ask out of what Jewish brain these revelations sprang; but what is of vital interest is that they disclose, with an almost terrifying precision, the mentality and methods of action characteristic of the Jewish people and these writings expound in all their various directions the final aims towards which the Jews are striving.

    … a book that says this:

    For them let that play the principal part which we have
    persuaded them to accept as the dictates of science (theory). It
    is with this object in view that we are constantly, by means of
    our press, arousing a blind confidence in these theories. The
    intellectuals of the goyim will puff themselves up with their
    knowledge and without any logical verification of them will put
    into effect all the information available from science, which our
    agentur specialists have cunningly pieced together for the
    purpose of educating their minds in the direction we want.

    Do not suppose for a moment that these statements are empty words: think carefully of the successes we arranged for Darwinism, Marxism, Nietzscheism. To us Jews, at any rate, it should be plain to see what a disintegrating importance these directives have had upon the minds of the goyim.

    Please excuse me if I decline to link to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  122. #123 Patricia C.
    March 29, 2008

    **psst…Psst* Noni #22, over here in the corner… you’re not the only one hiding out here..I’m one too.

  123. #124 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    The quote I doubted is indeed in Mein Kampf:

    Whether you like it or not, you would have to make up your mind to forget wars if you would achieve the pacifist ideal. Nothing less than this was the plan of the American world-redeemer, Woodrow Wilson. Anyhow that was what our visionaries believed, and they thought that through his plans their ideals would be attained.

    The pacifist-humanitarian idea may indeed become an excellent one when the most superior type of manhood will have succeeded in subjugating the world to such an extent that this type is then sole master of the earth. This idea could have an injurious effect only in the measure according
    to which its application would become difficult and finally impossible. So, first of all, the fight and then pacifism. If the case were different it would mean that mankind has already passed the zenith of its development, and accordingly the end would not be the supremacy of some moral ideal but degeneration into barbarism and consequent chaos.
    People may laugh at this statement; but our planet has been moving through the spaces of ether for millions and millions of years, uninhabited by men, and at some future date may easily begin to do so again–if men should forget that wherever they have reached a superior level of existence, it was not the result of following the ideas of crazy visionaries but by acknowledging and rigorously observing the iron laws of Nature.

    All that we admire in the world to-day, its science, its art, its technical developments and discoveries, are the products of the creative activities of a few peoples, and it may be true that their first beginnings must be attributed to one race. The maintenance of civilization is wholly dependent on such peoples. Should they perish, all that makes this earth beautiful will descend with them into the
    grave.

    Well, Hitler was up enough on his science to know that the Earth was at least millions of years old, so he’s not a young Earth creationist, but it appears that those “iron laws of Nature” are more social, again, than biological.

    He is apparently trying to get a social “ought” from a biological “is.”

  124. #125 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    Norman Doering:

    the excerpt “our planet has been moving through the spaces of ether for millions and millions of years…”

    Source: Mein Kampf, Chapter XI, Race and People. (Murphy translation)

    More from Mein Kampf:

    “Among the most primitive organisms the instinct for self-preservation does not extend beyond the care of the individual ego. Egotism, as we call this passion, is so predominant that it includes even the time element; which means that the present moment is deemed the most important and that nothing is left to the future. The animal lives only for itself, searching for food only when it feels hunger and fighting only for the preservation of its own life. As long as the instinct for self-preservation manifests itself exclusively in such a way, there is no basis for the establishment of a community; not even the most primitive form of all, that is to say the family. The society formed by the male with the female, where it goes beyond the mere conditions of mating, calls for the extension of the instinct of self-preservation, since the readiness to fight for one’s own ego has to be extended also to the mate. The male sometimes provides food for the female, but in most cases both parents provide food for the offspring. Almost always they are ready to protect and defend each other; so that here we find the first, though infinitely simple, manifestation of the spirit of sacrifice. As soon as this spirit extends beyond the narrow limits of the family, we have the conditions under which larger associations and finally even States can be formed.”

    That sounds kind of macroevolutionary, a progressive expansion of altruism allowing for larger and more complex social organization. On the other hand, it could be interpreted as observing increasingly higher levels of a preexisting fixed hierarchy. But it’s interesting in context with Hitler’s references to past extinctions of species, the absence of the human species millions of years ago, and his (alleged) statement about humanity’s monkey ancestors.

    Hitler is of course neither the most rigorous nor consistent of thinkers. But his rhetoric is indicative of a warped progressivist worldview, the kind that a voracious but poorly discriminating reader of vulgarized natural history might acquire. This theme – the pre-Darwinian ladder of progress and the progressive evolutionist – appears in Hitler’s discussion of the rise of civilization, for example in Race and People, Mein Kampf:

    “The progress of mankind may be compared to the process of ascending an infinite ladder. One does not reach the higher level without first having climbed the lower rungs.”

    The rhetoric about racial purity and contamination and references to repeated declines of civilizations due to the admixture of inferior races comes right out of the pseudoscientific theories of the revisionist Marxist, Darwinist, and scientific racist Ludwig Woltmann (uncredited by Hitler, who may have gotten it secondhand), who in his day was considered (by some) to be a serious theorist.

    The Nazis maintained a kind of cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, they cited strife between peoples leading to progress. On the other, they were loathe to admit (or advertise, since Nazi biologists were aware of the facts of macroevolution, and some – e.g. Heinz Brucher in 1936* – openly endorsed Haeckel) that “Aryans” had evolved from monkeys and “lower” races. Nazism contained a plurality of cosmological and theological worldviews – from Christian Nazism to Himmler’s neopaganism to Heidegger’s brand of Existentialism – all them racist and antisemitic.

    *See Robert J. Richards, The Moral Grammar of Narratives in History of Biology — the Case of Haeckel and Nazi Biology. Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology, ed. Michael Ruse and David Hull (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

    Note: I goofed in putting an e in Blyth’s name.

    More from Hitler’s Table Talk (I don’t know how reliable it is, but others have cited Table Talk in attempts to debunk Darwinist influence and Hitler as creationist Christian):

    “War has returned to its primitive form. … To-day war is nothing but a struggle for the riches of nature. By virtue of an inherent law, these riches belong to him who conquers them. … By means of the struggle, the elites are continually renewed. The law of selection justifies the incessant struggle, by allowing the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature.”

    Note: By “Christianity” Hitler means the wimpy non-‘Positive Christianity’ mainstream variant.

    Unlike ‘Table Talk’, there is no doubt about the authenticity of Hitler unpublished ‘Second Book.’

    Hitler’s Second Book, Chapter 2: The Necessity of Strife

    “First of all a very violent struggle for existence sets in, which only individuals who are the strongest and have the greatest capacity for resistance can survive. A high infant mortality rate on the one hand and a high proportion of aged people on the other are the chief signs of a time which shows little regard for individual life. Since, under such conditions, all weaklings are swept away through acute distress and illness, and only the healthiest remain alive, a kind of natural selection takes place. Thus the number of a Folk can easily be subject to a limitation, but the inner value can remain, indeed it can experience an inner heightening.”

  125. #126 kid bitzer
    March 29, 2008

    a friendly amendment:

    this seems false:

    “If members of a population die or are killed off, they will leave no descendants for subsequent generations.”

    because lots of members die or are killed off after they have already reproduced (indeed, *all* of them either die or are killed off at some point, whether before or after they reproduce).

    but this seems true:

    “If members of a population die or are killed off before they have the chance to reproduce, they will leave no descendants for subsequent generations.”

    Not a big change, but at the same time, it might be worthwhile striving for accuracy.

  126. #127 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    Norman Doering:

    Sorry, I didn’t read your last three comments while composing my response. Points well taken. But there is no doubt that Hitler was absorbing and crudely synthesizing a variety of vulgarized natural history theories, religious ideas, and philosophies. On the other hand, Nazi physicians, biologists, and anthropologists had formal training in natural history and biology, yet they endorsed Hitler’s worldview. There is an intellectual lineage that can be traced to pre-Darwinian racists, through Darwin and Galton, to increasingly racist revisionists of Darwin. By the time this scientific lineage reaches Nazism moderate and sober elements had been discarded, leaving an extremely essentialist, racist, and antisemitic perverted pseudoscience. Darwin and even Haeckel could be formally sloughed off, leaving a more extreme and vicious variant of the eugenicist and scientific racist thought that was then mainstream in Western biology, medicine, and biological anthropology.

  127. #128 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Hitler wrote:

    “Among the most primitive organisms the instinct for self-preservation does not extend beyond the care of the individual ego. Egotism, as we call this passion,…

    Primitive organisms have egos? Does an ant have an ego? Is it primitive? Do bees have egos? Do microbes? Methinks Hitler is anthropomorphizing. Or is he talking about primitive men?

    … is so predominant that it includes even the time element; which means that the present moment is deemed the most important and that nothing is left to the future. The animal lives only for itself, searching for food only when it feels hunger and fighting only for the preservation of its own life.

    I don’t think ants and bees can even imagine the future, their little neural systems don’t seem capable of modeling enough of the physical world to judge the cause and effect workings of their actions. Yet, they certainly aren’t doing it for themselves — bees will sacrifice their lives to defend the colony.

    This is really pathetic pseudo-science. It’s not Darwin’s ideas.

  128. #129 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    Norman Doering:

    I hate to make excuses for Hitler, but maybe he meant “egotism,” “passion,” and “deemed” in a way similar to “selfish” genes or “memory” immune cells.

    Beyond our discussion (and I think we agree that Hitler’s worldview was a hateful and crackpot muddle drawn from his time and place, whatever the particulars), you will probably find this interesting:

    Excerpts from a Nazi biology textbook
    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/textbk01.htm

  129. #130 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo wrote:

    Nazi physicians, biologists, and anthropologists had formal training in natural history and biology, yet they endorsed Hitler’s worldview.

    I doubt that many of them did so in good faith. They were probably just going along to get along. It was either that or get out of Germany.

  130. #131 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo wrote:

    “Almost always they are ready to protect and defend each other; so that here we find the first, though infinitely simple, manifestation of the spirit of sacrifice. As soon as this spirit extends beyond the narrow limits of the family, we have the conditions under which larger associations and finally even States can be formed.”

    That sounds kind of macroevolutionary, a progressive expansion of altruism allowing for larger and more complex social organization.

    I don’t think you know what the term “macroevolution” really means. Your own thinking seems to be a bit pseudo-scientific.

    I’ve got to go, so I leave a link to the term “macroevolution.”
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/macroevolution.html

    And be back later.

  131. #132 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    “I don’t think you know what the term “macroevolution” really means.”

    I know what macroevolution is. I also know when I have been misinterpreted. I was not providing a definition of macroevolution; I meant that this is consistent with a progressivist approach to a macroevolutionary pattern.

    See modern theorists on cooperation, including altruism, and increasing social complexity: Maynard Smith and Szathmary, David Sloan Wilson, Martin Nowak.

    “I doubt that many of them did so in good faith.”

    Surely that is true of some them. But others boasted that their scientific views were wholly consistent with or had even anticipated Nazi ideology. See the books of Robert Proctor and Paul Weindling.

    The views of a lone crank named Hitler is one thing. But the ideology and normative science of a professional elite of an advanced state is another. Mainstream Western biology had long been steeped in virulent racism and eugenics by the time the Third Reich came along.

  132. #133 Dahan
    March 29, 2008

    Very well put PZ. I’d raise a glass to you if I had o… oh, I do. Well then, here’s to you.

  133. #134 jdb
    March 29, 2008

    “They tie “Genocide” to Darwin because most of them believe “Survival of the Species” means killing off as many of your own species in order to claim the title: “I am THE FITTEST!!!””

    Should we call this the Highlander Theory of Evolution?

  134. #135 wnelson
    March 29, 2008

    Even if this were true (and it ain’t) what does it have to do with the way the universe came into being, etc?

    You don’t get to choose the hows and whys of the universe based on what gives you a personal morality. It is what it is and you have no input.

    These kinds of arguments for theism are either a tacit admission of the fact that theism is a lie, or a narcissistic attempt to take on godlike powers yourself by bending reality to your own preference.
    Either way its bullshit.

    It has nothing to do with arguing for theism.

    It has to do with Myers entering into a discussion of something he couldn’t possibly argue matters — except outside of expediency. This trendy “atheism” runs about 50 miles wide, and an inch deep.

    Darwinism was used as a tool — period. The philosophy of Marx, etc., led people to use this to achieve their philosophical goals. Aborigines were shot and skinned for the Smithsonian — due to the belief in “lower” species — it’s been a crutch for many racists.

    But when Myers complains — and attempts to put Darwinism or “atheism” in some sort of moral context — like I said: he’s useless in the public discussion, or any hypothetical plea for a Stalin, or Hitler to put down the gun.

    Except for the concept of the ultimacy of expediency — Myers is a moral leper — one man’s expediency is another’s mass murder. Myers needs to stick to the lab, stick to working with digits. If he wants to play sociological games, he needs to do his homework.

    Like I said, at least Hitchens can quote Spinoza.

  135. #136 jomega
    March 29, 2008

    David Marjanovi? typed:
    “It would nicely explain the five letters of Myers, though”.

    From WIKIPEDIA:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism#The_Law_of_Fives

    “The Law of Fives
    The Law of Fives is summarized in the Principia Discordia:

    The Law of Fives states simply that: all phenomena are directly or indirectly related to the number five, and this relationship can always be demonstrated given enough ingenuity on the part of the demonstrator.
    The Law of Fives is never wrong. – Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00016

    The Law of Fives as quoted uses the word “Five” five times.

    Like most of Discordianism, the Law of Fives appears on the surface to be either some sort of weird joke, or bizarre supernaturalism; but under this, it may help clarify the Discordian view of how the human mind works; Lord Omar is quoted later on the same page as having written, “I find the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look.”

    Appendix Beth of Robert Shea’s and Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy considers some of the numerology of Discordianism, and the question of what would happen to the Law of Fives if everyone had six fingers on each hand. The authors suggest that the real Law of Fives may be that everything can be related to the number five if you try hard enough. Sometimes the steps required may be highly convoluted.

    Another way of looking at the Law of Fives is as a symbol for the observation of reality changing that which is being observed in the observer’s mind. Just as how when one looks for fives in reality, one finds them, so will one find conspiracies, ways to determine when the apocalypse will come, and so on and so forth when one decides to look for them. It cannot be wrong, because it proves itself reflexively when looked at through this lens.”

    FAR OUT, MAN!

  136. #137 Steve Zara
    March 29, 2008

    wnelson wrote:
    Aborigines were shot and skinned for the Smithsonian — due to the belief in “lower” species — it’s been a crutch for many racists.

    A belief in “lower” species is nothing whatsoever to do with Darwin. It is an ancient belief, and is present in the Bible with the idea that Man was given dominion over the other creatures. It was unfortunate that when encountering other “races” they have been often viewed as not one of “us” – inferior animals. To connect this with Darwin is to show a profound (and in this context, shameful) ignorance of history.

  137. #138 CalGeorge
    March 29, 2008

    Great post. Another one for that book of essays PZ should do.

    We could blame the Holocaust on morons who stopped thinking and started hating their fellow human beings for stupid, irrational reasons – people just like the makers of Expelled.

    Hey, Expelled folks! You want to go ape shit identifying some dangerous people? Look in the fucking mirror.

  138. #139 Sili
    March 29, 2008

    - six letter surnames –
    Yes DARWIN had a 6 letter surname, so did
    HITLER
    STALIN
    MUGABE
    POLPOT

    I’m sure this must be coded in the Bible somewhere. Beware of men with 6 letter surnames…(by negentropyeater)

    Hmmmmm – that would indeed explain why so many of them insist it must be MEYERS.

  139. #140 wnelson
    March 29, 2008

    A belief in “lower” species is nothing whatsoever to do with Darwin. It is an ancient belief, and is present in the Bible with the idea that Man was given dominion over the other creatures. It was unfortunate that when encountering other “races” they have been often viewed as not one of “us” – inferior animals. To connect this with Darwin is to show a profound (and in this context, shameful) ignorance of history.

    No, they were judged to be less evolved — and specifically taken as specimens to that effect. Darwinism is not now nor ever was a restraining force to evil – you guys need to give the devil his due.

    But then “evil” is just a social construct, isn’t it?

  140. #141 Ken Cope
    March 29, 2008

    Darwinism is not now nor ever was a restraining force to evil — you guys need to give the devil his due.

    Neither is Newtonism a restraining force to evil. Gravity is going to fuck up your spinal column, wnelson, because bipedalism is bad design.

  141. #142 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2008

    But then “evil” is just a social construct, isn’t it?

    So is “good”….and God.

  142. #143 Chaos Motor
    March 29, 2008

    Speaking as a person who identifies themselves as a Christian, creationism is stupid ignorance. Science, and scientific theories such as evolution, are obviously correct. Ignorance is slyly promoted as a “Christian value”, and is a tool to keep a huge proportion of the population – who identify as Christians – under the thumb. Ignorant attitudes are promoted as Christian attitudes by those at the top (who in all likelihood know better) to ensure the continued ignorant subservience of the majority of people who identify as Christian.

    Another example of this is the widespread Christian support of the War in Iraq, the War on Terror, and the War on Drugs. Who would Jesus bomb? Who did Jesus want to put in jail? What drugs did Jesus condemn? How many people would Jesus want to die for Sept 11th?

    A real Christian follows the teachings of Jesus, not the teachings of someone else who would use their identification with Jesus to pervert the message and mislead the people.

    Did anyone else notice the preponderance of the phrase “What Would Jesus Do” disappeared after Sept 11th? Too many “Christian” leaders are motivated not by “Love thy Brother” but by hatred and ignorance.

    What would Jesus do?

    Who would Jesus bomb?

    So many forget Jesus while calling themselves Christians.

  143. #144 Norman Doering
    March 29, 2008

    Colugo wrote:

    I know what macroevolution is. I also know when I have been misinterpreted. I was not providing a definition of macroevolution; I meant that this is consistent with a progressivist approach to a macroevolutionary pattern.

    Mmmm… up to a point I suppose. It’s kind of simplistic, sound-bite style, evo-sociology.

    What exactly is your overall point? Just that Hitler was more of a theistic evolutionist than a creationist? I’ll agree with you — you’ve changed my mind.

    Speaking of sound-bites, here’s one for you:

    Calling Hitler a Darwinist is like calling Uri Geller (or Deepak Chopra) a quantum physicist, (or a Bohrist, or a Feynmanist).

    Just because Geller, like anybody else of our time, can ramble on about quarks and Schrodinger’s cat doesn’t make anything Geller says or does real quantum physics. And just because Hitler could talk about laws of nature and selection doesn’t make him a Darwinist nor the things he does Darwinian, nor was it even good “artificial selection” as practiced by animal breeders long before Darwin. Darwin’s theory was simply part of the knowledge base and the jargon of that time, and new enough to still be used as attractive bullshit.

    Just like there is no relationship between what real quantum physicists do and Geller pretending to bend a key with his mind, there is also no real relationship between an attempted genocide of the Jews and the theory of evolution. What in Darwin’s theory would tell us the Jews were inferior, parasites, etc.. All that comes from religious history and religious intolerance. Darwin says nothing about Jews.

    Even with gays and gypsies, there’s nothing in Darwin’s theory saying these are the inferior people. What measure of “inferiority” is used? They don’t fit into a society that rejects them for bigoted reasons?

    And, as PZ noted, what about all the pogroms and antisemitic violence before Darwin? The attacks against Jews back during the Crusades, the Pogrom of 1096 in France and Germany? The massacres of Jews at London and York in 1189-1190? In the eleventh century there were Muslim pogroms against Jews in Spain. The targeting of Jews is no where justified by Darwin.

    The views of a lone crank named Hitler is one thing. But the ideology and normative science of a professional elite of an advanced state is another.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. So, they knew some of Darwin’s theory. Why is that different than them knowing about rocketry, aviation or meteorology? Because they could use it as a gloss to help justify an irrational campaign of murder?

    It’s just as much gloss as Geller’s quantum rap when bending keys.

    Mainstream Western biology had long been steeped in virulent racism and eugenics by the time the Third Reich came along.

    All of the racism is older than Darwin. And the eugenics would more easily be justified by Edward Blyth’s ideas than by Darwin’s.

  144. #145 Cheezits
    March 29, 2008

    So many forget Jesus while calling themselves Christians.

    I may not be a believer anymore, but I think the world would be a better place if more of the people who claim to follow Jesus actually practiced what he preached.

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” _Expelled_ is some rotten fruit.

  145. #146 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    Norman Doering:

    I agree; I wouldn’t call Hitler a Darwinist either. A Social Darwinist, certainly (in the sense of endorsing strife between groups rather than the laissez-faire Gilded Age variety); also a eugenicist, Malthusian, apparently a theistic or telic evolutionist in some fashion as well. (And I can’t rule out evolutionary creationist. As I and another commenter pointed out, Hitler was hardly a model of consistency in thought much less rhetoric.)

    “Why is that different than them knowing about rocketry, aviation or meteorology? Because they could use it as a gloss to help justify an irrational campaign of murder?”

    Exactly. In the late 19th-early 20th C Evolutionary science was not just an understanding of heritable change in populations and the history of life on earth but usually came with political and philosophical baggage, some of it quite ugly by today’s standards. Even many progressives of the time believed that various hereditarian notions and illiberal policies were supported by evolutionary science. Post-Synthesis evolutionary biology is not just theoretically more sophisticated than early evolutionary theory but has fortunately jettisoned a lot of this baggage. It makes no sense to blame Darwin for the Holocaust (I believe that Haeckel and Galton, however, do have some indirect historical culpability), but Nazi Germany did not exist in a scientific vacuum in the fields of biology and medicine. There is a strong temptation to overcorrect the assertions made by Stein, Weikart, West et al. While they ought to be corrected, overcorrection ought to be avoided.

    Aside: There is an interesting link between a Third Reich racial scientist and modern scientific racism.

    Wikipedia page on Nazi race scientist Hans F.K. Gunther:

    “In March 1941, he was received as an honored guest for the opening conference of Alfred Rosenberg’s “Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question”. At the conference the obliteration of Jewish identity, or “people death” (Volkstod) of the Jews was discussed.”

    Wikipedia page on Roger Pearson:

    “In 1958 Pearson founded the Northern League “to foster the interests, friendship and solidarity of all Teutonic nations.” He recruited Hans F. K. Gunther, who received awards under the National Socialist regime for his work on race… Pearson also held the directorship of the Institute for the Study of Man, a group which was alleged.. . to have received $869,500 between 1981 and 1996 from the Pioneer Fund and which under Pearson acquired the peer-reviewed journal Mankind Quarterly in 1978.”

  146. #147 Citizen Z
    March 29, 2008

    It makes no sense to blame Darwin for the Holocaust …, but Nazi Germany did not exist in a scientific vacuum in the fields of biology and medicine. There is a strong temptation to overcorrect the assertions made by Stein, Weikart, West et al. While they ought to be corrected, overcorrection ought to be avoided.

    How could you overcorrect their assertions? That’s the very heart of the disagreement. If Stein, West, et al. were just going around saying, “Hey, there were biologists in Nazi Germany who were racist,” I think the general response would be “Uh… yeah? No kidding.”

    Their argument is pretty consistent: Darwin’s ideas caused the Holocaust. Some even go so far as to say without Darwin there would have been no Holocaust. It’s a fairly simple thing to rebut, simply point out how the prime movers behind the Holocaust showed no signs of influence by Darwin, many even being antagonistic to “Darwinism”.

    Who is overcorrecting these guys, and how are they being overcorrected?

  147. #148 JV
    March 29, 2008

    It’s astounding that a world-class moron like PZ Myers would accuse others of inanity.

  148. #149 Sastra
    March 29, 2008

    I wish I could remember where I read an essay (Skeptic?) in which the author analyzed the writings of Hitler and other Nazis of the time and concluded that they had more or less formed their own idiosyncratic blend of science and religion: the Aryan race had been directly created by God in His image — but the Jews, blacks, slavs, and other undesirables had evolved from apes. This allowed the Nazi rhetoric to invoke a higher race with a divine origin and right, and make it sound as if it fit in with the modern theories in biology. They probably thought it did work just fine together.

    If true, this might help explain why Colugo and Norman D. have been able to find so many quotations which appear to support opposite positions.

  149. #150 Colugo
    March 29, 2008

    “Who is overcorrecting these guys, and how are they being overcorrected?”

    One overcorrection is the dismissal of a connection between that era’s mainstream biological thought, which included early evolutionary biology – importantly its Galtonian and Haeckelian revisions – and Nazi biopolitics. Eugenics, scientific racism, and Social Darwinism were normal science and policy not just in Germany but much of the West.

    When it comes to early evolutionary biology and especially the social ideas surrounding it, I think it’s good to ritually crucify some of our scientific ancestors. And then move on and fight creationism. But why listen to me, I’m no framing expert. I just want the history recounted frankly, in its full grandeur and ugliness.

    If people want to believe that eugenics and Social Darwinism, and their really hideous consequences, were simply Christian creationist conservative aberrations driven by ideologues outside of science, had nothing to do with a developing scientific field, and are based wholly on notions that emerged only in the deep pre-Darwinian past, feel free. But I don’t have to buy it.

    Jon Marks:
    http://savageminds.org/2008/03/21/ventriloquists-for-darwin/

    “If science is indeed about your beliefs, then I have a bone to pick with evolution. It just seems to attract the weirdest ideologues. Consider the post-Darwinian generations: in the 1890s there were the Social Darwinists. A couple of decades later there were the eugenicists. They were Darwinists too: Charles Darwin’s cousin (Francis Galton) was the movement’s founder, and his son Leonard led the British eugenics society after Galton. …

    In America, paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn and geneticist Charles Davenport led the movement – no conflict of molecules and morphology there! Davenport’s ideas fell into eclipse in America with the accession of the Nazis, and he died in 1944 – as the sitting President of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.”

  150. #151 Glen Davidson
    March 29, 2008

    The Bible was big on pointing out the obvious fact that killing off Amelekites, Midianites, etc., would leave them no descendants. While the Israelites were supposed to take over.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, a lot of Expelled and similar creo nonsense is deflection from the genocidal tendencies and acts in their religion. It’s basic strategy (didn’t take new knowledge for this, either), offense is (well, it can be) the best defense. Which is why we ought to play offense, and not the defense of the framers, on our side.

    What’s so sinister about it, however, is that any open-minded intelligent person will know that evolutionary theory actually describes what has happened. If they insist that “Darwinism” leads to Hitler and are too successful, this false association could plant the seeds of murder in some minds. At this time, only they (as a group) are trying to make the “is” of evolution into an “ought” of genocide, so it is they who could actually cause evolution to become a sanction for genocide.

    But the religions are in their own darwinian struggle to survive, and some will risk aiding and abetting evil in order to survive and grow.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  151. #152 Sastra
    March 29, 2008

    Glen D #148 wrote:

    At this time, only they (as a group) are trying to make the “is” of evolution into an “ought” of genocide, so it is they who could actually cause evolution to become a sanction for genocide.

    I think this has already been suggested as a motivation for those few killers who have claimed some sort of evolutionary justification: they’re not following evolution theory, but the distortion of it being promoted by creationists. They’re trying to fit into a preexisting mold for the Bad Guy.

    I’ve read more than a couple stories of former fundamentalists who stopped believing the Bible and immediately went on a major tear: drinking, drugs, meaningless sex, petty crimes. Pretty soon they stopped and asked themselves “what am I doing? I’m not like this. I don’t want this.”

    And they realize that this is what they thought atheists were like. This is what they were told they would do, without God to restrain them. So they did. Expectation is a very powerful motivator.

    Creationists are playing a rather dangerous psychological game.

  152. #153 wazza
    March 29, 2008

    JV: World-class morons don’t write incredibly succinct descriptions of beautiful and supported scientific theories. They write rambling paperbacks that ridicule those theories without providing any evidence against them or any kind of supported alternatives…

    Colugo, just because the eugenics movement was started by Darwin’s cousin, doesn’t mean he had anything to do with it. World War 1 was started by Queen Victoria’s nephew. Does that mean she was responsible?

    Eugenicists claiming Darwin promotes their theory is like Creationists claiming Richard Dawkins believes in ID… it happens, but we all know it’s not true.

  153. #154 mothra
    March 30, 2008

    “The idea of culling populations is not only so easy that a hate-mongering cretin can think of it, but that weather, bacteria, viruses, parasites, predators, etc. have been doing it for eons, with no intelligence required. . .”
    PZ- that last word should have been “allowed.” :)

    @Glen D.- Perfect. I gave a seminar on ‘religious speciation’ two months ago. To give some examples of the type of Christianity known as Mormonism: Apostolic United brethren, Church of Christ Temple, Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, C of JC of LDS (Strangite), C of C with Elijah message, Community of Christ, Fundamentalist C of JC of LDS, Pentecostal C of JC of LDS, Restoration C of JC, Restored C of JC, True and Living C of JC of the Last Days. These names indicate an intense selection preasure and adaptive radiation. In 50 years it will be interesting to see which varieties are still ‘alive.’

  154. #155 Anton Mates
    March 30, 2008

    Darwinism was used as a tool — period. The philosophy of Marx, etc., led people to use this to achieve their philosophical goals.

    Dawhat? Marx mentions Darwin like once in his work. And while he agrees with the principle of common descent in a letter to Engels, he attacks the mechanism of natural selection, and criticizes Darwin for arguing that the same evolutionary mechanisms apply to both humans and animals.

    I hope you’re not planning to pull out the “Marx wanted to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin” myth.

    Aborigines were shot and skinned for the Smithsonian — due to the belief in “lower” species — it’s been a crutch for many racists.

    Source? I think you’re referencing a creationist myth about Amalie Dietrich here.

    Indigenous Australians were shot, of course, in the tens of thousands, by settlers and soldiers. And some of their remains were taken by Western anthropologists, usually without their consent. But the violence had nothing to do with evolutionary theory. People have been calling other races “inferior” since long, long before Darwin.

    But when Myers complains — and attempts to put Darwinism or “atheism” in some sort of moral context — like I said: he’s useless in the public discussion, or any hypothetical plea for a Stalin, or Hitler to put down the gun.

    Uh, who exactly do you think would be useful for talking sense into Stalin or Hitler? Hitler was Christian and Stalin was seminary-educated, but somehow they both resisted any God-based arguments for virtue they might have encountered.

    The only moral argument available to theists but not atheists is, “It’s good because God says so.” And, as history has repeatedly proven, that argument is swiftly defeated by “Well, my God says different.” When it comes to debating ethics, that’s not

    Except for the concept of the ultimacy of expediency — Myers is a moral leper — one man’s expediency is another’s mass murder.

    “The ultimacy of expediency” is as arbitrary a norm as any ethical code. It’s somewhat telling that you consider it the natural, logical default in the absence of authority, though.

  155. #156 Anton Mates
    March 30, 2008

    When it comes to debating ethics, that’s not

    …a particularly potent rhetorical weapon, I meant to say.

  156. #157 Nick Gotts
    March 30, 2008

    “Even many progressives of the time believed that various hereditarian notions and illiberal policies were supported by evolutionary science.” – colugo

    Indeed. Take a look at Dawkins’ quote from H.G. Wells in Ch.7 of “The God Delusion”. Wells was an atheist, a democratic socialist in everyday politics, to judge by “The Time Machine” he actually understood Darwin’s point that evolution does not imply progress, yet he could write vile stuff like:
    “And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races?… I take it they will have to go… The men of the New Republic… will have an ideal that will make the killing worth the while.”

    Certainly, “scientific” racism predates Darwin – see Ch.2 of Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” for a good secondary source; Darwin was a racial “liberal” by the standards of his time and Wallace a radical, believing in the equality or near-equality of races. None of that changes the fact that evolutionary thought and “scientific” racism were intertwined over a long period – though not for nearly as long as Christianity and anti-semitism, or even as long as Christianity and “scientific” racism.

  157. #158 Nathan Baum
    March 30, 2008


    When clueless creationists argue that Darwin led to Hitler, or worse, throw away buckets of money making elaborate propaganda films arguing such nonsense, it’s worse than inane. It’s as if they have completely missed the point of the idea they are damning.

    The makers of Expelled never missed the point of “Darwinism”: to say that implies that they were aiming for it in the first place. They don’t care about what Darwinism is, they care about what it isn’t: compatible with a literal interpretation of the bible.

    The purpose of the film isn’t to educate people in what the theory of evolution is and why the film makers believe they have valid grounds for questioning it. The purpose is simply to convince the audience that, whatever the theory of evolution might happen to be, it is evil.

    The meat of it is that even if evolution were true, it would be better to pretend it wasn’t. The consequences to society if everyone believed that humans share a common ancestor with oranges are too terrible to contemplate.

  158. #159 Stanton
    March 30, 2008

    The meat of it is that even if evolution were true, it would be better to pretend it wasn’t. The consequences to society if everyone believed that humans share a common ancestor with oranges are too terrible to contemplate.

    That drinking orange is cannibalism?

  159. #160 Norman Doering
    March 30, 2008

    Sastra wrote:

    I wish I could remember where I read an essay (Skeptic?) in which the author analyzed the writings of Hitler and other Nazis of the time and concluded that they had more or less formed their own idiosyncratic blend of science and religion: the Aryan race had been directly created by God in His image — but the Jews, blacks, slavs, and other undesirables had evolved from apes.

    This isn’t the essay you’re thinking of, Sastra??:
    http://www.creationtheory.org/Essays/Hitler.xhtml

  160. #161 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 30, 2008

    Hitler had complete contempt for rationality, and so was not in the least concerned with maintaining consistency. He would use whatever notions suited his purpose of the moment, so detailed exegesis of his words is of dubious utility.

    That seems likely. Hitler would not have found support from the science itself, but being inconsistent (as well as the pseudosciences inspired by evolution is) his program could find support most anywhere.

    IMHO all the more reason to point out the differences. While I find his exact wordings less interesting.

  161. #162 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 30, 2008

    Hitler had complete contempt for rationality, and so was not in the least concerned with maintaining consistency. He would use whatever notions suited his purpose of the moment, so detailed exegesis of his words is of dubious utility.

    That seems likely. Hitler would not have found support from the science itself, but being inconsistent (as well as the pseudosciences inspired by evolution is) his program could find support most anywhere.

    IMHO all the more reason to point out the differences. While I find his exact wordings less interesting.

  162. #163 blf
    March 30, 2008

    More giggles, from Seriously funny:

    On April 18 this year, a seriously funny documentary is scheduled to hit 1,000 theaters across America and fire a shot that will go unheard if debate-phobic Darwinists get their way.
    The 100-minute documentary, Expelled, is perfect for adults and children of middle-school age or above: It should be rated R not for sex or violence but for being reasonable, radical, risible, and right. …
    Expelled rightly equates Darwinian stifling of free speech with the Communist attempt to enslave millions behind the Berlin Wall. …
    Stein, giving the Darwinists he interviews plenty of time to make their case, is particularly effective in his conversation with Richard Dawkins …
    Expelled‘s showing of the connection between evolutionary doctrine and Nazi eugenics has already infuriated some in academia and the media: University of Minnesota professor P.Z. Myers blasted Expelled as “ludicrous in its dishonesty,” and Orlando Sentinel reviewer Roger Moore raged about “loaded images, loaded rhetoric.” …
    If you read an anti-Expelled review that dodges the issue of substance by concentrating merely on style, you’ll be seeing another sign of closed minds.
    April 18 will bring an interesting test of whether Expelled, or any other documentary so conceived and so dedicated, can endure in movie theaters past the first weekend. Michael Moore’s fatuous documentaries have done good box office with the help of sympathetic reviewers and network news producers. Ben Stein’s excellent one might rely on evangelicals and others who are tired of being ridiculed by the closed minds of the Evolution Establishment.

    I started to markup all the lies distortions and silly bits in the above excerpt as bold, but that emboldened damn near the whole damn excerpt. And I left out bits which could also have been so marked. Geesh…

  163. #164 Colugo
    March 30, 2008

    A book that appears to be quite relevant to this topic.

    Race and the Third Reich by Christopher M. Hutton
    http://books.google.com/books?id=21_-BjBQBogC&printsec

    Scroll down and try searches in the book for Darwinism, Darwin, Haeckel.

    I almost forgot about Konrad Lorenz, former Nazi Party member.

    Returning to Ben Stein and friends:

    Is Darwin responsible for the Holocaust? No.

    Was Nazi biopolicy related to modern evolutionary biology? No.

    Was Nazi biopolicy related to “sciences” (now known to be pseudosciences) that purported to be Darwinian?

  164. #165 Ichthyic
    March 30, 2008

    Hitler’s allusions to macroevolutionary history in Mein Kampf:
    “Just as many varieties of prehistoric animals had to give way to others and leave no trace behind them, so man will also have to give way, if he loses that definite faculty which enables him to find the weapons that are necessary for him to maintain his own existence.”

    I’d like to once again point out that Colugo conflates evolution with the THEORY of evolution, as he always does whenever he feels the need to expound on his ideas of whether or not Darwin influenced Naziism.

    noting that the fossil record indicates that many species are no longer extant is hardly an explanation of how they got that way.

    Colugo, seems to neglect this difference; which, btw, was the essential point of the post by PZ. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe Colugo just enjoys discussing the issue itself?

    “Social Darwinism” has nothing to do with the theory of evolution based on natural selection of Darwin, other than stealing his name as a label.

    Eugenics would have been around regardless of whether Origin was ever published.

    Was Nazi biopolicy related to “sciences” (now known to be pseudosciences) that purported to be Darwinian?

    the answer to your question is:

    it’s fucking entirely irrelevant, which you at some level actually know, since you managed to put scare quotes around “sciences” and also use the word “purported”.

    enough with the schtick, already, Colugo.

  165. #166 Colugo
    March 30, 2008

    Ichthyic: “Colugo conflates evolution with the THEORY of evolution”

    I am clear on the distinction. For example, many of the scientific architects of Western eugenics movements and German racial hygiene were Darwinists. Not just evolutionists.

    “essential point of the post by PZ”

    …was that Nazis and eugenicists were applying age-old artificial selection, while Darwin’s contribution was natural selection. However, Nazi racial hygienists and eugenicists in general referred to natural selection in support of their program of artificial selection.

    “Eugenics would have been around regardless of whether Origin was ever published.”

    Perhaps. But modern eugenics was not just an update of ancient practices like Spartan infanticide (which they possibly did not even practice) or animal breeding applied to humans. Eugenicists argued that natural selection was being thwarted by civilization, with dysgenic consequences. Therefore modern eugenics was predicated on a concept of natural selection.

    “Social Darwinism” has nothing to do with the theory of evolution based on natural selection of Darwin”

    Social Darwinism usually refers to the “scientific” justification of laissez-faire. But it also can refer to eliminative struggle between races and nations, a theme of Hegel and earlier thinkers but was given a scientific gloss by a number of early Darwinists, in particular Haeckel.

    Creationists are increasingly going with the line of attack of “Darwin -> eugenics, the Holocaust.” Which response is superior: 1) dismissing any intellectual connection between early evolutionary biology and inegalitarian ideas and policies, or 2) presenting a complex and nuanced portrait of the development of evolutionary science in relation to sociopolitical movements?

  166. #167 Citizen Z
    March 30, 2008

    Colugo, #1 would still be better, even if that’s what anyone was trying to do. Creationists are increasingly going with the line of attack of “Darwin -> eugenics, the Holocaust.” Which response is better: 1) make the simple case that Darwin did not cause the Holocaust, or, in a post whose subject is the Darwin -> Hitler argument, post comment after comment listing as many eugenicists in the historical record as you can find and copying excerpts of Mein Kampf that sound vaguely “Darwinian”?

    The average person, even the above average person is not going to follow the subtle nuance of “But it is the case that national socialist eugenic and racist thought was influenced by Darwinism, especially its Haeckelian revision. Not that the Nazis were generally willing to admit these influences, given that Darwin and Haeckel’s works were banned.” They’re going to see: “But it is the case that national socialist eugenic and racist thought was influenced by Darwinism, especially its Haeckelian revision. Not that the Nazis were generally willing to admit these influences, given that Darwin and Haeckel’s works were banned.”

    This is a political argument they’re making. Yet instead of making the counter-argument, you’re more interested in trying to provide a “nuanced” view of “Nazi biopolitics”. Forgive me if I sound rude, but your framing with this is about as good as Nisbet’s with atheists.

  167. #168 Colugo
    March 31, 2008

    Citizen Z:

    Yeah, you’re right. In addition, many are unlikely to grasp that the particular manifestation of hereditarian thought associated with the Final Solution was the result of two pervasive traditions: Christian antisemitism and populist economic scapegoating of Jews.

  168. #169 Ichthyic
    March 31, 2008

    However, Nazi racial hygienists and eugenicists in general referred to natural selection in support of their program of artificial selection.

    as supported by what you quoted, you think?

    hardly. which is why I’m challenging you on it, as what you quoted only implies a knowledge of fossils, and has nothing to do with the mechanism of selection.

    got anything better in support?

    I hope so.

    But it also can refer to eliminative struggle between races and nations, a theme of Hegel and earlier thinkers but was given a scientific gloss by a number of early Darwinists, in particular Haeckel.

    which, of course, was the subject of an entirely different thread here.

    that he was aware of Darwin hardly makes him any more qualified on the theory than Hitler, and in fact, he got much wrong. AGAIN, you are speaking of an ADAPTATION of Darwin to fit an agenda, not the theory itself. As PZ said, will you not then conclude that ballistic shells are the result of “newtonism”?

    there simply is no “Darwinism” aside from it’s misuse as a label for something that Darwin has nothing to do with.

    sorry, you are still conflating terms here.

  169. #170 Colugo
    March 31, 2008

    “you are speaking of an ADAPTATION of Darwin to fit an agenda”

    True. Different things are mean by the term “Darwinism”: a) Darwin’s own ideas on evolution, b) elaborations and revisions by contemporaries and early followers, c) modern evolutionary biology (more commonly “neo-Darwinism;” either of these is a misnomer at this point since evolutionary theory is much larger than Darwin’s contribution), d) any of the above depending on context.

    “that he was aware of Darwin hardly makes him any more qualified on the theory than Hitler”

    Charles Darwin, letter to Ernst Haeckel, 1864: “I am delighted that so distinguished a naturalist should confirm & expound my views; and I can clearly see that you are one of the few who clearly understands Natural Selection.”

    cited in: The Foundation of Ernst Haeckel’s Evolutionary Project in Morphology, Aesthetics, and Tragedy. Robert J. Richards (available on Richards’ website)

    Haeckel deviated from Darwin and got a lot wrong, but he certainly understood Darwin’s thought.

    One theorist of human group selection was Darwin himself (in a passage frequently cited by David Sloan Wilson):

    Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871: “Although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe…an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another.”

    Two of many statements by eugenicists on civilization and natural selection:

    Francis Galton, Hereditary Character and Talent, Macmillan’s Magazine, vol. 12, 1865 pp. 157-166 (available on Galton.org):

    “One of the effects of civilization is to diminish the rigour of the application of the law of natural selection. It preserves weakly lives, that would have perished in barbarous lands. … As with the body, so with the mind. …In civilized society, money interposes her aegis between the law of natural selection and very many of its rightful victims.”

    Preface to German race hygiene journal Eugenik, 1930:

    “Civilization has eliminated natural selection. Public welfare and social assistance contribute, as an undesired side effect of a necessary duty, to the preservation and further reproduction of hereditarily diseased individuals. A crushing and ever-growing burden of useless individuals unworthy of life are maintained and taken care of in institutions at the expense of the healthy–of whom a hundred thousand are today without their own place to live and millions of whom starve from lack of work. Does not today’s predicament cry out strongly enough for a “planned economy,” that is, eugenics, in health policy?”

    cited in Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer by Sheila Faith Weiss, 1987.

    The editorial board of Eugenik included future Third Reich eugenicist Fritz Lenz. Lenz claimed that his 1917 paper The Renewal of Ethics provided “all of the important features of National Socialist policy.” Hitler read Lenz while imprisoned for the Beer Hall Putsch. (See Robert Proctor, 1988, Racial Hygiene.)

    Interesting historical note: In 1942 an Ernst Haeckel Society was founded under SS Obergruppenfuehrer Fritz Sauckel.

    See Paul Weindling. 1989. Health, race and German politics between national unification and Nazism, 1870-1945. p.498: “[SS racial hygienists] distinguished between natural selection as consistent with ‘Nordic Germanic Science’, and other types of liberal, mechanistic and Marxist science.”

  170. #171 Ichthyic
    March 31, 2008

    none of what you have written in this last post changes the fact that you are merely showing that the people who wrote these things MISUSED the idea of natural selection for an agenda.

    natural selection was never about the survival of the strongest.

    it was always about the survival of the fittest.

    not the same thing at all (one can be very poor and leave a tremendous number of progeny compare to someone who is very rich), and this is why the eugenicists cannot even be said to understand the very basics of the theory, let alone apply it any coherent fashion.

    Moreover, just as PZ noted, and again you seem to have missed, there is nothing in any of the things these quotes say that could not have been derived directly from standard animal husbandry (culling the herd).

    no, I rather think in your studying of the history of the eugenicists you are still conflating their own mistaken notions with the theory itself.

    IOW, you’re not even wrong in your analysis.

    the hypothesis of natural selection is simply not required to explain the results of the quotes you present; other than changing the labels, the quotes would have been exactly the same.

    It was just a bunch of people, grounding their own nonsense in a mask of science for an attempt at legitimacy, just like the creationists do today.

  171. #172 noahpoah
    March 31, 2008

    Any idiot can figure that one out — and many idiots have. Farmers have known it for millennia…. The KKK knows it, farmers know it,….

    Jeez, PZ, what do you have against farmers?

  172. #173 dave heasman
    April 4, 2008

    Hang on – “Nazis used this elementary logic when they decided to exterminate Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals.”

    I’m sorry, this reads very clumsy, but let’s think – kill all the Jews – no more Jews are born. Kill all the gypsies, no more gypsies are born ( in Yurrup they’re “Roma” or “travellers” these days).
    But kill all the homosexuals – and more would be born to heterosexual parents just like the killed ones were.

  173. #174 Damian
    April 4, 2008

    Dave Heasman said:

    But kill all the homosexuals – and more would be born to heterosexual parents just like the killed ones were.

    You are right, Dave, it was obviously a one-off plan to exterminate as many people as possible, and then give up their murderous ways for good. ;-)

    Obviously, once you are rid of the Jews and Gypsies, it wouldn’t be too much effort to continue to rid the country of homosexuals. Also, how many people do you think would be overtly gay, knowing that so many had been murdered?

    Your thinking is far too logical for mass murders, clearly.

  174. #175 Robert
    April 10, 2008

    I posted in a similar vein in response to someone who made a similar analogy on my blog:

    http://sirrobertsworld.blogspot.com/2008/04/jesus-christ-charles-darwin.html

    R.

  175. #176 defaithed
    April 10, 2008

    Great job by PZ, as always. I’m a non-scientist who nonetheless has a fascination with Darwin’s theory, and an interest in explaining it as simply as possible. I’ve tried to do so in more essay-like form (such as here http://www.defaithed.com/blog/defaithed/2008/02/darwin_day_fun_layman_explains_evolution_by_natural_selection – complete with the same “geez, even farmers know this!” tack), but not surprisingly, it’s PZ who nails it as succinctly as possible.

    It’s truly, truly amazing how many people simply *refuse* to understand the trivially simply basic theory, and how many religionists deliberately try to hide it behind lies. What’s so strange is I can’t even see how Darwin’s theory threatens religion in any way! Just look at the countless believers who cheerfully acknowledge “Sure, evolution by natural selection makes perfect sense; we just assume that God set it in motion.” There are plenty other reasons to debate that latter point, but those believers are certainly further along the intellectual timeline than the “Expelled” idiots.

    PS: I loved the comment about DARWIN having six letters, like HITLER or POLPOT. Truly a sign of evil! Whereas JEBUS has only five letters! (But wait… so does SATAN…) : )

  176. #177 reason-first
    April 11, 2008

    I have just read thruohg the first few paragraphs of Hilter’s “Mein Kampf”
    http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv1ch11.html

    To my mind this text clearly shows that Hitler knew extremely little about evolution and had no idea whatsoever about the underlying principle of natural selection. To prove my mind, I quote the following from chapter nine:

    “the will of Nature for a higher breeding of all life. ”

    Will of Nature? Higher breeding?

    These are teleological, thus religious concepts and have nothing to do with evolution. I could pick a large number of further exmaples that clearly illustrate Hitler’s ignorance of evolution and his preoccupation with religious ideas, but for the sake of brevity I will only give one more quote:

    “The result of all racial crossing is therefore in brief always the following:

    * Lowering of the level of the higher race;
    * Physical and intellectual regression and hence the beginning of a slowly but surely progressing sickness.

    To bring about such a development is, then, nothing else but to sin against the will of the eternal creator.
    And as a sin this act is rewarded.”

    Can one reasonably doubt that Hitler was a theist at least, more likely however a Christian? Or what other religious group heavily relies on the concept of “sin”?

  177. #178 Alankrita
    April 11, 2008

    The (Un)Intelligent Design Crowd doe snot care about the “truth”. Just to get as many people as is possible on their side. It is not that they cannot understand their logical fallacies and their idiotic assumptions, they know they are wrong. What they are doing is just a species of brainwashing- to keep a whole bunch of people in a state of ignorance and thereby of fear.
    It quite simply is what cult founders do.

    Beautiful post

  178. #179 Eenymeeny
    April 11, 2008

    PZ,

    Great post, but I fear even your response awards the non-atheist opposition too much credit.

    Nazi Germany was a Christian democracy and it was the German people that actually perpetrated the gassings and executions, not Hitler. They voted him and his Nazi party in, and they served in his armies.

    Ergo, the real reason why there cannot have been any “atheist atrocities” (Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin included) is because we have not seen an atheist democracy on this planet yet.

    Until we do – and until the unlikely event that said atheist democracy engages in pogroms against non-atheists (for example) – I fear the non-atheist argument about atheist atrocities is null and void.

    In atrocity situations, it ain’t the leaders that murder their citizens, it’s the other citizens.*

    * Nuclear (or bioweapons, etc.) attack is the one obvious exception to this, since it involves far fewer people in the decision-making process. I hope this weakness in my argument is never put to the test.

  179. #180 David Sternlight
    April 11, 2008

    While accurate, the original poster’s observation can and does lead to fallacious conclusions. In small populations in their early history, it is perfectly true that natural selection kills off some traits and, by implication reinforces others. But in larger, older populations many traits won’t manifest until the proper pairing of parental genes. Thus counter-survival traits can be preserved and even reinforced if accompanied by pro-survival traits. Further, environment changes and what was pro-survival may become counter-survival. When the environment changes back,as it does, the older pro-survival traits might have been lost. And it is unlikely that the same traits that are pro-survival in the desert are also so during an ice age. Yet we have both desert peoples and arctic peoples who seem to trace back a long time.

    When it comes to, for example, human evolution, the issue is thus far more complex than the simple–if you die your traits don’t get passed on (note the omission of the word “thereafter” from the original post).

    I am sure a careful probabalistic simulation might throw more light on the matter, but as a time-hardened mathematical modeller, “give me a free hand with the assumptions and I’ll produce whatever result you like”.

  180. #181 David Sternlight
    April 11, 2008

    To expand on a critical earlier point, “If members of a population die or are killed off, they will leave no descendants for subsequent generations.” is prima facie false. The members have to die before they produce offspring for the hypothesis (for it is that, not a logical proof as the writer seemingly would have us believe) to be correct.

    Thus the only counter survival traits that produce the indicated result are those which are so counter-survival that they result in the death of the member before producing offspring. This fails to explain much that is attributed to “evolution”.

  181. #182 David Sternlight
    April 11, 2008

    And another thing..

    If the original writer’s reasoning were correct, shouldn’t we see the extinction of many, if not most genetic diseases that invariably produce pre-puberty mortality. By now shouldn’t there be none left?

  182. #183 Stanton
    April 11, 2008

    While accurate, the original poster’s observation can and does lead to fallacious conclusions. In small populations in their early history, it is perfectly true that natural selection kills off some traits and, by implication reinforces others. But in larger, older populations many traits won’t manifest until the proper pairing of parental genes. Thus counter-survival traits can be preserved and even reinforced if accompanied by pro-survival traits.

    Can you give some examples of “larger, older populations” that have “traits (that) won’t manifest until the proper pairing of parental genes”?

    Or, are you just bullshitting to make yourself sound intelligent?

    Thus the only counter survival traits that produce the indicated result are those which are so counter-survival that they result in the death of the member before producing offspring. This fails to explain much that is attributed to “evolution”.

    Actually, no, it does explain what is attributed to Evolutionary Biology. Go try reading about sexual selection, particularly those in birds of paradise before you start bullshitting in order to make yourself sound intelligent.

  183. #184 David Sternlight
    April 11, 2008

    “Can you give some examples of “larger, older populations” that have “traits (that) won’t manifest until the proper pairing of parental genes”?
    Or, are you just bullshitting to make yourself sound intelligent?”

    Normally I don’t respond to rude trolls, but since you ask a substantive question, any recessive trait in, say, humans, fits the bill.

  184. #185 Kevin Pierce
    April 14, 2008

    Ben Stein has spent so much money spreading this poison, that my website has been plagued by his banner ad for weeks. If it weren’t for the irony factor, I’d be pissed.
    Instead, I just added a note, telling visitors to go ahead and click, since I always wanted to win Ben Stein’s money, but then go to expelledexposed.com to get the full story.

  185. #186 Kseniya
    April 14, 2008

    And it is unlikely that the same traits that are pro-survival in the desert are also so during an ice age.

    Oh? “Unlikely?” You think an organism that can regulate its own temperature, rather than be at the mercy of the temperatures to which its environment subjects it, doesn’t have an advantage in both warm and cold climates? Think again. How about an organism that has the ability to devise clothing and shelter for itself? Advantage in both extremes? Certainly.

    Nice try, though.

  186. #187 quester
    April 15, 2008

    Has anybody else noticed that with all the blame for the Nazi Holocaust that creationist pin on Darwin and evolution, they won’t name any CURRENT supporter of evolution who is a Nazi or a bigot?

  187. #188 David Robertson
    April 15, 2008

    Dear PZ,

    There is a great deal of confusion about the link between Nazism and Darwinism and I’m afraid that your brief blog does nothing to help.

    Firstly you actually miss the point of Expelled. Its major charge is that there are scientists in academia who are being ‘expelled’ or discriminated against because they dare to question some aspects of Darwinism (the hint is in the title of the film). If this accusation is false then that is the ‘falsehood at the heart of expelled’. If the accusation is correct then it is profoundly disturbing. Has evolution moved from being science to being a philosophical/political position? Are evolutionists so doctrinaire that anyone who dares question is discriminated against? Perhaps the makers of Expelled are making it all up – but I am intrigued that this website and others have gone into emotive hyperdrive – no less than seven articles on the film. Anyway perhaps someone could answer the main accusation of the film. I would not have believed it until I started getting letters and e-mails from scientists who requested that I do not use their name because they feared for their careers and their jobs.

    Anyway onto the secondary issue you raise. The question of the link between Darwinism and Nazism. A few points.

    1) I am surprised that this is the area you get so upset about. What about the link betwen Stalinism and Darwinism? When Stalin was 13 he read the Origin of the Species. He was so excited about it that he read it all night. He later said to his friends “God’s not unjust, he doesn’t actually exist. We’ve been deceived. If God existed, he’d have made the world more just”. When his shocked friends asked him how he could say such a thing he replied ‘I’ll lend you a book and you will see’. (See Young Stalin – p. 40 by Montefiore)

    2) It is very simplistic to claim that the situation is either that there is a direct causal link between Hitler and Darwinism, or there is no link at all. You need to look at what Hitler believed, the context in which he operated and whether or not Darwinism contributed to that.

    3) Your article actually is neutral about whether Darwinism was an influence upon Hitler or not. You are not actually engaging with the issue at all.

    4) I find it intriguing that many atheists behave like some religious fundamentalists who start off with the premise and then desperately hold on to any ‘evidence’ they can google. So after gleaning through various atheist websites we end up with statements such as ‘Hitler was a Catholic’, Mein Kampf spoke about Christ, The Vatican signed a Concordat etc. None of which takes into account context and all of which ignroes the contrary evidence.

    Perhaps it would be better to get the facts first before we do the analysis.

    1) As far as we know Hitler never claimed to be an atheist.
    2) Hitler was in no sense a Christian. He never attended church, he despised the church and regarded it as a threat to his aims.
    3) Hitler loathed Jesus Christ as being the ‘eternal Jew’.
    4) Hitler was a religious person in that he wanted to create his own cult of the Thousand Year Reich, complete with its buildings, rituals and leaders.
    5) Hitler believed in evolution. He believed that Darwinism showed that the strong survive and the weak are removed. He believed that was Nature and if his religion was anything it was a belief in Nature.
    6) Hitler operated in a culture which had in many areas rejected traditional Christianity – and had done so because of perceived advances in science and human understanding. That is why support for Hitler was strongest amongst scientists and academics and in the German Universities.
    7) Darwinian science (or a misunderstanding or misapplication of it) was combined with the philosophy of Nietzsche and resulted in a more conducive environment for Nazism to flourish.
    8) It is clear that the vast majority – if not all – of the senior Nazis were not in any sense committed Christians. Leading figures such as Rosenberg and Goring were vehemently anti-Christian. Rosenberg was the primary influence on Mein Kampf.
    9) This is not just true for the senior Nazis but the vast majority of committed Nazis. In a 1942 survey of captured Nazi airmen, when asked what their religion was – 50% said nature, 40% Hitler and 10% said they were atheists.
    10) In the last free election before Hitler established his dictatorship the majority of people in Germany voted for parties that were either overtly atheistic (the KPD – communist party) or anti-Christian (the Nazis and the Anarchists).

    From the above and many other facts it is clear that one cannot simply just say that atheism necessarily leads to Nazism. However it is doubtful whether the Nazis would ever have come to power if it were not for the general ethos and philosophy of German society. The First World War, the Versailles treaty, the hyper inflation of the 1920’s, the incipient anti-semitism of much of German society when combined with the God is dead philosophy of Nietzsche and the implications of Darwinism (‘Might is right, the weak are destroyed, the strong survive etc) were a potent soil in which the Nazi ideology flourished. The fact that the church had been severely weakened by the undermining of the BIble through the mainly German Higher Criticism and the acceptance of a weak liberal cultural Christianity meant that there was little chance of it preventing the Nazi disaster.

    I am not saying that all atheism leads to such disasters as Nazism. Although I do work on the maxim that you shall know them by their fruits. So far the only societies in the world that have claimed to be atheist have not been an inspiring example.

  188. #189 wazza
    April 15, 2008

    David, from what I’ve heard, the larger part of the movie was about the link between Darwin and the Holocaust – which does not in fact exist. The reading Darwin intended and what which guides modern science is expressly against that sort of philosophy.

    And you can’t say “Oh, Hitler wasn’t Christian, he just said those things in context” because he did say those things, and the pope at the time was widely regarded as supporting the fascists. He regarded religion outside of his control as dangerous, but he admired Jesus as fighting against the Jews. He regarded Jesus, as the son of god, as an aryan. The eternal jew (Der Erwige Jude) was the german name for the Wandering Jew of legend, not Jesus.

    As for allegations that scientists will be fired if they insist on ID… yes. Yes they will. This is because they are promoting something that has no evidential basis, and – and this is the important bit – they don’t do any work to support it. If they published something that supported the idea of intelligent design, or indeed published anything, they would be working as scientists. But when a scientist stops publishing, that’s like an office worker saying “I’m not going to do any work today. I’ll play solitaire and occasionally move things from my in tray to my out tray. Someone else can handle it. But you guys will still pay me right?” If they managed to do real science – on any topic – they’d be kept on. Hell, if they provided evidence for ID, real evidence, they’d be world famous. Might even get the Nobel Prize, if it’s strong evidence or makes important predictions. But they don’t do that, and the reason is that they can’t. If they could, they would have, but since there is obviously no work to be done, saying you’re an Intelligent Design theorist is tantamount to saying you’re going to do nothing and expect to be paid.

    Also, PZ has supported ID theorists that have been fired before, but only when they were actually doing work. Being fired for incompetence is not persecution, it’s good management practises.

  189. #190 wazza
    April 15, 2008

    Also, for your earlier misunderstandings of evolution, here’s a quick rebuttal. READ THEM, because I don’t want to waste my time.

    Thus the only counter survival traits that produce the indicated result are those which are so counter-survival that they result in the death of the member before producing offspring. This fails to explain much that is attributed to “evolution”.

    Uh, yeah. How does that disprove evolution? That’s exactly what we’re saying. Menopause, for example, is postulated as a way to avoid competition for resources between the children of the mother and the children of the daughter. Selection can occur two or three generations down the line, if the genes have been passed on.

    If the original writer’s reasoning were correct, shouldn’t we see the extinction of many, if not most genetic diseases that invariably produce pre-puberty mortality. By now shouldn’t there be none left?

    Actually, genetic diseases tend to be mutations, which are generally recessive. So they can be present in children with both alleles being the disease allele, and kill them, or with just one copy, which won’t give you the disease but will pass it on to half your children, so that if you mate with another carrier, one quarter of your children will have the disease, and three quarters will be carriers. This is also why inbreeding leads to higher rates of genetic diseases.

    And yes, they do tie to positive traits, too, for example a Mediterranean island with a population with high incidence of a particular genetic disease, which turns out to be caused by an allele which, when carried in one copy, is strong malaria-fighting fu.

    But in larger, older populations many traits won’t manifest until the proper pairing of parental genes. Thus counter-survival traits can be preserved and even reinforced if accompanied by pro-survival traits.

    This is called Genetic Drift, and is one of the main reasons for the appearance of “punctuated equilibrium” in the fossil record. The other is the effect of Heat Shock Proteins, which mask mutations until the organism is under stress.

    Further, environment changes and what was pro-survival may become counter-survival. When the environment changes back,as it does, the older pro-survival traits might have been lost.

    This is called “selection”, as in “natural selection”, and is responsible for the major and minor extinction events. Generalists tend to survive. Then, when the climate is stable again, no matter what the conditions, the generalists specialize, and we see the development of a more complex ecosystem. Rats and their kin can survive just about everywhere, because they’re a great compromise. Same with cockroaches and some sorts of beetles. Apes and monkeys use their superior intelligence to adapt, too. What are the most successful groups, since the last extinction event, and indeed since the extinction of the dinosaurs? Rats, Beetles, Cockroaches, and Apes. The generalists. Which is what you’d see if there was either a) some sort of natural selection, with the widest-spread and most varying populations having more chances to be selected and specialized for particular niches or b) a god who really liked cockroaches, beetles, rodents and monkeys. But that’s just a fiction written by Terry Pratchett, isn’t it?

  190. #191 Anton Mates
    April 15, 2008

    And another thing..

    If the original writer’s reasoning were correct, shouldn’t we see the extinction of many, if not most genetic diseases that invariably produce pre-puberty mortality.

    We do.

    By now shouldn’t there be none left?

    No, because new ones can arise at any time via mutation. They’ll instantly disappear again once their carrier dies before puberty, of course.

  191. #192 wazza
    April 15, 2008

    Anton, review thine Mendel!

    Mutation produces very few new diseases. Even thalidomide didn’t produce a new mutation, but merely exposed a preexisting weakness. If the thalidomide babies had not been exposed, and then had had babies together, their babies would still look like thalidomide babies.

  192. #193 Anton Mates
    April 15, 2008

    Anton, review thine Mendel!

    Ah, but a recessive disorder doesn’t “invariably produce pre-puberty mortality,” since the majority of carriers are unaffected. Sternlight’s question really only applies to dominant lethal-in-chilhood disorders–which are, unsurprisingly, vanishingly rare.

    Mutation produces very few new diseases.

    More than you’d think. Lots of autosomal dominant diseases (Huntington’s, Marfan syndrome, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, etc.) are either produced or exacerbated by spontaneous mutations in the sufferer. Of course, the frequency of such diseases is usually much lower than that of recessive disorders, precisely because they’re selected against so strongly.

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