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 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.

  2. #2 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.

  3. #3 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”.

  4. #4 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.