Stranger Fruit

The ICR’s Christine Dao has a review of Expelled online where she states:

According to From Darwin to Hitler author Richard Weikart, Hitler saw World War II as a Darwinian struggle for existence, and he justified the practice of eugenics by saying that mankind had "transgressed the law of natural selection" by allowing inferior beings to survive and propagate (Mein Kampf, 1925).

Here’s the problem. Dao makes it look like Hitler used the phrase "transgressed the law of natural selection" in Mein Kampf. Problem is, he didn’t. The only mention of "natural selection" in the work is:

By reason of this very fact, however, an organization inspired by a veritable revolutionary idea will attract into the body of its membership only the most active of those believers who have been won for it by its propaganda. It is in this activity on the part of the membership body, guaranteed by the process of natural selection, that we are to seek the prerequisite conditions for the continuation of an active and spirited propaganda and also the victorious struggle for the success of the idea on which the movement is based.

Yeah, I know … nothing to do with Darwin’s idea. So, either Dao is misquoting Hitler or she is quoting Weikart. If the former, she fails. If the latter, same result – he fails. So full of fail, it’s getting embarassing.


  1. #1 Inoculated Mind
    April 1, 2008

    Come on, see the light, as I have. Darwin led to Hitler.
    Science is over.

  2. #2 John S. Wilkins
    April 1, 2008

    I thought you had read my exhaustive proof that Darwinism caused Hitler.

  3. #3 csrster
    April 1, 2008

    Plus I pilfered a new flash drive from my company stores last week because, heck, survival of the fittest, right?

    Sheesh, that Darwin guy has a lot to answer for.

  4. #4 Dave Wisker
    April 1, 2008

    I believe that is called EPIC FAIL.

  5. #5 Tim Standish
    April 2, 2008

    You’re right, “transgressed the law of natural selection” does not appear in Mein Kampf, here is what Hitler actually said in Mein Kampf. He was clearly obsessed with the idea of a struggle for existence which he applied to political movements and ideas as well as human individuals and races.

    “Nature herself in times of great poverty or bad climactic conditions, as well as poor harvest, intervenes to restrict the increase of population of certain countries or races; this, to be sure, by a method as wise as it is ruthless. She diminishes, not the power of procreation as such, but the conservation of the procreated, by exposing them to hard trials and deprivations with the result that all those who are less strong and less healthy are forced back into the womb of the eternal unknown. Those whom she permits to survive the inclemency of existence are a thousandfold tested hardened, and well adapted to procreate-in turn, in order that the process of thoroughgoing selection may begin again from the beginning. By thus brutally proceeding against the individual and immediately calling him back to herself as soon as he shows himself unequal to the storm of life, she keeps the race and species strong, in fact, raises them to the highest accomplishments.”

  6. #6 Colugo
    April 2, 2008

    Tim Standish: Are you the creationist biologist who teaches at Andrews University?

    In any case Standish is basically correct; read chapter 11 of Mein Kampf in its entirety for more examples.

    I think Richard Dawkins said it best:

    “We are supposed to believe that Hitler was influenced by Darwin. 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…) but it is hardly Darwin’s fault if he did.”

  7. #7 Tim Standish
    April 2, 2008

    Dawkins’ apology for Darwin is weak. In principle it is foolish to depict evil people as stupid, especially when they give reasonable evidence they were not. Hitler was a very smart cookie, which is what made him so dangerous. Being smart, wrong or evil are all independent things, but it is possible to be all three at the same time. Hitler is a good example of this, he was at least half as smart as he thought he was and every bit as evil and wrong as we view him today.

    Hitler was clearly adept at vacuuming up any number of ideas and utilizing them for his own ends. It is not whom the idea originates with that makes it right or wrong, it is the idea itself that has to stand on its own. Racism is wrong, yet it appears to have been hardwired into at least one stream of European culture at Darwin’s time and clearly on into the 20th century. Perhaps this helps to explain Darwin’s own comments about “savage” races that are shocking to our, hopefully, more enlightened sensibilities. I personally view this as a reasonable explanation for some of what Darwin said and some similar sentiments shared by Hitler.

    Dismissing certain parallels in the thinking of Darwin and Hitler by blaming anti-Semitism on Luther makes little sense. Pretending people you disagree with are nutcases and idiots is not an argument and makes it that much easier for the next smart, evil and wrong person to get away with some monstrous crime. Unfortunately Dawkins frequently resorts to dust flinging and name calling instead of reasoned arguments. It’s a pity as he is such an eloquent writer.

  8. #8 Colugo
    April 2, 2008

    “Racism is wrong, yet it appears to have been hardwired into at least one stream of European culture at Darwin’s time”

    And earlier.

    Paul Finkelman, historian at Hamline University School of Law, Ken Burns’ Thomas PBS online archives:

    “[Thomas Jefferson] suggests that blacks mate with orangutans. He suggests they prefer white women to their own. He also goes on and on about the inferiority of blacks, that they aren’t as smart as whites, that they don’t have the same skills, that they have no musical skills, no poetry. He says they’re as brave as whites but that’s only because they lack forethought. And he does all this very articulately because he’s perhaps the most articulate man of his generation. So that Americans come to believe in racism by reading Jefferson. And in the 1840’s and 50’s, these Southern racists who are defending slavery are reading Jefferson and quoting him on these issues.”

    Andrew Jackson, 1830, case for the Indian Removal Act:

    “Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country, and Philanthropy has been long busily employed in devising means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. To follow to the tomb the last of his race and to tread on the graves of extinct nations excite melancholy reflections. But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another. … Nor is there anything in this which, upon a comprehensive view of the general interests of the human race, is to be regretted.”

  9. #9 Colugo
    April 2, 2008

    Of course that should be “Ken Burns’ Thomas Jefferson PBS online archives.”

  10. #10 Tim Standish
    April 2, 2008

    Ideas about the inferiority of other races pervaded much of European thought in the past. There seem to have been significant debates in nineteenth century America about whether Africans were human at all, some of the arguments sound like those used today about fetuses and abortions. I guess that the logic was that if Africans were not humans, then it was okay to treat them as slaves.

    That is fascinating about Jefferson suggesting slaves should mate with orangutans. I had not heard that before. Incredibly, there were actual attempts to mate humans with apes in the twentieth century, apparently because those promoting the idea thought it would prove Darwin’s ideas and Atheism true. In an incredible twist of irony, at least one attempt was violently opposed by the KKK! See:

    More recently David P. Barash thought a human animal (presumably chimp) hybrid would be a great idea as it would stick it to creationists. Here is how he put it in an op ed in the LA Times:

    “This may seem perverse, because even the most liberal ethicists shy away from advocating the breeding or genetic engineering of half-person/half-animal. Why, then, am I rooting for their creation?
    Because in these dark days of know-nothing anti-evolutionism, with religious fundamentalists occupying the White House, controlling Congress and attempting to distort the teaching of science in our schools, a powerful dose of biological reality would be healthy indeed. And this is precisely the message that chimeras, hybrids or mixed-species clones would drive home.”

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