Darwin and Hitler

Anyone familiar with D. James Kennedy, leader of Coral Ridge Ministries, knows that he is one of the vilest ignorance peddlers in the business. When I lived in Kansas I listened frequently to his sermons on the local Christian radio station. He managed to stand out even on a station where lies and ignorance were the norm.

So it is no surprise that they would put together a documentary called “Darwin's Deadly Legacy,” alledging among other things that Hitler was an evolutionist, and that this in some way shaped his political views.

Of course, the idea is ridiculous on its face. It's not as if the Final Solution was the end result of a ratiocinative process that started with Darwin.

The fact is that Hitler made quite a number of statements hostile towards atheists and supportive of Christianity. Using Kennedy's standards of evidence, I could far more plausibly argue that Hitler was motivated by Christianity. But that would be ridiculous as well. The simple fact is that there is no legitimate scientific theory or mainstream relligious view that leads in any rational manner to the rightness of slaughtering Jews and other undesirables (no comments about Islamofascism, please). Whatever bits of science, religion and philosophy came together in Hitler's brain were perverted by him to justify his predetermined conclusions. Surely that's obvious.

The Anti-Defamation League made the crucial point in this press release, condemning the documentary:

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement: “This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.”

Coral Ridge replied to this statement here. Ed Brayton rips into that reply here.

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Denyse O'Leary has a touching article about the incident: New Film Special: Darwin's Deadly Legacy?.

Here we learn that:

Here's where the social Darwinists went wrong: They took from Darwinism the lack of respect for the human being as anything other than a brainy ape. But they still wanted to smuggle into Darwinian philosophy at least some respect for human culture and decency, because they were not willing to give all that up.

True, Darwin wasn't too happy about his fellow British, who killed off the Aboriginals on Tasmania, and Darwin feared they'd do the same in Australia.

The social Darwinists considered evolution to be a progress, not merely an adaptation, and they applied it to biology as well as to culture.

So we need to be clear here: Social Darwinism is very bad. But, strictly speaking, it is not Darwinism. No human being can live with what Darwinism entails, which is why it so quickly morphed into a bastard social Darwinism.

Except that social Darwinism predated Darwinism. It's simply the "we are better than you and therefore you should do as we tell you"-syndrome.

But not only this, O'Leary also offers a heart-warming defense of the movie:

I think it quite worthwhile that Coral Ridge wants to explore the legacy of social Darwinism, on the "never again" principle.

Yes, all those evil evilutionists that accuse Dr. Kennedy of bad motives have simply misunderstood it all, haven't they?

Well, maybe we have, and if we have, we are maybe even so evil as to wonder, why only one historian (Weikart) was among the panel of experts. And we may even be so evil as to point out that this historian happens to be a Discovery Institute Fellow just like the rest of the panel minus two (Coulter and Collins).

Hitler attributed the German defeat in WW I to the Jews, so in preparation for a possible new wae, what would be the obvious thing to do?

It's too simplistic to say "From Darwin to Hitler", this doesn't Nazism and WW II. If Dr. Kennedy had been seriously trying explore the legacy of social Darwinism, he would probably have made a different selection of panel members. There's too much specified complexity in the selection for it too be by chance.

Kennedy is down another expert. Francis Collins has denied any involvement in the program (other than some part of an inteview about his recent book apparently was used without his knowledge or permission) and now it seems the same is true of Michael Behe's "participation".

John Pieret wrote:

Francis Collins has denied any involvement in the program (other than some part of an inteview about his recent book apparently was used without his knowledge or permission) and now it seems the same is true of Michael Behe's "participation".

Very, very interesting indeed. Makes you wonder, if Kennedy at all had any acceptance from anyone before announcing the movie, doesn't it? The movie and the book is scheduled are scheduled to be released tomorrow. Let's see, what it'll all end up to be. Could it be a mere publicity stunt?