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What’s wrong with uttering “Darwin” and “Hitler” in the same breath?

The post below appeared at UD 23Aug06, at which time it updated a still earlier post. I’m moving it to the top of the queue because of all the fuss about Ben Stein’s EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED connecting Darwin to Hitler. Get over it — there was a clear connection!

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I posted these quotes (see below the fold) in May 2005 and am moving them to the top of the queue now because of the recent hubbub over D. James Kennedy’s upcoming program connecting Darwin and Nazi racism:

ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin for Hitler

NEW YORK, Aug. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.”

After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy’s project, Dr. Collins said he is “absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy’s program utterly misguided and inflammatory,” he told ADL.

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.

It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of ‘Christian Supremacists’ who seek to “reclaim America for Christ” and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.”

The documentary is scheduled to air this weekend along with the publication of an accompanying book “Evolution’s Fatal Fruit: How Darwin’s Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions.”

A Coral Ridge Ministries press release promoting the documentary says the program “features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.”

Source: http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=71089

To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd. Read Richard Weikart’s FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY (go here).

The Nazi emphasis on proper breeding, racial purity, and weeding out defectives come from taking Darwin’s theory seriously and applying it at the level of society. Yes, Darwin himself did not take these such steps, but Galton and Haeckel, his contemporaries, saw where this was going and did.

The outrage which says that the Nazi racial theory is a vulgarization of Darwinism is simply unmerited. The Nazis took Darwinian theory and ran with it, much as Peter Singer does these days, though Singer and his disciples are careful not to bring race into the picture — they take an equal opportunity approach in advocating the elimination of human lives they deem defective or inconvenient.

By the way, the American Eugenics Society was started in 1922 and dissolved not until 1994. Richard Lewontin, quoted below, belonged to it. Theodosius Dobzhansky was its chairman of the board in 1956. J.B.S. Haldane was a member. You think maybe their Darwinism had something to do with them being members?

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world…. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. [Just so there is no doubt, the author in particular is claiming that whites will exterminate blacks.]
– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871, ch. 6.

Evolution teaches that “we are animals so that “sex across the species barrier ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings. [Just so there is no doubt, “sex across the species barrier is a euphemism for bestiality.]
– Peter Singer, “Heavy Petting, 2001

Rape is “a natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage, akin to “the leopard’s spots and the giraffe’s elongated neck.
– Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, “Why Men Rape,” 2000

“As evolutionists, we see that no [ethical] justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will…. In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding.
– E. O. Wilson and Michael Ruse, “The Evolution of Ethics,” 1991

According to Darwin, religious belief arises from ignorance of natural causes: “The tendency in savages to imagine that natural objects and agencies are animated by spiritual or living essences, is perhaps illustrated by a little fact which I once noticed: my dog, a full-grown and very sensible animal, was lying on the lawn during a hot and still day; but at a little distance a slight breeze occasionally moved an open parasol, which would have been wholly disregarded by the dog, had any one stood near it. As it was, every time that the parasol slightly moved, the dog growled fiercely and barked. He must, I think, have reasoned to himself in a rapid and unconscious manner, that movement without any apparent cause indicated the presence of some strange living agent, and that no stranger had a right to be on his territory. The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief in the existence of one or more gods.
– Darwin, Descent of Man, 1871, ch. 3

According to Richard Dawkins “the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design. Moreover, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
– Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986

“I personally feel that the teaching of modern science is corrosive of religious belief, and I’m all for that! One of the things that in fact has driven me in my life, is the feeling that this is one of the great social functions of science to free people from superstition. Lest there be any doubt about what Steven Weinberg here means by “superstition, he adds, “this progression of priests and ministers and rabbis and ulamas and imams and bonzes and bodhisattvas will come to an end, that we’ll see no more of them. I hope that this is something to which science can contribute and if it is, then I think it may be the most important contribution that we can make. [Weinberg, a Nobel laureate physicist, is well-known as an ardent evolutionist. He has debated Phillip Johnson on a number of occasions on this topic. Note that the demise of religion is for Weinberg the most important contribution of science.]
– Steven Weinberg, “Free People from Superstition, 2000

“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door…. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, than miracles may happen.
– Richard Lewontin, New York Review of Books, 1997

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121 Responses to What’s wrong with uttering “Darwin” and “Hitler” in the same breath?

  1. Last night Dicey and Litchfield were talking about J. Stuart Mill’s never expressing his religious convictions, as he was urged to do so by his father. Both agreed strongly that if he had done so, he would never have influenced the present age in the manner in which he has done. His books would not have been text books at Oxford, to take a weaker instance. Lyell is most firmly convinced that he has shaken the faith in the Deluge far more efficiently by never having said a word against the Bible, than if he had acted otherwise. ~ Charles Darwin

    I have lately read Morley’s Life of Voltaire and he insists strongly that direct attacks on Christianity (even when written with the wonderful force and vigor of Voltaire) produce little permanent effect: real good seems only to follow the slow and silent side attacks. ~ Charles Darwin

    http://bevets.com/evolution.htm

  2. Here’s my opinion on this. Breeding and even racial breeding was done long before Darwin. Hatred of the Jews was around long before Darwin. (ie Martin Luther’s book “The Jews and their Lies”.) I do think it’s a little overboard to blame something else besides Hitler for what Hitler did.

    This also goes both ways. You have an equal amount of extremists on the other end saying that the Bible led to historic atrocities. (even the long held hatred of the Jews)

    To be fair to Darwinism, while early adopters of this theory thought it verified their already held beliefs of seperate races that range from animal to supreme, Darwinism has ultimately shown that there is no such thing as race (as it was defined back then) and it’s done away with the concept of some ladder of progression in the human species. (the ladder of progression among races was a concept that was around long before Darwinism) In the US the only people who still believe in some ladder of races (usually the white supremists) use the Bible to support their stance.

  3. Btw, Bill, you may want to add the following quote in your list, after verification:

    The atheistic evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith wrote:

    The German Führer … has consistently sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.

    Sir Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (NY: Putnam, 1947), p. 230.

    I find Mr Foxman’s words interesting:

    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.

    How on earth can someone call “trivilization” the enterprise that aims to reveal the link between Darwin and Hitler? Would it be “trivialization” if the link had been between Martin Luther and Hitler? Or is it trivialization when it’s linked to Darwin’s myth?

    Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people.

    Perhaps not. But then again the TV program is not about what Hitler *needed* but what he *did*.

    It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of ‘Christian Supremacists’ who seek to “reclaim America for Christ” and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.”

    In other words, he is just a misguided fundie, who aims to overturn democracy and implant a Taliban-like theocracy in the USA. Oh, now were are getting into Foxman’s REAL motives behind his “upset” words.

    I wonder why is someone whose organization aims to fight “anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry” feels disturbed that a TV program will reveal more of the foundation philosophies behind Hitler’s actions. Is it bkz it is done by Christians? Is it bkz Darwin is attacked? Maybe both?

  4. who in the heck are these “Christian Supremacists”?

  5. Darwin may have publicly distanced himself from eugenics but you wonder how he felt about it privately. I found the following quote from his son, who became President of the British Eugenics Society. [blockquote]Dedicated to the memory of my father. For if I had not believed that he would have wished me to give such help as I could toward making his life’s work of service to mankind, I should never have been led to write this book.” -Leonard Darwin made the following dedication in his book “The Need for Eugenic Reform” [/blockquote]
    It is also interesting that the founder of the British Eugenics Society was Francis Galton, who was Darwin’s cousin from Erasumus Darwin, Darwin’s grandfather and an early evolutionist. Galton testified that he was heavely influenced by Darwin’s book. Galton once wrote: [blockquote]“The publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science.”[/blockquote]It appears the entire Eugenics movement was birthed by people close to Darwin and his theories.

  6. Great going Bill, Mats, Jehu and others! How unfortunate that Catholics and Jews have given Darwin a pass when both should have stood in the forefront of those exposing the fraud and danger of his pseudoscience. It’s frustrating to read the Orthodox Rabbi Natan Slifkin, for example, because he comes so close to the exact same stance as ID and then distances himself from it with obfuscation and irrelevancies. My sense is that the Jews harbor a historic fear of Christendom, mainstream Christendom is cowed by science, and science desires liberation from philosophy and religion. Liberal Judaism is no longer Judaism—and I say this as a Gentile—it has joined the Church of Darwin-Secularism—which explains Foxman’s hysteria. But ID needs more believing Jews—it should not be an evangelical thing. But if that’s how it turns out then so be it—and shame on the others!

  7. Can slavery or the genocidal Indian policies of the US government be attributed to Darwin as well?

  8. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science.”

    You know, Darwinists are still using their creation myth against religion (Christianity in particular) to this very day! The musicians have changed, but the song is the same.

    Reading Galton’s words was like reading the words of Dawkins, Dennett, Ruse or Provine. They all sing the same anti-God song.

  9. Here are some more along the same lines:

    [As natural selection] has been more and more thoroughly assimilated and understood by the general mind, it has destroyed, quietly but entirely, the belief in human equality which is implicit in all the ‘Liberalising’ movements of the world . . . it has become apparent that whole masses of human population are, as a whole, inferior in their claim upon the future to other masses, that they cannot be given other opportunities or trusted with power as the superior peoples are trusted, that their characteristic weaknesses are contagious and detrimental in the civilising fabric, and that their range of incapacities tempts and demoralizes the strong. To give them equality is to sink to their level, to protect and cherish them is to be swamped in their fecundity.

    H.G. Wells, Anticipations of the Reactions of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1902; reprinted, Mineola, NY: Dover, 1999), 162-63.

    “Since Darwin’s death, all has not been rosy in the evolutionary garden. The theories of the Great Bearded One have been hijacked by cranks, politicians, social reformers – and scientists – to support racist and bigoted views. A direct line runs from Darwin, through the founder of the eugenics movement – Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton – to the extermination camps of Nazi Europe.” M. Brookes, “Ripe Old Age,” review of Of Flies, Mice and Men, by Francois Jacob, New Scientist, January 1999, 41.

    The Caucasian, or Mediterranean man (Homo Mediterraneus), has from time immemorial been placed at the head of all races of men, as the most highly developed and perfect . . . In bodily as well as in mental qualities, no other human species can equal the Mediterranean. This species alone (with the exception of the Mongolian) has had an actual history; it alone has attained to that degree of civilization which seems to raise man above the rest of nature.

    Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation: Or The Development of the Earth and its Inhabitants by the Action of Natural Causes. A Popular Exposition of the Doctrine of Evolution in General, and of that of Darwin, Goethe, and Lamarck in Particular, translated by E. Ray Lankester, 6th English ed., First German Publication 1868, (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1914), 2:321 (emphasis added); available on the web at: http://www.geology.19thcentury.....oc321.html

    “If one must draw a sharp boundary between them [i.e., higher mammals and man], it has to be drawn between the most highly developed and civilized man on the one hand, and the rudest savages on the other, and the latter have to be classed with the animals.” Haeckel, Ibid., Vol. II, 365.

    “The new creed [i.e., Christianity] was thus thrown open to all mankind. Christianity makes no distinction of race or of color; it seeks to break down all racial barriers. In this respect the hand of Christianity is against that of Nature, for are not the races of mankind the evolutionary harvest which Nature has toiled through long ages to produce? May we not say, then, that Christianity is anti evolutionary in its aim?” Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (New York: Van Rees Press, 1947), 72; available in full text online at: http://reactor-core.org/evolution-and-ethics.html.

    “We cannot understand much of the history of late 19th and early 20th century anthropology, with its plethora of taxonomic names proposed for nearly every scrap of fossil bone, unless we appreciate its obsession with the identification and ranking of races. For many schemes of classification sought to tag the various fossils as ancestors of modern races and to use their relative age and apishness as a criterion for racial superiority.” Stephen Jay Gould, “Human Equality as a Contingent Factor of History,” Natural History (November 1984): 28, 26-32.

    “No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out by thoughts and not by bites.” T.H. Huxley, Lectures and Lay Sermons (1871; reprint, London: Everyman’s Library, J.M. Dent, 1926), 115.

  10. Can slavery or the genocidal Indian policies of the US government be attributed to Darwin as well?

    “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory. -*Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977), p. 127.

  11. Biological arguments are one thing. The practice of slavery and genocide is quite another. Don’t you agree?

  12. A Jewish biology professor at Purdue University, writing for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, said this:

    “I don’t claim that Darwin and his theory of evolution brought on the holocaust; but I cannot deny that the theory of evolution, and the atheism it engendered, led to the moral climate that made a holocaust possible.” -*Edward Simon, “Another Side to the Evolution Problem,” Jewish Press, January 7, 1983, p. 248.

  13. Mats, I’m afraid this is all weak speculation. I could find you a hundred quotes from Christians in America during the 18th century and 19th century who used the Bible in support of Indian genocide and slavery. But was Christianity the driving force behind slavery and Indian genocide? Hardly. And Darwin wasn’t the driving force behind the holocaust. As someone already pointed out, the hatred of Jews in Europe goes back a long, long time and has deep roots in tribal and religious conflict. The killing of the Jews in Europe was a populist movement, just like the killing of Indians in America. The people wanted it and elected and supported a government to carry it out.

  14. Barrett One,

    What are you trying to say—that ideas don’t have consequences? That everything emerges from “society” apart from agents with agendas? Of course you’re right—Christendom is not guiltless (anti-Semitism and all the rest)—yet with the Puritans and Roger Williams the yoke of Christian tyranny was broken in America and Judeo-Christian ethics bloomed and slavery and racism were defeated—not by the secularists but by Judeo-Christians. As far as the Indians, there was an interesting article in COMMENTARY a year or so ago (titled something like “Was it Genocide?”) that concluded this was pretty much a clash of cultures and infectious disease and not so much an official policy of government—nothing like Hitler’s holocaust. But I believe things got worse post Darwin, and wasn’t it Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood fame who loved having Indians sterilized? As far as I can ascertain people did not speak of “primitive” languages before Darwin, for didn’t the missionaries believe they could translate the Scriptures into any language? A friend of mine used to say—somebody should do some research here—that it was not until after a certain Communist Party conference that the materialists decided to embrace the third world—this only after rejection by “the workers of the world”.

  15. The evidence is overwhelming that the moral and intellectual climate of the early to mid 20th Century was heavily influenced by Darwin and his intellectual progeny. There is even a name for the phenomenon: Social Darwinism. It is utterly absurd to suggest that Social Darwinism did not exist, and it is just as absurd to suggest that there is no connection between that phenomenon and the holocaust, the gulag, the cultural revolution, and the killing fields.

    Some of the comments on this post remind me of Miracle Max in Princess Bride running around with his hands over his ears yelling “nah nah nah, I’m not listening, nah nah nah.”

  16. While racism in general – and anti-Semitism in particular – certainly predates Darwin’s theory of evolution, that is not the point being made in the documentary under discussion. If it can be shown that Hitler was influenced by it, or even just used it to justify his acts, that connection is worth exploring, is it not? Would it be “trivializing” the suffering of the poor during the Great Depression to discuss the part that stock market greed played in bringing it about? The purpose behind this documentary may in fact be to vilify Darwinism, but so long as it sticks to historical fact, the producers have the right to present their own conclusions as to whether or not Darwin’s Theory has done more harm the good to society.

    I would make the following observation when comparing Darwinism to Christianity: Evil people have indeed used their (perverted) understanding of the Christian religion to justify evil acts. Nonetheless, the teachings of Jesus Christ have served as a moral compass to those who oppose the Hitlers of the world, that extend mercy to the defeated, and a hand to the poor and downtrodden. Personally, while I can see the evil that has been justified under the banner of Darwinism, I find it hard to identify much good that has come out of it (exaggerated and/or unjustified claims of its impact on science and medicine notwithstanding).

  17. Barrett1 writes: “I could find you a hundred quotes from Christians in America during the 18th century and 19th century who used the Bible in support of Indian genocide and slavery. But was Christianity the driving force behind slavery and Indian genocide? Hardly”

    Your argument fails because it is a subtle example of the “equivocation fallacy.”

    Slavery was preached from thousands of pulpits in the slave states. The shameful failure of these preachers to realize and apply the fundamental ethical teaching of the New Testament (love God; love your neighbor and treat him as you want to be treated) was in fact a pillar upon which the peculiar institution stood.

    You ask (and here is where the equivocation comes in) whether Christianity was the driving force behind slavery. The answer is, properly understood, Christianity cannot be the driving force behind slavery, but you conflate (equivocate) the preaching you describe in your first sentence with the word “Christianity” in your second sentence. Evil statements made by people who call themselves “Christians” is not the same as “Christianity.” The former was indeed a force supporting slavery; the latter was not.

    The essence of Christianity, properly understood, provides no support for evil of any kind. The essence of Darwinism, properly understood, supports a false conclusion that good and evil do not exist as real categories, and has led to untold evil.

  18. Btw, I’ve always found that quotation of E. O. Wilson and Michael Ruse in “The Evolution of Ethics” to be telling. Replace all references to “morality” and “ethics” in it with “reason” and see what you get.

    As for the connection between Darwin and the Third Reich, it would be a fallacy to take it as an argument against the theory, of course. At the same time, to honestly look at history and pretend that there wasn’t a very strong influence there is really PC historical revisionism of the worst sort.

  19. OK, fellas. We may agree on the merits of ID. But all of this has a bizarre (and uncharacterically sophomoric) quality to it. I’m bowing out.

  20. that the Darwinian world view must look upon the present sentimental conception of the value of the life of a human individual as an overestimate completely hindering the progress of humanity. The human state also, like every animal community of individuals, must reach an even higher level of perfection, if the possibility exists in it, through the destruction of the less well-endowed individual, for the more excellently endowed to win space for the expansion of its progeny…The state only has an interest in preserving the more excellent life at the expense of the less excellent.

    Robby Kossmanm, German Zoologist,1880

    The new world view actually rests on the theory of evolution
    ….
    On it we have to construct a new ethics.… All values will be revalued.

    biologist Arnold Dodel, 1904

    A stronger race will supplant the weaker, since the drive for life in its final form will decimate every ridiculous fetter of the so-called humaneness of individuals, in order to make place for the humaneness of nature, which destroys the weak to make place for the strong.

    Adolf Hitler

    Salvador
    PS
    By the way, when I had dinner with Richard Weikart and friends a couple months ago in DC, Weikart pointed out that its an urban myth that Hitler was a YEC. That myth relies on unpublished versious of Mein Kampf.

  21. Peter Singer is advocating the use of humans rather than animals for medical experiments.

    ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL

    If the experimenter is not prepared to use an orphaned human infant, then his readiness to use nonhumans is simple discrimination
    ….
    In any case, this argument still gives us no reason for selecting a nonhuman, rather than a human … as the subject for our experiments.

    The experimenter, then, shows a bias in favor of his own species whenever he carries out an experiment on a nonhuman

    Peter Singer
    Darwinist, animal rights activist

    Singer is complaining that experimenters are being discriminatory in their cruelty to animals, that they should spread the cruelty by experimenting on humans.

    It is significant that the problem of equality, in moral and political philosophy, is invariably formulated in terms of human equality. The effect of this is that the question of the equality of other animals does not confront the philosopher, or student, as an issue itself—and this is already an indication of the failure of philosophy to challenge accepted beliefs.

    He is complaining about the lack of a apperciation for what the equality of humans with animals.

    if equal consideration depended on rationality, no reason could be given against using [human] imbeciles for research purposes, as we now use dogs and guinea pigs.

    He is advocating use of sickly humans much as we use dogs and guinea pigs for medical experiments. Reminds me of the Nazi medical experiments on the Jews.

  22. If you wanted to kill members of a particular people group, wouldn’t Darwinism provide the best justification? It’s scientific, and therefore impartial; It’s proved by overwhelming evidence; It says that the only way to improve the species, and nature in general, is to let superior animals survive and multiply, while allowing inferior animals to become extinct. Furthermore, it’s silent (even hostile) on the idea of a God who judges.

    It’s seems far superior to Biblical justifications which are hindered by admonitions to help the weak and infirm, and to treat aliens and strangers with kindness. The Bible also limits killing in very specific situations, and provides an accountability mechanism (afterlife judgement).

  23. scordova: respectfully, it sounds to me like what he is doing is not so much advocating for using humans as he is attempting to throw into relief the coldness and cruelty of using animals for experimentation. Our skin crawls when we read about the use of ‘human imbeciles’ for such purposes. Why does it not crawl at the thought of using chimps? (actually, mine does crawl. why doesn’t everyone’s?)

  24. So maybe Hitler was an evolutionist. So what? Does that automatically mean that the science of evolution is now somehow tainted because Hitler used this information and twisted and subverted it for his own evil ends? I think what is distasteful about this documentary is the inference that the logical conclusion of ‘Darwinism’ results in something like Nazism(OK, I haven’t seen it but I think that is not an unreasonable inference, given the institution that sponsored it). That is similar to saying that the inventors of the nuclear bomb are personally responsible for Hiroshima. Nobody would make that conclusion — neither would they claim that the science behind nuclear bombs is somehow ‘evil’.

    Tracing the influences of thought and idea in history is a tricky business – we are all influenced (whether we know it or not) by many ideas that have gone before us. The idea that Darwin is directly linked to Hitler is at best an extremely simplistic reading of history at best, particularly as in this case we are talking not about biological evolution but ‘social Darwinism’ (a very different animal that arguably has little to do with Darwin himself).

    But unfortunately this simplistic and ultimately emotional approach will no doubt be popular, particularly to those who have already decided “Darwinism” is some kind of social evil that has to be extirpated. I suspect that the History Channel will probably not be broadcasting this anytime soon.

  25. There seems to be some disagreement on how clearly the “Social Darwinism” and “Nazi” dots connect. Given that, what’s below is argubly not a “Social Darwinist” quote.

    This past Fall, the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. had a fascinating but appalling exhibit on eugenics-driven, Nazi-oriented medicine in Germany in the 1930s and 40s, entitled “Deadly Medicine.” Probably many of you saw it. It spoke of the necessity for “racial hygiene” due to the costs on society of maintaining the “less fit.” The ultimate goal, of course, was to apply scientific methods in creating a super race.

    I was especially struck by a 1938 quotation from Goebbels, which echoed in a distorted way the Gospel of Matthew, the 25th chapter:

    “Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked…our objectives are entirely different. We must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.”

  26. We’re no better than bacteria!

    Eric Pianka

    We assume that cannibalism is always an aggressive, barbaric and degrading act…But that is a serious over-simplification, one that has kept us from realizing that cannibalism can have positive meanings.

    Beth A. Conklin
    associate professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University

  27. I wonder if the ADL has forgotten that the whole reason that William Jennings Bryan got involved in the Scopes trial was precisely because he feared “social Darwinism.”

  28. 17. BarryA:
    “You ask (and here is where the equivocation comes in) whether Christianity was the driving force behind slavery. ..(snip)….Evil statements made by people who call themselves “Christians” is not the same as “Christianity.” The former was indeed a force supporting slavery; the latter was not.”

    I think one can argue in the same way that a centuries-old antisemitic attitude and its proponents were the driving force behind the holocaust, not Darwin’s ideas. Darwin’s writings were just misused as a convenient means to justify the atrocities.

  29. Linda Slater

    The distinctions between the propositions posited by a scientific theory and the implications of those propositions comes up over and over again on this site.

    You write: “So maybe Hitler was an evolutionist. So what? Does that automatically mean that the science of evolution is now somehow tainted because Hitler used this information and twisted and subverted it for his own evil ends?”

    The answer to your rhetorical question is obviously “no.” Anyone who would argue otherwise would be committing the genetic fallacy. The same is true of ID. Frequently people commit the genetic fallacy when they say something like, “There are a lot of Christians pushing ID; therefore ID must be a religious belief and not science.”

    That said, let us consider not what Darwinism and ID posit but the implications of the theories if they are true. One implication of blind watchmaker Darwinism is that nature is sufficient to create all there is. If this is true, there is no need for a God who creates. If there is no need for a God, maybe God does even not exist. If God does not exist Will Provine is undoubtedly correct and there is no firm foundation for ethics, and “Good” and “Evil” are artificial constructs. (Thus, Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”). What do you get when for the first time previously universally accepted moral norms are widely rejected after the triumph of materialism made possible by Darwin? You get over 100 million dead bodies in the 20th century’s wars of materialism.

    What about ID? ID posits there is a designer. It posits nothing about the nature of the designer. Such questions are metaphysical/religious. But if ID is true and there must be a designer, then maybe that designer is God. Perhaps the notices of His death were issued too hastily. Maybe He has been there all along, and the transcendent ethical standards He established bind us after all. Maybe the holocaust was bad not only because I disagree with it (which is all a materialist can say). Maybe it was bad in an absolute sense because it transgressed God’s law.

    Does the fact that the metaphysical implications of ID are more sanguine than the metaphysical implications of Darwinism mean that ID is more probably true than Darwinism? No. But it is good to know that ID is out there competing with Darwinism and we need not assume, as so many of our ancestors sadly did, that Darwinism and all it implies are NECESSARILY true. That, I think, is the point.

  30. “Religion” has been used to shed blood as well, so singling out Darwinism as being THE “kindling wood” for holocausts is rather one-sided.

  31. Ofro writes: “I think one can argue in the same way that a centuries-old antisemitic attitude and its proponents were the driving force behind the holocaust, not Darwin’s ideas. Darwin’s writings were just misused as a convenient means to justify the atrocities.”

    First, as I mentioned in my previous comment, Darwin’s theory is not the sole culprit. Perhaps worse than the theory was the triumph of materialism (and the concomitant rejection of objective morality) made possible by his theory.

    Second, using Christianity to support slavery is absurd. Christianity supports the opposite of slavery. Conversely, using Darwinism to support the proposition that it is only natural for the strong to kill the weak is only a logical extension of the theory (or maybe it’s not even a logical extension; maybe that IS the theory).

  32. “I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”
    –Victor Frankl in The Doctor and the Soul

  33. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders . . .
    St. Paul (1Tim 1:9-10)

  34. BarryA:
    The proposition that “it is only natural for the strong to kill the weak” is not a logical (maybe a twisted one) extension of Darwinian mechanisms, and only when these are misinterpreted. Darwinian theory is one of competition for common resources, not of killing a “competitor” of your own species. The “strong killing the weak” was a misappropriation of the theory by the people whose malicious intent was on killing other people.

  35. apollo230 writes “‘Religion’ has been used to shed blood as well, so singling out Darwinism as being THE ‘kindling wood’ for holocausts is rather one-sided.”

    Actually, I don’t think we are talking about “holocausts.” We were talking about the Holocaust, i.e., the systematic slaughter of 12 million people (approximately 1/2 of which were Jews) by Nazi Germany, mostly in the 1940’s.

    Yes, many thousands have been killed in the name of religion. There is no excuse for that. It is evil and reprehensible. That said, for slaughter on a wholesale basis, the 20th century proved materialism is the ticket.

    Yes, the Catholics killed about 4,000 in the Inquisition; the materialist Stalin killed tens of millions.

    Yes, thousands have been killed in Northern Ireland; the materialist Hitler killed over 10 million.

    Yes, perhaps a hundred thousand were killed in Europe’s “wars of religion;” the materialist Mao killed tens of millions.

    Yes, Cromwell killed thousands of Irish Catholics and King Louis killed thousands of Huguenots; the materialist Pol Pot killed over 2 million

    The point is that religious violence, as reprehensible and evil as it is, is checked by the ethical standards of the religious people who commit it. Even in the midst of their depredations most of them refuse to cast off all restraint. But there is nothing to restrain the materialist. Truly Dostoevsky was right when he said “without God anything is possible,” including the slaughter of tens of millions, that was never even contemplated (must less attempted) prior to the triumph of materialism.

  36. So what if evolutionary theory led Hitler to commit his atrocities? Einstein’s e=mc^2 led to the atomic bomb. Evil people will abuse science if it helps their sick plans. Scientific theories should be judged on their ability to explain facts. Should we support theories that are more likely to be wrong about the facts but that are less likely to be abused? ID supporters seem to think so, even though countless horrible acts have been performed, and are being performed as we speak, in the name of their religious beliefs. The reason why “secular” dictators have been able to kill so many people in the previous century is because of scientific and technological progress. Does anyone doubt that religious “leaders” like Osama bin Laden or Pat Robertson would hesitate to kill billions if they had access to the right technology?

  37. BarryA, I guess I’m bowing back in. The large number of people killed in the twentieth century is due to technological advances in killing machines. After all, some 60,000 Japanese were killed nearly instantly by just two bombs. The machine age ushered in a whole new way to deliver evil. The Christian Crusaders didn’t have trains and killing factories, but if they had…To think that people during the 20th century were any more or less moral than previous generations is backed up by scant evidence. In fact, you can hear the ghosts of the holocaust in the current debate over Mexicans in this country. You may feel more comfortable in a society where ID takes more of a role in the science curriculum. But I don’t. And history is on my side.

  38. Barrett1 writes: “The large number of people killed in the twentieth century is due to technological advances in killing machines.”

    Starvation, by which Stalin and Mao killed tens of millions, has always been with us. Poison gas and large ovens (Hitler) have been around for centuries. The “technology made it possible” argument is a refuge for materialists too timid to face the truth.

    “To think that people during the 20th century were any more or less moral than previous generations is backed up by scant evidence.”

    The difference between me and you is that I would never call 100 million dead bodies “scant evidence.”

  39. “In fact, you can hear the ghosts of the holocaust in the current debate over Mexicans in this country.”

    What does that have to do with genocide fueled by materialistic philosophy? Do you really think that someone who does not believe that we do not have the monetary capacity to care for the entire third world is genocidal? Do you believe that someone who is concerned about illegal immigrants, who are shutting down hospital emergency rooms and sending up crime rates, is a Nazi? Such rank emotionalism certainly can not take the moral high ground, and it certainly isn’t intellectual. This is the logical conclusion of political liberalism: if everyone can not be wealthy, then we should *all* be poor and miserable.

    “You may feel more comfortable in a society where ID takes more of a role in the science curriculum. But I don’t. And history is on my side.”

    Your assumption that ID is religious is a straw-man. However, I feel much more comfortable knowing that something is above me than believing that we’re “no better than bacteria” and can be treated as such.

  40. Ofro writes: “The proposition that “it is only natural for the strong to kill the weak” is not a logical (maybe a twisted one) extension of Darwinian mechanisms, and only when these are misinterpreted. Darwinian theory is one of competition for common resources, not of killing a “competitor” of your own species.”

    Ofro, isn’t killing your competitor a very efficient way of eliminating competition for common resources? Nothing in the logic of Darwinism precludes a “kill your competitor” strategy for survival. The strategy could even be called an “adaptation” that was “selected for.”

  41. Aren’t you equally immoral by our Christian standards whether you killed 10 ot 10 million people?

  42. BarryA,
    there are only very few examples in nature where killing other individuals of your species is a general behavior. In general, fights for dominance almost always stop short of killing. Chimpanzees and humans are on top of the list of habitual killers. There are others, such as some spiders that eat their mates, but in these cases the male actually serves as source of protein for the female and her upcoming brood.

  43. BarryA
    “Nothing in the logic of Darwinism precludes a “kill your competitor” strategy for survival. ”

    The beauty of Darwinian logic is that there isn’t any. There is no predicting where things will go. It is up to us to play Monday-morning quarterback and see the “strategy” in what happened.

  44. Ofro asks: “Aren’t you equally immoral by our Christian standards whether you killed 10 ot 10 million people?”

    No, killing 10 million people is one million times worse than killing 10 people.

  45. The large number of people killed in the twentieth century is due to technological advances in killing machines.

    Not really. Here’s the Wiki to death tolls

    Note that after WWII, four of the next five occurred during the reign of the bow and sword (and the sword was used quite a bit in the Taping Rebellion as well).

    Stalin favorite tool for genocide was famine. The Mao and Khmer Rouge genocides were also low tech.

    In fact, you can hear the ghosts of the holocaust in the current debate over Mexicans in this country.

    Hardly. But being as how Christian conservative Bush and the Catholic Church are the ones sticking up for the Mexicans . . .

  46. It is highly intuitive to point to advances in technology as the cause for the greater number of deaths in the past century, but, as Barry has said, it is not much of an argument. Man has always been able to kill efficiently, with great technology or not.
    Hannibal slaughtered 50,000 Romans in 8 hours. Much of the Rwandan genocide (800,000 dead in 3 months) was accomplished with sticks and knives, crushing skulls with stones and burning people in their houses.
    Likewise, as Barry alluded to, Stalin murdered between 6-9 million Ukrainians with the highly primitive technique of starvation.
    To shrug and say “but what if the Crusaders had had the technology?” is to speculate without warrant and to ignore/distort the history of the Crusades. The point was not indiscriminate slaughter, but to the rescue of Christians and the liberation and restoration of Christian lands.
    The primary task was not to murder anybody, Muslims, Jews, or innocent peasants. Death for the sake of death was not the goal, as it had been throughout the 20th century. Those who were defeated kept their lives, their livelihoods and their religions.
    If the goal was wanton massacres then the technologies of the day were definitely up to the task.
    Granted

    (t)he Crusades were wars, so it would be a mistake to characterize them as nothing but piety and good intentions. Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. These are usually well-remembered today.

    When ragtag groups of crusaders did plunder and murder it was against the will and condemnation of the Church. These crimes were not the norm and are all that some seem to want to remember as they selectively look back on the wars.
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm
    Again, as Barry said, it was the very fact that religious people were intimately involved in the crusades that mitigated the deaths and atrocities.

  47. Bill mentioned the American Eugenics Society. There an article in the UK Guardian that goes into more detail of its connection with Hitler. see Hitler’s Debt to America.

    One such agitator was a disgruntled corporal in the German army. In 1924, he was serving time in prison for mob action. While there, he spent his time poring over eugenic textbooks, which extensively quoted Davenport, Popenoe and other American ethnological stalwarts. And he closely followed the writings of Leon Whitney, president of the American Eugenics Society, and Madison Grant, who extolled the Nordic race and bemoaned its “corruption” by Jews, Negroes, Slavs and others who did not possess blond hair and blue eyes. The young German corporal even wrote one of them fan mail.

    In The Passing of the Great Race, Grant wrote: “Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilisation of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community. The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.”

    One day in the early 1930s, Whitney visited Grant to show off a letter he had just received from Germany, written by the corporal, now out of prison and rising in the German political scene. Grant could only smile. He pulled out his own letter. It was from the same German, thanking Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race. The fan letter called Grant’s book “his Bible”. The man who sent those letters was Adolf Hitler.

    Hitler displayed his knowledge of American eugenics in much of his writing and conversation. In Mein Kampf, for example, he declared: “The demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring is a demand of clearest reason and, if systematically executed, represents the most humane act of mankind. It will spare millions of unfortunates undeserved sufferings, and consequently will led to a rising improvement of health as a whole.”

    Mein Kampf also displayed a familiarity with the recently passed US National Origins Act, which called for eugenic quotas. “There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but [the US], in which an effort is made to consult reason at least partially. By refusing immigrants on principle to elements in poor health, by simply excluding certain races from naturalisation, it professes in slow beginnings a view that is peculiar to the People’s State.”

    Hitler proudly told his comrades how closely he followed American eugenic legislation. “Now that we know the laws of heredity,” he told a fellow Nazi, “it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

    The article mentions Madison Grant. Here is Wiki’s description of Madison Grant mentioned above. Madison Grant

    Madison Grant (November 19, 1865 – May 30, 1937) was an American lawyer, known primarily for his work as a eugenicist and conservationist. As a eugenicist, Grant was responsible for one of the most famous works of scientific racism, a 1916 book which was later used by officials in Nazi Germany to justify their racial policies of compulsory sterilization and compulsory euthanasia, and played an active role in crafting strong immigration restriction and anti-miscegenation polices in the United States. As a conservationist, Grant was credited with the saving of many different species of animals, founding many different environmental and philanthropic organizations, and developing much of the discipline of wildlife management.
    ….
    Grant’s intellectualized ideas of Nordic and Caucasian superiority stem from ideas of Social Darwinism, a popular philosophy at the time that claimed that the fittest humans should enhance and perfect their genes through selective breeding while the unfit should not be permitted to breed at all, thus allowing the further evolution of the species. Originally conceived by the Englishman Herbert Spencer, this built on Darwin’s theory of evolution, which included acknowledgement of differences in intelligence between individual humans as well as the different human races. Grant, as well as others, claimed that the Caucasian races, in addition to their obvious cultural superiority, respresent the highest pinnacle of evolution and are superior in intelligence as well.

    According to Grant, Nordics were in a dire state in the modern world, where they were close to committing “race suicide” by being out-bred by more inferior stock. Nordic theory was strongly embraced by the racial hygiene movement in Germany in the early 1920s and 1930s; however, they typically used the term “Aryan” instead of “Nordic”, though the principal Nazi ideologist, Alfred Rosenberg, preferred “Aryo-Nordic” or “Nordic-Atlantean”. Stephen Jay Gould described The Passing of the Great Race as “The most influential tract of American scientific racism.”

  48. BarryA, No, I think the difference between you and me is less dramatic. We both want peace. Neither of us are fans of the holocaust and hope it doesn’t happen again. We’re both sympathetic towards ID. We have alot in common. But you see, I am a Jew. My not too distant grandparents came from Europe. Not once did they mention Darwinism or Materialism as being a driving force behind the hatred of Jews in Europe or the holocaust. But they mentioned numerous times the simmering, age old hatred of the Jews by those of the Christian faith. This played itself out daily in countless villages throughout Europe. And ultimately culminated in the holocaust. This was abundantly clear to the Jews that lived there, even though it may not be clear to this Kennedy fellow. You see, my grandparents loved this country because it was largely secular. Those old religious wars, big, small, whatever, were behind them. Now, none of this means that I yearn for a Godless culture. Nor do I blame Christianity for the holocaust. You see, that would be a gross injustice to the many wonderful people of the Christian faith that stopped Hitler, liberated the camps and provided me and my family with a country and a home. But let’s not distort history. It is what it is.

  49. But let’s not distort history. It is what it is.

    Fair enough Barrett, but let’s keep in mind that Hitler was very much anti-Christian too and the Holocaust did not happen until the church was marginalized.

    Anyway as Heinrich Heine predicted in Religion and Philosophy in Germany (1832)

    Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. … The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals. … Do not smile at my advice — the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians, Fichteans, and philosophers of nature. Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder … comes rolling somewhat slowly, but .. its crash … will be unlike anything before in the history of the world. … At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead, and lions in farthest Africa will draw in their tails and slink away. … A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.

  50. Tribune7, Thank you. And I agree that Hitler was no Christian. And I also agree that Christianity is a force for good in the world. I’m just a little nervous, is all. My grandparents always had one suitcase packed. But we don’t. So, there’s progress. And I want to say that I appreciate being able to participate, even if it gets heated. I have great respect for Bill. Read all his books.

  51. Hitler, as quoted above by Sal

    Hitler proudly told his comrades how closely he followed American eugenic legislation. “Now that we know the laws of heredity,” he told a fellow Nazi, “it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

    Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man volume II, pages 438-9.

    Yet he (man) might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities.Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realized until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end. When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguinous marriages are injurious to man.
    The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand , Mr. Galton (cousin of Charles and father of the eugenics) had remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society. Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to severe struggle.
    Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the most fitted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the les gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

  52. I’m just a little nervous, is all. My grandparents always had one suitcase packed. But we don’t. So, there’s progress.

    I’m not so sure about Europe.

    Anyway, our Founders were men of genius and the prohibition of religiious tests and a state church are what make this country great!!

  53. I would like to point out that due to the tendancy to vilify anything remotely critical of Darwin it might be better to watch the program before criticising it. To say that it makes innapropriate links between Darwin and Hitler without having seen it is very poor form.

    In my veiw the idea that the Jews were inferior came from pre-existing anti-semitism. The idea that inferior races should be wiped out came, primarily, from Darwinism.

  54. Barrett1,

    “We both want peace.”

    Agreed, and I am sorry for your grandparents’ tragedy.

    “Not once did [my grandparents] mention Darwinism or Materialism as being a driving force behind the hatred of Jew in Europe or the holocaust.”

    The link is plainly there even if your grandparents’ did not understand it.

    “But they mentioned numerous times the simmering, age old hatred of the Jews by those of the Christian faith.”

    As Bill mentioned when he opened this thread, “To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd.” By no means am I minimizing the painful history of your people in Europe. That much of this pain was inflicted by people who called themselves Christians is one of the great tragedies of history. I repeat, however, Christianity, properly understood, can never be used to justify evil.

    “You see, my grandparents loved this country because it was largely secular.”

    Your grandparents are mistaken. This country has never been “largely secular” at any point in its history. You live in a country that was founded by Christians, and the population of which still self-identifies as Christian at a rate of about 80%. Why are Jews safer in America than in any other place? Because Christians, not materialists, have made this a safe place for them.

  55. 55

    The holocaust was obviously not a program to exterminate the unfit — most of the victims of the holocaust were not physically or mentally impaired. But once it is decided that it is morally acceptable to exterminate the unfit, it is not much of a leap to also deciding that it is morally acceptable to exterminate all undesirables, whether they are unfit or not.

    The ADL’s Foxman said that this TV program is “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.” Right. Only the ADL and other Jewish organizations are allowed to attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of the Nazis’ victims. And the ADL is attempting it right here.

    BTW, it is very interesting that Theodosius Dobzhansky was chairman of the board of the American Eugenics Society in 1956. Dobzhansky coined the iconic Darwinist slogan, “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Small world, isn’t it?

    More of my comments about this controversy are on my blog at —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....er-is.html

  56. Before Darwin, racial prejudice and eugenic practices existed but were just good ‘ol fashioned bigotry, hatred and murder and can be pretty much seen as just that (the above reference to Martin Luther included).

    What Darwin and ilk did do was to develope theoretical system justifying it and promoting it implementation by paving the highway for mass slaughter in the philosphical(as opposed to the by-ways and side tracks in history to which is was always limited to). Furthermore Darwinism is a univeral trend which carried to it’s logical conclusion, ultimately provides the way to a irrational society (where Dawkins claims to get his sense of rational from beats me) where there is no absolute morality (only set by the ruler of the day) and so we either close down all the butcher shops and become vegans or it’s a $2.5-per pound of fresh little girl sirloin and $3.50 for beef.

  57. BarryA, America sure seems secular to me. But if you want to call it a Christian country, that’s fine with me. We have no disagreement.

  58. Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race (Be warned: It’s pretty upsetting)

  59. My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.
    -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

    Grumpy

  60. So…Grumpy…are you attempting to hijack the thread…or is this one of your favorite quotes by a Social Darwinist (attempting to cover his actual agenda with a popular veneer)?

  61. Barrett1 writes: “America sure seems secular to me. But if you want to call it a Christian country, that’s fine with me.”

    That is not what I said. I said that the country was founded by Christians. I said that the people of the country self-identify as Christians at a rate of about 80%. I did not say America is a “Christian country,” because I am not sure what that term means.

    If one means that the vast majority of the citizens self-identify as Christians, then America is a Christian country.

    If one means that the country was founded by Christians and the founders consciously relied upon Judeo-Christian principles, then America is a Christian country.

    If one means that America is a “Christian country” in the way that Iran is an “Islamic country,” then surely that is incorrect.

    Part of the Christian ethic upon which this country was founded is tolerance for religious dissent. That is why we have the religion clauses in the First Amendment.

    Perhaps by “secular” you mean the government does not force you to observe a particular religion or penalize you if you don’t. If that is all you mean, then I agree America is a secular country.

  62. 62

    What is most surprising to me is all the debate about it. Why are darwinists so offended? It’s not like they have a moral imperative to be offended … they are only offended because they are conditioned to be offended. Maybe they should grow up?

  63. It seems like Grumpy is making a substantive contribution by illustrating the ways in which charismatic statesmen can publicly twist religion in defense of evil ends. In the speech here quoted, Hitler shamelessly conflates Christ’s anger at a small group of Jews with some kind of generalized fight against Jews as a race. He uses emotive and passionate language, and his speech contains the teensiest little figments of truth wrapped in a mass of lies, with a general interpretation which is a total lie. Take a people who are living in hopeless conditions, provide them with a scapegoat, and whip them up into a frenzy using lofty and noble sounding language and we all know where this can lead.

  64. 64

    As unpleasant Eugenics may seem to some, the sobering fact is that we are accumulating deleterious genbes at an alarming rate in civilzed society especially due to the intervention of modern mendicine which permits many of us to live long enough to reproduce. I am a living example. I would have died as an infant from chronic strep throat infections which were finally prevented through tonsilectomy. Since my tonsils were removed when I was very oyung they regenerated and the same strep throats would hav killed me “again” when they recurred at eighteen and had to be removed again! In the meantime I would have died at ten of a ruptured appendix which my uncle, a surgeon removed in the nick of time when alerted by my mother, an ex surgical nurse recognized the symptoms. Man am I one lucky guy eh? All due to modern medicine.

    I am not recommending any solutions as I don’t want to get banned. I grow weary of bannishment so I will just say that our animal and plant breeders employ eugenic principles without restraint to keep out animals and plants genetically healthy. We are, after all, animals don’t you know. You can’t beat inbreeding to get rid of lethal genes of which we all carry several. The homozygotes are die. Good riddance I say. I have nothing more to say on this controversial subject.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

  65. “Christianity is the invention of the Jew.”
    -Adolf Hitler

    The above quote (which I believe comes from Mein Kampf) shows Hitler’s true feelings towards Christianity when he wasn’t under any political pressure to say things to appease his people. Grumpy’s quote of Hitler was one in which he used the religion of his people to make his cause popular. The difference between that and Darwinism is that the vast majority of his people were not Darwinists. Thus, why would he use Darwinism as a vehicle for popularity? Christianity was used (or shall I say, abused) as a mask whereas Darwinism was the true ideology which he got from Nietzche to fuel the Holocaust.

  66. My point is it was no more Darwinists/Atheists fault for the Holocaust than it was the Christians fault. Anti-semitism was rampant in Europe in the 20′s and 30′s and Darwin had nothing to do with it. Martin Luther advocated burning the Jew’s places of worship 250 years before Darwin was born.The people of Germany did not need to be convinced to murder the Jews, they had been doing so for centuries on a smaller scale(pograms). It was preached from the pulpits of the German Orthodox churches since the 1600′s. To blame it on Darwin is to bear false witness.

    Grumpy

  67. It’s interesting in this whole discussion that everyone, regardless of their specific views, seems to assume that morality is both real and binding. Even those who defend the idea that Darwin didn’t inspire the Nazis use words like “atrocity” and “evil” to describe the holocaust.

    But how can anything be evil or atrocious when “Morality… is merely an adaptation” (Wilson and Ruse, quoted in the original post above)? Even if Darwin didn’t directly inspire the Holocaust, what basis is there in the materialist framework to label anything as right or wrong, evil or good, atrocious or virtuous when all that we have and all that we are is a collection of mere adaptations, selected from a pool of random mutations by an unthinking, indifferent, blind watchmaker?

    And so the naturalist is in a bit of a tight spot, to say the least. On the one hand, he claims that “ethics is an illusion, without external grounding” (Wilson and Ruse, again); on the other, he expects his moral arguments to be binding on those with whom he disagrees. Pretty tough sell.

  68. Grumpy, you wrote: “My point is it was no more Darwinists/Atheists fault for the Holocaust than it was the Christians fault.” Okay, but my point is that “who’s responsible for the Holocaust” isn’t the theme of the thread. The thread is “Some of my favorite quotes by Darwinists.” That’s why I was wondering, since you quoted Hitler, whether you were seeing him as a Darwinist at heart, who papered over his agenda with a veneer of “Christianity” which would be more appealing to the people.

    I’m inclined to agree with StephenA: “In my veiw the idea that the Jews were inferior came from pre-existing anti-semitism. The idea that inferior races should be wiped out came, primarily, from Darwinism.” (Thus Goebels, in his propaganda efforts, could twist Matthew 25 into the opposite of what it says. His wording might be endorsed by racial hygienists and social Darwinists, but not by Christians…and certainly not by Jesus, who allegedly spoke the words in the first place.)

  69. “The outrage which says that the Nazi racial theory is a vulgarization of Darwinism is simply unmerited.”

    Why? It seems to me that the Nazi racial theory was indeed a vulgarization of Darwinism, and, as a result was *not* Darwinism. The primary mistake made in interpreting Darwin’s theory is to use the word “superiority” when defining the process of selection. Darwin’s theory of natural selection does not indicate some absolute concept of superiority, rather, the selection parameters are defined by an entity’s environment. “Only the strong survive” is incorrect, from the perspective of natural selection; the correct interpretation is “only those best suited to their environment survive.” Thus Hitler and the Nazi party hijacked Darwin’s theory via selective interpretation – by arbitrarily assigning the characteristic of superiority to a particular race. To blame Darwin or his theory for this misinterpretation, and any subsequent acts thusly justified by this misinterpretation, is tantamount to blaming God for the Inquisition (as it was caused by a misinterpretation of, and fallacious justification via, His revealed word) . It was ultimately Hitler’s disrespect for humanity that gave him the justification to attempt to breed people like dogs – not Darwin.

    Thus, outrage at the “vulgarization” is well placed, in much the same way as outrage at the misuse/misinterpretation of any theory or philosophy is misplaced, most particularly Christianity. A selective reading of the Bible infuriates me, personally, especially when people seem to disregard the commandment “thou shalt not kill.”

  70. Persecution and slaughter of the Jewish people was occurring long before Hitler or Darwin (or even before so-called “materialism” took hold). From Wikipedia: In 1348, because of the hysteria surrounding the Black Plague, Jews were massacred in Chillon, Basle, Stuttgart, Ulm, Speyer, Dresden, Strasbourg, and Mainz — 12,000 in Mainz alone. A large number of the surviving Jews fled to Poland, which was very welcoming to Jews at the time (another source for this: http://www.jewishhistory.org.il/1340.htm).

  71. 71

    Even if Darwinism is true, that is no reason to avoid examining Darwinism’s social consequences. We know that there has been something called “Social Darwinism,” and it is fair to examine the influence it might have had on Nazism, letting the chips fall where they may. The study of history benefits from the presentation of different viewpoints, even if some of those viewpoints are biased.

    While condemning linkage of Social Darwinism to the holocaust, the hypocritical ADL has no problem about linking Christianity to the holocaust. A speech published on the ADL website says of the holocaust, “The motivation was ideological. The racist-antisemitic ideology was the rational outcome of an irrational approach, an approach that was a cancer-like mutation of the Christian antisemitic ideology that had sullied Christian-Jewish relations all through their two millennia of coexistence.” (from a speech that Yehuda Bauer gave to the German House of Representatives in 1998). See http://www.adl.org/education/d.....issue2.asp

    The ADL’s Foxman has apparently not even seen the TV program but has already passed judgment on it. His opposition to the program is just “political correctness.”

  72. Evil does not need an excuse to manifest itself. Darwinism provided the “scientific” framework that dressed evil with legitimacy, by replacing the obvious idea that nature is infinitely diverse by design and all creatures have intrinsic value, with the concept that some creatures are BETTER adapted than others and that BETTER creatures are more deserving of surviving than others. The opposing view is that each creature is deserving and was designed to thrive.

    In a designed nature, different is not good or bad, just different, interesting, ingenious, creative and valuable, in different ways. In a darwiniam world, different means better or worse, deserving or not, valuable or worthless.

    –FNdS

  73. The Nazi hid their evil in both Christian and Darwinist disguises. Nationalism also blamed the Jews for the defeat and hardships of WW1. None of the ideas used thusly should remove the onus of the Holocaust from the perpetrators,the German people themselves!!! Hatred of the Jews was absorbed with their mother’s milk, it was taught in their schools and in their churches. It was codified in their laws and in their daily lives. Neither Darwin nor Christ would have approved!!!

    Grumpy

  74. BarryA:

    Ofro, isn’t killing your competitor a very efficient way of eliminating competition for common resources? Nothing in the logic of Darwinism precludes a “kill your competitor” strategy for survival. The strategy could even be called an “adaptation” that was “selected for.”

    Ernst HAeckel:

    “The whole of organic nature on our planet exists only  by a relentless war of all against all. … The raging war of interests in human society is only a feeble picture of an unceasing and terrible war of existence which reigns throughout the whole of the living world.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology
    Source: Ernst Haeckel, Monism: The Confession of Faith of a Man of Science.  Tr. J. Gilchrist (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1895), pp. 73-74.

  75. whoa, Grumpy. Time for you to back off of your extremist generalizations about Germans and anti-semitism. Your ignorance is obvious, and you might have been reading a little too much Daniel Goldhagen recently! I suggest you do two things: One, ask yourself the question “Before the horrific events of the holocaust, where in Europe did Jews WANT to live because they enjoyed the greatest degree of liberality and acceptance?” You can get back to me for the answer if you are stumped. Two, you should check out a little tome called “A Nation on Trial” by Norman Finkelstein and Ruth Bettina Birn. This book is a devastating critique of the Goldhagen thesis, and sets the record straight about German antisemitism in the pre-war years. Thanks.

  76. Grumpy

    If I call myself a horse, whinny like a horse, put on a bit, bridal, and saddle, and run around on four legs – does that make me a horse????? no – closer to a lunatic actaully. Which what Herr Fuhrer Hilter was. That little tirade you quoted proves nothing except Hilter can twist being a ‘Christian’ to his own definition and then kill 6 million Jews.
    He played the music to the crowd, added a bit of Spiritual emphasis to win over any doubters then executed his darwinian policies. Aren’t Christian supposted to love their enemies?

    Also I recall you weren’t going to waste your valuble time at this blog?

  77. Grumpy’s points are well taken, if perhaps a little hyperbolic (mother’s milk).
    I think they are a little off, however, even though there is no denying the racism that already existed.
    With Grumpy I do think Hitler used the label of “Christian” as a disguise for his evil. He did claim, in many public instances to be a Christian, especially early on, as Grumpy’s 1922 quote demonstrates.
    Note that at the time Hitler was a fairly insignificant politician trying to garner as much support BY LYING as possible.
    I do not agree that his evolutionary views were a cloak, however, but rather a justification as well as an inspiration.

    His true feelings about Chrisitianity can be explored at some of these sites:
    http://www.bedfordgaol.com/part3-2.html

    Some assert that Hitler got his antisemitism from the church – as if the church ever taught that the blond-haired blue-eyed Aryans were the master race and needed to get rid of the Jews to preserve their racial purity. These people should read a little about Gobineau, Lagarde, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Wagner, or Haeckel if they want to know about the origins of modern racial antisemitism.

    Significantly, in all of the quotes attempting to link Hitler to Christianity, put together after diligent search by the enemies of Jesus Christ, there is nothing about forgiveness for sin through the blood of Christ shed on the cross; nothing about eternal life in heaven or eternal punishment in hell; nothing about the Trinity or the virgin birth; nothing about the bible as the divinely inspired and infallible word of God, or about any other of the most basic doctrines of Christianity.

    In the book (Table Talk, quoted below), Hitler makes a number of fiercely anti-Christian statements that reveal his contempt for Christianity. These statements closely parallel Nietzsche, who described Christianity as nothing other than a Jewish plot, a sickly religion of weakness and decadence – and Hitler’s admiration for Nietzsche is well-known.

    They (those who point to Hitler’s “Christianity”) do not know or want to know about the deep affinities between Hitler and Wagner, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Nietzsche, Haeckel , or other earlier German thinkers and writers. They won’t comb through Mein Kampf hunting for anything suggestive of Darwinism or evolution, of Entwicklung or the struggle for survival. No, they will only take and misrepresent some vague references to God and Christianity, all of which are totally void of any real Christian doctrine, many of which were designed solely for self-serving political purposes, and have as much validity as Hitler’s promise at Munich, “This will be my last territorial demand.”

    Bormann’s Circular on God and Christianity, revealed at Nuremberg
    http://www.thirdreich.net/Bormann_by_Fest.html:

    National Socialist and Christian conceptions are incompatible. The Christian churches build upon men’s ignorance; by contrast N[ational Socialism] rests upon scientific foundations.

    When we National Socialists speak of a belief in God, we do not understand by God, like naive Christians and their spiritual opportunists, a human-type being, who sits around somewhere in space…The force of natural law, with which all these innumerable planets move in the universe, we call Almighty or God. The claim that this world force is concerned about the fate of every single being, of every smallest earth bacillus, or can be influenced by so-called prayers or other astonishing things, is based on a proper dose of naivety or alternatively on a commercial shamelessness.

    http://answers.org/history/hitquote.html

    “I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. Our epoch in the next 200 yearse will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity…. My regret will have been that I couldn’t… behold .” Hitler (p 278)

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler

    You see, its been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been more compatible to us than Christianity. why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness? (Quoted by Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich, pg. 115)

    Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers – already, you see, the world had fallen into the hands of the Jews – so gutless a thing was Christianity! – then we should in all probability have been converted to mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies heroism and which opens the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so. (Table Talk, 28th August, 1942)

    But Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless — A negro with his taboos is crushingly superior to the human being who seriously believes in transubstantiation. (Table Talk, 13th December 1941)

    As soon as the idea was introduced that all men were equal before God, that world was bound to collapse. (Table Talk, 26th February, 1942)

    It is Christianity that is the liar. It’s in perpetual conflict with itself.(Table Talk, 14th October 1941)

    Christianity is the worst of the regressions that mankind can ever have undergone, and it is the Jew who, thanks to this diabolic invention, has thrown him back fifteen centuries. …
    The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. Christianity is a prototype of Bolshevism: the mobilisation by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society. (Table Talk, 19th October, 1941)

    It is not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that is left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity. (Table Talk, 14th October, 1941)

    And to what science did Hitler refer?

    That’s in accordance with the laws of nature. By means of the struggle, the elites are continually renewed. The law of natural selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of human failure. (Table Talk, 10th October, 1941)

    http://www.worldfuturefund.org.....cology.htm
    Hitler referred to Haeckel’s ideas almost tot he point of plagiarism:

    “[It is] useful to know the laws of nature – for that enables us to obey them.  To act otherwise would be to rise in revolt against heaven.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 116.

    “Sparta must be regarded as the first völkisch state.  The exposure of the sick, weak, deformed children, in short, their destruction, was more decent and in truth a thousand times more human than the wretched insanity of our day which preserves the most pathological subject.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Book (New York: Grove Press, 1961, p. 18.

    “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.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 4.

    “Therefore on the völkisch principle we cannot admit that one race is equal to another. By recognizing that they are different, the völkisch concept separates mankind into races of superior and inferior quality. On the basis of this recognition it feels bound in conformity with the eternal Will that dominates the universe, to postulate the victory of the better and stronger and the subordination of the inferior and weaker. And so it pays homage to the truth that the principle underlying all Nature’s operations is the aristocratic principle and it believes that this law holds good even down to the last individual organism.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 13.

    “Difference which exists between the lowest, so-called men, and the other higher races is greater than between the lowest men and the highest apes.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Hitler quoted in Heinz Bruecher, Ernst Haeckels Bluts- und Geisteserbe (München: Lehmann, 1936), p.

    “Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships.  Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this all-mighty, which we call god (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe).” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 5.

    “The leadership of our National Socialist state and our conception of a people [Volk] is penetrated and inspired by foundations in biology.  Legal provisions are derived from the laws of life.  Their worth proceeds from the degree to which they are thought through in biological terms and on biological foundations.” — Walter Greit, Chief of Reichsbund für Biologie
    Source: Klaus Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History (New York, Continuum, 1995), p. 233.

    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.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 2.

    “I desire a violent, domineering, fearless, and ferocious upcoming generation.  It must be able to bear pain.  It must show no signs whatsoever of weakness or tenderness. The free and magnificent predator must once again glint from their eyes.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source Hitler quoted in Hermann Rauschning, Gespräche mit Hitler (New York, 1940), p. 237.

    “At the end of the last century the progress of science and technique led liberalism astray into proclaiming man’s mastery of nature, and announcing he would soon have dominion over space … In any case, we shall learn to become familiar with the laws by which life is governed, and acquaintance with the laws of nature will guide us on the path of progress.” — Adolf Hitler, 11 July 1941
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944.  tr. N. Cameron & R.H. Stevens (New York: Enigma Books, 2000), pp. 5-6.

    “The parliamentary principle of vesting legislative power in the decision of the majority rejects the authority of the individual and puts a numerical quota of anonymous heads in its place. In doing so it contradicts the aristocratic principle, which is a fundamental law of nature.” — Adolf Hitler
    Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 3.

    “[Hitler] stressed and singled out the idea of biological evolution as the most forceful weapon against traditional religion and he repeatedly condemned Christianity for its opposition to the teaching of evolution . . For Hitler, evolution was the hallmark of modern science and culture, and he defended its veracity as tenaciously as Haeckel.”—*Daniel Gasman, Scientific Origins of Modern Socialism: Social Darwinism in Ernst Haeckel and the German Monist League (1971), p. 188.

    “Adolf Hitler’s mind was captivated by evolutionary thinking—probably since the time he was a boy. Evolutionary ideas, quite undisguised, lie at the basis of all that is worst in Mein Kampf and in his public speeches. A few quotations, taken at random, will show how Hitler reasoned . . [*Hitler said:] ‘He who would live must fight; he who does not wish to fight, in this world where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.’ “—*Robert E.D. Clark, Darwin: Before and After (1948), p. 115.

    ‘The Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place. Were this to happen, all nature’s efforts “to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile” (Mein Kampf).’ 20

    http://evolution-facts.org/Ev-Crunch/c19b.htm

    A couple of other essays on Hitler and the churches.
    http://kevin.davnet.org/essays/hitler.html
    http://boundless.org/2001/regu.....00541.html

    Or best yet, for an overview of the rise of (and Jewish involvement in) the German eugenics movement, the Christian resistance, the evolutionary thought behind Hitler’s ambitions, etc.
    http://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.asp#f27

  78. Somehow Americans love to talk about Hitler and Germans history at that time! Why? Cause they ain’t got so much of their own :)! So slavery was due to what again, predominance of the white Christian man? Why did the majority of caucasian Americans think until the mid 1950s that they could use and oppress people with a different skin color and treat them as second-class citizen. Well why not hang a n……. from the next tree if he stole something, why should he be tried in a court of justice? These thoughts are still very vivid in the USA (some places more some places less), be it against Afro Americans, Mexicans, Arabs or any other not so white nation! Does that also stem from Darwinian thought?

  79. Hispanics was the politically correct term for Mexicans. My bad if I offended anybody of hispanic heritage! BTW is anybody a historian here?

  80. So slavery was due to what again, predominance of the white Christian man?

    Actually it was a legacy of Europe and the English. It took the deaths of a lot of white Christian American men to end it.

    Why did the majority of caucasian Americans think until the mid 1950s that they could use and oppress people with a different skin color and treat them as second-class citizen.

    While racism and prejudice were pervasive in this country, Jim Crow never was the law of the land in most places here and most Americans pretty much despised the Jim Crow states. And of course, the majority of caucasian Americans eventually voted it out of existence.

  81. Tribune7, you see, this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy. Sometimes I think you guys are reading from a script. Which isn’t fair by the way. I’m over struggling to find words and you guys have got a cheat sheet of some kind. Anyway, Jim Crow laws were never voted out of existence by anyone. The federal judiciary had to strike them down as unconstitutional. And then the federal government had to send in the military to enforce the judicial decision. Am I the oldest person on this computer thread? Does anyone remember this besides me? These laws were incredibly popular in the south and the rest of the country could care less. I know, I was around then. Is this going to be another film by this Kennedy fella? It took activist, elite, pompous, self righteous judges to overturn the Jim Crow laws.

  82. And this whole business about slavery being a legacy of the English and Europe is just plain bizarre. Of course it was a legacy of the English and Europe. Where do you think white Americans came from? Does that mean that Americans during that time were any more or less culpable? I don’t get it.

  83. Darwin’s theory is merely a manifestation of what man naturally feels; hatred. The difference, however, is that while Christianity was abused to justify racism (belief that we all come from two people makes us all the same race, Paul’s multiple discourses on racism in Romans, and other issues make it impossible to justify racism from the Bible and it can only be abused), Darwin’s theory adds logical reasoning as to why racism exists. Killing weaker species (which Hitler refered to the Jews as multiple times) is a justifiable act. That is what is being pointed out; not that racism suddenly came about with Darwin, but that it provided an intellectual justification for racism and actions upon racist thoughts.

  84. It was Jews, of course, who bequeathed to the world their Scriptures, and the result was Christianity and then Islam. The problem is that both Christianity and Islam subscribed to forms of supersessionism wherein the continued presence of the Jews presented a problem. And for this reason Christianity—and currently Islam—have proven to be more dangerous enemies to the Jews than, say, Hinduism.

    So I guess the question is—would the Nazi’s ever have done what they did had it not been for Christianity? I think the answer is more complicated than some think. First we must not forget that the soil of Europe was saturated with centuries of Christian anti-Semitism, just as the soil of the Middle East still seethes with irrational hatred for the Jews.

    But there is another reason the radical children of the Enlightenment would hate the Jews. The radicals weren’t just passive about biblical religion—they declared war. It’s the same culture war that currently rages in the United States. Because the biblical buck ultimately stops with Judaism, haters of the Torah’s God–religious or secular–always end up hating the Jewish people and/or the Jewish State. The Enlightenment spawned statist whose purpose was to seize power and remake the world.

    The approach inspired by Darwin was biological, to improve the race, and the Jews were classed among those judged biologically inferior (because of the anti-Semitism inherited from the Church, a perverted take on Indo-European studies, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husseini – see http://frontpagemag.com/Articl.....p?ID=19064 and http://www.tellthechildrenthetruth.com/gallery/). Thus Darwinism inspired a new kind of anti-Semitism. The Church was not against Jews biologically—those who converted might escape persecution, even be feted. Not so for Nazis who were fixated on biology for which conversion is impossible.

    The other side of the radical statist coin was Communism. It too would remake the world and annihilate anyone who got in the way. But like Christendom, Communism was internationalist—international socialism (as opposed to national socialism which was called Nazism). The communists accepted conversion—or else! But as radical secularists they knew the ultimate source of their hate—it was the people of the Book—and so they were destined after an initial infatuation to stir up the Middle East and seek the destruction of the Jewish state. Not to be forgotten is the Purim of Stalin’s demise (http://www.jewishmag.com/65mag/stalin/stalin.htm; http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....8;n=283155).

    The Jewish people have resisted conversion and assimilation and survived—like no other people—and this in the face of terrible persecution. But let me suggest one ideology perhaps less feared but subtle and dangerous nevertheless: radical materialism/secularism. Many Jews in the East were drawn to this heresy—some perhaps out of rebellion against their own heritage, most no doubt just wanting acceptance in modernity. I have friends in Haifa who express far more anger at religious Jews than at radical Islam. They have sought acceptance and safety with the Left, but let me suggest that the Radical Enlightenment and its modern incarnation in the Radical Left is not to be trusted, not by those of us who support Intelligent Design nor by the Jews.

  85. Anyway, Jim Crow laws were never voted out of existence by anyone. The federal judiciary had to strike them down as unconstitutional. And then the federal government had to send in the military to enforce the judicial decision.

    Barrett, my friend, you are quite wrong. Now, federal judges in the 1950s did strike down Jim Crow laws concerning inter-state transport and public schools BUT segregation in public facilities (and on intra-state transportation) remained in effect until . . .

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 approved by a vote of 290-130 in the House and 73-27 in the Senate .

    It took activist, elite, pompous, self righteous judges to overturn the Jim Crow laws.

    Again noting, of course, that they never even came close to overturning most Jim Crow laws, those pompus SOBs were the ones responsible for the mess in the first place Note how Plessy made a mockery of the words in the 14th Amendment (also passed by popularly elected legislators)

  86. And this whole business about slavery being a legacy of the English and Europe is just plain bizarre. Of course it was a legacy of the English and Europe. Where do you think white Americans came from?

    Concerning our Founders, Hamilton came from Nevis in the West Indies. Most of the rest were born here.

    Does that mean that Americans during that time were any more or less culpable? I don’t get it.

    Then I will explain. The United States of America didn’t become a sovereign nation until July 4, 1776. Black slavery was introduced in 1619. One is much less culpable being born into an existing circumstance than creating a new one.

  87. Tribune7, Yes! You are absolutely right! Now, we are down to the subjective. We can quibble forever about who created the mess in the first place or whether the judiciary in the 1950s played a significant in advancing civil rights. We will soon find ourselves in the same position as the Darwin/Hitler connection. History is by definition behind us, and we all look back with different prescription glasses. Your interpretation of history suits you. And mine as well. We can disagree and still be friends.

  88. OK, Barrett :-)

  89. Various streams of influence lurk behind the Holocaust—centuries of Christian anti-Semitism, a perverted take on Indo-European linguistics, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini (http://www.tellthechildrenthetruth.com/gallery/) . . . but there was one rather unique feature of the Holocaust . . . it was all about BIOLOGY. Jews were declared unfit biologically . . . the Nazis were not interested in conversion . . . just in the extermination of the biologically unfit . . . what do you suppose influenced that kind of thinking?

  90. In post #9 BarryA wrote:

    Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation: Or The Development of the Earth and its Inhabitants by the Action of Natural Causes. A Popular Exposition of the Doctrine of Evolution in General, and of that of Darwin, Goethe, and Lamarck in Particular, translated by E. Ray Lankester, 6th English ed., First German Publication…

    What is worth noting in the title of Haeckel’s book is that he mentions not only Darwin, but also Goethe and Lamarck. To me a somewhat odd threesome. A source of confusion when disccussing evolution and Darwinism is that these words mean different things to different people, and apparently Haeckel had brewed up his own version.

    Let’s play a little game, shall we? If you ask any wellinformed YEC about who came up with the idea of natural selection, you will be told that it was Edward Blyth, a creationist. Blyth’s version was a bit different, however, in that it weeded out the unfit; that is, rather than supporting adaptation to a changing environment it simply kept a species the way it was. Yet, the YECs claim that Darwin stole his idea from Blyth without giving Blyth credit. So, shouldn’t we give Edward Blyth the credit he’s due now? Our game therefore has the following rule: the words “(theory of) evolution” and “Darwinism” are not allowed, it’s to be called “Blythism”, and everything bad ever said about evolution and Darwin has to said about Blyth. The first person to break this rule must write a post to admit to have defamed Charles Darwin by calling him names that more properly should have been applied to other persons.

    What’s ya all think?

    My point here is that, for some reason everything bad in this world has come to be associated with the name Darwin, although Darwin wasn’t the only one to come up with a theory of evolution, and in many cases ideas very foreign to Darwinian evolution are associated with Darwin’s name. The works of Lamarck and Spencer predated The Origin of Species, so Darwin can hardly be blamed for, what these two wrote. There is little scientifically won by accusing a person of having written things he didn’t write.

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

  91. Hi Poul,
    Your game appears intriguing until weighed down by facts.
    As you’ve read over on the page about Blyth, there is nothing new under the sun, and that certainly applies to Darwin’s contribution to empirical science.
    Absolutely he was building upon and borrowing from other theories and philosophies popular in his day.
    However, what makes Darwinsim different from Blythism is that Darwin and his supporters/promoters (notably Haeckel and Huxley) applied to the science a necessary and self-conscious metaphysic. These supporters were particularly influenced by Darwin himself.
    It was Haeckel, of course, who quit his practice as a physician to study comparative biology after reading Darwin in 1859.

    Ernst Haeckel was a German biologist who lived from 1834 until 1919. He is primarily remembered today as a fierce proponent of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Together with Englishman Thomas Henry Huxley, Haeckel persuaded a generation of scientists to accept the new paradigm, and fought those who opposed it on religious or other grounds.

    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=c.....ent=safari
    T.H. “”no rational man…believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the average white man”" Huxley:

    Huxley’s Scientific Thought
    As the nickname “Darwin’s bulldog” would suggest, Huxley was an outspoken defender and advocate for Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Perhaps surprisingly, he was at first an opponent of any evolutionary change at all, believing that the living world had stayed much the same for as far back as its history could be traced, and that modern taxa would eventually be found in the oldest rocks. But he came to accept evolutionary views: his reaction to reading the Origin of Species was “How stupid of me not to have thought of that.

    Huxley’s support for natural selection is perhaps surprising when contrasted with his earlier attacks on the evolutionary theories put forth by Lamarck and Robert Chambers.

    Huxley’s most famous writing, published in 1863, is Evidence on Man’s Place in Nature. This book, published only five years after Darwin’s Origin of Species, was a comprehensive review of what was known at the time about primate and human paleontology and ethology. More than that, it was the first attempt to apply evolution explicitly to the human race.”

    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=c.....ent=safari

    They were profoundly influenced by Darwin and believed, with him, that sociology and politics must be informed by our knowledge of biology, and that, as Haeckel said, “politics is applied biology “.
    In their system man had no choice but to live according to natural law and that natural law was defined by Darwin’s theory- theory which owed nothing to the divine, nothing to transcendent morality, which, through chance and necessity, was determined by the struggle to exist.

    The idea that evolution entailed a certain metaphysic was not an accidental grafting later on, but was intrinsic to Darwin’s own belief.

    “‘Social Darwinism’ is often taken to be something extraneous, an ugly concretion added to the pure Darwinian corpus after the event, tarnishing Darwin’s image. But his notebooks make plain that competition, free trade, imperialism, racial extermination, and sexual inequality were written into the equation from the start- ‘Darwinism’ was always intended to explain human society.” (Desmond, Adrian [Science historian, University College, London] & Moore, James [Science historian, The Open University, UK], “Darwin,” [1991], Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp.xix).

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~s.....plnhmnscty

    Darwin’s son Leonard, of course, became a eugenicist himself and stated that he was only doing with the theory what his father would have wanted.
    As well:

    Darwin ’s son Francis, who edited the notebook material, commented significantly concerning his father’s speculations:
    “He had at this early date visions of the far reaching character of the theory of evolution” ( Autobiography 121). Francis spoke of the following notebook passage from his father:
    “My theory would give zest to recent and fossil comparative anatomy; it would lead to the study of instincts, heredity, and mind-heredity, whole [of] metaphysics , it would lead to closest examination of hybridity & generation, causes of change in order to know what we have come from & to what we tend, to what circumstances favour crossing & what prevents it, this & direct examination of direct passages of structure in species, might lead to laws of change, which would then be main object of study, to guide our speculations. (122) “
    From these early notes , we can see that Darwin eagerly anticipated the day when evolutionary thought would infiltrate other realms of science and even the “whole [of] metaphysics .”

    Darwin, in fact, was following the example of Lyell in doing a “real good” by making a side attack on religion (ie: freeing man’s existence from purpose and transcendent morality, making it only accountable to survival of the fittest.)
    “”Lyell is most firmly convinced that he has shaken the faith in the deluge far more efficiently by never having said a word against the Bible than if he had acted otherwise … I have read lately Morley’s Life of Voltaire and he insists strongly that direct attacks on Christianity (even when written with the powerful force and vigor of Voltaire) produce little permanent effect; real good seems only to follow silent side attacks. (qtd. in Himmelfarb 387) “”

    Have a nice day as well.
    Say “hi” to the fellas at ATBC.

  92. I think I’m getting the picture. Life after Darwin bad. Life before Darwin good. It took awhile, but I’m getting it now.

  93. Hi Charlie,

    You wrote:

    “As you’ve read over on the page about Blyth, there is nothing new under the sun, and that certainly applies to Darwin’s contribution to empirical science.”

    Actually I first found out later that there was a page on Blyth. I really thought that I had come up with something that people here didn’t already know. That should teach me to check, what else is here, before writing anything :-)

    I have some comments on Blyth; but I’ll enter those on the other page.

    “Absolutely he was building upon and borrowing from other theories and philosophies popular in his day.
    However, what makes Darwinsim different from Blythism is that Darwin and his supporters/promoters (notably Haeckel and Huxley) applied to the science a necessary and self-conscious metaphysic. These supporters were particularly influenced by Darwin himself.”

    I am not so sure here; though I am no expert of course. Huxley appears to have used the metaphor evolution to just about anything: everything changes, species, theuniverse, society, and so on. So, yes, we could say that Huxley considered evolution to be a general principle. But that’s not biological evolution, and when we talk about Darwin’s theory of evolution, we talk about biological evolution, not about e.g. “evolution” of society. We may today live in socities that are different from societies, say, 1,000 years ago; but we are hardly biologically different from people living 1,000 years ago. I doubt that Darwin, even Huxley, would have claimed anything else.

    “It was Haeckel, of course, who quit his practice as a physician to study comparative biology after reading Darwin in 1859.”

    During the latest war in Iraq I read a CNN interview with a US fighter pilot. She was asked, if she wasn’t afraid that her bombs might hit civilians. She answered that she was sure that God would make her bombs only hit the intended targets. I cannot know your opinion towards this; but to me this fighter pilot has things somewhat twisted. I am aware that many US Christians consider the USA to be God’s currently chosen nation, and therefore God is actually steering these bombs. But is the USA mentioned in the Bible? Well, some manage to read the Bible that way – I just don’t :-)

    Maybe Haeckel read Darwin in a way that wasn’t Darwin’s intention.

    “They were profoundly influenced by Darwin and believed, with him, that sociology and politics must be informed by our knowledge of biology, and that, as Haeckel said, “politics is applied biology “.”

    Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. And even if they did, then in what way? Hitler encouraged gymnastics, and there can be given good biological reasons for that. But does that make gymnastics evil? Things need to be seen more in the proper context. I’d say.

    “In their system man had no choice but to live according to natural law and that natural law was defined by Darwin’s theory- theory which owed nothing to the divine, nothing to transcendent morality, which, through chance and necessity, was determined by the struggle to exist.”

    Well, then they were obviously wrong, weren’t they? If we can choose to live according to natural law, we can also choose not to live according to natural law. If there is no choice, there is nothing to inform people about, is there? Since they informed people (by writing books), they must have believed there was a real choice. So apparently something is wrong here.

    “From these early notes , we can see that Darwin eagerly anticipated the day when evolutionary thought would infiltrate other realms of science and even the “whole [of] metaphysics .””

    Yes, it would appear so; but as the quote saya, it’s speculation, not an established result. Anyway, if metaphysics is founded in biology, then the idea that metaphysics is founded in biology is itself founded in biology, so all humans should have that idea without needing to read Darwin, shouldn’t they?

    “Darwin, in fact, was following the example of Lyell in doing a “real good” by making a side attack on religion (ie: freeing man’s existence from purpose and transcendent morality, making it only accountable to survival of the fittest.)”

    Could this be true? The quote you give only mentions shaking the belief in the deluge. True, the deluge was supposedly God’s punishment for the increasing evilness of humans. So it’s about survival of the faithfullest. Yet, if we read on from the story, we see that things go wrong again. Cana’an is cursed for something his father Ham did – and with Cana’an all his descendants. Given the choice, I’d prefer survival of the fittest any day – it appears so much more just than being cursed for something that (maybe) happened in the past.

    Barrett1 wrote:

    “I think I’m getting the picture. Life after Darwin bad. Life before Darwin good. It took awhile, but I’m getting it now.”

    You might want to read this Ecclesiastes 7:10:

    “Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions.”

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

    P.S.: is there some description of how to format posts somewhere? Thanks in advance for any help.

  94. Hi Pouely,
    You’ll have to excuse me if this comment is a little light on references as having written it earlier and then lost it in a crash I have less ambition this second time around.
    To start. I must say that you seem to have abandoned trying to make any case for your thesis and moved onto merely doubting my supporting points. This is a valid strategy, in my opinion, and one in which I often engage, if you are actually dismantling the main argument by knocking out it its supports. I don’t see that you are doing that, however.
    I will presume that, having offered no further defence of your claim that Darwinism should be renamed Blythism, you have withdrawn that argument.
    Recall that although the empirical science marshalled by Darwin was in no way original, it was his take on it that became known almost immediately by his proponents as Darwinism

    “When Darwin presented a paper [with Alfred Wallace] to the Linnean Society in 1858, a Professor Haugton of Dublin remarked, `All that was new was false, and what was true was old.’ This, we think, will be the final verdict on the matter, the epitaph on Darwinism.”

    Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (1981), p. 159.

    Since the initial proposition seems dead, I will take on the points you did choose to make.
    I said:

    However, what makes Darwinsim different from Blythism is that Darwin and his supporters/promoters (notably Haeckel and Huxley) applied to the science a necessary and self-conscious metaphysic. These supporters were particularly influenced by Darwin himself.”

    PWE:

    I am not so sure here; though I am no expert of course.

    Which are you not sure of, that these supporters were influenced by Darwin, or that they applied a metaphysical consequence to their science? Both points, of course, are supported in my original comment.
    I said:

    “It was Haeckel, of course, who quit his practice as a physician to study comparative biology after reading Darwin in 1859.”

    I’m not sure what you intend by your reply regarding the bomber pilot and her belief in God so will leave that point unanswered.
    You did suggest that

    ”Maybe Haeckel read Darwin in a way that wasn’t Darwin’s intention.”

    That is a valid question, and one worth exploring. As it turns out Darwin was very much impressed with both Huxley and Haeckel and discussed their works, their interpretations, and their defences of him at length.
    http://search.freefind.com/fin.....el&s=
    They quoted and defended Darwin’s work, which he was aware of and for which he thanked them, and he took their ideas and referred to them (albeit giving only mild public credit, as was his habit) as the sources of his ideas.

    This first excerpt may actually be enough to make the point on its own, but I will include a few others. Remember that Darwin and Haeckel have been in communication during the years since the publication of “Origins…”.

    http://pages.britishlibrary.ne.....s2_07.html

    Francis Darwin:
    [Professor Haeckel seems to have been one of the first to write to my father about the 'Descent of Man.' I quote from his reply:—
    Charles Darwin To Haeckel

    "I must send you a few words to thank you for your interesting, and I may truly say, charming letter. I am delighted that you approve of my book, as far as you have read it. I felt very great difficulty and doubt how often I ought to allude to what you have published; strictly speaking every idea, although occurring independently to me, if published by you previously ought to have appeared as if taken from your works, but this would have made my book very dull reading; and I hoped that a full acknowledgment at the beginning would suffice.* I cannot tell you how glad I am to find that I have expressed my high admiration of your labours with

    * In the introduction to the 'Descent of Man' the author wrote:—

    "This last naturalist [Haeckel]…has recently…published his ‘Naturliche Schöpfungs-geschichte,’ in which he fully discusses the genealogy of man. If this work had appeared before my essay had been written, I should probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I have arrived, I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowledge on many points is much fuller than mine.”

    Here is another letter to Haeckel, regarding his reference to Darwin:
    http://pages.britishlibrary.ne.....s2_06.html

    Down, November 19 [1868].
    My dear Haeckel,


    I have been reading a good deal of your last book (‘Die Natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte,’ 1868. It was translated and published in 1876, under the title, ‘The History of Creation.’), and the style is beautifully clear and easy to me; but why it should differ so much in this respect from your great work I cannot imagine. I have not yet read the first part, but began with the chapter on Lyell and myself, which you will easily believe pleased me very much .
    Down, March 19 [1869].

    This letter will Darwin to Huxley. If you want more they are available.

    http://pages.britishlibrary.ne.....s2_06.html

    My dear Huxley,

    Thanks for your ‘Address.’* People complain of the unequal distribution of wealth, but it is a much greater shame and injustice that any one man should have the power to write so many brilliant essays as you have lately done. There is no one who writes like you…If I were in your shoes, I should tremble for my life. I agree with all you say, except that I must think that you draw too great a distinction between the evolutionists and the uniformitarians.

    C. DARWIN.

    I’ve changed my mind, here’s another to Huxley
    http://pages.britishlibrary.ne.....s2_07.html

    I did not know what to say in my second edition of my ‘Descent.’ Now a footnote and reference to you will do the work.
    But for pleasure, I have been particularly glad that my few words (‘Descent of Man,’ volume i. page 87. A discussion on the question whether an act done impulsively or instinctively can be called moral.) on the distinction, if it can be so called, between Mivart’s two forms of morality, caught your attention. I am so pleased that you take the same view, and give authorities for it; but I searched Mill in vain on this head. How well you argue the whole case. I am mounting climax on climax; for after all there is nothing, I think, better in your whole review than your arguments v. Wallace on the intellect of savages. What a man you are.

    So, I am quite confident that it is established that Haeckel and Huxley did not seriously misinterpret Darwin, at least in Darwin’s own estimation.

    I said:

    “They were profoundly influenced by Darwin and believed, with him, that sociology and politics must be informed by our knowledge of biology, and that, as Haeckel said, “politics is applied biology “.”

    You replied:

    ”Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.”

    Let’s say we agree that they did then, given the references and the fact that your subsequent point doesn’t rely on our disagreement.
    You said:

    And even if they did, then in what way? Hitler encouraged gymnastics, and there can be given good biological reasons for that. But does that make gymnastics evil?

    No, neither Hitler’s, nor anyone’s, use or misuse of Darwin’s theory can make it either evil or wrong.
    I haven’t argued that and it was not the point of this thread. That point has been well-discussed from the beginning and is irrelevant to the game you suggested regarding crediting Blyth with Social Darwinism.

    Me:

    “In their system man had no choice but to live according to natural law and that natural law was defined by Darwin’s theory- theory which owed nothing to the divine, nothing to transcendent morality, which, through chance and necessity, was determined by the struggle to exist.”

    You:

    Well, then they were obviously wrong, weren’t they?

    Now there is a good point – whether or not Darwin and his promoters were wrong. Very well spotted.
    I am sure you would like, if you haven’t previously done so, to read David Stove’s Darwinian Fairytales on this subject, or failing that Denyse O’Leary presented a good review of it on her blog, and there are as well Stove articles breaking the ideas down to 10 things Darwinists believe online. I am afraid I am not up to finding the urls right now, but you should have no trouble should you choose to Google them.

    You contiued:

    If we can choose to live according to natural law, we can also choose not to live according to natural law. If there is no choice, there is nothing to inform people about, is there? Since they informed people (by writing books), they must have believed there was a real choice. So apparently something is wrong here.

    Yes, as you attempt to falsify Darwin’s theory of evolution I would say you definitely would find a kindred spirit in David Stove.
    There very much is something wrong here, if the theory, as they propounded pertaains to all living things at all times.
    We could go into what Huxley felt about the cosmological force, man’s participation in nature, what it meant for him to obey natural law, and how a knowledge of biology should inform our politics, but that really has nothing to do with your subject, has it?

    I said (or qoted, rather):

    “From these early notes , we can see that Darwin eagerly anticipated the day when evolutionary thought would infiltrate other realms of science and even the “whole [of] metaphysics .””

    You replied:

    Yes, it would appear so; but as the quote saya, it’s speculation, not an established result. Anyway, if metaphysics is founded in biology, then the idea that metaphysics is founded in biology is itself founded in biology, so all humans should have that idea without needing to read Darwin, shouldn’t they?

    Speculation, yes. As was Darwin’s entire “one long argument…” an attempt to convince and not a demonstration of an established fact.
    Your attempts to refute Darwinism do not go without notice and I wish you well in them.

    I said:

    “Darwin, in fact, was following the example of Lyell in doing a “real good” by making a side attack on religion (ie: freeing man’s existence from purpose and transcendent morality, making it only accountable to survival of the fittest.)”

    You replied:

    Could this be true? The quote you give only mentions shaking the belief in the deluge.

    Again, I have a little trouble understanding what it is you are questioning. The reference I included demonstrated that Lyell had made an indirect attack on the religious resistance to his ideas, and had said that this was far more effective than taking it on head-on. Darwin agreed and approved of this strategy, say that “real good” seems to result from such a strategy.
    Is it your concern that Lyell’s attack was limited only to the flood and not all of religion? If so, that was not the point.
    The point is that Darwin was using the same strategy to forward his theory, and the metaphysics that went with it.

  95. Sorry, Poul, for getting your name wrong (among other typos).
    I think I had Paley on the brain.

  96. Hi Charlie,

    You write:

    I must say that you seem to have abandoned trying to make any case for your thesis and moved onto merely doubting my supporting points. This is a valid strategy, in my opinion, and one in which I often engage, if you are actually dismantling the main argument by knocking out it its supports. I don’t see that you are doing that, however.

    You are right here :-) My case is that we cannot in particular blame Charles Darwin for something such as “social Darwinism”. Even to the extent that Darwin extended biological evolution to human culture (which I fail to see that he did), he wasn’t alone and not in any way the originator of that idea.

    Recall that although the empirical science marshalled by Darwin was in no way original, it was his take on it that became known almost immediately by his proponents as Darwinism

    You back this claim up with the following quote:

    “When Darwin presented a paper [with Alfred Wallace] to the Linnean Society in 1858, a Professor Haugton of Dublin remarked, `All that was new was false, and what was true was old.’ This, we think, will be the final verdict on the matter, the epitaph on Darwinism.”

    Unfortunately it’s unclear to me, who is saying, what here. It’s true that Prof. Haughton said that `All that was new was false, and what was true was old.’ But notice that Darwin presented his paper together with Wallace, so we are not dealing with something unique to Darwin.

    What I am targetting is that many people attack Darwin’s person to discredit the theory of evolution. But it’s historiocal circumstances that has lead to the misnomer “Darwinism”. The adjective “Sarwinian” has some merit – distinguishing between Darwinian evolution and Lamarckian evolution, and between Darwinian inheritance and Mendelian inheritance. But this is only for practical reasons, the person Charles Darwin does not enter the equation on either side.

    Even if the term “Darwinism” was coined and used early, we still need to figure out, what was really meant by it back then, don’t we?

    Which are you not sure of, that these supporters were influenced by Darwin, or that they applied a metaphysical consequence to their science? Both points, of course, are supported in my original comment.

    Huxley and Haeckel were influenced by Darwin, but they certainly had their own ideas as well, and maybe the influence was running the other way as well?

    As for the metaphysical application, I am not completely sure. I doubt that Huxley belived that stars are somehow biological. That we can talk about change as a general principle doesn’t render everything organic, does it? Nor does it imply that all kinds of changes are the same. Do you have proof that Huxley went as far as to claim any such thing?

    I am not particular familiar with Haeckel, but apparently his idea of evolution was different in certain ways. Goethe and Lamarck don’t have a whole lot in common with Darwin, do they? In Darwinian evolution, the properties inherited are fixed at conception, which is not the case with Goethian and Lamarckian evolution. So it’s all a question about, where you put the focus.

    You give the following quote from a letter from Darwin to Huxley:

    People complain of the unequal distribution of wealth, but it is a much greater shame and injustice that any one man should have the power to write so many brilliant essays as you have lately done. There is no one who writes like you…If I were in your shoes, I should tremble for my life. I agree with all you say, except that I must think that you draw too great a distinction between the evolutionists and the uniformitarians.

    I haven’t read the whole letter (I’ll do it later today); but notice that Darwin here disagrees with Huxley concerning evolutionists and uniformitarians. That is, I suppose, that Darwin did not consider himself to be a progressionist.

    Your second letter quote deals with “the question whether an act done impulsively or instinctively can be called moral”. Here, Huxley and Darwin agree, but who influenced who? And Wallace and (John Stuart) Mill are mixed into it. Things are more complicated than to just have Darwin as a hub around which everything else is turning. It’s anyway a moral discussion. Is it only moral to do something you wouldn’t do, ubless it was defined as moral?

    You write:

    No, neither Hitler’s, nor anyone’s, use or misuse of Darwin’s theory can make it either evil or wrong.
    I haven’t argued that and it was not the point of this thread. That point has been well-discussed from the beginning and is irrelevant to the game you suggested regarding crediting Blyth with Social Darwinism.

    In the OP William Dembski wrote:

    The Nazi emphasis on proper breeding, racial purity, and weeding out defectives come from taking Darwin’s theory seriously and applying it at the level of society. Yes, Darwin himself did not take these such steps, but Galton and Haeckel, his contemporaries, saw where this was going and did.

    The “weeding out the defectives” is Blythism pure and simple, isn’t it? Darwin turned things around and claimed that natural selection can lead to a new species, not simply preserve it as it is. Both Darwin and Blyth drew upon artficial breeding auch as done by cattle breeders, so “proper breeding” could also have been derived from Blyth. As for racial purity, it’s only supposed to be a corollary of proper breeding.

    You write:

    I am sure you would like, if you haven’t previously done so, to read David Stove’s Darwinian Fairytales on this subject, or failing that Denyse O’Leary presented a good review of it on her blog, and there are as well Stove articles breaking the ideas down to 10 things Darwinists believe online. I am afraid I am not up to finding the urls right now, but you should have no trouble should you choose to Google them.

    Thanks for the suggestion – and I have already read Denyse’s review. My review of her review can be found here: Denyse O’Leary and Darwinian Fairy Tales.

    My problem with all this is that “Darwinism” refers to some sort of biological reductionism, which I doubt many scientists buy into. Some people do, I admit. On a website I once posted some information about social science in a thread about that subject, because I consider there to be sucha thing as a social science. Another poster, however, expected that social science would disappear, because it had nothing to add to natural science. So, sure, these biologists exist out there, but how many are there?

    Yes, as you attempt to falsify Darwin’s theory of evolution I would say you definitely would find a kindred spirit in David Stove.

    No, I am not attempting to falsify Darwin’s theory of evolution, only saying that biological evolution vannot account for everything. I agree with you, Stove, Denyse, and most others about this. Where I disagree is about whether it is required that the bacterial flagellum be impossible to evolve by natural means :-)

    Your attempts to refute Darwinism do not go without notice and I wish you well in them.

    Thanks for your kind words – but as above, my whole point is that “Darwinism” isn’t in particular tied to the person Charles Darwin, and refuting “Darwinism” might mean different things to different people. I refute biological reductionism, but I do not in particular tie that philosophy to Charles Darwin.

    Is it your concern that Lyell’s attack was limited only to the flood and not all of religion? If so, that was not the point.

    Yes, that was my concern. At the time, Flood geology was as it had been for more than a century the ruling paradigm. You need not be a zelous atheist to refuse Flood geology – think about Glenn Morton, for instance. What Lyell and Darwin agrees upon is that countering Flood geology directly is the wrong approach. And I agree here.

    The point is that Darwin was using the same strategy to forward his theory, and the metaphysics that went with it.

    But I don’t think that the metaphysics was all that important to Darwin. As The Origin of Species itself states, it is a part of the design/evolution debate. In this debate, where the major philosophical contributations had been made by David Hume and William Paley, Charles Darwin presented his evidence for the evolution side. Yes, if Paley was wrong and Hume was right, this would mean that “creation” would have to be redefined; but it doesn’t turn everything into biology, and I doubt that Darwin meant that.

    You write:

    Sorry, Poul, for getting your name wrong (among other typos).
    I think I had Paley on the brain.

    I am most flattered over this Freudian slip; but, alas, it is undeserved ;-)

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

  97. To put the final fine point on Darwin’s metaphysics I refer to the first commenter on this thread, Bevets, and his website.
    http://bevets.com/evolution.htm#atheism

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent. ~ William Provine  

    [Darwins's notebooks] include many statements showing that he espoused but feared to expose something he perceived as far more heretical than evolution itself: philosophical materialism — the postulate that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

    There is indeed one belief that all true original Darwinians held in common, and that was their rejection of creationism, their rejection of special creation. This was the flag around which they assembled and under which they marched. When Hull claimed that “the Darwinians did not totally agree with each other, even over essentials”, he overlooked one essential on which all these Darwinians agreed. Nothing was more essential for them than to decide whether evolution is a natural phenomenon or something controlled by God. The conviction that the diversity of the natural world was the result of natural processes and not the work of God was the idea that brought all the so-called Darwinians together in spite of their disagreements on other of Darwin’s theories. ~ Ernst Mayr

  98. Hi Poul,

    “Similarly, without Einstein, there would still have been something like the theory of relativity; without Darwin, something close to the theory of evolution. But they wouldn’t have been the same theories. They wouldn’t have been formulated in the same way or presented with the same vigor, the same force of persuasion. They wouldn’t have had the same influence or the same consequences.” (Jacob F., “Of Flies, Mice, and Men,” [1997], Weiss G., transl., Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1998, pp.140-141).

    My last comment was not a reply to you, as you were still in the spam filter,I think.
    Now you’ve said:

    My case is that we cannot in particular blame Charles Darwin for something such as “social Darwinism”.

    Good enough,

    Even to the extent that Darwin extended biological evolution to human culture (which I fail to see that he did), he wasn’t alone and not in any way the originator of that idea.

    I guess you and I will interpret these statements differently then:
    Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man volume II, pages 438-9.

    Yet he (man) might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities.Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realized until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end. When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguinous marriages are injurious to man.
    The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand , Mr. Galton (cousin of Charles and father of the eugenics) had remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society. Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to severe struggle.
    Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the most fitted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the les gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

    As you were responding first to BarryA it is worth noting what he said, and it was not that we can “In particular blame Charlse Darwin:

    The evidence is overwhelming that the moral and intellectual climate of the early to mid 20th Century was heavily influenced by Darwin and his intellectual progeny. There is even a name for the phenomenon: Social Darwinism. It is utterly absurd to suggest that Social Darwinism did not exist, and it is just as absurd to suggest that there is no connection between that phenomenon and the holocaust, the gulag, the cultural revolution, and the killing fields.
    Some of the comments on this post remind me of Miracle Max in Princess Bride running around with his hands over his ears yelling “nah nah nah, I’m not listening, nah nah nah.”
    Comment by BarryA — August 23, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

    And, of course, the OP said:

    To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd. Read Richard Weikart’s FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY (go here).

    You said:

    Unfortunately it’s unclear to me, who is saying, what here. It’s true that Prof. Haughton said that `All that was new was false, and what was true was old.’ But notice that Darwin presented his paper together with Wallace, so we are not dealing with something unique to Darwin.

    You are still concerned that the theory was somehow unique to Darwin. My points have been twofold: 1) the empirical, observed, scientific theories of variation and selection, even radiation of species, did not originate with Darwin. He was not original in this. 2) The OP talks about the line going from Darwin to Hitler. The very fact that it was called Social Darwinism and not Blythism or Wallacism, that its proponents cited Darwin, that it was Darwin’s version (even as it separated from Wallace’s) that was promoted and sold to the scientific mainstream, backs up that claim.

    What I am targetting is that many people attack Darwin’s person to discredit the theory of evolution.

    Again, whatever may or may not be true of Darwin has no effect on the truthfulness of any thjeories of evolution.
    That has been repeated comment after comment on this thread.
    As our discussion degenerates we may actually get to why Darwin’s character and motives matter historically and in the present, but that has nothing to do with whether or not Darwinsim describes reality.

    Huxley and Haeckel were influenced by Darwin, but they certainly had their own ideas as well, and maybe the influence was running the other way as well?

    Of course it was. As I said, Darwin was far from original, and very much influenced by his peers, even while taking the credit. As I’ve shown, however, the ideas that were key were known by even those closest supporters as entailing Darwinism, and it was with Darwin as the key figure that it was promoted to the scientific community as well as the public.

    As for the metaphysical application, I am not completely sure. I doubt that Huxley belived that stars are somehow biological. That we can talk about change as a general principle doesn’t render everything organic, does it? Nor does it imply that all kinds of changes are the same. Do you have proof that Huxley went as far as to claim any such thing?

    Of course not.
    However you are choosing to make this rhetorical question relevant (and I have my own ideas) I’ll wait until you make a point out of it before I respond.

    In Darwinian evolution, the properties inherited are fixed at conception, which is not the case with Goethian and Lamarckian evolution. So it’s all a question about, where you put the focus.

    Read my previous post on what mattered to the proponents in terms of what was accepted or rejected.
    As well, if you look into Darwin further you will find, as usual, he was quite undecided about his theory of pangenesis and spent as much time embracing Lamarckism and acquired traits through use and disuse.

    The “weeding out the defectives” is Blythism pure and simple, isn’t it?

    Natural selection’s ever vigilant weeding out of every trait the least bit deleterious and the progressive influence on the population toward improvement is Darwinism.

    Thanks for the suggestion – and I have already read Denyse’s review. My review of her review can be found here: Denyse O’Leary and Darwinian Fairy Tales.

    I think you’d get much more out of the book than you seem to have from Denyse’s review.
    We can discuss its points later if we have time and interest.

    But I don’t think that the metaphysics was all that important to Darwin.

    I think you are entirely mistaken.

    Have a great day.

  99. Hi Charlie,

    You quote Darwin saying:

    Yet he (man) might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities.Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realized until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known.

    Now, here Darwin suggests that biological inheritance might not only apply to physical characteristics but also to intellectual and moral qualities. From this he concludes that it be better for people not to marry (and we all know that you cannot beget children outside marriage ;-)), if they are “in any marked degree inferior in body or mind”. This is eugenics, but it doesn’t imply any killing of of the “unfit”, only that some people for the common good should refrain from having children.

    It may be debated to what extent intellectual and moral qualities are biologically inherited, and even which standard should be used. But was this at all anything new?

    In Genesis 38 we have the story about Judah, his three sons and Tamar. Judah finds a wife, Tamar, for his eldest son, Er. However, Er is wicked in the eyes of God, so God kills Er. This brings the levirate marriage into play; but notice the idea here: wicked people should not marry – because they’ll beget wicked children.

    The idea of everything being inheritable wasn’t Darwin’s invention, but a very old idea. Also notice that the OT is very much against mixed marriages, and for the same reason. Even religion is inheritable!

    Notice Deuteronomy 23, which list the number of generations it takes before people of different etnicities can appear in the assembly. For Ammonites and Moabites the number is ten generations, for Edomites and Egyptians it is three generations. To appear in the assembly means also means to have civil rights, not to be counted as a foreigner. Among the civil rights would be the right to marry a native. Mentioning the word ‘native’, it is derived from a lation word meaning ‘(to) be born’; that is, nationality is something you are born with. Therefore you are also born with the culture of your nationality. That’s simply the way things were seen back then – and to some extent today by many people.

    Eugenics have existed as far back as we have historical records, it’s not something invented in the mid 19th century.

    You quote BarryA:

    The evidence is overwhelming that the moral and intellectual climate of the early to mid 20th Century was heavily influenced by Darwin and his intellectual progeny. There is even a name for the phenomenon: Social Darwinism. It is utterly absurd to suggest that Social Darwinism did not exist, and it is just as absurd to suggest that there is no connection between that phenomenon and the holocaust, the gulag, the cultural revolution, and the killing fields.

    Few would deny there was something that was termed “social Darwinism” – but by its very name, it must have been something different from Darwinism, right? The term was applied to Herbert Spencer’s theory, which predated Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

    As for the rest of the quote, it’s too simplistic to blame it on social Darwinism, unless that term be very broadly defined. And even if we do, what is BarryA actually implying? Spencer’s theory was a defense for capitalism, Stalin was a Marxist. How can laissez faire capitalism and forced collectivization be brought to mean the same thing?

    As for the holocaust, yes, it did rely on the idea that Jews, who had no nation on their own, couldn’t be nationalists and therefore (assuming views towards nationalism to be inheritable) not good for German nationalism. It has nothing dorectly to do with social Darwinism, but with the idea that everything is inheritable, and that’a an age-old idea. Also, some of the fiercest proponents of that idea are conservative Christians!

    You quote the OP

    To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd. Read Richard Weikart’s FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY (go here).

    Yes, but what is this thing called ‘Darwinism’? Isn’t it an invention of David Stove?

    You write:

    You are still concerned that the theory was somehow unique to Darwin. My points have been twofold: 1) the empirical, observed, scientific theories of variation and selection, even radiation of species, did not originate with Darwin. He was not original in this. 2) The OP talks about the line going from Darwin to Hitler. The very fact that it was called Social Darwinism and not Blythism or Wallacism, that its proponents cited Darwin, that it was Darwin’s version (even as it separated from Wallace’s) that was promoted and sold to the scientific mainstream, backs up that claim.

    As for your point 1: yes, it’s true that Darwin drew upon ideas that already existed, but he had a few twists to things. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin was skeptical about inheritance of aquired characteristics – though as you notice, he wasn’t completely clear about this; but “Darwinian evolution” has come to mean no aquired characteristics are inherited.

    As for your point 2: what’s in a name? What is it these people want to prove? That’s where I am confused. If we prove that the bacterial flagellum could have evolved by natural means, how does that relate to e.g. the holocaust? I’m simply trying to figure out, what it’s all about. This is an ID site, so I suppose that threads have some relation to ID. An intelligent designer could easily have designed us to kill each other, so how does ID fare better than social Darwinism?

    Again, whatever may or may not be true of Darwin has no effect on the truthfulness of any thjeories of evolution.

    Fully agreed – and I wish more people would realize this.

    As I’ve shown, however, the ideas that were key were known by even those closest supporters as entailing Darwinism, and it was with Darwin as the key figure that it was promoted to the scientific community as well as the public.

    Charlie, what is this here thing called “Darwinism”? Is it sociobiology, biological reductionism, evolutionary psychology, or what? To me, the word “Darwinism” doesn’t really mean anything.

    You write:

    Natural selection’s ever vigilant weeding out of every trait the least bit deleterious and the progressive influence on the population toward improvement is Darwinism.

    Hurray!!! Here we get something approaching a definition. Now, how many people believe in this theory? It’s anyway easy to prove false (think about sicle cells). Also, if natural selection can do it, why bother with eugenics? That’s intelligent design, isn’t it?

    You write (about Stove’s Fairytales):

    I think you’d get much more out of the book than you seem to have from Denyse’s review.

    You might be right here :-) But then maybe Denyse should have written a review, that would have made me more interested in David Stove? Anyway, I did some research about David Stove, and apparently he was an evolutionist, and not only that: he accepted racism and that women are intellectually inferior to men. No, that’s really to guy to have as your role model, isn’t he?

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

  100. Hi Poul,
    So at least we’re getting somewhere.
    Now as well as coming off your initial point – “let’s call it Blythism” – I see you’ve also come around here, from saying:

    My case is that we cannot in particular blame Charles Darwin for something such as “social Darwinism”. Even to the extent that Darwin extended biological evolution to human culture (which I fail to see that he did) to admitting

    From this he concludes that it be better for people not to marry (and we all know that you cannot beget children outside marriage ), if they are “in any marked degree inferior in body or mind”. This is eugenics, but it doesn’t imply any killing of of the “unfit”, only that some people for the common good should refrain from having children.

    I will stop here and join you in saying that Darwin never advocated killing people to further reflect evolutionary principles. I know for a fact that Huxley was against it (for the reason that man is not yet smart enough to determine who is ‘fittest’).

    Even though you are surrendering the points you had chosen previously to argue, you also continue to try to argue against a point I’m not making:

    It may be debated to what extent intellectual and moral qualities are biologically inherited, and even which standard should be used. But was this at all anything new?

    As I’ve said before, very little about Darwin’s offering was new, and I’ll go with the quote I presented before stating that that which was new was wrong.

    But now that we’re now agreed that Darwin did, in fact, extend his ideas of biology to human culture and suggest that man breed accordingly you want to move your defence of Darwin to “the Old Testament said it first”.
    However, I’m going to save myself the time of reading and interpreting the Biblical passages you’ve supplied as that is a red herring.
    As I’ve said repeatedly, the idea of heritability of traits did not originate with Darwin, but the popularization andacceptance of it centered around him and the implications of his version. Once again, it was not called Social Darwinism for nothing. When Hitler learned evolution in school in Austria and chose it over Biblical creation he was learning Darwin’s theory, promoted to the scientific community and popularized by Haeckel. It wasn’t Paley’s or Blyth’s nor even Deuteronomy’s version of inheritance that caught the attention of evolutionists, but Darwin’s. It was Darwin’s that caught on with popularizers like Haeckel because of the metaphysical implications and the support it lent a worldview. Darwinism is/was different, and it was in those differences that it is/was wrong.

    Few would deny there was something that was termed “social Darwinism” – but by its very name, it must have been something different from Darwinism, right?

    I don’t know. Is a ‘brick’ house different from a house? Is natural selection different from selection? What we do know is that Darwin advocated for the application of his principles as social policy, as did his supporters, with whom he agreed, as did his cousin, whom he quoted favourably on the issue, as did his son, who felt he was doing what his father would have wanted him to do with the theory – I bet he had a pretty good idea what that was. Don’t forget that when Haeckel wrote about his application of biology to human society Darwin and Huxley said he was merely going boldly where the theory logically demanded.

    As for the rest of the quote, it’s too simplistic to blame it on social Darwinism, unless that term be very broadly defined.

    Please reread the thread and the OP, the point is not that social Darwinism, nor, Darwinism, nor Darwin himself, shoulder the blame, but that there is a line which connects them, and that it is not insignificant.
    Note as well that this was not your complaint, nor the point I defended against. Your complaint is that that line suggests that we should refer to Blyth rather than Darwin. Now you want us to refer all the way back to Moses as well. Whichever deeper connection you’d like to make (and which we could then argue on its merits) , why not admit that one vital connection is the one pointed to by Dembski and BarryA, ie. ‘Darwin’?

    Yes, but what is this thing called ‘Darwinism’? Isn’t it an invention of David Stove?

    I think not. As I mentioned earlier, the first person I’ve read who referred to Darwinism was Haeckel. And we know what he made of the theory, and we know that Darwin approved of, learned from, and agreed with Haeckel.

    As for your point 1: yes, it’s true that Darwin drew upon ideas that already existed, but he had a few twists to things. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin was skeptical about inheritance of aquired characteristics – though as you notice, he wasn’t completely clear about this

    If by “not clear” you mean purposefully vague and broad, yes, Darwin was very often not clear. He was certainly clear enough, however, to write a chapter on it in his seminal work:


    From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be no doubt that use in our domestic animals has strengthened and enlarged certain parts, and disuse diminished them; and that such modifications are inherited.

    Then you say:

    but “Darwinian evolution” has come to mean no aquired characteristics are inherited.

    First, I don’t know what you want to debate this point for and how it has anything to do with whether or not a significant line can be drawn from Darwin to Hitler. But even though I am sure you are very well informed on evolution, you seem to have missed a little on the point of acquired traits; Darwin never was able to get away from Lamarckian concepts and they are, in a modified version, on the comeback trail today.

    Charlie, what is this here thing called “Darwinism”? Is it sociobiology, biological reductionism, evolutionary psychology, or what? To me, the word “Darwinism” doesn’t really mean anything.

    If the word means nothing to you I would wonder why you are arguing about its use. If it means something to the people who are (or were) using it and to whom they are communicating then it serves its purpose.

    I said:

    Natural selection’s ever vigilant weeding out of every trait the least bit deleterious and the progressive influence on the population toward improvement is Darwinism.

    And you replied:

    Hurray!!! Here we get something approaching a definition. Now, how many people believe in this theory? It’s anyway easy to prove false (think about sicle cells). Also, if natural selection can do it, why bother with eugenics? That’s intelligent design, isn’t it?

    Again, you are echoing Stove. This is exactly his point in challenging the theory and its acceptance, and yet, has nothing to do with the subject at hand. I am loathe to get into Darwin’s and Huxley’s rationalizations on this subject as it is really a distraction to the thread which you have chosen to debate.

    As for your point 2: what’s in a name? What is it these people want to prove? That’s where I am confused. If we prove that the bacterial flagellum could have evolved by natural means, how does that relate to e.g. the holocaust? I’m simply trying to figure out, what it’s all about. This is an ID site, so I suppose that threads have some relation to ID. An intelligent designer could easily have designed us to kill each other, so how does ID fare better than social Darwinism?

    You ask big questions, but they relate very little to what we have discussed.
    You said “let’s call it Blythism” – I showed you that it wasn’t Blythism.
    You said “I haven’t seen where Darwin suggested we apply biology to human culture” – I showed you where he did.
    You said “perhaps Haeckel and Huxley read him wrong” – I showed you where he approved of their reading and their conclusions.
    You say “let’s not draw the line to Darwin, but let’s draw it through him to everything that preceded him”. I say “go ahead, but don’t forget to stop and admit, on your way through, that the OP and BarryA’s points then are proven valid by your tour”.

    On your final point I am amused at the, let’s call it “irony”, of your making this statement:

    Anyway, I did some research about David Stove, and apparently he was an evolutionist, and not only that: he accepted racism and that women are intellectually inferior to men. No, that’s really to guy to have as your role model, isn’t he?

    in a thread where Darwin’s supporters have made sure to point out that a person’s characteristics or opinions don’t impact the validity of his work. For instance, not so very long ago you had said

    What I am targetting is that many people attack Darwin’s person to discredit the theory of evolution.

    I never said anyone should take Stove as a role model, just like I never accused people who believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution of taking him for a role model.
    Funny how they claim that to attack Darwin as though he is the deity of evolution is to commit the genetic fallacy or ad hominem, and yet they spend so much time defending his character.

    I haven’t researched Stove’s background or personality but have read the book that I mentioned and have weighed the ideas he presents on their merits. However, since you also warned us about arguing against a position a person never took ( or words he never wrote) I would suggest you read Stove in context before worrying about whether or not such claims are valid.I’m sorry that Denyse’s review didn’t sell you on the book – but then, maybe I was wrong and it isn’t up your alley.

  101. I don’t think it’s my error all the time here – I think the formatting is weird.
    In my first quote of you, PWE, the words “to admitting” belong outside of the quoted sections as a link.

    Later.

  102. This one was my fault.
    I made a formatting error and lost part of my reference to Darwin on acquired traits.

    From Origins:

    Chapter V. Laws of Variation
    Effects of the increased use and disuse of parts, as controlled by Natural Selection

    From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be no doubt that use in our domestic animals has strengthened and enlarged certain parts, and disuse diminished them; and that such modifications are inherited.

  103. Hi Charlie,

    Now as well as coming off your initial point – “let’s call it Blythism” – I see you’ve also come around here, from saying:

    Now, now, not so fast :-)

    My suggestion “let’s call it Blythism” was due to claims that Darwin stole his ideas from the creationist Blyth, and that the creationists that make this claim don’t realize that, if they are right, there is no reason for creationists to be anti-Darwinists.

    My case is that we cannot in particular blame Charles Darwin for something such as “social Darwinism”. Even to the extent that Darwin extended biological evolution to human culture (which I fail to see that he did) to admitting

    From this he concludes that it be better for people not to marry (and we all know that you cannot beget children outside marriage ), if they are “in any marked degree inferior in body or mind”. This is eugenics, but it doesn’t imply any killing of of the “unfit”, only that some people for the common good should refrain from having children.

    No, no. Because Darwin suggests that people voluntarily refrain from having children; there is nothing about the strong killing the weak or anything. Darwin’s concern is how to improve society, and he doesn’t suggest laissez fair capitalism or anything like that. That is; Darwin does not claim that “struggle for survival” should be the law in society – he rather wants to avoid that.

    You write:

    I will stop here and join you in saying that Darwin never advocated killing people to further reflect evolutionary principles. I know for a fact that Huxley was against it (for the reason that man is not yet smart enough to determine who is ‘fittest’).

    So you agree that neither Darwin nor Huxley would have approved of Nazi methods to improve the German race? If you do agree, then the line from Darwin to Hitler shouldn’t seem to be all that straight to you, should it?

    As I’ve said before, very little about Darwin’s offering was new, and I’ll go with the quote I presented before stating that that which was new was wrong.

    According to prof. Haughton, remember? Anyway, what exactly was new in Darwin’s (and Wallace’s) theory? Bits and pieces could be fould elsewhere, so it would be the composition, wouldn’t it? The gathering together and combining the results of others.

    But now that we’re now agreed that Darwin did, in fact, extend his ideas of biology to human culture and suggest that man breed accordingly you want to move your defence of Darwin to “the Old Testament said it first”.

    No, no, again :-) Darwin did not extent natural selection to human culture. If he had done that, no eugenics would be needed. My reference to the OT was to point out that eugenics there was a lot more like, what the Nazis did.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, the idea of heritability of traits did not originate with Darwin, but the popularization and acceptance of it centered around him and the implications of his version. Once again, it was not called Social Darwinism for nothing.

    The popularization and acceptance of the idea of heritability of traits is to be found as far back as we have records, so nothing new there. What might have been new with Darwin was that it wasn’t necessary to kill the “unfit” or use severe punishments or anything else Old Testament-like. Simply suggesting that people with heritable diseases refrain from marrying until more was known about how inheritance worked.

    It was Darwin’s that caught on with popularizers like Haeckel because of the metaphysical implications and the support it lent a worldview. Darwinism is/was different, and it was in those differences that it is/was wrong.

    Different by saying that you didn’t have to kill people?

    Think about the Bible – it’s a book about punishments for bad behavior. Everything we humans do is for some reason wrong, and we have to be punished for it, even killed.

    I don’t know. Is a ‘brick’ house different from a house? Is natural selection different from selection?

    A brick house is certainly somewhat different from a block house, and natural selection is certainly different from artificial selction.

    Please reread the thread and the OP, the point is not that social Darwinism, nor, Darwinism, nor Darwin himself, shoulder the blame, but that there is a line which connects them, and that it is not insignificant.

    I have reread the OP, and possibly I will comment on it more directly next week. Sure there is a line between Darwin and Hitler. But there is also a line between Martin Luther and Hitler; but for some reason that line is less emphasized. There is even a much shorter line from the Austrian Christian Socialists to Hitler. We need not go all that far to find inspiration.

    Note as well that this was not your complaint, nor the point I defended against. Your complaint is that that line suggests that we should refer to Blyth rather than Darwin. Now you want us to refer all the way back to Moses as well. Whichever deeper connection you’d like to make (and which we could then argue on its merits) , why not admit that one vital connection is the one pointed to by Dembski and BarryA, ie. ‘Darwin’?

    As said, I agree there is a connection; but Darwin himself appears to actually have played very little role, and that’s why I find Weikart’s title “From Darwin to Hitler” misleading. Weikart’s claim is that “No Darwin, No Hitler” as if Darwin somehow managed to completely change politics in central Europe. Shouldn’t we look for the causes somewhat closer to where things happened?

    You quote Darwin:

    From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be no doubt that use in our domestic animals has strengthened and enlarged certain parts, and disuse diminished them; and that such modifications are inherited.

    Darwin here writes “I think there can be no doubt”. Does that sound as a statement of a person that is fully convinced?

    First, I don’t know what you want to debate this point for and how it has anything to do with whether or not a significant line can be drawn from Darwin to Hitler.

    My point is to say that the word “Darwinism” may mean different things to different people.

    But even though I am sure you are very well informed on evolution, you seem to have missed a little on the point of acquired traits; Darwin never was able to get away from Lamarckian concepts and they are, in a modified version, on the comeback trail today.

    It’s true that Darwin never was able to get away from Lamarckian concepts; but shouldn’t that encourage us to be even more Darwinian than Darwin? And, yes, Lamarckian concepts appear to be on the comeback trail for some reason today. Is Darwin to blame for that?

    If the word means nothing to you I would wonder why you are arguing about its use. If it means something to the people who are (or were) using it and to whom they are communicating then it serves its purpose.

    Quite correct; but then maybe the se people should only use it in private conversations? This blog is public, so it would be advised to use words that are understandable to the general public, or at least clearly define, what a certain keyword means. I am not so sure “Darwinism” really means anything else than “Whatever we for some reason don’t like”.

    Again, you are echoing Stove. This is exactly his point in challenging the theory and its acceptance, and yet, has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

    Why not? How come that “Darwinism” has come to mean “artificial selection”? Doesn’t that appear odd to you?

    You say “let’s not draw the line to Darwin, but let’s draw it through him to everything that preceded him”. I say “go ahead, but don’t forget to stop and admit, on your way through, that the OP and BarryA’s points then are proven valid by your tour”.

    Sorry Charlie; but I am still looking for exactly, where Darwin fits into this. The OP lists selected quotes from evolutionists, including Charles Darwin. I suppose that you know that quote-mining can be used to prove just about anything, and of course that statements of individuals only tell us, what those individuals might have thought.

    Let’s just have a look at this bit from the OP:

    According to Richard Dawkins “the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design.” Moreover, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
    —Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986

    This is, what Richard Dawkins means, and what’s actually wrong with it? For Dawkins “the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design”; how does that relate to the holocaust, which was designed? For Dawkins “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”. How does that relate to the holocaust considering that many German intellectuals were Jews?

    I fail to see those connections. Sure, I cannot claim that you, BarryA, William Dembski, Denyse O’Leary and many more cannot see the connections; but that puts these people into some kind of esoteric cult that manages to see things that no-one else can see, a cult that induces certain words with magic properties. Is the ID movement a cabbalistic cult?

    in a thread where Darwin’s supporters have made sure to point out that a person’s characteristics or opinions don’t impact the validity of his work.

    My point, as I am sure you know, was that, if we are to slander Darwin and Darwinists, why stop with them? Who is so clean as to throw the first stone?

    However, since you also warned us about arguing against a position a person never took ( or words he never wrote) I would suggest you read Stove in context before worrying about whether or not such claims are valid.

    That’s sound advice, and I have actually started reading some of his material. However, from what I know by now, I’d say that he appears to be somewhat overestimated by some people :-)

    I’m sorry that Denyse’s review didn’t sell you on the book – but then, maybe I was wrong and it isn’t up your alley.

    Don’t worry :-) I agree with Stove that we cannot reduce sociology and psychology to biology.

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

  104. Hi Poul,
    Looks like we’re not getting as far as I’d previously estimated.
    Now, if we continue to discuss this it appears as though I may only have to quote myself for many of my responses, as you are repeating your protests but not offering any reason to accept them.
    You’ve most recently said:

    My suggestion “let’s call it Blythism” was due to claims that Darwin stole his ideas from the creationist Blyth, and that the creationists that make this claim don’t realize that, if they are right, there is no reason for creationists to be anti-Darwinists.

    And I’m satisfied that my prior statement still applies:

    When Hitler learned evolution in school in Austria and chose it over Biblical creation he was learning Darwin’s theory, promoted to the scientific community and popularized by Haeckel. It wasn’t Paley’s or Blyth’s nor even Deuteronomy’s version of inheritance that caught the attention of evolutionists, but Darwin’s. It was Darwin’s that caught on with popularizers like Haeckel because of the metaphysical implications and the support it lent a world view. Darwinism is/was different, and it was in those differences that it is/was wrong.

    PWE:

    Because Darwin suggests that people voluntarily refrain from having children; there is nothing about the strong killing the weak or anything. Darwin’s concern is how to improve society, and he doesn’t suggest laissez fair capitalism or anything like that. That is; Darwin does not claim that “struggle for survival” should be the law in society – he rather wants to avoid that.

    Here’s Darwin on the subject from the conclusion toDescent…:

    Man scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, cattle, and dogs before he matches them; but when he comes to his own marriage he rarely, or never, takes any such care. He is impelled by nearly the same motives as the lower animals, when they are left to their own free choice, though he is in so far superior to them that he highly values mental charms and virtues. On the other hand he is strongly attracted by mere wealth or rank. Yet he might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities. Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end. When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man. The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand, as Mr. Galton has remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society. Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring. Important as the struggle for existence has been and even still is, yet as far as the highest part of man’s nature is concerned there are other agencies more important. For the moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, the reasoning powers, instruction, religion, &c., than through natural selection; though to this latter agency may be safely attributed the social instincts, which afforded the basis for the development of the moral sense.

    Having picked up on your style since your first comment I don’t expect you to conclude with me on this, so this reading is primarily for those more apt to consider it, but I think it is worth making here.

    From the beginning Darwin places man as a breeding animal, different in degree but not in kind. He discusses with favour selectively breeding for improved traits, first in man’s animals and then with man himself. He adds the imperative that man ought not breed, in an Utopia (the ideal situation) when possessing qualities in any way inferior, but laments that such will not be the case (thus a negative) until biology is better understood. Again, a demonstration that biology ought to be applied to human culture. Again, “everyone does good service, who aids toward this end”, demonstrates that Darwin knows fully that the situation which will result in the unfit not breeding will be to the positive.
    Next he moves his application of biology (such as it was) to lawmaking and beyond merely culture -”When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man. “
    The disingenuous reader will pretend to have forgotten the sentences before this and claim that Darwin is merely suggesting that lawmakers will “ascertain”, but will not act. But Darwin has already told us what the result of such searchers will be – we will find out that the unfit should not breed. It will be the job of these lawmakers, in doing, as Darwin just said, “good service” to aid toward this end, this Utopia.
    He further stresses this idea when he says “The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. “
    It is a problem, and of course, problems are those things which we ought solve. To advance mankind toward this Utopia the unfit must refrain from breeding children into poverty, with the additional admonition that those in poverty will then exasperate the problem by continuing marrying and breeding.
    Next Darwin moves reflecting on what his cousin, Francis Galton, one of those inspired by Darwin and one of the eugenics leaders and promoter of the idea of racial superiority, had to say on the subject. His concern being that the superior will actually reproduce at a lesser rate and be supplanted by the over breeding inferior members of society. This, of course, is to be avoided by those doing good service to aid the advancement of man’s welfare by applying the laws of inheritance.
    Man achieved his development through the struggle for survival and “and if he is to advance still higher ((which Darwin has said he should)), it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle”.
    Without such a struggle the gifted will not advance in numbers over the unfit ((which would be detrimental to man’s welfare)).
    And this struggle, “though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.” No laws, or customs, should exist which favour the breeding of the unfit over the more fit. Society should be set up in such a way ((read Huxley as well on his cosmic power principles and the gardener analogy)) that its laws and customs ensure the propagation of the gifted over those less so.
    “Our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means” as this ensures that society be “subject to a severe struggle” which will, in turn demand that “the more gifted men would … be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted.”
    Darwin obscures his message a little at the end ((as is his customary wont)), saying that more important than the struggle for existence is the effect of reason, religion, habit etc. But, the final salvo, these very results are, themselves, subject to natural selection – the struggle for existence.
    This is, of course, a direct refutation of your claim, Poul, that ((although your first seven words are correct))

    Darwin’s concern is how to improve society, and he doesn’t suggest laissez fair capitalism or anything like that. That is; Darwin does not claim that “struggle for survival” should be the law in society – he rather wants to avoid that.

    I’m going to break this response here for length considerations.

  105. Continuing on:

    So you agree that neither Darwin nor Huxley would have approved of Nazi methods to improve the German race? If you do agree, then the line from Darwin to Hitler shouldn’t seem to be all that straight to you, should it?

    Nobody said the line was straight. Dr. Dembski said “to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd.”

    PWE:

    No, no, again Darwin did not extent natural selection to human culture.

    As demonstrated, yes he did.

    If he had done that, no eugenics would be needed.

    Again, your refutation of Darwin’s theory. Do read Stove.
    By the way, although the particular word “eugenics” has come to mean the killing of the less fit in the popular vernacular, and although Huxley rejected the term and selected his own ((which term I’ve forgotten at the moment, I believe it is somehting like “eubiology”)) all it means is to ensure proper breeding. In most applications this has meant forced sterilizations and segregation ((the preferred method in both America and NAzi Germany)) of the undesirables.

    PWE:

    The popularization and acceptance of the idea of heritability of traits is to be found as far back as we have records, so nothing new there. What might have been new with Darwin was that it wasn’t necessary to kill the “unfit” or use severe punishments or anything else Old Testament-like. Simply suggesting that people with heritable diseases refrain from marrying until more was known about how inheritance worked.

    See my first quote of myself in this comment.

    Me:

    It was Darwin’s that caught on with popularizers like Haeckel because of the metaphysical implications and the support it lent a world view. Darwinism is/was different, and it was in those differences that it is/was wrong.

    PWE:

    Different by saying that you didn’t have to kill people?

    This is an egregious and flagrant out-of-context quotation. Simply bad form.
    PWE:

    Think about the Bible – it’s a book about punishments for bad behavior.

    The fascination of Darwin-defenders with religion and the Bible is evident. Why is it always a religious issue?

    Me:

    I don’t know. Is a ‘brick’ house different from a house? Is natural selection different from selection?

    PWE:

    A brick house is certainly somewhat different from a block house, and natural selection is certainly different from artificial selection.

    A brick house is a house and natural selection is selection. It follows that calling something Social Darwinism does not make it different from Darwinism. Social Darwinism was/is the theory that society was structured in such a way as to impede the proper Darwinian evolution of man and that measures should be taken to correct this. As seen from Descent of Man this was exactly Darwin’s position, and was exactly Darwinism.

    Sure there is a line between Darwin and Hitler. But there is also a line between Martin Luther and Hitler; but for some reason that line is less emphasized. There is even a much shorter line from the Austrian Christian Socialists to Hitler. We need not go all that far to find inspiration.

    So not only do we now know that social Blythism is not the proper term for social Darwinism, but we also see that you admit the line from Darwin to Hitler. It’s a little hard now to see what your complaints in this thread involve, and what end your participation has been toward.

    Weikart’s claim is that “No Darwin, No Hitler” as if Darwin somehow managed to completely change politics in central Europe. Shouldn’t we look for the causes somewhat closer to where things happened?

    You haven’t read Weikart.

    Darwin here writes “I think there can be no doubt”. Does that sound as a statement of a person that is fully convinced?

    Nor, apparently, Darwin. This is all you get from Darwin “perhaps”, “maybe”, “I can well imagine”.
    Yes “I think there can be no doubt” is Darwin convinced. “There can be no doubt”=”it is absolutely true”. “I think” = “I am convinced”.

    It’s true that Darwin never was able to get away from Lamarckian concepts; but shouldn’t that encourage us to be even more Darwinian than Darwin? And, yes, Lamarckian concepts appear to be on the comeback trail for some reason today. Is Darwin to blame for that?

    Why this fascination with ‘blame’?
    The point was that, for whatever reason you decided to inform me that Darwinian evolution did not allow for traits acquired by the adult form to be inherited, you were mistaken. Throughout both Origins… and Descent … he referred to and relied upon this concept. It was in subsequent years that Darwin’s defenders tried to purge the record as Lamarckism became so discredited.
    That there is a theory building that somatic changes may, in fact, be heritable after all, is not a comment on Darwin or Lamarck ((although the establishment self-consciously blinks at calling it neo-Lamarckism)), nor is it a blight on the theory.

    Quite correct; but then maybe the se people should only use it in private conversations? This blog is public, so it would be advised to use words that are understandable to the general public, or at least clearly define, what a certain keyword means. I am not so sure “Darwinism” really means anything else than “Whatever we for some reason don’t like”.

    ‘Darwinism’ is very much understandable to the general public. It is only those ‘science defenders’ who want to pretend that anyone who uses it is so ignorant as to warrant their outright dismissal.
    If you want to comment on its use but don’t know what it means on this blog you should acquaint yourself.

    A short exchange:
    Me:

    Natural selection’s ever vigilant weeding out of every trait the least bit deleterious and the progressive influence on the population toward improvement is Darwinism.

    PWE:Hurray!!! Here we get something approaching a definition. Now, how many people believe in this theory? It’s anyway easy to prove false (think about sicle cells). Also, if natural selection can do it, why bother with eugenics? That’s intelligent design, isn’t it?

    Me:Again, you are echoing Stove. This is exactly his point in challenging the theory and its acceptance, and yet, has nothing to do with the subject at hand. I am loathe to get into Darwin’s and Huxley’s rationalizations on this subject as it is really a distraction to the thread which you have chosen to debate.

    PWE:Why not? How come that “Darwinism” has come to mean “artificial selection”? Doesn’t that appear odd to you?

    Your thoughts do not follow the line of reasoning.
    You said that “weeding out the defectives” is Blythism pure and simple, isn’t it?” I demonstrated how, in this regard, Darwinism is different. You attempted to refute Darwin by demonstrating that not all deleterious traits are effectively removed, but of course, he covered his own bases on that issue as well.
    Then you moved to eugenics and demonstrated how Darwinism is refuted by those who believe natural selection has been thwarted – Stove’s point once again ((or at least one of them)).
    As I said, you have to venture more deeply into Huxley to find where the theory stood on man as a natural force thwarting the cosmic force. It is not so clear a line between ‘natural and ‘artificial’.
    And finally, artificial selection and natural selection are analogous anyway, otherwise there is no Origins… and no Darwinism.

    My point, as I am sure you know, was that, if we are to slander Darwin and Darwinists, why stop with them? Who is so clean as to throw the first stone?

    The list of quotes you’ve strung together do not make a sensible thread to me. I can’t follow what you are demonstrating nor where you think there has been a slander.
    You have done nothing yet to demonstrate that any stones have been thrown unjustly, and I have repeatedly demonstrated that the OP was correct, including here

    The outrage which says that the Nazi racial theory is a vulgarization of Darwinism is simply unmerited.

  106. This is part three of this response. It appears the filter is mulling over lart two.

    By the way, if you are not satisifed with the connection between Darwin and the Nazi eugenics movement through Huxley and Haeckel, you can trace it this way, through America.
    The American eugenics movement

    came into being primarily through the efforts of Charles Benedict Davenport, a biologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard University. While at Harvard as an instructor in the 1890s, Davenport became familiar with the early eugenicist writings of two Englishmen, the independently wealthy Francis Galton and his protégé Karl Pearson.

    In proposing the term eugenics, Galton had written, “We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving the stock to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had.”

    Galton believed that black people were entirely inferior to the white races and that Jews were capable only of “parasitism” upon the civilized nations.

    Karl Pearson, Galton’s chief disciple, shared his racial and anti-Semitic beliefs. For example, in 1925, Pearson wrote “The Problem of Alien Immigration into Great Britain, Illustrated by an Examination of Russian and Polish Jewish Children,” which argued against the admission of Jewish immigrants into England.

    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=c.....ent=safari

    We know who Galton’s main influence was, his cousin Charles Darwin, and that Galton likewise influenced Darwin.

    But what does this have to do with the Nazi movement?

    Hitler’s debt to America

    The Nazis’ extermination programme was carried out in the name of eugenics – but they were by no means the only advocates of racial purification. In this extract from his extraordinary new book, Edwin Black describes how Adolf Hitler’s race hatred was underpinned by the work of American eugenicists

    Hitler proudly told his comrades how closely he followed American eugenic legislation. “Now that we know the laws of heredity,” he told a fellow Nazi, “it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=c.....ent=safari

    Cheers.

  107. Hi Charlie,

    Now, if we continue to discuss this it appears as though I may only have to quote myself for many of my responses, as you are repeating your protests but not offering any reason to accept them.

    Well, maybe we simply have different viewing angles and not really seeing the same things?

    You quote “The Descent of Man”:

    … For the moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, the reasoning powers, instruction, religion, &c., than through natural selection; though to this latter agency may be safely attributed the social instincts, which afforded the basis for the development of the moral sense.

    and write:

    From the beginning Darwin places man as a breeding animal, different in degree but not in kind. He discusses with favour selectively breeding for improved traits, first in man’s animals and then with man himself. He adds the imperative that man ought not breed, in an Utopia (the ideal situation) when possessing qualities in any way inferior, but laments that such will not be the case (thus a negative) until biology is better understood. Again, a demonstration that biology ought to be applied to human culture.

    I am not sure you are reading Darwin correct, I am afraid. Please notice the part from DoM quoted above. Darwin does claim that social instincts exist (such as sympathy); but he certainly doesn’t claim that culture is of no importance.

    You proceed:

    Again, “everyone does good service, who aids toward this end”, demonstrates that Darwin knows fully that the situation which will result in the unfit not breeding will be to the positive.
    Next he moves his application of biology (such as it was) to lawmaking and beyond merely culture -”When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man. “

    Please notice that Darwin is here merely mentioning consanguineous marriages, which even the Old Testament forbids.

    You proceed:

    The disingenuous reader will pretend to have forgotten the sentences before this and claim that Darwin is merely suggesting that lawmakers will “ascertain”, but will not act. But Darwin has already told us what the result of such searchers will be – we will find out that the unfit should not breed. It will be the job of these lawmakers, in doing, as Darwin just said, “good service” to aid toward this end, this Utopia.

    Making laws concerning consagineous marriages – I think most countries had such laws even before Charles Darwin (royalty usually excepted).

    You continue:

    He further stresses this idea when he says “The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. “
    It is a problem, and of course, problems are those things which we ought solve. To advance mankind toward this Utopia the unfit must refrain from breeding children into poverty, with the additional admonition that those in poverty will then exasperate the problem by continuing marrying and breeding.

    Sure, Darwin goes wrong here. He suggests that poor people should abstain from marriage rather than suggest social reforms improving life for the poor. But as far as I know this wasn’t what the Nazis thought – they sold out of German gold reserves to finance building projects that reduced the high unemployment (well, that was in the beginning).

    You proceed:

    Next Darwin moves reflecting on what his cousin, Francis Galton, one of those inspired by Darwin and one of the eugenics leaders and promoter of the idea of racial superiority, had to say on the subject. His concern being that the superior will actually reproduce at a lesser rate and be supplanted by the over breeding inferior members of society. This, of course, is to be avoided by those doing good service to aid the advancement of man’s welfare by applying the laws of inheritance.
    Man achieved his development through the struggle for survival and “and if he is to advance still higher ((which Darwin has said he should)), it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle”.
    Without such a struggle the gifted will not advance in numbers over the unfit ((which would be detrimental to man’s welfare)).

    Not as simple as that. Galton was of the opinion that natural selection wasn’t sufficiebt for the improvement of popular health. Just as Darwin he thought that culture – e.g. education – were better means.

    As for the rest of your post, please remember Darwin’s dependency on Malthus. Say we have a rapidly increasing population, but not an equivalently rapid increase in food production, what then? A struggle for survival will result. Contrary to how you read Darwin, this is actually not something that he found ideal, and that’s why he is concerned with eugenics.

    In your second post you write:

    By the way, although the particular word “eugenics” has come to mean the killing of the less fit in the popular vernacular, and although Huxley rejected the term and selected his own ((which term I’ve forgotten at the moment, I believe it is somehting like “eubiology”)) all it means is to ensure proper breeding. In most applications this has meant forced sterilizations and segregation ((the preferred method in both America and NAzi Germany)) of the undesirables.

    Yes, it has – but if that wasn’t, what Darwin suggested, why is Darwin to blame? Why not search the causes, where the effects are?

    You ask:

    The fascination of Darwin-defenders with religion and the Bible is evident. Why is it always a religious issue?

    Because anti-Darwinists claim that if you accept the theory of evolution, you either already are an atheist or you will evolve into one, and that everything bad comes from atheism, while everything good comes from theism.

    You write:

    A brick house is a house and natural selection is selection. It follows that calling something Social Darwinism does not make it different from Darwinism. Social Darwinism was/is the theory that society was structured in such a way as to impede the proper Darwinian evolution of man and that measures should be taken to correct this. As seen from Descent of Man this was exactly Darwin’s position, and was exactly Darwinism.

    I beg to disagree :-)

    You write:

    So not only do we now know that social Blythism is not the proper term for social Darwinism, but we also see that you admit the line from Darwin to Hitler. It’s a little hard now to see what your complaints in this thread involve, and what end your participation has been toward.

    Wasn’t there a very short line from Blyth to Darwin? So I’ll still claim that if we are to accept that Darwin stole all his ideas from Blyth, then social Darwinism must be the same as social Blythism.

    You write:

    You haven’t read Weikart.

    Completely correct. But the phase “No Darwin, no Hitler!” is the quote that’s being thrown around, so if it misrepresents Weikart, please protest against those who came up with this quote.

    You ask:

    Why this fascination with ‘blame’?

    Because focusing on a line from Darwin to Hitler distorts things – as if history is made up of people reading and writing books. We need to look at the social backround – books are little more than epiphenomena.

    Uou write:

    The point was that, for whatever reason you decided to inform me that Darwinian evolution did not allow for traits acquired by the adult form to be inherited, you were mistaken.

    No, “Darwinian evolution” means that aquired traits are not inherited – independent of, what darwin himself thought. It’s just like that the word “Darwinism” doesn’t necessarily reflect, what Darwin thought or wrote, and that’s my point: “Darwinism” apparently has little to do with Darwin.

    You write:

    Darwinism’ is very much understandable to the general public.

    Is it? And even if it is, is the general public understanding of “Darwinism” denoting anything that really exists?

    As for your third post, please notice that I am not a US citizen, so it doesn’t really impress me :-)

    From what I know about Francis Galton, he claimed that some psychological traits could be inherited in families; but just as Charles Darwin he claimed that culture was the main factor. I can provide evidence for this tomorrow, if you are interested.

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

  108. Good Morning, Poul.
    You say:

    I am not sure you are reading Darwin correct, I am afraid.

    For a scientist he sure left his writing open to an amazing degree of interpretation. I’m happy with my reading, however.

    Darwin does claim that social instincts exist (such as sympathy); but he certainly doesn’t claim that culture is of no importance.

    Which is interesting, because nowhere have I said, nor has anyone that I can recall, that Darwin claimed that culture was of no importance. Whatever the degree of importance Darwin supposed for culture doesn’t seem very significant to me. On that issue, I’ll quote me:

    Darwin obscures his message a little at the end ((as is his customary wont)), saying that more important than the struggle for existence is the effect of reason, religion, habit etc. But, the final salvo, these very results are, themselves, subject to natural selection – the struggle for existence.

    Please notice that Darwin is here merely mentioning consanguineous marriages, which even the Old Testament forbids.

    Yes, that is all he specifically mentions in this one sentence, but it shouldn’t be snatched too far from its context.
    The preceding sentences:

    Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end.

    When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man.

    And the very next one:

    The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage.

    Darwin was clearly not discussing only consanguineous marriages, although I will admit he was a very careful assembler of words.
    You quoted me next, and I shall like to as well:

    The disingenuous reader will pretend to have forgotten the sentences before this and claim that Darwin is merely suggesting that lawmakers will “ascertain”, but will not act. But Darwin has already told us what the result of such searchers will be – we will find out that the unfit should not breed. It will be the job of these lawmakers, in doing, as Darwin just said, “good service” to aid toward this end, this Utopia.

    And your response:

    Making laws concerning consagineous marriages – I think most countries had such laws even before Charles Darwin (royalty usually excepted).

    Yes indeed. Evidence that even you and Darwin realize, as is obvious, that he is not talking only about consanguineous marriages, in the pursuit of Utopia.

    Sure, Darwin goes wrong here. He suggests that poor people should abstain from marriage rather than suggest social reforms improving life for the poor. But as far as I know this wasn’t what the Nazis thought

    What Darwin thought, like Galton to follow, was that laws should encourage the fit to have more offspring than the unfit so that man might continue to improve genetically.

    You say:

    Not as simple as that. Galton was of the opinion that natural selection wasn’t sufficiebt for the improvement of popular health. Just as Darwin he thought that culture – e.g. education – were better means.

    No, from DoM, we see that this is what Darwin thought to be the better means toward improvement:

    Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

    Which, of course, also deals with your next thought:

    A struggle for survival will result. Contrary to how you read Darwin, this is actually not something that he found ideal, and that’s why he is concerned with eugenics.

    You say:

    Yes, it has – but if that wasn’t, what Darwin suggested, why is Darwin to blame? Why not search the causes, where the effects are?

    My third post gives a very concise rundown as to why the connection is obvious.

    You:

    Wasn’t there a very short line from Blyth to Darwin? So I’ll still claim that if we are to accept that Darwin stole all his ideas from Blyth, then social Darwinism must be the same as social Blythism.

    Me, quoting me:

    And I’m satisfied that my prior statement still applies:
    “When Hitler learned evolution in school in Austria and chose it over Biblical creation he was learning Darwin’s theory, promoted to the scientific community and popularized by Haeckel. It wasn’t Paley’s or Blyth’s nor even Deuteronomy’s version of inheritance that caught the attention of evolutionists, but Darwin’s. It was Darwin’s that caught on with popularizers like Haeckel because of the metaphysical implications and the support it lent a world view. Darwinism is/was different, and it was in those differences that it is/was wrong.”

    You:

    You write:
    You haven’t read Weikart.

    Completely correct. But the phase “No Darwin, no Hitler!” is the quote that’s being thrown around, so if it misrepresents Weikart, please protest against those who came up with this quote.

    It is sufficient that I inform you, the person with whom I am discussing the matter, that this misrepresents Weikart.

    You:

    Because focusing on a line from Darwin to Hitler distorts things – as if history is made up of people reading and writing books. We need to look at the social backround – books are little more than epiphenomena.

    This is a very good point. Darwin was a product of his social background, and Hitler his (in so far as a person is a product of society in the first place).
    And, if you look into the era, Darwin’s book was a huge influence on the social background of the time – why, its principles were even taught Hitler in school.* As Weikart said, neither Hitler’s attitudes nor the holocaust had a monocausal history. But, as Dembski said:

    To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd. Read Richard Weikart’s FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY.

    not insignificant.

    * From Harvard historian, Steven Ozment’s A Mighty Fortress: A New History Of The German People.

    In the New Age envisioned by National Socialism, biblical Christianity was politically subversive, even a “rebellion … against nature”91 . It’s perceived absurdity had been impressed on Hitler during his Austrian schooldays, when, as he mockingly recalled, students attended a catechism class at ten A.M. to hear the biblical story of Creation, only then to listen, at eleven A.M., to Darwin’s version of it in a natural science class – the latter winning hands down. 92
    During the war years Hitler recommended a slow “natural death” for Christianity by exposing its dogmas to the light of science. 93

    (all notes Adolf Hitler, Table Talk)

    You quote me and respond:

    The point was that, for whatever reason you decided to inform me that Darwinian evolution did not allow for traits acquired by the adult form to be inherited, you were mistaken.

    No, “Darwinian evolution” means that aquired traits are not inherited – independent of, what darwin himself thought. It’s just like that the word “Darwinism” doesn’t necessarily reflect, what Darwin thought or wrote, and that’s my point: “Darwinism” apparently has little to do with Darwin.

    Of course, you are right; Darwinian evolution did come to mean that acquired traits are not heritable. I apologize for losing context.
    I’ve veered well off my original thought on this point which came up here:

    Poul: but “Darwinian evolution” has come to mean no aquired characteristics are inherited.

    Me: First, I don’t know what you want to debate this point for and how it has anything to do with whether or not a significant line can be drawn from Darwin to Hitler. But even though I am sure you are very well informed on evolution, you seem to have missed a little on the point of acquired traits; Darwin never was able to get away from Lamarckian concepts and they are, in a modified version, on the comeback trail today.

    You:

    Because anti-Darwinists claim that if you accept the theory of evolution, you either already are an atheist or you will evolve into one, and that everything bad comes from atheism, while everything good comes from theism.

    I guess some say this, and some people misrepresent Weikart, but let’s us try to keep to the discussion.

    You:

    As for your third post, please notice that I am not a US citizen, so it doesn’t really impress me

    One need not be a US citizen (I’m not either) to be impressed by facts. The connection from Darwin to Hitler is as clear as can be in that post.

  109. Hi Charlie:

    As promised, something about Francis Galton.

    Check out the article Darwin and the Holocaust – what’s the real story? by John Wilkins.

    Wilkins quotes Galton:

    Every long-established race has necessarily its peculiar fitness for the conditions under which it has lived, owing to the sure operation of Darwin’s law of natural selection. However, I am not much concerned, for the present, with the greater part of those aptitudes, but only with such as are available in some form or another of high civilisation.

    As Wilkins mentions, Galton is not concerned with racial differences that are due to natural selection, but only those due to “some form or another of high civilisation”; that is, to culture.

    This can hardly be called racism.

    Also Galton rejected inheritance of acquired traits. According to the Wikipedia article about him:

    Galton conducted wide-ranging inquiries into heredity. In the process he was able to refute Darwin’s theory of pangenesis. Darwin had proposed as part of this theory that certain particles, which he called ‘gemmules’ moved throughout the body and were also responsible for the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Galton, in consultation with Darwin, set out to see if they were transported in the blood. In a long series of experiments in 1869 to 1871, he transfused the blood between dissimilar breeds of rabbits, and examined the features of their offspring. He found no evidence of characters transmitted in the transfused blood. Galton explicitly rejected the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics (Lamarckism), and was an early proponent of “hard heredity” through selection alone.

    So Galton even went against Darwin!

    All in all, I am still unsure about, what “Darwinism” is, and whether ot is anything at all.

    have a nice day!
    - pwe

  110. Hi Poul,

    As Wilkins mentions, Galton is not concerned with racial differences that are due to natural selection, but only those due to “some form or another of high civilisation”; that is, to culture.

    Galton, in the quote provided, emphatically did not say that he is not concerned with racial differences which are due to natural selection.
    What he said is that he is not concerned at present with the greater part of those aptitudes which are surely owing to Darwin’s natural selection but only with those among them which are available in higher civilization.
    By this quote, all traits are due to natural selection, and the ones interesting Galton are those “available in some form or another of high civilization”.
    Your very next quote tells us what Galton did believe:

    “Galton explicitly rejected the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics (Lamarckism), and was an early proponent of “hard heredity” through selection alone.”

    This can hardly be called racism.

    1) Point being?
    2) Although there is no implication of your point to our discussion I will add that surely you aren’t using this quote, which you misread, as refuting the fact that Galton promoted racist measures.
    Galton’s racism is quite beside the point, but since you weren’t interested in my post above I will highlight part of it that you might note:

    In proposing the term eugenics, Galton had written, “We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving the stock to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had.”

    Galton believed that black people were entirely inferior to the white races and that Jews were capable only of “parasitism” upon the civilized nations.

    Karl Pearson, Galton’s chief disciple, shared his racial and anti-Semitic beliefs. For example, in 1925, Pearson wrote “The Problem of Alien Immigration into Great Britain, Illustrated by an Examination of Russian and Polish Jewish Children,” which argued against the admission of Jewish immigrants into England.

    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=c.....ent=safari

    lso Galton rejected inheritance of acquired traits.

    As a eugenicist would. Races aren’t so inherently different if they can be made to acquire the same characteristics. As it turns out, selection was their only friend in this regard.

    So Galton even went against Darwin!

    He also went with Darwin!
    What have you attempted to demonstrate here?
    Nothing that refutes the connection, approval, and reciprocal influence as demonstrated in previous comments.

  111. Hi Charlie,

    First I will point you to a post on my blog: Some of Dembski’s Favorite Quotes by Darwinists. I had posted it here as well; but apparently it didn’t make it through the Explanatory Filter.

    I have also done a bit reading of Weikart, and my impression can be seen at: Richard Weikart and Darwinism.

    Ok, back to your post(s).

    You quote Darwin:

    Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end.

    When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man.

    You are worried about the sentence “Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end.” What is meant here obviously is that, everyone, that aids towards making the laws of inheritance thoroughly known, does good service.

    Ask any YEC about the problems of recessive alleles that cause diseases.

    Isn’t ir ok to figure out the laws of inheritance, so some diseases might be avoided or at least known beforehand? Yes, I am aware that today, in many countries, a woman pregnant with a child with a hereditary disease will be offered an abortion. It’s a valid question, whether the woman is given sufficient advice, and whether the offer is given in too many cases. I have heard claims that you can get an abortion if you don’t like the gender of the embryo.

    But to me this is a VERY different issue than whether Darwinian mechanisms are sufficient for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. And I can’t see how you are required to embrace an Intelligent Designer, because you may be skeptical about abortion policies.

    You write:

    Yes indeed. Evidence that even you and Darwin realize, as is obvious, that he is not talking only about consanguineous marriages, in the pursuit of Utopia.

    Was Darwin pursuing Utopia? Does such a word make any sense to an atheist materialist? I doubt he was.

    Darwin mentions consanguineous marriages, so we must assume that’s what he meant. Today some people might go further; but you might know: even the Bible have restrictions on marriages, so why blame the darwinists in particular?

    You write:

    What Darwin thought, like Galton to follow, was that laws should encourage the fit to have more offspring than the unfit so that man might continue to improve genetically.

    Not so sure about that. Darwin and Galton merely wanted to avoid a lowering of public health – not necessarily a genetical improvement, and certainly no master race.

    You quote Darwin:

    Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

    I will have to look closer at this, since it doesn’t fit with, what else I have read from DoM – and I have been reading it yesterday.

    You write:

    It is sufficient that I inform you, the person with whom I am discussing the matter, that this misrepresents Weikart.

    Ahh; but I have read Weikart now and can say that it misrepresents him as an absolute conclusion, but not as a tentative conclusion. Read my post linked to ad the beginning of this post.

    You write:

    This is a very good point. Darwin was a product of his social background, and Hitler his (in so far as a person is a product of society in the first place).

    If a person is not a product of society, it must be a product of biology, which is ‘Darwinism’, isn’t it? Are you a Darwinist?

    Or do you think some intelligent designer has made us? That’s a possibility; but of little relevance – whether made by an intelligent designer or determined by genes we are born into an already existing society that simply doesn’t care. We are ‘raised’ (I’d rather say ‘lowered’) into that society by mechanisms existing before our birth.

    You write:

    And, if you look into the era, Darwin’s book was a huge influence on the social background of the time – why, its principles were even taught Hitler in school.* As Weikart said, neither Hitler’s attitudes nor the holocaust had a monocausal history.

    I doubt that Darwin’s book had a huge influence on the social background of the time; ptobably Charles Dickens’ novels had much more.

    And yes, its principle might have been taught Hitler in school. But I have been taught those principles in school as well, and I have no plans of killing any Jews, believe me!

    You write:

    One need not be a US citizen (I’m not either) to be impressed by facts.

    You are of course right here; but do we have facts here?

    The connection from Darwin to Hitler is as clear as can be in that post.

    I am not so sure about this – again I will suggest that you read my two posts linked to at the beginning.

    I have to wait till tomorrow answering your second post. I hope that’s ok.

    have a nice day
    - pwe

  112. Hi Poul,

    I don’t think I will finish reading your blog pages at this moment. I started to read the one on Weikart but as I glanced it over decided it was too long for the time I have right now.

    In your comment here you’ve just said:

    You are worried about the sentence “Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end.” What is meant here obviously is that, everyone, that aids towards making the laws of inheritance thoroughly known, does good service.

    Of course that’s what Darwin said. And when the laws are thoroughly known then what? According to Darwin, this:

    Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind;
    When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man;
    he might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities;
    all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children;
    (man) must remain subject to a severe struggle;
    our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means;
    Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted;
    There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

    You:

    Ask any YEC about the problems of recessive alleles that cause diseases.

    Isn’t ir ok to figure out the laws of inheritance, so some diseases might be avoided or at least known beforehand? Yes, I am aware that today, in many countries, a woman pregnant with a child with a hereditary disease will be offered an abortion. It’s a valid question, whether the woman is given sufficient advice, and whether the offer is given in too many cases. I have heard claims that you can get an abortion if you don’t like the gender of the embryo.

    But to me this is a VERY different issue than whether Darwinian mechanisms are sufficient for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. And I can’t see how you are required to embrace an Intelligent Designer, because you may be skeptical about abortion policies.

    None of this touches upon the question we are discussing. It is not whether or not this or that is okay, what our positions are on abortion, ID or the structure of the e. coli flagellum.

    Darwin mentions consanguineous marriages, so we must assume that’s what he meant.

    Good, yes, let’s assume that Darwin meant what he said, but not just in the single sentence, but in the entire paragraph which houses that sentence. See above.

    Me:

    What Darwin thought, like Galton to follow, was that laws should encourage the fit to have more offspring than the unfit so that man might continue to improve genetically.

    You

    Not so sure about that. Darwin and Galton merely wanted to avoid a lowering of public health – not necessarily a genetical improvement, and certainly no master race.

    Darwin:

    Yet he might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities.

    but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end….
    On the other hand, as Mr. Galton has remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society.
    Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.

    Let’s once again assume Darwin meant what he said.

    You said:

    I will have to look closer at this, since it doesn’t fit with, what else I have read from DoM – and I have been reading it yesterday.

    You’ll forgive me if I’m unable to feign surprise that Darwin appears self-contradicting and diffuses his points.

    Ahh; but I have read Weikart now and can say that it misrepresents him as an absolute conclusion, but not as a tentative conclusion. Read my post linked to ad the beginning of this post.

    Perhaps you can quote me your relevant points. The ones that demonstrate that Weikart says “No Darwin,No Hitler”.
    Here’s Weikart’s response to someone else who made that accusation:

    I think it’s silly to claim that Darwin is personally responsible for the Holocaust, and I overtly reject this position in the conclusion of my book: “It would be foolish to blame Darwinism for the Holocaust, as though Darwinism leads logically to the Holocaust. No, Darwinism by itself did not produce Hitler’s worldview, and many Darwinists drew quite different conclusions from Darwinism for ethics and social thought than did Hitler.” (p. 232) My arguments are not as simplistic as Richards seems to think.

    My book–despite the title–is not the simplistic Darwin to Hitler story that Richards implies it is. Richards may not like the fact that many leading Darwinists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries promoted infanticide, involuntary euthanasia, and racial extermination, but they did. Richards is certainly free to argue that these Darwinists were wrong to apply Darwinism in this way, but then he should be criticizing these Darwinists, not me.

    You:

    If a person is not a product of society, it must be a product of biology, which is ‘Darwinism’, isn’t it? Are you a Darwinist?

    Or do you think some intelligent designer has made us? That’s a possibility; but of little relevance – whether made by an intelligent designer or determined by genes we are born into an already existing society that simply doesn’t care. We are ‘raised’ (I’d rather say ‘lowered’) into that society by mechanisms existing before our birth.

    Of little relevance indeed.

    I doubt that Darwin’s book had a huge influence on the social background of the time; ptobably Charles Dickens’ novels had much more.

    Opinion noted.

    I am not so sure about this – again I will suggest that you read my two posts linked to at the beginning.

    Perhaps if I have time later.
    Your inability thus far to critically read passages before you, as demonstrated yet again in this comment, doesn’t make me think I will get much from your reviews.

  113. [...] My own view is that the reason for the controversy around films like the Coral Ridge special is precisely the fact that Darwinists have never really dealt with the implications of social Darwinism, so it keeps coming back to them like a bad penny. [...]

  114. See also the recent thread:
    Darwin and the Nazis
    on Richard Wiekart’s article showing the Darwinian foundations used by the Nazis.

  115. Fross –In the US the only people who still believe in some ladder of races (usually the white supremists) use the Bible to support their stance.

    Hardly. How can educated persons be so mind-numbingly ignorant of history:

    The Passing of the Great Race which Hitler called “my Bible”

    I’ll refrain from linking to works by Margaret Sanger and Lothrop Stoddard to avoid the spam filter.

    You think the racists in the country are more influence by the Bible than Mrs. Sanger? Why is Planned Parenthood happily accepting donations targeted specifically at promoting abortions among blacks?

  116. The Thinking Christianhas an excellent editorial post citing this topic:
    Why the Darwin-Hitler Link Is So Sensitive

  117. 117

    The link is a very important one because the lack of morality of the Darwinian view of life leaves science hopeless and bankrupt. DE makes no claims about the value and intrinsic dignity of human life. If on the other hand we dare to look at science from the possibility that the world and things in it are not part of a hopeless materialistic process and are in fact part of a purposive one, then science because the beacon of hope and morality.

    The connection between DE and immorality is an inextricably essential one.

  118. 118

    Bill, I just wanted to tell you, that I just got back from seeing Expelled and that movie was so powerful. The moral importance of the ID movement is greater than I ever appreciated. There were times during the movie where I wanted to leave because it was becoming too overwhelming for me emotionally. What I got out of the movie is that one can become lost in the philosophy and physical debates regarding the legitimacy of ID but it is the moral quality of ID that makes it infinitely greater then the DE scientific and world view. Our side offers hope and a grounded belief that more can be done and their side takes the spirit prisoner.

    The moral thrust of that movie was so significant for me. It was difficult at times but the message of freedom and hope that shined through at the end really helped me see what the movement is really about.

    This movie will do more for ID Bill then you will ever know. ID has now entered the mainstream for the first time as it actually is and in the context in which it actually exists as an alternative to the bankrupt theory of DE.

    I want to thank you Bill for all that you have done. While God has been under great attack in this country for some time now we have managed to let them know that there truly aren’t any atheists in foxholes.

  119. Obviously, Darwin isn’t responsible for the existence of mass-murdering megalomaniacs. All Darwin made possible was to be an intellectually fulfilled mass-murdering megalomaniac.

  120. 120

    The Anti-Defamation League has apparently deleted Abraham Foxman’s post denouncing the Darwin-to-Hitler “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy” TV documentary of the Christian fundy Coral Ridge Ministries. Does anyone know why? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  121. Bill,

    You wrote:

    By the way, the American Eugenics Society was started in 1922 and dissolved not until 1994. Richard Lewontin, quoted below, belonged to it. Theodosius Dobzhansky was its chairman of the board in 1956. J.B.S. Haldane was a member. You think maybe their Darwinism had something to do with them being members?

    If by that you mean to say that evil men twist the ideas of others to justify evil actions then yes, I agree.

    The Origin of Species and/or The Descent of Man was used by those people to justify their actions in the same way the Spanish Inquisition used the New Testament of Jesus Christ to justify theirs.

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