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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Darwin and the Nazis: Nazism as a "biological" political program

In "Darwin's Dystopia", Ben Wiker's TotheSource defends the Expelled film for reporting the attraction that Darwin's theories held for Nazis:
The first, most important thing to understand is that the link between Darwin and Hitler was not immediate. That is, nobody is making the case that Hitler had Darwin's eugenic masterpiece The Descent of Man in one hand while he penned Mein Kampf in the other. Darwin's eugenic ideas were spread all over Europe and America, until they were common intellectual coin by Hitler's time. That makes the linkage all the stronger, because we are not talking about one crazed man misreading Darwin but at least two generations of leading scientists and intellectuals drawing the same eugenic conclusions from evolutionary theory as Darwin himself drew.

A second point. We misunderstand Hitler's evil if we reduce it to anti-Semitism. Hitler's anti-Semitism had, of course, multiple causes, including his own warped character. That having been said, Nazism was at heart a racial, that is, a biological political program based up evolutionary theory. It was "applied biology," in the words of deputy party leader of the Nazis, Rudolph Hess, and done for the sake of a perceived greater good, racial purity, that is, for the sake of a race purified of physical and mental defects, imperfections, and racial inferiority.

The greater good. We need to remember that, even though we rightly consider it the apogee of wickedness, the Nazi regime did not purport to do evil. In a monstrous illustration of the adage about good intentions leading to hell, it claimed to be scientific and progressive, to do what hard reason demanded for the ultimate benefit of the human race. Its superhuman acts of inhumanity were carried out for the sake of humanity.

Note: I was pleased to see this item, because I had sent Tothesource a note expressing concern about the silliness fronted recently by Dinesh D'Souza - who should know better, and should check his space-time coordinates.

D'Souza imagined both (1) that it is possible to take the atheism out of Darwinism and (2) that Darwinism makes sense as an account of the development of life.

Well, first, Darwinism is espoused principally for its atheism, though accommodationist Christian profs get sucked in because they aspire to be faith-and-science bores.

(faith and science bores = respected for assuring Christians that they have nothing to fear from materialist atheism because one can always imagine some "Christian" la-la land where "faith" survives, as a sort of Darwinian survival mechanism or useless encumbrance that evolution can explain).

And second (and more important), most of the people I have interviewed who got in trouble for questioning Darwinism actually had good evidence against it. That's what's not acceptable, in the era of Expelled.

Anyway, I wrote the Source-erers after the D'Souza debacle to say,
When are you going to run an article from a scientist who can explain in detail and clearly the evidence of why Darwin and the neo-Darwinists are wrong about the design of life?

I have watched with growing concern your claim that it all hinges on religion. Dawkins is bad, Collins is good, and God uses evolution. But does He? When and where? What does the evidence really show? You might be surprised.

Unfortunately, I find your coverage increasingly off the mark. All the more so because I just received the devastating news that a friend, a Christian scientist, is now threatened with not getting his degree because the evidence from his research does not support Darwinism. He could fudge or lie, of course, but he is too honourable.

Wake up before it is too late. You are on the wrong side of this. At least try to find out what is really happening. And you won't find that out from theologians blathering about God and tsk tsking about Dawkins.

It's too much to hope that the Source-erers listened, but at least I am no longer just tempted to unsubscribe. If all I want to read is silliness, I can peruse the legacy media.

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