Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part V

This is the latest in a long series of posts about a vicious campaign waged by the neo-Luddite, neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

The Discoveroids have another article by Richard Weikart, about whom we’ve said:

He’s not only a Discoveroid “fellow” (i.e., full-blown creationist), he’s also the author of a book titled From Darwin to Hitler, which influenced James Kennedy, the now-deceased televangelist who made the influential “documentary” Darwin’s Deadly Legacy. We might consider Weikart to be the intellectual godfather of the Discoveroids’ frequently-repeated malicious mantra: “No Darwin, no Hitler.” If he’s not the originator of that foul dogma, he’s certainly one of its principal pillars.

We’ve posted several times about Weikart and the Discoveroids’ obsession with Hitler. Some examples are: Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, followed by The Shroud of Seattle, followed by Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part II, followed by Hitler & Darwin, Part II, followed by Hitler & Darwin, Part III.

We recently wrote Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part III. That was about an essay by Robert J. Richards, which was a scholarly take-down of Weikart’s claims that Darwin inspired Hitler. We wrote about Weikart’s allegations before in Hitler & Darwin, Part II, followed by Hitler & Darwin, Part III.

Most recently we wrote Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part IV, about a Discoveroid post by Bruce Chapman, whom we affectionately call “Chappy.” He’s the founder and president of the Discovery Institute. He too jumped on the Hitler bandwagon. The Discoveroids are all Hitler, all the time.

And now the madness continues. At the Discoveroids’ blog they’ve just posted Did Hitler Use the Term “Evolution” in Mein Kampf? It’s another effort by Weikart to defend his … ah, scholarship about Darwin and Hitler, and it refers back to the translation questions raised by Richards that we discussed in Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part III. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:

Some critics of my scholarship have tried to argue that Hitler did not believe in human evolution at all, despite the overwhelming evidence I present in my book, Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress. Robert Richards even accuses me of playing a “sly trick” by translating the term “Entwicklung” as “evolution” in some passages of Mein Kampf. In the standard English translation of Mein Kampf (Houghton Mifflin’s edition), Ralph Manheim never translated “Entwicklung” as “evolution,” but always as “development.”

This is an utterly absurd issue. As we know so well from our daily news sweeps, the English word “evolution” pops up all over the place — in articles about the development of government programs, the design of corporate sales campaigns, and even in the improvement of sports teams. All of those processes (development, design, improvement) are referred to as “evolution.” It’s only in biology that the word is associated with Darwin. So what’s the big deal if Hitler occasionally used the equivalent German word? Hitler was a high school dropout, he never studied biology, and he never — not once — in any of his writings or the translated speeches we’ve seen — mentioned Darwin’s name. But, like sports writers, he used the word “evolution” from time to time.

Anyway, Weikart continues:

I have already refuted Richards’s accusation here, but this summer I decided to consult other translations of Mein Kampf to find out how other translators handled the passages in dispute. I examined the following translations:

Isn’t that sweet? Weikart spent his summer reading several translations of Mein Kampf. We won’t bother you with the list. Let’s read on:

Interestingly, I discovered that all these translators rendered “Entwicklung” as “evolution” in certain contexts, especially in the chapter on “Nation and Race.” The reason for this is rather obvious: In that chapter Hitler describes the struggle for existence among organisms as a natural process that improves the species. Sure sounds like evolution to me — and all these translators agree.

Whoop-de-doo! The only problem is that Hitler’s aggressive war of extermination is nothing like Darwin’s natural selection, so even if Hitler used the German word for “evolution” in that context, he wasn’t describing anything Darwinian — he was exposing his ignorance. Weikart then gives a few passages from the translations he likes, which aren’t worth copying here, and he concludes his defense by saying this:

In sum, my translation of “Entwicklung” as “evolution” agrees with the usage of most translators of Mein Kampf. Richards’s claim that I am playing a “sly trick” falls to the ground.

Richards’s claim falls to the ground? Weikart’s whole idiotic issue falls to the ground. Amazingly, Weikart still ignores the fact that — unlike Hitler — Winston Churchill actually did read Darwin. Hey, Weikart: No Darwin, no Churchill!

And we’ve got another slogan for ya, Weikart. Since it’s obvious that without the Hitler slur you Discoveroids have nothing to write about, how do you like this one — No Hitler, no Discovery Institute.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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29 responses to “Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part V

  1. If Hitler was such a fan of Darwin, why were Darwin’s writings on the Nazi list of proscribed books?

  2. Funny, he read several translations of Mein Kampf, but apparently missed ALL the times Hitler explicitly said he was doing God’s work. Funny that.

  3. Hitler burned Darwin’s books:

    It’s way down the list, find it fast by (control-F) searching on “Darwin”.

  4. John West of the dishonesty institute loves to do the Darwin/Hitler schtick, especially in front of the churches where he “preaches” ID.

    Also, why didn’t Weikart, who claims to be a scholar, read Mein Kampf auf deutsch? Why bother with translations?

  5. Forgot, I’ve heard West at such talks. He even did a “workshop” talk once where he had handouts that had sentences with blanks for the patrons to fill in, of course the answers were all anti-evolution/Darwin and pro-ID.

  6. I SO wish that they would allow comments at the end of their articles.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    Translation gives denialists of all stripes latitude to practice FUD.

    Holocaust deniers focus on “Ausrottung”. Literally it translates to “root out”, but it is equivalent to “exterminate”. So when Himmler talks about “Ausrottung” in the context of the Final Solution they play word games with it, saying he only meant transplanting them to somewhere else, and ignoring how the word has always been used in German and how it was used by Himmler in other contexts.

    It would be something like translating an English document that says the Jews will be “wiped out”, saying that it only means cleaning them up so they are presentable.

  8. Weikart is a pathological liar, in the same category as David Barton as a historian. His “Darwin to Hitler” link is a hoax like Barton’s. If you read the passages of Mein Kampf that are allegedly about Darwinian evolution in context, it’s clear that the context destroys Weikart’s claims.

    First let’s consider what you’d think if you didn’t know the context. The word “entwicklung” is extremely common in Germany, used by all philosophers and intellectuals, and used to describe many things–in English it’s translated as either “development” or “evolution”, but idioms involving “development” are more common. (You should guess a priori that “entwicklung” should be translated as “development” unless the context proves otherwise.)

    However, the word “evolution” also exists in German and in this historical era was used more often to describe Darwinian macroevolution– in fact German has many expressions for Darwin’s theory, including evolution, descendeztheorie, Darwinismus, etc. By the 1920′s “entwicklung” was one of the less common words for Darwinian macroevolution (which is not to say it was never used, it was just less common.)

    Hitler never uses words like evolution, descendeztheorie, Darwinismus etc., he only says “entwicklung” which has many uses and translations– this fact is only explicable if Hitler is NOT talking about macroevolution by natural selection. (We’ll discuss his use in context in a moment.)

    Even if the context is biology, you can’t be sure “entwicklung” means evolution within or between species, because “entwicklung” is also used to describe embryonic development– and it is very, very common for Germans in that historical era to use metaphors drawn from embryonic development. Embryology was big then.

    Even if you know the context is biology and evolution of a species, you still can’t be sure “entwicklung” means macroevolution, the origin of new species, or the origin or novel complexity. It could as easily mean microevolution– and in this historical era everybody, including creationists, agreed that microevolution is real.

    The Nazi explanation for the origin of the Aryan race was that it was created by God in the image of God, a statement repeated by Hitler and other Nazis on many occasions in public and private– which means, even if you found them saying “entwicklung” in the context of the change of a species, you should still assume they mean microevolution unless the context proves otherwise.

    So you have to know the context, and if you look at Hitler’s statements in Mein Kampf in context, it’s crystal clear that Hitler never once described macroevolution or the origin of new species as due to natural evolution. Yes, Hitler the word “entwicklung” at lot, but mostly to describe the progress of civilization and culture [Kultur], and never to describe the origin of a new species. Hitler mostly uses “entwicklung” to describe the cultural advances made after the Aryan race’s creative characteristics are produced– the Aryan race he constantly describes as Kulturbegrunder [culture-founder] and Kulturtrager [culture-bearers]. Remember Hitler portrayed himself as the savior of white civilization, so for him “entwicklung” mean civilizational progress.

    This is crystal clear in context, and Weikart has no excuse for lying to his readers. Weikart in the past has claimed that the “smoking gun” that Hitler is talking about biological evolution is Hitler’s use of the phrase hoherentwicklung [higher development/evolution]. However, Hitler uses that word just three times in the 800+ pages of Mein Kampf, and in his third use of the word hoherentwicklung, Hitler explains how Jews cannot produce true advancement of civilization [hoherentwicklung] because Jews don’t have an “idealistic attitude” like the Aryan race.

    This shows that, obviously, by hoherentwicklung Hitler cannot mean the evolution of novel complexity, which is what Weikart tells his readers. It is idiotic nonsense to assert that Hitler believed the evolution of novel complexity required an “idealistic attitude.” When the first fish crawled out onto the land to become an amphibian, did that require an “idealistic attitude”? When mammals evolved their inner ear bones, did that require an “idealistic attitude”? That is the idiotic implication of the guff that Weikart tells his readers.

    (A brief digression: by “idealistic attitude” here Hitler is referring to Kant’s philosophy of transcendental Christian idealism, which the Nazis dumbed down a bit. In that philosophy, true creativity requires “idealism” which implies several things: belief in God, the immortality of the soul, and free will, and subjecting oneself to universal moral duties. Aryans could be artistically and culturally creative because they believed in the supernatural and acted according to true moral duties. Jews could never be truly artistically and culturally creative because they were closet atheists, materialists, just pretending to have a religion– so for example, a Jewish musical composer like Mendelssohn had no real creativity, he was just an imitator, blah blah blah.)

    Hitler’s statement that hoherentwicklung requires an “idealistic attitude” makes perfect sense in terms of Kantian Christian idealism, but it is gobbledygook if we believe Weikart’s claim that hoherentwicklung means Darwinian macroevolution.

    Hitler does talk a lot about biological changes in Mein Kampf, but he never describes the origin of new spaces. The only process of biological change within a species he talks about are race-mixing and extinction– processes that all creationists and evolutionists agree are observed processes. Hitler talked in detail about, for example, race-mixing that produces a heterogeneous vs. a homogeneous mixed race. This is at most microevolution– it’s not Darwinian macroevolution. The Nazis stated in public and in private that the Aryan race was created by God in the image of God.

    Hitler does describe natural selection as a process that drives mixed races to extinction– therefore, race-mixing is bad and doomed to failure. But that is not Darwinian natural selection producing novel complexity or new species. That is stabilizing selection, a process described before Darwin published The Origin. Stabilizing selection drives a species back to an ideal “type” which is unchanging. THAT Hitler did believe in– like many Germans he believed that in ideal types [Gestalten] which could never change. Among English speakers, stabilizing selection is associated with Edward Blyth who wrote about it before The Origin. Of course Hitler never names Darwin nor Blyth– probably never heard of the latter– but the processes Hitler describes are at most stabilizing selection, race-mixing, and extinction– processes that all creationists and evolutionists believe exist– he never describes macroevolution or the origin of new complex structures, except to say that God made the Aryan race in his image.

    Then entwicklung, meaning here cultural progress, is possible. But entwicklung only happens after the Aryan race is given its culture-producing capabilities by God. Hitler talks at great length about the culture-producing capabilities of the Aryan race, but he never says that Darwinian macroevolution created those culture-producing capabilities.

    So Hitler says:
    1. God makes Aryan culture-producing capabilities [krafte und feihigkeiten.]

    2. Aryan culture-producing capabilities, plus Christian idealism, produce cultural progress [entwicklung.]

    This is not Darwinian macroevolution. Weikart is lying.

  9. Diogenes says: “Weikart is lying.”

    I’m shocked — shocked! — that the Discoveroids would publish such material.

  10. Diogenes: “This is at most microevolution– it’s not Darwinian macroevolution.”

    In fact that’s the only point that needs to be made about this endlessly repeated lie. That and the “is/ought fallacy” of course. In fact any additional entertaining of that lie, including well-deserved negative comments, only dilutes what the scam artists don’t want fence-sitters to hear.

  11. Thunderous applause for Diogene’s incisive post, above; many thanks!

  12. I’m familiar with Colonel Klink and Sargent Schultz, but who’s this Hitler guy they’re always ranting about?

  13. Gabriel Hanna

    Sergeant Schultz is, in my opinion, the finest comic character in television history–just barely beating out George Costanza. I’ve been watching those through Netflix.

  14. I see nuh-zing! Nuh-ZING!!

    Alas, Hitler means as much to my son’s generation, whatever he is, Gen X, Gen Y or whatever, he’s 23, as the Kaiser meant to me. I mean, I knew what a kaiser bun was years before the person.

    This Disco Tute obsession with Nazis plays only to the Boomers and older generations, not to the kids. Of course, the Tute’s demographic are old, rich, Christian dominionists so that probably explains it. Otherwise it makes no sense.

    Ah, “makes no sense!” A common Disco Tute theme.

  15. Voice of Reason

    As I recall, Hitler specifically denined that ‘Man was related to monkeys’.

  16. retiredsciguy

    Gabriel, thank you for changing the direction of this thread. Reading about the lies of the DI is so depressing compared to discussing the relative merits of the best comic actors.

    However, I cannot rate them as best, second-best, etc. There are so many who are in the top rank that could always make me laugh and appreciate their talents. Besides Schultz and Costanza, I’d include most of the Not Ready for Primetime Players, especially Jane Curtin, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner. Then we have Cliff Claven of Cheers, Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, and George Carlin. (Yes, I know I’ve mixed character names with actor’s names.)

    In my haste, I’m sure I’ve left out some great talents. Humor is such a personal thing, everyone’s list will be different, but there are some universally bright stars in the galaxy of humor that most will agree on.

    Also, humor has evolved (how’s that for working it into this blog?). What’s funny to this 67 year-old retired teacher is likely not so humorous to a 23-year-old, and I’m sure the vice-versa is true judging from what is billed as “humor” on TV today.

  17. Gabriel Hanna

    “I know nothing!” He goes way beyond the catchphrase. WHY does he know nothing? He “knows nothing” for these reasons:

    Long ago, out of simplehearted decency, he bent the rules on Col. Hogan’s behalf, and he’s been blackmailed into more and more ever since, to the point where he frequently takes an active role in Hogan’s conspiracies.

    He’s good-natured but lazy and doesn’t want any trouble, not for himself and not for his prisoners, and not even for Klink (though that might be self-interest, he might not want a competent superior). He keeps his rifle unloaded. (“Give me back my rifle or I’ll SHOOT! Danke. But don’t worry, it’s not even loaded.”)

    He genuinely likes Hogan and the other prisoners.

    He’s a little greedy, so he can be bribed with food. He’s a little lecherous, and so he can be bribed with female charms. He’s well-off, so doesn’t need money, but he’s tightfisted and wants something for nothing, so he gambles and can be corrupted that way–either by the hope of winning, or the desire to regain losses. He’s also sentimental, so he’ll do something for you if he feels sorry for you.

    He’s not at all loyal to Hitler or the Nazis, a loyal Social Democrat and nostalgic for old Germany (and Bavaria). He’s a little slow but highly perceptive if given time. He’s cowardly but shows occasional gumption when the stakes are high, or when he’s drunk enough to be belligerent.

    How many big fat dumb guys on TV are that complex?

  18. Gabriel Hanna

    tl; dr Schultz is a fully developed comic character, like Falstaff. Klink, by contrast, is a cartoon weasel. It’s hard to imagine a real person like Klink, but there are millions of Schultzes in the world.

  19. How do we know Schultz is a Social Democrat?

    Who in the Discovery Institute is a Klink? Casey Luskin? I think Casey might be a Klink. He lies badly, gets himself into trouble, and has to weasel out of it.

    Who then, is Jonathan Wells? Basil Fawlty, perhaps?

  20. retiredsciguy

    Gabriel Hanna: “Schultz is a fully developed comic character, like Falstaff.”

    Is there any program on TV today with this quality of writing? Does anyone have recommendations?

  21. Ceteris Paribus

    When the broadcast band changed to digital a few years back, our TV screen just made “snow”. But if stared at it long enough, I could almost imagine seeing it in my happiest black & white TV days, watching Soupy Sales get hit in the face with still another whipped cream pie.

    What TV needs today is more whipped cream pies. Even the ubiquitous “test pattern” that graced the screens early on Saturday mornings would seem entertaining now.

  22. Voice of Reason writes: Hitler specifically denined that ‘Man was related to monkeys’.

    Hitler: “Where do we get the right to believe that Man was not from the primordial beginning as he is today? A glance at Nature shows us that changes and developments [Veränderungen und Weiterbildungen] happen in the domain of plants and animals. But nowhere does there appear within a genus, a development as wide as the leap [innherhalb einer Gattung eine Entwicklung von der Weite des Sprunges] that Man must have made, had he advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is [now].” [Hitler, Table Talk, Night of Jan 25-26, 1942, my translation]

  23. Diogenes says: “my translation”

    Thank you. From that excerpt, it appears that he would qualify to be a Discoveroid fellow.

  24. First a couple of errata about my post on the meaning of entwicklung.:

    It’s Descendenztheorie, not Descendeztheorie. Also, it’s Fähigkeiten, not feihigkeiten. Sorry for the typos.

    Here is a part of Mein Kampf I was referring to, relating Höherentwicklung and Kantian “idealism.”

    Below is Murphy’s translation of that passage; Murphy’s is often called the “official Nazi translation” (although Murphy ran out of Germany before finishing it.) Weikart explicitly invokes Murphy’s translation to support his own (Weikart’s) translation of Höherentwicklung as “higher evolution.” But Murphy actually translates Höherentwicklung as “higher development”, not evolution, in this important passage, as does the Reynal and Hitchcock translation, also below.

    [Mein Kampf, Murphy translation]: “No; the Jews have not the creative abilities which are necessary to the founding of a civilization; for in them there is not, and never has been, that spirit of idealism which is an absolutely necessary element in the higher development [Höherentwicklung] of mankind. Therefore the Jewish intellect will never be constructive but always destructive. At best it may serve as a stimulus in rare cases but only within the meaning of the poet’s lines: ‘The Power which always wills the Bad, and always works the Good’ (Kraft, die stets das Böse will und stets das Gute schafft). It is not through his help but in spite of his help that mankind makes any progress.” [Mein Kampf, Murphy's translation p. 237, which corresponds to the German p. 332]

    And for comparision, here is the R and H translation.

    [Mein Kampf, Reynal and Hitchcock edition]: “No, the Jew possesses no culture-creating energy whatsoever, as the idealism, without which there can never exist a genuine development of man towards a higher level [Höherentwicklung], does not and never did exist in him. His intellect, therefore, will never have a constructive effect, but only a destructive one, and in very rare cases it is perhaps stimulating, at the utmost, but then in the form of the original prototype of that ‘Kraft, die stets das Bose will und dock das Gute schafft.’ [that force which always wants evil and nevertheless creates good]. Any progress of mankind takes place not through him but in spite of him.” [Mein Kampf, Reynal and Hitchcock edition, p. 418]

    If Höherentwicklung means “higher evolution” as Weikart says, does that mean that Jews are incapable of macroevolution because they lack Kantian Christian idealism? When a fish evolved limbs to walk on land via macroevolution, did it require an “idealistic attitude”? Did the fishaphibian have more “idealism” than Jews and need it to evolve?

    (In my previous comment, I briefly explained what “idealism” means in this passage.)

  25. Gabriel Hanna

    I hope Diogenes understands that I appreciate his translation and commentary. It’s valuable information and I’m reading it. But Mein Kampf is so awful. It’s not that it’s evil, so much as incoherent and poorly written, and that’s what makes reading it such a chore. It’s like listening to a tiresome, bigoted uncle holding forth at a time and place where it’s not appropriate to argue with him. Compare with Clockwork Orange, which is a delight to read, despite the experience of inhabiting the head of a person purely evil.

    So I keep going on about Sgt Schultz.

    To retiredsciguy I’d say that Hogan’s Heroes is not really that well written. The character of Sgt Schultz is very well-developed, the other characters are more cartoonish. And the plot is always a forgone conclusion: the Germans are made to look foolish (a condition insisted upon by Werner Klemperer) and usually no one gets hurt. Once in a while the situation entails that they do and the effect is jarring. For example, Hogan and Co. infiltrated a factory newly converted to weapons production and blew it up in the middle of the night. Well, they had already said that the factory ran three shifts–so when the bomb went off it killed dozens of civilians that they’d worked alongside for some time. It all happens off screen so you’re not confronted with it, but if you think about it later, well, it wasn’t so funny.

  26. retiredsciguy

    Gabriel, I haven’t watched Hogan’s Heroes in many years, so my recollection is quite filtered through time. I agree with you about Schultz, though.

    Other long-running series with well-developed characters: M*A*S*H, Cheers, Rockford Files, & Maverick. They could have well-developed characters because they were long-running.

  27. retiredsciguy says: “Other long-running series with well-developed characters”

    Don’t overlook Charlie’s Angels.

  28. @Gabriel Hanna: But Mein Kampf is so awful. It’s not that it’s evil, so much as incoherent and poorly written, and that’s what makes reading it such a chore. It’s like listening to a tiresome, bigoted uncle holding forth at a time and place where it’s not appropriate to argue with him.

    It’s a rant, poorly organized and poorly edited, repetitive, uneducated, overlong, fake-intellectual, hate-filled, and of course, neurotic as all get out. (The editor was an anti-Semitic Catholic priest, Bernhard Stampfle, and I shudder to think what the book was like before Stampfle improved its organization.)

    (The famous section in which Hitler rants on and on and on about syphilis, the “Jewish disease”, has of course led to diverse pop-psychological interpretations. We can agree it shows Hitler had bizarre neurotic fixations. In that rant he flips back and forth between syphilis and modern art, (blaming both on the Jews) and intellectuals and Weimar. I would argue that that does give us some psychological insight into the Corporal: he saw modern art and democracy as sexually transmitted spiritual diseases.)

    Mein Kampf is however, more coherent and factually accurate, more rational and honest, and more tolerant and open-minded than WorldNetDaily. I mean that seriously: WorldNetDaily really does scare me more than Mein Kampf. WorldNetDaily already inspired Anders Breivik to kill 70+ people, mostly children. (Breivik copied-n-pasted the Bible quotes he used to justify violence from WND.) As soon as he was done kid-killin’, WorldNetDaily immediately announced Breivik had been motivated by “Darwinism.” So that’s no joke.

  29. Curmie writes: “Don’t overlook Charlie’s Angels.”