Hitler, Darwin, and … Winston Churchill?

THE Niagara of nonsense that spews from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) is saturated with demented fantasies about a fictitious connection between Hitler and Darwin.

We recently wrote about the latest example: Klinghoffer Disgorges a Creationist Gusher. It’s a classic. They have no science so they play the Hitler card — a sure sign that they’ve lost. Why do they go on? They can’t help themselves. They’re obsessed with promoting The Infinite Evil of Creationism

Although Hitler never wrote a word about Darwin, and as far as we can determine the maniac never said he was inspired by Darwin’s theory, the creationists insist that Darwin is responsible for Hitler’s misdeeds. Lack of evidence has never been a problem for creationists.

In response to this madness, we’ve pointed out that not only was Hitler an ignoramus on the subject, but Winston Churchill probably did know of Darwin’s theory — yet he opposed Hitler and all his works. The Discoveroids don’t care. In their rage against reason and science, they simply ignore Churchill — a difficult thing to do — and they continue to claim that Hitler is Darwin’s intellectual heir.

So we decided to strengthen our argument by looking for an actual statement that Churchill made indicating that he knew about Darwin’s theory — the sort of evidence that doesn’t exist regarding Hitler and Darwin. But that was a difficult task.

Churchill earned his living as a writer. He wrote several books, numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and he gave a vast number of speeches. We couldn’t find an online collection of all his works — not even for just his books. There was no convenient website where we could search for something he might have said or written about Darwin.

Nevertheless, we were determined to find reliable evidence for a convincing response to the creationists’ “No Darwin, no Hitler” mantra (that is, were it not for Darwin, there would have been no Hitlerian atrocities). We’ll spare you a description of our search efforts, and instead we’ll give you the good news: We found what we were looking for, and it’s even better than we had hoped.

Churchill wrote an autobiography in 1930 titled My Early Life. There’s an online copy here. A search for “Darwin” takes us to Chapter IX, Education at Bangalore. Churchill wrote, with bold font added by us:

It was not until this winter of 1896, when I had almost completed my twenty-second year, that the desire for learning came upon me. I began to feel myself wanting in even the vaguest knowledge about many large spheres of thought.


So I resolved to read history, philosophy, economics, and things like that; and I wrote to my mother asking for such books as I had heard of on these topics. She responded with alacrity, and every month the mail brought me a substantial package of what I thought were standard works. In history I decided to begin with Gibbon. …

Skipping a bit, we come to this:

From November to May I read for four or five hours every day history and philosophy. Plato’s Republic it appeared he was for all practical purposes the same as Socrates; the Politics of Aristotle, edited by Dr. Welldon himself; Schopenhauer on Pessimism; Malthus on Population; Darwin’s Origin of Species: all interspersed with other books of lesser standing.

There’s the smoking gun, dear reader. Churchill didn’t just make some casual mention of Darwin, he actually read Origin of Species. There’s no evidence that Hitler ever did, or that he had a even a rudimentary understanding of biology — or any science. Let’s read on in Churchill’s own words:

My various readings during the next two years led me to ask myself questions about religion. Hitherto I had dutifully accepted everything I had been told. Even in the holidays I always had to go once a week to Church, and at Harrow there were three services every Sunday, besides morning and evening prayers throughout the week. All this was very good. I accumulated in those years so fine a surplus in the Bank of Observance that I have been drawing confidently upon it ever since.

The more we read, the more we like young Winston. Moving along:

I did not worry about the inconsistency of thinking one way and believing the other. It seemed good to let the mind explore so far as it could the paths of thought and logic, and also good to pray for help and succour, and be thankful when they came. I could not feel that the Supreme Creator who gave us our minds as well as our souls would be offended if they did not always run smoothly together in double harness. After all He must have foreseen this from the beginning and of course He would understand it all.

Accordingly I have always been surprised to see some of our Bishops and clergy making such heavy weather about reconciling the Bible story with modern scientific and historical knowledge. Why do they want to reconcile them? … These matters may be puzzling, but they are certainly not important. What is important is the message and the benefits to you of receiving it. Close reasoning can conduct one to the precise conclusion that miracles are impossible: that it is much more likely that human testimony should err, than that the laws of nature should be violated and at the same time one may rejoice to read how Christ turned the water into wine in Cana of Galilee or walked on the lake or rose from the dead.


I therefore adopted quite early in life a system of believing whatever I wanted to believe, while at the same time leaving reason to pursue unfettered whatever paths she was capable of treading.

There are no other mentions of Darwin — just that one; but it’s more than enough for our purpose. It’s sufficient to inform us that young Winston not only read Origin of Species, but he was also aware of The Controversy between evolution and creationism, and he was untroubled by the conflict between reason and faith that drives the Discoveroids and other creationists to reject science altogether.

And contrary to the Discoveroids’ wild allegations about Darwin’s (non-existent) influence on Hitler, it is obvious that having actually read Darwin, Churchill wasn’t then motivated to run out and kill people in evolution’s name. Maybe history would have been different if Hitler, like Churchill, had learned about evolution.

Hey, you heard it first here: No Darwin, no Churchilli.e., were it not for for Darwin, there would have been no Churchillian defiance of Hitler. (Yes, it’s quite a stretch, but compared to the Discoveroids’ “No Darwin, no Hitler” mantra, it’s rock solid.)

So there you have it — the Curmudgeon’s Churchillian Confutation. Remember this, dear reader: the World War II leader who actually did read Darwin was Hitler’s principal opponent — Winston Churchill. We have Churchill’s own word on that.

Do the Discoveroids care? Of course not. Rejecting reality is the essence of creationism. They’ll continue creating and spreading lies about Darwin’s theory. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

See also: Darwin, Churchill, and Hitler.

Addendum:: See also this article in the Scientific American blog: Winston Churchill’s Thoughts on Evolution.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “Hitler, Darwin, and … Winston Churchill?

  1. levelsofillusion

    [link deleted]

    …”Do the Discoveroids care? Of course not. Rejecting reality is the essence of creationism. They’ll continue spreading lies about Darwin’s theory. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”…

    They have NO choice!

  2. They have NO choice?

  3. levelsofillusion

    Humans have NO choice. Not just Christian Fundamental cases. Atheists are the true freaks of nature on this planet. The true minority.

  4. Okay, levelsofillusion. That’s enough.

  5. longshadow

    Must be “Internet Day” at the Home for the Perpetually Bewildered …..

  6. Longie says:

    Must be “Internet Day” at the Home for the Perpetually Bewildered …..

    Especially considering that the post said nothing about atheism. We have comments that don’t agree with me, but they’ve gotta at least be somewhere close to the topic.

  7. Gabriel Hanna

    Of all I’ve read that Churchill wrote, “My Early Life” is my favorite.

    I liked the bit when he was five and told to decline “mensa”.

  8. Tim Norfolk

    Actually, as I recall, the Nazis banned Darwin’s books. Also, I do believe that there is a passage in Mein Kampf where Hitler expresses his denial of ‘descent from monkeys’.

  9. Tomato Addict

    The Nazis burned Darwins books. I will refrain from posting the link again, but any intrepid Googler should be able to find it.

  10. As I stated in the HuffPo comments, it would have been better if he had attributed Nazism to pigeon fanciers because they were one of the sources for Darwin.

    The article is so bad it is not funny. The guy is totally oblivious to the history of animal breeding over the ages.

  11. Gabriel Hanna

    @Chris P:

    The guy is totally oblivious to the history of animal breeding over the ages.

    No, Klinghoffer is perfectly aware of it. He is hoping that some of his audience is not, and he can fool them.

    He’s not ignorant, he’s a liar.

  12. Let us suppose (it isn’t true, but let’s just suppose) that there were something in darwinian evolution that encouraged some of those vile social/political policies with respect to “mankind”.

    That would fall under “micro”evolution, evolution within a “kind”.

    And many of the creationists insist upon telling us that they fully accept micro-evolution within a kind. Check the web for “baraminology”.

    How do creationists accept both ideas: (1) that micro-evolution leads to those social/political policies and (2) that micro-evolution happened?

  13. “No, Klinghoffer is perfectly aware of it. He is hoping that some of his audience is not, and he can fool them.”

    No, the standard Creationist counter here is “you can breed them, but they remain pigeons.” You’ll hear the word “kind” thrown around.

  14. A wonderful piece my friend!

    Now all we need to do is get this circulated 😉

  15. Sandman says:

    Now all we need to do is get this circulated

    Glad you liked it. It’s tasteless for me to run around the internet linking to my own post, but feel free to spread the word.