Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part II

It is with profound distaste that we post this, but it’s necessary. The claim that there’s a causal link between Darwin’s theory of evolution and the insane deeds of Adolf Hitler is one of the foundational teachings of the 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).

We’ve dealt with this monstrous legend several times before — first in Hitler and Darwin, and then Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. That was about something by Richard Weikart, about whom we 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.

After that we posted a few more times about the Discoveroids’ obsession with Hitler, most recently: The Shroud of Seattle (Weikart again).

Well, they’re back at it — and why not? The Discoveroids have no scientific accomplishments to talk about, so they may as well engage in raw propaganda. Their latest is Richard Weikart on Darwinism and Hitlerism. Yes, it’s about yet another scholarly work by Weikart. We won’t excerpt very much, because it’s the usual rot you’ve seen before, but one or two things should be mentioned. The Discoveroids say, with bold font added by us and their links omitted:

Discovery Institute fellow Richard Weikart lays out a historian’s case for the proposition that Adolf Hitler’s murderous policies arose from a scientific racism inspired by Charles Darwin’s most famous ideas.

What kind of “historian’s case” is that? Here you go:

… Weikart does the painstaking work of any careful historian, drawing narrowly phrased points from well over one hundred bibliographical sources — archival, primary and secondary. Weikart’s 203-page exposition of Hitler’s mind is supported by 681 endnotes apportioned across nine major chapters arranged more in conceptual than chronological order, though Weikart provides a timeline at the start of the book for context.

That sounds just dandy. However, it’s important to note what isn’t said, and we know this because if it were otherwise the Discoveroids certainly would have told us about it. There is no mention of Darwin in anything written or said by Hitler himself. That’s surprising, considering the amount of material that Hitler left behind. Yet (after what we assume was an exhaustive search of primary sources) it appears that all Weikart has to offer is what other people had to say about their guesses as to what motivated Hitler. So even with all its footnotes, this would seem to be a book about second-hand mind reading.

In fact, the Discoveroid article actually acknowledges that Hitler had no familiarity with Darwin’s work. They say:

It doesn’t matter much that Hitler became a scientific racist via Darwinism rather than by direct contact with Charles Darwin’s texts.

It’s a lucky thing for the world that Hitler didn’t actually read Darwin. Who knows what horror might have resulted — oh, wait. There actually was a World War II leader who had that mind-searing experience. We’ve previously posted that Winston Churchill read Darwin, and we quoted Churchill’s own written words to that effect. We haven’t read Weikart’s works, but we feel safe in guessing that he never mentioned that little datum.

We also wrote Hey, Klinghoffer: How About Hitler & Gobineau?, about Arthur de Gobineau, a pre-Darwin French racist whose ideas were adopted by the Nazis, but whose pro-Jewish sentiments were edited out of their versions of his writings. The Discoveroids never mention him. Nor do they mention another Nazi authority: On the Jews and Their Lies, by Martin Luther.

In the world of the Discoveroids, the only influence on Hitler was Charles Darwin — a name that was somehow never mentioned by Hitler. But that just proves the conspiracy, right? Weikart has it all figured out.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part II

  1. “…drawing narrowly phrased points from well over one hundred bibliographical sources…”
    What does that even mean? Are they up-front admitting to quote-mining, or are they saying that he drew overly-specific conclusions from very general evidence? Lotsa and lotsa footnotes to make it look scholarly, too. Meh- give me good old David McCullough or Antonia Fraser any day.

  2. I was very surprised to meet Hitler here in heaven. God must approve of freeways. I asked him about the Darwin connection and he said it wasn’t true. All the creationists here in heaven were surprised by that.

  3. Gabe, are you communicating with us through a medium? And what makes you think you’re in heaven? I mean, if you’re talking with Hitler…

  4. Even if Germans were taken with social Darwinism, which was popular throughout Europe in the early part of the 20th century, there is no logical argument that such beliefs would eventually lead to a Hitler figure. Hitler grew up with the general beliefs that were current in his time, but it was the strong influence of Christian anti-Semitism which drove his desire to exterminate Jews. Certainly there is some connection between the various programs to improve the “German race” and the psuedoscientific notions of social Darwinism prevalent at the time, but those ideas did not create Hitler.

    If Hitler had actually studied evolution, he would understand that a species’ long-term success depends greatly on its diversity. Attempting to narrow the diversity to only Aryans would be counter-productive. Clearly Hitler should have read Darwin.

  5. Gabe, are you communicating with us through a medium?

    In heaven we have internet, but it’s dial-up and Uncommon Descent is my home page and I can’t change it. We use Internet Explorer in heaven but thehelp menus are in Swahili, except for the Swahili-speaking parts of heaven where it is in Proto-Ugric.

    And what makes you think you’re in heaven?

    I got raptured. Try to keep up. And of course it’s heaven, all the creationists are here.

  6. That sure sounds like hell to me Gabriel.

  7. Gabe, do you still have the sixth-graders playing banjos? That ain’t heaven, big guy.

  8. …it appears that all Weikart has to offer is what other people had to say about their guesses as to what motivated Hitler.

    Oh, him. I had an opportunity to skim through one of “Professor” Weikart’s books at a book fair once. (I couldn’t really read it without purchasing it, and I refuse to put a nickel in his pocket – much less sixty bucks!) It’s loaded with footnotes and quotes, but they all seemed to refer to social Darwinism. I guess his target audience is expected to connect the dots to implicate Darwin, something they’re predisposed to anyway. It doesn’t work logically, though. Since Darwin was neither a social Darwinist nor a eugenicist, it would seem – using Weikart’s selective reasoning – that Herbert Spencer should shoulder at least some of the “blame” the professor is so eager to mete out to the wrong party. It’s a bait-and-switch tactic, not a very clever one. I don’t see why Weikart should be treated with any less contempt than any other Holocaust revisionist.