There’s a school of politics, somewhere, that teaches its students: “When you have nothing positive to say for yourself or your cause, claim that your opponent’s ideas are the same as Hitler’s.” The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — are fervent practitioners of that technique.
But it’s not fair to say that the Discoveroids have nothing positive to say. As we often remark, they do have a couple of arguments for their “theory” of intelligent design. One is a god of the gaps argument. The other is William Paley’s watchmaker analogy — which was popular in the days before Darwin.
Unfortunately for the Discoveroids, both of those arguments are fallacious. A gap in the evidence is just that — a gap. An empty box a few generations back in your genealogy chart reveals nothing more than a lack of evidence — a gap in your research. It’s not evidence of a supernatural event in your family history. Pointing to the empty box and claiming “El Gappo did it” is absurd on its face. As for the magical watchmaker, he was laid off in a downsizing as being superfluous, after Darwin’s theory (which is abundantly supported by evidence) described a natural way to accomplish the same things.
Somewhere, in the Retirement Home for Obsolete Miracles — that dismal residence where myths that once “explained” natural aspects of the world now live out their dotage, reminiscing about their glory days — the Watchmaker and El Gappo are crying in their beer because nobody respects them any more, and the tooth fairy is trying to console them.
So all the Discoveroids have left is the Hitler maneuver, and they’re making the most of it. In Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part V we provided a brief summary of their smear campaign. If you enjoy wallowing in waste, then you’ll love reviewing their past efforts. We debunked the whole concept shortly after we started this blog — that was in Hitler and Darwin.
Today we’ll focus on their latest effort, titled Richard Weikart Makes the Definitive Case for the Nazi/Darwinism Connection.
It’s written by Michael Flannery, whose work we’ve discussed before — see More Discoveroid Quote Mining by Michael Flannery. He’s one of the Discoveroids’ favorite historians. He virtually deified Alfred Wallace for his confused writings late in life, and turned him into a prophet of intelligent design. Flannery also conjured up a Darwin-Stalin linkage, which inspired us to write Discovery Institute: Beyond Despicable.
Who is Richard Weikart, about whose work Flannery is writing? Weikart wrote the Discoveroid post we discussed in the above-linked Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part V. There 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.
Now you know what we’re dealing with — Flannery is writing about Weikart who wrote about the mythical Darwin-Hitler connection. It’s too late to quit now, so put on your radiation suit and your gas mask. Say goodbye to the world of reason. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and Flannery’s links omitted:
Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler and Hitler’s Ethic, has a new article in the prestigious journal German Studies Review titled “The Role of Darwinism in Nazi Racial Thought.” Though some historians have been reluctant to connect evolutionary views with Nazi ideology, Weikart’s cogent argument demonstrates precisely how, in fact, Darwinism was “well entrenched” in the biology curriculum of Germany, how anthropologists’ Darwinian views on race were actively promoted by the Nazi regime, how the evolutionary theme suffused Nazi periodicals, how it made up an important part of Nazi propaganda, and how Hitler himself “regularly invoked Darwinian concepts” in his writing and speeches. “The historical evidence is overwhelming that human evolution was an integral part of Nazi racial ideology,” Weikart concludes.
As we slog through this turgid sludge, we’ll be looking for something Hitler wrote — in a book, letter, or memo, or something he said in a speech — not some vague “the strong will prevail over the weak” sort of thing — but something specific, where it’s clear that Hitler, in his own words, declared: “Darwin is my inspiration.” That’s the evidence which has always been missing from the Discoveroids’ history, just as verifiable evidence has always been missing from their “theory” about an intelligent designer. Let’s see if they’ve got something this time. Flannery says:
Weikart’s argument resonates with what I, as an American historian, know of the Nazi connection with the eugenics movement in America, itself a movement largely comprised of social Darwinists.
We’ve already debunked that. See Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. And we’ve also pointed out that Hitler’s most strident opponent, Winston Churchill, specifically wrote that he had read Darwin’s Origin of Species — something Hitler never did, at least it’s conspicuously missing from all respectable historians’ work on Hitler. Here’s one more excerpt, from the end:
Weikart’s case is supported by a high degree of historical consilience. In America, the eugenics movement was not only united by a strong commitment to social Darwinism, its connections with the Nazi policies were in some cases explicit (for more on that see [link omitted]). Weikart’s most recent publication, in short, makes the position of the Nazi/Darwinism naysayers — the history deniers, you might say — untenable.
So there you are, dear reader — the Discoveroids claim they are the only reliable source of The Truth™, not only about science but also about history. We’re the reality deniers, not them.
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