Discoveroids’ Hitler Obsession Continues

With no evidence and no research to support their “theory,” one of the Discovery Institute’s favorite tactics is trying to smear Darwin by claiming that Hitler was influenced by his work. This is a classic example of Godwin’s law — that the losing side of a long and hopeless argument inevitably plays the Hitler card.

As we pointed out in Hitler and Darwin by quoting Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, Volume Two, Chapter X, Hitler claimed to be acting in accordance with the will of God. And he never even mentioned Darwin. Instead, Hitler clearly indicates that he’s a creationist. Read it for yourself:

For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will.

We have no idea if Hitler actually believed that, but whatever he believed, there’s certainly no “Darwinism” there. On the other hand, in Hitler, Darwin, and … Winston Churchill? — we showed that the World War II leader who actually did read Darwin was Hitler’s principal opponent — Winston Churchill.

The Discoveroids are playing the Hitler card again. This appeared yesterday at their creationist blog: Was Hitler a Creationist? A Christian? Decoding a Famous Quotation from Mein Kampf, written by Richard Weikart. 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 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. Here are some excerpts from his new post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

In the many years I have studied Hitler’s ideology, I have seen the following from Mein Kampf more often than any other: “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” Because of its theological language, very often this quotation is offered as proof that Hitler was a Christian. Since he used the term Creator here, some even maintain that Hitler was a creationist.

Weikart devotes much of his essay to that little quote, while never mentioning the many references Hitler made to Christianity, and of course he doesn’t reveal that Hitler never — not even once — mentioned Darwin’s name in any of his writings or his speeches. Weikart does cite a few accounts of private conversations with Hitler where he allegedly mentioned evolution, but the sources of that “information” are dubious. Then, giving it his best shot, he says:

Hitler also clearly expressed belief in human evolution in a 1937 speech opening the Munich House of German Art. In this lecture he derided modernist artists, whom he described as being throwbacks to creatures at earlier evolutionary stages. He said:

[Weikart’s quote:] When we know today that the evolution of millions of years, compressed into a few decades, repeats itself in every individual, then this art, we realize, is not “modern.” It is on the contrary to the highest degree “archaic,” far older probably than the Stone Age.

After that quote, Weikart tells us:

This demonstrates that Hitler believed that humans evolved over millions of years.

He doesn’t link to any source for his quote, so we had to go hunting. We found this: Hitler’s Speech at the Opening of the House of German Art in Munich (July 18, 1937), with an introduction that makes it clear that Hitler was ranting against degenerate modern art — that is, he wasn’t talking about Darwin. The Weikart quote (more or less) appears on page four, in these words:

Since we know today that the development [not “evolution”] of millions of years repeats itself in every individual but is compressed into a few decades, we have the proof that an artistic creation that does not surpass the achievement of eight-year-old children is not “modern” or even “futuristic” but is, on the contrary, highly archaic. It probably is not as developed as the art of the Stone Age period, when people scratched pictures of their environment on the walls of caves.

Whatever that was, it wasn’t an embrace of evolution. But it’s all Weikart can find. He continues:

In both Mein Kampf and in his unnamed Second Book, Hitler described the evolutionary process. He claimed that species evolved by procreating prolifically and then engaging in a struggle for existence. “Struggle” was one of Hitler’s favorite words, and he also often used the term selection to describe the outcome of this struggle. The superior species would triumph in the struggle, and the weak and sickly would go to the wall.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That is not the evolutionary process described by Darwin — nor, and here we must repeat ourselves, did Hitler ever attribute his bizarre views to Darwin. Here’s one last excerpt from Weikart’s essay:

While there is some superficial plausibility to the notion that Hitler was a creationist, the evidence I present in [name of Weikart’s book] should lay that mistaken notion to rest. Hitler clearly believed in Darwinian evolution.

That’s the best the Discoveroids can do. Sad, isn’t it?

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17 responses to “Discoveroids’ Hitler Obsession Continues

  1. They got nothing so they make stuff up (insert more colorful term). It’s a common practice among religious types that goes back to prehistory.

  2. Remember that in the 1920s and ’30s YEC was rare. The fundamentalist deniers of evolution accepted millions of years. The Jehovah’s Witnesses accepted millions of years (by some interpretations of the chronology of Genesis). The Scofield Reference Bible of 1917 accepted an old Earth (I don’t recall whether that was precisely millions of years). William Jennings Bryan accepted millions of years in his testimony in the Scopes trial. It was not until Whitcomb and Morris published The Genesis Flood in 1961 that Young Earth Creationism became popular. It is no surprise that anyone would unthinkingly accept millions of years in the ’20s and ’30s. It is no “litmus test” for evolution. It would be no more indicative of attitude to evolution than today’s belief in dinosaurs or other extinct fossil animals, or in “microevolution” within “kinds”, or in astronomical distances.

  3. Someone once commented that science is not responsible for the misuse of its theories by German dictators. So even if Hitler *had* gotten some of his ideas from Darwin – or anyone else – only he was responsible for the way he used those ideas.

  4. Eddie Janssen

    @John. Yes, no one ever blamed Newton for the crimes the Videla regime did in Argentina during the late seventies. Among the more notable ones was throwing political prisoners out of airplanes a kilometer high above the Southern Atlantic Ocean.
    (I may have mentioned this in an earlier post)

  5. But Newton was connected to atheism in George Berkeley’s attack on calculus.
    One of the problems with dealing with creationist arguments is that so often they are wrong in so many ways that it is overwhelming. It is wrong so many ways that one is tempted to a scattershot response to cover all of the mistakes. If one points out the absurdities, even if only a few prominent ones, of attributing any influence of Darwin on Hitler, one can be so satiated with the volume as to forget the irrelevance of the charge.

  6. IF one argues that the true merit of a scientific idea lies not in it’s explanatory power but in its social consequences, then one has to conclude that the theory of evolution has proven to be of great worth to creationists. Probably more that any other scientific idea. That it is most likely true is irrelevant.

    Without the ToE, the Discovery Institute would not exist. Without the ToE, Ham would have nothing with which to whip up his base, and would not be creating museums and tourist attractions in Kentucky.

    So, yes, in that indirect way, the ToE is responsible for evil in this world. Just not in the way that Weikart would have us believe.

  7. Hitler also was said to have been a vegetarian, kept pets, had a penchant for facial hair, and liked trains to run on time. What does that say about people who don’t eat meat, own dogs, wear moustaches, or prefer to arrive on schedule?

    And, anyway, even if we uncovered a trove of Darwin’s writings in which he said, “boy, it’d be super awesome if a dictator used my writings to justify war and genocide;” and if a diary belonging to Hitler revealed that he thought Darwin was a “real cool cat and that stuff about finches was mind-blowing;” what exactly would that say about evolution or natural selection?

  8. @Mark Germano
    Unfortunately, we don’t have to imagine scenarios.

    There are people who insist that evolution including selection is active within kinds, and without purposeful intervention in the natural world there is deterioration, and that one’s knowledge like this is important in one’s moral decisions, and that humans are members of man-kind.

    Fortunately, the people with such beliefs are not particularly noted for their consistency.

  9. There we go again. Are these two quotes typical for Evolution Theory or for creationism?

    “iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind.”

    “This urge for the maintenance of the unmixed breed … prevails throughout the whole of the natural world … The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.”

  10. Yet again, one is obliged to remind the Creationists that the Nazi’s genocidal ‘Final Solution’ resembles, not Darwin’s ToE, but ID, with the Nazi’s playing the role of ‘Intelligent Designer’ intervening to ‘improve’ (in their warped minds) a species.

  11. Just one remark: Hitler quoted the “Entwicklung über Millionen von Jahren” – that can be both “development” and “evolution”! Today, Germans usually speak about the Evolutionstheorie, but Entwicklungslehre was a common term.

  12. James Bolton Theuer

    Hitler was clearly a Newtonist. Therefore physics isn’t real. Checkmate, physicists.

  13. TomS: William Jennings Bryan’s reluctant admission at the Scopes trial that the “days” mentioned in the Bible might not have been literal 24-hour days shocked and horrified many fundamentalists of his era, with the result that is was quietly swept under the rug for decades, until it was resurrected for dramatic effect in the play and movie Inherit the Wind.

    I suspect that whatever the official stance of, say, the Jehovah’s Witnesses might have been, most of the grass-roots fundies preferred the six-24-hour-days narrative. After all, that’s what Genesis actually says, isn’t it, and Genesis is the Word of God, isn’t it, so reading another meaning into it makes God out to be a liar.

  14. I brought up the point in the context of whether there is evidence that Hitler was an “evolutionist”.
    Some of the supposed evidence was that Hitler mentioned millions of years.
    I pointed out that in that era, there were people who were strongly against evolution yet accepted more than the thousands of years of Young Earth Creationism.

  15. There are ID proponents who accept millions of years and common descent.

  16. Nice post. EN&V highlighted Weikart’s post in their Nota Bene emails, so naturally I’m adding it to my #TIP dataset of antievolution sources. I was curious whether any in the pro-evolution community had commented on it, and good seeing this deft rejoinder, which I will also be adding to my #TIP dataset.

  17. There is a new book – I have not yet read it, but I have seen a couple of reviews –
    Randall Fuller
    The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Shook Up America
    This book argues that tje appearance of “Origin of Species” on the eve of the US Civil War encouraged the anti-slavery movement.