Nationalism and stupidity

Here is the epitome of nationalism:

Here is what I just read on Facebook:

Why don’t you go tell every veteran that they are racist then.

Agreeing to die for you nation is pretty nationalistic. But then again, you apparently wouldn’t understand that. Nationalism can also be inclusive; not inherently divisive and racist. But then again, maybe you don’t understand that either

Go ask a soldier and get back to me. If you don’t like our nation then move out.

These were all responses to another person’s posts contending and explaining why nationalism is categorically racist. (He was using “racist” with some liberty, but that was never really even the issue.) It may be the least fruitful discussion I have ever seen on Facebook. It’s like the person conflating patriotism with nationalism has never even considered these arguments. I…I’m speechless. I have to let George Orwell take over:

A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist — that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating — but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.

Update: I usually make it a point to not publish names that come from non-public discussions, but whereas this person defriended the status maker over my comments, I don’t feel bad to say that I think Allyson McCreery is a twit who deserves zero respect.

Hitler and creationism

Associating something with Hitler does not make that something wrong. Most believers won’t preface their (incorrect) associations of Hitler and evolution with that statement; it’s basic, bald dishonesty.

That said, Hitler was a creationist. In Mein Kampf, he said this:

Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth.

Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an 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.

It is obvious that, yes, Hitler believed that species did not evolve. So what about the Nazi utilization of eugenics? Well, I’m glad you asked such an easy question.

Hitler believed Aryans were inherently superior to everyone else. This is practically identical to the beliefs of most white people (in regard to whites) prior to Darwin. That is, people have long believed their own race to be superior to other races. But Hitler also believed that breeding Aryans with each other would increase Aryan characteristics throughout the population. This wasn’t some idea that depended upon evolutionary theory. People knew for thousands of years that they could produce certain traits within animals by creating breeding programs. Besides that, they obviously recognized that their own children would inherit features from their parents. Hitler extended this common knowledge to Aryans. It had no basis in evolution. Anyone who says otherwise is either woefully ignorant or an unabashed liar.

But how is this different from the position of modern day creationists? Hitler believed traits could be passed on and come to dominate a population. At no point does this have anything to do with speciation from his perspective – nor from the perspective of creationists. This is the so-called “microevolution” that is consistent with the silly creationist view. Hitler did not merely hold it – he embraced it.

Of course, it was not that he was embracing creationism itself. Don’t get me wrong – he did embrace creationism and he was a self-proclaimed creationist many decades before his rise to power – but it was not creationism itself he was embracing. He was using every day intuition about how reproduction works. These ideas stretch back formally at least 2400 years, and probably much further informally in terms of what early humans could observe as obvious. It was day-to-day ideas Hitler was utilizing in his quest for raising the German “superman”. Those ideas really had nothing to do with evolutionary theory, and even if they did, Hitler did not accept that species evolved anyway.

How well do you know Hitler?

Calling dishonesty

I’ve never been a big fan of calling someone dishonest with much ease. There are exceptions (a lot of politicians by virtue of being politicians, people who understand the science behind something but intentionally contradict it at the behest of a big corporation, i.e., researchers who long denied the effects smoking has), but I’m not usually ready to throw out a label of “dishonest” without good reason. I’ll say it for virtually all public-figure young Earth creationists because they present arguments they know are wrong (i.e., Kirk Cameron and his crocoduck; even when it was explained to him that evolution predicts no such thing, he continued to claim otherwise. I don’t think he’s smart, but he can’t be that stupid), but I won’t say it for the random young Earth creationist because they usually don’t know why their arguments are silly. For the former, I have good reason. For the latter, I do not.

And then there are theists in general. I believe most of them think their positions are valid and logical. They don’t inherently make arguments they know or believe to be false simply so they can push an agenda. This is true for all religious members as well as atheists, agnostics, and whatever else we care to name. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t big name theists willing to distort facts, make up history, and outright lie.

Enter the Pope.

‘As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society.’

Specifically, he means Nazis. This is a fallacious argument that attempts to link what just about everyone recognizes as a terrible regime to atheism. Hitler wasn’t an atheist and the Nazis did not promote atheism. The Pope is being overtly and brazenly dishonest.

In light of this, PZ has a series of Hitler quotes that help to demonstrate what the German leader thought. They’re worth a look in their entirety, but I’ll provide just a few here.

“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.” (1936 speech)

~~~

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.” (1922 speech – this one goes on for longer than what I’ve represented here)

~~~

“This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.” (Mein Kampf)

~~~

“ATHEIST HALL CONVERTED

Berlin Churches Establish Bureau to Win Back Worshippers

Wireless to the New York Times.

BERLIN, May 13. – In Freethinkers Hall, which before the Nazi resurgence was the national headquarters of the German Freethinkers League, the Berlin Protestant church authorities have opened a bureau for advice to the public in church matters. Its chief object is to win back former churchgoers and assist those who have not previously belonged to any religious congregation in obtaining church membership.

The German Freethinkers League, which was swept away by the national revolution, was the largest of such organizations in Germany. It had about 500,000 members …” (New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 2, on Hitler’s outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933, after the Enabling Act authorizing Hitler to rule by decree)

Far from being an atheist, Hitler believed in God. Furthermore, he actively suppressed atheist groups. The Pope, having lived in Nazi Germany and having been forced to join them, knows this. His people know it. Everyone frickin’ knows it.

But my favorite quote of all (which isn’t on that list):

Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth. Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an 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. (Mein Kampf)

Mmyes. In addition to not being an atheist, Hitler didn’t even accept the fact of evolution. Only a fundamentally dishonest theist would bother to argue otherwise.

Thought of the day

Anyone who tries to link Darwin and Hitler is being a dishonest hack.

Well, he was a creationist…

Here’s video of Hitler reacting to the Atheist Convention in Melbourne.

Arguing From Consequence

By Michael Hawkins

It is a systematic lie you’ve heard about Hitler and evolution. He did not use evolutionary science to justify his beliefs. Indeed, the man was a creationist. The following is a quote from Mein Kampf.

“Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth. Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an 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.”

He believed in “kinds”, a term as poorly defined in his time as it is by modern creationists. He fully rejected evolution, just as did one of his biggest influences, Houston Stewart Chamberlain. In fact, Chamberlain believed evolution would be judged as men of his day judged (and still judge) alchemy.

Of course, the fact that Hitler was a creationist says nothing of creationism. An evil man believing something does not make it false. And this is where a point must be made. Public creationists such as Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Ben Stein, and those who work for AnswersInGenesis will willfully make fallacious arguments trying to link Hitler to evolution. They suggest – coyly as ever – that evolution is wrong because it leads to bad things. Of course, they would never be so direct in their coy creationist lies, but it is the obvious implication. They seem to have no idea that an Argument From Consequence is entirely meaningless.

But, for a moment, pretend it does matter; pretend the argument actually makes sense. Hitler never used evolution for his hatred anyway. Indeed, he couldn’t! Writing in 1945, he says, “We use the term Jewish race merely for reasons of linguistic convenience, for in the real sense of the word, and from a genetic point of view, there is no Jewish race.” Insofar as there is no good biological basis for races, he was correct. (However, concentrated populations will tend to share traits. Ashkenazi Jews, for instance, have increased odds of getting breast cancer.)

At best, Hitler and his Nazi party used a distorted version of Social Darwinism, which itself was a distorted version of Darwinism. Indeed, the basic concepts behind Social Darwinism existed long before Darwin even hit the scene. Out of unfortunate convenience, its supporters brutalized real science when they got the opportunity.

It is the firm hope of this writer that nothing as ugly as creationism could possibly be true, but that isn’t good enough. It is through evidence and NOT using red herrings that such a case must be made. Creationists would do well to understand that. Of course, then there would be no creationists.

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