Hitler was an EVILutionist!

If I throw a baseball at your face, does that change the mathematics of its trajectory? No, of course not. You know that. You aren’t a flaming idiot. It may have been horrible what I did. In fact, I may have precisely calculated what was required to throw the ball at your face, built a machine to carry out those calculations with minimal error, and then pulled a lever to enact said machinery. But that doesn’t change whether or not my calculations were correct. No matter how many teeth you lose or how long you have a black eye, the accuracy of the math does not become a dependent variable.

So why does Richard Weikart think it matters if Hitler used Darwinism as a means to his ends?

Certainly raising the specter of Nazism does nothing to prove that Darwinism is wrong. However, the evil of Nazism should give us pause to reconsider and examine carefully the ideas, including the Darwinian ones, that led to that moral catastrophe.

So if Hitler’s ideologies have no bearing on the truth value of evolution (or baseball trajectories), then why should “the evil of Nazism” give us sufficient pause to examine evolution? Hitler had no idea how evolution worked, even by the standards of his day. He wasn’t an authority in the field. His opinions on evolution should not be the cause of any consideration toward evolution. Honestly. The man was also a big fan of art. Should we reconsider the value of being proficient renderers of people over landscapes, too?

Honestly, Hitler couldn’t have brought ‘Darwinism’ to its “logical outcome” since he clearly did not understand it. Race has no bearing on the quality of a human being. This is a rather subjective matter, not a scientific one. It’s hard to bring the science of evolution to the one possible outcome of a subjective matter. And insofar as science addresses this cultural fabrication of ‘race’, genetics tells us the 30 or so genes contributing to skin color aren’t too important as far as intelligence, personality, work ethic, ability, or anything else goes.

…in the introduction to my book From Darwin to Hitler I clearly state: “Nor am I making the absurd claim that Darwinism of logical necessity leads (directly or indirectly) to Nazism. In philosophical terms, Darwinism was a necessary, but not a sufficient, cause for Nazi ideology.

So ‘Darwinists’ are not necessarily led to Nazism. But Nazis are necessarily ‘Darwinists’ (among other things). Really, Bobby? Really? How well do you think Hitler – or most other Nazis – really understood evolution? Do you honestly think so many people said “I’m going to kill these Jews because life is about the survival of the fittest and I deem myself more fit than these hook-nosed crooks, therefore I am only hurrying up a natural process.” And of those that did say that, do you think they adequately understood ‘Darwinism’?

This is really the kicker. Bobby is here explaining that Nazis understood Darwinism when it’s so abundant they had no clue, much like Bobby himself. He even makes a highlight (unbeknownst to him) of this point.

When responding to a question from Stein about Hitler’s sanity, I replied that I did not think he was insane, but that he was taking ideas to their logical outcome. Here I was referring to Hitler’s ideology in toto, not just the Darwinian elements (though it includes them, too, of course).

Emphasis added. So ‘Darwinism’s’ logical outcome when combined with other Nazi ideology is genocide. Without ‘Darwinism’, Hitler would have never carried out the deeds he did, at least not to the same degree. Bullshit. Evolution has no ‘logical’ outcome, not in the sense intended here. Evolution is differential survival of organisms due to variation in phenotypes and genotypes interacting with a particular environment. The only logical outcome we can say evolution has is that some members of a species will survive long enough to reproduce while others will have some barrier to survival, whether it be infertility, death, or just being downright unattractive to the opposite sex. Genocide, racism, and war are not logical outcomes.

None of what I have said so far proves that Darwinism is implicitly racist, though it does demonstrate that Schloss’s attempts to distance Darwinism historically from Nazi racism fail. It is not as big a leap as Schloss thinks from Darwin’s claim in The Descent of Man that “the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races” to Hitler’s view of history as a racial struggle for existence.14 Schloss would surely argue that Darwin’s racist views were misguided, and that may well be (then he is arguing against Darwin, not against me). But why wouldn’t Darwin’s own views about the racial struggle for existence–embraced by the majority of Darwinists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century–be called Darwinism? And why would it be historically inaccurate to claim that this aspect of Darwinian theory influenced Hitler and the atrocities that he committed?

Emphasis added again. So Bobby’s point has always been that the original versions of Darwin’s theories were a key point in Hitler’s ideology. That would make sense since Hitler obviously couldn’t consider the modern version of the theory. So why is Bobby even discussing anything? If his point is that Hitler embraced the early version of a largely revamped theory, then why should anyone care? Or is it just that Bobby wants us to think that evolution is deeply connected to Nazism? Yes. Yes, it is.

But he wants to know why it is inaccurate to say a particular aspect of ‘Darwinian theory’ influenced Hitler. Aside from the fact that racism pervaded the entire world to the point where it was acceptable to not only defend it but start a war based upon it up until very recently in history (it still is a problem, of course), the author damn well knows what he’s doing. He knows that most people have no idea that Darwin was wrong in much detail. The overarching idea of evolution via natural selection is the most notable piece of the theory which has been retained. Darwin knew nothing of the unit of inheritance or cells. We have a framework which was reasoned out by Darwin, and brilliantly at that. Upon that retainted framework is neo-Darwinism, not ‘Darwinism’.

And the first point of this post bears repeating. What Hitler believed has no bearing on whether or not evolution is true. This Appeal to Emotions is baseless. This ‘historian’ damn well knows (again) he isn’t making an argument against accepted science. That’s why his argument is entirely inapprorpiate. He isn’t interested in educating people about what played into Hitler’s ideology. He is interested in undermining public confidence in the theory of evolution by playing to the base emotions of people. “Hitler believed in evolution? But he’s wrong about everything. Evolution must be wrong!” This is for what Bobby is hoping.

Please, can more people start addressing this blatant dishonesty? The guy is being propped up by this pseduo-scientific Christian Discovery Institute and basically lying. He’s telling us that, hey, whoa now, evolution doesn’t entail Nazism, Nazism just entails evolution. And, hey, come on, let’s just think a little more deeply about what that really means; let’s just reconsider the ideas of evolution because Hitler was a big bad man who was wrong on absolutely everything, but, hey, maybe he was on to something with this whole evolution-to-genocide thing.

3 Responses

  1. […] were some empirical way to measure debate winningness*, it wouldn’t matter since, just as Hitler has no bearing on the truth value of evolution, the random opinions of anti-science mooks is rather […]

  2. […] I could have sworn Hitler was an evilutionist. […]

  3. Good luck with your blogging — we can use all the help we can get!

    I’ve covered some of the same stuff you have, here:

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