The post below appeared at UD 23Aug06, at which time it updated a still earlier post. I’m moving it to the top of the queue because of all the fuss about Ben Stein’s EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED connecting Darwin to Hitler. Get over it — there was a clear connection!
I posted these quotes (see below the fold) in May 2005 and am moving them to the top of the queue now because of the recent hubbub over D. James Kennedy’s upcoming program connecting Darwin and Nazi racism:
ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin for Hitler
NEW YORK, Aug. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.”
After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy’s project, Dr. Collins said he is “absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy’s program utterly misguided and inflammatory,” he told ADL.
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement: “This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.
It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of ‘Christian Supremacists’ who seek to “reclaim America for Christ” and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.”
The documentary is scheduled to air this weekend along with the publication of an accompanying book “Evolution’s Fatal Fruit: How Darwin’s Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions.”
A Coral Ridge Ministries press release promoting the documentary says the program “features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler’s ovens.”
To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd. Read Richard Weikart’s FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY (go here).
The Nazi emphasis on proper breeding, racial purity, and weeding out defectives come from taking Darwin’s theory seriously and applying it at the level of society. Yes, Darwin himself did not take these such steps, but Galton and Haeckel, his contemporaries, saw where this was going and did.
The outrage which says that the Nazi racial theory is a vulgarization of Darwinism is simply unmerited. The Nazis took Darwinian theory and ran with it, much as Peter Singer does these days, though Singer and his disciples are careful not to bring race into the picture — they take an equal opportunity approach in advocating the elimination of human lives they deem defective or inconvenient.
By the way, the American Eugenics Society was started in 1922 and dissolved not until 1994. Richard Lewontin, quoted below, belonged to it. Theodosius Dobzhansky was its chairman of the board in 1956. J.B.S. Haldane was a member. You think maybe their Darwinism had something to do with them being members?
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world…. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. [Just so there is no doubt, the author in particular is claiming that whites will exterminate blacks.]
— Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871, ch. 6.
Evolution teaches that “we are animals so that “sex across the species barrier ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings. [Just so there is no doubt, “sex across the species barrier is a euphemism for bestiality.]
— Peter Singer, “Heavy Petting, 2001
Rape is “a natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage, akin to “the leopard’s spots and the giraffe’s elongated neck.
— Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, “Why Men Rape,” 2000
“As evolutionists, we see that no [ethical] justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will…. In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding.
— E. O. Wilson and Michael Ruse, “The Evolution of Ethics,” 1991
According to Darwin, religious belief arises from ignorance of natural causes: “The tendency in savages to imagine that natural objects and agencies are animated by spiritual or living essences, is perhaps illustrated by a little fact which I once noticed: my dog, a full-grown and very sensible animal, was lying on the lawn during a hot and still day; but at a little distance a slight breeze occasionally moved an open parasol, which would have been wholly disregarded by the dog, had any one stood near it. As it was, every time that the parasol slightly moved, the dog growled fiercely and barked. He must, I think, have reasoned to himself in a rapid and unconscious manner, that movement without any apparent cause indicated the presence of some strange living agent, and that no stranger had a right to be on his territory. The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief in the existence of one or more gods.
— Darwin, Descent of Man, 1871, ch. 3
According to Richard Dawkins “the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design. Moreover, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
— Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986
“I personally feel that the teaching of modern science is corrosive of religious belief, and I’m all for that! One of the things that in fact has driven me in my life, is the feeling that this is one of the great social functions of science to free people from superstition. Lest there be any doubt about what Steven Weinberg here means by “superstition, he adds, “this progression of priests and ministers and rabbis and ulamas and imams and bonzes and bodhisattvas will come to an end, that we’ll see no more of them. I hope that this is something to which science can contribute and if it is, then I think it may be the most important contribution that we can make. [Weinberg, a Nobel laureate physicist, is well-known as an ardent evolutionist. He has debated Phillip Johnson on a number of occasions on this topic. Note that the demise of religion is for Weinberg the most important contribution of science.]
— Steven Weinberg, “Free People from Superstition, 2000
“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door…. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, than miracles may happen.
— Richard Lewontin, New York Review of Books, 1997