Monday, August 28, 2006

Was Charles Darwin Responsible for Adolf Hitler and the Columbine Killings?

To see the hysterical fear of Darwinian science, go here.

James Kennedy of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has produced a television documentary entitled "Darwin's Deadly Legacy," which was shown on television stations across the United States over the past weekend. He has interviews with many of the leading proponents of creationism and intelligent design theory and critics of Darwinism, including Michael Behe, Ann Coulter, Ken Ham, Phillip Johnson, Carson Holloway, and Richard Weikart.

The documentary claims that Darwin was responsible for Adolf Hitler and for the killings at Columbine High School in 1999. The reasoning is that Darwin rejected all morality in teaching "survival of the fittest" in which the strong would destroy the weak. Hitler put this teaching into practice in his eugenics, his racism, and his anti-Semitism. The high school boys who killed 12 people and themselves at Columbine High School were also motivated by their belief in Darwinian science. One of them left a message on his website: "You know what I love? Natural selection! It's the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid organisms."

Darwin's responsibility for all this is supported by the interviews. Richard Weikart repeats the claim of his book FROM DARWIN TO HITLER that Hitler adopted Darwin's science. Ann Coulter says that Weikart's book opened her eyes to this ugly fact. And Carson Holloway speaks about how Darwin's science subverted traditional morality.

I have posted responses to Weikart, Coulter, and Holloway. I have pointed out that Darwin defended morality as rooted in a natural moral sense, and that he looked to the Golden Rule as the highest expression of this morality. Of course, none of this is mentioned by anyone in this documentary.

It is very disturbing that the people interviewed for this documentary would support such a crude and vulgar piece of propaganda.


Anonymous said...

I have not yet been able to read your book but hope to do so soon. How much overlap do you see between Darwin's social and political thought and my personal conservative hero's Smith, Hume, Burke, Oakeshott, and Hayek? Does your book discuss these authors in connection to Darwin? The connection between Darwin and Burke is particularly interesting given Burke's view that spontaneous order is a reflection of divine providence.

Anonymous said...

Multi-Pronged Role of Darwinian Thought in Shoah's Arrival

Hitler's actions make sense given his atheism and eugenic, social Darwinist vision

Anonymous said...

Larry, you stated:

"I have pointed out that Darwin defended morality as rooted in a natural moral sense, and that he looked to the Golden Rule as the highest expression of this morality. Of course, none of this is mentioned by anyone in this documentary."

Indeed. However, you also commit a grievous sin of omission by forgetting to mention how Darwin explained the evolution of the human social instincts, leading to the Golden Rule. In _Descent of Man_, he explicitly argues that social instincts increased over time, because they helped the tribe or group possessing them to win wars against neighboring tribes. Those with lesser social instincts were thus exterminated by those having "higher morality."

This, by the way, is not all that far removed from Hitler's way of thought. He believed the Aryans were morally superior to other races, and he thought that moral instincts would increase by exterminating those races with less developed social instincts. Darwin would have been appalled by this application of his theory, to by sure, but Darwin's view of the evolution of social instincts was built on a view quite compatible with racial extermination.

Steven Carr said...

Hitler explicitly rejected the descent of man from apes, although he may have believed in the evolution of plants and animals.

Hitler also was convinced that there was a Creative Power.

From Hitler's Table Talk for 24/10/1941 'Tastsache ist, dass wir willenlose Geschoepfe sind,dass es eine schoepferische Kraft aber gibt. Das leugnen zu wollen , ist Dummheit'.

'Fact is, that we are weak-willed creatures, but there is however a creative power. It is stupidity to want to deny that.'

From Hitler's Tischgespraeche for the night of the 25th to 26th 1942 'Woher nehmen wir das Recht zu glauben, der Mensch sei nicht von Uranfaengen das gewesen , was er heute ist? Der Blick in die Natur zeigt uns, dass im Bereich der Pflanzen und Tiere Veraenderungen und Weiterbildungen vorkommen. Aber nirgends zeigt sich innherhalb einer Gattung eine Entwicklung von der Weite des Sprungs, den der Mensch gemacht haben muesste, sollte er sich aus einem affenartigen Zustand zu dem, was er ist, fortgebildet haben.'

My translation :-

'From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from the very beginning what he is today.

A glance in Nature shows us , that changes and developments happen in the realm of plants and animals. But nowhere do we see inside a kind, a development of the size of the leap that Man must have made, if he supposedly has advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is' (now)

In the entry for 27 February 1942 , Hitler says 'Das, was der Mensch von dem Tier voraushat, der veilleicht wunderbarste Beweis fuer die Ueberlegenheit des Menschen ist, dass er begriffen hat, dass es eine Schoepferkraft geben muss.'

And from Mein Kampf, volume 2 :-

"Thus for the first time a high inner purpose is accredited to the State. In face of the ridiculous phrase that the State should do no more than act as the guardian of public order and tranquillity, so that everybody can peacefully dupe everybody else, it is given a very high mission indeed to preserve and encourage the highest type of humanity which a beneficent Creator has bestowed on this earth."

"And, further, they ought to be brought to realize that it is their bounden duty to give to the Almighty Creator beings such as He himself made to His own image."

Of course, it should be realised that Hitler was a nut.

In his table talk entry for 25/1/1942, Hitler says he favours theories that about 10,000 years ago a catastrophe happened between the Moon and the Earth, with floods and fires , causing a calamitous collapse of the golden civilisations which existed then, and leaving just a few people alive on the world, who were able to find higer ground. (Hitler also claims the Bible contains a garbled recollection of this event)

He thinks that just before this time, there might have been superior beings to us, as they would not have had to cope with the earth's atmospheric pressure.

He thinks religions contain a memory of this event and came into being because of it.


Larry Arnhart said...


Yes, you're right. As your quotations indicate, it is not clear that Hitler accepted Darwinian science. This reinforces the point that people like Richard Weikart who insist on a clear line "from Darwin to Hitler" are engaged in vulgar propaganda rather than serious scholarship.

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