christianity ethics philosophy science

blaming hitler 2

A – Hitler was yet another example of religion poisoning everything.

B – What!? Hitler was no real Christian.  He’s an example of how destructive the theory of evolution really is.

C – What are the chances that Hitler’s understanding of evolution (eugenistic) and Christianity (militaristic) were both pretty skewed?

5 replies on “blaming hitler 2”

I think Hitler’s faith and science was informed by his political aspiration. Not the other way around.

He is an example of cultural arrogance/ignorance.

Hitler was a product of Darwin. He believed in the survival of the fittest, the master race, and set out to achieve. He believed that what he was doing was in harmony with nature’s natural selection… Another atheist’s contribution to the world.

Agreed :)

One has to distinguish between a) ‘Darwinian theory’ (Darwin’s insight into biological development and the mechanism of natural selection) and b) ‘social Darwinism’ (the genetic-‘improvement’ programme).

A few points about ‘social Darwinism'(SD):
1) Even if we can detect some ‘Social Darwinist’ leanings in the writings of Darwin (and I’ve seen enough quote-mining to believe we do), we can still make the distinction between the (modern) socially indifferent theory of evolution and the genetics-altering ideology of SD.
2) it is an ideological and/or philosophical addition to the scientific theory of evolution. Nature doesn’t give two hoots about health, diversity, producing pure-bred humans, etc. Nature is just the word we use to describe ‘they way things (typically) go’. Evolution as a scientific theory is no more evil (or atheistic) than our scientific understanding of the water cycle (hydration, evaporation, etc.).
3) Not only is SD a construction on top of evolutionary science, it seems to misunderstand the science in that it ignores that evolution has produced, namely diversity: a breathtakingly wonderful mix of strong/weak, beautiful/terrible, healthy/’disabled’ organisms. Eugenics/SD, on the other hand, seeks to do away with the weak, terrible and ‘disabled’ in favour of the strong, beautiful and healthy.

Dale: “Even if we can detect some ‘Social Darwinist’ leanings in the writings of Darwin (and I’ve seen enough quote-mining to believe we do)”

The trouble with quote mining is that it is often used to convey the opposite meaning to what the author intended.

This is very clear with quotes from Darwin on so-called “social Darwinism” and eugenics. If your look at The Descent of Man you will find sections where Darwin quotes or describes arguments of proponents of eugenics and “social Darwinism,” followed by an explanation of why he thinks they ware wrong.

Of course quote miners delight in just quoting the first part. Thus conveying the opposite meaning to what was intended.

My impression (from reading the book not the quotes) is that Darwin clearly leaned the other way. However it is easy to crticise him for his quaint language – normal to the time.

I gave a blatant example of this sort of quote mining in Godless cosmology. It’s a common one but typified by D’Souza’s quote, in What’s So Great about Christianity: “there must have been a big bang singularity.” He is quoting Stephen Hawking from his book A Brief History of Time. He takes that from a paragraph in the book which starts:

“The final result was a joint paper by Penrose and myself in 1970, which at last proved that there must have been a big bang singularity provided only that general relativity is correct and the universe contains as much matter as we observe.”

But – at the end of the same paragraph Hawking adds:

“It is perhaps ironic that, having changed my mind, I am now trying to convince other physicists that there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe – as we shall see later, it can disappear once quantum effects are taken into account.”

D’Souza based his whole argument on the dishonestly selected extract (quote mined) and it’s hard to believe he didn’t see the complete contradiction just a few words along.

I think one should always check the original when you come across quotes. So easy to do these days.

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