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Author Topic:   Darwinism and Nazism
Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5667 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 1 of 90 (26130)
12-09-2002 11:15 PM


For those of you who thought that it was only creationists who see a link between Darwinism and Nazism.
- some quotes from mainstream historians pertaining to the subject
- some examples of how Nazi's used Darwinism
- some quotes from Darwin to better judge how it might possibly have occured that a science theory became linked to political ideology
Please do not lawyer for either Darwinism or Nazism in response. I really can do without another magical incantation of the Naturalistic Fallacy to deny any significant link between Darwinism and Nazism.
(K. Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History)
(chapter one, page 8)
"In extolling the racial superiority of their tribe, racists adduced a
variety of different rationalizations. Since the last quarter of the
nineteenth century was dominated intellectually by Darwinian biology,
public discussion was intensely preoccupied with such magical phrases
as natural selection, heredity, struggle for existence, and the
survival of the fittest. A veritable flood of printed material was
devoted to racial stocks, racial behavior, and racial breeding,
creating the impression that racial issues could be reduced to the
level of scientific animal husbandry."
(chapter one, page 8)
"In the light of Darwin's discoveries, the public wanted to know who
was fittest and why; and invariably ethnocentric researchers jumped to
the hasty conclusion that skin color was the chief determinant of
biological and, therefore, social superiority. It was merely a
question of elucidating the racial traits of the strongest (fittest)
and the weakest (least fit) nations and demonstrating, by way of
comparative anthropology or physiology, which qualities promoted
survival and which did not. The general consensus was that
competition, boldness, bravery, and other assertive qualities made for
survival, while weakness, compromise, pacifism, altruism, in short,
passive traits, were sociobiologically undesirable."
(chapter one, pages 39, 40)
"There was considerable cross-fertilization of racial ideas and even
personal contacts between very respected academics, on the one hand,
and racial popularizers, on the other. In 1900, for example, the arms
manufacturer Friedrich Albert Krupp sponsored an essay competition on
the subject, "What can we learn from the principles of Darwinism and
its application to the inner political development and the laws of the
state?" The panel of judges was chaired by the social Darwinist Ernst
Haeckel, and the majority of the contestants were believers in Aryan
superiority and endorsed some form of anti-Semitism. First prize in
the competition went to a Munich physician by the name of Wilhelm
Schallmeyer, who colored all human activities with the crude social
Darwinian brush of survival of the fittest and recommended benign
neglect of the racially weak specimens. Schallmeyer strongly believed
that the Aryan race represented the apex of human achievement and that
stringent eugenic efforts, preferably state supported, would be
required to keep the Aryan race pure and predominant.
Another contestant in Krupp's competition, Ludwig Woltman, who
was awarded the third prize, later received much renown by publishing
a racial journal called Politisch-Anthropologische Revue (1902).
Woltman's journal, however, was only one of several scholarly journals
dedicated to racial studies. One of the most "respectable" was the
Archiv fur Rassen und Gesellschaftsbiologie, published by Alfred
Ploetz, the founder of the eugenic movement in Germany. Ploetz's
publication became a forum for avant-garde racial ideas. Ploetz later
coined the phrase "race hygiene," founded a secret Nordic society, and
was lavishly rewarded for his racial contributions with a university
chair by Adolf Hitler. As Leon Poliakov points out, some of the chief
eugenicists and geneticists of the next generation the scientists, in
other words, who flourished under the protective mantle of National
Socialism were influenced by Woltman and Ploetz. Among this group we
find Eugen Fischer, Fritz Lenz, and Otmar Verschuer, the man who
served as a mentor to the future "Angel of Death" at Auschwitz, Dr.
Josef Mengele. The most influential of these men was Eugen Fischer,
who applied Mendel's laws to racial hygiene. In 1934 he boasted that
he was the first scientist to promote Woltman's ideas within the
academic community and to have "inflamed young hearts with enthusiasm
for racial science." Fischer's colleague, Fritz Lenz, was a disciple
of Alfred Ploetz and a frequent contributor to his racial journal.
Before the outbreak of World War I, Ploetz's Revue was avidly read by
many German academics; it became a clearinghouse for all sorts of
racial doctrines, including the pseudoscientific rantings and
ruminations of Fritsch and Lanz von Liebenfels.
Thus, by a circuitous route we return to Adolf Hitler, whose
racial image of the world was not the product of his own delusion but
the result of the findings of "respectable" science. When Hitler read
Fritsch or Liebenfels, he merely absorbed ideas that were widely
entertained in both academic and popular circles. The message embodied
in these doctrines was unmistakable: any living organism is engaged in
a ceaseless struggle for existence and is doomed to extinction if it
does not fight. Nations, like individuals, are also engaged in a
ceaseless conflict in which only the fittest can hope to survive. The
fighting quality of a nation depends upon its racial purity and its
ability to breed the fittest specimens in the form of productive
workers, savage fighters, and charismatic leaders. Those who defile a
race of people Jews, Gypsies, Asiatic inferiors must be eliminated
through appropriate state measures. Of all the human racial stocks,
the Aryan race clearly represents the apex of human achievement; and
since Germany is the homeland of the Aryan race, the German people are
charged with a sacred mission to propagate the Aryan race and dominate
the world. Racial mongrelization, however, has gone so far that the
hour may be late indeed. Only state intervention can protect the Aryan
race from further infections by inferior races. In 1913 Eugen Fischer
boldly prophesied "with absolute certainty" that all Europeans would
become extinct unless governments, especially the German government,
developed and implemented a coherent racial policy. Adolf Hitler
provided that policy."
---
In a personal letter Fisher added that: "The rise of pseudo-biological
racism is inconceivable without the intellectual climate of opinion
that developed as a result of the Darwinian revolution."
(M. Burleigh, Ethics and Extermination - The racial state revisted)
"In contrast to this rather marginal reactionary figure (Gobineau),
the British naturalist Charles Darwin enjoyed enormous international
prestige, with his work on natural selection appealing to diverse
political constituencies, united in the belief that his findings had
prescriptive applicability to the society of man. His cousin Francis
Galton (1812-1911) for whom a chair was established at University
College, London (a bastion of anti-Establishment educational
progressivism), coined the term 'eugenics' to denote the science of
'fine breeding'. Social-Darwinists, an unsatisfactory umbrella term
covering a multitude of persuasions, shared the view that mankind
should take charge of its own evolutionary process. Some believed that
this should be achieved by doing nothing, so that the denizens of East
End London slums would die through processes of auto-extermination.
Others recommended various combinations of philoprogenitive measures,
or positive eugenics, to encourage enhanced reproduction among the
'fit'; with negative procedures, such as sterilization (either
voluntary or compulsory) which would curb the fertility of the 'unfit'
parts of the population. Being modern, progressive and scientific,
these ideas appealed across the political spectrum, including English
Fabian Socialists such as Sydney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the
London School of Economics, or the German Socialist doctor Alfred
Grotjahn, for whom they became a means of eradicating the marginal
Lumpenproletariat. In Germany, one of their most influential exponents
was the zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), originator of a
philosophy known as Monism, who, enthusing over what he probably
wrongly took to be ancient Spartan practice, recommended the killing
of the mentally and physically detective in the interests of
strengthening the culturally and physically superior 'central type of
people', whose most valuable part was the Indo-Germanic 'race'.
Already in the hands of Haeckel, these questions swam into the
dangerous orbit of health and emotional costs, a trend which would be
accelerated by the financial exigencies occasioned by the First World
War. A further aspect of these developments is most strikingly
represented by the racial hygienist Alfred Ploetz (1860-1940), namely
the idea that the health of society, construed as an atemporal genetic
collective, should be patrolled by medical experts, who would
determine who should marry or reproduce, or in other words, what type
of people should be born. Scope for this interventionist power-seeking
on the part of the medical profession and others was dramatically
enhanced as the rather modest concerns in this area of the early
nineteenth-century small state were replaced by the big government
reaching into most areas of life characteristic of the twentieth
century.
----
(12 year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany_ by Richard
Grunberger. )
"Since Nazi ideology leaned heavily on Darwinist notions, the Party's
education pioneers ... like to talk of the Adolf Hitler Schools
Institutionalizing the principle of continuous selection." pg 298
--- Quotes illustrating how Nazi's used Darwinism
---
Handbuch fur die Schulungsarbeit in der Hitler Jugend -
Vom deutschen Volk und seinem Lebensraum
(Handbook for schoolwork in the Hitler Youth - The German people and
their livingspace)
Herausgeber: Fritz Brennecke
Bearbeiter: Paul Gierlichs
1937
Chapter III. Race Formation: Heredity and Environment
Study of heredity
Gregor Mendel
Mendel's laws
(I) law of uniformity
(II) law of diversity -- dominant and recessive characteristics
(III) law of independence
inherited picture not always similar to apparent picture
species change
study of evolution
Charles Darwin
environmental influences not inheritable
hereditary transmission
changeability of the bearers of heredity
formation of races
(note: the Hitleryouth were not taught Gravity-theory or math or
anything like that, which was taught in regular schools not
Hitlerschools)
----
(Hitler's tafelgesprekken, 1980, p38)
(translated from Dutch version of Hitler's Tabletalk.)
"10 october 1941, midday
War is returned to it's primitive form. The war of peoples against
peoples has been replaced by a different kind of war - a war for the
possession of big spaces. Originally war was nothing other then a
struggle for pastures. Presently war is nothing but a struggle for the
riches of nature. Thanks to an inherent law these riches belong to
those who conquers them.
The big movement of peoples began from the east. With us ebb sets in,
from west to east.
This is in agreement with the laws of nature. Through the struggle,
the elites are constantly renewed. The law of natural selection
justifies this never ending struggle by letting the strongest win.
Christianity is a rebellion against the law of nature, a protest
against nature. Reasoned logically to it's ultimate end, Christianity
would mean the systematic cultivation of human failure."
(Wannsee-Protokoll,1942, quote from the minutes from the toplevel nazi-meeting where the details of the genocide against the Jews was worked out)
"The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival (see the experience of history.)"
---- quotes from Darwin's work
"Do the races or species of men, whichever term may be
applied, encroach on and replace one another, so that some finally
become extinct? We shall see that all these questions, as indeed is
obvious in respect to most of them, must be answered in the
affirmative, in the same manner as with the lower animals." (C.
Darwin, Descent of Man)
"At the present day civilised nations are everywhere supplanting
barbarous nations, excepting where the climate opposes a deadly
barrier; and they succeed mainly, though not exclusively, through
their arts, which are the products of the intellect. It is, therefore,
highly probable that with mankind the intellectual faculties have been
mainly and gradually perfected through natural selection;" (C. Darwin,
Descent of Man)
"And natural selection arising from the competition of tribe with
tribe, in some such large area as one of these, together with the
inherited effects of habit, would, under favourable conditions, have
sufficed to raise man to his present high position in the organic
scale." (C. Darwin, Descent of Man)
"Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in
any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian
and will never be even partially realised until the laws of
inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids
towards this end." (C. Darwin, Descent of Man)
"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. At the same time the
anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked,* will
no doubt be exterminated. 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." (C. Darwin, Descent of Man)
"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted
object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of
the higher animals,directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view
of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by
the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet
has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so
simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful
have been, and are being evolved. (Darwin, Origin of Species)
" And as natural selection
works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and
mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection." (Darwin,
Origin of Species)
"Can it, then, be thought improbable, seeing that variations useful to man have undoubtedly occurred, that other variations useful in some way to each being in the great and complex battle of life, should occur in the course of many successive generations? If such do occur, can we doubt, (remembering that many more indiviuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and procreating their kind?" (C. Darwin, Origin of Species)
(note: I added this last quote, which is the main definition of Natural Selection of Darwin, because when Darwin makes a distinction between "having any advantage" and "chance of surviving and procreating" it leads to "advantage" having an unknown and therefore possibly moral meaning, otherwise it must be considered a tautology)
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu
[This message has been edited by Syamsu, 12-09-2002]

Replies to this message:
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DaveF
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 90 (28657)
01-08-2003 6:32 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Syamsu
12-09-2002 11:15 PM


Nazism was based heavily on Nietzschean philosophy, which was the source of the 'will to power', ubermensch and the idea that morality should be viewed as a flaw allowing the 'unfit' to survive.
Darwin himself includes strength through diversity and absence of plan in the ToE - both of which are notably absent from the very concept of eugenics.
Selective use of ideals for political ambition is hardly restricted to Darwinism, as anyone with even a cursory knowledge of history should know.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Syamsu, posted 12-09-2002 11:15 PM Syamsu has replied

Replies to this message:
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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5667 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 3 of 90 (28659)
01-08-2003 6:49 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by DaveF
01-08-2003 6:32 AM


In stead of referring to Nietzche you migh more appriopately note the anti-semtism of Christian orgin. However, it's clear to me that apart from other factors, Darwinism played a signifcant role.
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

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 Message 4 by nator, posted 01-08-2003 8:32 AM Syamsu has replied

nator
Member (Idle past 2246 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 4 of 90 (28664)
01-08-2003 8:32 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Syamsu
01-08-2003 6:49 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Syamsu:
In stead of referring to Nietzche you migh more appriopately note the anti-semtism of Christian orgin. However, it's clear to me that apart from other factors, Darwinism played a signifcant role.
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

Do you blame baseball bat manufacturers because some people have used them to bash other people's heads in?
Why or why not?

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Replies to this message:
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John
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 90 (28677)
01-08-2003 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by DaveF
01-08-2003 6:32 AM


quote:
Originally posted by DaveF:
Nazism was based heavily on Nietzschean philosophy, which was the source of the 'will to power', ubermensch and the idea that morality should be viewed as a flaw allowing the 'unfit' to survive.
Ever read Nietzche? I doubt it. Most people don't bother. What the Nazi Party did with Uncle Freddie's work is mostly antithetical to what he actually wrote.
------------------
No webpage found at provided URL: www.hells-handmaiden.com

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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5667 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 6 of 90 (28685)
01-08-2003 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by nator
01-08-2003 8:32 AM


I don't, because I don't think baseballbats are the cause of people being hit by them.
Do you blame Konrad Lorenz for integrating Nazi ideological elements into his books, and the ethnic cleansing in Poland he participated in as a member of a Nazi race office, and then hiding all this after the war and saying he was just very naive about the Nazi's?
Why do Darwin and Haeckel continuously write in terms of higher and lower about living beings, human beings, where the higher is always noted as the most worthy?
Why is the definition of Natural Selection biased towards evolution and Social Darwinism?
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

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DaveF
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 90 (28686)
01-08-2003 11:05 AM


I evidently didn't make it clear enough that I believe the Nazis used interpretations of pretty much anything that suited their political ends.
Nietzsche fared no better than Darwin in the hands of the propoganda machine of the Nazis. It could even be argued that the Nazi ideal of Ubermensch ultimately resulted in something closer to the despised last men as mentioned in Thus spoke Zarathustra.
[This message has been edited by DaveF, 01-08-2003]

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Mr. Davies
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 90 (28695)
01-08-2003 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Syamsu
01-08-2003 11:01 AM


The idea is that people take tools and words and misuse them all of the time. When Nobel made TNT, he intended it to help people by making it easier for people to get connected by trains. Obviously it didn't work out the way he intended.
The slavery in the US was condoned as God's will from those who felt that slavery was ok'd in the Bible. Does that make the Bible wrong or those who read it the way they wanted to read it wrong?
Likewise, if a person misrepresents what Darwin and others have said, does that make their works wrong, or those who selectively quote from them?
------------------
When all else fails, check the manual

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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5667 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 9 of 90 (28732)
01-09-2003 5:47 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by DaveF
01-08-2003 11:05 AM


That has some point, but it's of course not a complete answer. As Fischer says, the rise of pseudobiological racism can be partly explained by the intellectual climate of opinion that developed as a result of the Darwinian revolution. Pseudobiological racism is not the same as Darwinism, but they facillitated each others popularity/credibility. Pseudobiological racism is a constituent part of Nazism.
You shouldn't suppose that Darwinism is such an innocent thing because it is supposedly amoral, just as Christians shouldn't suppose Christianity is such an innocent thing because it is supposedly the word of God. I think these attitudes are somewhat parallel bewteen scientists and religionists. The one claims moral infallibility on account of it being amoral, the other claims moral infallibility on account of Divinity. Both attitudes can throw up a barricade for normal functioning of conscience.
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

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nator
Member (Idle past 2246 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 10 of 90 (29090)
01-14-2003 8:58 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Syamsu
01-08-2003 11:01 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Syamsu:
I don't, because I don't think baseballbats are the cause of people being hit by them.
Exactly.
quote:
Do you blame Konrad Lorenz for integrating Nazi ideological elements into his books, and the ethnic cleansing in Poland he participated in as a member of a Nazi race office, and then hiding all this after the war and saying he was just very naive about the Nazi's?
Never read him.
Also irrelevant.
quote:
Why do Darwin and Haeckel continuously write in terms of higher and lower about living beings, human beings, where the higher is always noted as the most worthy?
Most worthy? Darwin never wrote about anything being "most worthy", and who cares what Haekel wrote if we are discussing science?
YOU are the one bringing up Naziism.
Do you blame the train car manufacturers because their products were used to carry Jews to the concentration camps?
Do you blame the people who invented Zyklon B, a rat and insect fumigant, because it was also used to kill Jews in the gas chambers?
If the answer is no, then why do you blame Darwin for the MISUSE OF HIS THEORY by other parties?
The baseball bat, the train cars, and Zyklon B are all items which were mis-used in terrible ways by the Nazis, and they MISUSED Darwin's ideas IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.
quote:
Why is the definition of Natural Selection biased towards evolution and Social Darwinism?
Um, NS is an EXPLANATION of a MECHANISM of evolution. They are pretty much linked together, by definition.
Social darwinism HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SCIENCE. How many hundreds of times do you need to be told this before you will understand?
Could it be that you simply hold your beliefs and rehash them over and over again without taking in new information or learning any new things?
[This message has been edited by schrafinator, 01-14-2003]

This message is a reply to:
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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5667 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 11 of 90 (29103)
01-14-2003 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by nator
01-14-2003 8:58 AM


Darwin continuously talks about lower and higher in "Descent of Man". He also talks about what the highest state of morality is for a person, and he advises that people to any significant degree "inferior" should not marry. The theory of Natural Selection was largely derived from the work of Malthus, which in retrospect has come to be classed as a work of Social Darwinism, even if it was published before Darwin. Social Darwinism has been closely entertwined with Darwinism from the conception of the theory. Your reference to basebalbats is superficial nonsense. At least you have shut yourself up, because except for changing your mind, you can do nothing else now then repeat your nonsense argument, you are stuck with it. Your argument doesn't allow for any further nuance, or looking at any evidence for that matter, like the books of Darwin, Haeckel or Lorenz for instance.
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 22605
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 12 of 90 (29126)
01-14-2003 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Syamsu
01-14-2003 11:31 AM


I'm curious - have you found anyone who shares your interpretations, or are they wholly your own?
--Percy

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Replies to this message:
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wj
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 90 (29128)
01-14-2003 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Syamsu
01-14-2003 11:31 AM


Syamsu, you are deluding yourself. Do you believe that racism did not exist before the theory of evolution was formulated?
Racism has been a feature of human culture for thousands of years. All that has changed over time has been the rationale which provides the supposed justification. Previously it has been the intellectual and cultural superiority of the Romans over the barbarians. Or the superiority of the Chinese over their neighbours and barbarian westerners. Or the moral superiority of christians over the infidels. Or the moral superiority of moslems over unbelievers.

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John
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 90 (29129)
01-14-2003 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by nator
01-14-2003 8:58 AM


quote:
Originally posted by schrafinator:
Um, NS is an EXPLANATION of a MECHANISM of evolution. They are pretty much linked together, by definition.
Syamsu,
I am guessing that this is what you requested I 'clear up'. Problem is that they are linked together in just the way Schraf says. NS is a mechanism of evolution. I don't think I have said anything different. Our debate in the other thread is about NS in the absense of variation. Technically, if there is no variation there would be no evolution and so in that sense NS does not require the rest of the ToE, but what Schraf said is the other way around. The ToE does require NS.
------------------
No webpage found at provided URL: www.hells-handmaiden.com

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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5667 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 15 of 90 (29162)
01-15-2003 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Percy
01-14-2003 4:46 PM


Klaus Fischer is a mainstream author, so I would guess that his opinions are widely accepted. But he does not blame Darwin for the holocaust, nor do I. That is just Darwinist politics to caricature positions.
I go a bit further then Fischer saying that the formulation of Natural Selection is unneccessarily conducive to Social Darwinism. I have found one essay on the web saying that the shift of focus from struggle to reproduction in formulating Natural Selection also made the theory less conducive to value-judgement.
Gould also had some criticism of Darwinists, and especially Haeckel, who was/is far more influential then Darwinists today make out to be, and much closer to Darwin's opinions as is shown in "Descent of Man". A book historian Leon Poliakov notes with some disgust in his book "The Aryan Myth".
It seems there is some renewed interest in the links between science and Nazism from historians, because of the new finds about Konrad Lorenz's extensive involvement with the Nazi's.
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

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