Hi. I’m the forum administrator at Factnet. We’ve recently been trying to stimulate an evolution vs. creationism discussion, with a few threads started in that direction. In my search of sources, I came across EvC Forum; and am very impressed. You guys have it all here, with no topic within the evolution/creationism debate left unexplored. I’m going to be doing a lot of reading here, because I find this website inspirational and motivating.
Having said that, I’ll mention that I’ve recently read Eugenie Scott’s book, "Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction," copyright 2009, where she mentions Ken Ham and his work with the Institute for Creation Research; and "Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" by Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross, copyright 2004 by Oxford University Press.
I apologize if I’m repeating what’s already been said here; but from what I’ve learned Ken Ham founded the Australian Creation Science Foundation in 1978, then came to work for the Institute for Creation Research in 1987; and eventually spun off Answers in Genesis which he co-founded with Carl Wieland, a young-Earth creationist. From what I understand, Ken Ham owns and operates Kentucky’s Creation Museum that promotes young-Earth creationism. What’s disturbing is that Ham’s daily radio program is heard on more than 800 stations in the United States (and dozens more overseas), and he’s probably the most influential creationist in the world.
Ken Ham has some strange beliefs, like telling us that geologic time is wrong because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. He wrote Take out your Bible and look through it. You can’t find any hint at all for millions or billions of years.
Ham even equates justification for racial discrimination to evolutionary theory in his book "One Blood." He plays the Hitler card by saying this kind of thinking inspired Hitler in his quest to eliminate Jews and Gypsies. Typical "reductio ad Hitlerum" tactic.
As a young-Earth creationist, Ken Ham believes that the Universe and everything in it was created by an invisible supernatural being less than ten thousand years ago, that Noah’s Flood happened around 4500 years ago, and that the animals carried aboard the Ark produced the biological diversity observed on Earth. He also believes that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.
Old-Earth creationists have called Ham willfully ignorant of evidence for an old Earth, and said he deliberately misleads his audiences on matters of both science and theology.
It’s difficult to comprehend such a mind-set as Ken Ham’s, or young-Earth creationists in general. All I can say is that I’m glad he and his ilk are not in control of science standards within our public schools.
If any of you would like to contribute to the discussion at Factnet, you would be welcome.
Re: The "Origin of Species" that first made it to Nazi Germany
I didn’t know about the German translation of Darwin’s Origins, Minnemooseus. Thanks for the information.
I think people who have not spent the time to educate themselves are confused about the term survival of the fittest. It was actually Herbert Spencer who coined the term (in his book Principles of Biology published in 1864), and took it to a new level, saying that everything is the result of evolution. Not just animals and plants; but social structures and economic systems. Spencer thought that the term survival of the fittest was more general than Darwin’s natural selection. His ideas were so popular that people started using survival of the fittest even when describing Darwin’s theory.
Many people told Darwin that Spencer’s phrase was more direct and memorable than natural selection, which was, in their minds, harder to picture and grasp. So, Darwin reluctantly revised the fifth edition of the Origins of Species (published in 1869) to include the notion of survival of the fittest, and gave due credit to Spencer by writing the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate and sometimes equally convenient.
Critics of Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection tend to connect survival of the fittest to the weeding out of the weak as in Eugenics and will always eventually bring up Hitler; but those who actually know and have studied evolutionary biology realize that this is merely out-of-context quote mining and misinterpretation for political and religious reasons. A proper understanding of evolution would result in the knowledge that we’re talking about descent with modification, which Darwin used in proposing that Earth’s many species are descendants of ancestral species that were different from the present-day species. Another definition of evolution is change in the genetic composition of a population from generation to generation. Focusing on survival of the fittest, and trying to twist that into some sort of evil plan to get rid of those who are physically or mentally challenged is nothing but anti-scientific creationist rhetoric. Genuine scientists know that evolution is a fundamental organizing principle in biology, and that, as Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote, nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
I’ve read where Heinrich Himmler believed that Aryans had not evolved from monkeys and apes like other races, but had come down to earth from the heavens, where they had been preserved in ice from the beginning of time (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, copyright 2005, by Sam Harris).
I haven’t seen any sources that say Hitler believed this, though he considered the Jews to be parasites, inferior, and that Aryan states are based on the principles of work and cultural development.
Did Adolph Hitler ever address the topic of human evolution? I think that any attempt to discredit evolution through guilt by association with Hitler comes from creationist propaganda. They try to link Darwin with Hitler and blame Darwin for the Holocaust. The Discovery Institute has been particularly active in this rhetoric. They published From Darwin to Hitler, by Richard Weikart (a senior fellow for the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute).
Blaming Darwin for the Holocaust is like blaming Jesus for the Inquisition, or Mohammed for 9/11. I doubt that anyone could find any influence of evolutionary thinking on Hitler. Nowhere in Mein Kampf does he mention Darwin, natural selection or biological evolution.
Dr. Adequate -- From those quotes you posted by Hitler from Mein Kampf and Hitler’s Table Talk, it sounds like he was a creationist. Also in Hitler’s Table Talk, he says that God hurls the masses of humanity on to the Earth, and he leaves it to each one to work out his own salvation. Sounds Deist.
I’ve read where some experts have advised caution using Hitler’s Table Talk as a historical source. In The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, Hector Avalos says, in the section Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust (page 381), that as an academic historian, there are a least three problems with using this source:
(1) There are no extant manuscripts from Hitler’s own hand of this cource. We have no audio tapes to verify the transcripts. What we have are reputed copies which often have been filtered through Martin Bormann, Hitler’s adjutant. The fact that versions agree sufficiently to propose a common source does nto necessarily prove that this common source was Hitler himself.
(2) The versions are sometimes discrepant. Some passages are missing from the edition of Trevor-Roper relative to the edition of Picker. So it is difficult to tell what comes from Hitler and what comes from the editors.
(3) Trevor-Roper authenticated the Hitler Diaries, despite the fact that they later proved to be forgeries. Genoud is also a questionable character who may have been involved in forgery. And as Carrier has shown, both the Genoud and Trevor-Roper editions often egregiously mistranslate the original German.
In addition, a main intermediate in all known versions of Table Talk is Hitler’s personal secretary, Martin Bormann, who was known fort his anti-Christian views. So sometimes we may be reading Bormann’s thoughts rather than Hitler’s.
So, as you can see, Hitler’s Table Talk may not be reliable as a historical source.
At any rate, we were talking about Ken Ham in relationship to creationism. As a young-earth creationist propagandist, Ham writes books aimed at children telling them that God created the Earth six thousand years ago; like his anti-evolution book Dinosaurs for Kids, and The Lie: Evolution (which opens with a drawing depicting evolution as the basis of pornography, abortion, homosexuality, and lawlessness). He links evolution to Nazism, drugs, and racism.
Ken Ham fills kids with lies about the fossil record and coaches them to talk back and disrespect their teachers. He tours the country indoctrinating young children to believe that biologists, paleontologists, and geologists are liars, that dinosaurs lived with humans, and that the earth is only 6000 years old.
Not to mention the Creation Museum in Kentucky, promoting young-Earth creationism, which Ken Ham owns and operates.
An article by Stephanie Simon in the February 11, 2006 issue of the Los Angeles Times describes Ham’s techniques:
WAYNE, N.J. Evangelist Ken Ham smiled at the 2,300 elementary students packed into pews, their faces rapt. With dinosaur puppets and silly cartoons, he was training them to reject much of geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology as a sinister tangle of lies.
"Boys and girls," Ham said. If a teacher so much as mentions evolution, or the Big Bang, or an era when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, "you put your hand up and you say, 'Excuse me, were you there?' Can you remember that?"
The children roared their assent.
"Sometimes people will answer, 'No, but you weren't there either,' " Ham told them. "Then you say, 'No, I wasn't, but I know someone who was, and I have his book about the history of the world.' " He waved his Bible in the air.
"Who's the only one who's always been there?" Ham asked.
"God!" the boys and girls shouted.
"Who's the only one who knows everything?"
"So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?"
The children answered with a thundering: "God!"
A former high-school biology teacher, Ham travels the nation training children as young as 5 to challenge science orthodoxy. He doesn't engage in the political and legal fights that have erupted over the teaching of evolution. His strategy is more subtle: He aims to give people who trust the biblical account of creation the confidence to defend their views -- aggressively.
He urges students to offer creationist critiques of their textbooks, parents to take on science museum docents, professionals to raise the subject with colleagues. If Ham has done his job well, his acolytes will ask enough pointed questions -- and set forth enough persuasive arguments -- to shake the doctrine of Darwin.
"We're going to arm you with Christian Patriot missiles," Ham, 54, recently told the 1,200 adults gathered at Calvary Temple here in northern New Jersey. It was a Friday night, the kickoff of a heavily advertised weekend conference sponsored by Ham's ministry, Answers in Genesis.
To a burst of applause, Ham exhorted: "Get out and change the world!"