Hitler, creationist

A creationist sent me this charming image to show that Nazis were evolutionary biologists.

Hitler using evolution theory to justify racial supremacyIf Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger,  she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one;  because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.

Hitler using evolution theory to justify racial supremacy
If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.

Zing! That put me in my place.

But that was a little odd — I’ve read a translation of Hitler’s evil little book, and I didn’t see anything about evolutionary biology in there — there was a lot of “Nature” and “Creator” and “God” sprinkled throughout, though. So I had to go look, and yes, I found that quote in this translation (pdf). It’s in chapter XI, Race and People, and it’s full of anthropomorphization of natural processes and what I would call clearly anti-evolutionary sentiment.

This urge for the maintenance of the unmixed breed, which is a phenomenon that prevails throughout the whole of the natural world, results not only in the sharply defined outward distinction between one species and another but also in the internal similarity of characteristic qualities which are peculiar to each breed or species. The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. The only difference that can exist within the species must be in the various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed. It would be impossible to find a fox which has a kindly and protective disposition towards geese, just as no cat exists which has a friendly disposition towards mice.

That’s an idea that would fit right in at the Creation “Museum”, but not in any biology text.

But hey, Hitler used the word “evolutionary”, so it’s fair to sling that bit of mud at biology. Not so fast, though: I immediately suspected that something was odd in the translation, so I went straight to the original German (I can read German, slowly and painfully, and it was a shame to have to exercise my rusty Deutsch reading, of all things, Mein Kampft). Here’s the passage used in the image, from the chapter titled “Volk und Rasse”.

So wenig sie aber schon eine Paarung von schwächeren Einzelwesen mit stärkeren wünscht, soviel weniger noch die Verschmelzung von höherer Rasse mit niederer, da ja andernfalls ihre ganze sonstige, vielleicht jahhunderttausendelange Arbeit der Höherzüchtung mit einem Schlage wieder hinfällig wäre.

The word translated into “an evolutionary higher stage of being” (which, by the way, isn’t an evolutionary concept anyway) was “Höherzüchtung”. That’s not evolution. A literal translation would be “higher breeding”. So it’s a very misleading way to quote it.

Furthermore, the good Christian who made that image should have kept reading. The next bit is about race mixing, and how awful it is.

…in North America the Teutonic element, which has kept its racial stock pure and did not mix it with any other racial stock, has come to dominate the American Continent and will remain master of it as long as that element does not fall a victim to the habit of adulterating its blood.

In short, the results of miscegenation are always the following:

(a) The level of the superior race becomes lowered;

(b) physical and mental degeneration sets in, thus leading slowly but steadily towards a progressive drying up of the vital sap.

The act which brings about such a development is a sin against the will of the Eternal Creator. And as a sin this act will be avenged.

Lest anyone claim that is also a mistranslation, here’s the original of that last bit:

Eine solche Entwicklung herbeiführen, heisst aber denn doch nichts anderes, als Sünde treiben wider den Willen des ewigen Schöpfers. Als Sünde aber wird diese Tat auch gelohnt.

The whole book is full of religious, not scientific, sentiment.

And so I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.

What we have to fight for is the necessary security for the existence and increase of our race and people, the subsistence of its children and the maintenance of our racial stock unmixed, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland; so that our people may be enabled to fulfil the mission assigned to it by the Creator.

But if for reasons of indolence or cowardice this fight is not fought to a finish we may imagine what conditions will be like 500 years hence. Little of God’s image will be left in human nature, except to mock the Creator.

On this planet of ours human culture and civilization are indissolubly bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he should be exterminated or subjugated, then the dark shroud of a new barbarian era would enfold the earth.

To undermine the existence of human culture by exterminating its founders and custodians would be an execrable crime in the eyes of those who believe that the folk-idea lies at the basis of human existence. Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against that highest image of God among His creatures would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise.

Yeah, sorry, Christians, but Hitler was expressing Christian and Creationist ideas in Mein Kampf. You’re free to claim that he was corrupting and distorting Christian ideals (although I could argue with that, too), but to claim he was using evolutionary biology to advance his racist ideas is simply ludicrous.


  1. rodw says

    You know who else believed in evolution? The Spartans! They would leave babies out to die on Mount Taygetus because they thought the were less “fit”. So they were the real followers of Charles Darwin and ……..er…..nevermind

  2. kraut says

    Hitler was no steenking evilutionist.
    He might have used religion cynically to align his party with a predominantly religious sentiment in Germany in the late 1920’s especially in the stronghold of Bavaria (where he got his start) but this still makes him neither an atheist nor did he accept ever the concept of evolution. AFAIR there are actual statements in Mein Kampf that try to discredit the theory.

    “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. The only difference that can exist within the species must be in the various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed”

    How does such a statement, that can be found in creationist circles, by any stretch of the imagination be an endorsement of ToE?

  3. qwints says

    I’ve never understood the point of this argument. The ideas of selective breeding and artificial selection is accepted by even the most extreme creationists. On the other hand, it’s pretty obvious that some very evil things (eugenics and social darwinism) were explicitly inspired by Darwin and evolutionary theory.

  4. says

    I’d love to figure out how his particularly noxious meme could be put to rest. It’s one of those idiotic statements that appeals to the fence-sitters a little too much for my comfort, that’s not *incredibly* easy to debunk (it’s easy, though) that seems to persist despite the constant refutation of any thinking person.

  5. raven says

    When a fundie xian quotes something, quite often it is a Fake Quote of some sort.

    This is especially true of their magic book the bible. If you actually look up their bible quotes, quite often they are taken completely out of context and don’t mean what they say they mean.

    They do this so often among themselves, that they don’t know what to do when anyone calls them on it. You can see the smoke and hear the gears grinding, as their minds try to process actual thoughts.

    That’s not evolution. A literal translation would be “higher breeding”. So it’s a very misleading way to quote it.

    It’s quite clever of PZ to catch this. My first thought was the same. Probably a deliberately mistranlated quote from Mein Kampf. They never, ever miss a chance to demonstrate the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of their cults.

  6. raven says

    On the other hand, it’s pretty obvious that some very evil things (eugenics and social darwinism) were explicitly inspired by Darwin and evolutionary theory.

    Not really.

    Eugenics owes much of it’s background to…Mendelism. Which was thought up by a Catholic Austrian monk. Blame the xians for this one. The idea here is that traits are hereditary.

    Of course, they fact that a scientific concept like Mendelism was misused has zero bearing on its truth value. We still have DNA in our nucleus and traits are still inherited.

  7. says

    Even if Darwin had been Hitler’s favourite human being that wouldn’t have changed the fact that the majority of those who took part in the crimes of Nazi Germany were Catholics and Lutherans. That the anti-Semitism that drove the Holocaust came from Christian traditions of denouncing Jews as Christ killers. Of course some of the creationist/fundie crowd would just try a No True Scotsman gambit and claim those groups aren’t real Christians, since they don’t follow the largely invented in the 1800s theology of the fundies.

  8. raven says

    I’d love to figure out how his particularly noxious meme could be put to rest.

    You can’t do it because they are lying. And most of them know they are lying.

    The Holocaust’s roots lie deep within xianity. It starts with the blatant anti-semitism in the NT bible, mostly the Gospels of Matthew and John.

    As Martin Luther said, reason is the enemy of xianity. So is the truth. The main enemy of the creationists is…reality itself.

  9. hexidecima says

    I’m shocked that a Christian would intentionally lie, shocked.

    or not.

    Again, Christians are the best evidence their religion is worthless.

  10. says

    Atomic bombs have devastated entire cities, so atomic theory is wrong? Even if Hitler fully accepted evolution, misinterpreting, misunderstanding, and misusing it doesn’t make evolution any less a fact.

  11. qwints says

    @raven, I thought it was pretty uncontroversial that Francis Galton was inspired by Darwin, though you’re obviously right about that this is irrelevant to truth.

  12. says

    #7: NO. That’s also an anachronism. There were eugenics journals and political advocacy for eugenics in the late 1800s, and Mendel was unknown until 1900. Even once Mendel’s works were rediscovered, there was a period of confusion for about a decade or more in which people were unsure about their applicability, and how they fit with evolution — and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr’s infamous decision in the Buck vs. Bell case in 1927 was most definitely not bases on a sound understanding of the Mendelian inheritance of “imbecility”.

  13. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Calling Godwin’s Law! Whoever sent PZ that “zinger” is henceforth declared the LOSER!
    Must the discussion continue any further? We, idealists, know that ‘Hister’ was wrong about everything he said. He was no “evolutionary biologists”; he just spouted, and wildly extrapolated, from what little knowledge he had, and just labelled it “evolution” to fraudulently fool the masses into accepting his delusions. And the zinger sender is wrong, not just by Godwin’s Law, but by only seeing the single word “evolution” in Hitner’s screed and thinking that wins the thred. It is too bad that “zingerist” is unable to read that screed and SEE all the errors made in it, and all the creationist nonsense PZ pointed out. OR s/he sees the errors and thinks a biologist (PZ) will not see the errors and wilt from the misdirection. Arrogance; seeing themself as more intelligent than everyone else, and cherry picking quotes: to fraudulently appear more smarter than anyone.

  14. tbtabby says

    If Hitler really was basing his ideas on Darwin’s theory of natural selection, he wouldn’t have bothered with the Final Solution. You don’t NEED to exterminate an inferior species: if they truly are unfit to survive, they’ll die out all by themselves. He would’ve just sat back and waited for the Jews to die out, and then, if they didn’t, he’s conclude that they weren’t such an inferior race after all.

  15. bargearse says

    So basically evolution is wrong because Hitler didn’t understand it. Well that clears things up.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    Kampf, not Kampft

    qwints @ # 4: … some very evil things (eugenics and social darwinism) were explicitly inspired by Darwin …

    “Social Darwinism” came from Herbert Spencer, who formulated and published his ideas about unfettered competition before Darwin wrote <Origin of Species. He then adopted the phrase “social Darwinism” to piggyback on the fame of his contemporary – a sleazy move, but perhaps offset a bit by Darwin in turn stealing Spencer’s line about “survival of the fittest”.

  17. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oops – @ # 20 I got so excited by “survival of the fittest” that my /strong tag (after “before”) was eliminated in the frenzy.

  18. Zeppelin says

    I recall an anecdote of Hitler, during his final days in the bunker, bitterly declaring that the war had demonstrated that The Aryan was in fact inferior to The Slav, and it was therefore right that they should perish.

    I always want to point that out to German neo-nazis and white supremacists in general, just to hear the gears grind in their shrivelled little brains.

  19. Athywren says

    I had a very telling discussion with a creationist about this once.

    For the sake of argument, I granted that a very poor understanding of evolution, such as the degree of understanding demonstrated by Hitler and most creationists, could lead a person to believe that genocide is a valid act to take if you want to improve the situation of humanity. I walked through various reasons why this would actually be bad for humanity and our evolutionary fitness: the fact that our strength comes from cooperation, and that most people who buy into “social Darwinism” focus on an individual’s personal attributes more than their abilities as a group; the fact that the artificial reduction of our gene pool opens us up to the possibility of future threats that we might otherwise be protected against (in much the same way that the earlier eradication of humpback whales almost led to the destruction of Starfleet in Star Trek IV); and a few other reasons. I also pointed out that even their ridiculous strawman version of evolution makes far more sense under basic scrutiny than creationism, and suggested that the solution to the problem of past and future genocides would be to ensure the proper teaching of evolution, to make sure that people understood the many ways in which such behaviours harm the entire human species, and to see genocide as not merely a crime against humanity, but very likely the first step in our own racial suicide.

    He disagreed. He said it was necessary for people to see genocide as the logical conclusion of evolution. It didn’t seem to matter to him that propagating such an understanding might actually lead to more genocides in the future. Oddly enough, that was about the time when I stopped thinking that it was safe to just ignore creationists….

  20. colnago80 says

    The notion that Frankenberger was an evolutionist so ludicrous as to be laughable. As Kraut @ #2 correctly points out, he rejected common descent in Mein Kampf. It’s the creationists who reject common descent and Schicklgruber was one of them.

  21. PaulBC says

    I agree that “Der Fuchs ist immer ein Fuchs” is a very common creationist line of argument (literally in that formulation,) particularly when making the bogus “macroevolution” distinction.

    It is very tempting to use this as a gotcha: “So would you agree with this quote?” “Do you know who said it?” I imagine the professional creationists out there are aware of it, but I bet others would fall right into the trap (if you’re into that kind of thing). It doesn’t prove anything, but as I said, it’s tempting.

    Or more directly, maybe just go straight for Godwin’s law the next time someone explains that mutated fruit flies are still fruit flies and just go “You know who else said something like that?”

  22. PaulBC says

    Zeppelin #22

    I recall an anecdote of Hitler, during his final days in the bunker, bitterly declaring that the war had demonstrated that The Aryan was in fact inferior to The Slav, and it was therefore right that they should perish.

    I doubt he had either the capacity for self-reflection or the ability to evaluate the evidence objectively. Of course, anything is possible but unless I could see a reference, I would call this somebody’s wishful thinking.

  23. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    You’re not wrong that Galton frequently used Darwin, but read what he says about natural selection. He’s fucking against it. He wants artificial selection all the way down. Why?

    The wish, that of the living whole
    No life may fail beyond the grave,
    Derives it not from what we have
    The likest God within the soul?

    Are God and Nature then at strife,
    That Nature lends such evil dreams?
    So careful of the type she seems,
    So careless of the single life;

    That I, considering everywhere
    Her secret meaning in her deeds,
    And finding that of fifty seeds
    She often brings but one to bear,

    I falter where I firmly trod,
    And falling with my weight of cares
    Upon the great world’s altar-stairs
    That slope thro’ darkness up to God,

    I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
    And gather dust and chaff, and call
    To what I feel is Lord of all,
    And faintly trust the larger hope.

    ‘So careful of the type?’ but no.
    From scarped cliff and quarried stone
    She cries, ‘A thousand types are gone:
    I care for nothing, all shall go.

    ‘Thou makest thine appeal to me:
    I bring to life, I bring to death:
    The spirit does but mean the breath:
    I know no more.’ And he, shall he,

    Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
    Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
    Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
    Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

    Who trusted God was love indeed
    And love Creation’s final law?
    Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
    With ravine, shriek’d against his creed?

    Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills,
    Who battled for the True, the Just,
    Be blown about the desert dust,
    Or seal’d within the iron hills?

    No more? A monster then, a dream,
    A discord. Dragons of the prime,
    That tare each other in their slime,
    Were mellow music match’d with him.

    O life as futile, then, as frail!
    O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
    What hope of answer, or redress?
    Behind the veil, behind the veil.

    That’s cantos 55 & 56 from In Memoriam AHH. you’ll note the bolded section, but it must be understood in its context. Galton wanted to perfect God’s creation that he feared would otherwise be tainted or destroyed by “Nature, red in tooth and claw”. [Note, by the by, that In Memoriam AHH predates the release date of On the Origin of Species by some 10 years.]

    Galton feared class war. He feared the poor and the common overusing the resources “best” used by people like…him. He saw nature in conflict with God, which is exactly what Tennyson saw and wrote, when Galton himself wrote the following:

    Again, the ordinary struggle for existence
    under the bad sanitary conditions of our towns,
    seems to me to spoil and not to improve our
    breed. It selects those who are able to withstand
    zymotic diseases and impure and insufficient
    food, but such are not necessarily foremost in the
    qualities which make a nation great. On the
    contrary, it is the classes of a coarser organization
    who seem to be, on the whole, most favoured
    under this principle of selection, and who
    survive to become the parents of the next
    generation. . . . So again, in every malarial
    country, the traveller is pained by the sight of the
    miserable individuals who inhabit it. These have
    the pre-eminent gift of being able to survive
    fever and therefore . . . are apt to be deficient
    in every quality less useful to the exceptional
    circumstances of their life.

    [From “Hereditary Improvements,” Fraser’s Magazine, I873, p. ii6 et seq. As quoted by Blacker, C P. “Galton’s Outlook on Religion.” The Eugenics Review 38.2 (1946): 69-78. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2986350/&gt;.]

    It is true then, that Galton **responded** to the theory of natural selection as advanced by Wallace, Darwin, and the Bulldog Huxley. However, despite regarding it as true, he didn’t advance eugenics as a Darwinian idea.

    It is clearly an **anti-Darwinian** idea. Galton himself, in his “Memories”:

    Man is gifted with pity and other kindly feelings; he has also the power of preventing many kinds of suffering. I conceive it to fall well within his province to replace Natural Selection by other. processes that are more merciful and not less effective.

    This is precisely the aim of eugenics.

    Galton, a deist (or as Galton described himself, “a pure theist”), appears to have accepted an evolutionary history of earth, but waffled on the question of teleology. It seems he did not want evolution to have been teleological because that would mean his dei would have been a cruel jerk. instead, he, like the Christian Tennyson, opposed his dei and a “Nature, red in tooth and claw.” And, like Tennyson, chose to elevate dei and reject nature.

    That he believed that Wallace, Darwin, and Huxley were persuasive in their scientific arguments does not mean that embracing natural selection led to eugenics.

    It was precisely the rejection of natural selection in preference for a divinely inspired artificial selection that brought about eugenics.

    Yes, without natural selection to react against, there would have been no eugenics as we currently know it. But Galton was writing about improving the human breed before Darwin came along. He jumped at the chance to use Darwin’s writing as an implied threat: “Nature cares nothing for us, and would kill the best of us with no more loss or morning than She feels when a barn cat kills a wren.”* Against this threat of indiscriminate and uncaring murder of the best in Man (let us not forget that the best of humanity was the same as the best of men, to Galton), the reduction of great souls to bodies that have no value if they cannot survive malaria, the eventual destruction of civilization by tearing teeth and rending claws, Galton offered up an alternative: “Let us fight against Nature, and instead be what God would want us to be.”

    Galton is as anti-Darwinian as one can get. Without his embrace of a particular theology, the facts that proved natural selection operates as a species-generating force across sufficient generations could not possibly be interpreted by Galton as a rationale for eugenics.

    *My paraphrases.

  24. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The following “quote”:

    Let us fight against Nature, and instead be what God would want us to be

    was actually the 2nd of the 2 statements I intended to mark with asterisks to denote that both were “my paraphrases”. Instead only on paraphrase was identified, though the note used the plural. I regret any confusion.

  25. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Al Dente:

    Well, duh! Don’t you know that it was embracing mathematics that led to the nuclear bomb? No math, no nukes.

    Also? With no arithmetic, we can just say 4 Jews were killed during the holocaust and then [the magnitude of his crimes being something more or less or equal to the magnitude of some guy who murdered 1 Christian] the theists could stop trying so hard to somehow defend and/or disown Hitler.

  26. Amphiox says

    If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger…

    This is not evolution.

    This is… Intelligent Design! True Discovery Institute Behe approved ID (where God is not the designer), with NATURE as the personified, intelligent designer that wishes (or not wishes) for things….

  27. karellen says

    TabbyLavalamp@13: It’s even more of a red herring than that. Even if Hitler fully accepted evolution, and correctly interpreted, understood, & used it, and even if eugenics and genocide were somehow a rational/logical course of action as a result of it, that would still have absolutely zero bearing on whether or not evolution was true. None.

    Personally, I think playing the creationists game here is the wrong approach. I don’t see the point in rebutting each individual argument they come up with to show why evolution being true has undesirable consequences. For one thing, there may actually be some undesirable consequences of evolution (although I have yet to see any credible evidence of such). Surely it’s much better to cut them off before they get started, by pointing out that their entire premise is irredeemably broken and completely stupid.

  28. David Marjanović says

    Crip Dyke, when I was reading comment 32, I bookmarked this thread. I probably don’t bookmark a Pharyngula thread every year.

    Frankenberger […] Schicklgruber

    Nope, he was a legitimate child, his surname really was Hitler.

    And, really, if you think it’s an insult to say that someone is descended from people who had children before marrying, something’s wrong with you.

  29. robertfoster says

    As a German speaker myself (mother from Prussia, I was born in Germany, lived there for many years), I won’t quibble with your translation of the tricky word Höherzuchtung, though it may be slightly more accurate to translate it as meaning ‘to raise up the strain or breed.’ This obviously doesn’t mean the same thing as modern evolutionary theory. Nor is it a word one encounters in everyday German today. But it is a word that was used by Nietsche and this is doubtless where Hitler got it from. It does not come from Darwin. As you doubtless know, Nietsche was one of the inspirations of Nazi racial ideology. Another word that Nietsche used extensively in conjunction with Höherzuchtung was Vernichtung (extermination). I don’t think I need to elaborate.

  30. bassmanpete says

    Hitler was obviously wrong because he wrote “…throughout hundreds of thousands of years…” and as any creationist should know, the world is only 6,000 years old.

  31. theignored says

    I remember posting a bunch of info at length about this.

    I just edited that post to include this link.

    The irony is: What Hitler was doing was if anything, a twisted form of animal husbandry, NOT “evolution”.

    Why? Remember: Hitler was supposed to have been trying to make a “better” breed of human, NOT a different race altogether.

    In other words: He was trying to affect changes within a kind: the HUMAN kind. That is the so-called “micro”-evolution that creationists say that the accept, which THEY claim is totally different than “macro”-evolution.

    So: Creationists are attacking a twisted application of a process they accept in order to demonize a process that they claim is totally different.

    Make any sense?

  32. kayden says

    Good work, PZ. I would have pointed out the fact that racists have used the “curse of Ham” to justify the subjugation of Blacks for centuries. I don’t understand why Creationists are so bent on proving that Evolutionists are racist when there are so many Christians who are racist.

  33. magistramarla says

    My hubby has often mentioned the science term hybrid vigor when he points out that the children of inter-racial marriages are often, beautiful, or smart, or athletic, or musically or artistically talented, or any number of combinations of those traits. I certainly saw many examples that tended to prove him right when I was teaching. President Obama is another such example. The bigots just won’t admit that such a thing might be possible.

  34. =8)-DX says

    Yes, well surely in this day and age you can just answer these nonces with a simple “I invoke Godwin, I win, you’re wrong.” Actually this answer is a lot better – I literally chuckled when I saw the tweet =)

  35. Nick Gotts says

    In this context, it’s always worth noting the important influence the anti-evolutionist and vitalist Houston Stewart Chamberlain had on Hitler. Chamberlain lived long enough (he died in 1927) to join the Nazi party and be honoured by several visits from Hitler, so the admiration was mutual.

  36. GuineaPigDan . says

    Hitler was also a believer in the Protocols of Zion hoax, and the Protocols claim that “Darwinism” was an invention of the Jews to control non-Jews. So if anything, the Nazis would have rejected Darwinian evolution as “Jewish science.” So if we were to follow creationist logic that Darwin led to Hitler, would that mean Hitler was exterminating Jews with a theory he believed was created by Jews? Does any of this even make any sense? Further proof of how much shit creationists are full of.

  37. says

    When the discussion is Hitler the word “creator” doesn’t mean god cuz Hitler was an ATHEIST!
    When the discussion is the U.S. constitution “creator” clearly means the christian god cuz it’s a CHRISTIAN NATION!

    Know ye all by these presents, this is sarcasm.

  38. Tigger_the_Wing, asking "Where's the justice?" says

    Please, please when will people stop misrepresenting Godwin’s Law?

    “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”

    That’s it. Just an aside about probabilities.

    Nothing whatsoever about ‘winners’ or ‘losers’.

    The person making the comparison doesn’t ‘lose’ the debate – usually, by the time the comparison is made, whatever debate there was has long since devolved into name-calling – and anyway, sometimes the comparison is appropriate, if not valid and useful.

    I’m fed up with the whole argument about whether or not Hitler was an atheist (he wasn’t), whether or not the Holocaust was anything to do with evolution (it wasn’t) and whether the creationists have any kind of point (they don’t). At this stage of human knowledge, I think that the only appropriate response to people spouting creationist tropes is to laugh, and otherwise refuse to engage them.

  39. colnago80 says

    Re David Marjanović @ #39

    Excuse me, in no way, shape, form, or regard have I ever claimed that Adolf was illegitimate. AFAIK, his parents were legally married at the time of his conception. The issue is relative to papa Alois. The fact is that Maria Schicklgruber was unmarried at the time of Alois conception. The fact is that no father is named on his birth certificate. The fact is that Alois was christened Alois Schicklgruber. The fact is that Alois’ biological father is unknown. It could have been Johann Heidler, it could have been Heidler’s brother or his cousin. It could have been Leopold Frankenberger.

  40. Iain Walker says

    Even if we ignore the potential problems of treating Mein Kampf as a reliable guide to Hitler’s personal (as opposed to his public) beliefs, rival quotations from a single source probably aren’t the best way to settle this issue. If we widen the net to include Hitler’s Table Talk, his views start to look a little more complicated – in the sense of being muddled, ignorant and inconsistent.

    On the one hand, we have lines like:

    “The monkeys, our ancestors of prehistoric times, are strictly vegetarian. (HTT, p231)

    and the slightly more ambiguous:

    “Amongst the religions practised to-day, there is none that goes back further than two thousand five hundred years. But there have been human beings, in the baboon category, for at least three hundred thousand years. There is less distance between the man-ape and the ordinary modern man than there is between the ordinary modern man and a man like Schopenhauer.” (HTT, p86)

    And then we have apparent endorsements of the standard creationist dogma of “variation within kinds”:

    “Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred. They’ve occurred within the species, but none of these variations has an importance comparable with that which separates man from the monkey – assuming that this transformation really took place.” (HTT, p248)

    But then this is followed a few pages later by an endorsement of Horbiger’s World Ice Theory, which doesn’t really fit in with traditional biblical creationism, but is definitely in keeping with Hitler’s over-the-top Wagnerian world view.

    So trying to fit Hitler into the “creationist” box is a little more complicated than it seems. But labelling him a “Darwinist” is certainly ahistorical, easily-discredited, mudslinging tosh – as discussed at length in this essay by historian of science R.J. Richards:

    Richards, incidentally, makes the interesting observation that within the biological sciences in Nazi Germany, Darwinian views of evolution weren’t particularly influential, and were often dismissed as being too materialistic. Not only did Darwin have negligible influence on Hitler himself, it seems that he didn’t even have much influence on the wider intellectual climate under which Nazism flourished.

  41. Nick Gotts says


    All of which is completely irrelevant, you genocidal numpty, because Adolf Hitler’s name was, throughout his life, “Adolf Hitler”.

  42. Nick Gotts says

    Iain Walker@51,
    Hitler’s Table Talk is a dubious source, as you’re probably aware. Add that to Hitler’s contempt for rationality, and self-dramatising narcissism, and getting at what he “really believed” is a pretty forlorn enterprise.

  43. colnago80 says

    Re Nick Gotts @ #53

    Agreed, Table Talk is rather dubious, even to the point where some have questioned English translations as to their accuracy. However, we also have Albert Speer quoting Schicklgruber as opining that Shintoism would have been a better choice of religion for Germany then Christianity which he told Speer that he considered effete. Heidler was a big fan of the Bushido concept of Shinto. I would agree in addition that it is highly possible that he didn’t believe a word of what he wrote and spoke about relative to Christianity; he was playing to the peanut gallery (of course, one could say that about our own Ted Cruz).

  44. Athywren says

    Heidler was a big fan of the Bushido concept of Shinto.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the religion which held the emperor of Japan to be a god?
    Hmm… wonder why someone like Hitler might have preferred that kind of religion?

  45. Nick Gotts says


    The liar Speer AFAIK never quoted anyone called Shicklgruber. Who is this Heidler of whom you speak?

  46. Dark Jaguar says

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

    I accept evolution is true, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    If we’re going to talk about Hitler, let’s talk about Hitler. There are those who deny the holocaust. I’ve yet to hear one who denies the holocaust make the claim that those who believe it happened must somehow morally support it. No, it’s just a historical fact, not a moral guideline. Heck, the fact of it happening is what pro-historians use as a WARNING against such a thing happening again.

    Evolution is history, a history that’s, yes, killed FAR more creatures (human and otherwise) than the holocaust could have ever hoped to. Claiming that believing any aspect of history makes you complicit in whatever evil it brought about is ridiculous. Evolution happened, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about all the life lost along the way. It’s just a fact of life, not a guiding principal of my moral system. Indeed, morally it’s best if we humans try to sidestep evolution entirely in favor of helping individuals thrive rather than just “the whole” as a faceless concept. My genes can go jump in a lake for all I care.