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Author Topic:   Hitler, Evolution, and Christianity
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 146 (214137)
06-04-2005 10:00 AM


I've been thinking about this for awhile and am trying to get together some texts to consult.

The topic is the misuse of scientific ideas:

In the first half of the 20th century, I maintain, there was significant and multifold misuse of scientific ideas in politics and morals. The scientific concept was lifted out of its scientific context and applied non-scientifically to other areas. I think one can see why this time period would be prone to such practice: (1) it was a time of profound scientific discoveries and (2)it was a time of precarious world politics. Put those 2 situations together and the misuse of science is likely.

The philosophical question is, does such use of scientific ideas always lead to vicious systems? Is there such misuse today?

The historical question is, is my above contention accurate?

(this is similar to my "dangers of secularism" thread, but that topic suffered from vagueness. I am trying to be more precise).

Let's take, for example, Hitler and Nazism:--was he mainly Christian, as some might maintain by quoting what appear to be Christian passages from his speeches, or mainly pseudo-Darwinian, as I maintain? And how much did his purported Christian belief or purported pseudo-Darwinian belief influence Nazism?

Evidence: I maintain that Nazism had within it the idea of natural selection, lifted from Darwinism.

from Mein Kampf:

"Nature herself in times of great poverty or bad climatic conditions, as well as poor harvest, intervenes to restrict the increase of population of certain countries or races; this, to be sure, by a method as wise as it is ruthless. She diminishes, not the power of procreation as such, but the conservation of the procreated, by exposing them to hard trials and deprivations with the result that all those who are less strong and less healthy are forced back into the womb of the eternal unknown. Those whom she permits to survive the inclemency of existence are a thousandfold tested, hardened, and well adapted to procreate in turn, in order that the process of thoroughgoing selection may begin again from the beginning. By thus brutally proceeding against the individual and immediately calling him back to herself as soon as he shows himself unequal to the storm of life, she keeps the race and species strong, in fact, raises them to the highest accomplishments." (131)

Here, I suggest, is the idea of natural selection. What's different is that Hitler is thinking in terms of races rather than species. In fact, Hitler uses the idea of "race" as though it meant "species."

In his chapter on "Nation and Race," he tries to show that "racial purity" is natural, and therefore good:

"The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc . . ." (285)

He seems to think the different "races" are like different species, with their own separate gene pool.

This idea, I claim, is central, not peripheral, to Nazi dogma, and is a perversion of Darwinism.

Work Cited: Mein Kampf, trans. Ralph Manheim, Houghton Mifflin, 1971

Released from Proposed New Topics by Admin.


Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 19720
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 2 of 146 (214156)
06-04-2005 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
06-04-2005 10:00 AM


robinrohan writes:

He seems to think the different "races" are like different species, with their own separate gene pool.
This idea, I claim, is central, not peripheral, to Nazi dogma....

There are two different issues here:

1. Where did Hitler's ideas come from?
2. How did Hitler use those ideas to control Germany?

Of course Hitler perverted science in his own mind. But "Nazi dogma" was used to win over the masses - the Nazis were elected, after all.

It has been mentioned that Hitler's speeches were full of references to Christianity. The references to "natural selection" seem to be mostly in Mein Kampf.

Almost nobody actually read Mein Kampf, but the speeches were everywhere - in newspapers, on the radio, etc.

So, it seems pretty clear that the German people were won over by the appeal to "God and country" rather than an appeal to science. On a vague philosophical level, there may have been some connection to science - perverted as it was. But on the level of "Nazi dogma", science had little or no significance.


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by robinrohan, posted 06-04-2005 10:00 AM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 33957
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 3 of 146 (214172)
06-04-2005 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
06-04-2005 10:00 AM


People can misuse anything. Every invention is neutral by its nature. Whether we are talking about a technology like fire, an idea such as Religion or a theory such as Evolution, the invention is neutral. People such as Hitler can misuse anything. We can see this clearly today with the large body of people misusing Christianity to oppress and suppress a part of our population.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 146 (214203)
06-04-2005 2:17 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by ringo
06-04-2005 10:51 AM


"God and Country"--Nazi style
There are two different issues here:

1. Where did Hitler's ideas come from?
2. How did Hitler use those ideas to control Germany?

The topic I had in mind was more concerned with #1, but I'm not so sure that "God and country" meant in Nazism what it meant in other contexts.

The Nazi ideology was as follows: There are various races, and the Aryan Race is the superior race, the "culture-maker" as he says in Mein Kampf.

What this means is that by "natural selection" among races, the Aryan race is destined to triumph. But what it also means is that Aryan race is morally right in triumphing and enslaving the other races because it is "natural."

quote from Hitler: "Always before God and the world, the stronger has the right to carry through what he wills" (Hitler's words qtd. in Bullock 226).

I don't believe he is referring to a Christian God here, but an "evolutionary God," a sort of "life force" idea, if you will. However, at the moment I can't prove that. But I think I can once I get hold of some texts.

AS far as what he told the German people, he spoke of "stamping the Nazi Weltanschaung [world view] on the German people" (Hitler's words qtd. in Bullock 228).

What is the world view?

"The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist progamme is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to subsititute for them the Volk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its commmon blood" (Hitler's words qtd. in Bullock 228).
(from a speech in 1937).

The world view of Nazism is as I stated above: the right of the superior race, the Volk, to enslave other races because it's "natural."

work cited: Bullock, Alan. "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny." Abridged edition.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 19720
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 5 of 146 (214211)
06-04-2005 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by robinrohan
06-04-2005 2:17 PM


Re: "God and Country"--Nazi style
Hitler didn't just speak of the Volk, he spoke of "ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer" (one people, one nation, one leader).

The Volk were not seen as separate from the Reich. In your own quote, they are "rooted in the soil". When Hitler spoke of the Volk, it was as more in a nationalistic sense than a racial sense. The idea of Volk, after all, goes back way before Hitler - without a racial content. Purity of race was a secondary aspect of Hitler's Volk.

Similarly, the Volk were not seen as separate from their Fuehrer. The Volk were the body and the Fuehrer was their head - in much the same way that Christ is seen as the Head of the Church.

So "ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer" is clearly more of a political view than a racial one.

What sense does it make to speak of "Nazi dogma" except in the political sense? Very few Nazis knew much about, or understood, the philosophy of Nazism. "Nazi dogma" was used to exploit the nationalism of all the Volk and the racism of some of them.

(And, as I mentioned in the other thread, you seem to be making your conclusion first and then looking for evidence to back it up. If you start out that way, you are quite likely to find what you're looking for.)


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by robinrohan, posted 06-04-2005 2:17 PM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 146 (214216)
06-04-2005 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by ringo
06-04-2005 2:46 PM


Re: "God and Country"--Nazi style
(And, as I mentioned in the other thread, you seem to be making your conclusion first and then looking for evidence to back it up. If you start out that way, you are quite likely to find what you're looking for.)

I'm doing what everyone does which is starting with a tentative hypothesis. However, I didn't just dream this up out of nowhere. It comes from reading various sources. And I don't plan to ignore things that go against my idea.

Hitler has some comments about the Superman, delivered in speeches which I think are important, but I haven't be able to locate them yet (I just remember reading them).

For example, I used to think that Hitler was an atheist, but having read Mein Kampf, I don't think so anymore. As far as him being a Christian, well that's up in the air for me right now.

When Hitler spoke of the Volk, it was as more in a nationalistic sense than a racial sense

I don't see this: rooted in the soil yes, but look at the rest of the quote: "bound together by the bond of its common blood." He's talking about race.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 19720
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 7 of 146 (214227)
06-04-2005 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by robinrohan
06-04-2005 3:14 PM


Re: "God and Country"--Nazi style
robinrohan writes:

...rooted in the soil yes, but look at the rest of the quote: "bound together by the bond of its common blood." He's talking about race.

I don't think so.

The concept of Volk, with it's "common blood", has more to do with family than with race.

Throughout much of its history, Germany was politically fragmented, but the German people still thought of themselves as ein Volk. In spite of political differences - which were largely beyond their control - the German Volk thought of themselves as united by language, culture and common ancestry.

And until Nazism took over, that Volk included Jews - e.g. Einstein. It was only when Jews became "politcally incorrect" - i.e. against Nazi dogma - that they were excluded from the Volk.

Hitler exploited the old concept of ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer for his political ends, but he superimposed racism on it.

The vast majority of Germans were nationalistic, and a minority were anti-Semitic. Hitler took the age-old nationalistic idea of Volk and added anti-Semitism to get the most bang for his buck. It was political cynicism more than racism.


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by robinrohan, posted 06-04-2005 3:14 PM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 146 (214240)
06-04-2005 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by ringo
06-04-2005 3:42 PM


Re: "God and Country"--Nazi style
The concept of Volk, with it's "common blood", has more to do with family than with race.

You are talking about a pre-Hitler, traditional definition of Volk, and I'm talking abut Nazi ideology. I have no problem with saying that Nazism changed the definition, superimposing racism.

It was political cynicism more than racism.

An odd comment. Surely you are not suggesting that Hitler and Nazism were not "really" racist.

He and it were as racist as you can get.


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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1415 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 9 of 146 (214253)
06-04-2005 6:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
06-04-2005 10:00 AM


Hitler and natural selection
I maintain that Nazism had within it the idea of natural selection, lifted from Darwinism.

Hitler may have thought he was employing natural selection, he may have thought he got the idea from Darwin. Hitler wasn't employing natural selection, and had Darwin never mentioned natural selection Hitler would probably still have done what he did.

It was known centuries before Darwin's grandad was a lad that you could breed certain characteristics into animals and people. Agriculture and the domestication of animals proved that beyond doubt. Artificial selection (where man sets the parameters of selection) was a totally accepted phenomena (and indeed where Darwin got his idea from in the first place).

Therefore, Hitler actually used the ancient agricultural methods of selective breeding to the extreme. He realized that there was too much risk that the breeding program would be thrown off course by unwanted specimens breeding with his studs. He couldn't erect a fence to keep his studs isolated from the runts, so he killed the runts so they wouldn't contaminate the gene pool

Hitler may have been inspired by Mendel and selective breeding, but he did not practice natural selection. He created environments where only those he deemed worthy of survival would survive, not environments where those most capable of surviving would survive.

We could argue, that the whole thing was an example of natural selection. Hitler had no children, was violent, sociopathic and genocidal. He got selected against.

Is it a perversion of Darwinism? No, its a perversion of breeding techniques used by farmers, falsely credited to Darwin.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 19720
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 10 of 146 (214268)
06-04-2005 7:14 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by robinrohan
06-04-2005 4:34 PM


Re: "God and Country"--Nazi style
robinrohan writes:

You are talking about a pre-Hitler, traditional definition of Volk, and I'm talking abut Nazi ideology.

The traditional definition of Volk is the one that Hitler used.

Using the word Volk to the German people was like using the word "flag" would be in the US. It is a word that triggers a certain response in people and it is not possible to get any other response.

Even if Hitler had been using the word in another sense, the German people would have heard it in the traditional sense. When Hitler talked about "common blood", the German people heard family, not race. Hitler knew that, even if his racism made him see it differently.

What I have been trying to say is that the concept of "Nazi dogma" is meaningless unless you consider the effect it had on the people. And the only way it could have an effect on the people was by appealing to traditional concepts. Racism was secondary to that.

Surely you are not suggesting that Hitler and Nazism were not "really" racist.

Hitler was really racist.

What I am saying is that racism was a small part of what made Nazism work, even if it was a large part of the rhetoric.

Notice again what I said: In Mein Kampf, Hitler went on and on about racism, but nobody read Mein Kampf - not even the inner circle of the Party. On the other hand, in his speeches to the public, Hitler appealed to Christianity and to traditional concepts like Volk.

If you want to discuss what went on in Hitler's mind, I'll leave you to it. I have been discussing how Hitler used what little rational sense he had to impose those ideas on the real world.

Since you used the term "Nazi dogma" in the OP, maybe you should clarify what you're looking for in this thread. :)


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
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MangyTiger
Member (Idle past 5664 days)
Posts: 989
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 07-30-2004


Message 11 of 146 (214274)
06-04-2005 7:31 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Modulous
06-04-2005 6:26 PM


Re: Hitler and natural selection
Therefore, Hitler actually used the ancient agricultural methods of selective breeding to the extreme. He realized that there was too much risk that the breeding program would be thrown off course by unwanted specimens breeding with his studs. He couldn't erect a fence to keep his studs isolated from the runts, so he killed the runts so they wouldn't contaminate the gene pool

I'm not sure about this. The elite - namely the SS - were only allowed to marry after the women had been checked to have the correct physical characteristics, ancestry, ideology and so on. In effect he (well actually Himmler I think) did erect a fence around his studs.

I think he killed the runts to stop them breeding with themselves (no masurbation jokes please :)) rather than with his supposed Aryan supermen.


Oops! Wrong Planet

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ringo
Member
Posts: 19720
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 12 of 146 (214278)
06-04-2005 7:47 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by MangyTiger
06-04-2005 7:31 PM


Re: Hitler and natural selection
MangyTiger writes:

The elite - namely the SS - were only allowed to marry after the women had been checked to have the correct physical characteristics, ancestry, ideology and so on.

On the other hand, German women in general were encouraged to breed prolificly. Apparently, there were levels of "superman" - an elite with scrupulous pedigrees and a lumpenproletariat (with more dubious parentage) to man the "anvil of the Reich".


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by MangyTiger, posted 06-04-2005 7:31 PM MangyTiger has replied

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MangyTiger
Member (Idle past 5664 days)
Posts: 989
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 07-30-2004


Message 13 of 146 (214300)
06-04-2005 8:31 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by ringo
06-04-2005 7:47 PM


Re: Hitler and natural selection
Fair comment.


Oops! Wrong Planet

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1415 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 14 of 146 (214439)
06-05-2005 6:27 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by MangyTiger
06-04-2005 7:31 PM


Re: Hitler and natural selection
Naturally it was simplification. Obviously what fences could be erected were erected...but those fences weren't very adequate.


The elite - namely the SS - were only allowed to marry after the women had been checked to have the correct physical characteristics, ancestry, ideology and so on

You don't have to marry someone before conceiving a child with them.

I think he killed the runts to stop them breeding with themselves (no masurbation jokes please ) rather than with his supposed Aryan supermen.

Whilst that may have some truth - Hitler et al were concerned with the purity of German race. Now the Volk issue has been raised, and I think that has some relevance here, but I don't think that is the only explanation. Would Hitler have been OK if every superman had conceived children with Jews? I imagine he would have killed the Jews and their children. The more Jews in the population, the more 'watered down' the Aryan race became...both in Us vs Them numbers game and in a half-caste kind of way too.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 19720
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 15 of 146 (214486)
06-05-2005 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Modulous
06-05-2005 6:27 AM


Re: Hitler and natural selection
Modulous writes:

Would Hitler have been OK if every superman had conceived children with Jews? I imagine he would have killed the Jews and their children.

There was a rule that anybody with Jewish ancestry in the past five generations would be "sent east". (The time frame was probably based on availability of records.)

Of course, as you point out, there can be discrepancies between actual biological ancestry and officially recorded ancestry. (Hitler's own father was born "illegitimate".)

As you said in Message 9, the Nazis' "selective breeding" program (as well as their "culling" program) was based on ancient agricultural practices.

There was a scientific revolution in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but Hitler's ideas on selective breeding were "sold" to the Volk in terms of German culture, not science.


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

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