Hitler and Darwin

ONE OF THE LATEST and most despicable ploys of the Intelligent Design creationists (who have neither science nor sanity in their toolbox) is promoting the lie that Darwin’s theory of evolution led to Hitler’s insane policies. Here is just a tiny sample from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids): The Historical Connection from Darwin to Hitler, and Hitler’s Debt to Darwin.

Darwin Hitler

Charles Darwin (Left) Adolf Hitler (Right)

Let’s consider a few questions about this bizarre Discoveroid contention:

1. Did Hitler know anything about Darwin’s theory? Answer — there’s no evidence that he did. Hitler was a high-school dropout, and may not have studied it at all. His interests were art and architecture. And killing people.

2. Did Hitler actually apply Darwin’s theory? Answer — even if he tried, his actions don’t make any biological sense. Limiting the diversity of the gene pool is detrimental (and perhaps suicidal in the long run). Biologists who know and work with Darwin’s theory don’t practice or teach Hitler’s policies. [Addendum: Darwin expressly disapproved of eugenics, saying it was contrary to evolution. See: Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.]

3. How much knowledge of evolution does it take to round up Jews, Gypsies, retardates, etc., and slaughter them? Answer — none. Deliberately ridding society of those deemed unfit isn’t in Darwin’s writings, but it’s an idea that’s been around for millennia, and such historical practices were available to Hitler as examples. Infanticide to eliminate inferiors, for example, was practiced by the state in Sparta. There are extreme examples of mass extermination in the Bible — Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example.

We don’t know if Hitler used those accounts when framing his policies, but at least they existed and were commonly known — unlike Darwin’s biological work which contained nothing comparable. For more scriptural examples of genocide which may have influenced Hitler, see:

Deuteronomy 7:1-2: “… the seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.”

Joshua 6:21: “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”

4. Was Darwin the source of Hitler’s “master race” obsession? Answer — nothing like that is in Darwin’s writings. Darwin observed (and who has not?) that some nations are more culturally advanced than others. He never concluded that this was due to racial superiority. Indeed, in the final chapter ofDescent of Man, Darwin wrote:

But there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians. The astonishment which I felt on first seeing a party of Fuegians on a wild and broken shore will never be forgotten by me, for the reflection at once rushed into my mind — such were our ancestors.

5. What about Hitler’s attempt to deliberately breed a master race?Answer — Darwin never discussed anything like that. Hitler’s program of matching SS studs with compliant wenches is not a new idea — horse breeders have been using such “science” since before the Trojan war. Cattle breeders have known how to improve their herds ever since humans have kept domesticated animals. Plato (the darling of mystics everywhere) recommended state-supervised selective breeding of children: The Republic by Plato, Book 5.

5. So who did influence Hitler? Answer — Mein Kampf mentions Bismarck, Henry Ford, Frederick the Great, Lenin, Martin Luther, Karl Marx, Napoleon, Richard Wagner, and many others — but not one word about Darwin. The Darwin-Hitler “connection” is non-existent.

We should point out the obvious truth that Darwin — being outspoken against slavery and stating clearly in Descent of Man that all humans were a single species — was probably the least racist of his contemporaries. Winston Churchill and his British countrymen were unquestionably educated in Darwin’s science, yet they opposed Hitler’s policies.

One more thing should be mentioned. In Mein KampfHitler clearly indicates that he’s a creationist. Check it for yourself: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, Volume Two, Chapter X:

For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties. Whoever destroys His work wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will.

We have no idea if Hitler actually believed that, but whatever he believed, there’s certainly no “Darwinism” there.

For a far more likely influence on Hitler, one which was widely circulated in German society, check out On the Jews and Their Lies, by Martin Luther.

[You may also want to see our essay on a similar matter: Marx, Stalin, and Darwin.]

Addendum: Panda’s Thumb has an interesting article on this: Darwin → Hitler? Naw.

2nd AddendumKarl Giberson, a physicist who teaches courses on science and religion at Eastern Nazarene College, points out in this essay:

[I]f there is this strong connection between Darwin and Hitler, it is interesting that Hitler’s biographers all seem to have missed it. Experts on the deranged architect of the holocaust have spent countless hours tracing the origins of Hitler’s virulent anti-Semitism and none of them have discovered this link to Darwin.

Update: See Hitler, Darwin, and … Winston Churchill?

Update: See Hey, Klinghoffer: How About Hitler & Gobineau?

Update: For an exhaustive treatment of the subject, see Was Hitler a Darwinian? by University of Chicago historian Robert J. Richards.

Update: See Hitler & Darwin, Part II.

UpdateHitler & Darwin, Part III.

See alsoWorldNetDaily, Darwin, and Hitler.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

4 responses to “Hitler and Darwin

    • Your copyright detail, links to your blog, etc, are all in place (otherwise you would not have had a pingback to inform you that it’s been posted). So, there aren’t many steps you can take to deal with me and my blog. Nobody tried to pass it off as the work of anyone other than you.

      However, we are wimps that give in to whiners. So, if you insist, this will be taken down. The only result will be that my readers won’t be able to discover your writing, and possibly check out your blog.

  1. After looking a few days on the dilemma of how and when the human race was born, I gave birth to these hypotheses, thanks also to the differences found in Genesis between two stories that seem different, namely the creation of man on the sixth day and then the telling of the story about Adam and Eve. If we read the part of the genesis which explains the creation of man on the sixth day, and then the creation of Adam and Eve, you may notice a detail that differs between the two parts, suggesting that they are two completely different stories. In fact, in Genesis 1:26, we can see that man was created on the sixth day in the image and likeness of God, as in Genesis 5:1 (referring to Adam and Eve after 7 days of creation) the text of the Bible omits “image”, the fact that “image” and “likeness” indicate two similar concepts but different. I think “image” means human nature able to conceive the evil, so the suffering too, instead “likeness” denotes the inherited attributes of God as love, reason and they are both still together. Hypothetically speaking, the man of the sixth day is a creature evolved from animals or some other thing, then, over time has developed the reason as we know it today, while Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden and as the Bible says in Genesis 2:7 (And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground) this means that God took their dust from the young earth and has created them in the Eden where the concept of time did not exists or was limited to the 7 days, this event happened before the creation of trees as written in Genesis 2:4,5,6: (These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground and God formed man of the dust of the ground).
    In this perfect reality there was no concept of evil, so they were only a “likeness” of God. After that they were created, were expelled from Eden, only to find themselves in this situation where had passed perhaps millions of years (because in the Eden the time for them had not passed), a situation in which the man who was created in the image and likeness did not exists anymore because of a mass extinction caused by some natural catastrophe or by “something else”, or perhaps still he existed, and the descendants of Adam and Eve hybridized this species, confirmed in Genesis 6:1,2,3,4, in which it says that the sons of God married the daughters of men (but may also be refers to the descendants of Cain, who turned away from God). The spirit of God will not dwell forever with the man because he also is flesh, living up to 120 years (mean that men of God who lived up to 900 years later live up to 120 years because of the fact that hybridizing with the daughters of men they are “contaminated” at the genetic level, partially losing genes that enabled him to live a lot longer).

    According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were the first humans created by God, who lived approximately 6,000 years ago. According to the science, humans existed a long time before. The two lines of thought can be easily united, thanks to the omnipotence of God, who in the beginning created humans in a reality where there was no concept of “evil”. Metaphorically speaking, Adam and Eve were expelled from this heavenly reality, find himself in another reality, namely in today’s reality that we all know, where there is the concept of evil, as well as that of the well, a reality where they were the first humans who experienced firsthand the life God had reserved for them (so they were the first humans in the “perfect” reality). From here it is clear that the story of Adam and Eve does not upset in the least bit the evolutionary linearity, and the seven days of creation relate to a creation took place in the reality of Adam and Eve, where everything was possible, even just create the stars, animals and everything else, without the scientific method and the time needed to have their share. In practice, they were the first men of God, whereas prehistoric man lived before Adam and Eve was a man, but it could be considered as an animal evolved from animals or by something else, which had two arms and two legs, and that may have hybridized with the descendants of Adam And Eve after they were “moved away” from the “perfect reality”. God has endowed man about the concept of “infinity” and “eternity”, as well as other questions can not be explained through the use of the scientific method, thus making humans free to believe in God or not, in a reality for us tricky and necessary for the construction and continuation of his project.

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