This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Adolf Hitler: the world's most famous creationist

Adolf Hitler: the world's most famous creationist - Comments

Viveca's Avatar Comment 1 by Viveca

I think, most of the time when the "Hitler" or "Stalin" card is played it is not really about the beliefs or honesty of these two individuals. It is the idea that religion is absolutely necessary for the masses who are to be seduced and controlled. There is no doubt whatsoever that Germany in the 1930's did NOT represent itself as agnostic or atheist. But all that proves is that people are, and always will be, hypocrites.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 15:48:47 UTC | #570834

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 2 by HughCaldwell

Hitler was Roman Catholic by the rules of the Church. Ask the Pope for his judgement on the issue. Roman Catholicism, before the Holocaust, was anti-Semitic, therefore Hitler's targeting of Jews came from his Roman Catholic heritage.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 15:50:16 UTC | #570835

Viveca's Avatar Comment 3 by Viveca

Comment 2 by HughCaldwell :

Roman Catholicism, before the Holocaust, was anti-Semitic, therefore Hitler's targeting of Jews came from his Roman Catholic heritage.

Funny, Hugh, how you don't apply that logic to Islam and Muslims generally?

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:21:24 UTC | #570866

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 4 by Roger J. Stanyard

I have some severe doubts about the claim that Hitler was a "creationist" (or, as creationists claim, a "Darwinist". He was pig shit ignorant on biology - he left school at 16 without a single qualification and I strongly suspect he was never taught anything about evolution at school - he left school in1906 and evolution was pretty well not in fasion then.

Hitler's views were a hodge-podge of half understood (or not at all understood) opinions of an uneducated man and were full of inconsistencies, contradictions, incoherence and huge gaps.

I am an ignoramus on the history of creationism in Austria and Germany but, if the UK is anything to go by, acceptance of creationism there would have been near zero in the first half of the 20th century. What we normally understand in Europe as creationism today was imported from the USA around 1970 and didn't begin to have any impact until the 1990s.

Where on earth would he have got creationism from? Eugenics is nothing more than selective breeding, something which was practised long before 1859. He wouldn't have got it from the Catholic Church - remember that the second most famous name in the history of evolutionary biology was a Catholic priest in the region. From German Protestantism? I doubt it. German Protestantism is basically Lutheran, not fundamentalist.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:29:47 UTC | #570874

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 5 by HughCaldwell

you don't apply that logic to Islam and Muslims generally? Comment 3 by Viveca

The Holocaust was a Christian affair. The only thing resembling a holocaust in which Muslims are in conflict with another ethno-religious group is the genocide of the Palestinian people by Israel.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:32:04 UTC | #570877

William33's Avatar Comment 6 by William33

I think Hitler believed that the only reason we ate meat was because after the flood we didn't have much choice too.

People forget that many of the Nazi's were vegetarians and animal rights activists.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:40:56 UTC | #570884

M69att's Avatar Comment 7 by M69att

Interesting stuff; this is a slight digression and I have no wish to derail the thread but I have a question. As someone who has also married into a German family, in which my wife's and her parents generation acknowledge the events of the 1930s and 40s but the grandparents, great aunts and uncles deny it and also a family in which a wall of silence between the generations has developed over this issue, I am interested to know whether people think I should pick at this particular scab. I must admit that I have a personal itch to see the topic blown open within the family, possibly because I have a slightly combative nature myself and can hardly bear the idea that people can be left to complacently deny such a horror, but also because it feels unhealthy to me to have such a huge 'no go' area in an otherwise intimate group.

I am totally open to anyone's opinion here so don't beat around the bush trying to be polite.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:41:24 UTC | #570886

Coel's Avatar Comment 8 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

Where on earth would [Hitler] have got creationism from?

From the Bible for a start, see Genesis 1 for God creating humans in their current form. These sort of ideas were predominant in most of Christendom for most of Christendom's history. You don't need to understand and reject evolution to be a creationist, you merely need to believe that God created humans in much their current form.

And Hitler believed exactly that. Mein Kampf sets out Hilter's belief that it was Aryans who were the created race in the Garden of Eden. His eugenics policy was aimed at preserving this Aryan ideal in its original God-created form ("God's highest handiwork"), he did not want Aryans to interbreed with what he saw as lesser races. From Mein Kampf: "Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against [i.e. interbreed with] that highest image of God among His creatures [i.e. Aryans] would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise."

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:50:16 UTC | #570896

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 9 by Roger J. Stanyard

HughCaldwell "Hitler was Roman Catholic by the rules of the Church. Ask the Pope for his judgement on the issue. Roman Catholicism, before the Holocaust, was anti-Semitic, therefore Hitler's targeting of Jews came from his Roman Catholic heritage."

Not really. In the 1920s and 1930s anti-semitism was rampant in Europe in both Protestant and Catholic parts (and in the USA as well). Someone might want to correct me but I understand that pre-war Germany was predominantly Protestant, but only by a smallish margin. I take the view that the whole of Christianity is to some greater or lesser extent culpable in both anti-semitism and the Holocaust.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:51:06 UTC | #570898

MentalLentil's Avatar Comment 10 by MentalLentil

Comment 6 by William33

I think Hitler believed that the only reason we ate meat was because after the flood we didn't have much choice too.

People forget that many of the Nazi's were vegetarians and animal rights activists.

Not that old chestnut again! Hitler was no more a vegetarian than he was an atheist. For short periods of his life he ate a vegetarian diet on doctor's orders, that doesn't make him a vegetarian any more than someone having beans on toast for breakfast makes them vegan for a few hours.

His favourite food was beef sausages.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:54:25 UTC | #570901

Coel's Avatar Comment 11 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

I have some severe doubts about the claim that Hitler was a "creationist" ..."
In addition to my previous post, here's an analysis of Mein Kampf that I wrote a whole ago and have posted a few places. There is absolutely no doubt that Hitler was a creationist who presented a religious, creationist rationale for exterminating Jews. It's all there explicitly in Mein Kampf (all quotes below are from there).

Essentially, Hitler regarded different races as God-created, with the Aryan race created supreme, but considered that the Aryan ideal was being corrupted. Hitler spends much time criticizing the churches for opposing each other rather than Jews:

"Catholics and Protestants are fighting with one another to their hearts' content, while the enemy [Jews] of Aryan humanity and all Christendom is laughing up his sleeve. Look at the ravages from which our people are suffering daily as a result of being contaminated with Jewish blood.
"... Think further of how the process of racial decomposition is debasing and in some cases even destroying the fundamental Aryan qualities of our German people"

Note that this is the opposite of Darwinian ideas, of mankind's improvement and ascent from apes. Instead it is a notion of a previous ideal, a created "fundamental" archetype, that is now subject to "racial decomposition" and "debasement".

"This pestilential adulteration of the blood, of which hundreds of thousands of our people take no account, is being systematically practised by the Jew to-day.
"Systematically [Jews] corrupt our innocent fair-haired girls and thus destroy something which can no longer be replaced in this world."

Again, the notion of a prior ideal that "can no longer be replaced". It's the very opposite of Darwinism.

"The two Christian denominations look on with indifference at the profanation and destruction of a noble and unique creature who was given to the world as a gift of God's grace."

Note- again the concept of a created Aryan race as God's ideal. An ideal that is being corrupted.

"Everybody who has the right kind of feeling for his country is solemnly bound ... to see to it that ... he fulfills the Will of God and does not allow God's handiwork to be debased."

Again the concept of debasement of God's Garden-of-Eden handiwork, the degeneration from a prior ideal. This is entirely the opposite of Darwinian ongoing improvement.

"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."

No comment needed!

"In recent years things have gone so far that patriotic circles, in god-forsaken blindness of their religious strife, could not recognize the folly of their conduct even from the fact that atheist Marxist newspapers advocated the cause of one religious denomination or the other"

Again the criticism of churches for not opposing Jews. "Atheist Marxist" is also code for Jews.

"Over against all this, the VOLKISCH concept of the world recognizes that the primordial racial elements are of the greatest significance for mankind."

Note the concept of primordial race! I.e. Original creation by God of separate races, that are now being mixed by the sin of interracial marriage.

"In principle, the State is looked upon only as a means to an end and this end is the conservation of the racial characteristics of mankind."

Again, conservation of an ideal, the very opposite of Darwinism.

"Therefore on the VOLKISCH principle we cannot admit that one race is equal to another. By recognizing that they are different, the VOLKISCH concept separates mankind into races of superior and inferior quality. On the basis of this recognition it feels bound in conformity with the eternal Will that dominates the universe, to postulate the victory of the better and stronger and the subordination of the inferior and weaker."

This might superficial seem Darwinian. But it isn't, note the "eternal Will" (ie God), which is not in Darwinism. The idea here is that God created the races as seperate and UNequal, and placed one above the other. This was a standard idea in Christendom pre-Darwin. It was used to justify slavery, and apartheid South Africa (the Dutch Reformed Church there believed exactly that).

"But, on the other hand, [the volkish principle] denies that an ethical ideal has the right to prevail if it endangers the existence of a race that is the standard-bearer of a higher ethical ideal. "

Excusing what might be seen as unethical (oppressing Jews) by appeal to higher ethics!

"For in a world which would be composed of mongrels and negroids all ideals of human beauty and nobility and all hopes of an idealized future for our humanity would be lost forever."

Note that, rather than improvement to an Aryan super-race, Hitler is worried about degeneration from a past Aryan ideal.

"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."

Ditto.

"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."

Ditto. Again note the Aryans as past founders, and the conservation ("custodians") of a past ideal.

"Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against that highest image of God among His creatures [ie. Aryans] would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise."

The "expulsion from paradise" again being the idea of a lost ideal: an Aryan race God-created in it's ideal form as God's ideal handiwork, originally created for the Garden of Eden. That's entirely the opposite of a Darwinian ascent from apes.

"If the Aryan, who is the creator and custodian of civilization, should disappear, all culture that is on an adequate level with the spiritual needs of the superior nations to-day would also disappear."
"Thus for the first time a high inner purpose is accredited to the State. In face of the ridiculous phrase that the State should do no more than act as the guardian of public order and tranquility, so that everybody can peacefully dupe everybody else, it is given a very high mission indeed to preserve and encourage the highest type of humanity which a beneficent Creator has bestowed on this earth."

Lastly, Hitler advocates celibacy of "lesser" non-Aryan people. He thinks they could be induced to accept this.

"Why should it not be possible to induce people to make this sacrifice if ... they were simply told that they ought to put an end to this truly original sin of racial corruption which is steadily being passed on from one generation to another. And, further, they ought to be brought to realize that it is their bounden duty to give to the Almighty Creator beings such as He himself made to His own image."

Note the revealling "truly original sin" -- that is, the destruction of the past ideal of the Aryan race in the Garden of Eden. And the concept that it is Aryans who were made in God's image.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:59:11 UTC | #570909

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 12 by Roger J. Stanyard

Coel says "From the Bible for a start, see Genesis 1 for God creating humans in their current form. These sort of ideas were predominant in most of Christendom for most of Christendom's history. You don't need to understand and reject evolution to be a creationist, you merely need to believe that God created humans in much their current form."

What we understand to be creationism today is simply not compatible with Catholicism; creationism is based on Sola Scriptura which is a total anathma to the RCC (it was invented by Martin Luther to get at the power of the Catholic Clergy). If the Catholic Church ever adopted Sola Scriptura it couldn't and wouldn't exist any longer. Whatever you think the faults are of the RCC, it rejected Biblical literalism in the 4th Century AD.

Making claims about history are no real help either. Nobody anywhere in the world accepted evolutionary biology until 1859 - whether they were Catholic, other versions of Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Confucionists, Animists, Muslims, Druids, Jews or anyone else.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:08:33 UTC | #570915

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 13 by HughCaldwell

Comment 9 by Roger J. Stanyard I take the view that the whole of Christianity is to some greater or lesser extent culpable in both anti-semitism and the Holocaust.

Agreed but, since Adolf was a Roman Catholic, he got hsi anti-Semitism from his Roman Catholic heritage. The population, of Germany, with its small Jewish population was Lutheran and Catholic. Staunchly Catholic Poland was home to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:22:14 UTC | #570920

Coel's Avatar Comment 14 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

What we understand to be creationism today is simply not compatible with Catholicism; creationism is based on Sola Scriptura which is a total anathma to the RCC ...

Creationism is simply the belief that God created humans in something like their present form. For the vast majority of the history of the Catholic church that is what the vast majority of Catholics (and other Christians) believed.

It is only relatively recently that "official" Catholic doctrine has tried to make itself compatible with evolution, creating a grudging form of theistic evolution that is warily accepted by many (but by no means all) of the Catholic heirarchy. Most Catholic teaching still insists on Adam and Eve being two real people (not necessarily the only people alive then), since this is necessary for their doctrine of Original Sin. And even so, people like Cardinal Schonborn don't really accept evolution at all. And if you talk to Catholic rank-and-file you still find plenty of creationists.

Certainly, around the time of Hitler's youth, most Catholic teaching of youth would have been creationist (i.e. God creating man in much like their current form). And Hitler certainly believed that, as is quite clear from the ideas and arguments of Mein Kampf, as in my last post.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:23:41 UTC | #570921

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 15 by Roger J. Stanyard

Coel says "In addition to my previous post, here's an analysis of Mein Kampf that I wrote a whole ago and have posted a few places. There is absolutely no doubt that Hitler was a creationist who presented a religious, creationist rationale for exterminating Jews. It's all there explicitly in Mein Kampf (all quotes below are from there). "

As I say, that isn't what we mean by creationism; it's a hodge-podge ramblings of an incoherent intellect.

Let's get this absolutely straight. All Christians are creationists as they all beleive that God created the universe. However, most accept evolutionary biology and most accept the Bible, including Genesis, as allegory and metaphore. Hitler came from that tradition.

The quotes you provide look to me to be use of allegory and metaphor as part of the political polemic of an uneducated man. They display no understanding of creationism whatsoever.

I also point out that the modern day creationists virtually all claim that Hitler was a Darwinist" and an atheist. They've produced copious amounts (or drivel) to support their claims.

The man was so incoherent in his views that just about anyone can claim that he was a Darwinist or a creationist according to their own prejudices. From my understanding Hitler wasn't even intellectually capable of distinguishing creationism from evolutionary biology.

Probably closer to the truth is that he picked and chose whatever helped him push his cause or his rhetoric at the time.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:34:00 UTC | #570926

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 16 by Roger J. Stanyard

HughCaldwell says "The Holocaust was a Christian affair. The only thing resembling a holocaust in which Muslims are in conflict with another ethno-religious group is the genocide of the Palestinian people by Israel."

Try the partition of India in 1947 or what happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks..

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:39:08 UTC | #570930

blitz442's Avatar Comment 17 by blitz442

Roger Stanyard

What we understand to be creationism today is simply not compatible with Catholicism

I'm sorry, your going to have to give your definition of creationism then. You seem to be arguing that someone who believes that life forms were separately created and immutable, as Hitler certainly seemed to based on what Coel presented, is not a creationist.

Furthermore, your assertion that creationism is not compatible with Catholicism is simply false. As explained by Ernst Mayr, one of the intellectual roadblocks to acceptance of Darwin's ideas was a longstanding belief in Greek philosophical ideas of essentialism and fundamental "kinds" or "forms". Since these philosophical concepts thoroughly influenced Catholic theology, and seem to be anathema to a proper understanding of evolution, it is in fact hard to see how they could embrace evolution.

And the truth is, they have never disavowed creationism. The encyclical Humani Generis, which everyone thinks shows a Catholic endorsement for evolution over creationism, in fact only states that evolution is not theologically unacceptable. It is in fact a very muddled document, and recent anti-evolutionary stances by prominent Catholics such as Cardinal Schönborn and Benny himself show just how uncomfortable Catholic theology is with evolution. Creationism creates far less headaches.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:57:09 UTC | #570941

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 18 by Roger J. Stanyard

HughCaldwell "Agreed but, since Adolf was a Roman Catholic, he got hsi anti-Semitism from his Roman Catholic heritage. The population, of Germany, with its small Jewish population was Lutheran and Catholic. Staunchly Catholic Poland was home to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka."

Only marginally Lutheran (and I could be wrong on that - post war West Germany was predominantly Catholic and there were a lot of strange religious cults and beliefs that sprung up in Germany in the 1920s). As I say, anti-semitism was rife even in Protestant countries including the UK. One of the most anti-semitic organisation of that era, the Ku Klux Klan, described itself as a religious organisation and never admitted Catholics. The Nazis also had their own church which was Protestant.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:57:57 UTC | #570944

Coel's Avatar Comment 19 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

"As I say, that isn't what we mean by creationism; ..."

Yes it is, creationism is a broad term for the idea that God created humans in much like their current form.

"However, most accept evolutionary biology and most accept the Bible, including Genesis, as allegory and metaphore. Hitler came from that tradition."

Hmm, you sure of that "most"? World-wide it's a dubious claim that "most" Christians accept evolution. Further, while the Bible and Genesis are accepted as in some ways allegorical, much is also taken at face value. Modern Catholicism still, for example, regards Adam and Eve as two actual people who God started a relationship with.

Further, please provide your evidence that Hitler came from a tradition of accepting evolution. I'm not aware of any evidence of that. And from Mein Kampf it is clear that Hitler was a creationist, or, to avoid endless quibbles about the word "creationism", it is clear from Mein Kampf that Hitler believed that humans had been created by God in much like their current form.

"The quotes you provide look to me to be use of allegory and metaphor as part of the political polemic of an uneducated man."

Please provide your evidence that they were meant as an allegory. I've read the thing, and it reads to me as though they were intended at face value.

They display no understanding of creationism whatsoever.

That depends entirely on how you define "creationism". Those quotes present a religious, creationist view that would have been the commonest view of most Christians through most of Christendom (namely that God created man in much like man's current form).

I also point out that the modern day creationists virtually all claim that Hitler was a Darwinist" and an atheist. They've produced copious amounts (or drivel) to support their claims.

So what about their claims? They've produced no evidence at all for either claim. No-one has ever produced any evidence of Hitler looking to or quoting from Darwin. Are you really presenting mere creationist claims as some sort of support for the idea that Hitler believed in evolution???

From my understanding Hitler wasn't even intellectually capable of distinguishing creationism from evolutionary biology.

Sorry, no, regarding Hitler as simply stupid won't wash. He wasn't. You don't get to the positions he got to without some measure of ability.

Probably closer to the truth is that he picked and chose whatever helped him push his cause or his rhetoric at the time.

Not so, his ideas on this were continued and pursued over decades, it was a coherent agenda, at least to the extent that any religious ideology is. The truth is he believed that God had created man in much like man's current form -- just as most Christians over most of Christendom had believed that.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:59:29 UTC | #570946

Coel's Avatar Comment 20 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

"... most [Christians] accept evolutionary biology and most accept the Bible, including Genesis, as allegory and metaphore."

For an account of modern Catholic views see http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp in particular the sections "Real History" and "Adam and Eve: Real People". To quote: "It is impossible to dismiss the events of Genesis 1 as a mere legend. They are accounts of real history, even if they are told in a style of historical writing that Westerners do not typically use. It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction."

Note also that Catholic teaching at the time of Hitler's youth was far less open to evolution than the above modern article. At that time most Catholic instruction was straightforwardly creationist.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:15:17 UTC | #570959

blitz442's Avatar Comment 21 by blitz442

Comment 19 by Coel

You have to understand that Roger believes in a creation story of his own - the recent creation of creationism. The story goes that big, bad, stupid America unleashed these ideas on to the world relatively recently, and is therefore mainly responsible for any anti-evolutionary sentiments that you find in the world. It also turns the US into a pinata, and conveniently gives those so inclined another reason to engage in cathartic US bashing.

Everything that you have presented contradicts his dogma that aggressive creationism originated in the US, so expect to hear things like "Hitler didn't know what he was saying" when you show unambiguous evidence that Hitler was as much a creationist as Ken Ham.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:17:22 UTC | #570962

Coel's Avatar Comment 22 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

"The man [Hitler] was so incoherent in his views ... closer to the truth is that he picked and chose whatever helped him push his cause or his rhetoric at the time."

This idea that the Nazis were just opportunist idiots incapable of holding an ideology is simply false. They had an ideology that was (by the standards of religious ideology, which admittedly is not that high a standard) coherent. Above I gave some quotes from Mein Kampfy, to back that up here are some quotes from Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the intellectual founder of Nazism.

Who was Chamberlain? His "The Foundations Of The Nineteenth Century" was one the principle texts of German nationalism and anti-Semitism, selling quarter of a million copies by 1938. On Chamberlain's 70th birthday, the Nazi party newspaper dedicated five columns to him, describing "The Foundations" as the "gospel of the Nazi movement". This book's ideas of Aryan supremacy and a struggle against Jewish influence became the intellectual justification of Nazism. It was spread widely, being carried in all public libraries and included in school curricula.

Rosenberg described himself as "electrified" by reading this book, which he regarded as the inspiration for his own "Myth Of The Twentieth Century". Hitler visited Chamberlain several times between 1923 and 1926, and attended his funeral in 1927. For more on the book, its racial theory and anti-Semitism, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Foundations_of_the_Nineteenth_Century

In the above analysis of Mein Kampf I showed that it was anti-Darwinian. Where Darwin believed in an ascent from apes, with mankind starting out as homogenous, and then branching into different races, Hitler was a creationist. Hitler rejected descent from apes, and believed that the different races were primordial, created in their current state by God, with the Aryan race being supreme, God's highest handiwork, and the nearest image of God himself. Chamberlain thought the same. His major work "Plato" is largely a complete rejection of Darwinism. He was harking back to Plato's ideas of a "Platonic ideal" essence of things, so that difference races were of different essence, and totally rejected Darwin's ideas of races and species as malleable, and evolving into different species.

Here are some quotes:

"A characteristic symptom of our modern intellectual disease is the increasing tendency to relegate things to ever remoter and remoter origins. Thus, for instance, man was said to be descended from the ape; the anatomical impossibility of this is established to-day by a thousand reasons ..."

" the nonsensical dogmas of the theorisers on natural selection and descent may once and for all be rejected."

"That is how anti-science and phantasticism have invaded our times. And how did this happen? It was the inevitable consequence of wishing to understand nature from the process of growth instead of from its Being, ... [The "Being" here being the constant Platonic essence, in contrast to changeable Darwinian "growth".]

"Constancy, not only of single species without any change from the oldest palaeozoic strata until to-day ... but, as I have just shown, constancy of precisely the same structural conditions down to every detail ... that is the great fundamental fact, the fact of all facts, which pure conception gives us in regard to life. Life is form, constant form."

And he gets quite disparaging about Darwin: "These few remarks only serve to show what a want of reflection disfigures the fundamental thoughts of Darwin and his followers."

And lauds a Darwin critic: "This testimony of a professional man rich in knowledge and prudent in judgment, deserves attention at a time when the Darwinian craze works such mischief [...]"

And then there is the claim that the Nazis looked to Darwin and the idea that Darwinian natural selection could lead to a super race. Chamberlain is totally dismissive of this idea:

"How far better this than that we, fooled by delusions out of a bestial past that is no past, such as savages see rising before them like nightmares in their dark caves, but which have never had any existence save in diseased brains, should with outstretched greedy hands, without cease or rest, clutch at a phantastic future in which natural selection, in its blind choice, is forsooth to transfigure us into an exalted being ..."

Again, the Nazi conception of race is the opposite of Darwinism. It isn't looking to create a super-race by Darwinian means, Nazi philosophy (as perfectly explicit in Mein Kampf) is that the Aryan's were a super-race, primoridally created as such by God. And they desired to preserve that by preventing degeneration by interbreeding.

Chamberlain is quite disparaging about Darwinism, calling it an "English disease":

"If we might not say that this craze [Darwinism] is only the last belated straggler of romanticism and Hegelism in alliance with flat English utilitarianism, and that a hundred years will not have passed before it will be judged as men to-day judge alchemy, ... if we did not see around us ... an energetic shaking off of this "English sickness", as the Zoologist Friedrich Dreyer called it in a happy phrase, we might abandon all hope of a future for Science and culture."

All this can be read at http://www.hschamberlain.net/kant/kant_07_notes.html#p127

So there it is once again, the Nazis were fanatical and vitriolic in opposition to Darwin and his ideas. That is why they banned his works, banning "Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism ..." http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/burnedbooks/documents.htm

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:25:29 UTC | #570967

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 23 by Roger J. Stanyard

Coel says "Creationism is simply the belief that God created humans in something like their present form. For the vast majority of the history of the Catholic church that is what the vast majority of Catholics (and other Christians) believed."

No it isn't! You ought to look up what the fundamentalists believe it to be; in its pure form it is that all life was created by God, not just humans. There is no such thing as evolution in their book and, moreover, the vast majority believe the world to be 6,000 years old. Methinks you're defining creationism for your own purposes.

As far as I know, the RCC dropped belief in a young earth before Darwin published I dunno when it dropped what you claim to be creationism, if it ever believed it in the first place. Gregor Mendel had n problem undertaking his research and publishing it.

I assume (and could stand corrected) that the RCC's position on evolution was ambiguous when Hitler was in his youth. The position nowadays is that humans are the product of evolution but that God changed humans at some unspecified time by giving them souls.

The creationist movement has its origins in the 19th Century amongst Seventh Day Adventists; since then the RCC has been almost entirely absent from the creationist movement. The only British Catholic creationist I can recall is GK Chesterton and he is long dead and was almost certainly an old earth creationist.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:27:09 UTC | #570968

blitz442's Avatar Comment 24 by blitz442

Roger Stanyard

The position nowadays is that humans are the product of evolution but that God changed humans at some unspecified time by giving them souls.

That's incorrect. The Church doesn't make any scientific pronouncements, it has only tried to reconcile its theology with recent scientific discoveries. In other words - "this is a scientific idea that we don't think is in conflict with our theology, so feel free to accept it if you want." This is not the same as a rejection of creationism. As I explained earlier, and what should be extremely obvious, belief in separate creation of living forms was never incompatible with Catholic theology.

A summary of Humani Generis, from wiki:

The question of the origin of man's body from pre-existing and living matter is a legitimate matter of inquiry for natural science. Catholics are free to form their own opinions, but they should do so cautiously; they should not confuse fact with conjecture, and they should respect the Church's right to define matters touching on Revelation.

Catholics must believe, however, that the human soul was created immediately by God. Since the soul is a spiritual substance it is not brought into being through transformation of matter, but directly by God, whence the special uniqueness of each person.

All men have descended from an individual, Adam, who has transmitted original sin to all mankind. Catholics may not, therefore, believe in "polygenism," the scientific hypothesis that mankind descended from a group of original humans (that there were many Adams and Eves).

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:43:56 UTC | #570980

Coel's Avatar Comment 25 by Coel

Roger Stanyard writes:

Methinks you're defining creationism for your own purposes.

Unlike you? You seem to be pointing to particular forms of creationist thought and insisting that only they can properly be called "creationism".

"dunno when it [the Catholic church] dropped what you claim to be creationism, if it ever believed it in the first place. ... I assume (and could stand corrected) that the RCC's position on evolution was ambiguous when Hitler was in his youth."

The Catholic church permitted belief in evolution in a 1950 encyclical Humani generis iossued by Pius XII. Before that standard Catholic teaching -- as I keep telling you -- was that God had created humans in their current form. If you can point me to any official Catholic statement of Doctrine that endorses evolution before that 1950 encyclical then please do so.

The Catholic position permitting belief in evolution has later endorsed by John Paul II. But note that even now it is a grudging acceptance, they don't endorse evolution, just permit belief in it. See for example: http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp

The creationist movement has its origins in the 19th Century amongst Seventh Day Adventist ...

You mean that one form of it developed from there. The word "creationist" is far broader than your take on it.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:44:44 UTC | #570981

blitz442's Avatar Comment 26 by blitz442

Comment 23 by Roger J. Stanyard

Methinks you're defining creationism for your own purposes

My irony meter just exploded.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:46:18 UTC | #570982

Coel's Avatar Comment 27 by Coel

More on the Catholic position in evolution. This is JP2 from as recently as 1996, the first major update to the 1950 statement by Pius XII.

Before offering you several reflections that more specifically concern the subject of the origin of life and its evolution, I would like to remind you that the magisterium of the Church has already made pronouncements on these matters within the framework of her own competence. I will cite here two interventions. ...

The earlier cite is to the 1950 encyclical:

In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, ...

Note the "no opposition" wording.

Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis.

So the 1950 encyclical was luke-warm, merely saying that "evoluitionism" was "a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation", but that its status was "equal to that of the opposing hypothesis".

"Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. ... It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge."

So that, as recently as 1996, was the first official Catholic acceptance of evolution as likely true. (Of course it didn't apply to our "spiritual souls", where were God-given and not evolved.) But anyway, this is all way after Hitler's youth, when he would have been taught the traditional picture -- as believed by the vast majority of Christians until after WW2 -- that God created humans in their current form. And, as is clear from Mein Kampf, that is what Hitler believed. And as is clear from the above quotes from Houston Chamberlain, the Nazis explicitly rejected Darwinism, regarding it as an "English disease".

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 19:02:01 UTC | #570990

blitz442's Avatar Comment 28 by blitz442

Comment 25 by Coel

The Catholic position permitting belief in evolution has later endorsed by John Paul II. But note that even now it is a grudging acceptance, they don't endorse evolution, just permit belief in it.

Exactly. You could be a creationist and still be a good Catholic, and by "creationist", I mean in the very broad sense that you could believe that all living forms were separately created by God more or less in their present form. I would even say that you could believe that the Earth was 10,000 years old and still be on solid theological grounds in the Catholic Church. I see nowhere in Catholic theology that would specifically disallow a literal meaning of Genesis, besides a general rule that believers cannot believe in anything "contrary to reason" (which might be the biggest oxymoron in history, but I digress).

Unlike its fundamentalist, literalist brethren, the Catholic Church's method of biblical interpretation allows more a little more flexibility to incorporate observations of the natural world. But this is not the same thing as endorsement of specific scientific beliefs.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 19:05:47 UTC | #570993

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 29 by Schrodinger's Cat

The opener is such a load of nonsense it's hard to know where to begin.

Hitler wasnt' a this or that....he was an opportunist nationalist, quite happy to say or do whatever was considered necessary to further that particular goal. This is the same Hitler who made the comment ' the popular masses are stupid ', and who had no qualms about using that general level of stupidity to his advantage.

Thus references to 'divine providence' in Mein Kampf and in speeches are to be taken with an extra large pinch of salt. Certainly Hitler believed that the German people's had a historic destiny, and that his mission was to fulfill that, but the notion that Hitler would ever have prayed to God or sought spiritual guidance on it is nonsense. Hitler saw himself as the driving force of it all.

Religion enters into it only in the sense of a tool to be used. His hatred of the Jews had much more to do with the prevailing belief at the time that Jews were behind communism and 'internationalism' and were deliberately out to destroy the 'purity' of nations for that purpose. They made an excellent scapegoat for his early beer hall speeches.

As for being a creationist.....the idea that he was one in the sense of the modern Bible thumping US style is utter nonsense. Whatever views he had on any such religious matters were ( deliberately in some respects ) extremely vague and ill defined. The formost goal was the political one. Religion was a handy tool if it furthered that goal, and Hitler had to deal with the existing power of the church and make appropriate noises to them. Any statement beyond that is just sheer contrivance and over-imagination.

And irrelevant too.....as such concepts as atheism, creationism, etc stand or fall on their own merits and don't need 'what Hitler believed' to bolster or detract in the least.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 20:23:40 UTC | #571044

blitz442's Avatar Comment 30 by blitz442

The opener is such a load of nonsense it's hard to know where to begin.

Why? Never in the discussion did the author claim that "Hitler was a creationist, therefore atheism is a valid concept (or creationism is not a valid concept)." The point was to show that there is more than enough evidence to contradict this common, and seemingly effective, anti-atheist argument that links Hitler to atheism, darwinism, etc. And if you are correct that Hitler just switched around to whatever view was most helpful to his political goals, then that undermines the religious propaganda about atheism and evolution being integral to Nazism and Hitler's ideology as well.

You're absolutely right that Hitler's beliefs are irrelevant to the legitimacy of atheism. That is true even it could be shown that Hitler genuinely tried to ground his beliefs in atheism and evolution.

However, very few people understand the difference between correlation and causation. If they did, these arguments about "what Hitler believed" would immediately be dismissed by "so what?". But the fact is, we have to deal with a popular perception that Hitler was an atheist, and that atheism has something to do with his behavior. Producing evidence that directly contradicts the first premise cuts to the heart of this myth in a manner that is probably more effective than merely pointing out the logical fallacy of the argument.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 21:05:23 UTC | #571065