Monday, October 31, 2011

Weikart, Gasmam, Darwin, Hitler, and JoJo the Clown

Faye Flam writes a pro-science blog for the Philadelphia Inquirer called, “Planet of the Apes.” Her Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 post was “Severing the link between Darwin and Nazism”.

It was syndicated by the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah The following discussions seem to have staggered to an end, so I'll post a bit of them here.

Prof. Richard Weikart, author of “From Darwin to Hitler” made a brief appearance to hype his books on the Philadelphia blog, and Darwin and Haeckel hater Prof Daniel Gasman, author of “The Scientific Origins of National Socialism,” did a “fart and dart’ post at the Ogden site.

Weikart, Gasman and Robert Richard were interviewed by Flam for her article. Prof. Richard is the author of an excellent book, “The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought” (2008 University Of Chicago Press). His most recent article, and one mentioned by Flam, is "Was Hitler a Darwinian?" (PDF)

Weikart made a pecluliar comment worth quoting,
Concerning one of the comments above about Darwin and Haeckel being banned in Nazi Germany, I should alert you that I have examined the official Nazi biology curriculum. Lo and behold, it contains extensive teaching on evolution, including human evolution (and it is by natural selection, so it is overtly Darwinian). Haeckel was a disputed figure among Nazis (but many Nazis approved of Haeckel, as I will prove in an article I'm working on).

I could go on and on, but since I've already written extensively on this, I will have to refer readers to my books.
— Richard Weikart
Posted 5:11 PM, 10/24/2011

The fact that Weikart is trying to avoid is that the Nazis did ban all the books and articles written by Darwin and Häckel.

Die Bucherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published these collection evaluation "guidelines" during the second round of "purifications" (saüberung).

6. Schriften weltanschaulichen und lebenskundlichen Charakters, deren Inhalt die falsche naturwissenschaftliche Aufklärung eines primitiven Darwinismus und Monismus ist (Häckel).

Guidelines from Die Bücherei 2:6 (1935), p. 279
6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel)

I replied to Prof. Weikart,

Prof. Weikart has clearly stated his goal as a Fellow of the Discovery Institute is to eliminate "Darwinism" AKA evolutionary biology, and replace it with creationism. His sole contribution to this cause is to link the Holocaust with biologists. He misuses sources, particularly ignoring those that refute his position.

I would like to read how he squirms out from Hitler's clearly stated belief in creationism- the fixed, immutable nature of created kinds, as created by God. Just two examples follow;

"The most marvelous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator." - Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier)

"From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from the very beginning what he is today.

A glance in Nature shows us, that changes and developments happen in the realm of plants and animals. But nowhere do we see inside a kind, a development of the size of the leap that Man must have made, if he supposedly has advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is(now)" Tabletalk entry for 27 February 1942

“The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi

Prof. Weikart is what we know in academia as a "fool with tenure."

I also added, In fact, Hitler was clearly a creationist. Note in the following that Hitler asserts that God made man immutably:

"For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties." - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x
There are pages of citations irrefutably showing that Hitler's private, and public presentations were explicitly creationist, and Christian.

Gasman wrote on the Ogden site,
“Dr. Hurd might wish to read my review of Richards' Tragic Sense of Life in eskeptic [10 June 2009]. Richards' book is rooted in the outright fabrication and misrepresentation of key source material and therefore falls far short of being able to substantiate that there is no connection between Haeckel's science and Monism and the ideology of National Socialism.” 10/27/2011 03:02 AM

I merely asked him is he would declare his presuppositions as a creationist, and referred him back to “Was Hitler a Darwinian.” Here I'll add that Gasman is requesting the logically impossible proof of a negative.

The only commenter that really keyed me was a British clown called JoJo. His Ogden Standard post and my reply follow.

"Hitler is an uncompromising evolutionist, and we must seek for an evolutionary explanation if we are to understand his actions" "The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution." Arthur Keith -Evolution and Ethics, 1947

"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of higher animals, directly follows"

- C. Darwin, med-school drop-out, son to Erasmus Darwin (who helped developed the ancient Greek precursor in the Scottish Lodge into evolution and passed it on to Charles to dress it up with naturalistic language and picked up by the heavily Freemasonic-run Royal Society and thrust into academia for generations of forced learning) and cousin to Francis Galton (the father of Eugenics Society, later headed up by Charles' son Leonard Darwin.)

Dr. Ernest Rudin, founder of Germany's Eugenics Society (Society for Racial Hygiene) received the Goethe Medal for Art and Science from Adolf Hitler "in recognition of his achievements in the development of German Racial Hygiene."

I wrote a bit on these quote mines that I might find useful on other occasions, so I'll post them here;

I can tell that creationist "Jojo" is a a poor candidate for teaching. Creationists use what are known as "quote mines" instead of attempting to think, or marshal evidence.

Take for example, medical anatomist Arthur Keith. The quote offered by "Jojo" was from a peculiar little book written by Keith near the end of his life, and that he privately printed. Unlike 'Jojo" I have actually read it. Keith had invented a personal theory of "political evolution," or "national evolution." Keith's "national evolution" has never been considered as a serious science proposal, but it is popular with creationists. His idea that each nation was an unique quasi-biological entity was without any scientific foundation, but, interestingly it was very close to ideas promoted by the French author Arthur Comte de Gobineau. Gobineau published his "Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races" in 2 volumes between 1853-1855. (Note well this is pre-Darwin). Fritz Lenz was the leading Nazi racial theorist in the 1900s. His 1917 article "The Rebirth of Ethics" directly brought the thinking of Arthur Comte de Gobineau into German racism. In fact, Gobineau was one of only two non-Germans listed in the Nazi official reading list for human biology. The other was the American racist Madison Grant. Madison Grant was a very powerful Republican 'king maker' active in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

JoJo is a very good clown name, and JoJo should stick to what he knows best.

JoJo the Clown makes several more errors of fact, and logic. Racism and bigotry are far older than Darwin, and older than the sciences. They have been justified by every sort of argument, mostly religious and nationalistic. These are often combined. And, when they are combined the result is often genocide. The earliest examples found in the Bible include the attempted extermination of the Canaanites, even when God was supposedly displeased that the Jews had allowed some children to survive (examples; 1 Samuel 15:1-35, Isaiah 13, Joshua 6:20-21, Deuteronomy 7:1-2, Deuteronomy 20:16, Numbers 31).

It was Alfred Ploetz who founded the Society for Racial Hygiene, (Gesellshaft für Rassenhygiene), in 1905. Ploetz together with F. Wollny and Fritz Lenz, organized a secret Nordic division ("Ring der Norda") within the Society for Race Hygiene from the very beginning. It is of course significant that Poletz's brother-in-law, psychiatrist Ernest Rüdin, received the Goethe Medal. The romantic philosophy of Goethe was presented as the spiritual antidote to the scientific materialism represented by men of science like Ernst Haeckel, or Charles Darwin. (See: Harrington, 1996)

What was of much greater significance, and uniquely German, was the domination of the racist Nordic movement by medical doctors, such as Rüdin. This had several important consequences, one being the prominence given to supposed inherited diseases, and secondly the willingness to take direct "curative action" as a public health program. Leading figures of the Nordic movement wrote for the "Politisch-anthropologish Revue" edited by Ludwig Wolttmaann, M.D. (e.g. Rüdin, Lentz, Fisher and Schallmayer). The right wing of the racial hygiene movement, the Nordic supremacists, that ultimately became the Nazi medical establishment was virtually the creation of medical publisher Julius Friedrich Lehmann. Lehmann joined the Nazi party in 1920, and was the first Nazi to receive the party's "Golden Medal of Honor" in 1934. Actually, by 1930 it was nearly impossible to distinguish between the Nordic/Nazi racists and the transformed Rassenhygiene movements. At that time, some people still attempted to separate what they viewed as the medical and scientific study of human genetics from the Nazi dominated Rassenhygiene, but within Germany they were entirely suppressed. (See; Lifton 1986, Proctor 1988).

Harrington, Anne
1996 “Re-Enchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler”
Princeton University Press

Lifton, Robert Jay,
1986 "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide" New York: Basic Books Inc.

Proctor, Robert N.
1988 "Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis" Boston: Harvard University Press.

It should surprise nobody that JoJo cut-off the Darwin quote. Presenting the entire thought would be the decent thing to do, and we cannot make that expectation certain with creationists. The rest of the paragraph reads, "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

But merely quote mining isn't the end of JoJo's falsehoods, and innuendo regarding Charles Darwin seems to be the larger intent. Darwin's education was much more extensive than the mis-leading dismissal as a "med-school dropout." I have written up a sketch of Darwin's quite exceptional educational background at: "Notes on Charles Darwin's Education."

There could have been few other men of his age, place and time to be as well equipped to undertake his voyage around the world, and what would become his life long career.

We can judge JoJo by his accuracy and attention to detail. For example, Dr. Erastmus Darwin was not Charles R. Darwin's father, but his grandfather. Dr. Darwin's many contributions included helping to fund both the American Revolution through his friendship with Benjamin Franklin, and his strong support to the anti-slavery movement. I recommend reading "Darwin’s Sacred Cause," by Adrian Desmond, and James More (2009 New York: Penguin Books).

I have no idea what to make of JoJo's paranoid ramblings about secret clubs. In that regard I am a Marxist, "I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member!" Groucho Marx, 1959.

Charles Darwin was very dubious about Francis Galton's Eugenics" scheme, as he expressed in his January 4th, 1873 letter to Galton, C.R. Darwin wrote, "I am not, however, so hopeful as you. Your proposed Society would have awfully laborious work, and I doubt whether you could ever get efficient workers." and, "But the greatest difficulty, I think, would be in deciding who deserved to be on the ("preferred marriage," gh) register. How few are above mediocrity in health, strength, morals and intellect; and how difficult to judge on these latter heads. Darwin concluded that discussion with, "I do not see that an orthognathous face would cost more than a prognathous face; or a good morale than a bad one." By this, that "moral" worth was not a biological feature, and that there could be no difference between a European, jutting chin (orthognathous), or an rounded (prognathous) African one.

I think that we should note the following opinion of Major Lenard Darwin regarding the practice of Eugenics, "It is true that both infanticide and the subjection of women have been common enough in many countries and in all ages; but they will never be reintroduced into civilized countries. A highly developed moral sense and great freedom of choice are two of the most precious attributes of man, and the necessity for preserving them rules out these stockyard methods.” “What is Eugenics” (1928 pg. 23), THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF EUGENICS New York, 1932) Major Leonard Darwin (1850 – 1943), Chairman of the British Eugenics Society between 1911-1928. Sadly, Major Darwin was too great an optimist.

What Charles Darwin had written nearly sixty years earlier was, "The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil." (The Descent of Man" pg. 168-169, 1871 London: John Murray, Vol. 1).


daniel gasman said...

I am not a creationist and have no sympathy for that movement. The essay by Richards that Dr. Hurd refers to repeats all the errors and fabrications of Richards' previous writings on Haeckel. I have reviewed Richards' highly erroneous writings on Haeckel in great detail: see controversies.

Gary S. Hurd said...

The link that I think Prof. Gasman is referring to is