Embracing Hitler

Greg Laden’s blog has a report on John West’s UofM talk.

All the biologists got together and, inspired by Darwinian writings, embarked on a campaign to sterilize those they perceived as unfit, the campaign known to us as Eugenics. From Eugenics grew other evils, such as Planned Parenthood, Modern Evolutionary Biology, and The Nazis.Or so intoned John West of the Creationist Discovery Institute…

It’s an entertaining and informative read (especially about the Hat Lady), and I’m putting it on the Recommended Reading list. What strikes me most about West’s talk is the way West (and DI in general, and creationists in general) demonstrate such a strong preference for Hitler’s views as opposed to the views of the vast majority of evolutionists and humanitarians.

West’s talk was the now-familiar rant claiming that the Holocaust was a direct result of Darwin’s discovery that new species can evolve from common ancestors via a process of variation and natural selection. Darwin’s discovery, however, is a morally-neutral observation. It says nothing about “inferior” species deserving to be exterminated, and certainly does not say anything about Jews being an “inferior race” that would allegedly be unfit to survive. This has been pointed out (in vain, apparently) many, many times by those who have actual training, experience, and expertise in evolutionary theory.

Hitler, however, did not believe (or did not care) what biologists have to say about evolution. Instead, Hitler adopted the outrageous interpretation that said anti-Semitism had a sound scientific basis, that exterminating Jews (and gypsies and homosexuals) was merely a practical application of evolutionary theory. This is complete nonsense of course. For one thing, there’s no scientific basis for distinguishing between Jews and the rest of the human species, let alone declaring them to be “unfit” for survival. Hitler is simply voicing his own deeply-held prejudices, and applying a thin veneer of “scientificism” by way of rationalizing his groundless and immoral policies.

What’s amazing about West, the Discovery Institute, and creationists in general, is that they all agree with Hitler. Evolutionists say that evolution does not justify genocide or anti-semitism, and Hitler claimed that it does, and the creationists all side with Hitler and reject the expert conclusions of the biologists.

Is there a latent anti-Semitism in creationism? Do creationists really believe that Jews are inherently an inferior race that would deserve immediate extermination if they were not under divine protection as God’s Chosen Race? It would be very easy for them to prove that they are not neo-Nazis under the skin. All they have to do is to admit that Hitler was wrong about evolution, and that there is no sound scientific basis for anti-semitism and genocide.

This is especially important given that Darwin’s theory of evolution is, indeed, a fact. The Discovery Institute’s own Mike Behe and Paul Nelson have admitted that new species do evolve from common ancestors via a process of variation and natural selection, and even the ever-petulant Bill Dembski has waffled at times regarding common descent. Creationists in general have started making a distinction between “microevolution” (what they call evolution within a Biblical “kind”) and “macroevolution” (what they call evolution between Biblical “kinds”). Even the $27million Creation “Museum” has an exhibit showing most modern species evolving from common ark-borne ancestors.

These people are not atheists. They’re not mindlessly kowtowing to the liberal elite educational authorities. They’re approaching the data from the most hostile and denialistic mindframe possible, and they’re still forced to concede that Darwin was correct about the biological processes of variation, natural selection, and evolution of new species from common ancestors. So Darwin was right, and therefore it makes a big deal whether or not you publicly declare your sympathy for Hitler’s doctrines about what ought to happen to Jews if evolution is true.

West also touched on the subject of eugenics, which is somewhat amusing since this is a thoroughly secular ethical issue. Not one word of Scripture or Apostolic Tradition even touches on the possibility of eugenics, let alone denouncing it as in any way unchristian. Christians must approach this issue the same way as anyone else: by a consideration of the consequences, in the light of our natural human sympathies.

Ironically, the Catholic Church has been practicing a form of voluntary eugenics for centuries. Every monk, nun, or priest who takes the Holy Orders also takes an oath of celibacy, effectively removing himself or herself from the gene pool. By its superstitious prejudice against sexual reproduction, the Catholic Church has created an artificial environment that selects against the characteristic of religious piety and devotion. Generation after generation, their most pious and devoted offspring are siphoned off and eliminated from the genetic resources available to the next generation, and today the Church is having trouble finding candidates for the priesthood, monasteries, and convents. Is this purely a social consequence that is entirely unrelated to many generations of selective breeding? Hmmmmm.

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