Talk:Hitler and evolution
It's taken me the entire evening, but I rewrote the whole thing & it's now completely different from the SkepticWiki version we started with (it's there as an external link). In researching it, I found there is enough to show that actually Hitler did believe in some form of evolution, & probably human evolution, but seems to have had a faulty understanding of it, mixed in with intelligent design ideas, racialism, etc. I took out the quotes about Hitler's views on school prayer, etc. because they're off topic & just seemed to be in there as a smear against YEC conservatives. We don't need to resort to that. weaseLOId~ 21:31, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
- Nice job, Weaseloid. Radioactive Misanthrope 23:55, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
- Hm. I didn't know the article was taken from SkepticWiki. Radioactive Misanthrope 23:55, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
I went to this article meaning only to fix some of the spelling errors, but I ended up doing a bunch of stylistic edits "for clarity", which for some reason seems to have become an obsession of mine. I have no idea whether that sort of editing is frowned on over here or not, so if anybody wants to undo the stylistic edits I made, I so totally do not mind. (It is a bit easier to read...I just don't want to end up drastically altering and/or hijacking a page behind the smokescreen of "editing for clarity/style". No--when I do finally hijack a page I plan to be totally candid about it. A Writer of Vaudevilles 06:25, 2 November 2008 (EST)
 Hitler's table talk
Hitler's table talk is quite often seen as an unreliable source, as it is a second hand work, and it makes one wonder why, if Hitler had such different statements in his official works, he would make comments like those featured in that book, knowing that it would all be written down and published. While we need not censor the book's quotes, we should make clear note that the book is a disputed source. InaVegt 06:44, 2 November 2008 (EST)
- I suspected that might be the case based on what it is, but Wikipedia's stub about the table Talk doesn't mention whether or not it's reliable, so I didn't mention it either. Feel free to add that in. I freely admit this isn't any area of expertiese for me; just something I regrettable committed myself to rewriting because of problems with the first version of the article. Now I've finished rewriting it, I'm hoping that people who know more than I about this will carry on improving it. weaseLOId~ 14:40, 2 November 2008 (EST)
 Cut from article
The section On Christianity Started with the statement: This does not represent the author’s view or RationalWiki’s views.
I have cut it here becasue it seems a bit strange. Which author? Are we all going to put our personal caveats in articles? And if it doesn't represent RationalWiki's views why is it in the article? If there is a problem then bring it here.--Bobbing up 07:03, 23 November 2008 (EST)
- Actually now I look at this again why do we even have "On Christianity" in this article? It's about Hitler and Evolution. If we have "On Christianity" why not also "On Jews", "On Muslims", "On Homosexuality" or "On vegetarianism". I don't doubt that Hitler's views on the subject are of interest to some but I don't think this is the place for them.--Bobbing up 07:08, 23 November 2008 (EST)
- I don't think we need that section in this article. It's off-topic. Arguably it could be moved to the Hitler article, although it shouuld probably be abridged a bit. weaseLOId~ 07:40, 23 November 2008 (EST)
I have to point out that Hitler being a Vegetarian is highly disbuted, I think somebody(Not me, I don't want to get blame for messing up an article) should remove it, before we turn into a rational, yet still unreliable Conservapedia of our own. — Unsigned, by: 220.127.116.11 / talk / contribs 20:55, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
 Thoughts on the current version
Hi All, in my opinion this article totally underplays the differences between Darwinian evolution and Hitler's ideology. The editor below says: "I found there is enough to show that actually Hitler did believe in some form of evolution, & probably human evolution". I don't think that this is correct. Hitler seems to me to have been a creationist who believed in the fixity of species. In short:
Hitler believed that the human races were separate creations. The Aryan race was the "master" race, the one created "in God's image". The other races (Jewish, Black, Slav etc) were separate creations and literally "sub human".
Hitler also believed that interbreeding between the separately created races was in danger of destroying the Aryan race, which was against God's will, and thus Hitler felt that the highest imperative demanded that this interbreeding be stopped. E.g. from Mein Kampf: "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 [by accepting interbreeding] wages war against God’s Creation and God’s Will.” In Mein Kampf he suggested that the Jews should be celibate to prevent this interbreeding; later he decided on a more "final solution" to this "problem". This was the rationale for the holocaust, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Darwinism or evolution, it is pure creationism
On the same theme Hitler said in a speech (June 27, 1937): "... God did not create the peoples so that they might deliver themselves up to foolishness and be pulped soft and ruined by it, but that they might preserve themselves as He created them! Because we support their preservation in their original, God-given form, we believe our actions correspond to the will of the Almighty.”
Copious evidence for the above is in an article I wrote a couple of years back, http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/nazi-racial-ideology-was-religious-creationist-and-opposed-to-darwinism/ (which is linked to in the current version of the page).
Having said that, Hitler did indeed believe in the operation of natural selection in nature, but only to *preserve* the health of a species, with the struggle weeding out the weak. It's a perspective similar to that of a farmer who sees that selecting the strong to breed preserves the health of his flock over a few generations, but isn't aware of the much longer timescale changes this selection produces. But, to Hitler, these are only within-species affects, He regards species as fixed, and "the fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose". That within-species selection is the only similarity with Darwinism. This would have been the justification for his actions in sending disabled people to death camps, which is a separate rationale to that of the holocaust. This "micro-evolution" is fully compatible with Hitler's creationism, since of course most creationists accept "micro-evolution". Indeed, many Biblical-literalist Christians have readily accepted thus sort of micro-evolution eugenics, which was popular in the US before Hitler came along.
A couple more points: Hitler talks a lot about *cultural* evolution in Mein Kampf. It is important to distinguish this from biological evolution. Also, the Table Talk book is dubious, because it was never edited or OKayed by Hitler, but was edited by others, and because the translation is dubious (See http://ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/2002/nov02/carrier.php ). Since Mein Kampf was written by 1924 and since the Table Talk coversations are from the 1940s it is possible that Hitler's views changed over time, but I'd personally take MK as the more definitive account of his views (especially since this was the book that actually influenced the Nazis, Table Talk was only published post-War).
Having said all that, turning to bits of the article that I think are misleading:
"In fact Hitler's views on nature seem to be a weird mixture of the two ideas [evolution and creation]"
It seems to me that they are a fairly straightforward combination of creationism (separate creation of species and races; species fixed within "kinds") plus natural-selection/"struggle"/"microevolution" operating *within* a species mainly to maintain the health of that species.
"His [Hitler's] statement that "[t]he fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose" seems to be at odds with his other statements in support of evolution of species."
Which other statements show support for evolution of species? (As oppose to operation of natural selection to maintain the health of the species).
One Table Talk quote given is "there have been human beings, in the baboon category, for at least three hundred thousand years". But the following line is: "There is less distance between the man-ape and the ordinary modern man than there is between the ordinary modern man and a man like Schopenhauer". Thus it seems he is not talking about other species, but is using "baboon" and "man-ape" to refer to something like stone-age man, biologically similar but cuturally different.
He also says in Table Talk: "A skull is dug up by chance, and everybody exclaims : "That's what our ancestors were like." Who knows if the so-called Neanderthal man wasn't really an ape? What I can say, in any case, is that it wasn't our ancestors who lived there in pre-historic times."
Again, this seems to me to regard human ancestors as distinct from other species, so again humans were culturally less developed but biologically still human.
"This demonstrates another major fallacy in Hitler's understanding of evolution."
This wording imples that Hitler was trying to understand evolution but doing so badly. It seems to me that rather Hitler was a creationist, and that the quotes given are referring only to within-species selection to preserve of the health of the species. E.g.: "iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms ..."
"Based on comments like this, Hitler seems to have believed that humanity, and especially the Aryan race, had evolved to become the likeness of God (rather than being created initially in God's image), ..."
Really? Well in MK he explicitly says that humans were *created* in God's image. E.g.: “Over against all this, the VOLKISCH concept of the world recognises that the **primordial** racial elements are of the greatest significance for mankind.” (Added emphasis.) And: "it is their bounden duty to give to the Almighty Creator beings such as He himself made to His own image.” Also the above quote: "Because we support their [Aryan's] preservation in their original, God-given form, we believe our actions correspond to the will of the Almighty.”
"His comments citing apes or monkeys as the ancestors of humans ..."
As far as I know, there are no such comments that are securely Hitler's own words.
"... imply that he believed some creatures had stopped evolving while others evolved on from them."
I don't see any quote of Hitler's that supports that interpretation.
"Hitler saw only progress towards a “higher stage of being”, and elsewhere mentioned “the higher evolution of living organisms”"
If you read these quotes in context it is clear that he is talking about *cultural* evolution, not biological evolution.
- IMHO, what Hitler believed in cannot stand in depth analysis. There is no reason to trust what he said, and no reason to think that his thoughts were coherent at any time, nor consistent over time. Moreover, there is no reason to trust what was reported in the "Table Talk" is an accurate record of what he said. TomS TDotO (talk) 13:02, 1 May 2014 (UTC)