Darwin and Hitler: A Trumped-Up Connection?
If there is anything critics of Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled are griping about, it is the association of Hitler with Darwin. What is the movie claiming and not claiming, and how solid is the historical connection?
Scientific American, in particular, loathed the implication that Darwinism has anything to do with the Holocaust (but see rebuttal on Evolution News). The American Thinker was a little sympathetic, but still asked whether the imagery of Dachau and Hademar “begs [the] question of the ontological connection between Darwinism and Nazism”
In response, historian Richard Weikart, PhD at UC Stanislaus, wrote an article for the The American Spectator to clarify the relationship between “Darwin and the Nazis.” He acknowledges that today’s Darwinists are not Nazis—far from it. Nevertheless, he listed six principles embedded in Darwin’s world view that cheapen the value of human life:
- Humans are animals.
- There is no soul.
- Morality is relative.
- Humans are unequal.
- Nature is a struggle for existence.
- Death is an engine of progress.
These principles were imbibed wholeheartedly by German scientists and philosophers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They, in turn, strongly influenced Hitler. In addition, Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler, showed how today’s staunch Darwinists believe the same principles. “Today’s Darwinists are not Nazis and not all Darwinists agree with Dawkins, Wilson, Ruse, Singer, or Watson,” he ended. “However, some of the ideas being promoted today by prominent Darwinists in the name of Darwinism have an eerily similar ring to the ideologies that eroded respect for human life in the pre-Nazi era.”
Dennis Prager interviewed Ben Stein on his radio program Tuesday. In the interview, which can be heard on DennisPrager.com (34 minutes), Prager made a similar point. He stated emphatically that neither he, Ben Stein, nor the film are claiming that Darwinists are Nazi sympathizers or that Darwinism produced the Holocaust. The point made by Expelled was that the Darwinian world view facilitated the devaluation of human life – and that Nazis pointed to Darwinism as a scientific justification for their views. That, Prager said, is a fact of history acknowledged by all historians.
A great deal of misinformation about this film has been circulating. Chuck Colson addressed some of these myths on BreakPoint. His commentary has links for additional information. Expelled the Movie also has blogs, news, downloads, and many other features. Some others who have addressed the Darwin-Nazi issue on Evolution News & Views include Robert Crowther and David Klinghoffer #1 and #2.
The Darwin Party attack force is in full battle array to destroy this film. Reviews by science journals and pro-Darwin rags have unleashed a torrent of invective. The NCSE has launched a campaign to pre-empt the damage this movie could do to the DODO (Darwin-Only 2x) policy (see rebuttal by John West). The mainstream media are strangely silent. It’s as if the culture is poised to see what is going to happen on opening night.
You can make a difference. Go see this movie. Take your friends, your family, your church, your co-workers. Tear down this wall that protects atheistic materialism from scrutiny. Open the gates. Start the debate. Nothing is gained by inaction, and the status quo is intolerable. If you want to start to loosen Darwin’s grip on the culture, the schools, the courts, the media, science and religion, then here is a chance to do something. Vote at the box office.
Some movie reviews worth checking: MovieGuide.org, AIG, ICR, CMI, Rush Limbaugh and World Magazine.
Bloggers and debaters sometimes joke about “Godwin’s Law” or reduction at Hitlerum – the tendency for an argument to degenerate into a discussion about Hitler. It is true that references to Hitler against an opponent are tasteless if overdone. But it is worse to forget! When the shoe fits, and there is a real case to be made, it is cowardly to avoid making the association out of fear of Godwin’s Law. Cowardice in the face of a battle for truth is the Devilwin’s Law.