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Nazis motivation: An animal husbandry model and Luther, not Darwin

Post of the Month: October 2013


Subject:    | Darwin inspired Hitler: Lies they teach in Texas
Date:       | 31 Oct 2013
Message-ID: |

In a discussion on anti-science text books used in Texas, Ray Martinez commented:
> Honest scholars have always known that Darwinism inspired the Holocaust.

Inspiring Burkhard's POTM:
Honest historians go where the evidence leads, and that is not to Darwin. The Nazis, just like you, misidentified the scientific theory of evolution with the philosophical theory of "materialism".

Now, it is not easy to determine what exactly the Nazis believed in, but what they hated was pretty clear, and materialism was pretty high on the list.

Their chief ideologist, Rosenberg, in "The Mythos of the 20th century", one of the main ideological foundations of Nazism, said e.g. that the crude positivism and materialism" needed to be overcome by the "religion of the blood". Mysticism and metaphysical notions dominated his and their ideas, which is why the metaphysical babbler Heidegger was courted, while the positivists and materialist philosophers of the Vienna circle were actively prosecuted, fired or in the case of Schlick, murdered.

The same hostility to materialism resulted in attacks on Darwin and his German promoter Haeckel. Here are the Nazis in their own words; Günther Hecht, an official from the NSDAP Rassenpolitischen Amt (roughly Department for Race Policies) wrote:

"The common position of materialistic monism is philosophically rejected completely by the völkisch-biological view of National Socialism. […] The party and its representatives must not only reject a part of the Haeckelian conception – other parts of it have occasionally been advanced – but, more generally, every internal party dispute that involves the particulars of research and the teachings of Haeckel must cease. (Günther Hecht, "Biologie und Nationalsozialismus," Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Naturwissenschaft 3 (1937-1938): 280-90, at 285).

This Journal was at the time the "Organ of the Reich's Section Natural Science of the Reich's Students Administration", so statements there had particular impact on teaching and the science curriculum.

In the same issue, Kurt Hildebrandt, another party official, wrote (my rough translation again): "We have to reject Haeckel's simplistic assumption that philosophy reached its pinnacle in the mechanistic solution to the world puzzles through Darwin's descent theory."

> While Darwinists were busy ratifying natural selection as the main agent in
> the 1940s, Hitler walked the walk and was in the field selecting his perceived
> enemies for extinction.

That would then be artificial selection, something farmers have been doing for millennia before Darwin. Artificial selection, unlike natural selection, is teleological and goal driven – and Hitler had pretty clear (and weird) ideas what the God-given goal of history was.

Unsurprisingly, you don't find a single biologist amongst the participants at the Wannsee conference that planned the Holocaust, but in addition to professional soldiers, business men and lots of lawyers also a theologian (Georg Leibbrandt) and a couple of farmers.

Same with the inner circle of the Nazi party. No scientists, nor any indication that there was an interest in or understanding of science. Those with higher degrees had them in law or the humanities, especially German literature or history. Lots of lawyers, small business owners and a significant number of people who either were farmers or had degrees in agriculture. Martin Borman; SS Gerneral von dem Bach-Zelewski; Herbert Backe, responsible for the "Hunger plan" to starve people in the occupied eastern territories to death; Viktor Brack, responsible for the Euthanasia programme T4; Hans Hefelmann (Euthanasia of children); Walther Darré, minister under Hitler and one of the leading "blood and soil" ideologists) Heinrich Himmler, etc etc.

So if you really want to look for inspiration, you need not look any further than to a farmer or cattle breeder who kills weak young to strengthen the herd.

Darwin is not needed, and with his emphasis on common descent (actively rejected by the Nazis for obvious reasons) and the relativistic, non goal driven nature of natural selection, actively in conflict.

> Empowered by the so called "fact of evolution" and the falsity of Genesis and
> Divine inspiration, the Nazi war machine acted as if no God exists, murdering
> tens of millions in cold blood.

The Old Testement and its attitude to killing your enemies gave more than enough foundations for the Nazis. While Haeckel's monist society that also promoted Darwinism was prohibited.

A group actively supported by contrast was the Kepler Bund, an organisation set up to combat Haeckel and Darwin. Kepler Bund, was set up explicitly to counter Haeckel's monists and with the sole role of fighting his ideas from a Christian perspective (very unlike Haeckel's monists, who had many prominent Jewish members, Jews did not need to apply) And what do we find in their writings:

"The leadership of the Bund are man conscious of their German nature, who have realised that the type of world view that is needed today must not just encompass recognition of the real world, and to give true credit to true religious-ethical convictions but also must be compatible with the German nature. We see salvation only in a synthesis of these there elements: Realism, religion (Christianity) and German character […]." "It is therefore not a violation of Christian doctrine if we learn in future to prevent the birth of disabled people, and to support the increased procreation of high-value bloodlines […]". (Bavink, B. (1928): Zweck und Ziel des Keplerbundes in der Gegenwart. Unsere Welt 20 (9), p.257, my translation)

Martin Luther, of course, had argued that disabled children had no soul and were mere "lumps of flesh possessed by demons, and hence advocated their murder (Table talks 4513 and 5207) The secular authorities however were unwilling to follow him in the 16th century – until his ideas for euthanasia got revived by the Nazis.

Nazi euthanasia expert Werner Catel quoted in 1940 Luther's speeches as justification to kill 16,000 disabled children, agreeing with him that they "had no free will and no personality". In 1964, in their trials for murder, Werner Heyde and Hans Hefelmann, also members of action T4 cited again Luther's speeches as justification for their deeds. (Luther-Gesellschaft (Hrsg.): Luther. Zeitschrift der Luther-Gesellschaft, 35. Jahrgang 1964, Bd. 1, p. 81)

The strategy helped, Hefelman got a disgustingly low sentence of just 2 years.

> Most Evolutionists, of course, suppress and deny the facts seen above, who
> could blame them? But unpopular truth is still truth despite the fact that the
> Evolutionists control Education, the Courts, and the Microphone. There will
> always be people who will preserve truth no matter how unpopular and
> unpleasant.

Yeah, which is why you always back up your claims with actual evidence, while never ignoring the direct disproves of your claims like the ones above, right?

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