Fathers’ Rights

A Chicago Blog

High Idols of Darwin and Hitler

Posted by madcap on March 3, 2008

Take Darwin’s highest idol, survival of the fittest, mix three tablespoons of Nietzsche’s will to power, shake well with a Wagner opera and, wallah! One holocaust coming up!

Darwin placed such power in survival of the fittest, that it appeared to be God. This was his highest idol. The reason for all the diversity and complexity of life was due to the power in the will to survive. This force was to him so powerful, that over time it was able to construct a world that appears to be created by a designer. To Darwin, God was dead.

Nietzsche recognized this force as well. To Nietzsche, the will to power was the greatest good. The will to power is so powerful, that over time, it could produce the “over-man”. It was his highest idol . Away with humility, throw virtue into the abyss! God is dead; Eco Homo!

Being that Hitler was a man of shallow thinking, he gathered most of his information from the people around him that to some extent would actually read a book. I doubt Hitler had any deep understanding of ether of the thinkers mentioned. He did however understand survival of the fittest and the will to power. These were Hitlers high idols. But I would admit that it was at the opera that Hitler really got his rocks off. Music is not hard to understand. It excites the passions with little effort.

I don’t hold Darwin or Nietzsche personally responsible for the holocaust. This debate is not really about Darwin. It’s about ideas. It’s about our idols.


8 Responses to “High Idols of Darwin and Hitler”

  1. steven57 said

    “Survival of the fittest” was not Darwin’s “idol.” Darwin did not regard it as a moral imperative; his theory of evolution was descriptive, not prescriptive. Indeed, it cannot logically be regarded as a moral imperative; since “fitness” depends on the environment (what is fitter in one environment can be less fit in another environment), it follows that any government policy that affects individuals’ odds of reproductive success (and that would be, to a good first approximation, any government policy at all) is equally in accord with “survival of the fittest.” Different policies might create different standards of fitness and different selective pressures, but evolutionary theory offers no reason to prefer one set of selection pressures over another.

    It seems to me, though, that evolutionary theory is contrary to the racism inherent in Nazism; a central idea in Darwinian thought is that variation exists in every population, so that there can be no trait shared by all members of one race and no members of other races, on which one could base a claim (however specious) of racial superiority. Hitler clearly did not understand survival of the fittest, as Darwin used the idea.

    There is one additional point. Natural selection clearly exists. The idea, in the sense that the “weaker” members of a population are less likely to breed so that their undesirable traits become less common, is older than Darwin; forms of the idea were mentioned by Aristotle and by a number of creationists before (and since) Darwin. And this was all the Nazis cared about: the idea that natural selection could radically reshape lineages and give rise to new families and classes was irrelevant to their racial policies (and absent from Nazi schoolbooks on biology, and apparently was not accepted by Hitler himself). I think you do not want to argue that the Nazi holocaust was a logical implication of basic biological facts.

  2. dimensio0 said

    It appears as though the author is, once more, appealing to consequence rather than actually addressing the theory of evolution. Additionally, the author is making a number of unsubstantiated assertions regarding the motives and beliefs of Charles Darwin.

  3. Baekho said

    What steven57 said Re: Darwin’s “idol”. Darwin didn’t have an “idol”; he simply made observations. Darwin propounded no philosophy; he was a scientist, not a metaphysician. Social Darwinism is quite distinct from the theory of evolution.

  4. Matt said

    The idea of social darwinism also existed before origin of the species was penned. One of the ideas early proponents was Thomas Malthus … a christian minister. Yet that little fact isn’t often mentioned by creationists and such.

  5. Dan said

    “It appears as though the author is, once more, appealing to consequence rather than actually addressing the theory of evolution.”

    Well said.

  6. madcap said

    By idols I mean our truth claims concerning the true, the good, and the beautiful, not statutes. Everyone has their truth claims. We could call them “hyper-goods”

  7. Dan said

    Sure. But what does that have to do with ol’ Chuck Darwin?

  8. madcap said

    Nothing. Darwin lived in a vacuum and had no effect on the collective psyche.

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