Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hate Mail - "You're a big fat liar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Well, that's what it boils down to. 

To which I say read the primary documents and weep, bunky.  You've been buying a lie your whole life. 

And I'm actually short and skinny and getting skinnier all the time. 

Case Closed

Looking at various comments in the overnight hate mail, it's clear that there is a book that really needs to be written, one which I don't have the resources or time to write but one which is really necessary.  The genealogy of the post-war eugenics-free Darwin myth would be really useful for showing how a blatantly obvious lie could be sold to the so-called educated public of the English speaking world when its refutation was still known to so many who had grown up and been educated before the Second World War.  Not only that but the absolute refutation of that lie is absolutely known and from the most unimpeachable of sources.

As I have written here before, the identification of Charles Darwin's natural selection as published in his book On the Origin of Species as the inspiration of eugenics was made by the man who invented eugenics, the eminent scientific polymath, Francis Galton.   He said so in the most unambiguous manner in Chapter XX of his memoir.

THE publication in 1859 of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science… 
... I was encouraged by the new views to pursue many inquiries which had long interested me, and which clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race.

If you think I pulled a fast one with the ellipsis, go read it for yourself.  In fact, unlike my opponents, I really, very much want everyone to read Francis Galton, Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel,  Darwin's family and associates, fully and not in opportunistically clipped form.   And I want them to be read, not as if they were writing texts full of literary devices such as metaphor and veiled meaning but as the straight-forward scientific texts they claimed to be writing.

No one but Francis Galton could identify the origin of eugenics and what inspired its invention, by him*.  Once he made that identification as his cousin's book, that sealed the case for the unalterable relationship between Charles Darwin, natural selection and eugenics.   Eugenics would have no motivating principle were it not for natural selection, in each and every case when some manner of eugenics was proposed, from the 1870s down to today, the idea of natural selection being disrupted in some manner, allowing those of lesser "fitness" to live and reproduce, leading to the general degradation of the human population is the logical (though far from evidenced) foundation of eugenics.

Given the history of eugenics, how various political and philosophical ideologies have adopted the idea in different variations,  I hold that there is a very strong reason to believe that as long as natural selection is the governing dogma of evolutionary biology it can be expected that eugenics proposals will be made.   Considering the rapidity with which those became malignant, violating many of the most basic rights of many and all of the rights of many more, there is no reason to expect that future proposals for eugenics won't include those if not worse ideas, carried out with increased effectiveness due to computers.  The Nazis used tabulation devices in their round-up of those they deemed "unfit", a computerized genocide would certainly be far more scientifically efficient.

So, right there, in absolutely irrefutable terms, we have the inventor telling us that Charles Darwin and his natural selection were the inspiration of eugenics.   Case closed.

But Francis Galton also gave us the first of many pieces of information to prove that Charles Darwin, having read Galton's eugenic ideas, expressed as an extension of Darwin's natural selection, approved of what he saw.   Galton published Charles Darwin's letter saying that, here with Galton's prefatory remarks:

Hereditary Genius made its mark at the time, though subjected to much criticism, no small part of which was captious or shallow, and therefore unimportant. The verdict which I most eagerly waited for was that of Charles Darwin, whom I ranked far above all other authorities on such a matter. His letter, given below, made me most happy. 


3rd December

"MY DEAR GALTON,--I have only read about 50 pages of your book (to Judges), but I must exhale myself, else something will go wrong in my inside. I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting and original--and how Well and clearly you put every point! George, who has finished the book, and who expressed himself in just the same terms, tells me that the earlier chapters are nothing in interest to the later ones! It will take me some time to get to these latter chapters, as it is read aloud to me by my wife, who is also much interested. You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think this is an eminently important difference. I congratulate you on producing what I am convinced will prove a memorable work. I look forward with intense interest to each reading, but it sets me thinking so much that I find it very hard work; but that is wholly the fault of my brain and not of your beautifully clear style.--Yours most sincerely,

(Signed) "CH. DARWIN"

Note that George Darwin, Charles Darwin's son, finished the book before he did and was quite enthusiastic about it, the same George Darwin who shortly after wrote a magazine article proposing, in light of his father's theory and cousin Galton's research that they start changing the marriage laws to control who could and who couldn't have children, the very essence of involuntary eugenics.  And that when George Darwin's proposal was criticized, his father supported his son's outrageous proposals.

I have pointed out, over and over again, that there is absolutely no evidence, whatsoever, that Charles Darwin disapproved of Francis Galton's or his sons' eugenic assertions, extensions of his own theory of natural selection.  The plain fact, as plain as anyone reading his second major work on evolution, The Descent of Man, repeatedly faces as Charles Darwin, over and over again, not only states the premises of eugenics as hard science but does so while citing Francis Galton's very book and early articles on the topic.   And that is not to mention the far more and plainly proto-Nazi statements of Ernst Haeckel in his book,  Natürliche schöpfungsgeschichte, translated by Darwin's friend and associate, Ray Lankster as "The History of Creation", including assertions of  the scientific ranking and classification of ethnic and racial groups in a hierarchy of fitness (guess which ones are lower and who is at the top) , the benefits of killing the disabled and the extinction of various, named ethic and racial groups.   All of which Charles Darwin endorsed as hard science, with the citation of Haeckel, in The Descent of Man.

Again, please, don't take my word for it, read Darwin's text, in full and not in cherry picked, quote mined snippets but as found in full, from many neutral and Darwin friendly sources online.   Look at his citations and read what it was he endorsed as science before he died in 1882.  Just about all of them are available online, in unaltered reproductions of the originals, in most cases.

One of the things you gain an appreciation of as you reach old age is how short a period of thirty, fifty, even seventy years can seem when looking back whereas  looking forward it looks like a long time.   There isn't that long a time between Darwin and 1939,   There are 68 years which separate the first publication of The Descent of Man and the beginning of the Nazi genocide.  For most of that time and all of the end of it, Charles Darwin's natural selection was the predominant theory influencing the thinking on those matters which the eugenicists dealt with.  And that includes the Nazi eugenics laws and program which put the ideas of Ernst Haeckel which Darwin endorsed into terms of political and social policy.  If you think that is an outrageous statement, read what Darwin says about the benefits to the survivors and increased fitness of the population from things like infanticide, allowing the "weaker members" of the human population die and of the eventual extinction of unnamed, though implied, ethnic groups and some named ones, citing Ernst Haeckel, in German on every single one which I can recall looking up.  

It took the most appalling ignorance of what Darwin, Galton, Haeckel, Darwin's family and his colleagues said, what they wrote as science and serious public discourse to sell the lie that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with eugenics, Social Darwinism and the applications of those in various countries, including Germany, beginning in the period when the Nazis passed the first German eugenics laws and began preparations to begin with the murder of the unfit, a list which includes many of those on the list that Haeckel drew up in the 1870s.   And it also took the silence of many scientists who were alive during the previous decades who knew very well that natural selection and the thinking of Darwin and Darwinists was the root of eugenics.  Yet, today, among the self-defined champions of evidence, truth and unflinching reality, it is a piously believed article of faith that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with any of it.

I think there is a lot to be learned from how that whopper of a lie became the common and insisted on dogma of the so-called educated class.  The speed with which it was imposed as the de rigueur line of thinking might give us some clues as to how easy it is to sell a lie to even those most proud of their modern, scientific way of thinking.  I'm not convinced they aren't as easy to sell on a big lie as those they love to look down on, so disdainfully.

*  I will remind you that that is eugenics in the English language,  Leonard Darwin, who was both an expert in his fathers' thinking and a witness to the entire history of active eugenics, noted that in Germany, organized eugenics was begun by Willhelm Schallmeyer before he had read Galton.  He noted that Schallmeyer, like Galton was inspired by his reading of Origin of Species.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Darwin's Self-Made Parachutes Are Full of Holes Except the Golden Ones

Note:  I repost this piece from my series about Darwin's relationship with eugenics because someone quite predicatably pulled out his self-provided escape clause.  Unfortunately for them, it undercuts their intention even as Darwin said it.

As early as his May 21, 1867 letter to Haeckel, Darwin was worrying that telling too much of the consequences of his theory of natural selection "will excite anger & that anger so completely blinds every one that your arguments wd. have no chance of influencing those who are already opposed to our views."   A lot of Darwin's friends and colleagues, especially Thomas Huxley, commented on his desire to avoid direct conflict and, certainly, public dispute.  There are several times when Darwin provided himself with plausible deniablity that he was advocating exactly what he was clearly advocating.  I am confident it was so he could point to it as denial.  He did that with the most famous of those, his frequently extracted "The aid which we feel impelled to give" paragraph, seldom given in whole by his defenders and never in context.  At least one time Darwin referred to it in his response to the eugenics advocate G. A. Gaskell, which Darwin's defenders also quote mine to invent the eugenics-free Darwin.  I've written about that in detail, giving the entire correspondence which shows that Darwin is completely distorted by his modern defenders.   I mentioned the cynicism of his response to "Miss Cobbe" in another post.

I will give the "aid" paragraph with the section immediately before it:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit*, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.

The Descent of Man

"Even at the urging of hard reason,"  "he is acting for the good of his patient," UNDOUBTEDLY bad effect of the weak surviving and propagating their kind," "more to be hoped for than expected".

About the only example of a more hypocritically rendered message I can recall, undercutting the mildly stated intention with regular thunderbolts of refutation is Mark Anthony's funeral speech in the play Julius Ceasar.

Notice that in the first paragraph of the two, Darwin, at no point softens or hedges his "scientific" discourse, laying out, baldly and undeniably, the premise of eugenics as fact derived by science, his own theory of natural selection.  In the "aid which we feel impelled" paragraph, always grasped onto by those denying Darwin's role in eugenics, notice that Darwin ascribes the desire to give aid to feelings, not reason or science, a point made by Frances Cobbe in Sunday's post .  The implication of that can only be that the grounds for eugenics have the reliability of hard science while the impulse to give charity is merely a notion, a habit which is a relic of our past, followed against the better judgement of "hard reason".  And the price of that is a virtual guarantee that what he laid out in the previous paragraph will be the result.   The possibility that will be avoided is "more to be hoped for than expected".

Over and over again Darwin undercuts his "plea" for aid to the weak and poor. I have underlined those revealing passages.  I am certain that Darwin consciously gave himself a mechanism of plausible deniability that he'd just said what he said in the preceding paragraph, that is what the passage has been used to do since WWII, almost always cutting out Darwin's fatally wounding his plea as he is pretending to make it.  I am under no obligation to go on with his ruse as I've read the rest of the book and he continues to promote eugenics for pretty much the rest of it, two lesser escape clauses, more or less excepted.  The points that could be made about this paragraph in reference to other things that Darwin said in The Descent of Man are numerous and they don't count in Darwin's favor.  You might want to contrast the content and tone with this passage, not much farther on into the book.

Man accumulates property and bequeaths it to his children, so that the children of the rich have an advantage over the poor in the race for success, independently of bodily or mental superiority. On the other hand, the children of parents who are short-lived, and are therefore on an average deficient in health and vigour, come into their property sooner than other children, and will be likely to marry earlier, and leave a larger number of offspring to inherit their inferior constitutions. But the inheritance of property by itself is very far from an evil; for without the accumulation of capital the arts could not progress; and it is chiefly through their power that the civilised races have extended, and are now everywhere extending their range, so as to take the place of the lower races. Nor does the moderate accumulation of wealth interfere with the process of selection. When a poor man becomes moderately rich, his children enter trades or professions in which there is struggle enough, so that the able in body and mind succeed best. The presence of a body of well-instructed men, who have not to labour for their daily bread, is important to a degree which cannot be over-estimated; as all high intellectual work is carried on by them, and on such work, material progress of all kinds mainly depends, not to mention other and higher advantages. No doubt wealth when very great tends to convert men into useless drones, but their number is never large ; and some degree of elimination here occurs, for we daily see rich men, who happen to be fools or profligate, squandering away their wealth. The Descent of Man.

“But the inheritance of property by itself is very far from an evil.... Nor does the moderate accumulation of wealth interfere with the process of selection.” 

One suspects Darwin’s “moderate accumulation of wealth” which was not yet insalubrious included the wealth of the Darwin -Wedgewood families. Why, since he refuses to consider the possibility that humans’ capacity for reason, moral reflection and self-denial might exempt us from the brutal forces of natural selection, does he seem to think that membership in his notably brutal economic elite should render its members immune?

You also wonder why Darwin didn't include the laws against stealing in the list of unfortunate curbs on the workings of natural selection. Something commented on in much the same context by William Cobbett decades before Darwin wrote this book.  If you doubt that the laws protecting private property are one of the greatest inhibitions of the weeding out of the unfit, imagine what would have happened in Darwin’s Britain if it was suddenly legal for the masses of the poor to take from those worthless drones bred to the aristocracy. The resultant struggle might have saved Darwin the embarrassment of explaining how he neglected to discourage their vaccination.  And speaking of that,  if vaccination is such a danger, in the long term, to the fitness of the economic underclass, presumably it has the same effect among the wealthy, preventing small pox would dysgenically drag them down to the same level of degradation the underclass was already in.  Yet  I haven't seen any indication that Charles Darwin or subsequent generations of Darwins went without vaccination or medical care for their families.  I have seen no mention of any Darwins in subsequent generations dying of it.


In revising this series I've noticed all kinds of problems with the most basic aspects of Darwin's case for natural selection which I hadn't noticed before.  He is always using natural selection to assert contradicting results. I've mentioned the assertion that constant warfare and killing among "savages" is asserted to render the survivors more fit while in "civilised" countries, it sacrifices the fittest and prevents them reproducing.  The several pausible deniability provisions are full of this kind of double standard.

Notice this assertion of the value of having men rich enough to have the leisure to get an education and be able to avoid labor

The presence of a body of well-instructed men, who have not to labour for their daily bread, is important to a degree which cannot be over-estimated; as all high intellectual work is carried on by them, and on such work, material progress of all kinds mainly depends, not to mention other and higher advantages.

Compare that with the first section quoted above, it is exactly the material progress:

- shelter and food, such as provided in "asylums";

- the incredibly stingy and bare subsistence provided to a few by the infamous, Malthusian Victorian New Poor Law as described by Dickens!

 - the maintenance of the slave workers in those Dickensian  work houses, an intrinsic aspect of the New Poor Law;

-  medical care and vaccination;

That kind of material sustenance, WHEN IT IS GIVEN TO THE POOR is named as the mechanism of their future degradation but in the rich, Darwin asserts that material progress is the flower of creation.

You may notice this is identical to the assertions of today's conservatives in the United States and Britain.   Work is good for the poor, leisure is good for the rich.   Having even the barest provision material benefits degrades the poor but a superabundance for the rich motivates them to further enterprise.  etc.

Darwin constantly uses natural selection to assert that the same phenomena have the opposite effects.  In every case I have found, so far, Darwin asserts that factors which impede the struggle for survival are a benefit when they effect the rich and an impending disaster when they effect the poor.  In each and every case, Darwin's "science" ends up supporting his wealth, his class.  It rather suspiciously benefits HIM.   As I have been dealing with Darwin for seven years now, I have no doubt that his unmentioned "other and higher advantages" were those to the class of people he was addressing, rich men like himself.

By the way, many of whom directly benefited from the slave labor of those just barely maintained in Victorian work houses, kept in conditions disturbingly near that in which those enslaved in Nazi industries two generations later.   As Marilynne Robinson pointed out, the Poor Law presented contractors with an economic incentive to starve and kill the inmates.

Under the Old Poor Law, before the 1834 reforms that made the operation of the system more punitive and severe, child paupers, that is, the children of destitute parents, were given to employers, each with a little bonus to reward the employer for relieving the public of this burden.  The children would be worked brutally, because with each new pauper child the employer received another little bonus.  To starve such children was entirely in the interest of those who set them to work.  Aside from all the work the child performed under duress, its death brought the reward that came with a new child   The authorities asserted an absolute right to disrupt families, and to expose young children to imprisonment and forced labor. 

This was "material progress"  for the poor that Darwin thought TOO GENEROUS to avoid the catastrophe of too many of them surviving long enough to have children, who would, no doubt, find their way to the work houses, contracted to produce the wealth of the wealthy, Darwin's family and friends.   If you think it is mean of me to point that out, please, tell me why?

Also note this section:

"but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage",

That statement is directly contradicted by the quote of W. R. Greg addressed in another of these posts.   Darwin uses Greg to assert that the degenerate Irish "multiplies like rabbits" unlike the virtuous Scot who "marries late and passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him".  Darwin obviously agreed with Greg that in a dozen generations, given equal numbers of "Celts" and "Saxons (?)" at the start, the degenerate would greatly dominate in numbers, five to one!,  but not in, power property or intelligence, in that case the ratio is in favor of the "Saxons".    Darwin obviously was using Greg to speak for himself, using that passage, curiously elided by Darwin, to assert the case he made in the first of the two paragraphs above.

Over and over again, Darwin twists and turns his theory of natural selection around to assert that it has the opposite effects in different populations of people, either by class or ethnic group and, in every case, the white and wealthy and "Saxon" come out ahead and SUPERIOR by the impedance of natural selection, the most brutal aspect of that is, on the other hand, a definite boon for the poor and the "savage".  Though, in the case of the "savage" the same struggle for life which improves them will also lead to their extinction.


I am left thinking that the main reason that natural selection ever was established was due to the compliments and benefits it carried for the wealthy establishment who had control of science and academic institutions.   It isn't because it's anything like a consistent theory.  Unlike gravity, chemical laws, and most of the laws of science, it is notably a hit or miss thing and, unlike those, it falls unequally on those of different classes and ethnic groups.  Darwins' self-interest and that of his early and later supporters clearly embedded in it is reason enough to arouse the deepest skepticism of the idea.

Science is an attempt to produce reliable information about the world and the universe, it is an attempt to make sense of human experience and perception.  Scientific methodology reduces its focus in an attempt to generalize knowledge about the basic physical aspects of that human experience.  It can produce a specific kind and range of knowledge, when it is well and honestly done   History is every bit as much an attempt to do that focusing on a different scale of human experience,  The history of natural selection assumed to be relevant to human societies has produced the historical record of eugenics and the several radical applications of eugenics by the Nazis and other dictatorial regimes. History often uses the information that science can provide to it, using it to consider the physical, material and, to somewhat less impressive results, the statistical frequency of aspects of the historical record.

In this case, with the enormous evidence of the disaster of applied natural selection in human history,   it is time for scientists to come down from their Olympian perch, where they may see things in too general a focus for them to really see what's there.  The historical case of what Darwin said, what his followers did and the results of that are far more reliable than the evidence that natural selection is more than the traditional way of thinking about these things, enforced by habit and by peer coercion.   Maybe it's time that scientists consider that other people might see things their customs prevent them from seeing.  If only Darwin had done that he might have avoided these questions of him inserting his self-interest into evolutionary science.

Hate Mail - "You're Making "Standard Creationist" Arguments"

No, I'm not giving "creationist arguments" I'm stating what any rational, non-ideological   interpretation of the primary documentation shows.  If creationists read that documentation and point out what it says, there is no rule that they can't do that.  There is nothing unfair about stating what words, sentences, paragraphs, letters and books say, explicitly.  That is especially true of books and other material presented by the writer as having the reliability of science.   Creationists are almost certainly wrong about the fact of evolution having happened, that doesn't mean they can't get the historical record tying Charles Darwin's natural selection to eugenics and, rather directly, to eugenics in Germany right.   That the "science side" has to lie about what those primary documents say isn't to the credit of those lying about it.

I can point out that no one I have read from before the end of the Second World War, no one from the wildest supporter of eugenics, the most convinced scientific supporters of natural selection, ever argued that Charles Darwin and natural selection was not the inspiration of eugenics.  I have challenged the true believers in the post-war myth that Darwin and natural selection had nothing to do with eugenics, its awful form in places such as the United States and Canada or its most awful forms in Germany to present anyone from before 1940 who made that argument.

I have also challenged anyone to find a single person who knew Charles Darwin who objected to the association of him and his theory of natural selection with eugenics, in English or in German.

No one in the past seven years since I first made that challenge has come up with anyone who did that before the end of the Second World War, no one has ever, yet, uncovered a single person who knew Charles Darwin who objected to the association of him with eugenics.

Having already given the long form of my argument, twice, running to many, many blog posts with many, many citations and links, I will give you the short one here, today.

The sons of Charles Darwin, Leonard, George, Francis, Horace, were all active in eugenics in Britain, Leonard Darwin having assumed the leadership of The British Eugenics Society from Francis Galton, repeatedly said that his own eugenics activity was a continuation of his father's work and would have had the approval of his father.  For example, in a letter to the geneticist Karl Pearson in 1914:

"I should chuck most of it but for a sense of duty and a belief that my Father would have liked me to do what little in me lies as regards Eugenics."

He, himself, said he would give up his activities in eugenics if it were not for his sense of duty to his own father's wishes.

He repeated that in 1926 in the dedication to his father of his book, The Need of Eugenic Reform

"For if I had not believed that he would have wished me to give such help as I could toward making his life's work of service to mankind, I should never have been led to write this book.

I am not going to apologize for suspecting that Charles Darwin's own son, Leonard Darwin, knew his fathers' mind better than a bunch of ignorant blog trolls in 2015.   For a start, Leonard Darwin heard his father speak candidly and off the record, something no one who insists that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with eugenics in the post-war period ever did.   And, as could be pointed out, he was hardly the only Darwin son who associated their father with eugenics, Francis Darwin did and it was openly known that Charles Darwin had supported his son, George's, early proposal to change laws to match eugenic thinking.  No Darwin I have ever seen who knew him or who knew someone who knew him ever disassociated Charles Darwin or natural selection from an association with eugenics, in English speaking countries or in Germany.

No Darwinist in the pre-war period who I have ever read or heard of attempted to second guess his sons and closest scientific associates to make the claim that eugenics, in English speaking countries or in Germany was anything but an extension of the thinking of Charles Darwin and an application of natural selection.

Every, single instance in which someone has asserted that Charles Darwin and natural selection had nothing to do with eugenics and, especially, German eugenics, comes from the post-war period and was never made by someone who knew the man and, in most cases, was made by people who never seem to have read Charles Darwin's books on the topic, especially The Descent of Man but, also, later editions of On the Origin of Species in which he, himself, unambiguously equates natural selection with Spencer's Social Darwinism.

Most serious of all, is the April 1939 article by Leonard Darwin which, in line with his previous statements in earlier decades, associates his father and natural selection with German eugenics through Wilhelm Schallmeyer.

... He [Schallmeyer] advocated the medical registration of all citizens and the state control of the medical profession. He was greatly influenced in his writings by the “Origin of Species,” and he was at that time like the author of that work, [Charles Darwin, of course]  a believer in the inheritance of acquired characters, a belief he subsequently abandoned. His ideas were formed in the first instance before he had studied Galton's writings. Indeed it was his desire to study that author's works which led him to learn English, a task perhaps facilitated by his wide knowledge of other languages.  He started his eugenic campaign in Germany uninfluenced by Galton.

I should note that I checked a number of the facts stated by Leonard Darwin in the article and those I could check were accurate, so arguing that this article was senile babbling is not supported by the evidence.   In this passage he undoes what so many of those spouting the post-war myth assert, that Galton was to blame and that Charles Darwin had nothing to do with eugenics and that he was not, in any way, associated with the most appaling of all eugenics programs, the one in Nazi Germany.   There had been no eugenic laws in Germany until the Nazis imposed them in 1933, a political triumph for the German eugenicists who had been trying, with the help of those in Britain, America and elsewhere, to get those laws passed in Germany. 

Even worse for the argument disassociating Charles Darwin from German eugenics and the Nazi eugenics laws is this passage:

Which of these two pioneers [Schallmyer and Ploetz] had a greater influence in changing German thought in the right direction is not for a non-German to attempt to decide. Schallmeyer, was anyhow first in the field. 

As I said in my earlier post on the topic, Leonard Darwin's language in that passage is amazing - "changing German thought in the right direction" -  he said that in  April of 1939, months before the Nazis invaded Poland,  six years after the Nazis had already started their eugenics program in 1933. Five months after Kristallnacht and the laws outlawing Jews from civil life.   In September 1939,  they would start killing "those who are not fit to live".  There is every reason for Leonard Darwin to know that's where German eugenics was headed in April of that year.   Leonard Darwin had far more than just ample reason to distance his father from eugenics, if he thought there was any way that could be done.   But he did the opposite.   

For those who don't know, Alfred Ploetz was a Nazi who was quite actively involved with Nazi eugenics.   He is especially interesting in 1939 because he started out not being an anti-semite in the 1890s but became one under the influence of scientific arguments made using natural selection and racial theories of the kind that Charles Darwin also made in The Descent of Man.  

In the very years in which the Nazis passed eugenics laws for the first time in Germany, against the opposition of the Catholic church and many other religious institutions, and imposed increasingly oppressive measures on the disabled and racial, ethinic and other groups openly and explicitly designated by them as inferior human beings,   Darwinists took no opportunity I have ever read to say that what they did violated anything about Darwin's theory of natural selection.  I would welcome anyone who, after posing that challenge for seven years, could come up with something like that.  I would like to test the credentials of those who made such statements before the Second World War, if any such statements exist, against those who knew Charles Darwin.   But until some of those who are still spouting the common received line on that which every respectable member of those who are considered educated are required to tow produce that evidence, I'm going to have to assume it doesn't exist.  

The assumption which such folk are required to believe is that creationists are uniformly evil liars who have defamed the great and saintly Charles Darwin by associating him with eugenics which, as a fact of history and the documentary record, includes the Nazi eugenic programs, up to and including the genocides they carried out.   But the words of Darwin, Galton, Haeckel, Leonard Darwin, etc. are there for anyone to read, words written down to express, clearly, what those people thought and asserted as scientific truth carrying the guarantee of scientific reliability.  Those words will always be there, they exist in handwritten originals which have been published and posted online, their texts are ever more available in ever greater quantity.   You're not going to put that evil genie back in a bottle and seal the cork with super-glue.  The case is what's closed.  

Update:  Sims, you obviously don't understand the issue so I'm not posting your silly comments on this, it's too serious an issue to allow you to be a distraction. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Nazi Pagans and Deists

Well, if there is one thing that I have a weakness for, it's following up leads when I get started on a topic.   It's a lot more interesting than reading who-done-its or watching them on TV.   Thus this unintended series which I'll put aside after this, barring someone in the opposition coming up with something other than their common received BS which is entirely unevidenced.

One of the things which I found puzzling in the online atheist blather of the past  dozen years is the rare but oddly regular invocation of "deism" as a more rational alternative to "theism", putting both in quotes because, as used by the blatherers, neither word had a fixed meaning and was often used contrary to any dictionary denotation of the term.

My immediate response was to ask where these "deists" were, if they had any kind of organization, etc.  I was assured they did and was given some URLs which looked about as substantial as the phony secular, Potemkin Village alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous.   A few atheists declared themselves, eventually, to be "deists", when I doubted that there were any actual "deists" if that meant they believed in a creator god who, on the midnight of their "sixth day" said,  OK, I'm done, and left it to run itself down like a top set into motion.

The reason I bring that up is because, once in a while, in arguing about Christianity's culpability in Nazism some would bring up some Nazi or other declaring they were "God believing".   Though that, also, was rare, most of the atheists in the arguments having never even done that level of superficial reading on the topic, merely nodding and spouting unevidenced bigotry on the issue.

I was interested to read this passage from The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans

The [Nazi] Interior Ministry ruled that people leaving their Church could declare themselves to be “Deists” (gottgläubig), and the Party decreed that office-holders could not simultaneously hold any office in the Catholic or Protestant Church.  In 1936, storm troopers were forbidden to wear uniforms at Church services, and early in 1939 the ban was extended to all Party members.  By 1939, over 10 per cent of the population of Berlin, 7.5 per cent in Hamburg, and between 5 and 6 per cent in some other major cities were registered as Deists,  a term which could encompass a variety of religious beliefs including paganism.   The great majority of these were likely to hae been Party members;  the proportion of Deists in the SS had reached over 25 per cent by 1938, for instance.  This process was accelerated by an escalating series of measures pushed by the energetic and strongly anti-Christian head of Rudolph Hess's office,  Martin Bormann, banning priests and pastors from playing a part in Party affairs or even,  after May 1939, from belonging to it altogether.   Still, there was a long way to go before the population as a whole took part in this movement.  “We won't let ourselves be turned into heathens,”  one woman in Hesse was heard to say by a Gestapo agent.  The German Faith Movement, which propagated a new, racial religion based on a mishamash of Nordic and Indian rites, symbols and texts, never won more than 40,000 adherents, and other neopagan groups, like Ludendorff's esoteric Tannenberg League, were even smaller.  Nevertheless, for all the general unpopularity of the movement it remained the case that the Nazi Party was on the way to severing all its ties with organized Christianity by the end of the 1930s.

While it is, indeed, terrible to think that any Christian pastor or priest would be involved with the Nazis, it is telling that the Nazis obviously didn't want them involved with their plans.  They didn't feel they could trust them to be sufficiently evil or fanatical, even if they'd managed to dupe them into participating in the earlier stages of their regime.  Remember, though there were lots of people who knew they were bad news in the early years of their LEGAL rule and their despotism which they instituted by due, if entirely insane, processes, who would certainly never have agreed to what they did from the late 1930s till the fall of Berlin.   That there were people with even more reason to distrust the Nazis who were, as well, taken in by them, is proved by the fact that there were even some Zionists stupid or desperate enough to think they could do business with the Nazis in the early years of their regime, for example in the The Haavara Agreement.  What people believed about the Nazis in their early years was seldom what came about in the last seven years of their regime, the Nazis, themselves, modified their policies as time went on, growing ever and unprecedentedly worse, as their ideological roots guaranteed.  What we know in hindsight isn't what could have been known with foresight.

Reading more about the "Deism" of the Nazis as well as the paganism of some of their worst members makes me wonder why the present day Pagans and deists aren't held responsible for them when the Nazis were certainly more pagan friendly than they were Christian friendly.   Hitler famously loved Wagner's insane operatic ring, one of the most absurdly scripted pieces of drama not denoted to be an example of surrealist, absurdist theater.

Reading on this also makes me understand why the past two popes and others who lived through the Nazi regime and invasion were skittish about the revival of "Paganism" which they'd seen revived under Nazism already.   To someone in the United States, born after the war and in ignorance of Nazi paganism that might look like some kind of harmless nature-loving buyers of newly created history and yearning for a 19th century, story-book style pseudo-historical view of those religions.  To someone who saw Nazi paganism, it would likely look a lot less harmless.

As I've noted several times, all of those pagan religions yearned after so romantically, sacrificed people to their gods.  That is something they have in common with the Nazis.  And I'm not going to not say it because they don't like it being said.   Not to mention bringing it up to those online "deists" who declare their "faith" opportunistically.

Update:  Ah, no.  You've been watching too many Buggs Bunny cartoons.  I am a classical musican and opera watcher who has always, always had a deep and abiding hatred of Wagner's music and a deep and intense disdain for his drama.    I believe it was the great stage director, not the actor, Peter Sellers who attributed the decadence of opera to Wagner and Puccini who sent opera out of the realm of relevance to reality and into insane and gooey fantasy.   I will say that Puccini's music is easier to take than Wagner's.

I have always held that Mahler wrote better Wagner than Wagner ever did and that Schoenberg wrote better Mahler than Mahler ever did.

Now, I've got to eat lunch before the bell rings.

Update:  The fact is four dull cents still doesn't add up to a nickle.  And that's about as much as they put into the discussion.   Funny kind of brain trust that never reads what they believe they discuss.   CD should stop making stuff up.

Update 3:  Let's see, I've presented Richard Evans, William Shirer, Christopher Krebs, Laurence Rees. who cite primary documentary evidence to support the argument that the Nazis intended to destroy Christianity, replacing it with a Nazi religion because they figured the Volk needed something like that to replace Christianity.  I also directly cited primary source material in making my case.  The Brain trust, in answering what I presented presented nothing but their own assertions.   And they figure they have the better argument.  Just to show how this new-intellectualism works.  

Sometimes I think that the problem with neo-atheists is that they don't have the first clue about how you make an argument in the world of adults.

That They Intended To Destroy Christianity Has Been Known In The English Speaking World For More Than Half A Century But The Lie Lives

It is a strange business, all of the arguing about whether or not Nazism was a product of Christianity when the most obvious of all facts in that arguments is that it would be impossible to make a rational link between the primary source material of Christianity, the Gospels, the Acts, the various epistles and the ideology and, most important of all, the actions of the Nazis.  In almost any other part of life, if someone professed their motivation in their conduct as being x but their actions contradict everything about x the logical conclusion which would be universally accepted would be that they were lying about their real motivation.  Through cultural habits among the anti-religious elite, in this instance we are to believe that the x of Christianity is responsible for actions that were not only the opposite of what its founding documents commanded, but done by people who attacked and who stated an objective of destroying Christianity and were, indeed, in the process of doing that, replacing the real thing with its own, invented, Anti-Jesus who was stripped of his heritage as a Jew, turned into an Aryan, who had his words ripped from his mouth to be replaced by Nazi slogans in a cartoon balloon.   "Positive Christianity", an invention of the Nazi's official ideologue, hater of Christianity and atheist,  Alfred Rosenberg.   That "Positive Christianity" was, itself, a ruse to gull the German people who had been gulled in so many other ways, was evident from its stated intentions.  That has been known in the English speaking world for the past fifty-five years, since William Shirer wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  Page 240 is frequently cited because it gives the definitive evidence that any profession of Christianity by the central authority who defined Nazism and dictated its actions was as much a fraud and a sham as anything else they did or said.

What really aroused the Germans in the Thirties were the glittering successes of Hitler in providing jobs, creating prosperity, restoring Germany's military might, and moving from one triumph to another in his foreign policy.  Not many Germans lost much sleep over the arrests of a few thousand pastors and priests or over the quarreling of the various Protestant sects.  And even fewer paused to reflect that under the leadership of Rosenberg, Borhmann and Himmler, who were backed by Hitler, the Nazi regime intended eventually to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists.  As Bormann, one of the men closest to Hitler, said publicly in 1941,  “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.”

What the Hitler government envisioned for Germany was clearly set out in a thirty-point program for the “National Reich Church” drawn up during the war by Rosenberg, an outspoken pagan, who among his other offices held that of “the Fuehrer's Delegate for the Entire Intellectual and Philosophical Education and Instruction for the National Socialist Party.”  A few of its thirty articles convey the essentials”

1.  The National Reich Church of Germany categorically claims the exclusive right and the exclusive power to control all churches within the borders of the Reich:  it declares these to be national churches of the German Reich.

5.  The National Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably… the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.

7. The National Church has no scribes, pastors, chaplains or priests, but National Reich orators are to speak in them.

13.  The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany . . .

14.  The National Church declares that to it, and therefore to the German nation, it has been decided that the Fuehrer's Mein Kampf is the greatest of all documents.  It . . . not only contains the greatest but it embodies the purest and truest ethics for the present and future life of our nation.

18.  The National Church will clear away from its altars all crucifixes, Bibles and pictures of saints.

19.  On the altars there must be nothing but Mein Kampf ( to the German nation and therefore to God the most sacred book) and to the left of the altar a sword.

30.  On the day of its foundation, the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals and chapels . . . and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika. 

And that isn't even to mention the very heart of the matter, the complete and utter inversion of Christian morality that Nazism was and, unfortunately, still is.   Nazism is still influential in places wherever anti-semitism is prevalent.   In a number of countries it is a popular ideology, tellingly, in many places in Eastern Europe where the Communists suppressed its overt expression for a while, that the assumptions about religion and its place in the world, under the government is the definition of how religion under Communist regimes is regarded is, I think, instructive.   Article 1 as quoted above is certainly a common point between Nazism and most of the Communist governments.  I will note that it is reminiscent of some of the more clueless comments of "secularists" 

As an aside, I look at the "Reich Church" program and see a lot of what the Republican-right has done with religion in the United States, up to and even editing the Bible to alter the very heart of the Gospel because it is entirely incompatible with capitalism, especially in its most recent and most predatory forms.   The pseudo-Christianity of such "Christians" has more in common with the Nazis and the phony state-controlled churches of the most brutal Communist regimes than it does with any church that takes what Jesus said seriously.  That's what happens when you put Mammon before God. Corporate or state Mammonism is Mammonism. 

The other day I noted that mere profession of Christianity has never, from the time Jesus spoke the Gospel, been the definition of who was really following his teachings, he noted there would be frauds and phonies who spoke in his name.  The defining thing is the course of action and behavior of people, not their mere profession.  If the frequently misunderstood Lutheran idea of justification by faith and not "works" had something to do with making Germans susceptible to a bizarre falsification of Christianity, I don't know.  Lutherans weren't the only ones who were taken in and a lot of them weren't for a second.  When you're talking about religion, the mere classifier doesn't tell you a lot though in the casual generalization commonly taken to be intellectual activity that is the practice.  Things are never as neatly stated as serves ideology or any kind of lazy conclusion.  But the wide-spread and lazy-assed assertions about the relationship of Nazism to Christianity is only evidence of the decadence and rot and ideological dishonesty that our own, would be, public-intellectual class practices.  That there are real intellectuals, seldom those you hear on TV or on the radio and who seldom get printed in even the more popular of the "high-brow" magaznies who have done real research into discerning some of that truth, is also a fact of life.  Their work is ignored because it doesn't suit the commonly promoted line of thought which is as vulgar, intellectually, as it is pretentious and dangerous.  

Secularism, materialism, atheism has proven to be ineffective in countering fascism, right wing or pseudo-leftwing.  None of them have what it takes to avoid complete depravity, they are far more likely to contribute to it.   That faith that it would bring about a better life is a definitively failed religion that is based on lies. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Notice Of The Numb-skulls At Noon

Yeah, yeah, I knew the Escahtots would be proving my point, that's not news.  Eschaton is just another Petri dish of how the left lost it all.  There are lots of others. 

It was the day that I realized that if the price of fitting in to places like that was pretending their common received wisdom was true that I realized it wasn't worth fitting into.   The real left doesn't require people to lie like that. 

Debussy - Preludes Book II, no 2 Dead Leaves

Monique Haas has become my favorite Debussy pianist, I wish I'd known her recordings when I was a student, it probably would have had a huge influence on my attempts.

This is as much an autumn piece as "Footprints in Snow" is a winter piece.   No one wrote better musical evocations of nature, though some others were as good.

The Conventional Lies of History That Are Embedded In Our Common Received Body of "Knowledge"

As was mentioned here a few weeks back, the great quest of physicists and cosmologists who are going after their (un)holy grail of a theory of everything are engaged in an absurd contradiction of one of the harder facts uncovered by modern physics and mathematics, that no humanly known means of knowing something completely, even the construction of any logical system can ever have complete closure and be all inclusive.   I quoted the eminent mathematician and scientist and brilliantly succinct user of the English language, Jacob Bronowski,

One aim of the physical sciences has been to give an exact picture of the natural world. One achievement of physics in the twentieth century has been to prove that that aim is unattainable.

And he was talking about the scientific study of some of the simplest (seeming) objects which human intellects have ever sought to know completely and exhaustively.   You would think that the inability of scientists to ever entirely account for the entirety of an electron would prove to them the futility of coming up with a theory which will account for the entire range of all electrons and all other objects in the universe.   

But that isn't the case.  Those scientists who are engaged in that obviously futile quest, at enormous public expense, I will add, are granted some of the greatest respect and reverence and it is the intellectual class, within science and, perhaps even more so, outside of science, that have granted them that position.   I can also add that there are those within science whose work is less esteemed because it is less abstract and more useful and even vital to our continued existence as a species who share my skepticism of this situation.   My sister-in-law who is a research biologist can be quite eloquent over the allocation of money and resources on the basis of celebrity and repute as opposed to utility and even a prospect of success in reaching the goals announced, which don't necessarily favor those with some prospect of doing something useful.   

The conceit of the would-be intellectual class is that our activities remove us from the deluded world of the hoi polloi, a conceit which we could well have imbibed from those original intellectual snobs, Socrates and Plato, though there was probably far more than enough of that going around in the world at their time and after, it is certainly known in other intellectual traditions.   It is one of the great themes of human life, everywhere.   I will point out that a great exception of that is found in the Jewish-Christian strain of thought which dominates the Second Testament in the Bible which is remarkably free of it and which has been one of the things which I have come to believe is the actual motive of the hatred of Christianity by the intellectual and economic elite* which dominates in the modern era.   It has far more to do with the maintenance, keeping and increase of social status than it does any intellectual matters and is related to the general, would-be aristocratic disdain of the useful which esteems "pure science" more than it does applied science and abstract generalization over specific and generally more accurate knowledge.   Of course, when money can be made in great amounts, that, in itself, adds repute to the work done, though not as much as that gained by its sale.  If there is something notable about our intellectual snobs, it's that they can drop the pose when faced with flashy toys and the allure and glamor of wealth.   A lot of them are big phonies. 


The past few days I've been discussing a general narrative in the far, far more complex and detailed realm of history, though, the narrative which assigns blame to Christianity for Nazism, a case which begins with the rather daunting chasm between, not only the words and commandments of Jesus and his earliest followers and those of the men who defined Nazism and ordered the breaking of every one of those commandments and who, at the same time, were engaged in the destruction of every Christian institution.   Yet that narrative  assigning blame for the Nazis to Christianity is almost ubiquitous and has been promoted in the media, in the publishing industry, in academia to the point where it has become a master narrative among the  self-regarded intellectual class in the English speaking world and elsewhere.   It is hardly the only inaccurate narrative attack against Christianity made by the same sources. 

Among their many follies, their own contradictions and logical disconnects and prejudices, there is one thing that the right has gotten right, there is a concerted attack on the reputability of Christianity in the intellectual establishment.  It is not a mere correction of details and flaws in Christians understanding of their own history and intellectual content, it is a concerted attack that introduces outright lies and distortion of the intellectual content of Christianity and a magnification of any flaw found among even a tiny number of Christians into a universal definition of the billions of people who are and have been professed Christians.   I had started becoming aware of that attack quite a while back but it is in the past ten or so years of looking harder at the original source materials surrounding Darwinism that I was struck at how intimately those men of science tied their attack on Christianity to their scientific efforts.   Why was it that Haeckel's History of Creation, a book identified by Charles Darwin as one of the most important SCIENTIFIC texts about the science of evolution so concerned with the destruction of morality, quite specifically Christian morality.   And, let me point out again, IN A BOOK ABOUT SCIENCE.   And that was not an outlier in the coming century and a half, many books intended to be taken as science and accepted as science contained similar attacks, not only on the fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis and such stories as the sun standing still for Joshua but, more so, on the very concept of morality as set out in the Mosaic Law and the Gospel of Jesus,  those very requirements of charity and care for the least among us, to not do violence, to passivity in the face of attack,  that were, also, disdained by the Nazis and which definitively separates Nazism from Christianity.   

That there are Christians who don't follow the teachings of Jesus logically defines them as failed Christians,  it doesn't honestly define or even describe Christians who are more successful at following those teachings, or, at least, that would be the case if reason were the governing factor in the general narrative instead of purposeful prejudice and self-interest which doesn't find that bit of reason convenient to it.   There were a whole hell of a lot of scientists who were members of the Nazi party, none of whom were ever tossed out of the rolls of science, many of them, after the war, went on teaching in university departments of science and in laboratories for governments and industry.   Some of those, such as Werner von Braun who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity suffered nothing much, legally or intellectually, as a result of killing people through bombs and slave labor.  Konrad Lorenz was an example in the biological sciences.   To be intellectually honest, the people who assign blame to Christians for things they opposed and even fought against would have to assign universal blame to all of science and technology for the sins of the Nazis among them.   No liberal Christian would ever use the thinking of those who mixed Nazism with Christian content, scientists have never had much problem using the thinking of scientists who mixed racism with things like evolutionary science or anatomical knowledge gained through mass murder

That it was hard to follow the teachings set out by Jesus was something he pointed out,  the gate was narrow and hard to get through, there was no royal road to following them and he also pointed out that the rich and famous would find it a lot harder to do than the humble.   The Gospel of Jesus is so radically egalitarian, so leveling that it holds that not only will the last be first but that the least among us are the very representation of God made manifest in the world so that what we do to them determines our very salvation.   It is a gospel which is bound to frustrate and win the hatred of anyone who is in love with the idea of their own superiority and with the esteem, fame and wealth that come with status.   If followed it would not only frustrate attempts to hoard and steal and concentrate wealth, it would make it impossible.   

Everything within the Gospel of Jesus is opposed to everything in Nazism, it is the opposite of Nazism, even the identity of its central figure, born, living and dying a Jew who cited and expanded on the Jewish prophetic tradition.   Any Christian who either joined the Nazi party or failed to resist them was a Christian corrupted by the opposite of what the man they consider as speaking with the authority of God taught.   They were, out of fear or temptation, putting other Gods before the Hebrew God, they were breaking the most fundamental of all of the commandments as taught by Jesus.  

Yet all of that has been ignored or denied by those who push that master narrative, which has been aided by an ignorance of the teachings of Jesus and an ignorance of what those who defined Nazism in theory and in practice said and did.   And it is a narrative which is as obviously ideological purposeful as it is ahistorical.   It is whopper of a lie, one which it is clear any amount of contradicting evidence will find hard if not impossible to overcome, but it is a lie and a lie that needs to be overturned.   Why it needs to be overturned is that its overturning will undermine the current version of those racist, elitist political and social movements which are always going to arise whenever people hanker after and can achieve power and wealth through the most evil of means.   The targets of those efforts may not be the Jews, Roma, Pols, Slavs, etc. but it will have its own list.  The current ones in the United States are Muslims, Africans, Latinos, etc.   As also mentioned here recently, the Bible also says that the truth will set you free and you can't know the truth while you also buy a lie, especially a really big one which denies the one thing which the liars so hate.  

*  As pointed out by Al Franken, among others, the "Christianity" which is generally pushed by the economically powerful is a far cry from that taught in the Gospels and in the epistles of James, Paul and the rest of them.   But that's for another post. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Laura Nyro - You Don't Love Me When I Cry

I doubt it was on this day but it was a day like this, overcast, drizzly, fall day with leaves falling, that I first heard New York Tendaberry and decided that Laura Nyro was a genius with more talent than all of the mopheads, all of the Stones, all of the Doors, Cream, the Beach Boys, etc. put together. Nothing they produced, individually or collectively had the range, the substance or the audacity of this album put out by a 22-year-old.  And I still think so.

Your Head Is In Arrears - Hate Mail

Well, there are many points to be made about the pseudo-left as exemplified in my volunteer lab-rat of the pseudo-left and his buddies, one is that they, despite their university and college degrees, are as addicted to pseudo-historical and logic free ideological slogans and thought blocks as the most benighted of folks on the right.   No amount of evidence would suffice to either expand the narrow and opportunistic dogmas they believe with all of their hears is the absolute truth or to overturn the most obviously untrue of those.   They just keep on that line despite any and every refutation, no matter how clear and well documented.  The worst of the pseudo-Christian religious right, all religious fundamentalists are convinced that they have the absolute truth no matter what contradictory evidence shows they are wrong.   

The two sides are not much different, they are all fundamentalists differing only in their choice of fundamentals. Though in the case of some, like my lab rat, their fund of the mental is in arrears.  

Update:   I'm not surprised Tlaz said that since I've never known her to actually read something before she says something that's not about it.   But, then, that's the general habit of her type.

"In 1936, for example, the Nazi party convention in Nuremberg featured a historic “Germanic” room with walls covered in quotes by Tacitus" Stupidity Answered At Noontime

steve simelsOctober 13, 2015 at 10:26 AM
"The charge that the Nazis are a product of Christianity is a big lie"

You're right -- the Holocaust actually didn't happen in a country informed by centuries of European Christian anti-Semitism. I can't imagine how that canard got started.

For every simple question there is a simple answer and it is wrong, as has been said.  In this case the question tacitly being posed as a simple one is also wrong because it is not simple though, as Bertrand Russell says in the left side bar, those with simple minds will turn what is said into a simple and wrong form because that's what they do.

The Nazis left us quite a bit of evidence that their thinking was far more informed by their understanding of classical European and "Aryan" culture than from the Hebrew culture which informs every word of the Bible, both the Jewish scriptures and the Christian scriptures which were all written by Jews.  Antisemitism didn't start in Christian Europe, it was endemic to some areas of Europe well before Jesus was born.  Even in the Bible, antisemitism is noted in the pre-Christian era. Maccabees, 1 and 2, document the classical Greek attack against Jews, including the first known attempt to exterminate all of them under Antiochus Epiphanes.   I don't know the extent to which the Nazis cited Greek antisemitism, directly, but I do know they were quite influenced by the antisemitism and the pro-Germanic sentiments of Tacitus.   Once again, I'm answering something quickly so I will depend on this article, I will revise it down to quotes later but I will post the entire thing, for now.

Ask a well-read individual to list the most dangerous books in history, and a few familiar titles would most likely make the cut: Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” Marx and Engels’ “The Communist Manifesto,” Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book.”

But what about an obscure booklet written by a Roman senator? According to Christopher Krebs, assistant professor of the classics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Tacitus’ “Germania” deserves a spot on the roster.

“Tacitus’ text played a crucial role in shaping the three or four major discourses that eventually fueled National Socialism,” also known as Nazism, said Krebs. “The influence of the Germania was exerted over hundreds of years.”

The text, first published in 98 C.E., has a long legacy: Rediscovered in the 15th century, it was read widely by German humanists in the 16th. In following centuries, the aureus libellus — or “golden booklet,” as many called it — continued to fascinate readers inside and outside of Germany. The Germania was popular among nationalists in the 19th century, and became particularly dear to Nazi leaders in the 20th who adopted Tacitus’ themes and slogans to further their political and racial agendas.

While doing research on the humanists’ reception of the Germania, Krebs discovered that the distinguished historian and historiographer Arnaldo Momigliano had named Tacitus’ work “among the most dangerous books ever written.”

“I began to wonder if that statement was true,” Krebs said.

Intrigued, he dove back into the text and found a world of connection to Nazi ideology.

“Every influential National Socialist was familiar with the Germania,” said Krebs, “and many foot soldiers referred to the text as a ‘bible. ’”

What, exactly, were they so keen to read? Krebs describes the text as a “political ethnography” of Germania, a region northeast of Gaul that remained mostly independent from Roman rule. When Tacitus wrote the ethnography, the Romans had been fighting with Germanic tribes for more than two centuries.

“Tacitus was a politician writing about one of Rome’s fiercest and worst enemies,” said Krebs, “so his ethnography is given within the framework of Roman political discourse.”

Though the Germania was an ethnographic study, it is unlikely, according to Krebs, that Tacitus saw the region firsthand. Instead, he probably constructed the account by drawing on Greek and Roman ethnographical writings about “people in the north” as well as the reports of travelers and warriors who had visited the region. As a result, Krebs noted, the text “was not an accurate depiction of reality.”

Inaccuracies aside, Tacitus’ descriptions of the tribes in Germania provided fodder for future conceptions of the “ideal” German people. Tacitus criticizes parts of the culture in Germania, but he also seems to express admiration for a certain number of its qualities — and it was those qualities that the Nazis would seize upon nearly 2,000 years later to serve their dream of an Aryan race.

According to Krebs, the Nazis stand at the end of a long interpretive tradition that began with 16th century humanists, who considered Tacitus the authoritative word on Germanic culture. These scholars also drew from the text protonationalist themes that would resonate with Nazi ideology.

“If you read the German humanists’ interpretation of the text, you find almost everything that the Nazis would come to associate with Germania,” said Krebs. “The early 16th century reception is basically a mirror image of the early 20th.”

Between 1500 and 1600, Krebs estimates, nearly 6,000 editions were reproduced for readers in German-speaking countries. And during the Nazi regime, Tacitus’ influence was pervasive, extending from party leaders to party soldiers.

According to Krebs, Nazi leaders drew upon three primary themes expressed in the Germania: nationalism, an emphasis on German culture and its origins, and a discourse of racism.

“The booklet encouraged readers to think in terms of ‘we Germans’ and ‘the German fatherland,’” said Krebs.

Tacitus’ words also helped nationalistic readers to perpetuate an image of the “ideal” German man.

“Tacitus depicts the Germanic tribes as a moral people, living a pure and simple life,” said Krebs. “His text emphasized their freedom and fortitude.”

Readers focused on these characteristics, with the result that “the Germanic people were associated with warrior qualities,” said Krebs.

In addition, the text highlighted the fact that most of the Germanic tribes were indigenous to the region, with almost no history of migration.

“He depicted the tribes as descending from an ‘earth-born god,’ and thus deeply rooted to the Germania territory,” said Krebs. “The Nazis employed that rhetoric to advance their theory that the culture of the German volk was inherently tied to the soil on which they were born.”

For Nazi ideology, the text proved an excellent propaganda tool.

In 1936, for example, the Nazi party convention in Nuremberg featured a historic “Germanic” room with walls covered in quotes by Tacitus.

And the leader of the Nazi party? Though Hitler doesn’t mention the Germania specifically in any of his writings, Krebs is “certain that he must have known about it.”

“Hitler was not extremely literate,” said Krebs, “but two books that he is known to have read made ample use of Tacitus.”

Moreover, Krebs said, Hitler’s preferred “authority” on questions of race — adviser Hans F.K. Günther — was “intimately familiar” with the text.

As to the kind of antisemitism contained in Tacitus, here, from his Histories

4. In order to secure the allegiance of his people in the future, Moses prescribed for them a novel religion quite different from those of the rest of mankind. Among the Jews all things are profane that we hold sacred; on the other hand they regard as permissible what seems to us immoral. In the innermost part of the Temple, they consecrated an image of the animal which had delivered them from their wandering and thirst, choosing a ram as beast of sacrifice to demonstrate, so it seems, their contempt for Hammon. (6) The bull is also offered up, because the Egyptians worship it as Apis. They avoid eating pork in memory of their tribulations, as they themselves were once infected with the disease to which this creature is subject. (7) They still fast frequently as an admission of the hunger they once endured so long, and to symbolize their hurried meal the bread eaten by the Jews is unleavened. We are told that the seventh day was set aside for rest because this marked the end of their toils. In course of time the seductions of idleness made them devote every seventh year to indolence as well. Others say that this is a mark of respect to Saturn, either because they owe the basic principles of their religion to the Idaei, who, we are told, were expelled in the company of Saturn and became the founders of the Jewish race, or because, among the seven stars that rule mankind, the one that describes the highest orbit and exerts the greatest influence is Saturn. A further argument is that most of the heavenly bodies complete their path and revolutions in multiples of seven.

5. Whatever their origin, these observances are sanctioned by their antiquity. The other practices of the Jews are sinister and revolting, and have entrenched themselves by their very wickedness. Wretches of the most abandoned kind who had no use for the religion of their fathers took to contributing dues and free-will offerings to swell the Jewish exchequer; and other reasons for their increasing wealth may be found in their stubborn loyalty and ready benevolence towards brother Jews. But the rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies. They will not feed or inter-marry with gentiles. Though a most lascivious people, the Jews avoid sexual intercourse with women of alien race. Among themselves nothing is barred. They have introduced the practice of circumcision to show that they are different from others. Proselytes to Jewry adopt the same practices, and the very first lesson they learn is to despite the gods, shed all feelings of patriotism, and consider parents, children and brothers as readily expendable. However, the Jews see to it that their numbers increase. It is a deadly sin to kill a born or unborn child, and they think that eternal life is granted to those who die in battle or execution—hence their eagerness to have children, and their contempt for death. Rather than cremate their dead, they prefer to bury them in imitation of the Egyptian fashion, and they have the same concern and beliefs about the world below. But their conception of heavenly things is quite different. The Egyptians worship a variety of animals and half-human, half-bestial forms, whereas the Jewish religion is a purely spiritual monotheism. They hold it to be impious to make idols of perishable materials in the likeness of man: for them, the Most High and Eternal cannot be portrayed by human hands and will never pass away. For this reason they erect no images in their cities, still less in their temple. Their kings are not so flattered, the Roman emperors not so honoured. However, their priests used to perform their chants to the flute and drums, crowned with ivy, and a golden vine was discovered in the Temple; and this has led some to imagine that the god thus worshipped was Prince Liber, (8) the conqueror of the East. But the two cults are diametrically opposed. Liber founded a festive and happy cult: the Jewish belief is paradoxical and degraded.

I don't have the time to document it but, in line with the Nazi dependence on Tacitus, you can find him cited on neo-Nazi and other antisemetic websites with the statement that what he said was accurate and has always been characteristic of Jews from antiquity till today.  

The Big Lie Of Christianity Being The Inspiration of Nazism Is Not Going To Stand In The Coming Decades

I would have thought it was obvious why I posted the account of the Polish Catholic farm couple and their children who were sacrificed in their attempt to save Jews from the Nazis without posting an explanation.   The accusation was made attributing the Holocaust to Christianity.   Well, while everything about Christianity is in opposition to what the Nazis did it is entirely consistent with what the Polish Christians who risked and in many cases lost their lives and even the lives of their children in an attempt to shield Jews from the Nazis who were killing them.  Since the accusation is made by an atheist who constantly makes such accusations, attributing actions which are identified as evil and not to be done in the Christian scriptures, which, by the way INCLUDED THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES, it is entirely fair and proper to note that there is nothing in atheism, materialism, or even science that identifies those actions as evil and not to be done.

Any people who profess Christianity who did what is forbidden by the books which their religion identifies as inspired if not actually the word of God were certainly not acting from their professed religion, a far more rational accusation was that they were adopting the amorality of atheism as the framing of their actions.  But the accusation which was made isn't made from an honest or rational framing, it is made to denigrate Christianity, not to understand the Holocaust and its motives.

I have noticed, perhaps in response to that accusation, one popularized by the atheist, materialist and scientist Steven "bad religion" Weinberg and his associates in evangelical atheism, there has been an effort to reexamine more closely the motives of the Nazis, which were varied but which, at the top, were quite explicitly anti-Christian.   If the Nazis hadn't lost the war and been brought down it's pretty clear that their plan, which had already evolved from the period when they gained power in 1933, ever more violently, had a tactical plan.   They didn't start murdering people immediately, they began with the destruction of those deemed biologically inferior due to disability, violating their rights, forced sterilization.   Their plans were to go for the easiest targets first and to progressively attack those who were more able to fight back and to do things gradually, including attacking Jews and even the very influential Protestant and Christian churches.   One of their strongest means of doing that was also a gradually building and progressive program of terror, attacks on property, on people which included, quite early, murder to stifle any resistance.   Catholic leaders were targeted in the early Night of the Long Knives along with possible competition even within the Nazi party.  The coming weeks, months and years brought progressively harsher laws first restricting religious activities by the Catholic and real Protestant churches, first to weaken their influence through political, social and youth groups - previously some of the strongest in Europe.  Some have likened the Nazi actions as a form of ghettoization, shutting up the Church and restricting its activities to remove it from the wider society where it couldn't resist the Nazis progressively stronger grip on power and its beginning of putting its programs of war and murder into effect.  As soon as they felt confident enough to do that the Nazis began the wholesale and open murder of people, beginning with those deemed biologically unfit about the same time they began their military conquests.  I don't think the timing of those two events was coincidental.

The gradual approach the Nazis took was necessary, in no small part, because the Christian churches could be counted on to endanger their power in the early months and years if they acted immediately to kill people.  The encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, read in all Catholic churches in 1937, as the dangers of doing so were rising, contains an explanation of how the Vatican was taken in by the Nazis four years earlier and notes the progressive nature of the Nazis scheme.

When, in 1933, We consented, Venerable Brethren, to open negotiations for a concordat, which the Reich Government proposed on the basis of a scheme of several years' standing; and when, to your unanimous satisfaction, We concluded the negotiations by a solemn treaty, We were prompted by the desire, as it behooved Us, to secure for Germany the freedom of the Church's beneficent mission and the salvation of the souls in her care, as well as by the sincere wish to render the German people a service essential for its peaceful development and prosperity. Hence, despite many and grave misgivings, We then decided not to withhold Our consent for We wished to spare the Faithful of Germany, as far as it was humanly possible, the trials and difficulties they would have had to face, given the circumstances, had the negotiations fallen through. It was by acts that We wished to make it plain, Christ's interests being Our sole object, that the pacific and maternal hand of the Church would be extended to anyone who did not actually refuse it.

If, then, the tree of peace, which we planted on German soil with the purest intention, has not brought forth the fruit, which in the interest of your people, We had fondly hoped, no one in the world who has eyes to see and ears to hear will be able to lay the blame on the Church and on her Head. The experiences of these last years have fixed responsibilities and laid bare intrigues, which from the outset only aimed at a war of extermination. In the furrows, where We tried to sow the seed of a sincere peace, other men - the "enemy" of Holy Scripture - oversowed the cockle of distrust, unrest, hatred, defamation, of a determined hostility overt or veiled, fed from many sources and wielding many tools, against Christ and His Church. They, and they alone with their accomplices, silent or vociferous, are today responsible, should the storm of religious war, instead of the rainbow of peace, blacken the German skies.

The signs that the Vatican had been duped began to be manifest almost immediately because within weeks of signing the Concordat the Nazis started to destroy Catholic youth organizations by outlawing membership in them.   Propagandizing children was one of the cornerstones of the Nazis plan, one of the quickest means they saw of consolidating power by turning even the children of parents who hated the Nazis into fanatics.

The charge that the Nazis are a product of Christianity is a big lie that has been widely sold in the English speaking world by atheists, I think to some extent it was a harder sell in places where people could read the original source materials in full as opposed to the selectively translated and clipped versions of those that were contained in the things I remember reading about the Nazis in relation to Christianity in the 60s.   Now, as more things have been translated more fully into English and those are increasingly available in easily found form, online, that lie will become harder to tell.  In my experience of research over the past decade, it is not unlike the results of having the complete writings and progressively more of the letters of Charles Darwin, his children, his closest inner circle of colleagues available.  The lie of the eugenics-free Charles Darwin whose natural selection had nothing to do with Nazi eugenics was sold by the same English language academic figures during the same period.

The sins of the Christian churches and many Christians who participated in Nazism, in fascism, in other atrocities must be faced up to and learned from.  The generation who did those things in the 1930s and 40s is almost completely gone, so for us it is a matter of learning from their history and resolving never to allow that to happen again.   That is a religious obligation, it is a moral obligation to do so.  There is nothing within atheism, materialism or science which requires that kind of reflection, there is within Christianity.   Which framing could rationally be believed to be a better means of preventing that happening again, in the future?

Update:  Ah, well, you see, in 1933, when the Vatican entered into the Concordat it was dealing with the newly and LEGALLY elected government of Germany, which, by the way, had been opposed by the Catholic political parties in the election.  That it was a government that came to power with a minority vote is a warning to us all, a warning that, today, going on a century later, has not caused us to see the evil of any government being elected with less than 50% of the voters supporting it and to change laws to prevent the same happening here, is an important issue but not part of my answer.

As far as the Vatican could have known, they faced a legally elected government whose policies were inimical to Christian morality at the very least and a direct danger quite certainly.  The Nazis had said a lot about their intentions in 1933, they had lied about a lot of it and had certainly hidden most of the worst of it.  If they had not they likely would have lost the election and never come to power.

As was said by Pius XI in the encyclical quoted above (an encyclical published in German instead of the usual Latin so as to be entirely understood by the German Catholics to whom it was read) they relied on the information available to them in 1933 and were quickly shown that those hopes were badly wrong.

You can contrast something which had the great support of many of the cultural heroes of the atheist left in the post-war period, the Stalin-Hitler pact - often euphamsized as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact so as to shield Stalin from direct involvement - which was agreed to in August 1939 when there was absolutely no mistaking the intentions of the Nazis.  Hitler had invaded Czechoslovakia in March, Kristallnacht had happened nine months before.  Two months later the Nazis began their mass murder program through Gnadentod "mercy death" of the disabled, their trial run for the mass murder programs,  Hitler backdating his order legalizing it to September 1.   There was nothing in the six years separating the Nazis first months in power to the time when Stalin signed his own concordat with Hitler that would have allowed the Communists who supported Stalin to disclaim knowledge of who their hero was doing business with.  Yet, as has been pretty well covered up,  many Communists, many of them cultural heroes to the "new left" of my generation, did a U-turn and suddenly went from being anti-Hitler to being anti-war.   Dalton Trumbo's book Johnny Got His Gun was serialized in the Daily Worker in 1940, something which got the bourgeois-communist, Trumbo fan letters from American Hitler lovers.

If you want to make hay over a group which made love to the Nazis well after it was apparent what they were up to, more than two years after the Vatican repented of their far earlier and foolishly optimistic attempts to avoid what was inevitable with the Nazis, you can look to that group of atheists who suddenly, under orders from Stalin, went all peace and love with the Nazis as they were engaged in military conquest and mass murder.