It never seems to have dawned on the producers of Expelled that invoking Hitler can lose more than internet arguments. Blaming science for the holocaust , Ben Stein's neo-creationist 'documentary', styles Darwinism its 'necessary' cause, and commending the film, Intelligent Design advocate David Klinghoffer insists
"many...don't want to understand ...Darwinism inspired Mein Kampf ...The major Hitler biographers...all agree on Hitler's debt to Darwinism. "
Yet Mein Kampf never mentions 'Darwin' or 'Darwinism', or indeed The Origin Of Species. Why was the mild mannered Victorian biologist expelled from Hitler's infamous autobiography? The answer is antithetic to Expelled's equation of 'Godless materialism' 'with moral decay-- Hitler was a staunch advocate of " intelligent design."
Expelled repeats a common cultural mistake. Darwin never wrote such incendiary phrases as "Survival of the fittest" or "Nature red in tooth and claw."yet instead of crediting Herbert Spencer and Alfred Lord Tennyson with inventing and immortalizing ' Social Darwinism', Expelled instead ignores the genealogy of eugenics' moral descent from Nietsche's metaphysics and lays everything from the Gulag to the holocaust at science's door. Klinghoffer, invokes Hitler's "appeal to biology, which, as he argued, revealed certain iron laws of Nature – principally the struggle for supremacy pitting the superior races against the inferior."
But what kind of biology results from expelling evolution from the curriculum ? Though fictitious as Frankenstein, Stein's torch and pitchfork parade is less monstrous than fatuous. Deliberately confusing biology and astrophysics, it carps on evolution's failure to explain the origin of the universe. The reality is that Darwin wrote little about First Things. He had no desire wrangle with The Reverend William Paley's metaphysical views --what would become the 'intelligent design' movement was around before the science of biology was born.
Our world is always at risk of ideology driving the lethal apotheosis of politicized science, but there's nothing Darwinian about the way in which Karl Marx's scorn for Romantic beliefs like ' elan vital ' evolved into the Leninist dogma of 'Scientific Socialism'. To say it aimed at conquering nature and transforming man is rather like insisting Werner von Braun kepthis eyes on the stars over London. Put into practice from Russia to Cambodia, it gave National Socialism's program of un-natural selection some deadly serious competition.
But Klinghoffer's take on Expelled turns history on its head. It imputes to the Nazis a "philosophical outlook is based on respecting Nature's laws " in contrast to Hitler's bizarre belief that the core of Judaism is "that "Man's role is to overcome Nature!" " The reality is that the two Socialisms competed in creating an equal opportunity holocaust that rounded up , and killed , scientists they could not suborn.
Did fascination with the origin of life inspire Stalin to send geneticists to the Gulag, or lend intellectual frisson to Der Fuhrer's torchlight parades? Hitler's deservedly obscure Tischgespraeche holds the answer:
"Woher nehmen wir das Recht zu glauben, der Mensch sei nicht von Uranfaengen das gewesen , was er heute ist? Der Blick in die Natur zeigt uns, dass im Bereich der Pflanzen und Tiere Veraenderungen und Weiterbildungen vorkommen. Aber nirgends zeigt sich innherhalb einer Gattung eine Entwicklung von der Weite des Sprungs, den der Mensch gemacht haben muesste, sollte er sich aus einem affenartigen Zustand zu dem, was er ist, fortgebildet haben."
"From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from his very origin what he is today? Glancing at nature we see that in the plant and animal kingdoms changes and developments happen. But nowhere in that do we see a leap, a development of the magnitude man must have made, if he has as surmised, advanced from an ape-like state to what he is."
"Das, was der Mensch von dem Tier voraushat, der veilleicht wunderbarste Beweis fuer die Ueberlegenheit des Menschen ist, dass er begriffen hat, dass es eine Schoepferkraft geben muss."
"An advantage humans enjoy over animals, and what may be the best proof of their superiority is that they have grasped there must be the power of a creator."
This is no paean to 'godless materialism', but an endorsement of creationism
from a man who set an army goose-stepping off to war with 'Gott Mit Uns' blazoned on its belt
If Expelled has a prequel,it's not the Auschwitz
episode of the late great Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man, which
Expelled shamelessly apes. Islamic creationists will find more to applaud in Triumph Of The Will than Hitler's rejection of Darwin's big idea. Poor Ben has joined the ranks of populists from William Jennings
Bryan onward who have set out to bolster biblical literalism by blustering against science, only to inherit the wind.
GREETINGS NATIONAL REVIEW REFUGEES
I see John Derbyshire has warped you over by offering newly excavated wonders , but he gives me too much credit- the Hitler quote first appeared in a letter from an Intelligent Design enthusiast published by The American Spectator, but for some strange reason he did not offer a translation.
As to my digging things up, John, you have no idea >>