Resources - History

Darwin, Hitler and the Culture of Death
Commentary by Michael Baggot

May 5, 2008 ( - Ben Stein has suffered extensive media criticism for drawing the connection between Darwin, Hitler, and the modern eugenics movements in a powerful 10-minute section of his film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed".

In an review, Arthur Caplan calls the connection Stein draws between Darwin's theory and the Holocaust "despicable". Neo-Darwinians on the whole have unleashed a barrage of insults at Stein and his work. They have also, however, completely failed to address the intimidating body of evidence Stein presents to support his claims.

While Stein has explicitly asserted that not every neo-Darwinist is a eugenicist, an examination of the historic record reveals that neo-Darwinism can and has provided the philosophic justification for numerous horrific eugenic projects.

According to Darwin, the survival of the fittest is the engine for progress for men as well as the rest of the animal kingdom. In his "Descent of Man," Darwin laments that the misguided care of the weaker members of society has come as a detriment to the whole. He warns that measures must be taken to "prevent the reckless, the vicious and otherwise inferior members of society from increasing at a quicker rate than the better class of men," which is essentially nothing less than the mission statement of eugenicists the world over.

Less than a century after Darwin's death, in his chapter on "Nation and Race" in "Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler described the struggle for existence in Darwinian terms: "The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher evolution of organic living beings would be unthinkable."

The Nazi party framed its mission in terms of a Darwinian struggle to achieve a more evolved life form. According to the Hitler-approved pamphlet "Why are We Fighting?", "Our racial idea is only the 'expression of a worldview' that recognizes in the higher evolution of humans a divine command."

Another Hitler-approved booklet, "Racial Policy", outlined the Nazi vision of man as follows: "The preservation and propagation, the evolution and elevating of life occurs through the struggle for existence, to which every plant, every animal, every species and every genus is subjected. Even humans and the human races are subject to this struggle; it decides their value and their right to exist."

There is a ruthless consistency to the Darwinian-phrased Nazi propaganda. After all, if Darwin has rendered the "God hypothesis" superfluous and hence any notion of man as the intrinsically valuable creature made in God's image and likeness, what better criteria is there for human worth than power?

According to Darwin, man is different from the rest of the animals only by a matter of degrees. There is nothing that essentially distinguishes man from the other beasts. At best, man is a more complex machine than the rest of the animals. It should not be surprising then that the prominent bioethicist Peter Singer appeals to Darwinian evolution when attacking the sanctity-of-life ethic and defending abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. According to Singer, Darwin "undermined the foundations of the entire Western way of thinking on the place of our species in the universe."

Likewise, Darwinian philosopher Daniel Dennett calls Darwin's views the "universal acid" that erodes traditional moral convictions rooted in the dignity of the human person. His strictly biological assessment of human worth lets Dennett speaks of the "gradations of value in the ending of human lives," as he offers a case for euthanasia.

In a particularly powerful portion of "Expelled," Stein lets Cornell historian of science William Provine detail the implications of neo-Darwinism. Without qualification, Provine adamantly affirms that neo-Darwinism demonstrates that there is no meaning to life. Not surprisingly, he claims that he would put a bullet through his own head if his brain tumor reemerged. Provine chides his brother for clinging to this life for so long.

One is then led to wonder if Provine has a more sympathetic view of the large quantity of apparent drains on our society that fill our nations hospitals and nursing homes. The materialistic nihilism Provine honestly insists is entailed in neo-Darwinism seems to be completely incompatible with traditional humanitarian aspirations to defend the weak and vulnerable of society. Instead the weak and vulnerable are to be considered as obstacles to the progress of the human species in its evolutionary journey. They are to be eradicated. And, if not actively eradicated, then, at the very least, they should not be allowed to reproduce.

If man is the accidental byproduct of blind natural forces and not the planned creation of an Intelligent Creator, then his worth is something to be earned rather than gratefully received. The denial of man's intrinsic human dignity is at the heart of every eugenics movement from Hitler's Germany to early 20th century America to Planned Parenthood's continued mission to eliminate the "unwanted" children of the world.

Is every neo-Darwinian a racist bent on genocide? No. But as Darwinian thinkers themselves admit, the neo-Darwinian outlook provides a handy foundation for the Culture of Death's rejection of human dignity and thus opens the way for the host of attacks on human life that continue to infect nations across the globe. Thank you, Mr. Stein, for reminding us that ideas have major consequences.

(author's note: I am indebted to the Discovery Institute's Richard Weikart for compiling important passages from Hitler and Nazi propaganda in his recent article "Was It Immoral for 'Expelled' to Connect Darwinism and Nazi Racism?")

Read more about Darwin's devaluation of the human person)
Learn more about the Darwin-Hitler connection.
Learn more about "Expelled"

The Life Tree
How a handful of progressive foundations and quasi-government agencies set out to provide equitable distribution of health care, and in the process, created a duty to die and a culture of death. And how they hope to secure their legacy.

Life & Death
The role of the physician in the diagnosis of death began only toward the end of the eighteenth century, and it increased throughout the nineteenth century, From about 1850 or so, several countries and large cities introduced statutory requirements for a declaration or verification of death by a medical practitioner. A medical critic wrote in 1818: Doctors are rarely called in to certify death, This important responsibility is left to mercenaries or individuals who have no knowledge whatsoever of the human anatomy, When a doctor cannot save a man's life, he avoids being in his home after he had died, and all practitioners seem totally convinced of the axiom of the great philosopher that it is not seemly for a doctor to visit the dead.

University of Minnesota - Program in Human Rights and Health

The Program is devoted to scholarly investigation, practical projects and educational programs that bear on a wide range of moral, legal and public policy issues involving medicine and public health. Sources of problems addressed include first the astonishingly swift increase in technical knowledge (genetic diagnostics, stem cell biology, reproductive technologies, transplantation, therapeutics, and general biomedical science); second a widening gap in public health infrastructure and medical care available to the affluent and that of the poor (particularly in developing nations); third the explosive growth in medical costs; and, finally, shifts in demography and philosophy.

University of Minnesota - Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is a resource for information and teaching about the Holocaust and contemporary aspects of genocide as defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (1948) as well as varying definitions by university scholars and researchers.

Regent University - Useless Eaters

The methods used for mass extermination in the Nazi death camps originated and were perfected in earlier use against people with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities. Developed from the article by Dr. Mark Mostert, this website describes the historical context of attitudes toward people with disabilities in Germany and how this context produced mass murder of people with disabilities prior to and during the early years of World War II.

An Evil Ambition To Cure
"Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor, Medicine and Power in the Third Reich" (Continuum, 400 pages, $29.95) is the first full biography of Hitler's escort physician, who became the Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation, and the "Medical Supremo" responsible for Germany's infamous euthanization program and the horrifying medical experiments in concentration camps.

The Nuremberg trial judges declared that Brandt was guilty of crimes against humanity, rejecting his defense that euthanasia was a humane alleviation of human suffering and that the S.S. administrators bore full responsibility for whatever happened to inmates. He went to the gallows on June 2, 1948, the first of seven men condemned to death in the famous Doctors Trial.
Read More - Website

Hitler's Euthanasia Decree
Hitler's 1939 decree, increasing "the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such manner that persons who, according to human judgment, are incurable can, upon a most careful diagnosis of their condition of sickness, be accorded a mercy death." (From the records of the Nuremberg Trial's International Military Tribunal)

The Nazi Doctors and Nuremberg
Exactly 50 years ago, the world learned of the moral depravity of the 20 Nazi physicians who were tried and convicted in Nuremberg for the part they played in the brutal human experiments at Auschwitz [1-4] . Ethicists have since expounded on the moral lessons to be learned from the Nuremberg Trials. So obvious these moral lessons seem now, and so gross the malfeasance, that it seems redundant to revisit them. Certainly we do not need to study such gross moral pathology that could never happen again.

Gift of life or sacrifice?: key discourses to understanding organ donor families' decision-making
Globally, there is a critical shortage of donor organs to meet the demands for human organ transplantation. An understanding of what motivates families to agree to donation is therefore essential to maximise organ availability. The "gift of life" is a popular discourse long associated with pro-donation and transplant activists, its use seemingly directed at heightening public awareness about the perceived benefits of organ donation. However the potential pressure and obligation implicit within such rhetoric could be detrimental to donor families. It has been suggested that the donation event is better represented as a "sacrifice" as this discourse acknowledges the suffering of the bereaved family and the possible difficulties encountered in their decision-making about organ donation. Drawing on data from three studies that explored the bereavement experiences of donor families, this paper examines the relative value of gift of life or sacrifice as discourses that contribute to a greater understanding of organ donor families' decision-making. We propose that the compelling nature of sacrifice and the manner in which it impinges on families' decision-making may help to explain the high refusal rates in populations that appear generally aware of the benefits of organ transplantation. Insights into the relative importance of gift of life or sacrifice to families when making decisions could potentially contribute to enhancing families' satisfaction with their decisions, improve support to families and increase the incidence of donation.

The Humane Holocaust by Muggeridge
Comment:  I came across The Humane Holocaust by Muggeridge, - absolutely excellent read. . other articles in this Gargoyole issue include: Backward Christian Soldiers - Malcolm Muggeridge * Page 5 - Mugg's Game - Bernard Levin * Page 9 - GK Chesterton and Malcolm Muggeridge - Gord Wilson * Page 11 - The Humane Holocaust - Malcolm Muggeridge * Cheryl, CHN

Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge ( March 24 , 1903 - November 14 , 1990 ) was a British journalist , author , satirist , media personality, soldier-spy and latterly a Christian apologist.

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Organ and Tissue Donation History