Thursday, September 14, 2006

What is Darwinism? (3) Harun Yahya - Racism and Social Darwinism

Harun Yahya in his article Racism and Social Darwinism is even more direct in linking Darwin with Hitler than Ricard Weikart is.

Yahya writes:

Racism is the most important component of fascist ideology, which was responsible for the greatest genocides, massacres and wars of the 20th century. When we look at Nazi ideology, in particular, we see that racism is the main constituent of fascism. The Nazis set out with the dream of making the German race, which they regarded as the superior race, dominant all over the world, and tried to eradicate other races, and particularly the Jews, to that end. As Wilhelm Reich put it, "The race theory is German fascism's theoretical axis."

Please hold your horses here. The most important component of fascist ideology is rather nationalism. And The Nazis did not set out with the dream of making the German (or "Aryan") race dominant all over the world, only in Europe.

The greatest influence in the sudden development of racism in the 19th century Europe was the replacement of the Christian belief that "God created all people equal" by "Darwinism".

The belief that "God created all people equal" is not really a Christian idea, but a deistic idea from the Enlightenment. Deists may count as Christians by some Christians, but certainly not by all.

By suggesting that man had evolved from more primitive creatures, and that some races had evolved further than others, it provided racism with a scientific mask.

It did? Darwin was not sure about this. And those traits that he thought might have been more evolved in the "civilized" races than in the "savage" races were the social instincts such as sympathy, even sympathy with animals!

In short, Darwin is the father of racism.

Oh, dear! In The Descent of Man, Darwin mentions that different authors operate with different numbers of species/races of humans, but he suggest that there is really only one human species/race, and he provides evidence for this. So how can Darwin be the father of racism. See also below about Gobineau.

Yahya quotes James Joll:

Charles Darwin, the English naturalist whose books On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, and The Descent of Man, which followed in 1871, launched controversies which affected many branches of European thought... The ideas of Darwin, and of some of his contemporaries such as the English philosopher Herbert Spencer, ...were rapidly applied to questions far removed from the immediate scientific ones... The element of Darwinism which appeared most applicable to the development of society was the belief that the excess of population over the means of support necessitated a constant struggle for survival in which it was the strongest or the 'fittest' who won. From this it was easy for some social thinkers to give a moral content to the notion of the fittest, so that the species or races which did survive were those morally entitled to do so.

Gobineau wrote about the superiority of the Aryan race before Darwin wrote Origin of Species, and also Herbert Spencer was out with his theory a few years before Origin of Species. And this book doesn't even mention human society. This is done in "The Descent of Man"; but here Darwin suggests that the "inferior" should refrain from marriage, not anything about any struggle - he rather wanted to avoid that. And Herbert Spencer's "social Darwinism" implied that the state should protect the weak against the strong, but not hinder social progress.


The doctrine of natural selection could, therefore, very easily become associated with another train of thought developed by the French writer, Count Joseph-Arthur Gobineau, who published an Essay on the Inequality of Human Races in 1853. Gobineau insisted that the most important factor in development was race; and that those races which remained superior were those which kept their racial purity intact. Of these, according to Gobineau, it was the Aryan race which had survived best.

As Yahya writes here, Gobineau's book was from 1853, six years before "Origin of Species", so how could Gobineau have based his book on Darwin's?

Apparently, racist ideas are completely independent of 'Darwinism', at least of any 'Darwinism' related to Charles Darwin.

Yahya then writes:

The evolutionist German biologist Ernst Haeckel is one of the most important of Nazism's spiritual fathers. Haeckel brought Darwin's theory to Germany, and prepared it as a program ready for the Nazis. From racists such as Arthur Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain Hitler took over a politically-centred racism, and a biological one from Haeckel. Careful inspection will reveal that the inspiration behind all these racists came from Darwinism.

Haeckel died in 1919, so how could he have prepared Darwin's theory as a program ready for the Nazis?

And again, how could 'Darwinism' have been the inspiration behind Gobineau's racism?

Yahya next writes:

Indeed, a heavy Darwinist influence can be seen in all the Nazi ideologues. When this theory, which was given form by Hitler and Alfred Rosenburg is examined, one sees concepts such as 'natural selection,' 'selective mating,' and 'the struggle for survival between the races,' which are repeated dozens of times in Darwin's The Origin of Species.

What Yahya ignores here is that Origin of Species does not mention human races. The extension from animals to humans was first to appear in The Descent of Man, and as mentioned above, in this book Darwin suggests that humans should be considered one race.

The name of Hitler's book Mein Kampf was inspired by Darwin's principle that life was a constant struggle for survival, and those who emerged victorious survived.

Not according to Wikipedia.

Yahya quotes Wilhelm Reich:

The race theory proceeds from the presupposition that the exclusive mating of every animal with its own species is an "iron law" in nature. Only exceptional circumstances, such as captivity, are capable of causing a violation of this law and to leading to racial interbreeding. When this occurs, however, nature revenges itself and uses every means at its disposal to oppose such infringements, either by making the bastard sterile or by limiting the fertility of later offspring.

True, but ask any creationist about the same. To creationists, species (or rather kinds) are closed, so why is this 'Darwinism' rather than 'Creationism'?

Yahya then writes:

As we have seen, this biological view that forms the basis of the Nazi's race theory is undiluted Darwinism. Nonsense such as that nature's aim is to 'cause superior species to evolve,' that it uses natural selection to do so, and that the weak are inevitably eliminated are really just a summary of Darwinism.

As any creationist can tell Yahua, Darwin's theory of evolution does not posit any overall purpose for evolution; that is, Darwinian evolution has no aim, so Yahua manages to get everything completely wrong here.

These evolutionist views, which have no scientific basis and are just a reworking of the superstition of 'ascribing consciousness to nature,' existing in animist cultures, finally reached their culmination in the savagery of the Nazis. The theory was put into practice in human societies, again in a manner in conformity with Darwinism.

As mentioned above, the superstition of 'ascribing consciousness to nature' is not part of Darwin's theory of evolution. It might have derived from Hitler misunderstanding Haeckel's monism.

Next Yahya mentions the "fascist National Alliance", which is a White Supremacy group with a "Darwinist, neo-pagan ideology." If they are really Darwinist, they must believe in only one human race, and then they can hardly be racist, can they?

Yahya ends with quoting the Qur'an and saying that for God race doesn't matter, and that "in God's eyes 'superiority' consists of closeness to Him, and fear of Him". This is all quite well, especially since Yahya starts with stating that anti-semitism is racism. Many prominent Muslims are proponents of anti-semitism, and since they as Muslims are subject to the commandments of the Qur'an, apparently something is wrong somewhere.


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