Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nothing in Nazism makes sense except in the light of evolution



Historian of Nazism Richard Weikart:

[T]he following evidence... demonstrate[s] overwhelmingly that Nazi
racial thinkers embraced human and racial evolution: 
1) Hitler believed in human evolution. 
2) The official Nazi school curriculum prominently featured biological evolution, including human evolution. 
3) Nazi racial anthropologists, including SS anthropologists, uniformly endorsed human evolution and integrated evolution into their racial ideology. 
4) Nazi periodicals, including those on racial ideology, embraced human evolution. 
5) Nazi materials designed to inculcate the Nazi worldview among SS and military men promoted human evolution as an integral part of the Nazi worldview.  
... 
I... highlight the ways that Nazi racial thought was shaped by Darwinism (defined as biological evolution through the pro-cess of natural selection). 
First, almost all Nazi racial theorists believed that humans had evolved from primates. 
Second, they provided evolutionary explanations for the development of different human races, including the Nordic or Aryan race (these two terms were used synonymously). Specifically, they believed that the Nordic race had become superior because harsh climatic conditions in north-central Europe during the Ice Ages had sharpened the struggle for existence, causing the weak to perish and leaving only the most vigorous. 
Third, they believed that the differential evolutionary development of the races provided scientific evidence for racial inequality. 
Fourth, they held that the different and unequal human races were locked in an ineluctable
struggle for existence. 
Fifth, they thought that the way for their own race to triumph in the struggle for existence was to procreate more prolifically than competing races and to gain more “living space” (Lebensraum) into which to expand. 
Sixth, many argued that Darwinism promoted a collectivist ideal. 
These six points—derived from the view that humans and human races evolved and are still evolving through the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection—profoundly impacted Nazi policy. They formed the backdrop for eugenics, killing the disabled, the quest for “living space,” and racial extermination.

Weikart's paper is a superb introduction to the mountain of evidence linking the Darwinian understanding of man to Nazi racial policies and anti-Semitism. His book is a great exploration of the obvious link (not yet available on Kindle, sadly, but a great read if you don't mind dead trees).

I also highly recommend Jerry Bergman's Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview (available on Kindle). Bergman's documentation is astonishingly detailed-- his chapter on Darwinism in the Nazi educational system is remarkable.

Nothing in Nazism makes sense except in the light of evolution. The debt owed to the evolutionary understanding of man by the Nazi understanding of man is obvious. Darwinian evolution is at the core of Nazi racial ideology. It is so obvious that Darwinists become unhinged at the mere mention of it. Which is ample reason to keep mentioning it.

84 comments:

  1. And here we go again. Day two.

    Ben

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    1. Darwin's name for creationists is like catnip for cats. They tear into it and never let go. It's amusing to watch for a while, but gets boring.

      Hoo

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    2. Hoo,

      As a creationist, I actually feel like his name's effect is more like that of Tom Clancy's. Rather boring fiction built on some basic foundation of truth. Interesting to some, but certainly not to myself. Another comparison would perhaps be Lady Gaga. Minimal talent, but excessive radio play.

      In truth, I don't spend much time thinking about Darwin, when his ideas are not being pushed on me.
      The part of this (and the previous) conversation that interests me is the history surrounding the rise and eclipse of the Third Reich. The methodology of the maniacal, evil SOB's who founded and controlled that monstrosity of modern history.
      That's what interests me in all this.
      The only 'evolutionary' aspect that fascinates me here is how the NDSAP was able to sell their genocidal, eugenicist snake oil in a bottle labelled 'science' to the intelligentsia, while peddling it via methods of age old pagan blood/soil to the peasantry, and twisted religious interpretations to the chattering classes.
      Sometimes evil can be quite brilliant, if even only for the time it takes to consume itself.
      Again, I do not blame Darwin (the man) for this specific abuse of the method.
      I blame the animist-like worship of science (scientism) for it.
      When enough people come to realize this was (and IS) so, perhaps we will see the tool used for what it was meant to be used for: The betterment of mankind.

      Delete
    3. Caveat emptor, Crus.

      Hoo

      Delete
    4. Hoo,

      Surely. Then as now.
      The people who buy the idea that science exists for it's own ends and that it is 'good' are in for a shock.
      I am reminded of Oppenheimer’s (leftist, no?) famous tear soaked speech .

      Delete
  2. So? Just because the Nazis were partly right about evolution and mis-applied it, doesn't make evolution false.

    They were wrong about racial inequality, because there are no races. 85% of the genetic diversity between humans occurs within a given 'race'. 15% of the difference between humans occurs between 'races'. There's less genetic diversity between a blue eyed fair haired Swede and a Papuan- New Guinean Highlander, separated by perhaps 20,000 kilometres and 40,000 years than there are between two common chimpanzees living a few hundred kilometres apart.

    The 'races' are distinguished by a few dozen genes determining external appearance only.

    The Nazis agreed with Newtonian physics. Does that mean that Newtonian physics was wrong? They also disagreed with Einsteinian Relativity, referring to it as 'Jewish physics', opting instead for 'German physics'.

    They got some things right. They also got other things wrong. And misapplied science.

    Anyway. Hitler was motivated by nationalism, anger at Germany's defeat and humiliation at the end of the Great War and the need to find a scapegoat for the mythical 'stab in the back'.

    No Hitler, no National Socialism. You don't understand evolution, so how do you expect Hitler (whose sole education, as the German writer Sebastian Haffner noted, was as a soldier in the Great War) to understand evolution and apply it to his ideology. He was reflecting more of a primitive understanding of breeding and genetics.

    Anyway. Catholic schools teach evolution. When are you going to criticise the Catholic Church for supporting evolution?

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    Replies
    1. Could you elaborate on what you mean by "misapply?"

      Ben

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    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 7:04 AM

      batfark: "They were wrong about racial inequality, because there are no races."

      I understand what you are saying here, batfark. And in one narrow technical sense you are absolutely correct. But we both know there is more to the story than that, so belay the disingenuous act.

      If there are no "races", then there are no rose varieties and there are no dog breeds and there are no koi varieties, etc.

      Although race is often used as an excuse for bigotry, the simple application of latent variable analysis on visually discernible human anthropometric features will yield a "racial" classification. And it will be very like the one everyone talks about "not existing".

      And, if I may say so, I don't think that the good Doc is inferring that Darwinism caused National Socialism. But Darwinism absolutely did provide a scientific "justification" for National Socialist racial policies, as it did for Enrico Ferri (a famous Italian socialist and criminologist) and his theories of criminal behavior:

      We are now able to conclude that there is no contradiction between socialism and Darwinism on the subject of equality among all men. Socialism has never affirmed it, and it aims, in agreement with Darwinism, to promote a better life for individuals and for society.
      Socialism, understood in the scientific sense, does not deny and cannot deny that there are always among men some "losers" in the struggle for existence.

      --- E. Ferri; Socialism and Positive Science

      It's worth noting that Ferri, in addition to being a notable Socialist and editor of leading Italian Socialist newspaper in the early 20th Century, was a student of Lombroso.

      Of course, it's not a much of a stretch for a materialist between identifying the "losers" to advocating eliminating them from the gene pool for the "betterment of mankind" or the "natural" ascendancy of the "Aryan race". Particularly when times are bad and a scapegoat is highly desirable.

      These notions were apparently common among European socialists of the time. It's amazing what one finds when one opens one's eyes.

      Delete
    3. Admiral: And, if I may say so, I don't think that the good Doc is inferring that Darwinism caused National Socialism.

      Egnor: Darwinian evolution is at the core of Nazi racial ideology.

      These two statements are incompatible.

      Hoo

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    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      How? E=mc**2 is at the core of nuclear weapons technology, but it didn't cause nuclear weaponry.

      Fords and Apple computers, equities and temperature, cannons and Jews... you're on a roll, kid.

      Delete
    5. Admiral, your reading comprehension is really bad today. Here's Egnor, in his own words:

      "The Nazi understanding of the evolutinary [sic] origin of man... was the foundation of Nazi racial policy."

      So yes, he does argue that Darwinism led to Nazism. Come on, stupid! The fucking book is called "From Darwin to Hitler."

      Hoo

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  3. Unhinged is what conservative Christians become when they come across the word evolution.

    The Nazis endorsed lots of things. Automobiles, highways, physical education, trains running on schedule, quantum mechanics, etc. It does not mean we shouldn't.

    Argumentum ad Hitlerum is a textbook example of a genetic fallacy.

    Hoo

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  4. Egnor:

    "I also highly recommend Jerry Bergman's Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview (available on Kindle). Bergman's documentation is astonishingly detailed-- his chapter on Darwinism in the Nazi educational system is remarkable."

    This Jerry Bergman? The young-earth creationist who taught biology at a community college? Only a second author and we're already scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Hoo

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  5. @Hoo:

    "... a textbook example of a genetic fallacy... This Jerry Bergman? The young-earth creationist who taught biology at a community college?"

    A textbook example of a genetic fallacy.

    Sometimes you make me laugh, Hoo.

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    1. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you think I am using a genetic fallacy, so are you. Back atcha, doc!

      Hoo

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    2. @Hoo:

      The simple observation that Nazi racial policies were substantially based on the Darwinain understanding of anthropology is not a genetic fallacy. It is merely a statement of fact.

      A genetic fallacy is the assertion that an idea is discredited because of its circumstances of orgin. I have made no such argument about Darwinism, which originated in the mid-19th century, long before Nazism.

      Delete
    3. Your argument, doc, boils down to this: the Nazis approved of Darwin, so we shouldn't. It's a stupid argument, whatever name you'd like to attach to it.

      Hoo

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    4. Hoo- you're making the classic mistake with Egnor, which is to give credibility to anything that Egnor says. The Nazis burned Darwin's books. They were not keen on the idea of Aryans sharing common ancestry with Jews. And that's not even scratching the surface of Egnor's idiocy. Nazi eugenics aimed to make what they regarded as improvements in the human species, not to turn humanity into another species. Which is microevolution. Which creationists always make a point of saying they accept. Hence, per Egnor, Creationists are Nazis.

      Boo

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  6. Let's get to Weikert's red meat.

    First, almost all Nazi racial theorists believed that humans had evolved from primates.

    The Nazis also believed that nuclear energy can be used to make a bomb. Their endorsement does not invalidate nuclear physics. Same with evolution.

    Second, they provided evolutionary explanations for the development of different human races, including the Nordic or Aryan race (these two terms were used synonymously). Specifically, they believed that the Nordic race had become superior because harsh climatic conditions in north-central Europe during the Ice Ages had sharpened the struggle for existence, causing the weak to perish and leaving only the most vigorous.

    This theory may or may not be true. One way or another, why does it matter? That the Nazi used an evolutionary framework to further their means? They also used Newtonian mechanics (ballistics) and chemistry (explosives) to these ends. Does this make Newtonian mechanics and chemistry invalid? Hardly.

    Third, they believed that the differential evolutionary development of the races provided scientific evidence for racial inequality.

    See above.

    Fourth, they held that the different and unequal human races were locked in an ineluctable struggle for existence.

    The Nazis also tied shoe laces in the morning and went to work on time. Let's not do either.

    Fifth, they thought that the way for their own race to triumph in the struggle for existence was to procreate more prolifically than competing races and to gain more “living space” (Lebensraum) into which to expand.

    Large families are also popular with conservative Christians and Jews. Hmmm...

    Sixth, many argued that Darwinism promoted a collectivist ideal.

    Egnor himself doesn't believe in this as he has argued that altruism is incompatible with evolutionary competition. But let's forget that. Lots of things promote a "collectivist ideal." Any social net. An army unit. Let's disband Social Security and make war with individual soldiers. That'll show them!

    In short, Weikart's book is silly beyond belief. It matters not one whit whether the Nazis believed in evolution or nuclear physics. Science stands or falls on its own.

    Hoo

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      Hoots, did they build crematoriums for cannons? I'm thinkin' your implied correspondence between physics and evolution is pretty silly, college boy. Sort of like Apples and cars and the stock market and global warming.

      Delete
    2. You are more stupid than usual this morning, admiral. What gives?

      They used cannons to bomb London and Leningrad.

      Hoo

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    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      Is that the extent of your uncorrelated comments, or do you have more?

      Delete
    4. You just don't comprehend them.

      Nurse, I think admiral forgot to take his meds!

      Hoo

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    5. Hoo:

      Let's apply the "Nazis believed in gravity too" reasoning to the KKK. If I made the argument that racism was a motivation for KKK lyiching of blacks, Hoo could argue "The KKK believed in gravity too, which is indispensible to lynching. Therefore the KKK belief in racial inferority of blacks had nothing more to do with lynching than the KKK belief in gravity!"

      Tight reasoning there, Hoo.

      The Nazi understanding of the evolutinary origin of man-- an understanding that was (and is) substantially in accord with evolutionary biology (man is an animal, man is evolved by "the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, etc)-- was the foundation of Nazi racial policy. Nazi understanding of gravity, relativity, etc was not part of Nazi racial policy.

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    6. Ideology was useful to Nazis. So was artillery.

      At the end of the day, your argument is a silly canard: the Nazis relied on Darwin, that discredits him. This is stupid beyond belief.

      Hoo

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    7. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      Well, then, you don't need to exert so much effort trying to discredit it. Go to bed.

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    8. I don't need to discredit Egnor's silly argument. He is doing a fine job himself.

      Hoo

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    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      The argument you're discrediting is your own. I think the Doc is perfectly capable of articulating his own arguments without your help - truly, I do....

      A genetic fallacy is the assertion that an idea is discredited because of its circumstances of orgin. I have made no such argument about Darwinism, which originated in the mid-19th century, long before Nazism.
      --- Doc

      And my confidence in Egnor's knowledge of the state of his own mind is very high, despite the fact that you have informed us on many occasions how elite you are. Which, of course, must give you many magical and mysterious powers that mere mortals can only imagine.

      We're all very impressed, Hoots, with your eliteness and your stunning flashes of brilliance that reveal hitherto unseen and mysterious correspondences between Ford Pintos and iPads and how those correspondences led to the current dismal state of Detroit. But still... still I remain convinced that Egnor knows the content of his own thoughts better than you.

      So why not just declare victory, having fully discredited the argument you invented. You kicked its ass, son. Consider it smoked. Good work. Rest easy.

      Delete
    10. Oh, I rest easy. It's Egnor who will be opening another dozen of threads desperately trying to discredit evolutionary theory. By whatever means necessary.

      Evolution is here to stay, guys. Whether Hitler liked it or not. Whether you like it or not.

      Hoo

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  7. It's also important to remember that the legacy of the DarwiNazis includes Margaret Sanger who said such wonderful things as this: "We propose to] hire three or four colored ministers (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton please step forward) preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. And we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." Interesting that the DawiNazis never mention that Planned Parenthood was founded to eliminate the "Negros," just as Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. And out of context quote and a false claim. It doesn't surprise me that you'd resort to that though, since you've got nothing of substance.

      http://www.factcheck.org/2011/11/cains-false-attack-on-planned-parenthood/

      Delete
  8. Liberals-Nazis, Muslims-Nazis, Democrats-Nazis, Scientists-Nazis, Socialists- Nazis, Nazis, Nazis, they’re everywhere! Remember to check under your bed before you go to sleep so the Nazis don’t get you.

    -KW

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  9. KW:

    "Liberals-Nazis, Muslims-Nazis, Democrats-Nazis, Scientists-Nazis, Socialists- Nazis, Nazis, Nazis, they’re everywhere!"

    National Socialism is a highly relevant and consequential movement in the 20th century, and persists in various forms into the 21st century. It has antecedents and consequences.

    Nazi racial policies were heavily influenced by the evolutinary understanding of man. Progressivism has been heavily influenced by fascism-- albeit of the "friendly" kind. Early 20th century American Progressives were huge fans of European fascists, especially in Italy, and American eugenicists (eugenics was progressive science) were a role model for Nazi eugenics.

    National Socialists were obviously "socialists", and German scientists were among the most enthusiastic Nazis. American scientists, especially Darwinists and biologists, were enthusiastic proponents of eugenics, population control atrocities, DDT hysteria, etc.

    Facts is facts, KW.

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    1. Egnor: Progressivism has been heavily influenced by fascism-- albeit of the "friendly" kind.

      Ah, I spot the influence of another eminent scholar of history, Jonah Goldberg. I also highly recommend "mathematician and philosopher" David Berlinski and paleontologist Casey Luskin.

      Hoo

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    2. You do love the Genetic Fallacy, Hoo.

      Would you be willing to offer evidence refuting the obvious relationship between fascism and progressivism?

      Delete
    3. No, I love your reliance on shoddy scholarship. Jonah's stupid book has been universally panned by mainstream historians. They shrugged and declared it "intellectually sloppy and perhaps not to be taken too seriously" and "more of an exercise in polemics than a historical work."

      Why even waste time on something that was clearly written out of spite, in the author's own words?

      Hoo

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    4. Here is Robert Paxton (professor emeritus, Columbia) begins his review thus:

      Jonah Goldberg tells us he wrote this book to get even. The liberals started it by “insist[ing] that conservatism has connections with fascism” (p. 22). Conservatives “sit dumbfounded by the nastiness of the slander” (p. 1). “The left wields the term fascism like a cudgel” (p. 3). So Jonah Goldberg has decided it is time to turn the tables and show that “the liberal closet has its own skeletons” (p. 22). After years of being “called a fascist and a Nazi by smug, liberal know-nothings” he decides that “responding to this slander is a point of personal privilege” (p. 392).

      I won't bother including all the snippets. Here is the conclusion that ought to tell you anything you already knew:

      If you are looking for brickbats to throw at Democrats, reformers, environmentalists and other do-gooders, you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for some reasoned arguments about the politics of our time, you will find both liberalism and fascism grossly distorted in this tract.

      Hoo

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    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Heh. Argumentum ad librum reviewum.

      You're blazin' trails here, bud.

      Delete
    6. Par for the course. Egnor says "refute Goldberg," I tell him "read Paxton."

      You have anything intelligent to add, grandpa?

      Hoo

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    7. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      I guess it's the old military adage: "If all ya got is an empty mag and a can o' rations, throw the can o' rations and hope for the best."

      I think that was the Belgian military.

      Delete
    8. That aptly describes Egnor's valiant efforts. I am guessing that Weikert is the empty mag and Goldberg is a, well, more like a bag of Doritos. Neither is very effective.

      Hoo

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    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      E: "Would you be willing to offer evidence refuting the obvious relationship between fascism and progressivism?"

      H: "No."

      E: " "

      H: "But read the reviews!!!"

      You're out of ammo, kid.

      Delete
    10. Can't read, grandpa? Your glasses are under the table.

      Hoo

      Delete
    11. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      What did I miss, genius? The googled quotes from somebody else's book review?

      YOU are out of ammo, podna. Don't go sniveling around somebody else's coattails.

      Delete
    12. You missed a long and thorough review that I linked to. By a respected historian. Go forth and find it, old loser.

      Hoo

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    13. Hoo am I kidding? Admiral can't find his own ass with both hands.

      Hoo

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    14. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Nobody requested a link, Hoots. Very bad customer service.

      Speaking of customer service, did you perchance have a role in the Obamacare website? Perhaps you were the digital Enigma machine programmer? If you were, it worked. The whole process appears to be an enigma. My compliments, Sir.

      Delete
    15. Egnor requested a refutation. I provided a link to it. Put together two and two, old geezer. Use a calculator if necessary.

      Hoo

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    16. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      E: "Would you be willing to offer evidence refuting the obvious relationship..."

      A book review is, well, a book review. Your source didn't agree with the book. Big deal. Happens all the time. Doesn't make the claims of the book true or false.

      Where do you get your science? Or technology? From the New York Times Review of Books?

      Delete
    17. Depends. The science in my own field I get from reading the scientific literature. In my discipline (physics), but outside of my field, I have to rely on popular talks (say, departmental colloquia). Other disciplines, yes, I have to read the science section of the New York Times.

      Dismissing Paxton's review is pretty stupid on your part, admiral. You're not a historian. I am not a historian. We can't judge Goldberg's book on a scholarly level. Paxton can. And he tells that it's a silly book, not an honest scholarly effort.

      And you can't dismiss this review as a fluke. It has been panned universally by academic historians. For good reasons. Goldberg didn't write a scholarly book. He produced a screed to get back at the liberals for calling conservatives fascists. By his own admission. Why would I be interested in this bullshit?

      And why would you defend it? It's a thousand times worse than even Weikart's stuff. The answer: because you're a partisan who will defend his team to the end, even when you know they are wrong.

      Hoo

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    18. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Thought experiment:

      Suppose Fred Jones writes a book titled "Whigs Are Nazis and Suck the Big One", and it's true. They really do. Now suppose Bob Smith, a Whig, reviews it. It's probably going to get a bad review and the Bobster will dig up lots of little snippets and excerpts to "prove" his viewpoint, which in just about any other pursuit but book reviewing would be called a bias.

      The review means nothing. In fact, the virulence of the review is a good indicator of Fred's accuracy because it's not a "review" in the true sense, it's a defense.

      You're just silly, Hoots.

      Delete
    19. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      "Universally"??? That's a big word, college boy. Prove it.

      And by the way, I'm not defending anything. I haven't read either Goldberg's book or the review. My work here involves just one thing: to have fun with you and the other Progressotrolls that hang out here.

      Delete
    20. You view everything through a partisan mirror, admiral. That narrows your perspective.

      So go ahead, pretend that Jonah Goldberg (right, Jonah Goldberg!) is a scholar of history and Prof. Paxton is a partisan hack. You live in a bizarro world. By your own choice.

      Hoo

      Delete
    21. Admiral: "I haven't read either Goldberg's book or the review."

      As if I had any doubt.

      Hoo

      Delete
    22. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      Hoots, no one views anything "through" a mirror. It's sort of, well, the whole point of mirrors, capisce? I think you meant to say "through a partisan lens".

      Oh! Wait! I know! You meant a half-silvered mirror! What relevance does a beam splitter have to this conversation? Just curious.

      Was that a digital or analog half-silvered mirror?

      I have so many questions now....


      Delete
    23. You are a master of irrelevant questions, admiral. Can't take that from you.

      Hoo

      Delete
    24. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      Rear-view mirror warning for Progressives:

      Objects in mirror are behind you

      Delete
    25. What a sad fuck.

      Hoo

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    26. David Berlinski? Did someone mention David Berlinski?
      I absolutely flippin' love that guys writings.
      I have most of his (well thumbed) books (non fiction) and essays on my shelf.
      Nothing I enjoy more than relaxing with a good Havana (sorry Yanks!) and reading his work. His style reminds me of my father's (was a philosophy addict) and his reasoning is like a steel trap.
      He's a big favourite among my colleagues and friends also.
      If you're out there somewhere, Dave - lurking about the Doctor's blog: Keep the good stuff coming!

      Delete
    27. crus:

      I love Berlinski as well. My copy of the Devil's Delusion is worn out!

      Delete
    28. Hoo,

      A nasty article in Slate in defence of Dicky - the elevator lover- Dawkins?
      May as well be a paid promotion for Berlinski.


      Delete
    29. The article is not in defense of Dawkins. It's about Berlinski. And it's a fair piece. Engber writes:

      The work on math and science is characterized by a peculiar, mischievous style: Berlinski mixes long, discursive explanations with strange asides, historical re-enactments, and ironic fables; every page is caked over with elaborate metaphors. Some reviewers—including this one—are dazzled, if not exactly charmed, by his excess.

      I agree with this characterization. Berlinski's can be charming. But he is still a crank, and he acknowledges that himself. His rants against the Big Bang are ill-informed and indicate that he merely enjoys stirring the pot, even though he may not have a good understanding of the subject.

      So don't shoot the messenger.

      Hoo

      Delete
    30. Hoo,

      Sorry. But I find it a critical attack piece.
      I enjoy Berlinski's works, regardless of what some hack thinks of it or what cosmological theories (speculations) he finds most attractive.
      You don't? Fine. Don't read it.
      But, I will continue to enjoy the writings he produces and investigate the criticisms he presents... unless I don't.
      A self admitted crank? That translates into a rare 'honest academic' in this soldiers view.

      Delete
    31. Big Bang cosmology is not a speculation, Crus. It's a well tested theory. Berlinski attacks it without actually understanding the theory.

      His admission of being a crank is not a sign of humility. That word does not apply to Berlinski.

      Hoo

      Delete
    32. Just in case anyone is interested in reading what Berlinski actually has to say about Big Bang theory and cosmology in general, follow this link:
      http://www.discovery.org/f/386

      Delete
    33. Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.

      Berlinski quotes Segal as an authority in cosmology. The guy is, though, a mathematician who dabbled in astronomy. Cross that one out.

      Berlinski is incredulous about the humongous energy of quasars. Hello, these are supermassive black holes at galactic centers. Their powerful radiation is fed by the gravitational energy of numerous objects falling into the black hole. Quasars were controversial in the 1980s. We're in 2013.

      He then rails about the cosmic singularity at the Big Bang. That's entirely misguided. A singularity is predicted by relativity theory, which is classical. But that's just an approximation. Close to time 0, quantum physics becomes important. It smoothes out the singularity.

      I can go on, but I hope you get my drift.

      Hoo

      Delete
    34. Hoo,
      I do get where you're coming from. Especially when you appeal to the quanta. I am no expert, but I do have a grasp.
      But let's face it: Whether you like the singularity or the horizon, these concepts are only 'provable' by the use of abstract mathematical models. This is exponentially evident when the various explanations (ie mv, strings et) are summoned up from the numbers. Further, they rely on 'constants' that we simply cannot affirm to BE constant.
      The models are great (and often fascinating) but they are obviously nowhere near complete or explanatory in the way the 'contract' Belinski writes of requires.
      What you do not seem to get, Hoo, is that he is not trying to argue against the theories themselves. Not really. Just to show how full of holes they are. Contrarian? Sceptic? Sure.
      Berlinski is just pointing out that modern cosmology is as full of mythology and appeals metaphysics as just about any ancient belief system; and that these unproven mythological (often contradictory) tales are accepted as truth.
      You, for example, state what Quasars ARE.
      Really? How many quasars have you studied up close? How many has ANYONE had the opportunity to examine in the realistic sense? What precisely is a black hole? How do you KNOW that? What I mean is, outside the realm of abstract models, what PROOF do you have that these things are not something we cannot even conceive of at this point. Something beyond the reach of our mathematics and sciences? Perhaps by a year, or a thousand years, or EVER?

      All we have are the bleeps and whines of our (newish) equipment and some maths. From this we extrapolate, speculate, and experiment.

      The guy is sceptical of people who claim to understand the universe in totality, but have no reasonable means to prove or explain their models. He is agnostic in both religion and science. I like that. It speaks to a logical, rational consistency not often found in the philosophy of science.

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    35. You can say the same thing about electrons, Crus. No one has ever seen an electron. All we have seen is light emitted by them.

      Skepticism is good in moderation. Berlinski isn't really interested in science, he is just a contrarian. In his own words:

      I have never been particularly eager to know how it is that the universe was formed, or how a magnet works, or why, for that matter, water flows downhill. … There it is—a certain implacable lack of physical curiosity.

      He can't do anything productive: got fired from almost every job [he] ever had.

      And his criticisms of scientific theories aren't deep or interesting. They're boring. He is just a flashy pretender. That he is good at. People who don't know science first hand are impressed. Scientists, not so much.

      Hoo

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    36. Crus,

      In this interview, Berlinski comes across as a pompous ass. The interviewer (Jon Witt of Discovery Institute) is clearly embarrassed by his subject's tendency to meander off the message and tries to get him back to the deep end.

      If you don't have the patience to read all the way through, scroll down to the end and read the last three paragraphs. Berlinski insists that Newtonian mechanics and relativity are genuinely incompatible with each other. This is pure bullshit. Relativity gives exactly the same description as does classical physics in the limit of slow speeds and weak gravitational fields. It is in this sense that the two theories are fully compatible. Berlinski either does not understand this or pretends not to simply to show off. Either way, the guy is a crank of the highest caliber.

      Hoo

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  10. Recent comments and quotes demonstrating the 'scientific/Darwinian' core of Nazi racial ideas are appropriate and apposite to the most recent to articles on this blog.

    However, there was another aspect Nazism. There was a corrupt and evil spiritual dimension too.

    Himmler most obviously was enthralled by these metaphysical notions of 'race war' and of 'good & evil' existing in another realm; finding expression in the physical manifestation of the different races of mankind. This is why he was so interested in reincarnation and such like.

    The Jew was regarded as being the only race on Earth that was consciously aware of it's own evil nature and it's own evil purpose. This is what the 'worldwide Jewish conspiracy' really was. 'The Protocols' were a nuts and bolts practical guide to achieving these spiritual ends here on Earth.

    Hitler was regarded as being 'the supreme Aryan' who; along with Buddha, was self consciously aware of his destiny. That destiny being to 'awaken' the Aryan race to it's true potential.

    Himmler could embarrass the Fuhrer when he spoke of these notions directly and public. At on Nuremberg rally, Hitler felt the need to disavow the Party belief in Atlantis for example (recently Himmler had spoken of it).

    All higher ranks in the SS were inculcated in these notions (what conventional Historians call 'political reliability').

    For the true Nazis, it was never just about producing a better cabbage.


    John Richardson

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Don't tell that to the cabbages, John. They'll assault you with a sheaf of book reviews.

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    2. John,

      There are no races, so there can't be a 'race war', not in a biological sense. Only in an ideological sense. The 'Protocols' (of the Elders of Zion) was a fraud, a forgery, to justify an ideological aim.

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. "For the true Nazis, it was never just about producing a better cabbage."

      I wholeheartedly agree. The biological aspect was a justification. It was the application of a theory in a way that suited them.
      There was most definitely a metaphysical aspect to the Nazis and their rise. Theirs was a truly Faustian pact.
      But let's not forget in the rush to find evidence of evil that Marlowe's Faust was a professor. Nor that his pact was made in order to convert knowledge into power.
      The lesson of the Nazis is a much more complex one than that of a single theory or belief. It is a lesson in the will and force of evil.

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    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyNovember 6, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      C-Rex: "[H]is pact was made in order to convert knowledge into power."

      "[Y]ou will be like gods..."
      --- Gen 3:5

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    3. 'It was the application of a theory in a way that suited them.'

      Indeed.
      As a further, example (tee hee) some have argued that the notion of Lebensraum operated in the same way.
      The 'public' and logical justification was 'living space'. However, the true nature of the policy was totally different. Geopolitics, as formulated by Professor Haushofer, meant that the German People should develop a 'land orientated Empire' that controlled the 'crucial' areas to East and South East because these areas 'had always controlled the destiny of the Human race' Not because of oil or arable land or whatever, but instead because these areas had a profound metaphysical importance.

      Hitle never spoke of 'living space' in any recorded speeches (according to my reading) until after his imprisonment and ongoing discussions with the Professor. Introduced to him by Hess (under whom he studied at University). Hess was a well known mystical Nazi.
      From memory, Haushofer had some Jewish blood BTW.

      JR

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    4. While I'm on the subject........

      The 'purification' of German culture was also intended to create the correct (and original) conditions for the necessary mutations in the Aryan race that would bring about the emergence of The Master Race.
      As was the use of organic farming.

      This lure of human divinity is exactly what Adm. G Boggs is referring to above.

      Of course the Bolsheviks took an alternative route to their 'perfect world' without bogus culture, money, exploitation, laws or anything else that would corrupt the perfect germ of pure unbound humanity.

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    5. JR,
      Re Lebensraum: Spot on!

      Adm.
      "[Y]ou will be like gods..."
      Precisely!

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    6. Anonymous,

      'Hitler never spoke of living space in any of his recorded speeches before his imprisonment...'

      We're talking about 2 years, between 1921 when he entered the NDSAP and the beer hall putsch in 1923. His speeches were to small groups. Who do you think was recording the speeches?

      Lebensraum was a popular German aim before the Great War. Hitler imbibed it (along with a lot of other silly ideas) at the time. Even if he didn't mention it before 1923, doesn't mean it wasn't of his core beliefs.

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    7. Bach,

      "We're talking about 2 years, between 1921 when he entered the NDSAP and the beer hall putsch in 1923. His speeches were to small groups. Who do you think was recording the speeches?"
      Pamphleteers. Party loyalists. Journalists.
      JR's use of the word 'recorded' does not imply a machine.

      "Lebensraum was a popular German aim before the Great War. Hitler imbibed it (along with a lot of other silly ideas) at the time. Even if he didn't mention it before 1923, doesn't mean it wasn't of his core beliefs."
      It doesn't mean it was, either. But, that's not the point, Bach. The discussion at hand is about his reasoning for Lebensraum as contrasted with the popular justifications.


      Delete
  12. Even Bergman admitted in his very bad book (he had to, because he otherwise wouldn't have much to pad his very bad book with) that Hitler was motivated by nationalism, anger at Germany's defeat and humiliation after the end of the Great War and the need to find a scapegoat for the mythical 'stab in the back'.

    His 'racial' policies were selective breeding of humans. Selective breeding of domestic crops and animals has been done for centuries, with great success. Are we going to blame ancient horticulturists for Hitler?

    But selective breeding of humans is madness. And also just won't work. The generation time of humans is just too long to make meaningful changes, good or bad, within human time.

    The Russians have been performing an experiment in Novosibirsk for 30 years on silver foxes, attempting to breed tameness, allowing only the most tame 10% female fox breed and the most tame 4% male fox breed (extremely severe selection) and with a 1 year generation time, they've succeeded. The foxes are very tame - they want to be handled by humans (I've been there and held one) - and the selective breeding also had unforeseen effects. The foxes look like small black and white border collies.

    Human selective breeding would take centuries, and we wouldn't be able to predict the outcome.

    Anyway. Bergman isn't much of an authority. He claimed the Holocaust started with Kristalnacht in 1938. It didn't. The Nazis before the start of the war justed wanted the Jews to leave Germany by making life difficult for them - to expel them (the Christian policy during the medieval period and later). Mass killing of Jews didn't start till after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and the the Holocaust proper didn't start till 1942 when the death camps were established.

    The German writer Sebastian Haffner reckons that Hitler's declaration of war on America in December 1941 was the longest suicide note in history (Germany wasn't obliged to declare war to support Japan, because the alliance provided for support only if Japan was attacked). Roosevelt would have had trouble declaring war on Germany otherwise.

    Haffner thinks that Germany's failure to take Moscow in December 1941 made Hitler realise he wasn't going to win war. So he decided to take as many people with him in his suicide (he expressed suicidal ideation faced with setbacks before gaining power), including the 'hated' Jews.

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