Monistic Evolutionism as a Pseudo-Paradigm
for Theories of Human Action
Hitler, Stalin, Nazism & Communism - All Undergirded by Darwinism
by Ellen Myers
Thomas S. Kuhn postulates that "(w)ithout commitment to a paradigm there could be no normal science."1 By "paradigm" he understands a body or combination of research-governing theories. Among Kuhn's examples of paradigms is the Darwinian concept of evolution by natural selection "resulting from mere competition between organism for survival. ... in the absence of a specified goal."2
Whether Kuhn is generally correct about the need for commitment to a paradigm in the pursuit of "normal science" may be debatable. With regard to the Darwinian paradigm in particular there is much evidence to show that it is not only not needed for scientific research but may be positively misleading. Thus Professor William R. Thompson wrote in his introduction to the 1956 Everyman's Library edition of the Origin of Species:
Darwin's conviction that evolution is the result of natural selection, acting on small fortuitous variations, says Guye' not, was to delay the progress of investigations on evolution by half a century. Really fruitful researches on heredity did not begin until the rediscovery in 1900 of the fundamental work of Mendel, published in 1865 and owing nothing to the work of Darwin.3
The story of Gregor Mendel has been well told by Loren Eiseley who points out that "Mendel . . . had intuitively grasped what seemingly no one else of his generation understood; namely, that until we had some idea of the mechanisms which controlled organic persistence we would be ill-equipped to understand what it was that produced evolutionary change. . . Mendel was fascinated by stability."4 In other words, by basing his research on the principle of stability or permanent norm, the exact opposite of evolution or universal flux, Mendel obtained scientifically significant results.
The science of taxonomy, or classification of biological organisms, was severely hampered by adherence to the Darwinian paradigm. Thompson devoted much space to this fact. He mentioned, for instance, that
by plausible but unconvincing arguments zoologists have "demonstrated" the descent of the Vertebrates from almost every group of the Invertebrates. During the thirty years from 1870 to 1900, there was an immense concentration of effort on embryology, inspired by the "biogenetic law." (This "law", now rejected as inaccurate, was proposed by Darwin's German popularizer Ernst Haeckel, and stated that embryonic development recapitulates an organism's evolutionary ancestry.) .
Taxonomists also followed the trend, constructing hypothetical ancestors for their groups. . . . A long-enduring and regrettable effect of the success of the Origin was the addiction of biologists to unverifiable speculation.6
Thompson felt that whatever valuable information was gathered in such studies "could have been obtained more effectively on a purely objective basis."8
Classical Darwinism was gradually stripped of glaring scientific inaccuracies (such as Darwin's theories of pangenesis, saltative evolution, and sexual selection). However, Thompson's critique of the deleterious impact of classical Darwinism upon biological research is confirmed and expanded by contemporary experience with the modern neo-Darwinian paradigm. On November 5,1981 Dr. Colin Patterson, a senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, spoke to over fifty classification specialists and guests at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He stated that the effects of the Darwinist theory of common ancestry (shared by both classical and neo-Darwinism) upon systematics had not merely been lack of knowledge but "positively anti-knowledge." Patterson came to this conclusion based upon results obtained in research of molecular homology, and amino acid and nucleotide sequence studies.7
Another crucial example is the total absence of undisputed missing links in the fossil record despite over one hundred years of diligent worldwide search. This "stasis" in the fossil record was admitted at a conference of over 150 leading evolutionist scientists at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in October 1980.8 According to the Darwinist paradigm innumerable such missing links should have been found due to its theory of gradual change from simple to complex organisms over eons of time. At the present time the scientific validity of the Darwinist paradigm in the natural sciences is so tenuous that alternative evolutionist paradigms are being proposed. Some scientists refuse to commit themselves to belief in any evolutionist paradigm whatever due to the apparent absence of any plausible scientific mechanisms. Yet others have turned to creationism for the same reason.9
The above information shows that there are deep problems with Darwinism as a paradigm for the natural sciences. Since Darwinism seemed to furnish a scientific (rather than metaphysical or supernatural) explanation for the development of the universe as we now observe it, students and pioneers of the social sciences the disciplines dealing with man have eagerly seized upon it to solidify and enhance their various theories of human action. However, neither classical nor modern Darwinism, nor any blend of Darwinism with other monist evolutionist streams of thought such as Spencerism or Lamarckism, have been able to direct the social sciences in a trustworthy manner. We shall consider the effects of Darwinism and related monistic evolutionist thought as a pseudo-paradigm for theories of human action in the remainder of this paper.
In her extensive discussion of Darwinism's impact upon politics and society Gertrude Himmelfarb speaks of Darwinism's "inadequacy as a social theory" and points out that "in the spectrum of opinion that went under the name of social Darwinism almost every variety of belief was included."10 Jacques Barzun found that from about the turn of our century through World War I all political parties in every European country, no manner how mutually antagonistic, "invoked Spencer and Darwin."11 A British author, Greta Jones, has recently written that a comprehensive study "will . . . inevitably and rightly emphasize the fragmented, contradictory character of social Darwinism."12 Robert C. Bannister has thoroughly investigated the impact of Darwinism and related, intermingled streams of monist evolutionism upon social movements and theories. He reports that already in the 1 880s the phrase "social Darwinism" meant "brutal individualism" for some and at the same time a new rationale for social reform and class struggle for others.12 This ambivalence and resulting confusion led Eric F. Goldman to distinguish between "social" and "reform" Darwinism.14 In tacit disagreement with Goldman, Bannister argues that "Darwinism was neither neutral nor inherently conservative" and that the "reform" Darwinists' "theory that human control must replace the laws of nature was the accurate reading of Darwin's theory."15 The overall thrust of Bannister's discussion is a revision of the notion, also fostered by Richard Hofstadter's classic work Social Darwinism in American Thought, that laissez-faire individualist competition is the correct meaning of the term "social Darwinism." However that may be, the fact is that both laissez-faire, individualist free market economists as well as their opponents have leaned upon Darwinism or related evolutionist world views to this day for epistemological support.15
While Bannister and other sources are careful to point out that Charles Darwin himself might not have endorsed certain views claimed to be derived from his writings, they also agree that there was ample room for divergent interpretations of the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man This was evident already in the social theories of leading Darwinian evolutionists of Darwin's own generation. Thus Thomas H. Huxley, "Darwin's Bulldog," thought that Darwinian "natural selection" undergirded state socialism since nature provided examples of socialism in the societies of bees and ants. Alfred Russel Wallace on the other hand saw sharp differences between animals and men as well as between savages and civilized men, so that in his opinion natural selection did not even apply to civilized nations.17 Barzun has shown in meticulous detail that such ambiguities were compounded by the lack of clarity in Darwin's writing style, by Darwin's hedging and self-contradiction, and by his vacillation over and modification of his theories in successive editions of Origins.18
Now a distinction between "nature" in general and "man" in particular may seem specious or objectionable to those who believe that Darwin's greatest accomplishment is his abolition of man's status as somehow essentially different from the rest of nature. Thus Eiseley concludes his admiring portrait of Darwin and his work by praising him for "one of the most tremendous insights a living being ever had." It was the vision of man's and animals' "origin in one common ancestor we may be all melted together." Eiseley commends this "statement of almost clairvoyant perception" and regrets that "very few youths today ... are capable of saying to themselves, 'We are all one all melted together.' "19 (He wrote this before the spread of monistic pantheistic and occult thought and Eastern religious mysticism among Western young people in the 1 960s and `70s.) Yet it is just this purported essential oneness between man and nature which lies at the root of the real and overwhelming problems with applying Darwinism and other varieties of monistic evolutionism to human action.
Darwin himself laid his finger on the fundamental trouble with monistic evolutionism. In 1881 he wrote in a private letter:
But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?20
This statement points to another problem for man related to his doubtful status within nature. Since man must determine what human action shall count as "right" or "wrong," he must decide which aspects of nature, both outside and within himself he should choose as guides. But since nature presents mutually contradictory behavior of ruthlessness and brutality "red in tooth and claw" as well as of empathy and cooperation, diametrically opposite choices for human individual and social action are plausible and of equal "validity." We have seen this dilemma already with the individualist and socialist schools of economics. A similar situation prevails with regard to war. Both defenses and rejections of war and imperialist or racist policies based on Darwinism and related monistic evolutionist thought are described in many sources for this paper. The most detailed discussion of this area is given by Bannister,21 and especially by Richard Hofstadter in a brilliant analysis of racism and imperialism from 1898 to the end of World War 1.22 It is worth quoting Hofstadter's concluding paragraph almost in full:
Vernon Kellogg, a biologist who had become acquainted with several German military leaders while serving under Herbert Hoover in Belgium during the First World War, reported in a volume on his experiences that the philosophy of the foe was a crude Darwinism ruthlessly applied to the affairs of nations. Coming to the attention of William Jennings Bryan, Kellogg's book reinforced his fundamentalist conviction of the inherent evilness of evolutionary ideas and his determination to wage a crusade against them. . . . For many years Bryan had been troubled about the possible social implications of Darwinism. In 1905 E.A. Ross, then teaching at Nebraska University, had found Bryan reading The Descent of Man, and Bryan had told him that such teachings would "weaken the cause of democracy and strengthen class pride and the power of wealth." Here, as in other matters, Bryan had sound intuitions that his intellect had not the power to discipline.23
The development of racist attitudes can also be traced directly to monistic evolutionism seeing man as simply an extension of the rest of nature, and of the animal realm in particular. The relative "progress" up from animal status made by various branches of mankind then becomes the "standard" of realized humanhood. This is exactly the way in which early (nineteenth-century) anthropology applied the Darwinist paradigm to classify human societies according to their supposed ascending stages of civilization, placing Western civilization at the top. Civilization was held to be a function of innate racial aptitude. This school of anthropology persisted until Franz Boas initiated
the new anthropology. . . in which the simple evolutionary dogmas, the egotistical European judgments of primitives, and the mechanical notions of culture by diffusions and imitation were discarded in favor of renewed empirical observation.24
Boas did not deny the cultural superiority of Europeans but attributed it "to the circumstances of their historical development rather than to inherent capacities."25 Racist tendencies in anthropology were arrested by Boas and his successors (such as Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict). However, modern anthropology is still committed to monist evolutionism (usually neo-Darwinism), and has therefore replaced the "standard" of cultural stages and racial aptitude by a thoroughgoing cultural and historical relativism proclaiming that no culture or custom is better or worse than any other. Obviously this relativism is also consistent with monist evolutionism in which all phenomena of all-embracing "nature" are essentially one.
Thomas H. Huxley gradually and reluctantly concluded that ethical relativism or even a total ethical void is inevitable in a Darwinist evolutionist world. In his essay "The Struggle for Existence in Human Society" (1888) and especially in his famous Romanes lecture on "Evolution and Ethics" (May 1893) Huxley denied that man could be guided by nature. He also noted in his essay that Darwinism did not necessarily imply progress, but that "retrogression was as likely a phase of evolution as progression."26 He was thus among the first to oppose the evolutionist optimism of his time, which has been exploded by the social catastrophes of our own century.
Huxley also was among the first to recognize the deep and perennial danger to mankind from the arrogance and fundamental ignorance of an elite among men aspiring to direction of the future. He warned against "the regimentation of the. . . eugenicists, who would try to enforce upon society the notions of fit and unfit derived from nature. . . . it was dangerous . . . to assume that any one man or group of men could have so preternatural an intelligence as to enable them to determine the 'points' of a good or bad citizen, in the way breeders judge the points of a calf."27 Huxley's prophetic fear is echoed by a thoughtful twentieth-century historian of Darwinist thought John C. Greene:
Man's increasing mastery of nature did not imply his increasing mastery of himself. To the very end many remained the creature as well as the creator of human progress. Every step upward in the knowledge and control of nature augmented his power for evil along with his power for good. Whether one expected this growing power to be used for good rather than evil depended in the last analysis on one's estimate of human nature.22
These warnings were well founded. Already in Huxley's lifetime the "eugenicists" whom he suspected of dangerous elitist ambitions had begun their work. The founder of the eugenics movement was a cousin of Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911). Mark A. Hailer writes that
In its modern guise eugenics was the legitimate offspring of Darwinian evolution, a natural and doubtless inevitable outgrowth of currents of thought that developed from the publication in 1859 of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. 29
In support of this statement HaIler cites the following words of Darwin from the Descent of Man:
We civilized men . . . build asylums for the imbeciles 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. . . Thus the weak members of civilized 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.30
Galton "claimed that eugenics was practical Darwinism. His intention was. . to see what the theory of heredity, of variations and the principle of natural selection mean when applied to Man.' "31 According to Jones, eugenics was "a combination of the language of natural selection with highly partial and contentious social judgments on the relative worth of different sections of the population."32 Jones also points out the connection between Darwinism, eugenics and the population theories of Thomas Malthus.33 Bannister reports that since about 1910 historians "have viewed eugenics as the most enduring form of social Darwinism, indeed perhaps the only true form."34 He ranks eugenicists with the reform Darwinists, but "they differed from those who preferred environmental or sociological reforms in that they preferred to work directly on man's physical constitution . . . eugenicists attempted literally to weed the human garden."35
The eugenics movement was the first large-scale attempt by a self-styled elite among men to treat their fellow men as "nothing-but" nature, as domestic animals to be bred or as a garden to be weeded. By operating under the Darwinist evolutionist paradigm with its purported scientific validity, they could and did see themselves quite sincerely (and were widely accepted) as the scientific guardians and promoters of evolutionary progress. Their duty, as they saw it within the monist evolutionist scheme, was the transvaluation of Western traditional civilization and its supposedly obsolete virtue of charity towards the weak. They also took it upon themselves to select the humans "worthy" to be propagated, and those "unworthy" and therefore to be eliminated. They called this choice "positive" and "negative" eugenics, a terminology going back to Francis Galton.36
The most influential eugenics organization in the world was established in the United States, and enjoyed its greatest success between 1905 and 1930. It then faded into relative obscurity until its resurgence in connection with modern genetic engineering, sociobiology, and a neo-Malthusian push for population control. In describing the latter development, Ted Howard and Jeremy Rifkin have written:
The concept of perfecting the human race (or parts of it) through biological redesign has spawned some of the most controversial and brutal social and political movements of the twentieth century. . . This symbiotic relationship between genetic engineering and social policies and visions, each feeding on the other, each unable to exist without the other, found its high-water mark in the genetic policies of Hitler's Third Reich between 1932 (sic) and 1945.
What is less well known is that long before Hitler's rise to power, American geneticists and social ideologues had begun working closely together to fashion similar technologies and programs .
Galton's rationale for a eugenics program was expressed in explicit monist evolutionist and racist terms:
There is nothing either in the history of domestic animals or in that of evolution to make us doubt that a race of sane men may be formed, who shall be as much superior mentally and morally to the modern Europeans, as the modern European is to the lowest of the Negro races.38
Galton proceeded with a transvaluation of civilization and charity anticipating Nietzche and Hitler. "Charity, said Galton, should
help the strong rather than the weak, and the man of tomorrow rather than the man of today . . . there exists a sentiment for the most part quite unreasonable against the gradual extinction of an interior race.39
In the late 1 880s the German scientist August Weismann showed experimentally that characteristics acquired from the environment could not be inherited. His work was "wrongly applied by many to justify a rigid hereditarianism many (geneticists). . . became pessimistic about. . improving defective individuals through environmental agencies, a pessimism which heightened their interest in eugenics as a method to improve the race."40 Eugenicists came to look upon their programs as the fulfillment of "a religious duty imposed by the theory of evolution, many of them even calling the movement a secular religion."41
Eugenicists put earlier racial theories into an evolutionary framework. "Following a common misinterpretation of Darwinism, they postulated a unilinear vertical progression from the lowest to the highest."42 At the top were the "Nordics," "a very tall race of blue-eyed blonds ... In general, eugenicists believed that the 'Nordic' race possessed a monopoly of desirable characteristics, physical and mental, thereby standing as the superior race."43 Even Southern and Eastern Europeans were deemed of inferior stock.
Eugenics' "finest hour" arrived in 1924 when an immigration law was passed by Congress due to eugenicists' efforts. The law restricted immigration to 2 percent of the foreign-born from each country according to the 1890 census in order to preserve a "nordic" balance among the American population. This law remained in effect until 1 965.44
American eugenicists also brought about the enactment of sterilization laws in thirty states between 1907 and 1931. The guiding spirit behind this drive was Harry H. Laughlin, assistant director of the prestigious Eugenics Record Office in Cold Springs Harbor, New York. Laughlin drafted a model law calling for the sterilization of
all those who were potential parents of socially inadequate offspring. The socially inadequate, by his definition, consisted of the feebleminded, insane, criminalistic ("including the delinquent and wayward"), epileptic, inebriate, diseased, blind, deaf, deformed, and dependent ("including orphans, ne'er-do-wells, the homeless, tramps and paupers").45
"American laws ... were pioneering ventures watched by eugenicists of other lands."46 In Canada Alberta and British Columbia passed sterilization laws in 1928 and 1933. Denmark passed the first sterilization law in Europe, followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.47 The English eugenicists, by contrast, never enjoyed significant political or scientific influence.48
The Nazis launched their sterilization program in 1933. In 1936, "the University of Heidelberg awarded an honorary degree to Harry Laughlin for his great contribution to the field of eugenics."49 The ill repute of the Nazi eugenics program in both its bizarre "positive" and especially its infamous "negative" aspects finally brought the worldwide eugenics movement to a temporary halt.50
The connection between National Socialism and Darwinism probably does not come as a surprise to anyone. The chief popularizer of Darwinist evolutionism and related evolutionist thought in Germany was Ernst Haeckel (18341919). He was a noted zoologist who taught at the University of Jena most of his adult life. His first book, Generelle Morphologie, published in 1866, was an attempt
to subsume all of science under Darwinian principles and guidelines. . Along with his social Darwinist followers, he set about to demonstrate the "aristocratic" and non-democratic character of the laws of nature up to his death in 1919, Haeckel contributed to that special variety of German thought which served as the seed-bed for National Socialism. He became one of Germany's major ideologists for racism, nationalism, and imperialism.61
Haeckel's reputation as a scientist attracted many German teachers and academicians to his pantheist, monist and mystic-romantic brand of Darwinism. He propagated his thought through his work in zoology, but especially in his widely read books. The most famous of these is the Weltraersel (Riddle of the Universe), which was first published in 1899. It quickly became Germany's most popular philosophical work, sold more than a hundred thousand copies in the first year after its appearance, was translated into about twenty-five languages, and almost half a million copies had been bought in Germany alone by 1933.52
The Wettraersel announced that the science of nature offered a modern religious faith, a message welcomed by "large segments of the semi-educated masses of the German population." Haeckel's followers saw him as their emancipator from the shackles of Biblical Christianity (much as Darwin's early followers saw Darwin); they also received him as a prophet of the national and racial regeneration of Germany. One reader of the Weltraetsel acknowledged his debt to this book as having shown him how the Germanic races "were without doubt at the highest stage of evolution,"53
Eventually Haeckel founded the International Monist League (Monistenbund) on January11, 1906 at Jena. Its first president was a radical Protestant theologian, Dr. Albert Kaithoff. Other important participants included well known German romantic novelists and literary critics; Dr. Arnold Dodel, an early exponent of Haeckelian Darwinism; Dr. Johannes Unold, who had written on evolution and politics; and the German Nobel-Prize winning chemist, Wilhelm Ostwald, who directed the Monist League with Haeckel's assent after 1911. Within its first five years the Monist League grew to some six thousand members and maintained local group meetings in about forty-two localities throughout Germany and Austria. It published a monthly journal, later appearing weekly under the title Das Monistische Jahrhundert (The Monist Century), as well as pamphlets and a youth magazine, Sonne (Sun) It also disseminated its philosophy through the "Weimar Kartel," an umbrella organization for various free-thought movements endeavoring to "centralize opposition to the Christian churches and to organize systematic departure from the traditional faiths."64 In September, 1911, an International Congress of Monism was held in Hamburg, "with delegates from all over the world including the American free thinker from the University of Chicago, Thaddeus Burr Wakeman, and Paul Carus, editor of the Chicago based journal, The MonIst "5~
Pursuant to the doctrines of Haeckelian Darwinism, "the most important social consequence of Darwinism and evolutionary biology was its demonstration of the animal origin and nature of man.. . . it was this incontestable fact which invalidated all traditional conceptions of his political and social possibilities. `56 The Christian concept of man's creation in the image of God according to the Bible was of course rejected totally." 'Natural selection in the struggle for life,' Haeckel wrote, 'acts so as to transform human society just as it modifies animals and plants.' . . . To the Monists . . . civilization as a distinctively human creation literally did not exist."57 Daniel Gasman perceptively contrasts the Monists with Sigmund Freud and his followers,
who under the influence of the new biology also turned their attention to the importance of the biological and instinctual nature of man. Whereas Freud, however, sought to caution society. . of the danger inherent in allowing man's animal and sexual instincts to have free reign, the Monists . argued . . . (that man) could only weaken himself by attempting to impose upon life an erroneous intellectualism and rationalism.. . . For Haeckel and the Monists. . .there could be no humanistic cultural triumph over the forces of man's animal nature and character.58
The Monists opposed all ideas of mankind's essential equality, opting instead for racism based on external physical characteristics. They also saw individual human persons as useful only within a context of subservience and usefulness to "its own species and to the evolution of life in general."59 The Monists gloried in the fact that they had no absolute ethics, believing like Huxley, but without qualms, that no objective values could be found in nature. Like early anthropologists such as Cesare Lombroso in Italy and Karl Pearson in England who used the now thoroughly discredited technique of "anthropometry" to measure people's worth, Haeckel and the Monists believed that a person 5 physical appearance truly showed his or her inward qualities.
The Monists attacked Christianity's teaching of the unique and inviolable worth of each and every human being derived from man's creation in the image of the transcendent personal God of the Bible, because this doctrine had "mistakenly protected the weak members of society."60 Haeckel's Weltraersel "became, by its popularity, the anti-Christian manifesto par excellence of the first decade of this century."61 The Monists saw their evolutionist scheme as a religion of pantheism. Their philosophy is consistent with Darwinism and also with panpsychism and vitalism, and with evolution by occult "forces." Not surprisingly, Haeckel adhered to biological theories of the German evolutionist poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, of Darwin's predecessor Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and he was "one of the major intellectual mentors of Germany's leading theosophist, Rudolf Steiner. In the 1890's both Steiner and Haeckel corresponded with one another and both wrote that they shared a common basic outlook on the nature of the world."62
In the last year of his life Haeckel became a member of the newly formed Thule Gesellschaft, a secret, radically right-wing organization which played a key role in the establishment of the Nazi movement. Other members of the Thule included future Nazis like Dietrich Eckart, Gottfried Feder, and Rudolf Hess. Hitler and Anton Drexler attended meetings of the Thule as guests.62 Haeckel and the Monists stood for authoritarian state power in a fascist style corporative and racist state, seeing its evolutionary rationale in the societies of bees and ants (just as Huxley had done for socialism). They embraced a return to brutality in human relations and especially in government policies toward the eugenically undesirable. "For most of the Monists, the main task of the state was to insure the survival and reproduction of only the biologically fittest individuals."64
Far in advance of not only the Nazi policy of extermination of the "unfit," but also of similar attitudes among doctors, judges, legislators and philosophers in America and the world today, Haeckel asserted that "the 'destruction of abnormal new-born infants' could not be 'rationally' classified as 'murder' as is 'done in modern legal works.' One should regard it rather. . as a 'practice of advantage both to the infants destroyed and to the community.' ~ This philosophy was spelled out in detail by a German jurist, Professor Karl Binding, and Professor and Doctor of Medicine Alfred Hoche in their book The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, published in 1920, the year after Haeckel's death.66 Leo Alexander, an official American medical expert at the German Doctors Trial in Nuremberg after World War II, has written:
Even before the Nazis took open charge in Germany, a propaganda barrage was directed against the traditional compassionate . . . attitudes toward the chronically ill . . Sterilization and euthanasia of persons with chronic mental illnesses was discussed at a meeting of Bavarian psychiatrists in 1931. By 1936 extermination of the physically or socially unfit was so openly accepted that its practice was mentioned incidentally in an article published in an official German medical journal.67
The much publicized April 1982 case of "Infant Doe" in Bloomington, Indiana, constitutes a revival of such beliefs and practices. In this instance, a newborn baby with Down's Syndrome (mongolism) and also a life-endangering obstruction of the esophagus was permitted by the Indiana Supreme Court to be "medically treated" by starvation ending in death, although the esophagus obstruction could have been surgically corrected. In view of this and similar instances (though the Infant Doe case is the first one in American jurisprudence with court approval), the following statement by Hoche in 1920 is representative of both the "old" and the "new" mentality towards weak and defenseless members of mankind:
There were times. . . when the elimination of babies born unviable or persons who later became unviable were quite common. Then came the phase. . . during which the support of every existence no matter how worthless has become the highest moral norm. A new time will come when we no longer in the name of higher morality will carry out this demand that has its origin in an exaggerated idea of humanity.68
The Nazis' idea for a "final solution" for the "unfit" was shared by the Swiss eugenicist and Monist, Dr. August Fore. He wrote in 1937 that "modern science had to know 'which races can be of service in the further evolution of mankind, and which are useless. And if the lowest races are useless, how can they be gradually extinguished.' "69 Many other direct personal and organizational links between Monism and National Socialism have been painstakingly researched by Gasman, who also shows that anti-semitism was common to both. Gasman refers to Hitler's own exposure to Haeckel as proven, for instance, by Hitler's knowledge of Haeckel's opposition to Christianity.70
Of particular interest to the present discussion is the monist-evolutionist philosophy of history common to both Haeckel and Hitler. The English historian, Norman Cohn, thought that Hitler's philosophy had "a certain crazy originality. As Hitler sees it, human history forms part of nature . . . Nature demands inequality, hierarchy, subordination of the inferior to the superior but human history consisted of a series of revolts against this natural order Gasman rightly denies that "crazy originality" on the part of Hitler was involved in this philosophy; it rather was "only a simple repetition of Haeckel's historical views."71
Like Haeckel, and for that matter like Darwin, Hitler stressed and singled out the idea of biological evolution as the most forceful weapon against traditional religion and he repeatedly condemned Christianity for its opposition to the teachings of evolution. For Hitler evolution was the hallmark of modern science and culture, and he defended its veracity as tenaciously as Haeckel.72
The basic problem for man at the center of all monistic evolutionism man's place within "nature" also plagued Haeckel and the Nazis. Although Darwinism was part of the biology curriculum in Germany's public schools under the Nazis, Haeckel's work was hardly mentioned except for presentation of his now discredited "biogenetic law." This was because the Nazis were reluctant to mention the descent of the vaunted Aryan "race" from inferior animal stock. Gasman's concluding sentence is relevant not only to Haeckel and Hitler but to all monist evolutionists: "Haeckel and the Monists had also tried to disseminate their belief in man's immutability in a world which by the fundamental tenets of their own theory was assumed to be constantly in motion."73
The acceptance of certain basic ideas of Darwinism and related monist evolutionism by Karl Marx and his followers has been investigated and confirmed many times. Marx praised Darwin's 0rigin of Species in particular because "the death blow (is) dealt here for the first time to teleology in the natural sciences."74 Gasman states that Marx discovered in Darwinism "a scheme of development, similar to his own, which excluded the intervention of both God and man. For Darwin, nature evolved inexorably and alone, free of outside interference. For Marx, the course of history was determined largely by the unconscious operation of the forces and relations of material production."75 In Marxism, or "dialectic materialism", we thus encounter a form of monist evolutionism which is no longer troubled at all about the implications of man's essential oneness with nature. For Marxists, this essential oneness of man with nature does not impede in the least human elitist direction of the future evolutionary process. It is taken for granted that such direction of the future is in the hands of a human elite, the Communist Party or "vanguard of the proletariat," which may and indeed must inevitably treat other human beings as just so many bits of inferior, expendable nature. Hence the torture chambers, show trials, and millions of corpses in the Communist Gulag empires. It is only when here and there orthodox Marxists and other materialist monist evolutionists receive a glimpse of the existence and reality of that which they deny exists the human soul, perhaps their own soul, usually in extremity of suffering that they may abandon their evolutionist faith. They may then, in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's words, have their "measuring cup returned to them" in the Biblical Christian faith.76
Much additional information is available on the harmful influence of Darwinist and related monist evolutionary thought upon theories of human action. Only some of it could be introduced within the limited space of this paper. As shown, Darwinism, though increasingly untenable on purely natural scientific grounds, and though ambiguous and hazy in its key concepts, lent the prestige of supposedly proven science to monistic evolutionism. Thus it enabled the leaders of mutually opposed and sometimes ruthless and elitist social and political movements to claim a scientific justification for their systems. Darwinism aggravated and put in clear focus the reduction of man to mere "nature," a reduction inherent in all monist evolutionist thought. This reductionist view of man lies at the root of the inadequacy of Darwinism and related evolutionist thought as a paradigm for theories of human action and hence for the social sciences because these sciences center upon man himself as their object of study. This view of man also accounts for the elitist and "inhuman" aspects of eugenics, Haeckelian Monism, National Socialism and Marxism, because these movements represent most clearly the concrete application of monist evolutionism to man seen as "nothing-but" nature.
The hostility of monist evolutionary thought in general, and Darwinism in particular, to Biblical Christianity has been referred to recurrently in this study. It has been shown that this hostility exists precisely because Biblical Christianity views man as essentially different from and superior to nature due to his creation in the image of the God of creation ex nihilo. The information presented in this paper about the anti-human effects of the evolutionist paradigm should be kept in mind when choosing between evolutionism and the Biblical Christian world view.
1 Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, IL University of Chicago Press, Second Edition, Enlarged, 1970), 100.
2 Ibid, 172.
3 William R. Thompson, Introduction to the Everyman's Library Edition of The Origin of Species (London. England: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.. 1956, reprinted with permission by the British Evolution Protest Movement, Selsey, Sussex, England, 1967), 16.
4 Loren Eiseley, Darwin's Century (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books Edition, 1962), 208.
5 Thompson, op. cit. 16.
6 Idem. This entire introduction to the Origin of Species is dedicated to the exposure of the many grave inadequacies of the Darwinian paradigm in biology. The author was professor of entomology at the University of Toronto, Canada, and knighted for his professional accomplishments.
7 Reported in Acts and Facts, published by the Institute for Creation Research, 2100 Greenfield Drive, El Cajon, CA 92021, June 1982. For other accounts dealing with the many scientific inadequacies of Darwinism in biology, see Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried (New York: Dell Publishing Co.. Inc., First Delta Printing, August 1973); Anthony Standen, Science is A Sacred Cow (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1950, Dutton Paperback, n.d.), 100-107. Jacques Barzun, Darwin, Marx, Wagner (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books Edition, 1958 (contains a masterful critique of Darwin's work which is yet scrupulously fair to Darwin as a person. For a revisionist view of neo-Darwinism (and classical Darwinism) from the evolutionist perspective, see Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin (NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 1977, First Norton Paperback 1979).
8 Reported in Roger Lewin, "Evolutionary Theory under Fire," Science, Vol. 210.21 November 1980,884. Also see Nicky Perlas, "NeoDarwinism Challenged at A,AAS Annual Meeting" in Towards. Vol.2, No.2, Spring 1982, 29-31, on reconsideration of NeoDarwinism by major evolutionist scientists at a symposium on Darwinism under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Washington, D.C., January 3-8.1982.
9 The so-called "punctuated equilibrium" theory has been proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge in the late 1970s as an alternative to Darwinism. It is reminiscent of Darwin's discarded idea of saltative evolution, and also of the equally discarded "hopeful monster" theory suggested by Dr. Richard Goldschmidt in 1940 in view of the many insurmountable difficulties with the Darwinian paradigm. For the latter, see Macbeth, op. cit., Chapter 17, 152-163.
Scientists rejecting commitment to any evolutionary paradigm whatever include the French contemporary scientist Remy Chauvin, who wrote: the thing which naturally exasperates the mechanists is the fact that there is no explanation. . . No, I have none. I simply propose to search. . . I think. . that Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, and in great part the old forms of Lamarckianism, are nothing more than the childhood hypotheses of biology."
Quoted from Chauvin's essay in George N. Shuster and Ralph E. Thorson, editors, Evolution in Perspective: Commentaries in Honor of Pierre Lecomte de Nouy (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 19701, 69.
For scientists turning to creationism due to the absence of plausible evolutionary mechanisms, see Gary E. Parker, From Evolution to Creation A Personal Testimony (San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers, 1977).
10 Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1962), 426, 431.
11 Barzun, op. cit. 94.
12 Greta Jones, Social Darwinism in English Thought Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, Inc., 1980, ix.
13 Robert C. Bannister, Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in AngloAmerican Thought (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1979), 4.
14 Eric F. Goldman, Rendezvous With Destiny (NY: Random House Vintage Books, 1955), 71ff.
15 Bannister, op. cit, 15.
16 The noted free market economists of our generation, Milton Friedman of the Chicago School of economics, and Frederick A. Hayek of the Austrian School, base their systems upon explicitly evolutionist thought. So did Ludwig von Mises, the founder of the Austrian School. Cf. Gary North, The Dominion Covenant (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1982), passim.
17 Bannister, op. cit, 31, 32.
18 Barzun, op. cit. 74-86. Barzun concludes: "Whatever other descriptions might be preferred, the Fragmentary Man that Darwin was does not belong with the great thinkers of mankind." (85-86)
19 Eiseley, op. cit.. 351,352.
20 Darwin's letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, in Francis Darwin, editor, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol.1 ,285 (New York: Basic Books, 1959), quoted in John C. Greene, The Death of Adam (Ames, IA: The Iowa State University Press, 1959), 336.
21 Bannister, op. cit, Chapter 12, 226-242.
22 Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston, MA: The Beacon Press, Revised Edition, 1955), Chapter 9,170-200. Also cf. Jones, op. cit, 140-159.
23 Hofstadter, op. cit. 199-200.
24 Barzun, op. cit. 347.
26 Hofstadter, op. cit, 193.
26 Himmelfarb, op. cit, 404. Also cf. Bannister, op. cit, 142-150.
27 Himmelfarb, op. Cit. 407.
28 Greene, Op. cit. 337.
29 Mark H. Hailer, Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1963), 3-4.
30 Ibid, 4.
31 Jones, Op. Cit.. 99.
32 Ibid, 101.
33 Ibid, 102-103.
34 Bannister, Op. Cit., 165.
35 Ibid, 166.
36 Kenneth M. Ludmerer, Genetics and American Society (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1972), 7,8; Jones, op. cit.. 115.
37 Ted Howard and Jeremy Rifkin, Who Shall Play God? (NY: Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1977, First Laurel Printing October 1980), 44.
38 Ibid. 51.
39 Ibid, 52.
40 Ludmerer, op. cit.. 39.
41 Ibid. 17; see also statements by Galton and other leading eugenicists, Ibid. 17-18.
42 Ibid, 22.
44 Howard and Rifkin, op. Cit. 66-70.
45 Hailer, op. cit.. 133.
46 Ibid, 135.
47 Ibid, 139.
48 Ludmerer, op. cit.. 156-157.
49 Howard and Rifkin. Op. Cit., 75.
50 For the most bizarre Nazi "positive" eugenics program, the Lebensborn project to breed and also to kidnap "Nordic" children, see Marc Hillel and Clarisse Henry, Of Pure Blood, translated from the French by Eric Mossbacher (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1976).
For a detailed and shattering account to eliminate "useless eaters" by way of Nazi "negative eugenics" in actual practice, see Fredric Wertham, MD, A Sign for Cain (NY: The Macmillan Company, 1966), Ch. 9, "The Geranium in the Window."
Wertham reports that children who had badly molded ears, or were bedwetters, or who had problems at school, and German World War I veterans who were amputees were eliminated as "useless eaters." Only a very few brave Catholic and Protestant Christian leaders dared speak out against this program.
51 Daniel Gasman, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism: Social Darwinism in Ernst Haeckel and the German Monist League (New York: The American Elsevier Publishing Co., 1971), xvi. xvii.
52 Ibid, 14.
53 Ibid. 16.
54 Ibid, 22.
55 Note 59 to Chapter 2, 52-53.
56 Ibid, 31-32.
57 Ibid. 34,35.
58 Ibid. 35-36. Also cf. Rousas J. Rushdoony, Freud Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1965, 1979).
59 Gasman, Op. Cit., 48.
60 Ibid. 36.
61 Ibid. 60.
62 Ibid, Note 44 to Chapter 3, 79.
63 Ibid, Note 104 to Chapter 1,30. For the Thule Gesellschaft as an occult group, see Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The Morning of the Magicians (New York: Avon Books, 1968).
64 Gasman, op. Cit.. 91.
66 This book has been translated from the German and reprinted in 1975 by Dr. Robert L. Sassone. It may be ordered at $1.50 per copy (pb.. ppd.) from Dr. Sassone, 900 N. Broadway, Suite 725, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
67 In the New England Journal of Medicine. 241:39-47, 1949, quoted in Binding and Hoche, Op. cit.. 104, by Dr. Sassone.
Ibid. 40. Cf. also an editorial on "a new medical ethic" in California Medicine official journal of the California Medical Association, Vol.113, No.3, September 1970, reprinted in full.
68 Ibid. 72-75.
69 Gasman, Op. Cit., Note 52 to Chapter 4,103.
70 Ibid. 161ff.
71 Ibid, 166.
72 Ibid. 168.
73 Ibid. 174.
74 Quoted in Himmelfarb. op. Cit., 421.
75 Gasman, op. Cit., 107.
76 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, Vol.11, Prts. lIl-IV (NY: Harper & Row, 1975), 611 if. Poem on p.614-615.