Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Infamous Fascist Coalition: Darwin Hitler Haeckel

Ernst Haeckel, the foremost representative of Charles Darwin and Social Darwinism in Germany, made the following comment after reading The Origin of Species:
... [I] found in Darwin's great unified conception of nature and in his overwhelming foundation for the doctrine of evolution the solution of all the doubts which had bothered me since the beginning of my biological studies.1
Haeckel imagined that Darwin's book had lifted all his doubts, but was of course mistaken. The theory of evolution, formulated under the primitive conditions of the time, was unable to advance a valid, consistent and (even more importantly) scientific explanation of how life began. In The Wonders of Life, Haeckel summed up his irrational views regarding the human races that he had developed on the basis of Darwinism:
Though the great differences in the mental life and the civilization of the higher and lower races of men are generally known, they are, as a rule, undervalued, and so the value of life at different levels is falsely estimated. … [The] lower races (such as the Veddahs or Australian Negroes) are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes and dogs) than to civilized Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives. … he gulf between [the] thoughtful mind of civilized man and the thoughtless animal soul of the savage is enormous – greater than the gulf that separates the latter from the soul of the dog.2
These claims of Haeckel's were devoid of any scientific foundation. Nonetheless, his beliefs were adopted by a great many people as scientific fact. Haeckel also developed a kind of materialist belief from the theory of evolution, which he gave the name monism. This perverted idea entirely rejected the existence of the soul and reduced everything to matter. Haeckel wrote:
... we are for the first time enabled to conceive of the unity of nature ... [so that we may have] a mechanico-causal explanation of even the most intricate organic phenomena, [the result being that] the distinction between animate and inanimate bodies does not exist. ... [All natural phenomena, whether] a stone … thrown into the air ... [or] sulphur and quicksilver ... [uniting] in forming cinnabar ... [are] neither more nor less a mechanical manifestation of life than the growth and flowering of plants, than the propagation of animals or the activity of their senses, than the perception or the formation of thought in man.3
In fact, Haeckel was deceiving himself by imagining that he had found the answers to many questions with a materialist perspective. The materialist view, that there is no difference between animate and inanimate bodies and that everything has a mechanical explanation, has been dealt a severe blow by scientific progress and research carried out in the 21st century, and its alleged scientific underpinnings have been totally invalidated. Every new discovery, every scientific advance, has revealed the fact that the universe is a flawless product of creation. The universe is not eternal and infinite, as materialists would have us believe, and did not come into being as the result of mechanical developments and influences. God created the universe and everything within it, and when the time appointed by our Lord comes, the universe will come to an end, as will all human beings and other entities.
On account of his materialist way of thinking, however, Haeckel rejected the Divine religions and the humanity and compassion imparted by religious moral values. He praised the "artificial human selection" practiced by the Spartans (members of the Greek city-state founded in the 9th century BC that rejected art, philosophy and literature and was built solely on military force) by defending eugenic barbarity. During the time of the Spartans, under a special law, newly born babies were subjected to careful examination, those who were weak, sickly or had physical defects were ruthlessly killed. Only strong and perfectly healthy children were allowed to live. Haeckel defended this barbaric Spartan practice that envisaged the murder of innocent babies.4
This is how Haeckel responded to those who criticized him:
What good does it do to humanity to maintain artificially and rear the thousands of cripples, deaf-mutes, idiots, etc., who are born every year with an hereditary burden of incurable disease?5
No doubt, this logical framework that Haeckel proposed is inhuman. According to him, feelings of love, compassion and affection should be directed solely towards those who can be of benefit. This selfish attitude flourishes under the twin influences of materialism and Darwinism. People who live by religious moral values, however, feel compassion for the needy and seek to protect them, even if they have nothing at all to gain by doing so. That is true humanity. For example, it is revealed in the Qur'an that true believers offer food to the poor, captives and the needy before themselves, and that they do this solely to gain God's approval:
They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives: "We feed you only out of desire for the Face of God. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks." (Surat al-Insan, 8-9)
On the other hand, the monists, led by Haeckel, claimed that not only physical features but also character could stem from genetic defects, and maintained that everyone they considered flawed should be eliminated.
Haeckel's books played an important role in the acceptance of the Nazi eugenics program. Wilhelm Bölsche, Haeckel's student and biographer, directly transmitted Haeckel's Social Darwinist ideas to Hitler. Furthermore, the Archiv für Rassen und Gesellschaftsbiologie ("Archive for Racial and Social Biology," published from 1904 to 1944) became the main organ for disseminating the deceptions of eugenics and false Nazi science, and regularly carried extracts from Haeckel's dangerous works.6
In the words of the historian Daniel Gasman:
Hitler's views on history, politics, religion, Christianity, nature, eugenics, science, art, and evolution, however eclectic, and despite the plurality of their sources, coincide for the most part with those of Haeckel and are more than occasionally expressed in very much the same language.7
Haeckel defended suicide and euthanasia. According to him, a human being came into being solely as the result of sexual relations between the mother and father. For that reason, when life became burdensome, that person could lose it:
If, then, the circumstances of life come to press too hard on the poor being who has thus developed, without any fault of his, from the fertilized ovum – if, instead of the hoped-for good, there come only care and need, sickness and misery of every kind – he has the unquestionable right to put an end to his sufferings by death. … he voluntary death by which a man puts an end to intolerable suffering is really an act of redemption.8
However, human beings do not come into existence as the result of blind chance. God creates them, and behind human creation there is a purpose that is revealed in the Qur'an:
I only created jinn and man to worship Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56)
Humans are responsible for every action they perform throughout the course of their lives, and will have to account for every moment in the Hereafter. Those like Haeckel, who incite others to suicide and murder, are doubtless assuming a grave responsibility for which they will be unable to account.
In his Wonders of Life, Haeckel claimed that newborn babies were deaf and devoid of consciousness (which is not the case), and thus did not have a human soul. Based on that unscientific claim, he defended the destruction of abnormal newborn infants and suggested that this cannot rationally be classed as murder. As we have seen, Haeckel openly defended murder, and encouraged those around him to murder. Haeckel was sufficiently heartless to support not only voluntary euthanasia, but its compulsory equivalent. He expressed his anger on this subject in these terms: "hundreds of thousands of incurables – lunatics, lepers, people with cancer, etc. are artificially kept alive … without the slightest profit to themselves or the general body."9 The solution that he proposed was this:
... the redemption from this evil should be accomplished by a dose of some painless and rapid poison … under the control of an authoritative commission.10
The savagery he supported had very damaging effects in Germany. Haeckel's research led the way to the euthanasia program known as T4, under which some 300,000 mentally handicapped, those with physical deformities, incurables and other "undesirables" were ruthlessly killed.
Haeckel's cruelty, and the killings Hitler encouraged and permitted, had but one source: Social Darwinism.
The eugenics, euthanasia, forced sterilization, concentration camps, racial purity and gas chambers of the mid-20th century emerged as a result of the Darwin-Haeckel-Hitler coalition, representing the worst and most ruthless cruelty in the history of humanity.
1. Quoted in Daniel Gasman, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism: Social Darwinism in Ernst Haeckel and the German Monist League (London: MacDonald, 1971), p. 6.
2. Ernst Haeckel, The Wonders of Life: A Popular Study of Biological Philosophy, trans. Joseph McCabe (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1905), pp. 390-91.
3. Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation, trans. E.Ray Lankester (New York: D. Appleton, 1901), 1.23.
4. Ibid., 1.75-76.
5. Benjamin Wiker, Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists (Intervarsity Press, 2002), p. 260.
6. Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors (New York: Basic Books, 1986), pp. 441, 161.
7. Gasman, Scientific Origins, p.161.
8. Haeckel, Wonders of Life, pp. 112-14.
9. Ibid., pp. 118-19.
10. Ibid., p.119.

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