We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Creationism, evolution, and Nazis. Yes, Nazis.

Bad Astronomy
By Phil Plait
Mar 21, 2008 9:26 PMNov 5, 2019 7:04 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This post deals with religion, evolution, lies, and Nazis. Because of this, I am warning folks at the start: be very, very careful if and when you leave comments on this post. I will not tolerate flame wars or abuse here. Keep the discussion reasonable, rational, and evidence-based. Emotions are fine -- you may notice some in my own post -- but keep them controlled. Obviously, Godwin's law will be temporarily suspended here, since reductio ad Hitlerum is the very topic of this discussion. So have a care.

I was laughing off the whole PZ-expelled-from-Expelled thing, but I'm now seeing a particularly evil side of this, a distortion so horrid I cannot keep quiet about it. On the official Expelled website is a post that consists of an email from someone who was at the movie when PZ was evicted, and describes the movie itself. Remember, this was posted on the official Expelled site, giving it their tacit approval. Sitting down? I hope so. The post on the Expelled website says this:

The film can best be described as subtly clever and occasionally funny. Emotions are stirred up especially built around the movies overall theme*, and many scenes especially later in the movie might be difficult to watch based on one’s ethnic and religious background.

and the footnote therein says this:

*SPOILER!! [...] Many scenes are centered around the Berlin Wall, and Ben Stein being Jewish actually visits many death camps and death showers. In fact, Nazi Germany is the thread that ties everything in the movie together. Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany.

Think on that for a moment. Nazism is what ties all this movie together, meaning it says that evolution leads to the cold and ruthless slaughter of millions of people. Right from the start, this is an total and abhorrent lie. This false connection between the Holocaust and the teaching of evolution is a gross and profound twisting of reality. Creationist love to say that Hitler used evolution as an excuse for genocide, but actually he makes it clear that religion played a major role in his decisions. For example, in a 1922 speech Hitler said "My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter." Oddly, the creationists never seem to mention that. Despite whatever reasons Hitler gave for his reasoning -- and honestly, how much can we trust him? He was Hitler -- that doesn't mean that evolution leads to atheism leads to Nazis. Evolution, like all of reality, is a fact, and how we use it is independent of that reality itself. I can just as easily point out how many people have been slaughtered in the name of Jesus. Both arguments are grossly unfair when used in this manner. I can use a hammer to build a house, or to beat someone's brains in. In what way is either the fault of the hammer? It's unfair to lay the blame of human faults on religion or the lack thereof. It's how humans use or abuse these tools that's important. For the producers of this movie to continue this Big Lie tying evolution and Nazis together is an irony almost too big to comprehend, given that this is precisely how Nazi propaganda worked. In a rich field of creationist ironies, this may be the elephant in the room. They are projecting onto their enemies the very thing they are guilty of. For Ben Stein to go to concentration camps and promote creationism is beyond the pale. It's a lie, it's ugly, and it should spark universal condemnation from every thinking human on the planet. This movie is founded on falsehoods, the producers lied to get interviews, they've used decidedly shady tactics to promote it, and the movie evidently has a huge lie as its very premise --a lie to which the producers themselves have admitted. We must continue to discuss this, to air it out, to show these people for what they are. Like any noisome and foul thing you find under a rock, exposure to sunlight is the best cure.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.