Coral Ridge Ministries "documentary" attributes Hitler to Darwin
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 04:42:23 PM EST
"No Darwin, No Hitler," says D. James Kennedy

Given that the creationism/intelligent design/ evolution debate has had - and continues to have -- more than its fair share of controversial folk attached to it, two "experts" on the subject, the Coral Ridge Ministries' D. James Kennedy and best-selling author Ann Coulter, have set about to sort things out for the scientifically impaired.  

The contributions of Kennedy -- the pastor of the powerful Florida-based ministry who remains hospitalized after suffering a heart attack that led to cardiac arrest in late December -- and Coulter -- the darling of the Foxified right -- to the discussion comes in the form of a film currently being advertised on the WorldNetDaily website called "Darwin's Deadly Legacy."

Darwin's deadly legacy? The Holocaust!

According to Coulter, Hitler took Darwinism and applied it: "He thought the Aryans were the fittest and he was just hurrying natural selection along."

The film demonstrates that Darwinian theory "is scientifically bankrupt, [and] has probably been responsible for more bloodshed than anything else in the history of humanity," Jerry Newcomb, one of the program's two co-producers, told WorldNetDaily.

The back-story surrounding this film, involving CRM's duping of a noted scientist, and the ongoing schism in the Jewish community over the role of conservative Christian evangelicals, is more interesting than the film itself.

ADL calls `Darwin's Deadly Legacy' `an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust'

The buzz before and after the original broadcast of "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" last fall on Christian cable networks and about 200 television stations around the country, centered just as much on the film's assertion that Adolph Hitler grounded his genocidal actions on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, as it did on whether a prestigious scientist was duped into participating in the documentary.

Produced by Kennedy, the powerful pastor of the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM), the airing of the documentary also caused the spotlight to be focused on the split in the Jewish community over relations with conservative Christian evangelicals.

The documentary, aired August 26-27 during CRM's "Coral Ridge Hour," was accompanied by a book titled "Evolution's Fatal Fruit: How Darwin's Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions." "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" "connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolph Hitler," a pre-broadcast CRM statement claimed. The statement boasted that "the program feature[d] 14 scholars, scientists and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin's theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler's ovens."

In a statement, Kennedy said: "To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler. Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it."

CRM spokesman John Aman contended that "Darwinism is a philosophy, it's a worldview, and one of the key things in it is that evolution advances by death, so death is a good thing. Hitler thought he was doing civilization a favor by eliminating lives that were not worth living. We of course think that is an egregious moral tragedy and a consequence of the worldview that was initiated by Darwin and popularized by his followers."

Hosted by Kennedy, who is currently recovering from a serious illness, "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" features Ann Coulter; Richard Weikart, author of "From Darwin to Hitler"; Lee Strobel, author of "The Case for a Creator"; Jonathan Wells, author of "Icons of Evolution"; Phillip Johnson, author of "Darwin on Trial"; Michael Behe, author of "Darwin's Black Box"; and Ian Taylor, author of "In the Minds of Men."

According to the CRM website, the accompanying book was written by Tom DeRosa, Executive Director of the Creation Studies Institute -- "Reaching the World with the Truths of creation" -- (an outreach of Coral Ridge Ministries), and it "explains how Hitler tried to use genocide to speed up evolution and reveals how the American eugenics movement is likewise indebted to Darwin."

CRM sandbags scientist

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, said that he was "absolutely appalled" at how his comments were used in the film. "I had no knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy's program utterly misguided and inflammatory," Collins told the Anti-Defamation League.

"I would not have agreed to participate if I had understood that the program would promote the concept of a direct connection between Darwin's theory of evolution and the evils of the Holocaust and the massacre at Columbine High School.

"My own views on evolution and faith are...strongly discordant with the perspective put forward by the producers of this documentary."

A CRM statement disputed Collins' version of events: "A producer told Dr. Collins in person before the interview began that he was being interviewed for a program that would address the adverse social consequences of Darwin, the August 24 statement read: "In addition, he was asked specifically, during the interview, about the Darwin-Hitler connection and responded on tape that he did not agree with that view. Dr. Collins also signed a Talent Release, which gives Coral Ridge Ministries the right to use his interview `without limitation in all perpetuity.'"

In an article in the Baptist Press dated the August 24, Jerry Newcombe, a co-producer of the program, said that CRM "interviewed a number of scientists for the science section [of the program]." He pointed out that "We didn't interview Dr. Collins ... about Hitler. In hindsight, we would not have put Dr. Collins in the program. But he understood it was Coral Ridge Ministries. He understood we were doing a special about Darwinism.... We're sorry we had this misunderstanding and we wish him well."

According to the Washington Post, CRM agreed to pull the Collins segment from "any future airings of the documentary and would stop using his name to promote it."

"We consider him a fellow Christian and have reached a friendly understanding with him about this matter," Kennedy's organization said.

A few days before the film aired, Abraham H. Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), issued a statement calling the film "an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

"It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to 'reclaim America for Christ' and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law."

Lapin leaps in

On August 24, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the head of the conservative Jewish organization Toward Tradition, a close friend of the now-jailed Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and the go-to-rabbi for conservative Christian evangelicals, stepped into the fray.

In a statement called "Help or Harm - Which Jews Does the ADL Really Represent?" and published both at the CRM and Toward Tradition websites, Lapin called the ADL's statement on the film an "intemperate and hysterical attack" against Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, and apologized for Foxman's behavior: "On behalf of all those American Jews who feel misrepresented by the ADL, I apologize to Dr. D. James Kennedy for Foxman's ad hominem attack. Dr. Kennedy has always been friendly and supportive towards Jews and has courageously defended the Biblical values shared by both Judaism and Christianity."

In addition to criticizing Foxman, Lapin also stated his backing for the film: "I believe it appropriate for thoughtful Jews to support the Coral Ridge documentary and perhaps even for it to be shown in Jewish schools because there really are only two ways to account for human presence on our planet. One is that God created us in His image. The other is that by a lengthy and random process of totally unaided materialistic evolution, primitive protoplasm evolved into Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven. This approach, ruling out any role for God, is simply incompatible with Jewish values."

"Serious people are asking these three questions," Lapin's statement read:

"Why is a movie that shows how Darwinian thought helped shape Hitler's murderous mind, dangerous to Jews?

Why is it necessary to insult so harshly one of America's most prominent Christian leaders? Or to put it more bluntly, how exactly does it help Jews when the ADL humiliates an Evangelical leader whom as many as forty million Americans revere?
Especially since Christian conservatives are virtually alone in acting benevolently towards Jews and standing with Jews in support of Israel.

"Finally, had some Protestant pastor said in 2000, `Vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman is a leader among a distinct group of Jewish supremacists who seek to eradicate Christianity from America and turn the U.S. into a secular society based upon their strange notions of Jewish socialism,' would Mr. Foxman not have decried it as anti-Semitic? Intellectual honesty, if not a sense of decency, surely compels us to acknowledge that if anti-Semitism is an evil, so is anti-Christianism -- bigotry is, after all, bigotry."

Stop `bashing Christians' say conservative Jews

Distress that critical comments by Jews about conservative Christian evangelicals will threaten their support for Israel is not just Lapin's concern. In a late-May 2006 interview with Ed Lasky of the American Thinker, David Brog, the Jewish executive director of Christians United for Israel pointed out that Christians, while supporters of Israel "do not expect any kind of quid pro quo from the Jewish community" and "it [their support] comes with no strings attached," nevertheless it is important to keep in mind "that Christians are human beings with normal human emotions."

"When they spend a great deal of time supporting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism, they are disappointed when these efforts are ignored by the Jewish community, and when the only time they hear from representatives of the Jewish community is to attack them because of their positions on social issues," Brog said.

"This cold reception doesn't sway evangelicals from their course of support for Israel. But it does cause a certain disappointment, a certain feeling of rejection, that I think is unfortunate. We in the Jewish community should try to express greater appreciation for what our Christian friends are doing on our behalf."

In a commentary, David Klinghoffer suggested that the reason the ADL's Foxman "stoke[s] our fears?" about evangelicals wanting to Christianize America is to mobilize his followers and raise money. Headlined "Why tout `menace' of evangelicals? To raise money" and posted by the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, Klinghoffer, a columnist for the Forward, a senior fellow at the anti-evolution Discovery Institute and the author most recently of "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History," argued that the reason the ADL "wildly exaggerate]s the] menace of Christian evangelicals ... [is] a financial one."

Klinghoffer added that "For whatever reason, hyperventilating about Christians makes Jews open their wallets."

Klinghoffer has criticized the ADL in other venues. In a June 2002 piece for National Review Online he wrote that Christians should be able to "ask" groups like the ADL, the American Jewish Congress, and Wiesenthal Center to "lay off a bit." Since Christians provide significant support for Israel, "at least until the Mideast crisis has subsided," Abe Foxman should stop "bashing Christians."

when I read this was "What a bunch of da**ed fools!"

I was thinking "they don't know enough about evolution to know the difference!" (between the false notion known as "social Darwinism" and evolution.)

But then, after thinking about it, I rather think that these people DO know the difference.

That makes them that much more evil and guilty of deliberate deception for political gain.

The sad part is that  because of creationism and the fundamentalist fight against science, most people do not understand evolution enough to know how false the arguments from those types are!

BTW- I do wish we could get the term corrected from "social Darwinism" to "social Spencerism".  That is so much more accurate!

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 06:22:39 PM EST

Actually, it's people  with a mindset much like Coulter, Kennedy, Newcomb, Dobson and Roberson who caused the most blood shed for the past 2000 years - makes Hitler look like a wimp!

Quoting Coulter:  "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Read On:

by Concerned on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 10:13:40 PM EST

Seems that the site has been moved and the new one is called, "Victims of Christianity" -

by Concerned on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 10:18:51 PM EST

Kennedy & Hitler spell(ed) their names "James" & "Adolf", respectively...

by Pierce R Butler on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 09:16:49 PM EST

I feel that the Darwinist idea of "survival of the fittest" or "natural selection" did not directly influence the Nazis' social policies because most of the people who were targeted by the Nazis were not physically or mentally unfit. Indeed, many of the first people who were targeted by the Nazis had high levels of mental and physical fitness. Jewish professionals were among the first victims of Nazi discrimination. In the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, two Jewish runners were pulled at the last minute from the USA's 400 meter relay team and were replaced by Jesse Owens and another black runner, even though blacks must have been lower than Jews on the Nazis' genetic totem-pole. I think that the main influence of Darwinism on Nazi policies towards Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc. was to create the idea -- through Social Darwinism and eugenics -- that it was morally OK to eliminate undesirables. Anyway, we are not going to learn anything about the Darwin-to-Hitler connection by burying our heads in the sand as the ADL's Abraham Foxman wants us to do. My blog's 14 articles concerning the Darwin-to-Hitler issue are listed at -- (I removed http:// prefix because of length limitation)

by Larry Fafarman on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 11:18:44 PM EST

Hi, this is my second comment. The opening post said: Lapin's statement read: "Why is a movie that shows how Darwinian thought helped shape Hitler's murderous mind, dangerous to Jews?" I think that the answer to that question is that the ADL sees the teaching -- or even the mere mention -- of criticisms of Darwinism in the public schools as a threat to the separation of church and state. Jews and Jewish organizations have been plaintiffs or filed pro-Darwinist amicus briefs in lawsuits concerning evolution education, and Judge John E. Jones III, who wrote the pro-Darwinist Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, has been a speaker at least at two ADL meetings (I think that it was improper of him to speak to a group that applauded his decision -- that implies bias). For more details and links, see --

by Larry Fafarman on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 01:32:07 AM EST

Just to clear this Darwin - Hitler thing up...

The religious right are attacking Darwin as both his message and the findings of science in general both threaten their ideology by showing a better path, and contradict their claims regarding history, and the way the universe works. He is a threat to them, as he was to Nazism, and their reaction to his work is the same, propagating pseudo-science to drown out real science, and it doesn't get any more real than Darwin. It is pure self-defence as far as they are concerned, and none of the accusations they have ever levelled at Darwin or science are anything other than black propaganda. The truth is that Darwin came to the complete opposite conclusion of what the Nazis believed and practised. The problem is that extremist Christianity is built on similar ideas. So now it suites the likes of Coulter, Hovind, and the ID brigade to suggest a connection between Nazism and Darwin ignoring the very real connection between their ideology and Nazism.

Lets examine the facts.

Darwin's Tree of Life, and its underlying mechanism of Natural Selection shows that all contemporary life-forms are cousins, and as what is "Fittest" about a species is both transitory and relative to environmental context, there cannot be any such thing as a intrinsically superior or inferior life-form. Not only does Darwinism not permit the idea that one "type" (or race) of person can be superior to another, but even the long held belief, cherished by religion (and even science) that humanity is superior to other animals. Reality takes away the pretensions that Nazi style ideology and religion gives us.

This is not Larmarckism (which is what the Nazi used and Darwin disproved), there is no ladder, but a tree, a concept the religious right either cannot grasp or are afraid of, as their sense of superiority is shattered but it. They try to turn the public away from it by claiming it leads to Nazism, but in reality is threatens them just as it did Nazi ideas. Descendants of a common ancestor spread out into different environments and adapt to each area, becoming reproductively isolated, i.e. new species. Can you make a inhumane ideology out of that? No, as any attempt to "improve" or "accelerate" the process is by definition Artificial Selection, i.e. Breeding, Evolution is powered by Natural Selection, and is completely out of our hands. The moment humans get involved we impose arbitrary (and often purely cosmetic) changes.

 Darwin deserves the credit for proving Evolution and hypothesising Natural (and Sexual) Selection. But breeding, something always done according to cultural, personal or ideological preferences was not invented by him. We'd been doing it for over 10,000 years. (Darwin himself worried that people would interpret the term "Selection" in an anthropomorphic manner, switching to "Fittest" not realising that people would think he meant "strongest" however he was using the term in the old fashioned "apt" sense).

What the Nazis did was simply a breeding programme, similar to what slave owners did to their "stock", only arbitrarily favouring their Aryan (i.e. "German") ideal in the name of "Racial Purity". The idea of the Jews as the least desirable trait derives not from Darwin, who's findings render distinctions such as "Jew" or "German" meaningless in any case, but from historical prejudices. But the main point is that both "Race" and biological "Purity" are not scientific concepts, but derived from Nazis ideology. On the contrary imperfection fuels Evolution, if gene copying was perfect mutation would not occur, and are DNA coding is so imperfect as to be mostly gibberish.

The Nazi ideologues would have created their paradigm anyway, but like creationists today, assertion (and blind faith) are not enough anymore, they feel the need to pretend science agrees with their delusions, as a more sophisticated public now often takes science more seriously than the claims of authority. Science does not deserve the blame for pseudo-science, especially not when it is other pseudo-scientists blaming it.

The Nazis just stole Darwin name, the same way they did Nietzsche's, as he was THE scientist in this field, as to Germans Nietzsche was THE philosopher, ignoring what they actually said. Or in Darwin's case having to BAN, let be repeat, BAN his work, as he was not only declared that race is a meaningless distinction (chapter 12, Decent of Man) but was also clear that species are not "perfected" outside the preferences of Sexual Selection, but merely become more apt. That at any time the environment can change and the tables can turn. For example the earthworm outliving the T-Rex, can you imagine a Nazi 65 million years ago declared the worm to be "fitter" than a T-Rex?.

What you have is the combination of random mutation (imperfection) and the unpredictable fate that the environment has in store. There is no intrinsic improvement, nor is any species "meant" or "destined" to replace another, its pot luck. All nature is doing is trying to preserve life, whatever the conditions, through adaptation.
There us also a contraction in creationist's claims here, if Darwinism is bad as it allegedly denies god's hand in the formation of species, then as the Nazis believed in a higher power guided their racial "destiny" then how does Darwin's "Random" process get the blame for that? You can't have it both ways, "guided" Nazi Evolution or "random" Darwinian Evolution, the first false parallel refuting the second straw man.

Yes there is "cruelty", (by our anthropomorphic judgements) and competition in nature, but that is a secondary and not essential factor in Evolution (appearing after environmental pressure started the process), and only in certain species. Nature is neither gentle or cruel, good or bad, but simply indifferent to everything but survival. And if it was not, we would not be here, and neither would any meaning or beauty in life.
Altruism and co-operation, perhaps even love exists in nature, the choice of what kind of society we want to build is still ours, nothing Darwin discovered changed that. But he did show that competition, and/or cruelty increases with the scarcity of recourses. Chimps have a brutal patriarchal society of murder and rape, but Benoboes, who live in abundant areas, have a culture of equality and peace, something to ponder. What Darwin does is show that nature is the root of many of our problems, but also has possible solutions, as Nature has been working on them far longer than we have. We have just been in denial of the natural source or such issues.

Science is secular, not atheistic, and descriptive, not prescriptive. When ideologues attempt to justify their agenda by claiming science or Darwin in-particular agrees with them, they are rationalising. And when religious zealots claim that not mentioning god is that same as denying him they are being reactionary and scared of any worldview that may develop from science that is free of their control mechanisms. Darwin was not part of any political ideology, he was a mildly conservative ivory tower scientist, he wanted no part in the atheist's attempt o use is discoveries to undermine religion, nor of Marx's or any other's ideologies plots, he just wanted to find the truth, and he did, and it was stranger than anyone had imagined.

Only buy warping, ignoring or lying about Darwinsm can you justify evil. Darwin showed that we are all one, all equal. That the invisible mutations that will, in millions of years result in new species is a process that is beyond us, and yet binds us all, not just every human being, but every form of life on this planet. From trees, to antelope to bacteria. We have no right to arrogantly lord over this planet, as certain Christians believe. Or to oppress each other as the far right believe. Or to demonise other classes as the far left believe. Gender, race, nationality, religion, sexuality, these are all arbitrary and meaningless divisions. The fact is that everyone before Darwin was wrong, and everyone after him who ignores his findings are just as wrong, whether they claim to be inspired by him or are on "holy quest" to destroy him. By embracing the truth, we will be free of the lot of them.

The religous and political right in America have become to extreme that they have to have their own news, there own facts, there own science, and now their own history. What the Nazis did to the Jews was not derived from Darwin, but from 1700 years of institutional, and sporadic anti Semitism. Derived from, surprise surprise, the Bible. In this "good book" we find racial ideology, a "chosen" people, divinely mandated genocide, and the idea of manifest deity that lead not just to the extermination of Native Americans and many other indigenous people, but the Jews at the hands of Crusaders, church lead pogroms, Inquisitions and greedy Kings. It is unfortunate that the Jews who created the idea of racial (or at least tribal) superiority where to fall victim to it when the New Testament was written. All of a sudden they where to blame for the death of their own Messiah, the recipient of a blood curse, "let his blood be upon us and our children" and even abandoned by god, who now favours Gentiles, (or Aryans as the Nazis interpreted it).

The Ghettos, yellow stars, marriage and job restriction, forced expulsions, scape-goating, all had been practiced for centries in every country in Europe. What the Nazis did was no different to any ideology, opportunistically exploit old divisions, to foster a "them and us" mentality common to all Abrahamic monotheims, (saved, unsaved, clean, unclean, hellbound, infidel, heritic, etc) "He who is not with me is against me" - Jesus. Christianity laid the ground work, the Nazis just took it to the next level, why do you think Latvians, or Checks, were so willing to partisipate in killing Jews, even before the Germans had even crossed their borders? All of Western culture's zeitgeist was to blame for what happened to the Jews, not just the Nazis. After all even America at the time had an antisemitic clergyman on every radio, and turned back jews seaking refuge, sending them to their deaths.

About the only person not the blame is Darwin, his message is one of ultimate unity, whereas all ideology and extremist religions does is feed on division and inequality. I find it ironic that the religious right, who's ideology can be traced back 1800 years, and have in a sense been persecuting the Jews longer than any group in human history, but now after the Shoah it is unfashionable so they claim to be their defenders. Any Jew with a eye to history and the poorly covered anti-Semitic theology of these cretins should be appalled.

There are three layers to anti-Darwinism. First the layer they show the public, an objection on "scientific" grounds, that can be debunked by any educated person. There is what they tell each other, (and in this rare instance the public), that Darwinism leads to pornography, abortion, Nazism. Which can be debunked my any study of history and sociology. And then there is the real reason. When your means of control other others derives from lies about humanity's past, and true nature, you will do anything to smear the first person who didn't disagree on philosophical or moral grounds, as so many had done before, but simply, and quietly showed the world irrefutable scientific proof that you are wrong.

by AUB on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 04:45:35 AM EST

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