An excellent post by Dr. Jerry Coyne

For those who have read my recent essay My Free Psychoanalysis Examination On the Couch of Dr. Mackinz and others I have written, you know how critical I am of Dr. Jerry Coyne.

Well, I’m here to tell you that Dr. Coyne has hit one out of the park with this one: Moral equivalence? I encourage everyone to read this because Dr. Coyne is spot on with his article on the genocidal anti-Semitic crowd and any comparison of the Nazi killing of Jews in Europe with the camp at Guantanamo.  

I have been in Germany several times since 1989, first with my wide and two children, then in Berlin with my wife and friends in 2012, and in 2012 we visited Vienna.

In the first trip  we visited Dachau which was a very sobering experience. While we saw the various artifacts such as the barracks, the gas chambers, the fences and the photos and bizarre record keeping of the Nazis, the thing that most struck me was the large inside wall  of the main building.

On this large wall, two stories tall and painted white, was a map of Western Europe. On this map, in black were all of the various camps throughout all of the Nazi occupied countries including German itself. It was stunning … like a spider web. North to South – East to West, and everywhere in between. This for me painted an unforgettable picture of how extensive this unimaginable atrocity really was. A vivid picture of the depravity of man.

The trip to Vienna to visit friends in 2008 was somewhat of a different picture, but one that also spoke to my aching heart.   We saw many of the beautiful museums and palaces of Vienna, and also visited a Jewish museum. The Jewish museum was by far the most memorable. Why?

The Jewish museum is very small and somewhat hidden away in a corner amongst the glamor of the city. There was not much to see in there; a few artifacts of Jewish life in Vienna, perhaps some pictures and photographs. I really can’t remember many of the details, even though it was quite small.

What struck me was that this small museum was a monument to what happened, and a monument to a vast crime that almost succeeded. It also was a monument that this crime did not totally succeed; that a remnant of Israel survived to reestablish their ancient homeland in Israel.

Last year we spent the better part of a week in Berlin. Berlin is a city filled with reminders of the not too distant past (and old times as well); museums, palaces, the Brandenburg Gate, remnants of the Berlin wall, and a large Holocaust museum made up of large dark grey concrete blocks. That’s above ground. Below ground is a museum, and among other things there’s a large section containing family photos like the one Coyne shows, pictures of families that ceased to exist … simply because they were Jewish. In another place are pictures, maps and computer graphics showing maps similar to what I saw in  Dachau.

And in Berlin are many mementos and reminders of life under Communism; such as a trail of different colored bricks tracing the outline of what was once the Berlin Wall.

So there we have in Berlin, tragic lessons of history.  We have the reminders of paganism under Hitler, and the reminders of atheism under Communism. I’m reminded of a quote from Ravi Zacharias “When man lives without God, chaos is the norm.”

Thanks Professor for this article.


6 responses to “An excellent post by Dr. Jerry Coyne

  1. Don, Hitler was a devout Catholic, said that Christianity was the moral base of the German family, and always claimed that he was serving the Divine puroose with what he did. He had the priests sprinkle holy water on his troops, and gave them belt buckles iscribed with “GOTT MIT UNS” — “GOD IS WITH US.” I dont know what you refer to when you say, “paganism under Hitler.”

    All that can realy be said about Stalin is that he was a God-like megalomaniac, and his policies were never about any kind of freedom. It was compulsory emperor worship, and it’s no accident that North Koreans revere Stalin.

    I will go read the Coyne essay. I hope it’s not just more of the same revisionism and misinformation that I constantly have passed my way.


    • Hi Joe,
      You probably think I’m schizophrenic or something, writing two consecutive posts with seemingly opposite comments concerning Coyne.
      From “My Free Psychoanalysis Examination On the Couch of Dr. Mackinz”

      DrCouldHaveSaid: And what’s with this Pope Jerry Coyne I. stuff?

      Me: Oh yea, him.

      If you remember your history, there was an Italian fellow named Galileo way back in the 1600 timeframe. Galileo came up with an idea in astronomy that ran counter to the scientific thinking at the time, and he also ran afoul of Catholic political protocol as well.

      He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Well Pope Jerry Coyne I. is a major force in a similar Inquisition against an idea that runs counter to dominant scientific thinking of today, and is rigorously attempting to put any notion of design under house arrest.

      The house arrest of Galileo was only for the duration of his own life, whereas the house arrest Pope Coyne I. speaks of is much – much – much longer than that.

      The distinct impression I get about Professor Coyne, mostly from reading his blog, is that he has abandoned his career as an evolutionary biologist, and has instead become a professional atheist. That’s fine, but one thing I find disturbing is the question of, how much time and resources does Coyne expend in his atheistic quest, while drawing a salary that is somewhat or even heavily funded by government grants. And I have the same question of other professional atheists in the academic community.

      And then my latest praiseworthy remarks.
      I stand by my earlier remarks about him, and still can praise him for his stand on the Nazi holocaust.

      All I can say about Hitler, is to refer you to a very good biography of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. The following is a snippet of one of the many things I learned from this biography:

      This idea of “separation of church from state”, and the idea of the church informing the state, I think, is best illustrated by a German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer came of age as a pastor and theologian during the rise and reign of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany. He resisted the Nazis from the beginning, and ultimately gave his life in the fight against the Nazis. Here are his guidelines in the question of how the church should act towards the state. And note that he gave these guidelines from the very beginning of the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis (almost to the day):
      1.Help the state be the state. Question the state regarding its actions and their legitimacy to help the state be as God ordained.
      2.Aid the victims of state action. The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society—even if they do not belong to the Christian community.
      3.When the existence of the church is threatened and the state ceases to exist as defined by God, it is not enough to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spike in the wheel itself.

      Hitler was not Catholic, and in fact was trying to replace the official German church (Lutheran) with the Nazi world view. This Bonheoffer opposed from the beginning of the Hitler rise to power, and eventually gave his life in resistance to the Nazis.

      Thanks for the remarks.

  2. Hitler was most certainly NOT Catholic/Christian. What a silly thing to say. I have noticed many theophobes have been attempting to rewrite this part of history.

    Reputable Hitler biographers Ian Kershaw, Joachim Fest and Alan Bullock agree Hitler was anti-Christian. This view is evidenced in sources such as the Goebbels Diaries, the memoirs of Albert Speer, and the transcripts edited by Martin Bormann which are contained within Hitler’s Table Talk, an influential translation of which was completed by historian Hugh Trevor-Roper.

    • Thank you for your reply ‘mofo’. I concur totally with your remarks about Hitler, and deeply apologize if I left any impression that Hitler was Christian or Catholic. Another good source is the excellent biography of Dietrich Bonheoffer by Eric Metaxas.
      As far as Coyne is concerned, I am about as anti-Coyne as one can get, what with his atheistic activities. But this post by him on the holocaust was right on, and I give him credit for writing it.


  3. Hi Don

    Please allow me to apologise this time. My post was in response to the claim “Hitler was a devout Catholic, ” made by Joe Hewlett | September 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm. It was certainly not addressed at you.

    Agree with pretty much everything you have said including being anti-Coyne.

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