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Monday, August 27, 2007Darwin To Hitler
Ann Coulter is stunned. How is it, she asks, that she could go through 12 years of public school, then college and law school, and still not know that it was Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution that fueled Hitler’s ovens.
“I never knew about the link between Darwin and Hitler until after reading Richard Weikart’s book,” said Coulter, a popular conservative columnist and a featured expert on the new Coral Ridge Hour documentary, Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, which airs August 25 and 26. Hitler, she said, “was applying Darwinism. He thought the Aryans were the fittest and he was just hurrying natural selection along.”
Coulter is among those who appear on Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, a disturbing look at the historical impact of the theory of evolution and the shaky scientific ground on which it rests.
Other guests on the program include 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. “Among German historians, there’s really not much debate about whether or not Hitler was a social Darwinist,” said Weikart. “He clearly was drawing on Darwinian ideas.”
No Darwin, No Hitler
“To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler,” said Dr. Kennedy, the host of Darwin’s Deadly Legacy. “Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it.”
But the social fallout from evolution has not been limited to Hitler. Eugenics, the idea that social engineers should monitor and manage choices to marry and have children, is the intellectual offspring of evolution. Darwin’s own cousin, Francis Galton, coined the term and campaigned for using human genetics as a means to breed a superior breed of humanity.
Eugenics took root in America in the early twentieth century—some 33 states adopted forced sterilization programs to prevent the “feeble-minded” and other “defectives” from reproducing. Planned Parenthood is a direct result of the eugenics movement in America. Its founder, Margaret Sanger, believed in removing what she called “the dead weight of human waste.” “Eugenics is applied Darwinism,” said Coulter. “And it sticks out like a sore thumb that all of these German eugenicists preceding the Nazi regime were enthusiastic Darwinists.”
Evolution is taught in every public school in America, and not without consequences, as Darwin’s Deadly Legacy documents. Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 people and themselves in the worst school shooting in U.S. history. Their goal was to bring death to more than 500. Harris wrote on his website, “YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE??? Natural SELECTION! It’s the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms.”
The autopsy report for Harris revealed that on the day of the attack, he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Natural Selection.” Harris and Klebold, who planned their rampage for a year, paid homage to their hero, Adolf Hitler by carrying out their killing spree on April 20, Hitler’s birthday.
The legacy of Charles Darwin, Dr. Kennedy said, is “millions of deaths, the destruction of those deemed inferior, the devaluing of human life, and increasing hopelessness.” All this from a theory based on a crumbling scientific foundation—as the special makes plain.
“The time has come,” Dr. Kennedy said, “to recognize that evolution is a bad idea and should be, frankly, discarded into the dustbin of history.”
They're walking around the grounds, sitting in the dining hall and in the pews at the abandoned church. Kids, heard by visitors but usually only seen by those trained to see into the spirit world, play outside the rustic and run-down cabins.
"Oh yeah, they're all over the place," says Judy Ulch, a jovial 60-year-old who claims not only to see dead people but also receive messages from them that she passes on to their loved ones who pay $40 per half hour for her services.
"Sometimes I see them so close, I see the stubble on their face," Ulch says.
Ulch and other self-described mediums live at the Wonewoc Spiritualist Camp every summer, welcoming guests from around the country who come for visits between 15 minutes and overnight to get insight into their lives from the dearly departed.
They seek hope, solace and inspiration. And sometimes they just come for a fun day out with friends. Or to try to disprove what Ulch and others claim to be their ability to see spirits.
Wonewoc is one of 13 spiritualism camps across the country. It first opened in 1893 and is in its 106th summer season. For years visitors arrived by train and climbed the hill to the wooded bluff overlooking the small town, with a population now of just over 800.
The 37-acre camp is run by followers of Spiritualism, a religion that started in the mid-1800s and reached the height of its popularity at the end of that century, but that still maintains an estimated 250,000 followers.
Some tenets of Spiritualism are that people live on after death and they can be communicated with using a medium like Ulch or Hilda First. First claims messages from a spirit named Fairchild who speaks to her in Shakespearean English.
Perhaps the most famous spiritualist camp -- in Cassadaga, Florida -- is 113 years old and on the National Register of Historic Places. More than 30 mediums live in the city, which some refer to as the "psychic center of the world."
The Wonewoc camp fell on hard times in recent years during a legal fight over ownership. With that settled, Ulch and others are focused on raising the camp's profile to attract more visitors.
Readings cost $40 for half an hour, while 15-minute mini-readings are available on Mondays for $20. Seniors can get a $35 reading for 30 minutes on Wednesdays, while the price for workshops varies from $20 to $40.
It also offers ice cream socials, campfires and budget rate lodging at just $15 to $40 a night.
Mediums, clairvoyants and healers are housed in the camp -- known to the locals as "Spook Hill" -- either for all or part of the season. There are workshops and classes, not on typical summer camp fare like basket weaving and swimming, but rather past life regressions and how to see auras in 60 seconds.
The 36 cabins, dining hall and chapel were mostly built in the 1920s. And it shows. Many are sinking. Doors creak and don't open fully, a porch light that camp goers said burned different colors for more than 30 years on the same bulb finally went out this summer, and the original chapel is boarded up after a tree fell on it.
Ulch's husband Harvey serves as handyman, doing his best to keep up with the endless repairs. In his third year at the camp with Judy, the born and raised Methodist shakes his head when he talks about what he's seen.
"I'm amazed," he said, after describing seeing a table seemingly move under its own power during one so-called "table tipping" session. "I'm a believer. ... I just kind of like to sit back and observe."
Followers of Spiritualism often describe it as a science, philosophy and religion rolled into one. Spiritualists believe in seeing visions, receiving prophecy, healing the sick, levitating, writing words given to them from the dead and seeing other manifestations.
Despite skepticism from mainstream religion, the Spiritualism movement was motivated in the beginning with proving the basic tenets of Christianity, said Phillip Lucas, a professor of religious studies at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.
Messages they reportedly received from the dead were offered as proof of the immortality of the soul, said Lucas, an authority on new religious movements.
"They're seekers," Lucas said. "Spiritualism tends to be very nondogmatic. You can really believe whatever you want to believe as long as you believe the central idea that life is endless."
A group of five women who came for a reading one summer day at the Wonewoc camp all said they didn't see a problem visiting the camp while practicing a different religion. The women, all related but declining to give their last name, said they come once a year for fun and insight into their lives.
"You have to be really opened minded with it," said Nancy, a 49-year-old who was there with her two daughters, age 20 and 23, her sister and her sister-in-law.
Mainstream religion has historically taken a dislike to Spiritualism because it goes against basic Christian beliefs in heaven and hell, which spiritualists reject, and that the living can communicate with the dead.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches, based in Lily Dale, New York, does not believe its religion conflicts with Christianity, although it says Spiritualism is not necessarily a Christian religion.
Ulch, whose relatives helped build the camp more than 100 years ago, only asks that people have an open mind.
"We would never try to change anybody's mind," she said. "I know it's true and I've seen it. I'm not a fraud
It helped her relax for a decade, but five years after kicking the habit she suffers sleepless nights and anxiety. Is the weed coming back to haunt her? Three experts have their say
Sunday August 26, 2007
For about 10 years I smoked cannabis regularly if not excessively. In the evenings I'd get home from work and have a joint to unwind, and I smoked about the same amount at weekends. I used it to help me relax and sleep better. About five years ago I stopped doing it - I just got out of the habit. Now I keep reading about the effect that strong grass like skunk can have on mental health and all the reports have got me worried about the long-term health implications of dope. I'm a 39-year-old woman and recently have had quite unpleasant bouts of anxiety and insomnia - might this be caused by my smoking? Can you have a delayed reaction, and are there any other long-term effects?
The psychiatrist: Robin Murray
The risk of smoking cannabis is a bit similar to that of drinking alcohol. Most people who drink alcohol, and most people who smoke cannabis, don't come to any harm. However, just as drinking a bottle of whisky a day is more of a hazard to your health than drinking a pint of lager, so skunk is more hazardous than traditional forms of cannabis, such as herb or resin, because it may contain three times as much of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The adverse effects of cannabis use are different to those you describe. They usually start with either memory difficulties or paranoid and suspicious ideas, and can progress to psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms usually come on while the individual is still smoking, and there is no good evidence that smoking cannabis can cause either anxiety or insomnia.
· Professor Robin Murray works at the Institute of Psychiatry
The nurse: Chris Hudson
It's unlikely that there's a direct link between your concerns and your history of smoking cannabis. While some insomnia and anxiety may be a common experience for those who have recently given up using the drug, there's little evidence to suggest these symptoms continue after the body has eliminated it from the system - which is between four to six weeks in the case of cannabis. Your complaints could be caused by stress, side-effects from prescription drugs, alcohol use or exposure to allergens.
Recent reports on the damage to lungs caused by smoking cannabis - that one joint can be equal to five cigarettes - are probably true, though it's not helpful to get hung up on numbers. The good news is that even after five years, your lungs and other organs have made much progress in repairing damaged tissue. Your GP will be able to recommend strategies for managing the anxiety and insomnia.
· Chris Hudson is a nurse and operations manager at Respond, the drug treatment centre
The consultant: Dr Ken Checinski
Evidence suggests a delayed reaction is unlikely. However, cannabis - especially skunk - can lead to acute and severe psychotic episodes (including believing strange, often fearful things and seeing or hearing things that aren't there), or trigger an underlying vulnerability to mental illness, most typically in cases of schizophrenia.
When long-term users stop taking a drug, it's quite common to replace it with something else. Are you substituting cannabis with alcohol or other drugs? Substances like these may mask underlying problems such as depression or anxiety.
Your symptoms may be a response to everyday stresses and are likely to get better on their own or respond to psychological treatments available through your GP. Don't self-medicate and resist any temptation to start using cannabis again in order to relax.
For more information, visit the mental illness charity Rethink at www.rethink.org