perverted science - psuedoscience and the nazi ideal


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  • perverted science - psuedoscience and the nazi ideal

    1. 1. The Nazi Ideal Science or Pseudo Science? (Science, History, Citizenship and PSHCE)
    2. 2. Introduction Why teach about the Holocaust? What is the relevance of the Holocaust to science in secondary schools?
    3. 3. National Curriculum links Key Stage 4 Sc1 Scientific enquiry <ul><li>Knowledge, skills and understanding </li></ul><ul><li>consider the power and limitations of science in addressing industrial, ethical and environmental issues… </li></ul><ul><li>how social and cultural contexts may affect the extent to which theories are accepted </li></ul>
    4. 4. National Curriculum links Key Stage 4 Sc1 Scientific enquiry <ul><li>Ideas and evidence in science </li></ul><ul><li>1b) how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence [for example, Darwin’s theory of evolution] </li></ul>
    5. 5. National Curriculum links Key Stage 4 Sc1 Scientific enquiry <ul><li>Ideas and evidence in science </li></ul><ul><li>1c) ways in which scientific work may be affected by the contexts in which it takes place [for example, social, historical, moral, spiritual] and how these contexts may affect whether or not ideas are accepted </li></ul>
    6. 6. National Curriculum links Key Stage 4 Sc1 Scientific enquiry <ul><li>Ideas and evidence in science </li></ul><ul><li>1d) to consider the power of science in addressing industrial, social and environmental questions, including the kind of questions science can and cannot answer, uncertainties in scientific knowledge, and the ethical issues involved </li></ul>
    7. 7. Dear Teacher: I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness: Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.  
    8. 8. How important was science in the Holocaust? <ul><li>Who carried out the selections in the camps? </li></ul><ul><li>Who designed and built the gas chambers and crematoria? </li></ul><ul><li>Who carried out the human medical experiments on camp inmates? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the ‘rational’ basis of Nazi racist ideology? </li></ul>
    9. 9. Did the Nazis hate the Jews? <ul><li>What qualities do we associate with hate? </li></ul><ul><li>How is it possible to hate an entire people? </li></ul><ul><li>How did the Nazis see themselves? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hitler in 1919 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Himmler’s speech to the SS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Max Taubner </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Why is science important? <ul><li>What qualities do we associate with science? </li></ul><ul><li>Should science be morally neutral? </li></ul><ul><li>Does science have to be ‘useful’? </li></ul><ul><li>Upon what does the validity of ‘good’ science rest? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Scientific?
    12. 12. The scientific method <ul><li>Observes what happens </li></ul><ul><li>Develops a theory </li></ul><ul><li>Develops experiment to test the theory </li></ul><ul><li>Observes/measures results of experiment </li></ul><ul><li>If results don’t fit develop new theory </li></ul><ul><li>Experiments replicable and peer reviewed </li></ul>
    13. 13. Natural Selection vs. Social-Darwinism <ul><li>So how can some of this be introduced into the classroom? When you explore Darwinian theories of natural selection, could you also show how some of these ideas have been distorted and corrupted in the pseudo-science of social-Darwinism? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Darwin’s theory of natural selection <ul><li>1859 On the Origins of Species </li></ul><ul><li>Animals and plants constantly produce inheritable variation. The fittest amongst these variants survive better than the less fit and contribute more to the next generation. This ‘struggle for survival’ causes the species slowly to become better adapted to the environment. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Distortion of Darwinian evolution <ul><li>Theories of social-Darwinism were applied to human society and used to explain and justify: </li></ul><ul><li>- socio-economic groups and class system </li></ul><ul><li>- free market economics </li></ul><ul><li>- imperialism and colonialism </li></ul>
    16. 16. Gustav Le Bon, a social psychologist writing in 1879 <ul><li>“ In the most intelligent races, as among the Parisians, there are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to gorillas than to the most developed male brains. </li></ul><ul><li>This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. ” </li></ul>
    17. 17. Sir Francis Galton’s theory of eugenics <ul><li>Eugenics means ‘right breeding’ and is concerned with improving the quality of human stock. </li></ul><ul><li>Eugenics encourages reproduction from people who display supposedly ‘positive’ characteristics and seeks to prevent those with ‘inferior’ genes from reproducing. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Eugenics in the USA <ul><li>Charles Davenport </li></ul><ul><li>Harry Goddard – Binet intelligence test and Ellis island – restrictions on immigration </li></ul><ul><li>By 1915 28 US States had outlawed marriages between ‘Negroes and white persons’ </li></ul><ul><li>Forcible sterilization of people with mental disabilities in 31 US states </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>Two family trees which compared a ‘degenerate’ family with a German family with ‘good hereditary health’ </li></ul><ul><li>Then a series of archive photographs showing the measuring of subjects, eye and hair colour, etc, and a series showing the registration photos of Roma and Sinti people. </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>A photograph showing a Berlin shop offering the services of a phrenologist </li></ul><ul><li>In the ‘Pursuit of Purity’ section section there are forms of the type used by Nazi officials to show their ancestry </li></ul>
    21. 21. Nazi racial policy <ul><li>1933 Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring </li></ul><ul><li>1935 Nuremberg Laws </li></ul><ul><li>1939 Euthanasia </li></ul><ul><li>1942 Death camps </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Staff from the Hadamar ‘euthanasia’ centre in 1942 </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of men and women were these doctors, nurses and scientists? </li></ul><ul><li>Case study of those who were involved in the Euthanasia programme (from Science and the Swastika) should show that they thought they were doing good – ‘mercy killings’ </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements in psychological care led to increasing frustration at the ‘incurables’. </li></ul>
    23. 23. What kind of men and women were they? <ul><li>Neither brilliant nor stupid, neither inherently evil nor particularly ethically sensitive, they were by no means the demonic figures – sadistic, fanatic, lusting to kill – people have often thought them to be. My friend replied, ‘But it is demonic that they were not demonic.’ </li></ul><ul><li>From Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors (pp4-5) </li></ul>
    24. 24. <ul><li>Photograph of Hadamar – chimney smoking from the crematorium </li></ul><ul><li>In 1920 Karl Binding (a judge) and Alfred Hoche (a psychiatrist) had published a book arguing that the idea of ‘a right to life’ was sentimental and unscientific </li></ul><ul><li>That life was valuable only if it served the nation and that getting rid of ‘defectives’ would improve the nation. </li></ul><ul><li>In this photograph we see the resolution of these ideas. </li></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>Demonstrates that the very qualities of science that make it so effective – dispassionate, objective, logical, rational – must not be allowed to overcome ethical and moral considerations. A preoccupation with these ‘dispassionate’ qualities is part of what led to a lack of humanity in the world view of Sir Francis Galton and others. </li></ul>
    26. 26. <ul><li>What place, then, for the role of ethics? </li></ul><ul><li>Highlights the impact of prevailing notions and attitudes within society on the development of scientific ideas and practice and the importance of political climate – these ideas could not flourish so readily in a liberal democracy where the emphasis is on the importance and innate worth of the individual. Contrast this with Goebbel’s speech about ‘our concern is not with the individual’ etc but also note that the ideas of Binding and Hoche pre-date the Nazi era. </li></ul>
    27. 27. <ul><li>Can raise questions about how far we should go with scientific enquiry – what are the limits – just because we can do something, does that mean that we should do it? (Can also think here about the human experimentation in the camps, and the use of this data in the post-war world…) </li></ul>
    28. 28. Paul Salmons, Imperial War Museum psalmons @ iwm