The Science and Religion of the Nazis
  • Benno Müller-Hill
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Biomedicine, Ethics, and Society book series (CIBES)


It was a mixture, or better, an amalgam of science, politics, and Weltanschauung (ideology or religion) that culminated in the project of the final solution of the Jewish question, or the Holocaust. Let me first define science: Science describes the world as it is. Proper science does not say what the world should look like. Something other than science—religion, ethics, conscience, or ideology—guides men and women on how to act in a society. Some scientists will not agree with this statement that essentially echoes Max Weber. I can see their reason. They spend all of their time in the laboratory or behind their desks. They have little to do with nonscientists. Their main—if not only—interest is science. Science tells them not only how their research object, usually a tiny part of the world, looks like, but also what they should do to understand it by manipulating it in the best possible manner. The experiments should be fast, elegant, and cheap. And if this is so in the laboratory, why not in society and the rest of the world? Is not society and the world a kind of laboratory in which all acts should be justified only scientifically? I think this view is more than a mistake; it is fundamentally wrong. Sure, scientists create constructs and situations that demand decisions. They can point out risks and costs. They may favor a view where everything is decided only to minimize risks and costs, but that in itself is an ideology or religion.


Psychiatric Ward Jewish Question Tiny Part Illegal Killing Race Hygiene 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • Benno Müller-Hill

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