Talk:Konrad Lorenz

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World war II[edit]

What is clear is that his published writing during the Nazi period included support for Nazi ideas of "racial hygiene", couched in pseudo-scientific metaphors. This assertion would be stronger if we had the titles of some Lorenz articles on "racial hygiene." (If they could be given in English translation, that would be very courteous and would make the point clearly.) Wetman 08:03, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

McCann51, whoever you are, could you please comment on the removal (twice) of the photo showing Lorenz as a member of the Nazi party? While I certainly appreciate your work concerning this article, I don't believe it is common practice here at Wikipedia not to comment on what one is doing. Also, I'd hate to see Lorenz presented as a harmless vet/uncle unable to do any harm. How many more images of Lorenz surrounded or followed by his geese do you have in store? <KF> 01:37, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I have several other Lorenz followed by geese pics. As for the picture representing Lorenz as a Nazi, this is not correct (at least in relation to the pic). The pic is the cover of the German edition of his book "Behind the Mirror" and really does not portray Lorez as a Nazi in any way (if you feel that he was one).


PS check out the book biologists under Hitler. Lorenz was a medic in the German army, nothing more.

Sorry, I don't get anything of what you are saying here. Could you please comment on the removal of the photo = book cover? <KF> 01:47, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Okay: You said you wanted to include the pic to show Lorenz as a Nazi. I removed the pic because it is in fact the cover of his book "Behind the Mirror", and thought an actual pic of Lorenz in "real life" action might be better suited for the page. I did all this not realizing your original intentions. When I learned what your intentions were, I removed the pic regardless because you intentions do not coincide with the pic, as the pic is simply a portrait of Lorenz, and in no way shows his allegiance with the Nazi party. Make sense???

File:Konrad Lorenz.jpg
Sorry, no. Erm, what is it Lorenz is wearing in his buttonhole? <KF> 02:00, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ouch! Ya got me there; hadn't noticed that. I'm gonna try to justify it, but I feel I'm probably gonna fail... Lorenz was a Buddhist, and he wears the button in the meaning of "goodness". Or maybe he was afraid of his Nazi medical superior, so wore the button to appease him.

You believing any of this?

I didn't think you would.

Okay, put up the pic again, but put with it a caption with something along the lines of "Lorenz posing as Nazi party member; see pin". Your other caption did not express what you were trying to get across.

We'll see about those images tomorrow. I'm just too tired now. Please don't remove content from the talk page; I think there are lots of people (not just me) who don't like that. <KF> 02:17, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Lorenz's Nobel Prize autobiography says that he was drafted; his Wikipedia page says that he had joined Wehrmacht. Is there a difference? Should the Wiki page be changed to reflect the linked autobiography, or is there evidence that Lorenz did indeed volunteer for the service? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zapiens (talkcontribs) 17:57, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

There is no evidence whatsoever that he volunteered. He was certainly drafted. He tried to be assigned as a motorcycle mechanic, but instead they assigned him to be a medic. He spent a long time as a POW in Russia. 21:17, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Lorenz's role in the Third Reich[edit]

While I am a great admirer of Mr. Lorenz and his work, I believe it is not justifiable to leave out his at least ambivalent role during the rule of the Nazis. Certain ideas of the Nazis regarding eugenics certainly appealed to him -- though it should also pointed out that eugenics appealed to a whole lot of people throughout the 20th century, including leading American intellectuals and politicians. The German page, unsurprisingly, devotes considerable space to this aspect [[1]]Dietwald 07:00, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

His plan for the genetic improvement of the human race, published in 1974 and derived from a Jewish joke, certainly shows at that stage of his life and career there was no trace of Nazism in Konrad Lorenz. Anyone who would derive a plan for human genetic improvement from a Jewish story (Lorenz himself says the story is of Jewish origin), and would put kindness above good looks, is certainly no National Socialist. Indeed, it is clear he was as far removed from Third Reich ideology as it is possible to be. 21:17, 10 June 2006 (UTC) Das Baz, aka Erudil 17:45, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Also, some of the attacks on Lorenz are based on blatant mistranslations. E.g., a word in one of his writings, for which the correct translation is "gender," was mistranslated as "race" just so as to slander Dr. Lorenz. Das Baz 21:20, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

His six years of captivity in the Gulag must be considered sufficient punishments for his sins. Niko Timbergen forgave him. Das Baz, aka Erudil 19:36, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Sorry ladies and gentlemen, saying he was NOT A NAZI is totally a lie. As you maybe can guess from my IP I am German there was definitely no error in understanding in his bad role during the Nazi regime. If you can try to read and understand the passages in the German wikipedia, they differ very much from these here. Lorenz was total Nazi. I was quite shocked myself to discover it. Even in the 70ies he used heavy Nazi terminology. In 1988(!!!) he wrote that one can feel sympathy for Aids concerning the over-population. Why is the English Version much more pro Nazi, while the German version clearly shows his love for them? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:04, 29 March 2013 (UTC) Lorenz was briefly infected by Nazi ideology, but to claim he has a "total" (sic) Nazi is inane and nonsensical. Das Baz, aka Erudil 17:48, 27 July 2013 (UTC) If Dr. Lorenz had really been a "total" Nazi, or if he had remained any kind of Nazi after his years (1942-1948) of captivity, then: 1) Niko Timbergen would not have forgiven him, and the two scientists would not have reconciled. 2) Dr. Lorenz would not have found the way to improve the human race gentically from a Jewish story. Das Baz, aka Erudil 21:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Actually that does not follow since the extent of Lorenz' Nazi past was not publicly known at the time of reconciliation. We cannot know what Tinbergen knew about Lorenz' involvement in Nazi warcrimes or whether they shared political views or not. Reliable source state that also Lorenz' post WW@ writings have antidemocratic and eugenic elements similar to aspects of Nazi ideology - so we follow the sources. It is of course hyperbole to claim that he was "a total nazi" - but it is doing History and science a disservice to attempt to exculpate Lorenz etirely and suggest that there was no relatin between his biological and political views when there clearly was.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:45, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

If the Nazis had esteemed Dr. Lorenz at all, they would not have sent him as a grunt to the Eastern Front. Das Baz, aka Erudil 21:03, 31 July 2013 (UTC) He was contaminated to some degree by that evil philosophy, but there is plenty of evidence that he repented of it. Das Baz, aka Erudil 21:03, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

There was certainly no "involvement in war crimes" by Konrad Lorenz. He was a medic in the army, and most of World War II he was a POW in the USSR. Das Baz, aka Erudil 21:52, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

You are obviously not familiar with the literature on Lorenz' wartime activities. Lorenz worked in the department of racial hygiene and conducted racial experiments on Polish prisoners, participating in determining who could be "germanized" and who should be sent to concentration camps.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 03:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

That is totally false. He was not in the "department of racial hygiene." He was a medic in the Eastern Front, and very soon a POW. Das Baz, aka Erudil 16:07, 8 August 2013 (UTC) Dr. Lorenz did not conduct experiments on animals, much less on human beings. If, in the fantasy parallel universe that someone has invented, he had beem violating his principles on Polish prisoners, he could not have become a POW in 1942, since the Red Army did not reach Poland until 1944. The whole thing is a ridiculous slanderous invention. Das Baz, aka Erudil 16:46, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

You should probably read Ute Deichmann's thorough and well respected historical study before you embarrass yourself further.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:13, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

The one who is embarrasing himself is the one repeating baseless nonsense that is not found in any legitimate source. If things had happened according to Deichmannn's fantasy, then the Red Army would have had to take a major short cut, using Science Fictional teleporting technology to get to Poland 2 years ahead of schedule. The truth is that Dr. Lorenz never had a government job with the Third Reich, that he was drafted and sent to the front lines in Russia, and that he spent the years from 1942 to 1948 as a POW physician, saving lives. Das Baz, aka Erudil 16:10, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

This article is biased[edit]

This article is biased toward Lorenz and his apparent non-envolvement in the Nazi party during WWII. Please add information relevant to his entire life, not just his scientific ideas.

Also, this article does not cite its references sufficiently. Dates, as well as facts, need to be diligently documented. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SuperFluid (talkcontribs) 05:13, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Vic from the UK writes: Can I add a remark? It is not especially hard to find details of Lorenz's involvement with the Nazi party. Perhaps the Wikipedia entry (which is essentially correct) might fairly remark that public misgivings about his war time affiliations dogged Lorenz on and off for the rest of his career. I wouldn't rush to judge people living in another country and another time, but I might cite a letter from Hans Kruuk's much-praised biography of that other great founder of ethology, Niko Tinbergen ('Niko's Nature' pbl. OUP 2003). Tinbergen had been friends with Lorenz prior to the war, but was interred by the Nazis and was - inevitably - deeply mindful of the suffering inflicted by them on his native Holland. Writing to a US ornithologist in 1946, Tinbergen said: "He [Lorenz] was rather nazi-infected, though I always considered him a good fellow. But it is impossible for me to resume contact with him or his fellow countrymen... this is not a result of a desire for revenge, but we simply cannot bear to see them". Three years later the pair did meet again at a mutual acquaintance's house in London, when their friendship was (according to Kruuk) re-established in an emotional session that ended with Tinbergen saying to Lorenz "We have won!" (ie their friendship had overcome events). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 01:20, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Konrad Lorenz’s work for the Nazis is extensively documented in Benedikt Föger and Klaus Taschwer. Die andere Seite des Spiegels : Konrad Lorenz und der Nationalsozialismus. (Vienna: Czernin, 2001) - and in Ute Deichmann, "Biologists Under Hitler" (Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (May 15, 1999). Robert Walser 23:44, 16 December 2006 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Robert Walser (talkcontribs) 22:43, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

All of the evidence in Deichmann's book shows that this statement in the article has to be edited: "It seems highly likely that Lorenz's ideas about an inherited basis for behavior patterns were congenial to the Nazi authorities, but there is no evidence to suggest that his experimental work was either inspired or distorted by Nazi ideas." I will remove it and update the article soon. I removed my longer previous comment because I will use it for the article. Robert Walser 00:13, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Weasel words[edit]

In the article, I have tagged the phrase "Lorenz's writings about evolution are also now regarded as outdated" thus: "{{fact}} <!--- Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words#Examples --->" –Æ. 03:15, 21 November 2006 (UTC)


It would be better to have a translation directly from German to English, rather than from German to Italian to English. Also, "competition between humans" should perhaps be "competition among humans." Erudil 15:58, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

The claim that Lorenz is best known for his Eight Deadly Sins is rather dubious. It is a great little book, but obscure and not that well known. What is asserted elsewhere in the article, that King Solomon's Ring and On Aggression are his best-known works, is far more likely. Erudil 15:59, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Konrad paid a penalty[edit]

Certainly Lorenz did wrong to express support - however briefly and half-heartedly - for Nazi ideology. Six years of captivity in Soviet POW camps is sufficient punishment for that transgression. Erudil 15:52, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Free speech is just that. To judge what someone said against the politically correct views of a later society is surely meaningless and subject to constant revision. He said what he thought at the time, and western civilisations allow that. We punish for transgressions of the law of the land at the time, not belief or speech, and certainly not with retrospective judgement, otherwise we make a mockery of the idea of 'free speech'. --Memestream (talk) 16:37, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:The Russian Manuscript.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 02:43, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for Deletion: His contribution to philosophy[edit]

I propose deleting this section: His contribution to philosophy In his 1973 book Behind the Mirror, Lorenz considers the old philosophical question of whether our senses correctly inform us about the world as it is, or provide us only with an illusion. His answer comes from evolutionary biology. Only traits that help us survive and reproduce are transmitted. If our senses gave us wrong information about our environment, we would soon be extinct. Therefore we can be sure that our senses give us correct information, for otherwise we would not be here to be deceived.

I do not think his views have been written about or even seriously considered by any recognized philosopher or work of philosophy. A citation from any source contradicting me would be welcome. Unfortunately his speculation doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Colorblindness and various other congenital conditions are obvious refutations to his statement. On an individual basis, how can we know whether are parents or other ancestors have such senses or even have existed except through our own senses? There are numberless assumptions about heritability of traits, ancestry, and truth in what we read or hear about them. It's a nice thought,though. Perhaps a change in the section title might be in order? Cuvtixo (talk) 02:53, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Weasel Words, Verifiability[edit]

This sentence should be quoted, modified or deleted altogether (under Politics):

It seems highly likely that Lorenz's ideas about an inherited basis for behavior patterns were congenial to the Nazi authorities, but there is no evidence to suggest that his experimental work was inspired by Nazi ideas. Dingsaller (talk) 10:09, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I am an evolutionary biologist, and I totally disagree about the philosophy problem. Evolution via natural selection will surely lead to an approximate perception of reality, which will of course never be perfect (especially for colour-blind people), but will help the individual to make the most of his/her life. But very much as simple models inform methods of sending people to the moon or how to design computer chips, the perception we have is tested by the success of the organisms having it. I had never thought of this before reading this Wikipedia, and even though this has never been cited in philosophy texts that I have seen either, I think it deserves a very careful evaluation. It should not be deleted!

And I believe this, even though I know that Lorenz was also a group-selectionist, of a form now generally unacceptable within evolutionary biology. For instance, he believed that animals do not fight to the death, whereas humans do (his book "On Agression"); this was put down to the need to preserve the species, while something went wrong in humans. In fact, natural selection carries no guarantee that the traits that evolve will be good for the species at all; they are only likely to be good for the individual, or, more controversially for the gene. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Threat from vandal[edit]

There is a vandal who keeps inserting claims that Konrad Lorenz was captured by the Soviets in 1944 and spent only 4 years as a POW, from 1944 to 1948. This is false. The historical fact is that he was captured in 1942 and spent 6 years as a POW. The vandal purveyor of untruth should be barred from editing the article on Konrad Lorenz. Das Baz, aka Erudil 19:42, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Could you please provide a source for your "fact" which is contradicted by a a slew of reliable sources already in the article? And then please read WP:VANDAL, and stop referring to non-vandal edits as vandalism.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:17, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Das Baz's edits contradict the facts which are supported by reliable sources and yet he/she keeps enforcing his/her view. It is insolent that he/she denounces Maunus as an alleged vandal. (talk) 23:06, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't seem to be vandalism to say he became a POW in 1944 - hesaid 1944 and 1942[edit]


"In 1944, Lorenz was taken prisoner by the Russian army and released only in 1948"

" After serving as a military psychiatrist in Poznan from 1942 to 1944, Lorenz was called up in April 1944 to the Eastern Front as a physician.132 In June, near Vitebsk, the Russians took him prisoner. "

"The Russians captured him in June 1944, and he remained a prisoner of war, working in hospitals in Soviet Armenia, until February 1948"

"In 1944, Lorenz was wounded near Witebsk, and was taken by the Russians as a prisoner of war."

" He was a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union from 1944 to 1948."

Only one book on that page has 1942. The pattern seems to continue, with most books saying 1944 and a handful 1942.

At[3] something called The Annual Obituary says 1944. So I checked, and his NY Times obit says 1944-1948.[4]. So does the Times Higher Education (the UK Times)[5]. The Britannica says 1944.[6]

Part of the problem, or maybe the problem, is that he seems to have contradicted himself. See[7] - in an"autobiographical note on the occasion of the grant Nobel Prize writes: " In spring 1942 I was sent to the front near Vitebsk and two months later taken prisoner by the Russians " ? (5). While in his autobiography of 1985 was given " In 1944 I was sent to the front to a hospital In Vitebsk". So he's given 2 dates for this. 16:57, 10 May 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dougweller (talkcontribs)

  • Yes he contradicted himself because he was trying to hide having participated in psychological experiments on Polish prisoners from 1942-1944. He is not himself a reliable source for this unfortunately. Ute Deichmann has documented the actual facts of what he was doing during the war and when.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:01, 10 May 2014 (UTC)