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Dawkins Flip-Flops on Link between Darwinism and Fascism

John G. West

According The New York Times, arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins is now asserting that the new film Expelled perpetrates a “major outrage” because the film suggests there is a link between Darwinian ideology and ideas like Nazism.

Say what?

In 2005, Dawkins himself declared that such a link existed, responding to an Austrian interviewer that “a Darwinian State would be a Fascist state,” which is why he says he opposes trying to run a society “according to Darwinian laws”:

No self respecting person would want to live in a Society that operates according to Darwinian laws. I am a passionate Darwinist, when it involves explaining the development of life. However, I am a passionate anti-Darwinist when it involves the kind of society in which we want to live. A Darwinian State would be a Fascist state.

What is interesting in the above comment is not that Dawkins rejects fascism, but that he apparently believes that Darwinism logically applied to government would lead to fascism. This is a far stronger claim, by the way, than the one made in the preliminary cut of Expelled that I’ve seen. The experts interviewed for the film—including historian Richard Weikart and mathematician David Berlinski—are careful to point out that there is no inevitable connection between Darwinism and what happened in Nazi Germany. But that does not cancel out the fact that Darwinian ideology provided the Nazis with one of their key justifications for sterilizing the “unfit” and killing the handicapped. Darwinism similarly provided a rationale for eugenics crusaders in America, which I write about in my recent book Darwin Day in America.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

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