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James Lee Was Disturbed, but What Happens When an Entire Culture Embraces Social Darwinism?

There is little doubt that hostage-taker James Lee’s virulent Social Darwinism was the product of a tragically disturbed man. But can an entire culture fall for the pernicious ideology of Social Darwinism, especially its scientific and political elites? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes, as I have documented in my book Darwin Day in America, and as the new documentary “What Hath Darwin Wrought?” persuasively shows. Perhaps the most jarring fact about the troubling views of James Lee is that similar views have been espoused over the past century by leading scientists, politicians, and thinkers. Ideas do have consequences, and not just for seriously disturbed individuals like James Lee.

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.