In the debates sparked recently by the New Atheist writers, bashers and defenders of faith have been united at least on one point: Ideas have consequences. The consequences of a particularly controversial idea — Darwinian evolution, a pillar of atheism — will be the subject of a provocative new documentary on cable TV.
What Hath Darwin Wrought? shows the relationship of the founding father of evolutionary theory to eugenic, racist, and even Nazi ideologies. Discovery Institute scholars John West, Richard Weikart, and David Berlinski provide the historical background in interviews with television personality Todd Friel.
“The politically correct view is that social Darwinism had nothing to do with Charles Darwin or his biological theory,” says Dr. John West, whose work is featured prominently in the television special. “But Darwin’s own works are shot through with ‘social Darwinism,’ which really is nothing more than applied Darwinism. The impact of Darwinian thinking is most terrifying when seen at work right here in the United States.”
What Hath Darwin Wrought? was filmed in part on the site of a center for the forced sterilization of women deemed evolutionarily unfit. That was less than a century ago, in California. The documentary also demonstrates how social Darwinism has influenced the ideas of intellectuals and activists today, like Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer, who defends killing handicapped human children on the grounds that “all we are doing is catching up with Darwin.”
Dr. West, author of Darwin Day in America, commented: “Darwin’s ideas inspired some of the most cruel and pernicious social and political movements in modern times. That by itself doesn’t make Darwinism false, but it does give any thoughtful person a good reason to take a serious and critical look at the theory.”
What Hath Darwin Wrought? is now available to purchase on DVD at www.whathatdarwinwrought.com, where there is also a free discussion and study guide for small groups and adult education classes in churches and schools.