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Richard Weikart: The Dark Side of Science

Photo: Bill Nye and the March for Science, by Paul and Cathy / CC BY (

March for science, you say? Follow the science? Listen to the scientists? Perhaps first ask “What science?” and “What scientists?” A new ID the Future episode spotlights The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Historian Richard Weikart and host Casey Luskin discuss Weikart’s contribution to the new anthology, his essay “How Evil Has Been Done in the Name of Science.”

As Weikart explains, over the past century and a half, science has been misused to fuel racist policies and undermine human rights. Darwinian ideas helped lay the groundwork for Nazi ideology in Germany. And we shouldn’t imagine the problem was restricted to Nazi Germany. Scientific racism also reared its head in the United States, including in the long-running and infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment. More broadly, a marriage of scientism and evolutionary thinking continues to undermine the idea of inherent human worth and dignity, Weikart notes, even among thinkers who likely would reject scientific racism.

The episode is also highlighted by a personal story that Dr. Luskin tells from his recent PhD studies in South Africa, about a troubling conversation he had with a fellow geologist. Download the podcast or listen to it here.