Can Ruse’s View of Ethics Save Us from Hitler?

[Editor’s Note: Historian Richard Weikart is featured prominently in the just-released DVD, “What Hath Darwin Wrought?” exploring the painful history of Social Darwinism in Germany and America from the twentieth century to the present. To purchase a copy or find out more information about this documentary, visit www.whathathdarwinwrought.com.] Michael Ruse recently criticized my work in From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, which examines the way that evolutionary ethics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries undermined Judeo-Christian views of ethics, especially the sanctity-of-life ethic. Ruse opposes my claim that evolutionary ethics as proposed by Darwin and other evolutionists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries exerted a powerful influence on Hitler’s ideology. Given Read More ›

Darwin’s Racism and Darwin’s Sacred Cause

[Editor’s Note: Historian Richard Weikart is featured prominently in the just-released DVD, “What Hath Darwin Wrought?” exploring the painful history of Social Darwinism in Germany and America from the twentieth century to the present. To purchase a copy or find out more information about this documentary, visit www.whathathdarwinwrought.com.] Pointing out Darwin’s anti-slavery sentiments has been a favorite tactic for many years by those wanting to deny Darwin’s racism. However, Adrian Desmond and James Moore raised this discussion to an entirely new level by claiming in their 2009 book, Darwin’s Sacred Cause, that abolitionism was the driving force behind Darwin embracing biological evolution. This is especially remarkable because Desmond and Moore stated in their earlier biography of Darwin: “Social Darwinism” is Read More ›

Ruse’s Spin on Darwin’s Racism

[Editor’s Note: Historian Richard Weikart is featured prominently in the just-released DVD, “What Hath Darwin Wrought?” exploring the painful history of Social Darwinism in Germany and America from the twentieth century to the present. To purchase a copy or find out more information about this documentary, visit www.whathathdarwinwrought.com.] One of the biggest errors in Ruse’s recent op-ed piece in Huffington Post is his claim about Darwin’s racism. While admitting that Darwin upheld conventional Victorian racial views, Ruse still tries to distance Darwin from any connection to racial extermination. When discussing Darwin’s Descent of Man Ruse claims, “Darwin was explicit that when the races met and (as so often was the case) the non-Europeans suffered, it came not from intellectual and Read More ›

How Good Is Ruse’s History?

[Editor’s Note: Historian Richard Weikart is featured prominently in the just-released DVD, “What Hath Darwin Wrought?” exploring the painful history of Social Darwinism in Germany and America from the twentieth century to the present. To purchase a copy or find out more information about this documentary, visit www.whathathdarwinwrought.com.] Earlier this summer, philosopher Michael Ruse wrote an op-ed at Huffington Post, where he claimed that my scholarship is “bad history.” He questioned the historical connections between Darwinism and Nazism that I demonstrated in my book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany. He starts by mischaracterizing my position, claiming that I argue for a “direct line” from Darwin to Hitler. If he had read my book carefully–or Read More ›