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 ›

Richard Weikart Responds to Larry Arnhart’s Review of Hitler’s Ethic

The first review of my book, Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress, has appeared. Larry Arnhart, professor of Political Science, Northern Illinois University, author of Darwinian Natural Right: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature, posted a perceptive review to his blogsite. He provides a good summary of the book, and then offers the following remarks: The elements of Nazi ideology seem diverse–racism, German nationalism, anti-Semitism, socialism, militarism, imperialistic expansionism, the ‘leadership principle,’ eugenics, and genocide. But Weikart is remarkably persuasive in showing how all of these strands of Nazi ideology are woven together by the final end of Hitler’s ethic–the evolutionary improvement of the human species through the triumph of the Aryan race in the struggle for existence. Read More ›

The Dehumanizing Impact of Modern Thought: Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and Their Followers

Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor who endured the horrors of Auschwitz, astutely commented on the way that modern European thought had helped prepare the way for Nazi atrocities (and his own misery). He stated, “If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone. I became acquainted,” Frankl continued, “with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers Read More ›

Are Francis Collins, Ken Miller, and Simon Conway Morris Creationists?

Of course not, as we all know. But someone forgot to tell Hector Avalos, a critic of my role in the movie “Expelled.” In a radio debate with me on WHO in Des Moines this morning, Avalos (religion professor at Iowa State University) claimed that Hitler was a creationist. I objected to this ridiculous claim. I countered that Hitler may have believed in a God of some sort who created natural laws, but one of the laws he thought God had created was the law of evolution by natural selection and the struggle for existence. I then quoted from Hitler to demonstrate that he did indeed believe in human evolution. In an extended conversation about evolution on October 24, 1941, Read More ›