Today’s ID the Future features another reading from scholar Olufemi Oluniyi’s new book, Darwin Comes to Africa. In this excerpt we learn how Darwin himself laid much of the groundwork for social Darwinist ideas, primarily in his book The Descent of Man, and how those ideas were energetically developed in the ensuing decades by various mainstream scientists. Oluniyi further details how their work fueled pseudo-scientific racism against black Africans and other indigenous peoples outside the West. To learn more about this neglected corner of modern Western history, and for the good news that the flow of evidence has turned against Darwinism and, with it, social Darwinist principles, pick up Oluniyi’s book here.
On today’s ID the Future, hear a Nigerian voice-actor reading from the opening pages of Nigerian scholar Olufemi Oluniyi’s new book, Darwin Comes to Africa. In this section from the preface, Oluniyi explores the relationship of Darwinism to Social Darwinism, and some of the ways Social Darwinism fueled and justified horrific ideas and actions among European thinkers and colonizers. Oluniyi tells the story of Russian scientist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, who, guided by Social Darwinist thinking, “sought to produce a race of super-soldiers for Stalin’s army by impregnating French Guinea women with the sperm of a dead chimpanzee—black African women, mind you, who were presumed to be less highly evolved and thus closer to chimpanzees than were white European women.” As Oluniyi further notes, this scientist was far from a “lone gunman…. Colonial authorities approved the plan, and the Russian found support amongst both the French and American scientists.” As horrifying as this plan is, it and other horrors make sense under the false and twisted logic of social Darwinism, Oluniyi explains. Buy the eye-opening book here.
On today’s ID the Future, scholar John West introduces Darwin Comes to Africa, the new book by Nigerian pastor, theologian, journalist, scholar, and human rights activist Olufemi Oluniyi. The work explores the poisonous influence of social Darwinism on British rule in northern Nigeria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a poisonous influence felt in Oluniyi’s home country down to the present, he argues. The book project grew out of Oluniyi’s intimate knowledge of Nigerian culture as well as his attendance at the 2017 Center for Science & Culture Summer Seminar program in Seattle, Washington. By the end of that nine-day gathering, he had resolved to write a book about the impact of Social Darwinism on his home country and announced that intention to his fellow attendees. He died of Covid-19 four years later, but not before completing in-depth research on the subject of the book and sending Discovery Institute his manuscript. Listen in to learn more about what Oluniyi discovered, and purchase his fascinating book here.
Today’s ID the Future takes us to a conference in Turin, Italy, where scholar John West speaks about the roots of intelligent design, roots that stretch back to ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. In his talk, West also makes the case that design thinking was crucial to the rise of modern science, and he traces how Darwinism has eroded design thinking, fueled scientific racism, and undermined belief in human exceptionalism. West celebrates some of Italy’s contributions to Western civilization but also calls attention to Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who championed various racist ideas undergirded by Darwinian thinking, disturbing work that West learned more about when he visited the Cesare Lombroso Museum in Turin. On the bright side, there has been a surge in skepticism toward Darwinian thinking, West says, along with a powerful resurgence in design thinking.
In today’s ID the Future, scholar John West, managing director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, reveals how current debates over whether nature displays evidence of intelligent design echo debates in the first centuries of the Christian church. The early Christians debated the Greco-Roman materialists but also the religious Gnostics of their day; and the ideas the early Christians confronted then confront Christians and other theists still today. Moreover, in some cases, those ideas are being peddled not by outsiders to the faith but by prominent Christians. West’s talk was taped at the 2022 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith in the greater Philadelphia area, an event jointly sponsored by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and Westminster Theological Seminary.
On this classic ID the Future, John West, managing director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, explains the Darwinian basis for getting rid of the “unfit.” One way this manifested itself in the twentieth century was in the eugenics movement’s disturbing push for compulsory sterilization, right here in the United States. One of the most famous such instances was Carrie Buck (to the left in the picture accompanying this episode), sterilized as “feeble minded” despite going on to live a normal productive life. Her case went to the Supreme Court, where the court, in an opinion written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., ruled against Buck. She was sterilized five months later. Listen in to learn about prominent scientists who supported these efforts, and the disturbing facts about how far they advanced toward making their ideas a reality. You’ll also learn about some of the religious leaders, Catholic and evangelical, who opposed them. To dig deeper, get West’s book Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science. And to explore the connection between Darwinism and Hitler’s racist ideas and goals, see the new book from historian Richard Weikart, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism.
On the episode of ID the Future we bring you a production by Discovery Institute about C.S. Lewis and Intelligent Design. With contributions by Discovery Institute’s John West and philosophers Victor Reppert and Angus Menuge, we hear about Lewis’s early doubts about God based in part on an argument from undesign or “bad design” in nature, and how he moved from this position to developing multiple arguments for intelligent design. Another contribution he made to the intelligent design project wasn’t a specific argument but the example he set. As John West explains near the end of the episode, one of his greatest contributions was a commitment to free inquiry and open debate, one he modeled while a professor at Oxford University.
On this episode of ID the Future, hear the second half of Discovery Institute’s John West’s talk given at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, on how Darwinism has corroded Western culture. In this portion he examines the morally poisoning effects of Darwinism on marriage, sexual ethics, and religion, such that virtually anything can be defended as OK, and no particular culture’s ethic is to be preferred over another. Humankind’s spiritual purpose has likewise been eroded. Yet West closes with hope: science in our generation is discovering more and more signs of intelligent design and purpose in nature, and young researchers are learning that materialism shouldn’t be the foregone conclusion of contemporary science.
On this episode of ID the Future, catch the first half of talk political scientist John West recently gave on how Darwinism has poisoned Western culture. In the lecture, delivered at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, West explores how Darwin’s purely materialistic theory of evolution drained meaning from nature, undercut the idea of inherent human dignity, and fueled the rise of scientific racism in the twentieth century.