On today’s ID the Future, host Michael Medved talks with Human Zoos film director John West about a recent Washington Post series exposing how the Smithsonian Institution collected hundreds of brains from indigenous peoples as part of an early-20th century effort to promote Darwinian racism. The motivation for the brain collection was to document how some people were supposedly lower on the evolutionary ladder than others. As West notes, many of these brains are still stored in steel vats at a non-public Smithsonian facility in Maryland. Tune in as West and Medved explore this disturbing topic and how it all ties into Darwin’s theory of evolution. And to watch the segment from the Human Zoos documentary detailing this gruesome collection and the man behind it, Aleš Hrdlička, click here.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights Darwinian racism, past and present. In this first half of a panel discussion at the 2022 Center for Science and Culture Insider’s Briefing, Darwin Day in America author John West introduces the other panel members, teases an upcoming book, Darwin Comes to Africa, and discusses his experience visiting the Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin, Italy, where the work of infamous Darwinian criminologist Cesare Lombroso’s racist ideas about evolution and race are on dramatic display. Then historian Richard Weikart, author of Darwinian Racism, debunks the popular media claim that white nationalist racism in America is a Southern evangelical phenomenon. Weikart shows that the most prominent white nationalists show little if any interest in promoting Christianity, but they very consistently anchor their racist ideas of white superiority and the racial struggle for supremacy in Darwinism, with straightforward links to Charles Darwin’s own ideas and arguments in The Descent of Man. Weikart is careful to emphasize that Darwinism does not necessarily lead its adherents to racism and, in fact, most Darwinists today are not racists. But racist ideas were woven into modern evolutionary thinking from the beginning and do serve as a major inspiration for white nationalist writers and even for some recent mass shooters. Weikart ends his lecture with a twist. He says there is one strongly anti-racist component in Darwinian materialism: Darwinian materialism, if true, means that all humans are equally without value — just so many DNA survival machines in a world without higher purpose or meaning. A grim takeaway, but only for those who feel compelled to embrace modern Darwinism. If you are open to questioning it, there are a wealth of resources at this podcast and at intelligentdesign.org showing that the evidence points strongly in another direction.
Today’s ID the Future features the second half of a recent webinar spotlighting historian Richard Weikart and his new book, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism. Here Weikart fields questions from the webinar audience. Along the way Weikart touches on the connection between Darwinism and scientific racism, the objection that Darwinism, properly understood, doesn’t support scientific racism (much less Nazi racism), the racism inherent in Darwin’s own writings and those of prominent early Darwinists such as Ernst Haeckel, and more recent manifestations of Darwinian-inspired scientific racism both academic and populist. This and much more is explored in Weikart’s new book, available here. And for scientific reasons to reject Darwinism along with its racists implications, jump over to Evolution News and Science Today.
As a nod to Darwin Day and Black History Month, today’s ID the Future spotlights the racist thinking of Charles Darwin and the scientific racism fueled by Darwinism and Darwinists. As guest and historian Michael Flannery notes, Darwin’s followers, including Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, took ideas found in Darwin’s work and used them to vigorously press the case for eugenics, a movement that came to have a horrifying impact for American blacks in the twentieth century, including for thousands who were subjected to forced sterilizations. Was Darwin’s racism purely a function of his time and place, Victorian England? Flannery says no, and on two counts. First, he says that the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, was far more progressive about non-Anglo indigenous races than was Darwin, arguing that they were very much the equals of Europeans, morally and intellectually. Such an outlook is dramatically different from Darwin’s, who saw them as far inferior and destined to be weeded out by the process of natural selection one day. Also, while Wallace came to embrace a form of intelligent design and to reject philosophical materialism, Darwin and many of his followers saw his theory as both rooted in, and supporting, a materialistic outlook on nature. Humans, in other words, were without an immaterial soul. This materialistic view of the human person, Flannery and host Jay Richards argue, vitiates the traditional theological understanding of humans as made in the image of God with inherent dignity and worth. As Richards further notes, Martin Luther King Jr. made precisely this point himself. Tune in as Flannery and Richards explore this oft-neglected corner of history.
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.
This episode of ID the Future features an interview with filmmaker John West on the Michael Medved show, about West’s recent documentary Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism, now streaming on YouTube. Medved and West explore the tragic story of Ota Benga, and the prominent role that the Bronx Zoo, the pro-Darwinian scientific establishment, and the New York Times, played in that tragedy. As West explains, there are lessons here about the danger of letting the voices of “science” confuse our grasp of moral truth. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear part two of a panel discussion on “The Danger of Totalitarian Science,” held at the July 2018 FreedomFest in Las Vegas. This discussion followed a screening there of the film Human Zoos, written and directed by Dr. John West. In this second episode, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow George Gilder raises concerns about artificial intelligence — but not the usual economic ones. He’s more concerned about the thinking underlying some of the more ambitious attempts at AI — and how it would tend to turn the whole world into one very large yet confining human zoo.
On this episode of ID the Future we hear the first part of a panel discussion from FreedomFest 2018, where John West and Richard Weikart speak on “The Danger of Totalitarian Science.” Science is a great blessing, but like all exercises of human reason and creativity, it can be abused. When science is considered the only route to knowledge, scientific experts are given the right to rule, and science becomes totalitarian. It happened decades ago, as documented in the Discovery Institute film Human Zoos. But don’t think it’s all in the past. As the panelists explain, totalitarian science remains with us today.Read More ›
This episode of ID the Future could have been titled Nightmare at the Museum. In this episode, Discovery Institute’s John West introduces listeners to a shocking chapter of American history, drawing from his new documentary, Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism. Learn of a time when this cherished American museum promoted Darwinian-inspired efforts to breed a master race. To learn more visit the film website, HumanZoos.org.Read More ›