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 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.
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 brings listeners a lively conversation between radio host and bestselling author Eric Metaxas and historian Richard Weikart about Weikart’s new book, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism. Weikart provides a quick flyover of the evidence that the outlook of Hitler, the Nazis, and contemporary white nationalists is significantly shaped by Darwinism and the arguments of early Darwinists. Metaxas and Weikart then contrast the Darwinian foundation for morality with the Judeo-Christian foundation, which holds that all humans are made in the image of God and therefore possess inherent worth, regardless of race and regardless of one’s “fitness.” This episode is reposted here, with permission, from The Eric Metaxas Show. Check out Weikart’s new book here.
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.
Today’s ID the Future features the newly released Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism by distinguished historian Richard Weikart. Here Andrew McDiarmid reads from the introduction and chapter one. Weikart begins his book by revisiting the harrowing Columbine High School mass shooting and underscoring the curious fact that one of the mass shooters, a white nationalist, claimed inspiration from not just Adolf Hitler but also Charles Darwin. Since Darwin was a peaceable Victorian English gentleman and naturalist, what possible connection could there be between Darwin on the one hand and Hitler and contemporary white nationalism on the other? Weikart shows that the connection is in fact quite clear from the writings of Hitler, Darwin himself, and early Darwinists, and that the connection has continued to fuel scientific racism down to the present, despite the fact that the racist notions that Darwin and Germany’s Ernst Haeckel used to support the case for apelike-primate-to-human evolution have long since been debunked. Weikart’s revelatory new book is now available for purchase.
Today’s ID the Future again 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.
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.