Eugenics and Darwin
The following is excerpted from Seeing the Non-existent: Evolution’s Myths and Hoaxes. Information about this book can be found at the end of this article.
The eugenics movement, which has served as a great change agent in creating the modern culture of death, is Darwinian through and through.
Eugenics seeks to advance the human race through breeding. It was seen as a way for man to “take control of his own evolution and save himself from racial degeneration” (Horatio Hackett Newman, University of Chicago zoology professor, Evolution, Genetics, and Eugenics, 1932, p. 441).
“Not only did many leading Darwinists embrace eugenics, but also most eugenicists--certainly all the early leaders--considered eugenics a straightforward application of Darwinian principles to ethics and society” (Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, p. 15).
While some have tried to distance eugenics from Darwinism, Darwin himself laid out its basic principles, which is the improvement of humankind through controlled breeding.
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick: we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is a reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed (The Descent of Man, p. 873).
Darwin was bemoaning the fact that the “weak in body and mind” are not eliminated from the human gene pool. He taught that men are mere animals and he wanted to see them treated like animals in the matter of breeding.
Darwin told Alfred Wallace, co-discover of the doctrine of natural selection, that he was depressed about the future of mankind because modern civilization allowed the unfit to survive and reproduce.
“[Darwin] expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity, on the ground that in our modern civilisation natural selection had no play, and the fittest did not survive. Those who succeed in the race for wealth are by no means the best or the most intelligent, and it is notorious that our population is more largely renewed in each generation from the lower than from the middle and upper classes” (“Human Selection,” in Wallace, An Anthology, p. 51).
Charles Darwin was not a brave man and he did not conduct a campaign for the control of human breeding, but he did call for voluntary restraint, saying that “both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if in any marked degree inferior in body or mind” (The Descent of Man). Since men do not typically think of themselves as inferior, it is not surprising that Darwin’s call went unheeded.
It was left for Darwin’s family members to set the eugenics campaign in motion.
Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton (another grandson of Erasmus Darwin), founded the eugenics movement after reading On the Origin of Species. Galton invented the word “eugenics” (meaning “good breeding”) and defined it as “the study of all agencies under social control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations.” Galton believed that even moral and mental traits are the product of inheritance and called for “better breeding, as with ‘horses and cattle,’ to ensure that the ‘nobler varieties of mankind’ prevail over the feebler” (Desmond, Darwin, p. 557).
Of course, men like Galton are elitists who consider themselves the cream of society and well capable of determining who is and is not fit. An elitist is willing to eliminate others (either actively through abortion, euthanasia, etc., or more passively through birth control), but the thought doesn’t seem to cross his mind that he should volunteer himself for elimination.
Galton even saw eugenics as a new religion. One of his disciples, the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw, said in 1905 that “nothing but a eugenic religion can save our civilization” (Edwin Black, War Against the Weak, p. 28). Shaw was fascinated with Darwinism. He said, “The world jumped at Darwin.”
Darwin’s son Leonard was the president of the First International Congress of Eugenics. Leonard wanted to register the names of every “stupid” and otherwise “unfit” person in Britain. His plan envisioned that teachers would report “all children to be specially stupid.” To this would be added the names of “all juvenile offenders awaiting trial, all ins-and-outs at workhouses, and all convicted prisoners” (Black, p. 215). Those so registered would be prohibited from propagating. Also, “their near kin were to be shipped off to facilities, and marriages would be prohibited or annulled.”
Darwin’s son George called for the weakening of divorce laws, so that men and women could escape from a marital yoke with an “inferior” type. He also promoted contraceptives to cut down on “inferior” births.
Eugenics was also a major cause for Darwin’s daughter Ruth and her husband William Rees-Thomas, and for Darwin’s daughter Henrietta and her husband Robert Litchfield.
The eugenics movement in Germany, called the German Society for Race Hygiene, was founded by Alfred Ploetz, a staunch Darwinist and a follower of Darwin’s chief German disciple Ernst Haeckel. Ploetz told Haeckel that his race hygiene journal would “stand on the side of Darwinism” (Weikart, p. 15).
Wilhelm Schallmayer, who wrote one of the first eugenics pamphlets in Germany, said that “eugenics was indissolubly bound together with Darwinian theory” (Weikart, p. 15).
Division of men into classes of superior and inferior
Eugenicist August Forel called for dividing society into two categories: “a superior, more socially useful, sounder, or happier, and an inferior, less socially useful, less sound and happy.” Those in the “superior” division should reproduce bountifully, while those on the “inferior” side should refrain from reproducing (Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, p. 131).
Gustav von Bunge, of the University of Basel, said “the procreation of sick, degenerate children is the most serious crime that a person could ever commit” (Weikart, p. 132).
Eugenicists sought to control the proliferation of the “inferior” through birth control, sterilization, abortion, sex education, restriction of marriage, and incarceration.
The eugenics program in America forced the sterilization of 60,000 “inferior” people. Its headquarters was the Station for Experimental Evolution at Cold Spring Harbor, New York, funded by the Carnegie Foundation to the tune of millions of dollars. It was also funded from the Rockefeller fortune. The head of the U.S. movement was Charles Davenport, who wanted to breed a super race of Nordics. He was deeply concerned about the influx of the “blacks, browns, and yellows,” which he called “cheaper races” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 37). When Davenport applied for funding from Carnegie, he complained, “We have in this country the grave problem of the negro, a race whose mental development is, on the average, far below the average of the Caucasian.” He proposed that “permanent improvement of the race can only be brought about by breeding the best.”
The Cold Spring Harbor center established the “Joint Committee to Study and Report the Best Practical Means of Cutting off the Defective Germ-plasm of the American Population.”
One of Davenport’s goals was the registration of every person in America, and eventually every person on the earth, recording the individual’s “blood line” and assigning him a eugenics racial rating. The plan was to assign an 11 digit number to each man, woman, and child which would indicate his or her rating.
The Eugenics Record Office was opened for business in 1910. “Its first mission was to identify the most defective and undesirable Americans, estimated to be at least 10 percent of the population.”
Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson, a staunch eugenicist, praised the Cold Water facility for “assembling the genetic data of thousands of families.” He said, “Those families which have in them degenerate blood will have new reason for more slowly increasing their kind. Those families in whose veins runs the blood of royal efficiency, will have added reason for that pride which will induce them to multiply their kind” (Black, p. 98).
This was based on animal breeding and the Darwinian doctrine of natural selection. One eugenicist put it like this: “Every race-horse, every straight-backed bull, every premium pig tells us what we can do and what we must do for man” (Black, p. 39). Another said, “May we not hope to ... lop off the defective classes below, and also increase the number of the efficient at the top?”
Those that the eugenicists wanted to “lop off” included epileptics, the poor, American Indians, Blacks, paupers, criminals, the insane, the deformed and defective (such as the blind, deaf, and mute), and the “feeble minded.” The latter was a “eugenically damning classification” that included severely retarded individuals as well as “those who were simply shy, stuttering, poor at English, or otherwise nonverbal, regardless of their true intellect or talent.” In fact, if the eugenicists couldn’t shoehorn someone considered inferior into one of the previous categories, there was always the catch-all class called “other defectives.”
The eugenics purification movement sought to sterilize not only the “unfit” themselves but also their extended families. “Even if those relatives seemed perfectly normal and were not institutionalized, the breeders considered them equally unfit because they supposedly carried the defective germ-plasm that might crop up in a future generation” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 58).
The first three states to adopt eugenic sterilization were Washington, Connecticut, and California, all in 1909. Many other states followed suit.
A test case in 1924-25 went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ratified the eugenics program. A Virginia teen named Carrie Buck was declared “feebleminded” even though she was a good student and a conscientious and hard worker. She was labeled feebleminded simply because her mother, Emma, had been so declared and incarcerated in a government facility for life (though there was no evidence that Emma was actually feebleminded), and because Carrie had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Though she said that she had been raped, local officials deemed her unfit for society and placed her in the Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Carrie’s newborn daughter, Vivian, was also labeled “feebleminded” on the basis of a social worker’s testimony that “there is a look about it that is not quite normal, but just what it is, I can’t tell” (Black, p. 115). Actually, it wasn’t Vivian that was feebleminded; it was this eugenics social worker! The Colony determined to sterilize Carrie as “the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring.” When the case came before the Supreme Court, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., ruled in favor of Carrie’s sterilization, setting down in his opinion the memorable words, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
A major problem with this statement is that there was clear evidence that Carrie and her mother and daughter were anything but imbeciles. (Vivian, who was raised by an adoptive family, was an honor roll student until she died at age eight.)
Chief Justice Holmes was a staunch Darwinist who applied the doctrine of evolution to American law. He “reviled ‘do-gooders’” and did not believe in “the sacredness of human life.” He was fond of the slogan, “.... all society rests on the death of men; if you don’t kill ‘em one way you kill ‘em another--or prevent their being born” (Black, p. 120). A plainer statement of the philosophy underlying the modern culture of death has never been made. It is obvious that we live in the “perilous times” prophesied in 2 Timothy 3 when America’s Chief Justice talked so flippantly and confidently about killing people.
True to its Darwinist character, the eugenics movement was promoted through the use of bogus “facts” and devious art. Henry Goddard’s influential book The Kallikak Family: A study in the Heredity of Feeblemindness (1913) featured “a series of photographs of nefarious-looking and supposedly defective Kallikak family members.” The photos had been “doctored, darkening and distorting the eyes, mouths, eyebrows, nose and other facial features to make the adults and children appear stupid.” This allowed Goddard to “portray the Kallikaks as mental and social defectives” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 77).
The eugenics movement enjoyed the support of many prominent people, such as Alexander Graham Bell, John Kellogg (whose brother, Will, invented Kellogg cornflakes), H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill (who attended the First International Congress on Eugenics), Henry Osborn (head of the American Museum of Natural History and president of the Second International Congress of Eugenics), and Theodore Roosevelt. In 1913, Roosevelt wrote to Davenport, “I agree with you ... that society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind” (Black, p. 99). Churchill advocated segregating Britain’s 120,000 “feebleminded persons” in colonies “so that their curse died with them and was not transmitted to future generations” (Black, p. 215).
The birth control movement was a product of eugenics. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood in 1919, sloganized, “More children from the fit; less from the unfit--that is the chief issue of birth control” (Diane Paul, Controlling Human Heredity, 1995, p. 20).
Sanger “vigorously opposed charitable efforts to uplift the downtrodden and deprived, and argued extensively that it was better that the cold and hungry be left without help, so that eugenically superior strains could multiply without competition from ‘the unfit.’ She repeatedly referred to the lower classes and the unfit as ‘human waste’ not worthy of assistance, and proudly quoted the extreme eugenic view that human ‘weeds’ should be ‘exterminated.’ ... In her 1922 book, Pivot of Civilization, Sanger thoroughly condemned charitable action. ... Sanger’s book included an introduction by famous British novelist and eugenicist H. G. Wells, who said, ‘We want fewer and better children ... we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict upon us’” (Black, pp. 127, 129, 130).
Sanger advocated mass sterilization and incarceration of the “unfit.” She wanted to control the population through birth control and sex education. She also advocated abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.
Calling large families “immoral,” she said, “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it” (Sanger, Woman and the New Race, chapter 5).
She also complained, “Nature eliminates the weeds, but we turn them into parasites and allow them to reproduce” (Black, p. 133).
The December 1924 issue of Sanger’s Birth Control Review featured the following chilling words by John Duvall, writing on “The Purpose of Eugenics”:
“It is interesting to note that there is no hesitation to interfere with the course of nature when we desire to eliminate or prevent a superfluity of rodents, insects or other pests; but when it comes to the elimination of the immeasurably more dangerous human pest, we blindly adhere to the inconsistent dogmatic doctrine that man has a perfect right to control all nature with the exception of himself.”
This position is perfectly consistent with Darwinism. If man is a mere evolved germ, it could not be wrong to refer to him as a pest or a weed.
“Sanger surrounded herself with some of the eugenics movement’s most outspoken racists and white supremacists. Chief among them was Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy. Stoddard’s book, devoted to the notion of a superior Nordic race, became a eugenic gospel. ... Shortly after Stoddard’s landmark book was published in 1920, Sanger invited him to join the board of directors of her American Birth Control League, a position he retained for years” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 133).
Sanger’s influence continues through her writings, through Planned Parenthood, and through her relatives, as we will see.
The abortion movement was also a product of Darwinian eugenics.
“The biggest impact of Darwinism on the abortion debate came through eugenics discourse, which, as we have seen, was founded on Darwinian principles. Eugenics provided important impetus for those promoting the legalization of abortion. Most of the leading abortion advocates--Stocker, Schreiber, Furth, Olberg, and others--were avid Darwinian materialists who saw abortion not only as an opportunity to improve conditions for women, but also as a means to improve the human race and contribute to evolutionary progress. Stocker and her League for the Protection of Mothers consistently used eugenics arguments to support the legalization of abortion, though ultimately they wanted to allow abortion for non-eugenics reasons as well. Eduard David, in an essay on ‘Darwinism and Social Development,’ argued that eugenics was the proper social response to Darwinism, and he approved of abortion as one eugenics measure among others. Lily Braun likewise became a strong advocate of both eugenics and abortion” (Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, p. 157).
In 2004, Margaret Sanger’s grandson Alexander Sanger, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, published Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom and the 21st Century. He said “abortion is good,” arguing that abortion on demand is biologically justified because it aids the human race in its struggle to survive. “We cannot repeal the laws of natural selection. Nature does not let every life form survive. Humanity uniquely, and to its benefit, can exercise some dominion over this process and maximize the chances for human life to survive and grow. ... we must become proud that we have taken control of our reproduction. This has been a major factor in advancing human evolution and survival” (pp. 292, 302).
Though Planned Parenthood today disavows its racist roots, the eugenics movement has been effective in culling the black population. According to a 2011 report by the New York City Department of Health, 59.8 percent of African-American pregnancies there in 2009 ended in abortion. That approaches genocidal levels of destruction.
The Darwinian doctrine of recapitulation, that the embryo goes through successive stages of evolution, has been used repeatedly to justify abortion.
Dr. Henry Morris wrote,
“We can justifiably charge this evolutionary nonsense of recapitulation with responsibility for the slaughter of helpless, pre-natal children--or at least for giving it a pseudo-scientific rationale” (The Long War against God, 1989, p. 139).
Darwin’s prominent German disciple Ernst Haeckel believed that the embryo is still in the evolutionary stage and not fully human. He said that it is “completely devoid of consciousness, is a pure ‘reflex machine,’ just like a lower vertebrate” (Weikart, p. 147).
Thus, killing an unborn baby would be like killing an animal.
In 1982, Dr. James Neel used Haeckel’s doctrine of recapitulation to testify against a proposed U.S. Senate “Human Life” bill that would have declared that “the life of each human being begins at conception.” Neel was chairman of the Department of Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and had just been selected as president-elect of the Sixth International Congress of Human Genetics. He used his impressive credentials to foist the fantasy of Darwinian recapitulation into the debate. He said:
“The early embryo appears to pass through some of the stages in the evolutionary history of our species. ... at about 30 days after conception, the developing embryo has a series of parallel ridges and grooves in its neck which are interpreted as corresponding to the gill slits and gill arches of fish. ... It has a caudal appendage which is quite simply labeled ‘tail’ in many textbooks of human embryology. ... [Because of these ‘facts’] it is most difficult to state, as a scientist, just when in early fetal development human person hood begins, just as I would find it impossible to say exactly when in evolution we passed over the threshold that divides us from the other living creatures” (cited from John Day, Darwin Day in America, pp. 325, 326).
John Day observes:
“Although Neel inserted a few qualifiers in his presentation (e.g., ‘appears’), the implication of his testimony was clear. He was arguing that the value of human embryos could be discounted because for much of their development they were equivalent to earlier stages in man’s evolutionary history” (Darwin Day in America, p. 326).
Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued for abortion in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, also testified against the “Human Life” bill, arguing that the fetus is a parasite. She said, “... the law presently allows no person ... the right to use the body of another in a parasitic way, as does the fetus” (Darwin Day in America, p. 332).
At the same hearing, Dr. Joseph Pratt, emeritus professor of surgery at the Mayo Medical School, also called the fetus “a parasite if you will.”
In 1990, Carl Sagan and his wife, Ann Druyan, argued that abortion is ethical on the grounds that the fetus is not fully human until the sixth month. Taking Haeckel’s recapitulation “theory” as fact, they claimed that the embryo begins as “a kind of parasite” and changes into something like a fish with “gill arches” and then becomes “reptilian” and finally “mammalian.” By the end of the second month, the fetus “is still not quite human” (“Is It Possible to Be Pro-Life and Pro-Choice,” Parade, April 22, 1990).
The Sagans, too, described the fetus as a parasite. “... the fertilized egg ... destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.”
Darwinism is the foundation upon which modern bioethics is built, with its belief that the human fetus has no more value than an animal.
Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer said, “On any fair comparison of morally relevant characteristics ... the calf, the pig, and the much derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy--while if we make the comparison with a fetus of less than three months, a fish, or even a prawn would show more signs of consciousness” (Practical Ethics, 1979, p. 118).
Mary Anne Warren, philosophy professor at San Francisco State University, said that even a fully developed fetus “is considerably less personlike than the average mature mammal, indeed the average fish. ... if the right to life of a fetus is to be based upon its resemblance to a person, then it cannot be said to have any more right to life than, let us say, a newborn guppy” (“On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” Biomedical Ethics, 4th ed., 1996, p. 437).
It is Darwinism and its ridiculous theories that the fetus is not fully human that has given us the vile practice of using fetuses as medical guinea pigs. John Day describes this in Darwin Day in America, pages 335-338.
At the Magee-Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s, live fetuses were packed in ice while still moving and trying to breathe, then rushed to a laboratory for testing.
In the 1960s, Robert Goodlin of Stanford University submerged living fetuses in a saline solution and sliced open their chests in order to directly observe the beating heart.
In the 1970s, American medical researchers took part in a study of fetal-brain metabolism in Helsinki, Finland. The fetuses were removed via C-section and after their hearts stopped beating their heads were cut off and attached to a pump that circulated a chemical mixture through the arteries. Dr. Peter Adam of Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, who helped lead the Finnish study involving decapitation argued, “People need to understand that the fetus doesn’t have the neurologic development for consciousness or pain.” He said, “Once society has declared the fetus dead and abrogated its rights, I don’t see an ethical problem.”
Other researchers in Finland cut out the “fetus’s” brain, lung, liver and kidneys while the heart was still beating -- without anesthesia.
In Hungary, university researchers cut out the beating hearts of fetuses up to 15 weeks for experimentation.
Bioethicist Mary Anne Warren said:
“While a fetus of five or six months may, perhaps, possess some flickering of sensation or some capacity to feel pain, this is equally true and probably even more true of creatures like fish or insects, which few would doubt the propriety of killing in order to save human lives” (“Can the Fetus Be an Organ Farm?” Hastings Center Report, Oct. 1978, pp. 23-24).
Bioethicist Michael Lockwood said:
“I should have thought that, from any sane point of view, it was far preferable to experiment on a near-microscopic blob of unfeeling protoplasm than a feeling, caring being, albeit of a different species” (“The Warnock Report: A Philosophical Appraisal,” in Moral Dilemmas in Modern Medicine, 1985, p. 168).
All of this wickedness is based on Darwinian concept of man as an animal.
Peter Singer said:
“All we are doing is catching up with Darwin. He showed in the nineteenth century that we are simply animals. Humans had imagined we were a separate part of Creation, that there was some magical line between Us and Them. Darwin’s theory undermined the foundations of that entire Western way of thinking about the place of our species in the universe” (Johann Hari, “Peter Singer--An Interview,” The Independent, Jan. 7, 2004).
“We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation, made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul. ... once the religious mumbo-jumbo surrounding the term ‘human’ has been stripped away ... we will not regard as sacrosanct the life of each and every member of our species, no matter how limited its capacity for intelligent or even conscious life may be” (Singer, “Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life?” Pediatrics, July 1983).
Some of the eugenicists went even further, advocating infanticide.
As we have seen, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger advocated this.
Darwin disciple Ernst Haeckel taught that the newborn child has no soul and therefore infanticide “cannot rationally be classed as murder” (Haeckel, The Wonders of Life, 1904, p. 21). For physically or mentally handicapped infants, Haeckel recommended “a small dose of morphine or cyanide” (Weikart, p. 147).
Agnes Bluhm, the leading woman in the German eugenics movement, advocated infanticide (Weikart, p. 155).
Lily Braun also advocated infanticide for less than perfect children such as those with Downs syndrome.
New York physicist William Robinson wrote, “The best thing would be to gently chloroform these children [of the unfit] or to give them a dose of potassium cyanid” (Eugenics, Marriage and Birth Control, 1917).
Peter Singer said:
“If the fetus does not have the same claim to life as a person, it appears that the newborn baby does not either, and the life of a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee” (Practical Ethics, pp. 122, 123).
Leslie Olson, director of organ procurement for the University of Miami, said that an anencephalic baby named Theresa “better fit the category of benign tumor, rather than human being; she was a ball of tissue” (Mike Clary, “Baby Theresa’s Gift: Debate over Organ-Harvesting Laws,” Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1992, A5). Anencephalic babies are born with only their brain stems intact and usually are stillborn or survive only a few hours or days.
Nobel laureates Francis Crick and James Watson proposed that infants not be declared officially alive until three days after birth in order to allow the elimination of defective babies (Darwin Day in America, p. 340).
In 1915, infanticide became national news in America with the killing of a newborn by Dr. Harry Haiselden, chief of staff at the German-American Hospital in Chicago. Haiselden ordered the staff to deny all treatment to a baby born to Anna Bollinger. Catherine Walsh, who found the baby alone in a bare room, begged for the baby to be taken to its mother but was ignored. At an inquest, she testified, “It was a beautiful baby. I saw no deformities.” The inquest determined that “a prompt operation would have prolonged and perhaps saved the life of the child” and that there was “no evidence that the child would have become mentally or morally defective” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 253). The inquest refused, though, to punish the doctor, and the local prosecutor blocked efforts to indict him for murder.
Haiselden considered his vindication “a powerful victory for eugenics.” He “proudly revealed that he had euthanized other such newborns.” Taking courage from the refusal of the law to punish his murderous actions, “within two weeks he had ordered his staff to withhold treatment from several more deformed or birth-defected infants. ... Other times he would handle it personally, like the time he left a newly delivered infant’s umbilical cord untied and let it bleed to death. Sometimes he took a more direct approach and simply injected newborns with opiates” (Black, pp. 253, 254).
Eugenicist leader Charles Davenport praised the doctor, saying, “Shortsighted they who would unduly restrict the operation of what is one of Nature’s greatest racial blessings--death” (“Was the Doctor Right,” The Independent, Jan. 3, 1916).
Hollywood, which from its inception has been a great change agent in creating a society based on the new Darwinist morality, jumped on the culture of death bandwagon in 1917 with The Black Stork. This “unbridled cinematic propaganda was given a massive national distribution and promotion campaign. “Haiselden played himself in a fictionalized account of a eugenically mismatched couple who are counseled by Haiselden against having children because they are likely to be defective. Eventually the woman does give birth to a defective child, whom she then allows to die. The dead child levitates into the waiting arms of Jesus Christ” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 257).
Eugenists had a major influence on the founding of the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA) in the late 1930s.
“The ESA advisory council included not merely those ‘who had defended eugenics,’ but some of the most prominent leaders in the eugenics movement. These included Henry Goddard (the godfather of hysteria over the ‘feeble-minded’), Arthur Estabrook (who testified in the Carrie Buck sterilization case), Albert Wiggam (eugenics popularizer extraordinaire), and even Margaret Sanger” (John Day, Darwin Day in America, p. 357).
In his eugenics lectures in 1910, George Bernard Shaw said:
“A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence, simply because it wastes other people’s time to look after them” (Black, p. 248).
In 1900, W. Duncan McKim, a physician, wrote:
“Heredity is the fundamental cause of human wretchedness. ... The surest, the simplest, the kindest, and most human means for preventing reproduction among those whom we deem unworthy of this high privilege [reproduction], is a gentle, painless death. ... In carbonic acid gas, we have an agent which would instantaneously fulfill the need” (Heredity and Human Progress, 1900, pp. 120, 168).
In 1904, E.R. Johnstone, in his presidential address to the Association of Medical Officers of American Institutions for Idiotic and Feebleminded Persons, said,
“Many plans for the elimination [of the feebleminded] have been proposed” (Black, p. 250).
Paul Popenoe, leader of California’s eugenics movement, said:
“From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution. ... Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated” (Applied Eugenics, 1918, p. 184).
Madison Grant, president of the American Eugenics society, wrote:
“Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilization of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community. The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race” (The Passing of the Great Race, 1916, p. 49).
A glaring question, of course, is who are the “unfit” and who makes the determination to obliterate them.
Charles Darwin, as we have seen, was a deeply depressed near invalid and his offspring did not exhibit any great superiority. “Of the ten, one girl, Mary, died shortly after birth; another girl, Anne, died at the age of ten years; his eldest daughter, Henrietta, had a serious and prolonged breakdown at fifteen in 1859. Three of his six sons suffered such frequent illness that Darwin regarded them as semi-invalid while his last son, Charles Jr., was born mentally retarded and died in 1858, nineteen months after birth” (Ian Taylor, In the Minds of Men, p. 121).
In recent decades there have been major advances in euthanasia. This has been highlighted by high profile cases such as that of Terri Schiavo, who was starved to death in 2005 by court order. She was declared to be in a “persistent vegetative state” (PVS) and her feeding tube was removed. This was done even though some professional medical personnel testified that she was aware of her surroundings and responsive. This type of thing is happening frequently.
Some experts are arguing that death should be redefined merely as the cessation of “higher brain functions.” In other words, those declared in a “vegetative state” would be considered legally dead.
In arguing for this in the 1970s, bioethicist Joseph Fletcher used evolutionary grounds. He said humans have three brain parts--reptilian, mammalian, and human--which is pure Darwinianism. If the so-called human brain is not functioning, then the person should be considered dead.
A 1996 survey found that 54% of medical directors and 44% of neurologists agreed that PVS patients “should be considered dead” (“Physicians Attitudes about the Care of Patients in the Persistent Vegetative State: A National Survey,” Annals of Internal Medicine, July 15, 1996).
Thus, thanks to the Darwinian-driven culture of death, the definition of death itself is being expanded.
John Day comments:
“Within the framework of scientific materialism, such an analysis is perfectly reasonable. If man is solely a physical being, what meaningful life exists apart from the physical functioning of his brain?” (Darwin Day in America, p. 352).
Richard Weikart has the following to say to those who are skeptical about the role that Darwinism has played in the creation of the modern culture of death:
“First, before the rise of Darwinism, there was no debate on these issues, as there was almost universal agreement in Europe that human life is sacred and that all innocent human lives should be protected. Second, the earliest advocates of involuntary euthanasia, infanticide, and abortion in Germany were devoted to a Darwinian worldview. Third, Haeckel, the most famous Darwinist in Germany, promoted these ideas in some of his best-selling books, so these ideas reached a wide audience, especially among those receptive to Darwinism. Finally, Haeckel and other Darwinists and eugenicists grounded their views on death and killing on their naturalistic interpretation of Darwinism” (From Hitler to Darwin, p. 161).
Eugenics and Hitler
Hitler had a great appreciation for the eugenics movement. He wrote letters of praise to Leon Whitney, president of the American Eugenics Society, as well as to Madison Grant, author of The Passing of the Great Race. Hitler called Grant’s book “his Bible” (Black, p. 259). In Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”), Hitler proposed his own program to “eliminate the germs of our physical and spiritual decay.” He said, “The demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring is a demand of the clearest reason and, if systematically executed, represents the most humane act of mankind.”
“In page after page of Mein Kampf’s rantings, Hitler recited social Darwinian imperatives, condemned the concept of charity, and praised the policies of the United States and its quest for Nordic purity. Perhaps no passage better summarized Hitler’s views than this from chapter 11: ‘The Germanic inhabitant of the American continent, who has remained racially pure and unmixed, rose to be master of the continent; he will remain the master as long as he does not fall a victim to defilement of the blood” (Black, War Against the Weak, p. 275).
In the first decade of Hitler’s regime, American eugenicists praised him.
“During the Reich’s first ten years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler’s plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. Indeed, they were envious as Hitler rapidly began sterilizing hundreds of thousands and systematically eliminating non-Aryans from German Society. This included the Jews. Ten years after Virginia passed its 1924 sterilization act, Joseph DeJarnette, superintendent of Virginia’s Western State Hospital, complained in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, ‘The Germans are beating us at our own game.’
“Most of all, American raceologists were intensely proud to have inspired the purely eugenic state the Nazis were constructing. In those early years of the Third Reich, Hitler and his race hygienists carefully crafted eugenic legislation modeled on laws already introduced across America, upheld by the Supreme Court and routinely enforced. Nazi doctors and even Hitler himself regularly communicated with American eugenicists from New York to California, ensuring that Germany would scrupulously follow the path blazed by the United States” (Black, p. 277).
Hitler conducted his eugenic program of racial purification with the assistance of IBM’s Hollerith data processing machines. In 1934, IBM opened a million-dollar factory in Berlin to manufacture the machines. “At the factory opening, the manager of IBM’s German subsidiary, Willi Heidinger, spoke vividly about what IBM technology would do for Germany’s biological destiny” (Black, p. 309).
Standing next to IBM president Thomas Watson’s personal representative, surrounded by Swastika flags and SS Storm Troopers, Heidinger made the following sick idolatrous statement:
“We are proud that we may assist in such task, a task that provides our nation’s Physician [Hitler] with the Material he needs for his examinations. Our Physician can then determine whether the calculated values are in harmony with the health of our people. It also means that if such is not the case, our Physician can take corrective procedures to correct the sick circumstances. ... Our characteristics are deeply rooted in our race. Therefore, we must cherish them like a holy shrine, which we will--and must--keep pure. We have the deepest trust in our Physician and will follow his instructions in blind faith, because we know that he will lead our people to a great future. Hail to our German people and der Fuhrer!”
The “corrective procedures” were a matter of public knowledge by then. The Dachau concentration camp had opened almost a year earlier, amid international news coverage. “Hitler’s atrocities against Jews and others were chronicled daily on the pages of America’s newspapers, by wire services, radio broadcasts, weekly newsreels, and national magazines” (Black, p. 299).
By the power of IBM processors and borrowing registration plans drawn up by eugenicists in America, Hitler was able to identify those who had even a small percentage of Jewish blood.
“As the Hitler regime took each step in its war against the Jews and all of Europe, IBM custom-designed the punch cards and other data processing solutions to streamline those campaigns into what the company described as ‘blitzkrieg efficiency.’”
Arthur Keith, British anthropologist and co-discoverer of Piltdown Man, defended Hitler on the ground of evolutionary philosophy. He wrote, “The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practices of Germany conform to the theory of evolution” (Evolution and Ethics, p. 28).
In his presidential address to the American Historical Association in 1918, William Roscoe Thayer stated:
“I do not believe that the atrocious war into which the Germans plunged Europe in August, 1914, and which has subsequently involved all lands and all people, would ever have been fought, or at least would have attained its actual gigantic proportions, had the Germans not been made mad by the theory of the survival of the fittest” (Weikart, p. 163).
Already in 1868, only seven years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Friedrich Rolle, one of the earliest disciples of Darwin in Germany, wrote a book on human evolution in which he considered warfare a necessary part of the struggle for existence (Weikart, p. 167). Of the war that Otto von Bismarck engineered with Austria, Rolle said,
“With such magnificent events it is no longer a matter of right or blame, but rather it is a Darwinian struggle for existence, where the modern triumphs and the obsolete descends into the paleontological graves” (Ibid.).
Many other German Darwinists said the same thing, as documented by Richard Weikart in the chapter on “War and Peace” in his book From Darwin to Hitler.
Gustav Jaeger justified wars of annihilation. David Strauss said war winnows nations according to their value. Friedrich Hellwald said the destruction of the weaker nations by the stronger “is a postulate of progress.” Robert Byr said, “Whoever it may be, he must stride over the corpses of the vanquished; that is natural law.” Klaus Wagner said war rids the world of “inferior” elements. Fraz Conrad von Hotzendorf said, “Right is what the stronger wills.” Friedrich von Bernhardi called war is a “biological necessity.” Rudolf Cronau said the evolution of humanity progresses “by dint of the right of the stronger.” Alfred Kirchhoff called for “extermination of the crude, immoral hordes.” Oscar Schmidt said natural selection “is a pure question of might.”
In the 1922 book In His Image, William Jennings Bryan, who ran for the U.S. presidency and who opposed evolution in the Scopes Trial, said that Darwinism helped “lay the foundation for the bloodiest war in history.” Bryan observed that Darwinism leads to a denial of God and the abandonment of belief in a future life and thus destroys the stimulus to righteous living. He said that the German philosopher Nietzsche, with his doctrine of might is right, “carried Darwinism to its logical conclusion.” Nietzsche named Darwin as one of the three great men of his century. Bryan quoted an editorial that appeared in the Paris paper L’Univers in 1900 as follows:
“The spirit of peace has fled the earth because evolution has taken possession of it. The plea for peace in past years has been inspired by faith in the divine nature and the divine origin of man; men were then looked upon as children of one Father and war, therefore, was fratricide. But now that men are looked upon as children of apes, what matters it whether they are slaughtered or not?” (In His Image, p. 124).
Bryan also cited Harold Begbie, who spoke of “the dark and disfiguring shadow of Darwinism” that had fallen on “the fields of life” (The Glass of Fashion: Some Social Reflections, 1921).
The preface to Begbie’s book warned:
“Darwinism not only justifies the sensualist at the trough and Fashion at the glass; it justifies Prussianism at the cannon’s mouth and Bolshevism at the prison-door. If Darwinism be true, if Mind is to be driven out of the universe and accident accepted as a sufficient cause for all the majesty and glory of physical nature, then there is no crime or violence, however abominable in its circumstances and however cruel in its execution, which cannot be justified by success, and no triviality, no absurdity of Fashion which deserves a ensure...”
One book that effectively documents the destructive moral/social influence of Darwinism is From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany by Richard Weikart (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).
“Just because Darwinism does not lead inevitably to Nazism does not mean that we can strike Darwinism off the list of influences that helped produce Hitler’s worldview and thus paved the way to the Holocaust. ... No matter how crooked the road was from Darwin to Hitler, clearly Darwinism and eugenics smoothed the path for Nazi ideology, especially for the Nazi stress on expansion, war, racial struggle and racial extermination. ...
“If one concentrates on anti-Semitism, surely an important part of Hitler’s worldview, then there does not seem to be any direct connection between Darwinism and Nazism. ... However, if we focus more narrowly on the question of ethics, the value of human life, and racism, as I will do in the succeeding pages, the historical connections appear more significant. Sheila Faith Weiss, after adequately demonstrating the Darwinian roots of eugenics, is probably right when she contends, ‘Finally, one might add, to categorize people as “valuable” and “valueless,” to view people as little more than variables amenable to manipulation for some “higher end,” as Schallmayer and all German eugenicists did, was to embrace an outlook that led, after many twists and turns, to the slave-labor and death camps of Auschwitz’” (pp. 4, 6).
Another book that documents the intimate association between Darwinism and Hitler is The Scientific Origins of National Socialism by Daniel Gassman.
“[Hitler] stressed and singled out the idea of biological evolution as the most forceful weapon against traditional religion, and he repeatedly condemned Christianity for its opposition to the teachings of evolution. ... For Hitler, evolution was the hallmark of modern science and culture, and he defended its veracity as tenaciously as Haeckel” (Gassman, p. 168).
In The Nazi Doctor: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Robert Lifton explains how Darwinist Ernst Haeckel’s racism and devaluation of life resulted in the destruction of conscience among Nazi doctors.
“Haeckel embraced a widely held nineteenth-century theme ... that each of the major races of humanity can be considered a separate species. ... Haeckel went so far as to say, concerning these ‘lower races’ (‘wooly-haired’ Negroes), that since they are ‘psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes and dogs) than to civilized Europeans we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives’” (p. 125).
As Shawn Boonstra observes:
“To suggest that atheism or Darwinism had nothing to do with it is just as ludicrous. It was not the Bible that gave the operators of the death camps the rationale they needed to justify the mass execution of ‘inferior’ races. The belief that some races were genetically inferior--maybe even a different species--didn’t come from the Christian scriptures. ... Let’s be honest about it; the Bible did not fuel those ideas; they were fueled by the apostles of Darwin, the sketches of Haeckel, and the writings of the atheist philosopher Nietzsche” (Out of Thin Air, p. 53).
The above is excerpted from Seeing the Non-existent: Evolution’s Myths and Hoaxes. This book is designed both as a stand alone title as well as a companion to the apologetics course AN UNSHAKEABLE FAITH. The contents are as follows: Canals on Mars, Charles Darwin and His Granddaddy, Thomas Huxley: Darwin’s Bulldog, Ernst Haeckel: Darwin’s German Apostle, Icons of Evolution, Icons of Creation, The Ape-men, Predictions, Questions for Evolutionists, Darwinian Gods, Darwin’s Social Influence. The ICONS OF EVOLUTION that we refute are natural selection, mutations, the fossil record, homology, the peppered moth, Darwin’s finches, the four-winged fruit fly, Lucy, the Laetoli footprints, vestigial organs, the horse series, the embryo chart, the Miller experiment, whale evolution, Archaeopteryx and bird evolution, junk DNA, the Huxley-Wilberforce debate, the Scopes trial, proteinoids, archaebacteria, bacterial resistance, reproductive isolation, the “imperfect” human eye, DNA similarity between apes and men, talking apes, Dawkins’ typing monkeys, the peacock’s tail feather, Hume’s philosophy, the coelacanth, biomorphs, just-so stories, multiverse, the big bang, coevolution, and billions of years. The ICONS OF CREATION that we consider are the monarch butterfly, the trilobite, the living cell, the human eye, the human brain, the human hand, blood clotting, the Pasteur experiments, artificial breeding experiments, the giraffe’s blood pressure control system, the bombardier beetle, the amphibian egg, the bird’s flight feather, bird migration, bird song, the hummingbird, red blood cells, lima bean distress signal, variety of life, harmony and symbiosis, sexual reproduction, living technology, biomimetics, the eel, the mussel’s foot, the dragonfly, the bee, the bat, corn, and water. The section on APE-MEN deals with Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, the Taung Child (Australopithecus Africanus), Plesianthropus (Mrs. Ples), Peking Man, Gigantopithecus Blacki, Ramapithecus, Zinjanthropus (Nutcracker Man), Homo Habilis, Lothagam Man, Flipperpithecus, Donkey Man, Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy), Ardipithecus Ramidus, Homo erectus, and Darwinius masillae (Ida). This section also deals with the “Out of Africa” hypothesis and Russia’s ape-men experiments under Ilya Ivanov. The section on PREDICTIONS considers 29 predictions made by Biblical creationism, such as the universe will behave according to established laws, the universe will be logical, there will be a vast unbridgeable gulf between man and the animal kingdom, and there will be barriers between the different kinds of plants and animals. DARWINIAN GODS takes a look at inventions that evolutionists have devised to avoid divine Creation, such as panspermia and aliens, self-organization, autoevolution, the indeterminate sea of potentiality, and the multiverse. 608 pages. Available in print and eBook editions from the www.wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143