Being that February 12, 2009 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and also this year being the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, which by the way was sub-titled The Preservation of the Favored Races In the Struggle For Life, I would like to highlight some of the problems of the evolutionary dogma.
Consider a dogma virtually unheard of before the nineteenth century. Within years it morphed from humble beginnings in the British Isles into a worldwide phenomenon. Millions extolled its virtues with unbending devotion and evangelistic fervor. By the twentieth century, its cardinal doctrines permeated bastions of education, and penetrated corridors of influence and power. Masters of mass communications championed its tenets and academic institutions churned out its messengers. Despite being a misreading of data, it is so assumed that those who oppose it are shouted down as reactionaries. Its proponents consider themselves keepers of orthodoxy and react with cult-like fanaticism when their presuppositions are questioned. Though its underpinnings are racist, luminaries from politicians to playwrights laud its virtues.
The dogma to which I refer is Darwinian evolution. The intellectual revolution it initiated provided the scientific substructure for some of the most significant atrocities in human history. Hitler’s genocidal mania was fueled by Darwin’s racist contention that “civilized races of man will almost exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” In the end, Hitler’s philosophy that Aryans were superhuman and Semites subhuman, led to the extermination of some six million Jews.
Like Hitler, Karl Marx, the father of communism, saw in Darwinism the scientific and sociological support for an economic experiment that eclipsed even the horrors of the Holocaust. Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychology, was also a faithful follower of Charles Darwin. His belief that man was merely a sophisticated animal led him to postulate that “anxiety, paranoia, and other mental disorders each embody modes of behavior that were once adaptive for the human species in the stages of evolution.”
Dr. John L. Down labeled Down syndrome “Mongoloid idiocy’ because he thought it represented a ‘throwback’ to the ‘Mongolian stage’ in human evolution.”
“Throwbacks,” of course, are undesirable. For evolution to progress, it is crucial that the unfit die as that the fittest survive. Marvin Lubenow aptly portrays the ghastly consequences of this notion in his book, Bones of Contention: “If the unfit survived indefinitely they would continue to ‘infect’ the fit with their less fit genes. The result is that the more fit genes would be diluted and compromised by the less fit genes, and evolution could not take place.”
Nowhere were the far-reaching consequences of such cosmogenic mythology more evident that in the pseudo-science of eugenics. Eugenics hypothesized that the gene pool was being corrupted by the less fit genes of inferior people. As Michael Crichton has pointed out, the theory of eugenics postulated that “the best human being were not breeding as rapidly as the inferior ones––the foreigners, immigrants, Jews, degenerates, the unfit, and the ‘feeble-minded.’…The plan was to identify individuals who were feeble-minded––Jews were agreed to be largely feeble-minded, but so were many foreigners, as well as blacks––and stop them from breeding by isolation in institutions or by sterilization.”
The logical progression from evolution to eugenics was hardly a surprise. What is breathtaking, however, is the vast rapidity with which this baseless theory was embraced by the cultural elite. Crichton notes that its supporters ranged from President Theodore Roosevelt to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Eugenics research was funded through philanthropies such as the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations and carried out at prestigious universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
Legislation to address the “problem” posed by eugenics was passed in blue states ranging from New York to California. Eugenics was even backed by the National Academy of Sciences and the American Medical Association. Those who resisted eugenics were considered backward and ignorant. Conversely, German scientists who gassed the “feeble-minded” were considered forward thinking and progressive and were rewarded with grants form such institutions as the Rockefeller Foundation right up to the onset of World War II.
It wasn’t until the ghastly reality of eugenics reached full bloom in the genocidal mania of German death camps that it quietly vanished into the night. Indeed, after World War II, few institutions or individuals would even own up to their insidious belief in eugenics. Nor did the cultural elite ever acknowledge the obvious connection between eugenics and evolution.
Eugenics has faded into the shadowy recesses of history but the tragic consequences of the evolutionary dogma that birthed it are still with us today. Ideas have consequences and the consequences of this cosmogenic myth can hardly be overstated. This is not just an issue, this is the issue; how one views their origins ultimately will determine how they live their life. I talked about this at length with my guest Dr. Jay Richards, Dr. Jonathan Wells, and Dr. Stephen Meyer on the February 12th and 13th editions of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, which you can access off our Website at www.equip.org. I also recommend the following resources which can be purchased as a package at our Website or by 1-888-700-0274, these resources are
1. The Descent of Man, chap 6, “On the Affinities and Genealogy of Man,” in Robert Maynard Hutchins, ed.,
Great Books of The Western World, vol. 49, Darwin (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), 336.
3. What is Creation Science? Rev. ed. (El Cajon, CA: Master Books, 1987, 67; also see Stephen Jay Gould,
“Dr. Down’s Syndrome,” Natural History (April 1980): 142-148.
4. Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, rev.ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004), 62.