From Darwin to Hitler, Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany

By Richard Weikart
New York : Palgrave Macmillan (2004). 312 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. F. David Farnell
20.1 (Spring 2009) : 127-127

Weikart’s book is a must read under the main idea that “Ideas Have Consequences.” Weickert traces the devastating impact that evolution had on the rise of evolutionary genetics (eugenics) that led to a virulent racism in Germany (and the United States) that eventually led to devastating devaluing of human life and the elimination of evolutionary “inferior” people in the Holocaust. The book is a well-documented, frightening exploration of how tenuous evolutionary thought became dogmatic presupposition in the scientific community in Europe, leading to the massive liquidation (killing) of millions based on evolutionary principles of what is inferior and what is superior. The book goes beyond Hitler’s era to cast grave suspicions on the present scientific community throughout the world that so dogmatically holds to such principles. The future could be very dark if these ideas spawned by false science take hold as they once did in Germany. The fruition of this kind of thinking today is evolutionary biology and the relativization of ethics where right and wrong are merely culturally determined. No absolutes exist. What is right today could become passé tomorrow. The book’s implications for the world’s future are chilling.