This month’s New Oxford Review contains a book review on From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany, which addresses the philosophical and religious changes that led to the eugenic crimes of doctors in Nazi Germany.
From the review:
Even so, Weikart concedes that these intellectuals who “built their worldview on science” may not have realized that at the foundation of their edifice were certain “philosophical presuppositions” that did not come “from empirical science and about which science could not arbitrate.” In other words, as brilliant as they were, these German scholars and scientists could not quite manage to draw the line between the science of Darwin and Darwinian moral philosophy.
But, what have Darwin and a few rogue doctors in the history of Germany got to do with post-Holocaust Americans?
The review (as well as another available only to subscribers to the Journal of the American Medical Association on the book, Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials: From Medical War Crimes to Informed Consentby Paul Julian Weindling) reminded me of an earlier article “The Evolution of Genocide,” by Rebecca Messall, in the Winter 1999 issue of the Human Life Review. Ms. Messall became interested in the evolution controversy played out over the last decade in Kansas, State-mandated “National Science Education Standards,” and her discovery that “a Huxleyan eugenic vision forms the theoretical model of the National Science Education Standards.”
According to the 1959 president of the American Eugenics Society, Harry L. Shapiro, three essentials of eugenics are Darwin’s natural selection, Malthus’ idea of scarcity, and Mendel’s analysis of heredity. These are the elements of eugenics, whether or not it is re-named “unified concepts” or “evolutionary biology,” or “synthesis.” In fact the themes reinforced by the NSES’ thirteen year long curriculum are population genetics, natural selection and Malthusian scarcity.
Ms. Messall lays out the connection between the sponsors and authors of Kansas’ science standards and various “mainstream” (and government funded) science associations, academies and societies:
The leaders of the effort to “unify” biology and other sciences around natural selection were in fact, as revealed by (Kathryn) O’Keefe’s research, some of the century’s leading eugenicists.
. . . Despite such a glaring historical lapse in a Harvard-published book purporting to be a history of biology, “Science as a Way of Knowing” is incorporated by reference into the NSES, at least twice for further reading, and the phrase is used and highlighted in the NSES text.
I was alarmed that the NSES relied heavily on Moore’s book as a reference and even incorporated its title throughout the text. But it concerned me more that, on its dust jacket, his 1993 book bears official endorsements by, among others, the highest-ranking men in the groups overseeing the national standards and two other men with decidedly bio-philosophical points of view:
=>the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Alberts
=>F. James Rutherford, head of the AAAS Project 2061 education initiative
=>an elderly Harvard evolutionist, Ernst Mayr, who was a central figure in founding a post-war group to promote the idea of a “unity of the sciences,” called the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) and its journal, Evolution
=>Paul Ehrlich, original population control advocate/author.
Out of seven endorsers listed on Moore’s book cover, four are contributors to the NSES. Moore and at least four endorsers appear to have been colleagues in Huxley and Mayr’s Society for the Study of Evolution, a group for which Moore is himself a past-president.
According to documentation in Smocovitis’ Unifying Biology, it was Huxley and his contemporary, Ernst Mayr who formed the Society for the Study of Evolution as part of their move to “synthesize” or “unify” (some might say contaminate) all concepts of science with Darwin’s doctrine of natural selection.
The book, Science as a Way of Knowing is excerpted at Amazon.com
Be sure and read the part about animism on page 13 – and the dismissive quote about souls and barbarians.