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Mind

Evolution → Holocaust

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanAugust 21, 2006 1:14 AM

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WorldNut Daily has a story up about a new "documentary" which will try to show how Darwin's theory led to the abomination that was the Holocaust.First, there is a truth which right-wing religious fundamentalists leverage in these sort of claims: during the early 20th century "progressives" of all stripes, Left and Right, promoted the science of eugenics, which was explicitly Darwinian. Books like Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity illuminate this "lost history." Karl Pearson, the father of biometrics and a major influence in American eugenicists such as Charles Davenport,1 and Francis Galton's protege, was a socialist and a believer in equal rights for women (Pearson's fair attitude toward women contrasted with R.A. Fisher's more sexist sensibilities during their disputes in the 1930s as the latter was eclipsing the former).But second, the relationship of evolutionary theory to eugenics, and in particular negative eugenics, is similar to the relationship of the teachings of Jesus Christ to all the pogroms and persecutions of the world: final judgement must pass to the perversion of man, not of ideas. Were the Christian fundamentalist whites who the likes of H.L. Mencken had wished were sterilized for the fitness of the race any less bigoted against non-whites because of their Christianity? That, I doubt.1 - Davenport was a director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

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