Monday, February 4, 2013

#407: Richard Weikart

Richard Weikart is a professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and a senior fellow for the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute. He is also at the editorial board of the Access Research Network's Origins & Design Journal, where his work focuses on the impact of evolution on social thought, ethics and morality. Needless to say, his conclusions are not shared by most fellow historians.

His most famous book is “From Darwin to Hitler”, which has been pretty much univocally dismissed by actual experts because it is historically wildly inaccurate and stupid, but it is nevertheless widely touted by creationists (despite the fact that confusing the veracity of a belief with the consequences of holding it is a rather obvious fallacy). Strange that. The sequel, “Hitler's Ethic”, argues that Hitler's “ideology revolved around evolutionary ethics – the idea that whatever promoted evolutionary progress is good and whatever hinders it is bad.” (He is, obviously, less focused on the fact that Hitler’s views have nothing to do with the biological theory of evolution, a theory Hitler – a staunch creationist in fact rejected). Weikart’s central claim is that Darwinism promotes racism whereas “Christian theology taught the universal brotherhood of all races, who descended from common ancestors – Adam and Eve.” Most historians are unconvinced that this claim is accurate either. Of course, Weikart uses his purported connection to issue fair warnings to today’s Darwinists about where their beliefs may take them (as an aside: Dembski gleefully shares this sentiment).

For a note to Weikart’s article “Was Darwin or Spencer the father of laissez-faire social Darwinism?”, this one is fairly interesting.

The late D James Kennedy was a fan (more on that here and here) and Weikart played a prominent role in the insanely dishonest film “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy”.

You can find a good resource concerning creationism and genocide arguments here.

Diagnosis: Apparently the embodiment of the Discovery Institute’s research philosophy, Weikart is enormously influential, and work of his kind continues to swamp the market despite its dishonesty, fact-distortions, ignorance and bias, and covert or overt references pops up again and again, regardless of how often they are refuted.

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