Friday, December 15, 2006

The Discovery Institute's Use of Weikart's FROM DARWIN TO HITLER

Richard Weikart's book From Darwin to Hitler is often cited by proponents of intelligent design theory to show that Darwinian science leads to Nazism and other evils.

In Darwinian Conservatism, and on this blog, I have argued that Weikart's book doesn't really show a direct path "from Darwin to Hitler." In fact, the social Darwinists discussed by Weikart actually distorted or denied Darwin's teaching.

In his response to my criticisms, Weikart has accused me of distorting his book. He says that I "incorrectly allege that I argue a straightforward 'Darwin-to-Hitler'thesis." He accuses me of reading the book with "the (false) preconceived idea that my book argues for a direct line from Darwin to Hitler." To support this claim, he quotes from page 4 of his book: "Darwinism does not lead inevitably to Nazism." In other words, he argues that the thesis of his book is not accurately conveyed in the title--From Darwin to Hitler--which he says is "ambiguous."

But now in a recent blog post at the Discovery Institute website, Jonathan Witt says that Weikart's book shows "a straightforward path to horror." He writes: "What is striking is how straightforwardly many of the horrors documented in Weikart's book follow from Darwinian principles." This directly contradicts Weikart's response to me saying that it is wrong to see his book as arguing for "a straightforward 'Darwin-to-Hitler' thesis."

I hope that Weikart will correct this interpretation of his book, and that the Discovery Institute will issue a retraction of its claims about his book.

1 comment:

John Pieret said...

This is, of course, just another application of the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" tactic of the Discovery Institute and ID movement at large. Weikart is outraged by Witt's "false idea" of his book to exactly the same degree that the DI is outraged by the general populace taking the "Designer" to be God. Weikart wants to maintain his academic standing by denying that he is making the unsupportable claim of a direct connection from Darwin to Hitler while fully hoping his intended audience, aided and abetted by the likes of Witt, will make just such a connection.

It's said that it is best not attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. Do you think Weikart and Witt are stupid?