Did Darwinism influence the Nazis?
In 2008, the documentary Expelled featuring actor/writer Ben Stein sparked controversy by examining the influence of Darwinian evolution on Nazi ideology. In the following essays, you can explore different views about the impact of Darwinism on the Nazis and about whether Expelled’s treatment of the issue was accurate and fair.
Benjamin Wiker, author of Moral Darwinism, argues that many people who deny the influence of Darwinism on Nazism have read neither Darwin nor Hitler. He highlights some of the most salient passages from both writers to provide context to this debate.
Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer writes that despite protestations to the contrary, the link between Darwinism and Nazi ideology is well-recognized by historians of Hitler’s regime.
Jeff Schloss, a Professor of Biology at Westmont College, contends that the film Expelled misrepresents the relationship between Darwinism and Nazi ideology, insisting that “the horrors of Nazism cannot be inevitable outcomes or logical extensions of Darwinian theory.”
California State University historian Richard Weikart, author of the book From Darwin to Hitler, faults biologist Jeff Schloss for selectively citing the historical record in an effort to downplay the historical influence of Darwinism on Nazism.
Historian Sander Gliboff of Indiana University slams fellow historian Richard Weikart’s book From Darwin to Hitler for trying to demonstrate the influence of Darwinism on Nazi ideology. Conceding that Weikart’s book is “very well crafted to maintain a scholarly stance” and that it “is rich in primary material, thoroughly documented, and clearly and concisely written,” Gliboff nevertheless accuses Weikart of offering help to the “creationist side.”
California State University historian Richard Weikart rebuffs fellow historian Sander Gliboff’s critical review of Weikart’s book From Darwin to Hitler, arguing that Gliboff’s effort to downplay the influence of Darwinism on the Nazis ignores the work of many other historians and that some of Gliboff’s own citations corroborate Weikart’s view rather than Gliboff’s.