CSC Fellow Dr. Richard Weikart will deliver the lecture "From Darwin to Hitler: Does Darwinism Devalue Human Life" based on his book "From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).
The lecture is Thursday, April 7 at Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall 150 at 7:30 pm. Attendance is free.
"From Darwin to Hitler" is a compelling and painstakingly researched work of intellectual history, in which Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. He demonstrates that many leading Darwinian biologists and social thinkers in Germany believed that Darwinism overturned traditional Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment ethics, especially those pertaining to the sacredness of human life. Many of these thinkers supported moral relativism, yet simultaneously exalted evolutionary "fitness" (especially in terms of intelligence and health) as the highest arbiter of morality. Weikart concludes that Darwinism played a key role not only in the rise of eugenics, but also in euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination, all ultimately embraced by the Nazis. He convincingly makes the disturbing argument that Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles rather than nihilistic ones.
Dr. Weikart is a Professor of History at California State University, Stanislaus, whose primary field is Modern European History, with specializations in Modern Germany, and European Intellectual History.
This lecture is part of the Science and Politics Lecture Series co-sponsored with Seattle Pacific University Political Science Dept.