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Darwin Day in America

John G. West

Darwin Day in America tells the disturbing story of scientific expertise run amuck, exposing how an ideological interpretation of Darwinian biology and reductionist science have been used to degrade American culture and fuel a relentless march from democracy to technocracy in criminal justice, welfare, business, education, and bioethics. Originally published in 2007, the book was re-released in an expanded paperback edition in 2015 featuring a new chapter on “Scientism in the Age of Obama — and Beyond.”

At the dawn of the last century, leading scientists and politicians giddily predicted that science — especially Darwinian biology — would supply solutions to all the intractable problems of American society, from crime to poverty to sexual maladjustment.

Instead, politics and culture were dehumanized as scientific experts in thrall to the assumptions of philosophical materialism began treating human beings as little more than animals or machines. In criminal justice, these experts denied the existence of free will and proposed replacing punishment with invasive “cures” such as the lobotomy. In welfare, they proposed eliminating the poor by sterilizing those deemed biologically unfit. In business, they urged the selection of workers based on racist theories of human evolution and the development of advertising methods to more effectively manipulate consumer behavior. In sex education, they advocated creating a new sexual morality based on “normal mammalian behavior” without regard to longstanding ethical and religious imperatives.

Based on extensive research with primary sources and archival materials, Darwin Day in America reveals how American politics and culture have been corrupted by massive abuse of science. West’s narrative explores the far-reaching consequences for society when scientists and politicians deny the essential differences between human beings and the rest of nature. It also exposes the disastrous results that ensue when experts claiming to speak for science turn out to be wrong. West concludes with a plea for the restoration of democratic accountability in an age of experts.

About the Author

John G. West is a Senior Fellow and Vice President of Discovery Institute in Seattle, where he also is Associate Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. The former Chair of the Department of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University, West holds a Ph.D. in Government from Claremont Graduate University and is the author or editor of a dozen books, including Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest and The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society. He also is the writer/director of several documentaries, including The War on HumansPrivileged Species, and the award-winning Biology of the Second Reich.

Dr. West has been interviewed by Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York TimesUSA TodayThe Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, the Michael Medved Show, and many other media outlets.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Associate Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Associate Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.