Richard Weikart

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture

Richard Weikart is Emeritus Professor of History at California State University, Stanislaus, and author of From Darwin to HitlerHitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary ProgressHitler’s Religion: The Twisted Ideas that Drove the Third Reich, and The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life.  His most recent book is Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism (2022).  He completed his Ph.D. in modern European history at the University of Iowa in 1994, receiving the biennial prize of the Forum for History of Human Sciences for the best dissertation in that field. His revised dissertation, Socialist Darwinism: Evolution in German Socialist Thought from Marx to Bernstein, was published in 1999.

His book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, documents the influence of naturalistic evolution on ethical thought, euthanasia, militarism, racism, and ultimately Hitler's ideology. It was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2004. For more information on this book, visit darwintohitler.com.

His "From Darwin to Hitler" lecture delivered at the University of California San Diego is available here.

Dr. Weikart has also written Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) which helps explain the mystery of Hitler’s pernicious ideology by demonstrating that Hitler’s immorality flowed from a coherent ethic, inspired by an evolutionary utopian project of biologically improving the human race.

He published two books in 2016: The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life, which contains chapters on materialism, Darwinism, and biological determinism, among other issues; and Hitler’s Religion, which shows that Hitler was a pantheist who deified nature and based his morality on the laws of nature, especially the Darwinian struggle for existence.

His latest book is Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism (2022), which takes his earlier scholarship a step further by examining the Nazi biology curriculum, textbooks used in German schools during the Third Reich, Nazi propaganda, and the writings of prominent German biologists and anthropologists during the Third Reich.  He thereby demonstrates the importance of Darwinism for the Nazi worldview.  In the final chapter he shows how white nationalists and neo-Nazis today still rely on Darwinism to buttress their racist ideology.

Richard Weikart's Vitae can be accessed here.

Archives

Eric Metaxas and Richard Weikart Spotlight Darwinian Racism

Today’s ID the Future brings listeners a lively conversation between radio host and bestselling author Eric Metaxas and historian Richard Weikart about Weikart’s new book, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism. Weikart provides a quick flyover of the evidence that the outlook of Hitler, the Nazis, and contemporary white nationalists is significantly shaped by Darwinism and the arguments of early Darwinists. Metaxas and Weikart then contrast the Darwinian foundation for morality with the Judeo-Christian foundation, which holds that all humans are made in the image of God and therefore possess inherent worth, regardless of race and regardless of one’s “fitness.” This episode is reposted here, with permission, from The Eric Metaxas Show. Check out Weikart’s new Read More ›

Darwinian Racism Webinar, Pt. 2

Today’s ID the Future features the second half of a recent webinar spotlighting historian Richard Weikart and his new book, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism. Here Weikart fields questions from the webinar audience. Along the way Weikart touches on the connection between Darwinism and scientific racism, the objection that Darwinism, properly understood, doesn’t support scientific racism (much less Nazi racism), the racism inherent in Darwin’s own writings and those of prominent early Darwinists such as Ernst Haeckel, and more recent manifestations of Darwinian-inspired scientific racism both academic and populist. This and much more is explored in Weikart’s new book, available here. And for scientific reasons to reject Darwinism along with its racists implications, jump over Read More ›

Darwinian Racism: The Author Webinar, Pt. 1

Today’s ID the Future is part one of a recent webinar featuring Darwinian Racism author and noted historian Richard Weikart, discussing his new book with webinar host and Center for Science and Culture managing director John West. Weikart and West begin by discussing Whoopi Goldberg’s recent claim that the Jewish Holocaust under Nazi Germany was not racist. Yes it was, explains Weikart. Hitler and the Nazis believed that the Nordic or Aryan Europeans, which included Germans, were a superior race, and they viewed Jews, blacks, Slavs, and other races as inferior. Worse, Hitler and other Nazis drew upon Darwin’s theory of evolution, and in particular ideas laid out in Darwin’s The Descent of Man, as well as the work of Read More ›

Richard Weikart on Scientific Racism and the War on Humanity

Today’s ID the Future again spotlights The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. Historian Richard Weikart and host Casey Luskin discuss Weikart’s contribution to the new anthology, his essay “How Evil Has Been Done in the Name of Science.” As Weikart explains, over the past century and a half, science has been misused to fuel racist policies and undermine human rights. Darwinian ideas helped lay the groundwork for Nazi ideology in Germany. And we shouldn’t imagine the problem was restricted to Nazi Germany. Scientific racism also reared its head in the United States, including in the long-running and infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment. More broadly, a marriage of scientism and evolutionary thinking continues to undermine the idea of inherent human worth Read More ›

Richard Weikart Reviews New Book on Social Darwinism

In today’s ID the Future historian Richard Weikart (Cal State Stanislaus) dissects a new Cambridge University Press book on social Darwinism by Jeffrey O’Connell and Michael Ruse. Weikart, author of Hitler’s Ethic, From Darwin to Hitler, Hitler’s Religion, and The Death of Humanity,* says that a major shortcoming of the new book is the authors’ attempt to put as much distance as possible between Darwin and eugenics thinking, and between Darwin and Hitler. The new book paints Darwin follower Herbert Spencer as the eugenics-championing bad guy and posits that Darwin and Darwinism had little or no influence on Hitler’s warped master race ethic. Weikart patiently highlights some key evidence to the contrary, statements front and center in Hitler’s writing. Did Read More ›

Richard Weikart on Darwinian Racism, Eugenics, and Slavery

The evil of racism was nothing new when Darwin and his evolutionary theory came on the scene, but according to Weikart, racist thinking, increased “by orders of magnitude” under the influence of Darwinism and evolutionary thinking, and became mainstream science.

Weikart on Racism, Darwinism and Christianity

On this episode of ID the Future, Cal State history professor Richard Weikart, author of The Death of Humanity and the Case for Life, talks racism past and present, in both Christian and “scientific” secular history.

Richard Weikart on Michael Ruse and the Darwinian Religion

On this episode of ID the Future, From Darwin to Hitler author and historian Richard Weikart speaks with Mike Keas about a recent book on Darwinism, Christianity, and war by Michael Ruse. Weikart says that in the course of the book Ruse appears to shift from warning others about treating Darwinism as a secular religion to himself embracing it as such.