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A review of Darwin Day in America. By John West.

Jan 30, 2008

Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2007.

‘Social Darwinism’ is a term which refers to the social and political ramifications of biological Darwinism and the materialism which it is imbedded in. Darwin regarded humans as basically higher animals, and as the social sciences became more and more tinged by the Darwinian outlook, humans increasingly began to be treated as mere animals, or machines.

This volume looks at how the materialistic worldview of Darwinism has impacted on a wide range of fields. As academics, scientists and politicians apply the Darwinian view of man to various social sciences, some very negative outcomes have ensued. We have steadily become dehumanised and depersonalised as we have taken on board the logical implications of evolutionary materialism.

West offers a far-reaching and profound look at numerous areas clouded by the Darwinist mindset. He examines the fields of law, education, business, economics, sociology and ethics to see how the revolutionary ideas of Darwin have penetrated every aspect of Western culture. Scientific materialism, flowing forth from Darwin and the Neo-Darwinists, today underpins much of public policy in the West.

Consider how extensive scientific materialism has become in public life. The title of this book refers to the move to make February 12 Darwin Day in the US, a date usually associated with the birth of Abraham Lincoln. But so great has the influence and impact of Darwin’s ideas become that he has now risen to the status of a secular saint in many quarters.

West is certainly right to argue just how far and deep the influence of Darwin has been. Consider the issue of crime and punishment. For much of human history crime was about punishment and restitution, based on the belief that humans had free will and were morally responsible for their actions.

But with the advent of Darwin – in part – academics and elites increasingly began to view humans as simply animals who needed treatment, not punishment. After all, if we are simply the products of our biology, how can we be held accountable for our actions? Such thinking flows directly out of Darwin’s materialistic account of evolution.

Thus Clarence Darrow, for example, took materialistic Darwinism to its logical conclusion and argued that criminals are basically programmed by material forces. If men are simply machines, powerfully determined by their heredity and background, then crime and punishment must be radically redefined.

Crime began to be studied not only in terms of one’s biology, but also in psychosocial terms. Crime was seen as a mental illness, not wilful immorality. Criminals came to be seen as victims, and punishment was replaced with rehabilitation and therapy. If crime is just an illness, then cure, not punishment, was required.

West also reminds us that the ugly eugenics movement also flowed very nicely out of the Darwinian worldview. Eugenics was the idea that man could “take control of his own evolution by breeding a better race”. The father of the eugenics movement, Francis Galton, happened to be a cousin of Darwin, and was inspired by The Origin of the Species to “improve” the human race.

Of course the rest of the title of that book reads, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. People like Margaret Sanger – who founded Planned Parenthood – simply took all this to its logical conclusion. Compulsory sterilisation of the “unfit”, lobotomies, electric shock treatments and other coercive measures were all features of the eugenics movement. And it found its fullest and most ghastly expression in the Nazi death camps.

West shows how the materialism of Darwinism leads to the Nazi worldview. Hitler argued that eugenics had a scientific basis, and that race betterment was a result of the biological principles articulated by Darwin. Indeed, the three great genocidal regimes of last century – Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China – were all firmly grounded on the principles of scientific materialism.

Mention can also be made of Alfred Kinsey and the radical sex education movement which also finds its roots in the Darwinian view of humanity. West covers this in sordid detail, along with other contentious social issues of the day. For example, some evolutionary psychologists are now arguing that rape and adultery can be fully explained, if not excused, on a biological basis. All sexually deviant behaviour is simply the outworking of our evolutionary adaptation and programming. Kinsey sought to scientifically justify all sexualities, including bestiality and paedophilia.

West makes a solid case for how all such ugly social and cultural radicalism finds solid ideological grounding in the ideas of Darwin. For too long there have been apologists for Darwin who have sought to argue that a large gulf looms between the biological ideas of Darwin and Social Darwinism. West very capably demonstrates that there is in fact very little distance between the two.

Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences. West superbly makes the case that Darwin had plenty of bad ideas, and we are seeing plenty of ugly consequences today as a result. This very important book deserves to be widely read and discussed.

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9 Responses to A review of Darwin Day in America. By John West.

  • Given the baneful effects Darwinistic thinking has had on the world it is a worry that much of the church continues to ‘dance with the devil’ so to speak by incorporating Darwin’s ideas into it’s theology. I refer specifically to theistic evolution which has captured whole denominations. When looking for answers as to why the church in the western world is loosing it’s hold on the culture, one reason very obvious to me is that instead of resisting naturalistic science the church has accommodated to it.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • for any who are interested, Creation Ministries International are this year completing a christian ‘wild-life’ documentary, which has the specific aim of combating the sure influx of pro-Darwin/evolution media content that will hit the world early next year.

    2009 will be the 150th anniversary of the publication of “The Origin of Species” as well as being the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.

    Some detail about CMI’s professionally produced film production can be viewed here:

    Mathew Hamilton

  • Sounds like an interesting book.

    Echoes of Darwinism and naturalism can be found in the modern leftist movement. Their propensity to multiply causes instead of looking at agency and moral culpability is a legacy of naturalism. As I commented recently on a piece from John Kekes’ book Against Liberalism

    ‘Yes indeed, they believe in multiplying causes and not in morality. The liberals undying faith in the goodness of autonomous people prevents them from believing in true human wickedness and culpability. So evil is more a result of external causes and not the moral state of the individual or group. Compulsions from poverty, reilgion, past abuses or oppression force one to act in ways that they otherwise would not. So, for example, the state of modern American black ghettos are the legacy of white oppression in the form of racism and slavery.’

    Damien Spillane

  • Hi Bill, thanks for this most helpful post.
    Stan Fishley

  • In light of what we know about the consequences of Darwinism it seems strange that recently the European Council issued an Orwellian statement, declaring that creationism (the term they apply to all kinds of criticisms of Darwinism), is a threat to human rights. This gives cause for a pertinent question: why should one’s view of origins be bolstered by politics? Well, perhaps the scientific evidence is not altogether convincing.
    Joel Kontinen

  • Joel Kontinen, CMI has answered that Eurosocialist anticreationist agitprop: When will Europe wake up? Council of Europe ‘condemns creationism’ (but it ought to reconsider where the ‘threat to human and civic rights’ is really coming from).

    BTW, the ARJ is just an online creationist journal; the Journal of Creation is a proper print journal that has a proven history for over two decades.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thank you, Dr. Sarfati. The point in my recent blog post was to show that evolutionists tend to get upset merely at the thought of any science publications that are critical of evolution. BTW, I subscribe to both Creation magazine and Journal of Creation and love reading them.

    Joel Kontinen, Finland

  • Thank you Jonathan for your article. In Britain there are moves to remove the blasphemy laws; this is seconded by the Church of England! But as your article points out, the only reason we should respect other human beings is precisely because we respect the God who created us. It is because we are created in His image, that to sin against another human being, as David said in Psalm 51, is to sin against God.

    Homosexual lobby groups, like Stonewall, to control the British government have to first clear the decks of any last vestige of Christianity. They and the Joint Council for Equality and Human Rights, at whose table the chief executive of Stonewall, Ben Summerskill sits, claim that the Christian faith is founded on myth and not only that discriminates against homosexuals. Whilst claiming all the time to speak for impartiality and equality, Summerskill claims that evolutionary humanism is the absolute truth and is making great strides to getting it imposed in schools. The truth is that this is the absolute and iron rule of an oppressive ideology, that can only be enforced through fear and inquisition.

    I heard on the news recently that there is a huge drop in voluntary work. This apparently is put down to too much red tape. May I suggest, however, that, as night follows day, this is as a result of a government that has replaced the Christian belief that humans are responsible for their actions with the belief that we are machines whose every thought and action needs to be manipulated and controlled from a central source. The consequence is that trust and voluntary action are fast disappearing.

    Adoption agencies, old people’s homes, youth hostels and clubs – in fact a great swathe of charitable and voluntary organisations that are the fruit of Christian ideology – are already being forced to close down, just so that homosexuals have a clear field to satiate their appetites.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Thanx, Mr Kontinen. You might be interested in our Finnish articles and also the Finnish translation of Creation magazine, which as you probably guessed is called Luominen, available from

    You’re right about evolutionists getting upset at the slightest challenge to their intellectual monopoly. Even the US National Academy of Sciences gets into the act with its updated new booklet, Science, Evolution and Creationism — see detailed refutation.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

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