RE: New book on Hitler and evolution

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 14:11:21 EDT

Keith asks:

>>> kbmill <> 05/04/04 01:33PM >>>
Maybe one question to ask was who wasn't a racist in the 1920's, and who
actively resisting other aspects of social Darwinism such as eugenics?

Ted replies:
A very good and appropriate question, most Americans (and Europeans and
Chinese and Japanese) of the 1920s would be considered racists today,
although most of them weren't writing books presenting "scientific" racism.
Opponents of eugenics were mainly fundamentalists and Roman Catholics; on
this, see Christine Rosen's brand new book, "Preaching Eugenics," which I
studied in its dissertation form. The religious liberals went for eugenics
lock, stock, and barrel. Of course, at that time the division between
fundamentalists and liberals ("modernists") was deep and wide; there were no
highly visible alternatives when it came to science, no Polkinghornes or
George Murphys or Keith Millers. You just can't find a critical mass of
orthodox Christian believers who accepted evolution at that point in time.
The modernists discarded the Nicene Creed with special creation, the
resurrection with the old natural theology. This left the fundamentalists
to oppose both evolution and eugenics, the liberals to embrace both

The whole landscape has changed (for the better), IMO, though the old
mountains (fundamentalism and modernism) still dominate. Lots of erosion in
the subsequent generations.

Received on Tue May 4 14:12:20 2004

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