Saturday, March 15, 2008

From Darwin to Hitler - video lecture by Richard Weikart (Available online from UCTV)

Quotes and comments;

1. Summary from webpage; ''In his book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (2004), Richard Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. Darwinism played a key role in the rise not only of eugenics (a movement wanting to control human reproduction to improve the human species), but also on euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination. This was especially important in Germany, since Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles.'

2. 'German eugenicists were in the forefront of talking about evolutionary ethics. The fear they had was that modern medicine was interfering with natural selection....' ie. allowing the unfit to survive and breed. The fear Dalton and others has was the 'degeneration' of the human race.
- I always think of H.P. Lovecraft in this regard; his fiction was heavily influenced by this kind of thinking. Today he's widely rebuked, even by his fans; but few seem to go into the background of his ideas, or to given any credit to darwinism.

3. W. quotes some doctor as saying the defective are useless, that they're a burden, that they're a negative value...'
- But this only makes sense if the human race itself has a value... and in terms of materialist evolution (darwinism) it doesn't. So this claim is irrational; ie. a child can't be a 'negative value' if the race itself has no value.

4. W. mentions a eugenics poster 'the threat of the subhuman' that would be placed at places like fairgrounds.

1. In a foreword to a recent reissue of 'Mountains of Madness' one of Lovecraft's most famous works, the fantasy writer China Mieville rebukes Lovecraft for his racism, but doesn't go into the background of it.
2. This is an important lecture; one that needs to be heard by everyone.


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