Darwin, Hitler, and the Hijacking of Evolutionary Theory

Darwin_HitlerWas Hitler a Darwinian? Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory

By Michael SchulsonReligion & Politics

Biology is not ideology. But with evolution, it’s easy to get confused. With his theory of evolution by natural selection, Charles Darwin took some simple observations and turned them into a story of world history, broadly wrought. In doing so, he placed his theory in the company of other grand narratives—among them the origin stories of the Hebrew Bible, the dialectics of Marxism, and the grand, delusional myths of totalitarian states.

Over the years, Darwin’s supporters and detractors have often entangled his theory with these sweeping narratives. Even in the early days of On the Origin of Species, evolution came under attack from the biblically-minded. Anti-Marxists and Marxists alike—including Karl himself—have tried to link the English scientist with communism. And, especially in recent years, a number of creationist writers have tried to draw a direct line from Darwin to Dachau.

read more