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The Pure Society: From Darwin to Hitler

August 30, 2009

Most regular readers will be aware of the “Darwin to Hitler” narrative that has be promoted by ID supporters such as John West, Richard Weikart & Ben Stein. Recently I picked up a copy of Andre Pichot’s The Pure Society: From Darwin to Hitler which appears to make the same case but I have not as yet had time to read it. John Wilkins now makes me aware that Simon Underwood has reviewed it for the THES.

If one returns to the concept of Nazi crimes sprouting from Darwinian seeds, then the central fallacy of Pichot’s argument is clear. The Nazis were criminals: totalitarian, industrialised and with the apparatus of a modern European state behind them, but essentially criminals. They occasionally used pseudo-Darwinian ideas to lend a veneer of respectability and rationality to their actions, tossing them into the melting pot of Nazi ideology along with mutated forms of philosophy, history and archaeology as well as science. Pichot would persuade us that the Holocaust was the inevitable result of Darwin unleashing his ideas on the world. Nonsense: one could no more blame Prometheus for arson, than Darwin for Hitler.

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  1. Ken McKnight
    August 31, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Underwood’s last line there is a classic. I’d like to tatoo it on Ben Stein’s forehead (where, by the way, there is plenty of room).

  2. Lettuce
    September 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I’d like to say that Ken McKnight’s answer is better than anything I thought of…

    And, thank you for the review that caused me to read the review on the Times Higher Education site. Well done.

  3. September 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    And predictably, Steve Fuller makes an appearance

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