West Wins In Minn.
I got two calls last night about Dr. John West's presentation at the University of Minnesota on Darwinism's fathership of eugenics. It appears that the scholarly and well-delivered lecture, derived from the new West book, Darwin Day in America, was successful in influencing the thinking of a largely skeptical audience. (The dyspeptic and ad hominem blogger/biologist Dr. P.Z. Myers was there and brought a Darwinist claque. West generously introduced him and acknowledged him as Minnesota's Richard Dawkins, which is about right.)
The matter of scholarship is crucial. The lecture promoters had a professor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Mark Borrello, respond to West and he made the lame accusation that West was "scapegoating" scientists in general for the terrible mistakes of eugenics. The Darwinists present obviously agreed. But a questioner asked Morrello if it was "scapegoating" to cite the actual historical roles of leading scientists in promoting eugenics, and, if so, is criticism of scientists now supposed to be off limits? Good question, and there was no good answer. Did eugenics just happen all by itself? Maybe it just evolved.
In truth, as West made plain, it wasn't just a few prominent scientists who gave us eugenics, but virtually the entire scientific establishment of the time, including the top professional organizations. They had great sway not only at elite schools like Harvard and Princeton, but also in state governments in places like Indiana and California and in the courts. They were contemptuous of dissent. (Do I hear echoes today?) Further, their work was picked up zealously by the Nazis in Germany; and there is no avoiding this.
West said that science changes and must change as new evidence emerges. Treating scientists as some sort of lab-coated demi-gods--the kind whose recommended policies you cannot critique without being accused of "scapegoating"--is not in the true interests of society, including the scientific community.
The apologists for Darwinism want people to think that the link to eugenics is slight and had no great consequences, but West's facts are authoritative and conclusive in showing that the connection is conspicuous and the consequences were major. I have heard the lecture, and it is as professional as it is illuminating, but an hour only begins to touch the mountain of documentation West cites in Darwin Day in America.
The Darwinists also want you to think that eugenics was all a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But eugenics has been revived in our time and the New Eugenics Movement is also product of Darwinism and Darwinists. You only have to read Dawkins, Singer, Pinker and the rest to see the same disdain for human exceptionalism that fueled the original eugenics movement. Therefore, West's history is not just "academic", it's urgent.
The Darwinists hate hearing about the history of eugenics because it is true and there really isn't much they can do to spin it or control it. I like it for the same reasons.