Evolution leads to totalitarianism?

Conservative Jewish writer and intelligent-design supporter David Klinghoffer writes on the Discover Institute’s ID blog, arguing that both Hitler and Stalin’s versions of totalitarianism were inspired by Darwin. Apparently, “The Soviet state was, then, an experiment in applied Darwinism.” Klinghoffer’s main theme is that without the restraint due to recognition of God’s higher laws, secular people are likely to go on a rampage.

Asinine, yes, though it’s a claim that’s popular among many conservative monotheists, not just pro-ID Jewish conservatives. I’d like to take it seriously, since I think that nonbelievers and secularists have not, in general, adequately confronted the potential of utopian versions of Enlightenment politics to lead to totalitarian experiments. But lunatic insinuations that Darwinian evolution as a scientific theory inexorably sets the stage for Hitler and Stalin just makes this more difficult.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University