Item description for Darwin Day In America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science by John G. West, Jr....
Overview Based on extensive research, Wests book tells the story of how American public policy has been corrupted by scientific ideology. He explores the far-reaching consequences for society when scientists and politicians deny the essential differences between humans and the rest of nature.
At the dawn of the last century, leading scientists and politicians giddily predicted that science—especially Darwinian biology—would supply solutions to all the intractable problems of American society, from crime to poverty to sexual maladjustment.
Instead, politics and culture were dehumanized as scientific experts began treating human beings as little more than animals or machines. In criminal justice, these experts denied the existence of free will and proposed replacing punishment with invasive “cures” such as the lobotomy. In welfare, they proposed eliminating the poor by sterilizing those deemed biologically unfit. In business, they urged the selection of workers based on racist theories of human evolution and the development of advertising methods to more effectively manipulate consumer behavior. In sex education, they advocated creating a new sexual morality based on “normal mammalian behavior” without regard to longstanding ethical and religious imperatives.
Based on extensive research with primary sources and archival materials, John G. West’s captivating Darwin Day in America tells the story of how American public policy has been corrupted by scientistic ideology. Marshaling fascinating anecdotes and damning quotations, West’s narrative explores the far-reaching consequences for society when scientists and politicians deny the essential differences between human beings and the rest of nature. It also exposes the disastrous results that ensue when experts claiming to speak for science turn out to be wrong. West concludes with a powerful plea for the restoration of democratic accountability in an age of experts.
Citations And Professional Reviews Darwin Day In America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science by John G. West, Jr. has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Scitech Book News - 06/01/2008 page 13
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 9" Weight: 1.85 lbs.
Release Date Nov 6, 2007
Publisher Intercollegiate Studies Institute
ISBN 1933859326 ISBN13 9781933859323
Availability 0 units.
More About John G. West, Jr.
John G. West is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. He is co-editor of "The C. S. Lewis Readers Encyclopedia" and author of "The Politics of Revelation and Reason" and "Darwin Day in" "America." He has been interviewed by major media outlets including Newsweek, USA Today, and the New York Times, and CNN, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. He holds a Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate University and he formerly was the chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University.
Reviews - What do customers think about Darwin Day In America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science?
A Rand from a Nut Mar 8, 2008
Mr. West postulates that the popular belief in Darwin's theory of evolution is to blame for everything that's wrong in the world.
Nothing new Feb 12, 2008
The author has two objectives. In the first place he gives us a history of evolution thought, starting with Darwin and ending with current sex education. Emphasis is exclusively on all the bad, evil things that derived from such thinking: eugenics, racism, crime as mental illness, and most of all scientific materialism which denies god a role in nature. It is a thorough and, as far as my limited knowledge goes, an accurate history. Evolution surely has a lot to account for, but so would a history of medicine or nuclear power show a great deal of evil and destruction. West does leave out all positive consequences of evolution thinking in medicine, agriculture, and other technologies. Still, I would be willing to give the author four or five stars for this history.
The second objective is to promote intelligent design as an alternative theory in biology, with due consideration given to spirit, soul and god. Unfortunately, the author does what all creation believer do, they criticize science, poke holes into it where they can find them, and generally assume there is something wrong with evolution. Missing is any evidence for his own belief, philosophy, or science. What I would like to see, is some evidence for an alternate theory, some evidence of the intelligence, how the design proceeded, and where his god is hiding. Yes, it is difficult to keep god in the picture drawn by evolutionary scientific materialism. The author himself describes the difficulties Ken Miller in his has to preserve his belief in God (p. 225 ff).
Ultimately, the only question is whether the materialist view of nature is true or false. There is nothing in this book to convince any reader to change the scientific view of the universe.
A very important work Jan 30, 2008
`Social Darwinism' is a term which refers to the social and political ramifications of biological Darwinism and the materialism which it is imbedded in. Darwin regarded humans as basically higher animals, and as the social sciences became more and more tinged by the Darwinian outlook, humans increasingly began to be treated as mere animals, or machines.
This volume looks at how the materialistic worldview of Darwinism has impacted on a wide range of fields. As academics, scientists and politicians apply the Darwinian view of man to various social sciences, some very negative outcomes have ensued. We have steadily become dehumanised and depersonalised as we have taken on board the logical implications of evolutionary materialism.
West offers a far-reaching and profound look at numerous areas clouded by the Darwinist mindset. He examines the fields of law, education, business, economics, sociology and ethics to see how the revolutionary ideas of Darwin have penetrated every aspect of Western culture. Scientific materialism, flowing forth from Darwin and the Neo-Darwinists, today underpins much of public policy in the West.
Consider how extensive scientific materialism has become in public life. The title of this book refers to the move to make February 12 Darwin Day in the US, a date usually associated with the birth of Abraham Lincoln. But so great has the influence and impact of Darwin's ideas become that he has now risen to the status of a secular saint in many quarters.
West is certainly right to argue just how far and deep the influence of Darwin has been. Consider the issue of crime and punishment. For much of human history crime was about punishment and restitution, based on the belief that humans had free will and were morally responsible for their actions.
But with the advent of Darwin - in part - academics and elites increasingly began to view humans as simply animals who needed treatment, not punishment. After all, if we are simply the products of our biology, how can we be held accountable for our actions? Such thinking flows directly out of Darwin's materialistic account of evolution.
Thus Clarence Darrow, for example, took materialistic Darwinism to its logical conclusion and argued that criminals are basically programmed by material forces. If men are simply machines, powerfully determined by their heredity and background, then crime and punishment must be radically redefined.
Crime began to be studied not only in terms of one's biology, but also in psychosocial terms. Crime was seen as a mental illness, not wilful immorality. Criminals came to be seen as victims, and punishment was replaced with rehabilitation and therapy. If crime is just an illness, then cure, not punishment, was required.
West also reminds us that the ugly eugenics movement also flowed very nicely out of the Darwinian worldview. Eugenics was the idea that man could "take control of his own evolution by breeding a better race". The father of the eugenics movement, Francis Galton, happened to be a cousin of Darwin, and was inspired by The Origin of the Species to "improve" the human race.
Of course the rest of the title of that book reads, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. People like Margaret Sanger - who founded Planned Parenthood - simply took all this to its logical conclusion. Compulsory sterilisation of the "unfit", lobotomies, electric shock treatments and other coercive measures were all features of the eugenics movement. And it found its fullest and most ghastly expression in the Nazi death camps.
West shows how the materialism of Darwinism leads to the Nazi worldview. Hitler argued that eugenics had a scientific basis, and that race betterment was a result of the biological principles articulated by Darwin. Indeed, the three great genocidal regimes of last century - Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China - were all firmly grounded on the principles of scientific materialism.
Mention can also be made of Alfred Kinsey and the radical sex education movement which also finds its roots in the Darwinian view of humanity. West covers this in sordid detail, along with other contentious social issues of the day. For example, some evolutionary psychologists are now arguing that rape and adultery can be fully explained, if not excused, on a biological basis. All sexually deviant behaviour is simply the outworking of our evolutionary adaptation and programming. Kinsey sought to scientifically justify all sexualities, including bestiality and paedophilia.
West makes a solid case for how all such ugly social and cultural radicalism finds solid ideological grounding in the ideas of Darwin. For too long there have been apologists for Darwin who have sought to argue that a large gulf looms between the biological ideas of Darwin and Social Darwinism. West very capably demonstrates that there is in fact very little distance between the two.
Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences. West superbly makes the case that Darwin had plenty of bad ideas, and we are seeing plenty of ugly consequences today as a result. This very important book deserves to be widely read and discussed.
Highly Researched with Vital Conclusions Jan 4, 2008
To start with, I found this book to be highly researched with almost one hundred pages of footnotes. This, in and of itself, was an encouraging sign, although not a definitive assurance of quality. However, as I read through the book, its quality, interest and readability was clearly demonstrated and Mr. West should be proud of his accomplishment. Before continuing any further, it should be noted that I approached this book (and the many other books on similar subjects) as a lay person with a Masters of Arts and nothing more. Take that are what it is worth, but the caveat was needed prior to continuing.
The book is essentially 350 pages of well-cited and sourced examples (many horrific - like certain proponents of scientific sexual materialism stating that rape or child molestation are simply natural forms of sexual expression or that the severely mentally retarded, because of reduced higher brain function, should be regarded as already dead, even though living and breathing, and should be killed via lethal injection to be used as organ donors) that provide credence and substantiation for its conclusion, which, being the vital portion of the book, are that past and current scientific materialism and the social Darwinism from which it is stems and supports, when used as the only, final and unquestionable source for decision-making, leads to the following: 1. Technocracy: If scientific materialism is all there is, then clearly scientists know best and we should refer decision-making to them, regardless of the fact that they are just as capable of bias, error and human weakness. Essentially, we are replacing one type of preacher with another, regardless that science can and has been wrong in the past.
2. Forced Utopianism: Since materialism is the only truth and all can be reduced to its material essence, then science, through forced sterilization, euthanasia and eugenics can lead us to a Utopian paradise.
3. Dehumanization: If humans are simply material, then do we define person-hood through brain function? Higher brain function? If so, should we consider those that have no or lose higher brain function as no longer being persons? Should the severely mentally disabled or those in a vegetative state be no longer be considered persons and just slabs of meat to be harvested for their organs?
4. Relativism: As the only standard of morality from materialism is dictated by survival, then that which promotes survival for a society or person at a specific time and place is changeable to suit whatever that survivability may be believed to be required at during a certain time or place.
5. Stifling Free Speech: Those that unquestionably accept scientific materialism to the expense of all else argue with anyone that questions them to the point of fanaticism. No questioning or debate of the accepted theory is accepted, no matter how credible or relevant the question might be. And this, regardless of the fact that scientists are trained to debate, question and review new evidence or information.
Note: Some comments from other reviews have stated that the majority of the book concerns the arguments for Intelligent Design. This is not so. Intelligent Design arguments take up less then 30 pages of a 370 pg. book and deal primarily in the section of 'Schools and Scholars' - meaning, quite obviously, the debate of teaching evolution in schools. However, it should be noted that Mr. West's arguments are not that evolution or Intelligent Design should or should not be taught, but rather that the hard-line proponents of Darwinian evolution not only prevent any discussion on its weaknesses, but use character assassination and other non-relevant, low-blow tactics to discredit those that question their 'unquestionable' ideas. Thus, it is not so much a defence of Intelligent Design, but an example of how free of speech and free of ideas by other credible scientists can be suppressed by those that disagree with their different conclusions. This, in turn, shows just how much these scientists, that are meant to question, debate and explore ideas, can be just as closed-minded, biased, adversarial and dangerous as the less-enlightened masses (politicians, religious leaders, common person, etc.) even though they are supposed to be trained in just the opposite and maintain an open mind.
The main point that I took from this book is that anyone, scientists or not, that are absolutely and unquestionably certain of their beliefs are a danger to society just as assuredly as religious zealots are. In the end, scientific theories are exactly that - theories that can shift, change and adapt as we learn more and more.
In summary, I will end with what I found to be the most chilling quote from the book (pg. 366, Para. 1):
"America's experience with the dehumanizing effects of scientific materialism was far from exceptional. The three regimes of the twentieth century best known for being founded explicitly on the principles of scientific materialism - Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Communist China - are all remembered for their horrific brutality rather than any advancement of human dignity."
If you have any questions or comments about my review, please let me know. Thank you.
***I apologize for any grammatical errors or omissions.
Essential Study of the Impact of Materialist Ideology on Amercian Society Dec 5, 2007
In Darwin Day in America, Dr. John West brings into sharp focus the manipulation of our political and cultural institutions by metaphysical materialist ideology. A superb work of scholarship, Darwin Day in America chronicles how some of the top scientific, medical and elite thinkers of the 20th and 21st Centuries pushed an ardent materialist agenda into our hospitals, courtrooms, schools, and bedrooms. Ideas really do have consequences, and the consequences of materialism's junk science culture have often been severe.
Essential to West's study of such materialist ideology is the view of man espoused by Charles Darwin in his second major work, The Descent of Man. Darwin argued that the purposeless processes of natural selection and random variation implies a humankind whose actions are wholly reducible to natural impulses. Banished is any set of moral truths for man to look to as a basis for sound judgment. Morality is reduced to an instinctual or environmental set of behavior that furthers human survival. In fact, Darwin--and sociobiologists who have followed in his footsteps--have either doubted or outright denied the existence human free will. This view of man leads to a moral relativism that could reasonably justify all sorts of ideas and actions--be it eugenics, polygamy, or the like.
A trained political scientist, West is careful to make clear that there is no logical *necessity* between, say, neo-Darwinism and eugenics. But through numerous historical examples and careful citation, West shows how scientific, medical and other elites have explicitly and repeatedly advanced such ideas and programs in the name of Darwinian evolution or "science."
In particular, chapters 3-5 chronicle the calculated efforts of metaphysical materialists to radically alter our criminal justice system. The materialists have tried to undermine our respect for free will and moral responsibility in order to bring about a hyper-rehabilitationist system. The materialists have not been nearly as successful as they would have liked--at least not yet. But the pushback is surely no consolation to the victims and the victims' families in those individual cases where criminals were exonerated solely because of supposed biological & environmental factors. Nor is it any consolation to the victims and their families in those cases where innocent victims themselves were dehumanized because of their supposed lack of biological fitness. Hyper-rehabilitiationism also led to criminals avoiding due punishment, instead facing inhumane medical "treatments" that run contrary to the Constitution's prohibition of cruel treatment.
Subsequent chapters address the impact of ardent metaphysical materialism (including neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory) on business, architecture, and bioethics. The chapters on Alfred Kinsey and sex education are not for the squeamish.
A later chapter goes on to discuss the theory of intelligent design (i.e., certain aspects of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than undirected processes). But the book is not a defense of the theory of intelligent design per se. Instead, West places his discussion of the theory intelligent design primarily in the context of academic freedom. That freedom is under attack by too many in today's Darwinian establishment. West understands better than anyone the hostility and recriminations that scientists and other scholars have been subjected to in academic circles for taking interest in the theory of intelligent design--or for simply raising doubts about the scientific evidence for neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory.
Darwin Day in America is an excellent book. It receives my highest recommendation.