Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Hitlerian Evolution

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Hitlerian Evolution

Article excerpt

Your reviewer of my book Was Hitler a Darwinian? Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory (Books, 16 January) might well secure an appointment with her optometrist.

She claims that Richards "defends Darwin and most (or indeed, all) serious branches of Darwinism, including social Darwinism, from any involvement with Nazi ideology". In my book, I cite several Darwinians who were either official members of the Nazi Party (eg, Konrad Lorenz) or wished to be (eg, Ernst Lehmann). My concern was to show that there was no evidence that Hitler himself suffered any identifiable influence from Darwin's theory of evolution. My analysis was in response to the general assumption, including that of the reviewer, that Darwinian theory had a measured impact on Hitler's racial ideas - indeed, some arguing that such connection somehow invalidated Darwinian theory. The clearest evidence against the assumption of a Darwinian connection is Hitler's belief that all animal species remained fixed; they did not alter over time. …

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