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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.
|What They're Saying...||
"John West has done a characteristically excellent job in
analyzing social Darwinism and the insidious ideology which has infected
almost every area of American public policy. This is provocative and
"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."
"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."
"West's primary thesis in Darwin Day in America is that our culture and politics have been dehumanized by a scientific materialism (or reductionism) that sees man merely as the sum of his parts, and that this dogma has taken over the educational system in the United States. . . . West does an excellent job showing how Darwinian science has cheapened human life and limited man's horizons. . . . This book demands a sequel."
"Darwin Day in America is a thoroughly documented book (almost 100 pages of endnotes) written in an easy fluent style. It is much to be recommended."
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