Eugenics & Evolution?

In the short history of the United States of America, we’ve seen our fair share of social evils; the slave trade, treatment of Native Americans, and other such mistreatments of certain individuals in the society. But would it shock you if the ideologies that caused the atrocities in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had their roots right here in America? It was very subtle, especially in comparison to the horrors of Communism and other totalitarian governments, but it came in the form of the eugenics movement. Pioneered by Francis Galton, a British intellectual in the fields of genetics, psychology, statistics, and meteorology, and subsequently a cousin of Charles Darwin, the founder of modern evolutionary theory, he took Darwin’s ideas and brought them to their full social ramifications. What came as a result of these ideas? First and foremost, disregard for the sanctity of human life, but also racism and also the idea of an earthly utopia. In the aftermath of these assumptions, many ills have been brought on the human race in the name of progress.

The first problem that the philosophy of eugenics brought about was the Darwinian idea that some “races” are more highly-evolved than others. For instance, Darwin believed that the Caucasian race was superior to blacks or Asians. More recently, however, it has caused contempt for those who do not seem to have any value in society. These include the old or infirm, disabled, and unborn. One of the other advocates in the eugenics agenda was Margaret Sanger. In case you’re unfamiliar with her work, she was the founder of Planned Parenthood, so you can already see her disgust with unborn children, but she elaborates, saying, “Eugenics without birth control seems to us a house builded upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit.”[1] She also states concerning the mentally disabled, “While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit. They are excellent means of meeting a certain phase of the situation, but I believe in regard to these, as in regard to other eugenic means, that they do not go to the bottom of the matter.”[2] So, from Sanger’s mentality we have received the practices of abortion, euthanasia, and “sterilization,” a polite word for preventing disabled people, blacks, or other non-Caucasians from reproducing more for the “unfit population.” This is a sickening display of contempt not only for God’s people (See Acts 17:26), but also violates the basic rights of men and women in the United States. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . . .”[3] The main focus here is that we all have a right to life, even those deemed “unfit” by the likes of Charles Davenport, Margaret Sanger, and Francis Galton.

Another consequence of the eugenics agenda was racism. As you’ve already seen, Margaret Sanger thought the unborn and disabled were unfit to live, but she also held a hatred toward blacks as well. This was not merely personal preference; “It is an interesting fact that ancient races, in this and several other cases, more frequently present structures which resemble those of the lower animals than do the modern. One chief cause seems to be that the ancient races stand somewhat nearer in the long line of descent to their remote animal-like progenitors.”[4] Charles Darwin promoted this idea in his literature. While Darwin also was against slavery, he still viewed blacks as a lesser form of man. Sanger even went as far as presenting to women at Ku Klux Klan meetings and said later that “In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”[5] Because Darwin’s theory emphasized that we’re all descended from one common ancestor, some of us are more evolved than others, making those lesser-evolved people worth less than the “favored race.” This led Margaret Sanger and other eugenics leaders to sterilize these minorities and keep them from defiling the master race.

The Twentieth Century has been called the bloodiest century on record, with hundreds of millions of deaths between wars, oppressive governments, and the like. Under Communist regimes alone, nearly 100 million people lost their lives. Stalin murdered or sent to labor camps those who opposed him. Kim Il-sung lived in luxury while the rest of the country nearly starved to death, relying on sawdust and cannibalism to stay alive. Where did these harsh leaders garner their political motives? Ultimately it goes back to Darwin. If certain races are above others, then there is justification for knocking off hundreds of millions of people to create a master race united under a Communist government. Although not considered Communism, Nazi Germany’s ideologies were to create an Aryan race and rid itself of the infirm, Jews, Catholics, Christians, etc. This sounds remarkably similar to the eugenics movement begun in the United States by Francis Galton, only taken to an extreme. Rather than sterilization, Hitler decided to mass murder those he deemed lesser than his standard. These are the sickening results of the Darwinist worldview, but it is worth noting this so that we can see the consequences of ideas that are promoted in society today.

At first, I didn’t see the problem with trying to promote healthier people and lessen the amount of disabled people in society. I knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t right, but I didn’t really know why. Certainly, as you’ve seen, the results are catastrophic and terrible, but there’s a deeper meaning behind the preservation of these lives. In The Dropbox movie, when asked why he doesn’t just leave the babies to die and save them from a life of pain, Pastor Lee said that although sometimes it does seem better to save them the pain, God has them here for a purpose and a reason, even if we can’t see it now. At one time he asked, “Why did God give me ‘that kind of baby’? It wasn’t even 30 seconds before I repented.” Although Darwin’s theories made a significant contribution to these problems, it’s our sin nature that drives us to think or perform these evils. We need the Savior to see the value of these people created in God’s image.[6]

[1] Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” Feb. 1919, The Birth Control Review

[2] Ibid.

[3] The Declaration of Independence

[4] Charles Darwin, “The Descent of Man”

[5] Margaret Sanger, “An Autobiography,” p. 366

[6] Genesis 1:26-27

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