Taken from Darwin’s “Descent of Man”
We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man itself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.
So what was Darwin saying here?
First of all we need to know that Darwin’s big idea is that man shares a common ancestor with other mammals. Anatomically, we’re animals, specifically mammals. I don’t really care to argue with anyone who won’t acknowledge that man is a mammal. You’re simply irrational in that case and not worth further consideration. Darwin wasn’t the first to notice that humans are mammals.
But was he saying that there’s no difference at all? Absolutely not. He lays out the case that humans are animal in body and that due to that if follows that we would, in theory, exhibit the same quality in regard to selective breeding – undesirable traits could be bred out and desirable traits bred in. But Darwin doesn’t stop there. Only those who wish to demonize Darwin stop there. He goes on to say that selective breeding of humans, or failure to lend care to the sick, disabled, and injured could only be done by sacrificing “the noblest part of our nature”. Darwin wasn’t arguing FOR eugenics. He was arguing that while eugenics would theoretically work it would require that we degrade the noblest part of our natures to do it, that part which DOES distinguish us from our non-human mammalian relatives.
If there’s any real case to be made for Darwin and the holocaust it’s the opposite of what’s messaged in Expelled. The holocaust resulted from a failure to heed Darwin’s warning that eugenics could only be practiced by sacrificing the noblest part of our nature, the very part and only part that separates us from other animals. Those responsible for the holocaust, beginning with the eugenics movement in America, were the true animals. Those opposed were nobler than the animals.