The lies of Lynchburg: How U.S. evolutionists taught the Nazis.
Answers In Genesis ^ | September 1997 | Carl Wieland
Posted on 01 December 2008 23:33:55 by Fichori
by Carl Wieland
The chilling revelations of a recent television documentary1 expose
the disturbing consequences of evolutionary ways of thinking.
Beginning in the 1920s, many thousands of people in the United States
were sterilised against their will and without their consent, to
prevent ‘undesirable breeding’. Over 8,000 of these procedures took
place at a major centre to which such ‘undesirables’ were sent, in
The victims included some with various degrees of mental retardation;
many were simply there because they had been abandoned as a result of
broken homes or had suffered some other social misfortune. Some had
been honours students at school. They were lied to routinely, being
told that it was something ‘for their own good’ or ‘for their health’.
Those older ones who discovered the purpose behind the operations
realised that they would not be able to leave the institution unless
they underwent the procedure.
The documentary stated that the entire effort was based upon the
notion of eugenics. The eugenics movement was started by Sir Francis
Galton (a cousin of Charles Darwin), who wanted to encourage ‘survival
of the fittest’ within human society. The ‘humane’ way to do this was
by compulsory sterilisation of those deemed ‘unfit’. The idea seduced
‘social reformers from the right and the left’—among them George
Bernard Shaw, and Winston Churchill.
The Lynchburg doctor who was responsible for most of the
sterilisations in his own town was convinced that what he was doing
was for the ‘scientific good’ of society. As a dedicated Darwinian,
notions of absolute right and wrong were old-fashioned obstacles to
the greater good of the ‘herd’. Needing a legal cover for his actions
in the face of the human rights meant to be guaranteed in the
(creation-based) U.S. Constitution, he became enamoured with model
legislation prepared by a leading U.S. evolutionary biologist, Dr
Laughlin’s law called for compulsory sterilization of not only the
‘feeble-minded’, but also the blind, drug addicts, sufferers from TB
and syphilis, epileptics,2 paupers, the deaf and the homeless. Since
these people were, it was claimed, obviously the victims of ‘bad
genes’, the law was overtly aimed at maintaining the ‘racial purity of
the white race’ by preventing the further ‘breeding’ of those whose
offspring would ‘drag down’ this race.
What was needed was a test case, a ‘patsy’ to ensure that the law
would not be declared unconstitutional. In a blatant set-up which made
the ACLU’s manipulation3 of the famous Scopes trial look positively
mild, a young lady was chosen who had been targeted for sterilization
because there had allegedly been ‘three generations of feeble-
mindedness’ in her family. Her lawyer challenged the Laughlin law all
the way to the Supreme Court. However, far from being her champion, he
was in reality one of those heavily involved in the formulation of
these eugenics policies!
Unfortunately also for the young lady, the presiding judge of the
Supreme Court hearing this case in 1924 was Oliver Wendell Holmes, an
influential Darwinist4 who laid the legislative foundation for many of
the advances of secular humanism in the United States. Not
surprisingly, Holmes declared the law constitutional. It was
acceptable for the state to compel the sterilization of those who were
deemed ‘socially inadequate’. The forced sterilization of this
innocent victim went ahead; subsequent investigation has revealed that
the entire story of the ‘feeble-minded generations’ in her family was
After the Supreme Court decision, eugenics became a major plank of
social policy in many American states.
As soon as Hitler (who campaigned on a platform of naked evolutionism—
the survival of the fittest race) came to power in 1933, eugenics laws
became one of his first acts. Not only was the Nazi program of forced
sterilisation for the ‘unfit’ lauded in the U.S.—it was actually
modelled after the law framed by Laughlin, who was awarded an honorary
doctorate by Hitler’s government. As the Nazis moved on to the
euthanasia-murder of entire wards full of mental patients,
‘scientific’ admiration for their ‘racial hygiene’ policies was
unabated. One U.S. evolutionist actually stated, ‘The Germans are
beating us at our own game’.1
Once it was seen as ‘moral’ to take active steps to ‘purify the German
race’, it was just a short, logical step from there to the even
greater horrors of the Holocaust.5
After World War II, the horrified reactions of a stunned U.S. public
to the unimaginable atrocities done in the name of evolutionary
‘racial hygiene’ forced eugenics practices to go underground. The
names of the practice changed, but it continued, right down past 1970.
All in all, a grand total of some 70,000 people suffered involuntary
It was the efforts of a Jenny Crockett, then with the ACLU (which,
ironically, has a track record of mostly siding with evolutionary
thinking) which brought this scandal to light, in the face of
government attempts to keep the lid on. Eventually, a mumbled apology
and some offer of ‘mental health counselling’ was all that was
available for these many people whose lives had been destroyed by the
assumptions of evolutionism.
The church overall must bear its share of the responsibility for being
so ‘bluffed’ by the ‘scientific’ claims of evolutionists (which have
since changed, and will keep on changing) that it failed to take a
strong stand on the true history of man and the world. Instead, as
now, it by and large preferred to either ignore the issue or maintain
an uneasy compromise—or worse.6 The Lord Jesus said to believers: ‘Ye
are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but
to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light
of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid’ (Matthew
We cannot just blame ‘society’ for the evils which flow naturally from
the false root of evolutionism if we are unprepared to be salt and
light, and to take a stand for biblical reality.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841–1935), a distinguished U.S. Supreme Court
justice who approved compulsory sterilization. His evolution-based
humanistic beliefs left an indelible stamp on America’s laws,
contributing greatly to today’s relentless secularization. Return to
References and notes
1. The Lynchburg Story, produced by Bruce Eadie, made by Worldview
Pictures in association with Discovery Networks and Channel Four,
1993. This story is based on information contained therein.
2. Ironically, Laughlin in later life developed epilepsy himself,
and was shunned by his evolutionary eugenicist colleagues as part of
the very so-called ‘white trash’ he was trying to stop from breeding.
3. The ACLU = the American Civil Liberties Union, usually a
champion of left-wing, pro-humanist causes. In the famous Scopes
‘monkey trial’ of 1925, it deliberately sought to challenge a
Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution by finding someone
who would (falsely) confess to teaching it, relying on the ensuing
publicity to win public sympathy for the evolutionary cause. See David
Menton, Inherit the Wind: An Historical Analysis, Creation 19(1):35–
38, December 1996.
4. Law professor Phillip Johnson calls Holmes a ‘convinced
Darwinist who profoundly understood the philosophical implications of
Darwinism’ and who therefore ‘found it difficult to take morality
seriously.’ Johnson documents how this influential jurist urged future
lawyers to ‘put aside all notions of morality and approach law as …
basically the science of state coercion.’ Reason in the Balance,
InterVarsity Press, pp. 139–143, 1995.
5. It is now almost common knowledge among WWII historians that the
machinery of mass extermination later used in concentration camps,
including the notorious Zyklon-B gas, was actually developed by
respected members of the German medical/psychiatric/biological
establishment for such ‘eugenic’ purposes.
6. Even the renowned defender of inerrancy, the late B.B. Warfield,
was at the same time a supporter of Darwinian evolution.