Richard Weikart

Richard Weikart is professor of modern European history at California State University, Stanislaus, and Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.  He has published six books, including most recently The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life and Hitler’s Religion.   He has also published extensively on the history of evolutionary ethics, eugenics, social Darwinism, euthanasia, and scientific racism.  He has been featured in several documentaries, including Ben Stein’s Expelled, as well as on many radio programs.  He recently produced a documentary to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation called Exploring the Reformation and Revivals in Germany.

 

2018 Forum Sessions


Afternoon Workshops

Post-Forum Seminar


 

Afternoon Workshops


Apologetics Based on the Value of Human Life

Many secular thinkers argue that human life has no objective value or moral significance, because it is the product of accidental processes without plan or purpose.  However, they are often inconsistent, because in various ways they show that they do indeed value human life.  Christian apologetics can take advantage of this to show that our understanding of the value of human life points to the existence of God.

 

Post-Forum Seminar


Confronting Ideologies that Devalue Human Life

Since the Enlightenment many secular ideologies have contributed to the devaluing of human life by arguing that human life is the product of chance processes.  This has led to the erosion of the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic, spawning the present “culture of death,” where many intellectuals accept abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.   Consisting of five short talks, this seminar will examine and critique these dehumanizing tendencies in modern thought.
 
FOCL Talk 1: Is Human Life a Cosmic Accident?: Atheists' Contradictory Position on the Value of Human Life
 
Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, atheist and agnostic thinkers (i.e., materialists and positivists) have considered everything, including humans, as merely the product of accidental processes.  This means that human life no longer has any value or moral significance.  This talk will examine the way than many thinkers, such as the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell, espoused this view, but also contradicted themselves by implying that humans are important.
 
FOCL Talk 2: Does Darwinism Devalue Human Life?
 
Many aspects of Darwinian theory have implications for the value of human life, and Darwinists themselves have acknowledged this.  Darwinian theory rejects teleology, and often reduces humans to just another animal.  Many Darwinists consider morality itself the product of chance evolutionary processes.  Human evolution also implies human diversity, which has led many to embrace human inequality.  Finally, Darwinism implies that death is a positive force in the universal struggle for existence.
 
FOCL Talk 3: My Genes Made Me Do It: Biological Determinism
 
The notion that human behavior is shaped primarily by our hereditary predispositions has become a powerful force in Western thought in the past century.  Many sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists today claim that behaviors, such as kindness, marital bonding, and self-sacrifice, but also marital infidelity, incest, infanticide, abortion, and even rape are programmed into our psyche by our evolutionary heritage.  This reduces human agency and relativizes morality.
 
FOCL Talk 4: My Upbringing Made Me Do It: Environmental Determinism
 
Secular thinkers who reject biological determinism often embrace the view that human behavior is primarily the product of our upbringing and education.  This became a powerful current in the nineteenth century, influencing Marxism and other forms of socialism.  The behaviorist psychologists John Watson and B. F. Skinner powerfully promoted this idea in the twentieth century, claiming that humans are little more than a machine responding to stimuli.  This view still has many prominent adherents in the social sciences.
 
FOCL Talk 5: Nietzsche, Foucault, Postmodernism, and the Death of Humanity
 
Nietzsche, subsequent existentialists, Foucault, and other postmodernists have contributed to the secular assault on the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic.  Nietzsche had utter contempt for the masses of humanity and argued that Superman figures should oppress and even eradicate those deemed inferior.  Foucault admitted that the Nietzschean death of God also meant the death of humanity, and Foucault glamorized suicide as a result.  Both existentialists and postmodernists reject any human rights or objective morality.
 

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