Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist and an strong proponent of scientific racism. He, and Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, were highly influential in promoting the idea, strong among liberal political socialists, that African people were genetically inferior and should be wiped out or at least limited in their population. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin’s work in Germany and embraced an interpretation of Darwin’s pseudo-scientific theory of modification with descent that promoted the idea that “survival of the fittest” was a natural law that could be applied to human societies, and that this struggle resulted in “improvement” of some races of human beings. He advocated for the killing of 200,000 mentally incompetent people by a medical control board. His ideas were also influential in the German genocide of Africans and the rise of German social Darwinism.
His theory of embryonic recapitulation was not only bogus but he knew it to be and purposefully altered observed stages of embryonic development in his famous drawings to support his beliefs.
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