J.B.S.Haldane: Darwinism & Communism


After reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, atheist philosopher Karl Marx wrote to Friedrich Engels, “Although developed in a coarse English manner, this is the book that contains the foundation in natural history for our view.”

Marxists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao made Darwinism their foundational worldview. Darwinian biologists transformed dialectical materialism into dialectical biology. I was fascinated by the life of J.B.S.Haldane, the English evolutionist. He described himself as a Communist. By 1937 he was a dedicated Marxist and an open supporter of the Communist Party.  He was not an anomaly but a product of an ideology which dominated Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century. 

Author Edwin A.Roberts explains, 

“As a major figure in modern genetics who vitally continued Darwinian theory, Haldane’s attempt to reconcile dialectical philosophy with empirical methodology was fully in line with the aspirations of those British philosophers of science who felt trapped by the confines of vitalism and mechanism. His solution of a dialectical biology stands as one of the major innovations of British Marxism”

As one of  the founders of the Modern Synthesis, Haldane saved Darwinism from its eclipse at the turn of the twentieth century. He also became so fond of Communism that he spied for Stalin and Soviet Union and for many years spied upon by MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service. In Stalin’s pogroms Haldane saw ‘natural selection’ driving humanity towards progress. “At no time did Haldane condemn Stalin’s great purges that sent millions of innocent people to their deaths”.

Later in life he was disillusioned with Stalin and Soviet evolutionist Lysenko and moved to India, becoming a naturalised Indian citizen in 1961. He died in Bhubaneswar, India in 1964. He willed that his body be used for medical teaching at the Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada, where many of my friends studied medicine. 

Darwinism became the foundational stone for Communism as Karl Marx envisioned and it is not surprising all Marxist states allowed only Darwinism in their classrooms.