December 27, 2021 | Jerry Bergman

Darwinism-Inspired Hepatitis Experiments Exposed

More Evidence of Experimenting on So-called Inferior Races:
The Harm Darwinism Caused Grows as New Examples are Uncovered


by Jerry Bergman, PhD

As the world’s leading science magazine, Nature, asked, “What sort of system nurtures a [three] decades-long program of deliberately infecting children and prisoners with a dangerous disease?” The answer is one that was blinded by Darwinism eugenics. As one Harvard historian[1] who specialized in researching the abuses of Darwinism and eugenics documented, the influence of Darwinian racism in medical experimentation is now a well-documented example of the harmful effects of the Darwinian worldview. The problem was

many scientists who were enamored of Charles Darwin’s 1859 theory that posited how apes and men sprang from a common ancestor also believed … that a continuous chain of evolution linked apes and men and that the sub-human ‘missing link’ was still extant. Scientists swarmed Africa in search of candidate subhumans.[2]

This view was held by many evolutionists until around the 1970s. These “missing-link persons” were judged by eugenicists as less than fully human and, therefore, using them as subjects in medical research was considered fully justified by many members of the medical community. In contrast to this view is the acceptance of the belief that all people alive today are descendants of one couple, Adam and Eve. Thus, all humans are closely related, which negates the view that some people groups are inferior to other people groups.

The motive behind using “inferior races” and  “inferior people” to study the results of experimental treatment of disease was, as is now recognized today, fallacious. The time and money used to carry out studies on “human subjects” should have been spent to search for effective therapeutic interventions and treatments for the diseases involved.

Racism and the Hepatitis Scandal

The most infamous[3] research using “inferior races” to study disease is the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on 600 impoverished and uneducated African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama (28 Dec 2020). Numerous other notorious examples exist. One experimental research study, the focus of this review, infected over 1,000 vulnerable people with the hepatitis virus over a period of 30 years.[4] Although rarely fatal in the short term, hepatitis can eventually lead to chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis, cancer and death.[5]

Specifically, the “researchers infected more than 1,000 people, including over 150 children, with viruses that cause hepatitis.”[6] Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, often damaging its functions. The main cause of hepatitis include heavy long-term alcohol use, excess levels of certain toxins and medications, and virus infections. In the United States, the most common hepatitis causing viruses are hepatitis A, B, and C virus.

Persons in the hepatitis study Halpern documented included “prison inmates, disabled children, people with severe mental illnesses, and conscientious objectors performing community service in lieu of fighting…. a disproportionate number [who] were Black.”[7] In a similar study, the Boggs study, “between 25 and 44 percent of the participants” were classified as Negroes and the rest were White.[8] This high ratio of Blacks was especially a problem because African populations who got the virus were substantially more likely to develop liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.[9]

The Darwin Connection

How Darwinism led to racism, eugenics, Nazism, communism, and genocide.

The hepatitis research and its connection to Darwinism and Nazism was meticulously documented by Professor Sydney A. Halpern.[10] She carefully explored the scientific “context that nurtured what would now be considered repugnant and unethical medical conduct.” Her study documented the problem of

deliberately exposing people to infected material, either by injection or through ingestion of “milkshakes” containing hepatitis virus in the form of stool samples mixed with chocolate milk. At least four people died from the disease in the course of these experiments.[11]

As was also the case with the Nazis, the researchers concluded that “gains for science and national security justified grave risks for human subjects.”[12] The subjects in both the Nazi and American medical research programs were non-consenting victims. A major problem the U.S. faced was that the horrors documented in the Nazi Nuremberg trials might turn the public and scientists against all medical experimentation on humans.[13] This is one reason why the details of the American medical experiments were not openly discussed in the media.

Motivations Behind the American Hepatitis Experiments

When America became involved in the Second World War in 1942, the U.S. military faced a hepatitis outbreak that was believed to have infected hundreds of thousands of military personnel. At this time no animal or cell-culture models for studying the viral liver disease existed. Desperate to find the outbreak’s source and how to contain it, biomedical researchers, including some at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, launched human experiments on hepatitis that continued for decades after the war. The logical approach should have been to study those already infected with hepatitis due to the outbreak instead of infecting healthy persons with the disease in order to manufacture cases that could be studied. This approach was not followed.

Ironically, the hepatitis outbreak in America was eventually determined to be caused by a contaminated batch of yellow-fever vaccine. The cause likely would have been discovered much sooner if the researchers focused on what the infected persons had in common. This approach could have properly dealt with the source much earlier and, as a result, reduced the number of persons affected.

What Was Learned from the Hepatitis Study

The researchers learned that different types of hepatitis exist. For example, hepatitis A is transmitted by contaminated food, and hepatitis B is spread by contaminated blood products. They also researched methods of inactivating the hepatitis B virus in blood supplies, and testing appropriate treatments and various effective means of prevention. Although a great deal was learned from the study, the question is, could the same or more information have been learned in other ways? Did they need to infect healthy individuals instead of studying those who were inadvertently infected?

The Harm It Caused, and the Cover-Up

The hepatitis researchers knew that some study subjects would have long-term problems. Particularly tragic was the effect of infecting children with live hepatitis strains. Because the immediate symptoms are not as severe in children as they are in adults, scientists incorrectly reasoned that infecting young people would give them immunity. This immunity, they assumed, would protect them when they were older and more vulnerable to severe hepatitis infections. Now we know that children with hepatitis B are much more likely than infected adults to become lifelong carriers, and, as a result, experience severe long-term negative consequences.[14]

The harm that Halpern wanted to explore, which the 2009 to 2013 follow-up study involved, was financed by the NIH for 78,000 dollars. The funding was obtained because, during “the 1940s and 1950s, few argued that the [hepatitis] experiments were morally unacceptable. But the climate supporting these and other hazardous medical experiments changed dramatically by the mid-1960s.”[15] Halpern acknowledged that, even in the 1940s and 1950s, some of the hepatitis

study leaders knew how their work might horrify the public, and tried to control how they were portrayed in the press — first suppressing coverage, and later encouraging narratives that painted participants as heroes. Some journal editors not only published scientific findings from the hepatitis experiments, but also wrote editorials praising the work.[16]

Likely the Civil Rights Movement was a major factor in the change of attitudes toward using marginalized subjects in medical experiments without their knowledge and consent. The widespread awareness of the horror of the Nazi medical experiments on Jews in concentration camps was also a major factor.[17] In several ways the hepatitis study reviewed in Halpern’s book resembled the Nazi research.


This so-called hepatitis study is an enormous embarrassment today, but to many people accepting the Darwinian worldview it appeared to be justified. The results could, they assumed, benefit a great many people compared to the harm that it caused to a few people: i.e., the ends justified the means. Some question whether the claimed benefits were true. It is true that Darwinism has supported—even encouraged—a large number of studies that are also a major embarrassment today. None of those studies justify the harm caused to the marginalized persons affected.[18]


[1] Washington, Harriet. 2006. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. New York, NY: Doubleday.

[2] Washington, 2006, p. 92. Emphasis in original.

[3] Jones, James. 1993. Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. New York, NY: Free Press, p. 1.

[4] Ledford, Heidi. 2021. When scientists gave 1,000 vulnerable people hepatitis over 30 years. Nature 600(7887):27-28, doi:, November 29. This is a book review of Dangerous Medicine: The Story Behind Human Experiments with Hepatitis, by Sydney A. Halpern Yale Univ. Press (2021)

[5] Tian-Yang, Li, et al. 2019. Immune suppression in chronic hepatitis B infection associated liver disease: A review. World Journal of Gastroenterology 25(27):3527–3537, July 21.

[6] Ledford, 2021.

[7] Ledford, 2021.

[8] Halpern, Sidney. 2022. Dangerous Medicine: The Story Behind Human Experiments with Hepatitis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 152.

[9] Halpern, 2021, p.182.

[10] Halpern, 2021, pp. 83-87.

[11] Ledford, 2021.

[12] Halpern, 2021, p. 84.

[13] Halpern, 2021, p. 86.

[14] Wu, Jia-Feng, and Mei-Hwei Chang. 2015. Natural history of chronic hepatitis B virus infection from infancy to adult life – the mechanism of inflammation triggering and long-term impacts. Journal of Biomedical Science 22(92),, October 20.

[15] Halpern, Sydney A. National Institute of Health Grant: Human Hepatitis Experiments in the United States, 1942-1972. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois at Chicago.

[16] Ledford, 2021.

[17] Bergman, Jerry. 2012. Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview: How the Nazi Eugenic Crusade for a Superior Race Caused the Greatest Holocaust in World History. 2012. Kitchener, Ontario, Canada: Joshua Press; Jerry Bergman. 2014. The Darwin Effect. Its Influence on Nazism, Eugenics, Racism, Communism, Capitalism & Sexism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.

[18] Bergman, Jerry. 2017. Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries. Atlanta, GA: CMI Publishing.

Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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