Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Darwin's Legacy of Evolutionary Racism

Charles Darwin
The secular humanistic legacy of scientific racism continued under Charles Darwin, considered a god by secular humanists for his views on evolution.    Darwin’s evolutionary worldview caused him to view some races as naturally superior to others, including in areas of morality and the intellect.  In The Descent of Man, Darwin writes:  

Nor is the difference slight in moral disposition between  barbarian, such as the man described by the old navigator Byron, who dashed his child on the rocks for dropping a basket of sea-urchins, and a Howard or Clarkson; and in intellect, between a savage who uses hardly any abstract terms, and a Newton or Shakespeare.  Differences of this kind between the highest men of the highest races and the lowest savages, are connected by the finest gradations.[1]

Darwin posited an extreme distinction between Europeans and blacks.  He writes: “Some of these [sub-species], such as the Negro and European, are so distinct that, if specimens had been brought to a naturalist without any further information, they would undoubtedly have been considered by him as good and true species.”[2]  For Darwin these distinctions were more than skin deep.  He believed that whites were civilized but blacks were not,[3] and that “civilized” races were intellectually superior:

The belief that there exists in man some close relation between the size of the brain and the development of the intellectual faculties is supported by the comparison of the skulls of savage and civilised races, of ancient and modern people, and by the analogy of the whole vertebrate series.[4]

Darwin held that blacks were in a
lower evolutionary stage than
whites, and thus closer to the
ape family.
Darwin held that inferior races are inevitably exterminated.  He subtitled his Origin of Species, “By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.”  He writes in The Descent of Man,
"Do the races or species of men, whichever term may be      applied, encroach on and replace one another, so that some finally become extinct?  We shall see that all these questions, as indeed is obvious in respect to most of them, must be answered in the affirmative, in the same manner as with the lower animals."[5]
Later in the book, Darwin writes, 
"At some future period, not very distant as measured by  centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.  At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated.  The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla."[6] 
In short, for Darwin, according to the laws of evolution blacks and other races deemed “savage” must be exterminated, whether by Caucasians, or by another even more civilized race that may evolve in the future.
Between writing Origins of Species and The Descent of Man, Darwin’s ideas would be embraced by numerous scientists, who took them to their logical conclusions and began the movement called “Social Darwinism.”[7] 

Social Darwinists believed that such processes of selection were at work within contemporary societies: it was in the long-term interests of the human species that competition and war should ensure the reproduction of the strongest and most intelligent individuals and the most biologically superior race-nations.[8]

The twentieth century, with its unprecedented violence, was the logical outcome of Darwinism:  “The language of Darwinism became an expression of growing militaristic aggression and economic tension between states, a contest for power and domination both within the European continent as well as overseas in Africa and elsewhere.”[9]  The militaristic Nazi Germany, for instance, was fueled by a sense of racial superiority.  

When society affirms evolution, any race
can be deemed less evolved--and thereby inferior--
than another.  The more inferior one is, the more
one can be considered worthless slime,
since evolution considers the first life form
to be primordial slime.  
The racism of Darwinism not only promotes war, but persecution and genocide.  Its scientific racism provided the “moral” justification for the Holocaust.[10]  Darwinism’s racist legacy reached America around the time slavery was abolished. Darwinism fueled anti-black racism, as well as “the elimination of ‘savage native tribes’ who hindered westward expansion in the name of ‘manifest destiny.’”[11]  Moreover, Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum and native of Australia, observes:

The fruit of Darwin’s theories was (and is) being reaped in my homeland of Australia, which was involved in a gruesome trade in “missing link” specimens fueled by early evolutionary and racist ideas. Documented evidence shows that the remains of perhaps 10,000 of Australia’s Aborigines, many murdered, were shipped to British museums in a frenzied attempt to prove the widespread belief that they were the “missing link.”[12]

Evolution, in short, naturally fuels racism, as well as conceivably the persecution of any group of people. Marx, who used Darwin to justify his philosophy, made the rich the object of evolutionary persecution. Likewise, for Hitler evolution favored the Aryan race over Jews, and was a pretext for seeking the genocide of the Jews.

Moreover, unlike Christianity, which holds to what many call the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12), evolution holds to the survival of the fittest, a law that requires the subjugation of the weak by the strong.  Thus the evolutionary view of man held by secular humanists fuels racism and slavery in their most oppressive forms. Unlike Christianity—which holds that all men are equally human since all men are made in God’s image—evolution denies this, and says all men are simply animals at various evolutionary stages.

When society affirms evolution, any race can be deemed less evolved—and thereby inferior—than another. The more inferior one is, the more one can be considered worthless slime, since evolution considers the first life form to be primordial slime.

Excerpt from the (Lord willing) upcoming book, God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws: Biblical Theocracy, Justice, and Slavery versus Humanistic Theocracy, "Justice," and Slavery by Steve C. Halbrook.  Copyright © 2010 by Steve C. Halbrook.  Based on the master's thesis, God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws.

       [1] Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, eds. Adrian Desmond and James Moore (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2004), 86. 
     [2] Ibid., 678.
     [3] Darwin writes, “But the sense of smell is of extremely slight service, if any, even to the dark coloured races of men, in whom it is much more highly developed than in the white and civilised races.” Ibid., 35. 
     [4] Ibid., 74.  
     [5] Ibid., 22. 
     [6] Ibid., 183, 184.
     [7] Neil MacMaster, Racism in Europe: 1870-2000 (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2001), 34.
     [8] Ibid., 35.
     [9] Ibid., 38.
     [10] “Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism, especially in its social Darwinist and eugenics permutations, neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.”  Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 233.
     [11] Ken Ham, Stein is Right: Darwinism Led to the Holocaust ( April 15, 2008). Retrieved August 1, 2008, from
    [12] Ibid.

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