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Darwin himself was racist (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Darwin himself was racist (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CA005.1:

Charles Darwin was himself a racist, referring to native Africans and Australians, for example, as savages.

Source: Humber, Paul G. 1987. The ascent of racism. Impact 164 Weston-Broome, Sharon. 2001. Louisiana House Concurrent Resolution no. 74: Civil Rights: Provides relative to racism and education about racism. HLS 01-2652 ORIGINAL.

CreationWiki response:

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Virtually all Englishmen in Darwin's time viewed blacks as culturally and intellectually inferior to Europeans. Some men of that time (such as Louis Agassiz, a staunch creationist) went so far as to say they were a different species. Charles Darwin was a product of his times and no doubt viewed non-Europeans as inferior in ways, but he was far more liberal than most: He vehemently opposed slavery (Darwin 1913, especially chap. 21), and he contributed to missionary work to better the condition of the native Tierra del Fuegians. He treated people of all races with compassion.

Talk.Origins is attempting a whitewash. It seeks to downplay what Darwinists themselves do not hesitate to use against anyone who opposes them (hence the Agassiz inclusion in their quote): the race card. But since they cannot deny that Darwin was a racist they earnestly attempt to rationalize it by saying "so was everyone else."

Talk.Origins has subtly confused two types of racism: "White man's burden" racism which sees blacks as inferior and to be cared for and supported by the stronger white races, and Darwinian racism, which sees blacks and inferior and fit only for extermination. While many creationists of Darwin's day held to the former view, Darwinists saw blacks as destined for extermination. Darwin wrote:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes ... 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 civilized 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 (Darwin 1887:156).

Charles Darwin (along with Thomas Huxley) was openly racist (Milton 1997:186,277). Human evolution had no evidence in support except observed "similarity" to living apes (Wells 2000:216). After rejecting God AS the Creator, Darwin and company THEN "saw" the "similarity" between Africans and apes, hence the idea of human evolution was conceived.

The origin of the idea that humans evolved came about when the God of the Bible was rejected, THEN from this departure, Darwin and his cohorts "saw" the "similarity" and the theory was born - out of their racist minds. Notice AFTER God is rejected then racist human evolution theory developed.

Benjamin Wiker said that according to Darwin, the European race, following the inevitable laws of natural selection, will emerge as the distinct species, human being, and all the transitional forms—such as the gorilla, chimpanzee, Negro, Australian aborigine and so on—will be extinct (Wiker 2002:250).

John C. Burhan:

Before 1859 (before Darwin's Origin), many scientists had questioned whether blacks were of the same species as whites, but they had no scientific basis for that notion. Things changed once Darwin presented his racist evolutionary schema. Darwin stated that African-Americans could not survive competition with their white near-relations, let alone being able to compete with the white race. According to Darwin, the African was inferior because he represented the missing-link" between ape and Teuton. (Burham 1972:506)."

Talk.Origins' characterization of Agassiz as a "staunch creationist" is misleading. While Agassiz rejected evolution, he did not hold to a Biblically literal creation. Firstly, he ignored the obvious indication in Genesis that black Africans (who he considered to be animals) are descended of Ham, son of Noah. Exodus reports that Moses himself married a Cushite woman, a cross-racial marriage, which Agassiz viewed as immoral and unnatural. However, in the Exodus account, Jehovah upholds Moses's marriage as fully moral and acceptable[1]. Agassiz also rejected the Biblical chronology, believing instead that the Earth had suffered a number of consecutive universally destructive catastrophes, of which the Global flood was only one, and not the last. Explaining his rejection of many aspects of Biblical creationism, Agassiz wrote, "Naturalists have a right to consider the questions growing out of men's physical relations as merely scientific questions, and to investigate them without reference to either politics or religion." (p. 171, The Panda's Thumb, Stephen Jay Gould). In fact, the Biblical account leaves absolutely no room for Agassiz's bizarre belief that black Africans are not human.

2. The mention of "favoured races" in the subtitle of Origin of Species merely refers to variations within species which survive to leave more offspring. It does not imply racism.

A case can be made that this is not true. See CreationWiki's response to Darwin's work refers to "preservation of favoured races"


3. The views of Darwin, or of any person, are irrelevant to the fact of evolution. Evolution is based on evidence, not on people's opinions.

Whilst Charles Darwin's being racist does not prove that evolution itself is racist, the fact that many supporters of evolution were racist and justified their racism with evolution is instructive.

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