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Why Darwinism Can Never Separate Itself from Racism


It’s great to have insightful colleagues. Denyse O’Leary, with Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, has been writing about evolution for years as well. Having read my post “The Return of John Derbyshire,” she points out something I hadn’t quite grasped. Now a lightbulb goes off. 

Inherent, Unavoidable

The thread of racism in Darwinian thinking isn’t a chance thing, a mere byproduct of Charles Darwin’s personal views as a “man of his time.” You think if Darwinism had emerged not in the dark age of the 19th century but in our own woke era, it would be different? No, it wouldn’t. The racism is inherent, unavoidable:

That’s just the difference between Darwinism and any type of creationism OR non-Darwinian approaches to evolution. In a Darwinian scheme, someone must be the official subhuman.

I have been trying to get that across for years. It’s why Darwinism can never get away from racism. Racism is implicit in the Darwinian belief system about how things happen.  Even if one’s creationism amounts to no more than the idea that humans have an immortal soul, it makes all humans equal for all practical purposes. Take that away and believe instead that humans are animals that slowly evolved from less-than-human creatures and a variety of things happen, none of them conducive to non-racism.

True, O’Leary has been saying this for a long while. As she wrote over at Uncommon Descent last year:

The problem is not merely that Darwin, a man of his age, was a racist. The problem is that his bias resulted in his and others distorting the fossil record to suit a racist worldview.

Those issues with the fossil record are the theme of most of paleontologist Günter Bechly’s recent writing at Evolution News. She goes on:

To “get past” the fact that Darwin was a racist, we must be willing to undo science that begins by assuming that non-European features are sub-human. But the “hierarchy of man” is rooted in the fundamental assumptions of the “Descent of Man,” the idea that Darwin popularized. Rooting it out would call so many things into question as to produce a crisis. What will we be left with?

Indeed. But then an even bigger problem looms: In any Darwinian scheme, someone must be the subhuman. If not the current lot (formerly, the “savages,” currently the Neanderthals and/or Homo erectus), who will it be?

If they aren’t found, the Darwinist is looking down the maw of some sort of creationism. It need not be theistic creationism. But it does mean that a momentous event happened with explicable swiftness, like the Big Bang or the origin of language, findings naturalists do not like precisely because of their creationist implications.

Surely these are the true reasons Darwinists simply can’t confront the race issue and get past it, and so they resort to long-winded special pleading.

A Minimal Concept

The word “creationism” is used unfairly as a cudgel against proponents of intelligent design. But fine, let’s entertain it for a moment, if only to designate a minimal concept like the philosophical one that says humans, while sharing biological common descent with other creatures, are uniquely endowed with souls bearing some sort of exceptional quality, however you characterize that. It could be a divine image, but need not be. The consistent materialist must deny all this.

The idea of racial equality, perfectly natural to a design perspective, can be achieved by the Darwinist only by continually and ruthlessly suppressing a built-in tendency. It requires bad faith: fooling himself about his own way of thinking. Like an irremediable birth defect, it’s never going to go away.

“Tell It on the Mountain”

Or it’s like driving a car with misaligned wheels that always pulls you in one direction and cannot ever drive straight without your exerting continuous effort toward correction. If you don’t fight it all the time, you’ll go off the road and crash into a nasty, muddy ditch, as folks like John Derbyshire have done. John and other “Race Realists” humiliate their fellow evolutionists by dancing in the muck.

The alternative is to get those wheels nicely aligned. Of course it’s possible to find people who believe in creation and who are also racists. You can find bad apples in any community of thinkers. But the key point is that the two ideas are permanently at odds with each other. Whereas Darwinism and racism are a match made in… Well, they’re conjoined twins, let’s put it that way.

“Klinghoffer,” Denyse advises, “tell Derbyshire he needs a louder mike. He should go tell it on the mountain. Worldwide.” Okay, done.

Image: An artist imagines Homo erectus pekinensis, a proposed “official subhuman” species, by Cicero Moraes [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.