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A challenge to “evolutionary biologists”

I put this in the combox below another post, but decided to put it on the front page, for reasons of social responsibility.

I think that “evolutionary biology” is the basket-weaving course of science – but basket weaving keeps some people from crime and drug addiction, after all – so who am I to say it isn’t worthing?.When are “evolutionary biologists” going to get around to admitting Darwin’s racism and its consequences?

Here is what I wrote to one self-righteous commenter:

When a world association of evolutionary biologists formally acknowledges that “The Descent of Man” is one long racist tract and *disassociates* its members from Darwin’s actual views, I will be impressed.

Otherwise not. And lots of other people will not be impressed either.

In the meantime, attacks on anyone’s character are entirely beside the point.

There is a huge, open, running, rotting Stage 4 sore here – visible to the whole world – that “evolutionary biologists” seem in no hurry to deal with.

It is NO use telling me that no one agrees with Darwin if science associations are not prepared to make a formal statement about his actual views and disassociate themselves from them.

I would have thought that the Darwin year was the exact right time to do just exactly that – especially if it is true that so few biologists are racists, as you say*.

To me, the fact that it never occurred to them to do so is highly significant – given the world we live in.

*I don’t say anything one way or the other about all that except this: I ask for a general retraction of Darwin’s views on race and you can be very sure that I will know what to make of any failure to do so. And it is no use quoting high panjandrums against me.

You can be sure you will be hearing from me again – and again – on this. So why not just deal with it?

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45 Responses to A challenge to “evolutionary biologists”

  1. Here you go:

    At this year’s Darwin Bicentennial Celebration at Cornell the department of ecology and evolutionary biology co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Evolution and Racism”. All four the the panelists, two of whom were African Americans (three were evolutionary biologists and one was a sociologist) agreed that by today’s standards Darwin and most of his contemporaries were racists. And they also pointed out that evolutionary biologists today – people like Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Will Provine, and Robert Trivers – are among the strongest and most vocal opponents of racism, especially “scientific racism”. You can read about it here:

    http://www.google.com/calendar.....a/New_York

    Two years ago I served on a panel at the Cornell Darwin Day Celebration that dealt with “Evolution and Eugenics”. All four of the panelists (three evolutionary biologists and a Tallman Prize winner) agreed that Darwin’s ideas were used by eugenicists to justify their heinous policies. They also pointed out that evolutionary biologists were among the members of the UNESCO panel that issued the United Nations’ 1950 statement on eugenics and race, which condemned both in the strongest of terms, and that virtually no evolutionary biologist has actively supported eugenics since 1945. You can read about it here:

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/st.....n.lgk.html

    Now admittedly, the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell is not “a world association of evolutionary biologists”. However, it is widely recognized as one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world.

    How about this:

    “The simple fact remains: there is no “inferior” race; the genetic differences between races are trivial.”

    This statement comes from the National Center for Science Education, as part of a report on “Racism and the Public’s Perception of Evolution”, available online here:

    http://ncseweb.org/rncse/22/3/.....-evolution

    (paragraph 31, second sentence)

    Even ID supporters might be willing to admit that the NCSE is a “world-recognized organization of evolutionary biologists”. After all, they complain about the immense political power of the NCSE, and the fact that virtually all evolutionary biologists agree with their organization’s views, including the one quoted above.

    There have also been multiple sessions at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meetings on this and related subjects, which have condemned the use of evolutionary biology to support racism.

    Last, but not least, one could also read The Mismeasure of Man, perhaps the strongest indictment of “scientific racism” published in the second half of the 20th century, by Stephen Jay Gould, one of the premier evolutionary biologists of the 20th century.

    Now let me make a prediction: none of these will satisfy O’Leary, because her demand is not made with the expectation that there will be any evidence to the contrary. No, her demand is that some unspecified “world association of evolutionary biologists” make a “public retraction of Charles Darwin’s views”, which would, of course, include his theory of evolution. Kind of like asking someone if they’ve stopped beating their grandmother yet…

    While we’re at it, perhaps O’Leary would suggest that all of the religious organizations that have opposed Darwin’s theories to do the same thing: that is, retract their previous support for racism, based on their religious views. Here’s a sample:

    • William Bell Riley – who founded the World Christian Fundamentals Association and sent William Jennings Bryan to Dayton, Tennessee in 1925 to prosecute John T. Scopes for teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee’s Butler Act- advocated white supremacy as well as a ban on the teaching of evolution.

    • Evangelist Billy Sunday endorsed the Klan Kreed of white supremacy and bitterly attacked evolution.

    • Early in the 20th century, Bob Jones Sr’s revivals were supported financially by the Ku Klux Klan. Later, as most religious denominations in the US denounced the Klan, Southern Baptists – whose denomination was organized in 1845 as a haven for pro-slavery Baptists – were “unanimously silent on the question of the Klan” Southern Baptists opposed not only integration and other antiracist efforts, but also the teaching of evolution, denouncing Darwinism as “a soul-destroying, Bible-destroying, and God-dishonoring theory”. Sound familiar?

    • Bob Jones University, founded by Bob Jones Sr. in 1927 (two years after the Scopes trial) as “a college with high academic standards; an emphasis on culture; and a down-to-earth, practical Christian philosophy of self-control that was both orthodox and fervent in its evangelistic spirit”. Until a massive public-relations problem forced the university to reconsider its policy in 2000, it prohibited interracial dating, which was viewed as “playing into the hand of the Antichrist” by defying God’s will regarding God-made differences among the races.

    So I’ll make a deal with O’Leary: every time she brings up Darwin’s racism and tries to tie it to evolutionary biology as a whole, I’ll bring up the racists who used religion as a justification for racism. And, if she’s game, I’ll work with her to get the issue brought up in our respective organizations, and see if it flies. Should be interesting…

  2. In the meantime, attacks on anyone’s character are entirely beside the point.

    Character assassination was the whole point of your post.

    You can be sure you will be hearing from me again – and again – on this.

    Repeating yourself ad nauseam is exactly what we expect from you.

  3. I doubt they will ever “deal with it” Denyse – not until there is no other choice left to them.

    They cannot deal with it. To even address it, in their minds, would be to expose their idol Darwin and his racist ideas (all based on his theory) to criticism. Something they know they can’t afford to do.

    We already know too well how readily they jump at opportunities to do just the opposite and how squeamish and vehemently aggressive they become at the slightest suggestion that the man or (especially) his ideas are worthy of any reproach whatsoever.

    It’s like asking the Bolsheviks of the early 20th century to admit Marx and Lenin were fascist creeps.

    From my own debating experience, they will merely express the idea that most white people of his day were racist and held similar views on blacks, Indians, women, etc., that those types did not base their racism on Darwin’s theory and that therefore Darwin was no worse than his contemporaries and his theory is irrelevant to racism.

    Of course, he was no better than his contemporaries either, and although it is infinitely clear that his ideas on “favoured races” sprung directly from his theory, they will utterly deny the fact and go on to point out many fanatical religious types from Christianity’s history that twisted the gospel and went on to violent and racist actions.

    In their minds people like Hitler twisted and misused Darwins’ theory. And as much as even a quick superficial reading of descent shows the contrary, they’ll be in denial till they awaken from the deep and deadly sleep of materialism.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath on waiting for any Darwinist ever admitting that the man or his theory had any flaws happening any time soon.

    Popular and convenient (for atheists/materialist) falsehoods die hard.

  4. Borne:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath on waiting for any Darwinist ever admitting that the man or his theory had any flaws happening any time soon.

    Try reading Allen MacNeill’s comment above.

  5. That would require critical thinking on Borne’s part.

  6. Borne [3] how, precisely, does Allen’s initial comment fail to “deal with it”?

  7. And since Denyse O’Leary believes she is entitled to repeat herself, let me add this list to Allen MacNeill’s and remind ourselves of why, as a self-professed Catholic, she is in no position to adopt a high moral tone given her church’s involvement for centuries in slavery which, let us be in no doubt, was in itself a form of racism:

    In the fourth century, St. Augustine thought slavery could be beneficial to both slaves and masters;
    in 650 Pope Martin I forbade people to help slaves escape;
    in 1179 the Third Lateran Council decreed the enslavement of anyone helping the Saracens;
    in 1226 Pope Gregory IX incorporated slavery into the Corpus Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), where it remained until 1913;
    in the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas considered slavery to be in accordance with natural law and a consequence of original sin;
    in 1454 Pope Nicholas V’s bull Romanus Pontifex allowed the King of Portugal to enslave Saracens and pagans at war with Christians;
    in 1493, Pope Alexander VI gave the same right to the King of Spain in fighting native Americans; in 1548 Paul III allowed both clergy and laity to own slaves;
    in 1866 Pope Pius IX specifically declared that “slavery in itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons. … It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given.”

    …and again..

    595 CE: Pope Gregory dispatched a priest to Britain to purchase Pagan boys to work as slaves on church estates.
    Circa 600 CE: Pope Gregory I wrote, in Pastoral Rule: “Slaves should be told…not [to] despise their masters and recognize that they are only slaves.”
    655 CE: In an attempt to persuade priests to remain celibate, the 9th Council of Toledo ruled that all children of clerics were to be automatically enslaved. This ruling was later incorporated into the canon law of the church.
    13th century CE: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) accepted the teachings of the ancient Greek Pagan philosopher, Aristotle, that slavery is “natural.”
    1404 CE: After Spain discovered the Canary Islands the Spanish colonized the islands
    In 1435 Pope Eugene IV wrote a bull to Bishop Ferdinand of Lanzarote titled “Sicut Dudum.” In it, he noted that the black inhabitants of the Islands had been converted to Christianity and either baptized or promised baptism. Subsequently, many of the inhabitants were taken from their homes and enslaved. He commanded that all enslaved Christians who were inhabitants of the Canary Islands be freed from slavery. The Pope’s concern appears to have been over the enslavement of Christians by Christians, not the institution of human slavery itself.
    1452/4 CE: Pope Nicholas V wrote Dum Diversas which granted to the kings of Spain and Portugal the right to reduce any “Saracens [Muslims] and pagans and any other unbelievers” to perpetual slavery.
    1519: Bartholomew De Las Casas, a Dominican, argued against slavery. “No one may be deprived of his liberty nor may any person be enslaved” He was ridiculed, silenced and ignored.
    1537 CE: Pope Paul III wrote in Sublimis Deus about the enslavement of persons in the West and South Indies. He wrote that Satan:

    “… the enemy of the human race…has thought up a way, unheard of before now, by which he might impede the saving Word of God. … Satan has stirred up some of his allies … who are presuming to assert far and wide that the Indians be reduced to our service like brute animals. And they reduce them to slavery, treating them with afflictions we would scarcely use with brute animals. … Rather, we decree that these same Indians should not be deprived of their liberty…and are not to be reduced to slavery.” only hostile non-Christians, captured in just wars, could become slaves.
    1548 CE: Pope Paul III confirmed that any individual may freely buy, sell and own slaves. Runaway slaves were to be returned to their owners for punishment.
    1629 to 1661 CE: Pope Urban VIII in 1629, Pope Innocent X in 1645 and Pope Alexander VII in 1661 were all personally involved in the purchase of Muslim slaves.
    Late 17th century: The institution of slavery was a integral part of many societies worldwide. The Roman Catholic church only placed two restrictions on the purchase and owning of slaves:

    – They had to be non-Christian.
    – They had to be captured during “just” warfare. i.e. in wars involving Christian armies fighting for an honorable cause.

    Late in the 17th century, Leander, a Roman Catholic theologian, wrote:

    “It is certainly a matter of faith that this sort of slavery in which a man serves his master as his slave, is altogether lawful. This is proved from Holy Scripture…It is also proved from reason for it is not unreasonable that just as things which are captured in a just war pass into the power and ownership of the victors, so persons captured in war pass into the ownership of the captors… All theologians are unanimous on this.”

    When challenged to produce any Papal documents which endorsed slavery I found the following passages taken from an English translation of the full text of the Bull Romanus Pontifex issued by Pope Nicholas V, January 8th, 1455:

    We have lately heard, not without great joy and gratification, how our beloved son, the noble personage Henry, infante of Portugal,…has not ceased for twenty-five years past to send almost yearly an army of the peoples of the said kingdoms with the greatest labor, danger, and expense, in very swift ships called caravels, to explore the sea and coast lands toward the south and the Antarctic pole. And so it came to pass that when a number of ships of this kind had explored and taken possession of very many harbors, islands, and seas, they at length came to the province of Guinea, and having taken possession of some islands and harbors and the sea adjacent to that province, sailing farther they came to the mouth of a certain great river commonly supposed to be the Nile, and war was waged for some years against the peoples of those parts in the name of the said King Alfonso and of the infante, and in it very many islands in that neighborhood were subdued and peacefully possessed, as they are still possessed together with the adjacent sea. Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ…We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit…

  8. Give it a rest.

    The entire year will be repleat with adoration for Darwin. I would venture to guess that neither CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, The Times, or The Chronicle will harbor any admissions coming from the scientific community, nor will the universities. Why wash your hands if there is nothing on them? Besides, it wouldn’t befit the zero tolerance policy against the opponents of ideological scientism – and lord knows thats certainly more important than Darwin, and vastly more important than any racism from the 1800′s.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter. The evidence of our biological history is what matters. And, as far as that goes, I haven’t run across a single biologists that can stand and address the questions with anything near the humility the evidence deserves.

    On that note –> Allen, why don’t you now return to the conversation you seem to be avoiding (if being politely asked 4 times to rejoin the conversation without giving any response can be considered “avoiding” the conversation)

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-305327

  9. Allen_MacNeill and others:

    I started writing my previous post before you posted so…

    At any rate, there is a fundamental flaw in your reasoning.

    Association between Darwin’s theory and racism compared to association between Christianity and racism or other evils, is not a given.

    Association between Darwin’s theory and eugenics, racism etc., is a mere logical conclusion based on reasoning it through. It is easy to see Darwin’s own racism in his writings (Descent is full of it) and how it was supported by his theory.

    On the other hand, you’re right to imply that Christianity cannot be blamed for the racism or wickedness of “religious” persons such as those mentioned.

    The problem for you is not to point out associations but to demonstrate a logical link from doctrine to racism.

    Indeed, as I pointed out, racism is quite obvious in Darwin’s writings. The very term “favoured races” implies such.

    Eugenics condemned by most evolutionary biologists? Agreed, but that doesn’t mean the logical link isn’t still there inherent within the theory. That is what you must prove!

    Who started and supported the 19th century eugenics movement? Darwin’s cousin – Francis Galton, coined the term eugenics in 1883.

    Based on what “scientific” theory? We all know the answer. All he was doing was taking Darwin’s ideas and bringing them to their logical conclusions.

    It is a simple process of logic to see why Darwin’s theory implies a necessary racism of some kind and support of eugenics. This you deny and state that any racist views or actions upheld by Darwinian disciples does not come from his theory.

    However, this is exactly what you must demonstrate – the absence of logical link; Not the existence or absence of support by scientists. Indeed, few reasonable persons will support it.
    Most simply do not see and do not want to see the logical link that is clearly there. Denial is not the same as proof.

    I would also challenge you to find logical grounds for links to racism within Christianity.

    The very foundation of Christianity holds that “God doesn’t discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish people” Peter’s words in Acts 15:9
    and “And he has made of one blood all the nations of men living on all the face of the earth…” Act 17:26

    Indeed, the command of Christ is to announce the good news to all nations and that all from “every tribe, and language, and people, and nation,” have this solution offered to them. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom 10

    Thus, you may quote every evol. biologist or Darwinist in the world against eugenics and racism, but that doesn’t change a thing if the link is a logical consequence inherent in the theory itself.

    I’m quite aware that modern variations of the theory claim a more monogenist view on human origins and thus are less prone to criticism and logical links to racism, yet Darwin’s view, and that of many modernevolutionists, (polygenist) clearly leads to such.

    As far as eugenics goes, that is quite another study than racism yet germinating roots of which can still be easily spotted in Darwin’s writings and not uniquely those of Galton and colleagues.

    If Darwinism is true and humans are mere animals “sharing a common heritage with earthworms”, where indeed is the value of human life to be garnered from?

    Why should humans be more valuable than dogs or worms? Under the Darwinian paradigm there can be no adequate answer to this. And if no reason, then why not eugenics – euthanasia, assisted suicide (state of Washington recently) etc.

    Furthermore look at Darwinist/atheist Holland, where hospitals are now feared by the elderly and their families because of the “Darwinian” based practice of “mortification” whereby patients lives may be “terminated! by a physicians decision on their quality.

    There we have a current example of implementation of Darwinian theory taken to it’s logical conclusions; and it is now settling in the West as well.

    You could be next on the list under these atheist/Darwinist “medical” policies. Just don’t get sick. Just hope your aging parents don’t.

    So briefly, we all know that most evolutionary biologists are against eugenics and most are also against racism – but that isn’t even the point!

    The point is in the logical implications of the theory itself. I truly hope you can see the difference.

  10. Allen_MacNeill:

    That would require critical thinking on Borne’s part.

    Indeed, something I suggest you attempt if you are at all capable.

    If you were you would have already seen that you and your Darwinian fundamentalist buddies have missed the whole question miserably.

  11. Borne,
    By all means you and other IDists should continue to blather on about racism, eugenics, Nazism, etc. You’ll only succeed in further marginalizing yourselves.

  12. 12

    Harville,

    It not racism or eugenics you should be concerned with.

  13. We cannot understand much of the history of late 19th and early 20th century anthropology, with its plethora of taxonomic names proposed for nearly every scrap of fossil bone, unless we appreciate its obsession with the identification and ranking of races. For many schemes of classification sought to tag the various fossils as ancestors of modern races and to use their relative age and apishness as a criterion for racial superiority. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

    Racism is inconsistent with Christian doctrine, but it does appear to fit quite nicely with evolutionism.

  14. 14
    CannuckianYankee

    Interesting debate. I think the point made by Borne #3 and #9 is right on. Mind if I ad my $0.03?

    Christianity is all inclusive. That some Christians have not lived up to this is a tragic fact of history. However, Christianity cannot be blamed for the actions of some of its adherents when their actions go against the very teachings of scripture, but Darwinism can be blamed for the actions of some of its adherents, when in fact they were simply following the beliefs of Darwin himself.

    Those organizations mentioned by Allan_MacNeill changed their positions based on the teachings of scripture, and they repented their practices. This is because Christian standard demands it.

    The point being made here, and I think it is an excellent one, is that Darwinism does not demand such standards. But Darwinism does not survive in a vacuum – if it did, then the results would be even more tragic than Mr. MacNeill’s examples.

    So I respect you pointing those out Mr. MacNeill, but the fact remains that the end result of Darwinism is checked by a moral society, and that moral society does not get its standards from Darwinism, rather, from Judeo-Christian teachings. If we did not have a society built on laws that protect human life as were the conditions in Nazi Germany, the end result would be a holocaust of some sort.

    Now the fact that some (in fact many) Darwinists repudiate the racism and eugenics of the past is a good thing. I (we all, in fact)should applaud this. But the fact remains that the standards put forth by Darwin do not mandate this; rather it is the Judeo-Christian moral standards of our society that mandate this.

    This country would never have repudiated racism and slavery or eugenics without those standards.

    Now I should also mention that anti-semitism in Europe did not begin with the Nazis. It existed for centuries before, and I doubt if it was Darwinism that gave rise to Nazi anti-semitism and racism. However, the Nazis used Darwinist ideas to justify their anti-human practices.

  15. 15
    George L Farquhar

    CannuckianYankee

    This country would never have repudiated racism and slavery or eugenics without those standards.

    My understanding is that it could have gone either way. After all, the Southern Baptist Convention was established in Augusta, Georgia, in order to preserve a religious foundation for human slavery.

    Wikipedia notes:

    The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a United States-based, mostly conservative[1] Christian denomination. The name “Southern” stems from its having been founded and rooted in the Southern United States. The SBC became a separate denomination in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, following a regional split with northern Baptists over the issue of slavery.

    It has become the world’s largest Baptist denomination and America’s largest Protestant body with over 16 million members and more than 42,000 churches.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....Convention

    So, not all agreed on what your “standards” meant.

  16. 16
    CannuckianYankee

    George L Farquhar,

    I appreciate the response. I’m not certain if you fully grasped what I meant. Regardless of what the Southern Baptists believed, and I believe (given that the Wikipedia article you quoted is correct) they were in error, but they did not set the standard. The standard was set by scripture, and as such, either way, they most certainly and inevitavely would have changed. After all, the Southern Baptists are some of the more literalist traditions in Evangelical Protestantism today. They believe fully in Sola Scriptura.

    Moral errors (as far as the scriptures are concerned) have been made throughout Christian history, resuting in some attrocities – that is no surprise. But the moral standard has been there from the beginning.

    Another point I would like to make is in the area of hermeneutics. While there are many interpretations of bible passages, there is only one intended meaning of a passage, and that meaning can be gleaned from a combination of the historical context, and a propper reading. However, just as you or I can take each others’ words out of context and use them to say what we did not intend them to say, so do some people take scripture out of context. It has been a common occurence throughout church history. This does not negate the fact that the bible has something specific to say, and much of what it says is based in a morality that places human beings as having been created in the image of God; therefore, having a value that is beyond compare. And scripture does not make distinctions regarding human value and race. So whether some disagree on what the standards meant, does not negate the fact that the standard was there – some may have chosen to ignore it; which is their prerogative as individuals with free will, consequences notwithstanding.

    BTW, I don’t trust most of what Wikipedia has to say regarding American church history. They may get it right in some instances, but I would trust more balanced sources.

  17. My thanks to all commenters.

    Darwin was a total racist. That is pure and simple. And disgusting.

    It is a huge scandal that the fact is not far more widely confronted – and rejected.

    It should be part of the charter of any science society to reject such notions.

    Not only are such notions false but they are contrary to peace, order, and good government.

    The reason such a clause is not part of the associations’ charters already, I suspect, is that too many of their members accept “evolutionary” notions that would put some groups of humans “ahead” of others in some proposed “evolutionary” scheme.

    If that is not the real reason, why don’t they just DO it?

    Why don’t they all just DO it at their next round of meetings?

    All they need do is say “that ol’ Brit toff was wrong about this specific stuff, and we REJECT it” [and say WHAT they reject in detail].

    And it is no use telling me about individual panels. I don’t care what private individuals say.

    Lots of people around the world feel justifiably offended by European racism.

    I want a complete, specific, total rejection of Darwin’s ideas about race from all scientific societies that have engaged in the cause of “evolution” – and a public recognition of the harm his ideas have caused.

    Darwn’s ideas were a key trigger of the eugenics movement, for example, in which many thousands of people were forcibly sterilized – essentially changing their lives – when there was no clear reason, only some Brit toff’s theories.

    If the scientific societies do not do so, I must assume that the question of their members’ real views is wide open.

    Who knows? Maybe the otherwise completely useless American Scientific Affiliation might take the lead here?

    Oh no. That is way too much to ask, of course. We need a new science society that takes on these questions more fearlessly.

    In the meantime, when anyone, anywhere yaps about Darwin on behalf of “science”, let’s ask “Have you read ‘The Descent of Man’? What do you think about it?”

  18. OK – perhaps I’m missing something here. What exactly is racist about the theory of evolution as we now understand it? Do we now feel some moral outrage that two mollusks have a common ancestor?

  19. O’Leary @ 17

    Darwin was a total racist. That is pure and simple. And disgusting.

    No.

    He was not.

    Not in the sense you are using the term.

    What is disgusting is the smell of self-righteous hypocrisy which surrounds this hatchet-job.

    It is a huge scandal that the fact is not far more widely confronted – and rejected.

    No, what irks you is that there is no huge scandal for you to report. That is why you are trying to manufacture one.

    It should be part of the charter of any science society to reject such notions.

    Why?

    Most countries already have statutory bans on racism which are as binding on science societies as anyone else. What purpose would be served by including a specific repudiation of racism – other than suggesting that there was special problem with racism in that field?

    The reason such a clause is not part of the associations’ charters already, I suspect, is that too many of their members accept “evolutionary” notions that would put some groups of humans “ahead” of others in some proposed “evolutionary” scheme.

    So you are accusing most evolutionary biologists of being racist? I am sure they will be pleased to hear that.

    Lots of people around the world feel justifiably offended by European racism.

    Those that do, if they believe racism is a solely a European or white problem, are themselves racist.

    Racism is a human problem. You will find it on every continent and in every country on Earth to some extent. Black-, brown-, red- and yellow-skinned are just as capable of it as white-skinned people.

    I want a complete, specific, total rejection of Darwin’s ideas about race from all scientific societies that have engaged in the cause of “evolution” – and a public recognition of the harm his ideas have caused.

    If Darwin’s ideas about race – or the creationist caricature of them – still formed a part of evolutionary thinking today then you might have a case. They don’t and you don’t.

    In the meantime, when anyone, anywhere yaps about Darwin on behalf of “science”, let’s ask “Have you read ‘The Descent of Man’? What do you think about it?”

    I think it is the first good idea I have heard here. By all means, have everyone read the full text of Descent rather than the quotes dug up by creationist miners. Let them judge for themselves rather than being told what to be outraged at by a journalist.

  20. George L Farquhar:

    The SBC became a separate denomination in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, following a regional split with northern Baptists over the issue of slavery.

    So, not all agreed on what your “standards” meant.

    No, not all have agreed on the Bible. It has been spun to mean almost anything one’s heart desires over the centuries (see the KKK for racism, hardcore biker gangs believing hell is just one big biker rally), but that doesn’t mean that they were correct in their interpretation. People screwing up God’s words is perfectly in line with the foundation of Christianity – we are sinners! It is obvious that without stretching or skewing scripture, it points to no man being better than another in God’s eyes.

    That is the point: True Christianity suggests all men are equal, while true Darwinism is fundamentally racist. It is GOOD that atheists and Darwinists are illogical in their rejection (outwardly, at least) of an unmistakable extrapolation of their theory. I say “illogical”, even though there is logic behind their rejection of racism. That is, they have strong moral convictions that all men are equal, and logically one will tend to follow their emotions and morals. It becomes illogical when it blatantly contradicts their dogmatic “science”. But this is nothing new for a devout Darwinist. The human experience continuously contradicts the extrapolations of Darwinian theory, including morals, genuine altruism, the feeling that you are actually you, a free-thinking creature and not a chemical computer, etc.

    And speaking of the SBC’s racist history:

    http://findarticles.com/p/arti.....i_17332136

    The resolution declared that messengers, as SBC delegates are called, “unwaveringly denounce racism, in all its forms, as deplorable sin” and “lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest.” It offered an apology to all African-Americans for “condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime” and repentance for “racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously.” Although Southern Baptists have condemned racism in the past, this was the first time the predominantly white convention had dealt specifically with the issue of slavery.

    Gary Frost, SBC second vice-president and the first African-American to serve as an SBC officer:

    “On behalf of my black brothers and sisters, we accept your apology and we extend to you our forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ,” Frost responded. “We pray that the genuineness of your repentance will be demonstrated in your attitude and your action.”

    “I believe it’s up to the church of Jesus Christ to begin the process of true reconciliation.”

  21. 21

    Quite right Seversky, we should be guided to our moral outrage by scienctists. After all, they has such a swell record.

    High-explosives, higher explosives, germ warfare, smart bombs, guided missiles, biological toxins, long range artillery, nerve gas, intercontinental ballistic missiles……they all came about by the Southern Baptists, over the protest of science.

    What does any of this have to do with the fact that chance is completely incapable of coordinating the function recorded in DNA? I have no idea.

  22. Some of you are missing the point. Here it is succinctly.

    I am an evangelical Christian. If a Christian comes up to me and says “I believe it pleases God for me to practice racism”. I can show him quite clearly ( chapter and verse ) that he is wrong, that he is not following Christ in a manner consistent with His fundamental teachings, and that he is doing damage to the name of Christ in promoting his views in His Name.

    Mr. MacNeill you can not do the same with someone who says “I am a believer in Darwin through and through. And I support eugenics completely because of it” As a matter of fact, he can make the case that you being against eugenics are not a fully committed Darwinist.

  23. On the 19th of August we finally left the shores of Brazil. I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, I heard the most pitiable moans, and could not but suspect that some poor slave was being tortured, yet knew that I was as powerless as a child even to remonstrate. I suspected that these moans were from a tortured slave, for I was told that this was the case in another instance. Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have staid in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten, and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal. I have seen a little boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horsewhip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean; I saw his father tremble at a mere glance from his master’s eye. These latter cruelties were witnessed by me in a Spanish colony, in which it has always been said, that slaves are better treated than by the Portuguese, English, or other European nations. I have seen at Rio de Janeiro a powerful Negro afraid to ward off a blow directed, as he thought, at his face. I was present when a kind hearted man was on the point of separating for ever the men, women, and little children of a large number of families who had long lived together. I will not even allude to the many heart-sickening atrocities which I authentically heard of; — nor would I have mentioned the above revolting details, had I not met with several people, so blinded by the constitutional gaiety of the Negro, as to speak of slavery as a tolerable evil. . . . Such enquirers will ask slave about their condition; they forget that the slave must indeed be dull, who does not calculate on the chance of his answer reaching his master’s ears.
    . . . Those who look tenderly at the slave-owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter;–what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children—those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own—being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty.

    Charles Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle

  24. There is a New Scientist on the issue of Darwin’s attitude to slavery.

  25. Oops! omitted “article” in previous comment.

    I wonder if Kariosfocus may like to inject some of his broad knowledge on the subject?

  26. 26

    Slavery persisted for centuries under Christianity and other religions. And then Science begot the Industrial Revolution, which made labor slavery obsolete, and allowed people to be more moral – and the institution of slavery finally came to an end. So we can thank scientists, not Christians, for ending slavery.

  27. Allen McNeill

    So I’ll make a deal with O’Leary: every time she brings up Darwin’s racism and tries to tie it to evolutionary biology as a whole, I’ll bring up the racists who used religion as a justification for racism. And, if she’s game, I’ll work with her to get the issue brought up in our respective organizations, and see if it flies. Should be interesting…

    Since ID is not a religious program, but a scientific one, I fail to see why an ID proponent needs comment what a religious organization does or doesn’t do. Evolution is all about science (or so we’re told), as such its founder clearly held racists views drawn directly from the science. If you have a similar connection between racism and ID, we’re all ears.

  28. Slavery is not the same as racism!

    A racist can be against slavery(like Darwin). Someone not against slavery can be against racism(like God).

    Actually slavery can be the opposite of racism. There are forms of “good” slavery like convicted criminals that are doing work.

    I am not promoting slavery or anything, but slavery is not necessarily wrong, racism is!

    If you value a certain human race the same as an animal and you are against animal torture, you are a racist, but against slavery.

  29. 29

    critiacrof:

    I am not promoting slavery or anything, but slavery is not necessarily wrong, racism is!

    Given a choice, I think I’d prefer to be called a racial epithet than put into bondage.

  30. Slavery persisted for centuries under Christianity and other religions. And then Science begot the Industrial Revolution, which made labor slavery obsolete, and allowed people to be more moral – and the institution of slavery finally came to an end. So we can thank scientists, not Christians, for ending slavery.

    Again, this misses the entire point of the argument. Additionally, I argue that some of it is wrong.

    Science made slavery less necessary, not obsolete. Even today, slavery is not “obsolete”. Free labor will probably never be “obsolete”. That’s not to say it isn’t any more or less heinous.

    But while scientific advances may have made some proponents more willing to give it up, MORALS (as you said) are what ended it. Morals are not scientifically founded, therefore science has nothing to do with morals. The Industrial Revolution (especially the technological advances) did not end slavery. In fact, it allowed another means of something close to slavery, such as children working 18 hours a day in factories and given next to nothing in return.

    I would also argue that yes, we can thank Christians for ending slavery. It was Judeo-Christian morals that drove the leaders and troops to fight, give up many of their lives and end slavery altogether.

    Also, you juxtapose scientists and Christians as if they are two fundamentally discrete populations. There is no such thing as a Christian scientist? And can some science not be driven by Christian morals, such as Internet filters?

    I do agree that science can help influence people to be more moral, such as security and surveillance systems that discourage theft or burglary.

  31. “Since ID is not a religious program, but a scientific one, I fail to see why an ID proponent needs comment what a religious organization does or doesn’t do. Evolution is all about science (or so we’re told), as such its founder clearly held racists views drawn directly from the science. If you have a similar connection between racism and ID, we’re all ears.” – Donald McL

    Thank you, Donald! that is precisely my point.

    I certainly do not hold myself responsible for everything anyone has ever done in the name of religion, simply because I am a Catholic Christian.

    I have also never held any individual Darwinist responsible for everything anyone has done in the name of Darwinism.

    But I am – at best – surprised by the lack of interest of science societies in backing away from Darwin’s racism.

    It would be EASY to do.

    I do not want to quarrel uselessly about this. I am simply asking all members of societies that have made statements supporting Darwin vs. intelligent design to FOLLOW UP with a statement *divorcing* Darwin’s racism.

    Just divorce “The Descent of Man” now! Just DO it!

    Now, if the Darwinists do not do it, won’t we know something useful?

    I think we will know something very useful indeed.

    I will be VERY happy to publicise any upcoming divorces from The Descent of Man!

    Darwinist, do you or don’t you divorce this book?

    I hope and pray you do. Look, I have friends and in-laws from across the globe, from all races and nations under heaven.

    I want to reach across the ideological divide and ask you to use the “year of Darwin” to finally divorce racism.

    And if you don’t, we will know.

    We will definitely all know whether you did or not.

    Just do it, okay?

  32. Slavery is not the same as racism!

    A racist can be against slavery(like Darwin). Someone not against slavery can be against racism(like God).

    Actually slavery can be the opposite of racism. There are forms of “good” slavery like convicted criminals that are doing work.

    I am not promoting slavery or anything, but slavery is not necessarily wrong, racism is!

    Exactly. You made many points that I was going to make in response to Arthur Smith (#22). I would like to make a clarification, though.

    In the modern sense of the word, slavery is completely involuntary and horrible – a slave today is generally forced into being owned for no legitimate reason, and many times taken from a situation they would rather be in (Africans being captured and taken across the Atlantic against their will). In Biblical terms, slavery is really a money issue. A slave (which usually is of the same race as his master) was so far in debt that he could not pay it off, and probably would have paid with their life, or would have starved to death (including their children). Slavery was a way out. An in-debt person could have his debts paid off by someone, and he would then become their slave for life. But he would be fed and taken care of.

    Ephesians 6:5-9:

    5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

    This certainly was not what happened in the South during the first part of this country.

  33. B L Harville:
    rasicm is more than name calling and slavery is not always the same as being put into bondage.

  34. uoflcard:
    I totally agree.

  35. Harville,

    Given a choice, I think I’d prefer to be called a racial epithet than put into bondage

    See the Biblical situation I gave above. Say you had no money, you were deeply in debt, and you lived in a time or place where there is no “soup kitchens” or “welfare”, and people are killed for not paying debts. Would you still rather be called names and hated? Or would you rather save your life by serving a person (which was not necessarily for life, but at least for a long time) and that person in return pays off your debt and gives you food, clothing, shelther, etc. And your master (if he followed God’s rule) would rule over you in a loving way, not as a whip-thrashing slave driver.

    Obviously, we would all rather be hated than to be taken out of our current situations unwillingly and forced into hostile bondage (or bondage of any kind, for that matter).

    I’m not saying this is exactly what critiacrof was thinking about when she wrote:

    I am not promoting slavery or anything, but slavery is not necessarily wrong, racism is

    While slavery in the American pre-Cival War sense is definitely wrong, it is “not necessarily” wrong in all cases. I mentioned one situation in which it is arguably a good thing, which would validate her statement.

  36. DonaldM @ 26

    Since ID is not a religious program, but a scientific one, I fail to see why an ID proponent needs comment what a religious organization does or doesn’t do. Evolution is all about science (or so we’re told), as such its founder clearly held racists views drawn directly from the science. If you have a similar connection between racism and ID, we’re all ears.

    Thank you for asking, it is actually quite simple.

    Eugenics is a form of directed evolution in which a favored ‘race’ is ‘encouraged’ to propagate at the expense of less-favored races which are allowed to dwindle away to extinction as they lose the competition for resources or are actively eliminated.

    Intelligent design must also be a form of directed evolution if the Designer does anything other than allow natural selection to follow its course. However if, as must happen in the case of design, the Designer arranges things so that the course of evolution is shaped or directed towards a chosen end, in other words, if the Designer for whatever reason has chosen to favor the survival of one ‘race’ over all the others, then that Designer and the Intelligent Design program itself are both eugenicist and racist by definition.

  37. I find this whole discussion a collosal waste of time. Most people in the mid 1800′s were racist and so was Lincoln. It may depend upon what you mean what racist means. Does it mean you have an opinion that certain ethnic groups are inferior or superior on some characteristics? If that is true, then I bet most people are racists today.

    Does it mean that you treat people of certain ethnic groups differently? If so then most of us do it because we treat our own ethnic groups with more favor than others.

    Does it mean we cause others of a different ethnic group to have less rights than others? We are sort of obligated by law in the US not to do this and in some cases I have witnessed that the reverse takes place.

    Also slavery for most of history was not racial in the way it was in the Americas after the early 1500′s. A lot of slavery was the enslavement of your enemies and there was a time when slaves were captured soldiers from battle with the understanding that they were slaves because the alternative was death. So they were cnsidered living dead people and thus owed their life to their conqueror or who he disposed the slave too. And since their children would never have been born they were considered slaves too. Don’t take this as I endorse this, only that is how slavery was justified by some especially in Roman times.

    The discussions here at least to me are friviolous. Darwin was a racist and expressed it in some of his writings. To me the real issue is how accurate are his writings. A lot when it comes to evolution were bogus and that should be the discussion.

    The real issue is if Darwin’s racist views affected his conclusions in his writings or not.

  38. O’Leary @ 30

    I certainly do not hold myself responsible for everything anyone has ever done in the name of religion, simply because I am a Catholic Christian.

    Nor would I hold you responsible for everything done in the name of Catholicism but you do stay in the faith, which is problematical.

    Following my argument at #35, it should be clear that what is described in the Bible can also be viewed as a form of directed evolution since it lays out the course of God’s Chosen People. And the God of the Old Testament is no passive observer. He clears a path by striking down the less-favored ‘races’ or assists his chosen ‘race’ in wiping them out. At one point, in the Great Flood, he even goes so far as to annihilate not just other races but all other life on the planet, in effect, wiping the slate clean so that his favored ‘race’ could have a clean start. That is genocide on a scale of which Hitler or Stalin could only have dreamed.

    To put it bluntly, Christianity, from that perspective, is a racist and eugenicist program.

    Darwinist, do you or don’t you divorce this book?

    And if Darwinists dissociate themselves from The Descent of Man because of its alleged racist and eugenicist overtones, will you, Denyse O’Leary, also dissociate yourself from the Bible for the same reasons?

  39. On the one hand, it was rare for anyone living in the 1800′s to *not* be a racist (by today’s standards). On the other hand, in this politically correct climate, it’s incredibly common for those representing those victimized in the past to demand apologies today. Like it or not, Darwin’s ideas have been used to justify some unseemly ideas/regimes/organizations (whether or not he would have personally approved of them). If it weren’t in regards to Darwin, I suspect there would be some just falling all over themselves to issue the apology. I also think that in this year of Darwin, it would seem appropriate to say *something* about the issue now. What a perfect opportunity to clear this up once and for all.

    An apology clearly *wouldn’t* mean that Darwin’s ideas were invalid (and no one in their right mind thinks O’Leary is saying that). Darwin doesn’t deserve the adoration he is receiving for much better reasons than his racism. His ideas were 1) largely borrowed from others and 2) clearly exceeded the evidence (and the gap grows larger all the time between what random, chance mutations can reasonably be expected to achieve versus what it would *need* to achieve to account for the diversity, complexity, interdependence, and information-rich systems readily apparent in life as we now understand it). Not to mention the fact, that even *if* random, chance mutations could account for what we see in life, someone would still have to resolve the chicken or egg conundrum of the sudden appearance of the first life-form capable of DNA-based replication. How could a DNA-based lifeform “evolve” before a lifeform capable of perpetuating mutations through something like DNA was present? Anyone? Anyone? I’m sure we’ve all seen the “insert miracle here” cartoon that occurs at the end of a project plan. The Darwinists want to use the “insert miracle here” at the *beginning* to account for that first life-form. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    Lastly, tying this issue to racism within Christianity is clearly a dodge. As previously stated, ID has nothing to do with religion. Also, O’Leary isn’t suggesting that Darwin’s ideas be abandoned because of his racism. She’s just suggesting that his racism be admitted in this year of Darwin.

  40. O’Leary,

    It would be EASY to do.

    I’m waiting for the Discovery Institute to denounce the intellectually dishonest transformation of a creationist textbook into an “intelligent design” textbook through the magic of global-search-and-replace.

    It would be EASY to do.

    Clearly “cdesign proponentsists” says much more about the contemporary ID movement than Darwin’s racism says about contemporary evolutionary biology.

    The phrase “intelligent design” came into widespread usage after the Supreme Court ruled that “creation” could not be mentioned in public-school science classes. Hiding the fact that intelligent design is creation of complex specified information out of nothing is patently dishonest. The Discovery Institute should acknowledge that design is creation.

    It would be EASY to do.

  41. Sal Gal,

    Are you too good to be true. Another example of the inanity from the peanut gallery. The fact that you make such a vapid argument is great for ID.

    Find the passages in the book you object to and we can discuss them. Whether they appeared by a search and replace or by an infinite number of monkeys, it makes no difference. It depends on what the book says.

    If there are objectionable text, then we can discuss it. But meanwhile keep up the non sequiturs because it helps us make our case.

  42. uoflcard:
    what makes you think I am a woman?

  43. Seversky

    Eugenics is a form of directed evolution in which a favored ‘race’ is ‘encouraged’ to propagate at the expense of less-favored races which are allowed to dwindle away to extinction as they lose the competition for resources or are actively eliminated.

    …[I]f the Designer for whatever reason has chosen to favor the survival of one ‘race’ over all the others, then that Designer and the Intelligent Design program itself are both eugenicist and racist by definition.

    1. The only examples you give of a Designer favoring one race over another are taken from the Bible. At most, all one can conclude from your argument is that Intelligent Design is eugenicist and racist if it identifies the Designer with the God of the Bible.

    2. In any case, your Biblical examples are unconvincing, even on a literal reading of Scripture:

    (a) the Flood, which according to the Biblical narrative wiped out all of humanity with the exception of Noah and his family, did not favor any particular race over another, because the book of Genesis itself states that the various races of humanity did not arise until after the Flood:

    These are the groupings of Noah’s sons, according to their origins and by their nations. From these the other nations of the earth branched out after the Flood (Genesis 10:32).

    (b) the Bible makes it abundantly clear, again and again, that God did not favor Israel because of any merits on its part, but precisely because it was a lowly and insignificant nation;

    (c) It is a gross mis-representation of Scripture to say that the God of the Old Testament “clears a path by striking down the less-favored ‘races’ or assists his chosen ‘race’ in wiping them out.” The reason why some tribes were wiped out had nothing to do with Lebensraum or “competition for resources” – as the Book of Exodus shows, God was quite capable of feeding the Israelites for 40 years in the desert. Nor did God command the Israelites to wipe out all the tribes it encountered, but only those tribes whose barbaric cultural practices – including burning their own sons and daughters as sacrifices to the gods (Deuteronomy 12:31) – threatened to corrupt the entire nation of Israel, poisoning it at the roots. (I don’t want to waste time arguing about alleged Biblical atrocities, so let me just refer you to these online articles: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qamorite.html , http://www.rationalchristianity.net/genocide.html and http://www.susancanthony.com/R.....anaan.html );

    (d) Finally, let me conclude by quoting a verse of Scripture:

    “Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites [Ethiopians]?” declares the Lord (Amos 9:7).

    This should suffice to refute any notion that the God of the Bible is racist.

  44. 44

    Sal Gal,

    If Creation as opposed to Creationism was understood in Panda’s to be conceptually the same as Intelligent Design, even prior to the afore mentioned trial, would you still consider the change of the name dishonest?

    That question aside, your response seems almost to indicate that you are using the particular issue in question as an argument against O’Leary’s position that Darwinists should also create public denouncements of racism, whereas I think both would be a good idea.

    Or is this your position as well?

  45. Fascinating discussion

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