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Darwinism and Its Effect on Racism

Has Darwinism led to the thinking that some “races” should be considered as “sub-species” of humans?  As long as our educational systems teach that man evolved in Africa, and the first primitive humans were black, and then evolved into modern man, and teach it as a fact, we will always have racism.

Has the search for sub-species of humans led to the distortion of the fossil record to suit a racist worldview?  Why do they always look for the remains of the earliest “man” in Africa?  Our educators teach young people humans first evolved in Africa, then try to get them to not view blacks as inferior to whites.  You will never eliminate racism or arrive at racial equality that way.  By the way, there is no such thing as black, white, yellow, or red when it comes to skin color.  We are all different shades of brown.

The original title of Darwin’s book:


or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.


It is clear from the context of Darwin’s book that he had races of animals primarily in mind, but at the same time it is also clear, as we shall see, that he thought of races of men in the same way.

One of the early consequences of Darwin’s book, was the notable increase of radical propositions justifying racism veiled in the language of science.  Darwin himself was not in favor of racism, but he did acknowledge he considered slaves to be inferior to himself.  In his book: The Descent of Man, Selection in Relation to Sex” 1896, he stated:

“At some future period, not very distant from as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world….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, than the Caucasian, and some apes as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

Even though Darwin was personally against the institution of slavery, he still fully considered his own “race” to be widely superior to blacks.  He was in favor of attempting to improve the human “race,” by means of selective breeding.  Darwin did distinguish between various human races, or “species of men,” and he believed that some were superior to others.

In his book: “The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex,” (1871) in his chapter titled “On the Affinities and Genealogy of Man,” 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.”

Darwin was convinced that the more “civilized races” (e.g., Caucasian) would one day exterminate the more “savage races,” which he considered to be less evolved (and thus more ape-like) than Caucasians. Darwin believed that “the Negro” and “Australian” are more of a sub-species, somewhere between Caucasians and apes.  He also concluded that: “The average of mental power in man must be above that of woman.... Man has ultimately become superior to woman” (pp. 873-874).  As he stated in the Descent of Man, “Man is more courageous, pugnacious, and energetic than woman, and has a more inventive genius.”

Historian of science and social anthropologist Henrika Kuklik (1942-2013) stated that “scholars have wasted their time trying to exonerate Darwin of responsibility for Social Darwinism, for he was a Social Darwinist.”

Darwin’s Bulldog, Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), argued shortly after the American Civil War that blacks were doomed now that they were cut free from the purported protective influences of their owners.

Adolf Hitler was attempting to breed a superior Arian race of humans. He suggested that this plan fit perfectly with Darwin’s understanding of natural selection.

Another example of the effect his book had is the genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples in German Southwest Africa (modern Namibia).  From 1904-08, Germany’s “Second Reich” exterminated the Herero in particular in the name of Darwinian “survival of the fittest.”

Some Biologists use the term to apply to sub-species of animals, as well as men.  Modern evolutionary scientist, George Gaylord Simpson, in his book: "The Biological Nature of Man," Science, Vol. 152, April 22, 1966, p. 474 stated:

"Races of man have, or perhaps one should say 'had', exactly the same biological significance as the sub-species of other species of mammals."

Most modern biologists today would express these concepts somewhat differently than as above, and they undoubtedly would disavow the racist connotations. Nevertheless, this was certainly the point-of-view of the 19th century evolutionists, and it is difficult to interpret modern evolutionary theory, the so-called neo-Darwinian synthesis, much differently.

Personally, I believe there is only one race, the Human Race; and we are we are separate from the animal kingdom.  I believe a correct view of science, and also of the Bible would justify that belief.  The Biblical divisions among men are those of "tongues, families, nations, and lands" (Genesis 10:5, 20, 31) rather than races. 

In Acts 17:21 the Bible says:

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” That promotes equality among humans.  Languages, nationalities, and geographical locations should be the only distinctions made between us.

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