Intelligent Design

Darwin, Kingsley, evolution and racism

Spread the love

Did Charles Darwin ever invoke his own theory in order to justify the extermination of one race by another? If the term “extermination” refers to systematic genocide, the answer is an emphatic “No”; but if “extermination” is defined more broadly to include the displacement and consequent extinction of one race by another, more technologically advanced race in the battle for scarce resources, then I would argue that the answer is “Yes.” I recently came across some highly revealing correspondence between the celebrated author and Anglican divine, Charles Kingsley (see here) and Charles Darwin, whom he greatly admired, (see here) indicating that Darwin, like Kingsley, looked forward to “the higher races of men, when high enough, replacing & clearing off the lower races” at some stage in the future. In 1862, Darwin wrote: “In 500 years how the Anglo-saxon race will have spread & exterminated whole nations; & in consequence how much the Human race, viewed as a unit, will have risen in rank.” Darwin seems to have viewed the extinction of “the lower races” as a great step forward for humanity, and hence an improvement in its overall welfare. Since we also know from Darwin’s writings that he viewed “the general good or welfare of the community” as “the test of morality,” it seems to follow that he not only regarded the displacement of the “lower races” by the “higher races” as inevitable, but that he also saw it as morally justifiable.

Three important caveats

Before we proceed, let’s be clear about three things up-front. First, Darwin was not the father of “scientific racism.” So-called scientific racism goes back to the mid-eighteenth century Enlightenment, one century before Darwin published his Origin of Species. For those readers who wish to learn more about the origins of this twisted ideology, I would recommend Ignorant Science: The Eighteenth Century’s Development of a Scientific Racism by Scott David Foutz (Quodlibet Journal, Volume 1 Number 8, December 1999) and Race and Genealogy: Buffon and the Formation of the Concept of ‘Race’ by Claude-Olivier Doron (Humana Mente Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2012, Vol. 22, 75-109).

Second, Charles Darwin vehemently detested slavery, as well as all forms of cruelty to people of other races. Darwin’s humanitarian sentiments are copiously chronicled by Tony Britain in his article, Darwin on race and slavery. The following excerpts will serve to convey the tenor of Darwin’s views on slavery:

I have watched how steadily the general feeling, as shown at elections, has been rising against Slavery. What a proud thing for England, if she is the first European nation which utterly abolish is it. I was told before leaving England, that after living in slave countries: all my options would be altered; the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much higher estimate of the Negros character. It is impossible to see a negro & not feel kindly toward him; such cheerful, open honest expressions & such fine muscular bodies; I never saw any of the diminutive Portuguese with their murderous countenances, without almost wishing for Brazil to follow the example of Haiti; & considering the enormous healthy looking black population, it will be wonderful if at some future day it does not take place.
Charles Darwin to Catherine Darwin (May 22 – July 14 1833), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, 1821-1836 (1985), pp. 312-313.

It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. 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: but it is a consolation to reflect, that we at least have made a greater sacrifice, than ever made by any nation, to expiate our sin.
― Charles Darwin, Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. Fitz Roy R.N. (1860). London: John Murray. Tenth thousand. Final text. Chapter XXI, p. 500.

“But I suppose you are all too overwhelmed with the public affairs to care for science. I never knew the newspapers so profoundly interesting. N. America does not do England Justice: I have not seen or heard of a soul who is not with the North. Some few, & I am one, even and wish to God, though at the loss of millions of lives, that the North would proclaim a crusade against Slavery. In the long run, a million horrid deaths would be amply repaid in the cause of humanity. What wonderful times we live in. Massachusetts seems to show noble enthusiasm. Great God how I should like to see the greatest curse on Earth Slavery abolished.
― Charles Darwin to Asa Gray (June 5, 1861), in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Vol. 9, 1861 (1994), p.163.

After producing these and many other similar quotes from Darwin’s writings, Britain concludes:

What we do know of Darwin from the above quotes is that for a mid-19th century upper class, white, English male, he was very enlightened and “liberal” minded. He was a staunch abolitionist, he considered blacks and Indians to be people, he felt disgust and horror at their mistreatment, and he had much sympathy for their plight. Therefore singling Darwin out among 19th century scientists for the label of racist is hardly fair.

However, Britain displays his ignorance when he naively asserts that there is no evidence that Darwin ever viewed some races as being inferior to other races:

… [I]f you were to ask him if he thought that Europeans were on average intellectually superior to non-Europeans, he may have said that they are. But this is merely speculation and I have yet to see any hard evidence that he did.

In fact, as we’ll see, Darwin’s own writings leave absolutely no doubt that he viewed the Anglo-Saxon race as superior to other races. What’s more, he seems to have looked forward to the future extinction of the “lower races” of humanity, as an inevitable result of being out-competed by the Anglo-Saxon race, in the battle for scarce natural resources.

Third, it has to be acknowledged that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection does not, in and of itself, imply that the different races of humanity are inherently unequal, although it certainly implies that they might be (in this context, we should recall evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s dictum that “Human equality is a contingent fact of history”). On the other hand, it is important to recall that Darwin’s theory of human nature was an avowedly materialistic one. While the belief that the various races of humanity were intellectually unequal was common in the nineteenth century, it was nevertheless held in check to some degree by the belief (shared by most people, even then) that all human beings, regardless of their race, possessed an immortal soul and were capable of entering Heaven, making them spiritually equal. On a Darwinian worldview, however, the concept of “spiritual equality” had no meaning.

Darwin on racial inequality

What’s more, there is abundant evidence from Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871) that he explicitly rejected the idea of a spiritual equality of all human beings. Darwin repeatedly refers to the people of Tierra del Fuego and the Australian Aborigines as “savages.” Darwin’s remarks on the people whom he called “savages” are very telling. He regarded them as: (i) differing only in degree from the “higher” animals (such as dogs and apes) in their mental capacities; (ii) lacking in the concept of a universal morality; and (iii) utterly incapable of entertaining the concept of a universal Creator God. Let us remember that Darwin attributed these inabilities not to individuals, but to entire races. There can be no question, then, that Darwin rejected the concept of racial equality in a fairly radical fashion.

For Darwin, there was little difference between the capacities of the lowest “savages” and the highest animals for abstract thought

Self-consciousness, Individuality, Abstraction, General Ideas, &c. — It would be useless to attempt discussing these high faculties, which, according to several recent writers, make the sole and complete distinction between man and the brutes, for hardly two authors agree in their definitions. Such faculties could not have been fully developed in man until his mental powers had advanced to a high standard, and this implies the use of a perfect language. No one supposes that one of the lower animals reflects whence he comes or whither he goes, — what is death or what is life, and so forth. But can we feel sure that an old dog with an excellent memory and some power of imagination, as shewn by his dreams, never reflects on his past pleasures in the chase? and this would be a form of self-consciousness. On the other hand; as Buchner has remarked, how little can the hard-worked wife of a degraded Australian savage, who uses hardly any abstract words and cannot count above four, exert her self-consciousness, or reflect on the nature of her own existence.

– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (London: John Murray, 1871, Volume 1, 1st edition.), Chapter II, p. 62.

Darwin regarded savages as devoid of religion, and viewed the spiritual beliefs of “savages” as “intermediate” between that of human beings and animals

Belief in God — Religion. — There is no evidence that man was aboriginally endowed with the ennobling belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God. On the contrary there is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travellers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their languages to express such an idea…

If, however, we include under the term “religion” the belief in unseen or spiritual agencies, the case is wholly different; for this belief seems to be almost universal with the less civilised races. Nor is it difficult to comprehend how it arose. As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally have craved to understand what was passing around him, and have vaguely speculated on his own existence… It is probable, as Mr. Tylor has clearly shewn, that dreams may have first given rise to the notion of spirits; for savages do not readily distinguish between subjective and objective impressions… But until the above-named faculties of imagination, curiosity, reason, &c., had been fairly well developed in the mind of man, his dreams would not have led him to believe in spirits, any more than in the case of a dog.

The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief in the existence of one or more gods. For savages would naturally attribute to spirits the same passions, the same love of vengeance or simplest form of justice, and the same affections which they themselves experienced. The Fuegians appear to be in this respect in an intermediate condition, for when the surgeon on board the “Beagle” shot some young ducklings as specimens, York Minster declared in the most solemn manner, “Oh! Mr. Bynoe, much rain, much snow, blow much;” and this was evidently a retributive punishment for wasting human food. So again he related how, when his brother killed a “wild man,” storms long raged, much rain and snow fell. Yet we could never discover that the Fuegians believed in what we should call a God, or practised any religious rites; and Jemmy Button, with justifiable pride, stoutly maintained that there was no devil in his land. This latter assertion is the more remarkable, as with savages the belief in bad spirits is far more common than the belief in good spirits.

– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (London: John Murray, 1871, Volume 1, 1st edition.), Chapter II, pp. 65-67.

Darwin on the moral inferiority of “savages”

While Darwin was prepared to grant that “savages,” as he called them, “undoubtedly do possess, and often in a high degree, those virtues which are serviceable, or even necessary, for the existence of a tribal community”, he considered them morally inferior to the civilized races, regarding them as being poor at reasoning, lacking in self-restraint, and having no concept of a universal moral law:

The great sin of Slavery has been almost universal, and slaves have often been treated in an infamous manner. As barbarians do not regard the opinion of their women, wives are commonly treated like slaves. Most savages are utterly indifferent to the sufferings of strangers, or even delight in witnessing them. It is well known that the women and children of the North-American Indians aided in torturing their enemies. Some savages take a horrid pleasure in cruelty to animals, and humanity with them is an unknown virtue. Nevertheless, feelings of sympathy and kindness are common, especially during sickness, between the members of the same tribe, and are sometimes extended beyond the limits of the tribe. Mungo Park’s touching account of the kindness of the negro women of the interior to him is well known. Many instances could be given of the noble fidelity of savages towards each other, but not to strangers; common experience justifies the maxim of the Spaniard, “Never, never trust an Indian.”

The chief causes of the low morality of savages, as judged by our standard, are, firstly, the confinement of sympathy to the same tribe. Secondly, insufficient powers of reasoning, so that the bearing of many virtues, especially of the self-regarding virtues, on the general welfare of the tribe is not recognised. Savages, for instance, fail to trace the multiplied evils consequent on a want of temperance, chastity, &c. And, thirdly, weak power of self-command; for this power has not been strengthened through long-continued, perhaps inherited, habit, instruction and religion…

– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (London: John Murray, 1871, Volume 1, 1st edition.), Chapter III, pp. 94-95, p. 97.

Darwin’s utilitarian morality

The next piece of the jigsaw puzzle that needs to be assembled before we can understand his views on genocide is that Darwin was a utilitarian: he defined happiness in terms of the greatest good of the greatest number. (Darwin preferred the more precise term, “greatest good,” to the nebulous phrase, “greatest happiness.”)

Darwin’s views on morality are succinctly summarized by Doris Schroeder in her article, Evolutionary Ethics, in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Being influenced by utilitarianism, Darwin believed that the greatest-happiness principle will inevitably come to be regarded as a standard for right and wrong (ibid. 134) by social beings with highly evolved intellectual capacities and a conscience…

Darwin’s distinction between good and evil is identical with the distinction made by hedonistic utilitarians. Darwin accepts the greatest-happiness principle as a standard of right and wrong. Hence, an action can be judged as good if it improves the greatest happiness of the greatest number, by either increasing pleasure or decreasing pain…

Darwin (1930: 234) writes that “happiness is an essential part of the general good.” … Thus, Darwin derives ought from is when he moves from the empirical fact of unhappiness to the normative claim of a duty to relieve unhappiness.

Darwin explains the logic underlying his views on morality in a short passage in his Descent of Man (1871):

As all men desire their own happiness, praise or blame is bestowed on actions and motives, according as they lead to this end; and as happiness is an essential part of the general good, the greatest-happiness principle indirectly serves as a nearly safe standard of right and wrong. As the reasoning powers advance and experience is gained, the more remote effects of certain lines of conduct on the character of the individual, and on the general good, are perceived; and then the self-regarding virtues, from coming within the scope of public opinion, receive praise, and their opposites receive blame.

– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (London: John Murray, 1871, Volume 2, 1st edition), Chapter XXI, p. 393.

In another passage, however, Darwin, writing as a biologist, maintained that “the general good or welfare of the community” was a more sensible moral yardstick than John Stuart Mill’s vague term, “the greatest happiness”:

Concluding Remarks. — Philosophers of the derivative school of morals formerly assumed that the foundation of morality lay in a form of Selfishness; but more recently in the “Greatest Happiness principle.” According to the view given above, the moral sense is fundamentally identical with the social instincts; and in the case of the lower animals it would be absurd to speak of these instincts as having been developed from selfishness, or for the happiness of the community. They have, however, certainly been developed for the general good of the community. The term, general good, may be defined as the means by which the greatest possible number of individuals can be reared in full vigour and health, with all their faculties perfect, under the conditions to which they are exposed. As the social instincts both of man and the lower animals have no doubt been developed by the same steps, it would be advisable, if found practicable, to use the same definition in both cases, and to take as the test of morality, the general good or welfare of the community, rather than the general happiness; but this definition would perhaps require some limitation on account of political ethics.

– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (London: John Murray, 1871, Volume 1, 1st edition.), Chapter III, pp. 97-98.

Why Darwin rejected the extermination of the unfit as immoral

Darwin held that natural selection improves races by eliminating unfit individuals. Writing as a biologist, he deplored the fact that weak individuals in civilized societies were allowed to survive and breed. Despite this, Darwin insisted that the elimination of the unfit for the good of the race would be highly unethical, since “it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil.” Inflicting deliberate harm on a sentient human being for the sake of a possible future benefit (i.e. building a fitter race) was immoral according to Darwin’s utilitarian principles, and could not be condoned. In a civilized society, Darwin held that it was only right to allow the weak to survive and breed, although he also thought it was perfectly appropriate to discourage them from getting married:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.

The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage…

– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (London: John Murray, 1871, Volume 1, 1st edition), Chapter V, pp. 168-169.

Darwin and Kingsley’s exchange of letters in 1862 on the extermination of future races

In 1862, the celebrated Anglican divine and personal chaplain to Queen Victoria, Charles Kingsley, exchanged letters with Darwin, in which the topic of race was discussed.

Darwin had a special personal reason to value Kingsley’s friendship, as Russell Grigg of creation.com explains in his article, Darwin’s quisling (Charles Kingsley). Kingsley was the first clergyman to endorse his Origin of Species:

Darwin sent Kingsley a copy of the first edition of his Origin. Kingsley, in his letter of thanks, was fulsome in his praise. ‘All I have seen of it awes me,’ he wrote, ‘both from the heap of facts and the prestige of your name, and also with the clear intuition, that if you be right, I must give up much that I have believed and written.’2 This apparently posed no problem to him, for he went on to say that he was now free from the ‘superstition’ that God needed a fresh act of creation for each type of creature.

Darwin was so delighted at receiving this endorsement from an Anglican prelate that he hastily added part of Kingsley’s letter to the last chapter of the second edition of the Origin, published just two months later, as follows:

‘A celebrated author and divine has written to me that “he has gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws.”3

References

2. Kingsley’s letter of thanks was dated 18 November 1859, which means he received his copy at least a full week before the official publication date. ‘Kingsley to Darwin, November 18, 1859’, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, D. Appleton and Co., London, Vol. II, pp. 81–2, 1911.

3. Darwin, C., On the Origin of Species, 2nd edit., John Murray, London, p. 481, 1860. Note that this is slightly different from the wording that appears in Ref. 2. Himmelfarb suggests that either Kingsley altered it when he gave permission for it to be used or Darwin himself altered it for greater clarity.

Kingsley, as it turned out, shared the racist views of his scientific contemporaries, as Anthony S. Wohl, Professor of History at Vassar College, narrates in his essay, Racism and Anti-Irish Prejudice in Victorian England:

During the nineteenth century theories of race were advanced both by the scientific community and in the popular daily and periodical press. Even before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the old concept of the great chain of being, marking the gradations of mankind, was being subjected to a new scientific racism…

In much of the pseudo-scientific literature of the day the Irish were held to be inferior, an example of a lower evolutionary form, closer to the apes than their “superiors”, the Anglo-Saxons . Cartoons in Punch portrayed the Irish as having bestial, ape-like or demonic features and the Irishman, (especially the political radical) was invariably given a long or prognathous jaw, the stigmata to the phrenologists of a lower evolutionary order, degeneracy, or criminality. Thus John Beddoe, who later became the President of the Anthropological Institute (1889-1891), wrote in his Races of Britain (1862) that all men of genius were orthognathous (less prominent jaw bones) while the Irish and the Welsh were prognathous and that the Celt was closely related to Cromagnon man, who, in turn, was linked, according to Beddoe, to the “Africanoid”. The position of the Celt in Beddoe’s “Index of Nigrescence” was very different from that of the Anglo-Saxon. These ideas were not confined to a lunatic fringe of the scientific community, for although they never won over the mainstream of British scientists they were disseminated broadly and it was even hinted that the Irish might be the elusive missing link! Certainly the “ape-like” Celt became something of an malevolent cliche of Victorian racism. Thus Charles Kingsley could write

I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw [in Ireland] . . . I don’t believe they are our fault. . . . But to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not feel it so much. . . .” (Charles Kingsley in a letter to his wife, quoted in L.P. Curtis, Anglo-Saxons and Celts, p.84).

Bearing these facts in mind, we can now understand the twisted mental framework within which Kingsley was operating, when he penned the following passage, in a letter to Darwin, dated January 31st, 1862:

I want now to bore you on another matter. This great gulf between the quadrumana & man; & the absence of any record of species intermediate between man & the ape. It has come home to me with much force, that while we deny the existence of any such, the legends of most nations are full of them. Fauns, Satyrs, Inui, Elves, Dwarfs—we call them one minute mythological personages, the next conquered inferior races—& ignore the broad fact, that they are always represented as more bestial than man, & of violent sexual passion.

The mythology of every white race, as far as I know, contains these creatures, & I (who believe that every myth has an original nucleus of truth) think the fact very important.

The Inuus of the old Latins is obscure: but his name is from inire —sexual violence.

The Faun of the Latins (or Romans, I dont know wh.) has a monkey face, & hairy hind legs & body— the hind feet are traditionally those of a goat, the goat being the type of lust.

The Satyr of the Greeks is completely human, save an ape-face & a short tail

The Elves Fairies & Dwarfs puzzle me, the 2 first being represented, originally, as of great beauty, the Elves dark, & the Fairies fair; & the Dwarfs as cunning magicians, & workers in metal— They may be really conquered aborigines.

The Hounuman, monkey God of India, & his monkey armies, who take part with the Brahminæ invaders, are now supposed to be a slave negro race, who joined the new Conquerors against their old masters. To me they point to some similar semi-human race. That such creatures shd. have become divine, when they became rare, & a fetish worship paid to them—as happened in all the cases I have mentioned, is consonant with history—& is perhaps the only explanation of fetish-worship. The fear of a terrible, brutal, & mysterious creature, still lingering in the forests.

That they should have died out, by simple natural selection, before the superior white race, you & I can easily understand.

That no sculls, &c. of them have been found, is a question wh. may bother us when the recent deposits of Italy & Greece have been as well searched as those of England. Till then, it concerns no man.

I hope that you will not think me dreaming— To me, it seems strange that we are to deny that any Creatures intermediate between man & the ape ever existed, while our forefathers of every race, assure us that they did— As for having no historic evidence of them—How can you have historic evidence in pre-historic times? Our race was strong enough to kill them out while it was yet savage — We are not ni**ers, who can coexist till the 19th. century with gorillas a few miles off. I do not say that this notion is true, as a fact: but I do say that it has to be looked to, & weighed patiently quantum valeat.

What did Darwinn think of this? An excerpt from his letter to Charles Kingsley, of February 6th, 1862 reveals that he acquiesced in Kingsley’s view that the elimination of unfit races as a result of the “higher” races out-competing them, would be a good thing for humanity as a whole:

That is a grand & almost awful question on the genealogy of man to which you allude. It is not so awful & difficult to me, as it seems to be most, partly from familiarity & partly, I think, from having seen a good many Barbarians. I declare the thought, when I first saw in T[ierra] del Fuego a naked painted, shivering hideous savage, that my ancestors must have been somewhat similar beings, was at that time as revolting to me, nay more revolting than my present belief that an incomparably more remote ancestor was a hairy beast. Monkeys have downright good hearts, at least sometimes, as I could show, if I had space…

It is a very curious subject, that of the old myths; but you naturally with your classical & old-world knowledge lay more stress on such beliefs, than I do with all my profound ignorance. Very odd those accounts in India of the little hairy men! It is very true what you say about the higher races of men, when high enough, replacing & clearing off the lower races. In 500 years how the Anglo-saxon race will have spread & exterminated whole nations; & in consequence how much the Human race, viewed as a unit, will have risen in rank.

Whereas Darwin had stated in his Descent of Man that the deliberate culling of the unfit, such as was practiced by “savages” was morally wrong, as it inflicted certain harm for an uncertain future benefit, the same objection would not apply here. The harm done was indirect and uncertain, as the people being displaced would not die immediately – they were merely being out-competed in the battle for land and resources – while the future benefit was, for Darwin, quite certain. It appears, then, that Darwin would have viewed with equanimity the elimination of these unfit races in the struggle for survival.

Or is it? What do readers think?

18 Replies to “Darwin, Kingsley, evolution and racism

  1. 1
    Graham2 says:

    VJT: As usual, you expend a million words chasing the trivial.

    Darwin was probably at least (possibly more) enlightened than the average person of his time. His views would raise a few eyebrows now, but dont seem to be unnusual for the period.

    So ?

  2. 2
    OldArmy94 says:

    Trivial? I think not. It seems to me that it is of paramount importance to understand the full ramifications of Darwin’s thought processes. He apparently “enlightened” the good Rev. Kingsley, and they shared a belief that the white race was superior in every way. And–don’t miss this–VJT points out that the key fact that separated a lot of the “ordinary” views regarding racial superiority; namely, the savage man had nothing that could place him on an equal footing as the white race. The prevailing view amongst Christians was that though the black slave may not have earthly equality, he certainly would be a co-heir of eternal life with all other believers.

  3. 3
    Graham2 says:

    O94 … paramount importance … why ?

    You creationists all seem to have the same disease: you obsess over whether Darwin was religious, racist, ate babies, whatever. So what ?

  4. 4
    nullasalus says:

    You creationists all seem to have the same disease: you obsess over whether Darwin was religious, racist, ate babies, whatever. So what ?

    Oh, relax and accept some criticism of your saint with maturity. You’d think materialist atheists would have a bit more backbone to offset their nihilism, if that’s your particular tribe.

    Good post, VJT.

  5. 5
    Graham2 says:

    I couldnt care less what you think of Darwin, even if its true, thats completely missing the point. What mystifies me is what you think it has to do with anything at all. VJT must have spent ages pouring all that out, and so what ? Why did he bother ? If Darwin beat his wife, is that relevant to anything ?

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    When I read Darwin he didn’t see english people as innately superior. they were then superior but thats unrelated to race. Englishmen were the most intellectually advanced people in human history. We live today in a english civilization. Others just came up later upon education from us or immigration to us. You can measure these things.
    Darwin did say all races of men came from one origin and he did mean we were all intellectually equal. Only women were intellectually biologically inferior and this from selection. They could reverse it by selection.
    Yet other evolutionists right away told him race was a factor in smarts. They do it today for like reasons.
    his belief inferiors would be displaced was unrelated to desire it be so or ideas of racial inferiority.
    In fact they simply came up and saved themselves although Africa still struggles.
    Evolutionism is dumb and bad on its race equals smarts conclusions in the past and today.
    Yet Chuck was clean himself. Yet he started the line of reasoning and should repent.

  7. 7
    Jon Garvey says:

    The point surely is partly what has changed the prevalent views both within science and outside from an unthinkingly assumed racism to an equally unthinkingly assumed racial egalitarianism. I’m old enough to remember when “racism” wasn’t even a word, let alone a moral absolute.

    The change came not from science – population genetics may have shown how closely mankind is interrelated, but it’s also suggested how closely we’re genetically related to apes. There is still a genetic continuum, and there are still phenotypic differences across the world, which could still be interpreted by Darwin or Haeckel as putting races on different evolutionary footings.

    Rather the change came through the humanitarian assertion of the brotherhood of man (a metaphysical universal) – by some Christians, by some socialists, by others – which gained ground largely because of the shared horrors of two wars, the struggle against apartheid, the US Civil Rights movement, the increased self-expression of educated blacks, and so on. It then became unquestionable and axiomatic, because Joe Public always believes current morality is universally true – as did the racists of a century ago.

    In other words, if you believe mankind is equal, for good or bad reasons, racism will be self-evidently wrong. But evolutionary science cannot begin to decide the issue, especially since with Darwinian gradualism there is no universal called “mankind”, and “equality” has no biological meaning.

  8. 8
    Graham2 says:

    And the relevance of this (to ID or evolution) is ?

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    And the relevance of this (to ID or evolution) is ?

    Well ideas have consequences,,,

    Matthew 7:17
    Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

    ,,,and the idea of denying that people have any true value, meaning, or purpose, in their lives, as atheistic materialists do (when you can catch an atheist being honest to their worldview), has had particularly disastrous consequences:

    The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, And Hitchens – pg. 240
    Excerpt: “The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists…..The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition.”
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

    “Christian” Atrocities compared to Atheists Atrocities – Dinesh D’Souza – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmrRC6zD4Zk

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Steve Pinker’s bogus statistics (against Christianity being a force for good in the world): – August 2013
    Pinker’s Claim:: World War I, as I recall, was a war fought mostly by Christians against Christians. As for World War II and its associated horrors, see my answer to the previous question.
    True or False? Utterly irrelevant to the question of whether religion is a force for violence. Matthew White has this to say on the matter:
    Q: Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?
    A: No, of course not — unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century — Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union — no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-part-one/

    Steve Pinker’s bogus statistics: A critique of The Better Angels of Our Nature (Part Two)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....art-one-2/

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    (Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)
    http://www.wallbuilders.com/li......asp?id=63

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    “for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”
    Sir Arthur Keith, (1866 — 1955) Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons – Evolution and Ethics (1947) p.15 (Note the year that this was written was shortly after the German ‘master race’ was defeated in World War II)

  10. 10
    Graham2 says:

    Yes, ideas have consequences, but you havent answered the question: whats all that got to do with ID or evolution (I presume thats VJTs point) ?

    You can paste all that stuff (again!) but so what ? What is the relevance ?

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Graham2, I hold that if you can’t possibly live consistently within your worldview then that worldview can’t possible be true. Especially a worldview that denies the objective reality of truth and reason. i.e. neo-Darwinism must be false!

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Neo-Darwinism’s Death? – Benjamin Wiker – April 2013
    Excerpt: That is why Thomas Nagel made his fellow atheists hopping mad. They realize—and I think rightly so—that Nagel, an atheist, is doing two things that would ultimately reduce their established secular worldview to rubble.
    First, he is daring to question the reductionist, materialist assumptions because, on their own terms, they are proving to be incoherent and inadequate. To state the obvious, a view of science that asserts that reason cannot know the truth is at odds with that science’s own claims to being true.,,,
    http://www.tothesource.org/4_24_2013/4_24_2013.htm

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt: Neo-Darwinism insists that every phenomenon, every species, every trait of every species, is the consequence of random chance, as natural selection requires. And yet, Nagel says, “certain things are so remarkable that they have to be explained as non-accidental if we are to pretend to a real understanding of the world.”
    Among these remarkable, nonaccidental things are many of the features of the manifest image. Consciousness itself, for example: You can’t explain consciousness in evolutionary terms, Nagel says, without undermining the explanation itself. Evolution easily accounts for rudimentary kinds of awareness. Hundreds of thousands of years ago on the African savannah, where the earliest humans evolved the unique characteristics of our species, the ability to sense danger or to read signals from a potential mate would clearly help an organism survive.
    So far, so good. But the human brain can do much more than this. It can perform calculus, hypothesize metaphysics, compose music—even develop a theory of evolution. None of these higher capacities has any evident survival value, certainly not hundreds of thousands of years ago when the chief aim of mental life was to avoid getting eaten. Could our brain have developed and sustained such nonadaptive abilities by the trial and error of natural selection, as neo-Darwinism insists? It’s possible, but the odds, Nagel says, are “vanishingly small.” If Nagel is right, the materialist is in a pickle. The conscious brain that is able to come up with neo-Darwinism as a universal explanation simultaneously makes neo-Darwinism, as a universal explanation, exceedingly unlikely.,,,
    ,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    Moreover, this psychopathic characteristic inherent to the atheistic philosophy is born out empirically, in that people who do not believe in a soul tend to be more psychopathic than the majority of normal people in America who do believe in a soul. You can pick that psychopathic study of atheists around the 14:30 minute mark of this following video:

    Anthony Jack, Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?l.....zOk#t=862s

  12. 12
    Graham2 says:

    VJT was making the point that Darwin was racist, or something like that. My question again: what has that to do with ID or evolution ? Eg: if we suddenly learnt that Faraday was an axe murderer, does electromagnetic theory suddenly become wrong ? Can you see the absurdity of what you are saying ?

  13. 13
    bevets says:

    Graham2 @ 12

    Electromagnetic Theory has no impact on human identity. Evolution is strongly entwined with human identity and human identity is the basis of morality.

  14. 14
    Graham2 says:

    This is incoherent.

  15. 15
    OldArmy94 says:

    Graham2,

    If VJT wrote an article about Darwin’s preference of chocolate cake with white icing, or whether he was a Red Sox or Yankees fan, or if he preferred to hang the roll paper out or paper in, then you would have a point. As it stands, Darwin’s views regarding racial superiority are very much grounded in his evolutionary framework. His ideas have far-reaching implications in this area, and to ignore his personal viewpoints as irrelevant is preposterous; they most certainly do impact the discussion, and your hand-waving aside, there are good reasons to believe that it matters what he thought on a personal level.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    As to Faraday:

    Michael Faraday – 1791-1867
    Excerpt: He discovered some of the most important laws of physics and chemistry, discoveries which revolutionized the world economy. But none of this mattered to him as much as one thing: his Christian faith. He would rather be praying and studying the Bible with his fellow church members than be at an awards ceremony or have audience with royalty. Steadfast and humble, Faraday remained absolutely committed to Biblical truth from early childhood throughout his long life. He would have been considered a “fundamentalist” Christian, had the term existed in his day.,,,
    What turns a poor young man into the world’s greatest experimental scientist? What separated Michael Faraday from the other poor boys of his neighborhood? Undoubtedly, his Christian faith was the biggest factor. His parents grounded him in the Biblical world view. Historians find it intriguing that Faraday, a scientist, remained so loyal to his church all his life. The Faradays were “Nonconformists,” in that they rejected the official state church, with its high church liturgy (and social acceptance), preferring instead to meet in small groups to study the Bible and obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. Puritanism and Methodism are other examples of Nonconformist groups; John Dalton, Joseph Priestly and Joseph Henry were also scientists of nonconformist faith. The Faraday family belonged to a denomination known as the Sandemanians, a breakaway sect from the Scottish Presbyterian church, founded a century earlier by John Glas.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_3.htm#faraday

    Perhaps you should have focused on another preeminent scientist with looser morals to try to make your point Graham2?

    The fact of hard core Christians, instead of axe murderers, being at the founding of modern science, is something that goes directly against the atheist’s claim of Christianity being ‘anti-science’ :

    The Christian Founders Of Science – Henry F. Schaefer III – video
    https://vimeo.com/16523153

    A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov – (pg. 222)
    http://www.academia.edu/273960.....OD_Journal

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/
    http://www.tektonics.org

    Bruce Charlton’s Miscellany – October 2011
    Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be – if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
    http://charltonteaching.blogsp.....-wife.html

    In The Happy Atheist, PZ Myers Offers One Lousy Bargain – Casey Luskin – October 21, 2013
    Excerpt: what PZ is really saying comes down to this (again, my characterization): “I won’t make the crazy claim that Christianity is compatible with serial killing, if you won’t make the reasonable and justified claim that Christianity is compatible with science since, after all, it (Christianity) pretty much gave birth to science.” That seems like a pretty lousy bargain.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....78121.html

    In fact science is impossible within the atheistic worldview since it undermines ‘consequent reasoning’ at the basis of science: i.e. atheism is anti-science!

    Physicalism and Reason – May 2013
    Summary: So we find ourselves affirming two contradictory propositions:
    1. Everything is governed by cause-and-effect.
    2. Our brains can process and be changed by ground-consequent logical relationships.
    To achieve consistency, we must either deny that everything is governed by cause-and-effect, and open our worldviews to something beyond physicalism, or we must deny that our brains are influenced by ground-consequence reasoning, and abandon the idea that we are rational creatures.
    Ask yourself: are humans like falling dominoes, entirely subject to natural law, or may we stand up and walk in the direction that reason shows us?
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....nd-reason/

    Quote:

    “Of all the things I’ve lost, I think I miss my mind the most.”

  17. 17
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Graham2,

    Thank you for your post. You ask what my article has to do with evolution. Very briefly: what it shows is that there never was a time when the theory was understood purely as a description of what happens in the real world (which is how Dawkins understands it today). From the very beginning, the theory was viewed – not only by Darwin’s contemporaries but but Darwin himself – as a prescription for what ought to happen in the real world. In other words, evolution was always viewed as having ethical implications. You might not regard it that way today, but if you accept Darwin’s utilitarianism and materialism, then it is difficult to see how you can avoid drawing ethical conclusions from Darwin’s theory. And as we’ve seen, that may mean viewing the eventual replacement of one race by another as a good thing.

  18. 18
    Graham2 says:

    VJT: Darwin was proposing a mechanism that explained what he saw in the real world. I think its rubbish to suggest he proposed it as some sort of ethical framework. Are finches ethical ? But in any case, you are getting confused when you think an idea is wrong because you dont like it. Suppose every single person in the world viewed gravity as evil, can we now declare gravity wrong ?

    Further, Darwing has been dead for a while now, and science has moved on. Are you suggesting biological science in its entirety is wrong because Darwin was racist (or something)?. Is Darwin going to continue to exert his evil from the grave for ever ? Is every biologist doomed to fall under his spell ? Or is there some sort of statute of limitations ?

Leave a Reply