Influential Christian preacher Tony Campolo highlights some of the racial assumptions that were part of Darwin’s theory. Writing in Christian Today, ‘What’s wrong with Darwinism?’, 27th February 2009 he draws attention to the full title of Darwin’s first book ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.’ Campolo though believes that ethics should be the focus of those who reject Darwin’s theory. He further comments (referencing the Descent of Man 1871) that;
“Darwin went so far as to rank races in terms of what he believed was their nearness and likeness to gorillas. He further proposed the extermination of those races which he “scientifically” defined as inferior. To not do so, he claimed, would result in those races, which have much higher birth rates than his designated superior races, exhausting the resources needed for the survival of better people, and eventually dragging down all of civilization”
“Darwin even argued against advanced societies wasting time and money on caring for those who are insane, or suffer from birth defects. To him, these unfit members of our species ought not to survive.”
“In case you think that Darwin sounds like a Nazi, you are not far from the truth. Konrad Lorenz, a biologist who provided much of the propaganda for the Nazi party, made Darwin’s theories the basis for his polemics. The Pulitzer Prize winner, Marilynne Robinson, in her insightful essay on Darwin, points out that the German nationalist writer, Heinrich von Treitschke, and the biologist, Ernst Haeckel, also drew on Darwin’s writings as they helped Hitler develop those racist ideas that led to the Holocaust.”
This is a an interesting comment from Tony Campolo who has long been noted as a Christian preacher and apologist with a social conscience. Recent commentaries by organisations supporting theistic evolutionist, such as Theos and Faraday Institute in the UK, gives the impression that there is little interest in questioning the ethical basis for Darwin’s theory in respectable Christian society. Campolo acknowledges that Darwin was a product of his time, and clearly Darwin did not invent racism with some of his relations for instance taking an interest in abolishing the slave trade. Darwin too in his early life questioned slavery, but what happened to lead him to embrace ideas where Africans and Aborigines were considered closer to apes than Caucasians? Instead, a plain reading of the Bible teaches that all mankind are related and are of common ancestry.
Science and Values