Darwin as racist? Read him and decide for yourself

(CCU Student) My purpose for this article is to stress the importance of reading the works of the most brilliant, disturbed, and influential minds of the last two centuries in order to understand how they have influenced our world. It is not enough to read about these men; one must read the original texts in order to gain a complete view and understanding.

Charles Darwin is arguably one of the greatest influences of the 20th century. His controversial theory of evolution offered a scientific alternative to the “New–Earth” creation that most westerners in the mid 19th century adhered to, and revolutionized the field of biological science. Most notably, however, Darwin’s theory presented itself as an alternative to a Creator God.

When Darwin’s first book On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, it revealed very little about human evolution and made no mention of ape–to–human progression. This work detailed Darwin’s work with barnacles and birds and was met with mixed reviews. However, the excitement from the intellectual world began a popular acceptance for Darwin, and prepared the world for his next book, The Descent of Man.

Descent describes in detail the idea of progression from lower life forms to current humanity. This work, however, had a different tone. Instead scientifically sound discussions of natural selection in studies he had performed, as Origins, The Descent of Man possessed a wordiness not unlike that of a manifesto; with a strange coldness and disregard to the soul of humanity. I’m going to go through just a few passages I found to be disturbingly notable. (Italics are supplied to indicate the most problematic wording.)

From the first chapter of Descent:

“The enquirer would next come to the important point, whether man tends to increase at so rapid a rate, as to lead to occasional severe struggles for existence; and consequently to beneficial variations, whether in body or mind, being preserved, and injurious ones eliminated. Do the races or species of men, whichever term may be applied, encroach on and replace one another, so that some finally become extinct?”

(He continues):

“We shall see that all these questions, as indeed is obvious in respect to most of them, must be answered in the affirmative, 99in the same manner as with the lower animals.”

This passage implies several things. First of all ever–present is Darwin’s famous idea “the survival of the fittest.” His claim is, in essence, that war and human conflict produces a superior human being, while the weaker vessels (of mind and or body) are eliminated. Furthermore, he describes variations of men to be “races 99or99 species” a reference to his personal view that human races are not merely minor structure and pigment differences, but classes of superiority and inferiority. Darwin summarizes his thoughts with his conclusion that the answer to all of these questions is yes, and that our struggle to dominate other humans is natural and is the same as that of “lower animals”.

Further, Darwin addresses his dislike of the word “race:”

“Some naturalists have lately employed the term “sub–species” to designate forms which possess many of the characteristics of true species, but which hardly deserve so high a rank. Now if we reflect on the weighty arguments above given, for raising the races of man to the dignity of species, and the insuperable difficulties on the other side in defining them, it seems that the term “sub–species” might here be used with propriety. But from long habit the term “race” will perhaps always be employed. The choice of terms is only so far important in that it is desirable to use, as far as possible, the same terms for the same degrees of difference.”

Again from Chapter 1:

“It might also naturally be inquired whether man, like so many other animals, has given rise to varieties and sub–races, differing but slightly from each other, or to races differing so much that they must be classed as doubtful species?”

Once again there is a strong presence of superior versus inferior humanity. The wording in the last line “differing so much that they must be classed as doubtful species?” is strongly implicit of Darwinian racism. He later indisputably identifies these inferior/subhuman “species” as “Aboriginals and Africans”. The following is an example of this and is what I would consider among the most disturbing remarks Darwin makes in the book:

“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. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. 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, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

This is just a glimpse into Darwin’s book The Descent of Man and what I consider to be his dangerously racist worldview. So why does this matter? Why can’t I simply write this off as an example of the ignorance typical to the nineteenth century? Unfortunately, it is because I have reason to believe that Darwin’s ideas gave justification for the death of hundreds of millions human beings in the twentieth century!

Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin all used Darwinian science to justify their genocides. These men shamelessly quoted the Atheistic science that gave them what they saw as their natural right to exterminate and dispose of “lesser” peoples. So please don’t simply go on what you learned in high school, here at CCU, or even on my opinion. Get yourself some books by Darwin, Nietzche, Marx, Lenin, Freud, or anyone else who greatly influenced this last century—AND READ!

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