Is Darwinism really about racism and misogyny?

Is Darwinism really about racism and misogyny?  I was shocked by something I read yesterday.  I always thought Darwin and his followers were about removing God from the public consciousness.  But then I read the quote below.  Worse yet, I followed up on it.  Then I realized it was about all those things.  Racism, misogyny and who knows how many evils will come about because of the refusal to acknowledge God.

Is Darwinism really about racism and misogyny?“Man scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, cattle, and dogs before he matches them; but when he comes to his own marriage he rarely, or never, takes any such care. He is impelled by nearly the same motives as the lower animals, when they are left to their own free choice, though he is in so far superior to them that he highly values mental charms and virtues. On the other hand he is strongly attracted by mere wealth or rank. Yet he might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities. Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end. When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man.  [1]Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Kindle Locations 10959-10966).

While I find the whole paragraph disturbing and wrong on so many counts, the part I want to look at here is this:

Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end. When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man.

By the way, before we go too far, I also want to point out the book I read that led me to check out “The Descent of Man”.  It is “The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity” by Mark Clark, Larry Osborne.

Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind

One huge issue here is the question of who gets to decide if someone has “any marked degree inferior in body or mind“.  Not to mention, will there be any biases in the person or group that gets to make this decision?

We didn’t have to go very far to get the answers. 

As far as bias, the very next phrase is: but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known.  So, of course there are going to be biases.  Therefore, the question of who makes the decision gets even bigger.

That answer comes at the end of the paragraph.  When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man.  The legislature gets to do it.  The government will decide whether or not any given person has any marked degree inferior in body or mind.  Oh – great.  Not!  Look at any government in the world today.  Which of them would you like to make that decision for you?

Survival of the fittest?

What we just looked at should raise another big question.  Given that Darwin suggests the government gets to decide on who can have children and who can’t – should this theory really be about the survival of the fittest?  After all, Darwin’s most famous book is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.  What we just read, if you didn’t check the footnote, is from The Descent of Man.  Well, that’s the name it’s known by.  The full name is The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.  

Not surprisingly, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection isn’t the full name of that book either.  No, the full name of what often gets shortened to The origin of Species” is actually On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.  

After what we’ve just read, we now know that the “favoured race” isn’t by natural selection.  We would certainly expect it to be that, based on the commonly used titles of his books.  Also by the things people generally talk about related to Darwinism.  But it’s not about natural selection at all.  It’s about who happened to be the favoured race.  And, that favoured race is going to be chosen by the government.  Haven’t we had enough of that already?

To be sure, even talking about a favoured race in terms of natural selection is disgusting.  But to make some race favoured because the government decided it should be that way is going backwards and even more disgusting.  

And yet – Darwinism is what’s taught in schools.  How many of you are aware of what this is really about?  Because of both my age and the places I grew up, this was all new to me.  It’s not part of the Darwinism that I’d heard about.  I grew up in a part of Pennsylvania where there were a lot of Amish and Mennonite people.  Things were very conservative still at that time and in that place.  While I was neither Amish nor Mennonite, what I learned was greatly influenced by where I lived.  We even read the Bible for English classes.  So this was really shocking to me.

Is Darwinism really about racism and misogyny?
misogyny

Here’s more from The Descent of Man.  It’s actually one paragraph in the book, but I’m going to break it up to make comments.

It must be borne in mind that the tendency in characters acquired by either sex late in life, to be transmitted to the same sex at the same age, and of early acquired characters to be transmitted to both sexes, are rules which, though general, do not always hold. If they always held good, we might conclude (but I here exceed my proper bounds) that the inherited effects of the early education of boys and girls would be transmitted equally to both sexes; so that the present inequality in mental power between the sexes would not be effaced by a similar course of early training; nor can it have been caused by their dissimilar early training.

It’s interesting that Darwin says, but I here exceed my proper bounds – but then proceeds to do exactly that anyway.  It’s in what follows that we can learn a lot about the man.  Whether we agree with what was said before that comment about exceeding his proper bounds, it could be argued that it was the result of some scientific study.  However, what is said after that comment is clearly not about scientific conclusions – but about Darwin’s own feelings.

So, what he says next is this: inherited effects of the early education of boys and girls would be transmitted equally to both sexes; so that the present inequality in mental power between the sexes would not be effaced by a similar course of early training; nor can it have been caused by their dissimilar early training.  In effect, what he’s saying here is that the difference between boys and girls – men and women when they grow up – could not have been changed (effaced) by earlier training of the girls.  Nor could those differences in men and women have been caused by the fact that they had different training (schooling) when they were children.

This is part of Darwinism.  It’s part of what kids are taught in school.  It’s misogynist.  For those who haven’t yet looked up the word, heard frequently in the news, a misogynist is: a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.

Let’s continue.

In order that woman should reach the same standard as man, she ought, when nearly adult, to be trained to energy and perseverance, and to have her reason and imagination exercised to the highest point; and then she would probably transmit these qualities chiefly to her adult daughters.

Really?  Even with all that extra training, the best that could be hoped for would be for that the woman’s adult daughters might be able to reap some benefits from all their mother’s hard work?  Do women really know this is what’s included in Darwinism?  But it gets worse.

All women, however, could not be thus raised, unless during many generations those who excelled in the above robust virtues were married, and produced offspring in larger numbers than other women.

Now Darwin goes on to say that it would take many generations?  Generations of getting married and making babies in larger numbers than women who aren’t going through this strict regimen?  It sounds like women have to be both baby factories and do all the other stuff – build up energy and perseverance, stretch their reason and imagination to the highest point.  But still, the large numbers of babies are required, apparently because there will also be failures – where the daughters won’t reap the benefits.  

And that has to continue for generations.  Is this about improvement for women? Or is this really about keeping the women in their place – making sure they’re too busy making and training kids to interfere with “man” business?

As before remarked of bodily strength, although men do not now fight for their wives, and this form of selection has passed away, yet during manhood, they generally undergo a severe struggle in order to maintain themselves and their families; and this will tend to keep up or even increase their mental powers, and, as a consequence, the present inequality between the sexes.

And it gets worse. It seems that just the ordinary struggles of life are enough to keep the man in top shape, as far as mental powers.  But not so for women?  So the sexes are not equal.  Not according to Darwinism.  And it sounds like they may never be – to proponents of Darwinism. 

I can’t help but wonder – how many women were involved in pushing Darwinism to be taught in schools?  And how many of them are aware of this side of what they’ve been pushing?

(26. An observation by Vogt bears on this subject: he says, “It is a remarkable circumstance, that the difference between the sexes, as regards the cranial cavity, increases with the development of the race, so that the male European excels much more the female, than the negro the negress.  [2]Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Kindle Locations 9996-10008).

Finally, Darwin couldn’t end it without bringing in the racist side of himself.  The male European comes out on top – above both women and people of color.

racism 

Is Darwinism racist?  A better question is was Darwin racist?  I leave it to you, if you’d like, to Google that question.  I’ll even give you the link for was Darwin racist.  You’ll find people who say yes.  And you’ll find people who say no.  You’ll even find some who say Darwin was active in abolishing slavery – along with some who doubt it was sincere, although does that matter if he assisted in any way?  But I’m not going to present all those different things.  I’ll just tell you they exist and you can check them out.

You’ll also see lists of others who have started with Darwinism and then made it the basis for their own twisted things.  People like Hitler, Mussolini, and others.  But then, some say Hitler also used Christianity to support some of what he did.  So I don’t want to use that stuff – because it’s often hard to be responsible for what evil people will do with anything we might say.

However, I do want to present this, from a biography of Darwin:

As he got older, especially in his famous, The Descent of Man, Darwin fell in line with much of the racist thinking of his day and even developed an early version the perspective later called “social Darwinism”:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes . . . 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 civilised 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.

In his view, the “civilized races” would eventually replace the “savage races throughout the world.” Darwin’s earlier and most famous book was entitled: The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In such influential and momentous writings Darwin applied his evolutionary idea of natural selection not only to animal development but also to the development of human “races.” He saw natural selection at work in the killing of indigenous peoples of Australia by the British, wrote here of blacks (some of the “savage races”) being a category close to gorillas, and spoke against social programs for the poor and “weak” because such programs permitted the least desirable people to survive.

By the late 1800s a racist perspective called “social Darwinism” extensively developed these ideas of Darwin and argued aggressively that certain “inferior races” were less evolved, less human, and more apelike than the “superior races.” Prominent social scientists like Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner argued that social life was a life-and-death struggle in which the best individuals would win out over inferior individuals. Sumner argued that wealthy Americans, almost entirely white at the time, were products of natural selection and as the “superior race” essential to the advance of civilization. Black Americans were seen by many of these openly racist analysts as a “degenerate race” whose alleged “immorality” was a racial trait.

Though some have presented him that way, Darwin was not a bystander to this vicious scientific racism. In their earlier book, Darwin, Adrian Desmond and James Moore summarize thus:

‘Social Darwinism’ is often taken to be something extraneous, an ugly concretion added to the pure Darwinian corpus after the event, tarnishing Darwin’s image. But his notebooks make plain that competition, free trade, imperialism, racial extermination, and sexual inequality were written into the equation from the start–‘Darwinism’ was always intended to explain human society.

Why has his racist thinking received so little attention in the celebration of his ideas and impact?  [3]Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist; Adrian Desmond and James Moore; W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 17, 1994)

There’s problem with that one statement – Darwinism’ was always intended to explain human society.  If it was meant to explain human society, then it should be a history class.  And even that’s questionable, given that we now know Darwin’s theory is not only unproven, but wrong.  By moving it into science, we perpetuate history.  Instead of the adage about learning from history in order to not repeat it – we’re learning from history in order to repeat it.  Worse yet, now that we know Darwin’s theory is wrong, we’re learning from it in order to actually try to become the lie that is being taught!

How did Darwin get to this point?

Below is an excerpt from a profile on Darwin, at allaboutscience.org.

Charles Darwin – Education
Charles Darwin entered Shrewsbury School as a boarding student in 1822. He left three years later, at the age of 16, called by his father to study medicine with his elder brother, Erasmus, at Edinburgh University. Repelled by the horror of early 19th century surgery, Darwin dropped out of Edinburgh in 1827 and enrolled in Christ College, Cambridge University, studying to be a clergyman in the Church of England. Charles earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theology in 1831. During his tenure as a student at Cambridge, Darwin befriended botanist and mineralogist John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861), one of his professors. It was Henslow who recommended Darwin to Captain Robert FitzRoy (1805-1865) of the HMS Beagle, who was in need of a naturalist. In August of 1831, Darwin received an invitation to serve as naturalist aboard the Beagle. Darwin accepted and set sail on a fateful five year voyage (1831-36).

Who would think that Darwin went to Christ College, Cambridge – with the intent to be a clergyman in the Church of England?  

From Clergyman to Favoured Races – What went wrong?

The Beagle is part of what went wrong.

Charles Darwin – Voyage Aboard the HMS Beagle
It was the research Charles Darwin did while aboard the HMS Beagle that formed the basis for his classic work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (Origin of Species), published in 1859. His voyage took him to the Coasts of South America, where it is thought he contracted Chagas’ Disease. Darwin was inflicted with intestinal illness and chronic fatigue until his death in 1882. Before Darwin set sail, Henslow recommended that he take Sir Charles Lyell’s (1797-1875) Principles of Geology, Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth’s Surface, by Reference to Causes Now in Operation (1830-1833, a three volume work). Henslow advised Darwin, “By all means read it for the facts, but on no account believe the wild theories.” Darwin took the first volume of Principles of Geology with him on his voyage and he had the second mailed to him while he was at sea. Lyell’s book did two things in Darwin’s mind. First, it undermined the Bible’s Genesis account (Lyell’s work was diametrically opposed to the Biblical account). Second, it gave Darwin the time scale necessary to accommodate the idea that all life had evolved gradually. And so, Darwin, who began as a minister in the Church of England, ended up one of its most influential opponents. Lyell’s Principles of Geology, with its geologic timescale, was his turning point.

Charles Darwin – Origin of Species and Natural Selection
Charles Darwin returned to England in 1836. In 1839, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and, five days later, married to his cousin Emma Wedgwood, who bore him 10 children. In 1842, Darwin began drafting his Origin of Species. Darwin’s work was heavily influenced by Lyell’s Principles of Geology and Thomas Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). Origin of Specieswas ultimately published in 1859. 

Darwin didn’t invent the evolutionary worldview. He simply brought something new to the old philosophy: a plausible mechanism called “natural selection.” In his Origin of Species, Darwin proposed natural selection as the mechanism by which all life could have descended from a common ancestor (Darwin defined evolution as “descent with modification”). However, today we know that natural selection is a deficient mechanism, even in light of genetic mutation. In fact, with the tremendous advances we’ve made in molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics over the past fifty years, Darwin’s theory has become “a theory in crisis.”

Ultimately, what went wrong is that Darwin didn’t “listen”.  He didn’t have ears to hear, as Jesus said in His time.  He studied the Bible with the intent to become a preacher.  But then he read a book.  And he went with the book.  Because he couldn’t believe Adam and Eve really happened.  Not only that the actual Adam and Eve never existed – but even further that God didn’t really create man.  Any man.

And from there, he went from initially believing that all men were from one origin, to believing that there were at least 15 different origins, because of different races.  And that those 15 were so different that they were far from equal – and never would be equal.  Further that the males and females of each race would never be equal.  And ultimately, that the European male would always be at the top of the heap.  The favoured race.  And the favoured sex.

How sad.  All that from a loss of belief in God.  

Conclusion – Is Darwinism really about racism and misogyny?

The answer to both seems to be yes, Darwinism is really about racism and misogyny.  And like the authors of the biography noted above, I also have to ask their question:

Why has his racist thinking received so little attention in the celebration of his ideas and impact?

But after that, I need to ask more questions.

Why has his move from studying to be a clergyman, even going to college – to the 180 degree turnaround about people not received more attention?  

Why do women continue to push for teaching Darwinism?  Even beyond what it has led to, look where it came from.  It’s origins come from a belief that woman have been, are, and always will be – inferior to men.  And in this day and age, why haven’t we also reached the point where men are willing to stand up and say that this is wrong?

Why does anyone of color continue to push for teaching Darwinism?  Even beyond what it has led to, look where it came from.  It’s origins come from a belief that white Europeans have been, are, and always will be – superior to every other race.  And in this day and age, why haven’t we also reached the point where everyone, including those of white European origin, is willing to stand up and say that this is wrong?

Jesus talked about a tree and its fruit – as a way to tell whether or not what people say is good.

A Tree and Its Fruit

Mt 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

While Darwin may have wanted to be one of the “good trees” that bore “good fruit” at one time in his life, he clearly changed his mind.  What he came up with – Darwinism and Social Darwinism – are the bad fruit that came from him.

As a Christian, I have to ask – why aren’t Christians talking about all of these issues?  Not just the ones that are more hot-button to certain people.  But all of them?  Because the truth is – every question I asked above deserves attention.  They deserve to be asked.  And the people that continue to push Darwinism need to be providing answers to these questions.  Answers that explain why they are in favor of teaching children things like this?

As  person of German descent, I also have questions.  Leave aside the fact that I’m a Christian.  How can any human being push this kind of agenda today, and not be called to answer for it?  Those issues above – with the exception of Adam and Eve – they aren’t Christian issues.  They’re human issues.   And I’m asking human questions.

Have we really sunk so low that we believe all that nonsense about favoured races and gender inequality?  Have we never spent any time with someone of another race?  I’m in the minority where I live.  And I think it’s awesome that I get to know so many people from so many different parts of the world.

The same is true for the gender based questions.  Do we really want those things taught to kids?  Do we want boys to grow up thinking that the girls are inferior?  And do we want the girls to grow up learning that they will always be second-class – behind the guys?

This is just wrong.

Isn’t it about time to acknowledge that Darwin’s theory is wrong? 
That social-Darwinism has failed? 
And stop teaching it? 
Stop prolonging it’s life?  

We can do better.

 

References

References
1 Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Kindle Locations 10959-10966).
2 Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Kindle Locations 9996-10008).
3 Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist; Adrian Desmond and James Moore; W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 17, 1994)

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