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Darwin and Racism

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Darwin and Racism

Postby AFJ » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:56 pm

Charles 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. 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 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 [Aborigine] and the gorilla. The Descent of Man p.178


If I go to my bookstore to the science section, what I see predominantly is Darwin, while microbiology is a small softcover on the bottom shelf. But it seems this man was a true foundational racist. Should evolutionists be holding him up so high?

I might add that Hitler attempted something of what Darwin here says.
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Postby canalon » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:13 am

If you were to read the litterarture of the time, I doubt that you would find anything that would not be considered extremely racist by today's standard. He was a man of his age, I suspect that in a 150 years, some concept that appear completely natural for us will also appear completely alien and possibly repulsive to our descent. However by the standard of his time, Darwin was quite liberal, he did not advocate extermination or alienation of the other races, he just saw them as different and less advanced. And AFAIK he was not an advocate of the extermination.

But even if he had his bad sides (he is a human after all) that would not change the importance of his discoveries and theory. Many other famous and revered human being held for granted thing that would be abbhorent by today's standard. Aristotle is considered a a foundation of modern ethics. Greek at his time were considering all women and non greek as barely human, and have no problem with death penalty...

As for the Hitler comparison, that is stupid beyond contempt. Should we hold Jesus responsible for the crusades? After all the crusaders went in his name...
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Postby biohazard » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:33 pm

Whoa, both the Darwin AND the Hitler card in the same post. That's hardcore creationism I must admit.

Now, if Darwin was the one to figure out how evolution and natural selection work, why should his other opinions about races matter in this regard? Heck, even if he liked to molest little children and call all women sluts it still hardly affects whether or not he is the father of the theory of evolution and a great scientist because of that. Even if the creationists' favourite devil Hitler himself had devised these theories and then by using them as an excuse exterminated millions of people, it hardly makes the theory itself any more valid or invalid.

They are completely different matters, how Darwin was like as a human, and how he was like as a scientist. Even a bad, evil, racist nazi could be a clever scientist. And what comes to Darwin himself, he was actually quite liberal and tolerant by the standards of his time. Unlike, say, the christian church...
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Re: Darwin and Racism

Postby AFJ » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:09 am

I never knew that Darwin actually said that. I don't see in the statement that he was advocating what Hitler did--but I have seen Hitler's speeches--Hitler inferred he was doing evolution a service, and it would start in Germany.

It seems by this statement though, that Darwin believed Caucasians were more evolved than blacks.
This is philosophical racism whether Darwin intended ill or not. Perhaps it has been taken out of context, and you can enlighten me.

As for the crusades--the crusades would have never happened if the church in the dark ages would have provided scripture to the common man. Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world or his servants would fight--he told Peter to put his sword down in Gethsemane--he said he could have called 12 legions of angels but how then would the scriptures be fulfilled---and that is why he came-- to die for us, so that we might live. But the crusaders were only following what they were taught by the church--not what Christ taught.

This is exactly why you don't follow the church per se or it's leaders, you follow Christ with the church.
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Postby canalon » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:17 am

For Darwin: As we both told you, racism was definitely part of the world view of the western world in the XIXth century, so there is nothing surprising in Darwin's word. And Darwin being willing not to treat member of other "races" as animals would be considered quite liberal by the standard of his time. Not so by those of our time.

For the crusades: I am not completely sure, even access to the scripture has not prevented religious wars, racism and quite a lot of horrible deeds all in the name of one god or another. But that is beside the point, my point was that the darwinian theory in no way imply the interpretation that has been done by the Nazis in Germany. I doubt that would have even remotely approved. And I would remind you that Evolution by natural selection is a description of the relation between population of organisms. There is no such thing as more evolved, superior, or anything that would justify a genocide. It only talks about reproduction rate and change in relative composition in population. In fact the Nazi use would be more based on Galton's eugenism (a philosophy that use NS as its core, but make decision that do not naturally follow evolution). This is a really bad argument against evolution, and starting a discussion at the godwin point is probably not the very best idea...
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Postby Darby » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:59 pm

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Re: Darwin and Racism

Postby Jasper903 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:45 pm

Darwin was no more racist than he was allowed to be by society at that time. Just like many people today are only as accepting of homosexuality as society allows them to be. If someone was a racist as Darwin today, that person would be in an extreme, but it was normal at that time. Within every movement of people there is a range of normality that most people stay within. That is what Darwin did as far as racism is concerned, though he challenged society with his science.
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Re: Darwin and Racism

Postby AFJ » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:23 am

But you must admit--there are social implications because of evolution. It is not some benign theory that is in some scientific lab set away from society. It tells us WHO we are. The conclusions it draws anyone to is that we are just another variation--a result, and really no different than animals--just perhaps more intelligent. There is no way of knowing if there is a god or gods or God.

What is then morality? What is innocence or guilt or conscience? Law then is made up by people, and it is certain everyone has different opinions on right and wrong.

If it is just survival of the fittest--what is wrong with me stepping on you as long as I look good and I get ahead? Why not cheat on your wife if it feels good and she doesn't know? Why not give misinformation as long as no one gets hurt, and I make money? One person says the fetus is just the body of the mother, the other person kills the abortion doctor. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? It becomes will of the majority who become like waves on the sea--tossed with every new moral code, political correctness, or new precedent set by the courts.
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Postby AstusAleator » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:31 am

AFJ wrote:It tells us WHO we are

Completely untrue. It does tell us what we probably are - but it can never address the question of who or why we are. Anyone attempting to draw conclusions along those lines, using evolution as proof, is a fool.

Clearly, to you, if evolution is true it must replace God - and everything that you've associated with your belief in God, such as morality and purpose.

So basically what you're saying is that you think it's impossible that humans could have evolved the capacity to differentiate right and wrong - to be fair and just?

The FACT is that humans have an individual capacity to develop philosophies and morals - regardless of where that capacity came from. Scientific evidence points to the probability that this capacity originated via evolution.

If it's possible for you to imagine a world were all morality and ethics no not originate from some benevolent deity - do so, and take a second look at the world you live in.
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Re: Darwin and Racism

Postby biohazard » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:35 am

AFJ wrote:But you must admit--there are social implications because of evolution. It is not some benign theory that is in some scientific lab set away from society. It tells us WHO we are. The conclusions it draws anyone to is that we are just another variation--a result, and really no different than animals--just perhaps more intelligent. There is no way of knowing if there is a god or gods or God.

What is then morality? What is innocence or guilt or conscience? Law then is made up by people, and it is certain everyone has different opinions on right and wrong.

If it is just survival of the fittest--what is wrong with me stepping on you as long as I look good and I get ahead? Why not cheat on your wife if it feels good and she doesn't know? Why not give misinformation as long as no one gets hurt, and I make money? One person says the fetus is just the body of the mother, the other person kills the abortion doctor. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? It becomes will of the majority who become like waves on the sea--tossed with every new moral code, political correctness, or new precedent set by the courts.


Maybe so, but it still doesn't make evolution and natural selection untrue. Even if the truth is unpleasant, it is still the truth.

And it's absurd to think that a human society is uncapable of forming moral and ethical rules without some divine text. After all, even the bible has been written by men, so all moral rules you take from there are invented by us and us alone. I accept evolution and natural selection, yet I still don't have any urge to kill weaker people or think that a certain group of people is inferior to some other because of their skin colour etc.
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Re: Darwin and Racism

Postby AFJ » Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:51 pm

And it's absurd to think that a human society is uncapable of forming moral and ethical rules without some divine text.


I understand completely--it is really stupid to think that laws written by another culture thousands of years ago would be able to guide us.

Somehow the church in general has not gotten the message out, because this is not what the Bible teaches. Conscience is IN us. This has traditionally been an apologetic of the moral nature of God and the fact that we are created "in his image." However it seems that evolution would attempt to lay claim to the evident fact of conscience also.

If you have the time to read this I ask you to bear with me for a second and consider "just a book" --theBible. How can we rule something out that we have not fully considered?

Genesis is a spiritual book, and so are the other books of the Bible, but then God is a spirit--He is not natural. He made natural things, but he is concerned primarily with spiritual things. He made us in his image, and so we have a spiritual nature. No matter if we go to the mosque, temple, church, or nowhere.

Modern science is naturalistic, so it makes sense that statements like, "there is no way to tell if there is a god," would come from this arena of research. Naturalistic science (and it is not bad in and of itself--it is beneficial) excludes the supernatural in research. This is not derogatory--it is simply the way it is.

However there is evidence of the supernatural, and just one of them is conscience. If you believe conscience is a result of evolution, there are other things that can have no explanation in natural science. And I'm not talking about stupidity such as a picture of Jesus or Mary on your toast!

It is not logical to to say that something does not exist (or it is absurd) which is by principle excluded from a research setting. Therefore it is not logical to assume that the supernatural does not exist, nor is it logical to assume that a book based on the supernatural is false or outdated. Therefore it is necessary by principle to go outside the confines of modern science to find supernatural data.

The problem is that modern men believe supernatural data is irrelevant, when it in fact has relevance, and lays claim to their very being and eternal soul. The implications of the confirmation of the eternal word of Christ can be ignored but never escaped without eternal consequences.
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Postby AstusAleator » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:01 am

AFJ wrote:And I'm not talking about stupidity such as a picture of Jesus or Mary on your toast!

Hey now, careful! Some members of this forum are firm believers in Jesus/Mary toast miracles.

But on a different note, how about this: Saying there is no god is just as illogical as saying there IS a god. Such statements can only exist outside the scientific process, as they are untestable.

AFJ wrote:Genesis is a spiritual book, and so are the other books of the Bible, but then God is a spirit--He is not natural. He made natural things, but he is concerned primarily with spiritual things. He made us in his image, and so we have a spiritual nature. No matter if we go to the mosque, temple, church, or nowhere.


This is just your belief and you have no evidence to support it, aside from your personal convictions. How do you expect any of that to have any relevance?

Clearly we have the capacity for concieving of such a thing as spirit or supernatural. You say this capacity comes from an unseen unproveable source. Evolution hypothesizes that it comes from our genetic lineage - and provides evidence that we have indeed evolved to our current state. Furthmore biology (not evolution) has shown that our perceptions of spirit, supernatural, morality, conscience, etc can all be altered by changing chemical balances.

I'm not saying that we're all hopeless automatons completely reliant on our genes and physiology - and lacking all free will. We're clearly not - though our biology probably influences much more than we're willing to admit.
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