Darwin, Racism and Eugenics

Jul 6, 2020 by

by Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch:

With a new woke war on racism, it is time to reconsider Darwin:

There is little doubt that by today’s standards, Charles Darwin promoted racist views. So when will all the woke activists, all the Antifa militants, and all the Black Lives Matter activists start pulling down every statue of Darwin that is out there?

For some reason I do not think we will see this happening any time soon. But the evidence for such claims is not hard to find. Simply read the full title of his most famous work from 1859, The Origin of the Species. It says this: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

And of course his second most famous work is The Descent of Man, originally published in two volumes in 1871. This book simply applies to humans what he had said about animals in his earlier work. One of the more alarming quotes found there is this:

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, 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 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 [aborigine]and the gorilla.

Many have noted the obvious connections between Darwin’s views, racism, and even white supremacy. Indeed, in a 1977 book evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould wrote this “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.”

Let me fill in a few more details here, drawing upon four writers from the past 15 years or so. Back in 2004 Richard Weikart wrote a very important book, From Darwin to Hitler (Palgrave Macmillan). The subtitle makes clear his concerns: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany. I have mentioned this volume elsewhere, eg.: billmuehlenberg.com/2009/02/02/on-celebrating-darwin/

As to the matter of racism he says this:

Read here


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