Scott Foust, a german literature student at the University of Cincinatti, is the winner of February’s Robert O’Brien Trophy (formerly known as the Idiot of the Month award) for this breathtakingly ignorant article in the newspaper of that university. In it, Foust takes the commonly heard, and utterly false, claim that evolution supports racism and adds to it a whole new set of lies and falsehoods. His particular specialty is the unsupported assertion. Right off the bat, he trots out this one:
If evolution is to be believed, black history would include the notion that blacks are still an inferior race – still evolving, but far behind the evolution of white people.
Does he cite a single evolutionary study to back this up? Nope. Does he cite a single evolutionary scholar who believes that blacks are “less evolved” than whites? Of course not. You know why? Because there aren’t any. Anthropologists simply do not believe that there are any subspecies of Homo sapiens that exist at all, much less that any of them are “less evolved” than any other. What we casually refer to as races are primarily social categories, not biological ones; they do not correspond to a subspecies. All human beings are equally evolved, and 99% of the anthropologists in the world would agree with that statement. Hence, Foust’s naked assertion that evolutionary theory posits that blacks are less evolved than whites is either rank ignorance, or simply a lie.
During 1859, Charles Darwin, in his book Origin of the Species, popularized the idea of “social evolution.” He said that the European was the “fittest to survive” and that Aborigines, for example, were doomed to die out, similar to the dodo and the dinosaurs. In fact, although almost never taught, the subtitle of his books reads The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for life (emphasis mine). The beloved father of evolution was a racist.
One lie piled on top of another. First, Darwin’s use of the term “favored races” did not mean races of men, but species of plants and animals. Second, nowhere in Origin does Darwin even mention social evolution in humans, or any competition between European men and non-European men, nor does he mention the Aborigines of Australia at all. You can do a simple word search here, in the full text of the book, and find out for yourself. The only mention he makes at all of differences between different races of human beings is on pages 54 and 55, where he briefly discusses the idea that hot and cold weather would fix different adaptations, particularly in skin color. Has Foust even bothered to read the book he is allegedly citing as evidence? It would appear not. He then tries to tar Darwin by association:
One of Darwin’s evolutionary partners in crime was Thomas Huxley.
After the 13th Amendment freed the slaves, Huxley said, “No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal… of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed… he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out by thoughts and not by bites.”
Notice the strange logical leap here. If someone is associated with Darwin, that apparently is enough for Foust to claim that evolution itself is inherently racist. But that’s absurd. In fact, it is completely counter to reality. He doesn’t bother to mention, almost certainly because he does not know, that Darwin was a fierce opponent of slavery, in contrast to much of his creationist opposition. In a letter to the great American biologist Asa Grey, Darwin wrote:
I have not seen or heard of a soul who is not with the North. Some few, & I am one, even and wish to God, though at the loss of millions of lives, that the North would proclaim a crusade against Slavery. In the long run, a million horrid deaths would be amply repaid in the cause of humanity. What wonderful times we live in. Massachusetts seems to show noble enthusiasm. Great God how I should like to see the greatest curse on Earth Slavery abolished.
This is in sharp contrast to many of the prominent creationist scientists who opposed evolution. Louis Aggasiz, for example, a Harvard biologist and opponent of evolution, was the foremost American expositor of polygenism, the notion that each race was a separate biological species. Darwin, on the other hand, wrote an entire chapter in Descent of Man where he rejects polygenism and rejects the notion that the races are subspecies as well. The notion that the races are separate species or subspecies was an artifact of Christian theology, and evolutionary biology flatly denies it, and Darwin himself began the work that disproved it.
In fact, true evolutionists should praise Hitler’s efforts.
Only if by “true evolutionist”, Foust means someone as ignorant and credulous as himself. Surely a German literature student doesn’t need to be told of the long history of anti-semitism in Christian theology, particularly in the nation that was home to Martin Luther, and how it influenced both Hitler and the people who followed him. But perhaps he is as ignorant of that issue as he is about evolution.
Possibly a more recent example happened in Rwanda with the Hutu-Tutsi slayings. We can trace this back to when Belgium took over Rwanda in 1917. Belgian Roman Catholic missionaries began working there, establishing many social projects. However, this “church/state” alliance held to the belief that one tribal group involved with its work was superior to the other tribes having “less evolved” tribal members.
Uh, yeah. I’m straining to see even a hint of evidence connecting that to evolution. Foust, of course, provides none at all. What is going on in Rwanda is a war between tribes and it has nothing at all to do with anything evolution says. This is sheer idiocy on display.
Black people who adhere to evolution as the answer for their existence should readily embrace racism.
Black people should also understand when white people discriminate against them, the survival of the fittest theory pits blacks as the “evolutionary inferior,” of no value anyway.
Black people should understand that their destiny just might be an encounter with the KKK, if evolutionists are to be believed.
More substance-less assertions without a shred of evidence to back them up. And they just get dumber and dumber as they go. Was the KKK motivated by evolution? Not on your life. The KKK preaches Christian Identity and they base their racism on the notion that blacks are the cursed sons of Ham in the bible. You won’t find any evolutionary biologists in the KKK, but you’ll find lots and lots of ministers from the sinister underbelly of the Christian religion.
People with midget intellects, such as professors who believe in evolution, are the breeding ground for racism.
At this point, the notion that Mr. Foust would be referring to someone else as a “midget intellect” after this brilliant display of ignorance and stupidity is laughable. He is ignorant of both science and history and this absurd screed is little more than unsupported assertions and logical fallacies piled on top of one another. For that, he is the landslide winner of this month’s Robert O’Brien Trophy for stupidity above and beyond the call of duty.
P.S. For a more thorough refutation of creationist claims concerning evolution and racism, see this paper by Joe Conley, presented at a conference at Princeton in 2001. For information on the legacy of creationism and racism, see this paper by Lippard, Trott and McIver.