Anti-science and creationist rhetoric, coming from organizations like the Discovery Institute, often paints Darwin as handmaiden to the Nazis and founder of racist biology. The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century is uncritically melded with Darwin’s writings that touched on race, and the genetic determinism of certain aspects of modern biology is uncritically melded with Darwinian theories.

I’m giving a talk this weekend for the Minnesota Atheists that will address Darwin’s racism (or lack thereof) and explore the relationship between concepts of race and racism and evolutionary biology of Darwin’s day as well as that of the twenty-first century.

Darwin was a nineteenth century gentlemen who benefited greatly from his position in a world colonial empire, but it was his exploration of that world that led him away from religious dogma and soured him on certain racist concepts. He was the founder of much of the theory that was later to be used in rather nefarious ways, but those uses were never based on good biology. This talk will directly address the relationship between modern biology and modern race theory.

This will be at 2:00 at the Roseville Public Library on Hamline Avenue, following the Minnesota Atheists business meeting. After the meeting, we will dine at nearby Panda Garden Buffet. Please join us!



  1. #1 Darryl
    February 16, 2012

    Geez, I’d sure like to hear your talk. Can it be recorded and posted? Can a copy of the talk or notes be shared?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    February 16, 2012

    Darryl, thanks for your interest. Something more generally available will be made available of one or both, depending on the talk, but I’m not sure what yet.

  3. #3 Don Parnell
    February 16, 2012

    I hear that grey squirrel with cayenne is a recommended dish at the Panda Garden buffet. : )

  4. #4 James
    February 18, 2012

    This sounds like a fascinating presentation. I’ll be there, as will my six year-old sun who is VERY interested in evolution lately.

  5. #5 travc
    February 18, 2012

    You may want to speak a bit about how the eugenics movement of the early 20th century was far from monolithic. A number of advocates for eugenics themselves rejected many of the racist concepts which dominated wider society.

    Remember, “In the Name of Eugenics” has that “In the Name of” part…