Atheism and evolutionary racism

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Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists.[1] The errant and ill founded writings of atheist Charles Darwin (see: religious views of Charles Darwin) [2], which became very influential in the late 19th century, provided a pretext for racism. Evolutionary racism refers to a racist philosophy based on Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory. It assumes that men have continually evolved, and thus some races are more evolved than others. It replaces Christian morality with the atheistic "survival of the fittest" ideology of Social Darwinism.

Charles Darwin wrote in his work The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex:

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 the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.[3][4]

The atheist Ernst Haeckel was a virulent evolutionary racist. The agnostic and staunch evolutionist Stephen Gould admitted the following:

Haeckel was the chief apostle of evolution in Germany.... His evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a "just" state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his brave words about objective science - all contributed to the rise of Nazism. - Stephen J. Gould, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1977, pp.77-78).[5]

An example of evolutionary racism is when an evolutionary racist put Ota Benga on display at the Bronx Zoo in the monkey house.[6] In addition, evolutionary racism was directed at Michelle Obama.[7]

When asked in an interview, "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?", Richard Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question, but whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath."[8]

The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."[8]

Evolutionary racism still exist today. For example, evolutionary racism was recently directed at Michelle Obama.[7] The historic taint of white evolutionary racism within the white atheist community no doubt has been a factor which has hindered the adoption of atheism in the Western World among racial minorities. Leading creation science organizations such as Creation Ministries International, Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research commonly point out the evolutionary racism that has existed within the evolutionary community.[9][10][11][12]

Thomas Sowell wrote:

While slavery was common to all civilizations, as well as to peoples considered uncivilized, only one civilization developed a moral revulsion against it, very late in hits history…not even the leading moralists in other civilizations rejected slavery at all…. Moreover, within Western civilization, the principle impetus for the abolition of slavery came first from very conservative religious activists – people who would today be called ‘the religious right.’…this story is not ‘politically correct’ in today’s terms. Hence it is ignored, as if it never happened.”[13]

The Christian abolitionist William Wilberforce was the father of Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford who took part in the famous creation vs. evolution with evolutionist T. H. Huxley in 1860. In the United States, the black church has been a major force in advancing the cause of racial equality.

See also


  2. The Descent of Man, chapter VI
  5. 7.0 7.1
  6. 8.0 8.1
  11. Sowell, Thomas (2005) The real history of slavery. In Black Rednecks and White Liberals. San Francisco, CA: Encounter Books