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." An example of evolutionary racism is when evolutionary racists put Ota Benga on display at the Bronx Zoo in the monkey house.
Evolution establishes a "scientific" rationale for racism by extending the "great chain of being" to humanity. Just as animal species are ordered into a hierarchy according development, so too the "races of men" are described as being more or less developed than others.
Evolutionists then extend the doctrine of survival of the fittest to humanity. Removing religious morality and replacing it with the laws of nature, they claim that just as the varieties of animals struggle to survive, so shall the varieties of man, with the strong dominating and destroying the weak.
Darwin himself was a racist and white supremacist. He predicted mass genocide from his theory, claiming:
|“||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.||”|
Likewise he compared native populations to animals:
|“||The difference between a Tierra del Fuegian and a European is greater than between a Tierra del Fuegian and a beast||”|
Darwin's writings, which became very influential in the late 19th century, provided an argument for racism. Harvard University's staunch evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould stated, "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory." Stephen Gould also admitted the following about the atheist Ernst Haeckel:
|“||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). ||”|
Social Darwinism and evolutionary racism allowed "human zoos" to proliferate in the late 1800s, wherein a supposed evolutionary progression of humans - from apes, to Africans, to West Europeans - were placed in a line. African and other tribal populations were routinely described as more akin to savage primates than Europeans.
Hitler and genocide
Darwin's evolutionary racism would have enormous impact in early 20th century, eventually leading to eugenics programs (first devised by Darwin's cousin Francis Galton) in American and Europe, and also influencing Adolf Hitler.
Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:
|“||The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he, after all, is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development (Hoherentwicklung) of organic living beings would be unthinkable.||”|
Robert E.D. Clark in his work Darwin: Before and After wrote concerning Hitler's evolutionary racism:
|“||The Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place. Were this to happen, all nature’s efforts 'to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile' (Mein Kampf). ||”|
For more information see: Josef Mengele
Josef Mengele (1911 - 1979) was a German physician and researcher who perpetrated the Holocaust in the Auschwitz death camp. Mengele had obtained a Ph.D. based on the study of racial differences in the anatomy of the jaw. He was one of the greatest supporters of Nazi theories of racial superiority with questionable research claims. Dr. Josef Mengele's evolutionary thinking was in accordance with social Darwinist theories that Adolph Hitler and a number of German academics found appealing. Mengele studied under the leading proponents the "unworthy life" branch of evolutionary thought. Mengele strongly supported the murder of the physically and mentally disabled. Dr. Mengele was one of the most notorious individuals associated with Nazi death camps and the Holocaust. Dr. Mengele obtained a infamous reputation due to his experiments on twins while at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was known as the "Angel of Death."
He performed experiments on humans in the concentration camps attempting to prove that disease was the product of racial inferiority and in order to genetically engineer a new species, which was the aim of his organization, the Frankfurt based Institute of Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. He amputated healthy limbs and performed other unusual operations on prisoners.
While the concept of "race" has since been proven by biology to be nonsense, Evolutionary Racism remains very strong amongst bigoted white supremacist groups, who continue to see race in evolutionary terms and believe in the superior advancement of western "races".
Racism remains common among evolutionists, despite attempts to hide it:
|“||Many of the early settlers of Australia considered the Australian Aborigines to be less intelligent than the ‘white man,’ because aborigines had not evolved as far as whites on the evolutionary scale. In fact, the Hobart Museum in Tasmania in 1984 listed this as one of the reasons why early white settlers killed as many aborigines as they could in that state.||”|
—Ken Ham, Evolution: The Lie (1987), p. 86.
- Richard Weikart, Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress ISBN 978-0-230-61807-7
- Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany ISBN 9781403972019
- Social effects of the theory of evolution
- Atheism and Mass Murder
- Theory of Evolution, Liberalism, Atheism, and Irrationality
- Atheism and Uncharitableness
- Causes of Atheism
- Theory of evolution and liberalism
- The Descent of Man, chapter VI