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Author Topic:   Evolution is antithetical to racism
Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 238 (422775)
09-18-2007 10:15 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by JavaMan
09-18-2007 8:01 AM


Science and values.
A scientific theory doesn't give us a guide to ethics.

I was wondering when someone was going to get around to pointing this out.

It tells us what is the case, not what we ought to do. If the theory of evolution told us that there were quite distinct differences between the human races (rather than the opposite), would that justify us in being racist?

You are correct; it would not. And the flip side is correct also: if the theory of evolution told us that there were not distinct differences between the races, that wouldn't justify non-racism, either.

Science and its theories gives us facts, not morals or values; it tells us what the world is, not what people should do. It itself tells us nothing about desirable or good; those are values that are read into the data.

In either case, one's ideology should be informed by real-life facts, of course. If your ideology of equality of all humans is predicated on the assumption that there is little or no biological differences between the so-called races, then you'd better be prepared to re-examine your beliefs if it turns out that there are significant differences.

If your racist ideology is based on the idea that the different races are very distinct biologically, then you'd better be prepared to confront reality if it turns out that there are no significant differences at all.

At any rate, one doesn't need biological homogeneity to be anti-racist. In fact, I'm a vegetarian precisely because I think the separation of distinct species is itself irrelevant to the important moral questions.

One doesn't need biological distinctions to be racist. I believe that most "mainstream" racists are racist on the basis of cultural differences (actual or perceived), the visible physical differences just being an aid in identification.

Edited by Chiroptera, : A couple of typos. Also changed subtitle.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 34 of 238 (422843)
09-18-2007 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Hyroglyphx
09-18-2007 1:05 PM


Re: A schitzophrenic theory: the evolution of a lie
he theory hasn't changed with the spirit of the times, the implications that people manage to draw from the theory might change though.

Thus the theory will always be protected, just as I said.

Protected? Protected from what? We aren't discussing evidence for or against the theory of evolution in this thread; we're discussing whether it is or is not logically valid to use the theory of evolution to justify certain cultural beliefs.

-

If one race of mankind existed before another, and natural selection works to improve upon the whole of nature, then surely one race really would be less evolved than another.

I don't know what it means to be more or less evolved. If you mean that one race (assuming, I suppose, like the Victorians and people of the early 20th century, that races are biologically distinct categories) is closer morphologically to the common ancestor, then I suppose that you are correct.

Assuming that races are biologically distinct, it could be that both branches (and their subbranches when they branch) have each "evolved an equal amount" from their common ancestor. Then we no longer have the case of "more" or "less" evolved, just differently evolved.

And even if one race has gone through more morphological change than anther, so what? All this means is the members of the "newer" race is better adapted to the environment in which it is found than the "older" race would be if its members were in that same area. If this does happen, it isn't racism it acknowledge this, no more than saying dachsunds were bred to be better badger hunters than retrievers are is somehow "breedist".

Now the racists go beyond what is scientifically and objectively justifiable by attributing moral qualities, or aesthetic qualities, or somehow judging the various characteristics that distinguish the races (assuming that the races can even be distinguished). Not only does evolution not make judgements about morals, aesthetics, or what should or should not be considered "preferable", but racists often attribute these qualities without any regard to whether there is a correlation between characteristics and the values.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 35 of 238 (422844)
09-18-2007 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Hyroglyphx
09-18-2007 1:05 PM


Re: A schitzophrenic theory: the evolution of a lie
Oops. Sorry, I missed this bit the first time around.

I would like to focus on why the theory can justifiably be brought into question as far as it relates to racist ideologies.

Yeah, that's a question I have, too. So some racists use evolution to justify their ideologies. Hell, let's for the sake of argument assume that the theory of evolution does, in fact, support a racist view of humans.

Why would this bring the theory of evolution into question? Either the theory of evolution is or it is not an accurate description of the history of life on earth. And that can only be determined by examining the evidence carefully and making the most reasonable inferences based on the evidence. Whether you or I like or dislike the implications of the theory are immaterial to its accuracy as a description of reality, and it is especially immaterial if racists merely use the theory to justify beliefs that you and I dislike.

Edited by Chiroptera, : typo

Edited by Chiroptera, : Added last clause.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 41 of 238 (422905)
09-18-2007 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Cold Foreign Object
09-18-2007 4:29 PM


racism predates Darwin
The evidence above says Darwin based human evolution on certain human beings resembling living apes.

This is false, of course. The passages you quoted say nothing about how Darwin came to the idea of human evolution. These are all people who already believed in the superiority of whites over the other races, and then placed their beliefs into the context of evolutionary theory.

In fact, Darwin formulated his theories based on his observations concerning non-human animals. Human evolution then becomes an inescapable conclusion of the overall pattern. Humans, after all, are similar to apes; in fact, Linnaeus wanted to place humans and chimpanzees in the same genus -- this long before Darwin came up with his theory.

As a matter of fact, the theory of evolution as a description for the history of life on earth
and the inferiority of Africans compared to whites
are two logically independent concepts, and these statements are true or false independent of one another. You have had evolutionists who are not racists, and you have had evolutionists who are racists. You have had creationists who are not racists, and you have had creationists who are racists.

Consider the four conjunctions:

The theory of evolution is correct, and blacks are a lower form of human.
The theory of evolution is correct, and blacks are not a lower form of human.
The theory of evolution is not correct, and blacks are a lower form of human.
The theory of evoltution is not correct, and blacks are not a lower form of human.

None of these conjunctions are contradictory. It is only evidence that can determine which combination is correct. As it turns out, according to the evidence, evolution is almost certainly correct, and blacks are definitely not a lower form of human.

Now, coming at the question of a 19th century white Christian Victorian, who already has an a priori assumption of the inferiority of blacks compared to whites (predating by a long time the development of the theory of evolution), and who is now exposed to Darwin's theory of evolution, then it is natural to wonder whether black Africans are closer to a more primitive ancestral form of human that the theory of evolution says must have existed and perhaps still exists in the present

Remember that pre-Darwinian Linnean classification already placed humans the closest to the African apes, so a natural conclusion of Darwin's theory is that humans originated in Africa. In that case, it is natural to wonder whether black Africans and non-African humans represent a older branching during human evolution. Further, white Christian Europeans were already used to thinking in terms of Aristotle's ladder of life, where all species and breeds of humans could be "ranked" from most primitive to most advanced; given white Christian Europeans' assumption that whites were "clearly" superior to blacks, then it becomes "obvious" that blacks might be a primitive and inferior type of human.

But white Christian Europeans already believed that Africans were a primitive and inferior type of human. They were already used to ranking the species and races according to Aristotle's ladder (and, in fact, it was long before people realized that Aristotle's ladder is contradictory to the theory of evolution), and they already believed that black Africans were inferior to white Europeans. So it was a natural consequence that they should place the beliefs that they already held in the context of a new scientific theory that was proving itself correct.

Edited by Chiroptera, : Edited my list of conjunctions -- thanks to RAZD for quoting the passage so that I could see that there were grammatical inconsistencies left from an earlier draft.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 49 of 238 (422927)
09-18-2007 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by Hyroglyphx
09-18-2007 6:35 PM


racism and evolution are independent concepts
Hi, nem.

A previous post that I wrote a bit ago contains most of how I would answer you here -- in fact, I really had you in mind as I was writing it.

I'll expand on a few items a bit as I answer specific points here.

-

Thus, whatever happens, the theory will always have some perennial scapegoat to rescue it.

Again, I'm not sure what you mean here. To speak in contemporary scientific terms, either indigenous Africans retain significantly more basal characteristics than Europeans in terms of human evolution, or they do not. Either one is consistent with the theory of evolution. This is a question that can only be answered by actual evidence.

As a result of racism that predated Darwin, European naturalists already believed blacks were inferior to whites. Darwin's theory of evolution simply allowed them to describe this perceived inferiority in the language of evolution. But this perceived inferiority was not a result of evolution -- it was an prior held belief, an explanation of which was formulated in evolutionary terms.

-

Early Darwinists asserted that negros, south pacific islanders, and aborigines were lesser men precariously in limbo between simian and man.

Early non-Darwinist creationists also asserted that negroes, pacific islanders, and aborigines were lesser men. They placed them in between Europeans and apes on Aristotle's ladder of life. Both creationists and evolutionists held a racist view of other peoples as a result of their ethnocentric European heritage, and then formulated explanations for this percieved inferiority in terms of the explanatory framework available to them.

-

If the oldest known human bones are said to be found in Ethiopia, and latter fossilizations of man places them in Europe, you make the deduction. Is that not indicative of a European developing after the African?

Sure. That was the conclusion Darwin reached, that humans originated in Africa. So it is possible that Africans and Europeans represent two branches of an early divergence in the evolution of humans. But what can we logically conclude from this?

(1) That, by remaining in the original environment, Africans did not experience much more evolution; on the other hand, the new environment into which Europeans moved selected more human characteristics: more intelligence, higher civilization, and so forth.

(2) The new European environment actually selected for more brutish behavior, less intelligence, more propensity toward violence, a loss of general human characteristics so that, like parasites, Europeans represent a "degeneration" and it is Africans that retained the "higher" qualities that we associate with humans.

(3) Living in different environments, both Europeans and Africans experienced an equal amount of evolutionary change, but in different qualities.

Which of these scenarios is the correct one? That can only be answered with data. The Victorian European, as a result of their ethnocentric views, believed that they already had enough data, and the data that they thought that they had supported (1). In fact, (3) would never even be recognized since the Europeans would have defined "distinctive human qualities" to be those associated with European culture.

As it turns out, the data we have now contradicts all three scenarios. Africans and Europeans don't represent distinctive branchings; enough gene flow has occurred between the populations that both populations remain absolutely human in all qualities, and the differences are merely superficial.

-

I don't think its accidental. Hitler, Marx, Stalin, etc all used Darwinism as a basis for believing that their race was the most advanced.

Well, first of all, I don't think Stalin viewed his "race" as more advanced -- according to the Marxist doctrine promulgated in his time, his "Socialist society" was more advanced than the other capitalist and feudal societies. This is not biology and has nothing to do with Darwin. I also doubt that Marx ever said much about "advanced races". Hitler may or may not have attempted to justify his ideology with evolutionary theory in some speech or other, but I seriously doubt that Darwinism actually formed an important part of Nazi philosophy.

-

I suspect they changed their tune because they understood quite well the social implications of maintaining a totally Darwinistic framework.

Me, I don't suspect any such thing. Racism is independent of evolution. Evolution doesn't imply that there should be biologically distinct races; it doesn't imply that any of these races, if they do exist, should exhibit significantly more basal characteristics than other races; and it certainly does not give any basis to value some characteristics, if they are distinct, as more valuable or desireable than others.

The existence of distinctive races is not a consequence of the theory of evolution. There may be distinct races, or there may not be. Both alternatives are perfectly compatible with the theory of evolution. Whether or not there are distinctive races can only be determined by careful examination of the so-called races.

If there were distinctive races, that some races may be more basal than others is not a logical consequence of the theory of evolution. Some races may be more basal overall, or all races may have retained different basal characteristics and underwent significant modification in others. The only way to answer this is by an examination of a cladogram of the races along with some of the extinct hominids.

Finally, if there are different races with distinctive characteristics, it is an entirely subjective opinion as to which characteristics are more valuable and desirable.

Edited by Chiroptera, : typos, one quite serious.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 64 of 238 (423030)
09-19-2007 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Dr Adequate
09-19-2007 2:26 AM


racists and ideology
You don't see us trying to smear creationism on the grounds that some, perhaps most, nineteenth century creationists were racist....

Well, to be fair, I have seen people try to make this claim. Ideally, it only comes up as a counter to the "Darwinism is racist" argument to show how the general form of the argument is a fallacy:

"Some evolutionists were racists. Therefore, evolution is inherently racist.'
"Well, turn it around: some Biblical literalists were racists, therefore Biblical literalism is inherently racist. Do you still agree with it?"

However, I have seen some attempt to start a screed against Biblical literalism with this very type of argument. It is a fallacy, regardless.

Logically, to show that evolution or Biblical literalism is racist, one must take the central tenets and show that racism is a necessary, logical conclusion. So far, the few attempts I have seen in either attempt have been filled with fallacies.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that the tact that nem is taking isn't valid. If it could be shown that a overwhelming majority of evolutionists have always been racists, that the overwhelming majority of evolutionists remain racists, that they were and remain more racist than their contemporaries, that they have and continue to resist non-racism more than others, then I think one has a legitimate reason to wonder about the role of evolution in racist thinking, even if it racism isn't a necessary logical conclusion of the theory.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 77 of 238 (423380)
09-21-2007 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Hyroglyphx
09-21-2007 1:55 PM


Re: A schitzophrenic theory: the evolution of a lie
Hi, nem.

I'm simply saying that if some people come their "Master race" ideology after having read about evolution, don't be surprised by their conclusion.

Fine, I won't be. But who ever came to their "Master race" ideology after having read about evolution? I don't know of anyone. People come to their racist beliefs for lots of reasons -- maybe being taught to be racists by their parents, maybe by having one or two very bad experiences involving people of a particular race -- reasons that have very little to do with logical conclusions from some sort of other beliefs.

As I've said before, people start off being racist first -- then they find support for their racism in whatever explanatory framework they accept. In the case of early 20th century eugenicists it was the theory of evolution; in the case of late 20th century American white supremists, it is in the literal reading of the Bible.

I believe that blacks are morally and spiritually inferior to whites; I believe in a literal reading of the Bible; I believe that the Bible explains everything about life; therefore, the Bible must support white superiority.

I believe that blacks are biologically inferior to whites; I believe that evolution explains everything about biology; therefore, evolution must show that blacks are inferior to whites.

It's all pretty much the same, really. One cannot view evolution with suspicion because "so many" people have fit their racism into that theory while giving Christianity a pass despite "so many" people fitting their racism into a literal reading of the Old Testament.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 86 of 238 (423701)
09-23-2007 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Cold Foreign Object
09-23-2007 6:56 PM


Re: Professor of Eugenics: Ronald Fisher
Darwin's cousin invented eugenics theory based on the Origin thesis and implications.

I dunno. Eugenics seems to be old fashioned animal breeding applied to humans. And animal breeding has been practiced since long before Darwin. What does the Theory of Evolution have to do with animal breeding?


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 92 of 238 (423753)
09-24-2007 8:09 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by CTD
09-24-2007 6:28 AM


Reading comprehension problems?
Anyhow, I think this thread is intended to trick creationists into making pro-racist arguments.

Maybe you should read the Opening Post. It's pretty short and makes very clear what the intent of the thread is.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 101 of 238 (423846)
09-24-2007 3:47 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by CTD
09-24-2007 9:35 AM


Re: and Stalin outlawed evolution -NOT
So far you have totally failed to demonstrate that racism is a necessary outcome of evolution.

Marx and Nietzsche have already done so (very thoroughly if you count their followers).

This is new to me. Why don't you explain how Marx and Nietzsche have demonstrated that racism is a necessary outcome of evolution?


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 108 of 238 (423925)
09-24-2007 8:27 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by CTD
09-24-2007 7:55 PM


Re: and Stalin outlawed evolution - fact
Under evolution, it is a proper course of action to see to it that one's offspring survive to produce more offspring.

Well, under anything, actually. I don't know a single society that didn't feel that a proper course of action is to see to it that one's offspring survives to produce more offspring. In fact, in most societies, if one didn't see to it that one's offspring survives, one would be considered a bad parent.


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 117 of 238 (423961)
09-24-2007 11:31 PM
Reply to: Message 109 by CTD
09-24-2007 8:33 PM


Re: and Stalin outlawed evolution -NOT
When reading liars like Marx, one must expect some flowery language to be included.

You seem to never have read Marx. Could you quote some passages that shows that he was a racist, and that he came to his racist conclusions as a result of evolutionary thinking?


You can observe a lot by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 125 of 238 (424076)
09-25-2007 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by CTD
09-24-2007 9:46 PM


Re: objective selection
But evolutionism continually strives to remind us that there should be a struggle for survival, and that some of us must be "more fit" than others.

I'm not sure what evolutionism is or of what it strives to remind us, but since very few people, as far as I know, are followers of this evolutionism it is pretty irrelevant.

What the Theory of Evolution states is a fact: some individuals in a population will produce more surviving offspring than others, and that this difference, at least in non-human populations, is often due to inherited physical characteristics.


In many respects, the Bible was the world's first Wikipedia article. -- Doug Brown (quoted by Carlin Romano in The Chronicle Review)

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 131 of 238 (424143)
09-25-2007 9:21 PM
Reply to: Message 127 by CTD
09-25-2007 4:33 PM


Ah. So that's the problem.
I'm a little drowsy.

Reading your posts, this seems to be a on-going problem. Why don't you sleep it off? Maybe when you're sober your posts will have more content.


In many respects, the Bible was the world's first Wikipedia article. -- Doug Brown (quoted by Carlin Romano in The Chronicle Review)

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 135 of 238 (424376)
09-26-2007 6:11 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by CTD
09-26-2007 3:49 PM


So asserted a learned U.S. biologist last week in an attack on those who use the doctrine of evolution to justify totalitarian brutality and aggression.

Just what is meant by "those who use the doctrine of evolution to justify totalitarian brutality and aggression"?

It means that not only are "those who use the doctrine of evolution to justify totalitarian brutality and aggression" making a logically invalid argument, but they also have their facts wrong, too.


In many respects, the Bible was the world's first Wikipedia article. -- Doug Brown (quoted by Carlin Romano in The Chronicle Review)

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