Darwin’s Plantation: Evolution’s Racist Roots

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The provocative title of this post is the title of a new book, by Ken Ham (founder of the absurd Creation Museum, in the woeful state of Kentucky) . Charles ware is co-author.The book came out in November, 2007, but is receiving beefed up publicity, presumably to coincide with Darwin Month and Darwin’s upcoming birthday.This is a little like publicizing a book denying that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Lincoln’s Birthday (which, by the way, is the same as Darwin’s Birthday).This issue has been addressed before, but since the publishers of the book have chosen to ramp up the publicity just now, I’ll bother to point out some recent reading material showing not only that this thesis … the Darwinian roots of racism, eugenics, etc., is wrong from a scholarly and factual perspective, but something more; The efforts by Ken Ham, as well as others at the Discovery Institute of Intelligent Design Creationism (DIID), on not merely wrong, but they are bald faced intentional lies.That’s the Christian Way, after all. If people won’t give you what you want, you lie, cheat, and steal to get it.Don’t look for links on this site to the publicity I refer to. I shall not be a handmaiden of slime. But it is primarily in local newspapers (thanks Joe for the tip).The interesting and relevant reading on this issue arises from the critique of a talk given in Minneapolis by John West, of the Discovery Institute. PZ Myers and I both wrote posts about what happened at that talk, and Mark Borrello, who gave a counterargument at the talk, has posted something on the MnCSE web site, as has Jim Curtsinger. Other bloggers covered this as well. So, here are the links, enjoy your evening reading all this stuff!John West can Play the Violin But Not the Fiddle (my blog)John West at the McLaurin Institute (PZ Myers)In Which I Meet John West (Tangled Up in Blue Guy) John West’s Talk at the University of Minnesota (Amused Muse)Dancing with the Disco Institute (Mark Borrello)And, winner of the Best Title Evah Award:Should Dr. West Be Sterilized? (Jim Pull-No-Punches Curtsinger)

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7 thoughts on “Darwin’s Plantation: Evolution’s Racist Roots

  1. I have to say, there seems to be a misreading,in Curtsinger’s and perhaps Borrello’s piece, of that increasingly infamous Descent of Man quote. The “but excepting in the case of man himself” clause surely goes with the next bit – “hardly anyone is so ignorant,” not the preceeding bit: this paragraph would seem to be making a descriptive (civilized societies don’t practice artificial selection on themselves) rather than prescriptive statement.Of course, then there’s the next paragraph (quoted by Borrelllo) when Darwin writes that, however harmful it might be, we simply couldn’t do so without committing great evil and essentially destroying ourselves. Perhaps not nearly as ringing as one might like – once that door gets opened, all sorts of things start stepping through – but still, it’s there. (Of course, he could have been raving about slaughtering the untermenschen and it would have had just as much relevence to the reality of evolution as if he had been calling for universal health care – which is to say, none).Been in a bit of an argument here and here about that recently. . . .

  2. Apparently Mr. Hamm Mr. Ware and their fellow Christians have forgotten that, according to the bible and Christian belief, brown and black peoples came into being as the result of Noah’s son Shem being cursed for seeing his father naked and drunk (why this is Shems’s fault instead of his father’s is not explained). Therefor Judeo-Christianity considers dark skinned people to be cursed by Yahweh and biblically justifies racism a couple of millenia before Darwin was born.Unless of course you’re a Mormon in which case you believe that dark skinned people are the result of a different curse by Yahweh. Different curse, same justification for racism.

  3. There’s another one: The “mud people” story, which as I understand it derives from someone early on asking the question: Where did cain and abel get their wives from?

  4. First of all, it was supposedly Ham who saw his father Noah naked and drunk. It’s also clear from the Genesis passage this comes from, that it was a crude explanation of how various peoples “came to be”. A myth, in other words. As far as Ken Ham is concerned(and isn’t it ironic that he has the same name as Ham, Noah’s son?), nothing the guy says is really new. Creationists and some others have been claiming that Darwin and evolution are basically racist for years. He’s not even original!Anne G

  5. Not only is there the Curse of Ham, but there’s the Curse of Cain too (basically the same: God laid a curse on this person, so clearly God made them black; what worse punishment could you think of?). And then there’s the concept of polygenesis, which states that there were actually multiple creations: first God made colored people, then he made white people (Adam and Eve). I recall at least one person used this to explain the differing accounts of how humans were created in Genesis.

  6. Please pardon me for adding to such an old comment thread, but the biblical accounts of creation, the curse of Cain, and the curse of Ham say absolutely nothing about skin color. Racists have unfortunately chosen to infer support for their ideas from these passages in Genesis, but such inferences are utterly unjustified. It’s also worth pointing out that the curse of Ham was given by Noah, not God.

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