Social Darwinism and the Favored Races Myth
Though racism can be found throughout history, Darwin was the first to give it an alleged scientific validity. The subtitle of The Origin of Species was The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Darwin's writings about “the preservation of favored races,” and in particular the unscientific claims in his The Descent of Man, lent support to the Nazis' erroneous belief in the superiority of Aryan race, and a similar British belief about the Anglo-Saxons. In addition, Darwin's theory of natural selection spoke of a fight to the death, a “law of the jungle.” Applying it to human societies made conflict and war inevitable between races and nations. A great many prominent figures of the time, from warlike statesmen to philosophers, from politicians to scientists, adopted Darwin's theory. In The Twisted Road to Auschwitz, Professor Karl A. Schleunes of North Carolina University's history faculty describes how:
A black slave who was tortured and flogged
With the claims put forward by Darwin, those who held racist views naturally imagined that they had found a scientific foundation for their views about human classes. But shortly afterwards, science revealed that in the same way that Darwin's claims had no scientific validity, a great many movements built around Darwin's ignorant views had committed an enormous error.
With the support it received from Darwinism, the Nazis practiced racism in the most violent manner. Yet Germany was not the only place where so-called “scientific” racism reared its head. A number of racist administrators and intellectuals arose in many countries, particularly in Great Britain and America, racist laws and practices also made a rapid appearance.
Evolutionists in the 19th and early 20th centuries held almost totally racist views. Many scientists had no hesitation about openly expressing such opinions. Books and articles written at the time offer the most concrete proof. In Outcasts from Evolution: Scientific Attitudes of Racial Inferiority, John S. Haller, a professor of history at Southern Illinois University, describes how all 19th-century evolutionists falsely believed in the superiority of the white race and that other races were inferior. One article in American Scientist magazine calls Haller's book:
Another article in Science magazine made the following comment about some of Haller's claims:
Of course, this claim is totally unfounded. That people have different skin colors or different racial or ethnic origins doesn't make them superior or inferior to anyone else. One main reason why this deception became prevalent in the 19th century was the widespread ignorance of the time, itself due to the primitive scientific conditions.
Another example of a scientist known for his racist views was Princeton University's American biologist Edwin G. Conklin who, like other racists, had no qualms about openly expressing his perverted opinions:
William Sollas, a professor of paleontology and geology from Oxford University, set out his views in his 1911 book Ancient Hunters:
To say that justice belongs to the strong—a grave error—will lead to terrible social chaos. No matter what the conditions and circumstances, all people must benefit from true justice, regardless of their color, language or gender. The claim made by Darwinist racists that justice only applies to the strong in no way reflects the truth. Every individual may wish to acquire things of the highest quality and the most attractive for himself and for his society, but he is never justified in ignoring the harm he inflicts on others in doing so. To claim the opposite violates reason and good conscience.
The middle of the 20th century saw another surge of racism in certain regions of the USA. The Ku Klux Klan, whose ideology was based on violence, was one of the most prominent supporters of American racism. This organization supported such errors as the superiority of the white race and caused the deaths of a great many people.
One can encounter racist views in subsequent years also, even in the writings of evolutionists who claim not to be racist—as a natural consequence of their belief in evolution. One of these is paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson who, no matter how strongly he resents being termed a racist, claimed in an article published in Science magazine that racial differences appeared as a result of evolution, and that some races are more advanced or backward than others:
Despite its having no scientific basis whatsoever, Simpson's superstitious view was adopted by certain circles for ideological reasons. In defending the theory of evolution's unscientific claims in their writings, books, and speeches, other scientists of the time also supported racism. An article titled “The Evolution of Human Races,” by Henry Fairfield Osborn, president of the American Museum of Natural History and a prominent racist and evolutionist anthropologist of the early 20th century, made comparisons between races and came up with a number of deductions totally lacking any scientific evidence:
The standard of intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of the eleven-year-old youth of the species Homo sapiens.43
As can be seen from such statements, most 19th- and 20th-century evolutionist scientists were racists who ignored the dangers posed by their twisted views. About the destructive effects of their so-called “scientific” racism, the American scientist James Ferguson has this to say:
In an article about the racist views of evolutionist anthropologists, the late evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould says the following:
Once the theory of evolution acquired an alleged scientific validity, scientists were able to speak without hesitation of such illusory concepts as “inferior” races and some races being more closely related to apes than to human beings. Despotic dictators such as Hitler recognized such claims as a golden opportunity and killed millions of people because they were “inferior,” “inadequate,” “flawed” or “sick.” One of the main reasons why almost all 19th century evolutionists were racists is that their intellectual forerunner, Darwin, himself held such views.
Darwin, Too, Was a Racist
The native Australians or Aborigines, whom Darwinists regarded as inferior, are no different from any other race. The photo on the right shows the native Australian athlete Cathy Freeman lighting the 2000 Olympic flame.
The great majority of present-day evolutionists say that unlike their 19th century counterparts, they are opposed to racism, and seek to free Darwin of racist imputations. Most writings about Darwin make great efforts to give the impression that he was compassionate, well intentioned, and opposed to slavery. The fact is, however, that Darwin believed that the theory of natural selection constituted a scientific justification for racial discrimination and conflict between races. Darwin's books, some of his letters, and his private notes contain openly racist expressions. For example, in The Descent of Man, Darwin claimed that certain races, such as blacks and Aborigines, were inferior and that in due course, they would be eliminated and disappear in the struggle for survival:
In those words Darwin equated certain races with primates and predicted that “civilized races of man” would eliminate “savage races” from the face of the Earth. In other words, Darwin was foreseeing genocide, a racial ethnic cleansing to take place in the near future. Indeed, Darwin's disastrous “predictions” actually did come about, and 20th-century racists saw the theory of evolution as offering them support to perpetrate terrible slaughter. Examples include the Nazis' murder of some 40 million people during the World War II, the South African government's apartheid system affording European races immense privileges over others, racist attacks against Turks and other foreigners in Europe, racial discrimination against blacks in the USA and against the native Aborigines in Australia, and the neo-Nazi movement that from time to time raises its head in various European countries. All gained strength from the alleged scientific support provided by Darwinism. (For further details on the connection between fascism, racism and Darwinism, see Harun Yahya's Fascism: The Bloody Ideology of Darwinism, Kultur Publishing, April 2002.)
Darwin's book The
Nor were Darwin's racist statements limited to these. For example, in The Voyage of the Beagle, published before The Origin of Species, he speaks of encountering “backward” human races from Tierra del Fuego:
This is how Darwin describes the native people of Patagonia, whom he calls “barbarian”:
In a letter to Charles Kingsley, Darwin described the Fuegian natives he saw:
I declare the thought, when I first saw in Tierra del Feugo a naked, painted, shivering, hideous savage, that my ancestors must have been somewhat similar beings, was at that time as revolting to me, nay more revolting, than my present belief that an incomparably more remote ancestor was a hairy beast. Monkeys have downright good hearts.49
All these are important indications of Darwin's racism. Disparaging certain races as much as he can, he humanizes and praises apes by referring to them as good-hearted animals. He openly maintained that “inferior” races needed to be eliminated, that this consequence of natural selection would make a major contribution to the advance of civilization, as in a letter to the scientist W. Graham in July 1881:
Darwin's racist nonsense extended even as far as the highly moral and glorious Turkish nation. (For more about Darwin's baseless and hostile statements regarding the Turkish nation, and how they are historically and scientifically unfounded, see Harun Yahya's Evrim Teorisinin Irkçı Yüzü: Darwin'in Türk Düşmanlığı (The Racist Face of the Theory of Evolution: Darwin's Hostility Towards the Turks), Kultur Publishing, Istanbul, October 2001.)
In predicting the elimination of “lower races” according to his own twisted lights, Darwin not only provided support for racism, but also established an allegedly scientific foundation for the race wars, slaughter and genocide to take place later in the 20th century.
Evolutionists make great efforts to disassociate Darwin's name from racism, but Harvard University's Stephen Jay Gould admitted the support Darwin gave to racism in a reference to The Origin of Species:
Slaves seeking their freedom in Western South Africa in 1904were savagely put down.
Other prominent proponents of the theory of evolution, such as Thomas Huxley, were also racists. Shortly after the American Civil War and the emancipation of the black slaves, Huxley wrote the following:
Huxley refers to the black race as if they were animals, not human beings, and makes the oft-disproven claim that the blacks will inevitably lag behind in the conceptual race.
The seeds of racism, sown together with the theory of evolution in the mid-1800s, began to produce their real fruits towards the mid-1900s. Friedrich Nietzsche, a contemporary of Darwin's and a passionate adherent of the theory of evolution, popularized such baseless terms as the “superman” and “the supreme race.” National Socialism was the inevitable result. Hitler and the Nazis made Darwin's law of the jungle into state policy that left 40 million dead. (Further details will be examined in Chapter 5.)
At the Genetic Level, There Is No Racial Difference between Human Beings
Two young blacks hanged in 1902, for being members of a different race. In the 21st century, however, it has been realized that in biological terms, there are no differences between races.
Milliyet newspaper, February 13, 2001
Particularly in the last ten years, the science of genetics has revealed that in biological terms, there are no differences between the races. The great majority of scientists agree on this. For instance, scientists attending the Advancement of Science Convention in Atlanta issued the following statement:
Research has determined that genetic differences between the races are very small, and that the races cannot be differentiated between in terms of genes. Scientists researching the subject state that typically there is a 0.2% genetic difference between any two people, even within the same group. Features that reveal racial differences such as skin color, and the shape of the eyes account only for 6% of this 0.2% variation. On the genetic level that means a 0.012% difference between races54—so small as to be irrelevant.
These latest findings are summarized in an article by Natalie Angier, “Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows,” in the 22 August 2000 New York Times:
An article titled “Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows,” published in the New York Times
Dr. J. Craig Venter, head of the Cilera Genomics Corp. that runs the Human Genome Project, says that “race is a social concept, not a scientific one.56 Dr. Venter and scientists from the National Institutes of Health mapped the entire human genome and concluded that there was only one single human race.
Dr. Harold P. Freeman, president of North General Hospital, NYC, sums up the results of his work on the issue of biology and race:
Another scientist to arrive at the same conclusion is Alan R. Templeton, a professor of biology from Washington University, who analyzed the DNA of members of different human populations. He observed that despite the great genetic variety among human beings, most of such variations were on the individual level. There may be some variations among populations, he states, but these are very small. Templeton summarizes his conclusions, as well as maintaining his preconceived belief in evolution, in these terms:
Then when the Trumpet is blown, that Day there will be no family ties between them; they will not be able to question one another. (Surat al-Muminun, 101)
According to Templeton's conclusions, the genetic similarity between Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans, and between Europeans and the Melanesians inhabiting islands northeast of Australia is greater than that between Africans and Melanesians. However, sub-Saharan Africans and Melanesians resemble each other in many ways, sharing dark skin, hair texture, and cranial-facial features. Though these features are typically used in describing a race, these populations resemble each other very little, genetically speaking. This finding, Templeton states, shows that “racial traits” are not observed in the genes.59
In their book The History and Geography of Human Genes, population geneticists Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza arrive at the following conclusion:
Time magazine's analysis of their book had this to say:
In fact, the diversity among individuals is so enormous that the whole concept of race becomes meaningless at the genetic level. The authors say there is “no scientific basis” for the theories touting the genetic superiority of any one population over another... Despite the difficulties, the scientists made some myth-shattering discoveries. One of them jumps right off the book's cover: a color map of world genetic variation has Africa on one end of the spectrum and Australia on the other. Because Australia's aborigines and sub-Saharan Africans share such superficial traits as skin color and body shape, they were widely assumed to be closely related. But their genes tell a different story. Of all humans, Australians are most distant from the Africans and most closely resemble their neighbors, the southeast Asians.61
Examples of racist practiees little Nigerian girl used for experimental purposes
Certain drugs companies test their new products on the citizens of countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and South America, and during the course of these experiments, moral and professional laws are violated. In 1996, a 10-year-old girl weighing only 18.5 kg (40 pounds) and living in the Nigerian city of Kano suffered terrible pain due to meningitis. A world-famous American drug company was testing an antibiotic—which had not yet been licensed—on children in a camp it had set up. The drug being tested was of great importance to the company: stock exchanges estimated that if the Food and Drug Authority granted permission for the drug to be used, it would bring the company some $1 billion a year. The firm was unable to find test subjects in America, and so had come to Kano.
The firm's doctors began giving the girl an experimental daily dose of 56 mg of this drug. On the third day the girl died. Investigations by the Washington Post showed that drugs testing for profit was becoming increasingly widespread in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. In order to circumvent the American FDA's strict rules, some American firms were cooperating with doctors in these countries, and tens of thousands of Third World country citizens were being used as guinea pigs in experiments. Although a spokesman for the firm in question stated that the experiments had received the necessary permission, experts stated that the meningitis experiment in Nigeria incident was incompatible with medical ethics and regulations in a number of regards. For example, although experiments of this kind should last at least a year, the one in Nigeria lasted only six weeks. Meningitis sufferers in America were generally given quick-acting drugs intravenously, but the Nigerian girl was given by mouth a drug that had never been tested on children. Again, in the event of negative affects in tests of this kind, the drug should immediately be stopped and another drug administered. But the drug company continued to give the little girl the same drug until she died.
The drug in question never received permission to be used with children. In America, it was restricted in adult use on the grounds that it led to kidney disorders and deaths, and was completely prohibited in Europe. This shows just how dangerous it actually was.1
Darwin’s body snatchers
Discriminatory practices against native Australians still go on today. The photo above shows a group protesting against their lands being taken from them.
Following the publication of The Origin of Species, various enthusiastic Darwinists began looking for the “missing link” in the so-called human evolution. Racist evolutionists believed that the native aboriginal peoples of Australia were one of the primitive stages of human evolution. In order to prove this misconception, they began stealing corpses from Aborigines' graves and selling them to American and European museums. Shocking information appeared in the Australian weekly The Bulletin in 1991, under the byline of David Monaghan.2 He worked on the story for 18 months, carried out research in London, and produced a documentary called “Darwin's Body-Snatchers,” screened in England on 8 October 1990. Some of the information Monaghan provided was along the following lines:
Another study documenting this maltreatment and slaughter inflicted on the Aborigines is the book Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigine 1697–1973 edited by Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage. Apart from a few comments by the editor, this book consists of such documents as parliamentary records, examination reports, letters to editors and anthropological reports..
In the book, Stone constructs the following relationship between Darwin's theory and the slaughter of the Aborigines:
Sir Douglas Nicholls, the first native Australian to be knighted, and his wife.
As the book's editor makes clear, some European Darwinists portrayed the deaths of Aborigines as proof that this race was condemned to disappear as a consequence of “natural law.” In the 20th century, however, it was realized that these alleged proofs were invalid. The Aborigines had died not because of any laws of nature, but from the maltreatment they'd received. Also, of course, when the numbers of dark skinned people were observed to be increasing, it was realized that these Darwinist claims were untrue.
The replies given by a police officer to an investigation carried out by the Royal Commission in 1861 help clarify how racist basis and the maltreatment of the Aborigines were regarded as perfectly natural at the time. The officer was asked:
According to Stone's account, a news report from 1880 said:
O Humanity! We created you from a male and femal, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God's sight is the one of you who best performs his duty. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surat al-Hujurat, 13)
These lines again reveal the ruthlessness at the heart of the Social Darwinist perspective. These people were regarded as a species of animal, but were treated in a way nobody would treat an animal, simply because their skin was of a darker color and because they possessed certain different physical characteristics—yet another proof of the cruelty of Social Darwinists. A letter to a newspaper also dated 1880 described the oppression of the Aborigines:
What has been recounted here is only a tiny part of Social Darwinism's dark face, but is enough to suggest the full scale of the disasters that atheism and Darwinism wreaked on humanity.
1. Yeni Binyıl Newspaper, 20.12.2000
2. David Monaghan, 'The Body-snatchers', The Bulletin, November 12. 1991, s. 30-38
3. David Monaghan, 'The Body-snatchers', The Bulletin, November 12. 1991, s.33
4. David Monaghan, 'The Body-snatchers', The Bulletin, November 12. 1991, s.34.
5. David Monaghan, 'The Body-snatchers', The Bulletin, November 12. 1991, s.33
6. Sharman Stone, Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigine 1697–1973, Heinemann Educational Books, Melbourne, 1974
7. Sharman Stone, Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigine 1697–1973, Heinemann Educational Books, Melbourne, 1974, s. 83
8. Sharman Stone, Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigine 1697–1973, Heinemann Educational Books, Melbourne, 1974, s.96
9. Sharman Stone, Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigine 1697–1973, Heinemann Educational Books, Melbourne, 1974, s.93
The theory of recapitulation and racism
According to the theory of recapitulation proposed by the German atheist and evolutionist Ernst Haeckel, developing embryos repeat the evolutionary process undergone by their alleged ancestors. This claim maintains that during its development in the mother's womb, the human embryo first exhibits fish characteristics, then reptilian ones, before finally turning into a human baby. For long years this was depicted as evidence for the theory of evolution, but eventually it was seen through as completely unscientific and nothing more than a work of imagination.1
In order to supposedly prove his unscientific theory, Ernst Haeckel falsified drawings, trying to make fish and human embryos resemble each other. When this fraud was unmasked, his defense was that other evolutionists had done the same kind of thing.2
According to the claims of the theory of recapitulation, the features possessed by a human at the embryonic stage or in early childhood are left over from evolutionary adult ancestors. For example, Haeckel and his followers maintained that a “civilized” child possessed the same intelligence and behavioral characteristics as a “savage” adult, and used these claims to prove the superiority of the white race. In his book Ever Since Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould summarizes the support that the theory of recapitulation provided for racism:
Ernst Haeckel and his forged embryo drawings
Of course, this claim put forward by Spencer, Vogt and others did not reflect the truth in any way. These claims were gradually invalidated by science itself and abandoned. In his The Panda's Thumb, Gould wrote:
This theory, often expressed by the mouthful “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” held that higher animals, in their embryonic development, pass through a series of stages representing, in proper sequence, the adult forms of ancestral, lower creatures. ... Recapitulation provided a convenient focus for the pervasive racism of white scientists...4Professor George J. Stein, director of the International Security Studies Core at the Air War College, published an article headed “Biological Science and the Roots of Nazism” in American Scientist. “In essence,” he wrote, “Haeckel and his fellow social Darwinists advanced the ideas that were to become the core assumptions of national socialism,”5 thus summarizing the deadly relationship between Haeckel, Social Darwinism and racism.
1. Keith S. Thompson, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny Recapitulated", American Scientist, vol 76, Mayıs/Haziran 1988, s.273
2. Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong, New York: Ticknor and Fields 1982, s.204
3. Stephen Jay Gould, "Racism and Recapitulation," Ever Since Darwin adlı kitabın 27. bölümü, (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1977), s. 217
4. Stephen Jay Gould, "Dr. Down's Syndrome", Natural History, vol.89, Nisan 1980, s.144
5. George J. Stein, "Biological Science and the Roots of Nazism," American Scientist, Vol. 76, Jan/Feb. 1988, s. 56.
The new imperialism and social Darwinism
A picture by Adam Willaerts showing a British ship sailing to East India.
Long before Darwin, colonialism began growing in 16th-century Europe. Exactly like racism, however, colonialism later drew strength from Darwin's theory and turned to a new target. Following the Industrial Revolution especially, commercial aims fueled the spread of European states to new continents and countries. Looking for new markets and raw materials, Europeans set about exploiting countries on other continents. Imperialist initiatives of the 19th century were based on different motives, however, which is why they became known as the new imperialism.
Social Darwinist suggestions dominated the new imperialist view of the world. One of the Darwinist causes of the new imperialism was the race for superiority. The British, French, Germans and other nations competing with one another were deceived into thinking that they needed to acquire new lands in order to emerge victorious as the most powerful nation in the race for superiority.
They were also driven by the mistaken goal of proving their superiority over other races. The Anglo-Saxons and Aryans regarded it was their natural right to assume control over the Africans, Asians and native Australians, whom they regarded as “inferior races,” and to exploit their workforces and natural resources. Thus 19th-century imperialism developed more as a result of Darwinist aims than out of any economic concerns.62
The 1946 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica says that:
This new period of imperialism at the end of the 19th century found its spiritual support in Bismarckism and social Darwinism, in all the theories glorifying power and success, which had swept over Europe... Racial theories seemed to give to this new attitude, which was in opposition to all traditional [i.e. Christian] values of morality, a justification by “science” and “nature,” the belief in which was almost becoming the dominant faith of the period.63
A great many researchers and authors accept that Social Darwinism represents the origin of the 19th century's new imperialism. For instance, in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Professor of History Gertrude Himmelfarb says this about the close relationship between Social Darwinist racism and imperialism:
Social Darwinism has often been understood in this sense: as a philosophy exalting competition, power and violence over convention, ethics, and religion. Thus it has become a portmanteau of nationalism, imperialism, militarism, and dictatorship, of the cults of the hero, the superman, and the master race.64
The well-known German historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler describes this aspect of Social Darwinism in these terms:
Above: A procession of the Britain's Royal Family in India under
One can see Social Darwinist views in lines written in favor of imperialism in the retired German General Friedrich von Bernhardi's 1912 book, Britain as Germany's Vassal:
The hunger to acquire new territories, caused by the new imperialism, led to conflicts between the imperialist countries themselves. Again based on the errors of Darwinism, regarding local peoples as “inferior races” led to enormous cruelties. Imperialists maintained that they were setting out to bring civilization to the lands in question, but inflicted a terrible amount of tears and suffering.
Social Darwinism and Conflict between Races
One of the aspects of God's having created different races, tribes and nations on Earth is cultural exchange among them. In the Qur'an, God reveals that He has created different human societies “to know each other.” (Surat al-Hujurat, 13)
According to Social Darwinism's worldview, human beings exist not to get to know one another, but to fight. Accordingly, the most important impetus for human progress is conflict between races and nations. Social Darwinism's irrational assumptions state that in order to emerge victorious from the conflict between races, new discoveries will be made. As a result, the “civilized” and “superior” will come out on top, and humanity will thus progress. To suggest that people will progress by killing and massacring one another, persecuting and oppressing others, is nothing more than barbarism. Disagreements and problems will arise from time to time. Yet all difficulties can be resolved by peaceful means. To imagine that violence offers a solution only makes the difficulties in question even more intractable. As already made clear, nations are perfectly justified in taking precautions to protect their future interests. But it is both illogical and a violation of good conscience to frame a policy ignoring the rights of other nations or believing that one nation's interests lie in destroying those of others.
African peoples were exploited for years by Westerners believing in Darwinist deceptions.
Present-day evolutionists seek to portray Darwin, as “humane” and opposed to racism, but actually he was a proponent of conflict between races and advanced the lie that the “civilized”—at least in their own lights—white race would emerge victorious from such conflict. Some lines from Darwin's The Descent of Man read as follows:
Elsewhere in his book, Darwin refers to the conflict between “savages” and the “civilized,” and claims that the latter will emerge superior. By these totally illusory assumptions, he prepared the groundwork for the chaos and suffering that would continue for nearly a century.
A great many Darwinists who came after him treated conflict between races as if it were scientific fact. For example, National Life from the Standpoint of Science by Karl Pearson, a 19th century evolutionary theorist regarded as a follower of Francis Galton, is important in revealing contemporaries' view of inter-racial conflict and the causes behind the new imperialism. Like other Social Darwinists, Pearson claimed that conflict between races is necessary, and that struggle within a single race is insufficient for evolution. Some of these claims of Pearson, which are devoid of any scientific truth, read as follows:
The American Civil War (1861-1865) between the northern
Twisted statements like these provided imperialism with an allegedly scientific backing. The Europeans who occupied the African continent and a large part of Asia, as well as persecuting the Australian native peoples, claimed that their occupations were based on natural law and the only way for humanity to progress. (That this claim had no foundation was later proven by subsequent advances in the scientific world.) According to Pearson, wars formerly conducted in an unconscious manner would now have to be waged in a conscious, pre-planned fashion:
In the 19th century, this deviant belief that conflict between races and nations was a path to progress and which regarded races and nations other than its own as “inferior,” took control over large parts of the world. Some imperialist Europeans behaved most ruthlessly towards the inhabitants of their conquered lands. From the measures they adopted, it was evident that they regarded these peoples as weak and inferior, denigrated them, and refused to accept them as humans who enjoyed equal rights with themselves. The new imperialism was a 19th-century implementation of Social Darwinism on a world scale.
One reason why Darwinist ideas received such wide support was that Europeans of the time had moved away from religious moral values, which require people to live in peace. God has commanded people to be tolerant and forgiving toward one another. Corrupting order in the world and inciting war and conflict are evils that bear a heavy responsibility in the sight of God. In the Qur'an, God has revealed that He does not love corruption or harm being inflicted on people:
When he leaves you, he goes about the Earth corrupting it, destroying crops and animals. God does not love corruption. (Surat al-Baqara, 205)
Ruthless Practices in the Colonies
A British military ceremony in India
The Social Darwinist views that dominated the colonial elites revealed themselves in policies adopted towards the native peoples. These administrations did not regard these peoples of the countries they ruled as human, but as primitive, intermediate life forms, and usually inflicted suffering, destruction and unhappiness. Social Darwinism was one major factor in these countries' ruthless policies. As already seen, the aggressive measures adopted by some nations, that in their arrogance regarded other nations as inferior, acquired false legitimization through Social Darwinism. These countries regarded themselves as perfectly justified in adopting such policies, which only increased their greed and aggression.
The Opium Wars are an interesting example. Great Britain began selling opium to China in the early 1800s, even though at the time the production, sale and consumption of opium were forbidden in Britain itself. The English governing class, who scrupulously protected their own people against this scourge, soon made the Chinese people dependent on opium. After his son died of excessive opium consumption, the emperor decided to put a stop to the British importing the drug into his country. A government official, Lin Zexu (Lin Tse-Hsü), was sent to Canton—the East India Company's largest port—about putting an end to the trade. Since the British merchants did not favor cooperation, Zexu had the opium warehouses closed. The British immediately followed this with military intervention. The Chinese were routed and forced to accept a humiliating treaty, under which the opium trade in China was regarded as legal. Lin Zexu lost his post in the government and was sent into exile.
Above: King Prempeh, leader of the African Ashanti tribe, and the Queen Mother, submitting to British troops. Left: The treatment meted out to native Australians.
British forces brutally suppressing Indians demanding their freedom
A British soldier selecting soldiers for the Indian Army
The Portuguese, for their part, exercised their “superiority” by effectively making slaves of the natives. They kidnapped natives from their colony of Angola and sent them far across the sea as “contracted” workers for five years. But very few of them survived long enough to make the return trip.70 In the great majority of occupied countries, colonizing powers took for themselves such territories and resources as they considered appropriate and gave them to settlers or companies from their own countries. They took no interest in the people who had lost their lands, and totally exploited their workforces, goods and mineral resources.
From their colonies, the British sent raw materials like cotton, tea and minerals to Britain, and later sent products made from them back to the colonies, to be sold at high prices. Cotton from India was processed in Britain, and the sale of Indian cotton was prohibited in India. In other words, they could use only cotton sold by the British. The Indians were also able to buy only salt produced by the British.
Another practice of the new imperialism was their belittling and behaving disrespectfully towards rulers of the countries they colonized. But in earlier times, from the era of Elizabeth I up until Napoleon, administrators had treated foreign leaders equally. The deviant idea of regarding oneself as superior gained increasing strength in 19th-century Europe, bringing with it insolence and rudeness.
Darwinist imperialists portrayed their colonization of other nations as the result of their races being “inferior” and “backward.” According to such claims, the order of the superior race had to spread across the entire world, and if the world were to progress, the inferior had to be improved. Put another way, the colonialist powers alleged that they were bringing “civilization” to the lands they conquered. Yet their practices and policies in no way reflected their claims to be “well intentioned.” Along with their Social Darwinist ideas, the 19th- and 20th-century colonialist powers brought with them chaos, conflict, fear and humiliation, rather than well-being, happiness, culture and civilization. Even if one accepts that the colonialists did provide some benefits for their colonies, still the harm they wreaked was many times greater.
Karl Pearson's words cited below, devoid of any humanity or compassion, summarize these Darwinism-based views:
Prince Edward, the Duke of
Zulus entertaining British
A picture of the Congo under French colonial rule. The native peoples in the jungle were slaughtered by whites regarding them as a species of animal.
The struggle means suffering, intense suffering, while it is in progress; but that struggle and that suffering have been the stages by which the white man has reached his present stage of development, and they >account for the fact that he no longer lives in caves and feeds on roots and nuts. This dependence of progress on the survival of the fitter race, terribly black as it may seem to some of you, gives the struggle for existence its redeeming features; it is the fiery crucible out of which comes the finer metal. You may hope for a time when the sword shall be turned into the ploughshare, when American and German and English traders shall no longer compete in the markets of the world for their raw material and for their food supply, when the white man and the dark shall share the soil between them, and each till it as he lists. But, believe me, when that day comes mankind will no longer progress; there will be nothing to check the fertility of inferior stock; the relentless law of heredity will not be controlled and guided by natural selection. Man will stagnate... The path of progress is strewn with the wreck of nations; traces are everywhere to be seen of the [slaughtered remains] of inferior races, and of victims who found not the narrow way to the greater perfection. Yet these dead people are, in very truth, the stepping stones on which mankind has arisen to the higher intellectual and deeper emotional life of today.71
This “world view” that regards most nations as inferior, and their suffering and death as a step on the path to so-called evolution, poses a danger to all humanity. If individuals join forces to depict an idea as scientific fact, no matter how dangerous or how unscientific and illogical it may be, and engage in propaganda on its behalf, then soon that idea and its byproducts will be accepted by those who lack sufficient information on the subject in question. This is where the hidden danger of Darwinism lies. People believing in concepts such as “the struggle for survival” and “conflict between superior and inferior races” carried out all kinds of ruthless actions under the shelter of these claims—or at least kept silent while others did so. As a result, racist, aggressive, and ruthless dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini and Franco emerged, and millions applauded their words. And because of these cruel ideologies, tens of millions lived and died in pain, fear and suffering.
Social Darwinism and War
A Polish girl whose older sister was killed by the Nazis in 1939.
The deceptive idea that inter-racial conflict could lead to nations' progressing also laid the foundation for wars. Before World War I, when Social Darwinism was widespread, war was considered the “most appropriate means” for the elimination of the weak and the eradication of people seen as burdens, the survival of the strong, and the development of the human race.
The Darwinist claim that conflict is an essential part of human nature encourages war between nations. Yet the impact of wars have on innocent civilians is obvious
Throughout history, many wars have been fought, but usually they took place within limits, not aimed directly at civilian populations, between the armies of the nations concerned. But in wars waged by Social Darwinist means, the real target was the people, to reduce the “surplus population” of the so-called “unfit” and the allegedly “inferior.”
Before World War I, numerous writings and speeches described the Darwinist bases of war. Richard Milner, a contributing editor to Natural History, the magazine of New York's American Museum of Natural History, writes of the warlike Darwinist views of German intellectuals at the time:
During those years, General F. von Bernhardi engaged in propaganda on behalf of Social Darwinism. In his book Germany and the Next War Bernhardi maintained that conflict was a biological obligation and the best way of ridding the world of the unfit: “War is a biological necessity of the first importance, a regulative element in the life of mankind that cannot be dispensed with, since without it an unhealthy development will follow, which excludes every advancement of the race, and therefore all real civilization.”73
Social Darwinist logic formed the basis of ruthless Nazi occupations, during which time millions of Russians were expatriated for slave labor and more millions executed for no crime at all.
The idea that war is a “regulative element” cannot be justified in rational or logical terms, nor with scientific facts. War is a destructive force that causes enormous losses of life and property, and its effects on society are enormously difficult to repair.
Nonetheless, those who regarded constant war and slaughter as requirements of so-called civilization continued to call for them. Elsewhere in Bernhardi's book, for instance, he wrote:
Young people being obliged to fight, despite all the suffering that war brings with it, represents the dark face of Darwinism.
No doubt that one of the greatest errors made by those taken in by such ideas was to assume that war is compatible with human nature and thus, inevitable. In that view, the more people wage war, the more power and vitality they acquire. This is a great falsehood. God has created human beings in such a way that they are happiest when at peace. Chaos and conflict cause terrible tension in the human soul. The most rapid social, economic and cultural progress is made possible in a climate of peace and security. In her book Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Gertrude Himmelfarb makes the following comment:
Sir Arthur Keith, an evolutionist anthropologist and biographer of Darwin, openly admitted that he was all in favor of war. Although he personally liked the idea of peace, he feared the results of such an experiment. Also, he made the illogical prediction that after 500 years of peace, the world would turn into “an orchard that has not known the pruning hook for many an autumn and has rioted in unchecked overgrowth for endless years.”76
Keith's words indicate just how ruthless Darwinist suggestions can make people. Keith believed that the world needed to be “pruned” from time to time, that those “elements” that delayed the strengthening of the world needed to be cut away and discarded. He was openly supporting savagery. The “pruning” referred to by Keith was war, and those who died in war, whom he felt needed to be discarded, were helpless men and women and children. Those taken in by the deceptions of Darwinism feel no sympathy for these innocent people. The theory that in order to strengthen and develop the white race, those regarded as weak may be eliminated led to cruelties never seen before.
Social Darwinism's twisted views are one of the main reasons for the wars, conflict and slaughter that have continued unabated since the 19th century. As a result of the constant calls for war, even some who knew nothing about Social Darwinism fell under its spell.
African- Americans lynched in 1906.
So long as love of God and feelings of compassion and sympathy for the human beings He created do not prevail, humanity will continue to experience such tragedies.
In the early 20th century, those who came to believe that war was essential were not just a group of marginal ideologues, but a great many journalists, academics, politicians and civil servants.77 They encouraged the eradication of women, children, the elderly and the needy, and the heedless expense of young lives on the battlefield supposedly for the “benefit of humanity.”
These views were shared at the very highest levels. For instance, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg subscribed to the belief, common among the middle class when World War Ibegan, that conflict between Slav and Teuton was inevitable.78 The Kaiser is known to have held similar views. Many historians regard the wicked claims that war was unavoidable and the cleansing of inferior races was natural and useful as some of the principal causes of World War I.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was also one of the most prominent supporters of Social Darwinism in Germany. According to him, the ideal social system should be based on armed conflict: “Man shall be trained for war and woman for the recreation of the warrior; all else is folly.”79 According to Nietzsche's twisted view, life consisted solely of war, and war contained everything within it.
The 20th century, dominated by Social
Hitler, a fanatical Social Darwinist and great admirer of both Darwin and Nietzsche, put their warlike views into practice. Combining militarist thinking with the theory of evolution, Hitler said:
The whole of nature is a continuous struggle between strength and weakness, and eternal victory of the strong over the weak.80
During World War I, the Germans employed mustard gas in violation of the rules of war. The picture shows a British soldier killed by that gas.
These ideas advanced by Hitler and others like him were products of a terrible ignorance. Those who imagined that with the theory of evolution they were basing their militaristic and aggressive thinking on a scientific foundation were merely deceiving themselves. Yet with the tens of thousands of people they induced to follow them, they inflicted ruin on the world on an unprecedented scale.
In an article titled “The Philosophy and Morals of War,” Max Nordau—one of the leaders of the Zionist movement—identifies Darwin as the primary supporter of war:
Social Darwinist ideas that encouraged conflict afflicted millions all over the world. Babies crying over the body of their dead mother are just a part of the great suffering inflicted by war.
In Darwin, Marx, Wagner:Critique of a Heritage, Jacques Barzun, a history teacher at Columbia University, stated that Darwin stoked the fires of militarism and warfare everywhere:
In the same book, Barzun described how Europe in particular fell under the influence of Darwinism's racist, militaristic tenants:
These deceptions, identified and described by many academics, account for the 20th century's history of war, slaughter and genocide.
In wartime, not only the civilians suffer. Soldiers forced to fight as a result of a philosophy that has inflicted nothing but blood and sorrow on the world are also part of war's cruel face.
In God's Sight, Superiority Lies in Piety, Not in Race
Such savagery was not limited to the Nazis. Many parts of the world have experienced terrible catastrophes because of racism. Because of it, hundreds of thousands have been regarded as worthless, humiliated, forced from their homes and enslaved, killed or abandoned to die, treated like animals, and used in pharmaceutical experiments. The examples cited in this book are just a few of the many documented instances of savagery and violence.
White students attacking a black lawyer. Racism is a cause of anger, hatred, aggression and conflict. These students have so taken leave of their humanity as to kill an innocent man solely because of the color of his skin. They are living under the influence of Social Darwinism, whether consciously or otherwise. Top: An Alabama passenger bus in 1930. A separate section marked “Colored Passengers” was set aside for blacks.
The social structure envisaged by Darwinism needs to be accurately identified. Like all other materialist theories, Social Darwinism, maintaining that people are selfish creatures who live solely for their own interests, responsible solely to themselves, can never bring proper moral values and happiness to individuals or to society as a whole. In order to acquire proper moral values and happiness, a person needs to abandon selfish desires. Religious moral values, as commanded by our Lord, teach people how this will be. People's responsibility towards God and the kind of moral values they need to attain His approval are revealed in the Qur'an.
If people have faith in God's commandments and the Book revealed by Him, then they will feel compassion and affection towards others.
Those who love and fear God and obey His commandments, see other people as beings He created, and make no distinctions between them on grounds of race, nation, skin color or language. In every human being, they see beauty created by God, and take pleasure in that beauty. Their faith makes them loving, compassionate and protective. However, someone brainwashed by Darwinism's falsehoods looks down on other races and nations, feels justified in oppressing and even eradicating them, and spreads nothing but tension, unhappiness and fear. The racism and imperialism witnessed in the 19th and 20th centuries are the result of this Darwinist world view.
...Help each other to goodness and heedfulness. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Fear God... (Surat al-Ma’ida, 2)
In the Qur'an, God has forbidden discrimination on grounds of race and has revealed that people can attain superiority in His sight through faith and their fear of Him:
O humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribe so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God's sight is the one with the most fear of God. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surat al-Hujurat, 13)
37. Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1970, pp. 30, 32 ; Jerry Bergman, "Eugenics and Nazi Racial Policy," p. 118.
38. Sidney M. Mintz, American Scientist, vol.60, May/June 1972, p. 387.
39. John C. Burham, Science, vol.175, February 4, 1972, p. 506.
40. Edwin G. Conklin, The Direction of Human Evolution, New York, NY: Scribner's, 1921, p. 34.
41. "Evolution and Ethnicity;" http://www.ncl.ac.uk/lifelong-learning/distrib/darwin/08.htm
42. George Gaylord Simpson, "The Biological Nature of Man," Science, vol.152 (April 22, 1966), p. 475.
43. Henry Fairfield Osborn, "The Evolution of Human Races," Natural History, January/February 1926; 2nd pub. Natural History, vol. 89, April 1980, p. 129.
44. James Ferguson, "The Laboratory of Racism," New Scientist, vol. 103, September 27, 1984, p. 18.
45. Stephen Jay Gould, "Human Equality is a Contingent Fact of History," Natural History, vol.93, November 1984, p. 28.
46. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed., New York: A L. Burt Co., 1874, p. 178.
47. Matt Ridley, Nature Via Nurture, Chapter One, "The Paragon of Animals."
48. Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle, edited David Amigoni, London: Wordsworth, 1997, p. 477.
49. "Evolution and Ethnicity;" http://www.ncl.ac.uk/lifelong-learning/distrib/darwin/08.htm
50. Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. I, 1888. New York:D. Appleton and Company, pp. 285-286.
51. Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1977 , p. 127.
52. Thomas Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews, New York, NY: Appleton, 1871, p. 20.
53. Robert Lee Hotz, "Race has no Basis in Biology, Researchers Say," Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1997.
55. Natalie Angier, "Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows," New York Times, August 22, 2000.
58. Tony Fitzpatrick, "Genetically Speaking, Race Doesn't Exist in Humans;" http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/1998-10/WUiS-GSRD-071098.php (emphasis added)
60. Sribala Subramanian, "The Story in Our Genes;" Time, January 16, 1995, p. 38.
62. Jim Knapp, Imperialism: The Struggle to Be Superior, http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jimknapp/papers/Imperialism.html
63. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 edition, vol. 12, p. 122A.
64. Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Elephant Paperbacks, Chicago:1996, p. 416.
65. Hans-Ulrich Wehler, The German Empire, 180; http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Rampart/4871/Darwin.html
66. T. D. Hall, "The Scientific Background of the Nazi "Race Purification" Program, US & German Eugenics, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, and Population Control;" http://www.trufax.org/avoid/nazi.html
67. Darwin, The Descent of Man, p. 297.
68. Karl Pearson, National Life from the Standpoint of Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1900, pp. 11-16, 20-23, 36-37, 43-44.
70. John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, vol. 2: From the French Revolution to the Present, pp. 990-991.
71. Pearson, National Life from the Standpoint of Science.
72. Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution, p. 59.
73. Oscar Levy, Complete Works of Nietzsche, 1930, vol. 2, p. 75.
74. Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, p. 417.
77. W. Carr, A History of Germany 1815-1990, 4th. ed, p. 205.
78. Ibid., p. 208.
79. Levy, Complete Works of Nietzsche, vol. 2, p. 75.
80. H. Enoch, Evolution or Creation (1966), pp. 147-148.
81. Max Nordau, "The Philosophy and Morals of War," North American Review, 169 (1889), p. 794.
82. Jacques Barzun, Darwin, Marx, Wagner, Garden City, N.Y. :Doubleday, 1958, pp. 92-93.
83. Ibid., pp. 92-95.