A Theory That Belittles Women
The alleged scientific support that Social Darwinism provided for racism, fascism and imperialism, as well as communism, is a familiar subject that has been much written about. But one lesser known fact is that a great many Darwinists, including Charles Darwin himself, have believed in the error that women are biologically and mentally inferior to men. The mental difference that Darwinists claim to exist between the genders is of such a dimension that some evolutionists even divided them into different physical species: men being Homo frontalis and women Homo parietalis.137
Darwin described women as an "inferior" species, according to his own lights, because his world view was based on natural selection. According to this unscientific and irrational view, men are proportionately more fit than women to compete in war, find a mate, and obtain food and clothing; while women have remained at a distance from such activities. According to this scientifically baseless deduction, natural selection exerts a stronger influence on men, so they achieved a superior position in all spheres, and evolved further than women. As the following pages will show, Darwin proposed these illusory deductions not on any scientific findings, but merely on the basis of evolutionist preconceptions.
Many researchers have revealed that Darwin's views on natural selection encouraged sexual discrimination. For instance, professor of history and philosophy of science Evelleen Richards concluded that Darwin's views of women's nature fed into his evolutionary theorizing, "thereby nourishing several generations of [so-called] scientific sexism."138 The evolutionist scientific writer Elaine Morgan states that using various branches of science such as biology and ethnology, Darwin encouraged men to think that women were "manifestly inferior and irreversibly subordinant."139
As the evolutionist scientist John R. Durant has stated, the two main consequences of the theory of evolution are racism and sexual discrimination:
Darwin rested his case upon a judicious blend of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic arguments. Savages, who were said to possess smaller brains and more prehensile limbs than the higher races, and whose lives were said to be dominated more by instinct and less by reason ... were placed in an intermediate position between nature and man; and Darwin extended this placement by analogy to include not only children and congenital idiots but also women, some of whose powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation were "characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilization."140
The errors made by Darwin that Durant referred to appear in The Descent of Man:
It is generally admitted that with women the powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation, are more strikingly marked than in man; but some, at least, of these faculties are characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilisation.141
When one considers Darwin's general views about women and marriage, one can clearly see how he regarded women as second-class citizens. This unscientific opinion was also reflected in his theory of evolution. This is how he described why marriage was useful:
… children—constant companion, (friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, object to be beloved and played with—better than a dog anyhow—Home, and someone to take care of house—Charms of music and female chit-chat. These things good for one's health.142
In short, Darwin regarded marriage desirable because "a woman's friendship is better than a dog's." His statements about marriage made no reference at all to features such as friendship, affection, love, devotion, loyalty, closeness, sincerity and trust between two people who spend their lives together. About marriage, Darwin also had this to say:
… loss of time—cannot read in the evenings—fatness and idleness—anxiety and responsibility—less money for books, etc.,—if many children, forced to gain one's bread ... perhaps my wife won't like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation with indolent idle fool.143
These unconscionable statements are perfectly natural, coming as they do from one who saw no difference between human beings and animals, and thought that women and children in particular were actually closer to animals. Someone who regards his wife and children as an inferior species will of course feel little affection for them, make few sacrifices on their behalf, and take no interest in them for as long as it is to his advantage not to do so. In fact, Darwin's statements show once again that there is no room for human love, closeness and friendship in Darwinian morality.
Darwin claimed that men were superior to women:
The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can women—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music, ... history, science, and philosophy ... the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on "Hereditary Genius" that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of women.144
Of course, Darwin had no scientific basis for proposing this, but his biased and prejudiced claims about women spread rapidly among his scientific contemporaries.
The materialist Carl Vogt, a professor of natural history at the University of Geneva, accepted all the conclusions drawn by Darwin, without subjecting them to any scientific analysis, and claimed that "the child, the female, and the senile white" all had the intellectual features and personality of the "grown up Negro."145 Vogt went even further, proposing that they were actually closer to animals than men. According to Vogt, a woman was "a stunted man" whose development had been obstructed because her evolution had come to a premature halt.146 Vogt even concluded that the gap between males and females increases with civilization's progress and is greatest in the advanced societies of Europe.147 Darwin was greatly influenced by Vogt's rantings, and felt honored to count him among his most important supporters.148
Many times in history, there have been mostly successful efforts to keep women in the background, due to the ignorance and backwardness of the societies in question. However, this is something that stems entirely from the influence of the established culture. There is absolutely no biological retardation, as Darwin and his supporters maintained, since God has created men and women equal. To claim that men are superior, and to use this allegation to treat women as second-class citizens, is a primitive behavior practiced by societies that do not live by religious moral values. In our day, when equal opportunities are ensured, there are countless examples of women known to be just as successful, intelligent and capable as men.
Gender Discrimination Based on Skull Measurements
In order to demonstrate that women were "inferior," some evolutionist scientists sought to prove that they had smaller brain capacities. Some resorted to such humiliating and illogical methods as measuring women's skulls. They imagined that the greater the size of the brain, the more advanced the level of intelligence (which is now known to be invalid), compared their skulls, and declared the women to be inferior. This was actually one of the unscientific methods referred to in Darwin's book:
As the various mental faculties gradually developed themselves the brain would almost certainly become larger. ... the large proportion which the size of man's brain bears to his body, compared to the same proportion in the gorilla or orang, is closely connected with his higher mental powers ... that there exists in man some close relation between the size of the brain and the development of the intellectual faculties is supported by the comparison of the skulls of savage and civilised races, of ancient and modern people, and by the analogy of the whole vertebrate series.149
According to the claim put forward by Darwin, studies on skull measurements and brain volumes (under the primitive scientific conditions of his time) would furnish data supporting the theory of evolution. Yet actually, the scientific results ran totally contrary to this claim. Different skull measurements or brain volumes provided no information to support the theory of evolution. Indeed, it is now conclusively accepted that such measurements do not constitute any valid comparison.
One scientist who imagined that he could allege that women were inferior by using craniology (the science of skull measurement) was Paul Broca. Regarded as one of the founders of physical anthropology, he was one of those who employed and supported such primitive methods as measuring the skulls of human groups and attaching values to them.150 In the light of these supposedly scientific measurements, Broca went on to display the following distorted logic:
In general, the brain is larger in mature adults than in the elderly, in men than in women, in eminent men than in men of mediocre talent, in superior races than in inferior races ... Other things equal, there is a remarkable relationship between the development of intelligence and the volume of the brain. 151
Broca was particularly interested in the skull differences between men and women. In a prejudiced manner, he analyzed the skull measurements he collected and came up with the assumption that women were intellectually inferior.152 Broca also claimed that the difference in brain size between men and women was increasing. Yet he had not the slightest evidence to confirm or support that claim, and in order to support it, he resorted to an equally unscientific assumption: that the increasing difference was "a result of differing evolutionary pressures upon dominant men and passive women."153
Today, even evolutionists admit that Broca's conclusions have no scientific value. Gould offers the following comment:
… they [Broca's facts] were gathered selectively and then manipulated unconsciously in the service of prior conclusions.154
To put it another way, Broca had "unconsciously" interpreted the data he obtained in a preconceived way, in light of the deceptive theory of evolution.
Another evolutionist who used skull measurements and regarded women as inferior was Gustave Le Bon, one of the founders of social psychology. Le Bon said:
In the most intelligent races ... are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. ... Women ... represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and ... are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man. They excel in fickleness, inconsistency, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason. Without a doubt there exist some distinguished women ... but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as, for example, of a gorilla with two heads; consequently, we may neglect them entirely.155
As with so many other claims, Darwinists were totally mistaken in these regarding women. Contrary to what evolutionists imagine, women's tender, compassionate and considerate way of thinking does not mean they are backward, but actually shows them to be superior. Programmed to regard human beings as a species of animal, evolutionists may regard such features as evidence of backwardness, but such attributes are most important to increase the quality of human life. Human characteristics, whose existence evolutionists never wish to admit, permit advances and progress in a great many spheres, including art, literature and technology.
Science Again Refutes Darwinism
Measuring people's skulls and classifying them according to race and gender has been totally invalidated by science, since skull and brain size have nothing to do with intelligence or mental capacity.
In nature, in fact, there is clearly no direct relationship between brain size and intelligence. For example, elephants and whales have much larger brains than humans. In addition, the cranial capacity of present-day human beings ranges from about 700 cc to 2,200 cc.156 Yet these differences do not establish different levels of intelligence among people.
Apart from skull measurements, genetic science has also revealed that Darwin's claims about the differences between men and women are incorrect. According to the laws of inheritance, a man passes on his genes to both his male and female offspring. If the man possesses biologically "superior" characteristics, as Darwin maintained, then his daughter will possess those same superior features. But Darwin and his contemporaries knew so little about genetics that Darwin was even able to suggest that "the characteristics of a species acquired by sexual selection are usually confined to one sex."157 Darwin also made ignorant suggestions to the effect that such superior qualities as genius, the higher powers of imagination and reason are "transmitted more fully to the male than the female offspring."158
According to Qur'anic Morality, Men and Women are Equal, and Superiority is Defined by Heedfulness
In terms of Qur'anic moral values, there is no difference between men and women. God has imposed equal responsibilities on both, and holds both responsible for the same matters. Whether one is a male or female does not make a person superior in the sight of God, but fear and deep love of and devotion to Him, and proper moral values do. In one of His verses, our Lord reveals that regardless of gender, those who exhibit the best behavior will receive the best reward for their moral values:
Anyone, male or female, who does right actions and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will not be wronged by so much as the tiniest speck. (Surat an-Nisa', 124)
God has also set out the attributes that any believer needs to possess:
The men and women of the believers are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, and perform prayer and give the alms, and obey God and His messenger. They are the people on whom God will have mercy. God is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba, 71)
As revealed by God in the verse, every human being has the same responsibilities. Those men and women who fulfill them, who turn solely to God and have faith, have been imparted these glad tidings:
Their Lord responds to them "I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female..." (Surah Al 'Imran, 195)
The mental characteristics that Darwinists use as criteria are abilities given by God, irrespective of gender. In one verse, God reveals: "You who believe! If you fear [and respect] God, He will give you discrimination..." (Surat al-Anfal, 29) As this verse reveals, judgment—and thus, intellect—develops not according to gender, but according to fear of God.
Everyone, male or female, who acts with the reason given by God, may achieve success in many areas and acquire superior characteristics. A true believer, however, most seeks to earn God's mercy, compassion and Paradise.
139. EIaine Morgan, The Descent of Woman, New York: Stein and Day, 1972, p. 1.
140. John R. Durant, "The Ascent of Nature in Darwin's Descent of Man" in The Darwinian Heritage, Ed. by David Kohn, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985, p. 295.
141. Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1871 (1896 ed.), p. 326.
142. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1958, pp. 232-233.
144. Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, p. 564.
145. Carl Vogt, Lectures on Man: His Place in Creation, and the History of Earth, edited by James Hunt, London: Paternoster Row, Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1864, xv, p. 192.
146. Stephanie A. Shields, "Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women: A Study in Social Myth," American Psychologist, no. 1 (1975): p. 749.
147. Evelleen Richards, "Darwin and the Descent of Women," in David Oldroyd and Ian Langham (Eds.), The Wider Domain of Evolutionary Thought (Holland: D. Reidel, 1983), p. 75.
148. Ibid., pp. 74, 49.
149. Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, p. 54.
150. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, p. 83.
151. Ibid., pp. 83, 188.
152. Ibid., p. 104.
154. Ibid., p. 85.
155. Ibid., pp. 104-105.
156. Wayne Jackson, More Skull-Duggery, October 7, 2002, http://www.christiancourier.com/penpoints/skullDuggery.htm
157. John Hurrell Crook, "Sexual Selection, Dimorphism, and Social Organization in the Primates," in Campbell (Ed.), Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man 1871-1971 Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1972.
158. Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, p. 565.