April 9, 2022 | Jerry Bergman

Darwin Begat Racism, Not Genesis

Does acceptance of the Genesis teaching all humans descended from Adam
cause racism? An ambitious attempt to defend evolution fails

 

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

A new paper published in a peer-reviewed journal attempted to show the belief that all humans were descended from one human couple — and that all humans are members of one race, the human race — causes racism. Ironically, the study begins with a frank admission that it’s evolutionism that has caused racism:

Darwin’s theory of evolution (1859, 1871) has undoubtedly affected the way human beings think about themselves and others. It has particularly influenced the way people think about race, and it has historically been (mis)used to perpetuate racism, prejudice, homophobia, and intergroup violence.[1]

The authors are PhD candidate Stylianos Syropoulos and Associate Professor of Social Psychology Bernhard Leidner at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and three others. They give some examples, citing numerous references, noting that

the notion of evolution by natural selection leading to the “survival of the fittest” has been morphed to justify and perpetuate social injustices, systemic racism and discrimination, slavery, war, and genocide. It has been utilized by prominent eugenicists (Helfand, 2020)[2] and White supremacists (Kendi, 2017[3]), and was central to the genocidal Nazi ideology (Weikart, 2004, 2009)[4] as well as other prejudicial ideologies (Rose, 2009)[5].[6]

The two then proposed their hypothesis, namely that in

contrast with this troubling history, recent theory and research in the social sciences make it reasonable to consider the possibility that at least one core tenet of the theory of evolution has the potential to reduce prejudice and intergroup hostility—that is, the idea that human beings have developed from other animals.[7]

Illogic on Display

How the logic of the belief that “human beings have developed from other animals” will  “reduce prejudice and intergroup hostility” escapes me.  The authors made no logical effort to explain their rationale. Logically, the belief that human beings have developed from other less evolved animals implies that some ‘races’ and people groups have evolved further from animals than others. This conclusion was a major reason why “Darwin’s theory of evolution has undoubtedly affected the way people think about race,” and has historically been used to perpetuate racism, and intergroup violence.[8] This observation of the authors has been well-documented and how they can claim it has the opposite effect is indefensible. Nonetheless, the authors attempt to provide the rationale as follows:

Individuals who believe that humans evolved from animals may feel a greater sense of common group identity with other species of animals …  and they may even feel more so with respect to other members of their own species… Consequently, they may have more empathy and positive attitudes toward people with different social identities.[9]

Opposite the Truth

This explanation is bizarre. The belief that I descended from lower animals, and you also descended from lower animals, and therefore I will have more empathy for you than if I believed we both descended from a common set of parents, makes no sense. The opposite is true, as has been well documented in history.[10] Likewise, it is illogical to believe the notion that all humans descended from one couple actually promotes racism and, in contrast, the belief that human beings have developed from other animals does not. The researchers then attempted to find a relationship between the belief that all humans are members of one race and racism, concluding from their research that

our findings indicated that when controlling for education level, religiosity, conservative political beliefs, family income, and gender, the belief that humans evolved from animals was consistently associated with less prejudice, less racist attitudes, and less support for discriminatory behaviors… disbelief in human evolution is the driving factor and most consistent predictor of prejudice in comparison to other relevant constructs.[11]

Ironically, the Syropoulos et al. paper argued for my position, writing that after the second World War and the Holocaust, social psychologists began attempting to understand the factors

that lead to prejudice, mass violence, and genocide, in the hope that these efforts would help prevent future atrocities. Of the many important scientific discoveries that explain the behavior of Nazis and their collaborators … one key mechanism seemed to be the tendency of Nazis to dehumanize their victims by comparing them to “lower” animals.[12]

The problem of dehumanizing by comparing them to “lower” animals applies to other persons besides Nazis, including the early American settlers/colonizers who

compared the indigenous peoples to savage animals, and years later justified enslaving Blacks by categorizing them as subhuman. In the Nanjing massacre, the Japanese compared the Chinese and Koreans to dogs and pigs. In the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu compared the Tutsi to cockroaches. The list of examples of dehumanization leading to hostility, violence, and genocide of outgroup members in human history, both ancient and modern, goes on and on.[13]

Twisting History

In response to this fact, Syropoulos et al. ironically conclude the solution is “to tackle the problem of dehumanization from a new direction” namely by teaching that we humans are animals” we will somehow be less prejudiced “toward people from other groups.”[14] The authors write that the primary reason people reject the animal ancestry of humans “is the fact that many religious worldviews offer a different explanation to the origin of human beings—for example, that they were created in the image of God.”[15]

Essentially, Syropoulos et al. argue the solution to the horrors they documented is to teach that we humans are animals; thus we somehow will then love one another, including other races, like we are all descended from one couple. This will work, they assume, towards a more harmonious society. I am absolutely lost as to how this is supposed to work, just like I do not understand how we can cure disease by administering the chemicals that cause the symptoms of the disease as taught by homeopathy.[16] Specially, homeopaths believe a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people can cure the actual illness. This doctrine is “like cures like” and, furthermore, they also teach that dilution increases potency of homeopath treatment. Homeopaths also believe that disease is caused by mysterious forces they call miasms.

Lie Goes Viral

The popular media has concluded from the Syropoulos et al. study that “A disbelief in human evolution was associated with higher levels of prejudice, racist attitudes and support of discriminatory behavior against Blacks, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.”[17]  Furthermore, the reason was, as Science Daily explains, “People who perceive themselves as more similar to animals are also people who tend to have more pro-social or positive attitudes toward outgroup members or people from stigmatized and marginalized backgrounds.”[18] A University Web site proclaimed that “a disbelief in human evolution was associated with higher levels of prejudice, racist attitudes and support of discriminatory behavior against Blacks, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.”[19]  The researchers imply that people who believe they were created by a loving God somehow, for some unknown and unexplainable reasons, have lower “pro-social or positive attitudes toward outgroup members or people from stigmatized and marginalized backgrounds.”[20]

Poor Methodology

To unravel any logic or evidence buried in the 30-page, small-print paper report is not easy, but some problems I noted include the fact relationships between their hypothesis and conclusion were often weak.[21] Another problem was the study being based on common assumptions in academia that are not based on fact. One example is the study covering not just ‘race’ but also LGBTQ behavior. Jews, Christians, and Muslims religions all teach that LGBTQ behavior is wrong, and we would expect many who accept their religion’s doctrines, as well as the questions asked, would be heavily influenced by these teachings. Evolutionists are less like to be involved in these religions, thus less likely to express negative thoughts about LGBTQ people. Even persons who have no animus against LGBTQ persons may answer questions in this area in such a way that may be interpreted as personal bias against them.

Another problem is that the study incorrectly assumes that homosexuals are born that way, rejecting clear evidence that this behavior is a result of life experiences, commonly boys being molested by a much older male. Even some people who self-label as heterosexual engage in homosexual behavior in bad circumstances, such as in prisons. Furthermore, those who self-label as homosexuals also engage in heterosexual behavior so often that the term bisexual is often used to describe them, or they may use this classification to describe themselves.

Terms Push Stereotypes

The study also uncritically used the term ‘homophobe’ which indicated they were repeating the common, and wrong, stereotype without any understanding of the issue. The term originally applied to a young male who was molested by an older man, usually involving victimizing at age 12, or as a young teen. In 2005, one study said that the number of young boys sexually molested by men is estimated to be as high as 1 in 6 of all males.[22] Pedophilia researchers use the term “sexual abuse” to describe experiences in which children are subjected to unwanted sexual contact involving force, threats, or a large age difference between the child and the other person which usually involves a large power differential, and thus clear exploitation.[23] The actual level may be greater than 1 out of 6, given that males are less likely to report sexual abuse than females.[24]

When I was employed at Arlington Psychology Associates, I was involved with clients who have a fear of being molested again, and many not only have a fear of homosexuals but of males in general.[25] Their aversion and fear is real and our society labels them as biased or worse.[26] This factor was not considered in the study, but no doubt it affected a significant percent of the males’ answers in this study. Another problem it appears that the study lumped broad categories of Muslims and Jews in with Christians. No effort was expended to evaluate the degree of faith and knowledge of those who were labeled creationists and evolutionists.

Summary

Syropoulos et al. identified prejudice as a problem, but proposed a solution involving more implementation of what actually caused the problem. They advised replacing the belief that we humans are all descended from the first couple, thus are all the same race, actually distant relatives, with the teaching we all evolved from animals. The belief that humans are animals probably causes some people to behave like animals. Their solution to attitudes caused by belief in Darwinism is to replace the belief that we humans are all descended from the first couple, thus are all the same race, with the teaching we all evolved from animals. This is pouring more gasoline on the fire: their solution is more indoctrination into what caused the problem in the first place!

After noting the harm Darwinism has caused society, professor Roszak in 1975 stated that Darwin’s goal was very clear: “The main purpose of Darwinism was to drive every last trace of an incredible God from biology. But the theory replaces the old God with an even more incredible deity — omnipotent chance.”[27]  Syropoulos and his associates concluded without evidence or logic that “teaching evolution seems to have side effects that might make for a better or more harmonious society.”

Ed. comment: It’s astonishing what “peer review” lets clearly biased activists get away with in the name of science. As could be expected, this pack of lies comes out of the evolutionary sociology and evolutionary psychology departments.

References

[1] Stylianos Syropoulos and Bernhard Leidner, “Bigotry and the human–animal divide: (Dis)belief in human evolution and bigoted attitudes across different cultures,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 17 February 2022, p. 1, https://www.umass.edu/news/article/disbelief-human-evolution-linked-greater-prejudice-and-racism.

[2] Helfand, J. (2020). Darwin, expression and the lasting legacy of eugenics. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/darwin- expression-and-the-lasting-legacy-of-eugenics/

[3] Kendi, I. X. (2017). Stamped from the beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America. Nation Books.

[4] Weikart, R. (2004). From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary ethics, eugenics, and racism in Germany. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/ 978-1-137-10986-6

[5] Rose, S. (2009). Darwin, race and gender. EMBO Reports, 10(4), 297–298. https://doi.org/10.1038/embor.2009.40

[6] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 1.

[7] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 1.

[8] Syropoulos, et al., 2022.

[9] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 2.

[10] Bergman, J.,  Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview: How the Nazi Eugenic Crusade for a Superior Race Caused the Greatest Holocaust in World History, Joshua Press, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, 2012; and The Darwin Effect: Its Influence on Nazism, Eugenics, Racism, Communism, Capitalism & Sexism, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2014.

[11] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 10.

[12] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 2.

[13] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 2.

[14] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 2.

[15] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 2

[16] Maddox, J., J. Randi,  and W. Stewart, “‘High-dilution’ experiments a delusion,”  Nature 334(6180): 287–291, 1988.

[17] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 2.

[18] Science Daily. 2022. Disbelief in human evolution linked to greater prejudice and racism. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220404164604.htm Shillington, P., “Disbelief in human evolution linked to greater prejudice and racism,”.

[19] University of Massachusetts Amherst, 4 April 2022, https://www.umass.edu/news/article/disbelief-human-evolution-linked-greater-prejudice-and-racism?msclkid=7fcc8429b67311ec99a7f43081cd15b2.

[20] University of Massachusetts Amherst, 4 April 2022.

[21] Syropoulos, et al., 2022, p. 10.

[22] Dube, S.R., R.F. Anda, C.L. Whitfield, et al. Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim, American Journal of Preventive Medicine 28(5):430-438, June 2005.

[23] Holmes, W.C., and G.B., Slap, Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae, and management, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 280(21):1855-1862, December 1998.

[24] Holmes, G.R., L. Offen, and G. Waller, See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review 17(1):69-88, 1997.

[25] Widom, C. S. 1999. Posttraumatic stress disorder in abused and neglected children grown up. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1223-1229.

[26] Widom, C.S., Posttraumatic stress disorder in abused and neglected children grown up, American Journal of Psychiatry 156(8):1223-1229, August 1999.

[27] Roszak, Theodore 1975. Unfinished Animal. New York: Harper & Row. p. 102.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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