But we will discuss Eugenics now. Charles Darwin's work was the key component to the idea of Eugenics - an excuse for racism and genocide:
Darwin was indeed a ‘Social Darwinist’
Published: 18 May 2007, 18 March 2009(GMT+10)
While more sober minds see a clear line between Darwin’s ideas and many of the horrible social experiments of the twentieth century, including Nazism, defenders of Darwin argue that at best there is no connection, or at worst any such episodes are aberrations or perversions of what Darwin believed.
But is that the case? Most people are not even aware of the full title of his 1859 masterwork: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. That last half of the title, often overlooked, sounds like it could come straight out of a Ku Klux Klan manual. (Radar note: My copy of this tome includes the full title and it was a turn-of-the-19th-to-20th-Century publication. It isn't like Darwin and his publishers had any qualms about the implications as the 20th Century started. Just consider the blatant racism of Woodrow Wilson and the widespread popularity of Hitler amongst American liberal elites in the 1930's!)
A very interesting article appeared lately in the decidedly liberal religious journal Commonweal, taking on this notion of the ‘gentle Darwin’.1 The anti-creationist Peter Quinn argues in that Darwin was not quite so squeaky clean when it comes to dangerous social implications of his theory.
Quinn argues that Darwin’s biological theory had very real ramifications for social theory. Says Quinn:
‘Adrian Desmond and James Moore in their 1991 biography, Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, make clear that natural selection was intended as more than a theory of life’s origins. “‘Social Darwinism’ is often taken to be something extraneous, an ugly concretion added to the pure Darwinian corpus after the event, tarnishing Darwin’s image,” they write. “But his notebooks make plain that competition, free trade, imperialism, racial extermination, and sexual inequality were written into the equation from the start—Darwinism was invented to explain human society.”’Indeed, the whole ugly world of eugenics needs to be seen for what it really is: very much an outgrowth of Darwinian thought. As Quinn notes:
‘Darwin played a prime role in bringing about a fateful confusion between cultural and racial differences, conferring new scientific authority and intellectual legitimacy on theories of human inferiority central to eugenics, the most destructive medical movement in history.’Indeed, ‘by the time Darwin published the second edition of The Descent of Man in 1874, he had added Francis Galton’s eugenic theories and Herbert Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” social philosophy to the mix, calling Hereditary Genius, Galton’s treatise on the biological nature of intelligence and moral character, “remarkable” and Spencer “our greatest philosopher”.’
Note that Galton, the Father of Eugenics, was Darwin’s first cousin, and indebted to his theories.
‘Darwin’s work is filled with references to the work of those involved in creating a radical new “scientific” justification for labeling races, classes, and individuals as “inferior”. … Darwin writes in The Descent of Man that “a most important obstacle in civilized countries to an increase in the number of men of a superior class” is the tendency of society’s “very poor and reckless”, who are “often degraded by vice”, to increase faster than “the provident and generally virtuous members”.’Writing in a manner in which even Hitler would be proud, Darwin made it quite clear that certain races are to be preferred over others. Says Quinn:
‘All races, as it turns out, descend from the same ancestor but some are more descended than others. “I do not think that the Rev. Mr. Zincke takes an exaggerated view,” Darwin declares, “when he says: ‘All other series of events—as that which resulted in the culture of mind in Greece, and that which resulted in the empire of Rome—only appear to have purpose and value when viewed in connection with, or rather as subsidiary to … the great stream of Anglo-Saxon emigration to the west.’”’
Photo Wikipedia.orgFrancis Galton in 1850s or early 1860s
‘Sounding more like Colonel Blimp than Lieutenant Columbo, Darwin envisions a far grimmer future for races or sub-species less fit than the Anglo-Saxon. “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world,” he predicts. “At the same time the anthropological apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state … even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.”’
‘Darwin is cavalier about the extermination of lesser breeds. He estimates that minimal force will be required, for “when civilized nations come into contact with barbarians the struggle is short, except where a deadly climate gives its aid to the native race.”’His followers were quite happy to run with such ideas, and Darwin would not seem to disapprove. Consider his son:
‘In 1912, in his presidential address to the First International Congress of Eugenics, a landmark gathering in London of racial biologists from Germany, the United States, and other parts of the world, Major Leonard Darwin, Charles Darwin’s son, trumpeted the spread of eugenics and evolution. As described by Nicholas Wright Gillham in his A Life of Francis Galton, Major Darwin foresaw the day when “eugenics would become not only a grail, a substitute for religion, as Galton had hoped, but a ‘paramount duty’ whose tenets would presumably become enforceable.” The major repeated his father’s admonition that, though the crudest workings of natural selection must be mitigated by “the spirit of civilization”, society must encourage breeding among the best stock and prevent it among the worst “without further delay”.’Concludes Quinn:
‘Educated at the best schools, winners in a global competition that has driven anonymous millions to the wall, the Gentle Darwinians’ effort to turn Charles Darwin into the sainted founder of a humanist creed undoubtedly reflects their own high position in today’s world order. But unlike their Victorian predecessors, they prefer a Darwin devoid of his social theories and his role in linking evolution with rank prejudice.’
It is time Darwin is taken off his pedestal and treated to rigorous and penetrating scrutiny. Numerous works have been penned on this subject. Richard Weikart’s From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany would be a good place to begin for those who are really interested in such matters. The truth is, bad ideas have bad consequences, and Darwin had his fair share of them.
No doubt Darwinists will throw out their famous "Godwin's Law" but that is a coward's way out of a discussion. There is no questioning the link between Darwin and Eugenics and organized racism on a national scale. Darwin made racism and Atheism socially acceptable among elites and certainly, at a time when Christians were getting slavery eradicated in the Western World, Darwinist were promoting the other side of the coin.
With Darwinism as an excuse, people of color were killed and stuffed, or jailed in zoo exhibits or led around like animals to be displayed. Western society had an excuse for racism and well over 100 million (no one knows for sure how much more. 140 million? 160 million?) people of color or people with disabilities and people of different heritage like Jews, for instance, were slaughtered by Fascist and Communist governments. Then there were the tens of thousands that were sterilized and subjected to terrible experiments. Nazis, Communists, European royals, Americans...the list of the death-dealers is long and shameful.
Charles Darwin certainly learned hypocrisy from his father and was inspired to find a way to fight against God and creation by his grandfather, Erasmus.
Erasmus Darwin’s famous grandson learned early about evolution.
As we have often pointed out, evolutionists do not have any facts that are unavailable to creationists—it is how these facts are interpreted that is significant, and it is ideology which largely determines the interpretation. Charles Darwin himself said, ‘How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!’2
So we need to carefully consider the influences on Darwin’s mindset before he set out aboard the Beagle on his round-the-world trip in 1831. The key to understanding how he was predisposed to interpreting facts in favour of an evolutionary ideology goes back to the beliefs, writings and role model of his grandfather, Erasmus.
Scientist, inventor and doctor
He began his chosen profession of medicine at Lichfield in 1756. His reputation as a physician was established when he saved the life of a young man from a prominent local family, whom other doctors had declared to be incurable. Because his cures were ‘unfashionably frequent’ his practice gradually became the largest in the English Midlands. King George III asked him to become his personal physician in London, but Erasmus declined.
In about 1766, he co-founded the Lunar Society—a social club for the great scientists, industrialists and natural philosophers of his day. It has been called ‘the think tank of the Industrial Revolution’ and was the most famous English scientific society of the eighteenth century, after the Royal Society. Members included James Watt (of steam-engine fame), Joseph Priestley (the discoverer of oxygen), William Murdoch (the inventor of gas-lighting), Josiah Wedgwood (the great potter) and Samuel Galton (a wealthy industrialist). Others in America linked to the Society included Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
Epicure, free-thinker and poetHis love of food (particularly fruits, sugar, cream and butter)4 was matched by his dislike of exercise, and by the age of 46 he had grown so corpulent that a semi-circle had to be cut out of his dining table to accommodate his girth at meal times. Married twice, he sired 12 Darwin offspring and, in between marriages, a further two (known) illegitimate daughters by a Miss Parker. These girls were raised in his home with his other children, and later were the inspiration for a lengthy tract by Erasmus on female education.5
Erasmus was anti-Christianity, anti-slavery, and pro the American and French Revolutions. An outstanding poet, he often wrote his opinions and scientific ideas in verse, the most notable of which were The Botanic Garden (published in two parts, 1789, 1791), which consisted of 4,384 lines of perfectly rhyming couplets, and The Temple of Nature (published posthumously in 1803).
Evolution à la ErasmusErasmus first tentatively suggested the idea of evolution in 1770. His family coat of arms featured three scallop shells, and to these he added the Latin words E Conchis omnia (‘everything from shells’). He had this motto painted on his carriage to publicize his theory ‘without anyone noticing’. However, notice they did. Canon Seward of Lichfield Cathedral wrote some satirical verses of his own, complaining that Darwin …
‘… renounces his Creator
And forms all sense from senseless matter.
Great wizard he! by magic spells
Can all things raise from cockle shells.’8
To avoid offending his rich patients, Erasmus painted over the motto on his carriage, and instead put it on his bookplate (1771).
In the next two decades, Erasmus was emboldened to state more and more of his evolutionary ideas. In The Economy of Vegetation (1792), he proclaimed that the earth was formed from a cosmological explosion:
‘When high in ether, with explosion direIn The Botanic Garden, he said that life began in the sea and progressively developed from there:
From the deep craters of his realms of fire,
The Whirling Sun this ponderous planet hurl’d,
And gave the astonish’d void another world.’9
‘Organic Life beneath the shoreless wavesHis major work, Zoonomia or the Laws of Organic Life (two volumes, 1794 and 1796), was a huge medical treatise in prose, which included a comprehensive classification of diseases and treatments. Within 10 years, four British and two American editions appeared, and it was translated into German, French and Italian. It has been called ‘the first consistent all-embracing hypothesis of evolution’, and was published some 65 years before Charles published his version of evolution in On the Origin of Species in 1859.
Was born and nurs’d in Ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And, breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.’10
Erasmus said that ‘millions of ages [i.e. thousands of millions of years] before the commencement of the history of mankind … all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which The Great First Cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts … and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down those improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end!’ (I:505)11 Later, in The Temple of Nature, Erasmus extends this to read: ‘“all vegetables and animals now existing were originally derived from the smallest microscopic ones, formed by spontaneous vitality” in primeval oceans.’11 And he says:
‘man …Erasmus tried to appease the church-going culture of his day by referring to ‘The Great First Cause’, highlighted in capitals, but quickly affirmed that, once started, evolution needs no divine help, but proceeds ‘by its own inherent ability’. He was strongly anti-Christian, and included ‘Credulity, Superstitious Hope, and the Fear of Hell in his catalogue of diseases.’13
Should eye with tenderness all living forms,
His brother-emmets [i.e. ants], and his sister-worms.’12
These ideas were widely denounced by writers such as the great poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who coined the term ‘darwinizing’, meaning speculating wildly, in reference to Erasmus’s evolutionary ideas.14 The Temple of Nature was generally condemned for its ‘total denial of any interference of a Deity’ and he was further assailed for trying ‘to substitute the religion of nature for the religion of the Bible’.15
Erasmus’s influence on CharlesAlthough Erasmus died seven years before Charles was born, Charles grew up in a household where his father, Robert, had imbibed Erasmus’s ‘free-thinking’ (materialist), anti-Christian ideas. So disbelief was an acceptable trait within the Darwin family—perceived not as ‘a moral crisis or rebellion’, but perhaps even as ‘a filial duty’.16
Charles read and ‘greatly admired’ Zoonomia when he was 18. Years later, when faced with the same sort of censure as Erasmus had faced, Charles tried to disown his grandfather’s book,17 claiming that, ‘on reading it a second time after an interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much disappointed; the proportion of speculation being so large to the facts given’.18 Nevertheless, in 1837, when Charles began writing his ideas in a notebook, he inscribed the word Zoonomia on the title page ‘to signal that he was treading the same path as his grandfather’.19
One of Charles’s chief arguments for evolution is based on the shape of the beaks of finches in response to the types of food available that he saw in the Galápagos Islands in 1835. Is it credible to think that he had not been influenced by what Erasmus had written on the subject? Namely: ‘Some birds have acquired harder beaks to crack nuts, as the parrot. Others have acquired beaks adapted to break the harder seeds, as sparrows. Others for the softer seeds of flowers, or the buds of trees, as the finches. Other birds have acquired long beaks … and others broad ones … . All … gradually produced during many generations by the perpetual endeavour of the creatures to supply the want of food (I:504).’20
So, Erasmus cast a long shadow which, via his grandson, has made atheism intellectually respectable and changed the worldview of Western mankind from belief in the Creator God to the worship of humanistic hedonism, free from any sense of accountability to the God who is ‘Judge of all the earth’ (Genesis 18:25).
The message for us today is to consider what we pass on to our children and grandchildren. We have the responsibility to teach them the true biblical worldview, which is foundational, not only to our need for salvation, but also to the way of it—through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in His death and Resurrection. This will give meaning to their lives, so that they need not flounder in the sea of uncertainty of a man-made anti-God theory, which is now ‘the big lie’ of 21st-century thinking.
References and notes
- Much of this article is based on King-Hele, D., Erasmus Darwin, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1963. Return to text.
- Barlow, N., The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Collins, London, p. 161, 1958, which quotes Charles’s letter to Henry Fawcett (1861). Return to text.
- Colliers Encyclopedia 7:724, 1994. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 34. Return to text.
- A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools, 1797. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 73, which quotes The Temple of Nature (I:295–302). Return to text.
- This is Erasmus’s version of embryonic recapitulation, a concept which Haeckel fraudulently developed as ‘the biogenetic law’, now known to be totally false. See Grigg, R., Ernst Haeckel: Evangelist for evolution and apostle of deceit, Creation 18(2):33–36, 1996. Return to text.
- King-Hele, D., The furtive evolutionist, New Scientist 2390:48–49, 12 April 2003. Return to text.
- www.rochester.edu/College/ENG/eng529/aeza/darwin.htm, 28 August 2003. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 73. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 71. Numbers in brackets refer to volume and page number in the first edition of Zoonomia. (Ref. 1, p. 46). Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 90, which quotes The Temple of Nature IV:427–28. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, pp. 55, 171. Return to text.
- Nichols, A., Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802), www.dickinson.edu/~nicholsa/Romnat/erasdar.htm, 25 September 2003. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 137. Return to text.
- Brentnall, J. and Grigg, R., Darwin’s slippery slide into unbelief, Creation 18(1):34–37, 1995, who quote Himmelfarb, G., Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Chatto and Windus, London, p. 10, 1959. Return to text.
- Towards the end of his life, Charles relented and wrote a biography of Erasmus, The Life of Erasmus Darwin (1880); he allowed his daughter Henrietta to edit this, and she removed 16%, which she thought too salacious for Victorian readers. Return to text.
- Charles Darwin’s Autobiography (edited by Sir Francis Darwin), Henry Schuman, New York, p. 21, 1950. Return to text.
- Desmond, A. and Moore, J., Darwin, Penguin Books, London, p. 229, 1992. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 70. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, pp. 88, 94. Return to text.
― Francis Bacon
― Francis Bacon
― Francis Bacon