Re: Evolution and Racism

Russ Maatman (
Fri, 16 Aug 1996 11:37:18 -0500 (CDT)

To the ASA group:

Bill Frix makes an interesting point:

> First, let me say that I do not think I am a racist. I am of the
> opinion that sinners come in all colors as do persons seeking to live
> righteously. Since God judges us by our hearts and not by our skin
> color, there is no place for racism in the Church nor should there be
> in the hearts of Christians.
> Having said that, I have a problem I would like the evolutionary
> specialists to discuss. It has been bothering me for some time. The
> problem is this: without a doubt, human beings are of different
> races. Since our physical characteristics are dependent (as I
> understand it) on our genetic structure, it appears that there are
> differing genetic species of human beings. In my simple
> understanding, that leads to two possibilities (from an atheistic
> evolutionary perspective): either multiple species evolved
> independent of each other or one species adapted (evolved) to
> differing conditions.
> The former option gives me problems of interracial relationships,
> thereby justifying those organizations/sects who prohibit
> interracial relationships on the basis of cross-species separation
> (Leviticus 19:19). The latter option makes me uncomfortable because,
> since the supposed first appearance of humanity occurred in Africa or
> Asia (I don't which came first), people like the Ku Klux Klan could
> claim that "white folks" were evolutionary descendents of another
> race, hence evolutionary superior. This would be akin to the
> evolution and breeding of dogs. As I understand it, dogs that have
> a random breeding tend to look alike - looking like the dingos of
> Australia - while selective breeding gives the unique characteristics
> of the differing species. From my understanding of evolutionary
> processes, the differing environments between the northern continents
> and the tropical regions provided the "selective breeding" impetus.
> This is not a Christian perspective, that one race is superior to
> another. Of course, the creationist approach would be that God chose to
> create persons of differing characteristics, whether that occurred in
> the genetic structure of Adam or at the Tower of Babel or Noah's
> curse.
> In summary, I have problems with the atheistic evolutionary approach
> because, no matter how you try to explain it, the approach leads to a
> racist position. What is the evolutionary explanation of my
> dilemma?
In my 1993 book, *The Impact of Evolutionary Theory*, I discussed the
same question. We lived in Mississippi in 1962, during the period of
great racial tension. At one point, a (student) newspaper article at
The University of Mississippi, where I taught, pointed out that blacks
were inferior because they evolved long after whites; so, of course,
they should be considered "lower." Racists there liked to quote Anthropologist
Carlton Coon, who said some very controversial things in his books.

I believe that the Bible teaches all human beings descended from Adam
and Eve. Whatever changes occurred since Adam and Eve, no one may claim
that one group of human beings got a head start.


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Russell Maatman 401 Fifth Ave. SE
Dordt College Sioux Center, Iowa 51250
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250 Home phone: (712) 722-0421