Re: Social Problems and evolution

Russell Maatman (
Sat, 28 Feb 1998 09:30:12 -0600

George Murphy wrote on Saturday, February 28, 1998 6:52 AM
> Steven Schimmrich wrote:

(I seem not to have received this message of Steve's--Russ)

> > At 05:15 PM 2/27/98 -0600, Russell Maatman wrote:
> > >
> > >In my original article, posted in five parts (A to E), I was using the
> > >complaints about species-ism as only one example of what can arise
when one
> > >accepts human descent from animals. Other bad things can flow from
> > >human evolution. My family observed this when we lived in Mississippi
> > >the late fifties and early sixties. I taught at the University of
> > >Mississippi. The University students were radical--but not today's
kind of
> > >radical. They were radical racists. And so it was no particular
> > >surprise--although extremely upsetting--to read (citing a
> > >anthropologist) in the student newspaper that blacks evolved several
> > >hundred thousand years after whites, and so of course blacks were
> > >I cannot demonstrate it, of course, but I have a strong suspicion that
> > >the world racism rests on the perception of different levels among
> > >beings, and that teaching human evolution has (unwittingly, I am sure)
> > >reinforced that idea. I am NOT saying that your average racist is a
> > >conscious evolutionist. But this average racist has some unexamined
> > >assumptions, and it seems to me that were opposition to human
evolution "in
> > >the air," instead of the opposite, fewer people would have those bad
> > >unexamined assumptions and, as a result, we would have less racism.
> >
> > I think this is nonsense. Religious belief in the historicity of
> > has also been used to justify racism because of the curse of Ham in
> > 9:25. There are no "different" evolutionary levels among human beings
> > we all belong to the same species (we can mate and produce fertile
> > Some of the strongest opponents of the idea of using evolution to
> > racism are evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould (e.g. read his book
> > Mismeasure of Man").
> IMO Steve is completely correct. Furthermore, it's clear that,
> historically, racist attitudes among Americans were around long before
> human evolution was taken seriously by anyone. Of course if one is a
> racist one can use use evolution, or Genesis 9, or whatever seems
> authoritative, to justify it. & those evolution or the Bible can blame
> those things for racism. But these are quite different from showing any
> causak connection. _Post hoc ergo propter hoc_ is still a logical
> fallacy.

Of course it is still a logical fallacy. But how about insisting that
people are equal for a truly fundamental reason, namely, that they all bear
the image of God and that they are all image-bearers because they are
descendants of the first pair given that image, Adam and Eve? Might not
that approach help a bit in combatting racism?


Russell Maatman
Home: 401 5th Avenue
Sioux Center, IA 51250