Re: Social Problems and evolution

Steven Schimmrich (
Sat, 28 Feb 1998 11:02:38 -0500

At 09:30 AM 2/28/98 -0600, Russell Maatman wrote:
> George Murphy wrote on Saturday, February 28, 1998 6:52 AM
>> Steven Schimmrich wrote:
>>> I think this is nonsense. Religious belief in the historicity of
>>> Genesis has also been used to justify racism because of the curse of Ham
>>> in Genesis 9:25. There are no "different" evolutionary levels among human
>>> beings since we all belong to the same species (we can mate and produce
>>> fertile offspring). Some of the strongest opponents of the idea of using
>>> evolution to justify racism are evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould (e.g.
>>> read his book "The 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?

I think George and I, both being Christians, would agree wholeheartedly
that we are all made in God's image, that we are God's children, and that
God loves all of us regardless of our nonimportant physical characteristics
that get racists so worked up (e.g. skin color).

I think one could also argue that the prevailing paradigm of human evolution
-- namely that we all came out of Africa and had a black great, great grandmother
(the mitochondrial Eve) -- is more of a harmful idea to racism than the view
that we all descended from Adam and Eve (commonly pictured as lily white in all
of the illustrated story Bibles I've seen :). The Ku Klux Klan in the American
south considered, and still does, itself as a Christian organization and I'm
relatively sure that the majority of Klan members would be opposed to the idea
of evolution.

- Steve.

   Steven H. Schimmrich
   Physical Sciences Department (office)
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