How Racism Has Been Shaped by Evolutionary Ideas.
Racism has been perpetuated falsely by evolutionary ideas throughout history. Since the beginning of intelligent life mankind has discriminated against others of it’s own species. The “in group” mentality may be a genetic psychological trait. However, evolutionary theory has been used to justify unfair treatment of certain groups. Literature and other forms of influence have used evolutionary ideas to perpetuate racism. The ideas of Charles Darwin and other respected evolutionists have been misconstrued to serve the racist hate of many leaders, writers and clergy.
Given that species evolved over time. Darwin strove to deduce a means by which descent with modification might occur. He cleverly named his mechanism natural selection, because it was familiar to anyone acquainted with the breeding of domestic stock, dogs or horses, for this was the insight that showed Darwin how the whole mechanism of evolution might operate. Although nothing was known of modern genetics, DNA, or chromosomes, it was apparent to most that offspring often inherited the characteristics, physical and mental, of their parents. Darwin’s most convincing proof of his theory, to many readers, was the evidence of breeding practices that were put into use every day, with important consequences.
In summary, Darwin claimed that as some horses are selected by their owners for breeding because they are faster runners, and some cows for their higher yield of milk, so too do the different variations in physique or ability among a wild species sometimes enhance or damage the reproductive success of particular individuals. It was a commonplace in Darwin’s day that any good horseman looks for the best stallion to breed to his prize mare, hoping that their offspring will enjoy the best qualities of each. Advertisements for the services of particular stallions appeared regularly in newspapers in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, In fact, the benefit of selective breeding was so irrefutable, that English mares had been segregated from stallions except for planned breedings since the 1100s (Shipman, Pg. 21).
Darwin could see that his natural selection would fuel the process of adaptation to differing habitats by differential survival and reproduction-this group living in a more arid area than that one, or the one population coping with denser vegetation than the other. Adaptations would, of course, be manifested physically, in longer or shorter limbs, thicker of thinner fur, more pointed of blunter beaks, and so on, each set of traits typifying a different group according to it’s ecological niche.
If this were so, then the process of evolution occurred over vast amounts of time. If this were so, there ought to be intermediates, traditional forms, species caught in the act of evolving from one thing to another. Where was this ” infinitude of interconnecting links”? Darwin mulled over this stumbling block for a long time. Eventually he came to believe that most of these transitional species of populations would have been exterminated, because the linking populations would be by definition less well adapted than their adaptive neighbors, whose superior numbers and more suitable adaptations would overwhelm the intermediates, It was to be expected that the links would be missing, Darwin concluded contentedly. Once the intermediates or links were destroyed, what was left formed a diverse array of separate species, all sufficiently similar to be grouped into a single genus and each beautifully adapted to its habitat, Time and natural selection are the only two prerequisites.
Darwin never imagined that his idea would influence so many racist ideas. It was simply meant to explain how so many organisms came to be. He simply had a theory that hereditary modification was possible. However, the future held that several people would use his theory to perpetuate their hatred for others. People would use evolutionary theory to ease the guilt of enslavement and murder. Darwin did not intend this to happen. Perhaps, it was inevitable. In fact, Darwin stated that there is no living less evolved species. He wrote that any intermediaries would become extinct due to the better-adapted species winning resources. Therefore, only the best-adapted species have survived and currently inhabit the earth.
The first of several examples is the African. Imported as slaves, treated as property to be bought and