Michael Craven Christian Blog and Commentary

James Watson is Not a Racist; He’s a Darwinist!

In a recent interview with London’s The Sunday Times, noted scientist, James Watson set off an international firestorm when he was quoted as saying that he is “inherently gloomy about the prospects of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours…” Watson then added that he would like for everyone to be equal, but “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true.”

Watson is not being bigoted in the sense that he is expressing a personal prejudice against black people. In fact, he is being quite “reasonable” given his evolutionary beliefs about the nature of man and reality. According to Watson, “There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.” (James D. Watson, Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science, Knopf, 2007)

James Watson is not some marginal quack operating on the fringes of the scientific community. In 1953, he and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA—one of the single most important discoveries of the 20th century for which they shared the 1962 Nobel Prize. The fact is Watson is one of the most important scientists of our age and what he inadvertently revealed is Darwinism’s dark secret: evolutionary ethics.

The fact is, if nature is the ultimate and final reality and there is no God then Watson is absolutely correct in his condemnation of what he believes are lesser evolved peoples. What few evolutionists are willing to admit is that if time and chance are the truth of human existence and reality, then everything that we have come to believe about morality and ethics is completely wrong. Darwinism places all human phenomena, including ethics and morality, under the sway of the laws of nature.

Early advocates of evolution clearly understood the profound moral implications of Darwin’s theory. Robby Kossmann, a German zoologist who later became a medical professor wrote in an 1880 essay:

The Darwinian worldview must look upon the present sentimental conception of the value of the life of a human individual as an overestimate completely hindering the progress of humanity. The human state … must reach an even higher level of perfection, if the possibility exists in it, through the destruction of the less well-endowed individual, for the more excellently endowed to win space for the expansion of its progeny. … The state only has an interest in preserving the more excellent life at the expense of the less excellent.

As repugnant as these statements may be, they were nonetheless the consensus among those who understood and embraced Darwin’s new idea. By the early 20th century, these ideas were wildly popular throughout Europe and America.

In fact, the prestigious biological research lab at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island where Watson served as the past director and current chancellor is described as one that has “deep connections to Darwinian racism of years gone by.” A report states that, “Early in the twentieth century it was the headquarters for one of the most virulent American eugenics groups, the Eugenics Record Office, which promoted forced sterilization and opposed immigration to America by ethnic groups considered lower on the evolutionary scale than Anglo-Saxon whites.”

Francis Galton, cousin to Charles Darwin and founder of the eugenics movement wrote:

This is precisely the object of eugenics. Its first object is to check the birth rate of the Unfit, instead of allowing them to come into being … The second object is the improvement of the race by furthering the productivity of the Fit…

Following discovery of Nazi Germany’s monstrous eugenics program carried out at places like Auschwitz and Treblinka, the public’s support for social Darwinism and the eugenics movement dropped dramatically. However, it did not disappear; it merely retreated back into the world of academia and elsewhere where it still remains a dominant view among the so-called intellectual elite. The most obvious expression of this today is found in such programs as the United Nation’s population control efforts that are focused almost exclusively on the underdeveloped African nations.  

However, in light of evolutionary theories these views cannot be dismissed as moral aberrations. These views are perfectly consistent with Darwinism in which the highest moral good becomes, by necessity, evolutionary progress. Therefore anyone thought not to represent the height of human evolution is deemed inferior or unequal. We find racism loathsome because it violates the Judeo-Christian conception of human dignity. Racism is a meaningful moral concept only when it is placed within the Christian worldview. However, if human beings are merely products of time and chance then the Judeo-Christian conception of human dignity is not only “unnatural,” it actually runs counter to evolutionary principles.    

According to the theories, there are significant evolutionary differences between the races, and essentially the race that was closer to apes (Blacks, according to Darwin) was less intelligent and inherently inferior to whites. Darwin stated, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.” Of course this ignores decades of research suggesting that race is not a meaningful concept and that there is no biological basis for race. This underscores the biblical position of only one race, the human race.

The aforementioned is often referred to as “scientific racism”—a term intended to convey the idea that such interpretations of Darwinism are obsolete—however, from an evolutionary perspective, it is no more racist than regarding an ape as being superior to slug. Since evolutionists regard all human distinctions, intellectual or otherwise, as purely biological, these are simply two species on different rungs of the evolutionary ladder. If you believe in evolution, you simply cannot think otherwise and remain logically consistent with the evolutionary explanation of reality.

However, if you accept the truth of our origins as revealed in Scripture then you have a moral and ethical system in which all human life is equally valuable regardless of our differences. You simply cannot deny the Creator and keep the Creator’s morality. You cannot eliminate God and hope to maintain intrinsic human rights to life and equality. As one Darwinian ethicist put it, “An ethic consistent with Darwin’s theory knows no natural or innate rights…”

© 2007 by S. Michael Craven

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S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal and discipleship within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to recapture and demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.battlefortruth.org

Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.

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