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Ripping Out Racism By Its Roots

By Ken Ham
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #35, 2000.

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Ken Ham


Do the books and curriculum your children study use terms like "survival of the fittest" and "millions of years of human evolution?"

If so, your children may be unconsciously picking up attitudes that could negatively affect how they view others.

According to the Bible, all humans on earth today descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve (Gen. 1-11). But today we have many different groups, often called "races," with what seem to be greatly-differing features. The most obvious of these is skin color.

Many see this as a reason to doubt the Bible's record of history. They believe that the various groups could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years.

However, as we shall see, this does not follow from the biological evidence.

There is really only one race - the human race. The Bible teaches us that God has "made of one blood all nations of men" (Acts 17:26). Scripture distinguishes people by tribal or national groupings - in other words, as relatively small kinship groups or larger cultural groups - not by skin color or physical features. Clearly, though, there are groups of people who have certain features in common which distinguish them from other groups. We prefer to call them "people groups," rather than "races," to avoid the evolutionary connotations associated with the word "race."

Your students will likely be surprised when you tell them that, in the 1800s, before Darwinian evolution was popularized, most people, when talking about "races," were referring to such groups as the "English race," "Irish race," and so on.

However, this all changed when Charles Darwin published his book. Note its name: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

Darwinian evolutionism was (and still is) inherently a racist philosophy, teaching that different groups or "races" of people evolved at different times and rates. The not-so-hidden inference is that some groups are supposedly more like their apelike ancestors than others. Thanks to evolutionary teaching, the Aborigines, in my homeland of Australia, for instance, were considered to be the missing links between an apelike ancestor and the rest of mankind.1 This resulted in terrible prejudices and injustices towards the Australian Aborigines.2 Similarly, racist attitudes fueled by evolutionary thinking were largely responsible for an African pygmy actually being displayed, along with an orangutan, in a cage in the Bronx Zoo.3

A leading evolutionary spokesperson, Stephen Jay Gould, stated that "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory."4 As a result of Darwinian evolutionism, many people started thinking in terms of the different people groups around the world representing different "races," within the context of evolutionary philosophy. This has resulted in many people today having ingrained prejudices against certain other groups of people, whom they consciously or unconsciously think of as practically a different species from themselves.

All human beings in the world today, however, are scientifically classified as Homo sapiens sapiens. Scientists today must admit that, biologically, there really is only one race of humans. For instance, a scientist at the Advancement of Science Convention in Atlanta in 1997 stated, "Race is a social construct derived mainly from perceptions conditioned by events of recorded history, and it has no basic biological reality."5

Reporting on research conducted on the concept of race, the American ABC News science page stated, "More and more scientists find that the differences that set us apart are cultural, not racial. Some even say that the word 'race' should be abandoned because it's meaningless." The article went on to say that "we accept the idea of race because it's a convenient way of putting people into broad categories, frequently to suppress them . . . The most hideous example was provided by Hitler's Germany. And racial prejudice remains common throughout the world."6 No wonder - it's easy to see how "conveniently" racist conceptions fit with a "survival of the fittest" worldview.

"Racial" Differences

Some people think there must be different "races" of people because there appear to be major differences between various groups, such as skin color and eye shape. However, contradicting Darwin, virtually all modern scientists would now admit that the various people groups did not have separate origins - that, in the modern, revised evolutionary belief system, the different people groups did not each evolve from a different group of animals. Thus, they tacitly support the Biblical truth that all people groups have come from the same original population.

Of course, evolutionists believe that such groups as the Aborigines and the Chinese have had many tens of thousands of years of separation. Most people are convinced that there are such vast differences between groups that there had to be many years for these differences to somehow develop.

The truth, though, is that these so-called "racial characteristics" are only minor variations among the people groups. Scientists have found that if one were to take any two people from anywhere in the world, the basic genetic differences between these two people would typically be around 0.2 percent - even if they came from the same people group.7 But, these so-called "racial characteristics" that many think are major differences (skin color, eye shape, et cetera) account for only 6 percent of this 0.2 percent variation, which amounts to a mere 0.012 percent difference genetically.8

In other words, the so-called "racial" differences are absolutely trivial, biologically. Overall, there is more variation within any group than there is between one group and another. If a "white" person is looking for a tissue match for an organ transplant, for instance, the best match may come from a "black" person, and vice versa.

The ABC News science page stated, "What the facts show is that there are differences among us, but they stem from culture, not race."9 The only reason many people think these differences are major is because they've been brought up in a culture - steeped in evolutionary beliefs - that has taught them to see the differences this way.

Someone once said, "The way to change society is one person at a time." What a difference it makes to realize you share common ancestors with every person you meet - and not such a very long time ago, either! As a homeschool family, you have the privilege of both choosing your own curriculum and determining how it is taught. I urge you to use this opportunity to teach your children the truth - that Darwin was wrong and all men really are brothers.

Footnotes

  1. A.S. Brown, "Missing Links with Mankind in Early Dawn of History," New York Tribune, February 10, 1924, p. 11.
  2. Carl Wieland, "Darwin's Body Snatchers," Creation, vol. 14, no. 2, March-May 1992, p. 16-18.
  3. Jerry Bergman, "Ota Benga: The Man Who Was Put on Display in the Zoo!" Creation, vol. 16, no. 1, December 1993-February 1994, p. 48-50.
  4. Stephen Jay Gould, Ontology and Phylogeny (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard Press, 1977), p. 127-128.
  5. Robert Lee Holz, "Race Has No Basis in Biology, Researchers Say," Los Angeles Times article reprinted in the Cincinnati Enquirer, February 20, 1997, p. A3.
  6. "We're All the Same," American Broadcasting Corporation News, September 10, 1998, www.abcnews.com/sections/science/DyeHard/dye72.html.
  7. J.C. Gutin, "End of the Rainbow," Discover, November 1994, p. 72-73.
  8. Cameron and Wycoff, The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm, p. 277-285.
  9. "We're All the Same," ABC News, September 10, 1998.


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