Racism and Atheistic Evolution

August 2, 2010

One look at FooFoo tells me that she isn't exactly bred for brains

Which is smarter earth worms or cats? Which is easier to train dogs or butterflies? Which is safer to have around your kids a tiger or a Guinea pig? You can probably answer these questions no problem right? You classify each animal by species and assign certain traits to them as better or worse (or simply different depending on the situation). You could even look at differences within a species. For example, which is better with kids a pit bull or a black lab? Which is better at hunting a setter or a poodle? I am sure you can answer these just as well. You can take the color and shape of a dog and determine their fitness for certain jobs. Well in atheistic evolutionary thought, why not carry those same questions to humans? We are, after all, just another species. Why not classify each race according to their natural differences in terms of intelligence and physical skill? Now are you uncomfortable? Why?

Now, as a Christian, I am very uncomfortable with this transition from animals to humans. Why? Because I believe that humans are equal in the eyes of God (Galatians 3:28). I think that there is a fundamental difference between us and animals (namely the image of God). In other words, there is a strong case against racism from the Bible.But there is none from atheistic evolutionary thought.

If Humans are animals, why not classify and categorize them as such?

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19 Responses to “Racism and Atheistic Evolution”

  1. Jason Says:

    An appeal to emotion is a fallacy which uses the manipulation of the recipient’s emotions, rather than valid logic, to win an argument. The appeal to emotion fallacy uses emotions as the basis of an argument’s position without factual evidence that logically supports the major ideas endorsed by the elicitor of the argument. Also this kind of thinking may be evident in one who lets emotions and/or other subjective considerations influence one’s reasoning process.

  2. W. Vida Says:

    Hi Jason,

    Are you saying that racism is ok? Because I think this is an appeal to logic. Here it is:

    Premise 1: Racism is wrong
    Premise 2: Atheistic Evolution has no way to explain why racism is wrong
    Conclusion: Atheistic Evolution is lacking

    • Jason Says:

      The fact that you think this is an appeal to logic is even more saddening. Evolution is not a worldview, it’s a fact explained by science, ergo anything bad done in its name is completely irrelevant and does not affect its validity at all.

      It’s an appeal to emotion.

      • W. Vida Says:

        Hi Jason,

        The reason I used the qualifier “atheistic” evolution is that I was referring to the world view that says that we evolved from nothing and that there is no God or purpose beyond our current existence.

        I realize that evolution itself can be held by Theists and that many of my critiques do not work against Theistic evolution.

  3. Lars Simonsen Says:

    “Which is smarter earth worms or cats?”

    Learn punctuation.

    “which is better with kids a pit bull or a black lab?”

    I have a feeling you think the answer is obvious. It is not.

    “Well in atheistic evolutionary thought, why not carry those same questions to humans?”

    Yeah, why not? Humans are different.

    Who are a better soldier, a 5 year old girl or a 30 year old man?

    Who would you have as a nurse, a 90 year old ex rapist in a wheelchair or a 20 year old female athlete who sings gospel in her spare time?

    Maybe all humans are equal to your god, but that doesn’t mean that they are equal in the real world.

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi Lars,

      //Learn punctuation.//

      Touché. Every now and then the engineer in my bleeds into my writing. Things work better when my wife reads posts before I post.

      //I have a feeling you think the answer is obvious. It is not.//

      Really? Ok. My point is that most people are happy to make that assessment (true or not).

      //Yeah, why not? Humans are different.//

      Humans are animals right?

      //Who are a better soldier, a 5 year old girl or a 30 year old man?//

      I am focusing on race here.

      //Who would you have as a nurse, a 90 year old ex rapist in a wheelchair or a 20 year old female athlete who sings gospel in her spare time?//

      Again the focus is race not age or behavioral history. We are happy to judge dogs by their heritage, coloring, and genetics….why not humans..

      //Maybe all humans are equal to your god, but that doesn’t mean that they are equal in the real world.//

      Yes it does. Humans are equal. Do you suggest that we restrict voting, for example, to people with a certain IQ?

      • Lars Simonsen Says:

        “I am focusing on race here.”

        So who’s the racist?

        “Humans are equal. Do you suggest that we restrict voting, for example, to people with a certain IQ?”

        No they’re not. Do you suggest that we should not restrict voting, for example, to people with a certain age?

      • W. Vida Says:

        Hi Lars,

        Putting age aside, would you like to have an IQ requirement for voting? Why not?

      • W. Vida Says:

        Hi Lars,

        //“I am focusing on race here.”

        So who’s the racist?//

        You would have to have not read the rest of this discussion to interpret it this way. This whole line of discussion has been:

        “As a Christian I am not a racist because my holy book tells me that racism is wrong….why are atheists not racists?”

        Are you saying that any person that discusses (or “focuses on”) race is a racist? Was MLK Jr a racist by your definition?

  4. David Says:

    Exactly, our whole society relies on the fact that humans are not equal at everything.

    I think the OP means we will start killing people and being racist *facepalm*

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi David,

      Are you saying that it is ok to assess the level of equality based on genetic heritage like we do with dogs?

      I think such an idea is sick because of my religion.

  5. David Says:

    ‘Premise 1: Racism is wrong
    Premise 2: Atheistic Evolution has no way to explain why racism is wrong
    Conclusion: Atheistic Evolution is lacking’

    What terrible logic.

    Premise 1: Some people like cheese
    Premise 2: The ten commandments do not explain why some people like cheese
    Conclusion: the ten commandments are lacking.

    You can’t just put two random ideas together to disprove one of them.

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi David,

      //Premise 1: Some people like cheese
      Premise 2: The ten commandments do not explain why some people like cheese
      Conclusion: the ten commandments are lacking.//

      You are missing the parallel here and perhaps that is my fault for not being explicit enough. I don’t think that an atheist has an explanation for why atheism is wrong. In contrast, the adherent to the 10 commandments can explain why (and prove that) some people like cheese. There is a separate source of data that I can appeal to. I am ok with atheists appealing to some other source of morality and human rights. Typically “evolved morals” are appealed to and that is what I engaged here.

  6. Lars Simonsen Says:

    The study of evolution can help us learn where morality comes from, how and when it works for our benefit, and how and when it does not work for our benefit. In fact, no other source of information is better equipped to teach us these answers.

    The study of evolution can help us learn where racism comes from, and how it works.

    Thus, if any source of information can help us explain “why racism is wrong”, it is the study of evolution.

    So the whole argument is not only logically inconsistent, it is also built upon a strawman. It is completely void of any real substance.

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi Lars,

      //The study of evolution can help us learn where morality comes from, how and when it works for our benefit, and how and when it does not work for our benefit. In fact, no other source of information is better equipped to teach us these answers.//

      Really? This is interesting. Where, according to the study of evolution, do morals come from?

      • Lars Simonsen Says:

        You know what’s most tiring about debating creationists? It’s the fact that I even have to google things for you. It’s like debating with a newborn child. No reasonable input, and whatever you say is guaranteed to go right over their heads.

        Google “evolution of morality” or go to
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality

        FFS.

      • W. Vida Says:

        Hi Lars,

        Sorry I am so tiring. The thing is that I have done plenty of research on this stuff. I have a master’s degree in it. I have read the atheists. I have read hume. I have read flew. I have read them and I have yet to hear an argument that provides a solid foundation for my questions.

        In my reading, almost all atheistic arguments for morals come down to an appeal to morals as innate or morals as a practical way to coexist. Both of these arguments have substantial logical and practical problems with them.

        With regards to the first catagory, there is an issue of “what is” not being logically equal to “what should be”. Just because we are born with certain tendancies does not require that the tendencies are objectively good. It takes an outside source to make that determiniation. With regards to the practicality, there is a certain level of truth to that but it breaks down in a significant number of situations as people can easily find ways to avoid the practical drawbacks of immorality. People who are sure they can get away with an immoral on unjust action do not have this constraint. One significant group that fits this category is those in positions of power. The people that we need to remain moral the most are the people who are often the least dependent on others for their wellbeing.


  7. Evolution has been used to support racist ideas is true. My copy of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man doument some of these. However, racism has a long history in Christianity too. Do I need to google those awlful text of the pre

    Racism is more than just a belief in the superiority of one particular race. I thas to do with how that is expressed. One Rev Conrad Greeble did believe in the superiority of the white race over the original inhabiants of Australia. However, that was expressed in his care and advocacy on their behalf. Might is not always right!

    • W. Vida Says:

      Hi Michael,

      //However, racism has a long history in Christianity too. Do I need to google those awlful text of the pre//

      It looks like your text got cut off but my point is not that Christians are never racist. My point is that the Bible provides a foundation for opposing racism.

      https://religionannarbor.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/book-review-the-biblical-offense-of-racism/

      //Racism is more than just a belief in the superiority of one particular race. I thas to do with how that is expressed. One Rev Conrad Greeble did believe in the superiority of the white race over the original inhabiants of Australia. However, that was expressed in his care and advocacy on their behalf. Might is not always right!//

      This is an interesting point. While I certainly disagree with his opinion it is true that the Christian ethic is that weakness does not equal inferiority. The man who is mentally handicapped might be greater in the eyes of God than the most brilliant scientist.


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