[Note from the Bible Believers' Resource Page - God's Word
clearly proclaims that all men and women share a common ancestry (Genesis). The theory of evolution
is contrary to the Word of God and is thus a lie. Christians who believe they can
compromise their beliefs about creation to accommodate evolution need to seriously
consider the havoc Satan has unleashed on humankind as a result of evolutionary thinking. To
believe in evolution is unbiblical and racist. Do these words sound harsh or possibly
preposterous? Read what follows carefully! (my apology in advance for scanning errors and
I would appreciate knowing about any you find)]
The Notion of Race
Darwinism and Racism
Racism Based on Biology
From Theory to Social Policy
Responses to the Implications of this Paper
Scientists have almost universally concluded that the human races are largely equal
in regard to innate intelligence and most other traits. In spite of the wide social
disparities between the races in the West, no more than approximately one standard
deviation difference in mean intelligence exists between the whites and blacks. This fact
is contrary to a basic requirement of naturalistic evolution: in order for selection to
take place, differences must exist between individual organisms for selection to select
from. For selection to work; something first must cause races to develop, a process which
in Darwinian terms is called speciation. As evolution progresses, the contrast between
groups must become greater, producing development of new definable divisions. The lack of
major differences between races, especially in intelligence, the factor most crucial for
the major contrast between Homo sapiens and "lower" forms of life, creates a
major difficulty for current evolution theory. In addition, misuse
of the theory of evolution was an important factor in the extreme forms of racism,
especially that against blacks and Jews, that flourished at the turn of the century and
for many years beyond.
The Notion of Race
Biologically, 'races' are often called subspecies and are defined as animal groups that
are physiologically and chromosomally distinct from other members of the species but which
can interbreed. In humans they are differentiated primarily by such characteristics as
skin and hair color, hair texture, and skull, nose and eye shapes. 16 In
evolutionary theory, the survival advantage factor is the chief explanation for the
existence of most differences. Because these differences result from the survival
advantage that they confer upon an organism, an evolutionist must assume differences
between or within a group likely exist because they provide some inherent survival
advantage for the animal. Since the key survival advantage of humankind over 'lower
animals' is intelligence, consequently differences in this trait likely also exist between
the races. This is exactly what has been assumed by many eugenicists, evolutionists,
sociologists, and psychologists, both before and since the time of Darwin.17-2l
This conclusion has justified a wide variety of governmental and scientific policies,
not the least infamous were racial genocide programs.22,23
Human evolution is generally divided into two types:
- monophyletic or the Adam and Eve theory, the widely accepted view that all races
descended from one common ancestor, or a very small number of highly interbreeding
- polyphyletic, the view that human kind evolved from many lines, thus the races today are
fundamentally different because different races had different ancestors.24
Eiseley25 notes that this view was advocated by the French anthropologist
Pouchet, who in 1864 discussed the implications of evolutionary theory and anthropological
investigations which had shattered the belief that all races were descendants of Adam and
Eve, thus in a literal sense were brothers. In Pouchet's words, 'What will become of
the unity of the human species, if we can prove that certain races are not a whit more
intelligent than certain animals . . . ?
Klaatsch, a prominent German evolutionist, concluded that human races differ not only
because of survival factors, but also for the reason that they polyphyletically evolved
from different primates. The blacks came from the gorillas, the whites from the
chimpanzees, and the Orientals from the orangutans, and it is for this reason that
some races are superior. He concluded27 that "the gorilla and the
Neanderthal man" have a close biological affinity to "a large number of
the living African blacks . . ."
Klaatsch was only one of many researchers advocating a polyphyletic view of human
evolution. Other similar ideas were proposed, and some were widely accepted for many
years.28,29 In a revealing statement, Klaatsch stresses that:
"... we cannot deny that the recent tendency of anthropology is not to support
the idea of unity of the race that has been suggested by religion and sentiment
considerations. Modern science cannot confirm the exaggerated humanitarianism which sees
our brothers and sisters in all the lower races. 30
Harvard's Hooton even advocated that:
'we must rid ourselves of the false prophets of cultural salvation and the witless
preachers of human equality. The future of our species . . . is dependent on [the
application of evolutionary] biology. We must have fewer and better men, not more
morons . . .31
The biological concept of race as we know it had its modern roots when social Darwinism
was embraced by many scientists.32, 33 The works of Darwin 's cousin, Francis
Galton, the founder of the eugenics movement, were of a major influence.34
Cohen concluded that:
'The most emotionally charged question in psychology, indeed, in any branch of
science today, comes in two parts: "Is intelligence hereditary, and if so, are there
hereditary differences in intelligence among the races?" The question is not a new
one. Sir Francis Galton, with whom the study of human intelligence really began, believed
very strongly that intelligence was mainly hereditary. He was also convinced there were
profound differences in mental ability between the races. He regarded Negroes as barely
human at all. "The mistakes the Negroes made in their own matters, " he wrote in
Hereditary Genius, "were so childishly stupid and simpleton-like as frequently made
me ashamed of my own species." Such views were not unusual for a Victorian Englishman
who had spent some years in Africa. 35
Many of the early evolutionists were outspoken racists, and racial inferiority views
were assumed to be proven, and thus were less a subject of debate or concern than one
today would assume.34 Haller concludes that:
'science became an instrument which verified the presumptive inferiority of the
Negro and rationalized the politics of disenfranchisement and segregation into a
social-scientific terminology.' 38
'to understand attitudes of racial inferiority in the context of nineteenth-century
science and social science is a first step in fathoming the depth of race prejudice in our
own day. Inferiority was at the very foundation of their evolutionary framework and,
remaining there, rose to the pinnacle of "truth " with the myth of scientific
certainty. To see racial prejudices in their scientific robes is to understand why
attitudes of racial inferiority have continued to plague western culture.'
The success in breeding cattle, dogs and other animals with certain desired
characteristics gave empirical support to the concept of racial breeding as advocated by
eugenicists and later Hitler and others.40 This idea was central to the
eugenics movement which was in vogue in the middle of the last century and supported by
many of the most prominent scientists of the time.41,42 Eugenics, the
notion that humans could improve their race by selective breeding, was also highly
accepted by the educated public, especially in Europe and the Americas. Sir Arthur Keith,
one of the leading evolutionary anthropologists of our century, stated that he was proud
'The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has
consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution
[by applying eugenics to governmental policies].'43
Darwinism and Racism
The complete title of Darwin's most famous work, often abbreviated to The Origin of
Species, was The Origin. of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the
Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. As Koster notes about
Darwin's view on race, he:
'never considered "the less civilized races" to be authentically human.
For all his decent hatred of slavery, his writings reek with all kinds of contempt for
"primitive" people. Racism was culturally conditioned into educated Victorians
by such "scientific" parlor tricks as Morton's measuring of brainpans with BB
shot to prove that Africans and Indians had small brains, and hence, had deficient
minds and intellects. Meeting the simple Indians of Tierra del Fuego, Darwin wrote:
"I could not have believed how wide was the difference between savage and civilized
man; it is greater than between a wild and domesticated animal . . . Viewing such a man,
one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow creatures and inhabitants of the
Darwin's belief that some races (such as blacks) were inferior to others became so
widely accepted that, as Haller concluded: 'the subject of race inferiority was beyond
critical reach in the late nineteenth century.45 Although Darwin opposed
all forms of slavery, he did conclude that one of the strongest evidences for
evolution was the existence of living 'primitive races' which he believed were
evolutionarily between the 'civilized races of man' and the gorilla:
'At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized
races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout
the world. At the same time, the anthropomorphous apes. . . will no doubt be exterminated.
The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene
between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some
ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.
... It has often been said ... that man can resist with impunity the greatest diversities
of climate and other changes; but this is true only of the civilized races. Man in his
wild condition seems to be in this respect almost as susceptible as his nearest allies,
the anthropoid apes, which have never yet survived long, when removed from their native
The missing link wasn't missing but, many evolutionists of the time concluded, lived in
Australia and other faroffplaces.47 The existence of some living races was
openly viewed as irrefutable evidence of a graduation of living creatures 'linking' humans
to the monkeys (or today 'to our common primate ancestor'). This 'scientific conclusion'
was interpreted as compelling evidence for evolution, thus a large number of biology
textbooks of the time discussed the 'hierarchy of the races' topic.
The man who some regard as the actual modern 'discoverer' of evolution by natural
selection, Alfred Russell Wallace, also espoused essentially the same idea.48
In his words,
'the weak dying was necessary to improve the race because in every generation the
inferior would inevitably be killed off leaving the superior-that is, only the fittest
This was the essence of Darwinism, and race differences and fitness of these
differences (racism) was at its core.
Although Darwin was far less racist than many of his disciples, especially Spencer,
Haeckel, Hooton, Pearson, and Huxley, his theory provided the basis for the latters'
extreme racism. As Poliakov 50 noted, Darwin's primary spokesman in Germany,
Ernest Haeckel, was 'the great ancestor' of Nazi biology theoreticians. Importantly,
Darwin did little to oppose this conclusion which spread like wild-fire from his works.51
Since Darwin's writings were critical in the development of evolutionary theory, his
thoughts on the application of his theory of racism are crucial to understand how the
racism theory spawned. Although he was known as a kind and gentle man, Darwin openly gave
his support to eugenic ideas which gradually won acceptance in the scientific community,
both in Europe and the United States. Darwin, evidently highly influenced by his early
theological and religious training, said:
'I have always maintained that excepting fools, men did not differ much in
intellect, only in zeal and hard work.'
Later, convinced that the eugenic theory was valid,
'In The Descent of Man, Darwin canonized Galton with the words; "we now
know, through the admirable labours of Mr Galton, that genius . . . tends to be
By the beginning of the 19th century, every discussion of social problems was permeated
with 'scientific notions of class [and] race,' and that
'nearly every one of these theories had some practical applications as its
corollary: political, social or cultural; and meanwhile biological research, anthropology
and the science of language had intensified, not abated, the use of "race
Even Chambers in his classic Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, about
which Darwin said that without this book he might never have written The Origin of
Species, concluded that the Negro was 'at the foot of' the Mongol, the Yellow race
between, and Caucasians at the top.54 Chambers himself taught that the 'various
races of mankind, are simply . . . stages in the development of the highest or Caucasian
type. . .' and that the Blacks were the least developed, and the Caucasians were the
highest, most evolved race.55
Racism Based on Biology
People have always tended to assume they were better than those who were culturally
different, but most ideas of biological racial inferiority are fairly recent. Since
up to the time of Darwin it was almost universally regarded that all humans were
descendants of Adam and Eve-a view called monogenism-most concluding that all
humans must literally be biological brothers. Although some individuals developed
ingenious hypotheses to justify the conclusion that Blacks were inferior, such as God
created them as a separate race (some concluded that the 'beasts of the earth ' discussed
in Genesis was the Black race) this view has never held much weight in historical
Christian theology, Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox.56-60 As Proctor
'Prior to Darwin, it was difficult to argue against the Judeo-Christian conception
of the unity of man, based on the single creation of Adam and Eve. Darwin 's theory
suggested that humans had evolved over hundreds of thousands, even millions of years, and
that the races of men had diverged while adapting to the particularities of local
conditions. The impact of Darwin's theory was enormous.' 61
Consequently, until the middle 1800s, most Westerners believed that all humans were
descendants of Adam and Eve, thus we are all brothers. Up until the widespread acceptance
of evolution, the only justification for racism was the belief that God cursed certain
groups or created other Adams who were inferior-a view called polygenismn -which could be
identified by physical traits such as skin colour, or that some groups degenerated
biologically more than others-but were still our brothers. As Gould notes, 'nearly
all scientists were creationists before 1859, and most did not become polygenists',
62 and Walbank and Taylor conclude:
'. . . Darwinism led to racism and anti-semitism and was used to show that
only "superior" nationalities and races were fit to survive. Thus, among the
English-speaking peoples were to be found the champions of the "white man's
burden" an imperial mission carried out by Anglo-Saxons. ... Similarly, the Russians
preached the doctrine of pan-Slavism and the Germans that of pan-Germanism.' 63
On the question of racism and Christianity, especially as exemplified in Germany, Sir
Arthur Keith stated that:
'Christianity makes no distinction of race or of color; it seeks to break down all
racial barriers. In this respect the hand of Christianity is against that of Nature, for
are not the races of mankind the evolutionary harvest which Nature has toiled through long
ages to produce? 64
The racism which developed from the theory of evolution was by no means confined to
Blacks. One of the leading American eugenicists, Charles Davenport, founder and director
of the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Biological Laboratory, concluded that Black
Americans were below Caucasians-but so were several other groups. Among the groups that he
included were 'the Poles, the Irish, the Italians, and . . . the Hebrews' and even
the Serbians, Greeks, Swedes, Bohemians.65 He attributed a wide variety of
negative racial characteristics to each different group: Poles tended to be independent
although self-reliant, the Italians tended to commit crimes of personal violence, the
Hebrews were a mixture of slovenly Serbians and the tidy Swedes, and the Germans and
Bohemians were given to 'thriving'. He was concerned that the immigrants then flooding the
United States would rapidly cause the American population to become darker in pigment,
smaller in stature, and more involved in crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder,
Davenport taught that a woman should not marry a man without a thorough knowledge of
his biological and genealogical history. He felt a woman should act like a stock breeder
who carefully checks the pedigree of a potential sire for his colts or calves. Davenport
argued that the state should control who is able to breed, reasoning that if the state had
the right to take a person's life, surely it could deny permission to reproduce. As a
highly respected scientist, Davenport's ideas were highly influential at the time and no
more radical than those advocated by many other scientists and intellectuals. In the late
1930s, the policies that Germany, then the most advanced nation in the world, was
advocating were very similar.
The two races most often compared are the 'Caucasian ' and 'Negroid', now commonly
called the 'white' and 'black' races. The dominant western cultural ethos, that whites
were 'superior ' and blacks 'inferior' and more 'ape-like', was commonly reflected in
science books published from 1880 and 1980. The textbook drawings which depict our
supposed immediate ancestors, such as Homo erectus and Homo habilis,
typically have very pronounced Negroid race characteristics including dark skin, kinky
hair and Negroid facial features. Modern man (Homo sapiens), though, is often pictured as
having light skin, straight hair, a flat forehead, a narrow nose and small lips.66
Most of the drawings of 'ape-men' and early humans even today still show pronounced
Negroid traits (for examples see Time Life, The Neanderthals,67 and Early
Men,68 April 1984 Science 84 cover). In addition, the fact that
certain Negroid facial features are closer to the facial characteristics of many primates
(the kinky hair, flat-nose, large lips, and sloping forehead, as well as the cheek and
jaw-bone construction) has lent superficial support to this contention. The Caucasian race
would for this reason be more evolutionarily 'fit', meaning it was a 'superior' race. As
the major survival element in human evolution is intelligence, the conclusion that the
higher evolved race, the Caucasians, possessed a superior intelligence was uncritically
accepted for decades. Differences in intelligence were viewed as the key factors in human
evolution because mind was a major factor of survival, and thus of selection.
The belief that evolution normally produced racial inequities was often noted, even
exemplified, in the standard biology textbooks published around 1900. The popular American
high school biology textbook by Hunter, titled A Civic Biology,69 in the
section on evolution under the subtitle 'The Races of Man', stated that
'at the present time there exists upon the earth five races or varieties of man,
each very different from the other in instinct, social customs, and to an extent, in
The five races were then ranked from inferior to superior as follows:
'There are the Ethiopian or Negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown
race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race,
including the natives of China, Japan and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of
all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and
The textbook states that the 'highest' race is the Caucasians, who are specifically
'higher' developed in terms of 'instincts, social customs, and . . . [physical]
structure.' 71 This book, widely adopted by American public high schools for
over 30 years, was the text John Scopes used when he was a substitute biology teacher and
was later convicted of violating the Butler Act, the law against teaching evolution in
public schools. Also, typical of the views of the educated at this time is an article in
the Encyclopedia Britannica which, under the heading 'Negro', stated:
'By the nearly unanimous consent of anthropologists this type occupies ... the
lowest position in the evolutionary scale . . . the cranial sutures . . . close much
earlier in the Negro than in other races. To this premature ossification of the skull,
preventing all further development of the brain, many pathologists have attributed the
inherent mental inferiority of the blacks, an inferiority which is even more marked than
their physical differences . . . the development of the Negro and White proceeds on
different lines . . . in the former the growth of the brain is . . . arrested by the
premature closing of the cranial sutures ... The mental [differences] are at least as
marked as the physical differences . . . No full blooded Negro has ever been distinguished
as a man of science, a poet, or an artist . . .' 72
Moser, in reference to the above quote, argued that:
'... as to whether the Negroes in America have produced any great men ... the
Encyclopaedia Britannica, edition of 1903 [claims that they have not]: the 1970 edition
does [not] make this admission. '
Then Moser adds that it is his conclusion that
'. . . American Negroes that have made contributions to various fields, sports,
science, etc., but. . . It is only that Negro that has a mixture of white genes in his
system that has risen to the level where he has produced on the level with the white race.73
The man primarily responsible for the widespread acceptance of evolution in the 19th
century, Thomas Huxley, wrote soon after the black slaves were freed that:
'No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the
equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And, if this be true, it is simply
incredible [to assume] that, when all his disabilities are removed, ... he will be able to
compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which
is to be carried out by thoughts and not by bites.74
Negroes were viewed by evolutionists then as being in certain ways unredeemably,
unchangeably, and irrevocably inferior to whites.75 And racist sentiments such
as these were held by many, if not most, prominent 19th century biologists who were
evolutionists. In a review of a recent work which documented this beyond question, Burnham76
'After 1859, the evolutionary scheme raised additional questions, particularly
whether or not Afro-Americans could survive competition with their white near relations.
The momentous answer [from the scientists] was a resounding no . .. The African was
inferior-he represented the missing link between ape and Teuton. '
Darwin was keenly aware of the implications of his theory on race. In the sixth chapter
of The Descent of Man, he speculated that survival of the fittest pressures would
eventually eliminate both the black race, which he considered inferior, and other 'lower
races'. In addition, he concluded:
'I could show [that war had] done and [is] doing [much] . . . for the progress of
civilization . . . The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish
hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date . . .
an endless number of lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races
throughout the world.' 77
And Morris78 noted as to Darwin's sub-title of his book The Preservation
of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life:
'It is clear from the context that he had races of animals primarily in mind, but at
the same time it is also clear . . . that he thought of races of men in the same way.'
One of the many examples which illustrates that the 'graduations in the evolutionary
level of living man' view was a major aspect of evolution is a response to a Dr. Austin H.
Clark, a biologist at the Smithsonian Institution, who proposed that evolution proceeds in
'jumps' .78 Note that the quote draws support from the now discredited Piltdown
Man, and the Neanderthal and Cro-magnon men (both now shown to be different
races of modern humans) for evidence.
'Dr. Clark calmly reverses the old saying that nature never proceeds by leaps, and
assures us that this is her only method or procedure. Yet man, as the skull history
shows us so clearly, proceeded by slow steps from the Pithecanthropus, the Piltdown Man,
the Neanderthal Man, to the Cro-magnon Man, who distinctly represents the modern type. If
nature were as broad a jumper as Dr. Clark believes, the first man should have shown the
high, civilized type of today. But we do not have to go back to fossils. The lowest
type of men now living, the Australian savages, are at a sufficiently great remove from
the civilized type to overthrow Dr. Clark's theory, which, instead of embodying the
good points of the creational and developmental theories, actually combines the
difficulties of both . . . ' 80
And Harvard evolutionist Gould concluded that racism was so widespread at this time
that Darwin's co-author, Alfred Russel
'Wallace was one of the few nonracists of the nineteenth century
[evolutionists]. He really believed that all human groups had innately equal capacities of
intellect. Wallace defended his decidedly unconventional egalitarianism with two
arguments, one anatomical the other cultural. He claimed [in contrast to the claims of
almost all evolutionists of his day] first of all, that the brains of "savages'? are
neither much smaller nor more poorly organized than our own [and that] . . . in the brain
of the lowest savages, and, as far as we know, of the prehistoric races, we have an organ
. . . little inferior in size and complexity to that of the highest type.' 81
The differences in behavior found between the black and white races, Wallace concluded,
contrary to the conclusions of evolutionists around him, were because of cultural
conditioning which 'can integrate the rudest savage into our own most courtly life.'
The reason for Wallace's 'unconventional egalitarianism ' is explained by Gould as
'Wallace, the hyperselectionist, the man who had twitted Darwin for his
unwillingness to see the action of natural selection in every nuance of organic form,
halted abruptly before the human brain. Our intellect and morality, Wallace argued, could
not be the product of natural selection; therefore, since natural selection is evolution
's only way, some higher power-God, to put it directly-must have intervened to construct
this latest and greatest organic innovation.' 82
Gould notes that Darwin was 'positively aghast at Wallace 's abrupt about-faith at
the finish line itself.' 83 He wrote Wallace in 1869 that 'I differ
grievously from you, and I am very sorry for it. ' Wallace, sensitive to the rebuke,
thereafter referred to his non-racist theory of human intellect as 'my special heresy.'
An important argument that Hitler used to support his programs of racial genocide of
the Jews, Blacks and other groups was that they were genetically 'inferior' and that their
interbreeding with the superior Aryan race would adversely affect the latter's gene pool,
polluting it, and lowering the overall quality of the 'pure race'.84-87 As
'From the "preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life " [that
is, Darwin 's subtitle to Origin of Species] it was a short step to the
preservation of favored individuals, classes or nations-and from their preservation to
their glorification . . . Thus, it has become a portmunteau of nationalism, imperialism,
militarism, and dictatorship, of the cults of the hero, the superman, and the master race
. . . recent expressions of this philosophy, such as Mein Kampf are, unhappily, too
familiar to require exposition here.' 83
Instead of letting chance factors dominate reproduction decisions, Hitler proposed that
the scientists use the power of the state to influence these decisions so that the gene
pool would shift to what 'informed conclusions' concluded was the desired direction.
Consequently, Hitler encouraged those individuals that he perceived as having Aryan traits
to mate, and discouraged 'interbreeding', supposing that this policy would gradually cause
the Aryan race to evolve 'upward'. He believed that the Nazi race programs would further
evolution by intelligently deciding which traits were not beneficial, and preventing those
with them from reproducing.
From Theory to Social Policy
Little eugenic concern existed in Darwin's day about Blacks and Jews in Great Britain,
but there was much concern about Blacks and Jews in America and Jews in Germany. This was
largely because the United States had a much larger population of Jews and Blacks than
Great Britain, which at that time was much more homogeneous. British eugenics was marked
by more concern over inferior classes rather than inferior races compared to the American
and German eugenicists.89 Especially of concern was the results of
miscegenation. Many studies were completed relative to the effects of Black and White
marriages-one researcher concluded that the Negro race was gradually being 'bleached' by
intermarrying with Whites, and that the Whites were not so appreciably tanned as the
Blacks were bleached." 90 Numerous 'scientific' studies concluded that
miscenegation offspring tended to have more of the negative traits of Blacks such as
inferiority in mental capacity, than the positive traits of Whites.91 One
massive American study by a Princeton psychology professor and the chairman of the
National Research Council concluded:
'The essential point is that there are 10,000,000 Negroes here now and that the
proportion of mulattos to a thousand blacks has increased with alarming rapidity since
1850. According to all evidence available, then, American intelligence is declining, and
will proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial admixture becomes more and more
extensive. The decline of American intelligence will be more rapid than the decline of
intelligence of European national groups, owing to the presence here of the Negro. These
are the plain, if somewhat ugly, facts that our study shows The deterioration of the
American intelligence is not inevitable, however, if public action can be aroused to
prevent it. There is no reason why legal steps should not be taken which would insure a
continuously progressive upward evolution. The steps that should be taken to preserve or
increase our present intellectual capacity must of course be dictated by science and not
by political expediency. 92
The extent to which eugenics has filtered into American society was illustrated by the
fact that the American chief wartime mental tester was Robert M. Yerkes, a student of the
works of Francis Galton. One of his professors at Harvard was Charles Davenport, and his
work with mental tests was in conjunction with Ernest E. Southard of the Harvard Medical
School. Southard was an active eugenicist who worked with Davenport and others.93,94
One of the more well known American scientists involved in the testing movement was Louis
Terman of Stanford. He attributed I.Q. to heredity, and undertook one of the most
extensive psychological research studies ever to research this question. His work is
summarized in the mammoth five volume set Genetic Studies of Genius,95
published by Stanford University Press. The first volume was published in 1925, and the
last, published in 1959, was entitled The Gifted Group at Midlife. This work is a 35 year
follow up of the group of students that were originally identified by the researchers.
Yerkes, Terman and Godard (Godard is most known for his 1912 study of the Kallikak
family: A Study of the Heredity of Feeblemindedness)96 developed the
well known Army Alpha I.Q. test used on draftees literate in English, and the Army Beta,
used for everyone else.97 The army efficiently and rapidly administered these
tests to millions of people, a task that was believed to be of enormous importance for the
war effort. From the army Alpha and Beta, as well as the Stanford Binet (a modification of
the original Binet published in France), developed the entire American testing movement.
From I.Q. tests came performance, personality, projective and a wide variety of other
tests which are now an important plan of Western society. A contemporary concern is that
these tests were designed to be aptitude tests, but are culturally biased and depend
heavily upon one's educational, social and cultural background. They are in fact
achievement tests, interpolating aptitude skills from the achievement score. The army
tested over 1,700,000 persons-and its alleged success is a key factor that also spurred on
the wide use of testing today.
The army data was also used to study race differences and prove 'conclusively' that
certain races were intellectually inferior-the Mediterranean were inferior to the Nordic,
and the Blacks were inferior to all other races. According to the test, the average adult
Black living in the United States had the mental age of a 10-year-old white." These
demeaning results were due to educational, cultural and social reasons, but the tragedy is
that the results were used to conclude that social and educational programs to help
certain races were ill-advised, or at the least, would not significantly change their
intelligence or performance. Many scientists, educators, and others believed that offering
equal opportunity in the schools was likewise also ill advised, concluding that to best
use scarce resources, one should concentrate on training the most capable.
The effect of these tests was not only Black racism, but racism against a wide variety
of groups including those from Eastern and Southern Europe, all Orientals, and others. The
most visible expression of this ethnic and racial hatred was to restrict immigration.
America enacted into law the Chinese exclusion acts of 1882 and 1902, and various
immigration and naturalization acts directed against Eastern and Southern Europeans and
other groups. Riots and systematic discrimination were extremely common in the United
States during this time. Directed against a wide variety of groups, such discrimination
was often quite vicious in its extent and effects. At the 1923 immigration hearings
'many witnesses argued that "biology" demanded the exclusion of most
members of the Eastern and Southern European "races" ... On both sides of
Capitol Hill biological and racial arguments figured prominently in the floor debate on
the bill. Congressman Robert Allen, Democrat of West Virginia, declared: "The primary
reason for the restriction of the alien stream . . . is the necessity for purifying and
keeping pure the blood of America. " 99
The result of the arguments was that in April of 1924 the act was passed by
overwhelming majorities in both the house and senate. President Calvin Coolidge supported
the law, stating that,
'America must be kept American. Biological laws show . . . that Nordics deteriorate
when mixed with other races.'
This belief was translated into behavior not only in the whites' mistreatment of blacks
and immigration laws, but has been used to justify social policies ranging from slavery to
segregated schools. The assumption that blacks are innately inferior and less intelligent
compared to whites was an important, if not the prominent factor, in the racist policies
that dominated America and Europe for over 100 years.l00,101 Reviews of early
literature written by whites about blacks found that this conclusion was prominent in most
discussions of race until relatively recently.'102
Current research into the characteristics of blacks has overturned the once commonly
held conclusion that blacks as a whole are biologically and in other ways inferior to
whites. Much of the research supports the contention that those differences that still
exist are predominantly the effects of accumulated discrimination, poverty and cultural
deprivation.l03,104 It is now widely accepted that, given equality of
background and similarity of experiences, blacks as a whole closely equal whites in across
the-board performance. This situation confirms Benedict's l05 early conclusion
that 'the most careful investigation' shows there is no significant difference between the
scores of blacks and whites, even though it is difficult to control for the accumulative
effects of deprivation.
Recent I.Q. tests of people throughout the world have found that, with allowance for
cultural differences, the I.Q. ranges of all extant identified races is extremely close.
The pygmy population of Africa, supposedly the most backward race extant today, test close
to average when acclimated to Western life. Few differences are found between the second
and third generation pygmies living in large Australian cities who are acclimated to the
established European population. And this comparison is between the supposedly most
backward group of people today (aside from the Tasaday, which have now been shown to be a
hoax) with the supposedly most advanced, the white Anglo-Saxons.
On the average, blacks have achieved lower I.Q. and achievement scores than whites, but
they are also typically raised in very different social and cultural environments than
non-blacks. Their world is still different, even if their parents had the same occupation
and incomes as whites. Impressive research has demonstrated that black-white cultural
differences could easily explain much of the observed performance difference, which is now
estimated at about a standard deviation. White school children in eastern Tennessee were
able to improve their average I.Q. score by almost this much between 1930 and 1940,
apparently as a result of the introduction of schools in their area, increased outside
stimulation from innovations such as radios, and more parental support in education.106
Most studies also find that Orientals and Jews score about ten points higher than
Europeans. Reasons other than innate differences are often found to account for this
difference, and few scientists now accept the view that genetic differences can account
for the level found.107 The exceptions, such as Carleton Coon,l08
Hans Eysenck l09 and Arthur Jensenll 110 are few.111 The
common conclusion that the differences are caused by early environment deprivation was
behind the development of such programs as Sesame Street and the Electric Company, and
even Head Start. Some persons have even concluded that the tests themselves are not valid,
a view which has prompted the legal banning of I.Q. tests for certain uses in a number of
The conclusion that whites and blacks as a group are innately equal for most traits
(viz., the biological organism is equal) is supported by comparisons of northern blacks
with southern whites. A southern white from Mississippi, according to the median scores of
the Army AEF Intelligence Test, scored 41.25 compared to 49.50 for blacks from Ohio.112-114
Since the majority of blacks suffer from monetary, educational and cultural disadvantages,
according to this evidence much of the difference would be not because of organism
inferiority, but largely as a result of environmental differences. And many of these
differences have often developed because of racial prejudice in the first place.115
The prominent anthropologist, Ruth Benedict, and Weltfish stated under the topic 'One
Human Race' that 'the peoples of earth are a single family and have a common origin.
' Elaborating on this view, they continued:
'Science describes the intricate make-up of the human body: all its different organs
cooperating in keeping us alive, its curious anatomy that couldn't possibly have
"just happened " to be the same in all men if they did not have a common origin.
Take the structure of the human foot, for instance. When you list all of the little bones
and muscles and the joints of the toes, it is impossible to imagine that it would all have
happened twice. Or take out teeth: so many front teeth, so many canines, so many molars.
Who can imagine finding the same arrangements in two human species if they weren't one
family? The fact of the unity of the human race is proved, therefore, in its anatomy . . .
no difference among human races has affected limbs and teeth and relative strength so that
one race is biologically outfitted like a lion and another biologically outfitted like a
lamb is. All the racial differences among them are in non-essentials such as texture of
head hair, amount of body hair, shape of the nose or head, or color of the eyes and the
The few differences that exist do not confer a survival advantage of one race over
another-all of the differences Benedict classifies as 'non-essentials'. And the
nonessentials by definition do not affect fitness, and thus are irrelevant to survival.
Hair texture for example, does not relate to survival but at the most will affect personal
comfort in adjusting to certain types of climates, an advantage which is today largely
offset by technology-clothes, houses and such. Since these innovations have been part of
culture since earliest recorded history, these traits would never have had a significant
The most obvious difference between blacks and whites is skin colour (thus the terms
'blacks' and 'whites'). Dark skin gives blacks some protection against strong sunlight,
especially in the tropics, but whites can easily protect themselves by utilizing sun
helmets, special clothes, and sun-screen suntan oil. This enables them to survive quite
well in very warm areas. Black skin serves more to aid individual comfort than survival.118
Skin colour variations do not represent a difference of quality, only quantity. All humans
have about the same concentrations of melanocytes in their skin.119 The
variations are due largely to the amount of melanin these cells produce-the darker
the skin, the greater the amount of melanin secreted in the lower layers of the skin.120
Except albinos, who totally lack colouring substances (and albinos appear in all races)
every person, however dark or light, is affected by the sun in much the same way.121,122
All of these qualities have little to do with survival during and before child-bearing
years, and consequently cannot be accounted for by evolution. These differences
seem to exist primarily to increase the variety so evident in the natural world-a variety
which not only makes our sojourn on earth more enjoyable, but also helps us to
differentiate the scores of people alive today.123
Other racial differences alleged include substances in the blood, thus the expression
'blood relations' and the classifications 'Aryan blood', 'Chinese blood', or 'Negroid
blood' . Of the dozens of blood groups, most are found in every race. The major types, A,
B, AB, and O, are present in all races, although in slightly different percentages.
Consequently, blood transfusions can be administered without regard to race-only a blood
type match is necessary.
Scholarly works are increasingly supporting what is now the prevailing opinion among
scientists: allowing for environment, no significant innate overall difference of
consequence exists between blacks and whites. Richard Leakey, the son of the famous
anthropologist, Louis Leakey, noted that his father's
'. . . life work, in fact, has made him impatient with those narrow ethnic and
national perspectives . . . furthermore, he notes that racial differences, as they are
commonly perceived, are a superficial and recent development having arisen only about
15,000 years ago. Says Leakey, "I am aghast that people think they are different from
each other. We all share a tremendous heritage, an exciting bond. We are all the
For this reason, Benedict125 concluded,
'The races of mankind are what the Bible says they are-brothers. In their body is
the record of their brotherhood '
Evolution, though, teaches that differences even within a very small group of people
would confer to that group of people a survival advantage. Thus that group would become
larger and larger and, as selection continues, would become more and more discernible from
the outside population. This, though, is not now happening with humans because separate
populations do not seem to be developing from the main populations. This state of affairs
means that without any clear differences, there is nothing to select from. And without
selection, evolution cannot occur. Studies of other creatures have found the same
problem with natural selection:
'The discovery of the randomness of species extinctions in 1973 by Leigh Van Valen,
professor of biology at the University of Chicago, surprised the scientific world. Working
with data tabulated from the books and scientific papers of many paleontologists, Van
Valen counted species and calculated their life spans over many millions of years.
According to standard Darwinian theory, the better adapted species should last a long time
and those not as well adapted should die out quickly. Theory would also have predicted
that the longer a species survived, the lower the probability of its extinction in the
next time interval However, Van Valen 's statistical analysis of species ' lifetimes
indicate that there is no such difference. His research implies that the process of
extinction does not distinguish between species.' 126,127
Responses To The Implications Of This Paper
Of the scores of references consulted relative to this problem (see references), not
one adequately deals with the issue that this paper raises. Some assume that selection was
important in the past, but because of the structure of our present society, 'natural
selection ' no longer occurs. Even Charles Darwin concluded that evolution had now stopped
among humans. Alfred Russel Wallace reported in 1890: 'in one of my last conversations
with Darwin he expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity, on the ground
that in our modern civilization natural selection had no play, and the fittest did not
survive . . . and it is notorious that our population is more largely renewed in each
generation from the lower than from the upper and middle classes. '128
Many researchers have recognized that the implications of the information outlined
above apply not only to animals, but to humans as well.129 For this reason,
several leading scientists have proposed that, for humans at least, classical evolution
has presently stopped. The well-known French biologist, Pierre P. Grasse, stated:
'Biologists find it hard to admit that. . . present living beings differ at all from
those of the past . . . But facts are facts; no new broad organizational plan has appeared
for several hundred million years, and for an equally long time numerous species, animal
as well as plant, have ceased evolving. We have said that evolution in the present is
difficult, if not extremely difficult, to observe. Some biologists maintain that they can
not only observe it but also describe it in action; the facts that they describe, however,
either have nothing to do with evolution or are insignificant. At best, present
evolutionary phenomena are simply slight changes of genotypes within populations, or
substitutions of an allele by a new one.' 130
And Haller concluded that:
'Believing that failures in early stages of evolution had limited brain size and
quality of the lower races, these scientists . . . suggested that the environment no
longer operated in the present as strongly as it once had in the past. Evolution had
already come to an end among the lower races, making them unfit for future race
development. . . the lower races broke into the modern world as mere "survivals"
from the past, mentally incapable of shouldering the burden of complex civilization and
slowly deteriorating structurally to a point when at some time in the future, they would
become extinct, thus ultimately solving the problem.' 131
Another argument is that selection works at the individual level, not at the species or
subspecies level. This does not deal with the concern, because a process that is central
to evolution is for superior individuals to eventually become superior groups. The
Neanderthals and other groups were said to not have survived as a group because
they were supposedly inferior to other existing humanoid groups, and thus were eliminated
in the competition for survival.132
Three competing hypotheses exist on why humans are one primary race. The first and most
accepted is Noah's Ark theory, the view that all of our close relatives became
extinct and only one, Homo sapiens, has survived. Most of the many fossil finds
support this view.133 The second, the candelabra theory, postulates that the
different races all evolved independently into the 'same race', a view that is usually
regarded as highly unlikely. The last, the modified candelabra, claims parallel
development occurred due to world-wide intermarrying, resulting in much back and forth
gene flow-a position not supported by recorded history. Burt,134 in defending
the latter view, hypothesizes that after pre-humans spread over a wide area, some
individuals became highly successful and eventually evolved into several distinct species.
He hypothesizes this 'race-making period' was caused by Homo sapiens scattering far
and wide, forming geographically isolated groups and 'as a result of natural selection,
became adapted to the different conditions', primarily differences in climate.135
To explain why only one surviving species of humans now exists, Burt postulates that they
later spread out again, this time intermixing and interbreeding. The 'ensuing
recombination of different sets of genes produced still greater variations and therefore
still greater adaptability.' 135 He concludes that most of the differences
that existed at one time were later obliterated through massive interbreeding, thus few
exist today. Two pages later, he argues for the view that
'there has been no appreciable change in man's innate constitution or in the general
quality of his brain through out the last 20,000years.' 137
Thus, biological evolution has stopped but, Burt claims, cultural evolution continues.
These attempts to explain the failure to find clear innate survival differences, such
as in intelligence between races (although Burt was not arguing here that all races are
equal), prompt questions such as:
(1) Specifically, why has evolution evidently stopped for Homo sapiens in the last
20,000 or so years, a view with which the doctrine of uniformitarianism is not in accord?
(2) What evidence is there for factors which would first disperse a race, then much
later cause the many separate races that separately developed to interbreed-in essence,
uniting all of the different groups?
(3) What factors would cause humans to leave the homeland they were biologically
adapted to, and venture into other geographical areas, then return to marry their 'long
lost kin' (who now have evolved into something distinctly different)?
Differences must exist both between and within races for evolution to occur,
specifically differences that provide one race or group a survival advantage over the
others. The race with traits that confer on it the greatest survival advantage presumably
will in time become numerically dominant compared to those without this advantage. As
'As the 19th century scientists were converted to evolution, they were thus also
convinced of racism. They were certain that the white race was superior to other races,
and the reason for this superiority was to be found in Darwinian theory. The white race
had advanced farther up the evolutionary ladder and therefore, was destined either to
eliminate the other races in the struggle for existence or else to have to assume the
"white man's burden" and to care for those inferior races that were incompetent
to survive otherwise.' 138
That elements of this view are still held by some biologists today is evident from the
words of a leading modem evolutionist, George Gaylord Simpson, who stated that:
'Races of men have, or perhaps one should say "had" exactly the same
biological significance as the sub-species of other species of mammals.' 139
As late as 1962, Harvard anthropologist Carleton Coon140 concluded that
modern human races did not suddenly appear, 'fully formed as from the brow of Zeus ',
but that the differences between living races could be explained only in terms of
their different evolutionary history, and that each major race followed its own evolution
pathway. Coon even wrote that African civilizations were less advanced because black
people were the last to evolve into modern humans. The first hominids may have arisen in
Africa, he concluded, but the evolution of modern humans occurred in Europe and Asia: 'If
Africa was the cradle of mankind, it was only an indifferent kindergarten.' 141
The raw materials of evolution are physical differences - differences that natural
selection can 'select' from, causing them to spread throughout the population. These
differences are the key to evolution, and without them it cannot occur. In the case
of Homo sapiens, research has supported the view that few significant differences
exist between the various groups (commonly called races) of humans living today. If the
few differences that do exist do not confer any significant survival advantages,
contemporary evidence for human evolution would be completely lacking.
Most importantly, this evidence argues against a cornerstone of the evolutionary
theory, the 'survival of the fittest' hypothesis. It is possible that discernible
differences at one time existed among the different groups of humans, and for some
reason they were all either eradicated or never existed, but the fact is they have never
been observed. Our environment was often much more uniform throughout much of history than
it has been in the past hundred to two hundred years. At one time more differences existed
between, for example, a man who lived in a cave and one who lived in a castle; and
historical study has found that the man in the cave was in some ways better off, at least
regarding certain health factors. A great difference exists less between the life of
Indians in the Philippines and scientists living in a university town; but more genetic
differences exist between the members of each community than between these two groups. In
other words, biological evolution should now be proceeding more rapidly than ever before,
but we do not observe it proceeding at all. Clear biological differences which could
conceivably confer a definite survival advantage to one race of humans over another do not
The finding that more differences exist within the races than between them does not
support what we would expect to find if evolution by natural selection was currently
operative upon humans. Even the few fairly clear differences between the races (those
which enable researchers to group in terms of races) are only in degree. 145
And these trait differences are all clearly in non-essentials, unimportant to survival. It
is also difficult to argue for many branches in our evolutionary tree when only one branch
exists today. Evolution must explain why a state of affairs exists in this period of
history which is in great contrast to that which they argue has existed for most of
humankind's hypothesized evolutionary history.' 146
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134. Burt, Cyril, 1975. The Gifted Child, Hodder and Stoughton, London, chapter 8.
135. Burt, Ref. 134, p. 74.
136. Burt, Ref. 134, p. 74,
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140. Coon, Ref. 108.
141. Coon, Ref. 108, p. 724.
142. Grasse, Ref. 130.
143. Dunn and Dobzhansky, Ref. 123.
144. Goldsby, Richard A., 1971. Race and Races Macmillan Company, New York, New York.
145. Comas Juan 1951. Racial Myths, Greenwood Press Publishers, Westport, Connecticut.
Reprinted in 1976 by Greenwood Press.
146. Cravens, Hamilton, 1978. The Triumph of Evolution: American Scientists and the
Heredity-Environment Controversy 1900-1941, University of Pennsylvania Press,
Dr. Jerry Bergman has seven degrees, including in biology and psychology, and a Ph.D.
in evaluation and research, all from Wayne State University, Detroit. He was an assistant
professor in educational foundations and inquiry at Bowling Green State University, Ohio
and has also taught at the University of Toledo. He is now a professor of science at North
West College, Archbold, Ohio and was recently awarded his second Ph.D., this one in