LIKE most on the informed side of The Controversy, your Curmudgeon has spent time debunking lies told about Darwin. See Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. But we’re getting tired of being on the defensive.
Today we’re placing the racism issue exactly where it belongs — in the camp of the creationists. We’re going to beat them over the head with the club they’ve been trying to use on us. We’re going to expose the racism that lurks not far beneath the surface of the typical creationist.
We discussed much of this history before: Creationism and American Politics, so we’ll repeat just enough to frame the issue for today.
Any understanding of the creationism-racism topic must begin with William Jennings Bryan, one of the most loathsome creatures in American history — populist, creationist, advocate of the income tax and currency debasement — and a once-dominant figure in American politics. We discussed his career here: Let’s Have William Jennings Bryan Day!
Bryan’s role in the Scopes Trial is well known, and widely applauded by creationists; but they never point out that all through his career, Bryan was supported by the Klan. That support isn’t surprising, considering Bryan’s well-documented racism.
Bryan’s racism is no longer mentioned in polite society, but it’s a fact. That, and his creationism, his populism, his “progressivism,” and his mindless anti-intellectualism are very much a part of contemporary ultra right-wing politics. (Bryan was a Democrat, and those were all Democrat party issues until recently, but we’ve discussed all that before.)
Today’s Social Conservatives, who also label themselves as the family values crowd, tend to be very close to Bryan in their thinking. But they’re rarely so tasteless as to openly endorse Bryan’s racism. Yet we sense it in their insistence on creationism.
Let the truth be known! Racism is the always-present but never-mentioned motive for rejecting evolution and its corollary of common descent. Deep within every creationist is the secret fear that — gasp! — evolution means we’re related to … them! And you know who they are.
Despite the reality that lurks in their own closet, creationists endlessly lash out at Darwin for being racist. Their most common ploy is pointing out the full title of Origin of Species, a book in which human evolution wasn’t even addressed. The implication is that the then-common biological term “race” — which Darwin used to describe varieties of flowers, horses, and dogs — somehow implied a racist belief that Darwin never held.
That brings us to a new article we found today at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — truly the fountainhead of creationist wisdom. It’s titled Illustrations of Ancient Humans Skew Facts. The article is typical of creationists’ attempts to cast doubt on all aspects of evolution, but it’s also surprisingly revealing. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Museums and textbooks often use artistic renderings to estimate what a fossilized animal or plant may have looked like when it was alive. These images by “paleoartists” put flesh and faces on skeletal structures, and they can influence public perception of early human history more than the actual science — particularly in regards to human evolution.
So what? Let’s read on:
Paleoartist Viktor Deak contributed to the PBS NOVA series Becoming Human, which aired in November and depicted mankind as having emerged, Darwinian style, from a hairy, ape-like ancestor. Deak used software to create three-dimensional virtual models, which were then used to produce extremely realistic animations.
Again we ask — so what? You’ll understand, as ICR discusses this article about Deak and his work which appears in Wired Science:
Deak’s images accompany the Wired article, showing semi-human faces that have distinctly human eyes. Deak thoroughly studied the skeletal features of the creatures he was rendering, and his reconstructions of Homo ergaster and Homo heidelbergensis appear to match known fossil skull proportions for those extinct varieties of man. But the soft parts are interpretive, since these were not preserved in fossilized form.
Are you getting impatient, dear reader? Relax. Here it comes:
The clear message is conveyed, without a spoken word, that humans evolved from dark-skinned, hairy, wide-nosed creatures with sloped foreheads and jutting jowls. But the skin color, size of the nose and lips, and amount of hair are not supported by science, only assumed by evolution.
The “skin color, size of the nose and lips” — how offensive! If you click over to the Wired article you can see the image Deak created. Imagine how that strikes a creationist who believes in the literal truth of Genesis 1:27, which says:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The creationist thinks: In His image, yes — but not that image! Moving along:
In other words, if Deak had depicted these creatures with light skin, normal lips, human beard growth patterns, and Roman noses or Oriental eyes, they would have been just as valid, scientifically. But that wouldn’t fit with the evolutionary story.
Right! Why not “light skin, normal lips,” etc.?
And that, class, illustrates the principal objection that creationists have with the theory of evolution. They may rant and rave about dozens of other debunked issues, but deep down in the guts of the typical creationist lurks the dreaded specter of a family tree showing that he’s related to … them!
Update: See Is Creationism Racist? You Decide!
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.