Louisiana Creationism: Racism Is Darwin’s Fault

One of our far-flung network of clandestine operatives (code name “Bayou Boy”) tipped us off to a letter in the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge.

It’s written by Darrell White, founder of the Louisiana Family Forum (the “LFF”). That’s the creationist activist group largely responsible for the Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”) which was passed in 2008. The law encourages the use of unspecified “supplemental materials” — wink, wink — in science classes. The LSEA is one of those anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “Academic Freedom” laws — the only one enacted so far — modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

Darrell’s letter is titled Racial issues, political courage. He’s writing about an event reported earlier in the Advocate: Program aims to get people talking about race. That earlier article was about the:

“Race and Gravy” meeting held at the First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. [It was] designed to get people involved in small dinner meetings where discussions about race could take place … .

It sounds like a worthy event. In the article about it, there was no mention of evolution, or Darwin, or any of the other subjects that frequently pop up in The Controversy between evolution and creationism. But Darrell seems to be on a mission, and he sees “Darwinism” everywhere. Here are some excerpts from his letter, with bold font added by us:

A decade ago, state Sen. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, filed House Concurrent Resolution 74, in which she spotlighted the unmistakably Darwinian assumptions that underlie much of today’s racist thinking. (See http://retiredjudges.org/hcr74.)

Broome’s sensible resolution presented irrefutable evidence that biological racism (i.e., “inferior” and “superior” race characterizations) was used as a scientific justification for Nazi atrocities. Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) even sounds ominously like the subtitle of Charles Darwin’s 1859 book, “… The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.”

Some moronic resolution in the moronic Louisiana legislature presented “irrefutable evidence” that “Darwinian assumptions” about “biological racism” justified Nazi atrocities? Okay, sure. And of course, Darrell mentions the subtitle of Darwin’s book — because it uses the word “race.” We assume he never read Darwin’s book with that subtitle, because it says nothing about human evolution or human races. We’ve discussed — and debunked — that nonsensical blather about Darwin’s subtitle here: Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. We said:

In the on-line text of that book, we see that Darwin, like his contemporaries, uses the terms “race,” “sub-species,” “variety,” and similar expressions interchangeably in connection with a great number of animals (dogs, horses, etc.) and also plants (flowers, cabbages, etc.), sometimes intermixing them in the same context.

In other words, Darrell doesn’t know what he’s talking about. (Because it’s unlikely that Darrell knows anything about Darwin or his work, we don’t have to consider the possibility that he may have read the book and is deliberately lying about it.) Let’s read on in his letter:

The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., includes in its displays a Nazi-utilized volume — complete with earmarks and underlining — penned by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, describing the “science” of eugenics and used as a support for their plan of “perfecting the human race” by, as he put it, getting rid of its “undesirables” while multiplying its “desirables.”

Darwin’s cousin? So what? Charles Darwin disagreed with his cousin about the value of eugenics — he thought it was harmful to the evolution of our species — and we quoted him on that in our post to which we just linked. (Here it is again: Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.) Note, by the way, that Darrell has nothing to say about anything actually written by Charles Darwin in the Holocaust Museum. That’s because Hitler never wrote a single word about Darwin, and was most likely clueless about evolution. It was Winston Churchill who actually did read Darwin, as we pointed out here. But Darrell wouldn’t know about such things — he’s obsessed with his own version of history.

One last excerpt from Darrell’s letter:

History may show that courageous Americans such as Sen. Sharon Broome and those involved in “Race and Gravy” discussions are best remembered because they brought needed critical thinking skills to bear on the issue of racism.

If that’s an example of what creationists mean when they call for “critical thinking,” then it’s yet another reason why all their “Academic Freedom” bills should be defeated.

Addendum: We checked out Darrell’s link to the Broome resolution. Her original draft is an insane rant that blames everything on Darwin. The final version, presumably passed by the legislature, omits all references to Darwin.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “Louisiana Creationism: Racism Is Darwin’s Fault

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    That racism and the theory and practice of eugenics both preceded Darwin by millenia would be, you would think, absolutely dispositive.

    –“[t]he children of good parents they will take to a rearing pen in the care of nurses living apart in a certain section of the city; the children of inferior parents, or any child of the others born defective, they will hide, as is fitting, in a secret and unknown place…–Plato

  2. Darwin’s work, On the Origins of the Species was published in 1859.

    The first African Slaves were brought to America in 1619. In the US Census of 1860, there were 4 million slaves in the US. In 1864, the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery… 5 years after On the Origins of the Species was published.

    Some of the worst human rights violations based on race occurred in the US from 1619 to 1864.

    It doesn’t seem to me that Darwin had anything to do with it.

    I believe it was Dawkins who asked… creationists: ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked?

  3. LRA says: “The first African Slaves were brought to America in 1619.”

    Yes, by a Dutch ship that was supposed to bring that cargo to the Caribbean or to South America, where the Atlantic slave trade had already been going on for a century. Most African slaves were taken there, not to North America, which is no excuse, of course, but the Americans didn’t invent the situation. They didn’t even understand it at first. That original bunch in Virginia were treated as indentured servants and set free after seven years. Anyway, Darwin had very little to do with events in the 1500s.

  4. I’m not saying America invented the situation…. I’m merely stressing that Darwin *didn’t*…

    Also, Louisiana was a slave state, so there’s that too.

  5. (I guess what I’m trying to stress is that current race hatred in the US has to do with *slavery* NOT Darwin.)

  6. I was one of the Race ’n Gravy panelists. Hopefully I can get a rebuttal in for Monday. Race ’n Gravy is pretty upset with White too.

  7. That would be great, Zack. Man, you’re everywhere!

  8. Not to get into conspiracy theories, but I think this article was a jab at me by misrepresenting an event I was part of. I ran into Judge White at the event, and he was not pleased.

  9. I checked out White’s link to the Broome resolution. Her original draft is an insane rant that blames everything on Darwin. The final version, as passed by the legislature, omits all references to Darwin.

  10. Yeah, I don’t know if you heard the Jim Engster interview between him and Barbara where he blamed evolution for Columbine on air. Engster also got him on the age of the Earth and had him stuttering for about a minute.

  11. I didn’t listen to it, but we heard about it.

  12. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

  13. I believe that Hitler, in ‘Mein Kampf’ did express disbelief that ‘we descended from monkeys’. I also know that the Nazis banned Darwin’s books. It is likely that he at least knew some of what Darwin said.

  14. One of the consequences of this type of hysteria is that archaeoligists cannot use the trem ‘race’ anymore without having the politically correct thought police ranting at us. Instead we now use the term ‘polytype’. No doubt one day the political hacks will realise what it means and we’ll have to retreat behind another carefully chosen term in order to have a sensible discussion on how humans populated the earth.

  15. Jerry C says:

    Instead we now use the term ‘polytype’.

    Be careful. We’ll tolerate no polytipism here.