Darwin’s Racist Descent of Man Turns 150

How Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man aimed to destroy the family, race relations, and Christianity and what you can do to help undermine the deceptive evolution narrative

by Ken Ham on February 16, 2021
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

What’s significant about February 24?

Ok, a test for you. Is the following fact or fiction?

An edict banned church services and ordered the destruction of Scripture and churches. There was strong persecution for failure to obey. Later edicts commanded that pastors be arrested. Beheadings and burnings were the common punishments for disobeying the edict, but that depended on the creativity and cruelty of the particular governor of the region.

Well, the above is fact! The first Roman edict for this situation was issued on February 24, 303. While the edict was issued by Diocletian, his subordinate Caesar Galerius bears much of the responsibility for it. Galerius was a hardened pagan and wanted to use paganism to unify the empire, much like Constantine would use Christianity a few decades later. Edicts were issued for the entire empire to sacrifice to the pagan gods. The edict against Christianity lasted a mere seven years before Galerius repealed it, openly admitting it was a failure.

In a way, it does have some similarities with what happened when Nebuchadnezzar issued an edict that people had to bow down to his image or be burned in a fiery furnace. And for some reason, it even reminded me of certain events over the past year.

But the point is, for six thousand years, a war has been raging against God’s Word and the people of God.

This was when Darwin proclaimed that man evolved from apelike creatures and that some people were closer to the apes and were mentally inferior races compared to others who were of a higher race and more highly evolved!

One of the reasons I chose the above Roman edict is because it was issued on February 24. Another edict of a sort was proclaimed on February 24, 150 years ago this month. This was when Darwin proclaimed that man evolved from apelike creatures and that some people were closer to the apes and were mentally inferior races compared to others who were of a higher race and more highly evolved! That “edict” has also resulted in attacks on Christianity.

In the 1700s and 1800s, I believe a movement (from the evil one) began to try to undo what the Reformation, which began in 1517, did to get people to return to the absolute authority of the Word of God. This movement (based on naturalism/atheism) culminated in the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859 and The Descent of Man on February 24, 1871. Darwin’s pernicious ideas have permeated the entire world and have been very destructive.

Now Darwin’s evolutionary beliefs are not the cause of this destruction, but they have greatly fueled this destruction up to our modern times. Sin is the ultimate cause of such destruction, of course. We have to understand that evolution (evolutionary geology, biology, anthropology, and astronomy) is in essence the pagan religion of our era (1700s to the present) as people attempt to explain the universe and life without God by natural processes (naturalism). Naturalism is really atheism (an anti-God religion).

Destructive to the Church

Sadly, as the belief in millions of years and evolutionary biology and anthropology began to disseminate, many church leaders adopted those beliefs and changed (compromised) the clear words in Genesis in an attempt to fit these ideas into the Bible. Over time, this has permeated churches and Christian institutions and resulted in the coming generations being taught that fallible man can be in authority over God’s Word. They were also, in essence, taught that man could reinterpret (change) God’s Word to fit man’s beliefs about the origin of life and the universe.

This has been a major cause for why there is an exodus of the younger generations (X, Y, and Z) from the church.

This resulted in an undermining of the authority of the Word of God and created doubt leading to unbelief. This has been a major cause for why there is an exodus of the younger generations (X, Y, and Z) from the church. Also, as the literal history of Genesis 1–11 is the foundation for all doctrine and for the entire Christian worldview and the rest of the Bible, people in churches lacked teaching to enable them to hold to a biblical worldview and understand the errors of those who have man’s word as their foundation.

Destructive to Education

Over time, the secular education system has rejected any semblance of Christianity and indoctrinated generations of kids in evolutionary naturalism. Secular schools have increasingly become antagonistic to anything Christian. Now consider that 90% of kids from church homes have been educated in this system, most churches (certainly not all) have compromised Genesis with evolutionary beliefs, and most have not taught apologetics or a Christian worldview based on Genesis. A recipe was created for the younger generations to reject the Christian faith. These generations have become more secular in their thinking, with generation Z being twice as atheist as any previous generation.

Destructive to People Groups

Sadly, Darwin’s Descent of Man fueled racism. It’s well documented that Hitler used Darwin’s evolutionary ideas about man (lower and higher races) to justify what he did to eliminate certain types of people (Jews, those who were disabled, etc.). The Australian Aboriginal people were basically considered “missing links” in the evolution of man and were killed as specimens for museums—all in the name of evolution. Margaret Sanger also justified her view on eugenics and abortion with evolution:

The practice of Birth Control raises us to a higher stage in the evolution of life—as each individual progresses he helps to raise the human race in its evolution forward and onward to higher planes. – Margaret Sanger (“The Meaning of Birth Control,” speech given in June 1929)

In America’s 1900s, one of the main biology textbooks used in public schools, based on Darwin’s ideas, taught students this in regard to the supposed “races” of man:

At the present time there exist upon the earth five races . . . the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America. (George William Hunter, A Civic Biology Presented in Problems [New York: American Book Company, 1914], 196)

You can see how that could fuel racism in students’ minds!

Destructive to Culture

The more people have been indoctrinated to believe that humans are just animals, that there is no God, and that there is no absolute authority other than themselves, the more we see an application of Judges 21:25 being played out:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

In other words, when there’s no absolute authority, anything goes.

Moral relativism is permeating the culture. Many are abandoning science as they claim there are more than two genders in humans and abortion is just “healthcare” for a woman.

Destructive to the Family

More and more kids have been taught that Darwin’s evolutionary ideas are fact, man is just an animal, and therefore morality is subjective.

The family is the first and most fundamental of all human institutions God ordained. The family is the unit God uses to transmit the spiritual (godly) legacy to subsequent generations and impact the world with the truth of God’s Word and the saving gospel. More and more kids have been taught that Darwin’s evolutionary ideas are fact, man is just an animal, and therefore morality is subjective.

Marriage has been redefined (e.g., gay “marriage”), gender has been redefined, and the roles of men and women have been redefined. Ultimately, many now exhibit the outworking of a worldview based in evolutionary naturalism where anything goes regarding sex, etc. All of this is an attack on the family unit that God created. We are seeing the destruction of the family that is founded in Genesis 1–11.

Destructive to Religious Freedom and the Free Exercise of Religion

The more people believe there is no Creator God to whom they are accountable, the more they claim all views must be tolerated. But in stating this, they are also saying that at the same time they are intolerant of the Christian worldview. They can’t tolerate all views, because what happens when a Christian tells them that their views are wrong because what God’s Word teaches is the correct way to think? They will then claim the Christian is intolerant of them.

But it’s a clash of worldviews—one based on man’s word and the other based on the absolute authority of God’s Word. As secularists take over positions of political power, they will increasingly outlaw the rights of Christians to hold to the absolute authority of what God teaches. When a Christian states, “Jesus said . . . ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6), they will be considered intolerant.

There are many indications that political authorities want to force the LGBTQ worldview on everyone, and if it’s not accepted, then the Christians who don’t accept it will be prosecuted and persecuted.

We’ve already seen atheist groups bullying to get Christian symbols or any semblance of Christianity removed from many places so they can impose their atheist religion on the culture. The freedom for Christians and free exercise of Christianity is under massive attack.

Destructive to Millions of People and Their Eternity

The most destructive outworking of Darwin’s ideas is that millions have been indoctrinated in atheistic evolutionary naturalism, and as a result, these people reject God’s Word and see it as a book of mythology, turning their backs on even listening to the saving gospel. There’s been an exodus of young people from the church, massive compromise throughout the church (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, etc.) to try to force man’s pagan religion of evolution into the Bible, and intense atheistic evolutionary indoctrination of the population through the media and secular education systems.

As we see this change happening through the entire West, I start to think about this verse:

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8)

There are so many more on the broad way to hell and not the narrow way to heaven.

Ok, are you now depressed? But there’s good news. God has a large remnant in this nation who love him and proclaim his Word as truth from the very first verse.

Ok, are you now depressed? But there’s good news. God has a large remnant in this nation who love him and proclaim his Word as truth from the very first verse. We’ve seen millions come to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum—dads and moms and kids of all ages. Thousands of churches use AiG resources in their teaching. Millions have accessed our websites to get information. Don’t get discouraged like Elijah did. God encouraged him, saying:

Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18)

I really do see the religion of naturalism and Darwin’s ideas—that began to really impact people and churches in the 1700s—as the way the evil one has tried to undo what the Reformation did to get people back to God’s Word. And in my DVD, The Evolution of Darwin, His Impact, I show how Darwin’s beliefs have been used to justify policies and teachings that have resulted in destructive acts against humanity.

I firmly believe that the Answers in Genesis ministry (and the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum attractions) have been raised up by God to be a part of undoing what the secularists have done, and to help bring about a new reformation in our churches and Christian institutions. It’s our part in engaging in the business of the King until he returns (Luke 19:13).

We are increasing our efforts this year to impact the church and call out the compromise that’s rampant in Christendom and that’s destructive to the church, individuals, and the culture as a whole. This is the pandemic that is far worse than any virus as it impacts where people will spend eternity.

Will you join us in this mission to call God’s people back to the absolute authority of the Word of God and proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel to a dying world? February 24, 2021, may be the 150th anniversary year of Darwin’s Descent of Man, but let’s make 2021 a year to celebrate impacting church and culture with God’s Word in a way we’ve never seen before.


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