In a strange twist on history, Charles Darwin is now credited with developing his evolutionary views to help fight racism and slavery.
A new book, Darwin’s Sacred Cause, posits that Charles Darwin despised slavery (which was apparently true) and that this passion helped inspire his views of evolution. The book indicates just how complicated people can be and how careful we need to be to avoid rushing to conclusions. Most people, including the authors, recognize that Darwin had demeaning attitudes toward other people groups and his views helped inflame what’s known as “scientific racism,” but there is more to the story.
According to Darwin’s Sacred Cause, Darwin was determined to challenge Western society’s common belief that blacks and whites were separate species, and thought his work in evolution would prove this wrong and help reduce racism and slavery around the world.
One of the book’s authors says they were looking for the passion that drove Darwin. “There’s got to be reasons why he came to common descent images of evolution when there was no precedent for that in the zoological science of the day. It comes out of anti-slavery.”
However, recent books by creationists reveal the darker side of Darwin and his influence on racism. We recommend that the authors check their facts by reading Darwin’s Plantation: Evolution’s Racist Roots.