Comments on Wieland and Weston
Dr Colin Groves

Dr Carl Wieland’s article Evolutionary Racism (first published in Creation Ex Nihilo 20(4):14–15, September–November 1998) and Paula Weston’s The fallacy of racism (first published in Creation Ex Nihilo 20(1):52-53, December 1997 - February 1998) cannot be permitted to stand unchallenged.

Dr Wieland begins well enough: racism, he notes, "has never required much excuse". But the claim which follows, that Darwinism "gave it a tremendous impetus", is false. His quotes from Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigine 1697–1973 (by Sharman Stone; Heinemann Educational Books, Melbourne, 1974) are selective in the extreme. I myself have recently documented the influence of religious, specifically Christian (creationist), rationales for whites' treatment of Aborigines in 19th century Australia. There was not, contra Wieland, "a distinct change for the worse after 1859", nor does the book make this claim; in the passage he quotes, the editor merely notes that a new rationale ("Social Darwinism") began to be offered after 1859, along with the continuation of the old ones, which referred to religious assumptions, the terra nullius concept, and of course the white colonists' unabashed self-interest.

Were early massacres justified by reference to "evolution"? The white settlers and colonists had never heard the word. Was the attempt, nearly successful, to exterminate the Tasmanian Aborigines thus motivated? If any pseudo-intellectual excuse was offered, it was that Aboriginal people were, like other blacks, the Children of Ham, doomed by the curse placed on them by Noah. To "stress that we all go back only a few thousand years, to Noah's family", would by no means have refuted racism: it would have reinforced it (and did).

Perfectly true, some Christians and church institutions did try to protect Aborigines from the full impact of the colonists’ attempts to exterminate them; but at a cost. Some made it clear what that cost was: they must become Christians, and if that meant losing their land, so be it.

Paula Weston has similar misunderstandings, beginning with what "evolutionists teach" (as if there is some standard dogma which is fed to all believers!). The idea that "races" - peoples, ethnic groups, what you will - evolved independently for tens of thousands of years is likely to be only partially true; the general sharing of genes across most or all of humanity implies that there has always been interbreeding. There is no implication here "that some 'races' have developed and become more 'sophisticated' faster than others, leading to the ultimate conclusion (often subconsciously) that certain 'races' are superior to others", as she claims: that is a reading which is imposed on the model by a few perverse interpreters, not a necessary part of it in the way that the curse on the descendants of Ham is a necessary part of a literal reading of Genesis.

Scientific difficulties with the view that all human genes descend from those of a single pair are numerous.  Many polymorphic loci have more than the four alleles which are the maximum that could be possessed at any given locus between Adam and Eve.  For example, the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) has nearly 100 alleles at the HLA-A locus, and well over 100 alleles at the HLA-B locus.  These could, of course, have been generated from the original four by mutation; but standard creationist dogma has it that mutations, being genetic "mistakes" (degenerated from the "perfect" genes of Adam and Eve, and so unsuited to be the raw material of evolution), are always deleterious - yet we know that many, at least, of the MHC alleles are under strong positive selection.

And does Ms Weston really think that the Ku Klux Klan is "evolutionist"? That the Apartheid regime in South Africa, which justified itself as "Christian Socialism" (modelled on Germany's National Socialism), was "evolutionist"?  See It's Official! Racism is an Integral Part of Creationist Dogma.

History, Ms Weston; history!