Another Ken Ham Darwin Sham

Ken Ham, founder of the mega-creationist museum in Kentucky, has a new book out on Darwinism. Authored by Ham and Charles Ware, a bible college president, the book makes the specious argument that evolution is racism incarnate. The book is provocatively titled, Darwin’s Plantation: Evolution’s Racist Roots, and its premise is based on nothing more than revisionist history. Only someone who hasn’t bothered to study Darwinian history would make the claim that it has racist roots. And to state that modern evolutionary science (Neo-Darwinism) is to blame for racism is equally absurd.

First, Ken Ham, like most creationists, has trouble separating science from politics. Whether or not evolution is strongly supported by the physical evidence is purely a scientific question. Racism, on the other hand, is an emotional and political question, which is usually rationalized regardless of any contradictory evidence. Was evolutionary theory used historically to rationalize racism? Yes, some people used it to that end. But the use or misuse of a science in no way invalidates its reality. Mathematics has many evil applications, but those applications don’t weaken its power.

Historically speaking, Charles Darwin came from a family of abolitionists. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, strongly disapproved of slavery. And Charles Darwin wrote negatively about the slavery he witnessed on his travels in his book, The Voyage Of The Beagle. Darwin’s The Descent Of Man is also an argument against racism, since one of the points in it is the common ancestry of all the humans races. And simply using the word “savage”, as Darwin did, in its 19th century context doesn’t make a man a racist. Political correctness and cultural sensitivity were more than a century away.

Amusingly, several 19th century scientists, who were also strong creationists, directly and indirectly supported slavery through their work. For example, zoologist and geologist, Louis Agassiz, hated the idea of evolution, and rationalized the long age of the earth with the idea of multiple creations. In the multiple creation model, black people were characterized as being “lower” than whites. Thus, advocates of slavery preferred Agassiz to Darwin.

Ken Ham believes in a literal reading of the Bible, which has only one creation event, with an Adam and an Eve. (Were Adam and Eve black or white?) Given that fact that the bible endorses slavery and that slavery was in action until the 19th century, it’s apparent that the belief in creationism has much more in common with racism than the science of evolution does.


Filed under Trawling For Creationism

22 responses to “Another Ken Ham Darwin Sham

  1. skelliot

    Great article Mr DarwinReport (if that is your real name). I am adding you to my blog roll. You can find my blog by clicking on my name (I think). Thanks.


  2. thedarwinreport

    Thanks Skelliot. And many thanks for the endorsement. I’ll happily add you to my blog roll too. Skeptics unite!

  3. G Bernard

    While I am a proponent of the evolutionary theory as a whole, I’m wise enough to admit that discovery of the theory doesn’t mean that the discoverer’s conclusions are universally correct. Einstein was imperfect and so was Darwin. In the heat of the battle with creationists, the writer tries to hit a home run in defending Darwins views on race and strikes out badly. The fact is that Darwin and most of his European and American contemporaries were racist/white supremacists. It is borne out in black and white and should not be a shock to anyone with a more than cursory knowledge of the age of imperialism. He was born thousands of years too late to have invented racism but he was immersed in and accepting of racist ideology. He was a racist and sugarcoating it won’t help you make your point. That being said, it doesn’t affect the validity of the theory.

  4. thedarwinreport

    It goes without saying that Darwin was incorrect on many points. He was a scientist, not a god. But thousands of scientists have contributed to evolutionary biology since 1859. And Darwin’s basic theories hold up. No one claims he was “perfect”.

    Yes, racism was prominent in the 19th century among scientists. But you cannot show me anywhere in Darwin’s scientific works where he advocates racism or slavery or white supremacy. Darwin’s science writings are dry and descriptive, and free of social and moral commentary. He dispassionately attempts to describe the workings of the natural world. (Ignorant creationists blame Darwinism for all of society’s ills. He has been blamed for the rise of communism and capitalism, for homosexuality and post-modernism.) But only someone who hasn’t bothered to read his books would make such claims.

    I pointed out that Darwin used the word “savage” to describe primitive peoples. The 19th century had no political correctness. And Darwin was a man of his time. That hardly makes him a raving racist.

    And you clearly missed the point of the original post. Science is amoral, in the same sense that mathematics or plumbing is amoral. Whether it is backed up by evidence is a separate issue from how the science is used, or misused.

    Ken Hams, with his new book, is attempting to blame all of society’s problems on Darwinism, in a pathetic attempt to invalidate it. Does the fact that Oppenheimer was a communist invalidate atomic weaponry?

  5. As a resident of the Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky region, I apologize for the existence of Ken Ham and the creation museum.

    Though I am no longer a Christian, there was a time in which I traveled with a ministry group from my college to various churches. They would sing, I would preach. My last semester, 4/5 churches had “Answers in Genesis” in their bulletins. Scary stuff.

    Thanks for tackling the issue.

  6. thedarwinreport,
    First, I have a hard time believing you’ve read Ken Ham’s book before blasting it. Perhaps you read a book review on Panda’s Thumb or Talkorigins.

    Secondly, check any history source concerning the Holocaust and WWII, and you will find the term “Social Darwinism.” It is this to which Hitler and others adhered and used as justification to exterminate Jews. It is also the reason why the disabled and retarded were murdered by the Nazis; and in the US, they were sterilized and imprisoned in filthy institutions where they were abused and neglected, a practice that occurred with the approval of the world’s leading evolutionary scientists who believed such genetic “mistakes” to be an undue burden on the fit of society. Of course, when the ugliness of Social Darwinism was taken to its highest level by Hitler, you couldn’t find a single scientist to support it. It still goes on, however, in genetic testing with abortion counseling during pregnancy when a “defect” is detected and in euthanasia of the elderly and terminally ill.

    Darwin’s writings, especially “Origin…” and “Descent of Man,” clearly demonstrate his closely-held belief that much of mankind, particularly the darkest of men, were no more than bipedal apes. Those who would use Darwin to support racism and even genocide stand on solid ground. Many followers of this philosophy have stated openly that evolution (survival of the fittest) demands that we not feed the poor or care for the helpless but let them die to relieve the burden on the fit.

    Of course, you’re right about the fact that many have used the Bible to support racism and all manner of wrongdoing, but that doesn’t mean the Bible supports those things, it means that people are selfish and stupid. The Bible teaches that mankind is all of Adam’s race, whatever color he was (who cares?), and actual science supports the fact that the only differences between races are fatty deposits and melanin levels.

  7. skelliot

    People always seem to bring up Hitler in these arguments. Hitler, while being secular, was in fact originally a christian. Why else would he hate jewish people? If he truly was a Darwinian he would have made the observation that Jews are just another arm of the human race.

    The fact of the matter is that people can warp any ideal to suit their needs. Unfortunately, Hitler gave creationists and religious apologists a way to try and discredit Darwin Evolution by natural selection. This being said, even if Darwin’s basic theory was racist it would still be true! (disregarding the human hierarchy he portrayed in ‘The Descent of Man’). No matter how much creationists say “oh Darwinism is wrong because it is innately racist” doesn’t mean the theory is wrong. Their moral views are a human fabrication and have no effect on right or wrong. Evolution is either right or wrong, no matter what people say.


  8. Thomas

    #1 I am a creationist. And I believe in the Bible. But I do not believe in the literally translations of the Bible.
    #2 Ken Ham is an idiot. The Bible does not say the earth was created in six, 24 hour days. The word translated as day in our newer Bibles is from Hebrew word AION and it means age.
    That is the literally writings of the Bible. This age could have been 24 hours – it could also have been 24 million or 24 billion years.
    #3 God BUILT the earth and the length of time he took was his decision not mine.
    #4 The evolution of the physical word does not eliminate a master builder.
    #5 The Creation of life is another matter.
    #6 People may reject Christianity because morons like Ham want to push creation into six, 24 hour boxes and it doesn’t fit.

  9. Why is “he” a christian god? It’s more likely that if there were a god, he wouldn’t be the monotheistic christian god. He would most probably be one of the other infinite other god possibilities out there.

    This in itself is a logical fallacy. We have no evidence of any god, so why should we believe in it. We do however have evidence for evolution, lots of it. In fact, every new discovery supports and strengthens the theory of evolution by natural selection!

    We frequently get idiots like the Discovery Institute and Ken Ham lying to us and making up more crap to peddle to the masses, but the fact of the matter is, evolution is a FACT.


  10. Whatifyourwrong?


    Do you REALLY know the difference between fact and THEORY????

    Just checking!

  11. thedarwinreport

    Whatifyourwrong? – “Do you REALLY know the difference between fact and THEORY????”

    That plants and animals have changed though time is an observable fact. There’s no getting around that.

    Darwin theories explain very well how this fact came about.

    Therefore, there is the fact of evolution change on earth and the theories which explain it.

    Creationists not only deny that any change has occurred, they also deny the explanation, the theory as well.

  12. Evolution is a fact. It’s just the IDiots and the creationists who seem to think “theory” means theory in the everyday sense.

    I seriously tire of having to explain what scientific theory means over and over again to dimwit creationists who can’t seem to listen the first time.


    (Btw. What if I am wrong? Well if I’m wrong I’ll have all eternity to ponder that. In the mean time I will go with the facts and live in this material world.)

  13. DED

    It is funny to me that comments that are made by those who have an opposing view to this article are “idiots” and “dimwits”, with no explanation as to how the suppositions of character are made from such a small glimpse of their views. I am not going to state my opinion on the articles views simply because I have learned that no one ever changed their thinking by reading one of these comments. However, I am going to comment about the comments.

    First of all, if the we accept that individual evolutionists can be racist without evolution itself being racist, than we have to accept that if some creationists are racist that doesn’t make the creation belief racist.

    Secondly, evolution is not a fact. In the purist form of the word. Also in the purist definition of the word, it is also not a science, but a historical science since it makes suppositions about the past based on evidences found today.

    Thirdly, animals an plants do change, creationist do not deny this, but they have never been observed to change between species, only within species. And by observed, I mean physically seen and recorded.

    Finally, whether you like it or not it is impossible for science to prove either creation or evolution. Science is limited. So does that mean because science hasn’t proven something than it must not be true? Absolutely not. Frankly, I have found this page to be filled with very opinionated individuals (not a bad thing) that have nothing to back up the prejudice statements (a bad thing). If you believe something, you had better have some knowledge to back it up or you’re gonna find yourself in all kinds of trouble.

  14. thedarwinreport

    DED said: “Secondly, evolution is not a fact. In the purist form of the word. Also in the purist definition of the word, it is also not a science, but a historical science since it makes suppositions about the past based on evidences found today.”

    Paleontologists can make predictions about where they will find fossils. Fossils may be historical, but the prediction of finding one in very specific sedimentary layers is valid, present day, science. Biological comparisons between living species is also valid science. Your understanding of evolution is what is flawed.

    Science may indeed be limited, but creationism, on the other hand, is nothing but fantasy. The important question is – which one has been more productive in understanding the world? Religion has a history of non-achievement.

  15. It’s funny how people seem to think evolution hasn’t been proven. Everyone who has this view seems to come from the USA…I find this funny as the rest of the world accepts reality and evolution as science.

  16. doca

    It is funny how “scientists” stick to promote their “theories” regarding evolution, despite the fact that connecting the theory to humans is ludicrious. Are they afraid that they will lose their research funding? This “theory” is being propagated from one generation of scientists to the next. Humans cannot be animals, as animals do not have a soul. Stop trying to push this agenda please. We all know about the outflow of Eugenics coined by the cousin of Darwin and it’s role in the atrocities of Nazi Germany. Rather study your history books than the fantasies of unproven scientific explanations. Most of the missing links have been proven to be false, and grabbing at new straws to keep the old theory alive. Humans don’s know everything, because they are not God. Do not try and discover for the sake of God how the universe came into being. Look what God has to say. he is not surprised at all about the origin of things. You may be.

  17. Joe

    Here is a great blog/thread where Christians and atheists are debating this issue:

  18. “Who sez?” is always always a great question. For example, “Who sez” who should have the last word on your blog? One does observe a certain pattern to how those who are skeptical of your statements are handled!! “Who sez” when someone should be given a right of reply?

    And “who sez” what the definition of historical science, forensic science is …or should be? “Who sez” that DED, didn’t have a valid concern with the way anyone who questions your assertions are labelled or misrepresented. I would gladly reply (should you promise an ongoing right of reply) with a starter’s list of three statements of error that you have made that many evolutionists AND creationists would BOTH recognize in your assertions.

    But don’t bother posting my remarks unless you want to start giving others on your blog an ongoing right of reply. It’s time to think about what kind of dialogue or debate you are really ALLOWING on your blog. I don’t know what kind of place Joe is speaking from but I think a more courageous attitude towards the rules of debate would impress both Joe and I. Anyone who really cares about the truth AND about people would want this to be a good debate. Your response will tell me heaps. It might even become a great opportunity for us to agree about a few important things …and maybe it won’t just be me learning learning a few things.

  19. BigBanger

    Skelliot, your name would be closer to the truth if it were “Skidiot”.
    I have read the “Bible” and I have read Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.
    The Bible has an explanation for a lot more of the “gaps” than does Chuck.

    It is clear Skidiot has only a limited understanding from one of the afformentioned books and absolutely no understanding of the other.

  20. You can be as ad hominem as you wish BigBanger. The Bible doesn’t explain any “Gaps” in evolutionary theory. It provides no evidence at all, so it is not an explanation.

    According to the bible you already know everything, this is a useless premise. What can we possibly learn from that? God did it…great, well lets just pack up our shit and leave shall we?

    Science doesn’t work like that, there needs to be EVIDENCE to support claims. EVOLUTION has the MOST evidence. The Bible has a grand total of NONE. Show me evidence of a world wide flood, show me evidence of a creation event that cannot be explained by evolution, show me cambrian creatures in the same geological strata as humans…SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE.

    BigBanger? More like BigWanker.


  21. Obviously Correct Person

    #1 Evolution is not due to random chance on an infinitely large scale, it is about (small scale) chance genetic changes that get selected for or against. Bacteria reproduce every twenty minutes, so even if they changed in a way that had a 90% chance of occuring, over the course of one year the probability of the most likely outcome would be so statistically improbable that if you tried to work it out on a calculator then it would say 0. Check it out if you don’t believe me. This is what creationists say, because they think that the end probability is probability of everything involved, instead of an incredibly long series of possibilities, or even probabilities. this analogy is called Mount Improbable.
    #2 Evolution is a theorum ( a theory that is vulnerable to disproof but has never been disproved), supported by an overwhelming amount of evidence such as vestigial structures and the flawed structure of the eye. Read ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, written by Richard Dawkins (Hiss, Boo, slave of Satan, whatever…) for an incredible amount of proof. Creation is a myth, no different to the greek or roman myths, that has survived because it is a very successful meme (this is not a good thing). This is no proof of Creation, just gaps in the current knowledge of scientists. Gaps which are rapidly shrinking.
    #3 Throughout their history of evolution, humans and their ancestors have always lived in areas where fossils are incredibly rare and unlikely to form. Actually having any fossils at all in fantastic, and another pillar supporting evolution, but the trouble is that whenever a ‘missing link’ turns up creationists say ‘Ha, now there are two gaps in the fossil record instead of one. Explain that!’ because they don’t realise that these two new gaps are half the size of the old gap. Tectonic movement means that a lot of plates, which contain fossils, are often pushed under the crust, thus destroying all of the fossils in them. Again, I have to stress that having any fossils at all is amazing.
    #4 Atheists do not ‘rail and hate against God, who they know in their hearts is real, because they want to be their own masters’ as Ken Ham claims. No, we do not believe that your god exists in the first place, and even if he was right and we were like that, I would say that wanting to be free from his god would be a good thing, given the number of atrocities that his god ordered in his book of fairy tales (the bible). Ken, you are an atheist towards Odin and Zeus and Jupiter (the roman god Jupiter, not the planet. I am pretty sure that even you know that the planet exists). We just go one god further and arrive at the logical number of gods: zero. Nil. 0. None. Nada. You get the point.
    In summary: the evidence for evolution is incontravertible by any OPEN-MINDED, LOGICAL people who look at the evidence and decide for themselves, instead of just following what they have been told blindly and never questioning the patently absurd. Fossils are rare, but every one of them supports evolution and not creation. Atheism and evolution are not religions, as Ken Ham so loves to ridiculously claim. All religions, both modern and ancient, are equally valid (i.e. not at all valid). And if you are going to look at the statistical probabilities of evolution, look at how those probabilities arose individually and don’t claim that they all happened at once.
    If you feel that I have erred in my arguments, please leave a post debating it rationally, with evidence. Quoting scripture to prove scripture is the epitome of stupid. Will someone please tell ken Ham that.
    Thank You for reading.

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