"All our social policies are based on the fact that their [i.e. Africans'] intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really ... there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."
— James Watson
Of course, the media immediately piled on Watson, alleging that these statements were “racist.” Racism, properly understood, is a prejudice holding that one’s own race is superior to another. It would most assuredly not be racism to believe a provable differentiation among races; as for instance, that (on average) Indo-Europeans are taller than Inuits, or that Bantus have darker complexions than Semites. Watson, it a grotesque violation of Bourgeois Propriety (also know as “Political Correctness”), simply stated as fact what many researchers claim to be able to prove statistically. (cf. Charles Murray, “The Bell Curve”)
What makes his statement intriguing is that, inherent in his reasoning, is the notion that Darwinian evolution makes intelligence differentials among races not merely explicable, but inevitable. This is the dirty secret of Darwin: he’s anti-social.
To understand this, we must take separate the elements of “Darwinism” into the several component idea that comprise his theory.
First, there is the notion of Evolution proper. The idea that more complex forms of life developed out of simpler forms pre-dates Darwin by at least one hundred years. First proposed by the Catholic biologist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, it was elaborated by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and had found wide acceptance among the educated by Darwin’s day. This notion is commonly not viewed as being at variance with the idea of Divine creation; after all, God can make the world by any method that serves his purpose. Only the most doctrinaire of Bible literalists reject this notion.
The second notion is that this evolution happens gradually, over vast periods of time, through mutation and adaption, and that one species develops imperceptibly into another. (Buffon defined the species as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding.) Spengler refutes this decisively:
There is no more conclusive refutation of Darwinism than that furnished by palæontology. Simple probability indicates that fossil hoards can only be test samples. Each sample, then, should represent a different stage of evolution, and there ought to be merely ‘transitional’ types, no definition and no species. Instead of this we find perfectly stable and unaltered forms persevering through long ages, forms that have not developed themselves on the fitness principle, but appear suddenly and at once in their definite shape; that do not thereafter evolve towards better adaptation, but become rarer and finally disappear, while quite different forms crop up again. What unfolds itself, in ever-increasing richness of form, is the great classes and kinds of living beings which exist aboriginally and exist still, without transition types, in the grouping of today. We see how amongst fish, the Selachians, with their simple form, appear first in the foreground of history and then slowly fade out again, while the Teleostians slowly bringing a more perfected fish-type to predominance. The same applies to the plant-world of the ferns and horsetails, of which only the last species now linger in the fully developed kingdom of the flowering plants. But the assumption of utility-causes or other visible causes for these phenomena has no support of actuality. (In the language of Gœthe, we see how the ‘impressed form’ works itself out in the individual samples, but now how the die was cut for the whole genus.) It is a Destiny that evoked into the world life as life, the ever-sharper opposition between plant and animal, each single type, each genus, and each species. And along with this existence there is given also a definite energy of the form — by virtue of which in the course of its self-fulfillment it keeps itself pure or, on the contrary, becomes dull and unclear or evasively splits into numerous varieties — and finally a life-duration of the form, which (unless, again, incident intervenes to shorten it) leads naturally to a senility of the species and finally to its disappearance.
— Decline of the West v. II : p. 32
The third component of Darwinism is the mechanism for evolution, the survival of the fittest. This phrase actually comes not from Darwin, but from the social scientist, Herbert Spencer, and the concept too is one from social science not hard science. Darwin took this notion directly from the economic writings of Parson Malthus who proposed that populations always increase faster than food supplies and thus there was always a struggle for survival in which only the fit would succeed. This notion is not borne out by history and is, in fact, nothing more or less than a justification for the oppression of the poor. There is no better proof of the speciousness of this notion than the fact that, shortly after Darwin published his theory, the social philosopher Herbert Spencer justified social inequality with a theory of “Social Darwinism” holding that the rich were the fittest and thus entitled to their wealth no matter how they got it or what the social cost.
[As an aside, it is interesting to note that, years ago as a Marxist, I was taught to reject Darwinism because he was based upon this reactionary theory and to embrace the neo-Lamarckism of Lysenko. Subsequently, red-diaper-baby Steven Jay Gould gave us an even better neo-Lamarckist hypothesis, “Punctuated Equilibrium.”]
And this is where Christians begin to balk. Social Darwinism (which is, ultimately, inseparable from biological Darwinism) is antithetical to Christian notions of charity and the dignity of the human person. The statements of James Watson are exactly what a Christian would expect from a Darwinist and it is this kind of racist thinking that they perforce reject. Unfortunately, the attack on Darwin came in the form of a Bible fetishism known as Fundamentalism. Rather than attack the scientific flaws in Darwin, or expose his political agenda, the early opponents chose simply to reject science and insist upon a super-natural creation.
As a Catholic, of course, I have no problem with Buffon’s notion of evolution, but I have to reject the notion that God would use an immoral process (survival of the fittest) to accomplish the moral end of the creation of our world and its myriad creatures. It is time to make the Darwinists own up to the fact that their system is based upon a brutal, dehumanizing, mechanism that is repugnant both to Christian morality and a truly humanistic secularism.
To the materialist, people can be ranked and valued by strength, robustness, and intelligence — just like breeding stock! But to the Christian, each and every human soul is equally precious and valuable. Spengler, perhaps the greatest mystic of the twentieth century, states the case succinctly:
It is only from the standpoint of the Stoic and of the Socialist, of the typical irreligious man, that want of intelligence is a matter for contempt.
— Decline of the West, I : 409