Friday, February 12, 2010

Darwin Day

It's International Darwin Day, a day commemorating the birthday of the father of evolutionist biology, Charles Darwin. As a nontheist/free-thinker (and a person who generally finds much validity in the ideas of evolutionary "theory"), I think that it's important to acknowledge the validity in scientific arguments, despite whether you believe in them or not. I can't say that my beliefs (or lack of beliefs in the religious majority's minds) have encouraged me toward evolution, because I do remember as a church-girl, back in the day, being fascinated with the idea of evolution. However, evolution is important because it does, in a sense, provide evidence for human origins.

I do know, however, from my own personal research that "scientists" have attempted to use science to prove their own agendas. I mean, it's true: from nature v. nurture, right down to eugenics and the Holocaust. One year while in undergrad, in contemplating a third minor (anthropology), I researched the biological justification of men being naturally impulsive sexual creatures and correlations in that argument an a then-new book about how male rapists "can't help it". The evil genius in me was very much interested in the subject, though it was more for kicks and giggles; the entire report spawned from an argument I had with an ex-boyfriend (barf) and, well, I got an A+ for my very original work in a class about Victimology. What can I say? (sheepish grin)

Did Darwin give any credit to, what is now known as, Social Darwinism? Could he have been racist? Sexist? I know that post-Darwin anthropologists have made insensitive claims on the basis of race and gender of "primitive" cultures...quite certainly, eugenics and ideas of the like are adaptations and personal interpretations of Darwin's original work, but what did he think of that? In researching Darwin, he did oppose racism, slavery, and the classification of human beings based on racial differences. As a Black woman, though, I think it's important to know and understand all aspects of the argument. Because an argument has valid points does not make it all completely true or valid (I mean, I think there are high points in every religion and I still don't buy into religious organizations).

Certainly, this requires more research than I can provide in my blog. It certainly is a question that cannot be missed or ignored; I personally am not sure that Darwin's original works were written as or intended to be racially insensitive. I'd like to do more research on the subject though.

Ah, but Happy Darwin Day! Evolutionist Theory is important...whether you buy into it or not. I'm going to make an effort to do more research on racism and sexism (or lack thereof) in his work.

Be Righteous.

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