Darwin’s Preservation of Favored Races

Acts 17:26

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” 

There seems little doubt in my mind that Charles Darwin was a racist. The full, long title of his most famous book was The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. In Darwin’s defense, it is often argued that many English people of his time were racist. That is true, to a limited extent, but only because most people of the time had not come into contact with people of other races. Darwin had indeed met other peoples during his famous voyage on the Beagle. Darwin’s view of the Fuegian people in South America, for example, was more than just European chauvinism. He wrote:

I could not have believed how wide was the difference between savage and civilised man… Viewing such men, one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow-creatures, and inhabitants of the same world. It is a common subject of conjecture what pleasure in life some of the lower animals can enjoy: how much more reasonably the same question may be asked of these barbarians!

That Darwin’s attitude was not necessarily typical is shown by the view of explorer William Parker Snow, who wrote:

Many of the Fuegians on the Eastern Islands were fine and some of them even handsome fellows. This I know to be rather different to what Mr. Darwin says of them: but I can only speak as I found, and thus mention what I myself saw.

Snow knew that all people are descended from Adam. A biblical viewpoint is anathema to racism.


Prayer: We praise You, Lord, for all the people that You have placed on this Earth. We know that we are all descended from the one Adam, and therefore all need the one Savior, Jesus Christ – the Last Adam. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Grigg, R. Darwin and the Fuegians, Creation 32(2):42–45 April 2010. Image: Darwin in 1854, Public Domain.