Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Creationism, racism, and eugenics

The Panda's Thumb has dug up some writings by creationist zoologist William J. Tinkle (b. 1892, d. 1981), who was a co-founder and secretary of the Creation Research Society, which show his support for eugenics (references are to works cited in the PT article):
It is an excellent plan to keep defective people in institutions for here they are not permitted to marry and bear children.[8, p. 131]

[Scientists who are working at the task of improving the human race] would like to increase the birth rate of families having good heredity, while those people having poor heredity should not marry at all.[8, p. 131]

A careful reading of eugenic literature reveals that it may inculcate less respect for human life. In this way it runs counter to democracy, which stresses the worth and rights of the individual. The Bible teaches that life comes from God and that it is wrong to take that which one can not give. Unfortunately there are other programs also which destroy the idea of the sacredness of life. We refer to murder on the screen, war, and the teaching that man originated from, and still is, an animal. [emphasis PT's]

We mention these unfortunate results [i.e. Nazism and “misapplied” sterilization] as dangers only; not as objections to attempting to improve our race by application of known genetics principles. [11, p.143]

The fact that Tinkle, a creationist, advocated eugenics is another data point showing that eugenics cannot be blamed on evolution--people will find whatever excuses are available to endorse bigotry and racism.

Richard Trott, Tom McIver, and I have made the same point with other data in the Creationism and Racism FAQs at the Talk Origins website.

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