Here’s an interesting take on Darwin’s legacy: Darwin was the Black Man’s best friend, according to the organizers of an upcoming symposium (excerpt and link from the conference website, below).
Darwin’s racial views were complex. (He was an abolitionist who seemed to believe blacks were inferior to whites.) And his theories have been very effective in the hands of eugenicists and racists.
The organizers of the MIT symposium, celebrating Darwin’s 200th birthday, blame the impacts of Darwin’s theories on misinterpretations of his work. They also advise President Obama to “follow Darwin’s lead (to unite Man into a single, global, civilization).”
A snippet from the symposium organizers’ web page:
The pseudo-scientific arguments that human “races” are separately evolved continues to rear its head, despite both fossil and genetic evidence establishing that all modern humans had their origin in Africa, before migrating and dispersing through Europe, Asian and the Pacific Islands. Modern genomics reveals clearly that all human groups share a common gene pool. Natural selection certainly continues to operate in human populations, but the invention of language has meant that many of the key features selected for in human populations are transmitted through culture and not through genes. Certainly this is true for the leaps that led to the expansion of humans across the Earth – domestication of plants and animals, irrigation, tool and weapons development, food storage and processing, textiles and clothing, sanitation, long range transportation and communication technologies. But biological determinism still lives, promoting pseudo-scientific claims that the variations that exist in the genomes and physiology of humans, represents profound differences between groups, rather than the normal range of variation found in large populations.