Was Charles Darwin racist?

Charles Darwin in his youth

This is a question believers in his theory of evolution, both scientists and laypeople alike, like to dismiss as an irrelevant or misleading point. It gets very little if any media attention, far less than the overall theory at hand, ie. that all biological life forms gradually and incrementally changed over the millions of years from a primordial soup (inanimate) to all the different forms that exist now, and more that existed before. Despite how widely referenced and believed his theory is, and the number of times it’s called scientific fact, there is no real evidence to support it. It’s just a theory, but I will restrict myself specifically to the racism therein. When the topic of Darwin’s racism does come up, however, some common defences are regurgitated:

 

  • Some claim however racist he MIGHT have been, his contemporaries were worse – true but irrelevant because the discussion isn’t about his peers. The way that point is used is to excuse or hide it, as if others’ crimes make one’s own OK. 
  • Some claim that 1- he wasn’t racist at all and 2- the parts of his theory that have been used to support racism were used by other people with their own agendas and interpretations. In other words, taken out of context. This point is false, both 1 & 2, as will be shown below. 
  • Some claim that racism has existed long before Darwin – true but also irrelevant. Darwin didn’t start racism, not even scientific racism, but he did maintain and support it. Whether that was deliberate or not is debatable. 
  • It’s also claimed that he wasn’t racist because he was against slavery. While it is TRUE he was against slavery in theory, he did nothing to oppose it. Back then, as is still the case now, if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. Furthermore, this doesn’t negate his racism, as will be explained below. 

OK that’s enough. You can stop now.

 

There is a multitude of evidence to show that he was racist. Not just in his private life, but that racism is also part & parcel of his theory.

  • In Chapter 7 of his book The Descent of Man he describes the “Negro” (ie. ‘black’ African) & the “Australian” (‘black’ Aborigine, not ‘white’) as occupying an intermediary position between gorillas & the “Caucasian” (ie. ‘white’ European). 

(On a point of fact, this is what led to the extermination of the Aboriginal Tasmanians & subsequent digging up of their skulls to be displayed in British museums as proofs of their supposed intermediary position. It was also the inspiration for human zoos, the most famous victim being Ota Benga but that deserves its own post.)

  • In that same chapter he hopes that “Caucasians” will soon evolve into something even higher and break his link to the great apes (& “Negroes” & “Australians”). 

This is the hierarchy Darwin believed in (he didn’t draw this, it was made by Josiah Clark Nott & George Robins Gliddon, 1857). Note how the “Negro’s” jaw is ridiculously elongated, to make us look more ape-like than apes!

  • In that same book he ponders over the concept of a race war, whether it’d be beneficial or not. He then answers yes, because by his theory evolution of the more evolved can only happen if they eliminate their less evolved predecessors. In other words, ethnic cleansing. 
  • In no uncertain terms he referred to Turks & Irish as “lower races”, and he found it hard to believe Fuegians (people of Tierra del Fuego, island just below Chile) were humans at all. 
  • As mentioned above, it is true that he was against slavery. However, that’s because he believed it would hinder our evolution because evolution only works under natural conditions. He basically believed that ‘black’ and other non-‘white’ people should be left to evolve into ‘white’ people in their own good time, thus he still saw us as inferior. Even in this very day the theory of evolution says this, though tries to soften the blow by combining it with the Out of Africa theory, thus mixing truth with falsehood. 

(Another point of fact: in Mein Kampf, Hitler mentioned that Darwin was his inspiration. And with what he espoused, it’s easy to see why.)

 

Charles Darwin was definitely not the founder of scientific racism but he became one of its greatest proponents. He was also a main reason for the spread of Nazism, fascism, globalised racism & arguably even plain old capitalism.

 

Sources:

http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2009/02/12/charles-darwin-did-he-help-create-scientific-racism/

http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/charles-darwin-biologist-botanist-and-racist/

http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Darwin_himself_was_racist

http://harunyahya.com/en/Articles/12529/darwinism-is-the-main-source

http://harunyahya.com/en/Books/971/the-disasters-darwinism-brought-to/chapter/3207

Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man.

http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/darwin_nazism.htm

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Miley Cyrus’s twerking

This post will be relatively short, as I’d only heard of twerking about 2 days before Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance so I know very little about it. Admittedly I didn’t see the performance, only bits and pieces of it. However, judging from the pictures in the news and on the internet:

 

 

I spared myself a whole lot of visual torture. This picture sums it up perfectly for me:

 

Will Smith & his children Jaden & Willow in the audience. Check out those faces!

Some people who watched it found it disgusting (which it was) but not because it was so hypersexualised. They claimed Miley was trying to act ‘black’. Correction for those numbnuts who said that: she’s acting like a slut, a whigger girl, not ‘black’. ‘Blackness’ is a phenotype not a behavioural pattern, and she doesn’t share it.

 

And has anyone else noticed this trend female celebrities are going through? They start off their careers as “good” girls then “go bad”. Happened to Rihanna and Beyonce (when she was Sasha Fire), and probably others but as I don’t really pay attention to celebrities I can’t say which.

 

(Heads-up to Will Smith: if Willow starts with that cack you better set her straight right away!)

 

I would argue that its purpose is a perpetuation of the premature sexualisation of girls. As Miley has many young fans (much to my surprise!), she has the power to influence how they see themselves and relate to their own femaleness. This influence is inherently negative as it yet again portrays women as men’s playtoys, like the only way we can relate to women is through insensitive indiscriminate unromantic displays of simulated carnality which in real sexual intercourse would likely be very damaging to women’s bodies. Her boyfriend Liam Hemsworth (she has a boyfriend? I am educated!) was so turned off he’s considering ending the relationship.

 

Then there’s the fact that the man she was winin’ up on was Robin Thicke, Paula Patton’s husband. Disregard the sanctity of traditional relationships for the sake of a show, and the fact that he agreed to it shows he’s a slut too.

 

She’d better have put him on his last warning if she knows what’s good for her

As if that weren’t bad enough, the racism in Miley’s performance is pretty blatant. This picture:

 

 

once again reinforces the stereotype that ‘black’ women are big (therefore supposedly unattractive), and their “big ghetto asses” are the only part of their bodies worth noticing. She was actually slapping it on stage and practically sniffing it, that dirty tramp. Obviously it was that woman’s choice to let herself be used like that; she’s got no scruples and didn’t care about how it would reinforce the Jezebel stereotype. Having said that, though, the performance was Miley’s so she should take the blame.

 

So to summarise, Miley Cyrus has gone to pot – even further than she already was.

 

PS. Doesn’t she know how to keep her tongue inside her mouth? For God’s sake!!!

Islam’s stance(s) on music

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Most non-Muslims don’t realise that Islam is a very all-encompassing religion, with something to say on any and all topics. In Islam absolutely nothing is taboo to talk about, despite how squeamish or “proper” some of us are (hence why I discussed sexual matters with almost flippant openness in other posts, and I intend to do so again). It also has rulings, guidelines & judgements to pass on those topics. Some say this is invasive & overly difficult. Muslims, on the other hand, often say Islam isn’t a religion but a way of life; they understand the typical Western description of religion is far too limited and short-sighted.

This doesn’t mean that all Muslims agree on everything; some things are matters of personal taste and opinion. One such topic is music. As far as I can tell there are at least 3 “official” positions of music:

  1. Totally forbidden (haram) in all forms in all places at all times,
  2. Totally allowed (halal) in all forms in all places at all times,
  3. Certain types & instruments allowed in certain occasions.

(I admit I used to adhere to the first position – totally forbidden. I don’t anymore but even to this day I generally find it hard to really get into it for its own sake)

 

As for the latter two positions, there are and have for ages been different types and styles. Nashiyds (usually spelt nasheeds) are songs with moral lessons, Sufi worship services (known as dhikr, but literally translates as general remembrance of Allah) are often musical in form, mawlid music is music played during public celebrations of prophet Muhammad’s birthday (though the permissibility of celebrating birthdays is also hotly contested – might discuss in another post), and ancient Arabs were well-known for their beautiful poetry recitals both pre- & post-Islam. Of course this list is not exhaustive.

The first position of total prohibition is upheld not due to any Qur’anic stipulation, but because of certain ahadiyth in which the prophet forbade it. However, there are others that explicitly mention the prophet himself listening to it at certain occasions (e.g. weddings), and allowing his followers to.

Some Muslims try to claim the Qur’an directly forbids music, because it prohibits lagwa. This is a LIE, because lagwa does not mean music. It means vain or idle talk/ gossip, which is forbidden. However, all three positions are in agreement (as far as I know!) that other things that often accompany music in Western cultures are absolutely forbidden, e.g. taking booze/ other intoxicants, lewd dancing, dancing with non-mahrams*, lewd/ offensive lyrics, that sort of thing.

* Mahrams are people that we’d Islamically be forbidden from marrying and therefore wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) gain sexual attraction to, e.g. siblings, parents, children and others. Non-mahrams are therefore people outside this category.

Wut? Them therr Mozlems be high on some noo s*** right?

No Lil Wayne, that’s completely serious. Islam is an all-encompassing religion that’s meant to have guidance on every aspect of human endeavours & behaviour. 

Does Islam recognise female prophets?

This is an intriguing concept, at least because how one answers tends to reveal a lot about what one thinks of women in general. It also shows one’s level of knowledge (or lack thereof).

 

Among Muslims nowadays it’s generally accepted that there were no female prophets, prophetesses. This position prevails among both laypersons & scholars, open-minded & closed-minded alike. There are various reasons given for this, among them being: 

  • Women inherently lack the necessary psychological endurance/ focus/ stamina necessary to carry a message to the people. They’re more emotional & therefore less logical, 
  • Muslim women in history had other roles to fulfil, ie. motherhood & wifehood. They weren’t prophets but they were mothers & wives of prophets (which is damn good status so shut up & stop moaning!!!), and their unique physiological functions of pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, etc. make them less physically capable of doing prophetic duties, 
  • Men are corporeally stronger & therefore more suited for the labour-intensive functions of prophethood, eg. leading people, debating with dissidents, travelling to only-God-knows-where, even preparing & leading armies,  
  • Women in Islam are forbidden from certain duties that would’ve been incumbent on prophets, such as meeting people in public & in private, 
  • Most if not all human societies have historically been very antagonistic toward women, seeing them as “the weaker sex”/ sex objects/ just generally inferior to men. If Allah had allowed women to send HIS message to the people under such conditions most simply wouldn’t have taken them seriously, and maybe even sexually assaulted them to make them stop preaching, 
  • There’s no evidence from Islamic texts (Qur-ān & aḥādiyth) that there were female prophets. 

And that’s it. 

 

Except that it’s not. Most people, even most Muslims, don’t know that the existence of prophetesses in Islam has always been up for debate. There has never been a unanimous consensus, especially not among scholars. There are and have been scholars who opine that Islam does accept the existence of female prophets. Some of the points to show this include: 

  • The general spirit of Islam, as well as the Qur-ān, doesn’t exclude the possibility. Admittedly there are some aḥādiyth that do, but their authenticity is under scrutiny, and the Qur-ān does explicitly mention that some women (ie. Moses’s mother Yuhanz, Jesus’s mother Mary, Abraham’s wife Sarah, and others) received revelation from Allah and/ or communicated with angels, 
  • Maryam (Mary, daughter of Imran, mother of Jesus) is named among a list of prophets in the Qur-ān. When I find the verse I’ll add it here, 
  • In the aḥādiyth it’s mentioned that there have been 124,000 prophets (this is debatable too; some say 224,000 but Allah knows for sure). The Qur-ān only names 25 so it’s almost ridiculous to think that absolutely none of the rest were women. 

However, among those who support this position it’s argued as to exactly how many & which women were prophets. Some say just Mary, while others include Sarah, Yuhanz, Asiya (the Pharaoh’s wife) & Eve (yes, the 1st woman, Adam’s wife Eve). Others include more.

 

The entire question of who in history was and wasn’t an Islamic prophet (who aren’t mentioned in the Qur-ān), male or female, isn’t set in stone. The Qur-ān very clearly states that all nations & peoples had at least 1 prophet at some point in their history. Some even reckon other figures like Siddartha Gautama (Buddha), Krishna, Rama, Confucius and others may have been prophets. Although we can’t prove they were, at the same time we can’t prove they weren’t.

 

I have a few further points to add. These are my personal gripes & opinions: 

  • Regarding the point about women being prophets’ mothers & wives, these seem to be the first and foremost roles Muslim women are praised for and judged by. When it comes to Muslim men, though, everything about them is highly valued except for their roles as husbands & fathers. Isn’t that a double standard? Do women have to be mothers & wives to gain importance? Don’t they have intrinsic value & personalities apart from that? 
  • On the same point, how does being a mother & wife impede the ability to perform prophetic duties? Most if not all male prophets were husbands & fathers (including the last and newest example for us to follow, Muhammad) yet they still juggled that with prophethood. 
  • Yes women are emotional and men are logical. What does this prove? Men are emotional and women are logical too! It’s a very common misconception that emotion & reason/ logic are enemies*. Not only are they intimately interrelated, it can be argued that emotion is the root of logic & reason! And when it’s said women are more emotional, what emotions are being referred to – love, anger, excitement, grief, calmness, what? Can it be objectively proven that women experience any/ all of these to a greater degree than men? 

* as is the other underlying assumption: that feelings can’t be controlled therefore being more emotional means having less self-discipline.

  • Regarding the people’s reaction to a woman as a prophet, this doesn’t seem significantly different from male prophets. They typically were ridiculed, disbelieved, abused, hated, accused of being mad/ liars, etc. What would’ve made that risk acceptable for men and not for women? 
  • On the same point, if women weren’t taken seriously in history, shouldn’t their message win people over in some way or another the same way it did from men? Wouldn’t it disprove the myth of women as weaker & inferior? As for those who argue prophetesses didn’t exist, your reasoning perpetuates the myth BUT what makes it worse in your case is when you say Islam respects & honours women you simultaneously expect people to believe you! Yes the religion values women as men’s equals but you, supposed promoters of the faith, don’t! Huh? 
  • Why don’t contemporary scholars make this belief in prophetesses well-known? Back in history this opinion, while not mainstream, wasn’t taboo, hidden or denied as it is today. It used to be just accepted that some people believed it, and those who disagreed didn’t consider them apostates or blasphemers. The problem now is that many Muslims come from nations who’ve had highly misogynistic cultures in their pre-Islamic past (eg. south Asians – Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians; and Arabs & Middle Easterners in general), and not all of them gave that up wholesale. Worse, many of them are now in positions to influence whole swathes & nations of Muslims all over the world so their opinions get spread… and others sidelined, even extirpated. Non-belief in prophetesses is one such case. 
 

Ding dong! The witch is dead!

She is? Oh thank heavens… Oh wait, you mean me. Oh bother.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher (née Roberts, 1925-2013), aka. the Iron Lady, was to date England’s only female Prime Minister (PM). She gained the nickname the Iron Lady because she was known for taking s*** from no-one. Whenever she wanted to do something she did it, whether people liked it or not. This is no different from other PMs except that she was blunt and vocal, so she did what she said she would.

She was in office 1979-1990, therefore was Britain’s longest serving PM! She was a huge fan of privatisation, making most businesses private-sector. There are 2 sectors – public (parts and services of society owned & looked after by govt) and private (parts and services owned & looked after by laypeople). She thought privatisation would increase competition and thus create wealth. In a sense that was true, but it only increased wealth among those who were already in charge of businesses or could afford to be. And increasing competition meant that the rich & poor are in a constant fight, the rich to get richer and the poor to… get richer. Thus the capitalist status quo remained unchanged, and if anything was worsened. Under her unemployment, poverty & income inequality increased (see the figures here).

Privatisation also meant rather than closing on Wednesdays & Sundays, as most businesses did before her, they could open on those days – and most do. Before they had set opening times, now they choose their own opening times, leading to the 24-7 culture we live in now. This has increased foreign investment because foreign investors see our highly flexible working hours as greater opportunity to earn money. What they don’t see (or maybe do but don’t care) is that wealth is only generated for them and the business owners, everyone else is barely scraping by. It’s thus said that she was a PM for the rich.

She is even known to have called Nelson Mandela a terrorist (because back then it wasn’t synonymous for Muslim). That alone says what kind of person she was, but even worse she invited Pieter Willem Botha, a South African PM & apartheid leader, to London. Also bear in mind that the Brixton race riots happened during her rule, in ’81 & ’85.

Thatcher lived through both world wars. In 1982 she took the Falkland Islands back from Argentina during the Falklands War, which won her a re-election in ’83. For this reason she was (and still is) loved by patriots. However, people have been holding parades and parties over the past week since her death. One played the Wizard of Oz song Ding dong the Witch is dead, just to really get across their feelings about her. A police officer has resigned over an anti-Thatcher comment he made, and one of the parades was even planned from 10 years ago! Though I wouldn’t have gone so far as to throw a party (not because I respect her in death but because she’s not important enough to me), knowing what I know of her I sympathise with them.

Oh, and there was once a time in England when children got free cartons of milk at school. Thatcher abolished that, which is how she also became known as Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher. You may even hear some people (who are grown adults now) complaining that she stole their milk.

As England’s only female PM so far, some may get the impression that our country has become more progressive. This is wrong, because she never went out of her way to help the disadvantaged. Societal progress shouldn’t be measured by who’s in charge, but by what’s being done by who’s in charge (ie. unemployment, poverty, education, job opportunities, etc). Some wonder that since we’ve had a female PM when will we have a ‘black’ PM. My answer is 32nd December 3-thousand and NEVER, and even if we did who’s to say he won’t be like Obama, making so many grand promises and not delivering? And considering his/her cabinet & party members & advisors would still be ‘white’, it’s extremely unlikely a ‘black’ PM will do any good for us. At least with Thatcher you knew what to expect.

Tomorrow (17/4/2013) is her actual funeral day, after the government spent the past week having her carried through London. What will the partygoers do then, I wonder?…

You either love her or hate her, just like Marmite

And now the actual funeral has happened, she’s been laid to rest in St Paul’s Cathedral. Finally it’s over and done with! Most attendants loved it, the protesters hated it. Some threw a mock cremation of her body in the street, someone even put up a charity tin to raise funds for a funeral party! Wow, they genuinely hate her.

An old-time friend & supporter of Thatcher

Scenes of the funeral procession

Scenes of protests

 

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