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Can a Baha'i Believe in Scientific Racism???

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:41 pm
by Darrick Evenson
Scientific Racism is the belief that the races are not all equally evolved; that there are differences in intelligence in the human races. Scientific Racism does NOT teach that...

*God loves one race over others.
*Some races should destroy or subjugate other races.

Based upon the Principle of Science and Religion, that any belief that contradicts science is "superstition" and should be abandoned, can a Baha'i believe in Scientific Racism?

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:26 pm
by shm
I dont know if the writing say anything on this, but I was just wondering why would someone think that one race is smarter than the other. As far as I can see all races have people who outwardly excel and are smart and they also have people of the other end who are not that smart.

Like I can see how the cultures b/w races are different and this is due to history rather than genetics but I cant see why an entire race is smarter than the other.

Certain individual maybe have the genes of being smart and are naturally bright, but these individuals can be found in all races
and the same goes for individuals who are not bright or considered dumb, but I cannot see why one would think that an entire race for genetic reason or scientific reasons is better than another

From what I can see, people differ in intelligence from individual to individual not from race to race

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:57 pm
by CJ
what would be the purpose of spending your time and energy looking into such a thing in the first place, if not with the intention of making one race appear superior to another?

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:09 pm
by Keyvan
having been a student of evolutionary anthropology there is absolutely no evidence and no successful attempt to classify races into evolutionary subspecies
i dont have the quotes right now but it is explained that we are all scientifically equal and our racial differences are no more than surface level, as a result of geographic and climate conditions

You Win!

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:28 am
by onepence
Unerringly every individual, whether of scientific thought or not,
has discovered we all belong to the same human race.

I am just in no great hurry to met the grim reaper.
How about you Derrick?

shall we race?


Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:35 pm
by Guest
I am also a student of evolutionary biology. The subject is extremely controversial, and so politically sensitive that many people (perhaps most) shy away from discussing it, let alone doing research. Speaking of the major "races" (important definitional problems with this term), there obviously exist many important behavioral as well as physiological differences. The former are sometimes explained in social / historical terms, and sometimes in biological terms. My understanding is that increasingly, biology is seen as the more important factor.

Obviously there exist numerous individual exceptions to these general patterns. (George Washington Carver, for example.)

My suspicion is that the sociobiologists are essentially correct, in that human races are analogous to breeds of dogs (except that our breeding is not controlled by another species through eugenics--I think!). HOWEVER, anyone with knowledge of the history of dog breeding will realize that evolution can work with greater rapidity than is commonly realized. The key question for me is not "can blacks succeed in school" or somesuch, but, what kind of behavior or skills do various social systems currently reward? Whatever it is, you can bet you'll get more of that in the future.

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:00 pm
by CJ
the reason that people shy away from such a topic is a good one. because doing research on this subject and starting conversations like this one gives fodder for disunity and racist opinion. as well, what is the purpose? if it is found out that one race is indeed more intelligent, then what are you going to do with this information? announce it to make yourself feel superior and make others feel badly about themselves? (because you can bet it would be a Caucasian doing this research and I bet that Darrick is also Caucasian) if there are any differences in the intelligence between races, you can bet that at the present time it is due to certain groups being subjugated to another and having to experience things like poverty, violence, and racism, which have been shown to decrease IQ due to stress on the brain, in the forms of depression and post traumatic stress disorder. this would also account for research that show that women have slightly lower IQs than men. as we can see in North America, these things are changing as we move towards equality and a society free from racism and sexism. I would predict that in the future there will be no discernable differences whatsoever.


Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:15 pm
by Guest
It really hurts when you see people trying to stick to useless imaginations of the past. I think those people who are trying to prove that one race is superior to other are worried too much about the opportunities they would lose if people of other races come up and shaw the real aspect of themselves. I really would like to ask Mr. Evansson that how were those
races( unintelligent in your case) being treated? Where they given equal opportunities to prove themselves? am sure this is not a difficult question to answer. So why who you try and go further to see abt the type of racism you mentioned when there is no equal ground to compare the races. to a realistc individual the issue of unequal treatment in the current world is enough to stop him from going to further nonsense conclusions.
In a real scientific research fair conclusions are drawn when you treat the ideas with out a bias. I think it's not still the time (and there will never be one) to conclude that one race is best evolved than another.

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:28 am
by Guest
A few observations on the previous post:

(1) The concept of a "best" or "highest" race (or species) has no place in modern biology, for the simple reason that such statements amount to little more than aesthetic judgments. A dog is not "lower" than a person, only different (i.e. adapted to a different ecological niche). We in our hubris view various human specialties (such as intelligence) as making us more worthy in some abstract way, when these traits might just as easily turn out to be evolutionarily counter-productive.

(2) It may not be possible to design race-based research in which the effects of culture or history are eliminated. To the extent that it is, my understanding is that significant racial differences do remain. How we respond to such disparities, if they exist, is another question entirely (political rather than scientific), but it is possible to accept their existence without thereby hating the race or races in question.

Posted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:48 pm
by childintime
A few thoughts:

- Historically IQ tests clearly demonstrated that whites scored higher on the tests. Then it was discovered that the reason was that the tests were always prepared by whites, and were definitely culturally biased. Subsequent tests written by people of other races resulted in whites not scoring as well. Who are the scientists postulating this theory, and what is their criteria?
- What criteria did these scientists use for intelligence? It is well known that there are seven modes of learning, and some races may have a disposition for one kind over another. Which kind is better? None, they are just different.
- You state that this is a belief of some scientists, so it obviously has not been theorized, let alone proven. It certainly hasn't been getting a lot of press as this is the first I've ever heard of it. Science has come with an opinion on just about every idea imaginable, and if we had to accept every one of these just because they are "scientific", then religion would be nothing but superstition.
- Given the track records of the world of science and the Writings of Baha'u'llah, I'd have to say the onus is on science to accept the findings of religion, and not vice-versa.
- There was a report, published in a late '80's or early '90's copy of Nature magazine, of a monumental study of human genetics, the largest ever undertaken. There were of course many conclusions resulting, but the most fascinating one indicated that, genetically speaking, THERE IS MORE VARIATION WITHIN EACH RACE THAN THERE IS BETWEEN THE RACES!

taking the pulse

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 12:14 am
by majnun
Majnun think that detective Darrick
plays with people's head in inventing
questions over transitory details,
just to pull away
people from their path, or maybe he prepares
another book made with the opinions we give to him.

His next silly question could be something like:
what do you think about love ? Then he sit back in his rocking chair, laughing at whatever answers he gets. I think he goes fishing, all the time, and he catches some.

Did you noticed that he never gives an opinion on anything, he just ask any questions popping in his mind all the time, just for fun, to take the pulse.


What does the truth say?

Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 1:37 pm
by Photon
I am not a Baha'i and I have no special knowledge or place. I have no argument to offer. I only say what I see to be true from my persepective.

A scientist would not use a single number to describe the phenomenon of a distribution of intelligence. There is a mean, there is a description of the distribution, there are standard deviations, skew, kurtosis, and so on.

It is obvious to one who views what is true that we are each different and each given different things. Each is given exactly what that person needs.

Scientifically, when one collects groups of different things together, they almost always have different means. The key is to look at the distribution. One would see that the distributions overlap very broadly. All are different.

Now, how can it be true that all are the same? Look at your hand. Are you your hand? Cut it off if it causes you to sin and are you still not you? If you are not something so important as your hand, how can you be something so trivial as the amount of pigment in your skin?

Our bodies are shaped by our parents. Lineage matters. Our minds are shaped by our environment. Education matters. Most fundamentally, we are shaped by God. God most definitely matters.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 4:14 am
by Guest
The question of "intelligence" is really just a side-issue to the larger question of race differences. (By the way, black/white test scores disparities are actually GREATER for non-culturally sensitive subjects, like math.)

A common assumption in Baha'i literature is that race differences are superficial, e.g. skin coloration. This turns out to be very wrong--the major races have very different measurable behavior patterns (e.g. age at childbirth, propensity to violence, etc.). This would be true even if we do not consider IQ differences.

Another common Baha'i (and liberal) assumption is that education (or upbringing, or nurture) is more important than genetics. This also seems to be wrong, if we are to believe the insights of socio-biology. Education can be compared to developing a photograph (back in the old days!). It matters a lot, in terms of whether the photo turns out, but the CONTENTS of the photo are essentially already determined.

None of this means that one race is "better" than another. That is a value judgement, and science has nothing to say about it. (In the same way, science cannot say that a human being is "better" or "higher" than a dog.) On the other hand, if a religion embraces values that are found in different measures in different races, then it would be logical for that religion to try to attract more members from the races which carry those desirable traits.

When I say "race" I mean primarily the "major" races (black, white, Asian) that have been studied the most. Yes, these are rather messy categories, but all the same they are useful ways of dividing the human race. An alien zoologist seeking to classify us would surely arrive at a similar taxonomy.

racism ...

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 1:53 pm
by Harry
... to believe that one race is superior, on an intellectural basis, to another, ignores one very important ingredient: history.

the arabs were early experts with mathematics ... the mayans built temples that we still don't understand ... the statues on easter island are examples of art, physics, sociology and religion ...

what the moron who originally posted this question might better ask is: why does one society or race seem to lead the human race for period, then find itself passed over by another?

Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 2:13 am
by Guest
Again--"superior" is not a well-formed concept in biology. Different species all seem to be ideally adapted for their particular ecological niches. When they are not, they either evolve, or become extinct.

Can we substitute "races" for "species" in the above sentences? Obviously human history has witnessed a significant amount of intercontinental migration and interbreeding (typically, in response to crises). At the same time the major races, at least, do seem to maintain certain characteristic behavior patterns. (English people sent to another continent created Australia; West Africans gave us Haiti and Washington DC.) Some individuals do manage to shift to another lifestyle (e.g. "white-acting" blacks, or black-acting whites for that matter), but broadly speaking, we can still observe the various races filling different ecological niches within human society. We mostly do not do very well when we abandon the niche of our ancestors and broader social group. Experiments sometimes succeed, but usually fail.

What about intermarriage? Recently there was a news story from Alaska, about a hunter who shot a bear which turned out to be half polar bear, half grizzly. It had been living with polar bears, which means that the grizzly genes would eventually disappear from the breeding population. That is, unless other bears followed their example, and the two bear populations merged, in which case the special characteristics of polar bears and grizzlies would both become adulterated. (Mutts, we could say.) This is probably a bad idea, since they are adapted to different environments, but it so happens that the Alaskan ecology is changing very wildly. Who knows, perhaps the bears at some level knew what they were doing! Similarly, if the various social niches within human society turn out to be unsustainable, and one day disappear, then the various specialized abilities of the different races may not be worth so much. In that case interbreeding might well produce more adaptive human races (plural, surely). Again, experiments usually fail, but sometimes succeed, and if the existing lifestyle no longer works, you might as well try your luck with something else.

So what kind of environment will the future world offer? This will determine what kinds (surely plural) of human beings are best adapted to live in it. I personally hope that the traits for which our evolution selects include high intelligence, but the ability to resist disease might turn out to be more important.

liberal "race deniers" are wrong

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:00 pm
by Sean H.
The original post in this thread was obviously a troll, but anyway . . . . .

Short answer: no.

Nobody in their right mind (Baha'i or not) would even agree with the term "scientific racism".

Statement of personal bias:

The term "scientific racism" is vile as far as I'm concerned. When I first experienced racism as a child (early 1960s growing up on USAF bases, seeing black kids beaten up on the playground), my father told me about how "prejudice" was wrong (he had flown in combat on missions with some of the famed "Tuskegee Airmen", the first back pilots in the US military). The point was reinforced when he told me horror stories about the stench of black people being burned at the stake in east Texas in the late 1930s when *he* was a small child in the late 1930s ("lynchings").

- - -

The only thing I would add to the other excellent stuff posted by the people here that have training in evolutionary theory is that liberals and the pc/left are almost as wrong on the subject of a scientific basis for the use of "racial" categories as the racists are in their attempt to appropriate such "racial" categories to define "racial superiority".

Even if one was to propose that slve owners tried to "breed out" "uppityness" from their slaves, there were presumably similar forces at work in the lower class white population (e.g., my ancestors were kidnapped from england and sold into indentured servitude). In any case, the slave populations were constantly reinforced by newly arrived slaves.

There is a good discussion on an old PBS (USA public television) web site that clearly shows that liberal "race deniers" are using scientifically incorrect analysis.

I can probably google it fairly easily if anyone wants it.

Anyone that knows anything about evolutionary theory would immediately agree that "racial characteristics" OBVIOUSLY developed as a result of evolutionary forces, in other words, because of "natural selection" operating in "geographically (or otherwise) isolated subpopulations". There is no other explanation of why obvious physical characteristics between "race" of human beings would have developed in geographically isolated "branches" (subpopulations) unless it was as a result of "natural selection"!!!

Of course stating that clear scientific fact will usually result in being called a "racist" by some of the more wacky people on the left.

The fact that there is more "genetic diversity" within such populations than "between" them is basically irrelevant to the fact that natural selection was the reason that "races" exist. The only way that anyone could scientifically argue against (the overall) idea of "races" would be if every human being on the planet earth appeared to be in a single "race", which is obviously not the case (but probably *WAS* the case at the beginning of the diaspora out of east-central Africa by our early human ancestors many 10s (100s?) of thousands of years ago).

The incredible lack of basic understanding of such evolutionary theory by many people today apparently is yet another testimonial to the masive failure of public education and the degeneracy of culture into silly wishy-washy "feel good" liberalism, political correctness, thought policing, and so forth.

Anyone that is upset about the cultural degeneracy caused by liberalism/etc. should not use STUPID ideas like "scientific racism" to combat it, they should use clearly thought out and rational critiques and alternatives. See Shelby Steele on the sociological reasons that the politics of "victimist dependency" is so pervasive in the USA.

audio version of a KQED interview a few months ago:

Here are examples of alternatives to the STUPID, DEGENERATE forms of both liberalism and conservatism:

(warning: most of the material has a Buddhist orientation, so people that don't like spiritual critiques of western religion might want to avoid the following sites)
- ... /intro.cfm


Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:52 pm
by jdesson
I don’t have the time right now to post anything extensive but I do just that those interested in the subject of racism read an excellent compilation of the Bahá’í writings on the subject of racism titled “The pupil of the eye: African Americans in the World Oder of Bahá’u’lláh”, compiled by Bonnie Taylor, Palabra Publications, 1995, ISBN: 1-890101-001. You can buy a copy of this book, for 12$US, from the US Bahá’í Publication Trust at ... fm?PC=5148 .
One of the many things these writings, which are believed by Bahá’ís to be divinely inspired and so not the result of scientific inquiry, is that there is no difference in capacity or spirituality between white and black people. Furthermore, these writings suggest that diversity of skin colour is not only desirable and attractive, but that it is the very nature of the universe, that infinite diversity is an essential necessity of the universe and therefore human physiology.
I strongly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in racism or the subject of white and black people.
Jim Desson

the original post (/troll) was about "science and relig

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 7:19 pm
by Sean H.

the original post (/troll) was about "science and religion".

The only way to address the issue is to "talk science".

"Pupil of the Eye" is excellent material for someone wanting to know about the spiritual basis for the Baha'i concept of the "Oneness of mankind" (as it relates to "race"). but it does not contain material about "science and religion" as far as I know.

Also, as far as I know, there is no "authoritative" Baha'i guidance on the subject of "race" as it specifically relates to evolutionary theory. If there is, I would love to know about it!

I personally would not expect to see the Universal House of Justice to issue official guidance on specific scientific subjects, but who knows?

There is obviously "subtext" to the original question (/troll), which is the meaning of the (general) below-average social conditions of non-whites in the USA and many other places compared to industrialized (originally white-dominant) societies that have accumulated wealth, are "democratic", have the most elaborate scientific/technological infrastructures on the planet, and in the case of the USA and its allies, destroyed both world fascism and communism in the last 60+ years, and will hopefully destroy (or at least significantly "contain") Islamofascism as well.

I would propose that most of the "liberal/leftist/postmodern" inspired theories (evil "western" capitalists, "oppressive" phallocentric culture, etc.) about why the "non-white" world is, or was historically, poor and disadvantaged are not sancrosanct, indeed they are probably mostly wrong.

What is probably more correct is an analysis that takes a realistic look at the disincentives within underdeveloped societies (or sub-cultures) to successfully adapt to the "conditions of modernity" because of CULTURAL STASIS AND CORRUPTION.

In particular, the dominant liberalism in black culture in the USA is corrupt and stasist (just as white liberalism is).

(unconfirmed ex-Baha'i)

Sci. Racism

Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:37 pm
by JusticeForAll
The human mind has never needed an excuse to find differences. We divid ourselves into better/worse, can/can't all the time.
The genetic question is facinating, but in the end. We have mapped the human gene gnome and nothing stood out with a banner saying:

Smart Gene
Good Looks Gene
Wise Gene
Funny Gene
Blue Gene

The end result is that we are searching for knowledge, questions that offend will arise in science. Science doesn't care how you FEEL emotionally, unless you do psycology ... but I digress.
To find intellectual truth you seek with intelligence, discuss with reason, fell the results, and decern with wisdom.

The answer to the question is that if the premise is "... makes this race better then the other ..." the Baha'i answer of Faith is 'NO'.

sensitivity fascism

Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:04 pm
by Sean H.
The problem with obsessing about someone possibly being "offended" by something in science is that there is a culture of political correctness that is being spread via "diversity" programs that actively seeks to completely derail the validity of scientific reasoning. And that situation is going to lead to cultural degeneracy on a wide basis.

(Social degeneracy is a theme that is pervasive in the Bahai' writings ~in case you haven't noticed~.)

I have discussed this topic with African-American Baha'i race unity experts and they agree that the destruction of scientific rationalism (in this case, the obvious fact that "races" resulted from evolution and natural selection) by certain "diversity advocates", deconstructionists, post-modernists, etc., is a significant threat to society because it contributes to "dumbing down".

(google on "sokal fashionable nonsense" for more information.)

You also might take note of the fact that the Qur'an states *quite clearly* that God created the "races" (yes, that's PLURAL) for a specific reason that is, as far as I can tell, compatible with the Baha'i idea of "unity in diversity".


Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 9:09 pm
by Wabedtiaze
Much of this discussion has presumed clearly-defined races of the human species as traditionally understood. Popular thought continues to maintain this absurdity among other absurdities that we hold dear. These racial classifications have never been hermetic. The boundaries of each complexional group have always overlapped those of other groups giving rise to inter-related hybrids and they will continue to do so. This process continues at an accelerated pace today by virtue of the increasing possibilities of inter-ethnic encounter and the subsequent gene sharing that ensues as a result. Static lines of demarcation between so-called races are illusory. The popular chimera is what gives "race" such an enduring presence and power, even in the face of contradictory logic and scientific evidence. We supped at this empty table for so long that real food confounds!

The God-send of genetic research using DNA as its tool unequivocally shows that fully one-third of all Americans of European (i.e., "white")descent also have recent African ancestry from within the last few generations of foreparents. Now we must painfully wonder about who we really are! Given the complexional pathologies we all suffer, courtship must now include this survey for an intended spouse as a requirement of matrimony: "Kindly provide your ethnic/racial pedigree to the fifth generation."

DNA testing can determine details of ancestry. But be forewarned. If a person or the family of that person has always thought that he/she/they belonged exclusively to the white or black or East Asian group, a DNA test may prove otherwise. For some this revelation could have tragic consequences, especially for those who hold their color as a mark of entitlement.

Read the book by Frank W. Sweet, "Legal History of the Color Line: The Notion of invisible Blackness." Here following is the book description provided on

"The Rise and Triumph of the One-Drop Rule
One-Third of White Americans Have Recent Black Admixture.

Every Year, 35,000 Black-Born Youngsters Redefine Themselves as White.

Genealogists were the first to learn that America's color line leaks. Black researchers often find White ancestry. White genealogists routinely uncover Black ancestry. Molecular anthropologists now confirm Afro-European mixing in our DNA. The plain fact is that few Americans can truly say that they are genetically unmixed. Yet liberals and conservatives alike agree that so-called Whites and Blacks are distinct political "races." When did ideology triumph over reality? How did America paint itself into such a strange corner?

Americans changed their concept of "race" many times. Eston Hemings, Jefferson's son, was socially accepted as a White Virginian because he looked European. Biracial planters in antebellum South Carolina assimilated into White society because they were rich. Intermarried couples were acquitted despite the laws because some courts ruled that anyone one with less than one-fourth African ancestry was White, while others ruled that Italians were Colored. Dozens of nineteenth-century American families struggled to come to grips with notions of "racial" identity as the color line shifted and hardened into its present form.

This 542-page book tells their stories in the light of genetic admixture studies and in the records of every appealed court case since 1780 that decided which side of the color line someone was on. Its index lists dozens of 19th-century surnames. It shows that: The color line was invented in 1691 to prevent servile insurrection. The one-drop rule was invented in the North during the Nat Turner panic. It was resisted by Louisiana Creoles, Florida Hispanics, and the maroon (triracial) communities of the Southeast. It triumphed during Jim Crow as a means of keeping Whites in line by banishing to Blackness any White family who dared to establish friendly relations with a Black family.

Frank W. Sweet was accepted to Ph.D. candidacy in history with a minor in molecular anthropology at the University of Florida in 2003 and has completed all but his dissertation defense. He earned an M.A. in History from American Military University in 2001. He is the author of several historical booklets, trade paperbacks, and published historical essays. He was a member of the editorial board of the magazine Interracial Voice, is a regular lecturer and panelist at historical and genealogical conferences, and moderates an online discussion group on the history of U.S. racialism (the "race" notion) sponsored by Backintyme Publishing."


Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:33 pm
by jdesson
rreid in his previous post, for me at least, clearly established scientifically the fallacy of comparing abilities between different racial groups. The book of complied Bahá’í Wrings on race, The Pupil of the Eye, also confirms this religiously. The Bahá’í Writings explain that human differences exist, Not on a racial basis but as part of human diversity, in which humans have different capacities and so on. My experience as an educator has shown that regardless of the potential of a child, the quality of the environment in which a child lives, spiritual, familial, educational, societal and cultural, can make a difference that is as different as night and day. The one caveat though is that if a child does not have the genes or potential for a skill or level of talent, nothing can change this, but race per se does not factor into this. There you have it. Both religion (i.e., God reflected in the Bahá’í Writings) and science have affirmed the idea that there is no difference, genetic or inherent, between so-called black people and white people as a distinct group.
Regarding the question, can a Bahá’í believe in scientific racism?, the word 'belief' suggests such an idea as a religious belief and I am not aware of any such belief in the Bahá’í faith. On the contrary, my personal understanding of the Bahá’í Wrintigs is that such a belief is entirely false.

On the other hand, if the question is can a Bahá’í believe in scientific racism if it can be proven scientifically, the answer is that the divinely inspired infallible Bahá’í Wrintings, the sacred writings and the authoritative statements of the Universal House of Justice, will always trump the fallible (i.e., they are some times right and sometimes wrong) authoritative results of science. Individual Bahá’ís of-course are free to form their own interpretations as long as they realize and express those interpretations as merely personal opinions with no religious authority. In the case of the issue of racism, I suspect that most scientific research, as rreid as pointed out, do not support the notion of scientifially supported differences between races as a whole or distinct group antways.

(repeat) "Race deniers" are scientifically incorre

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:07 am
by Sean H.
[reid]"Much of this discussion has presumed clearly-defined races of the human species as traditionally understood"

That is incorrect. Most/many of the posts properly nuanced the issue, but it *is* correct to point out that "mixing" (and other problems) renders a lot of the issue of so called "racial superiotity" (in its popular form) somewhat "moot".

Anyways . . . . . as stated previously, broad racial differences (in their ancient form) can be easily understood to be the product of evolution, where isolated subpopulations of a species tend to develop specific characteristics over time. some of those characteristics are "superficial", some aren't. In the dog world, think Dachsund vs. Great Dane. Same species, different sub-species. Or varieties of plants, etc. Just because one can grow a "Pluot" does not mean that plums and apricots can't also be grown.

According to a Baha'i evolutionary biologist that I've talked to about the issue, the current genetic maps indicate that the most "racially mixed" populations on the planet are in northeast/central Africa. That is the area that has "sent out" the original human migrations, *and* where "racially differentiated" genetic material has been "brought back" (via slave trade, trade routes, etc.) to the greatest extent on the planet. Yes, "white" and asian slaves were frequently brought into the middle east, and thus there was a tendency for their genetic material to flow back into Africa! Not only are a lot of "whites" partly "black", a lot of "blacks" are partly "arabic", "white", "asian", etc.

Note that the term "colored" was used during colonial days to categorize people that were "somewhere between" "white" and "black" (people from India and all "asians" were considered "colored", see the autobiography of Gandhi about when he lived in S. Africa). The spanish/french/portuguese system had a complex set of categories to describe all the possible "mulatto" combinations of races in the carribbean and central/south america.

So, human beings clearly existed in geograpically isolated subpopulations for long periods in pre-history sufficient to create "racial" differences, otherwise no one would be talking about the subject.

In fact, the opposite position, taken by the "race deniers", that "race doesn't exist", is highly peculiar and scientifically odd. For the "race denial" position to be true, one would have to find "proof" that human genetics are much more uniform that they really are, in other words, one would have to find proof that there were either:

1) no geographically (or otherwise) isolated human subpopulations for long enough periods of time in human prehistory for subpopulation differentiation to occur, or

2) that even if such subpopulations existed, they didn't undergo the expected processes of natural selection (evolution).

In fact, the "branching" of lines of genetic material in expected dispersal patterns for human populations across the planet shows that human beings underwent the scientifically expected process of natural selection within isolated subpopulations at the end of population dispersals.

Please note that when the entire evolutionary process for the whole planet is studied over billions of years, differentiation, and then subsequent "remixing", is a typical pattern in which species eventually (can potentially) develop.

The fact that subpopulations can mix and overlap does not "prove" that differences are non-existent, only that understanding them is complex (but a "normal" consideration for scientists that study population dynamics and evolutionary processes).

[jdesson] "rreid in his previous post, for me at least, clearly established scientifically the fallacy of comparing abilities between different racial groups. "

Not really. What mreid correctly established is that there are a whole buncha "boundry condition" and "mixing" problems that a scientist attempting to determine valid "scientific" differences between "races" (historically long isolated human subpopulations) would have to account for.

The issues of "race", "science", "ethics", "religion" and so forth are easily muddled, but that does not mean that people shold go around promoting muddled thinking.

What the Baha'i writings (using sufi motifs/archetypes, etc.) state quite clearly and quite correctly is that each human being has spiritual worth in the sight of God, regardless of "race".

That has NOTHING to do with "science".

In other words, science can't prove or disprove the idea/"belief" that each human being is worthy in God's eyes.

The only way for Baha'is to rest their case against racism on a firm foundation is to stop muddling science and religion, and simply admit that the "religion" part is purely a matter of theology, tradition and ultimately, "taste".

[jdesson]"The Bahá’í Writings explain that human differences exist, Not on a racial basis but as part of human diversity . . ."

Again, the additional consideration is that the "race denial" position carries with it a huge load of ideological (pc/left) "baggage". The far left, deconstructionist postmodernism, etc., has been attacking "science" for decades now, and it is very unfortunate that Baha'is (in order to try to support their anti-racism efforts, which are properly intended, but misdirected) have selectively latched onto a small part of the "anti-science" nonsense that the left has been promoting as part of its attempt to displace rational thought from culture in order to replace it with thought policing, sensitivity fascism, political correctness and other similar "fashionable nonsense" (corrupted forms of pluralism whose object is to destroy the "universal archetypes" that underly western civilization).

Here is the PBS web site that presents in (INCORRECT/LIBERAL) "race denial" perspective along with a scientifically correct "anti-denial" perspective (which many liberals would consider to be "conservative"):

Please note that presenting the scientifically correct (anti-race denial) perspective is extremely likely to attract irrational charges/hints/etc. of "racism" by the pc/left thought police.

[jdesson]"On the other hand, if the question is can a Bahá’í believe in scientific racism if it can be proven scientifically, the answer is that the divinely inspired infallible Bahá’í Wrintings, the sacred writings and the authoritative statements of the Universal House of Justice, will always trump the fallible (i.e., they are some times right and sometimes wrong) authoritative results of science. "

I personally do not think that there is anything in Baha'i scripture or Baha'i theology (or guidance from the Universal House of Justice) that CLEARLY supports the "race denial" position, but the Baha'i writings are obviously very problematic on the issue of evolution. Abdu'l-Baha used sufi motifs/archetypes to talk about evolutionary topics (as they were POORLY understood in both eastern and western culture 100 years ago) that only partly map into modern scientific concepts. For insight into that stuff, see the Kalimat Press book (Brown, von Kitzing) on evolution, which contains corrections to earlier bad translations of Abdu'-Baha's statements about evolution.

To clarify: science obviously supports the existence of something roughly along the lines of "race" (including complexity around "mixing" and such), but just because "race" exists does


Doctrines of "racial superiority" were cooked up in the early days of evolutionary theory (before genetics were properly understood) by europeans in order to justify imperialism. What those people saw as being "racial superiority" was really "cultural superiority" premised on the idea that science, technology, industrialization, and democracy gave the european colonial powers a vast economic, military and political advantage over medieval (Islamic) and pre-modern cultures. Which was obviously correct.

However, consider that the "imperialists" decided that once they had the industrial capacity to do away with overt forms of slavery, they would justify their sense of "moral superiority" by imposing a ban on the "traditional" forms of slavery thoughout the world. Thus, the abolition of the slave trade in the muslim world (amongst other places), which was historically the largest "long range" slave system on the planet, was brought about via the British Royal Navy.


Re: Can a Baha'i Believe in Scientific Racism???

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:19 pm
by Sean H.
Bird wrote:'Abdu'l-Baha comments on page 9 of his "Secret of Divine Civilization" that the Persian race (Aryans) "have always excelled all other peoples in endowments conferred by birth":

"It should not be imagined that the people of Persia are inherently deficient in intelligence, or that for essential perceptiveness and understanding, inborn sagacity, intuition and wisdom, or innate capacity, they are inferior to others. God forbid! On the contrary, they have always excelled all other peoples in endowments conferred by birth."

Of course in statements in the same book, he makes clear that the Persians as a race of people, despite these gifts of birth, have not benefitted from these endowments in recent centuries, but sunken from their glorious ancient past into "utter ignorance..." and "accounted the most backward of nations"

So even if science and the Holy Writings confirm that a race of people has greater innate gifts than other races, it does not mean they will necessarily use these gifts for good.

The term translated into english as "race" in the original (Farsi?) text has little relation to anything "scientific". It meant something roughly like "culture" (or "nationality") as it is used these days.

Indeed, Persia is a highly racially mixed culture (many "white", "asian" and "african" slaves eventually mixed with the original population through marriage/etc.), used to comprise a much larger geographical area, and so forth.