The alleged scientific support that Social Darwinism provided for racism, fascism and imperialism, as well as communism, is a widely known subject that has been much written about. But one lesser known fact is that a great many Darwinists, including Charles Darwin himself, have believed in the fallacy that women are both biologically and mentally inferior to men.
As the evolutionist scientist John R. Durant also acknowledges, racism and sexual discrimination are the two main consequences of the theory of evolution. Durant verbalized the fallaciousness in Darwin’s stance regarding women as follows:
… Darwin extended this placement by analogy to include not only children and congenital idiots but also women, some of whose powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation were “characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilization.”[i]
The errors made by Darwin that Durant referred to appear in The Descent of Man, as follows:
It is generally admitted that with women the powers of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation, are more strikingly marked than in man; but some, at least, of these faculties are characteristic of the lower races, and therefore of a past and lower state of civilisation. [ii]
It is clearly obvious that Darwin looked down on women even while he explains why marriage is useful:
… children—constant companion, (friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, object to be beloved and played with—better than a dog anyhow—Home, and someone to take care of house—Charms of music and female chit-chat. These things good for one’s health.[iii]
Darwin states that he – in his twisted way – regards marriage as necessary using the reasoning which predicates that “a woman’s friendship is better than a dog’s,” yet his statements about marriage made no reference at all to features such as friendship, affection, love, devotion, loyalty, closeness, sincerity and trust between two people who spend their lives together. About marriage, Darwin also had this to say:
… loss of time—cannot read in the evenings—fatness and idleness—anxiety and responsibility—less money for books, etc.,—if many children, forced to gain one’s bread … perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation with indolent idle fool. [iv]
In The Descent of Man, Darwin also claims that men are superior to women:
The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can women—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music, … history, science, and philosophy … the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on “Hereditary Genius” that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of women. [v]
Of course, all of Darwin’s negative opinions regarding women and the misogynistic discourses of some other Darwinists, the samples of which will be given as we proceed, are diametrically opposed to the moral values described in the Qur’an. In the Qur’an, God commands us to be very compassionate, respectful and protective towards women. Furthermore, He cites women with superior morality such as Mary and the wife of the Pharoah as role models. Superiority in the Sight of God is not according to one’s race, gender or rank but according to their closeness to God and their faith. In many verses of the Qur’an God informs us that all those who believe- without any discrimination between man and woman- will be rewarded with what they have done:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Surat An-Nahl, 97)
Examples of the nonsensical remarks of Darwinism regarding women
Darwin’s misogynistic statements are very clear and many scientists are well aware of this fact. Dr. Jerry Bergman, who is against the evolution theory and who explains the negative impacts of Darwinism on social life in his more than 800 published works and more than 20 books, says the following in his book titled The Dark Side of Charles Darwin:
Darwin himself concluded that the differences between human males and females were so large that it was surprising “such different beings belong to the same species” and that “even greater differences” had not evolved. Natural and sexual selection were at the core of Darwinism, and human female inferiority was both a major proof and a chief witness of this theory.
Darwin concluded that men shaped women’s evolution the male’s liking by sexual selection, just as animal breeders shaped animals to the needs of humans. Conversely, war tended to prune the weaker men, allowing only the more fit to return home and reproduce. Men were also the hunters, another activitiy that pruned weaker men. Women, in contrast, were not subject to these selection pressures because they “specialized in the ‘gathering’ part of the primitive economy” that did not require the strength or stamina of war or hunting.” [vi]
The major (and mistaken) justifications Darwin gave for his female inferiority conclusions are summarized in his classic work, The Descent of Man. In this book, Darwin argued that adult females of most species resembled the young of both sexes and that “males are more evolutionarily advanced than females.” He (mistakingly) concluded that since female evolution progressed at a slower rate than male evolution, a woman was “in essence, a stunted man”. This degrading view of women rapidly spread to Darwin’s scientific and academic contemporaries.
For example, Darwin’s contemporary and disciple, anthropologist McGrigor Allan, states that women are less evolved than men and that “physically, mentally and morally, woman is a kind of adult child… it is doubtful if women have contributed one profound original idea of the slightest permanent value to the world.” [vii]
Of course, Darwin had no scientific basis for proposing these fallacies, but his biased and prejudiced claims about women spread rapidly among his scientific contemporaries.
For example, the materialist Carl Vogt, a professor of natural history at the University of Geneva, accepted all the conclusions drawn by Darwin, without subjecting them to any scientific analysis, and claimed that “the child, the female, and the senile white” all had the intellectual features and personality of the “grown -up Negro,” and that consequently they were inferior. [viii]
Herr Vogt went even further and brought forward the lie that they were actually closer to animals than men. According to Vogt, a woman was “a stunted man” whose development had been obstructed because her evolution had come to a premature halt. [ix] Vogt even claimed that the gap between males and females increases with civilization’s progress and is greatest in the advanced societies of Europe. [x] Darwin was greatly influenced by Vogt’s rantings, and stated that he was honored to count him among his most important supporters. [xi]
Evolutionist Paul Broca (1824-1880) of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris was particularly interested in the skull differences between men and women. Broca misconstrued the relatively smaller brain in women and came up with the fallacy that women were intellectually inferior to men. Of course, that is a very irrational claim; today it has been concluded that there is no relationship between human intelligence and the size of the brain. It is absolutely impossible to come to a truthful conclusion simply by looking at the weight of the brain.
Many other evolutionists following the fallacies of Darwin and continued to claim that women are biologically and intellectually inferior to men. Furthermore, some evolutionists even classified men and women as two different psychological species. According to this fallacy, men are classified as homo-frontalis and women as homo-parietalis. Again an evolutionist writer, Elaine Morgan stated that Darwin encouraged men to work on the reasons why women were “manifestly inferior and irreversibly subordinant.”( EIaine Morgan, The Descent of Woman, New York: Stein and Day, 1972, p. 1)
Being a woman or a man would not make one superior to the other
Obviously, Darwin’s theses were based not on science, but on the culture and primitive scientific understanding of the Victorian Era he lived in. These theses gave way to harmful behavior, violence towards women and caused women to be regarded as inferior beings in many societies. Philosophies such as fascism and communism that disparage women, basically embrace Darwin’s misguided understanding regarding women.
The intellectual characteristics that Darwinists use as criteria are abilities given by Allah, irrespective of gender. In one verse, God reveals: “You who believe! If you fear [and respect] God, He will give you a standard (of right and wrong)…” (Surat al-Anfal, 29) As this verse reveals, judgment-and thus, intellect-develops not according to gender, but according to fear of God.
According to the Qur’an, men and women are equal, and superiority is defined by heedfulness.
God has imposed equal responsibilities on both, and holds both responsible for the same matters. Whether one is a male or female does not make a person superior in the Sight of God, but fear and deep love of and devotion to Him, and proper moral values do. In one of His verses, our Lord reveals that regardless of gender, those who exhibit the best behavior will receive the best reward for their moral values:
Anyone, male or female, who does right actions and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will not be wronged by so much as the tiniest speck. (Surat an-Nisa’, 124)
Their Lord responds to them “I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female…” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 195)
[i] John R. Durant, “The Ascent of Nature in Darwin’s Descent of Man” in The Darwinian Heritage, Ed. by David Kohn, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985), p.295
[ii] Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1871 (1896 print), p.326
[iii] Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882 (Ed. by Nora Barlow), New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1958, p. 232-233
[iv] Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882 (Ed. by Nora Barlow), New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1958, p. 232-233
[v] Jerry Bergman, The Dark Side of Charles Darwin, Master Books, 2011, p. 246
[vi] Jerry Bergman, The Dark Side of Charles Darwin, Master Books, 2011, p. 246
[vii] Jerry Bergman, The Dark Side of Charles Darwin, Master Books, 2011, p. 249
[viii] Carl Vogt, Lectures on Man: His Place in Creation, and the History of Earth, edited by James Hunt, London: Paternoster Row, Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1864, xv, 192
[ix] Stephanie A. Shields, “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women; A Study in Social Myth,” American Psychologist, no. 1 (1975): 749
[x] Evelleen Richards, “Darwin and the Descent of Women,” in David Oldroyd and Ian Langham (Eds.), The Wider Domain of Evolutionary Thought (Holland: D. Reidel, 1983), 75
[xi] Evelleen Richards, “Darwin and the Descent of Women,” in David Oldroyd and Ian Langham (Eds.), The Wider Domain of Evolutionary Thought (Holland: D. Reidel, 1983), 74 49