In a silly non-scientific op-ed at Scientific American, Allison Hopper declares that “denial of evolution” is a form of “white supremacy.” No, it’s not a satire piece. It’s a bigoted anti-Christian rant masquerading as a science op-ed. In it, Hopper, whose bio says she’s a “filmmaker and designer,” claims that “evolution denial” perpetuates violence against black people:
I want to unmask the lie that evolution denial is about religion and recognize that at its core, it is a form of white supremacy that perpetuates segregation and violence against Black bodies. Under the guise of “religious freedom,” the legalistic wing of creationists loudly insists that their point of view deserves equal time in the classroom. Science education in the U.S. is constantly on the defensive against antievolution activists who want biblical stories to be taught as fact. In fact, the first wave of legal fights against evolution was supported by the Klan in the 1920s. Ever since then, entrenched racism and the ban on teaching evolution in the schools have gone hand in hand. In his piece, What We Get Wrong About the Evolution Debate, Adam Shapiro argues that “the history of American controversies over evolution has long been entangled with the history of American educational racism.”
The biblical view of creation—that God created the Earth, including man, out of nothing (ex nihilo) in six days—wasn’t invented in the 1920s when secularists were forced to go “on the defensive” against religious activists. It was the secularists, in fact, who went on the attack, portraying orthodox Christians as anti-science backwoods yahoos and bullying school districts and book publishers into removing all references to religion—not just creationism—from public schools. The anti-God mob has been on offense in this fight from Day 1. Hopper’s assertion that “rejection of evolution” (by that she means macroevolution, rather than microevolution, which Christians do not reject) is overtly racist doesn’t pass the smell test.
I’m not here to debate the hows and whys of creationism. I’ll point you to Answers in Genesis for that. But I want to point out a couple of shameless strawmen in Hopper’s piece that discredit everything else she writes in this piece.
First, she says:
At the heart of white evangelical creationism is the mythology of an unbroken white lineage that stretches back to a light-skinned Adam and Eve. In literal interpretations of the Christian Bible, white skin was created in God’s image. Dark skin has a different, more problematic origin.
That’s simply not true. There’s no “literal interpretation of the Christian Bible” that discusses skin color or an unbroken white lineage. While it’s true that some racists have made that claim, it’s completely without merit. All we’re told is that God created man and woman, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, “in his image”—”Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Not in his physical image, of course, because God is spirit and not confined to a human body, but in a spiritual sense. God gives us intellect, the ability to love him and others, and free will to choose between good and evil. This has nothing to do with melanin.
Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, the leading creationist organization in the world, wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “I defy Scientific American to find anything remotely resembling the nonsense claimed in this article on our websites, in our books, or in our presentations.” Ham, whose organization was singled out in Hopper’s piece, points out that his organization is “well known for teaching there are no ‘white’ or ‘black’ people, as all are shades of brown from the main skin pigment melanin.” Adam and Eve, he says, “were most likely middle brown with maximum genetic diversity.” Believing otherwise is a fringe view that has been widely and unequivocally rejected by evangelicals of all stripes, and, again, has no basis in scripture. The New Testament is packed with passages warning Christians not to show partiality, e.g. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:38). All means all, not just people with white skin.
Dark skin has a different, more problematic origin. As the biblical story goes, the curse or mark of Cain for killing his brother was a darkening of his descendants’ skin. Historically, many congregations in the U.S. pointed to this story of Cain as evidence that Black skin was created as a punishment.
Again, there’s nothing in the biblical text to indicate that the “mark of Cain” was a change of skin color, though some racists have interpreted it that way. The focus of the passage wasn’t on the mark itself, but on the fact that God would not allow anyone to exact vengeance against Cain. There’s also nothing in scripture to back up the assertion that the mark was passed on to Cain’s descendants.
To “prove” that creationism is racist, Hopper claims she was unable to find more than a handful of children’s books about evolution on Amazon, while there were “hundreds of children’s books available on Amazon that focus on biblical origin stories.”
So… is racist Amazon, with its racist algorithm, blocking the sale of books on evolution? Or are racist secular book publishers working in cahoots with the religious wing-nuts to censor children’s books on evolution? Is that what she’s suggesting? Here’s an alternate theory: Maybe it’s because 40% of Americans still believe in the biblical view of creation, despite the best efforts of Hopper and her ilk to marginalize religious Americans, while only 22% believe we evolved without God’s help. And so maybe there’s a demand for books about the creation story and maybe people are buying those books, resulting in even more books being published on the topic because publishers like to make money. Perhaps Hooper should lay off the Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi books and pick up a Bible and an Econ 101 textbook.
Ham was right to point out that the Scientific American piece was a “deliberate attempt to totally misrepresent Christians and foster hate against them regarding the ‘race’ issue.” In fact, there’s only one “biological race of humans (as confirmed by the Human Genome project in 2000), and thus all are sinners, and all need the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ,” he declared. “To claim in this Scientific American piece that rejecting evolution is a ‘form of white supremacy’ is disgustingly evil. Actually, this whole error-filled item is a hit piece against Christians.”
Of course it is. That was the whole purpose of the column. Radicalized secularists like Hopper hate the fact that 40% of Americans have rejected their religious beliefs about the origins of the universe—it shows that their long march to eradicate religion in America has largely failed. People still go to church, still take their kids to vacation Bible school and the Creation Museum (more than 3.5 million visitors since 2007), and still teach their children the six-day creation account—and even about Noah’s ark. And all the anti-Christian bigots can do is whine about it, call us names, and try to shame us into disavowing the Bible.
While their intolerance and bullying may get the weak-kneed cultural Christians (read: non-Christians pretending to be the real deal) to denounce their faith, real, faithful Christians aren’t swayed in the least. Shame us all you want and we will still believe the Bible—still believe God. It has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with lives transformed by faith in Jesus Christ and trust in his Word. Just like Daniel and his friends refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s idols, we refuse to bow to the gods of this age. Throw us in the fiery furnace (or Twitter jail) if you want. We will echo Martin Luther with our final breath: “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils—for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”