Are Jerry Bergman and Henry Morris Racists? 

An Example of the Irresponsible “Research” of Darwinists

(The Cases of Jim Lippard, Lenny Flank, and Tom McIver)

 

by Jerry Bergman Ph.D.

 

On a Friday afternoon, where is one likely to find Dr. Jerry Bergman, Dr. Henry Morris or other creationists? Cleaning their hoods getting ready for a big Ku Klux Klan rally? Longing for the day when they can put the signs back up by the drinking fountains that say “Colored” and “White”? Or sneering at some local African-Americans, thinking “you need to be put in your place and your place is not around here!” This is, at least, what it seems some Darwinists would like you to think. Read on.

           

Introduction

            Creationists often are criticized by Darwinists of various stripes for sloppy scholarship—a charge that unfortunately is sometimes valid (but usually greatly exaggerated).  I have researched many alleged examples of creationist “misquoting” and often—although not always—have found this common charge to be totally false, sometimes even libelous.  On the other hand, I have found evolutionist literature to be filled with basic errors and often downright falsehoods when discussing creationism (usually as a result of incredibly sloppy research and relying almost totally on another evolutionist’s lack of objectivity and poor investigative procedures).  Not uncommonly, such literature also is mean spirited and even blatantly libelous.

Since I now have well over 600 publications in print or in press in 13 languages, I, too, have occasionally had false charges leveled against me. Almost all of the relatively few times I have been criticized, it was by Darwinists.  The charges are typically not only only false, but also appallingly irresponsible.  An example is an article titled “Creationism Implies Racism” by Jim Lippard (James Joseph Lippard, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Arizona, born in 1965) located on theTalk Origins Archive  (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/racism.html).  I had planned to ignore this article, but it has now seeded a set of libelous claims in other articles that require a detailed response. I will discuss here only one paragraph, which is reproduced in its entirety below:

Bergman has been featured in many creationist publications for his complaint that he was denied tenure and dismissed from Bowling Green State University “solely because of my beliefs and publications in the area of creationism”; a cover story for instance, in the Creation Science Legal Defense Fund’s magazine Creation (“The Jerry Bergman Story,” 1984).  In Bergman’s The Criterion (preface by Wendell Bird, foreword by John Eidsmoe), Luther Sunderland said Bergman was fired “solely” because of his religious beliefs—his creationism (1984:64).  But in a signed letter published in David Duke’s National Association of White People newsletter, Bergman stated that “reverse [racial] discrimination was clearly part of the decision”—i.e., that it was not solely religious discrimination.

This article is irresponsible because Mr. Lippard obviously did not do his homework—he never contacted me (a major omission), nor did he study very carefully, if at all, the many articles on this topic written by me and others (this quote may largely be from Tom McIver, which saddens me because I know Tom—a UCLA anthropology Ph.D.—and respect his work that I have read; and, in my experience, he generally is fair in dealing with creationists) [see Lippard, 1994].  This quote implies that I falsely claimed that the reason I was denied tenure was religion when the real reason was in whole or in part because I am a white supremacist and racist (at least this is how many people have interpreted it, including an attorney by the name of Mr. Lamb who looked over this material for me).  This claim, in turn, has been widely quoted (and more often than not, it has been misquoted).  I now will discuss why this paragraph is entirely misleading.

First of all, it was Luther Sunderland’s words (as the article correctly states later) that I was fired “solely” because of my religious beliefs.  Clearly this was, by far, the major reason, and I believed the only reason until the National Education Association’s lawsuit against BGSU discovered other issues.  Nor was the claim that religion was the reason a rumor—it was made in writing by over a dozen of my colleagues at BGSU.  Furthermore, why is Lippard quibbling over whether my termination at Bowling Green was only because of my religious beliefs or whether affirmative action considerations played an auxiliary role?  The inescapable fact is that religious discrimination did occur!  THAT should be of interest to Lippard and others concerned with the law.

When the article by Sunderland and the one published in the Creation Science Legal Defense Fund were written, I was not directly aware of the evidence for reverse discrimination, but, during the discovery process in late 1984 (related to the litigation brought by the National Education Association on my behalf), the university released a revealing internal memo that answered many questions about my case (see copy).  In it is clear from this letter that reverse discrimination entered into my case.  For example, as to my position, the dean, Dr. David Elsass, said in a letter to the university provost:

Another matter to which I direct your attention is the reallocation of approximately $11,000 of part-time monies from the Department of Education to effect a full-time position in educational psychology which will only be implemented if a qualified minority candidate is available.  We anticipate interviewing such a candidate within the next week to ten days.  I wish to stress that we shall not so use these monies unless the above condition is met (1973, p. 1, his emphasis).

The qualified minority candidate obtained a much better professorship elsewhere and so I was interviewed (presumably, I was the most highly qualified non-minority) and was offered a contract. I later perceived that there has been some resentment ever since (the university even later claimed I was offered the wrong contract! Was I offered the contract that they intended to offer the minority candidate?). I then was blamed for accepting this “wrong contract!”  How was I to know it was “wrong?” This letter speaks volumes.

Ironically, the colleague in my department to whom I was closest (and the only one with whom I associated socially) was Dr. John Newby, the only African-American in the department at the time. The reason we worked together was not because he was an African-American, but because we shared several things in common, especially our religious background. Dr. Newby was one of the few persons that did not testify against me in my case against BGSU.

I also cannot comment on the letter supposedly published in the National Association of White People Newsletter because I do not recall seeing it (I do not subscribe to this newsletter, nor any other racist newsletters), but I wonder how Jim Lippard saw it?  I have written to scores of racist, neo-Nazi and other similar groups when doing my research on racism and Darwinism, and I could well have written to David Duke’s group.

To imply I am a racist solely because I solicited information from racist groups for my research against racism, as evidently Lippard does, is irresponsible and libelous.  My scores of publications and talks directly or indirectly fighting racism clearly demonstrate the opposite.  Also, a distant relative, Walter Gerald Bergman (He went by Gerald, I went by Jerry) a professor at Wayne State University where I earned my Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate, has suffered much because of our stand fighting racism (see article below in the appendix).  An excellent Web site on the evil of racism (www.onehumanrace.com.) includes some of my articles about this issue.  A few of the many articles against racism that I have published include:

 

  1. “The Influence of Evolution on Nazi Race Programs.”  Creation, Social Science and Humanities Quarterly,                           8(3):24-31, Spring 1986.
  2. “Evolution and the Development of Nazi Race Policy,”Contrast: The Creation/Evolution Controversy, 7(6):1-4,     Nov-Dec, 1988.
  3. “Eugenics and the Development of Nazi Race Policy.” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.  Vol. 44,                         No. 2, June 1992, p. 109-123. Reprinted in The Investigator September 2001. pp. 24-57.
  4. “Evolution and the Origins of the Biological Race Theory.” CEN Tech Journal, Vol. 7(2), 1993, pp. 155-168.                             Reprinted in Investigator.  Jan 1997 No. 52 p. 26-58.
  5. “OtaBenga: The Story of the PygmyOn Display in a Zoo!”  CRSQ, Vol. 30, No. 3, Dec., 1993, pp. 140-149.
  6. “Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust.” CenTechJournal.  13(2):101-111, 1999.
  7. “Ota Benga; The Story of an African Pygmy on Display in an American Zoo.”  Destiny Magazine, 5(1):24-25                          Dec. 19 1994.
  8. “OtaBenga; AHistoria De Um Pigmeu Em Exposicao Num Zoologico.”  Folha Criaciontista. Vol. 54: 44-57.                              1996.
  9. “OtaBenga: The Pygmy put on Display in a Zoo.” Cen Tec Journal. 14(1):81-90, 2000.
  10. “OtaBenga: The Pygmy Put on Display in a Zoo” In One Blood. chapter 11 pp. 131-170. Master Books; Green       Forrest, AR. 1999. Spanish translation chapter 10 “Ota Benga: El Pigmeo Puesto en Exhibicion en un                                Zoologico” pp. 135-170. in Una Sangre: La Respuesta Biblica al Racismo. 2001.  A Russian translation is             now in print.

 

As is clear from my articles, aside from the fact that several members of my immediate family (including an aunt and several cousins) are African-Americans, I oppose racism on moral. religious, biblical and scientific grounds.  In regard to my writing on this topic, one reviewer commented:

As this poster mentioned, Dr. Bergman has also written for Destiny, which is a superb magazine operated by and for black Americans!  And that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his exposing the lies and hypocrisy of evolutionists.  Here is a list of a few other articles he has authored fighting racism and fascism (Blievernicht, 2002, p. 2).

The fact is, we Bergmans have fought long and hard against racism. Walter Bergman became partly paralyzed after he suffered a beating in the famous 1961 freedom ride that started the modern civil rights movement (see appendix). As Magnusson said in Parade magazine, “Always passionate people, the Bergmans have always had passionate foes” (1976. p. 2). The name calling (or what a colleague referred to as “racist smears”) is doubly ironic in view of the fact that I agree with creationists and the mainstream anthropological opinion that no such reality as biological race exists in humans.  Last year I taught an anthropology classes at my college, and our text makes it clear that most anthropologists no longer accept this concept as scientific.  Skin and hair color differences exist, but these do not lend themselves to consistent biological race grouping.  Science has proven that all races are “one blood.”  All are descendants of Adam and Eve, therefore all humans are “related,” just as the Bible teaches.

The quote by Lippard evidently has served as the sole basis for another, far more irresponsible and blatantly libelous piece by Lenny Flank, which is as follows:

Another oft-cited “victim of scientific intolerance” is Jerry Bergman, who in 1984 was denied tenure and dismissed from his position at Bowling Green University, as he puts it, “solely because of my beliefs and publications in the area of creationism.”  (Jim Lippard, “Creationism and Racism”, undated)  However, Bergman himself pointed out a more significant reason for his dismissal (one which other creationists are understandably reluctant to talk about): In a signed letter published in the newsletter of former Klan head David Duke’s white supremacist National Association for the Advancement of White People, Bergman declared that “reverse discrimination was clearly part of the decision” (cited in Lippard, “Creationism and Racism”, undated).  In other words as Bergman himself admits, it was NOT his creationism that got him kicked out.  Apparently Bergman’s sob story changes according to which particular audience he is sobbing to (Flank, 1995, pp. 2-3).

As is typical of anti-creationist writings, many of the facts in this quote are incorrect. One of many examples is the fact that I was not denied tenure in 1984.  The year was 1979, a five-year difference.  Flank’s only reference was Lippard, and nowhere does Flank give evidence for his irresponsible claim that “a more significant reason” for my dismissal was reverse discrimination.  As to the statement “as Bergman himself admits, it was NOT his creationism that got him kicked out,” nowhere could I find does Jim Lippard say this (nor does Flank provide a reference that supports this and, if he had, he certainly would have cited it).  Mr. Flank never contacted me, nor has he done any significant research on my case, as is plainly obvious from his slanderous and irresponsible statements.  As is common among anti-creationists, he obviously has a total disregard for the facts and makes little effort to determine the facts.  For example, note the following excerpts taken from the newsgroup: talk.origins </groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&group=talk.origins> dated March 4, 1997 (note: spelling was corrected).   Note that two creationists (AJS and OriginBoy ) are involved in the discussion and, also note the language that Flank uses (calling a Christian a Fundie is equivalent –  some argue worse –  to calling an African American a Nigger). Also, note the fact that those persons that Flank calls vile names are still polite to him.

 AJS: Please note my post “Censorship of Creationist Material” in which I give the abstract and URL at which a paper by Jerry Bergman can be read.

Lenny Flank: After that, please note MY response pointing out that Bergman is a neo-nazi racist, and that he was denied tenure because he is a racist, not because of his creationist views. THEN note our fundie friend’s lack of response to this point. . . .

AJS: Is he? Was he? When and by whom? There was nothing in the article about tenure and being denied it.  Would you care to go into this in a little more detail.

LENNY FLANK:   >Is he?<    Yes   >Was he?<   Yes.   >When and by whom?>   Bowling Green in 1984  >There was nothing in the article about tenure and being denied it.  Would you care to go into this in a little more detail.< Why am I not surprised.  Try writing to Bergman himself, or ICR.  Maybe they’ll be honest enough to send you a copy of the letter Bergman wrote to the newsletter of David Duke’s National Association for the  Advancement of White People, crying that his dismissal was the result of  “reverse discrimination”.  But I doubt it–see, the fundie creationists are VERY reluctant to talk about the large number of racist bigots which can be found in their ranks . . .

AJS: Again, could you please provide further information supporting these claims or post a full retraction.

LENNY FLANK: No retraction necessary since it’s all true.  In my original post, I gave a citation to Jim Lippard’s paper on creationism and racism.  It’s in the t.o. archives.  Read it.  Read it twice.

AJS: Lenny, I didn’t see your original post.  However, why should I give any credence to Jim Lippard’s paper?  Why should I give any credence to anything in the t.o. archives? I am absolutely *astonished* that you could say those things about Jerry Bergman, a man who speaks out *against* racism.  Good grief, I have *never* met such a group of close minded arrogant so-and-so’s as the majority of you here…and I don’t think I can be bothered sticking around.  You can keep your faith in evolution.

Matt Silberstein: Could you provide some references to where Bergman speaks out against racism?

AJS: Hi Matt, apparently he has published several anti-racist articles and according to my information one of these can be found in Destiny Magazine December 1994.  I can probably find more references if you really want them.

 LENNY FLANK: Don’t.  Write to Bergman and ask him why he sends letters to the National Association for the Advancement of White People decrying  “reverse racism”.  Right, fundie, just like the KKK isn’t really a “hate” group–they just  “love our race”, Bergman speaks out against racism “when it’s directed  towards whites”. Bergman is a neo-nazi.  Like it or not.

AJS: Hi Lenny,  we are not talking about the KKK here, a group BTW that I personally find despicable, but a man called Jerry Bergman who you have made allegations about.  You have attacked the mans integrity by calling him a racist and a neo-nazi, both claims being totally untrue and counter to what the man stands for.  I have made reference to one article Jerry wrote in relation to racism, but here’s some more. Whether you agree with what he wrote is not the point here, the point is that his articles decry racism and Nazism.  I think an apology from you is in order.

LENNY FLANK: Don’t bullshit me, fundie.  I’ve heard plenty of Nazis and Klansmen stand in front of people and swear to Yahweh that they aren’t racists either. I see nothing at all in here that decries racism–it only argues (somewhat sillily) that evolutionary science is racist.  (Is mathematics also racist? How about quantum thermodynamics?)

>A Brief History of the Eugenics Movement  DR JERRY BERGMAN<

Nothing in here about racism either–just more non sequiturs trying to link evolution and eugenics (they have nothing to do with each other).

>PERSPECTIVES ON SCIENCE & CHRISTIAN FAITH Vol 44, no 2, June 1992  Eugenics and the Development of Nazi Race Policy <

Don’t bullshit me, fundie.  I’ve heard plenty of Nazis and Klansmen stand in front of people and swear to Yahweh that they aren’t racists either.

AJS: Well that just shows me, Lenny, the kind of meetings you must hang out at to hear such garbage.  You should be more careful with the company you keep.  Furthermore, I’m not interested in you hysterical ranting, you are obviously under a lot of stress and I won’t bother you further with this discussion.

David Jensen: I’m glad he recognizes that there are no meaningful differences among races. I am perturbed that he appears to have missed that prejudices have been around for _centuries_. (Genocide was recommended by God in the Bible. He was peeved when the Israelites didn’t do a dandy enough job in one instance.)  Those with prejudices use whatever they can to spread their hate. Science is not to blame just because evil people seized upon an intentional misunderstanding of science to justify their evil thoughts.

AJS: Hi David,  The point of me posting these references was in response to a claim by Lenny Flank that Jerry Bergman was a racist and a neo-nazi.  I was pointing out that his articles are anti-racist and anti-Nazi.  I am still waiting for Lenny to retract his libelous comments, but won’t hold my breath 🙂 As far as the rest of the discussion goes…. As a creationist I do believe evolutionary thinking has made an enormous impact on what is considered “right” and “wrong” in todays society.  I do not believe that to be an evolutionist is to be a racist, you are quite right in saying that Hitler used what he could to further his evil intent, but the fact is that the philosophy *was* available to him and he took it to its extremes.  Just as those people in Tasmania did when they annihilated the Tasmanian aboriginals….for sport.  Thank God we do live in more enlightened times….or do we?  (No, I won’t bring up abortion here, but it does beg the question.)

LENNY FLANK: They appear to be neither.  They are nothing more than a (silly) attempt to link evolution and Hitler. By the way, most Christian Identity fundies are violently anti-Nazi. Many of the Klans (there are several Klan organizations, you know—most of which hate each other almost as much as they hate non-whites) also hate Nazis with a passion. Many Nazis also hate all Christians—they view Christianity as a Jew-based religion. So the fact that Bergman doesn’t like (some) Nazis doesn’t at all mean he isn’t a racist or a Klan supporter.  One must indeed ask what he was doing seeking support from the NAAWP if he was not sympathetic to their  goals . . . . Anyway, YOUR point was that Bergman claims to have been fired because he  was a creationist.  MY point is that his sob story changes according to which audience he is sobbing to. You’ll forgive me if I don’t take his word concerning the reason he was canned.

Does Herr Bergman happen to mention that Bowling Green fired his ass in 1984 because he is a racist bigot and a neo-Nazi?  Did it mention that Bergman wrote a letter to Klansman David Duke’s National Association for the Advancement of White People stating that he was fired by Bowling Green for “reverse discrimination”, and doesn’t mention “creationism” at all? Apparently Bergman’s sob story for why he got canned changes according to  which audience he is weeping to . . . .

OriginBoy : Obviously you haven’t read the article.  He doesn’t mention losing his job at all.  The article is not about himself it’s about creation censorship.  By the way, if he really IS a racist I don’t like him being associated with creationism at all, but that’s a side issue. Also — there is no such thing as “reverse discrimination”.  Discrimination is discrimination.

It is abundantly clear from this exchange that Flank has not read my articles. I repeatedly condemn racism in the strongest terms. Flank, according to his Web site, has only an Associates Degree in English, granted in 1985 from Northampton County Community College.  No minor figure in science, though, Flank has published five books on reptiles with Simon and Schuster.  He also claims that he gives talks to church organizations (!) and other groups.  On his Web site, he gloats over the difficulties creationists have had in society (one wonders how these people sleep at night).  In his book  Creation “Science” Debunked , Flank makes claims such as under the subtitle “Creationist Lies and Dishonesty” that:

Much of the creationist case is based upon intellectual dishonesty.  Creationists depend heavily on quotations from evolutionary scientists and writers which they have pulled out of the context and twisted to sound like something other than what the writer intended.  They also depend heavily on half-truths, distortions, deliberate citation of data they know to be untrue, and outright fabrications (Flank, 2000, p. 9).

He adds that he considers creationists “the single greatest threat to freedom and democracy in the United States today” (p. 1).  This statement is appalling, considering over 90 percent of Americans consider themselves creationists of some sort.  An example of the tone of Flank’s writing is indicated in the following chapter headings:  “Creationists, Evolution and the Nazis,” “Creationist Credentials: Is there a REAL Doctor in the House?” and “Does Science Discriminate Against Creationists?” (he concludes it does not; creationists are treated very fairly by them. One wonders if Flank considers his treatment of creationists fair and impartial ) and “The Latest Lie: The Tulsa Story.”  One also must wonder if Flank considers his writing to be fully honest?  In fact, his work is an example of “half-truths, distortions, deliberate citation of data they know to be untrue, and outright fabrications” (Flank, 2000, p. 3).  Under the subtitle, “Creationism and Religion,” Flank concludes that:

Despite their arrogant claims to represent the “Christian point of view,” the creationists and their fundamentalist friends constitute a very tiny minority in mainstream religion.  Every mainstream Christian denomination in the United States rejects the paranoid and ultra-literalist world-view of the creationists, and sees no conflict at all between Christian faith and modern science (2000, p. 3).

This “tiny minority” is actually around 90% of the population—of which 50% are strict creationists (Bergman, 1999).  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  Flank and others base their claims that I am a neo-Nazi racist (or worse) on a single letter I evidently wrote to a racist group, and the fact that reverse discrimination may have been involved in the Bowling Green case.  The evidence needed to prove their case would include racist literature that I authored, evidence of my active involvement in racist organizations, or recorded interviews in which I espouse racist views, none of which they have cited because it does not exist. Interestingly, Carl Wieland claims that Flank is “one of the most-abusive and ill-informed anti creationists and antiChristians on the Internet” http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/a…/feedback_24January2003.asp?srcFrom=aignew) (p. 2).

Are Henry Morris and Other Creationists Also Racists?

Henry Morris and other creationists also were accused of being racists by Darwinists (Trott, 2002). The Trott paper has, in turn, been widely quoted in other papers that also claimed Dr. Morris is a racist (for example, see Groves, 1999). Many of the same ploys were used in this (and a score of articles that I located) that were used in the articles critiqued in this paper.  The major argument against Morris involved his discussion of God’s curse of Ham’s descendants recorded at Genesis 9:20-27, which Trott concluded was racist because the curse involved dark skinned people.

Of course, the Hamites are not generally regarded as a race by historians and, more important, Morris is only trying to explain and interpret history, not condone or exploit it to denigrate a race.  Nor does he does attempt to use this account to justify racism (as have Mormons and certain others).  All Jews, Muslims, and Christians are faced with interpreting this passage, and Morris gave a standard, orthodox conclusion found in many bible commentaries, both liberal and conservative.  Trott concludes that he (Trott) does

 not believe that Henry Morris is a vile racist in his heart of hearts.  The real point of this exercise is to demonstrate the bankruptcy of the arguments of some creationists (including Dr. Morris) concerning evolution as the supposed root of racism.  The argument of these creationists applies equally well (i.e., fallaciously) to creationism (2002, p. 3).

Trott may not believe Dr. Morris is a vile racist, but evidently a racist just the same, as he implies are many creationists. He infers that a connection exists between the conclusion that humans were created (as opposed to evolved) and racism.  Yet, the fact is, Dr. Morris has been active in opposing racism, as I have (Morris, 1973).

Groves even concludes that “other prominent American creationists” aside from Henry Morris “have racists affiliations” such as the Ku Klux Klan (1999, p. 13). For example, Lippard lists persons who claimed to be creationists that were involved in the Ku Klux Klan, without noting that many prominent congressman, governors, and others were members for the reason that the Klan had a different role and was also regarded differently in history than it is today.  Also, there exists not one Ku Klux Klan, but many Klans, some more racist than others (Sims, 1978 p. 7). The Klan was founded in 1865 in Pulaski, TN by six men as a fraternity for war veterans somewhat similar to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or the American Legion. Many of the Klan groups became involved in racist activities, but not all. And even today  “Klansman do not fit neatly into a single mold” (Sims, 1978, p. 8). This is not said to in any way justify their racist activities today, but to deal with the distortions and misleading implications of the anti-creationists critics.

It also should be stressed that most Americans claimed to be conservative creationists until quite recently, and, therefore, one would expect to find persons who accepted the creationist label in virtually all organizations (both good and bad) in America.  Furthermore, because some people do not live up to the Christian ideal does not condemn the ideal; rather, it is an indictment only of those who fall short.  And the ideal is clear—all humans living today are descendants of Adam and Eve.

Lippard also notes that many openly racist magazines have published articles by creationists.  This hardly indicates that the author is in sympathy with racism.  Many leading atheist and humanist journals have published my articles, as have other journals, but this does not mean that I am an atheist (or that the journals’ editors are theists).  The conclusion that being a creationist predisposes one to becoming a racist is simply false, and represents an irresponsible ad hominem argument.

The Moral Bankruptcy of the Anti-Creation Movement

The pathetic attempt to label several modern creationists as racists, though, illustrates the moral bankruptcy of the anti-creationist position.  As to my concerns about reverse discrimination, one observer stated that

This claim about Dr. Bergman completely turns reality on its head.  Since when does fighting racism make you a racist?  If you look at the words, that is exactly what Dr. Bergman was accused of by Mr. Flank.  While some may try to justify it as “OK” for one reason or another, employment of racial quotas and other tactics boils down to simply that: racism against whites.  The rule “two wrongs do not make a right” has apparently been forgotten (Blievernicht, 2002, p. 2).

The Supreme Court also agreed with this conclusion when it outlawed “racial quotas.”

Soon other articles that referenced Flank painted me as an active neo-Nazi and a card-carrying racist.  Under the subtitle, “Is creationist scientist Dr. Jerry Bergman a racist neo-Nazi,” was printed the following:

I am having an extremely distressing discussion with some talkorigins folk after I posted the URL pointing to Jerry Bergman’s article on Censorship of Creationist Material.  Someone posted back that Jerry Bergman was a neo-nazi and a racist.  I was totally shocked that someone could make such a boldly specific claim and requested further information.  (I did not believe for a moment that it was true!)  I then demanded a retraction.  I did this because I really felt that such libelous accusations could not and should not go unchallenged.  Some other article was cited in the talk origins archives by Jim Lippard, who said it was a summary of a paper by Tom M[cIver].

… Lenny, I didn’t see your original post.  However, why should I give any credence to Jim Lippard’s paper?  Why should I give any credence to anything in the t.o. archives?  Lenny F[lank]:  Don’t.  Write to Bergman and ask him why he sends letters to the National Association for the Advancement of White People decrying ‘reverse racism.’  And so it goes on.  I have given an example of an anti-racist anti-Nazi article [written by Dr. Bergman] published in Destiny Magazine Dec 94 … no reply to that (Blievernicht, 2002, spelling corrected by author).

Another contact informed me a magazine called Blindspot claimed “Bergman is also suspected of links to various far-right white supremacists groups … [and] neo-Nazis” (Ichem, 2001, pp. 1-2).  After researching this, I found out the article was about a Raphael Bergman (no-relation). It is possible that a person can be writing, speaking, and otherwise active in fighting racism and be a closet racist, but to make this claim, much more evidence is needed than writing letters to racist groups for information as part of a research project.

What This Account Tells Us

When I was a young college professor at Bowling Green State University, my friends told me I was very naive.  I believed that scholars would objectively evaluate the evidence, carefully research their topic, and accurately explain their finding, being careful not to go beyond the facts.  It was for me an enormous disappointment, to say the least, to find that this is not true—a fact that has been well documented (see Broad and Wade, 1982).  In the case of Darwinism, many of its defenders think nothing of slanderous attacks on critics, relying on dubious or completely erroneous claims, without even bothering to carefully check all of the evidence (see Morell, 1995, and Bell, 2002).  As a result, they commonly produce grossly irresponsible articles and, in my experience, very few exceptions exist.

The above may not apply to Jim Lippard— to his credit he has written several excellent articles about the abuses of Darwinists such as one titled “How Not to Argue with Creationists” (Winter, 1990-1991, Creation/Evolution) and another titled “How not to respond to Criticism: Barry Price Compounds His Errors” (www.discord.org/~lippard/hntr.html).  It could be that Jim Lippard and I are on the same side—concerned with “truth” no matter where it leads us—I sure hope so!  If so, I may owe an apology to the soon-to-be Dr. Lippard (and may have to retract this article).  Several creationists (not Duane Gish, though, for good reason) and intelligent design friends have told me that, in their experience, Lippard is respected by both sides.  He, indeed, may be a rare exception to the critics of the theistic worldview.  Time will tell.

Why do critics of interventionist theism rely so heavily on the line of criticism reviewed in this paper?  The main reason is to marginalize both creationists and intelligent-design advocates.  Painting someone as a racist causes potential readers to ignore that person’s writings—an approach that often works.  Censorship often encourages reading that which is censored.  The attempt to marginalize a person is much more effective, but is censorship just the same.  It is also part of a strategy that Philip Quinn discussed regarding stretching the truth (what he calls a “bad argument”) in the “fight” against creationism.  In his words:

It sometimes happens that the best arguments one can give in support of a view are not going to be effective and the most effective arguments one can give are not going to be good.  After all, decision-makers are sometimes too busy to master complex arguments.  Then, too, they can be prejudiced or even stupid (1988, p. 398).

What is the solution?  He argues that if we are convinced of the “overall rightness” of our position, we would opt to present what he calls the “effective bad argument.”  But each time “one does this, one’s hands get a little bit dirtier.”  The result is

At first one is painfully sensitive to even small compromises that one knows to be violations of one’s intellectual integrity, but gradually numbness of conscience sets in.  At last, when presenting the effective bad argument has become easy and habitual—second nature, as it were—one’s hands have become dirty beyond all cleansing and one suffers from a thoroughgoing corruption of mind (p. 398).

The problem is, if one is concerned about preserving one’s intellectual integrity, one would “never present the effective bad argument,” but rather one always would present “the best argument one can for the position one thinks most nearly right, and one’s hands remain clean.”  The problem with this approach, Quinn argues, is that

… frequently those good arguments fail to persuade or carry the day, and gradually one’s credibility and effectiveness wane.  At last, when one has an established track record of failure, the decision makers conclude that one is of no use to them, and one is unceremoniously cast aside. …[thus one has to make] the hard choice between corruption and ineffectuality (p. 398).

The solution, Quinn argues, is that evolutionists “should only get involved in the policy-making arena on a temporary, short-term basis” because this way they could

engage in giving bad effective arguments without being thoroughly corrupted.  Then one could retreat back to the academy to wash one’s moderately soiled hands.  After having one’s intellectual integrity restored and reinforced, one might then be ready to repeat the cycle.  The application of what I have been saying to the creationist controversy is straightforward.  It seems to me that the attempts by creationists to foist their particular brand of dreadful science on public school curricula are pernicious.  We should resist such attempts and resist them effectively in the political realm.  But some of the creationists who are making such attempts are, to put it not too harshly, shysters.  So there may well be circumstances in which only the bad effective argument will work against them in the political or legal arenas.  If there are, then I think, though I come to this conclusion reluctantly, it is morally permissible for us to use the bad effective argument, provided we continue to have qualms of conscience about getting our hands soiled.  But I also believe we must be very careful not to allow ourselves to slide all the way down the slippery slope to intellectual corruption.  Perhaps, if we divide up the labor so that no one among us has to resort to the bad effective argument too frequently, we can succeed in resisting effectively without paying too high a price in terms of moral corruption (pp. 398-399).

This, in short, is the justification Darwinists use for their “bad arguments,” such as those claiming that creationists are racists or worse. This rationale also says much about the validity of the common line of criticism used by Darwinists.

 

References

 

Bell, Philip.  2002.  “The Portrayal of Creationists by their Evolutionist Detractors.”  Technical

Journal.  16(2):46-53.

 

Bergman, Jerry. 1999. “The Attitude of Various Populations Towards Teaching Creation and

Evolution in Public Schools.”  Cen Tec Journal  13(2):118-123.

 

Bergman, Walter.  2001.  “Walter Bergman” pp. 155-162 in Bud Schult and Ruth Schults The Price of Dissent; Testimonies to Political Repression in America.  Berkeley: University of California Press.

 

Blievernicht, Eric .2002  “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them…”  Creation/Evolution Hall of Shame, pp. 1-4.  (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7547/halshame.html)

 

Broad, William and Nicholas Wade.  1982.  Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science.  New York: Simon and Schuster.

 

Elsass, David G.  1973.  Letter to Dr. Michael Ferrari, Provost Bowling Green State University.  Dated April 26, 1973.

 

Flank, Lenny.  1995.  “Does Science Discriminate Against Creationists?”  (http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/discrim.htm)

 

______. 2000. Creation “Science” Debunked. Published by author Allentown, PA.162 pp.

 

Groves, Colin.  2002.  “The Science of Racism and Its Consequences.”  The Skeptic, 18(4):11-23.

 

Ichem, Julian.  2001.  “Racism alive and well in K-W.”  Blindspot, 1(2):1-2.

 

Kaufman, Dorothy B.  1989.  The First Freedom Ride: The Walter Bergman Story.  ACLU Fund Press.

 

Lippard, Jim.  1994.  “Creationism and Racism”  Creationism Implies Racism?  The Talk Origins Archive.  pp. 3-4. Posted January 15, 1994.

 

Magnusson, Paul. 1976. “The fearsome freedom ride of Walter Bergman: A nightmare recalled”  Parade October 31, 1976, p. 20+

 

Morell, Virginia.  1995.  Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Family and the Quest  for Humankind’s Beginnings.  New York: Simon and Schuster.

 

Morris, Henry.  1973.  “Evolution and Modern Racism.”  Impact, 7:1-4.

 

Quinn, Philip.  1988.  Chapter 27:  “Creationism, Methodology, and Politics” in But Is It Science: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy.  Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.  Edited by Michael Ruse.

 

Sims, Patsy.  1978.  The Klan.  Briarcliff Manor, NY: Stein and Day.

 

Trott, Richard.  2002.  Is the ICR’s Henry Morris Racist?  Creationism Implies Racism?  The Talk Origins Archive ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/racism.html ).

 

 

Appendix I

 

Does This Sound Like a Family of Racists?

Aside from the fact that portions of my family are of African-American heritage (including an aunt and cousins), one of my distant relatives, Walter G. Bergman of Detroit (also my home town for most of the first 26 years of my life) was injured for life (he suffered brain damage and was paralyzed) as a result of his involvement in the civil rights movement.  A Parade magazine article by Paul Magnusson (October 31, 1976, p. 20+) paraphrased below, stated under the title: The Fearsome Freedom Ride of Walter Bergman: A Nightmare Recalled, that, shortly after he had dinner with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  “The veteran liberal scrapper paid dearly for his May 1961 efforts to bring civil rights to the South.  Now he wants the FBI to pay for what an informer says was its sideline role while Bergman received the beating of his life.”  The article continues:

 

The hefty Trailways bus driver stood glaring down the aisle at the seven black and white Freedom Riders who alone occupied the bus. “You got to observe the customs of this state.  All you niggers get to the back of the bus.  White people go up front.” None of them moved.  No one spoke. The driver was nervous.  Just six miles away another bus spewed flames and rolling smoke into the hot Alabama sunshine.  The eight Freedom Riders who had crawled out of the windows to escape the flames fell into the arms of the Ku Klux Klan.  The Klansmen had set the bus fire with an incendiary bomb to flush out their quarry.

The sirens of the ambulances taking the injured to the hospital could be heard in the distance by the passengers and driver in the second bus.  It was a worrisome sound. Bang!  The doors on the second bus burst open and eight white men pushed their way past the driver to face the four blacks sitting in the forbidden front seats. Pulling iron bars and chains from paper bags, the eight whites yanked the four black college students from their seats and pushed them to the back of the bus, towards the three slight white people, two middle-aged men and a woman.

Together, the two white men rose and moved forward.  James Peck, 46, a New Yorker and veteran civil rights worker, could only say, “Wait, can we talk about this?” before a fist crashed into his face, lifting him above the seats and dropping him onto the floor.

Walter Bergman, a 62-year-old Detroit pacifist, professor and lifelong good samaritan, was punched to the floor.  He was kicked repeatedly in the head.  One man jumped up and down on his chest.  Behind them, Bergman’s wife, Frances, 58, heard for the first time the sound of human flesh being beaten bloody.

Fifteen years later, Walter Bergman sits strapped into a wheelchair. A long gray beard brushes his chest now, but always, Frances stands behind him. The faces of the eight Klansmen who smashed Bergman to the dirty floor of the bus that bright Spring day are forgotten.  But their ferocious hatred is not.  And although he is now 77 and will never walk again, Bergman will continue his fight against racial hatred and government complacency until he dies.

Soon, Bergman’s lawyers will bring suit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation for what he charges was its sideline role in the beating. For Bergman and his wife, the beating has meant much more than merely one day of terror.When Bergman awoke after several days in a coma, he literally could not move a muscle.  Doctors found blood in his spinal fluid and concluded the earlier beating caused the heart stoppage.  The strain of the operation and the beating had been, too much, they said.  “Learning to just sit upright took me months,” Bergman recalls.  When I first started to write again, I had to draw the letters — eight to ten strokes just for an ‘O.’  My entire output for a day was six words in my diary.” Today, Bergman’s mind retains an ice pick sharpness. “… And I have many friends.”

There have been many enemies as well in Bergman’s life.  Always passionate people, the Bergmans have always had passionate foes. Bergman believed ROTC units were simply “Army propaganda” and “educationally useless. It breeds hatred toward other people and other nations.  It serves only to keep the public war-minded,” he said.  For this, Bergman was nearly fired. The board voted to support Bergman and academic freedom, but the issue resurfaced again in the 50s during the Red Scares when someone told the State Department Bergman was a closet Communist.  While on sabbatical in Denmark, the couple’s passports were revoked without explanation, stranding them there.  Meanwhile, the absent Bergman, then in charge of research for the Detroit Board of Education, was fired.

Bergman was later reinstated with back pay and the State Department returned the passports several months later, again without explanation.  Things were often like that for troublemakers then….Of all Bergman’s battles throughout the years, however, none was more significant than the one that took place in the Trailways bus in tiny Anniston, Ala.  The small group of Freedom Riders held up a mirror to the South, focused the attention of the world press on the fight for black equality and embarrassed the Kennedy administration into renewing its push for civil rights.

A group of fiery southern governors was resisting Supreme Court integration orders.  One of the latest, the Boynton decision, had extended a previous ruling integrating interstate buses to bus station waiting rooms, restaurants and rest rooms.  In New York, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) decided to test the decision by sending two teams of black and white civil rights workers on two commercial buses — a Greyhound and a Trailways — into the Deep South to use the newly integrated facilities.  They called themselves the Freedom Riders.

The Trailways bus, with the Bergmans and Peck in the back and four black Freedom Riders up front, entered Alabama on a clear, bright May morning. …They reached Anniston about noon….  A mob of about 100 whites, members of the Klan, White Citizens Council and States Rights Party and assorted hangers-on, attacked the bus, beating at the metal sides with iron bars and smashing the windows with rocks.  Others slashed at the tires…a long column of cars followed the injured Greyhound bus like sharks, surrounded it and slowed it down.  About six miles out, one of the slashed tires went flat.  The driver struggled to change it as the mob called for the Freedom Riders to come out.  The single bold state police investigator wedged himself in the door and refused to let the mob inside.

An incendiary bomb crashed through a splintered window and the Freedom Riders were forced to crawl through the windows to escape…. Six miles behind, the Trailways bus pulled into the nearly deserted bus station.  Seeing that the station restaurant was closed, Bergman went next door for some sandwiches and on returning, noticed a group of eight young white toughs talking to the bus driver and three policemen, standing by the bus.  The eight followed Bergman inside and while the police waited patiently outside, the driver announced the first bus had been set afire.  To avoid the same fate, he told them, “you niggers will have to move to the back.”

“The gang of hoodlums began pushing the blacks from the front seats,” recalls Bergman.  “We went to the front to try to reason with them and the next thing Peck knew, he had a fist in the face. I, of course, was beaten quite liberally, quite generally.  Once they got me down on the floor, they kicked me over and over in the head…” Frances Bergman pleaded with the men to stop the beatings.  “I had never before experienced the feeling of people all around hating me so.  I had never heard the sound of human flesh being beaten.  It was terrible.  I kept thinking, ‘How could these things be happening in 1961?’”

A black reporter on the scene, Simeon Booker of Jet magazine, wrote of the beating:  “Bergman was battered into semi-consciousness and as he lay in the aisle, one of the whites jumped up and down on his chest…. Bergman lay lifeless on the floor.  Peck’s face and his head bled profusely, making the aisle a slippery, bloody path of tragedy.” When all the Freedom Riders had been shoved to the back, one of the policemen stepped on board the bus … recalls Bergman.  “‘Well, you can sue if you want to, but I didn’t see nothing.

For the next two hours, the Freedom Riders and Booker, the reporter, sat in the back of the bus, wondering if the eight whites who sat in front had ordered the driver to take them into the hills for another beating.  Throughout the ride, the eight menaced those in the back with iron bars and bottles.  “How do you like sitting with your nigger friends?” one of them asked the Bergmans and Peck.  “I’d like to choke all of them,” said another. But their was no need to detour to the hills for a second clandestine beating.  An agreement had been reached between the Birmingham police and the Ku Klux Klan.  Police were to stay in their headquarters two blocks from the Birmingham Trailways station for 15 full minutes, giving Klansmen ample time to beat heads.  “We were promised our 15 minutes of beating time with absolutely no intervention from the police whatsoever,” a former FBI infiltrator into the Klan, Gary Thomas Rowe, Jr., told a Senate investigating committee last December.

“Burn’em, bomb’em, maim’em, kill the bastards, I don’t care,” Rowe says a high police official told him. Rowe, a mask covering his face, told the Church committee investigating U.S. intelligence operations that he had warned his FBI contacts in Birmingham three weeks before May 14 that not only had Birmingham police agreed to allow the beatings, they had formulated the plan.  The Alabama State Police were cooperating, Rowe said later, by keeping the KKK advised of the route and progress of the buses.  Nevertheless, Rowe said, the FBI refused to try to stop the violence and only sent observers to the Trailways station.  FBI agents witnessed the beating, even took photographs, Rowe said, but did nothing to stop the mob.

The Justice Department has said in Senate testimony and in response to Peck’s suit for damages that the FBI had no duty to protect the Freedom Riders from the mob.  Local law enforcement should have been a local matter, FBI officials have said, ignoring the 400 federal marshals sent into Alabama in late May that year by Robert Kennedy.  Said Rowe: “We had baseball bats, we had clubs, we had chains, we had pistols sticking out of our belts.  It was unbelievable.  Not one officer in the Birmingham Police ever asked us what was going on.”

In a newly published book on his six years with the FBI, Rowe admits he became an FBI informer and joined the Klan for thrills and because he always enjoyed cracking heads.  But now he lives in Southern California under a false identity and calls the Bureau’s inaction in the face of Klan violence “a sin and a disgrace.” At the Birmingham bus station, Peck was again beaten — this time severely — only two hours after the Anniston incident.  His head wounds alone required 53 stitches.  Bergman found Peck in a pool of blood in an alley where Klansmen dragged him.

Rowe estimates 1,000 white rioters attacked Freedom Riders Peck and Charles Person, a black college student and other blacks who happened to be in the bus terminal or just outside….Birmingham marked the end of the first freedom Ride.  It was too dangerous to continue on, the riders reluctantly agreed.  Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett warned of more trouble should the riders pass through on their way to New Orleans.  Alabama Governor John Patterson, a militant segregationist who had been elected with Klan backing, said he could “not guarantee safety for this bunch of rabble rousers,” meaning the 17 Freedom Riders.

A photograph of Peck being beaten by Klansmen ran in newspapers all over the country.  The world press editorialized about the gulf between the ideal of American freedom for all the ugly realities of segregation. Black college students from Nashville rode to Birmingham immediately to take up where the first Freedom Riders left off.  In New York, 100 blacks volunteered to ride into the Deep South.

In December, 1975, 15 years later, Bergman turned on a television news program and heard the first report of Rowe’s Senate testimony.  James Peck read about it in the New York Post and called Bergman….“Those things happened in Alabama because too many good people pulled the blinds so they wouldn’t have to see what was happening.  Frances and I have always worked to change that.”

 

(Note: Walter Gerald Bergman eventually partly prevailed in his court case but received only a toaken $50,000 compensation for his injuries. He sued for 2 million.  The judge ruled the FBI was responsible for protecting citizens and had no right to cooperate with vigilantes as they did (Bergman, 2001, p. 162; Kaufman, 1989). Walter died in a Grand Rapids, MI nursing home at age 100 in September of 1999. Walter and my father were both active in the ACLU -Walter was the founder of the Michigan ACLU chapter- and both were active Unitarians. Former vice president Walter Mondale’s brother, Unitarian minister Lester Mondale, married my father and step mother.)

 

 

 

Appendix II

 

As promised, I added the civil responses to my article, and most of the printable ones follow.

Many of the creationists who wrote were positive about both Jim Lippard and Tom McIver (and most were negative about LENNY FLANK).  They felt both Jim and Tom were usually fair and were surprised at their response in this situation. One educator wrote:

 

Jerry, you would have made a terrific lawyer.  You certainly do your research.  You are a strong force for truth and justice in our country, but your pacifist creationist and evangelical compatriots are not carrying the ball very well for you.  Perhaps we don’t have a stomach for fighting but, on a sinking ship, we ought to be doing a little more than lounging on the deck chairs.  I will print Walter Bergman’s story and the Freedom Ride …

 

Another wrote

 

The behavior of these men is inexcusable and libelous to say the least.  I think that this incident says much about the critics of theists and much about the conduct of unbelievers. Your response is far too conciliatory. Your critics should be condemned in the strongest terms.

 

Yet another person wrote

 

They charge you with being a racist!!! Clearly, judging from the internal document from Bowling Green State University THEY are racists, and blatantly so!! If you were black you would probably have tenure and would be a full professor by now.  Talk about discrimination!

 

Jim Lippard responded on November 15, 2002 as follows:

There is no charge of racism against Bergman in what I wrote or in what I quoted from Tom McIver. (I can’t say the same for Mr. Flank’s writings, however.) I would be happy to clarify that in the piece and give a pointer to Bergman’s response. My position in that piece is to point out that creationist arguments that evolution implies racism or incites racism are not valid, and that parallel arguments exist for creationism. The point is most explicit in the concluding sentence: “All this shows that racism is perfectly happy to rely for its foundation on creationism rather than evolution.” The point is that racists will rely on whatever “proofs” are handy to support their racism.

 

My response:

I appreciate Mr. Lippard’s response and I will let the reader judge the validity of the statement:  “There is no charge of racism against Bergman in what I wrote or in what I quoted from Tom McIver.”  The racism charges against me started out mild, and with each new article I became more of a racist.  I have had several people write to me indicating that they were convinced on the basis of the quotes noted above that I am a racist (and some made it clear that they no longer wanted anything to do with me because of my putative racism).  One long-time correspondent even wrote to tell me that he would no longer correspond with me by letter or any other way.

As to Mr. Lippard’s “point” I agree that some racists will use even Christianity to justify their point of view.  I also agree that some racists will rely on whatever “proofs” are handy to support their racism, but I must ask “what makes a racist?”  Are not their culture and their worldview critically important?  The obvious teaching of the New Testament clearly mitigates against this worldview (see onehumanrace.com).  I realize that some persons can twist the scriptures to say almost anything that they want, such as the teaching that the “beasts of the earth” in Genesis refer to the “Negro race,” but this view was always a fringe idea, expounded largely before the turn of the century, and has all but disappeared now.

I have also received an E-mail from Mr. Richard Trott dated Thursday, 6 February 2003 which I have reproduced below in its entirety. I will respond briefly to each point in the E-mail.  Trott wrote:

Jerry Bergman writes that I “concluded [material authored by Henry Morris] was racist because the curse involved ‘dark skinned’ people.”

1)  The use of the words “dark skinned” in quotation marks gives the reader the impression that they are my words.  The words appear nowhere in my text (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/racism.html).

 

True, the words “dark skinned” are not in Mr. Trott’s paper and I did not mean to give this impression.  The words actually appear in Dr. Morris’ text

2)  The reason the Morris passage is easily interpreted as racist is because Morris refers specifically to “Negroes” and their “genetic character” that he alleges makes them less “intellectual” than others.  Here’s Morris’s own words:  “Often the Hamites, especially the Negroes, have become actual personal servants or even slaves to the others. Possessed of a genetic character concerned mainly with mundane matters, they have eventually been displaced by the intellectual and philosophical acumen of the Japhethites and the religious zeal of the Semites.”

 

I looked up this quote in my copy of the book (and several other copies with different copyright dates) and it did not read the same. It said ”racial character” and not “genetic character.” In my experience, Darwinists take the worst possible interpretation of discrepancies such as this and, typically, conclude something like “This misquote is an absolute lie and is typical of creationists writings which are full of lies and self serving misquotes.” I will not do this but rather will not draw a conclusion as to why the difference exists. It could be the word was changed in the printing that I have, or that Mr. Trott’s source was incorrect. (I was recently informed by a creationist friend that one edition of the book does use the term “genetic character”).

 

Next, Mr. Bergman writes that “historians do not generally regard the Hamites as a race.”  This gives the reader the impression that I have fabricated the whole “Negroes are Hamites” out of whole cloth.

 

Again, I did not intend to convey the impression that Mr. Trott “fabricated” this account but I only wanted to explain that the most common scholarly interpretation of this incident does not lend itself to a racist interpretation by Morris or anyone else, as I will discuss below.

 

It is Morris, however, who clearly states that in his opinion, “all of the earth’s ‘colored’ races,–yellow, red, brown, and black–essentially the Afro-Asian group of peoples, including the American Indians–are possibly Hamitic in origin.”  Go back to the previous quotation (“especially the Negroes”) and two conclusions are unavoidable: Morris believes (or believed) that “Negroes” are Hamites, and he believes (or believed) white people of European descent are not Hamites. This is all abundantly clear in Morris’s book  The Beginning Of the World  and I’m frankly a tad resentful that there appears to be an attempt here to make it look like I made this stuff up.

 

I did not say (or imply) anywhere that Mr. Trott made this stuff up. Dr. Morris here notes that his argument is only “possible” and he has clarified this in later writings, as Mr. Trott seems to be aware, judging by his words below:

 

Next, Mr. Bergman goes on to say that “Morris is only trying to explain and interpret history, not condone or exploit it to denigrate a race.”  I agree with this statement.  I think Morris’s explanation/interpretation of history in this case is racist, and contrary to the slant of Mr. Bergman’s comments, I am not drawing an unreasonable conclusion.  Morris states quite clearly that “Negroes” (and all other “Hamites”) are less “intellectual” than non-Hamites and he is asserting that this is in their “genetic character.”

 

Nonetheless, as noted above, the words used in the editions of the book that I located are “racial character.”  I appreciate this clarification, though, and I am sure that Dr. Morris does as well. It should have been made clear in Trott’s original paper, which seems to conclude the opposite.

 

Morris may have simply written this particular passage somewhat more carelessly than he should have.  Or this may reflect a view Morris once held years ago but no longer holds.  (For the record, I suspect a combination of both of these things to be true.)  That’s why I conclude at the end of my article that Morris, in fact, is not a racist.

 

I fully agree with this and appreciate the clarification. In fact, in his book The Genesis Record (Baker, Grand Rapids, MI.)—published in 1976 only a few years after The Beginning of the World, Dr. Morris states that

 

Assuming, however, that the curse did apply to the Hamitic peoples in general, what was its meaning and how has it been fulfilled?  “A servant of servants shall he be to his brethren” can hardly mean “a slave of slaves,” because such a situation has never occurred among the descendants of any of Ham’s four sons, including Canaan.  The descendants of Ham included the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and other great nations of the past; and there is a good possibility they include some of the great Asiatic nations of the present as well.

Unfortunately, there have been some interpreters who have applied the Hamitic curse specifically to the Negro peoples, using it to justify keeping the black man in economic servitude or even slavery.  It is obvious, however, that the prophecy applies not only to black Africans but also to all other descendants of Ham (most of whom are not blacks), and no more of the Hamitic peoples have experienced such servitude during their history than the non-Hamitic peoples.

…It might be objected, however, that the Hamitic nations have never been under worldwide subjugation to the Japhetic and Semitic nations (neither, for that matter, have the Canaanites alone).  In answer to this objection, it may be noted that a servant is not necessarily a slave.  In fact, the word is used much more often to refer to one who has the position of “steward,” a very honorable position in a household, rather than to one who is a slave (1976, p. 238).

 

This clarification should have been considered when Trott researched his article. He either did not research his material very carefully, or chose to ignore this highly relevant discussion. If a creationist had done this, a Darwinist would surely conclude as follows: “this is typical of lies and the sloppy irresponsible research done by Creationists. Their work cannot be trusted in the least.” I did not conclude this and, if I thought this was true, I probably would not say it.  A fundamental difference often exists in how evolutionists respond to mainline educated creationists compared to how we usually respond to our critics, and this fact was a major reason that moved me from the agnostic camp to the theistic (and later Christian) camp.

Another point is Dr. Morris has written scores of books and thousands of articles. It would be easy to find a few less than well thought out statements in his writing. I am frankly amazed that there are not more, even in his books that are 50 years old (the book in question is now over 30 years old).

 

Mr. Bergman’s assertion that I believe Morris is a “racist” is simply false.  Because I say that I believe Morris is “not a vile racist,”  Bergman uncharitably assumes that I think he is a racist, just not a “vile” one.  Mr. Bergman is the first person that I am aware of to interpret what I wrote that way, and I maintain that it is a rather peculiar interpretation on his part.  (I will concede, however, that many atheists and anti-creationists have used the contents of my article to draw very different conclusions about Dr. Morris.  However, I do not share their view.)

 

I appreciate the clarification by Mr. Trott but do not think that my interpretation is completely unwarranted and will let readers judge if my interpretation is clearly unreasonable or unwarranted.  I do know that those who have read Mr. Trott’s article that I have communicated with agreed with my interpretation.

 

Mr. Bergman also writes that “[Trott] infers that a connection exists between the conclusion that humans were created (as opposed to evolved)  and racism.”  This is surprising considering that Bergman had just finished quoting a sentence of mine to the contrary.  I wrote that, “The argument of these creationists applies equally well (i.e., fallaciously)  to creationism.”  The “argument” I am referring to is the “evolution as the supposed root of racism” argument. [So, just to be absolutely clear, I write that the argument applies to creationism just as well as it applies to evolution.  Then, lest I be misunderstood, I parenthetically clarify that I think it applies “fallaciously.”  In other words, “X is the root of racism” is a false and bogus argument for both X=creationism and X=evolution.]

 

I have also found that racists can use Christianity to justify their racism, but they have to strain the clear meaning of the scriptural record to do so. The clear meaning of especially the Christian scriptures demonstrates otherwise. This is why many of the major opposersof racism, from the British reformer William Wilberforce (1759-1833) who was prominent in the struggle to abolish slavery (see Herbert Lawson The Man Who Freed the Slaves (1962)) to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., based their opposition to slavery and racism on the scriptures.  The Encyclopedia Britannica stated Wilberforce’s motivations derived partly from his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1784-1785.  A concern is that these articles have spread the message that I, Dr. Morris and others are racists and, even after the posting of my response, still has not resulted in a revision of the articles of concern.  I have been forced to respond to these articles to students, my fellow professors at the college, and elsewhere.  The conclusion that creationists are racists appears to be a myth that, once started, tends to have a life of its own.  I am trying to stop this myth and Trott’s helpful response helps to do this.

 

Mr. Trott’s response to my article is reproduced below in its entirety.

 

I’d like to make a few comments about some of the things written about me at https://www.rae.org/notracist.html.  Jerry Bergman writes that I “concluded [material authored by Henry Morris] was racist because the curse involved ‘dark skinned’ people.”

1)  The use of the words “dark skinned” in quotation marks gives the reader the impression that they are my words.  The words appear nowhere in my text (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/racism.html).

2)  The reason the Morris passage is easily interpreted as racist is because Morris refers specifically to “Negroes” and their “genetic character” that he alleges makes them less “intellectual” than others.  Here’s Morris’s own words:  “Often the Hamites, especially the Negroes, have become actual personal servants or even slaves to the others. Possessed of a genetic character concerned mainly with mundane matters, they have eventually been displaced by the intellectual and philosophical acumen of the Japhethites and the religious zeal of the Semites.”

Next, Mr. Bergman writes that “historians do not generally regard the Hamites as a race.”  This gives the reader the impression that I have fabricated the whole “Negroes are Hamites” out of whole cloth.  It is Morris, however, who clearly states that in his opinion, “all of the earth’s ‘colored’ races,–yellow, red, brown, and black–essentially the Afro-Asian group of peoples, including the American Indians–are possibly Hamitic in origin.”  Go back to the previous quotation (“especially the Negroes”) and two conclusions are unavoidable: Morris believes (or believed) that “Negroes” are Hamites, and he believes (or believed) white people of European descent are not Hamites. This is all abundantly clear in Morris’s book  The Beginning Of the World  and I’m frankly a tad resentful that there appears to be an attempt here to make it look like I made this stuff up.

Next, Mr. Bergman goes on to say that “Morris is only trying to explain and interpret history, not condone or exploit it to denigrate a race.”  I agree with this statement.  I think Morris’s explanation/interpretation of history in this case is racist, and contrary to the slant of Mr. Bergman’s comments, I am not drawing an unreasonable conclusion.  Morris states quite clearly that “Negroes” (and all other “Hamites”) are less “intellectual” than non-Hamites and he is asserting that this is in their “genetic character.”

Morris may have simply written this particular passage somewhat more carelessly than he should have.  Or this may reflect a view Morris once held years ago but no longer holds.  (For the record, I suspect a combination of both of these things to be true.)  That’s why I conclude at the end of my article that Morris, in fact, is not a racist.

Mr. Bergman’s assertion that I believe Morris is a “racist” is simply false.  Because I say that I believe Morris is “not a vile racist,” Bergman uncharitably assumes that I think he is a racist, just not a “vile” one.  Mr. Bergman is the first person that I am aware of to interpret what I wrote that way, and I maintain that it is a rather peculiar interpretation on his part.  (I will concede, however, that many atheists and anti-creationists have used the contents of my article to draw very different conclusions about Dr. Morris.  However, I do not share their view.)

Mr. Bergman also writes that “[Trott] infers that a connection exists between the conclusion that humans were created (as opposed to evolved)  and racism.”  This is surprising considering that Bergman had just finished quoting a sentence of mine to the contrary.  I wrote that, “The argument of these creationists applies equally well (i.e., fallaciously)  to creationism.”  The “argument” I am referring to is the “evolution as the supposed root of racism” argument. [So, just to be absolutely clear, I write that the argument applies to creationism just as well as it applies to evolution.  Then, lest I be misunderstood, I parenthetically clarify that I think it applies “fallaciously.”  In other words, “X is the root of racism” is a false and bogus argument for both X=creationism and X=evolution.]

 

After reviewing this entire paper, another correspondent wrote that

 

It seems to me that evolutionists, having been stung by the charges that evolutionism supported racism, stretched things a bit to drag creationists into a counter-argument that “racists can use creationism, too” as if that is the same thing as creationism serving as a basis for racism the way evolution can (as shown by your articles on Nazis, etc.).  Then, of course, the evolutionists reading those articles kept right on stretching…and now that you’ve pointed out the problem, the original evolutionist writers (a couple of them at least—there’s probably no hope for Lenny Flank) have said, “Ooops!  But I myself didn’t actually say you guys were racists” and, playing the injured party, have left their seeds of implication as they were, potentially encouraging more evolutionists to believe that you and other creationists are active racists.

 

See second article resulting from responses