Evolutionary principles are sometimes used to justify racial prejudices. While no rigorous scientific study has yet proven one race to be inferior to any others it should be recognized that it is in principle impossible to prove racial superiority/inferiority and hence no study ever will.
Firstly a note on the meaning of ‘more evolved’ and ‘less evolved’. Every species on the face of the earth today has been evolving for the exact same amount of time. We all started at the same time. However you believe that life started, either as a single celled organism in the ancient seas of earth or by some intervention, if you believe in evolution then everything started roughly at that one point and proceeded from there. Hence we are all equally evolved, from humans to gnats. The only things that may be considered less evolved are things that are no longer around to complain about it.
Secondly, if the claim of racial superiority/inferiority is not one of being ‘more evolved’, then it is a claim about being differently evolved to have some properties that other races do not have. This roughly means that one race has some qualities that make them more fit, or, conversely, one race lacks some features that the rest of us have (even if they have made it this far) that makes them less fit. Either way the claim boils down to either having or lacking a certain characteristic or characteristics. These characteristics, by definition, were passed down through the successive generations eventually proliferating throughout a family, later a population and thence to the entire race some time later.
In order to objectively measure the fitness of an organism or species we need to be able to replicate a controlled environment and a control group. Regardless of the implications of cloning people for a control group, the concept of a controlled human environment will present us with insurmountable theoretical problems.
The environment that we place organisms in is the ‘test’ that we are judging them on. Specifically, if we want to see which of two species flourishes in a particular environment we would place both in the same environment and see what happens. However, not only is it impossible for us to replicate an environment to test people in, none of us know what the future will hold for our species. Hence, without foresight into the future, it is impossible for us to have an environment that could be used as an objective test environment.
In lieu of this impossible situation, approximations are the only possibility. To approximate requires making decisions about what will be included and what will be excluded. The decisions made will influence the results making them a function of the decisions made. Hence it is impossible to approximate without biasing the results, rendering the study useless for the purpose of establishing superiority.
Since we are all here now and none of us knows the future, there will be no study that can prove the superiority or inferiority of any race. Anyone who claims otherwise is claiming they can predict the future perfectly, is racist or both.
If there are any argument structure fans (such as myself woohoo!) this argument’s in a mathematical induction style. The first paragraph argues against a base case (of a race being no more fit than any other) and then the subsequent paragraphs argue against any possible way to argue that the property (of being no more fit) could be used as an inductive hypothesis: Base case is day zero for our species, in which we are all obviously equally fit, and then the induction is on day n (today) and n+1 (tomorrow). Since we are all here now and none of us know what tomorrow holds (by way of Relativity in Evolutionary Biology we have no way objectively view the trajectory of our species), we can move from n to n+1 and the inductive step is made. Hence it is impossible to prove future fitness in our species.
If anyone cares to give me some feedback, I’d like to know if you think it is worthwhile to include some of this argument structure stuff into the body of the paper. I’ve had experiences where I’ve written arguments but people have completely missed them because they were not as familiar with argument forms.