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Creation and Evolution, Science, Darwin, Scientific Method, Natural Selection
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Tommy Debates the Bible Answer man

By Tommy Huxley
Posted on: 4/20/2002

Tommy vs. Hank, where Tommy gets Buried in a One-Sided Debate

Monday, September 28, 1998: Months before Hank Hanegraaff published his book, he regularly denounced evolutionary biology as a racist doctrine on his radio program, and I finally got so fed up that I decided to call him on the air and set the record straight.

I wanted to inform Hank that despite anything Charles Darwin or Thomas Henry Huxley said in the late 1800s about race and genetics, modern evolutionists since then have flattened such nonsense with volumes of irrefutable scientific proof.

Besides, Christian creationists in this century have repeated that same pseudoscientific nonsense about race. By Hank’s deduction, does that mean creation science advocates racism, too?

But as you read this transcript, you’ll see that I never got the chance to make my case. Hank barely let me speak. And if you think this written transcript looks bad, you should hear my cassette recording. What looks like a back and forth exchange is actually both of us talking simultaneously until Hank eventually out-shouts me into silence.

By the way, my sister Dawn (also my editor) didn’t want me to post this transcript because she thinks my performance in this “debate” with Hank is horrible. And the truth is, she’s right. Before I called in, I collected lots of research notes, but I could barely make my presentation.

Anyway, I thought this transcript should forewarn people to reconsider calling talk-radio hosts with dissenting points of view. You probably won’t get a chance to speak because, after all, they’re the hosts and it’s their program.

Bible Answer-Man broadcast opens with mellifluous theme song: “Ta-da-da, ta-da-DA-da! Ta-da-da, da-da-DA-da-da-da…”

Hank: We’re coming to you live from Southern California. Welcome to today’s edition of the Bible Answer-Man broadcast. I’m your host, Hank Hanegraaff, President of the Christian Research Institute, and we’re delighted that you joined us for the broadcast today, and invite you to join us on-air with your question in the U.S. or Canada by simply dialing 1-888-ASK-HANK…

Well, this is, uh, an exciting day for me. For the very first time, I have a copy of my newest book,
The FACE that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution, in hand. And we’ll be talking about that more as the program progresses today, but I’m excited, because when we talk about the issue of origins, we’re not talking about an apologetic issue, but the apologetic issue on how one views his origins determines how he lives his life.

I want to go to my first caller of today, Tom, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hi, Tom!

Tommy: Hello, hi, Hank. Thank you for taking my call.

Hank: You’re welcome.

Tommy: On your show last Friday, you said that racism, sexism and slavery are all supported in Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. But over the weekend, I went on the Internet and downloaded an on-line copy of this book and did an exhaustive word-search on the words race, slave, Negro, woman, female, and I couldn’t find anything that seemed to support what you had said.

Hank: (Surprised) In my book?

Tommy: No, uh, in the book On the Origins of Species.

Hank: Oh, uh, well, uh, first of all, I wouldn’t turn to the book On the Origin of Species of necessity, although if you look at Origin of Species, uh, you have this subtitle “The Preservation of … Favored Races … in the Struggle for Life.” So you have the presupposition that there are races that are more favored in the struggle for life, and because of those “favoring” characteristics, are going to prevail.

Note: (My dictionary has multiple definitions of the word “race,” one of them being: “A breeding stock of animals or an interbreeding group within a species; also a taxonomic category (as a subspecies) representing such a group.” So, Darwin’s use of “race” has an entirely different meaning than Hank’s.)

Hank: But if you look overtly at what Charles Darwin wrote in 1881, he said, “The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, the endless number of lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.” And again, there are those that say, “well this is a letter that he wrote, and perhaps that was a slip of the tongue or catching Darwin at a weak moment,” but Darwin repeated that sentiment in his book, The Descent of Man. Are you familiar with that book?

Tommy: Yes.

Hank: Yeah. Well, he says in that book, “At some future period…” and I’m reading from my book The FACE that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution. He says, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” Uh, and if you look at Thomas Huxley, his sidekick or his bulldog that helped popularize his notions, he was even more overt in his racism. He said, “No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. It is simply incredible to think that he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites.” I’d say that’s rather racist!

Tommy: Yes, I realize those were the opinions of two men that reflect the prejudices of their time. But do you think that modern-day evolutionists…?

Hank: It doesn’t really matter whether it’s the prejudice of their time or not.

Tommy: But I mean…

Hank: The fact of the matter is, if there are, uh, uh, a hundred thousand, a million, or a billion people, that are prejudiced at any time, that doesn’t make it right! Particularly when you have exactly the opposite communicated in the Christian worldview. So, the whole idea of racism is soundly refuted in Biblical history. In fact, it is placed in the same kind of a category as perversion and, uh, and, and idolatry, and so forth.

Tommy: Well…

Hank: And, and… by the way, lest we say that is just the prevailing norm of the time, remember H.F. Osborne, who was the Director of the American Museum of Natural History, and one of the most prominent American anthropologists of the first half of the Twentieth Century. He said essentially the same thing. He said, “The Negro stock is even more ancient than the Caucasian and the Mongolian, as maybe proved by an examination not only of the brain, of the hair, and body characters such as the teeth and genitalia and sense organs, but of the instincts, the intelligence. The standard of intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of an eleven-year-old youth of the species, Homo sapiens.”

Tommy: Um…

Hank: So I wouldn’t make light of this in any way.

Tommy: I… I… I understand that.

Hank: E-E-Even great evolutionists, such as Gould at Harvard, has decried the racism that came out of this and, uh, uh, other eras, and particularly the racism that has been spawned by the evolutionary cliché, or doctrine, of ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. And, uh, he talks about the responsibility that that norm has for racism in the post-Darwinian era as well. In fact, he said that “recapitulation provided a convenient focus for the pervasive racism of white scientists that looked to the activities of their own children for comparison with normal adult behavior in lower races.” So there you have it from the lips of a contemporary evolutionist who is decrying the… ah, the racism that comes from these theories.

Tommy: I’m kind of glad that you pointed that out because I know that modern evolutionists, or modern biologists, have in no way embraced that. In fact in 1994, three biologists with Princeton University published a 1,032-page volume called The History and Geography of Human Genes that covered fifty years of research in population genetics. And I don’t believe that anybody held to that at the time, and I don’t…

Hank: Why do you hear, uh, ah, uh… people… who are notables in the evolutionary community, having, uh, parties at the centennial celebrations of Darwin’s works, such as his Magnum Opus…

Tommy: Why are they having Darwin-Day parties?

Note: (The University of Tennessee in Knoxville annually sponsors Darwin Day, but UT certainly doesn’t pay homage to racism. Barry Linn is our next guest speaker. UT’s past guest speakers included Douglas Futyma and William Provine.)

Hank: Yes! Why have a celebration of a racist dogma, and the racist books that were spawned through this dogma? Why not decry it rather than having a party, and extolling it and teaching it to kids in our era of scientific enlightenment?

Tommy: Well, I don’t think any of them are consciously supporting racism…

Hank: Well, uh, I mean… think about it!

Tommy: Well…

Hank: I mean, if everything comes from the primordial slime, amoebas eventually become astronauts, apes turn into humans, and less sophisticated humans become more sophisticated humans, and you have a hierarchy… uh… you have a worldview that is inherently racist. I mean, how do you get around that?

Tommy: Well, one of the things that I wanted to point out was that some people have also used the Bible to justify racism and segregation, too, and…

Hank: But… but that’s not the point!

Tommy: Yes that is my point! Even creationists have used the Bible…

Hank: The Bible is not inherently racist! It is exactly the opposite! In fact, the Bible doesn’t even have a category for race. The Bible talks about people, distinguishes them by languages and customs, but it doesn’t even have the category of race! The evolutionary worldview is inherently racist!

Tommy: Even today, Henry Morris…

Hank: Even Stephen Jay Gould points out that “Mongoloid” was first applied to mentally defective people be, be, uh, because it was commonly believed that the Mongoloid race had not yet evolved to the status of the Caucasian race.

Tommy: Yes, but the point I’m trying to make is nobody believes that now. At least no genuine scientists…

Hank: Well, I… I… so how do you explain? I mean, is there no evolution now? Anymore within the… did that suddenly stop?

Tommy: No… what… uh, uh, the science of evolution, or the…?

Hank: I mean the whole concept of evolution. Has that ceased to be politically correct now in the Twentieth Century?

Tommy: I… uh… what?

Hank: Did it just stop working that way?

Tommy: I don’t think it’s very popular among people. For instance…

Hank: Oh… oh… okay… so evolution is not today taking place?

Tommy: Well… according to most scientists, it takes place in the field. And if, uh… if you read the Journal of Molecular Evolution, they discuss at length the experiments and stuff they’ve done on it, but I think you’re trying to pull me off the topic…

Hank: No, I’m asking you a very specific question. Has evolution simply ceased? In other words, the whole biological concept… has that ceased because we’re now politically correct? So now, it has ceased in some way?

Tommy: No.

Hank: Or, is it still going on as it has throughout the eons of time?

Tommy: I would suppose it has gone on throughout the eons of time.

Hank: Okay, then how is it that you’re saying that no one holds to it anymore? I mean, it may be…

Tommy: Right now?

Hank: Yeah! Because it may be, that we as Caucasians will eventually be extinct because something better is going to evolve…

Tommy: Well, remember that book I mentioned to you, that one-thousand page volume? It says right here on page 19 of the introduction, “From a scientific point of view, the concept of race has failed to obtain any consensus and none is likely, given the gradual variation in existence.” In other words, the concept of race is biologically meaningless. And at that same time, Discover magazine ran a cover story about race that said genetic distinctions among the races were so tiny as to be insignificant. The point I’m trying to make is that yes, maybe… Darwin reflected the prejudices of his time, Thomas Henry Huxley was a racist of his time…

Hank: But wait a minute! But wait a minute! You’re… you’re… you’re… depreciating this as like… there are all kinds of people who’ve suffered horribly as a result of this construct, so it’s not, “Well, oh well, it just reflected…” Look! The fact of the matter is, throughout human history the whole notion of racism should be repugnant. Perhaps you haven’t experienced it, so it hasn’t affected you in an experiential way! But those who have received the brunt of racism cannot be quite as cavalier as you are being, nor can they look back and say, “Oh, well, a lot of people happened to be this way, at that particular point in time, and therefore, it’s not so bad.” Uh… this is a horrible tragedy that has befallen mankind as a result of a dogma, which is the foundation of the belief structure of many people today, and we cannot be cavalier about it! And by the way, not only is it racist in the extreme, it is sexist as well!

Tommy: (Baffled) In… in… what way? I mean, according to modern biology, or modern evolution, how is it sexist? I mean… for instance… uh, you talked about race, yes racism is bad, but racism was around a long time before 1860…

Hank: Well, the fact that if you had a Christian worldview…

Tommy: In fact, here’s a quote from Bob Jones, founder of Bob Jones University…

Hank: If you had a Christian worldview, you wouldn’t ever… you wouldn’t ever have to worry about that. The fact of the matter is, there are those who take the sacred name of Christ upon their lips that embrace theistic evolution. There are those who take the sacred name of Christ upon their lips, who are inconsistent with their own theology. The fact of the matter is this. And this is where you’re missing, and making, simple categorical mistakes. The Christian worldview very clearly is not a racist worldview. There are Christians who unfortunately are benighted, and have fallen into the horrible worldview of racism. But that is not commensurate with Christianity. That is against the very profession they hold. What I’m saying with evolution is that it’s quite the opposite. If you are a racist, you are simply being consistent with the worldview of Darwinian Evolution! Does that make sense to you? I mean, you should be able to understand that. That’s not real complicated.

Tommy: Oh… okay, for instance, I went to Barnes and Noble today, and I went to the science… to the biology section, and I picked up the book Cells, Embryos and Evolution, and I found absolutely nothing to support racism. I think you’re…

Hank: Well, uh… uh… just a minute… I think I gave you all kinds of…

Tommy: You use a very broad brush to paint a science that… I… I… I don’t believe there’s anybody in the scientific world, who’s a credible scientist, who’s going to say, “Oh, by the way, I believe in racism and I’m going to throw a party because…”

Hank: Okay, then, why is…

Tommy: …and have a Ku Klux Klan rally…

Hank: Well let me give you Carl Sagan. Not long before ago before he died, he was on CNBC with another prodigious intellect, uh… Phil Donahue. And the two of them were talking about ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Right on the program!

Tommy: Yes.

Hank: As though it was some kind of proven fact! Even though it has been demonstrated to be a fatal hoax for years, yet they were on television extolling its virtues! And there you have the entire human evolutionary history being… ha, ha, ha… recapitulated over and over again with every single person as it starts in the, uh, womb, as a, uh, fish, and becomes a frog, and eventually becomes a, uh… a fetus!

Tommy: And Carl Sagan said this?

Hank: Yeah! Right on CNBC!

Tommy: Because I have his last book, Billions and Billions, which has a reprint of an article…

Hank: Well, the fact that he has cognitive disconnect shouldn’t bother you in the least.

Tommy: Well, he had a rather long… he had a rather long thing to discuss about recapitulation. And he didn’t seem to embrace it at all. In fact…

Hank: Well, you ought to get my book and look at the footnotes.

Tommy: Okay. For instance, in the article he said, “Our article offered not a word about recapitulation, as the reader may judge…” He’s talking about embryology. “The comparisons of the human fetus with other adult animals are based on the appearance of the fetus (see accompanying illustrations). Its non-human form [or appearance], [says] nothing about its evolutionary history, is the…”

Hank: Have you read his Dragons of Eden?

Tommy: No, I have not read that one…

Hank: You might want to take an opportunity to read Carl Sagan, in… in context!

Tommy: Okay.

Hank: And look at the footnotes of my book. That will help you out a lot as well.

Tommy: Okay, I’ll…

Hank: I’m simply repeating what they say publicly and in writing. And, and… by the way, there should be no exoneration for anyone in an age of scientific enlightenment taking tired old theories that have been utterly demolished and communicating them as though they were truth to gullible children in school, as well as, unfortunately, to adults in universities.

Tommy: Well, I was kind of surprised that Carl Sagan would say that because if you’ve read any of his books, he places an enormous emphasis on the history of scientific…

Hank: Get the Dragons of Eden, and read it! If you know anything about Carl Sagan, you ought to read Dragons of Eden. He was very proud of it.

Tommy: Okay.

Hank: And go read it!

Tommy: I know that Stephen Jay Gould wrote a whole book in 1977 attacking recapitulation called…

Hank: That’s right, I quote that, I quote him, and I quote that book substantially.

Tommy: Well, do you feel…

Hank: And that’s why I, uh, not only exonerate him, but quote him as decrying the inherent evils of recapitulation.

Tommy: Are you a… that that’s a common belief in the evolutionary scientific literature that recapitulation still takes place? Because every book I’ve looked at, again, when I go to the local bookstore, if they mention it at all, it’s just to critique it and say that it was debunked in the 1920s.

Hank: Well, that’s right, it has been debunked in the 1920s, but it’s still taught in textbooks in the State of California, my friend. And not only that, but, uh, like I say, there are prodigious intellects like Sagan and Donahue, who are touting it on, uh, television, or the, um, scientifically illiterate. Coming up to a station break. I’ll be right back.

Music: Ta, da, da, da, DAAAAAAA!!!

Tommy: Hello? Am I still on the air? Hello? Hello?

Commercial for Hank’s new book

Narrator: Conversations like this will be heard across the United States because of Hank Hanegraaff’s new book.

Little Girl: Professor Haney, is it really true that evolution is not an established scientific fact?

Professor: (In a pinched hayseed voice) Way-yell, Charles Darwin predicted that the fos-sil record would reveal transitional forms between different kinds of an-i-mals. Like dino-sa-wers and birds, for instance. But no transitional fossils have ever been discovered in the fossil record. And evolution still cannot demonstrate how non-living material produces living organisms.

Little Girl: (Astonished) You mean that evolution is false?

Professor: Thaaaat’s right! I just finished reading a new book written by Hank Hanegraaff called The FACE! It documents, in a memorable format, the reasons whyyyyy evolution is a fairytale theory and demonstrates how the Bi-bli-cal view best fits the facts of em-pir-i-cal science!

Narrator: You too, can read Hank’s new book, The FACE, by calling 1-888-7000-CRI. Hank believes this may be the most important book he has ever written. Order your copy, now, by calling 1-888-7000-274.

Music: Ta, da, da, da, DAAAAAAA!!!

Tommy: Hello? Will anybody talk to me?

Apparently, I was cut off. Hank Hanegraaff returns on the air and promotes his new book in a long-winded sermon. He begins by quoting Stephen Jay Gould’s 1977 book, and tries to imply that Gould himself still holds to the concept of recapitulation. Unfortunately, creationists can’t distinguish between recapitulation and comparative embryology, maintaining that they’re one and the same discipline. So of course, he butchers Gould’s citation.

Next, he sings the same old song about nonexistent transitional fossils, breathlessly recounts 100-year-old paleo-anthropological hoaxes as if they happened yesterday (while conveniently ignoring creationism’s more recent Piltdown frauds), resurrects obsolete complexity arguments, and maintains that evolution is a non-empirical science while creationism is empirical, despite the fact creation science appeals to miracles instead of naturalistic processes.

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