The Evolution of Racism: Human Differences and the Use and Abuse of Science

Pat Shipman, Author
Pat Shipman, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (318p) ISBN 978-0-671-75460-0
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
Paperback - 318 pages - 978-0-674-00862-5
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Shipman, coauthor of The Neanderthals , has written an accessible history of the attempts of scientists, from the mid-19th century to the present, to grapple with issues of race. From Charles Darwin's wide-ranging explorations of evolution emerged fellow Briton's Thomas Henry Huxley's applications to human history. By the late 19th century, Herbert Spencer seized on Darwinism to argue for laissez-faire government. Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, proposed the idea of eugenics: advancing the species through careful breeding. From eugenics came intelligence testing, used in the early 20th century to the detriment of immigrants to America and eventually by Nazi science. Shipman tracks the continuing controversy in the 1950s and 1960s about whether to examine or deny racial difference and discusses at much length a proposed but canceled 1992 conference on genetics and crime. This thoughtful study warns that treating race as a taboo subject hinders legitimate scientific investigation of differences among humans. (July)