This isn’t about someone else’s petty little snipe at someone else. This is my petty little snipe at someone over at UD. A common theme over there is the claim that Darwin was a racist, and one bit of evidence which is brought up often is the full title of his most famous book: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” (emphasis mine of course). What becomes obvious if you actually read the book is that races in this context meant only varieties rather than the modern connotation of human races. For example at one point in the book he refers to “the several races…of the cabbage” (remember, when you see ellipses like that, check to make sure I’m not changing the context of the quote…look it up yourself).
But of course, that’s all rubbish. Whatever the word means today is what it meant back then, even if he didn’t know it.
Then there’s this comment by johnnyb:
This is a common problem with Biblical interpretation – the word “slave” that we think of is not the same thing as “slave” in that time. It is certainly worthy of discussion whether the Hebrew system was good or bad, just or unjust, necessary or unnecessary, and the like, but it is a category error to make a simple equation of Hebrew slavery with 19th century Western slavery.
This is very much like the argument used against the whole “Darwin was a racist, and the title of his book proves it” argument.
This is a common problem with [Historical] interpretation – the word “[race]” that we think of is not the same thing as “[race]” in that time. It is certainly worthy of discussion whether [Darwin’s views on race were] good or bad, just or unjust, necessary or unnecessary, and the like, but it is a category error to make a simple equation of [Darwin’s use of the word “race”] with [21st] century [use of the word “race”].
I wonder if they are aware of their double standard, or if they’re really that stupid.