Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book
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The Value of Variety and Racial Vitality
The Urantia Book directly addresses issues related to the long-term value of racial diversity, the interrelationship between cultural development and racial vitality, and the specific challenges we face because of the Lucifer rebellion and the Adamic default.
The inclusion of the theological and cosmological material is not offered as a justification or support for anything The Urantia Book says about eugenics. It is included here because of the importance of providing direct quotes and to demonstrate the internal consistency, logic, and values that can only come with this broadened perspective.
The Urantia Book lists in Chapter 64: “The Evolutionary Races of Color” some of the inherent values that come from racial diversity:
There are many good and sufficient reasons for the plan of evolving . . . six colored races. . . Though Urantia mortals may not be in a position fully to appreciate all of these reasons, we would call attention to the following:
1. Variety is indispensable to opportunity for the wide functioning of natural selection, differential survival of superior strains.
2. Stronger and better races are to be had from the interbreeding of diverse peoples when these different races are carriers of superior inheritance factors. And the Urantia races would have benefited by such an early amalgamation provided such a conjoint people could have been subsequently effectively upstepped by a thoroughgoing admixture with the superior Adamic stock. The attempt to execute such an experiment on Urantia under present racial conditions would be highly disastrous.
3. Competition is healthfully stimulated by diversification of races.
4. Differences in status of the races and of groups within each race are essential to the development of human tolerance and altruism.(1)
The above statements are better understood in context with other statements made about the variously colored races. But, in order to understand this complementary quote, the context needs to be explained.
The quote below is found in a section that generally describes the way most mortal worlds develop. The Urantia Book explains that our world falls into the category of an “experimental” planet. The Life Carriers are, among other things, entrusted with the task of making improvements to the basic biological design for evolving mortals. They are allowed to make certain adjustments to the design on ten percent of the planets. Life Carriers are said to get the life process started by implanting a single-celled evolutionary life form, designed to evolve both gradually and by periodic mutations.
All planets are said to evolve life with either three or six colored races. The ones with three have red, yellow, and blue. The ones with six also have orange, green, and indigo. (Our orange and green race fought to the extinction of both races.) Usually, the various colored races mutate one at time, going through the color spectrum from red to indigo. On our experimental world, they mutated in one generation and from one mother. According to The Urantia Book:
The evolution of six—or of three—colored races, while seeming to deteriorate the original endowment of the red man, provides certain very desirable variations in mortal types and affords an otherwise unattainable expression of diverse human potentials. These modifications are beneficial to the progress of mankind as a whole provided they are subsequently upstepped by the imported Adamic or violet race. [Adam and Eve are said to have had skin with a violet hue.] On Urantia this usual plan of amalgamation was not extensively carried out, and this failure to execute the plan of race evolution makes it impossible for you to understand very much about the status of these peoples on an average inhabited planet by observing the remnants of these early races on your world.(2)
There are no pure races in the world today. The early and original evolutionary peoples of color have only two representative races persisting in the world, the yellow man and the black man; and even these two races are much admixed with the extinct colored peoples. While the so-called white race is predominantly descended from the ancient blue man, it is admixed more or less with all other races much as is the red man of the Americas.
Of the six colored Sangik races, three were primary and three were secondary. Though the primary races—blue, red, and yellow—were in many respects superior to the three secondary peoples, it should be remembered that these secondary races had many desirable traits which would have considerably enhanced the primary peoples if their better strains could have been absorbed.
. . .
Hybridization of superior and dissimilar stocks is the secret of the creation of new and more vigorous strains. And this is true of plants, animals, and the human species. Hybridization augments vigor and increases fertility. Race mixtures of the average or superior strata of various peoples greatly increase creative potential, as is shown in the present population of the United States of North America. When such matings take place between the lower or inferior strata, creativity is diminished, as is shown by the present-day peoples of southern India.
Race blending greatly contributes to the sudden appearance of new characteristics, and if such hybridization is the union of superior strains, then these new characteristics will also be superior traits.
. . .
Biologically considered, the secondary Sangiks [orange, green, and indigo] were in some respects superior to the primary races [red, yellow, and blue].(3)
The process of planetary evolution is orderly and controlled. The development of higher organisms from lower groupings of life is not accidental. Sometimes evolutionary progress is temporarily delayed by the destruction of certain favorable lines of life plasm carried in a selected species. It often requires ages upon ages to recoup the damage occasioned by the loss of a single superior strain of human heredity. These selected and superior strains of living protoplasm should be jealously and intelligently guarded when once they make their appearance. And on most of the inhabited worlds these superior potentials of life are valued much more highly than on Urantia.(4)
The Urantia Book uses the word “strains” to refer to the genetic underpinning that creates “traits.” “Race blending greatly contributes to the sudden appearance of new characteristics, and if such hybridization is the union of superior strains, then these new characteristics will also be superior traits.” The authors specifically mention, “Biologically considered, the secondary Sangiks were in some respects superior to the primary races.” And then they provide a perspective followed by a recommendation. “It often requires ages upon ages to recoup the damage occasioned by the loss of a single superior strain of human heredity. These selected and superior strains of living protoplasm should be jealously and intelligently guarded when once they make their appearance.”
The authors of book teach that we all have moral and ethical obligations to humanity and that working for the benefit of one’s race needs to be attenuated by the prioritization of our common spiritual heritage; humanity as a whole comes first. By asserting that inherently superior genetic traits exist in all of the races and that these should be “intelligently guarded,” the authors effectively confound any attempts to distort the teachings of The Urantia Book into bigoted racism.
The spiritual importance of this issue is interwoven into “The Life and Teachings of Jesus” section of The Urantia Book.
They [a particular group of gentiles listening to Jesus] grasped the teaching that God is no respecter of persons, races, or nations; that there is no favoritism with the Universal Father . . . These gentiles were not afraid of Jesus; they dared to accept his message. All down through the ages men have not been unable to comprehend Jesus; they have been afraid to.(5)
Additionally, the authors definitively point us in the right direction for social evolution by basing the foundation for human relations on “mortal kinship and brotherhood.”
Flexible and shifting social classes are indispensable to an evolving civilization, but when class becomes caste, when social levels petrify, the enhancement of social stability is purchased by diminishment of personal initiative. Social caste solves the problem of finding one's place in industry, but it also sharply curtails individual development and virtually prevents social co-operation.
Classes in society, having naturally formed, will persist until man gradually achieves their evolutionary obliteration through intelligent manipulation of the biologic, intellectual, and spiritual resources of a progressing civilization, such as:
1. Biologic renovation of the racial stocks—the selective elimination of inferior human strains. This will tend to eradicate many mortal inequalities.
2. Educational training of the increased brain power which will arise out of such biologic improvement.
3. Religious quickening of the feelings of mortal kinship and brotherhood.
But these measures can bear their true fruits only in the distant millenniums of the future, although much social improvement will immediately result from the intelligent, wise, and patient manipulation of these acceleration factors of cultural progress. Religion is the mighty lever that lifts civilization from chaos, but it is powerless apart from the fulcrum of sound and normal mind resting securely on sound and normal heredity.(6)
While a good environment cannot contribute much toward really overcoming the character handicaps of a base heredity, a bad environment can very effectively spoil an excellent inheritance, at least during the younger years of life. Good social environment and proper education are indispensable soil and atmosphere for getting the most out of a good inheritance.(7)
The next selection comes from a section that explains the normal development of mortal worlds. The authors reference the time period when an “Adam and Eve” arrive, providing additional genetic benefits on that world. And they also interweave comments about our unusual circumstances in relationship to our Adam and Eve, who are said to have lived about 38,000 years ago.
The races are purified and brought up to a high state of physical perfection and intellectual strength before the end of this era [before Adam and Eve arrive]. The early development of a normal world is greatly helped by the plan of promoting the increase of the higher types of mortals with proportionate curtailment of the lower. And it is the failure of your early peoples to thus discriminate between these types that accounts for the presence of so many defective and degenerate individuals among the present-day Urantia races.
One of the great achievements of the [pre Adam and Eve] age . . . is this restriction of the multiplication of mentally defective and socially unfit individuals. Long before the times of the arrival of . . . [Adam and Eve] most worlds seriously address themselves to the tasks of race purification, something which the Urantia peoples have not even yet seriously undertaken.
This problem of race improvement is not such an extensive undertaking when it is attacked at this early date in human evolution. The preceding period of tribal struggles and rugged competition in race survival has weeded out most of the abnormal and defective strains. An idiot does not have much chance of survival in a primitive and warring tribal social organization. It is the false sentiment of your partially perfected civilizations that fosters, protects, and perpetuates the hopelessly defective strains of evolutionary human stocks.
It is neither tenderness nor altruism to bestow futile sympathy upon degenerated human beings, unsalvable abnormal and inferior mortals. There exist on even the most normal of the evolutionary worlds sufficient differences between individuals and between numerous social groups to provide for the full exercise of all those noble traits of altruistic sentiment and unselfish mortal ministry without perpetuating the socially unfit and the morally degenerate strains of evolving humanity. There is abundant opportunity for the exercise of tolerance and the function of altruism in behalf of those unfortunate and needy individuals who have not irretrievably lost their moral heritage and forever destroyed their spiritual birthright.(8)
According to The Urantia Book, specific beliefs are not required in order for our soul to develop, only that we are making moral choices—choosing good over evil. This standard is fundamentally similar to the legal requirement of knowing the difference between right and wrong in order to be held accountable for a crime. When legal systems are confronted with the issue, the spectrum generally starts with various forms and degrees of mental retardation and then goes into sociopathic disorders and temporary forms of insanity. When The Urantia Book uses the word “unsalvable” in this context, this is similar to what is done on a legal level when courts require a determination of whether someone truly possesses human sensibilities (or otherwise has a good enough excuse for having these sensibilities overridden by circumstances).
The Urantia Book ties the dignity that comes with being human, “spiritual birthright,” to the ability (or in some cases, the potential ability) to make moral choices—to know the difference between right and wrong. It indicates that we need to seriously consider the dangers associated with not applying this distinction consistently throughout our culture. In other words, what sense does it make to allow people to procreate, if we would not hold them accountable for a crime?
Civilization rests upon a genetic foundation. And just because we make a distinction for legal or other reasons about knowing the difference between right and wrong, this does not mean that there are no more variations left that need to be considered. Knowing the difference between right and wrong simply demarcates one end of a spectrum. For the purpose of establishing spiritual or interpersonal or legal relationships, no more distinctions are necessary. If you know the difference between right and wrong, then “Welcome to the human family.”
This does not mean, however, that everyone is equally cut out to be a rocket scientist or an artist or a professional athlete, etc. We not only have a range of capacities, we also have varying dispositions.
The distinction between the spiritual and mental/material aspects of our lives are reflected in the statement, “The church, because of overmuch false sentiment, has long ministered to the underprivileged and the unfortunate, and this has all been well, but this same sentiment has led to the unwise perpetuation of racially degenerate stocks which have tremendously retarded the progress of civilization.”(9) It “has all been well” because people have meant well and this has real and eternal spiritual value. A secular interpretation would be something like, “tenderheartedness is a positive quality that promotes respecting people as persons.” But such good intentions do not equate to a positive effect on our gene pool. These are separate issues. We need to both mean well and do well if we are actually going to live well.
We have been undoing an important check and balance that nature otherwise provides. “An idiot does not have much chance of survival in a primitive and warring tribal social organization. It is the false sentiment of your partially perfected civilizations that fosters, protects, and perpetuates the hopelessly defective strains of evolutionary human stocks.” Doing things that are antithetical to eugenics is dangerous and especially unintelligent. We do dangerous and unintelligent things because, in the name of spirituality, we let our sentiments dominate our intellect.
The Urantia Book suggests we adopt a higher standard of morality, one that is more philosophical, more intellectually and spiritually integrated. “It is neither tenderness nor altruism to bestow futile sympathy upon degenerated human beings, unsalvable abnormal and inferior mortals.” Sympathy is “futile” sympathy when the mind of the individual receiving it cannot support a truly human level of consciousness. When we do this in a way that “fosters, protects, and perpetuates the hopelessly defective strains of evolutionary human stocks,” it diminishes the quality of life for those of us who do know the difference between right and wrong by making the world a worse place to live. In order to progress we need to acknowledge this for what it is. There is a difference between wanting to be serviceable and actually being serviceable. The former reflects having a positive inner spiritual experience or intention; the latter reflects having a positive external influence or effect on others.
We face an enormous challenge, of course, because of the many gradations of genetic quality present throughout the world’s population. When exactly this gradation reaches a level of degradation that renders an individual incapable of making normal life decisions and moral choices is very difficult to say. Wanting to avoid such difficult decisions leads us directly to being charitable in ways that undermine the important benefits of natural selection.
The authors are as reserved as they can be in offering advice, while at the same time saying what is necessary to say—that we are proactively doing things to make a serious situation worse. The Urantia Book’s cosmology asserts that our religious traditions regarding Lucifer, Satan, and the Devil do have elements of historic truth to them. Our world is said to suffer the loss of spiritual administrators, who would have otherwise been with us in a material form to help us handle these issues. The loss is said to be temporary, pending the full adjudication of those who went into rebellion.
While the truth of this cosmological assertion, of course, is not at the issue, this paradigm does reflect the book’s sympathetic regard for the moral and ethical challenges we face and provides perspective for its conservative recommendation.
The difficulty of executing such a radical program on Urantia [referring to the eugenics program that would have been carried out by our celestial administrators] consists in the absence of competent judges to pass upon the biologic fitness or unfitness of the individuals of your world races. Notwithstanding this obstacle, it seems that you ought to be able to agree upon the biologic disfellowshiping of your more markedly unfit, defective, degenerate, and antisocial stocks.(10)
All the races of humanity face this problem to some degree; it is a common problem. “Biologic disfellowshiping” is all that is being discussed here and only in regard to those who are “more markedly unfit, defective, degenerate, and antisocial.” “Unfit, defective, degenerate, and antisocial” are qualified by the words “more markedly.” Not “a little bit,” or “somewhat.”
The authors of The Urantia Book assert that we are developing serious problems regarding the vitality of our gene pool and that civilization cannot be maintained on the platform of an increasingly degenerating gene pool. It takes a requisite degree of biologic health among the general population to maintain the brainpower necessary for the maintenance and development of an increasingly advanced and complex civilization.
If we want to be truly altruistic, then we must face the real challenges associated with mature expressions of altruism. How mature is an expression of altruism that sacrifices the long term biologic, mental, and spiritual welfare of humanity as a whole? If people are unconsciously acting in unwise ways, then they need to be educated. If people are consciously acting in unwise ways, this also needs to be addressed.
By getting us to reflect on early human history, the authors of The Urantia Book remind us that nature has a way of dealing with these issues. And in the long run, nature’s way actually minimizes human suffering a lot more than a well-intentioned but misdirected humanitarian effort that “fosters, protects, and perpetuates the hopelessly defective strains of evolutionary human stocks.” By pointing out that “An idiot does not have much chance of survival in a primitive and warring tribal social organization,” the authors help us appreciate what the benchmark for progress needs to look like. Nature provided a mechanism for the progressive betterment of humanity’s gene pool; our efforts should improve upon this essential element of the evolutionary process. If we are not improving upon nature, then it is not truly humanitarian.
The Urantia Book’s suggestion that we “ought to be able to agree upon the biologic disfellowshiping of” our “more markedly unfit, defective, degenerate, and antisocial stocks” does not relate to vast segments of society or a particular racial group. “Sound and normal mind resting securely on sound and normal heredity” is contrasted with “abnormal and defective strains,” “hopelessly defective strains,” and “mentally defective and socially unfit individuals.”
To make progress we need to keep our hearts open, our common sense intact AND muster the moral courage to be responsible stewards of our human gene pool. The authors of The Urantia Book are helping us learn how to develop a good and healthy conversation on the subject. The Urantia Book is not telling us how to do what we need to do. There is nothing in the text that is prescriptive about methodologies, except that it is the proper place of religions and religionists to advocate for nonviolent social change!
1) Urantia Book 64:6.30-34
2) Urantia Book 51:4.4
3) Urantia Book 82:6.1,2,5,10
4) Urantia Book 49:1.7
5) Urantia Book 156:2.4
6) Urantia Book 70:8.13-18
7) Urantia Book 76:2.6
8) Urantia Book 52:2.9-12
9) Urantia Book 99:3.5
10) Urantia Book 51:4.1-8
Table of Contents
Part I: Framing the Conversation
1) Purpose and Parameters
2) Setting the Standard
4) Human Rights
Part II: Racial History, Eugenics, and Civilization
5) History and Destiny
6) The Value of Variety and Racial Vitality
7) Cultural Progress, Overpopulation, and Subnormal Human Beings
8) Modern Peoples and Slavery
Part III: Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight
9) Skull Shapes and Skeletal Types
10) Aryans and Whites
11) Differences Between the Colored Races
12) Racial Blending
13) Eugenics, Race, and Morality
Appendix 1: Urantia Book-based Taxonomy
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