has always been a mystery surrounding Darwin: How did this quiet,
respectable gentleman come to beget one of the most radical ideas in
the history of human thought? It is difficult to overstate what Darwin
was risking in publishing his theory of evolution. So it must have been
something very powerful—a moral fire, as Desmond and Moore
put it—that helped propel him. That moral fire, they argue,
was a passionate hatred of slavery.
opposition to the apologists for slavery who argued that blacks and
whites had originated as separate species, Darwin believed the races
belonged to the same human family.
Slavery was a “sin,” and abolishing it
became his “sacred cause.” By
extending the abolitionists’ idea of human brotherhood to all
Darwin developed our modern view of evolution.
Drawing on a wealth of fresh manuscripts, family letters, diaries, and
even ships’ logs, Desmond and Moore argue that only by
acknowledging Darwin’s abolitionist heritage can we fully
understand the development of his groundbreaking ideas.
Darwin's Sacred Cause
Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins
by Adrian Desmond
University Of Chicago Press, 2011