The following is mainly based on “Human Equality Is a Contingent Fact of History” in Stephen Jay Gould’s book, “The Flamingo’s Smile” (1985). Note that there was some overlap between these steps:
1. First they said that blacks were not human.
In the early 1800s many scientists said that only whites came from Adam and Eve, not blacks. God created blacks separately as a lower race.
But then Darwin proved that all the races of man belonged to the same species, that they all came from a common ancestor, probably from Africa.
2. So then they said that early man did not come from Africa.
They thought he came from Europe or northern Asia where it was cold and, according to their ideas, challenging enough to evolve mankind.
When the Piltdown Man was found in England in 1912 they believed it, but when Australopithecus was found in Africa in 1924, they doubted it. As it turns out, Piltdown Man was a fake – a fake that was made to beautifully fit their beliefs.
In the 1920s the natural history museum in New York sent an expedition in search of early man – in the Gobi Desert of Outer Mongolia. They looked and looked but all they found was something far more ancient: dinosaur bones and dinosaur eggs. No early man.
In 1929, though, a species of early man was found at last in northern Asia: Homo erectus (Peking Man).
3. So then they said that Homo erectus did not come from Africa.
Homo erectus, unlike australopithecines, could make fire. Mankind may have started in Africa, but it was in the north that they became truly human.
In 1962 Carleton Coon put it this way:
If Africa was the cradle of mankind, it was only an indifferent kindergarten. Europe and Asia were our principal schools.
But then Homo erectus bones were found in Africa that were far older.
4. So then they said that Homo sapiens did not come from Africa.
They said he evolved directly from Homo erectus in Asia and Europe.
But then in 1987 it was shown that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and then spread across the world.
5. So then they said that subspecies of Homo sapiens had evolved outside of Africa.
For over ten years they looked for a “race” gene: a gene that everyone of one race had that was missing from the other races. But there were no “white” genes or “black” genes – just gene frequencies. In fact, in the early 1970s they found out that most of the genetic differences between people were within races, not between them.
Most biologists today no longer think in terms of human subspecies or race. Not because they are afraid to admit the truth out of political correctness, but because human characteristics do not fall into nice little boxes like that. Skin colour, for example, does not match up with blood type. At all. As hospitals know. Yet both are clearly genetic. So where in the world would you draw the lines between subspecies?