“Stolen-children” controversy has evolutionary tie!

25 April 2000

One of the biggest controversies in Australia’s recent history—over a former government policy involving “child stealing”—has been re-ignited recently.

A previous government’s actions, which were not halted until about 30 years ago, resulted in over 100,000 children of white and Aboriginal “mixed blood” (in Australia, they were termed “half caste,” or pejoratively as “half breeds”) taken from their parents (sometimes by force) and placed in foster homes or institutions.

The controversy raged again recently when the current Prime Minister, John Howard, refused to issue an apology for a former government’s actions (a part of his hesitancy was the fear of a massive compensation claim). The controversy grew even more heated when Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Herron claimed that it was wrong to refer to the Aboriginal children as the “stolen generation.” A “generation”, he said, would mean that “most” of the children in a particular era were taken away. Critics shot back and retorted that Mr. Herron’s semantic exercise was akin to declaring that only one or two million Jews were killed during the Nazi Holocaust, not the usually accepted six-million figure.

Almost every Aborigine had at least one family member who was traumatized by the forced separation. But what has been entirely omitted in Australia’s secular press is the evolutionary connection to the whole sad story.

Underlying the Aboriginal tragedy is the fact that, in general, the more “white blood” a child had, the closer to “real humans” he or she was considered. Many policymakers accepted the teachings of Charles Darwin who wrote that various “races”—having evolved separately—were at different stages in evolutionary development. The Australian Aborigines were therefore seen by many people as “missing links.” In fact, in the late 1800s, many Aborigines were hunted down and killed, and their bodies were transported as specimens to evolutionary museums around the world (see the article Darwin’s bodysnatchers: new horrors in Creation magazine volume 14 no. 2).

At least 10% (perhaps even up to 30%)1 of Aboriginal children were forcibly taken away from their families as a result of official government policies. Unfortunately, while not denying the selfless help many Christian organizations and individuals gave to Aboriginal people, some churches encouraged and were involved in this shameful episode, where even the thinking of some church leaders was affected by evolutionary beliefs. [Ed. note: The above paragraph could be taken as meaning that all who were removed by government policy were due to the racist rationale highlighted here. This is not so, as a significant number were removed for reasons of neglect. Also, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory had no official government policy on removal.]

Children who were of “mixed blood”—i.e., having “white” blood—were seen by policymakers as “more evolved” than their full-blooded Aboriginal parent. Therefore, some politicians and activists saw it as the “right thing to do” to remove children from their “less-human,” full-blooded Aboriginal parent. At the same time, some whites saw the children of “mixed blood” as less evolved than themselves.

For more information on this sad yet eye-opening saga on the harmful effects of evolutionary thinking, read CMI’s hard-hitting editorial on evolutionary racism entitled The child-stealers, which first appeared in the September 1997 issue of Creation magazine (volume 19 no. 4). Also, our new book One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism covers this and other evolutionary racist episodes in history, and also solidly answers the oft-asked question, “Where did all the different ‘races’ or people groups come from?”

Published: 13 February 2006


  1. These percentages have been challenged, and an accurate figure is hard to obtain.