Race, Evolutionary Biology and the Kingdom of Heaven
Contemporary society attempts to identify and overcome a variety of sources of racial, economic and social oppression. The authors of The Urantia Book advise us to consider biological oppression as well. They further challenge us to overcome all forms of oppression and prejudice as well as the limitations imposed by our evolutionary heritage through the acceptance of the ideals of Jesus and his teachings about the kingdom of heaven.
- Author's Foreword
- Primary and Secondary
- Deteriorated and Debased
- Racial Purity
- Superior and Progressive
- Nature vs. Nurture
- Interaction of Genes and Culture
- The Critical Need for a Comprehensive Model of Race
- The Spiritual Significance of Cultural Civilization
- The Kingdom of Heaven
This paper was written using statistics available in 1996. The materials in the bibliography and the writers cited will reflect thinking in this time period as well. Fashionable, politically correct ideas about race and racism are in a constant state of flux and accepted views change in a matter of months. To acquire a reasonable understanding of the issues requires reading a great variety of writers speaking from multiple viewpoints. The scrutiny of scientific studies needs to be supplemented by the consideration of social theory, an exploration of literary works, and an appreciation for the degree to which varying racial viewpoints (including blatant racism) influence the social construction of reality. Finally, a deeper understanding of the nature of the kingdom of heaven and insight into the dynamics of emerging Supremacy are essential for guidance in developing solutions.
Nothing, however, can compensate for a failure to establish meaningful personal relationships with individuals from racial and social groups different from our own.
While the present work does not fully address all issues, it is hoped that it will at least provide a platform from which further study might proceed.
The Urantia Book contains some statements about race and biological fitness which, when first encountered, disturb many readers. Consider:
"The real jeopardy of the human species is to be found in the unrestrained multiplication of the inferior and degenerate strains of the various civilized peoples."
"Unrestrained multiplication of inferiors, with decreasing reproduction of superiors, is unfailingly suicidal of cultural civilization."
"It is neither tenderness nor altruism to bestow futile sympathy upon degenerated human beings, unsalvable, abnormal and inferior mortals."
"It seems that you ought to be able to agree on the biologic disfellowshiping of your more markedly unfit, defective, degenerate and antisocial stocks."
"The church, because of overmuch false sentiment, has long ministered to the underprivileged and the unfortunate ... leading to the unwise perpetuation of racially degenerate stocks."
"Inferior minds will spurn the highest culture even when presented to them ready-made."
"The selective elimination of inferior human strains will tend to eradicate many mortal inequalities."
"A good environment cannot contribute much toward really overcoming the character handicaps of a base heredity."
Disturbing indeed. But there is more. Consider these quotes:
"Only ethical consciousness can unmask the immorality of human intolerance and the sinfulness of fratricidal strife."
"A creative imagination cannot produce worthy children when the stage whereon it functions is pre-occupied by prejudice, hate, resentments, revenge and bigotries."
"No state can attain ideal levels of functioning until every form of intolerance is mastered -- intolerance is everlastingly inimical to human progress."
"Lack of ideals is the explanation for racial hatreds."
"True religion is the only power which can lastingly increase the responsiveness of one social group to the needs and sufferings of other groups."
Can this range of comments possibly be integrated into a coherent view of the problem and point us toward a racial anthropology consistent with rapidly increasing information about human genetics combined with an epochal revelation highlighting the infinite value of every human personality?
Why do some of the comments regarding race and genetic deterioration made in the Urantia Book disturb us? Do we feel the ideas expressed misrepresent reality? Are we made uncomfortable because of the potential volatility of some of these comments if taken out of context?
- Consider some comments made by contemporary minority thinkers:
- Writer Ian F. Haney López refers to the best of our racial attitudes as "a social etiquette of common ignorance"
- Black scholar Cornel West notes that, "Our truncated public discussions of race suppress the best of who and what we are as a people because they fail to confront the complexity of the issue in a candid and critical manner."
- Howard Winant underscores our "unprecedented level of societal uncertainty about race." He goes on to say that never before has the task of developing a coherent theory of race been as complex or as daunting as it is today. He comments that the solution lies, not in arriving at a reasonable classification of varying individuals, but rather in finding some way of being in which we learn to act consciously, usefully, and treat one another justly.
- Marxist writer Etienne Balibar notes the emergence of a new form of racism in the guise of anti-racism -- the attempt to ideologically abolish the meaning of difference, the artificial effort to adjust social norms, to engage in "social engineering" or crudely seek to foster counterfeit forms of equality. Balibar sees this as the epitome of true racism.
- Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky remarks that "races are relics of a pre-civilized world simply because the chief biological result of civilization is race blending."
- Indian-American political commentator Dinesh D'Souza notes three developments in recent years which have forced
the issue of genetic differences between races out of the closet. They
- 1) The obvious fact of Asian-American success -- incredible economic and intellectual achievements by poor immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Korea.
- 2) The revival of scientific and scholarly interest in Darwinism, nourished by recent advances in genetics, evolutionary theory, and sociobiology.
- 3) The embarrassment among many black intellectuals regarding the persistent difficulty of African-Americans as a group to compete effectively in American society and the concomitant demand for racial preferences at every stage to assure black inclusion.
In the present literature one can detect a growing sense of despair among many minority intellectuals and confusion amongst their white counterparts. Increasingly, the fact of race is being recognized as a biological phenomena while the meaning of race is seen as a socially constructed reality. Bringing these two factors together into a coherent model from which healing social policies might be derived remains a daunting and illusive undertaking. There also remains the difference between formal social policy and the way in which individuals actually treat each other in personal interactions.
In today's world of rapidly intermixing cultures and races, any ideology or cosmology which does not contain a comprehensive model of racial conflict and resolution will be unable to provide guidance toward solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time. The Urantia Book presents a model which is at once bold, comprehensive, and securely anchored in the discoveries of contemporary genetic research. As such, it deserves more than a quick dismissal when some portion is found to be in conflict with our pre-existing ideals or what is considered politically correct.
Race relations in America and in the world as a whole are widely recognized as constituting a serious problem which is rapidly becoming more complex, requiring increasing amounts of social capital for mitigation.
This paper attempts to provide an overview of these matters from the perspective of the racial anthropology developed in The Urantia Book. Rather than attempting to resolve the discomfort created by some of the book's comments, the present document tries to expand the context in which the comments are considered. The Urantia Book presents not only a detailed racial anthropology, but also a theoretical background covering the sources and history of racial conflict, the nature of racial transitions presently underway on our planet, and a view of human destiny which transcends genetic determinism and racial categories.
The Urantia Book provides an important contribution to the present day quest by acknowledging the biological factors while simultaneously providing a model for managing social repercussions which provides dignity for the individual and a positive approach for dealing with ongoing social and biological evolution. We are challenged to integrate scientific facts with spiritual values in order to derive the meanings wherewith an advanced order of human culture might be cultivated upon the biological substrate of the planet's ecosystem.
The Urantia Book is very clear about the problems of racism and human intolerance being moral problems with roots in a lack of spiritual insight. Racism and intolerance are sources of evil which can only be eliminated by spiritual means.
Lets review some of the terms which The Urantia Book uses in developing its model of racial anthropology.
"Primary" and "Secondary"
Many readers are disturbed by the books division of the colored races into categories of primary and secondary. Is there anything in discoveries outside The Urantia Book which would lend validity to this system of classification?
The book notes that:
"the Neanderthalers absorbed the invading Sangiks and were greatly improved."
"When the physically strong indigo peoples overran Egypt, they absorbed the remnants of the orange race and much of the stock of the green race."
"When a primary Sangik race amalgamates with a secondary Sangik race, the latter is considerably improved at the expense of the former."
"When the Sangik children mated with their tribesmen all the offspring tended toward the color of the Sangik parent."
"Racial intermixture increases the likelihood of a larger number of the desirable dominants being present in the hybrid."
These and other statements, if taken literally, seem to correlate with a phenomenon called asymmetric gene flow. That is, when the genetic endowments of individuals from differing racial groups are blended, the offspring do not show classic Mendelian ratios in their inheritance.
In these racial mixtures, the offspring appear to give priority to expressing the dominants of the primary parent. Another way of expressing this would be to say that there is a gene flow from the primary into the secondary.
If this view is correct, then we must recognize the so-called Caucasoid race as not so much a distinct race as simply the statistical region of the global gene pool in which the dominant genes from all racial groups are interactively expressing themselves. "Whiteness" is probably a very transitory phase of expression, with the eventual color being an "olive shade of the violet hue."
Lets stop here to clarify terminology; Im using The Urantia Books terminology which divides current populations into three groups: The primary Sangiks, consisting of the Mongoloid types, the secondary Sangiks, consisting of the Negroid types, and the Caucasoid mix. So-called "whites" are part of the general Caucasoid mix, but the Caucasoid mix itself contains a wide range of expression.
A number of studies done over the past two decades show that in North America genes from the Caucasoid population are replacing those in the secondary Sangik gene pool at a rate of about 3.5% per generation -- a generation being 25 years. The practical repercussion of this is that the black population is slowly being absorbed into the general Caucasoid mix. Today about 30% of the "black" gene pool in North America contains components which, from a statistical standpoint must be considered Caucasoid. This ranges from about 10% in the south to 50% in the north.
Every natural population carries what is called a "genetic load," consisting of lethal or undesirable genes which have accumulated by mutation over a series of generations.
This genetic load is a matter of great concern today to evolutionary biologists. No one knows the number or nature of lethal genes currently resident within the human population. More than 4,000 single-gene genetic disorders have been identified.
There are current estimates which hold that every living individual carries between five and seven dysfunctional or lethal genes.
Genetic equilibrium is established for a population when the rate of the production of harmful genes by mutation is equal to their elimination by natural selection. The drosophila fruit flies which are used extensively in genetic studies show a range of 10% to 20% mutations in their sex cells per generation.
Natural populations reach a state of equilibrium with their environment in which the number of genes which are eliminated through natural selection equals the number of new mutations which show up in each generation. In other words, if we wanted to bring human populations into biological equilibrium we would have to balance the genetic account and prevent enough individuals carrying lethal mutations from reproducing in each generation to compensate for the accumulation of new mutations.
What we have done instead is to radically increase the number of mutations appearing in our populations. The introduction of radioactive materials into the planetary environment as well as the rapid rate of increase of industrial pollutants are just two factors which have significantly raised the rate of mutations throughout the ecosystem, by some estimates as much as 100% over that of a century ago.
Simultaneous with this increase in mutations, we have deployed the most advanced technology and complex social mechanisms the world has ever seen in an attempt to assure the survival of every genotype coming into existence. This now includes the technological stimulation of reproduction systems of individuals not able to have offspring by natural means.
Part of the difficulty here is that the greatest percentage of the genetic load remains hidden. This is because most defective genes are recessive. That is, it takes one from each parent in order to express itself in the offspring. For many of these conditions, the statistical probability of two recessive carriers producing offspring remains low. For example, the rate of occurrence of albinism in the general population is such that we can determine that there are approximately 100 times more genes for albinism in the general population than get expressed in a given generation. If we prevented albinos from reproducing, it would still take hundreds of generations to find and remove these genes from the general population.
Discussions of this sort invariably bring up images of draconian reproductive regulations enforced by authoritarian political regimes. The shadows of the eugenics movements early in the twentieth century and particularly the Nazi atrocities haunt our thinking. But eugenics does not need to be associated with social violence. Eugenics is alive and well in the late twentieth century, but it has become a private matter. People simply want to have healthy children. Couples in the developed world are increasingly taking advantage of such services as genetic counseling and prenatal care. Couples at risk are able to take advantage of testing early in their pregnancies and make choices about whether or not a particular fetus should be brought to term.
On the horizon is widespread "genotype choice" -- a sort of decentralized, do-it-yourself eugenics. Oliver Morton, writing in the January 1998 issue of "Wired" describes the process.
"A couple goes to a clinic and provides some sperm and some eggs. The clinic turns them into embryos and analyzes the different mixtures of the parents genes each embryo carries. The parents are given the embryos genetic profiles and advice on how the genes relate to various traits, both physical and mental. At present, such a profile would be expensive and crude, capable of spotting genes for serious genetic disabilities, but not much more. But with better DNA analysis tools and much more knowledge about which genes do what -- fields that are growing exponentially -- the pictures will get sharper and sharper. The parents choose the profile they like, on whatever criteria appeal to them; the chosen embryo is grown a bit further in the test tube, a few cells are snipped out to provide tissue for repairs in later life, and then the pregnancy gets under way. No engineering; just choice."
"Deteriorated" and "Debased"
"Deteriorated" and "debased" are two more words which almost always cause readers to wince when they have to read them out loud at a study group. To what do these words refer?
In order to answer this question, it is important to get a sense of how dynamic the genome of an established population really is. The potentials of the genome change with each generation as some individuals fail to reproduce their genes and others pass on genes which have experienced mutations. Isolated populations can experience a "genetic drift," in which they come to differ significantly over time in the content of their genome relative to neighboring populations of the same species.
Historically human populations have been isolated by geographic factors -- mountain ranges, oceans, large rivers, etc. Today the isolating factors tend to be of a social and economic nature.
An isolated population can experience significant assaults on its genome when warfare or disease eliminate large percentages its members. The surviving gene pool almost always contains less variety. Over time, if this process happens repeatedly, the local gene pool can deteriorate to the point where it is significantly "debased" from its original state. That is, the mean distribution of genes has changed radically from that which originally defined the population. In addition, the absence of genomic variety equates to loss of vigor within the group.
This underscores the role of civilization in the maintenance of a healthy genome. Civilization can do much to eliminate these assaults on the gene pool by providing mechanisms which prevent wars and epidemics. Note that the establishment of social infrastructure was one of the primary tasks of the Princes regime, undertaken long before the Adamic mission of genetic uplift was to have begun.
The concept of "racial purity" seems always to make an appearance in conversations about race, but it is not developed in The Urantia Book. The term is used by the revelators only in reference to the imported Violet race and, curiously, to the red race. It is interesting to review the comment which says that "The Life Carriers impart the full bestowal of the living energies to the initial or red race, and each succeeding evolutionary manifestation of a distinct group of mortals represents variation at the expense of the original endowment."
In addition, the book tells us that there are no "pure" races in existence today.
The concept of "racial purity" as an ideal is a racist illusion based on ignorance of genetic facts. The fact of the matter is that the healthiest genome is the one containing the greatest variety. Consider the following example.
The peppered moth found near Manchester in England has been studied by naturalists for the last two centuries. Originally naturalists noted that about 99 percent of the moths were a mottled gray color. On rare occasions a much darker specimen would be found, but only in quantities of 1% of the local population. The moths spent their days with their wings spread out on tree trunks which were the same color of gray -- perfect camouflage to protect them from predator birds. By the early twentieth century the situation had reversed itself. The darker moths now made up 99% of the population and the lighter ones had become the rare 1%.
During the period of change Manchester had become industrialized and the smoke from the coal-burning factories nearby had coated the trees. Now the darker moths were the ones with the camouflage advantage. The genes for the darker color came to dominate the population as a result of natural selection.
This illustrates how the survival of the group depends on the existence within the groups gene pool, of the potential to alter genotypical expression to meet the challenges of changing environmental conditions.
The genetic fitness of a population is a function of its genetic variety -- of the variety of possible responses to complex changing environments which are available in its gene pool. And that variety is in the population, not the individual. Note that in our example it is the group, not the individual, whose survival is most important. This is a critical point about evolutionary processes -- the individual is a temporary expression of an extremely small portion of the group genome whose purpose is merely to pass on a randomly selected set of its endowment. This is an impersonal level of reality dominated by statistical probabilities. It is only in this domain of the statistical distribution of specific alleles within a population group that the concept of race can have any useful meaning.
The example of the peppered moth also illustrates the nature of racial deterioration. Had these moths been divided into two separate breeding groups, the group lacking the genes for the darker color would have been wiped out. Their gene pool would have become "debased" from its original endowment.
In considering the value of the genetic potentials inherent in variety, note the numbers of children born into the Sangik family -- 5 red, 2 orange, 4 yellow, 2 green, 4 blue, 2 indigo. These numbers alone indicate relative degrees of vigor within these six population groups.
Many readers have found the concept of the Sangik races appearing in one generation to be rather incredulous, assuming that such an event would be the result of a massive sequence of mutations within a single organism. Given current models genomic behavior, this is not necessarily the case. There are indications that the genome itself has internal regulatory mechanisms which work to foster positive mutations and perhaps contribute to the evolutionary development of the species as a whole.
One example of genetic evolutionary mechanisms currently at work is an apparent effort of the genome to reorganize itself. There are desirable traits whose expression depends upon multiple genes scattered around the chromosome working in harmony. If these genes could be brought together so that they form a continuous strand of the chromosome, their probability of all being passed on to future generations would be greatly increased. This appears to be happening in current generations.
Although purely speculative, we could postulate an internal ordering principle for the genome which is similar to the basin of attraction found in chaos theory. We could then posit the appearance of the six Sangik races as a result of a single mutation in the regulatory system of the genome -- a mutation which resulted in the appearance of multiple basins of attraction.
An additional factor in the development of the Sangik races is a phenomenon known as the founder effect which appears as extreme cases of random genetic drift occurring when a new population is established by only very few individuals.
Note that the red race had the greatest variety in its originating generation. If rates of mutation and evolution are constant for all races, than this differential could never be overcome except in the amalgamation of all these races into one. That is, if the rate at which beneficial mutations are acquired is constant for all these races, the red race, barring such events as extensive epidemics or genocidal wars, will always have the greatest variety and hence the greatest vitality.
"Superior" and "Progressive"
Superior and progressive -- two words which disturb many of us. What do they signify and to whom or what are they applied by the revelators?
In a strict Darwinian sense, fitness is simply living long enough to pass on lots of genes.
The view of "fitness" developed in The Urantia Book is somewhat more complex. The revelators appear to value "progress" over "adaptation." Natural selection tends to gravitate the evolutionary process toward a static equilibrium of adaptation. The Urantia Book indicates that a great deal of the overcontrol of evolution is designed to overcome this inherent tendency for biological life to seek an ever more refined degree of mechanical stimulus-response relationship with its environment. "The watchword of the universe is progress."
- Take a look at some of the qualities the revelators consider to be "progressive."
- 1. Increase of inventive imagination
- 2. Improvement in tools
- 3. Acquirement of ethical judgement
- 4. Evolution of religious capacity
- 5. Development of aesthetic appreciation
- 6. Development of curiosity
- 7. Development of associative imagination
- 8. Quickening of intellectual potential
- 9. Enhancement of spiritual receptivity
- 10. Acceleration of spiritual progress
It appears from their use of the terms "progressive", "inferior", and "superior" that the revelators are referring to those traits which either retard or lead to the development of cultural civilization—traits which relate to the amount of social complexity to which different individuals and groups are capable of adapting.
The expression of these traits is cultural civilization. In fact, most of the qualities which the revelators seem to admire cannot even be expressed outside of a social context.
On normal worlds, the red race, which contains the greatest amount of these potentials, appears first -- long before any of the others. The red race begins the establishment of culture which is then augmented and stimulated over long periods of time by the successive appearance of the remaining Sangik races.
On our planet, the simultaneous appearance of all the races combined with the failure of the Planetary Prince and Adamic regimes, set the stage for a complex array of biological and social problems which are still being worked out. Race relations are so complex and difficult that on normal worlds they are managed by super-human beings.
It should be noted that in evolutionary genetics the term "progressive", when applied to a species, may also relate to the relative amount of genetic variation within the species and its correlated rate of evolution.
The Urantia Book also uses the term "creativity" in this context. In 82:6.5 it is noted that, "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."
Creativity provides a means whereby the inertia of the mechanical levels of material reality may be somewhat transcended by population groups who have this characteristic.
Nature vs. Nurture
The question which always comes up in a discussion of culture and genetics is, "What percentage of behavior is cultural and what percentage is biological?" In many ways this is the wrong question to ask. There is the fact of genetic inheritance. But when we talk about the cultural environment, we are talking about an environment of meanings and values. Genes are the material environment. Culture is the necessary context in which mind operates to discover meanings and values. An individuals genetic heritage pre-determines a range of access to this meaning-value environment. A human being by definition is an entity which functions in this integrated fact-meaning-value matrix.
Ironically, it is often assumed that acknowledgment of the relationship between genes and human capacities would justify the setting up of rigid class barriers as a means of more effectively organizing society. Indeed, the potential for the re-emergence of "scientific racism" is a real threat in the current situation. Yet even the most elementary understanding of the principles of genetics reveals that it is only under uniform environments that meaningful genetic differences between individuals or populations can become clearly visible.
In other words, when social structures force individuals to live their lives within artificially constructed boundaries, there is little chance for those individuals to fully express their genetic potentials. The closer the approach to equality of opportunity in a society, that is, the fewer the artificial barriers to individual achievement, the more the observed differences between its members are likely to reflect their genetic differences.
Inequality of opportunity acts to hide, distort, and falsify the genetic diversity of the population. From this we can see that it is only the truly open society, only that society which removes all socially constructed barriers to individual achievement, which has a chance of significantly improving its collective genetic fitness.
In North America, the repercussions of the civil rights legislation and equal opportunity laws of the past few decades are driving us closer to a confrontation with the genetic infrastructure which shapes our society. In just a half century, the United States has shifted from a society stratified along racial lines to one which is increasingly stratified along economic and IQ lines.
As has been previously noted, we live in a world of rapidly intermixing cultures and races. Any ideology or cosmology which fails to provide a coherent racial anthropology, well grounded in testable facts and supplemented with a philosophical framework for transcending evolutionary antecedents, will be useless in helping us solve the most pressing sociological issue of our time.
Interaction of Genes and Culture
It is important to understand that our genetic heritage provides us, not with a fixed set of responses to environmental stimuli, but a range of possible responses.
Language is a good example of a phenomenon comprised of both genetic and cultural factors. The symbols of language are not genetically inherited, but the capacity of the individual to use language is inherited. However, this capacity cannot be realized without a culture to mediate the symbols of language.
A healthy genome constitutes a living system which is constantly changing as our environmental circumstances change. Genes switch on and off; the action is shunted to different genes which perform similar functions in different ways depending on the environmental situation. The child, the adolescent and the ageing adult are different organisms in many respects. Mortals alter the environment with their tools and ideas and that altered environment in turn alters the genetic composition of the mortals who inhabit it.
The classic example of this symbiotic dance between environment and inheritance is seen in ant populations where the actual body type changes depending on social conditions -- a given individual can transmute from a worker to a soldier depending on the needs of the colony as a whole.
The gene variants present in a population must be adapted not only to the environment, but also to each other. There is a growing awareness within the field of evolutionary biology that culture itself is the expression of a constantly shifting genetic mix.
One of the most intriguing studies presently being done is the attempt to reconstruct the history of human evolution thru the studies of rates of mutation in different genetic lines. The present state of the work is a volume entitled "The History and Geography of Human Genes." This is a work which combines the most current linguistic, anthropologic and geographic data with findings in evolutionary genetics.
The Cavalli-Sforza team has assembled DNA samples from nearly 2,000 aboriginal populations scattered all over the world. By combining this DNA with living viral hosts, a living library of ancient human DNA samples is being assembled at Stanford University in California.
Their work has led to a number of discoveries which have interesting correlations with the story contained in The Urantia Book.
Here are a few of them:
- 1. A catastrophic hybridization event of unknown origin took place among European populations roughly 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.
- 2. The origins of widespread human linguistic and cultural diversity are now placed at roughly 25,000 years ago.
- 3. A secondary hybridization event appears to have spread across Europe roughly 9,000 years ago corresponding to the spread of farming from Mesopotamia. Current findings support the theory that this was a demic diffusion rather than cultural diffusion; when it was discovered how to make pottery, the process spread rapidly thru existing cultures. Farming was a property of people and it was the farmers who spread, not the technology. Cavalli-Sforza states that "This was obviously a process of population replacement by superior types rather than the simple passing of cultural knowledge." Yet the source of these people or the events associated with their appearance remain unknown.
- 4. The emergence of Homo Sapien is now placed at 500,000 years ago, corresponding with the emergence of the Sangik races.
- 5. Recognition of the fact that the Sangik races appeared far earlier than the modern day hybrids which relatively recently emanated from the near east. Todays remnants of these early races are now known to be very ancient in terms of the evolutionary time scale.
The Cavalli-Sforza text is highly recommended for further serious study. Included in the book are stunning color computer-generated maps showing the diffusion of modern mutations from the middle east as well as maps showing the migrations of the Sangik races. The book also provides an extensive correlation of genetic information with current linguistic and anthropological studies.
The Cavalli-Sforza study notes several pieces of information needed for the further development of their model. One is an answer to the question, "Is the rate of evolution constant over time and across species?" In other words, do the genome of different species and races accumulate mutations at the same rate, and are these mutations processed at similar rates in terms of eliminating defective mutations and incorporating helpful ones?
Another piece of information is essential for calibration of the genetic clock -- knowledge of when the midmammals differentiated from the dawn mammals. Not only does The Urantia Book give a precise time for this event, it even gives the number of generations between adjacent branchings of the evolutionary tree. Someday some evolutionary biologist will venture across the paradigm threshold and check existing data with the books information. That may be a very interesting day indeed.
The Critical Need for a Comprehensive Model of Race
It is important to understand that the first step in reaching a scientific understanding of any phenomena is to create a theoretical model which provides a context in which specific details can be studied. The model then serves as a means of generating questions for which research projects can be designed in an attempt to either validate or disprove the theory.
The most up-to-date bibliography available on racial studies is a University of Massachusetts Index which has some 15,000 references to books, articles, and dissertations organized under 87 subject-headings. What is remarkable about this collection is that it is simply a collection of data. There is no coherent model of racial development within which the material in this index can be organized. Trying to understand race in this context is like trying to understand physics when all you have is a hat box containing slips of paper with random formulas and equations.
Howard Winant sees the present racial order in North America as consisting of a set of conflicting "racial projects." Each of these projects has an ideology based upon a unique understanding of the "meaning" of race. Each project also has a resultant political agenda.
- Project 1: The Far Right
- Ideology: Represents race in terms of inherent, natural characteristics; rights and privileges assigned accordingly; traditional far right operates through terror; renovated far right organizes whites politically.
- Agenda: Open racial conflict; equality seen as a subversion of the "natural order"; the state is in the hands of the "race mixers." Whites need to form their own organizations and pressure the state for "white rights."
- Project 2: New Right
- Ideology: Understands racial mobilization as a threat to "traditional values"; perceives racial meanings and identities as operating "subtextually"; engages in racial "coding"; articulates class and gender interests as racial.
- Agenda: Racial conflict focuses on the state; racial (in)equality determined by access to state institutions and relative political power.
- Project 3: Neoconservatism
- Ideology: Denies the salience of racial "difference," or argues that it is a vestige of the past, when invidious distinctions and practices had not yet been reformed; after the passage of civil rights laws, any collective articulation of racial "difference" amounts to "racism in reverse."
- Agenda: Conservative egalitarianism. Individualism, meritocracy, universalism. Rejection of any form of group rights; strives to create a "color-blind" state.
- Project 4: Pragmatic liberalism
- Ideology: Racial identities serve to organize interests and channel political and cultural activities; as long as principles of pluralism and tolerance are upheld, a certain degree of group identity and racial mobilization can be accepted as the price of social peace.
- Agenda: Cultural and political pluralism; affirmative action as "goals, not quotas." State racial policy as moderating and eroding the legacy of discrimination.
- Project 5: Radical democracy
- Ideology: Racial difference accepted and celebrated; flexibility of racial identities; multiplicity and "decenteredness" of various forms of "difference," including race.
- Agenda: State racial policy as redistribution. Racial politics as part of "decentered" but interconnected pattern of "new social movements." Extension of democratic rights and of societal control over the state.
Personal Exercise: Where do you place yourself within this range of "racial projects"?
Study Group Exercise: Develop Project 6 -- a name, a descriptive ideology and an agenda for The Urantia Books "racial project" which fits into Winants categorical scheme. Be mindful of the material in section 6 of Paper 52 beginning at paragraph 2.
I invite you to contrast Winants "racial projects" with the model of race which is developed in The Urantia Book. The first thing you should notice is the conceptual depth of The Urantia Books model. In these contemporary models, the human person is determined by and submerged in the sociological and political repercussions of his or her racial ancestry. Race is seen as a primary aspect of group and personal identity as well as a principle for social organization.
This is an important point -- all of these agendas, as well as the various eugenics and white supremacist movements which were popular in the early part of the 20th century, used race as a criteria for ordering human society. The Urantia Book differs sharply in this respect -- nowhere in its pages is there any implication that race is a valid category for social organization. Quite the opposite -- The Urantia Book invites us to make the fact of our relationship with God the basis upon which social and interpersonal relationships are ordered.
These contemporary models focus on humanly-conceived social and political theory as mechanisms for artificially attempting to compose racial differences. The Urantia Book leads us to an understanding of fundamental ontological realities essential for a lasting resolution of these differences.
The great religious and political orders of the twentieth century have shown a remarkable desire to deploy educational and social welfare systems of great complexity and cost in an effort to create a truly beneficial social order. While theorists have postulated many different forms of oppression as being responsible for racial differences, very few have been willing to even consider biological oppression. This is likely to change as we continue to make the conceptual transition from the Judeo-Christian creation myths to a greater understanding of the social implications of evolutionary processes. (The Judeo-Christian creation story implicitly creates racial problems because it postulates the simultaneous creation of all races into a fixed order -- why then, any relative differences? Did God curse or bless certain population groups? The discovery of evolution leads us to understand creation as an ongoing process in which we are privileged to participate with God. Evolutionary models of creation give us a better understanding of the sequential unfolding and ongoing development of living organisms. The practical implications of this change in understanding have yet to filter down to broad segments of the population.)
It is essential that our scientific understanding of biological processes be complemented by a deeper spiritual understanding of the nature of personality. What has been missing is an adequate model which would enable us to develop appropriate intervention strategies. The Urantia Book provides our world with such a model. It also provides insight into a course of action which can be undertaken by each individual to reduce racial conflict, overcome intolerance, and lead the way to a fuller realization of the reality of the kingdom of heaven.
The Spiritual Significance of Cultural Civilization
The revelators place a high value on the development of progressive cultural civilization. Why?
Here in North America we live in a culture of ultra-individualism. Spirituality itself is commonly seen almost exclusively as a matter between the individual and God. The archetype of the saint who leaves civilization behind and goes off into the wilderness to live with God remains a powerful image. A study of The Urantia Book, however, reveals a significantly different reality. The Urantia Book reveals social infrastructure as the temporal context within which we spiritually self-actualize through service.
The conquest of the psychic circles relates to the ability of the individual personality to attain increasingly meaningful levels of functional identity in the domain of social values and personality interactions -- to become increasingly real as a part of supremacy.
Spiritual progress is not possible outside of a cultural context. Personal ethics and spiritual values cannot be developed by personalities isolated from significant interaction with other personalities.
If you study The Urantia Book you will find that human destiny lies not so much in individual achievements as in the development of the co-creational and associative potentials of personality.
The Kingdom of Heaven
The locus for the building of a better human society lies not in the legal domain, the political domain nor in the domain of economics. It lies in the domain of interpersonal relationships. The state of human civilization is, at any point in time, the status of the repercussional total of all interpersonal relationships. When we deplore the state of the world, what we are really deploring is the state of the relationships between the individuals which make up that world. The improvement of human culture is really the task of improving the functioning of this network of interpersonal relationships and this requires the spiritual transformation of each node -- each person participating in the network.
And this domain of interpersonal relationships is the locus of humanly experiencable aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven. Every interaction we have with another personality either strengthens the presence of the kingdom or tears at the fabric of supremacy, depending on how we enter into the exchange. This is where we, as individuals, are continuously, inexorably altering the course of cosmic evolution, every time we engage in an interaction with another person. Truly, the acts are ours, the consequences, Gods.
The Kingdom of Heaven is literally right here in our midst. We need to discover it more fully, reveal it to each other more fully in our relationships, and work to actualize it. The Kingdom is so real that we should be able to merely point it out to our truth-seeking fellows, much as we would point out a distant mountain on a landscape in which we both were standing. The gospel of the Kingdom is not an ideology, not a religion nor a philosophy -- it is a revelation of the nature of reality itself. And it is a fuller realization of this reality of the kingdom of heaven which will ultimately defeat racism and intolerance and usher in a new order of human existence.
The Urantia Book says that "By teaching that the kingdom is within, by exalting the individual, Jesus ...ushered in the new dispensation of true social righteousness. This new order of society the world has little known because it has refused to practice the principles of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. And when this kingdom of spiritual pre-eminence does come upon the earth, it will not be manifested in mere improved social and material conditions, but rather in the glories of those enhanced and enriched spiritual values which are characteristic of the approaching age of improved human relations and advancing spiritual attainments."
Our spiritual benefactors are giving us as much information as we can possibly absorb. Jesus delivered the gospel of the kingdom, but his followers lacked the capacity to really comprehend what he was telling them.
Now, 2,000 years later, our benefactors are attempting once more to draw our attention to the reality of the kingdom. The question is, do we have the capacity to receive it and act on it?
On page 2044 the morontia Jesus appears to Rodan and a gathering of some 80 believers in Alexandria. He greets them and says, "Peace be upon you. That which my Father sent me into the world to establish belongs not to a race, a nation, nor to a special group of teachers or preachers. This gospel of the kingdom belongs to both Jew and gentile, to rich and poor, to free and bond, to male and female, even to the little children. And you are all to proclaim this gospel of love and truth by the lives which you live in the flesh. You shall love one another with a new and startling affection, even as I have loved you. You will serve mankind with a new and amazing devotion, even as I have served you. And when men see you so love them, and when they behold how fervently you serve them, they will perceive that you have become faith-fellows of the kingdom of heaven, and they will follow after the Spirit of Truth which they see in your lives, to the finding of eternal salvation." "Go, then, into all the world telling this good news to all creatures of every race, tribe, and nation. My spirit shall go before you, and I will be with you always."