Where pre-Adamism had been used previously to buttress the heterodox thesis of human polygenism
, it was now modified so that Christians could safely embrace both the seemingly heretical Darwinian Unity of Descent and the solidly orthodox Augustinian Unity of Descent.
Of course, the body of physical evidence also suggests that polygenism
is false and supports that modern human evolved with their place origin located in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nancy Stepan has described racial science in the first half of the nineteenth century as a series of "desperate efforts to rebut polygenism
" (3) that began to lose ground during the 1840s when Knox popularized his ideas in a series of public lectures delivered throughout Britain.
Squier's conclusion that mounds in western New York had, in fact, been built by the ancestors of the Iroquois is given as an example of this undogmatic "soft polygenism
" and his archaeological talent for discriminating between different cultures or phases of use.
(101) Although Pope Pius XII's encyclical Humani generis (1950) had opened the door to accepting the possibility of evolution, it had explicitly noted and condemned any acceptance of polygenism
as well as any alterations to the doctrine of original sin--"which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own." (102)
This perspective parallels a view common before the rise of Darwinism known as polygenism
, which asserted that each human race was the product of a separate divine creation, and that, therefore, human races are in fact separate (hierarchically orderable) biological species.
On the speculative question of origins, Jefferson hesitates between seeing the races as different species (polygenism
) or as distinct varieties within the same species (monogenism).
"'Dark Spot' in the Picturesque: The Aesthetics of Polygenism
and Henry James's "A Landscape-Painter." American Literature 74:1 (March 2002): 59-87.
(20) Thus, not surprisingly, from 1810 to 1859 scholars wrestled with the conflict between their original commitment to Enlightenment monogenism, the theory that humankind has a single origin, and the new proponents of the theory of polygenism
, a belief in the separate origins of races.
Agassiz was looking for evidence against Darwin and in support of polygenism
, the theory that species and human racial groups were created separately, with distinct and unchanging attributes.
(the claim that races were created separately, with different