Polygenism

(redirected from Polygenists)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical.

Polygenism

 

a theory that views human races as different species having separate origins. Some advocates of polygenism contended that present-day mankind is represented not only by several species but even by several genera. Polygenism was used as the basis for various racist notions about the biological and intellectual inequality of human races. In the mid-19th century, for instance, the advocates of polygenism justified the legality of the slave trade. The untenability of polygenism is demonstrated by the similarity of various major characteristics, such as the structure of the hand and brain, among the races of modern man.

REFERENCES

Roginskii, la. Ia., and M. G. Levin. Antropologiia. Moscow, 1963.
Nesturkh, M. F. Proiskhozhdenie cheloveka, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
References in periodicals archive ?
Polygenists used the latest discoveries of human physiology to prove that Africans were less intelligent, more sensual, and a more animalistic species than Caucasians.
In contrast, polygenists posited that a "natural repugnance" existed to interracial mating.
For the polygenists, the sacrifices of missionaries were worse than useless.
Though de Salle opposed Islam, he was astute enough to see how the arguments of polygenists could serve slaveholders and imperial adventurers.
Polygenist accounts of human diversity certainly became more widespread and systematic in the early nineteenth century.
The vocal minority of polygenist theorists who most affected discussions in the SEP were the physician Julien-Joseph Virey (1775-1846), the military officer and naturalist J.
Nott was a polygenist who wanted to "cut loose the natural history of mankind from the Bible" and place anthropology on a scientific footing.
It reiterated polygenist arguments that dehumanized the African as a species apart.
As late as 1909 Heller still found it necessary to refute stupid" and "inhuman" polygenist arguments that the African lacked a soul or Adamic descent.
The polygenist idea of races as originally and essentially distinct was a harbinger of the Nazi ideology.
On a polygenist view, these bogus racial differences become even more damaging because they are perceived as absolutes.
On the polygenist view, God was thought to have created the different races to fit distinctly different environments, but the environments did not cause racial variations-- God caused them.