Latest Issue

Race and creation

Humans, it seems, were predisposed to make sharp distinctions between in-group and out-group before there were any races at all—indeed, races may have evolved partly as a response to that predisposition

By Richard Dawkins   October 2004

“Race” is not a clearly defined word. “Species” is different. There really is an agreed way to decide whether two animals belong in the same species: can they interbreed? The interbreeding criterion gives the species a unique status in the hierarchy of taxonomic levels. Above the species level, a genus is just a group of species whose members are pretty similar to each other. No objective criterion exists to determine how similar they have to be, and the same is true of all the higher levels: family, order, class, phylum and the various “sub-” or “super-” names that intervene between…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect