The Question of Races and Racism

Up until a few hundred years ago, most humans were completely isolated from each other. We were all living, evolving, and developing on our own. We probably didn't even have a clue that there were other 'humans' anywhere else on the globe (we didn't even know if we lived on a globe).

Humans have always lived in tribes. Our ape ancestors did too, millions of years ago. And that Earth is a sphere was already known by the ancient Greeks.

Secularists, at least the 'active' ones, seem to come from the left.

I guess you're from the US. Over here in Europe, there are secularists and atheists all over the political spectrum. The political landscape in the US is really quite unique in that it is so polarized in two major camps, probably as a result of the two-party-system: a religious, conservative, law and order and economic freedom camp one side and a liberal, progressive, secular, environmentalist, social equality oriented camp the other. The rest of the world isn't divided along those lines quite like that.

And they seem to very actively oppose racism. Because, all humans are equal and no one race should be considered superior to another.

Right. Where I live, everyone is convinced of that. Religious conservatives too.

My question to this is simply why? If there is no grand super natural scheme and we are all simply mammals, why would human beings that are isolated from each other for hundreds of millions of years be all considered 'equal?' How did we all 'evolve' equally on this earth?

Oh gosh, the human 'races' (in quotation marks because race is not a scientific term) haven't been separated for hundreds of millions of years. In fact the most recent common ancestor of all living humans lived only a few thousand years ago!

What's more, we can measure the genetic differences between human races, and the nucleotide diversity between humans is only about 0.1% (one difference per one thousand nucleotides between two humans chosen at random).

what is stopping a scientist from discovering the unthinkable? That some races truly are inferior.

Nothing would prevent such a discovery. It's also not unthinkable, but purely hypothetical. All investigations that could make such a discovery have already been made and came back negative.

Or if an ethnic group was discovered to carry a deadly gene (we're still evolving), and the only cure was to eliminate this ethnic group?

That's were your hypothetical really goes off the rails. First there are no 'deadly genes'. Second genes don't infect people like diseases, genes get passed on to children when people procreate. If we figure out that because of their genetic makeup, some people would most probably have terminally ill children, there would be a lot of ways to deal with that situation. There are all sorts of possible treatments like gene therapy or artificial insemination. If that doesn't work, most of those people would abstain from having children by their own choice. The worst action we would have to consider is making their procreation illegal, as many countries do in the case of siblings or cousins who love each other, because their offspring would have a high chance of having genetic defects. But we would never have to 'eliminate' them. If lifeforms have harmful genetic mutations, evolution selects against them automatically.

There's nothing morally stopping scientists from discovering something like this

Of course not, and there shouldn't be. Scientists discover the facts of the world, ethics doesn't necessarily come into that. Ethics is concerned with what we make of that facts in order to change or improve our code of conduct. Knowledge and scientific discovery is never ethically wrong, only our reaction to it can be wrong. Most importantly, our actions are much more likely to be wrong if we're ignorant scientific facts, they're much more likely to be right if we're aware of them.

I believe that God (or a higher power of some sort) created us.. and racism is wrong.

That is the worst argument against racism I've ever heard. A racist would simply reply: "yeah, but that's just your belief. I however believe that racism is right."

Your faith is probably very important to you, but it doesn't mean shit to anybody else besides yourself. If you want to convince others that racism is wrong, you can only do so with reason and rational argument. Declaring what your (religious) beliefs are won't affect anybody.

I let Ralph Waldo Emerson respond to your edits: "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."

/r/DebateAnAtheist Thread